Saturday, August 31, 2013

Shadows or Christ?

Heb.10: 1 - For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things…

Those would keep the law are keeping a shadow. The Living Christ is now who we love and obey, not words of stone. That word shadow could be called a “foreshadow”. But let us first establish what is meant by the ”law”. It is commonly used to refer to the law of Moses given on My. Sinai. Condensed down many people use the Ten Commandments as a substitute for the entire law, but it still refers to some of the law given to Moses by God. The Scriptures sometimes use the phrase “the law of the Lord” to mean God’s Word in general, however we are dealing specifically with the law of Moses here.

A young boy is enlisted to call out “The King is coming!” Although he is a peasant and not well groomed he performs his duty faithfully. He stands in the middle of the town square and calls out continually “The King is coming!” And then finally an entourage appears with much pomp and circumstance and then behold…the King himself appears in regal robes. Look at the crowd. Their eyes are fixated upon the King. Do they glance at the king and at the young boy as well? No. Does the young boy continue to call out “The King is coming”? No. The young boy has fulfilled his duty and he is no longer needed.

Years ago there was a game called “Mouse Trap”. It consisted of many components which were designed to help direct a steel ball along a path that would eventually release a cage that would capture that mouse. Along the way there was a trap door. And when the steel ball landed upon that trap door it gave way and the ball fell down upon another feature that would help move the ball along to its final destiny. And at the end the mouse was captured.

But should we reset that trap door? No, the mouse has been captured and that trap door has fulfilled its purpose. It is no longer needed. And the strength of that trap door was that it accomplished its design by showing its weakness and giving way to the steel ball. Yes, its weakness was its designed strength.

Heb.7: 15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

The law has fulfilled its intended design and purpose. It guided God’s people by types and shadows and symbols into the knowledge of sin and also the knowledge of forgiveness through a blood offering. But when the substance arrives; when the final revelation comes upon the scene; when the complete offering is made; when the incarnate Word is born; when the King arrives, then the law is no longer needed for now we have a Father and a Brother and we are chastened through them and not a legal citation written in stone.

I obeyed my earthly father because I respected and loved him and not because of some penal code. And we obey the Lord Jesus because we love Him and not because of the law of Moses. This New Covenant has nothing to do with Mt. Sinai, but it has everything to do with Mt. Calvary. I am afraid there is so much material to cover than I will not be able to put it all in one post. It is amazing that after two thousand years of church history we are still attempting to incorporate the law with grace. The law is poison to grace. And Paul makes it clear that while we are not under any law it does not give us license to sin. But please, let us not besmirch the unspeakable gift of grace with some tortured amalgam of the law and grace.

But let us take a look more closely at the order of Melchisedec. The writer of Hebrews informs us that Jesus was not after the order of Aaron which would come under the law. He even calls that part of the law a “carnal commandment”. He suggests that the law of Moses appealed to the flesh but the New Covenant seeks the Spirit. You see, many people who parade the law have a problem with self righteousness. But let us unclothe the emperor here. No one can keep the law. No one. In the 15th chapter of Acts even James must admit that. And when the apostles gathered in Jerusalem to discuss whether the Gentiles should obey the law Peter stood up and spoke.
Acts 15: 7- And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Here it is. It is by grace we are saved, and it is by grace we are sanctified as well. We do not commit adultery because we love Jesus and walk in the Spirit but not because of the Ten Commandments. There are many more of the commandments of Jesus than just ten. And even if some of the New Testament moral teachings replicate those of the law of Moses they still are in the Spirit and not in tablets of stone. But why did the Spirit make it clear that Jesus was made a priest after the order of Melchesidec? Because the New Covenant ushered in a brand new way that was completely different than the Old Testament law. This New Covenant in which we live and move and have our being is not just some updated and improved version of the law. No, this is a better covenant with better promises and with God Himself as the Author, Finisher, and our High Priest.

Rom.8: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Carnally minded? What did the writer of Hebrews call the law? The carnal commandment. It has fulfilled its purpose and it is now to be “done away with”. The law was the ministry of death while grace is life. Go ahead and meditate on these verses for the next post.

Rom.7:  Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
For when e were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Until the end of September my posts will be limited. However I do post on Facebook.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Prosperity Movement

which gave birth to the

The Industrial Revolution gave rise to individual prosperity which was not known among the common people. It was quite a phenomenon whose effects are seen openly today especially among the industrialized communities. Even the relatively poor have cars and television and enjoy forms of entertainment. The television and billboards show all kinds of material things which create a thirst in the average person. And most of them are within his economic reach especially through leveraging debt. And so the far flung communities rose in their economic standing and began to prosper.

Most children can be financially better off than their parents and certainly their grandparents. Of course it is difficult to gain a full perspective because although this has happened within decades it still is assimilated slowly. Some of us can remember only having one television and one telephone and even one car. Those days seem like ancient history. This culture of getting more and more and striving for status and economic prosperity has swallowed whole the entire western civilization. Every election is now based largely upon who people think can provide a climate conducive to their prosperity. The moral issues are of little consequence anymore.

And embedded within these communities are evangelical churches of all stripes and sizes. And while the culture was being assimilated into a hedonist mindset, and while prosperity became the obvious goal, the believers began to experience some of the same prosperity as did their unbelieving neighbors. The water level was rising and all personal boats rose with it. And there came a point when believers would have to address the blatant inconsistencies with what Scripture taught and what they were experiencing as well as enjoying. Believers by the millions were adopting the cultural mindset and by definition they were leaving the teachings of the New Testament.

And so there grew a tension which had to be resolved. The two belief systems were incompatible at their face. But the western believers were not only reticent to give up their prosperity, but they were downright indignant. Much of the church refused to even see, much less address, such spiritual infidelity especially because little was being heard from the pulpit. And even if a preacher began to speak out against the culture of prosperity there was always scores of other churches within driving distance. And many faithful preachers became frustrated and acquiesced in order to keep the members they had and draw new ones. Even churches which spoke out against the peddlers of prosperity were significantly compromised in their own practices and lifestyles. Yes, they enjoyed their own prosperity while parading their orthodox credentials.

Now most evangelical churches who claim to be against the so called “prosperity message” practice a distinct form of the same even if they do not teach it. When a family experiences some financial prosperity it is almost universally deemed a blessing from God throughout all of evangelicalism. Persecution bad – prosperity good. Bigger church buildings good – outdated church buildings bad. And on and on it goes. Even the preachers were suddenly living large within the culture and enjoying the benefits of having a membership which was prospering and could afford to give them significant salary packages. The entire church structure became more and more like a business and its practices became a reflection of the fallen culture. But everyone was happy and content.

But since there was a tension between what the Scriptures teach and what believers began to espouse something must be done. Something had to change and, of course, it was the Scriptures which had to change to accommodate the flood of prosperity and hedonism. And so by way of a clever twisting of the Scriptures through well coifed men and women there arose a teaching which is generally referred to as the prosperity gospel or message. Using an amazing set of distortions this message began to appeal to millions. Through juxtaposing the Abrahamic Covenant upon the New Testament the diabolical message was applauded by the evangelical masses and allowed for open hedonism to run rampant within the church.

You see, even the prosperity panhandlers had to reinvent the Scriptures because they knew that if interpreted on their face it presents an unshakeable problem for that kind of message. In short the Scriptures teach the exact opposite. So little by little carnal men deconstructed the Scriptures and created a false amalgam that seemed to open the door for lust, greed, and the pursuit of material gain. And professing believers by the millions loved it.

And so the tension was relieved through a doctrinal sleight of hand and believers were free to submerge into the culture and enjoy all the earthly benefits of a life of hedonism and pleasure through all the culture taught and had to offer. And men like Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, and others became obscenely wealthy by not only teachings a message of divine prosperity, but by pounding home that the avenue to this prosperity was giving. And of course this giving was to go the “God’s prophets”. It seems like such an easy scheme to debunk, especially in the light of obvious Scriptural teachings. But the lusts of men are incredibly strong and when nourished by all kinds of promises that lust becomes a monster.

People would give to get God to save their loved ones and to secure new homes and cars and to bless all sorts of business ventures and many other things. This doctrinal golden goose continues to lay all kinds of eggs for false teachers. Under normal circumstances people would be wise to what is happening, but when you leave the Scriptures and follow your lusts then spiritual blindness sets in and you go deeper and deeper into deception.

But let us not kid ourselves. Even orthodox churches practice a form of prosperity even while denouncing the men I have mentioned. Do not assume that we ourselves are not tempted and at times led by our own lusts. And sometimes our doctrinal stand against the prosperity message becomes camouflage for our own spiritual compromises. Yes, the culture takes no time off and its allurement is strong and relentless.

Watch and pray with a broken and contrite heart.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jesus and the Old Testament

If you believe that the narratives contained in the Old Testament Scriptures are valid and at least generally accurate than you are faced with a problem. How do you reconcile the teachings and life of Jesus who was God in the flesh with those violent revelations of God in the Old Testament? It is common place for many today to create some sort of amalgam in which you can claim to follow Jesus and yet incorporate certain violent aspects of the Old Testament narratives. This is not only problematic but it takes license where there is none. And it is the essence of spiritual hubris to build your own God with a smorgasbord of Scriptures with which you pick and choose what you like without embracing the superior and foundational teachings of Jesus Himself.

If Jesus is not the complete and all encompassing revelation of God then He becomes just another lego block in your theology. The Old Testament continues to be used of the Spirit to reveal Christ without demanding answers to the question of divine violence. “You have heard it said…but I say” must provide for us a template and a prism through which we understand the fullness of God. But what about the violence depicted in the Old Testament? That is a mystery and I myself embrace Oscar Hammerstein’s statement,

“Who can explain it, who can tell you why?

Fools give you answers, wise men never try”.

But even without a complete explanation we still must bow to the final and complete revelation contained in the teachings and the Person of Jesus the Christ. I suggest that if there are not some mysteries associated with understanding God then that is not the authentic God. How could God do some of the things the Old Testament Scriptures record and then culminate with the profoundly nonviolent teachings of the God called Jesus? I do not know, but I do know what Jesus taught and lived. And I am bound to follow Jesus and to understand the very nature of God through that incarnate prism. Yes, I do not know some things, perhaps many things.

But when segments of the visible church make Jesus into something that goes against what He taught then we not only have a problem but we have another Jesus constructed for the satisfaction of man. Usually the “sometimes violent” Jesus has a connection to democracy, freedom, and the American way. The “just war” Jesus is a product of patriotism and not of His own teachings. And professing believers will reach back into the Old Testament and sculpt a Jesus which commits all kinds of violent acts usually associated with protecting a certain nation and most notably the one called America.

More recently in some men’s theology God will destroy towns and kill people with tornados and hurricanes in response to something associated with the gay thing. In their twisted sense of moral umbrage God seems to allow rampant adultery and divorce, abortions by the millions, and false teachers and heretics who deny Christ altogether. But when it comes to the gay issue God takes violent and murderous action. This is another distortion and is spiritual idiocy as well as being completely untethered to the New Testament. It makes God a moral marionette of man rather than actively pursuing the redemption of sinners both gay and straight. But the formula is the same. They construct a mixture of the different revelations of God which in effect compromises, dilutes, and even obscures the revelation of Jesus, which is not only the clearest, but is the perfect revelation of the Creator.

But this is no minor issue. This goes to the very heart of who Jesus is, who God is, and what Christianity is. And if we get this wrong we get it all wrong. If we mix the Old Testament narratives with the character of Jesus then we have grossly misunderstood His teachings and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. In fact, anyone with a fourth grade reading capacity can see that the teachings of Jesus seem incompatible with the violence depicted in the Old Testament. Why do they seem incompatible? Because they are. So we are left with no choice. We must follow Jesus and openly admit that the atrocities committed by God in the Old Testament are a mystery and may have served His purposes, however we are now living in a “better” covenant with “better” promises and with a “better” sacrifice.

Take heart, my fellow travelers in the Spirit. We are not called to unravel all the mysteries that belong to the Godhead. The kind of reconciliation which addresses the two distinct revelations of the same God are not given to us and are safely tucked away in God’s own mind. But we are to cling to Christ alone and His teachings. But nowhere in Scripture are we to strive to enjoin the two covenants and the two revelations in order to manipulate an excuse for violence and other bad behaviors. You cannot kill your enemy and love him at the same time. You cannot do good to him while bombing him as well. You see, it is not only incongruous, but it is spiritual insanity.

Even if we assumed that God still acted today with violence we can see just how indiscriminate His actions are. He allows all kinds of sin and debauchery and when He sends earthquakes and tornados He often kills many innocent lives. But can’t you see just how foolish such a scenario is? Just a reading of the gospels reveals a far different God than the one so many have constructed.

Heb.1: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

In the end the New Testament was not just an appendage to the Old Testament. It is the final revelation of who God is and what He has done and what He is like. We are not called to draw a straight line between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. We are called to worship Christ and follow His teachings. The rest may be one day known, but then again, we may never fully understand everything. And standing before the Risen Christ I doubt we will really care.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Which crook said this:

“In this life all that the bank large amounts.”
A. Joel Osteen
B. Oral Roberts
C. Kenneth Copeland
D. Fagan from Oliver
Answer: They all said it and they are all crooks.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

When the Culture Says "Treat!"


Rom.12: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

One of the most difficult but crucial aspects of being a devoted follower of Jesus is the challenge to wash away almost everything you have been told or taught by the culture in which you live. Even those things that are espoused by the culture that seem to be in agreement with Biblical truth are Trojan Horses designed to bring in falsehoods and even damnable heresies.

I have two dogs and I am one of those embarrassingly open dog lovers. And when I say “Treat!” both dogs come running and will consume anything I feed them. They have come to trust my voice and that word, and even though I have wrapped medicine inside lunch meat they still will eat whatever I hand them. If I fed them poison they would still eat it because they have learned to trust me and the word “treat”. They have nothing to fear because I would never do any harm to my pets.

But such a claim cannot be said for the fallen culture which surrounds us and openly and subtly demands and imprisons all its subjects. We have forgotten that the culture is fallen in thought, word, and deed. It is profoundly working against the purposes of Christ and His kingdom even if sometimes it seems as if it is in agreement with some issues. But when the church, which should have Jesus as the only Lord, begins to trust the culture in some ways it begins to slip into trusting it in all ways. And when the culture says “Treat!” the church comes for that which the culture offers. The problem is that even when the culture says “Do not lie” it still is part of a grand scheme to deceived the people and defraud the Savior. How does that operate?

First you must suggest some morals which seem Biblical, and then you begin to elicit some level of trust and even fondness from those who should know better. A child molester offers real candy while attempting to achieve his sinister motives. In chess it is called a “gambit” as you allow a piece to be captured so you can leverage a better position which can ultimately provide a path to victory. And so it is with that fallen culture which provides a clandestine forum for the evil one to achieve his sinister goals. The devil has had centuries to hone his deceptive skills and he knows how to manipulate the human race. He does use open evil but his forte is using a mixture of good and evil while emphasizing the good and hiding the evil.

And although the culture does not use the word “treat” it does have words and phrases that accomplish the same things. These are some of those words:


Founding fathers

The Constitution




Judeo-Christian ethic

And when believers embrace these treats they embrace evil that seeks to undermine the Word of God and the kingdom of Jesus. Once you receive from the hand of the fallen you cannot just receive that which seems to please God. No, you receive everything connected with the kingdom of darkness. You may not see it or understand it, but this process has emasculated the church and has formed a powerless collection of religious hedonists. And all this has come about even while the church believes it is standing for truth. That kind of deception is very sophisticated.

When the church pays attention to the ebbs and flows of the culture and does battle with carnal weapons it compromises on a grand scale. Eventually what you have is an amalgam of religion and culture and that cannot be considered the faith that follows Jesus. To be sure the culture will give treats with moral positions and fairy tales about the Christian formation of America. And inside those narratives lives a clandestine power which continues to lead the visible church deeper and deeper into the abyss of apostasy. And yet it feels so good to be morally righteous and faithfully patriotic and enjoying the fruits of a decadent culture which thrives on money and self pleasure. And here is the church calling that which is completely against the teachings of Jesus the “blessings of God”. And how can this happen?

It happens by the transitive process. If you receive a genuine piece of truth from the fallen culture it gains some level of trust in your mind. Would you buy a book from Charles Manson even if everything he wrote was moral? Why not? Is it because his fallen nature is more open and pronounced than is that of the culture? And even if much of the culture is openly against Christ morally, you still can soothe your conscience by suggesting we can return to the former days when we embraced the “Judeo-Christian ethic”. There is no such thing. It is a man made concept which joins the morals of the Old Testament with the morals of Jesus. And even assuming that for a moment it is obvious this nation or any other has never been moral at all. It is all an imaginary tale.

The process of deception moves from unwise to compromise all the way to out and out idolatry. And the ingenuous evil is that that same church incorporates the dictates and mores of the culture right into its beliefs and practices and with the deftness of a magician it crafts a divine relationship with the church and the culture. And yet it remains a diabolical illusion. And the illusion becomes reality in the minds and hearts of professing believers. The congregation now lives and breathes and participates in a fallen culture with no struggle to resist, much less to undergo a constant transformation of the mind.

And when the conservative wing of the fallen culture is pro-life or pro-traditional marriage and yells “Treat!” the church comes and embraces that brief and hollow morsel. And so grows the relationship that legitimatizes the fallen and poisons the Bride. It is oh so tragic. The deception has such deep roots that even suggesting a comprehensive spiritual reevaluation many times places you as a radical and a trouble maker. The ecclesiastical princess is quite comfortable and vehemently resists any entrance of the slightest pea under her pleasure stuffed mattress.  

But make no mistake, the culture is an enemy of Christ. Liberal, conservative, and all the rest is a scam and appeals to the fleshly desires of men. Capitalism and war and democracy and the entire landscape have no place inside the kingdom of Christ our Lord. Is it that cut and dry, you ask. What fellowship has light with darkness? Can a room be light and dark at the same time? But that is exactly what the western church is attempting to suggest. We have lost the concept of how completely fallen is this present world. Can a rotting corpse be good for food? Can arsenic be used to prepare a healthy meal?

Is this the way of Jesus? Let a follower of Christ have one vote and let a Satan worshiper have one vote. Is that God’s way? That is democracy at its core. Win by organizing, money, propaganda, and joining forces with whoever is on your temporal side. The whole world lies in the wicked one. Can the Lord Christ and Satan join hands? If that is the way of Jesus then the gospels are a lie. But it gets the competitive juices flowing and it makes us feel so moral. Humility? Meekness? Those are for wimps. Hatred is now boldness. Pride is now patriotic. Having way more than you need is now showers of blessings. The church now grows through strategies. And professing believers are willing to die for the flag but not willing to deny themselves for Christ.

But perk up your ears and listen closely. The world will still call out “Treat!” almost every single day. If Jesus wants you to feed from that fallen hand then go ahead. But I suggest that is not Jesus at all.

I Jn.2: 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.