Daily Archives: June 9, 2013

Theology: PROLEGOMENA (Preface and Introduction)

Theology at one time in our history was important in the Sciences, however this is not true in all circles today.

 

Thiessen in his systematic theology states, “Until rather recent times Theology was considered the queen of the sciences and Systematic Theology the crown of the queen. But today the generality of so-called theological scholarship denies that it is a science and certainly the idea that it is the queen of the sciences.” (Thiessen, Henry C.; “Lectures In Systematic Theology”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949, p 23)

 

When they speak of the Sciences, what do they mean? Math, biology, chemistry, electronics, logic etc. are considered Sciences. What are the Arts? Psychology, language, history, art, philosophy, etc. are the Arts.

 

What are the Sciences based on? The Sciences are based on discoverable fact, known fact, systematic research, principles of fact finding, etc. Upon what are the Arts based? The Arts are based on thought, creativity of the mind and hand, philosophy, etc.

 

The study of Sciences in college leads to a Bachelor of Science degree, while the study of the Arts leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Since most Bible Colleges give B.A. degrees, they must feel that the study of the Bible and theology is in the area of thought and philosophy, or the Arts.

 

In the thinking of the world this classification is correct. However if we feel that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and correct in all that it says, then we would determine our study from the facts and not thought. This would technically place us within the idea of the Sciences. Indeed, I have run across a Bible college or two that offer the B.S. degree rather than the B.A.

 

James Orr in 1909 stated,

 

“Every one must be aware there is at the present time a great prejudice against doctrine – or, as it is often called ‘Dogma’ – in religion; a great distrust and dislike of clear and systematic thinking about divine things. Men prefer one cannot help seeing, to live in a region of haze and indefiniteness in regard to these matters. They want their thinking to be fluid and indefinite – something that can be changed with the times, and with the new lights which they think are being constantly brought to bear upon it, continually taking on new forms, and leaving the old behind.” (Orr, James; “Sidelights On Christian Doctrine”; London: p 3)

This Was Spoken Almost 80 Years Ago. How Much More True It Is Today. Does this sound like the electronic church of today — don’t bug me with the facts — I want experience? One Charismatic mentioned that fundamentalists should box their brains up and shoot them into outer space — they let their minds control them. Let yourself go. Now, is he not in essence saying you have to be mindless to be like he is? Sounds somewhat like rationalism which we will see later.

 

In the past all sciences allowed for God within their ideas, however today very few sciences allow for God of any kind and have replaced Him with man. Does that remind you of any passages in Scripture? Romans 1:21-23, “Because, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”

 

Americans have turned to humanism for their religion. How long before they turn to animals, beasts, and creeping things?

 

What does the word “Prolegomena” mean? “Prolegomena” comes from two Greek words. “pro” meaning before & “legein” which means to speak

— “to say before” says, Webster. (4302 in Strong’s is the base word “prolego”. 2 Corinthians 13:2; Galatians 5:21; 1 Thessalonians 3:4. These are the only usages in the New Testament.)

 

Ryrie states of the prolegomena, “It furnishes the author with the opportunity to let his readers know something of the general plan he has in mind, both its extent and limitations, as well as some of the presuppositions of his thinking and the procedures he plans to use.”

 

 

(Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 13)

 

Prolegomena is a twenty-five dollar word for preface or introduction that allows you to impress people.

 

As we move along we need to understand some words.[1]

 


[1] by Stanley L. Derickson. DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

All That Data the Government Collects On You From Your Cell Phone…

Zwinglius Redivivus

All that ‘harmless’ data?  Here’s a story that tells what they can do with it.

Green party politician Malte Spitz sued to have German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom hand over six months of his phone data that he then made available to ZEIT ONLINE. We combined this geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the internet.

By pushing the play button, you will set off on a trip through Malte Spitz’s life. The speed controller allows you to adjust how fast you travel, the pause button will let you stop at interesting points. In addition, a calendar at the bottom shows when he was in a particular location and can be used to jump to a specific time period. Each column corresponds to one day.

And then, once…

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7 Most Exciting Things a Pastor Experiences

Here are 7 most exciting things pastors experience:

A child who loves church – They are our future. And, we know it. Jesus loves the little children. And so do we. I love when a little child leads “them” to church. When a child loves church, I know the parent is sure to be excited also.

Note takers – Seeing someone following a message closely. Hearing pages of the Bible turn. Priceless. Seeing people actually live the truths taught…don’t even get me started.

Sacrificial givers – The church is built on people willing to invest in her work. The generous giver…who gives with no strings attached…way to make a pastor smile. Maybe even dance.

Visitors and people who invite them – Visitors. Could we grow the church and sustain it long-term without them? Of course not. Every person in the church today, unless they were born into it, started as a visitor. Every new church member and every knew opportunity to add someone to our discipleship efforts starts with a visit. I love people who invite. I love those who come when invited. I just want to hug them all. (But, I promise not to hug you on your first visit…or ever if you prefer, because I want you to visit. Visit. Visit. Visit.)

Servant hearts – When I see a man or woman in the parking lot or a baby rocker in preschool, or someone who says “Pastor, I’m here to help you any way I can”, I am encouraged to keep going. Their enthusiasm for serving others encourages me.

New people joining the church – The church is a family and every pastor loves when the family grows. When people who have been visiting start coming more often, and eventually decide this is the church family…WOW! Exciting! I may try to look like it’s a normal day, because I don’t want you to think we are desperate for new members, or scare you as I shout real loud, but inside, I’m bursting with joy.

When the church is the church – I am encouraged when I hear someone is in the hospital and a church member has already made a visit. I get excited when I hear of needs…that have already been met. When the church behaves like we were called to behave, without a staff member or me having to lead the effort, I’m energized. Elated. Blessed.

http://www.ronedmondson.com/2013/06/7-most-exciting-things-a-pastor-experiences.html

7 Most Frustrating Things Pastors Experience

Here’s my reply:

People who abuse power or position – It always bothers me, but even more so when it happens in the church. That includes, of course, the pastor. Ultimately, we are to follow Christ, but sometimes we can let positions and power get in the way of humility and obedience.

People who live dual lives – Hypocrisy. One church face and one community face. Frustrating. It gives the church a bad name. Many of my unchurched friends won’t come to church because they know someone who comes to church already. And, they aren’t impressed.

Rumors that spread with no basis of truth. (And, yes, it happens…often)

Selfishness – People who want what they want, even at the expense and inconvenience of others. Who will allow their personal preference to interfere with carrying out the ultimate mission of the church. Doesn’t sound very Biblical to me.

Tradition – I’m not against tradition per se. I like meeting at a set time every week, for example. I love getting gifts at Christmas. I get frustrated with tradition that is adhered to only because of tradition even thought it gets in the way of making disciples.

Time wasters – I’m on a mission. I have a keen sense that time is short and moves faster than I can fathom. I don’t want to waste precious Kingdom time debating issues that simply don’t matter.

Half-heartedness – Perhaps I got this one from Jesus. He called it lukewarm. I sense it when the Spirit of God is obviously active in the room, but so many look at me as if it’s a typical Sunday. I realize sometimes this is cultural or worship style preference. I’m okay when it’s that. It is frustrating when it’s a matter of immaturity of heart, especially when someone has been in the church for many years, but hasn’t grown deeper and more passionately in love with Christ. Some days I wish we were a ballgame. With bleachers. And a favorite team. Then they’d get excited.

http://www.ronedmondson.com/2013/06/7-most-frustrating-things-pastors-face.html

Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity – When a Christian foundation interviewed college nonbelievers about how and why they left religion, surprising themes emerged

Slowly, a composite sketch    of American college-aged atheists began to emerge and it would challenge all that we thought we knew about this demographic. Here is what we learned:

They had attended church

Most of our participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions at all, but in reaction to Christianity. Not Islam.    Not Buddhism. Christianity.

The mission and message of their churches was vague

These students heard plenty of messages encouraging “social justice,” community involvement, and “being good,” but they seldom saw the relationship between    that message, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. Listen to Stephanie, a student at Northwestern: “The connection between Jesus and a person’s life was not    clear.” This is an incisive critique. She seems to have intuitively understood that the church does not exist simply to address social ills, but to    proclaim the teachings of its founder, Jesus Christ, and their relevance to the world. Since Stephanie did not see that connection, she saw little    incentive to stay. We would hear this again.

They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions

When our participants were asked what they found unconvincing about the Christian faith, they spoke of evolution vs. creation, sexuality, the reliability    of the biblical text, Jesus as the only way, etc. Some had gone to church hoping to find answers to these questions. Others hoped to find answers to    questions of personal significance, purpose, and ethics. Serious-minded, they often concluded that church services were largely shallow, harmless, and    ultimately irrelevant. As Ben, an engineering major at the University of Texas, so bluntly put it: “I really started to get bored with church.”

They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously

Following our 2010 debate in Billings, Montana, I asked Christopher Hitchens why he didn’t try to savage me on stage the way he had so many others. His    reply was immediate and emphatic: “Because you believe it.” Without fail, our former church-attending students expressed similar feelings for those    Christians who unashamedly embraced biblical teaching. Michael, a political science major at Dartmouth, told us that he is drawn to Christians like that,    adding: “I really can’t consider a Christian a good, moral person if he isn’t trying to convert me.” As surprising as it may seem, this sentiment is not as    unusual as you might think. It finds resonance in the well-publicized comments of Penn Jillette, the atheist illusionist and comedian: “I don’t respect    people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting    eternal life or whatever, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…. How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” Comments like these should cause every Christian to examine his conscience to see if he truly believes that Jesus is, as he    claimed, “the way, the truth, and the life.”

Ages 14-17 were decisive

One participant told us that she considered herself to be an atheist by the age of eight while another said that it was during his sophomore year of    college that he de-converted, but these were the outliers. For most, the high school years were the time when they embraced unbelief.

The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one

With few exceptions, students would begin by telling us that they had become atheists for exclusively rational reasons. But as we listened it became clear    that, for most, this was a deeply emotional transition as well. This phenomenon was most powerfully exhibited in Meredith. She explained in detail how her    study of anthropology had led her to atheism. When the conversation turned to her family, however, she spoke of an emotionally abusive father:

“It was when he died that I became an atheist,” she said.

I could see no obvious connection between her father’s death and her unbelief. Was it because she loved her abusive father — abused children often do love    their parents — and she was angry with God for his death? “No,” Meredith explained. “I was terrified by the thought that he could still be alive somewhere.”

Rebecca, now a student at Clark University in Boston, bore similar childhood scars. When the state intervened and removed her from her home (her mother had    attempted suicide), Rebecca prayed that God would let her return to her family. “He didn’t answer,” she said. “So I figured he must not be real.” After a    moment’s reflection, she appended her remarks: “Either that, or maybe he is [real] and he’s just trying to teach me something.”

The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism

When our participants were asked to cite key influences in their conversion to atheism–people, books, seminars, etc. — we expected to hear frequent    references to the names of the “New Atheists.” We did not. Not once. Instead, we heard vague references to videos they had watched on YouTube or website    forums.

Read More Here: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/listening-to-young-atheists-lessons-for-a-stronger-christianity/276584/

Satan’s work, and the Christian

Something that’s quite disturbing to me is a trend I’ve been seeing for many years now within the evangelical Christian community; the focus and emphasis on Satan and his work in this world, instead of the supreme work of God and the powerfully glorious manifestation of Christ’s life in His chosen and beloved disciples (Gal 2:20, Col 1:27).

There’s no biblical foundation for this strange, yet prevalent fascination with satanical work and the powers of evil which has caused many Christians to pray…yes, pray to Satan (rather than God) for the purpose of “binding” him and his demonic work/influence in this world.
In the passage below, we see that Satan is flustered because he is bound by God Almighty alone and must have God’s permission to work any evil against God’s people, and even so, is limited by God to the degree of affliction that he can impose upon one of God’s chosen.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have You not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Again, God reveals to us how even the archangel Michael, who sees the face of God (which we do not) and has greater power than us, dealt with the devil.

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ….Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.

Finally, the apostle Luke records what can happen to foolish and presumptuous people who have no true faith in God, nor do they humbly submit to His authority, but arrogantly desire to appropriate Jesus’ all-powerful and holy name to do their bidding.

Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Rather than cast out the evil spirit, these foolish and arrogant sons of Sceva experienced a terrible and frightening reverse exorcism.
Listen to this short 2-minute clip by Pastor John MacArthur regarding such practices by false teachers and preachers and sadly, even true children of God who have been seduced to believe they can pronounce any judgment or command over any spirit—without any authority; therefore without any power to make anything they say come to pass.

I share all this not as one over any of you, or better than any of you, for there was a time I too, was seduced by my pride and false teaching to pray the same way. But now I shudder to think that I used “pray” to Satan rather than to the LORD Almighty alone, who graciously and mercifully hears and listens to my pleas.
Satan doesn’t listen to me or you. None of us have any authority or power over him or his demons. Only Christ the risen Lord has all authority and power to command evil spirits, and the Lord only appointed twelve apostles (Paul in the stead of Judas who was not a true believer, therefore not a true apostle) who will, on that glorious Day, sit with Him to judge the tribes of Israel (Matt 10:1, 19:28).
I assure  you, neither Satan nor his demons are afraid of me. And they’re not afraid of you either. But they do shudder at the presence of the Almighty and obeyed the few whom Christ gave authority (twelve apostles). And because of God’s great mercy and protection on His often foolish children, the demons cannot do to us what they did to the sons of Sceva who were not believers. However, be careful not to give way to your pride and continue this blasphemous practice because God keeps you even while you play the fool, because if you claim to love the Lord Jesus, and truly abide in Him, it ought to pierce your heart and wrench your soul to know that believers who entertain this vile practice, give cause for God’s holy name and word to be reviled.
Rather than instinctively reject adversity and ask for it to be taken away, I’ve learned ask the Lord two questions instead (Ps 40:1-4):
  1. What are you trying to teach me through this Lord?
  2. How can I give You Your due praise and glory because of it?
So next time you think Satan is “attacking” you, resist him (James 4:7) and turn to your Heavenly Father and ask Him for His protection, guidance and binding of Satan, that is, should the Lord deem it necessary.
Remember, as a child of the Almighty, anything that happens to you, whether “good” or “evil”, know it is all in the setting of God’s good and loving work in your life; to conform you all the more into the likeness of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (Job 2:10, 2 Sam 16:10-12, 2 Cor 4:16-18, Rom 8:28-29).
By Sunny Shell. Copyright © 2013 Abandoned to Christ. sunnyshell.org

The “Bush-Obama era” will be long remembered for curbing the Constitution

Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org By Nick Sorrentino The “Bush-Obama era” will be long remembered for curbing the Constitution Truly, it has been a big government, Constitution wrecking 16 years. To this day there are many people who act like Bush and Obama aren’t 2 peas in a pod however.. Aside from some stylistic differences which […]

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The Christian’s Final Victory

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

17 αποκριθεισ δε ο ιησουσ ειπεν αυτω· μακαριοσ ει, σιμων βαριωνα, οτι σαρξ και αιμα ουκ απεκαλυψεν σοι αλλ ο πατηρ μου ο εν τοισ ουρανοισ (Matthew 16:17 NA28)

17 And Jesus answered him saying, “Blessed are Simon son of John for flesh and blood did not not reveal this to you, but my Father in Heaven.”  (Matthew 16:17 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

My discussions with several of you over the past few weeks has centered on our puzzlement over the seemingly strange mixture of theology in some people who appear to be very genuine in their faith while holding to obviously heretical doctrines or following false teachers with joy. We must never forget my brethren that just because someone expresses that they have faith and believe does not mean that he or she actually does. One’s genuiness in Christ is not revealed by confession…

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How Apologetics Changed My Life! by Lee Strobel – Author, The Case for Christ and The Case for the Real Jesus

Skepticism is part of my DNA. That’s probably why I ended up combining the study of law and journalism to become the legal editor of The Chicago Tribune—a career in which I relentlessly pursued hard facts in my investigations. And that’s undoubtedly why I was later attracted to a thorough examination of the evidence—whether it proved to be positive or negative—as a way to probe the legitimacy of the Christian faith.

A spiritual cynic, I became an atheist in high school. To me the mere concept of an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe was so absurd on the surface that it didn’t even warrant serious consideration. I believed that God didn’t create people, but that people created God out of their fear of death and their desire to live forever in a utopia they called heaven.

I married an agnostic named Leslie. Several years later she came to me with the worst news I thought I could ever get: She had decided to become a follower of Jesus. My initial thought was that she was going to turn into an irrational holy roller who would waste all of her time serving the poor in a soup kitchen somewhere. Divorce, I figured, was inevitable.

Then something amazing occurred. During the ensuing months, I began to see positive changes in her character, her values, and the way she related to me and to the children. The transformation was winsome and attractive. So one day when she invited me to go to church with her, I decided to comply.

The pastor gave a talk called “Basic Christianity” in which he clearly spelled out the essentials of the faith. Did he shake me out of my atheism that day? No, not by a long shot. Still, I concluded that if what he was saying was true, it would have huge implications for my life.

That’s when I decided to apply my experience as a journalist to investigating whether there is any credibility to Christianity or any other faith system. I resolved to keep an open mind and follow the evidence wherever it pointed—even if it took me to some uncomfortable conclusions. In a sense, I was checking out the biggest story of my career.

At first, I thought my investigation would be short-lived. In my opinion, having “faith” meant you believed something even though you knew in your heart that it couldn’t be true. I anticipated that I would very quickly uncover facts that would devastate Christianity. Yet as I devoured books by atheists and Christians, interviewed scientists and theologians, and studied archaeology, ancient history, and world religions, I was stunned to find that Christianity’s factual foundation was a lot firmer than I had once believed.

Much of my investigation focused on science, where more recent discoveries have only further cemented the conclusions that I drew in those studies. For instance, cosmologists now agree that the universe and time itself came into existence at some point in the finite past. The logic is inexorable: Whatever begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist, and therefore the universe has a cause. It makes sense that this cause must be immaterial, timeless, powerful, and intelligent.

What’s more, physicists have discovered over the last 50 years that many of the laws and constants of the universe—such as the force of gravity and the cosmological constant—are finely tuned to an incomprehensible precision in order for life to exist. This exactitude is so incredible that it defies the explanation of mere chance.

The existence of biological information in DNA also points toward a Creator. Each of our cells contains the precise assembly instructions for every protein out of which our bodies are made, all spelled out in a four-letter chemical alphabet. Nature can produce patterns, but whenever we see information—whether it’s in a book or a computer program—we know there’s intelligence behind it. Furthermore, scientists are finding complex biological machines on the cellular level that defy a Darwinian explanation and instead are better explained as the work of an Intelligent Designer.

To my great astonishment, I became convinced by the evidence that science supports the belief in a Creator who looks suspiciously like the God of the Bible. Spurred on by my discoveries, I then turned my attention to history.

I found that Jesus, and Jesus alone, fulfilled ancient messianic prophecies against all mathematical odds. I concluded that the New Testament is rooted in eyewitness testimony and that it passes the tests that historians routinely use to determine reliability. I learned that the Bible has been passed down through the ages with remarkable fidelity.

However, the pivotal issue for me was the resurrection of Jesus. Anyone can claim to be the Son of God, as Jesus clearly did. The question was whether Jesus could back up that assertion by miraculously returning from the dead.

One by one, the facts built a convincing and compelling case. Jesus’ death by crucifixion is as certain as anything in the ancient world. The accounts of His resurrection are too early to be the product of legendary development. Even the enemies of Jesus conceded that His tomb was empty on Easter morning. And the eyewitness encounters with the risen Jesus cannot be explained away as mere hallucinations or wishful thinking.

All of this just scratches the surface of what I uncovered in my nearly two-year investigation. Frankly, I was completely surprised by the depth and breadth of the case for Christianity. And as someone trained in journalism and law, I felt I had no choice but to respond to the facts.

So on November 8, 1981, I took a step of faith in the same direction that the evidence was pointing—which is utterly rational to do—and became a follower of Jesus. And just like the experience of my wife, over time my character, values, and priorities began to change—for the good.

For me, apologetics proved to be the running point of my life and eternity. I’m thankful for the scholars who so passionately and effectively defend the truth of Christianity—and today my life’s goal is to do my part in helping others get answers to the questions that are blocking them in their spiritual journey toward Christ.[1]

 


[1] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (xxvi–xxvii). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Questions about False Doctrine: Is partial preterism Biblical? What do partial preterists believe?

Those who hold to “partial preterism” believe that the prophecies in Daniel, Matthew 24, and Revelation (with the exception of the last 2–3 chapters of Revelation) have already been fulfilled and were fulfilled no later than the first century A.D.

However, the partial preterist view does not have good biblical support. Those who hold this view do not interpret these Scripture passages/books in a normal sense, but rather interpret them allegorically. Scripture should be read in a normal sense, taking into account the historical setting, the grammar, and the context of the Scripture in order to determine the meaning that the Lord intended.

As an example, those who hold this view would say that Daniel 9:26–27 refers to Christ rather than to the antichrist/beast who will appear in Revelation (for the beast, see 11:7 and chapters 13 thru 17, with 13 being quite extensive). In Daniel 9:24–27, Daniel is given a message from God by Gabriel (9:21) concerning Daniel’s people, Israel. Daniel is told that God had decreed 70 weeks for his people, the Israelites, and that these 70 weeks were to 1) finish transgression; 2) make an end of sin; 3) make atonement for iniquity; 4) bring in everlasting righteousness; 5) seal up vision and prophecy; and 6) anoint the most holy place. It must be stressed that this is for Israel. Note also that the word for “weeks” (70 weeks) is literally the word for “seven” (Hebrew heptad), not “week.” What it says is that seventy sevens have been decreed. This seventy 7’s is understood to be years (70 times 7 = 490 years).

Per Daniel 9:25–26, 62 plus 7 of these weeks (69 times 7=483 years) passed and ended with the crucifixion of Christ (Messiah will be “cut off,” v. 26), with 1 week (7 years) left to finish God’s decree.

Verse 26 also says, “The people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” This speaks of the Roman Empire destroying Jerusalem and the temple, which occurred in A.D. 70. It should be noted that the prince was yet to come; only the people of the prince were the ones who destroyed Jerusalem. This also tells us that the antichrist/beast will come from a future revived Roman Empire.

Verse 27 tells us more about this future world ruler. It says that this prince will make a covenant with many for one week (the 70th week=7 years). Halfway through these seven years, he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering. This indicates that temple worship will be revived by Israel in the latter time, and he will put a stop to it. The last two phrases in verse 27 are what Christ referred to in Matthew 24:15. Christ called this future ruler the “abomination of desolation.” From Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, and Revelation 13, we discover that this ruler will set himself in the future temple, proclaiming himself to be God, and demanding that the world worship him. Revelation 13:5 also confirms that it will happen at the midpoint of the seven-year tribulation period, for it says that he will be given authority for 42 months which equals 3 1/2 years.

Those who hold to partial preterism twist that which is recorded in Daniel 9:26–27, saying that it refers to Christ, not to the antichrist/beast. A normal reading of Daniel 9:24–27, Matthew 24, and Revelation 13 will clear up a lot of the confusion.

Those who hold to partial preterism also do not read Matthew 24 in a normal sense. Christ spoke of the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 (24:2). But much of what He spoke of did not occur in A.D. 70. Note that Daniel foretold that “the people of the prince to come” would destroy the temple and Jerusalem. Christ speaks not of the people, but of the prince to come, the “abomination of desolation.” Christ describes that future time as one of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21–22). Christ also says, “Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29–30).

With respect to those last verses, in order for the events of Matthew 24:15–30 to have already occurred, Christ would have returned bodily in A.D. 70—He did not. The partial preterist believes that this does not refer to a bodily return of Christ, but rather an appearing of His judgment. This is not what a normal reading of the text would lead anyone to believe.

The partial preterist also appeals to Matthew 24:34 where it speaks of “this generation.” They say that Christ was referring to those living at the time He spoke the words recorded in that passage. Christ was not referring to the people of that day but to the generation or people who would be witnesses to the events recorded in Matthew 24:15–31. That generation will be those who are witnesses to Christ’s bodily return (v. 29–30).

The partial preterist viewpoint is unbiblical due to its inconsistent hermeneutics, subjective interpretation, and allegorization of many biblical prophecies that are best understood literally. While partial preterism is an attempt to explain difficult prophecies in Scripture, it causes far more problem than it solves.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Family / Parenting: Can a child who is conceived out of wedlock be saved?

In Deuteronomy 23:2, the Mosaic Law says, “The child begotten out of wedlock or incest shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.” What this was saying is the child born out of wedlock was illegitimate and unworthy of Israelite citizenship for ten generations. This does not mean, as some mistakenly think, that an illegitimate person cannot be saved or be used greatly by God. His mercy and grace through Christ are sufficient for all.

In the New Testament, Hebrews 12:8 mentions “But if you are without correction, where all are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons.” This is telling us that whom the Lord loves He chastens, and corrects every child of His. Those He does not correct and discipline are not really His children, and therefore, will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We must be one of God’s own, born from above, to enter into Heaven.

So we can clearly see that anyone who trusts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. John 3:16–18 says it all, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned; but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

When God looks down on His children who have received that free gift of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He does not see our nationality, color, legitimacy or non-legitimacy of birth, only the righteousness of Christ in us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). We are not saved because of who we are from birth; rather, we are saved because of who we become at the new birth. We become new creations in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). When a child born out of wedlock is born again, he/she becomes a son or daughter of the living God (John 1:12).

In Psalm 139 David is praising God for “You shaped me first inside, then out; You formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them!”

Our marvelous Creator loves all the little fetuses, no matter the state of conception, and has through His grace, provided a home in heaven for all who will receive that free gift of salvation. Praise the Lord![1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Theology: What is ultra-dispensationalism?

In order to understand what ultra-dispensationalism is (also known as hyper-dispensationalism) let’s first begin by defining what the word dispensationalism means. The word dispensation means stewardship or administration and dispensationalism is simply a system of biblical interpretation that recognizes a distinction between the Church (i.e. the body of Christ) and Israel. Dispensationalism carries with it the idea that throughout the history of redemption God has given man specific revelation and commands and that man is tested with respect to his obedience to God’s commands or revelation. Therefore dispensations are different administrations in the eternal outworking of God’s purpose and plan. However, it is very important to realize normal dispensationalism acknowledges the fact that the way of salvation—by grace through faith—is the same in every dispensation. Generally many dispensationalists will recognize seven dispensations: Innocence (Genesis 1:1–3:7), Conscience (Genesis 3:8–8:22), Human Government (Genesis 9:1–11:32), Promise (Genesis 12:1–Exodus 19:25), Law (Exodus 20:1–Acts 2:4), Grace (Acts 2:4–Revelation 20:3), Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:4–20:6). Again, these dispensations are not ways of salvation, but manners in which God relates to man.

One of the inherent dangers of dispensationalism is that it can become easy to overly divide the Bible and see divisions and discontinuity where there shouldn’t be any. This is exactly what the ultra-dispensationalist does. Therefore ultra- or hyper-dispensationalism would be an extreme that takes the basic tenets of dispensationalism to the very extreme, resulting in unbiblical and often heretical teaching and doctrine. Another movement, known as Mid-Acts Dispensationalists, Acts 9 Dispensationalists, Acts 13 Dispensationalism, or Acts 28 Dispensationalism, takes a half-way position between classic dispensationalism and hyper-dispensationalism. Also known as The Grace Movement, the tenets of the Mid-Acts dispensationalists are not under discussion here.

Instead of recognizing that the Church began in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost when the disciples received the promised Holy Spirit, the ultra-dispensationalist would insert another dispensation or division into the Bible and would hold that the Church did not begin until after Paul’s conversion. The three most common ultra-dispensationalist views see the church beginning in Acts 9, Acts 13 or Acts 28. Mid-Acts dispensationalists agree with this view. Some ultra-dispensationalists place the beginning of the church with Paul’s conversion; others, like one of the first ultra-dispensationalists, Ethelbert W. Bulinger, place the beginning of the church even later with Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. In doing so they see the church in Acts as being a “Hebrew or Jewish Church” separate from the “mystery” church to which Paul wrote his prison epistles. They believe that the books of Peter, James, Jude, Hebrews and the epistles of John are all addressed to the Hebrew Church, which is different from the “body of Christ,” and that this Jewish Church, which is built on Kingdom promises, will be reestablished during the millennium and will worship at the rebuilt Temple with atoning sacrifices.

However the greatest problem with ultra-dispensationalism is not what they believe about when the church began but with the many other errors that come from their approach to Scripture. For example at the heart of most forms of ultra-dispensationalism is the belief that Paul preached a different gospel than what the other Apostles taught. Paul’s prison epistles only apply directly to the “body of Christ” or Gentile church, and the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are relegated to the old dispensation and are not to be practiced by the church today. In reality what ultra-dispensationalists do is wrongly divide the Word of God and split it into little pieces.

Other heresies that are common to some types of ultra-dispensationalism include such things as soul sleep and annihilationism. Still others proclaim a brand of universalism that grants salvation even to Satan himself. Without a doubt whatever name you want to call it, ultra-dispensationalism is a dangerous error that almost always leads to other even worse errors and often outright heretical teachings.

H. A Ironside, a strong dispensationalist himself, wrote a very good booklet outlining some of the dangers of ultra-dispensationalism and in it says that he has “no hesitancy in saying that its fruits are evil. It has produced a tremendous crop of heresies throughout the length and breadth of this and other lands; it has divided Christians and wrecked churches and assemblies without number; it has lifted up its votaries in intellectual and spiritual pride to an appalling extent, so that they look with supreme contempt upon Christians who do not accept their peculiar views; and in most instances where it has been long tolerated, it has absolutely throttled Gospel effort at home and sown discord on missionary fields abroad. So true are these things of this system that I have no hesitancy in saying it is an absolutely Satanic perversion of the truth.”[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Who was Naaman, and what does he teach us about obedience to God?

In 2 Kings 5:1, four phrases describe the importance of Naaman: 1) he was the supreme commander of the army of Syria as indicated by the term “commander,” used of an army’s highest ranking officer (Gen. 21:22; 1 Sam. 12:9; 1 Chr. 27:34); 2) he was a great man, a man of high social standing and prominence; 3) he was an honorable man in the eyes of his master, a man highly regarded by the king of Syria because of the military victories he had won; and 4) he was a mighty man of valor, a term used in the Old Testament for both a man of great wealth (Ruth 2:1) and a courageous warrior (Judg. 6:12; 11:1). Severely mitigating against all of this was the fact that he suffered from leprosy, a serious skin disease (v. 27). Naaman’s military success was attributable to the God of Israel, who is sovereign over all the nations (Is. 10:13; Amos 9:7).

Because of his personal greatness (v. 1), his huge gift of ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold (about 750 pounds of silver and 150 pounds of gold in v. 5), and diplomatic letter (v. 6), Naaman expected that Elisha would “surely come out to me” (v.11). He expected personal attention to his need. However, Elisha did not even go out to meet him. Instead, he sent his instructions for healing through a messenger (v. 10). Naaman was angry because he anticipated a personal cleansing ceremony from the prophet himself. Besides, if Naaman needed to wash in a river, two Syrian rivers were superior to the muddy Jordan. However, it was obedience to God’s word that was the issue, not the quality of the water.

Fortunately, Naaman had a servant who pointed out to him that he had been willing to do anything, no matter how hard, to be cured. He should be even more willing, therefore, to do something as easy as washing in a muddy river. Naaman’s healing restored his flesh to that “of a little child” (v. 14). Upon his healing, Naaman returned from the Jordan River to Elisha’s house in Samaria to give confession of his new belief: “there is no God…except in Israel” (v. 15).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.