Monthly Archives: July 2014

This is a time for Christians to show solidarity with Israel as she faces an onslaught of terrorism. It’s also a time to show compassion towards Palestinians who are being crushed by Hamas. A few thoughts to consider.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

HolyBible(Denver, Colorado) — This is Day #24 of the Gaza war. Is the Church doing enough to love the people who are suffering in the epicenter, in obedience to the Scriptures?

Now more than ever, is it vital for Christian leaders and lay people to speak out in solidarity with Israel — and even go visit Israel soon — as Jews and Arabs defend themselves against Radical Islam. Day after day, Israel is facing not only an onslaught of terrorism but an evil double-standard. Israeli citizens have absorbed more than 2,800 rocket attacks and numerous terror squads who have come from the Gaza Strip to murder innocent men, women and children. Yet rather than receive encouragement from world democracies who see a fellow democracy under attack, much of the world is turning against Israel. Anti-Semitic attacks are skyrocketing, especially in Europe. Israel is being condemned at the U.N., blasted by world leaders, and even pressured by our President and…

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Questions about False Doctrine: What Is the Bridal Paradigm, and Is It Biblical?

 

The bridal paradigm is a teaching that emphasizes the Church as the Bride of Christ and the Kingdom of God as a love affair between Jesus and His Bride. A paradigm is a perspective or framework; the bridal paradigm is an eschatological framework that stresses loyal love for the Savior in the end times, soul-winning, a special anointing of the Spirit, and an emotional, “intimate” attachment to Christ. The bridal paradigm is taught by the International House of Prayer (IHOP) and similar groups in the Charismatic movement.

According to bridal paradigm doctrine, the whole Bible is the story of God’s seeking a suitable mate for His Son. Jesus is pictured as a lovesick suitor who is passionately awaiting the time when He will be reunited with His beloved Bride. While the New Testament does use the metaphor of the Bride of Christ, the bridal paradigm takes the metaphor to an extreme, teaching that it is the primary picture of the Church and that each individual believer is the Bride.

In the bridal paradigm, people are taught to see themselves as “married” to Christ. In some meetings “wedding ceremonies” are held in which individuals speak marriage vows to Jesus and walk under a huppah, a Jewish marriage canopy. They are encouraged to participate in a “bridal fast” and are often told to allow themselves to be “ravished” by Jesus. Words such as intimacy, passion, and lovesick are part of the standard vocabulary.

Teachers of the bridal paradigm place a heavy emphasis on their highly allegorized interpretation of the Song of Solomon. In their view, the book is more than a depiction of sensual love between a husband and wife; it is a metaphor of Jesus and the individual believer.

Concerning the end times, the bridal paradigm teaches that the Church will go through the Tribulation. During that time, the Church becomes a sort of “super church” as it finally recognizes its calling as the Bride of Christ. When the Church awakens to its true nature, it will experience a special anointing from the Holy Spirit; unite in intercessory prayer; call down judgment, Moses-like, upon the Antichrist; lead an unprecedented global revival; and, in the end, welcome Christ to the earth as a zealous Lover.

According to bridal paradigm doctrine, the problem with the Church today is that it is unenlightened and defeated. It does not see Christ as the Bridegroom and is not “intimate” with Him. Mike Bickle, the founder of IHOP, claims that, due to the “revelations” given to him, we can finally see our true purpose. Bickle has said that the end times are the “only. time in all of human history where the people of God universally, worldwide will see Jesus as a Bridegroom King” (from a message recorded March 6, 2008).

Bickle also teaches that Jesus will not return to the earth until His Bride really wants Him to come. He is being held back right now by our own lack of knowledge: “Jesus is not coming until the Body of Christ globally is crying out ‘Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus,’ and they don’t just say, ‘Come and forgive me,’ they are crying out in the understanding of who they are as the one that is cherished by Jesus in the bridal identity” (op. cit.). He uses Revelation 22:17 as a “proof text” for this teaching.

Is the bridal paradigm biblical? No, it is not. This is not to say that there is not some truth being presented in the movement. Jesus does love His Church (Ephesians 5:25), and the picture of the Church as a Bride is biblically supported (Revelation 19:7). But the bridal paradigm is an unbalanced approach to Scripture. Other problems include the teachings that the Church will experience the Tribulation; that everything God does is centered on a passion for us, rather than on His own glory; that the primary meaning of the Song of Solomon is a mystical one; and that all previous generations of Christians have failed to understand what Bickle now knows.

Second Timothy 4:3–4 warns that “the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” One such myth is the romantic, sensual Jesus of the bridal paradigm.[1]

 

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

Questions about Family / Parenting: How Should Christian Parents Respond If a Child Has a Learning Disability?

 

It seems that today more and more parents in the western world are saying “My child has a learning disability!” In western society more and more children are being identified as having ADD, ADHD or being diagnosed as afflicted with autism or some sort of mental condition that makes them unable to relate to others or develop “normally.” This is a scary reality and believers are not exempt from these things. How should believers respond when faced with these issues?

The only lasting formula for responding to the issues of living in our fallen world is to choose to walk by faith. That sounds very trite and over-simplified for parents who are desperately searching for answers, but for the believer, it is the only answer. In fact, for the believer the hope of God’s grace through faith is the one true foundation we can stand on when our child is in crisis and we cannot fix things with a kiss and a band aid.

If a child breaks a leg or an arm, a trip to the hospital corrects the break. It is not left to heal on its own and be a lifelong issue that the child must deal with. It is our calling as parents to nurture our children in the Lord in every aspect of their lives, not for our convenience, but for their spiritual good. So if a child has a learning disability or has trouble maintaining attention or behaving appropriately due to being autistic or to having some mental disability, we do not leave that child to flounder. Rather, we do as much as we can with as much love as we can for as long as we can without regard to the cost. There are resources available through organizations dedicated to research and support for each disability. A great deal more is known about how children learn than ever before, and much more help is available now than ever before. For some there is only the help and comfort of church and family to come alongside with resources and practical help. That means we reach out and do not isolate ourselves from God’s people. The “one another” commands are a great resource in time of need (1 Corinthians 12:25; Galatians 6:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Peter 3:8).

Conditions such as autism are not a reflection on us as parents or the result of something we did or did not do, nor are they something we somehow deserve. Just as no one “deserves” cancer, no child or parent deserves autism or mental retardation. The child with a disability is just as precious to the Lord as any other child (Matthew 19:14). In this world, there is no rhyme or reason why one child is afflicted and another is not. We live in a fallen world and the infirmity of the flesh can manifest itself in devastating ways. It is God’s amazing grace alone that overcomes the sad realities of a world tainted by sin. Indeed, one wonders how those who are not believers cope with these issues without the grace of God in their lives.

So the believer responds to their child’s learning disability with faith and puts that faith into action, bathing that child with love and acceptance at every opportunity. We enlist family, the church family, and every other resource available to help. We ask others to pray for us and help us through this time, all the while understanding that none of this is out of God’s control.

We can ask, “Why my child, Lord?” and “Why would a loving God allow this?” That is normal and natural and the answer is that God uses the details of this earthly life to demonstrate His provisions and grace and, ultimately, to glorify Himself. As believers, we are given a higher calling and a greater resource (1 Corinthians 1:26–30). The Apostle Paul declares that God displays His might and power through men and there is no unrighteousness in His purpose (Romans 9:14–23). We may not understand, but He will use the details of our lives to build in us His good and His glory. Therefore, when undeserved suffering comes to our children, the correct response of believing parents is to use God’s resources to stand by faith and leave the rest in His hands.[1]

 

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

Questions about Theology: What Is the Dispensation of Law?

 

While the Abrahamic Covenant continues and has not yet been completely fulfilled (even to this day), God changed course with His chosen people Israel at Mt. Sinai. God added the Law, and with it a new dispensation, which had a beginning and an ending (Romans 10:4).

The fifth dispensation is that of Law—Exodus 19:5 to John 19:30.

Stewards: Moses and the children of Israel as a nation at Mt. Sinai The Period: from Mt. Sinai until Christ Jesus fulfilled the Law with His death Responsibility: Keep the whole Law (Exodus 19:3–8) Failure: The Law was broken (2 Kings 17:7–20) Judgment: Worldwide dispersion (Deuteronomy 28:63–66; Luke 21:20–24) Grace: The promised Savior is sent (Isaiah 9:6–7; Galatians 4:4–5)

Israel was never to be saved by keeping the Law (Romans 3:20). The Law was meant to govern their earthly lives, to define sin, and to point to the coming Savior. Neither did the Law change the provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant.

The dispensation of Law is named after the Mosaic Law, called a “covenant” in Exodus 24:7–8; Deuteronomy 4:13; and Galatians 3:19. It was God’s only conditional covenant with Israel in that blessing and success depended upon the people’s obedience to the Law (Exodus 19:5). It did not take long for the Law to be broken, as proved by the golden calf in Exodus 32.

The Law was also a temporary covenant to be made null and void by the institution of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:32; Hebrews 8:13; 10:9). The Law was added “because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come” (Galatians 3:19).

It is important to note that the Law of Moses was given only for the nation of Israel (Exodus 19:3–8; Deuteronomy 5:1–3; 4:8). Jesus made it clear that it was given to Israel and not the Gentiles (Mark 12:29–30). The apostle Paul said the Law was given to Israel and not the Church (Romans 2:14; 9:4–5; Ephesians 2:11–12). The dispensation of Law is over.

How unfortunate that Israel misinterpreted the purpose of the Law and sought a righteousness by good deeds and ceremonial ordinances rather than by God’s grace (Romans 9:31–10:3; Acts 15:1)! Because they were focused on attaining their own holiness, they rejected their Messiah (John 1:11).

Israel’s history from Mt. Sinai to the destruction of the temple in AD 70 was one long record of violating God’s Law. However, the Law was still fulfilled, as Jesus states, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). Because of Jesus’ perfect fulfillment of the Law, we are saved through Him: “A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).[1]

 

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

Documentaries in understanding ISIS and Al Nusra (AL QAEDA)

The Domain for Truth

It is unfortunate that Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria and Iraq has achieved great strides pushing forth an imperalistic Islam upon other Muslims and Christians.  Its also unfortunate that many in the West don’t understand much of these two organizations, Al Nusra and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or better known as ISIS).  Apparently these two organizations aren’t getting along.

Here are two documentaries from earlier this year that gives a bit of perspective of  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The first is an incredible documentary by Vice who embedded with Al Nusra.

The second is the perspective of some who have quit the Free Syria Army and their encounter with ISIS.

It is frightening.  We need to be praying.

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Too many Christians are dismissing all Palestinians as terrorists. This is unfair & unbiblical. Meet a true Palestinian moderate: Salam Fayyad.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

aspen-friedmanFayyadNOTE: I originally posted this column on July 9th, but I am reposting it because I am hoping more Christians will read and consider it. I’m concerned that far too many Christians who love Israel and the Jewish people are dismissing all Palestinians as terrorists and radicals and extremists. This is unfair and unbiblical. Indeed, there are true moderates among the Palestinians we need to get to know and appreciate and hear their perspective on what is happening.

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As I watch the on-going current crisis, I am deeply concerned for Israeli civilians, especially those who live in the south. But my also heart breaks for the Palestinians, especially those who live in Gaza.

Both sides are suffering. Both sides are feeling pain. And as a follower of Jesus Christ, I want to find ways that Christians can bless and care for and show compassion to both sides.

At the same time I admit I find myself asking…

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