Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Wickedness

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.

After Manasseh Came A Josiah

In 2 Kings 21:1-9 we read:

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem will I put my name.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 7 And the carved image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the Lord said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever. 8 And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.” 9 But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel.

In our wicked world it is easy to look around at our wicked, sinful leaders and see the judgment of God.  I look around at my own culture and I see evidence of Romans 1.  People are full of sin.

However, my hope is in the Lord God and in His Word.  I have hope in the gospel.  I know that Jesus will triumph and He alone is King of kings and He alone is Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15-16).  Jesus reigns even now from heaven (Acts 3:19-21).  His reign includes all His enemies coming under His feet (Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26).  I look around at the wicked world and I can easily be full of despair but my hope is that the gospel will go forth and the reign of Jesus will never be stopped.

In 2 Kings 21:1-9 we read of the wicked king of Judah, Manasseh.  I have yet to live under such a wicked king.  We have had wicked men and women in the past but few compare to the wickedness of Manasseh.  Manasseh went so far in his idolatry that he built altars in Jerusalem in the temple of Yahweh to his false gods.  He offered his own sons on the altars to his false gods.  2 Kings 21:16 says, “Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.”

After Manasseh, his son Amon reigned as king over Judah and he followed in the footsteps of Manasseh.  Amon was a wicked king.

After Amon, however, comes Josiah.  2 Kings 22:2 says, “And he what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or  to the left.”

The Lord raised up a Josiah after the wickedness of Manasseh and Amon.  This gives me hope.  This encourages me.

In my own wicked nation, I see our leaders full of sin.  They are full of idolatry, greed, corruption, they support the murdering of millions of babies at the altars of the gods of conveyance and sex.  Our leaders are just like Manasseh in many ways.  They even shed innocent blood not just in unjust wars and wicked attacks on citizens but they support the abortion mill industries which murder innocent babies each and every day.  In my own state and in my own city I see the wickedness of our leaders even on a local level.  They give in to the sexually perverted who want their “rights” and they support the wickedness of racism and abortion on demand.  Yes it is easy to be discouraged.

But I have hope that God can raise up a Josiah.  My hope is not in politicians.  They are corrupt.  My hope is not in men.  They are corrupt.  My hope is in the Lord God who can turn the tide through His gospel.  My hope is in the gospel (Romans 1:16-17).  Josiah was a mighty man of God.  We need mighty men of God to turn not just my own nation but he nations of this fallen, sinful world to the Lord God.  This will not come through politicians or through political reform (though they will happen through the gospel) but will only come through a man of God being faithful to God.

My hope is that the wicked nations of this world (which is all of them) will turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gospel transformed the Roman Empire and turned them away from idolatry to the truth of the gospel.  Over time, corrupt church leaders corrupted the gospel and turned the church in Rome away from the gospel to idolatry that we now see as the Roman Catholic Church but I have hope that Catholics will repent and be saved.  I have hope that the nations will be saved by the grace of God.

We read in many places that the nations will bow down to the Lord God (see Psalm 22:27; 86:8-9; Isaiah 2:3; Revelation 15:4).  Jesus has conquered the nations by His death and resurrection and He now commands us to make disciples in every nation until He reigns forevermore (Matthew 28:18-20).

May God send a revival of His truth!

Then The Gospel Came…

Imagine a world where few are Christians.  Most of the culture is full of idolatry.  The love of money.  The love of sports.  The love of sex.  The political leaders are corrupt.  Politicians in general are corrupt and not trustworthy.  The leaders of the nation are pagans and they despise the gospel.  At every turn the nation is against the gospel it seems.  They despise biblical authority, despise its truth, attack the truth of the gospel, attack those who follow Christ.  They seek to cast Christians off as strange, aliens, and out of touch with reality.  In fact, they believe Christians just want to destroy their fun!

Sounds just like the wicked nation I live in.  But this nation is the Roman Empire at the time of the book of Acts.  A wicked depraved time.  One biblical commentary stated that the Roman empire was much worse in terms of Christian persecution, rejection of biblical authority, etc. than any time in history.  We might could point to the communists nations that openly hated God but few compare to the Roman Empire.  It heavily persecuted Christians and killed many of them including most of the Apostles for their faith in the Lord Jesus.  While the Romans were busy worshiping idols and the emperor, the Christians were calling for them to repent and turn to Christ (Acts 17:30-31).

What gives me hope is that the gospel transformed the empire.  From its humble beginnings in Acts 2, by the time we finish with the book of Acts we find Paul the Apostle in Rome preaching the kingdom of God (Acts 28:30-31).  The very next book in our Bibles is the book of Romans with a church alive and well in Rome (Romans 1:7).  The book of Revelation (which I know some will take exception with me here because of my preterism) was written to encourage persecuted saints of God (Revelation 1:9) in the Roman Empire.  The book of Revelation promised them victory (Revelation 2:1-7 for example).  They are told that Jesus is “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).  Our victory is sure for Jesus is our King!  This was the hope for the saints of God!  It is our hope as well!

We look around at our wicked world.  Here in the United States we see violence, hatred, lack of respect for authority, pride, all types of wicked sins including idolatry and sexual immorality.  We see the wicked sin of abortion where millions of people are being slaughtered all in the name of conveyance and sexual sins.  We see lying politicians and corrupt leaders now openly attacking the gospel and questioning God’s absolute authority in all things.  We see Christians bowing their knees to the false gods of money, power, sex, sports, and all types of wickedness.  We no doubt live in an evil age.

Yet I have hope in the gospel.  The gospel promises the sure victory of Jesus (Psalm 110:1).  Jesus will win (1 Corinthians 15:24-26).  The gospel will go forth and we have victory through Christ alone (Matthew 28:18-20).  The nations belong to our King (Psalm 2:8).  While the United States and other nations may be wicked, they will not last forever.  Only the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ will reign forever (Daniel 7:13-14).  I have hope that the gospel will win.  The nations will bow to the Lordship of the King.  Every knee in fact will bow to the glory of the Lord Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11).

I write this  because it is easy to be discouraged.  Islam is growing.  The cults are thriving.  The false gospels are being preached.  Jesus is being attacked at every turn.  The national media hates the gospel.  The President of the United States is a pagan.  The nations reject the Word of God.

Yet Jesus is still Lord and He will reign forever!  I pray that the nations repent.  I pray that our nations turn to faith in Christ.  I pray for the gospel to go forth and sinners turn from their sins and turn in saving faith to the Lord Jesus.  I pray that God Almighty would have mercy and send a revival to the nations.  He can turn the tide.  The Lord turned the tide in ancient Rome and He can turn the tide in our wicked nations.  I pray He does for His glory and for His name.

Psalm 11 In Contrast to Psalm 10

Psalm 10:1-13 begins with the psalmist lamenting what I have lamented before myself, why do the wicked prosper while in their sins?  Why is it that the faithful slaves of Christ have to suffer while the sinners tend to live lives of carefree full of worldly joy?  Saints of God all over the world suffer for the name and cause of Christ while the wicked sit in places of honor and our culture glorifies the wicked and forsakes the righteous.  Our political leaders in the United States are corrupt while the righteous leaders are hard to find and often are hated by the media.

Why is this so?  I understand that people love the darkness instead of the light (John 3:19).  People do not love God.  People do not seek God.  People, in fact, hate God (Romans 3:10-18).  They have exchanged the truth of God for lies (Romans 1:25).  People do this wickedness for one reason:  because they love their sins (Romans 1:18).  Apart from the grace of God, none could be saved.  We would not want to be saved.  We would want to try to save ourselves, to earn our own righteousness (which is tainted by our selfishness).  We despise the Word of God.  We despise God’s sovereignty.  We despise His salvation.  We despise His Son.

Psalm 10:14-18 promises us that God does know.  God does notice.  He is not blind to the wicked.  He sees their sins.  It is by His mercy that the wicked are not dead now.  God, in His mercy, lets the wicked go forth in their sins.  God lets the wicked eat, sleep, breath His air, and enjoy His earth.  A time of judgment is coming but for now, God is merciful and is waiting for them to repent of their sins (2 Peter 3:9).

Psalm 11 is a contrast to Psalm 10.  Psalm 11 exalts the fact that God will judge.  The righteous need to trust in the LORD for He will judge in His perfect timing.  We can easily become defeated as we look around at the sin in our world, the fact that people love darkness instead of light.  We can lament that people are not seeking God.  We can lament that Romans 1:32 is true of our world.  We live in a wicked, evil, God-hating age.

But God will judge.  His judgment will come (Psalm 11:6).  God sees what is taking place in our wicked age (Psalm 11:4).  God surely hates the wicked (Psalm 11:5) but He loves the righteous (Psalm 11:7).  We who love Jesus Christ, who fear Him (Proverbs 16:6), we are loved by God!  We who love Jesus know that we are not righteous in our own good works (Ephesians 2:8-9) but we know that we righteous because of Christ alone (2 Corinthians 5:21).  We are righteous in Him (Romans 10:4) and we are living righteously because of Him (Titus 2:11-12; 1 John 3:7).  We understand that we love God because He has loved us first (1 John 4:10).

Now our pursuit, the righteous man’s pursuit, is to know Christ and to love Him more.  We prove this by obeying His commandments (John 14:15; 1 John 5:2-3).  Those who claim to love God but love their sins prove they are not His children (1 John 3:6-10).  Those who claim to love God prove their love by obedience to His Lordship (Matthew 7:21-27; Luke 6:46-49; 1 John 2:3-6).  We understand that our salvation, our righteousness is based on the Lord Jesus and our holiness comes from Him (Romans 6:11-14).  Because of what He has done for us, we strive for holiness (Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16).

Psalm 11 gives the righteous the promise of judgment of the wicked to come.  We can trust that God will be just in His justice and He is merciful toward the wicked to bring them to repentance (Romans 2:4).  Jesus came to save the sinful (Luke 19:10) and we must admit that we too were once sinful as the wicked around us (Titus 3:1-7).  Thankfully the Lord was merciful toward us and He brought us to salvation by His grace.  Bless His name forever!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/22/2013 at 4:47 PM

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Vileness

This is not a post that is meant to make you happy.  It is meant to make you think.  I believe we are easily led to believe the mantra in our day that we are loved by God (and yes we are) and that from this love, God ignores our sin.  God turns a blind eye to my sin so long as I am in Christ Jesus or that is the way that we are trained to think.  The feel good, happy, clappy, self-focused sermons I hear today are focused on my enjoyment, my pleasures, my dreams, my thoughts, my hopes, my happiness.  It is easy to lose sight of the holiness of God, the wrath of God against sin, and His utter hatred for sin.  When we fail to see our vileness, we fail to grasp the cross and the depth of God’s love manifested in Christ Jesus.  When we lose sight of our vileness, our prayer lives suffer, our worship suffers, our passion for the gospel suffers, our need for grace and mercy suffers.  We acknowledge that we need the grace of God for salvation but somewhere along the way we forget our own vileness and we started thinking a bit too highly of ourselves.

When we lose sight of our vileness, we begin to think of our own goodness.  We think we are not as bad as others.  We forget the greatness of our sins, the utter darkness we lived in apart from Jesus.  We lose sight of the fact that it was our sins, our vileness that had Jesus on the cross.  Jesus was not suffering in the cross for His own sins for He was sinless but He was dying in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:21-24).  It was my vileness that led to Calvary.  It was the ugliness of my sins that led Him to suffer and die for me.  God placed my sins, my vileness upon the perfect Son of God.

And yet I tend to think I am not that bad.

Oh don’t lose sight of our vileness before God.  The cross is not just for the pagans in the forests but it is for me sitting at my desk typing on my Macbook.  The gospel is not just for the pagans living in the jungles of Vietnam but it is for this vile sinner sitting here listening to Matt Chandler on my iPod.  The gospel is not just for the pagan living in San Francisco but it is for this small town boy sitting here with my ESV Study Bible open before me.  The gospel is all about rescuing vile sinners from their sins by the grace of God.  The gospel is not about my moral goodness or my prayer life or my Bible study or my passion for worship but the gospel is about my vileness.  I am vile before God.  I am wicked before God.  In comparison to His absolute perfection, I am vile.  This is not about me or you and our “goodness” but it is about the fact that we deserve and have earned the wrath of God (Romans 1:18) but He gives us mercy and we stand in awe of that.

Further, the gospel is all about God.  It is not about us.  The gospel is not about our delights.  It is about how holy God is and how vile we are.  We don’t like this type of preaching.  We want to hear how good we are.  We want to hear how much God loves us.  We want to know that He winks at our sins.  We don’t want to hear that our sins make us vile.  We don’t want to hear that because of our sins, God Himself must reach out to us to be saved (John 6:44; Romans 3:10-18).  We want to believe that we are not that bad.  We want to hear that God just loves us so much (with a giddy love) that He had to save us and He had to reach out to us.  No!  You are vile!  You are wicked!  You are not morally good.  On your best day, you are wrong and you are vile.

How does this help us?  It help us praise God for His grace!  He saves us by His grace alone (Romans 3:22-26).  We are not saved because we are good or because we made a decision to change.  We are saved by the grace of God given to us in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  We are vile yet God in His holiness placed His Son on the cross so that we can be saved and declared righteous before God through faith (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  We are vile but Jesus is not!  Jesus bore our sins and He took our place (Isaiah 53:4-6).  Jesus removes our sins by His grace (Ephesians 1:7) and we are placed in His kingdom by His own power (John 1:12-13; Colossians 1:13-14).  We are vile but Jesus is our salvation!  Jesus is our life!  The gospel is not about Jesus doing His part and we do our part.  The gospel is all about God from beginning to end.  Our part is simply that we are vile sinners who have earned God’s wrath but God is rich in mercy and He reaches out to us (Ephesians 2:1-10).

I pray that today you will meditate upon the fact that you have not earned salvation, you don’t deserve salvation, and your vileness should eliminate you from heaven but God reached out to you by His grace.  I pray that this reality, that you are vile, will force you to drop to your knees and praise God for His Son (John 3:16).  You deserve hell but praise God that He gives you His grace and you are forgiven through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:24-25).  Our standing before God is all focused on Jesus alone.  He alone is our Savior.  Not us.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/31/2013 at 1:15 PM

And We Wonder Why This Happens?

The United States is a wicked nation.  It is a nation of depraved people.  The vast majority of Americans need the gospel and the Church is sleeping in the light while the world is perishing in the dark.  What we need is a mighty move of God.  We need a radical transformation in our culture that can only come through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What amazes me is that many people wonder about the murdering in the United States.  Many blame guns or this or that.  The bottom line is that our nations is sowing these seeds with our sinning.  Our movies are full of corruption and violence.  Our television programs are full of corruption and violence.  Many of our songs (especially hard-core rap music) is full of corruption and violence.  And then we wonder why people are corrupt and violent?  The answer is not because of morality.  The answer is that what a man sows, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).  Sow violence, reap violence.  Sow immorality, reap immorality.  Sow wickedness, reap wickedness.  People want to cast blame on everything and everyone but the truth is that the blame for our murdering, our abortions, our rampages, our filthy tongues, is us!  We have sown to our flesh and this is what we get when we abandon God (Romans 1:18-32; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

The Church must turn this tide.  She can do this in the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17).  The answer for our nation is not found in politicians or endless debating over this right or that right.  It is found in the truth that always sets free, always transforms: the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:17).  The gospel will end violence.  The gospel will end abortion.  The gospel will end rape.  The gospel will end adultery.  The gospel will end homosexuality.  The gospel will end wickedness.  The gospel will usher in the power and presence of a holy God.  The gospel will produce safe cities and towns.  The gospel alone!

Call me simple-minded but I honestly believe that the answer for our ills is the gospel.  Sinners need the gospel.  They don’t need more hyped up churches low on doctrine, low on repentance, low on holiness, low on prayer.  They need houses of God where He is coming in power to sanctify His people (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  The gospel doesn’t save us in our in sins but from our sins (Matthew 1:21; 26:28).  Whom the Lord saves, He sanctifies (Acts 15:9).  Jesus brings a complete new life to us when He saves us (John 3:1-7).  Jesus changes our minds, our hearts, our love, our desires, our passions, our zeal, our goals, our marriages, our raising of our children, our world-views.  Jesus completely sets us free from sin (John 8:31-38).  Jesus completely forgives and He gives us the power to overcome sin by His grace (1 John 2:1).  Jesus delivers!

That message, the message of Jesus, is what we need in our nation right now.  I urge you to pray for souls to be saved by the millions in the United States (1 Timothy 2:1-6).  I urge you to pray for our leaders to repent even openly of our national sins.  I urge you to pray for this nation of wickedness, this nation that has sown seeds of sin, to repent (Acts 3:19-20).  I urge you to do all you can for the kingdom of Christ to come.  Pray.  Give.  Fast.  Worship.  Evangelize.  This will change our nation.  One person at a time (Matthew 28:19).  The Church doesn’t need to stand up or down on gun rights or other political issues.  She needs to pray and allow the Holy Spirit to move us in the streets with the gospel (Acts 1:8).  The Church needs to fall on our faces, repent of being friends with the world (James 4:4) and start changing our nation with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Times are dark but it is not too late for the light and truth of Jesus Christ to shine and set captives free.  He can do it by His power as we preach Him!

If we don’t do this, if we don’t preach the gospel, murder, rape, etc. will continue and will only get worse!  The answer is the gospel (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/17/2012 at 4:50 PM

Book Review of Columbine by Dave Cullen

I remember April 20, 1999.  I was working for a hydraulic company when we begin to hear about a school shooting in the Denver area.  The 1990’s had been filled with one school shooting after another and I was sad to hear that another school had to experience the trauma of such violence.  Little did I know that this school shooting, until the Virginia Tech shootings, would be the most violent public school shooting in history.  Two boys, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, would kill 13 people and take their own lives.  Stories begin to come out about the killers and about the victims.

In this book Dave Cullen wades through the vast amount of information that has since been released about the killers and about the victims.  Cullen is to the point.  He does not wish to change history but really to set the record straight about the Columbine shootings.  He exposes many myths along the way and some that even hurt because I was guilty of spreading them around as well such as the martyrdom of Cassie Bernall.  In reality Bernall was shot in the head while hiding under a table and was never asked any questions about her faith in God though a girl who watched her being shot said that she was praying.

Why did Klebold and Harris want to kill people at their high school?  The basic answer from Cullen’s book is that they were both psychopaths who happen to be together in the same place.  Their friendship was a ticking time bomb as both were psychopaths.  Both, it seemed, would have been destructive on their own but their combined friendship and hatred fueled their desire to kill.  Contrary to popular opinion, the boys were not bullied, were liked by their friends and even girls, and both were honor roll students.  Dylan Klebold attended his senior prom the weekend before the shootings.  Both boys worked at a pizza joint.  Both were into drinking and smoking.  Both loved violence and guns.  Both admired the Nazis and both were in awe of the Oklahoma City bombings.  The OKC bombings fueled their desire to kill on April 20, 1999 and not because of Hitler’s birthday as some have reported.

The story of Cassie is hard reading.  She was a devout Christian who was praying earnestly for her school but she was not popular and was a bit of a loner.  The day of her death, she went to the library alone as she normally did.  Her journal records that she was praying for her fellow students to be saved.  I praise her that (Romans 10:1).  When the shootings begin, Bernall knew noting of what was happening.  A teacher came into the library and told everyone to hide because someone was killing people.  She hid under a table with another girl.  Bernall was shot by Harris who looked under the table at her and said, “Peekaboo” before shooting her in the head with a sawed off shotgun.  She died instantly.  The girl reported that Bernall said to her, “I want to go home” and that she was praying silently with her lips moving before Harris shot her.  The witness survived the shooting.  The evangelical world jumped onto the story and even a book was written about Bernall’s suppose confession before her death called She Said Yes.  In reality, the girl’s name was Valeen Schnurr.  She was shot and then begin to cry out, “Oh God, I don’t want to die” to which Harris said to her, “God?  Do you believe in God?” to which she said, “Yes I do.”  Harris asked her why she did and she said, “Because my parents raised me that way.”  Apparently Harris was about to finish her off when something distracted him and she lived.  Cullen reports that the FBI and many others were aware that Bernall was not the one who confessed faith in God but the story went viral and the evangelical church jumped on the story and ran with it.  That is sad to me, that Schnurr was the person who confessed faith but she was never praised.

What other facts do we now know about Columbine?  First, the plot by Klebold and Harris was a bombing and not a shooting.  The shooting was “Act II” after the bombs were to explode in the crowded lunchroom killing many.  Klebold and Harris wanted to top the OKC bombings and kill more than 2,000 people.  Their “plan” was written in great detail with three “Acts.”  Act I was the bombing.  Act II was the shooting of survivors.  Act III was to use their cars that were loaded with homemade bombs to kill police and responders to the incident.  The boys believed they would die in Act III in a great shootout with police.  When the bombs failed, the boys moved to Act II and never made it to Act III though they tried to lure police into a shootout from the library window.

Secondly, there was no such thing as the Trench-coat Mafia.  This was created out of half-truths.  It is true that the boys wore trench-coats the day of the shootings but the coats were served in hiding their guns and not because of some mafia.

Third, the shootings were not aimed at any one group or even individuals.  The boys targeted whomever they saw.  The media stated they targeted jocks and minorities.  Both were not founded on any truths.  Both boys loved sports and both loved baseball.  They both attended Columbine football games and cheered on their teams.  Their is no proof that jocks bullied them nor that they disliked sports or even minorities.

Fourth, their were only social outcasts because of their own choosing.  Both boys were liked.  Both boys dated girls.  Both boys participated in school activities.  Both were honor roll students.  Both held down jobs.  The bottom line is that they killed because they were sick in the head.  That is the fact.  They also did not kill because of a video game though they loved games with violence.  Their makeup was sick for years before Columbine.

Let me close by discussing Cullen’s focus on evangelicals in the book.  The book itself is not Christian though it seems Cullen has much to say about the evangelical Church.  From my reading of the book, Cullen seems to have a distaste for the Church.  He feels that the Church tried to make too much about Cassie Bernall’s supposed confession and in the aftermath of Columbine, the Church tried to evangelize instead of comfort.  Fair points since I don’t live in the Denver area and know little of the evangelical Church in Littleton, Colorado.  Cullen seems to suggest the church in Littleton should have done nothing in the rise up to the shootings and in the aftermath.  Just stay away seems to be his point.  I may be reading into that since I am part of the Church.

One thing is clear from this book, mankind is depraved.  Romans 1:18-32 is true of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.  They were sinners bent on sinning.  Both kept journals and both believed in God oddly enough but both rejected Christianity and both rejected the sovereignty of God.  Both believed they would go to hell when they died in a shootout with the police.  The Church needs to preach the truth of God’s wrath against sin.  The “gospel” we hear today was the same as these boys were hearing in the late 1990’s in Littleton, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”  Both concluded that wonderful plan was mass shootings.  They never heard, as far as I can tell from my studies, the true gospel of God’s just wrath against sin nor that they had violated His Laws (1 Timothy 1:8-11).  They had not heard the truths of sin nor of the cross (Hebrews 9:27-28).

In conclusion, the Church should proclaim the Word of God and not preach a watered down message just to draw a crowd.  Jesus was good at making crowds disappear by His preaching (John 6).  He knew the heart of men (John 2:24-25).  Crowds meaning nothing.  They do not mean success.  The gospel is what we should preach and leave the results to the Lord (Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 21).  The Church was quick to run with the Cassie Bernall story when in fact it should have simply been preaching the gospel both before and after.  The gospel saves and not stories about people’s confessions of faith.  Perhaps if the Church would have been preaching the gospel, perhaps much of this would have been different.  Only God knows.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/11/2012 at 12:18 PM

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