Daily Archives: March 18, 2014

Questions about False Doctrine: Are Jesus and Satan Brothers?

 

No, Jesus and Satan are not brothers. Jesus is God and Satan is one of His creations. Not only are Jesus and Satan not brothers, they are as different as night is from day. Jesus is God incarnate—eternal, all knowing and all powerful while Satan is a fallen angel that was created by God for God’s purposes. The teaching that Jesus and Satan are “spirit brothers” is one of the many false teachings of the Mormons (Latter Day Saints), and to some degree also the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both of these groups are properly labeled as cults because they deny essential Christian doctrine. While they use Christian terms such as Jesus, God and salvation, they have heretical views and teachings on the most basic and essential Christian doctrines. (Please note that most Mormons today will vehemently deny that they believe Jesus and Satan are brothers. However, this teaching was most definitely a belief of the early Mormons).

The teaching that Jesus and Satan are “spirit brothers” is born out of the Mormons’ misunderstanding and distortion of Scripture as well as some of the extra-biblical teachings they consider to be authoritative. Simply put there is no way you can read the Bible using any type of sound hermeneutical principles and come away with the idea that Jesus and Satan are “spiritual brothers.” The Scriptures are very clear that Jesus is fully God, not some type of lesser god as the Mormons or other cults believe. The Scriptures are also very clear that God is transcendent above His creation which simply means that there is no comparison between Christ the Creator and Satan His creation.

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ was the first “spirit child” born to God the Heavenly Father with one of his many wives. Instead of acknowledging Jesus as the one true God, they believe He became God, just as they will one day become gods. According to Mormon doctrine, as the first of the “spirit children” of God, Jesus had preeminence over Satan or Lucifer who was the second “son of God” and the “spirit brother” of Jesus. It is ironic that they will use Colossians 1:15 as one of their “proof texts” because it says that: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Yet they ignore verse 16 where we see that “By Him (Christ) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth. Visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. ALL THINGS were created through Him and for Him.” All things—thrones, dominions, principalities or powers—include Satan and his demons.

In order to believe that Satan and Jesus are “spiritual brothers” one must deny the clear teaching of Scripture. Scripture is very clear that it was Jesus Christ who created all things and that as the second person of the triune Godhead Christ is fully and uniquely God. Jesus claimed to be God in many passages of Scripture. In John 10:30 Jesus said, “I am the Father are one.” Jesus was not claiming to be another lesser God. He was declaring that He was fully God. In John 1:1–5 it is clear that Jesus was not a created being and that He Himself created all things. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). How much clearer can it get? “All things” means what it says, and it includes Satan who as an angel was himself a created being just like the other angels and demons are. Scripture reveals Satan to be a fallen angel who rebelled against God and Jesus as being God. The only relationship that exists between Satan and Jesus is that of Creator and creation, of the righteous Judge Jesus Christ and the sinful created being, Satan.

Like the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses also teach that Jesus and Satan are spiritual brothers. While some Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses might sometimes try to sidestep this teaching because it is so antithetical to what the Bible actually says, it is nevertheless what these organizations believe and is part of their official doctrine.

Mormons believe that not only were Jesus and Lucifer “spirit children of Elohim,” but that also humans are spiritual children as well. In other words they believe that “God, angels, and men are all of the same species, one race, one great family.” This is why they believe that they themselves will one day become as much of a God as Jesus or even God the Father. Rather than seeing the clear distinction in Scripture between God and His creation, they believe that one day they will be a God themselves. Of course this is the same old lie Satan has been telling us since the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). Apparently the desire to usurp the throne of God is endemic in the hearts of men.

In Matthew 16:15 Jesus asked the important question: “But who do you say that I am?” This is a question that is essential to salvation and one that the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses get wrong. Their answer that Jesus is the spirit brother of Satan is the wrong one. Jesus is God the Son, and in Him the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily (Colossians 2:9). He created Satan and one day He will cast Satan into the lake of fire as the just punishment for his rebellion against God. Sadly on that Day of Judgment those who fall for Satan’s lies will also be cast into the lake of fire with Satan and His demons. The god of the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses is not the God who revealed Himself in Scripture. Unless they repent and come to understand and worship the one true God, they have no hope of salvation.[1]


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

Questions about Believing Faith: Why should I become a Christian? The worst hypocrites are in church.

 

One major excuse that people use in their refusal to embrace Christianity concerns hypocrites in the Church, both past and present. People like to point to past misdeeds done in the name of Christ, such as the Spanish Inquisition, witch trials, and other horrible acts.

Then, there are the present-day examples of preachers, deacons, or church leaders who have been caught in alcoholism, adulterous relationships, or some other inconsistency with what they say they believe. This type of behavior has led many to say, “If that’s what Christianity is all about, then I don’t want any part of it.”

It must be admitted that there has been hypocrisy in the Church, and today we are not exempt from people who are hypocritical. A hypocrite is an actor, one who puts on a false face. He says one thing but does another.

However, just because the Church contains hypocrites does not mean that all Christians are hypocrites. With every example of hypocrisy that can be pointed to in the Church, a counter example can be pointed out showing people who are living consistently with the teaching of Jesus Christ.

It is important not to confuse hypocrisy with sin. All Christians are sinners, but not all Christians are hypocrites. There is a misconception that a Christian is a person who claims that he does not sin, but the truth is that to call oneself a Christian is to admit to being a sinner (I John 1:5–2:2).

All believers, including the clergy, are fallible human beings who are prone to all types of sin. Just because a person is not perfect does not mean that he is a phony. The distinction between the two is important. The failures of the believers do not invalidate the truth.

Jesus Christ had very harsh words for people who were committing the sin of hypocrisy, especially the religious leaders of His day. He denounced them in no uncertain terms.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15, KJV).

People can and do enter the ministry for the wrong reasons, or they can compromise the convictions of the faith. When people do this they are wrong, and the Bible denounces this clearly.

Christianity does not stand or fall on the way Christians have acted throughout history or are acting today. Christianity stands or falls on the person of Jesus, and Jesus was not a hypocrite. He lived consistently with what He taught, and at the end of His life He challenged those who had lived with Him night and day, for over three years, to point out any hypocrisy in Him.

His disciples were silent, because there was none. Since Christianity depends on Jesus, it is incorrect to try to invalidate the Christian faith by pointing to horrible things done in the name of Christianity.

The non-believer cannot be excused from believing just because it is possible to point to those who simply pretend to be what they are not. Hypocritical Christians cannot be excused on the basis of not being perfect because of the terrible effects hypocrisy has.

Let’s look at one illustration of the reasoning involved in this question. For example, let’s say the president of a large car company is always advertising and telling his friends that a certain make of car in his company is the best in the country and the only car we should be driving.

In fact, a number of automotive magazines and consumer groups have backed up some of his claims. But yet, when you see this man, he is driving the competition’s leading model! (Perhaps he likes their colors better.)

You say, what a hypocrite! If he believed all that stuff about his car, and he’s in a position to know, then he’d be driving one. That is probably true. Yet his being a hypocrite does not invalidate the claim that his car may be the best one in the country.

The same is true of Christianity. People may claim it’s true, yet have lives inconsistent with their claim, but this does not necessarily mean Christianity is not true.[1]


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

Questions about Jesus Christ: Who Was Jesus?

 

The Nicene Creed (a.d. 325) states the uniform belief of all orthodox Christianity that Christ was fully God and fully Man. All heresies regarding Christ deny one or the other of these. This portion of the chapter will show that Jesus was fully human, claimed to be God, and offered more than adequate evidence to support that claim.

His Humanity

While some have insisted that Jesus was only a man, others have said that He only appeared to be human. In reality, they say, He was a phantom—an apparition with no physical substance—pure Spirit with the illusion of material form. This doctrine is called Docetism. If this is so, then Christ was not really tempted as we are and did not really die because a spirit can do neither of these things. Hence, He was not really “one of us” and cannot be our substitute in atoning for our sins. Also, His resurrection was nothing more than a return to His natural state, and it has no implications for us as to our future. Because of this teaching that Christ’s feet never quite touched the ground, it is necessary to show that Jesus was fully human.

His development

Jesus went through all the normal processes of human development. He was conceived in His mother’s womb by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:34–35). He was born of a woman who had carried Him to full term (2:6–7). He grew up as a normal Boy, developing physically, mentally, and emotionally (v. 40–52). He aged so that while He was in His early thirties the crowd in Jerusalem said, “You are not yet fifty years old” (John 8:57).

His affections

Jesus displayed all of the traits of humanity in His needs. Physically, He hungered (Matt. 4:2), thirsted (John 19:28), became tired (Mark 4:38), and breathed (Luke 23:46) as a human. Emotionally, He expressed sorrow (Matt. 26:38), wonder (Mark 6:6), anger and grief (3:5), and compassion (1:41). He was also tempted to sin, though He did not yield to the temptation (Matt. 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13; Heb. 2:18; 4:15). The shortest verse in the Bible speaks profoundly of Jesus’ humanity in His inner life: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

His death

There is nothing more opposed to the divine nature than death, yet Jesus died a human death. It was witnessed by many people, including John, a small group of women followers, the soldiers, and the mocking crowd (Luke 23:48–49; John 19:25–27). His death was also confirmed by professional executioners of Rome (vv. 32–34). He was buried in accordance with the customs of the time and set in a grave (vv. 38–41). You can’t get more human than that!

His Deity

Jesus made numerous claims to be God. We will examine these claims and the evidence that He gave to support them.

Who did Jesus claim to be?

Claim to be Jehovah (Yahweh)

Jehovah or, more properly, Yahweh is the special name given by God for Himself. In the Hebrew Old Testament, it is written simply as four letters (YHWH) and was considered so holy that a devout Jew would not pronounce it. Those who wrote it would perform a special ceremony first. It is the name revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14, when God said, “I AM WHO I AM,” and the meaning of the name has to do with God’s self-existence. While other titles for God may be used of men (adonai in Gen. 18:12) or false gods (elohim in Deut. 6:14), Yahweh is only used to refer to the one true God. Nothing else was to be worshiped or served (Ex. 20:5), and His name and glory were not to be given to another. Isaiah wrote, “Thus saith [Yahweh] … I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God” (44:6, kjv) and, “I am [Yahweh], that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, neither My praise to graven images” (42:8, kjv).

In light of this, it is no wonder that the Jews picked up stones and accused Jesus of blasphemy when He claimed to be Jehovah. Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11), but the Old Testament said, “[Yahweh] is my shepherd” (Ps. 23:1). Jesus claimed to be the judge of all men (Matt. 25:31ff; John 5:27ff), but the Prophet Joel quotes Yahweh as saying, “For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations” (Joel 3:12). Jesus prayed, “Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5, kjv). But Yahweh of the Old Testament said, “I will not give My glory to another” (Isa. 42:8). Likewise, Jesus spoke of Himself as the “Bridegroom” (Matt. 25:1) while the Old Testament identifies Yahweh in this way (Isa. 62:5; Hosea 2:16). The risen Christ says, “I am the first and the last” (Rev. 1:17)—precisely the words used by Yahweh in Isaiah 42:8. While the psalmist declares, “[Yahweh] is my light” (Ps. 27:1), Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Perhaps the strongest claim Jesus made to be Yahweh is in verse 58, where He says, “Before Abraham was born, I AM.” This statement claims not only existence before Abraham, but equality with the “I AM” of Exodus 3:14. The Jews around Him clearly understood His meaning and picked up stones to kill Him for blaspheming (cf. John 8:58; 10:31–33). The same claim is made in Mark 14:62 and John 18:5–6.

Overview of Jesus’ Claims

To be Yahweh—John 8:58

Equality with God—John 5:18

To be Messiah—Mark 14:61–64

Accepts worship—Matthew 28:17

Equal authority with God—Matthew 28:18

Prayer in His name—John 14:13–14

Claim to be equal with God

Jesus claimed to be equal with God in other ways too. He not only assumed the titles of Deity, but claimed for Himself the prerogatives of God. He said to a paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5ff). The scribes correctly responded, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” So, to prove that His claim was not an empty boast He healed the man, offering direct proof that what He had said about forgiving sins was true also.

Another prerogative that Jesus claimed was the power to raise and judge the dead: “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live … and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds, to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:25–29). He removed all doubt about His meaning when He added, “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes” (v. 21). But the Old Testament clearly taught that only God was the giver of life (1 Sam. 2:6; Deut. 32:39); the One to raise the dead (1 Sam. 2:6; Ps. 49:15) and the only Judge (Joel 3:12; Deut. 32:35). Jesus boldly assumed for Himself powers that only God has.

But Jesus also claimed that He should be honored as God. He said that all men should “honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father” (John 5:23). The Jews listening knew that no one should claim to be equal with God in this way, and again they sought to kill Him (v. 18).

What Is Messiah?

The word Messiah comes from the Hebrew word meaning “Anointed One.” In a general sense, the word is used of Cyrus the Persian (Isa. 45:1) and the king of Israel (1 Sam. 26:11). After the death of David, Israel began looking for a king like him because of the promise of 2 Samuel 7:12–16. But prophecies of a coming Saviour/Prophet/King go back as far as Genesis 3:15 and Deuteronomy 18. Many passages describe the coming King. He is said to be of David’s seed (Jer. 33), and born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). His acts are to include making the blind see, releasing captives, and proclaiming the Gospel (Isa. 61:1). His kingdom is described in Zechariah 9 and 12. In the period between the Testaments, two ideas of Messiah arose: one political, one spiritual. Both were expected to be found in the same Person.

Claim to be Messiah-God

The teaching of the Old Testament is clear that the coming Messiah who would deliver Israel would be God Himself. When Jesus claimed to be that Messiah, He was also claiming to be God. For example, the famous Christmas text (Isa. 9:6) calls the Messiah, “Mighty God, the everlasting Father.” The psalmist wrote of Messiah, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever” (Ps. 45:6; cf. Heb. 1:8). Psalm 110:1 records a conversation between the Father and the Son: “[Yahweh] says to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand.’ ” Jesus applied this passage to Himself in Matthew 22:43–44. In the great messianic prophecy of Daniel 7, the Son of man is called the “Ancient of Days” (v. 22), a phrase used twice in the same passage of God the Father (vv. 9, 13). Throughout His ministry, the title Son of man was Jesus’ favorite way of referring to Himself, making clear illusion to this passage. But Jesus also quoted it directly at His trial before the high priest. When asked, “Are You the Christ [Greek for Messiah], the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus responded, “I am; and you shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” At this, the high priest tore his robe and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy!” (Mark 14:61–64) There was no doubt that in claiming to be Messiah, Jesus also claimed to be God.

Claim by accepting worship

The Old Testament forbids worshiping anyone other than God (Ex. 20:1–5; Deut. 5:6–9). The New Testament agrees, showing that men refused worship (Acts 14:15) as did angels (Rev. 22:8–9). But Jesus accepted worship on numerous occasions. A healed leper worshiped Him (Matt. 8:2), and a ruler knelt before Him with a request (9:18). After He stilled the storm, “those who were in the boat worshiped Him saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God’ ” (14:33, niv). A group of Canaanite women (15:25), the mother of James and John (20:20), the Gerasene demoniac (Mark 5:6), all worshiped Jesus without one word of rebuke (cf. Rev. 22:8–9). A blind man said, “ ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Him” (John 9:38). But Christ also elicited worship in some cases, as when Thomas saw the risen Christ and cried out, “My Lord and my God!” (20:28) This could only be done by a Person who seriously considered Himself to be God.

Claim to equal authority with God

Jesus also put His words on a par with God’s. “You have heard that the ancients were told.… But I say to you” (Matt. 5:21–22) is repeated over and over again. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (28:18–19). God had given the Ten Commandments to Moses, but Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another” (John 13:34). Jesus said, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law” (Matt. 5:18), but later Jesus said of His own words, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (24:35). Speaking of those who reject Him, Jesus said, “The word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48). There is no question that Jesus expected His words to have equal authority with God’s declarations in the Old Testament.

Claim by requesting prayer in His name

Jesus not only asked men to believe in Him and obey His commandments, but also He asked them to pray in His name. “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do.… If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13–14). “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you” (15:7). Jesus even insisted, “No one comes to the Father, but through Me” (14:6). In response to this the disciples not only prayed in Jesus’ name (1 Cor. 5:4), but prayed to Christ (Acts 7:59). Jesus certainly intended that His name be invoked both before God and as God in prayer.

So Jesus claimed to be God in several ways. He claimed equality with God in prerogatives, honor, worship, and authority. He claimed to be Yahweh of the Old Testament by applying truths about Yahweh to Himself and by claiming to be the promised Messiah. Finally, He claimed to be the only way to approach God in prayer and requested prayer to Himself as God. The reactions of the Jews around Him show that they clearly understood these things to be blasphemous claims for a mere man to make. Any unbiased observer studying this historically reliable record of Jesus’ teaching must agree that He claimed to be equal with Yahweh of the Old Testament.[1]


[1] Geisler, N. L., & Brooks, R. M. (1990). When skeptics ask (pp. 103–110). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Questions about Difficult Bible Verses: Romans 1:5—Does this verse support the Roman Catholic view that the true church of Christ is a visible church on earth today, viz. the Roman Catholic church?

 

Misinterpretation: Catholic dogma teaches that “the biblical proof of the visibility of the Church springs from the Divine institution of the hierarchy.” And “the teaching office [of the Roman Catholic church] demands from its incumbents the duty of obedience to the faith (Rom. 1, 5)” (Ott, 1960, 301–2). Is this text a proof that the true church is a visible church on earth today—namely, the Roman Catholic church? Some other sects use the same or similar reasoning

Correcting the Misinterpretation: The claim that the Roman Catholic church demands obedience as the true visible church is not supported by this text. The text states, “through him [Christ] we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about obedience of faith.” Paul is speaking here about his apostleship (v. 1), not Peter’s, or Peter’s alleged successors, the Roman Catholic popes.

Further, to be an apostle in this authoritative sense, one had to be an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:22; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:5–8), which clearly disqualifies anyone after the first century. This would negate the claim that the “teaching office” of the Roman Catholic church is somehow implied here. The Church’s argument would have more force if they related their authority to Paul, rather than Peter. The added requirement of being a witness of Jesus’ earthly ministry (Acts 1:22) was pertinent only in regard to being one of the twelve apostles who have a special place in the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20), their very names being written on the foundation of the eternal city (Rev. 21:14) and their reigning with Christ on twelve thrones when he returns (Matt. 19:28). Paul was not one of the twelve and, hence, need not fulfil this requirement. However, he was an apostle (Gal. 1:1) who received direct revelation from God (Gal. 1:12). His apostolic authority compared with that of the twelve apostles (Gal. 1:17; 2:5–9) and he displayed the miraculous “signs of an apostle” (2 Cor. 12:12). But neither was Paul’s apostleship
transferable. Paul explicitly listed the appearance of the resurrected Christ to him as a prerequisite for being an apostle. He wrote, “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” (1 Cor. 9:1). Likewise, he listed Jesus’ resurrection appearance to him along with that of the other apostles, saying, “After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also” (1 Cor. 15:7–8).

There were no more appearances of Christ to anyone after Paul to confirm apostleship in this special sense. None are listed on the official list of 1 Corinthians 15, and Paul describes himself as “last of all” among those personally visited and commissioned. The miraculous signs which confirmed an apostle are referred to as past events by a.d. 69 when the Book of Hebrews was written (Heb. 2:3–4). The Book of Jude, which was written after Paul’s death, refers to the apostles as having lived in the past (Jude 17). Jude said the faith he preached had been “once for all” handed down to us by them (v. 3).

The “signs of an apostle” (2 Cor. 12:12) included the ability to heal all diseases (Matt. 10:1), even incurable ones, immediately (cf. Acts 3:7), the power of exorcising demons immediately on command (Matt. 10:8; cf. Acts 16:18), authority to condemn with death those who lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1–11), and even the ability to perform resurrections from the dead (Matt. 10:8; cf. Acts 20:7–11). This excludes anyone alive today, including the Pope. No one possesses the power to perform these kinds of apostolic signs. But without these kinds of apostolic signs (cf. Heb. 2:3–4), there is no proof of apostolic authority. The authority of the New Testament apostles existed after their miracles had ceased, but only because these apostolic signs already had confirmed their apostolic authority, expressed in the abiding apostolic writings. But once these apostles so confirmed had died, there was no living apostolic authority. The only apostolic authority present today is the New Testament. Only New Testament writings were confirmed by apostolic signs, so only the New Testament contains this apostolic authority.[1]


[1] Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. (1997). When cultists ask: a popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations (pp. 206–207). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Mark Driscoll, An Apology Isn’t What’s Needed… Repentance Is

Zwinglius Redivivus

And, believe it or not, an apology isn’t repentance.  An apology is – by definition – self defense.  We ‘apologize’ in order to defend, to some degree, our actions.  ‘I’m sorry this happened, but I’m only human’ is both evasion of responsibility and non-responsive as to the issue of genuine repentance.

Genuine repentance is a change of course.  If Mark Driscoll is sorry, it makes no difference at all.  If his sorrow leads him to change his pseudo-theological views, his plagiarizing ways, his misogyny, and his false teaching, then it means something because that is what repentance is.

As John the Baptist declared to the crowds who came to see the show- ‘Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath. Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance’.  That’s what God expects.  Not a feigned apology that really is nothing more than a self serving and cynical ploy under the…

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IHOP’s scary Bridal “Presence” doctrine: Part III

This is the third in a series of research articles via Herescope’s Sarah Leslie and her team at Discernment Research Group  on the strange “presence” teachings of Pastor Mike Bickle at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Be sure to check out Part I, and Part II.

Capture

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Epicenter Update: 1) Abbas at White House rejects Israel as “Jewish State.” 2) Kerry says Israel wrong to insist on “Jewish state” recognition.” 3) Iraqi oil production surges to highest level in 30 years.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with President Obama today at the White House. Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with President Obama today at the White House.

(Washington, D.C.) — Here’s a snapshot of some of the most important developments in the epicenter in recent days.

SECRETARY KERRY SAYS ISRAEL WRONG TO INSIST THE PALESTINIANS RECOGNIZE ISRAEL AS A “JEWISH STATE” — “In his appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on March 13, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry, convener, main proponent, and mediator of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating process, found it necessary to make a surprisingly one-sided comment and prejudgment on one of the central and most delicate issues on the negotiating table – Israel’s basic and principled requirement of recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People,” notes Israeli Ambassador Alan Baker, who helped craft the Olso Accords, in an analysis for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. “Kerry opined that he views Israel’s…

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IHOP’s scary “Presence” doctrine: Part II

This is the second in a series of research articles via Herescope’s Sarah Leslie and her team at Discernment Research Group  on the strange “presence” teachings of Pastor Mike Bickle at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Be sure to check out Part I, and Part III.

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IHOP’s scary “Presence” doctrine: Part I

There are some movements that are much more dangerous to Christians because of their diabolical nature, and because it takes more than just a glance at the bullet points to fully grasp. There are some big-name players involved and some global partnerships forming that will eventually mainstream some of the most bizarre theology and eschatology in Christendom – but note it has nothing to do with biblical Christianity. You’re going to need to set aside some time to do the research for yourself. And you’ll want to hear from the researchers themselves.

In preparation for our two-part interview with Herescope’s Sarah Leslie, we are sharing some very important research she and her team at Discernment Research Group has posted on the strange “presence” teachings of Pastor Mike Bickle at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. We begin with the first of three articles from Sarah. Note the links and the footnotes for additional research. When you are finished with this one, see Part II, and Part III.

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Pyromaniacs – Repentance: unrepentant reminders

Repentance is a Topic right now. In itself, that’s a good thing. Repentance should be a constant topic in the lives of Christians — not just a constant topic, but a constant reality.
At the moment, I don’t want to make a direct comment on the current issue that’s brought this to the fore, and readers really shouldn’t infer such from what follows.
Instead, I’d like to remind Pyro readers (and inform others) of how our readers have had the opportunity to be prepared to analyze and process such events Biblically, analytically — and not simply emotionally, whether by bitter and accusatory emotions, or chummy and exculpatory emotions.

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History repeating? Putin annexes Crimea 76 years to the week after Hitler annexed Austria.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Putin's Anschluss of Crimea. Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea.

>> UPDATES:

ORIGINAL POST: (Washington, D.C.) — When I set out to write The Auschwitz Escape, I was eager to portray the drama of the greatest escape in human history — from a Nazi death camp in Poland.

But I was also a bit anxious because I usually write political thrillers about events that could happen in the future, not historical fiction inspired by events that happened in the past.

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Fallibility and Female Prophets – John MacArthur

 

In my last article, I started to address John Piper’s comments in episode 215 of the Ask Pastor John podcast. In interacting with his interpretive claims, that post was getting a little long; I decided to show mercy to the reader, bring that article to a close, and pick up here where I left off.

To bring you up to speed, here’s how John defined the gift of prophecy in episode 215:

I take [the gift of prophecy] as something that God spontaneously brings to mind in the moment; and because we are fallible in the way we perceive it, and the way we think about it, and the way we speak it, it does not carry that same level of infallible, Scripture-level authority.[1]

As I pointed out before, that is a radical departure—both from the Old Testament definition of prophecy, and from the church’s historic interpretation of the nature of prophecy. The Bible has portrayed the gift of prophecy consistently, from Genesis to Revelation, as always verbal, propositional, infallible, and authoritative. But continuationists like John Piper and Wayne Grudem modify the definition of prophecy, evidently believing that the Holy Spirit gave the church a lesser gift consisting in spiritual impressions that are ambiguous and non-authoritative.

John points to three passages in support of his view. I addressed the first passage (1 Thess. 5:19–21) in my previous article. In this post, I’d like to consider his interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:4–5. Next time, we will address 1 Corinthians 13:8–13.

In 1 Corinthians 11:4–5, Paul writes, “Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head.” Piper says this about that text: “I don’t see how women prophesying in the assembly fits with an infallible, Scripture-level authority when Paul forbids that kind of authority to be exercised over men by women in the church in 1 Timothy 2:12.”[2]

Admittedly, the scenario in 1 Corinthians 11 raises some interpretive questions that are not easy to answer, not just because of the prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12, but also in light of what Paul says a few pages later:

As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (1 Cor. 14:33b–35, ESV)

So, are women permitted to prophesy in the assembly in chapter 11, but forbidden to do so in chapter 14? How do we reconcile these statements?

Continuationists like John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and D.A. Carson believe that 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 should not be viewed as a prohibition on women prophesying in the church, since they seem to be practicing that with Paul’s approval in 11:5. Rather, they say 14:34–35 is a prohibition on women prophets judging prophecies. In other words, Paul is teaching that women can’t judge the prophecies of male prophets since that would be “exercising authority over a man” and would violate 1 Timothy 2:12.[3]

The obvious question in response is, “How could women prophesy and not be teaching and exercising authority over a man?” And their response is to infer, without any explicit textual warrant, that this gift of prophecy must be a watered-down version of the historic gift of prophecy—no longer infallible and authoritative, but a mere sharing of advice that is inferior even to teaching.

But again I ask: Is the only legitimate answer to infer such a radical redefinition of the gift of prophecy, especially without a single explicit comment from any New Testament author? Is there another interpretation, which fits all the biblical data, does not depend on inference, and requires less explaining away of explicit prohibitions? Indeed, there is a still more excellent way.

Outside the Assembly

I believe the simplest answer is that the prohibition for women to speak comes in a specific context, namely, “in the churches” (1 Cor. 14:34). In 1 Corinthians 11,  Paul does not begin addressing the Corinthians in the context of their local assembly until verses 17 and 18. Verse 18 says, “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church . . .” The first matter that Paul addresses as it regards the gathered assembly is the issue of division, and that doesn’t come until 11:18. Therefore, especially in light of 14:34–35, it’s very likely that Paul’s reference to praying and prophesying in 11:4-5 is not intended to be understood in the context of the corporate gathering. Women were able to exercise their authoritative, instructive gift of prophecy outside the assembled church.

It certainly was not unheard of for New Testament prophets to prophesy outside of the assembly, as in the case of Agabus (Acts 21:10–11). And even today, we who believe that women should not teach or exercise authority over men in the church nevertheless make every opportunity for gifted women to teach children and other women (Titus 2:3–4). Teaching in a children’s ministry or leading a women’s Bible study does not violate 1 Timothy 2:12, and nor does their prophesying. There is no reason that the Spirit could not have provided some women with the same gift of prophecy he gave to men, and yet limited its use to outside the gathered assembly.[4]

Old Testament Prophetesses Did Not Undermine Complementarianism

Besides this, we have explicit biblical evidence that a woman exercising an authoritative, Scripture-level prophetic gift does not undermine biblical complementarianism. Miriam (Ex. 15:20), Deborah (Judg. 4:4), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), and Anna (Luke 2:36) were all prophetesses in the Old Testament era. This means they exercised the standard Old Testament prophetic gift—namely, infallible, authoritative prophecy.

Piper would not say that men’s and women’s roles changed from egalitarianism in the Old Testament to complementarianism in the New Testament. But he is forced to this undesirable position if he wishes to maintain his objection to infallible prophecy on the basis of 1 Timothy 2:12. If both men and women in the Old Testament could prophesy with an infallible and authoritative prophetic gift, and not violate the gender roles established in the created order, why should we assume that would have changed in the New Testament?

“Your Sons and Your Daughters Shall Prophesy”

What’s more, when Peter announced the inauguration of the Spirit’s ministry on the Day of Pentecost, saying, “This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: . . . your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Acts 2:16–17), there is no indication that these daughters would receive a radically redefined prophetic gift. On the contrary, Peter explicitly identifies the Old Testament gift with the New Testament gift. As an Old Testament prophet himself, Joel couldn’t have been referring to anything but Old Testament prophecy, which we all agree was infallible and carried Scripture-level authority. And it is precisely the New Testament gift of prophecy—received by both men and women—that Peter cites as the fulfillment of that promise. The conclusion is inescapable: Women exercised an infallible and authoritative prophetic gift.

Conclusion

Therefore, if New Testament prophecy is infallible, authoritative, and on par with Scripture, as we claim, then 1 Corinthians 11:4–5 does not contradict Paul’s teaching in 1 Timothy 2:12. These texts harmonize without having to radically redefine the gift of prophecy.

Next time I’ll address John Piper’s comments on 1 Corinthians 13, which many continuationists see as one of the most important texts in the continuationist/cessationist debate. Be sure to stay tuned.


[1] Ask Pastor John, Episode 215, 1:04–1:37.

[2] Ask Pastor John, Episode 215, 3:49–4:09.

[3] D. A. Carson, “Silent in the Churches: On the Role of Women in 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, eds. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006), pp. 140–53.

[4] See John MacArthur, 1 Corinthians, MNTC (Chicago: Moody, 1984), pp. 256–57.


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Lighthouse Trails Newsletter Headlines (March 17, 2014)

Hegel’s Marxist Dialectic – a Tool Used By the Emerging Church to Bring About a “New World Order” 
Letter to the Editor: Assemblies of God Pastor Disheartened by Direction AOG and Other Denominations Are Going 
Larry Crabb to Join Richard Foster’s Renovare Contemplative Conference – Christian Leaders Continue to Promote Crabb
Richard Wurmbrand’s Son, Michael Wurmbrand, Comes Forth – Asks VOM to Allow Independent Investigation                       
Letter to the Editor: Liberty University Offering Yoga Classes . . . AGAIN! 
Roger Oakland: Hello, From Kenya 
David Benner’s The Gift of Being Yourself: A Great Book for Your Journey? Not!  
A Commentary: Why Are So Many Departing From Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa? 
Bill Gothard Resigns from Institute in Basic Life Principles Under Allegations of Sexual Abuse (And How to Spot the Signs of a Sexual Predator)   
What is a Sexual Predator of Children?
Multi-Sensory Worship: Prayer Stations, Icons, Incense, and Candles 
Good News – Obama Administration Allows Christian Homeschooling Family Seeking Asylum to Stay in U.S.

Must See Movie Opens March 21: God’s Not Dead

The Ratio Christi team is excited about a new movie premiering nationwide Friday, March 21. Pure Flix is releasing “God’s Not Dead,” a dynamic film about the present-day rejection of Christ and Christianity on college and university campuses.

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