Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘False gods

Where is the Discernment?

One of the things that troubles me about many Arminians is their utter lack of discernment.  This is true of course for all believers and not just Arminians but I want to speak to my camp here.  An upcoming event called “Together 2016” features many different people including Roman Catholics.  For the life of me,  I cannot understand how Protestants can join hands with Roman Catholics in any real sense until the Catholics renounce their Catholic beliefs.  The very gospel is at stake here.  This is not just about personal differences or traditions.  This is a gospel issue.

The Roman Catholic Church denies the gospel.  They deny justification by faith.  They deny the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  They teach a form of works righteousness.  They deny even declared righteousness imputed to the believer by God.  They deny sola scriptura.  They deny sola fide.  They deny sola gratia.  Everything that our Protestant forefathers did for the sake of the gospel, the blood shed in defense of the Bible and in defense of the gospel cannot be lost.

When you read the list of speakers for the “Together 2016” one not included (because he will not there in person) is the Pope.  Yes the Roman Catholic pontiff (whom Arminius called the antichrist) will address evangelicals.  Alongside the Pope will be men such as Lecrae (whom I have lost respect for), Dr. Tony Evans (whom I lost respect for sometime ago), and Dr. George Wood (the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God).  Before you think that only non-Calvinists are there, Calvinists such as Trip Lee and Francis Chan (who studied at the Master’s Seminary) will speak alongside the likes of Hillsong (who has wandered far away into something), Christine Cane, Lou Engle, and Mark Batterson.

What is disappointing about this is the lack of discernment.  Can you imagine Arminius speaking where he knew the Catholic pontiff would be welcomed?  Can you imagine the likes of a John Buynan or Charles Spurgeon preaching at this event?  Would John Wesley join hands with known mystics to promote this “unity?”  Would Leonard Ravenhill promote such an event?

I think the answer is clear.

Arminius wrote about the Roman Pontiff:

Since, therefore, the Roman Pontiff either attributes these most honourable titles of Christ to himself, or willingly suffers them to be ascribed to him; and since he evinces no horror at the blasphemy contained in these titles, and gives no tokens of his displeasure at this ascription of them; it follows, that he puts himself in the place of Christ, and is supremely opposed to Him. There is no excuse in the explanation which is given, that “the head and foundation is ministerial, and that he attributes all these things to himself under Christ, as having been elevated by the grace or favour of God and Christ to that dignity.” For the protestation is directly contrary to the fact; and he is so much the more the bitter enemy of God and Christ, as he the more confidently boasts of being defended by the authority of God and Christ. Such conduct is, in fact, under the semblance of friendship to exercise the deepest enmity, and, under the disguised pretext of a minister of light and of righteousness, to promote the interests of the kingdom of darkness and of unrighteousness. On this very account, therefore, we assert that the disparaging epithets which we laid down in our first Thesis, most justly belong to him; and this we now proceed to show by descending to particulars.

Arminius called the Pope the “pimp of the harlot Church.”  He further wrote:

Although the Roman pontiff calls himself “the servant of the servants of God,” yet we further assert that he is by way of eminence, That Wicked And Perverse Servant, who, when he saw that his Lord delayed his coming, “began to smite his fellow-servants.” (Matt. 24:48.) For the Roman pontiff has usurped domination and tyranny, not only over his fellow- servants, the bishops of the church of God, but likewise over emperors and kings themselves, whose authority and dignity he had himself previously acknowledged. To acquire this domination for himself, and still further to augment and establish it, he has employed all kinds of satanic instruments — sophistical hypocrisy, lies, equivocations, perfidy, perjury, violence, poison, and armed forces — so that he may most justly be said to have succeeded that formidable beast which “was like unto a leopard, a bear and a lion,” and by which the Roman empire was prefigured — and to have “had power to give life unto the image of the beast, and to cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast, should be killed.”

I call on Arminians to follow in the footsteps of Arminius and denounce the Roman Catholic Church.  I am not calling for hatred of Catholics themselves for they need the gospel.  I am calling for a hatred of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.  I am calling for biblical discernment (Jude 3-4).

We need to heed 1 Timothy 4:1-2.  We need to heed 2 Timothy 4:3-4.  We need to stand agains the Roman Catholic Church and preach against her false doctrines.  We need to call Catholics to repent and believe the gospel.

I pray that men such as Dr. George Wood would not only decline speaking at the “Together 2016” event but denounce it.  I pray that men and women of God would rise up and denounce the event altogether.  In our troubled world we need the true gospel and not a mixing of errors.  Now is not the time to lay down our swords in the midst of a sinful world.  What is going to slay the evils we see of racism, sexual immorality, abortion, homosexuality, wicked killings, etc. is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16-17).  We lose the gospel.  We lose the war.

Denials of the Trinity & Attacks on Christ

Almost every denial of the doctrine of the Trinity will lead to an attack upon the Lord Jesus Christ or a gross application thereof.  For example, in Jehovah Witness theology, Jesus is Michael the angel.  Jesus is created by the Father and He is not eternal nor equal with the Father.  Jesus is not even worshiped among the JW’s (although they did worship Jesus until 1954 when the Watchtower banned JW’s from worshiping Jesus).  In the case of the JW’s, they are simply replaying the old heresy of Arianism and making Jesus simply a part of God’s creation instead of being God.

Others attack the person and work of Christ outright.  The Hebraic Roots movement is gaining speed in the West (due in large part to a reaction to the shallow seeker churches).  This movement at first seems to affirm the Lord Jesus but the more you get to studying under “rabbis” the more you’ll come to “learn” that Jesus is not God.  In fact, they deny that salvation is accomplished by the finish work of the Messiah but instead they believe one must keep the law of Moses to be saved.  This is nothing more than the old heresy of the Judaizers of Acts 15 all over again.

Paul the Apostle was so protective of the gospel and the Person and Work of Christ Jesus that he issued a curse upon anyone who did not preach the truth (Galatians 1:6-9).  Paul warned the Corinthians against the lies of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:2-4).  He wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:5 what he was passionate about preaching: Christ as Lord!  Paul used the Greek word kurious as he did also in Romans 10:9 and Philippians 2:11.  Jesus is Lord was his cry!  This same word was used by the Jews in the Greek Old Testament about God.

In Isaiah 40:3 we find that Jesus is both Yahweh and Elohim.  Mormonism teaches, for example, that Yahweh and Elohim are different persons.  Elohim is said to be the Father of the Lord Jesus who is Jehovah or Yahweh.  Yet Isaiah wrote:

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD (Yahweh);
make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Elohim).

This verse is applied to John the Baptist in Matthew 3:3 about the Lord Jesus.  The Lord Jesus is both Yahweh and Elohim!

The biblical doctrine of the Trinity is not easy to grasp and is unique among Christians.  No other religion compares to Christianity in this regard.  Islam and Judaism both claim monotheism along with Christianity but Islam and Judaism are both unitarian monotheism or that God is absolutely one.  Christianity is unique in that we believe in one God (monotheism) but in three persons in the one God.  In this way, Christianity is trinitarian monotheistic.  Three who’s and one what.  One what and three who’s.  This is how I teach my children the doctrine of the Trinity.  All three persons in the Godhead are called God in the Bible.  Yet the Bible affirms one God.  The answer is not to deny monotheism nor to deny Trinitarianism but to embrace both as true.  There is one God and three persons in the one God.

Denials of the Trinity bring many problems.  What do we do with the divine persons being mentioned together such as in Matthew 28:19 or 2 Corinthians 13:14?  What do we do with the baptism of Jesus where all three persons are manifest (Matthew 3:13-17)?  What do we do with Jesus’ clear affirmation of both His own deity and yet His submission to the Father?  What do we do with the Spirit of God raising Jesus from the dead?  What do we do with the clear affirmation of Deuteronomy 6:4 in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 yet Paul’s clear understanding that Jesus is equal with God?

The bottom line is not to try to deny the person and work of the Lord Jesus but to affirm His work and His glory and His deity and to bow down and worship Him.  We are to praise God through the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself our sins and sits at the right hand of God to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25) as our mediator before God the Father (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  We must pray to the Father in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14) giving Him the glory that is due to Him.  We must worship God in the Holy Spirit (John 4:23-24; Philippians 3:3).  To deny the Trinity only leads to chaos and various attacks on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/05/2015 at 4:04 PM

So Many Idols

There are so many idols that can capture our hearts.  1 John 5:21 warns us against idolatry.  We are not to be idolaters as some of the Israelites were (1 Corinthians 10:7) and we are to flee idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14).  Exodus 20:3-4 warns against the sin of idolatry.  Idolatry is a sin of the flesh and shows our utter corruption (Galatians 5:20).

I look around and I see idolatry all over the place.  Granted I don’t see people outwardly bowing down to pools, to idols made of wood or stone but I do see people bowing down to the false idols of self, of sex, of pride, of lust, of riches (or Mammon as in Matthew 6:24).  I see bowing down to the gods of entertainment, food, music, and drink.

But I see even more idols in the idolatry of worshiping sports teams, the idolatry of parents who adore their children above God.  I see even people idolizing theology and lifting up knowledge above their passion for Christ.  They can sit for hours and discuss deep theological themes but they don’t bow their knees to pray, to worship, to evangelize.  They just talk about theology but never truly worship the God whom they claim they are seeking.

The idol of money is a powerful idol.  I see people chasing after money.  Chasing after things of this world.  I see people chasing after more stuff, more houses, more cars, more boats, more motorcycles, more toys.  Their old adage is “He who dies with the most toys, wins.”  Do we not see that we take nothing with us (Ecclesiastes 2:11)?  We enter the world with nothing and we leave this world with nothing.  Only what is done for Christ will last (Matthew 6:19-21).

John the Apostle tells us in 1 John 2:15-17 that only those who do the will of the Father will abide forever.  We are not to love this world or the things in the world for if we do so, the love of the Father is not in us.  We cannot both love this world and love God at the same time.  The chasing after idolatry is foolish and leads only to death for these gods are false gods and cannot save us.

In the end, God will destroy all idols and all idolaters (Revelation 21:8).  We have broken His command in Exodus 20:3-4 and have served other gods.  It was this sin of idolatry that led to the children of Israel being cast out of the promise land and into the Babylonian captivity (Ezekiel 16:15-22).  God sent the prophets to warn the people of Israel to turn from their idolatry but they did not.  God gave them over to their lusts and they were led into captivity.  God gave the land a sabbath from their wicked ways.  Will He spare us?  Does not Romans 1 promise that God will give people over to their idolatry and their sins?  We become what we worship.

Oh that we might repent and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into His truth.  Let Him search our hearts to keep us from the wicked sin of idolatry (Psalm 19:13).  I pray that the Holy Spirit will place His hand upon all the idols of our hearts.  The idols of football teams, of our children, of technology such as Facebook or even blogging.  May the Spirit lead us to love Christ more and fear Him alone.  May He lead us toward godliness and being totally devoted to Christ the King.

Oh Lord purge me of idolatry!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/08/2014 at 2:18 PM

Finding Psychiatric Help on Every Page

There was a time when Bible teachers would find theology dripping on every page.  Great truths of the Word of God ranging from theology proper (God) to other forms of biblical theology were the focus.  Sermons (even open air sermons) were focused on theology and how we can learn about God from the text.  After all, the Bible was given to us to reveal the Lord Jesus (John 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21).

Yet today I find that modern evangelicalism is finding psychiatric help on every page of the Bible.  Sermon series are now designed around how we can not learn about God or about sound doctrine but about “life lessons” from the text.  In the passion for “real and relevancy” to the masses, the church has abandoned looking for God on every page to looking for psychiatric help on every page.  Churches take stories from the lives of saints such as Moses or Elijah and make them fit into this psychiatric flow so that now we can read the story of Moses or Daniel or Paul and we can learn how God wants us to have an awesome life too.  God just wants to bless our socks off and He wants to teach how to have a great marriage, how to be a better person, five steps to a new me, ten steps to raising godly children.  The entire focus seems to be on making us all better now that we come to realize that our biggest struggle isn’t sin but self-esteem and so God’s Word helps me see myself as God sees me.

The entire focus of the church service seems to flow toward that one goal: to make a new me.  The songs are focused on my dating relationship with God (with no thought if the song is biblical or not).  The prayers are for those who had a tough week and need grace just to make it through.  The sermons are focused on my felt needs and what I need to hear from God to make me a better person.

And tossed out is the gospel.  Tossed out is sound doctrine.  Stop and ponder this for a moment: when was the last time you heard a sound theological sermon at your church?  When was the last time you heard the church teaching on the holiness of God?  On sin?  On justification by faith?  When was the last time you heard a sermon on the Trinity?  What about a sound theology of prayer?  When was the last time you heard someone defending the deity of Christ from the pulpit by looking to the Word of God?

Instead we get sermons focused not on God proper but upon how God can help us.  Even salvation is summed up with “the sinner’s prayer” or altar calls.  Salvation as a doctrine is not examined.

We must get back to glorifying God in our teaching.  I rejoice that not every church is like the above.  Most I know of are.  Theology is vital because what we think about God shows in our actions (Psalm 14).  1 Timothy 4:16 is a key text as is John 8:31-32.  To merely claim to know God but not truly know God is foolishness (Jeremiah 9:23-24).  Wisdom begins in fearing God (Proverbs 1:7) but the user-friendly god we find preached today is not the God of the Bible.  The God of the Bible has a wonderful plan for your life: come and die (Luke 9:23-25).  Lay down yourself (Luke 14:25-35).  The God of the Bible calls you to look to eternity (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) and not to the here and now.  The God of the Bible even demands that you hate all things (including yourself) in your love for Him.  God is to be first and foremost (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-6).  The God of the Bible calls us to holiness (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16).

But like those in Romans 1:18-32, we don’t want a God like that.  We want a god we can control.  We want a friendly god.  We want a loving god who does not care what we do or how we act.  We want a god who looks like us, talks like us, walks like us, and is there for us.  We have so removed ourselves from the God of the Bible that we can’t even recognize Him anymore.  He is fading from our memories and has been replaced by this false god who does not save.  I pray that we all lay down our idols (Isaiah 40:18-23).  We need genuine repentance.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/23/2014 at 12:17 PM

Through Christ, Who Bore Our Sins, We Are Able To Pray

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

– Hebrews 4:16-18

Hebrews 4:16-18 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture when it comes to prayer.  I often quote this verse when I begin to pray because this verse helps me quickly to realize that the sole reason that I can approach the throne of God in prayer is because of the work of Christ.  I am not able to come into the holy presence of God Almighty because of anything I have done.  My works, says Isaiah 64:6, are like a polluted garment in His holy presence.  I have no righteousness but that which He has given to me in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Jesus is the sole reason I can pray!

Further, prayer does not involve me working up my emotions though chants or through saying words over and over again.  Jesus rebuked such methods in Matthew 6:7.  Elijah, in 1 Kings 18:25-29, pointed out the utter foolishness that the false prophets of the false god Baal in attempting to call out to their god in prayer.  Baal could not hear them because he was not there.  But Yahweh heard Elijah’s prayer (1 Kings 18:36-37) and Yahweh answered by fire (1 Kings 18:38).  The people saw this and worshiped the one true and living God (1 Kings 18:39).

Millions of false religions pray.  Muslims pray five times toward Mecca out of blind obedience to their false god.  Buddhists meditate hoping to find their inner self and seek a false god of their own making.  Cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses spends hours spreading their false gospel and seeking their false god.  Yet do you and I seek the living and true God?  The only God who exists?  We have the right through Christ to approach the true God.  We don’t come through our confessions or through our creeds or through our Arminianism but through Christ alone.  Jesus is the One who has shed His own blood to redeem us from sin and reconcile us to God (1 Peter 3:18).  Through Christ and His blood, we are able to approach our holy God.

Prayer should not then be viewed as a work we have to do (such as in Islam) but prayer is what we get to do through Christ.  Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we can pray without ceasing.  Our Father always hears our cries (Psalm 65:2; Matthew 6:8).  Because of Jesus Christ, the disciple is able to ask anything in His name (John 14:13-14).  The delight of the disciple is to please the Lord and to exalt Him in all that we say or do (Colossians 3:17).  Thus our prayers are not focused on us getting stuff from God but instead our aim in prayer is to delight in the Lord our God and know Him (Philippians 3:10).  Our passion is to exalt the Lord Jesus and to see His kingdom come (Matthew 6:10) and to see His glory fill the earth (Philippians 1:20-21).  Our passion in prayer is not to name this or that or to pray for this or that but to exalt the Lord Jesus and bless Him for all that He has done in saving us by His own power (Revelation 5:8-14).  Prayer is not about “positive confessing” things and prayer is not focused on asking God for stuff but rather prayer involves seeking God for who He is and what He has already done in saving us by His grace.  This is why “the Lord’s prayer” begins in Matthew 6:9 with a focus on God and not on us.  In fact, our needs do not even appear in the Lord’s prayer until after our focus has been on God (Matthew 6:11).  Certainly we have the honor of being able to ask God for our daily bread but this should not be the focus for the true disciple.  Our passion is to exalt Christ Jesus in all that we do (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/25/2013 at 11:02 AM

Beware of Idols

In 1 John 5:21 John adds this as his final words in the letter, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”  What a way to end a letter.

Idols are false gods.  Yahweh is the only true and living God.  There are no other gods as He states Himself in Exodus 20:3.  Yahweh says in Isaiah 44:6-8:

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts; “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.  Who is like me?  Let him proclaim it.  Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people.  Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.  Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it?  And you are my witnesses!  Is there a God besides me?  There is no Rock; I know not any.”

It’s pretty clear from Isaiah 44:6 that Yahweh is the only God.  There are not numerous gods in the universe and we humans only worship this God.  God the Father does not have a god over Him who was His father.  Yahweh is eternal.  Yahweh has always been God.  He will forever be God.

Therefore, any other gods are false gods and they are idols.  Yahweh mentions idolatry in Isaiah 41:12-29.  Here He states in Isaiah 41:22 toward idols and asks them to declare the past (why it happened the way it happened) and the future.  In verse 24 Yahweh states, “Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you.”  I would say that Yahweh hates false gods.  Yahweh is opposed to any gods whom we humans try to set up above the one true God. Whether it be the gods of religion such as Allah in Islam or the Buddha in Buddhism or the myriad of false gods in Hinduism.  It could be the false gods even of so-called Christianity such as the gods of the cults.  Other gods include the gods of money and materialism (Matthew 6:24 where money is personified as Mammon).  It could be the gods of entertainment and pleasure.  It could be the false gods claimed by people who claim to be Christian but their gods serve them and live to make them happy.

We must beware of idolatry.  People can become idols.  This world can become idols.  Even our own flesh can become idols.  All gods of this age fall under the rule of the god of this world, Satan (see 2 Corinthians 4:4).  Satan lies to humanity and convinces us to serve false gods whether they be the false gods of religion or the gods of our imaginations or the gods of money, power, and so-called wisdom.  We must careful to avoid making anything an idol.  I have seen people make theology into their idol.  I have seen people make experiences their idols.  I have seen people make the Bible an idol.

No wonder then that 1 John 5:21 would close with the words that we must keep ourselves from idols.  Idols will rob us of the joy that comes from being in Christ Jesus.  Since Jesus alone is our salvation (Isaiah 43:3, 11; Matthew 1:21; John 14:6) then we must be careful to stay close to Him.  Hebrews 2:1-4 warns us against turning away from the gospel because there is only wrath apart from the gospel of Christ.  Hebrews 10:29-31 is even tougher saying that if we turn away from Christ, there is no sacrifice for our sins left.  We will face the judgment of God alone (v. 31).

Beware then of idols.  Don’t allow them to take root in your life.  Make sure that Jesus is Lord of your life (Luke 14:25-35) above all others.  As Jesus states in Luke 14:25-35, He must be our love and devotion above all others and all things.  Jesus is to be the only one that we look to for salvation for He alone is our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).  If we fail to serve the true and living God, Yahweh gives us over to our flesh (Romans 1:18-32) which only brings the wrath of God that alone can be appeased in Christ (1 John 2:1-2).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/22/2012 at 7:26 PM

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