Monday, 29 January 2018

Did the Seven Early Church Councils Make up Doctrine?

This is an easy question to answer. The councils were to affirm, not invent, doctrine.

One example of these doctrinal councils happened at Nicea in 325 A.D. The various church representatives came together to discuss the deity of Christ. Using the scriptures, they showed that Jesus was both human and divine. Some heretics had claimed that Christ couldn't be human while others were insisting he couldn't be divine.

These delegates also affirmed the twenty-seven canonical books.wich we have in the New Testament. The importance of this is that we can depend on those books to be the product of the Holy Spirit and not of mere human invention.

Look at what  2 Peter 1:20-21 (KJV) says. "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

Not only prophecy but the entire Bible is from God Almighty. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16 (BBE) that,  "Every holy Writing which comes from God is of profit for teaching, for training, for guiding, for education in righteousness:" Some translations use "God-breathed" to describe the origin of the scriptures.

Furthermore, the scriptures are provided to strengthen our trust in Christ. Look at what 1 John 5:13 (KJV) says. "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

We can trust that these words came from God through various authors by the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:3 (KJV) reads, "To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:"

I'll be writing more about the infallibility of Holy Scripture in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Eternity is thee most important matter we must ponder. Neither do we have an opportunity to change destinations after death so it's vital we get it right while we're here.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Saturday Song, Soundgarden, "Black Hole Sun"

What a strange song this is. Even so, I enjoyed it back in January of 1996 when it was on the radio.  It was the emotion and the contrast between the verses and the chorus which hooked me on the song.

Listen to the song here.

But we don't need a black hole sun to take our tears away when we have our hope in Christ.  Jesus promised in John 16:24 (KJV), "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."

He also promised in John 15:11 (KJV) that, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."

We also have a comforting promise when we suffer for the Lord's sake in Isaiah 66:5 (KJV) which says, "Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed."

So, what do you think of the song and this post? Please let me know in the box below. But if you don't feel like commenting, have a lovely weekend anyway.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Must Believers Speak in Tongues after baptism?

Pentecostal and charismatic denominations are inordinately fixated on the gift of speaking in tongues. Those immature believers  have become so exercised by the tongues of fire on the apostles' heads and their speaking in different languages that they miss the much greater miracle of three-thousand people coming to faith in the Messiah.

So, must newly-baptized people always "manifest" the gift of speaking in tongues? I find only one mention in Scripture which says they did. Acts 19:6 (KJV), after some believers were baptized, relates, "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."

But Acts 10:42 shows that some spoke in tongues before they were baptized. That incident certainly contradicts the Pentecostal notion of tongues always "manifesting" in the baptismal tank.

The word "tongues" actually means languages. Acts 2:7-11 (BBE) shows that these were actual languages which the apostles spoke. "And they were full of wonder and said, 'Are not all these men Galilaeans? And how is it that every one of us is hearing their words in the language which was ours from our birth? Men of Parthia, Media, and Elam, and those living in Mesopotamia, in Judaea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, In Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and those who have come from Rome, Jews by birth and others who have become Jews, Men of Crete and Arabia, to all of us they are talking in our different languages, of the great works of God.'"

Since it's painfully obvious that nobody today speaks in human languages which they had never learned, Pentecostals claim that the jabbering they do is an angelic language. They get this notion from 1 Corinthians 13:1 (KJV) which says, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."

Paul was using hyperbole to show that deeds without godly love are worthless. And why would angels need different tongues, a.k.a. languages, in the first place? We have our own variety due to the tower of Babel but they never had that happen in heaven.

I could write so much more on this subject but I'll save that for my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Performing signs and wonders doesn't prove one's salvation. Most folks just can't understand that we are only saved by grace through faith in Jesus alone.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Must Former Jesus Only Adherents be Rebaptized?

To answer this question, I need to explain that baptism was a public acknowledgement of one's commitment to follow Christ. The first-century Christians risked their lives doing this because they were willing to follow the Lord no matter what it cost. Even today, being baptized is a death sentence for Christ's followers in most lands.

When we are baptized, we don't risk our lives here in North America. Even so, the "Jesus Only" folks believe you're not saved fully if you're baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Is this really true? And must people "manifest" the Spirit through speaking in tongues as well?

There's only one time in the Bible where people were rebaptized. In The Acts of The Apostles, Paul encountered some folks who knew only about the Baptism which John did. Acts 19:4 (BBE) says, "And Paul said, 'John gave a baptism which goes with a change of heart, saying to the people that they were to have faith in him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.'"

But this doesn't prove that we must be baptized only in Christ's name as these Pentecostal offshoots claim. Jesus himself said in Matthew 28:19 (KJV) to, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" That alone should make "Jesus Only" adherents pause and think.

So, should people joining a new church be rebaptized? I believe it's a matter of conscience. If the person meant their decision to follow the Master, they don't need to be rebaptized. But if they were christened or baptized without desiring to surrender their wills to the Lord, they should submit to believer's baptism.

Though I was baptized at a cultic house church on December 6th, 1971, I meant it. I also made my commitment to follow Christ a few years previously. And though I didn't "manifest" tongues, I feel I made my public statement in being lowered beneath the water's surface and rising out of it.

This, and other spiritual matters, will be explained in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Too many people falsely assume they're going there. They need to know the peril they face by not entering through the door of Christ's atonement on the cross.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Saturday Song: The Human League, "The Things That Dreams Are Made Of"

This song was one of many which I used to psych myself up when I was an Amway Distributor. Whenever people rejected my offer to join, I would take out the cassette with all my motivational songs on it and listen to each song.

But dreams don't always come true, as I discovered the hard way. Only two of my dreams came to pass. I have my own house and I visited an electronic music aficionado in Moscow, Russia. I never thought I'd set foot in Red Square but here's a photo of me there in January of 1997.

Click here to listen to the song.

Though we don't get everything we want, God does give us those things which will benefit us spiritually and temporally. Psalm 37:4 (KJV) explains, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

If we love the Lord, we'll automatically ask for things which will glorify him and help others. We know that he provides us our daily bread and he wants the best for us. So when we pray for him to be glorified and others to become citizens in Christ's kingdom, we naturally ask for only beneficial things.

Well, what do you think of this song and what I wrote? Please leave a comment. But if you can't or don't want to, have a nice weekend anyway.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Is the Jesus Only Doctrine Dangerous?

Believing that Jesus is God isn't wrong but believing that he's a manifestation of God is. First off, it denies the obvious truth revealed by the Holy Spirit to the prophets and apostles. Ascribing falsehoods to the Holy Spirit is blasphemy and God takes that sin most seriously.

As I pointed out before, inventing wrong doctrine is a matter of spiritual pride. Even false humility is a form of pride. Colossians 2:18 (BBE) explains,  Let no man take your reward from you by consciously making little of himself and giving worship to angels; having his thoughts fixed on the things which he has seen, being foolishly lifted up in his natural mind,

I've seen the tendency of losing focus on the gospel happen in many offshoots of Pentecostalism. People become so fixated on signs and wonders that they forget about preaching the gospel. I personally have been in such services where phoney spiritual gifts were elevated while Christ barely got a mention. Those folks only spoke his precious name when they were ending a prayer. They said it as if saying it made the prayer sealed and powerful.

God wants people to repent of their sins and believe in Christ. But these folks who only seek signs and wonders neglect that important command. Hebrews 6:6 (KJV) warns unrepentant believers that, "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."

What God seeks is our genuine remorse for rebelling against him and our willingness to surrender our lives to Christ. As we read in Luke 15:7 (KJV), "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."

Sadly, some people think they're just when they actually aren't. That's why I'm working on a book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Like horses, we need to be broken in order for Jesus to fix us for his good work.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Why is the Jesus Only Movement Wrong?

Though God is one, as many scriptures attest, we can easily see how errant the "Jesus Only" doctrine is through the scriptures. Even in the Old Testament, as I pointed out earlier, we read where the Ancient of Days met the Son of Man. Jesus also took on that title to show that it referred to him in his incarnation.

One case of him adopting that title is in Matthew 9:6 (KJV) which reads, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house." Christ said this to Pharisees who condemned him for blasphemy.

Another point against Modalism and the "Jesus Only" folks is that Christ kept telling his disciples  to pray to the Father. Look at what John 14:16 (KJV) says. "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;" What? Was Jesus praying to himself?

Furthermore, Jesus would have been a ventriloquist, and a really good one, if the following verse meant Jesus and God were the same person. John 12:28 (KJV) records him as saying, "'Father, glorify thy name.' Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, 'I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.'"

The best proof of the Trinity is recorded at Christ's baptism. Matthew 3:16 (BBE) says, "And Jesus, having been given baptism, straight away went up from the water; and, the heavens opening, he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him as a dove; And a voice came out of heaven, saying, 'This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'"

I could write so much more on this subject but I'll save it for my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Many people think their denominational affiliation will save them. But the scriptures show that it's by faith we are saved and no human works can atone for sins.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Saturday Song: The Beatles, "There's a Place"

This was one of many songs I heard while I was in Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind. We had no privacy in the dorm so I often wandered off alone outside. A lovely forest behind the school grew wild and I often resorted there to get away from other boys. Being alone gave me some measure of comfort. In fact, I felt more lonely with those supervisors and children.

Hear this song here.

We who trust in Christ are never alone. As Jesus instructed and promised his disciples in Matthew 28:20 (KJV), "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

We also have the Holy Spirit who will never leave us. Jesus promised in John 14:16 (KJV), "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;"

We also have the promise of Christ's return in John 14:3 (KJV) which says, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

So, what do you think of this song and what I wrote? Please leave me a comment. But if you'd rather not, I hope you have a wonderful weekend anyway.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

What is the Jesus Only Movement?

I've mentioned before that the "Jesus Only" movement is the modalistic belief that God isn't one WHAT and three WHOs but one who appears in three different forms throughout history.

Believers in the "Jesus Only" doctrine also claim that he and he only is the one we should worship since he's a manifestation of God. Furthermore, they use all those Old Testament scriptures declaring that God is the one and only deity to bolster their case.

The "Jesus Only" folks are right that verses like Deuteronomy 4:35 (KJV) plainly state, "Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him."

We likewise read in 1 Kings 8:60 (KJV) that God does what he does so, "That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else."

Furthermore, Isaiah 45:22 (KJV) shows that God is a saviour of humanity. "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."

It's no wonder then that "Jesus Only" proponents claim that Jesus is God and there are no other members of the Trinity. They even believe that the Holy Spirit is a mere force emanating from God. And as I've mentioned before, their pride prevents them from even imagining that they could be wrong.

For this and other reasons, I hope to finish my book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? My hope is that I can reach those individuals who are actually searching for the truth rather than gainsaying God's message.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Why Is Modalism Dangerous?

Now that I've explained why Modalism is wrong, I need to warn every one about its dangers. These people who hold to it concentrate on external issues while taking the focus away from the renewal of people's hearts and minds. Since sanctification is the goal of every believer, thwarting the Holy Spirit's work in us is sinful. That's what Modalism does.

Many of these Pentecostal offshoots stress clean living to the point that it becomes an external measurement of holiness. Because some churches insist that congregants come dressed in only their finest clothes, people end up judging others who might not own fine garments.

I know this from personal experience. When I attended that aberrant house church, I was constantly chided for having long hair, wearing jeans and T shirts, and similar external actions. I was their most faithful attendee but the elders still got on my case about these supposed lapses in holiness.

We can see the utter stupidity of legalism exposed in the Apostle Paul's letters. Colossians 2:20-23 (BBE) says, "If you were made free, by your death with Christ, from the rules of the world, why do you put yourselves under the authority of orders Which say there may be no touching, tasting, or taking in your hands, (Rules which are all to come to an end with their use) after the orders and teaching of men? These things seem to have a sort of wisdom in self-ordered worship and making little of oneself, and being cruel to the body, not honouring it by giving it its natural use."

And as he wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:12 (KJV), "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."

As the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:5 (KJV), "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."

The worst thing about legalism is that it makes people proud. They feel that the rest of the churches are wrong or immature so they take pride in their doctrines. James 4:10 (KJV) says, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."

We know from a multitude of scriptures that it's pride which sends people to hell. The most blatant case of spiritual arrogance is seen in the Pharisees but it also happens today in people who feel they're good enough to go to heaven. That's why I want to write my book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Maybe God will use it to steer folks away from prideful self-reliance.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Saturday Song: Telex, "We Are All Getting Old"

I discovered this group's records in the delete bin at a local record store back in 1988. Costing only a dollar each, I figured I couldn't lose much. When I played both disks, I fell in love with the band's electronic music.

Hear this song here.

It certainly is true that we are all getting old. We feel it in our muscles and bones as we age. Even so, God is eternal.

As the Bible says in Isaiah 51:6 (KJV)  "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished."

Though we die physically, we who have our trust in Christ's work of atonement still have hope. As 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (KJV) reminds us, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:"

Even the Old Testament saints knew they would be resurrected to new life someday. Job 19:26 (KJV) says, "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:"

So, what do you think of this song and what I wrote? Please comment below. But if you don't want to or the site won't let you write anything, have a wonderful weekend anyway.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Why Is Modalism Wrong?

Now that you know what Modalism is, here's why it's biblically incorrect. God has revealed himself in three distinct and eternally-existent persons. In many scripture passages, we see all three interacting, an impossible and ridiculous feat if God only was one but revealing himself in three different historical ways.

Modalists take their notions from the King James Version of the Bible. Though it's a well-respected translation, the translators didn't have the wealth of scripture fragments which we have today. Consequently, Modalists mistakenly assume that their doctrines are true.

Oneness folks use Acts 2:38 as their major proof text. "Then Peter said unto them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.'" Thus, they assume only Jesus' name must be used in baptism.

Modalists also quote all the verses in the Old Testament where God says he's it and there's none else. What those folks forget is that many verses have God and the Son together. Daniel 7:13 (KJV) says, "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him." How could the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man be in the same scene together?

Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of Man. We see that perfectly in Matthew 16:13 (KJV). "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, 'Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?'"

Furthermore, we see all three members of the Trinity present at Christ's baptism. Luke 3:22 (KJV) says, "And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." Unless God used stand-ins, this couldn't happen with a modalist deity.

I could provide many more explanations and scriptures which prove the utter impossibility of Modalism but I'll save those for my next book. We must have a proper understanding of the Trinity in order to realize the love between three distinct beings in the Godhead. Otherwise, we would worship  a deity who talks to himself and is a narcissist. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Monday, 1 January 2018

What is Modalism?

This month, I want to examine churches which aren't exactly cults but have aberrant teachings which send people to hell. Though denominations differ on secondary doctrines, such as when Christ will return, the primary tenets are what determine somebody's eternal destiny.

Modalism is a doctrine held by assorted Pentecostal groups. Often called Oneness Pentecostals or Jesus Only, they deny the traditional understanding of the Holy Trinity. Adherents claim that God revealed himself as Jehovah in the Old Testament. Then he became Jesus in the gospels. Finally, he became the Holy Spirit after the resurrection. Some denominations don't believe that the Holy Spirit is a person but a force sent out from God.

This isn't a recently-discovered doctrine but an ancient heresy from the second century. Modalism, also called Sabellianism, was popular among Gnostic sects who felt that the flesh was evil and that only the spirit was pure.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Churches which began practicing speaking in tongues also became convinced that there was one God who manifested himself in three periods of time. Emphasis on repentance and following Christ became secondary as these people strove to get spiritual gifts and perform miracles.

Some denominations even believe that Christians weren't fully saved unless they spoke in tongues. This, they claimed, would happen to believers when they were baptized in Jesus' name. Saying "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," disqualified that baptism, according to the beliefs of certain charismatic sects.

In subsequent posts, I'll mention the scriptures these Oneness people twisted and why the doctrine of the Trinity is true. As I learned from being in a Pentecostal offshoot cult, these beliefs were accepted because of human pride and not because of any new revelation from God.

This subject and many others regarding eternity will be part of my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? This is thee most important decision each one needs to make. Will we obey God or will we decide we know better than him? That's what determines where we'll spend eternity.