Is Once Save Always Saved Biblical?

This article is a response to the video blog Allen Parr did on the same question. That video can be found here:

Before I address some of the points made in this video I would like to lay some groundwork. First lets cover some terminology. The OSAS (once saved always saved) view is formally or theologically known as the doctrine of Eternal Security and falls under the doctrinal discipline or category of Soteriology. It is very much rooted in some Reformed Systematic Theology, particularly Calvinism’s views on predestination and its, TULIP, core principles. Many good Christians have quite different views on Eternal Security and while it shouldn’t be a dividing point it often does cause robust disagreement and at times division and can affect how one views the Christian faith and life circumstances. So, while it is not something that should divide the church it is not an unimportant doctrine.

An example of how one’s view of Eternal Security affects their perspective is that of the individuals such as well known Christian Leaders and many of us may have had close friends in the church who seemed to be such strong Christian’s but have now walked away from the faith and may even identify as Atheists. Those professing OSAS, Eternal Security, point to verses like 1 Jn 2:19 about those that went out from us but were really never a part of us. They are seen as never having been regenerated or filled with the Holy Spirit. However there will be this nagging feeling, “wow, they sure seemed like they were filled with the Holy Spirit and regenerate…” Where as those that believe you can loose your salvation have little issue with this. This highlights a potential negative impact of the OSAS view of salvation in that those professing Eternal Security may wonder if the person next to them is really saved resulting in a more judgmental posture. Another potential negative impact is that of “License”, believing that since I’m predestined and cannot loose my salvation, I can do whatever I want. The potential negative impact of believing you can loose your salvation is never being able to have an assurance of salvation. Many may wonder regularly “I’ve messed up quite a bit recently; am I still saved?” This should make us aware of just how important this topic is but also how complex it can be.

Personally, my views on the topic have developed over time through prayer and reading God’s word. I haven’t really joined into the debate except for the occasional time with fellow Christians when someone broaches the topic. I don’t necessarily want to be a source of division in the church so I always try to tread carefully around hot button topics. But it may be time to throw my hat into the ring. Let me present some of the realizations which I have come to over the years that have helped me to develop my understanding.

  • While not necessarily a more recent realization but one which I’ve more recently formalized or got a better handle on is the truth that the world around us is not just the physical but also there are other realms which the scriptures address. The book The Unseen Realm by Dr Heiser is of immense help in realizing that there is a spiritual supernatural realm which we cannot see, and it is just as real as the one we can see. The term elohim is not just used of God with the capital “E” but also other beings when made manifest in the physical world. When the witch of Endor called up Samuel he was described as an elohim. The word describes those from the realm we do not see. In prophecy this becomes important because what is being described may or may not be literal and just because something isn’t literal does not mean it is any less real.
  • Secondly the realization that the third realm of God the Father, I call the unbound realm, is outside of time. Scripture says that God declares the end from the beginning. It says that He has set the boundaries of our habitation so that we might seek Him. It may be helpful to visualize God as the director who has the storyboard and knows how it’s to play out. He is aware of every frame before it is even recorded in time or in the camera. But further I realized God goes even beyond this and He knows all the possible ways it could play out and the ways He could set the scene to ensure it plays out one way or the other. This results in two realizations:
    • One is that when God speaks in scripture, He may be speaking in terms of something as if it is already a reality but for us living life as it happens it is still up in the air, so to speak, for us. We can see this in 2 Timothy 1:9, Ephesians 1:4, Romans 9:10-13 (Jacob and Esau loved and hated before born).
    • Secondly, God as a director outside of time is also not unaware of the flow of time because He has stepped into time; like how Mel Brooks often stepped into his own movies or Stan Lee’s cameos God steps into time as Jesus Christ or in the Old Testament as the Angel of the Lord. Therefore, how God speaks in scripture may or may not necessarily be in sequential order. Particularly in Prophecy this can cause confusion when “recapitulation” may be used. One suggested instance is the seals and trumpets in Revelations which both seem to end in the second coming of Christ which has caused much debate about whether it is a recapitulation or a third coming of Christ.

It is the reality of the Unseen Realm and the Unbound Realm which may be able to help unravel some confusion. When you read scripture two diametrically opposed views seem to be true. Scripture seems to both present the supreme will and providence of God while also acknowledging the free will and culpability of man. To explain and defend their doctrinal views Clavin and Arminius had to spend some time explaining away the passages where free will and choices were made or where God’s will and predestination are put forth, respectively. This tells me that neither view has the complete picture since scripture comes from God and therefore should be united and not have to be explained as to how it doesn’t mean this or that. I’ll save the free will and predestination reconciliation for another time as that could be a whole book and focus on Eternal Security here.

Our salvation was not earned by moral perfection and therefore cannot be lost by moral imperfection.

Dr Michael Heiser

In the presentation of Eternal Security it is usually assumed that the opposite position is that someone can lose their salvation due to X amount or kind of failures. While there are some doctrines and traditions that may teach this such as the doctrines of Mortal Sins most protestants do not take this point of view. Presenting the arguments in this way is a Strawman because Protestants that believe something different than Eternal security do not believe in a works-based salvation either and would whole heartly agree with Dr Heiser’s statement. For such Protestants the opposite point of view is not that someone loses their salvation but that they give up their salvation. From this point of view the question is; “Will God drag someone kicking and screaming into heaven who accepted Jesus but now no longer wants anything to do with God?”

A Response to and from Scripture

Both John 5:24 and 3:16 talk about eternal life as the result of salvation. It doesn’t necessarily follow that it is eternal salvation or permanent salvation. In fact it defines eternal life in Jn 17:3 as knowing God and therefore it is a relationship that starts at the point of conversion.

In the doctrine of the Preservation of the saints several verses are highlighted. For example John 10:28 states that “no one can snatch them from my hand”. The logic that everyone is included in “no one” can snatch is nonsequitur. For example an Embassy is considered a sanctuary outside normal jurisdictions therefore saying that no one can snatch you out of an Embassy we wouldn’t necessarily include those in the Embassy as being included in the “no one” especially since snatch out infers an outside force or actor not an internal one. Certainly, someone could leave the Embassy of their own accord.

The most difficult passage for Eternal Security is Hebrews 10:26-31 which states that to continue willfully sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth (Salvation through Christ) their no longer remains a sacrifice for sin. The indefinite article a means that it includes any sacrifice even what Christ did on the cross. So is it works based then? By no means. Salvation is not a get out of jail (hell) free card but the start of a relationship with God the Father under the Lordship of Christ. It is about a relationship but if you want to make grace an excuse to do whatever you want then you are heading into troubled waters.

Regarding Election, Predestination, Preservation and Perseverance to understand the you have to realize that God the Father is outside of time and therefore knows what will happen but beyond that what could happen and therefore scripture says He establishes boundaries that will result in achieving His ends which are the primary causes but even Calvin recognized us as being secondary causes functioning within the bounds of those primary causes. Could it be an assumption then that statements about a person’s eternal destiny are God declaring the end from the beginning and therefore address one’s final state not necessarily how one got there. Does this nullify God’s choice in the matter; no because He declares the end from the beginning and therefore knows those that will remain in the faith and those that won’t so He will not loose those He intended to retain, those that continue in the relationship graciously made available to them when they repented and believed in Christ. We actually see this in John 17:12 where Jesus said he didn’t lose anyone except the one who was going to be lost, Judas.

Here is another presentation with this alternative view of salvation which is closest to what I personally believe.

Are Easter and Christmas Pagan Holidays?

There is a disturbing trend in churches and Christian circles to denounce the celebration of Easter and Christmas as pagan. The video shared here is an example.

These topics were first introduced by Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylon’s and Ralph Woodrow’s Babylon Mystery Religion. However Woodrow has changed his position on many of these conclusions in his new book The Babylon Connection. Woodrow recognized the flaw in logic used by Hislop and himself and illustrated it in this statement

“By this method, one could take virtually anything and do the same—even the “golden arches” at McDonald’s! The Encyclopedia Americana (article: “Arch”) says the use of arches was known in Babylon as early as 2020 B.C. Since Babylon was called “the golden city” (Isa. 14:4), can there be any doubt about the origin of the golden arches? As silly as this is, this is the type of proof that has been offered over and over about pagan origins.”

Woodrow, The Babylon Connection

We can see here the logic is flawed. Further there are variations on these ancient mythologies and looking for similarities you may find something But that doesn’t prove that there is any connection. For example the story of Nimrod is found in Josephus history and a majority of others as Nimrod rebelling against God and promoting other gods. However there are a couple ancient versions of the story which say the opposite, that he fought the other gods. In fact his name translated in the Septuagint means giant hunter and the bible says he was a mighty hunter before the Lord which seems to suggest that the later minority accounts could be closer to the truth.

Satan takes histories and twists them, takes creation and corrupts it. The images and objects in creation were not originally pagan but became so and if the church decided to celebrate using God’s creation as symbols of His aspects returning eggs which support and produce life as symbols of life where some pagan group or other used them in a corrupt fashion then we are merely reclaiming them to God’s glory and purposes. Indeed many links proposed to pagan practices are tenuous at best.

Satre, Niche and the rest of the Atheists have done their best to end Christmas and Easter. It would be sad if in a post Christian future our great grandchildren would find a photo album and wonder what the decorations were about because the church joined the atheists in killing celebrations of Jesus birth and resurrection and gave back the symbols once again to corruption.

For further reference see these articles

Is Christmas Pagan

https://answersingenesis.org/christmas/is-christmas-pagan-holiday/

https://answersingenesis.org/christmas/do-christmas-trees-have-pagan-roots/

https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/301-600/the-1st-recorded-celebration-of-christmas-11629658.html

Is Easter Pagan?

https://answersingenesis.org/holidays/easter/is-the-name-easter-of-pagan-origin/

Isaiah 60:13 13 “The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, The cypress, the pine, and the box tree together, To beautify the place of My sanctuary;
And I will make the place of My feet glorious.

Trouble Seeing Orange

While some Sunday schools still use the old flannel boards most have updated to newer methods and curriculum. One of the most prominent is Think Orange’s curriculum, Orange 252. A large number of churches have started using it across the country. There are some great advantages, ideas, and tools that come along with the curriculum. The Parent queues application is a mobile app that is synchronized with the current place in the curriculum and gives parents ideas regarding things to talk about after church and during the week to help reinforce what is being taught. The curriculum focuses on an application per month so anyone new can come in at any point and not feel like they are missing something because they are not joining in the middle of a story. Finally when you pick up your child they have a handout which goes over what they talked about in Sunday school and which gives ideas for questions to ask your kids around the dinner table Sunday night or some activity you might do during the week.

You may have noticed that the tools focus on encouraging parents to get involved with what their kids are learning. They even encourage the leadership of children’s ministries to invite parents once or twice during the year to a meeting to encourage them to be involved with what their children are learning. These strategy meetings with parents make a good point; parents have much more time with their children. The strategy documents states that Parents have about 3000 hours with their children while the church on average only has about 40 hours. It is true that we have more time with our kids and it is also true many parents may be a little too hands off leaving everything up to their church on Sunday morning. Much can be learned from this but we must be careful to not overstate it. As children grow up they start questioning and look outside the family away from their parents for confirmation of truth and direction. Also children should be attending mid-week youth bible study groups. Parents should also consider summer bible camps which increases the time to over 250 hours. Still much less time than parents have which is why parents still need to be engaged which is rightly pointed out by Think Orange.

Well, I’m not really color blind but I do see some point of concern here with what Orange focuses on. The first thing that I noticed was a focus on application instead of a focus on the bible passages. The orange curriculum does have bible passages and a key verse for each week but the focus is on the application as demonstrated by the curriculum plan in the comparison below. Further you will notice that some of the applications are not necessarily terms you will directly find in the bible though you may find the concept. For example Integrity and Initiative aren’t terms you would find if you ran a search on the bible. But if you want to talk about these topics you can find verses that have something to say about these topics or applications. In a sense you are being given fish but not necessarily learning how to fish or how to read the bible and explore what it is saying and how it applies to you. Also the bible is an iterative story, God reveals Himself progressively through the history of God’s interaction with His people recounted in the bible.

Gospel Project and Orange 252 TOC Comparison

The next thing I noticed was that the “applications” in Orange were basically the same as what I had seen on posters at work or in the halls of public schools. Many of the “applications” you will find in your “Corporate Values” training or our “School Values” posted in public schools. This did give me pause because it reminded me of what Nietzsche had said. After he pronounced that God was dead he understood that there was no longer a transcendent standard, no longer any morals and therefore to keep society from imploding the philosopher and scientist had to “determine the true hierarchy of values”.

God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? … Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us – for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto.

All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

There is a difference between values and morals. Morals define or delineate what must be done or what must not be done. Values simply place importance on a particular characteristic which typically moral or ethical behavior are the more beneficial courses of action that make up that value. For example “Honesty” is a valuable characteristic because it means you are trustworthy. But this does not challenge us like saying “Do not bear false witness”. I can say I’m generally an honest person but have I ever said something untrue to get ahead or to protect myself from consequences, have I ever bore false witness? Well yes, I have, and so I have broken God’s law. Another aspect of “Values” is that they always phrase the characteristic in positive terms whereas in the bible the law often phrases morals in negative terms. For example values will say be “Generous” but the bible will say “do not withhold from your brother” or “bring the full tithe and hold nothing back”.

Romans 7:7 – What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

1 Timothy 1:9-10 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

The law is necessary; not only for those that believe but for those that do not as well. While we don’t necessarily expect non-believers to follow the law this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t tell them who God is and what His Law requires. Children going to Sunday school as well as the average guy on the street need to know about God’s law and need to be called to repentance. It is part of the gospel because there is no real good news without the bad news of the reality of our sin. Especially in this day and age what is right and wrong is being redefined and people no longer see themselves as sinful. If all we say is “believe in Jesus and you will be saved” the world as it is now just scratches its head and says “saved from what”. We live in a very different time where people do not believe that humanity is inherently sinful.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9  4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Its not wrong to phrase things in a positive manner nor to speak of the benefits of a characteristic but if that’s all we do then we are missing something. We are missing out on God’s command to meditate on His Law presented through His word in the way that He has given it to us. Not only this but the word of God should be at the forefront not just some anecdote to back up some topic we have interest in or have chosen to address. God has told His story so that He can communicate His purpose for the world He created and His purposes for us whom he created. If we just focus on the application then are we not focusing on “what do I get out of it?” on the benefits for ourselves. We loose our focus on the Almighty Loving Creator God and fail to see who He is and what His feelings are.

Our action should flow more from implication than application.  Having a growing understanding of who God is and who we are from accounts in the Bible and considering God’s response. Asking how does God feel about what happened and then how should I feel and respond. The application flows from a love of God and His word. But children and youth also need clear instructional teachings in scripture.  In younger years learning who God is, His creation, commands, covenants (promises) and continuous fulfillment, and the gospel (sin, death, resurrection, repentance, faith and grace). Learning how to navigate the Bible.  In teen years (12+) learning how to interrogate scripture and apologetics.  Also learning core doctrines such as the inerrancy of scripture, original sin and the sin nature, Penal Substitutionary Atonement,  Jesus Exclusivity as the only way, God’s designed complimentary male and female gender distinctions, the conscious eternal torment of hell, and the Pre-eminence of God’s Kingdom over human culture to name a few (Driscoll, The Supremacy of Christ and the Church in a Postmodern World | Desiring God).

I’m not necessarily saying to drop or adopt this or that curriculum for children and youth however whatever curriculum a church goes with they should keep these concerns in mind. With any curriculum there may be blind spots that a church will have to make up for to varying degrees.

Should the Church have Closed and Is It Time to Reopen?

My friends daughter said “dad why are they closing churches, no one gets sick in church” a simple child’s faith but it gave me pause so I can’t judge a pastor that has decided to keep their Church’s doors open during the Covid-19 Wuhan Flu outbreak in opposition to state orders.  I don’t know if the Spirit called him to stay open or not. God will judge and we may be able to infer something from the results.  If a word is from God one should expect the results to bare fruit.

I believe that the church is a miraculous place that God made for us. Yes God is everywhere and you can meet Him at home but the church is set apart and sometimes home for many can seem much less so, hence God created houses of prayer for all people (Isaiah 56:7, Matthew 21:13, Psalm 122:1, John 4:21, 1 Tim 2:8).

In the beginning while the world was getting a handle on this outbreak of the Wuhan Flu suspending some ministries and moving to online services makes sense. However I don’t know if the church should have completely shut its doors with the staff doing web streams from home. Jesus said “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations” This is a command which seems hard to fulfill if the doors are locked to everyone no matter the circumstance.   Scripture also command in Hebrews 10:25, “Do not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing.”  As part of our Christian witness and neighborly duty we need to be flexible to meet requests of those in authority to fulfill Roman’s 13. But at some point and some degree we also have to follow what Peter said “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide”.  There is a tension between Romans 13 and Acts 4.  Now after the recovery rate has been determined to be 99.6% and the at risk groups are more clear there should be ways the church could open up a bit more with safety measures while at risk groups watch from home or from cars in parking lot services. Read more of this post

The Bible, The Church and Psychology

This may be the first post where I don’t really draw a conclusion nor state a strong opinion. That is because it is one thing I have been struggling to get my arms and head around for years. I’m hoping this post may be useful to start some dialogues toward a better understanding. The issue is this. The bible talks about behaviors and also addresses why we misbehave. It even addresses extreme behaviors identifying spiritual and demonic causes. On the other hand psychology studies behaviors, mental and emotional states and also proposes reasons and solutions. This to me seems to be a large overlapping grey area.

Many churches and Christians now defer to psychology placing more faith in its “scientific approach”. But many fail to realize that as a science it lacks many of the rigors of physics, chemistry and even biology. For example in those struggling with depression they find a chemical imbalance in the brain. One would think, “Oh well there is the cause”, but it is really an assumption of cause. It could very well be the effect of something else. Because emotional states cannot be measured; they must be communicated. Therefore cause and effect relationships cannot be rigorously established.

In modern psychology the naturalistic paradigm assumes that all behaviors must have physical experiential causes and therefore physical solutions. From personal experience dealing with my own children struggling with ADHD, after years of denial and mistakes I had to accept the reality of such a mental disability having behavioral consequences.

Read more of this post

Make a Defense – Origins Part 1 – Nature of God

Introduction

For the past several months I have been working on presentations which may be used with youth to prepare them to defend their faith.  I released an introduction a couple months ago and now I am releasing my first of two presentations on Origins.  Why am I doing this you may ask.  Well a recent Pew Research polls found that the number of professing Christians in America has decreased from 78% to 65% in the past 10 years.  Further one in three young adults abandon their Christian Faith soon after graduating from High School.  These are alarming trends.  Many young adults loose their faith while they attending college.  In this environment they are challenged to defend their faith and their reasons for belief are often questioned by atheist or agnostic professors.  This video is intended for use by inividuals or church groups, please feel free to watch and I hope it helps answer some questions.

Note: Clip of continental mega sequences taken from the Movie “Is Genesis History” as well as much of the verbiage for descriptions of the Naturalistic Paradigm and Creation Paradigm.

Inserted below are links you may use for further investigation.

Is Genesis History

Answers in Genesis

Institute for Creation Research

Case for a Creator <Book><Movie>

Expelled No Intelligence Allowed

Always Ready to Make a Defense

Introduction

For the past several weeks I have been working on presentations which may be used with youth to prepare them to defend their faith.  Recent Pew Research polls have found that the number of professing Christians in America has decreased from 78% to 65% in the past 10 years.  Further one in three young adults abandon their Christian Faith soon after graduating from High School.  These are alarming trends.  Many young adults loose their faith while they attending college.  In this environment they are challenged to defend their faith and their reasons for belief are often questioned by atheist or agnostic professors.  There are several professional curriculum for teens and young adults which churches may want to consider.

Journey Advocates by Awana

Answers ABC Bible Curriculum by Answers in Genesis

The resources I am working on are a bit more short term; covering only 5 sessions.  Sometimes churches have other topics and material they feel is important.  I am trying to make this a subset apologetic material to answer some of the most common questions and objections that young adults and teens face. Inserted below is the first video in the series.

Make a Defense – Introduction on Vimeo.

The Law is Part of the Gospel

Over the past year Andy Stanley has made headlines calling for the church to “unhitch itself from the Old Testament” and now more recently stating that the ten commandments do not apply to Christians (Commandments Don’t Apply).  Many of us scratch our heads wondering how he has come to these conclusions.  Apparently much of this comes from an interpretation of Act 15 in which the early church leaders met to discuss circumcision and dietary commands and there application to gentiles.  Emergent authors have also pointed to this passage.  In his book Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell references Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 in which Jesus talks about the authority to loose and bind granted to the apostles and further he references this passage, Acts 15, as being an example of church leadership in community exorcising their authority to loose and bind.

Not Come to Destroy the Law

“Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished. – Jesus, Matthew 5:17-18

So what is going on here?  If Jesus in Matthew 5:17-18 said that he didn’t come to do away with the law are the apostles then in Acts 15 doing away with laws?  Also in Matthew 19: 8-9 Jesus states that the permission for divorce in Deuteronomy 24 was actually a concession or an exception but was not God’s original intention.  Is Jesus doing away with the law after He said that he did not come to destroy the law?  When Jesus talked about loosing and binding was He stating that we could do away with some requirements of the law as long as we all agree on it?

I’m going to suggest something here which is very dangerous and so it will come with many warnings and qualifications.   The law of God or the commands in the bible are first comprised of or proceed from God’s immutable created and intended purposes and principles.  These set boundaries as to what is right and what is wrong, what is permissible and what is not permissible, what is required and what is not required and stand until heaven and earth pass away.  Now here comes the dangerous part; secondly the law defines penalties and protocols the objectives of which are to be more specific consequences, requirements and restrictions to align us with God’s purposes and principles or to meet the needs of a particular time and set of circumstances.  These may be some-what mutable.  For example we don’t stone unruly children,  fornicators or homosexuals, because the penalties for the children of Israel were stiffer since the promised messiah was to come from them.   The exception allowing for divorce in Deuteronomy 24 was identified by Jesus as a concession to our hard hearts and therefore was a protocol probably to avoid other more destructive sins such as domestic abuse but the optimal response is to remain married.  A contemporary example of loosing and binding may be seen in the roaring 20s with all its decadence many churches forbid drinking and dancing and over time though not specifically prohibited in scripture this started to hold the weight of orthodoxy.  At the time it was likely a reasonable response to the social problems and a good use of a binding protocol but over time became legalistic and over-bearing like the dietary laws addressed in Acts 15.

The danger here is the question; how do we tell what is a mutable protocol and what is a immutable principle?  Therein lies the rub, which is highly susceptible to abuse, misuse and destructive ideas and responses.  Some of us are getting excited… wow I always wanted to try this out and now I can because if I want to do it and I don’t really see how it hurts anyone else then it must be a protocol which we can set aside.  I would suggest that it is probably better to err on the side of caution especially since a wrong judgement could impact ours or someone else’s eternity.  Where the bible itself has specifically identified something as a protocol such as dietary requirements, circumcision, head coverings, and penalties that we recognize those as such but its better to stick with tradition and consider it a principle than to wrongly identify a command as a protocol which may be loosened resulting in negative consequences that could even impact someone’s eternity.  If Jesus did not come to the destroy the law then it behooves us even more so to do like wise.

The Law is More Necessary Now then Ever

But we need to do more than just refrain from damaging the law.  Paul made it clear in Romans that the law is necessary and even a part of the gospel.

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” – Romans 7:7

Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;  – Romans 3:19

We see in the passages Romans 7:7 and 3:19 that the law is part of the gospel and actually probably the first part, for there is no good news without the bad news of our sin…  We must inform the world that sin exists and that God exists and therefore we all have a responsibility to our creator. This must of course be done in a compassionate way.  Many quote Matthew 7:1 “judge not” and say that the compassionate thing to do is to not talk about sin or point out sin, but this ignores the rest of the passage which calls us to address our own sin and point out sin and help others overcome sin.  Some also assert that Jesus only pointed out the pharisees sin and therefore its only relevant to those that are religious or Christians.  This however ignores all the prophets and judges some of which were sent to confront foreign rulers and Jonah who was sent to confront Nineveh.  In Luke chapter 3 we see John the Baptist calling out from the hills and water ways for people to repent

He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? …  – Luke 3:7

This group referenced in Luke 3:7 included Jews and Pharisees but it also included gentiles and tax collectors and soldiers.  John even rebuked the King, Herod, for adultery; having taken his brothers wife and for other sins and he was put in prison by Herod.  After which scripture says Jesus went on to continue John’s ministry; in other words calling people to repent and pointing out sin of not just the “religious” but everyone.  He even sent his disciples out to towns to call people to repent.

Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.”
Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?”
He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages.” – Luke 3: 12-14

But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him about Herodias, his brother’s wife, and about all the evil things Herod had done, added this to everything else — he locked John up in prison. – Luke 3:19-20

In the past you could assume that people believed in sin but now we just have natural feelings which are “dancing to our DNA” and environment as Dawkins puts it… So now we tell people you need to be saved and Jesus can save you to which they respond what do I need to be saved from… Therefore making the world aware of God’s law is probably more important today then it ever was in the past. 

Migrant Caravan Reaction

To be honest I don’t know what to think about a caravan of thousands of people from Honduras and Guatemala. I’m wondering how something like that gets started, how they are getting resources to travel and how so many people are drawn together. When I think about 1909-1916 when my family came over to Ellis Island there was economic depression and the spread of communism and people heard that America was looking for immigrants to work in factories. Many sold everything to buy passage on ships and came over and I remember seeing pictures of poorly hand made American Flags because they were excited about becoming an American. Many others were turned away by the shipping companies due to sickness.  There was little to no government assistance so my great grandparents went to the church who housed them and helped them find employment.  My grandparents had to take immigration and naturalization classes and take an oath casting off all other allegiances. Leviticus 19:34 definitely calls us to treat sojourns as one of our own and Mal 3:5 says that God is against those that refuse to help immigrants. But the bible also says in Num 15:16 that there will be one law for everyone indicating that naturalization is also expected.

With this in mind there are things that bother me with the current state of immigration in the US. For example my parents live on the South Side of Chicago and many undocumented immigrants live by them. They are friendly people but my parents are bothered by the fact that many of them do not up keep their property and its actually causing damage to my parents property. Its not that they don’t have resources but many send their money over to Central America to maintain homes they own there or buy/maintain homes for their relatives. Further when my mother went to vote back in 2012 an undocumented immigrant came in to vote just yelling a candidates name and they rushed her over to a booth and helped her vote in Spanish without asking for any ID.  My niece saw the same thing in the November 2018 elections at her polling facility. 

My cousin is a Chicago police officer and he says several times a week he gets called in where an undocumented immigrant has wrecked cars and property while drunk, or gotten into drunken brawls and assaulted someone and what bothers him is that because Chicago is a sanctuary city they just let the guy right out the back of the police department and he is told to keep his mouth shut… They say that there is low crime rates related to immigrants but its hard to tell how true this is when so many sanctuary states aren’t filling out police reports and are just letting them go. When I saw pictures of the caravan I saw many flags from these other countries which seems to be in contrast to the Ellis Island pictures of people with hand made American Flags. They say it takes long to go about immigration legally, I’m not sure how true that is as I work with a guy from Mexico who just got his citizenship which took him 3 years after working here on a visa, I suppose it might be related to coming over with some kind of working skill set versus not.  But it would seem that there should be some expectations for immigrants to meet some requirements and make a shift in their allegiance.  It seems to me that one side is painting this as all rainbows and butterflys while the other-side seems to paint it as a march of terrorists and plague carriers; the truth is probably somewhere in between.

Emerging Concerns Part 5 – Society / Kingdom

Post Modern Cycle - Society / Kingdom

We have laid the foundations and have come to the last stage in the cycle of post-modern or emergent thought. The culmination of the efforts of community and role models, leaders, activists.  When we bring together our culture and the communities living in the culture along with the role models and leaders we establish a Society. This section will follow a similar format to previous articles.  It will present the views of secular leaders of post-modern thought followed by views of emergent church leaders evaluating how post-modern thought has been integrated into the church as well as the concerns and problems this entails.

To recap where we have come from and where we are at now; The Renaissance ushered in the age of reason. People always believed that communication and understanding were possible but the idea that more of the world followed a natural order that could be understood combined with the invention of the printing press blew the doors open for Rationalism. The next step was Naturalism further expanding the idea of natural order into a closed system where only natural law could explain the world. Some people of “faith” embraced Deism, the idea that God got the ball rolling with an innate discernible ethic and cause, and then left it to run on its own. Others rejected faith altogether and embraced Evolution and a world without God. But without God what were people to believe in; we are to believe in ourselves said Secular Humanism. With a failure to reach a consensus even among like minded individuals and discontentment with hard theoretical thinking Secular Humanists became somewhat disillusioned with rationalism leading to the rise of post-modernism.  Post-modernism rejected the narratives of the past and rather than hoping in the future the focus became on the hear and now. This world view can be seen in the works of post-modern philosophers, artists, and spiritualists.

Do you think that I count the days? There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk. – Jean-Paul Sartre

“All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself.” – Eckhart Tolle, Practicing the Power of Now

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