Daily Archives: June 10, 2014

Herescope: This is not Discipleship

 

Some of the most frequently quoted verses in Evangelicalism are Matthew 28:18-20:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.

Decisions 
The Great Commission calls for making disciples rather than preaching the Gospel. (The same command in Mark 16:15 says “…preach the gospel….”) It is probably for this reason most Christians assume incorrectly that preaching the Gospel fulfills the Matthew 28:18-20, but it does not. Preaching the Gospel and making disciples are two entirely different (though related) things. Billy Graham, and others, have illustrated very well that there is a huge difference between these two ideas. Preaching the Gospel is relatively easy, and skilled evangelists can bring many to the altar through a single 30-minute sermon. But that is only the first step of many, and on its own does not fulfill the Great Commission at all. In fact, calling someone to the altar often does nothing more than give the candidate a false sense of security—they believe they are saved because they prayed a rote prayer and signed a decision card. Billy Graham worked that out and eventually started calling these “decisions” rather than “converts.”

So while preaching the Gospel is commanded and is vital, it is NOT discipleship and does not obey the Great Commission. For instance, many young men mistakenly think that inseminating a young girl makes them a father. It does not. A father provides for, trains, and raises that child until it is an adult. So evangelization without discipleship is like giving birth to a baby, and then dropping the newborn on Main Street and pointing the infant to a range of restaurants.

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He Just Figured Out that Todd Bentley is a Fraud?

Zwinglius Redivivus

A man confined to a wheelchair due to his struggles with cerebral palsy gave a face-to-face warning to ‘faith healer’ Todd Bentley this past Thursday in front of a live audience that had gathered for Bentley’s healing crusade.  Justin Peters, who runs Justin Peters Ministries in Oklahoma, attended the event to rebuke Bentley over what he believes are deceptive healing practices. Not knowing that he was about to be excoriated, Bentley handed the microphone over to Peters.  Peters then began to quote from Matthew 7, which speaks of those who do wonders in God’s name but live lawless lives,  in presenting the rebuke to Bentley.

“And Jesus will look at them and he [will say], ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity,” he declared. “This man is a worker of iniquity.”  “Which man?” Bentley asked, standing adjacent to Peters.  “You,” Peters answered, who continued preaching until he was escorted off stage…

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Catholic Questions: Is Mary the Co-redemptrix / Mediatrix?

 

Some Catholics view Mary as a co-redemptrix or a mediatrix who plays a key role in the salvation of mankind. (The suffix -trix is a feminine word ending in Latin, so a redemptrix is a female redeemer, and a mediatrix is a female mediator.) Within Catholicism, there is a drive to define a new Marian dogma in which Catholics, as a matter of faith, would be obliged to accept these three doctrines: (1) Mary participates in redemption with Jesus Christ, (2) grace is granted by Jesus only through the intercession of Mary, and (3) all prayers from the faithful must flow through Mary, who brings them to the attention of her Son. This movement would, in practice, redefine the Trinity as a kind of Quartet.

The belief in Mary as a co-redemptrix would be in addition to current Catholic teaching on Mary, which states that Mary was a virgin perpetually, that she never had intercourse with her husband, Joseph; that she never had children other than Jesus; and that she was sinless and ascended into heaven. These teachings are more than unscriptural; Scripture directly refutes them.

The idea that Mary is a co-redemptrix or mediatrix contradicts 1 Timothy 2:5, which says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus is the Mediator. There is no mediator between man and Jesus. Jesus Himself dwells in believers; thus, none is required (Colossians 1:27).

Jesus is the perfect and sole Mediator between man and God because He is the sinless Son of God. Mary was not sinless. There is no Scripture whatsoever to back the claim of Mary’s sinlessness or of her assumption into heaven. This dogma was accepted as a result of papal proclamation. In the biblical narratives, Mary is pictured as a humble and submissive young woman, faithful to God, grasping the implications of what is about to happen to her, and uttering praises and doxologies (Luke 1:46–55). In fact, in her Magnificat, Mary says, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (verse 47). The clear implication of Mary’s calling God her “Savior” is that she recognized her need of salvation. Just like the rest of us, Mary needed a Savior, a Redeemer.

Jesus Himself indicated that Mary holds no special place relative to redemption or mediation. In Matthew 12:47–50, Mary and her other sons were trying to see Jesus while He was teaching. “Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’ ”

Later, at the foot of the cross, Mary is a grief-stricken mother. She did not suffer for mankind as a whole; she clearly suffered her own pain and mourning. She is one of the people receiving salvation from Jesus, not a contributor to His work. She is anguished and must be cared for by the apostle John.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Mary was part of the community of believers continuing in prayer and supplication prior to Pentecost (Acts 1:14). Mary is “most blessed among women” (Luke 1:42) because she was the mother of the Messiah. But she is not divine and cannot be seen as part of the Trinity. She did not redeem us from sin and cannot be made part of the redemptive process.[1]

 

 

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

Questions about Sin: Is Sex a Sin?

 

In the proper setting, sex is not a sin. In fact, sex is God’s idea. In Matthew 19:4–6, Jesus states with godly authority, “At the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” The creation account is thus the foundation for the institution of marriage, which was validated by the Creator Himself and established to be a lifelong union between one man and woman.

The very fact that God created humanity as “male and female” reveals that we are created as sexual beings. And God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” cannot be fulfilled without sex (Genesis 1:28). Sex is a God-given mandate, so there is no way that sex is a sin if done with one’s lifelong marriage partner of the opposite sex.

The word sex is not found in the Bible. The numerous mentions of the word in society, and the world’s tendency to sneer, have given the word a certain amount of notoriety. But God never intended it to be a dirty word.

The Song of Solomon follows a loving relationship between a husband and his wife through the betrothal period, wedding night, and beyond. The description of the husband and wife’s pleasure in chapter 4 is discreet yet unmistakable in its meaning. That description is followed in 5:3 with God’s approval: “Eat, friends, and drink; drink your fill of love.”

It is only outside of marriage that sex is sinful. God made it very certain that the marriage bed must be kept pure (Hebrews 13:4). Sexual activity outside of marriage is called fornication. First Corinthians 6:9–10 says, “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men … will inherit the kingdom of God” Engaging in sex without the benefit of marriage is immoral, and “it is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:18).

If the Bible’s message on abstaining from sex until married were upheld, there would be far fewer sexually transmitted diseases, far fewer abortions, far fewer unwanted pregnancies and unwed mothers, and far few children growing up without both parents in their lives. Abstinence saves lives, protects babies, gives sexual relations the proper value and, most importantly, honors God.

In no way is sex between a husband and wife a sin. Rather, it is a beautiful expression of love, trust, sharing, and unity. Sex is God’s gift to a married couple for pleasure and procreation.[1]

 

 

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

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