Thursday, 30 June 2016

Is Christianity a Religion of War?

My previous post dealt with the uniqueness of Christianity. One of its unique attributes is that we believers aren't called to fight on behalf of our deity.

The people in this world should be extremely grateful that Christ forbad taking up the sword by his disciples to defend him. Read Luke 22:49-51 for the context of my assertion. Had this not been so, this world would be a much bloodier place if he commanded us to smite the necks of "unbelieving infidels."

Jesus said in Matthew 5:38-40 (KJV), "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also."

Since vengeance belongs to the Lord God Almighty, he will repay the unrepentant wicked people for their hateful deeds. As God said in Deuteronomy 32:35 (KJV), "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste." Therefore, it isn't the Christian's duty to attack evildoers.

One Hindu writer on the Web did bring up the matter of Christ telling his disciples to buy a sword. He erroneously assumed that this made Christianity a violent religion. Luke 22:36 (KJV) reads, "Then said he unto them, 'But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.'"

Examine the context and you'll find that Christ never meant the sword to be literal but the Sword of the Spirit who would soon come to them. Notice too that the previous verse was about the time they were sent out without money and extra clothes. They lacked nothing then but this time they needed to be careful.

It's this uniqueness which I wish to highlight in my upcoming You Think You're Going to Heaven? book. Because of the multitude of evidence proving that Christianity is based in reality, people must heed Christ's commandments and follow him daily.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Is Christianity Unique?

x Among all the belief systems in this world, Christianity is radically different. How so? Below are just a few of its unique features.

In all other religions, the deity or deities must be placated with meritorious works. If enough sacrifices are offered, the one to whom they are presented just might make something good come to the ones who are sacrificing.

In Christianity, Jesus took the wrath of God on himself for all who would surrender their lives to his rule and turn away from disobeying the Lord. No amount of good deeds and sacrifices can atone for our sins. What we read in the Old Testament regarding sacrifices was just a spiritual I O U until the ultimate sacrificial lamb was slain.

Deities in every other belief system are distant and uncaring. Only God Almighty loved the world so much that he gave his beloved son to die for repentant sinners. As a result, we who give ourselves in obedience to the Lord become a gift to the Son from the Father.

Other religions have a multitude of external rules. In Christianity, there are only two laws, both based on love. Jesus himself said in Mark 12:28-31 (KJV), "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, 'Which is the first commandment of all?' And Jesus answered him, 'The first of all the commandments is, "Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:" And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:" this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." There is none other commandment greater than these.'"

I could add other reasons, such as loving one's enemies and not avenging one's injustices on the perpetrators of them, but this post would become too long. Properly practiced, Christianity has greatly benefited the world. That too is a topic I could write at length about.

In my upcoming book, You Think You're Going to Heaven?, I'll deal with these subjects and more. In the meantime, please consider these points I've already made regarding what Christ taught.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Who Do Some Christians Think They Are?

 I've shown in the previous two posts that both predestination and choice are true in the Bible. God chooses to save some and we also have the ability granted by him  to surrender to him. It's a conundrum which our puny minds can't comprehend.

This paradox reminds me of a fly buzzing against a window pane. It can't figure out what's blocking its way, yet it sees the outside world through the glass. We're like that fly when we strive to grasp the unfathomable and infinite mind of God Almighty.

Isaiah 64:8 (KJV) aptly shows our relationship to the Lord. "But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." Therefore, who do people think they are to question his omniscient will?

Jeremiah 18:6 (KJV) is another example of God likening himself to a master potter and we as being mere clay. "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel."

Lest anybody think this is just an Old Testament mandate, look at what Paul wrote in Romans 9:21 (KJV). "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" This, by the way,  is the reason that he favoured Jacob over Esau.

Job sure learned his lesson regarding questioning God's intelligence and wisdom. The final three chapters of the book of Job show how the Lord showed through questions that we mere humans are as nothing compared to the Almighty. Like Paul wrote in Romans 9:20 (KJV), "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"

I likewise learned my lesson regarding judging God's motives, though not in such a dramatic way as Job did. In How I Was Razed, I showed how misinformed I was about the Lord and how he graciously led me to know him as he truly is. Please check out my wondrous testimony memoir at Amazon.


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

We Chose Christ, Didn't We?

My previous post dealt with the fact that God chose people to be saved before time began. Some readers might object that this eliminates our ability to choose to obey or disobey. The reality is that people have the ability to choose but God also predestinated some to be saved.

From the beginning, The Lord let humanity choose to obey or disobey. We see that in Genesis chapter three. Though the Almighty chose the people of Israel as his own, they were also allowed to accept or reject his rulership.

Look at what the Bible says in Joshua 24:15 (KJV). "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

In the New Testament, John the Baptist cried out to Israel in Matthew 3:2 (KJV) "And saying, 'Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" How could they repent and believe if they had no will to do so?

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that people must choose to believe in Christ in Romans 10:14 (KJV). "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"x

Just because we can't understand how we are both chosen and yet being asked to choose to follow Christ, it doesn't mean we can only accept one of those truths. Both predestination and choice are shown throughout God's Word.

In my next post, I'll show how foolish we Christians have been for arguing for either way of salvation.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Who Called Whom?

As I promised in my previous post, I now deal with the thorny issue of predestination. Some Christians believe that it's up to us to call upon Christ for salvation and he doesn't predestinate, choose beforehand, whom he will save. Others believe that we had no part in being chosen by God. I agree with John MacArthur that both are true. The fact that we can't wrap our pea-brain minds around both ideas being simultaneously true doesn't cancel them out.

Consider all the scriptures which state that God called us. Here's but a few of them:

(1 Corinthians 1:2 KJV)  Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

(1 Peter 2:9 KJV)  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

(Jude 1:1 KJV)  Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

(Revelation 19:9 KJV)  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

(2 Timothy 1:9 KJV)  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

It's plain to see that the Lord chose some to be saved. In my next post, I'll show how we are also expected to call upon Christ for salvation. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Is Accepting Christ enough?

In my previous post, I mentioned why religious people have such a hard time accepting the gospel. But is just accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour enough? Many Protestant churches say it is but I disagree. Moreover, Jesus himself disagrees with them.

Christ said in Luke 9:23 (KJV) "And he said to them all, 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.'" Taking up your cross daily means to be ready to die for him at any time. This is no "easy believeism" statement but one of total commitment by us to obey only Christ, no matter what it costs us in this world.

Neither does Jesus accept excuses. One man asked if he could first go and burry a dead family member. In the culture of that day, funerals lasted for days. The Lord replied in Matthew 8:22 KJV), "But Jesus said unto him, 'Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.'" By this, he means those who are spiritually dead should burry their physically dead family members.

Why was Christ so harsh regarding the matter of total commitment? He said in Matthew 10:38 (KJV),  "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." So if you wish to be worthy of your God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, you must follow him with a passion to know him and obey him in all things.

This is one of many points I wish to make with my next book, You Think Your Going to Heaven? People think that merely confessing sins and accepting Christ as if he were some sort of  Cracker Jack prize is enough to get them out of hell. The Bible shows in many passages that our lives MUST be wholly given over to Jesus, no exceptions permitted.

In my next post, I'll deal with the matter of election and people's attitudes toward this thorny issue.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Why Do Religious People Resist Truth?

What I wrote in my previous post often gets Christians of the charismatic persuasion upset. Why does this happen? In a word: pride.

We can see this pride in the Pharisees when Jesus spoke to them. A splendid example is the eighth chapter of John's gospel. In verses three to nine, we can see the hostility and intellectual malice toward Jesus.

"Now the scribes and Pharisees came, with a woman who had been taken in the act of sinning against the married relation; And putting her forward, they said to him, 'Master, this woman has been taken in the very act of sinning against the married relation. Now in the law Moses gave directions that such women were to be stoned; what do you say about it?' They said this, testing him, so that they might have something against him. But Jesus, with his head bent down, made letters on the floor with his finger. But when they went on with their questions, he got up and said to them, 'Let him among you who is without sin be the first to send a stone at her.' And again, with bent head, he made letters on the floor. And when his words came to their ears, they went out one by one, starting with the oldest even to the last, because they were conscious of what was in their hearts: and Jesus was there by himself with the woman before him."

Since the Pharisees  failed intellectually to defeat Christ, they scoffed at his claims to be divine. In John 8:13, the Pharisees accused Jesus of giving false witness. They thought he was lying.

When Jesus said in verse twenty-one that he was going to a place where they couldn't come, they mocked him by asking if he was going to kill himself. Their hatred was so strong that they couldn't grasp what he really meant.

As Christ explained his relationship with his heavenly Father , the religious leaders who didn't believe him became increasingly abusive. When Jesus told them that they were of their father the Devil in verse forty-four, Their argument became even hotter. Being called the sons of Satan was a huge insult to them, though it was true.

The final reaction to Christ's truth was a desire in the Pharisees to kill him right on the spot. Verses fifty-six to fifty-nine showed how Christ's use of God's holy name, I AM, made the Pharisees lose their tempers. They wanted to stone him for blasphemy because he made himself equal to God Almighty.

This progression of rising rage on the part of religious people happens all the time to those of us who dare speak God's truth. No matter how nicely we talk, people will still be offended by our words. Even Christians become filled with unholy wrath when their pet ideas are challenged. Rather than agreeing to disagree agreeably, religious people soon show their true selves in the light of God's Word.

My next book, You Think You're Going to Heaven? will certainly stir up anger  but I expect that reaction. Pride is what took Satan down and it'll take mere mortals down all the quicker. Even so, I feel compelled to warn readers not to make the wrong choice and go to hell.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

What Does the Bible Mean By "Last Days?"

Many of the folks I wrote about in my previous posts assume that the Bible's mention of "last days" means our epoch. Thanks to a man named John Nelson Darby, they assume that The Revelation of John the Divine was written for modern people and not to the seven churches in Asia as plainly stated in chapter one.

But what does "last days" or similar phrases mean?  Revelation 1:1 (KJV) gives this answer. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must SHORTLY come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:" Some folks believe that "shortly" means two thousand years after. How can that be so when the letter was written TO those seven churches?

And how could those people living back then know who the beast John wrote about would be if he is yet to come? Revelation 13:18 (KJV) states, "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." The Jews and Greeks had a system of corresponding letters and numbers. Emperor Nero's name fit both systems perfectly. Nobody could have guessed the name of a twenty-first century beast but they certainly knew of Nero.

I could cite many other proofs of this being a book for first-century Christians in what is now Turkey but I won't this time. Remember that the various books of the Bible were written to the people to whom they were delivered, not us. Paul wrote that the scriptures were written FOR our learning (Romans 15:4 KJV). Furthermore, the same applies to all twenty-seven New Testament books.

Thanks to humble Bible scholars, I know how to read the Word of God. I wrote about this in a book called How I Was Razed. Read more about this wondrous testimony of God's providence at Amazon.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

What's the Real Purpose of Pentecost?

Because I was writing to a theme last month, I didn't write about Pentecost which some Christians celebrated on May fourteenth. I'm mentioning it now because it lines up with my next book's theme of who goes to heaven.

As you can read in Acts chapter two, the Holy Spirit was given to all who believed, and still believe, in Christ. He spoke through the disciples in real languages which attendees of the feast could understand. It was a kind of reversal of the tower of Babel incident where people heard preaching in their native language.

Doctor Steve Wells, pastor of South Main Baptist church in Houston, Texas, made a point in his Pentecost Sunday sermon which I hadn't realized before. Though Jesus appeared to those "lost sheep of Israel," the third member of the Trinity came to dwell in all who would put their trust in Christ. We wandered from God but he came to us through the Holy Spirit.

Sadly, many Christians get hung up on the miracles of tongues of fire and speaking in tongues. They forget about the miracle of the Holy Spirit coming into them and believe that he is just there to make them jabber in a supposedly heavenly language.

The reason people hold to this misguided doctrine is because they misread what the Apostle Paul wrote. Romans 8:26 (KJV) reads, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." If those words can't be uttered by us, how then can the Holy Spirit speak them through our mouths?

As John MacArthur pointed out in his Strange Fire series, the jabbering done by Charismatics is mere gibberish and not real speech. What the Holy Spirit does for us is express the longing to the other two members of the Trinity for the new heavens and Earth which God promised.

I used to believe the nonsense which various charismatic sects taught. Now I know that modern day speaking in tongues is bogus. You can read how I was fooled and then helped to see the light in How I Was Razed. Read more about my memoir at Amazon.