Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Bible

ESV Thompson Chain Reference Bible

I have pre-ordered my copy of the ESV Thompson Chain Reference Bible from CBD.  I am excited about this Bible.  The Thompson Chain Reference Bible has been a favorite of mine for many years.  I currently own two NIV copies, an NASB, and a KJV.  I have longed for the Thompson Chain Reference Bible to come out in the ESV but always feared they would not but thank God they have and it comes out September 19, 2016 according to CBD.

You can see the page here but no information has been given yet on the CBD site.  I will publish a review of the Bible when I receive mine.

Glory to the King!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/03/2016 at 8:56 PM

Making Sense of the Bible (But Not Really)

Adam Hamilton published a book called Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today.  The book is written by Hamilton who pastors one of the largest mainline United Methodist churches in the world, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.  Many mainline churches look to Hamilton for leadership as they face mass losses of people leaving their churches.  Hamilton comes across, at times, much like an evangelical while holding to his mainline theology.  This has led pastors of United Methodists to flock to hear Hamilton speak because they see in him a hope for mainline churches.

I have an old friend who pastors a mainline United Methodist church.  He is liberal.  He wasn’t always that way and comes from a strong Wesleyan family who holds to conservative theology.  He himself turned apostate years ago for sin (in this case, an immoral relationship with a woman).  From there he had a “conversion” back to Christ after 9/11/2001 but decided to attend the very liberal Chandler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  This led to his complete rejection of what he saw as “fundamentalism” and embraced mainline theology (liberalism).  Hamilton became his hero.  My friend viewed Hamilton as he viewed Rob Bell or other liberals.  He found in Hamilton though an evangelical passion that he missed but was not willing to return to.  My friend loved that Hamilton preached from the Bible and preached the Bible as if he actually believed it but my friend knew that Hamilton rejected the Bible.

Now let me state here that Hamilton probably would not say that he rejects the Bible.  He would state that he rejects the “fundamentalist” view of the Bible.  For example, in this book Hamilton builds a case for the Bible while trying to argue that the Bible is not the “inerrant and infallible Word of God.”  Hamilton holds that the Bible is only faithful as it relates to salvation.  So where the Bible disagrees with modern science (Genesis 1-2) or where the Bible disagrees with modern culture (homosexuality, genocide, slavery, women) then we reject the Bible.  God allowed the human beings who wrote the Bible to record these events as if God did them but He did not.  When it comes to Darwinian evolution for example, Hamilton holds that the Bible is wrong about creation in Genesis 1-2 and he holds that the writer of Genesis 1-2 (whoever that may be) is not writing science but allegory.  Modern science (in Hamilton’s worldview) has proven evolution and the Bible is just wrong about creation.  Hamilton goes on to write that there are countless errors in the Bible and even fundamentalist know this.  He points to the various resurrection accounts as proof of this.

Yet Hamilton wants to have his cake and eat it too.  After all, Karl Barth saw what happened in Europe when liberalism won the day.  He saw the mainline churches dying, the world turning toward evil and the rise of Nazi Germany out of the ashes of liberal theology.  Barth wanted to save the Bible while rejecting the Bible.  Hamilton wants that as well.  He wants to hold to the good stories in the Bible, the morals that it teaches (especially about peace and love) while rejecting much of the Bible.  He wants to preach the Bible as if its true while holding that it is not.  So while trying to tear up the “fundamentalist” views of the Bible, he wants his own liberal friends to still read the Bible and respect the Bible though don’t take it too serious.

There are so many holes in Hamilton’s views.  First, Hamilton fails to deal with Jesus’ view of the Bible.  What view did Jesus have?  Liberals love Jesus but they love the Jesus they have created in their own images.  They want a “hippy” Jesus who loves everyone, is all about peace and love, and wants nothing more than for people to find purpose and happiness in life.  They want to reject the Jesus who affirms the authority of the Bible.  Hamilton never points out that Jesus said His Words were true (John 17:17) and His Word cannot be broken (John 10:35).  Hamilton never points out that Jesus affirmed that God created all things including Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4-5).  Hamilton never points out that many of the stories that Hamilton would see as made up such as Jonah and the great fish, Jesus affirmed (Matthew 12:40).  Hamilton never deals with Jesus’ affirmation of the authority of the Bible nor with His affirmation of its timelessness (Matthew 5:17-19 which would include the issues of homosexuality within the law of Moses).

Secondly, the Bible affirms its inerrancy.  Texts such as Psalm 12:6; 18:30; 19:8; 119:140; Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 45:19 affirm this.

I highly recommend Dr. Vic Reasoner’s The Importance of Inerrancy.  He deals with the biblical arguments as well as the Wesleyan historical issue here.

Thirdly, Hamilton places himself as the judge of Scripture.  This happens over and over again not just in Hamilton’s book but with others who reject inerrancy.  How do we decide what is from God and what is from man?  Who knows?  Like others before him, Hamilton can pick and choose what he regards as “Scripture” or not.  In fact, he could reject the entire thing (and many liberals do).  Yet he holds that the Bible is true about salvation.  Why?  Because he believes that this is the bottom line issue for the Bible.  The Bible is not a science book or a history book per se.  It is all about Jesus and His work in saving us.  He applauds those evangelicals who see the inerrancy issue as separate from salvation (in other words, one can be saved while rejecting inerrancy).  He wants his own people to accept what the Bible says about salvation while ignoring what it says about creation or about homosexuality or about slavery.

Yet who is the judge here?  Why accept what John 3:16 says if Genesis 1-2 is wrong?  Why accept what God said in John 5:24-25 if the story of the Exodus is full of errors?  Why even believe in the resurrection of Jesus if in fact the four Gospels record four different views of the resurrection as Hamilton states?  Why should a person accept Hamilton’s view of salvation if the Bible is full of errors?

Hamilton could not say why.  I suppose he would argue that he has experienced salvation (sort of the Karl Barth view of salvation and Scripture) and this makes it true (pragmatism).  But if salvation is not based on a historical truth (in this case the resurrection of Jesus which Hamilton believes in while saying that the Gospels are full of errors), how can we know?

John states that we can know (1 John 5:13).  John states that the resurrection is based on the truth of God’s Word (John 20:31) as does Paul the Apostle (1 Corinthians 15:1-7).  Hamilton would affirm all this while rejecting the inerrancy of the Bible all because it doesn’t equal his worldview.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 states clearly that all Scripture is inspired by God or breathed out by God as the ESV states.  God is truthful (Titus 1:2) in all His ways (Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 33:4; 146:6; Isaiah 65:16; Romans 3:4; Hebrews 6:18).  If Hamilton is wiling to affirm the goodness of God, the truthfulness of God, why reject His Word which 2 Timothy 3:16 states He breathed out by His Spirit?  2 Peter 1:16-21 is clear that Peter did not regard his experience as the foundation for truth but the sure foundation of God’s Word.  I again point to Jesus who said that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17) but Hamilton would say that only some of it is true and that only with regards to salvation.  This is not logical.

In conclusion, Hamilton offers nothing for mainline churches.  Nothing.  He gives the same old answers liberals have always been giving for the Bible.  Keep reading it!  Keep studying it!  But reject it!  Because of pragmatism, Hamilton’s voice is listened to even by some who would say they believe the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  If I could have five minutes with Adam Hamilton I would want to talk about his Bible.  Does he read it?  Does he study it?  Why?  How does he determine what is true in it or not?  How can you trust that God will save you if you can’t trust that He will preserve His Word?

My prayer is that Arminians would reject Hamilton’s views.  Let us remain faithful to the Word of God.  As John Wesley stated about the Bible,

“This is that word of God which remaineth forever: of which, though heaven and earth pass away, one jot or tittle shall not pass away.  The Scripture therefore of the Old and New Testament is a most solid and precious system of Divine truth.  Every part thereof is worthy of God; and all together are one entire body, wherein is no defect, no excess.”  (Wesley, Journal, 24 July 1776)

Dr. John MacArthur is correct when he writes:

The most important lessons we ought to learn from church history seem fairly obvious.  For example, in the two thousand year record of Christianity, no leader, movement, or idea that has questioned the authority or inspiration of Scripture has ever been good for the church.  Congregations, denominations, and evangelical academic institutions that embrace a low view of Scripture invariably liberalize, secularize, move off mission, decline spiritually, and either lose their core membership or morph into some kind of political, social or religious monstrosity.

May that not happen to true disciples of Jesus.  May we embrace the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God the same as our Savior held.  May we be willing to die for its truths.

Needed: Biblical Discernment

Proverbs 2:3-5 (NKJV) reads:

3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

I am convinced that we need a revival of biblical discernment.  How often do I hear sermons, songs, books, movies, etc. that claim to be Christian but lack any sound doctrine?  Sound doctrine is neglected as pragmatism now reigns over the churches.  We truly need a revival of discernment.

We need to question everything and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  How do we learn to discern?  Discernment comes by heeding the Word of God.  We must learn to hide the Word in our hearts so that we have the sword of the spirit to cut through false teachings (Hebrews 4:12).  This comes by faithful reading and studying of the Word of God (Hebrews 5:11-14).  As we hide the Word in our hearts, the Lord gives us the ability to discern based on His truth (John 17:17).

Proverbs 2:3 above states that we are to cry out for discernment and lift our voice for understanding.  John MacArthur writes:

This shows the passionate pleading of one who is desperate to know and apply the truth of God.  The least bit of indifference will leave one bereft of the fullness of wisdom.

I often pray for God to give me discernment according to His Word.  I want to judge all things by the truthfulness of the Word of God (1 John 4:1-2).  God’s Word is perfectly sufficient to provide all we need in hearing from God and learning discernment.  We don’t need the Bible plus an inner voice or plus hearing “the voice of God” by subjective means.  We need to open the Bible, learn the Bible, and through the Bible we get discernment to judge all things.

If this were to take place in the Church of Jesus Christ at large can you imagine what would take place?  “Christian music” would turn from shallow, narcissistic lyrics to sound doctrine.  Sermons also would turn from shallow stories, poor eisgesis, toward sound doctrine with unction.  Evangelism would be focused on the gospel and preaching the truth of the gospel instead of trying to make friends with the world.  The church would turn from its entertainment drive toward truth proclaiming.  Pragmatism would be replaced with sound doctrine and biblical discernment of Bible teachers.  False teachers would be turned away as the Church embraced the sufficient of the Word of God and learned how to rightfully divide the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).

All the things the church is now known for from the love of money to the willingness to accept false teachers who fleece the saints to using worldly entertainment to feed the goats, this would all clear up if biblical discernment were sought after diligently.

Where do we begin?  First, we must pray for discernment (Proverbs 2:3).

Secondly, we must seek discernment from the hidden treasures of God’s Word.  This will in turn lead to a holy fear of the Lord and we will find the knowledge of God.

I want both the fear of the Lord in my life as well as the knowledge of the Lord.  I want to know Him more and more (Philippians 3:7-10).  I know that only in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).  I want to know the Word of God not just to point out false teachings but for the good.  I want to hear from God (John 8:47) and I know that I hear from God when I read and study His Word.  His Word is the voice of God (Hebrews 1:1-3; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  I need no other voice.

Lord give me discernment.

Short Thoughts on the Islamic View of the Bible

I was listening to Dr. James White teaching on Islam and their view of the Bible and his talk got me thinking about the nature of the Islamic view of the Bible and how that plays into their view of Allah’s determinism of all things.  The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is so sovereign that everything that happens whether good or bad happens because Allah wills it so and Allah renders all things certain.  Some have tried to place the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty on the same level as the Muslim view but there are major differences between the two and I will not go there.  Just a cursory reading of the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty reveals that despite their holding to divine determinism, there is a large element of God’s goodness and His love toward His creation including the reprobate (Romans 9:22).

The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is not entirely loving and good.  His nature is not loving.  While Muslims believe that Allah is merciful and compassionate, they hold that Allah is to be known not in a loving sense but in submission (thus Muslims are those who submit to Allah).  The nature of God in Christianity is that God is love (1 John 4:7-8).  God is both holy and loving.  God hates our sins and He will judge our sins but He has also sent His Son to bear our sins on the cross (John 3:16).  This is the hope of the gospel, that Jesus has bore our sins (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:7) and we will be raised to eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).  No doubt sin separates us from our holy God and Creator (Isaiah 59:2; Ephesians 2:1-3) but God has sent His Son for our sins because of His great love for us (Ephesians 2:4-9).

The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is completely other from his creation.  Allah often remains angry with humanity because we fail to obey his laws as he gave to Mohammad in the Quran and mostly in the Hadith.  Allah will judge all of humanity and will judge the Christians harshly for their worship of Jesus Christ (Surah 19:88-98).  Muslims fear the day of judgment .  They fear that Allah will not be merciful toward them even if they have kept his laws and sought to obey the pillars of Islam.  Some Muslims even believe that no person is safe on the day of judgment for Allah may choose to ignore the works of the Muslim and simply choose to send them to hell because of his own sovereign choice.

Now back to my original thought.  Islam holds that Allah not only controls all things but he renders certain all things.  Nothing happens that Allah has not willed so.  Allah is the supreme cause of all things.  The view of God in Islam amounts to fatalism.

Yet Muslims hold that Allah gave the Old Testament (the Torah) to the Jews.  Allah gave the New Testament to the Christians (the Gospels).  Yet they hold that the Jews and Christians corrupted the Scriptures given to them by Allah.  Therefore, Allah in his mercy sent Mohammad 600 years after the New Testament to correct true religion and to bring people back to submission to Allah.  The Quran is seen to be given by Gabriel to Mohammad as the final revelation from Allah (notice that it had to come through the angel because Allah does not deal with mankind).  Muslims then reason backwards that the newer revelation is superior to the older revelation.

Muslims hold that the Bible has been corrupted though they can’t truly point out the corruptions.  They often point to variants in the Greek text such as Mark 16:9-20 or John 8:1-10.  However, Christian scholars acknowledge these variants.  We also acknowledge the textual differences among the Greek family of manuscripts.  By the way, Muslim scholars know that there are variants in the Quran texts as well.  Bear in mind that the Quran was written years after Mohammad had even died.  The key differences here is that the Bible has thousands of manuscripts for it.  The New Testament alone has thousands of Greek texts.  Muslim scholars also now that the variants do not effect any major doctrines in Christianity.

Yet all of this, the variants, the so called corruptions in the Bible, etc. all happened because Allah willed it.  Yet Allah states in the Quran that he will guide and protect his word.  How can this be if Allah allowed the Old and New Testaments to be corrupted?  How can Allah be trusted if he allows this?  And if Allah allows the Bible to be corrupted, how can the Muslim argue that Allah has protected the Quran from error?

On my desk here as I write is a copy of the Quran along with my New American Standard Bible.  The two are not even close when you read them.  As Dr. White pointed out in his talk, just take the book of Acts and read it and notice how Luke emphasizes places, historical people, emperors, etc. while the Quran does little to none of this.  One cannot read say Surah 2 and know for sure when this is or what is happening.  The Quran is not even fun reading.  Meanwhile, the Bible is full of history, poetry, prophecy, etc. that places the Bible and its events in human history with humans interacting with God as the will of God is accomplished mainly the salvation of mankind through the cross (John 1:29).  The Bible has been given to us to reveal God’s final and ultimate revelation of Himself in His Son for His glory and for our salvation (Hebrews 1:1-3).  John 20:31 records that these were written so that we might believe in Jesus and be saved.

The Quran, on the other hand, is not that way at all.  The beauty is not there.  The historical interactions are not there and what few are there are borrowed from the Bible in some form.  Even what is known about Jesus has to come from the Bible (such as His virgin birth which the Quran has to borrow from).  The Quran has to borrow from the Christian worldview (mainly the Scriptures themselves) to establish itself.  The Book of Mormon is similar in this vein where Smith has to borrow from the Bible and then attack the Bible to establish his book above the Bible.

The bottom line is that if Allah is all-powerful and he causes all things then he caused the corruption of the Bible yet he said in the Quran that he gave the Bible and protects his words.  Which is it?  Did Allah protect the Bible or did he fail?  Obviously, if the Bible is true then we have no need for the Quran and Mohammad is a false prophet and false teacher.  This is my view.

Bible Reading 2016

It is that time again to start thinking about reading the Bible in 2016.  This year was a struggle for me in my Bible reading.  I confess that to you and to the Lord (1 John 1:9).  I did read my Bible but not as faithful as I did in 2014.  Part of that reason was that in 2014 I used the One Year NIV Chronological Bible to read from.  That helped me stay focused on my Bible reading.  I thought that this year (2015), I would read my Bible on my own and slowly.  It didn’t go so well.  I did read my Bible but my Bible reading was way down compared to last year.

So next year (2016), I am going to use the One Year NKJV Chronological Bible for my Bible reading.  I already have mine on my Kindle ready to go.  I would recommend this title or the NIV.

Bible reading is a must for a child of God.  The Bible feeds our souls (1 Peter 2:1-3).  The Bible protects us from error (Hebrews 5:11-14) and the Bible keeps us persevering in the faith (James 1:21).  Jesus taught that His disciples abide in His teachings (John 8:31-32) but how can we do this if we don’t know His teachings by reading His Word?  The Bible keeps us from sin (Psalm 119:9, 11).  The Bible is our sword and the only weapon that God has given the disciple of Christ (Ephesians 6:17).  The Bible cuts us open to reveal who we truly are before a holy God (Hebrews 4:12-13).  There is such joy in reading the Word of God.

So my encouragement to you (and to my soul as well) is to focus on Bible reading in 2016.  God has given us such wonderful tools to use to read and study His Word.  I pray that 2016 will be a year of reading, studying, and memorizing the Word of God.  How precious are His truths!

Below are listed various Bible reading tools for you to consider.

  1.  NIV One Year Bible
  2. NIV One Year Chronological Bible
  3. NKJV One Year Bible
  4. NKJV One Year Chronological Bible
  5. KJV One Year Bible
  6. KJV One Year Chronological Bible
  7. ESV Daily Reading Bible
  8. MacArthur Daily Bible (NKJV)

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/25/2015 at 12:58 PM

Regarding Our Presuppositions in Bible Reading

There is no doubt that we all bring our culture, our experiences, our presuppositions to the biblical text.  The goal of our Bible study should be to examine the text allowing for proper biblical hermeneutics to guide us but I confess that we all have our presuppositions when it comes to Bible reading and study.

This is why you can find an Arminian reading Romans 9 and he sees something there that a Calvinist does not see and vise versa.  The Calvinist takes Romans 9 and interprets it based on their presupposition which is Calvinism.  The Arminian reads Romans 9 with his Arminian presupposition and thus you have two people disagreeing over Romans 9 while both reading it and interpreting it.

The argument then often goes that they both can’t be right.  Some say they might both be wrong.  Before we label them, let me state that they both are right on many issues.  For example, an Arminian would agree with a Calvinist over the gospel, over the person and work of the Lord Jesus,  over the doctrine of the Trinity, over justification by faith.  Both clearly would agree (or should) that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  Both agree in the existence and nature of God, that He is sovereign (though disagreeing over exactly what that means in terms of His sovereignty versus divine determinism).  Yet both acknowledge that they disagree over the issue of Calvinism.  Therefore, while both could be wrong on Romans 9, both are not wrong on many issues.  This is why this debate among Arminians and Calvinists is an “in-house” debate.  I know some Calvinists (and perhaps Arminians though I know of none) believe that Arminians are lost, most regard us as brothers and sisters.  We are united in Christ (Galatians 3:27-28).  We are both baptized into His Body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

So then back to our issue.  How can a person read John 6, Romans 9, Ephesians 1, etc. and not be a Calvinist?  Surely the Calvinist strength is that they deal with the text (this is the argument of some)?  In some cases, non-Calvinists point out the context is unique.  For instance, John 6 is Jesus speaking to the Jews.  A partial hardening was taking place within Israel (Romans 11:7-10).  Jesus was intentionally provoking the Jews to bring about this hardening for the purpose of redemption (John 1:11-13).  Some others point out in Ephesians 1 that Paul often changes from we (Jews) to them (Gentiles) and thus Ephesians 1 is focused on God’s first choosing of the Jews and then the Gentiles were included when they believed the gospel (Ephesians 1:13).

Is the Arminian then right and the Calvinist wrong?  Depends on your point of view.  The Calvinist reads John 6, Romans 9, and the entire Bible with TULIP in mind.  I have often heard Calvinists say that they see Calvinism all through the Bible.  Books have even been written supporting this view.  Others say that before they became a Calvinist, they struggled with Romans 9 but once they became a Calvinist, Romans 9 became precious to them.

On the other side, I have read former Calvinists say they once they rejected Calvinism, they begin to see the goodness of God and His love for the world all through the Bible.  They also begin to see free will despite rejecting it beforehand.

The point here is that we all read the Bible with our “keys” in our minds.  We have a key by which we judge Scripture.  I confess that we should read the Bible and seek to exegete it based on sound principles of biblical interpretation but we often read the Bible with our presuppositions in mind.  Is it possible to lay aside those presuppositions to truly read the Bible?  I think it is and I think we often do it but we fail to apply it to our lives nor to our theology.

What we need in this case is grace.  God does not save us because of our perfect theological construct.  God saves us by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Salvation is not a debatable doctrine.  To reject Jesus is to reject God’s salvation (John 14:6).  Others want to argue how we get into Christ.  They argue that we have to be baptized in their church or in their mode to be saved.  I believe the Bible is clear on this point:  salvation is in Christ Jesus and in Him alone (Titus 3:5-7).  Our works cannot save us (John 6:29) because our works are often tainted by our sins (Isaiah 64:6).  Our moral goodness cannot save us.  Our church membership cannot save us.  Keeping the Law of Moses cannot save us (1 Timothy 1:8-11).  Being a Jew cannot save us (Romans 2:1-7).  Being a kind person cannot save us.  Jesus alone saves us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  We have no mediator before a holy God besides Christ Jesus our Lord (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

Jesus unites His people (John 13:34-35) under the banner of His love.  I confess our presuppositions but I confess that Jesus alone is Lord (Romans 10:9-10).  When we stand before Him when we die (Hebrews 9:27-28), we will be judged through Jesus.  Our salvation, if we truly repented of our sins, will be done but the Lord will judge us based on our works done in Christ (Ephesians 2:10; Revelation 2:19).  The Lord does know our works yet we are not saved by our works but will be judged for our works (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).  The Lord remembers our deeds (Hebrews 6:10).  What I don’t believe He will judge us for will be whether we had perfect understanding of theology.  While sound doctrine is vital (Titus 2:1) and sound doctrine can save us (1 Timothy 4:16), none of us have perfect theological understanding.

In conclusion, let me state that this is not an excuse for bad theology.  The goal of the faithful Bible student and teacher is the same: to be made in the image of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16).  Titus 1:15-16 is a good start for those who love Jesus:

15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

I also read Titus 2:11-14 and I think of what I am writing here:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

My exhortation is simple: Christ alone saves, Christ alone is the One that we adorn and love, and He works in His people for good works which He alone will judge when we stand before Him.  Let us then have grace and mercy toward those whom we disagree recognizing that we read the Bible with our presuppositions in mind but also confessing that Jesus Christ alone saves and not another person, movement, or thing.

The Scriptures on Biblical Prophets

The Bible is clear about prophets.  God gave His people (the Israelites in this case) a clear way to know if a prophet was among them.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (NIV) reads:

If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. 5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. That prophet or dreamer tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.

The prophet is not to lead the people of God away from worshiping the true God.  If the prophet does this, he is not a true prophet of God.  We see evidence of this down through church history from the false prophets such as Mohammad (Islam), Montanus, men such as Joseph Smith (Mormonism) or Ellen White (Seventh-Day Adventism).  We see this among the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a group with their false prophecies down through the years about the second coming of Christ and the end of the world.  All these groups also lead the people of God away from sound doctrine.  All of them introduced doctrines to lead the people away from the Bible and toward them as the authority.  This is a characteristic among false prophets as we see in Deuteronomy 13:1-5.

Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (NIV) says,

21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.

The next way that the Israelites could know if a prophet was a false prophet is to whether the prophecies come to pass.  All true prophets of God will give 100% of their prophecies correct.  They are not mostly correct but always correct.  Is this the case with the many false prophets down through church history?  Obviously not.  We could look at case after case of false prophecies given.

My point in all this is to call us to be faithful to the Scriptures.  If we heed the Word of God and remain steadfast in the Word, we will not fail (John 8:31-32; 15:1-11).  We must test all things by the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21) and remain faithful to Him (2 Timothy 2:12-13).  We are called to test the spirits (1 John 4:1-2) and we do this by knowing the Word of God and comparing all things with the inerrant Word.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/18/2014 at 1:18 PM

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