Daily Archives: March 9, 2014

Questions about Jesus Christ: Did Jesus claim to be God? Even if He did make the claim, why should I believe it?

 

Among the religious leaders who have attained a large following throughout history, Jesus Christ is unique in the fact that He alone claimed to be God in human flesh. A common misconception is that some or many of the leaders of the world’s religions made similar claims, but this is simply not the case.

Buddha did not claim to be God; Moses never said that he was Yahweh; Mohammed did not identify himself as Allah; and nowhere will you find Zoroaster claiming to be Ahura Mazda. Yet Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, said that he who has seen Him (Jesus) has seen the Father (John 14:9).

The claims of Christ are many and varied. He said that He existed before Abraham (John 8:58), and that He was equal with the Father (John 5:17, 18). Jesus claimed the ability to forgive sins (Mark 2:5–7), which the Bible teaches was something that God alone could do (Isaiah 43:25).

The New Testament equated Jesus as the creator of the universe (John 1:3), and that He is the one who holds everything together (Colossians 1:17). The apostle Paul says that God was manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16, KJV), and John the evangelist says that “the Word was God” (John 1:1). The united testimony of Jesus and the writers of the New Testament is that He was more than mere man; He was God.

Not only did His friends notice that He claimed to be God, but so did His enemies as well. There may be some doubt today among the skeptics who refuse to examine the evidence, but there was no doubt on the part of the Jewish authorities.

When Jesus asked them why they wanted to stone Him, they replied, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (John 10:33, NASB).

This fact separates Jesus from the other religious figures. In the major religions of the world, the teachings—not the teacher—are all-important.

Confucianism is a set of teachings; Confucius is not important. Islam is the revelation of Allah, with Mohammed being the prophet, and Buddhism emphasizes the principles of the Buddha and not Buddha himself. This is especially true of Hinduism, where there is no historic founder.

However, at the center of Christianity is the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not just claim to be teaching mankind the truth; He claimed that He was the truth (John 14:6).

What Jesus taught is not the important aspect of Christianity, but what is important is who Jesus was. Was He the Son of God? Is He the only way a person can reach God? This was the claim He made for Himself.

Suppose this very night the President of the United States appeared on all the major networks and proclaimed that “I am God Almighty. I have the power to forgive sin. I have the authority to raise my life back from the dead.”

He would be quickly and quietly shut off the air, led away, and replaced by the Vice-President. Anybody who would dare make such claims would have to be either out of his mind or a liar, unless he was God.

This is exactly the case with Jesus. He clearly claimed all these things and more. If He is God, as He claimed, we must believe in Him, and if He is not, then we should have nothing to do with Him. Jesus is either Lord of all or not Lord at all.

Yes, Jesus claimed to be God. Why should anyone believe it? After all, merely claiming to be something does not make it true. Where’s the evidence that Jesus is God?

The Bible gives various reasons, including miracles and fulfilled prophecy, that are intended to convince us that Jesus is the one whom He said He was (John 20:30, 31). The main reason, or the sign which Jesus Himself said would demonstrate that He was the Son of God, was His resurrection from the dead.

When asked for a sign from the religious leaders, Jesus replied, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40, RSV).

In another place He said, when asked for a sign, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…  but he spake of the temple of his body” (John 2:19, 21, KJV). The ability to raise His life back from the dead was the sign that separates Him not only from all other religious leaders, but also from anyone else who has ever lived.

Anyone wishing to refute the case for Christianity must explain away the story of the resurrection. Therefore, according to the Bible, Jesus proves to be the Son of God by coming back from the dead (Romans 1:4). The evidence is overwhelming that Jesus did rise from the grave, and it is this fact that proves Jesus to be God.[1]

 


[1] McDowell, J., & Stewart, D. D. (1993). Answers to tough questions. Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

Theology: GOD THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT

An ancient diagram of the Trinity shows the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit at the three corners of a triangle. In the center of the triangle is the term God.

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This is one of the best diagrams and illustrations of the trinity that I have run across.

We know that there are three persons in the trinity. We know that there is the Father.

We know that there is the Son.

We know that there is the Holy Spirit.

We know that these do not operate in succession. We know that these operate simultaneously.

We know that these are all a unity within God.

We know that there are subordinations among the three.

What we don’t know is that they are all God. At times we tend to begin to think of them as individuals. They are all God, and as such they all deserve worship, adoration and all those things that we tend to think of as, for God the Father.

They are distinct in person and purpose yet the three are recognized in the Scriptures:

The Father: Romans 1:7, “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints Grace to you and peace from God our Father….”

The Son: Hebrews 1:8, “Unto the Son he saith, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever….”

The Holy Spirit: Acts 5:3-4, “Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost……thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God”

There are some reasons why there are distinctions:

1. Identification: There is the obvious, in that there needs to be a way of distinguishing the three members of the Trinity from one another.

2. Ministry: There is a specific area of ministry for all three persons of the Trinity. The Father is the Prime mover and planner. The Son is the prime activator. The Holy Spirit is the prime messenger between God and man.

3. Subordination: The three have definite ministries and places in the overall scheme of the decrees. The Father seems to be the one that set the plan into motion, while the Son is the one that provided the possibility of the plan’s completion, through His shed blood. The Spirit is the person that moves in the universe and in man to do the work of the Father. (It is to be remembered that the Son also was about the work of the Father.)

4. Man’s Limited Understanding: Some might suggest that this is to help us grasp the concept of God. Man cannot comprehend God and so God put his Being into the terms that we could understand with our mentality. This would be similar to anthropomorphisms. To me the terminology used and the frequency of use would indicate that the three are very real and not to be viewed as anthropomorphisms.

We want to look at a few instances where all three are involved, but in different ways.

 

1. THE BAPTISM   OF CHRIST

THE FATHER

 

OVERSEER

 

THE SON

PARTICIPANT

 

THE HOLY   SPIRIT

 

MINISTERING

 

 

 

2. IN CREATION

THE FATHER

 

PLANNER

 

THE SON

INSTIGATOR

 

THE HOLY   SPIRIT

 

ACTUATOR

 

 

 

3. IN   REDEMPTION

THE FATHER

 

PLANNER

 

THE SON

PROVIDER

 

THE HOLY   SPIRIT

 

APPLIER

 

 

4. IN TEACHING

THE FATHER

 

DESIRE

 

THE SON

EXAMPLE

 

THE HOLY   SPIRIT

 

ILLUMINATOR

 

 

 

 5. IN POWER

THE FATHER

AUTHORITY   GIVER

 

THE SON

PROCLAIMER   (ACTS 18)

 

THE HOLY   SPIRIT

 

SOURCE   (ACTS 18)

 

 

 

6. IN ETERNITY

THE FATHER

 

LIGHT (REV   225)

 

THE SON

 

?

THE HOLY   SPIRIT

 

?

 

 

GOD THE FATHER

There are five areas in which He is the Father.

a. He is the Father of all creation. He planned and instigated the creation of the heavens and the earth. Malachi 2:10, Acts 17:29, Hebrews 12:9, James 1:17.

b. He is the Father of Israel. Exodus 4:22

c. He is the Father of Christ.

d. He is the Father of all believers. John 1:12

e. He is the Father of all mankind. This is accepted and taught by many religions, both past and present. Acts 17:22-31 Verse 29 mentions, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God….”

What is the Father to you? a. He should be your comfort. b. He should be your strength. c. He should be your hope. d. He should be your concentration in prayer. e. He should be your guide in holy living. If He is not these things to you, then you are not enjoying the God that saved you for His joy, His purpose, and His glory.

GOD THE SON

1. He is the Son of man. This is a title that the Lord used of Himself. Luke 6:22

2. He is the Son of God. He is completely and totally God. Mark 1:1

3. He is the Son of Mary. He is completely and totally man. Matthew 1:20-21

4. He is the Son of David. He is descended from the royal line of David, so that He can sit upon David’s throne in the Millennial kingdom. Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 1:30-33

What is the Son to you?

a. He should be your savior.

b. He should be your brother.

c. He should be your example.

d. He should be your message.

e. He should be your reason for serving.

Again, if God the Son is not these things to you, you are then missing out on the true joy and power of Almighty God.

GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

1. He is the Spirit of God. He is in close relation to the Father. Matthew 12:28

2. He is Spirit of the Lord. He is in close relation to the Son. Luke 4:18

3. He is the Holy Spirit. He is Himself. Luke 11:13

4. He is the Spirit of truth. John 14:17, John 15:26 What is the Spirit to you?

a. He should be your guide.

b. He should be your teacher.

c. He should be your comfort.

d. He should be your illuminator.

If God the Holy Spirit is not these things to you then you will not be in close communication with the God that extended His mercy to you through salvation.

Guthrie, Shirley C. Jr.; “Christian Doctrines”; Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1968, has some good quotes from history if you have the book available to you.

Do we not see God the Father as the one over us with power to judge, God the Son as the one in front of us with power to cleanse, and God the Holy Spirit as the one in us with power to minister?

CONCLUSION

The thought that was mentioned earlier is worth reconsidering. This is the God that we serve. He is not just the Father, He is not just the Son, and He is not just the Holy Spirit. This demands that we never concentrate on one or two to the exclusion of the other.

We tend to separate, divide and isolate the members of the trinity for our purpose of study, and I fear we leave them that way at times. He is all three As Well As One.[1]


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

The False Teachers Series: Joseph Smith

A few weeks ago I set out on a new series of articles through which I intend to scan the history of the church—from its earliest days all the way to the present time—to examine some of Christianity’s most notorious false teachers. Along the way we will visit such figures as Arius, Servetus, Fosdick, and even a few you might find on television today. We continue this morning with a false teacher who has at least 15 million followers in the world today, many of whom have undoubtedly knocked on your front door. His name is Joseph Smith.

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The False Teachers Series: Muhammad

A couple of weeks ago I set out on a new series of articles through which I intend to scan the history of the church—from its earliest days all the way to the present time—to examine some of Christianity’s most notorious false teachers. Along the way we will visit such figures as Arius, Servetus, Fosdick, and even a few you might find on television today. We continue this morning with a false teacher whose teaching is known in almost every part of the world. His name is Muhammad.

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Economist Warns Of Collapse Risk, The Ukraine Crisis & A Terrifying Global Economic Meltdown, And Chinese Exports Collapse Leading To 2nd Largest Trade Deficit On Record

These Christian Times

SCROLL DOWN FOR NEWS LINKS AND VIDEO: The US Dollar is at a tipping point. Do you remember the pact between Russia and China over the agreement between the Ukraine? The US Government threatening Russian with sanction will only create a panic on our weak economy.  Russia’s course of action has it dumping the dollar, thus creating a devaluation of the dollar. China will join will with the Russians dumping the dollar. This will have a horrific impact on Wall Street as China moves in to flex its muscle and position itself as a world Superpower. The Ukraine Crisis is the perfect setup for this destructive attack on our economy. Those who believe sanctions are the best alternative at attacking Russia will soon realize that it will be a devastating mistake. Soon the whole world will witness a Global depression the likes that have never been seen before.

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Bridal Eschatology (Part 3) The PASSION of the PRESENCE & the Purpose of the Passion – IHOP

Read Part 1
Read Part 2

Joel’s Army
IHOP-KC sets an emotionally charged grand vision before their students that they are unique from every other generation and that God will use them for great end-time exploits…. The [IHOP] vision seemed attractive. We were to be used by God when His end-times plan began to unfold. Until then, we were preparing for that time.[1]
“Simply put, the revelation of Jesus as the Bridegroom is the revelation of Jesus’ burning desire for His people,” Bickle says in an IHOP brochure. “As a Bride of Christ, we are to walk in revelation of Jesus’ emotions for us, to understand and rejoice in His commitment to share His heart with us, and to respond with wholehearted love and obedience to His will as we enter into partnership with Him….”[2]
The house of prayer is a house of His Presence where worship prepares the way for His eternal reign on the earth.[3]

IHOP and the “Presence” 
IHOP is on the rise in the evangelical world. Once an obscure church in the Kansas City area on the fringes of the Charismatic movement, it has now become a youth movement. The IHOP (International House of Prayer) is on the verge of engulfing youth ministry in this country with its methods and its doctrines. Through its aggressive recruitment efforts it is playing a leading role on college campuses. It is listed as an equal partner in many collaborative evangelical prayer and mission efforts. IHOP leaders are now openly associating with the upper echelons of evangelical leadership, including engaging in political activism.[4]  And the leaven of IHOP doctrine is quietly seeping into the entire church world.

Few parents who send their kids off to IHOP-sponsored or connected events know what IHOP really stands for. This is because IHOP and its many associated offshoots market themselves as revivalists. Everyone wants youth to experience revival. But is this “house of prayer” experience a true revival? Is this a revival based on the Gospel of Salvation? The IHOP conferences and events are stage-managed to produce the maximum amount of visual, aural, psychological, sensual and spiritual stimuli—all of which can superficially appear to be revival. But is it biblical revival? When this movement began 25 years ago, one critic noticed its faulty framework:

What is perceived as spiritual is in reality soulish, contributing to a euphoric state of altered consciousness from repetitious choruses that follow one upon the other. The mesmerizing effect of the music creates a frame of mind open to suggestion by the subsequent preaching of dominionist teachers who build on the fervor of the moment with messages of future power and glory.[5]

The orchestrated commotion at youth events serves as fertile ground for inculcating a strange and different doctrine—a doctrine that has been taught by IHOP leaders for decades.

The original IHOP blueprint is still in effect.[6]  The extreme praise and worship music is an essential component of their whole plan. It is based on the old Latter Rain cult “Tabernacle of David”[7]  (TOD) heresy that taught that “before the Church can be perfected and establish dominion, it must restore praise and worship as a means to enter into the presence of God.”[8]  TOD is based on an “endtime revival”[9]   scenario in which the church will progressively become mature, sinless and perfect, culminating in a final generation of “New Breed”[10] youth  of “elect seed”[11]  who will possess superior spiritual abilities. These youth, as “the manifestation of the Sons of God,” will evolve/emerge into “overcomers”—“and step into immortality in order to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.”[12]  As a perfected corps of elites they will become “the ‘man-child’ of Revelation 12” (also referred to as “the many-membered man child”).[13]  A summary of these teachings explains:

Central to Manifest Sons of God doctrine is the belief that sonship to God comes through higher revelation. The Christian life, it is believed, is fragmented into stages of maturity… to become a son of God and, ultimately, gods ourselves.[14][bold added]

Some who have been infected by the Manifest Sons of God teachings even believe He will not return physically, but rather that Christ and the Church are becomine one in nature and essence, and that the Church, as the ‘on-going incarnation of God,’ is Christ on earth. [15][bold added]

This doctrine of being able to attain spiritual elitism is both alluring and intoxicating to a generation raised on the witchcraft powers of Harry Potter. Youth are being told that they will be specially anointed with higher-order spiritual gifts that no generation on earth has ever attained previously. Possessing these superior powers, they are being told, will give them secret knowledge to become immortal. They will gain the ability to subdue their enemies and “rule over the nations with a rod of iron.”[16]  They believe they can wield this spiritual power, much the same as is taught in the occult.[17]

Before they can gain this supreme ascendancy, though, they must first undergo zealous works of purification and deprivation—activities which seem super-spiritual at face value, but which have nothing to do with the Gospel of Salvation. The IHOP call for extreme asceticism (referred to at times as the “Nazarite”[18]  and/or “wilderness lifestyle”[19]) is held up as the exemplary model for becoming “mature.”[20]  This model can best be performed by unencumbered youth. It cannot be replicated by those who are living typical lives in Christian families, nurturing small children, caring for the elderly, visiting the sick, working at normal jobs, doing mission work and attending church regularly. Rather, the most demanding rigors of this 24/7 prayer work can only be performed by those who have left behind “natural affection” (Rom. 1:31; 1 Tim. 3:3) and chosen a radical manner of life akin to monasticism.[21]

It is not a matter of IF the IHOP is teaching the old Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God (MSOG) doctrines. It is HOW they have repackaged them for mass-market appeal. Before getting bogged down in their semantic gymnastics, keep in mind that IHOP uses inventive spiritual-sounding terminologies laden with secret theological meanings known only to their initiated elite. One IHOP critic cautions:

You don’t have to be around the IHOP movement very long before you are exposed to a large glossary of insider terms and phrases…. A cautionary red light should go on whenever we discover any church or Christian movement creating, and extensively using, their own exclusive language.… This becomes especially disconcerting when most inside a Christian movement begin to “talk alike” and parrot the same terms and phrases in their prayers and songs….[22]

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this report, we examined the history and context of this “Presence” theology. What follows is an in-depth examination of IHOP’s specific teachings, methods and practices as they relate to the eschatology of a coming “Presence” that will indwell and empower the IHOP “Bride” to “to contend, to wrestle with and throw down [her] spiritual adversaries.”[23]

Trespasses and Sins

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Καὶ ὑμᾶς ὄντας νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν, 2 ἐν αἷς ποτε περιεπατήσατε κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος, τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντος ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας· (Ephesians 2:1,2 NA28)

1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins  2 in which you once walked according the world system of this age, according to ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:1,2 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

I was requested recently for input into a discussion between professing Christians that had begun about what is proper worship and what is not using some of the presentations from the recent Strange Fire conference, but had taken a “strange turn” between a few attacking the theology of those who held to the Sovereignty of God…

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