Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Resources:

The Case for Christmas from Historical Records




The Case for Christmas from Eyewitness Accounts













Check out: http://www.leestrobel.com/

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Eve Devotion: The Shepherds of the Brahui of Pakistan

Did you read about the people group for today?

It is interesting that the people group for today is a group of Pakistan shepherds that reside in Kelat. Individual shepherds control up to 500 sheep. As I read about this people group today, my heart's prayer was that God would do a mighty work among these shepherds like the group of shepherds that we read about in Luke 2.

Luke 2:7-19 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." 15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Oh to God, that he would do a supernatural work among these shepherds in Pakistan. This Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, is a Savior that is for all people. My God use this post to send some missionaries to this unreached people group.

There is good news to be told throughout the world. . .there is a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Brahui, Kur Galli of Pakistan
Population: 2,100,000
Language: Brahui
Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.00%
Status:Unreached (1.1 )

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mormonism and Public Office?



If you are interested in learning more about Mormonism and the possible implications of having a leader who is Mormon--read this book! I think Rocky builds a good case that in Mormonism, a person's allegiance is to the Mormon Church and its hierarchy.


Rocky's new book, "When Salt Lake City Calls" is now available! Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60477-220-3 Hardcopy ISBN: 978-1-60477-0
This book examines trustworthiness of Mormons in public office. Mormons in political campaigns for various offices have people asking the following questions: Can Americans trust Mormons in office? Is the Mormon Church the ultimate lobbyist? Could a Mormon in a governmental position of authority be forced by their religious beliefs to make a decision contrary to all lreason, facts, or evidence? Do Mormons swear allegiance to their church, its prophets and apostles, their living oracles, and the priesthood power they hold? Rocky Hulse examines these issue in his new book When Salt Lake City Calls: Is There a Conflict Between Mormonism and the Public Trust?
You can order directly from our online bookstore, go to the Xulon Press Website or call 1-866-909-BOOK (2665) to order from Xulon.
Check out Rocky and Helen's resources:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Hagee Puzzle

Hagee Says He Is Going To Rewrite The Controversial Chapter

You can read Hagee’s letter at Christians United For Isreal

The part that is interesting is where Hagee says, “I was surprised to learn that some people were interpreting my words as a rejection of this most fundamental Christian belief that Jesus came to earth as the Messiah promised in the Hebrew Scriptures. I have been preaching the gospel for half a century.”

Here are some quotes from Hagee's controversial chapter:

Pg. 135-136 “Five major points must now be made that are crucial to understanding that the Jews did not reject Jesus as Messiah.”

1. Jesus had to live to be the Messiah

2. If it was God’s will for Jesus to die from the beginning. . .

3. If it was Jesus intention to be obedient unto death. . .

4. If there is not one verse of Scripture in the New Testament that says Jesus came to be the Messiah. . .

5. And if Jesus refused by his words or actions to claim to be the Messiah to the Jews, then how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered?

Pg. 137 “If God intended for Jesus to be the Messiah of Israel, why didn’t he authorize Jesus to use supernatural signs to prove he was God’s Messiah, just as Moses had done?”

Pg. 138 “When Jesus went on trial, Herod “had desired for a long time to see Him…and he hoped to see some miracle [sign] done by Him” (Luke 23:8). Jesus refused to produce a sign for the national leadership of Israel in an attempt to prove he was the Messiah because it was not the Father’s will, nor his, to be Messiah.”

Pg. 139 “If Jesus wanted to be Messiah, why did he repeatedly tell his disciples and followers to “tell no one” about his supernatural accomplishments?”

Pg. 140 “The Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews.”

Pg. 141 “He performed these miracles to minister to the needs of people; they were not intended to be a demonstration of supernatural signs to prove he was the Messiah.”

Pg. 141 “Even after his resurrection and his repeated denials that he would not be the Messiah until they saw him hanging from a Roman cross. Even after his resurrection and his repeated denials that he would not be the Messiah, his disciples were still hanging on to the last thread of hope that he would now smash Rome (Acts 1:6). They wanted him to be their Messiah, but he flatly refused.”

Hagee also said in his latest letter, “Given my long years of preaching the gospel to so many, it simply never occurred to me that anyone would question my belief in the fundamentals of the faith.”

But this controversy over Jesus and Jewish salvation is not new.

1. Christian Research Institute exposed some of Hagee’s teaching (STATEMENT DH005 JOHN HAGEE ) and in it this same topic of Jewish salvation was an issue. Notice that this first reference is from a Houston newspaper reporter who interviewed Hagee in 1988.

Salvation Without Conversion?

While his bold stance against anti-Semitism is certainly praiseworthy, Hagee’s zealousness for the Jewish people and their cause has led him to commit a most serious doctrinal error — salvation for the Jews without conversion to Christianity. One newspaper account puts it this way: Trying to convert Jews is a “waste of time,” he [Hagee] said. . . .Everyone else, whether Buddhist or Baha’i, needs to believe in Jesus, he says. But not Jews. Jews already have a covenant with God that has never been replaced with Christianity, he says.“The Jewish people have a relationship to God through the law of God as given through Moses,” Hagee said. “I believe that every Gentile person can only come to God through the cross of Christ. I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption.“The law of Moses is sufficient enough to bring a person into the knowledge of God until God gives him a greater revelation. And God has not,” said Hagee . . .9 (9 Julia Duin, “San Antonio Fundamentalist Battles Anti-Semitism,” The Houston Chronicle, 30 April 1988, 1. )

Hagee also affirms: “If God blinded the Jewish people to the identity of Jesus as Messiah, how could He send them to hell for not seeing what he had forbidden them to see?”11 He continues, “All people will gain entrance into heaven through Christ. The question is one of timing.” 12

**Notice the source for these two quotes: 11 John Hagee, personal faxed correspondence to CRI, 18 October 1994, 3.12 Ibid., 6.

The CRI article also brings out the Messiah issue.

The Reluctant MessiahIn Hagee’s theology, the Jews can hardly be faulted for not flocking to Christianity since it was supposedly Jesus who declined their request for Him to be their Messiah. “The [Jewish] people wanted Him to be their Messiah, but He absolutely refused,” writes Hagee. “The Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah, it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews!”15

14Hagee, Should Christians Support Israel?, 61 (emphasis in original).15Ibid., 67-68 passim; cf. 69, 72.

See http://www.equip.org/site/c.muI1LaMNJrE/b.2871113/k.B45A/DH005.htm

2. Personal Freedom Outreach has also written about concerns of John Hagee’s teaching.

“THE OTHER GOSPEL OF JOHN HAGEE CHRISTIAN ZIONISM AND ETHNIC SALVATION" by G. Richard Fisher

THE MYSTERY DEEPENS AND THE PLOT THICKENS

In response to a direct inquiry by PFO director M. Kurt Goedelman to Hagee, Goedelman received a puzzling response. Hagee claimed in a carefully nuanced letter dated June 18, 1998, that the Houston Chronicle had distorted what he said and went on further to assert, “I have not or never have been dual covenant in my preaching.”In this, Hagee is being less than honest and playing word games. As this article will demonstrate, Hagee’s true view is a muddled form of the “Two Covenant” or “Dual Covenant” theory, even though he would deny the label. http://www.pfo.org/jonhagee.htm

3. A Jerusalem Post article “Fallwell: Jews can get to heaven,” dated March 1, 2006 had this to say:

An evangelical pastor and an Orthodox rabbi, both from Texas, have apparently persuaded leading Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell that Jews can get to heaven without being converted to Christianity.Televangelist John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, whose Cornerstone Church and Rodfei Sholom congregations are based in San Antonio, told The Jerusalem Post that Falwell had adopted Hagee's innovative belief in what Christians refer to as "dual covenant" theology.This creed, which runs counter to mainstream evangelism, maintains that the Jewish people has a special relationship to God through the revelation at Sinai and therefore does not need "to go through Christ or the Cross" to get to heaven.Scheinberg said this has been Hagee's position for the 25 years the two have worked together on behalf of Israel and that Falwell had also come to accept it. Falwell sent a representative to the San Antonio launch of Christians United for Israel in early February, as did popular televangelist Pat Robertson.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1139395509016

So, Rabbi Scheinberg said that Hagee has had this view for 25 years.

4. The very next day the Jerusalem Post ran another article, Hagee, Falwell deny endorsing ‘dual covenant’”

Pastors John Hagee and Jerry Falwell have both denied a report in The Jerusalem Post earlier this week that they embrace the "dual covenant" theology, which holds that Jews are saved through a special relationship with God and so need not become Christians to get to heaven.

In a statement to the Post, the Texas-based televangelist Hagee said that neither he nor Southern Baptist pastor Falwell "believe or teach Dual Covenant."

Hagee added that he had "made it a practice for 25 years not to target Jews for conversion" at any "Night to Honor Israel" events. If Jews "inquire about our faith at a later time, we give them a full scriptural presentation of redemption."But he (Hagee) stressed: "I have been on record all 54 years of my ministry as being opposed to dual covenant theology... I simply cannot alter my deeply held belief in the exclusivity of salvation through the Gospel of Christ for the sake of political or theological expediency. Like the Apostle Paul, I pray daily for the salvation of everyone, including the Jewish people."

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1139395523403

5. I was doing a little further research into John Hagee’s book, In Defense of Israel, and found a ministry called, The Mike Corley Program. You can find it at http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/Mike_Corley_Program/ and you can visit his blog at http://theexpositor.wordpress.com/ .

Here are the programs that deal with Hagee:

The Mike Corley Program: The John Hagee Controversy (11-14-2007) Mike examines claims that the Texas based pastor stated that Jews are not required to go through Jesus Christ for salvation and that Jesus did not claim to be Messiah.

John Hagee Controversy-His Response and Ours (11-17-2007) Pastor John Hagee responds to the controversy involving his comments concerning Jesus as Messiah, and Mike offers his response as well.

Listeners Respond to Hagee Issue (11-20-2007)Mike shares some the many emails from listeners regarding Pastor John Hagee's statements on Jesus as Messiah.

Hagee responded to Mike Corely concerning the latest controversy regarding the messiah in Hagee’s book, In Defense of Israel.

John Hagee Responds to Controversy November 16, 2007 by theexpositor

Pastor John Hagee has responded to my (Mike Corely) request for his reaction to the controversy involving his comments about Jesus as Messiah.Again, I (Grace Media International and WQBC) have had a working relationship with John Hagee Ministries for the last four years. We contacted our representative with the ministry earlier this week and asked if Pastor Hagee would like to repsond to the issue. Yesterday, I received the following:

(the bold font is my [Kendall's] emphasis )

Below is Hagee's response to Mike Corely:

Many Christians have constructed a catch 22 concerning Jesus as Messiah. The catch 22 is this:

“Jesus came to be Messiah but because the Jews rejected Him as Messiah He had to go to the cross, hence the Jews are the Christ Killers.”

Fact: According to Webster’s Dictionary the word “Messiah” means “the expected king who delivers from oppressors.” A Messiah is one who rules and reigns over a given people.

Fact: The God of the Bible is absolutely sovereign! That means He is in control of everything in heaven and on earth all the time. If God is not sovereign; He can’t be God.

Question: What was God’s Sovereign will for Jesus Christ from the foundations of the earth?

Revelation 13:8 reads that Jesus Christ was the “Lamb of God slain from the foundations of the world.” This verse says it was God’s Sovereign plan for Jesus to die as Savior before the world was created in Genesis 1:1.

Most people confuse the role of “Messiah” and “Savior.” To be Messiah you must live. To rule and reign you must live. Jesus came to die and be the Savior of every person on earth.

THERE IS NO DUAL COVENANT! The Bible says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Jesus Himself stated in Mark 14:8, Luke 24:46 and Mark 10:33-34 that He had come to die for the sins of the world as Savior. Again, you must live to be Messiah. You cannot be both Messiah and Savior!

John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the “Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The only thing a lamb can do is to be slaughtered as a sin offering.

Fact: Jesus claimed to be Savior several times in the Bible. He never claimed to be Messiah to the Jewish people. In John 4 Jesus told the woman at the well, a Gentile, who He was, knowing the Jews and Samaritans had nothing to do with each other. I go into this in great detail in my latest book, “In Defense of Israel.”

Fact: Jesus repeatedly in His ministry told His Disciples and followers to “tell no one” about His supernatural accomplishments. If Jesus wanted to be Messiah by popular demand, He would have wanted His supernatural exploits to be told by everyone to spread His popularity.

Sixty-four times in the four Gospels Jesus instructed those who were excited about His being the Messiah to “tell no one.” He refused the role. He never promised to be Messiah. The Jews did not reject Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who refused to be the reigning Messiah because it was God’s Sovereign will for Him to die on the cross.

Fact: Bible proof that Jesus did not come to be Messiah is found in Matthew 26:26-30 where Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi, was celebrating Passover with His 12 Disciples in what Christians call “The Lord’s Supper.”

In the Passover there are five cups of wine that Jesus and His Disciples would drink together. These five cups have been and still are celebrated by observant Jews who keep the Passover.
The fifth cup is the Messiah’s Cup. Luke 26:28, Jesus claims to be the Savior of the world by saying, “For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sin.”

In the next verse, Luke 26:29, Jesus rejects the Messiah’s Cup saying, “But I say unto you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”

Jesus rejected the Messiah’s Cup because He knew He was about to die. He promised His Disciples that He would drink the Messiah’s Cup when He returns to earth the second time as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Fact: If an Almighty and Sovereign God sent His Son into the world the first time to be Messiah…God failed! The truth is, God cannot fail…never.Jesus was sent to the earth the first time to die as the Lamb of God.

I trust this simple explanation will clarify any concerns you might have concerning Jesus the Messiah and Jesus the Savior. Let us prepare for the soon coming of King Jesus, our Deliverer and Lord of Lords. It will be very soon!

http://theexpositor.wordpress.com/2007/11/16/john-hagee-responds-to-controversy/

CONCLUSION:

Well, how are we to understand Hagee’s statements in this November statement?

Hagee said, "Jesus Himself stated in Mark 14:8, Luke 24:46 and Mark 10:33-34 that He had come to die for the sins of the world as Savior. Again, you must live to be Messiah. You cannot be both Messiah and Savior! " Remember the recent December statement: “I was surprised to learn that some people were interpreting my words as a rejection of this most fundamental Christian belief that Jesus came to earth as the Messiah promised in the Hebrew Scriptures.”

Are you confused as to what Mr. Hagee’s beliefs are regarding Jewish salvation (see the above sources: CRI, PFO, The Houston Chronicles, The Jerusalem Post or his books Jerusalem Countdown or In Defense of Israel )?

I think it is time for John Hagee to state what he believes about the salvation of Jews from the time of Jesus Christ until the Second Coming. Does a Jew have to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, in order to be saved? And could Mr. Hagee please state what he meant by, “The message of the gospel was from Israel, not to Israel!” (P. 134)?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Hagee Heresy: Jesus Was Not The Messiah For The Jews

This blog [ http://alwaysreformingtoscripture.blogspot.com/ ] has as its motto, “Always Reforming to Scripture.” The key text is 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which reads, “16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Scripture is not only profitable for teaching but also for rebuking and correcting false teaching. As a Christian and pastor, I am accountable to the same standard.

John Hagee is a popular preacher both on TV and in printed form. A few weeks ago I was getting dressed in the morning and happened to flip on the TV. A commercial with John Hagee caught my attention. He was promoting his new book, In Defense of Israel. I was shocked at some of the statements he made, so I bought the book to check out further what he said. A few weeks later, before I had even started reading the book, I saw another commercial of Hagee promoting, In Defense of Israel, but this time it was on Youtube. Here are two attention getting quotes from the commercial: Hagee said his book, “will prove that Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah” and that “…since Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah, how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered.” After watching the short video clip [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8khCJTDD44 ], I got the book out and started reading.


Hagee believes he has a call on his life to bring Jews and Christians together (p. 14-15). His book addresses this, and for the first one hundred and thirty pages is pretty harmless. He talks about Israel and the anti-Semitism that has gone on in history. But then the book takes a wrong turn. Beginning on page 134 and following, I could hardly believe what I was reading.

Pg. 134 “The message of the gospel was from Israel, not to Israel!” (I will deal with this at the end of the review.)

Pg. 135-136 Under the heading “I’ve Come to Die!” Hagee states,“Five major points must now be made that are crucial to understanding that the Jews did not reject Jesus as Messiah.”

1. Jesus had to live to be the Messiah
2. If it was God’s will for Jesus to die from the beginning. . .
3. If it was Jesus intention to be obedient unto death. . .

It seems that Hagee’s thought is that if Jesus was intending to be the Messiah for the Jews then he would not have come to die. The truth is that the Jewish messiah was to be a suffering servant who would die a penal substitutionary death (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). Ironically, Hagee even quotes that Jesus told his disciples, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day” (Luke 24:26). In the great Messianic confession passage of Matthew 16:15-21, where Peter confesses to Jesus, "You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16), Jesus tells his disciples that he had a death to accomplish. The text says, “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (Matthew 16:21).

Hagee’s next two points:
4. If there is not one verse of Scripture in the New Testament that says Jesus came to be the Messiah. . .
5. And if Jesus refused by his words or actions to claim to be the Messiah to the Jews, then how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered?

Hagee’s logic is that the Jews did not reject Jesus as Messiah “if there is not one verse of Scripture in the New Testament that says Jesus came to be the Messiah” (p.136). Hagee’s first supposed proof is under the heading, “Give Us a Sign!” (p.136). His point is that the “Jews were accustomed to their leaders demonstrating their call from God with supernatural signs” (p.136). Hagee goes on to show that God gave Moses signs to convince the children of Israel that he was their messiah. Hagee says, “if God intended for Jesus to be the Messiah of Israel, why didn’t he authorize Jesus to use supernatural signs to prove he was God’s Messiah, just as Moses had done?” (p.137)

John the Baptist wanted some proof as well when he was in prison. Matthew 11:2-5 says, “Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?" Here is the supernatural signs that Hagee is looking for, “4 Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.” The Apostle John, in his gospel, gives us his purpose for writing. It is stated in John 20:30-31, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ [Messiah], the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” Has Mr. Hagee read the Gospel of John? John’s purpose statement for writing the gospel account was to tell about the supernatural signs that Jesus performed and that these “signs” pointed to his messiahship, being the Son of God. So to answer Hagee’s assertion, “if God intended for Jesus to be the Messiah of Israel, why didn’t he authorize Jesus to use supernatural signs to prove he was God’s Messiah, just as Moses had done?” He did! He did many signs to prove that he was the Messiah. Here are some of recorded supernatural signs: He turned water into wine (2:1-11); He healed the royal official’s son (4:43-54); He healed a lame man (5:1-15); He fed more than five thousand people with bread and fish (6:1-15); He walked on the water (6:16-21); He healed a man born blind (9:1-41) and He raised Lazarus from the dead (11:1-44).

After Hagee asks the question, “if God intended for Jesus to be the Messiah of Israel, why didn’t he authorize Jesus to use supernatural signs to prove he was God’s Messiah” the very next sentence is “The Jews, knowing of Moses’s signs to Israel, asked for a supernatural sign that Jesus was indeed their Messiah” (p.137). Hagee has this quote for Jesus’s answer, “No sign will be given…except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:39-40). Then Hagee asserts, “Jesus refused to give a sign.” Let us look at the text again,

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." 39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (p.137).
In their continual rejection of Jesus’s claims, Jesus tells the scribes and Pharisees (Jews) that they will only get the sign of Jonah. This sign of all signs is his death and resurrection. Jesus goes on to say that those who were rejecting his claims would be condemned at the future judgment (Matthew 12:41-42).

The next subheading is “Herod Asked for a Sign” (p 138). Hagee writes, “When Jesus went on trial, Herod “had desired for a long time to see Him…and he hoped to see some miracle [sign] done by Him” (Luke 23:8). Jesus refused to produce a sign for the national leadership of Israel in an attempt to prove he was the Messiah because it was not the Father’s will, nor his, to be Messiah.” Unbelievable! Out of the entire account of the trial of Jesus, Hagee uses this little quote of Herod’s. First of all, Jesus was not at the call of Herod. Jesus did not need to perform for Herod. In regards to Jesus at his trial, we need to look a little closer. Hagee quotes Luke 23:8 and says, “Jesus refused to produce a sign for the national leadership of Israel in an attempt to prove he was the Messiah because it was not the Father’s will, nor his, to be Messiah” (p.138). It is hard to believe Hagee wants to equate Herod with the “national leadership of Israel” and then overlook the rest of the trial of Jesus. If we look at Luke 22:66-68 we have Jesus standing in front of Jewish leaders and they ask him if he is the Messiah. The text says, “66 When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, 67 "If You are the Christ [Messiah], tell us." But He said to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I ask a question, you will not answer.” For the last three years Jesus had been preaching and performing miracles. It was ironic that they would ask because if Jesus told them they still would not believe. In Mark 14 we have a dramatic court scene where Jesus stands before the Jewish high priest, Caiaphas, and other Jewish leaders as they throw questions at him,

Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" 62 And Jesus said, "I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN." 63 Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, "What further need do we have of witnesses? (Mark 14:61-63)
There you have it. Jesus, when asked if he was the Messiah, testified in the Jewish court that he indeed was. Case closed.

The next subheading is “Tell No One!” (p. 139). Hagee starts out saying, “If Jesus wanted to be Messiah, why did he repeatedly tell his disciples and followers to “tell no one” about his supernatural accomplishments?” Hagee’s big point is that in the Gospels “The people wanted him to be their Messiah, but he absolutely refused.” How did he refuse you might ask? Well, according to Hagee’s logic, Jesus repeatedly told people to “tell no one” (Matthew 8:1-4; Luke 4:41; 8:56; Mark 7:36; 8:26, 29-30). Hagee’s last statement in this section is, “The Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews” (p 140).

As far as the “Tell No One!” policy goes, here are some things to think about. In regards to the Matthew 8:1-4 passage where Jesus tells the leper to “tell no one,” D.A. Carson’s comments are insightful. He points out that, “the synoptic parallels (Mark 1:45; Luke 5:15) as well as other similar occurrences in Matthew demonstrate that these commands to be silent have other functions—to show that Jesus is not presenting himself as a mere wonder-worker who can be pressured into messiahship by crowds whose messianic views are materialistic and political. Jesus’ authority derives from God alone, not the acclaim of men; he came to die, not to trounce the Romans. The people who disobeyed Jesus’ injunctions to silence only made his mission more difficult.”[1] In regards to Luke 8:56, Walter L. Liefeld states that there is not a messianic secret going on here but rather “in actuality Jesus often tried to avoid publicity to prevent premature or misguided declarations of his messiahship from being made.”[2]

Concerning the Mark 7:36 passage Walter W. Wessel weighs in with the same line of thought as Carson and Liefeld. He states that, “His reason for enjoining silence here was probably the same as in 1:44. He did not want a false concept of him as only a miracle worker to spread lest it touch off a messianic insurrection and prevent him from accomplishing his God-appointed mission.”[3] Wessel also has some good comments in regard to Mark 8:29. He says, “Peter’s confession revealed real insight into the nature of Christ’s person and mission, but his concept of Jesus’ messiahship was far from being perfect. Peter still had much to learn of Messiah’s suffering, rejection, and death, as the incident immediately following reveals.”[4] Regarding Mark 8:30, Wessel states, “Jesus injunction of silence arose out of his knowledge of the disciple’s defective view of his messiahship. They still needed instruction about it before they would be given permission to proclaim it without restraint.”[5] The following context of Mark 8:31-33 verifies Wessel’s view:

31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."

It is as if Hagee has bought into the false idea of many of the Jews of Jesus’ day. That idea being that if he was going to be the Messiah of Israel he must rule and reign with power and release them from Roman control. Yet the Bible is clear that his mission the first time was to be a suffering servant who would die for sins (Isaiah 53; Matthew 16:21; ).

The next subheading is “Jews for Jesus” (p.140-141). Hagee mentions Jesus feeding of the five thousand, walking on water and raising Lazarus. Then he says that, “He performed these miracles to minister to the needs of people; they were not intended to be a demonstration of supernatural signs to prove he was the Messiah.” Where is the verse for Hagee’s assertion? Once again it is hard to believe that Hagee would say something that is the opposite John 20:30-31, “30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ [Messiah], the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” You can not get any clearer than that! The signs were written down so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

The New Testament clearly teaches Jesus as being the Messiah of the Jews. The very first line of the Gospel of Matthew reads, “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). The purpose of Matthew’s Gospel according to Carson is as follows,

At the broadest level we may say that Matthew’s purpose is to demonstrate (1) that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of God, the Son of Man, Immanuel; (2) that many Jews, and especially the leaders, sinfully failed to perceive this during his ministry; (3) that the messianic kingdom has already dawned, inaugurated by the life, ministry, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus; (4) that this messianic reign, characterized by obedience to Jesus and consummated by his return, is the fulfillment of OT prophetic hopes…[6]

Could Matthew be any clearer in stating what he was trying to accomplish in his introduction? Jesus is the long awaited Jewish Messiah who has come to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:1-21). In Matthew chapter two it is recorded that Herod gathered Jewish priest and scribes inquiring from them where the Messiah was to be born (Matthew 2:4). The response was that the OT (Jewish) prophet said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judea (Matthew 2:5-6).

A previous look at the Gospel of John already revealed its purpose statement declaring that John recorded the signs of Jesus’ to prove that he was the Messiah. Several other passages in John also show this to be true. John the Baptist was asked by the Jewish leaders who he was and John said that he was the not the Messiah (John 1:20). When Andrew, who was Jewish, heard John the Baptist say that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:36) he ran and declared to his brother Peter that, “We have found the Messiah (which translated means Christ)” (John 1:41). Later in John’s Gospel, John the Baptist declared, "You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent ahead of Him.' "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made full” (John 3:28-29). John the Baptist was sent ahead of Jesus the Messiah to prepare his way. In John 4 the woman at the well says, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us" (John 4:25) and Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He" (John 4:26).

Do you recall Hagee claiming “there is not one verse of Scripture in the New Testament that says Jesus came to be the Messiah”? The above passage seems to make that pretty clear. John chapter 7 is another important passage because it concerns a controversy with Jewish persons concerning whether or not Jesus is the Messiah. Here it is,

25 So some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, "Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill? 26 "Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ [Messiah], do they? 27 "However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ [Messiah] may come, no one knows where He is from." 28 Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, "You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. 29 "I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me." 30 So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. 31 But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, "When the Christ [Messiah] comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?" 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about Him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. (John 7:25-32)
This passage has Jewish persons discussing whether Jesus is the Messiah. The next few verses describe Jesus at a Jewish feast, where he made some profound statements that sparked some interest,

40 Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, "This certainly is the Prophet." 41 Others were saying, "This is the Christ [Messiah]." Still others were saying, "Surely the Christ [Messiah] is not going to come from Galilee, is He? 42 "Has not the Scripture said that the Christ [Messiah] comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" (John 7:40-42 ).
This section is very Jewish. The talk of the day was whether or not Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and the NT says indeed he was. Andreas Kostenberger writes, “For whereas people (erroneously) thought that Jesus hailed from Galilee, John’s readers clearly are expected to know that Jesus had in fact been born in Bethlehem thus fulfilling messianic prophecy (cf. Matt. 2:5-6; Luke 2:4, 15).”[7]

In John nine, Jesus heals a man who had been blind since birth. The Pharisees call his parents in for some Q and A, here is the dialogue:

Pharisees: "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?" (John 9:19)

Parents: "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself." (John 9:20-21)

Divine commentary: “His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ [Messiah], he was to be put out of the synagogue.” (John 9:22)

In the next section of verses Jesus is at the Jewish Feast of Dedication being held in Jerusalem (John 10:22). It says, “24 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ [Messiah], tell us plainly." 25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me” (John 10:24-25). This passage shows that Jesus was the Messiah for the Jews (and Gentiles) and yet many of them would not believe even though he did “works” that testified to its truth.

In John 11:27 Martha, a Jewish woman, says concerning Jesus, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of God, even He who comes into the world” (John 11:27).

The book of Acts is relevant to this issue as well because it shows us the message of the early church. Peter’s first recorded sermon is found in Acts 2:22-36. Peter shares that Jesus was accompanied by signs and died and rose again. Peter’s conclusion is, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ [Messiah]-- this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). The Apostles were often told to stop teaching in the name of Jesus and the text says, “they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ [Messiah]” (Acts 5:42). Paul clearly proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah to the Jews:

Acts 9:22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ [Messiah].

Acts 17:1-3 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ [Messiah] had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming
to you is the Christ [Messiah]."

Acts 18:5 But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ [Messiah].
Paul in his testimony before King Agrippa stated, "So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; 23 that the Christ [Messiah] was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles" (Acts 26:22-23).

In close, I want to address the statement found on page 134 where Hagee says, “The message of the gospel was from Israel, not to Israel!” This is not what the NT says. Israel’s only plan of salvation is to trust in Jesus as the crucified Messiah. Paul said that he was not ashamed of the gospel because “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Here is why Israel needs the Gospel. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness and a righteousness which we do not have (Romans 1:18-3:20). Paul said that both Jews and Gentiles are charged with sin (Romans 3:9, 23). A person cannot be justified (declared righteous) by good works because no one can do them perfectly (Romans 3:20-21; Gal. 2:16; 3:10-11). If you have sinned and fall short of glorifying (Romans 3:9, 23), then how can you be saved? The answer is that there is a righteousness provided by God that is not based on your performance (“apart from law”) (Romans 3:21; Gal. 2:21). God’s judicial act to declare righteous (justify) is graciously given for those who have faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice (Romans 3:22-26). This righteousness from God is for all those who are trusting in Jesus Christ alone (Romans 3:22). The reason we need God’s righteousness is because all have sinned and fall short of glorifying God (Romans 3:23). God publicly displayed the Lord Jesus as a atoning sacrifice (Romans 3:25). This great act of God shows that he alone is the one who justifies the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26). Justification by faith alone (in Christ alone) is for Jews and Gentiles (3:29-30). Romans 3:29-30 “Or is God {the God} of Jews only? Is He not {the God} of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.”

John Hagee needs to change his anti-Christian view. Jesus did come to be the Messiah of the Jews. He should not attempt to remove the stumbling block—Jesus the Messiah (Romans 9:32-33; 1 Corinthians 1:23) because Jesus is their only hope for salvation (Acts 4:12; Romans 10:1-4).

[1] D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 8 (ed. Frank E. Gaebelein; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984) 199.

[2] Walter L. Liefeld, “Luke,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 8 (ed. Frank E. Gaebelein; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984) 917.

[3] Walter W. Wessel, “Mark,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 8 (ed. Frank E. Gaebelein; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984) 684.

[4] Ibid., 694.

[5] 694.

[6] Carson, 25.

[7] Andreas Kostenberger, “John,” Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
(Grand Rapids: Baker 2004) 242.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Ps 107:1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Ps 107:8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!
Ps 107:21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!
Ps 107:43 Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things, and consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD.

Col 3:15-17 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms {and} hymns {and} spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, {do} all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.



Edward Winslow, who later became the third governor of Plymouth Colony, wrote one of the two surviving eyewitness accounts of the Harvest Festival of 1621, "And God be praised, we have a good increase . . . . Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling (ie, bird hunting) that so we might after a special manner rejoice together."


A Few Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamations (there are many more than these):

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war...


James Madison's 1815 Thanksgiving Proclamation:

The senate and House of Representatives of the United States have by a joint resolution signified their desire that a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness manifested in restoring to them the blessing of peace. No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States. His kind providence originally conducted them to one of the best portions of the dwelling place allotted for the great family of the human race. He protected and cherished them under all the difficulties and trials to which they were exposed in their early days. Under His fostering care their habits, their sentiments, and their pursuits prepared them for a transition in due time to a state of
independence and self-government. In the arduous struggle by which it was attained they were distinguished by multiplied tokens of His benign interposition. . .

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Love for Truth and Love for God are Inseparable

God’s Passion for His Glory

I have been rereading John Piper’s great Edwardsian book, God’s Passion for His Glory. The section I was reading on Friday evening was “Love for Truth and Love for God Are Inseparable.” Here is a great quote from the book:

Edwards has taught me—as one modern evangelical—that our concern with truth is an inevitable expression of our concern with God. If God exists, then he is the measure of all things, and what he thing about all things is the measure of what we should think. Not to care about truth is not to care about God. To love God passionately is to love truth passionately. Being God-centered in life means being truth-driven in ministry. What is not true is not of God. What is false is anti-God. Indifference to the truth is indifference to the mind of God. Pretense is rebellion against reality, and what makes reality reality is God. Our concern with truth is simply an echo of our concern with God. And all this is rooted in God’s concern with God, or God’s passion for the glory of God.


This paragraph is a great section on why we should always be reforming to Holy Scripture.

You can purchase the book here...
http://www.desiringgod.org/Store/Books/ByTopic/All/73_Gods_Passion_for_His_Glory/

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Justification

Justification
- Legal standing
- Once for all time
- Entirely God’s work
- Perfect in this life
- The same in all Christians

Easton’s Bible Dictionary
Justification — a forensic term, opposed to condemnation. As regards its nature, it is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon (q.v.) of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (Rom. 5:1–10).

It proceeds on the imputing or crediting to the believer by God himself of the perfect righteousness, active and passive, of his Representative and Surety, Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:3–9). Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that he possesses a righteousness which perfectly and for ever satisfies the law, namely, Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:6–8).

The sole condition on which this righteousness is imputed or credited to the believer is faith in or on the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is called a “condition,” not because it possesses any merit, but only because it is the instrument, the only instrument by which the soul appropriates or apprehends Christ and his righteousness (Rom. 1:17; 3:25, 26; 4:20, 22; Phil. 3:8–11; Gal. 2:16).



Grudem's Systematic Theology states, "Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ's righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight." –Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1994), 723

James White's, The God Who Justifies, has a good defintion:
“To be justified means to be declared right with God by virtue of the remission of sins accomplished by Jesus: Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believer, and the believer’s sins are imputed to Christ, who bears them in His body on the tree. Justification is from beginning to end a divine action, based upon the mercy of God the Father and the work of Jesus Christ the Son.” James White, The God Who Justifies (Bloomington, Minn: Bethany House, 2001), 73



Scriptures Dealing With Justification

Rom 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Rom 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.

Phil 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from {the} Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which {comes} from God on the basis of faith,

2 Cor 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 5:9-11 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Learn these truths: “We are saved by grace alone (Romans 3:24; 5:15-21); through faith alone (Romans 1:16-17; 3:22-31; 4:1-25; 5:1; 10:4) in Christ alone (Romans *3:22-26; 5:15-21; 6:23; 8:1; 10:4).”

Check out the following sites for more info:
http://www.monergism.com/

- Justification - Salvation is By Grace Through Faith by J.I. Packer
- The Doctrine of Justification by James Buchanan (.pdf) New!
- Series of Articles on Justification by Cornelis P. Venema
- Faith & Justification by Theodore Beza
- Justification is by Grace Alone by John Calvin
- The Everlasting Righteousness by Horatius Bonar
- The Immediate and Only Ground of Justification by James Buchanan (1804-1870)
- A Study on Justification by David H. Linden
- The Rent Veil by Horatius Bonar
- The Method and Fruits of Justification by Martin Luther
- Justification part 1 , part 2, part 3 by A.A. Hodge
- Justification (from Outlines of Theology) by A.A. Hodge
- Justification by by Wilhelmus a Brakel
- Justification: Forensic or Moral? Francis Turretin
- Overview of the Concept of Justification in Romans Marcelo P. Souza
- A Reminder to the Covenant God By John Hendryx
- The “Justification” of Christmas By Charles R. Biggs
- SOLA FIDE: THE REFORMED DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION by J.I. Packer
- Justification By Faith and its Consequences from Romans, An Interpretive Outline by David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas
-Counted Righteous in Christ by John Piper
Should We Abandon the Imputation of Christ's Righteousness? (pdf) + Chapters 1-2 +Chapter 3 +Chapter 4, Bibliography, Index +Purchase "Counted Righteous in Christ"

I also look forward to reading my preordered book by John Piper, The Future of Justification A Response to N. T. Wright .

I had preodered it from Amazon because I was ordering another book but--you can get it here for 5.oo if you order it before October 31st (what an important date in Church history!)


**I just finished listening to a great program on The White Horse Inn called “Why Faith Alone Justifies” at http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/The_White_Horse_Inn/archives.asp?bcd=9/23/2007

In connection with The White Horse Inn you should also check out the latest issue of Modern Reformation

Sept./Oct. 2007Volume: 16 Issue: 5


In This Issue: Keeping Time : Wither Protestantism? By Eric Landry

Does Justification Still Matter? By Michael S. Horton


Why Sola Fide is the Chief Article By by Steven R. J. Parks

Part XV: Faith Alone : The Doctrine of Justification by Faith, Through the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ; explained, confirmed, and vindicated. By John Owen


The Nature of Justifying Faith By David VanDrunen

By Grace Through Faith or Why Prepositions Matter By Richard D. Phillips


God Is Just By Todd Wilken



Assumed Evangelicalism : Some Reflections En Route to Denying the Gospel By David Gibson



Patristric Texts on Justification By Thomas Oden



Not By Faith Alone: The Roman Catholic Doctrine of Justification : Interview with Robert Sungenis "How Jesus Transforms the Ten Commandments" by Edmund Clowney; edited by Rebecca Clowney Jones (Book Review) By William J. Nielsen



"Hoping for Something Better: Refusing to Settle for Life as Usual" by Nancy Guthrie (Book Review) By Paige Britton



"Reconciliation Blues: A Black Evangelical's Inside View of White Christianity" by Edward Gilbreath (Book Review) By Doug Webster



"Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives", Robert Webber, General Editor By Brandon G. Withrow



"Ancient Christian Devotional: A Year of Weekly Readings", Thomas C. Oden, General Editor (Book Review) By Carl R. Trueman



"The Children of Hurin" by J. R. R. Tolkien; edited by Christopher Tolkien (Book Review) By Cynthia Doherty

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Living in a Dazzling Theatre





After God wondrously caused me to be born again (1 Peter 1:3), at the age of twenty four, I really had no framework to explain what happened to me. I was not raised in church. I had never read the Bible before and I had no idea what the term born-again meant. I had no problem telling others about salvation and other Christian truths. However, when I explained that even creation around me seemed different, I got some weird looks so I wouldn’t talk about it much. I felt like a kid in an amusement park and, for that matter, I still do. Insects, birds, trees, fish, flowers, animals, water, sky, clouds, sun, moon and many other things seemed so glorious. I could not help but to stand in awe of God and his creative intelligence. Many times it struck a sweet holy fear in me. What kind of being creates wonderful living creatures? Then while in seminary a theology professor said something in class that caused me to want to speak to him after class. I told him about my experience of seeing the world around me differently than when I was lost. He said that Calvin and Edwards wrote about beholding the glory of God in creation.
Below are some quotes from Calvin and Edwards.
Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I.XIV.20

“Meanwhile let us not be ashamed to take pious delight in the works of God open and manifest in this most beautiful theater. For, as I have elsewhere said, although it is not the chief evidence for faith, yet it is the first evidence in the order of nature, to be mindful that wherever we cast our eyes, all things they meet are works of God and at the same time to ponder with pious meditation to what end God created them.”

Jonathan Edwards, A Personal Narrative (1703-1758)
The appearance of everything was altered: there seemed to be, as it were, a calm, sweet cast, or appearance of divine glory, in almost everything. God's excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in everything; in the sun, moon and stars; in the clouds, and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water, and all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind. I often used to sit and view the moon, for a long time; and so in the daytime, spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things: in the meantime, singing forth with a low voice, my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer. And scarce anything, among all the works of nature, was so sweet to me as thunder and lightning. Formerly, nothing had been so terrible tome. I used to be a person uncommonly terrified with thunder: and it used to strike me with terror, when I saw a thunderstorm rising. But now, on the contrary, it rejoiced me. I felt God at the first appearance of a thunderstorm. And used to take the opportunity at such times, to fix myself to view the clouds, and see the lightnings play, and hear the majestic and awful voice of God's thunder: which oftentimes was exceeding entertaining, leading me to sweet contemplations of my great and glorious God. And while I viewed, used to spend my time, as it always seemed natural to me, to sing or chant forth my meditations; to speak my thoughts in soliloquies, and speak with a singing voice.
http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/articles/full.asp?id=38%7C%7C116 http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/edwards.html http://www.apuritansmind.com/JonathanEdwards/JonathanEdwards-Biographical-EdwardsPersonalNarrative.htm download the file here: http://edwards.yale.edu/images/pdf/personal.pdf


So don’t feel ashamed when you are awestruck or have a child-like wonder when you take pleasure in seeing and experiencing God’s creation. Take time to reflect about God and say the words of the Psalmist, “O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions” (Psalm 104:24).

Monday, July 2, 2007

Rejoicing In The Truth Found In Scripture




ROMANS 8:28-30
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Enjoying the Beauty of God's Creation: Birds







My family and I were blessed to take a vacation and spend some time with friends near Washington D.C. . They live on the Chesapeake Bay. While there I just had to take pictures of these beauties, which caused thoughts about our great God!
O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions (Psalm 104: 24 ).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Enjoying the Beauty of God's Creation: Plant Life








I couldn't help myself, I just had to buy this beauty, which caused thoughts about our great God!


O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions (Psalm 104: 24 ).

Saturday, June 9, 2007

You Forgot Phil Fernandes. . .

Phil Fernandes is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship and the founder and president of the Institute of Biblical Defense. He has earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion from Greenwich University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Liberty University and a Bachelor of Theology from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He is a member of the following professional societies: The Evangelical Theological Society, The Evangelical Philosophical Society and The Society of Christian Philosophers.

Phil preached a sermon at the 2003 AWANA Regional Conference entitled Will the Church Go Through the Tribulation. You can download it from Sermonaudio here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

You Forgot Millard Erickson...


Yes, I forgot to add Millard Erickson. But, where does one stop? Millard Erickson's massive 1300 page Christian Theology was a standard text book in many SBC colleges and seminaries for years. In his section on last things, he closes the chapter with statments that identitfy his position. He states, "When all considerations are evaluated, there are several reasons why the posttribulational position emerges as the more proable. . ." and "the general tenor of biblical teaching fits better the posttribulational view." The last sentence of this chapter is, "But all in all, the preponderance of evidence favors posttribulationsim." (p.1224)

Millard Erickson, Ph.D.Distinguished Professor of Theology Ph.D. Northwestern University. Dr. Erickson is Distinguished Professor of Theology at Western Seminary, and the author of the widely acclaimed systematics work Christian Theology along with more than 20 other books. He was professor of theology and academic dean at Bethel Seminary for many years.
Presidential Fellow, Western, 1998-2001, Adjunct Professor, 2001-2004

Monday, June 4, 2007

On the Fringe?

One pastor told me in defense of his pretribulational view that, “Only those who are on the fringe hold to the posttrib view.” Lahaye, in his book, Rapture Under Attack, writes, “Dr. Walvoord, now in his eighties, has been a Bible scholar more than fifty years and personally knows most of the living scholars on this subject. He warns that, ‘It is not uncommon for scholars who defect from a pre-trib position in favor of the post-trib view to also defect in their doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture.’ ” [1] Is this true? No. If it is, show the proof. One could respond with a statement that those who hold to the pretrib view do not take the Bible seriously. These types of statements are absurd and uncalled for and therefore must be rebutted.

The following list is not used in my case as an “appeal to authority.” However, the argument tries to discredit the posttribulational view by stating that there are only a few fringe believers who hold to such a theory. This is simply not true. Below is a list of those that hold to a posttribulation view. One should notice that these men are not on the fringe. They are all committed to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith and have given their lives to minister in Jesus’ name (some have departed to be with the Lord).


Wayne Grudem , B.A., Harvard University; M.Div. Westminster Theological Seminary; Ph.D., University of Cambridge. He is presently Research Professor of Theology and Bible Phoenix Seminary. He taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for twenty years. He has written more than 60 articles for both popular and academic journals, and his books include: Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, and The First Epistle of Peter (TNTC). He has also coedited Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A response to Evangelical Feminism and edited Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?: Four Views.[3]

In Grudem’s Systematic Theology he argues more for the posttribulational view than any other view (see pp. 1131-1135).

Robert H. Gundry, PH.D. New Testament Studies Manchester University, 1961. He has been professor of New Testament and Greek, Westmont College, from 1962 to the present. He is also Adjunct Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1993.

His works include: First the Antichrist, Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross, A Survey of the New Testament (used in many colleges and seminaries), Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art, The Church and the Tribulation. He has also authored numerous articles and book reviews on New Testament studies.[4]


















George Eldon Ladd was an ordained Baptist minister. He is most widely remembered today as a respected theologian. His theological writings have continued to have a wide influence in Christendom. He was the Professor of New Testament exegesis and theology at Fuller Theological Seminary from 1950 onward. His earlier education was at Gordon College and Gordon Divinity School (B.D.). Ladd also earned the Ph.D. degree from Harvard University, and did postdoctoral study at both Basel and Heidelberg Universities. In his capacity as a Baptist minister, Dr. Ladd served numerous churches of his denomination. At Gordon College from1942 to 1945 he was Professor of Greek, and from 1946 to 1950 was head of the department of New Testament at Gordon Divinity School.[5]

Ladd’s works include: Introduction To The Book Of Revelation, Questions about the Kingdom of God, The Blessed Hope, The Gospel of the Kingdom, Jesus Christ and History, Jesus and the Kingdom, The Pattern of New Testament Truth, A Commentary On The Revelation Of John, A Theology of the New Testament, I Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, The Last Things (An Eschatology For Laymen), The Presence of the Future and The Eschatology of Biblical Realism.


















Harold Lindsell
The following biography is from Billy Graham Center-Archives: Papers of Harold Lindsell.
Harold Lindsell was born in New York City on December 22, 1913, to Leonard Anthony and Ella Briggs (Harris) Lindsell. He received his grammar school and secondary education in the New York City public school system. His three earned degrees were all in history: B.S., Wheaton College (summa cum laude), 1938; A.M., University of California, Berkeley, 1939; and Ph.D., New York University, 1942. Some of his graduate work was taken at Harvard University. He was awarded a Doctor of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1964.

Raised in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., Lindsell became a Christian in 1925. Through his own study, he concluded that his personal beliefs were more in keeping with the Baptist tradition, and he was ordained to the pastorate by the First Baptist Church (Southern Baptist Convention), Columbia, S.C., in 1944. While he never actively served as a pastor to any one congregation, he frequently preached at worship services of many denominations.
In 1942, Lindsell became a professor of church history and missions at Columbia Bible College, Columbia, S.C., where he also served as registrar. In 1944 he moved to Chicago to take a similar position at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1947 to 1964, Lindsell taught at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he was a professor of missions, Dean of the Faculty, and Vice President. He left Fuller to become the Associate Editor of Christianity Today, a position he held from 1964 to 1967. He was a professor of Bible at Wheaton College, 1967-68, and returned to Christianity Today as Editor from 1968 until his retirement in 1978.
Lindsell served as director of the Baptist Faith and Message Fellowship, Inc., and was a member of several professional organizations, including the American Historical Association, American Society of Church History, American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, National Association of Evangelicals, and the Evangelical Theological Society. He was a trustee for Wheaton College, Westmont College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Luther Rice Seminary, and Outreach, Inc. He was a friend and advisor of Billy Graham's from almost the start of the latter's ministry.
His first book, a novel, Abundantly Above, was published in 1944. The years that followed saw the publication of nearly twenty books which he either authored, co-authored or edited. Included, among others, were A Christian Philosophy of Missions (1949, revised 1970); Park Street Prophet, a biography of Harold John Ockenga (1951); Missionary Principles and Practice (1955); Harper Study Bible (1963); Christianity and the Cults (1963); The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1973); The Battle for the Bible (1976) and its sequel The Bible in the Balance (1979); The Gathering Storm, concerning the second coming of Christ (1981); the Lindsell Study Bible (1981); Free Enterprise: A Judeo-Christian Defense (1982); The Holy Spirit in the Later Days (1983); and The New Paganism (1987). His book The Battle for the Bible, in which he defended Scriptural inerrancy against evangelicals whom he claimed were turning from a literal interpretation of the Bible, sparked considerable controversy in the evangelical community, and it was partially from this controversy that the sequel was written. Lindsell also authored numerous magazine and journal articles.[6]



Lindsell’s candor is of the spirit that I am most comfortable with as he states, “I personally would like very much to hold to pretribulationism with dogmatic certainty. But the data, in my opinion, seems to lean more in the direction of the posttribulation position.”[7]

Lindsell believed in the inerrancy of Scripture and held to the posttribulational view because of the weight of the Biblical data.






Leon Morris taught at Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia, for twenty-nine years, retiring as principal in 1979. He is a prolific writer, with more than twenty-five books to his credit. His works include The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross (1955), The Gospel According to John (The New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1971), and Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (1993). One only needs to read his comments on the following verses 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-11; 2 Thess. 1:6-10; and 2:3-12 in his commentary of 1 & 2 Thessalonians to see that he does not hold to the pretrib position.

Douglas J. Moo (St. Andrews Ph.D.) is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, the Institute for Biblical Research, the Chicago Society for Biblical Research, and the Society of Biblical Literature.

He is the author of the following commentaries: The Epistle of James (Tyndale New Testament Commentary), Romans 1-8 (Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary), A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (New International Commentary on the New Testament), 2 Peter, Jude (NIV Application Commentary), The Epistle of James (Pillar Commentary), Romans (NIV Application Commentary).[8]

Moo defends the posttribulation view in the book, Three Views of the Rapture: Pre; Mid; Or Post-Tribulation (co-author with R. Reiter, G. Archer, and P. Feinberg). Other scholars defend their own position in this book.




From the Publisher: Three Trinity Evangelical Divinity School professors present their premillennnialist views on when the rapture will occur - before, during, or after the tribulation. Paul D. Feinberg argues the pre-tribulation position. Gleason L. Archer presents the mid-tribulation position. Douglas J. Moo holds the post-tribulation view. Richard Reiter gives a historical overview.



John Piper[9] has been senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 1980. He holds degrees from Wheaton College (B. A.), Fuller Seminary (B. D.), and the University of Munich (Dr. Theol). He is a nationally recognized speaker and writer, and is author of over a dozen books, including Desiring God, Future Grace, The Pleasures of God, Let the Nations Be Glad!, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, The Dangerous Duty of Delight, A Godward Life, A Hunger for God, The Innkeeper, The Legacy of Sovereign Joy, The Hidden Smile of God, The Justification of God, The Supremacy of God in Preaching and was a contributor and co-editor of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
The following is an excerpt from John Piper’s sermon on 2 Thess. 2:1-12 that he preached August 30, l987.

Tonight I hope to take this issue up in more detail. But for now let me just show you one of several arguments from 2 Thessalonians why I cannot follow this interpretation as much as I love and respect those who do. Why am I a post-tribulationist, that is, why do I look forward with great anticipation not to a sudden departure from the world for seven years but to a great gathering to meet the Lord in the air as he comes with his mighty angels in flaming fire to establish his earthly kingdom, giving rest to his people and judgment to his enemies?[10]
Piper closes his sermon with these words, “My own conviction is that I would dishonor the word of God and do you a great disservice if I did not equip you as best I can from this text to recognize the man of lawlessness should he appear in your life-time.”[11]



[1] Lahaye, Rapture Under Attack, 12-13.
[3] Http://www.phoenixseminary.edu/_faculty/WayneG.htm
[4]Gundry’s full biography is available at: http://www.westmont.edu/
[5]From a tribute to Dr. George Eldon Ladd by Rev. Robert C. Gillette ( revgillette@aol.com ) available: http://members.tripod.com/~network7/Ladd.html [used with permission].
[6]Billy Graham Center-Archives: Papers of Harold Lindsell [on-line] ; accessed April 2003; available from http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/GUIDES/192.htm
[7] Harold Lindsell, The Gathering Storm: World Events & the Return of Christ (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1981 - 4th printing).
[8]Moo’s biography can be read online; accessed April 2003; available from http://www.wheaton.edu/Theology/Moo/publications.htm
[9] A friend asked my wife if I held to the posttribulation rapture because it was John Piper’s view. Honestly I had no idea what view Piper held and thought maybe that he had never touched on the topic at all. I checked out Piper’s sermons from the search engine at www.desiringgod.org and discovered that he was holding to the posttribulational view.
[10] Desiring God Ministries [on-line] ; accessed April 2003; available from http://www.soundofgrace.com/piper87/jp870033.htm
[11]Ibid