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Archive for the ‘Theology: Apologetics’ Category

Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith and Pirate Christian Radio has posted over at Letter of Marque blog the following discussion about the Kingdom of God.

With so much talk about the Kingdom of God especially in the Emergent / neo-liberal camp, it behooves us to seek a solid definition of what Jesus meant by that term. Here is a good working definition given by the late Kenneth Bailey in his book, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes. In this quote, Baily is commenting on the first Beatitude, “Bless-ed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”:

“what precisely is the kingdom of God? There is is no simple answer to this question. Everything Jesus said and did is in some way related to the kingdom of God. It has to do with the rule of God in the lives of individuals and societies. The Lord’s Prayer includes the words, “Thy Kingdom com,” which obviously looks to a future that is unfolding. Yet the kingdom has already come in Jesus Christ who said, “But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20).

We live in the interim between the inauguration of the rule (kingdom) of God in the coming of Jesus Christ and its completion at the end of history. Our struggle for peace and justice is part of our discipleship as we work for and await the coming of that kingdom on earth as a gift of God.

In this Beatitude Jesus declares that the poor in spirit already possess the kingdom. Many people at the time of Jesus used the phrase the kingdom of God to describe a Jewish state where God alone was King. In contrast, Jesus declared that the kingdom was already present in the poor in spirit (not among the Zealots).

The Old Syriac translation of this text reads, “Happy it is for the poor in spirit, that theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” As mentioned, the second line is not a reward for the first line. Rather the poor in spirit already posses the kingdom.

Read the remainder of his post here.

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As I stated earlier, the reviews of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins are going to be numerous. And, there is no doubt in my mind that we will have to rehash all the same old arguments that have been given in times past as each new generation of liberals works to repackage the same old and well worn lies of the liberals of previous generations. That being said, Dr. Moore has highlighted a point from Bell’s book that cuts to the heart of the matter in that Bell drains the gospel of the blood of Jesus Christ, the very key and central truth of the gospel itself. You can read his comments by following the link below, and as you read his post think of this – if Rob Bell is teaching a different gospel, then it is no gospel at all and he is cursed and all who believe his gospel remain the objects of God’s wrath and are condemned already.

Moore to the Point by Russell D. Moore.

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Recently I have been introduced to the work of Jim McClarty who has a marvelous way of explaining the wonderful truths of the Scriptures. In this video he deals with the often misunderstood and misapplied passage of Second Peter 3:9. Listen carefully because Jim will put the verse back into it’s proper context and explain to you the true meaning of this passage; removing all confusion while answering the typical objections.

Tell me what you think, let’s have a conversation.

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Here’s a great analysis of John 3:16 and God’s sovereignty in salvation.

Lane’s Blog: Is John 3:16 “The Gospel in a Single Verse”? (Jim McClarty).

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Part 2:

 Christ’s Office as High Priest Confirms the Redemption of a Particular People.

 C. Christ’s Priestly Work Limits the Atonement to His Elect, but Grace Abounds to Everyone

 John Owen writes: 

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” To manifest this his presence and kindness, the apostle minds them of that most excellent, transcendent, and singular act of love towards them, in sending his Son to die for them, not sparing him, but requiring their debt at his hand; whereupon he argues from the greater to the less, — that if he have done that for us, surely he will do every thing else that shall be requisite. If he did the greater, will he not do the less? If he give his Son to death, will he not also freely give us all things? Whence we may observe, — First, That the greatest and most eximious expression of the love of God towards believers is in sending his Son to die for them, not sparing him for their sake; this is made the chief of all.

 Now, if God sent his Son to die for all, he had [done] as great an act of love, and hath made as great a manifestation of it, to them that perish as to those that are saved.  That for whomsoever he hath given and not spared his Son, unto them he will assuredly freely give all things; but now he doth not give all things that are good for them unto all, as faith, grace, and glory: from whence we conclude that Christ died not for all.

 Paul’s argument in Romans 8:32 is that, if God did not spare Christ, His only Son, how will He spare us anything else in heaven or on earth that we need to become conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29).  All good things – repentance, faith, grace, glory, et al., will not be withheld because they are, simply put, of infinitely lesser value that God’s own Son, whom He has already given to us and for us.  Owen takes the Apostle’s argument to its natural conclusion.  If indeed these things are withheld – namely faith to believe, grace to be saved, glory to be redeemed and sanctified – then it is logically deduced from this passage that the Son Himself, who is of infinitely greater value than these other gifts, has also been withheld.  But in what way has the Son been withheld?  The very next verses say,

 “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?  It is God who justifies, who is to condemn?  Christ Jesus is the One who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Rom. 8:33-34)

 Christ Jesus was given to God’s elect as the One who died in their place (as their substitute) and He lives now as the one who intercedes for them (as their High Priest).  For Jesus to be withheld from those without faith and grace would mean that He was withheld as their substitute and intercessor.  He did not die for them.  He does not intercede for them.

 Now does this limit God’s grace in any way?  Those who argue against particular redemption misunderstand, I think, their opponents[1] by saying we limit grace.  This is simply not the case.  In no way do we claim that grace is limited by God’s selective work in redemption and salvation.  There is enough of God’s grace to save worlds upon worlds, and if one or a million more elect were added to the number this very moment, Christ would not have to shed even a single ounce more of His blood to atone for them as well. 

 But is God’s grace toward the elect and the non-elect the same in every respect? 

 God gives grace to all humanity by showing forth “His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, that have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Rom. 1:20)  The natural order is designed to point to God’s divine, omnipotent power in creation.  Romans 1:21 goes on to say, “For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God.”  God has not hidden Himself from anyone, but has made Himself known in creation, as well as in the human conscience (Rom. 2:15-16).  This is all of grace.  And it is not limited to the elect. Surely it is grace to live another day.  Every morning an unbeliever takes a breath and wakes up is grace bestowed, because that person deserved to die and face judgment.  God shed His grace by giving life and breath, and one more chance to repent. 

 Grace is not a sentimental according to New Testament writers.  It is power.  It is divine energy activated by God’s power according to God’s will for God’s glory.  And because of this, it is not limited in any sense of the word.  To accuse us of equating limited grace with limited atonement is to misrepresent the argument.  Grace is infinite because God is infinite.  And furthermore, while God’s grace is not limited, God is also not bound by any law of His nature, including His love, to dispense His redeeming grace to those whom He has not selected for eternal life, even as He freely chooses to bestow the many other common graces previously mentioned.  God’s will to atone for the sins of those whom He wills is God’s prerogative alone (Deut. 32:39).  If God’s grace somehow bound Him to atone for everyone, it would not be volitional, and therefore it would neither be love nor grace. 


[1]  I use the word opponent in the sense of a debate between brothers and sisters in Christ who oppose each other only on the “ball court” while remaining in the stance of love and kindness.

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SCRIPTURES CONCERNING FALSE TEACHERS/FALSE PROPHETS/FALSE BELIEF

[All Scriptures from from the English Standard Version (ESV)]

OLD TESTAMENT

 Deut 18:20-22

 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

 Jeremiah 14:13-16

13 Then I said: “Ah, Lord God, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’” 14 And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.

 Jeremiah 23:1-40 (Select verses)

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord…16 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’” 18 For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened?…21 “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.  23 “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.  25 I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ 26 How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, 27 who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? 28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the Lord. 29 Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? 30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the Lord, who steal my words from one another. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the Lord, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the Lord.’ 32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord.  33 “When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the Lord?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden, and I will cast you off, declares the Lord.’ 34 And as for the prophet, priest, or one of the people who says, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ I will punish that man and his household. 35 Thus shall you say, every one to his neighbor and every one to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 But ‘the burden of the Lord’ you shall mention no more, for the burden is every man’s own word, and you pervert the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God. 37 Thus you shall say to the prophet, ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 38 But if you say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have said these words, “The burden of the Lord,” when I sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’” 39 therefore, behold, I will surely lift you up and cast you away from my presence, you and the city that I gave to you and your fathers. 40 And I will bring upon you everlasting reproach and perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.’”

 NEW TESTAMENT

 Matthew 7:15-27

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. [16 ] You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? [17 ] So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. [18 ] A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. [19 ] Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. [20 ] Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. [21 ] “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [22 ] On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ [23 ] And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ [24] Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. [25 ] And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. [26 ] And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. [27 ] And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

 Matthew 24:4-5,11

And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray…11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. (See also Mark 13:22-23)

Matthew 24:24 

For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

Acts 20:29-32

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Romans 16:17-18

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

2 Corinthians 11:3-15

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. 5 Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. 6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. 7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s gospel to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12 And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Galatians 1:6-9

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— [7 ] not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. [8 ] But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. [9 ] As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Ephesians 4:14

so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Philippians 3:18-19

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

Colossians 2:8, 16-19

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ…16  Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

1 Timothy 4:1-5

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Titus 1:10-14

For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.

2 Peter 2:1-22 (select verses)

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. [2 ] And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. [3 ] And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep…Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones…But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, [13 ] suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. [14 ] They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! [15 ] Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, [16 ] but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. [17 ] These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. [18 ] For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. [19 ] They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. [20 ] For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. [21 ] For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. [22 ] What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

1 John 2:18-25

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us —eternal life.  [Note verse 19: They went out from us… These antichrists did not emerge from outside the church, but from within!

1 John 4:1-6

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

2 John 10-11

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

Jude 3-18

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. 8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. 14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. 17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”

Revelation 2:2

2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.

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