Archive for the ‘Theology and Doctrine’ Category

Did you know that you make the bible say anything you want? One of the main problems that we see from the pulpit and from Christians in general is that we used eisegesis instead of exegesis. What do I mean? What many people do is start with THEIR thoughts and their views and then read that INTO scripture instead of starting with scripture and read OUT of it, not having any pre conceived thoughts or ideas and letting the scripture speak for itself, taking into account the historical context. A typical example of eisegesis is with Pastor Clarence McClendon in this clip at the 1:15 mark

Here he starts with a view of the prosperity gospel and then reads INTO 3 John 2 where it states that:

” Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

But you only need to go back one verse to see who he was talking to

The Elder,

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

John was not trying to make a doctrine about prosperity here. All he was doing was greeting Gaius. It would be the equivalent of us today writing a letter saying “I hope everything is going well with you”. That is all

However, if I told them that the White Camelia Knights of the Klu Klux Klan use the same process to justify doing what they do, I’m sure they would not agree. For example on their website which can be viewed here, they have started with their racist views and then use scriptures such as the below to justify their views

Exodus 33:16 “So shall we be separated: I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the Earth”

Leviticus 20:24 ” I am the Lord they God which have separated you from other people”

Now some may say that this is extreme but it really no different than what is preached Sunday after Sunday in many churches. It is so easy for us in the western world to imprint our western thoughts INTO scripture which is where many false doctrines begin.

Francis Chan explains the difference between eisegesis and exegesis below

I saw this video below which is mainly for those who are preaching sermons but the general princple here should be used by every Christian when interpreting the scriptures and I would encourage every Christian (not only preachers) to use these very useful tips and guidelines when studying the bible. It could put a lot of fasle teachers out of business.

So next time you hear your preacher talking of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor and your destiny which seems to be the norm now, ask yourself, are they reading that stuff INTO the scripture or OUT of the scriptures?

1Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”.He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” – (Mark 7:1-13)

In the scripture text above, the Pharisees thought that their religious acts was something that pleased God. These traditions were passed down from generation to generation. It had become the norm and nobody questioned it or the motives behind it. I mean, it must have been OK, right? Wrong. Jesus rebuked them for a number of reasons. As well as their hypocrisy, he stressed the fact (many times) that they had held up their traditions above the commandments of God. What they thought was pleasing to God was actually done in vain.

Well things have not changed. In Christianity today, there are many traditions that Christians have accepted as the norm from generation to generation and have not questioned it even though there is no biblical basis for them. It has become so entrenched in Christendom that we accept it on the same level playing field as the scriptures.

Capture

Well I have decided to address some of these traditions in my next series of posts. My goal is to challenge you not to ‘go with the flow’ of what everybody else is doing but to try and find these traditions in the scriptures yourself.  Start questioning what you have been taught and start studying (not just reading) the bible for yourself like the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 3) : Getting a confirmation from God

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 4) : Getting slain in the spirit

CaptureOn 14th December 2012, Adam Lanza killed his mother before driving to Sandy Hook school and opening fire killing twenty children, aged 6 and 7, and six adults. The obvious question that many people will be asking is why did God allow such a tragedy to happen? After listening to one of the fathers of the victims (who sounded like a Christian), why would God allow this to happen to one of his children? This would turn the doctrine of blessings, breakthrough and favor right on its head. If God knows everything in advance, why did he allow this to happen? Couldn’t he of stopped it? Is God evil for allowing this to happen? These are the type of questions that many people (including Christians) will be asking and nothing is wrong with that. The Psalmist asked many honest questions.  Got Questions addresses this question head on from a biblical viewpoint

Question: “Why does God allow evil?”

Answer: The Bible describes God as holy (Isaiah 6:3), righteous (Psalm 7:11), just (Deuteronomy 32:4), and sovereign (Daniel 4:17-25). These attributes tell us the following about God: (1) God is capable of preventing evil, and (2) God desires to rid the universe of evil. So, if both of these are true, why does God allow evil? If God has the power to prevent evil and desires to prevent evil, why does He still allow evil? Perhaps a practical way to look at this question would be to consider some alternative ways people might have God run the world:

1) God could change everyone’s personality so that they cannot sin. This would also mean that we would not have a free will. We would not be able to choose right or wrong because we would be “programmed” to only do right. Had God chosen to do this, there would be no meaningful relationships between Him and His creation.

Instead, God made Adam and Eve innocent but with the ability to choose good or evil. Because of this, they could respond to His love and trust Him or choose to disobey. They chose to disobey. Because we live in a real world where we can choose our actions but not their consequences, their sin affected those who came after them (us). Similarly, our decisions to sin have an impact on us and those around us and those who will come after us.

2) God could compensate for people’s evil actions through supernatural intervention 100 percent of the time. God would stop a drunk driver from causing an automobile accident. God would stop a lazy construction worker from doing a substandard job on a house that would later cause grief to the homeowners. God would stop a father who is addicted to drugs or alcohol from doing any harm to his wife, children, or extended family. God would stop gunmen from robbing convenience stores. God would stop high school bullies from tormenting the brainy kids. God would stop thieves from shoplifting. And, yes, God would stop terrorists from flying airplanes into buildings.

While this solution sounds attractive, it would lose its attractiveness as soon as God’s intervention infringed on something we wanted to do. We want God to prevent horribly evil actions, but we are willing to let “lesser-evil” actions slide—not realizing that those “lesser-evil” actions are what usually lead to the “greater-evil” actions. Should God only stop actual sexual affairs, or should He also block our access to pornography or end any inappropriate, but not yet sexual, relationships? Should God stop “true” thieves, or should He also stop us from cheating on our taxes? Should God only stop murder, or should He also stop the “lesser-evil” actions done to people that lead them to commit murder? Should God only stop acts of terrorism, or should He also stop the indoctrination that transformed a person into a terrorist?

3) Another choice would be for God to judge and remove those who choose to commit evil acts. The problem with this possibility is that there would be no one left, for God would have to remove us all. We all sin and commit evil acts (Romans 3:23; Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8). While some people are more evil than others, where would God draw the line? Ultimately, all evil causes harm to others.

Instead of these options, God has chosen to create a “real” world in which real choices have real consequences. In this real world of ours, our actions affect others. Because of Adam’s choice to sin, the world now lives under the curse, and we are all born with a sin nature (Romans 5:12). There will one day come a time when God will judge the sin in this world and make all things new, but He is purposely “delaying” in order to allow more time for people to repent so that He will not need to condemn them (2 Peter 3:9). Until then, He IS concerned about evil. When He created the Old Testament laws, the goal was to discourage and punish evil. He judges nations and rulers who disregard justice and pursue evil. Likewise, in the New Testament, God states that it is the government’s responsibility to provide justice in order to protect the innocent from evil (Romans 13). He also promises severe consequences for those who commit evil acts, especially against the “innocent” (Mark 9:36-42).

In summary, we live in a real world where our good and evil actions have direct consequences and indirect consequences upon us and those around us. God’s desire is that for all of our sakes we would obey Him that it might be well with us (Deuteronomy 5:29). Instead, what happens is that we choose our own way, and then we blame God for not doing anything about it. Such is the heart of sinful man. But Jesus came to change men’s hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit, and He does this for those who will turn from evil and call on Him to save them from their sin and its consequences (2 Corinthians 5:17). God does prevent and restrain some acts of evil. This world would be MUCH WORSE were not God restraining evil. At the same time, God has given us the ability to choose good and evil, and when we choose evil, He allows us, and those around us, to suffer the consequences of evil. Rather than blaming God and questioning God on why He does not prevent all evil, we should be about the business of proclaiming the cure for evil and its consequences—Jesus Christ!

Let us pray for all of those who have been directly or indirectly affected by this shooting. I honestly do not know how I would be if my children were the ones left in a pool of blood.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn – Romans 12:15

Related Posts:

 Why does God allow evil?

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 2

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 3: Pain and Suffering

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 4: If God is so powerful and so good, why do bad things happen?

If God knew people would sin, why did he make them?

I mentioned this verse when I talked about Yo Mama. Please listen to Voddie Baucham explain it in more depth

Recommend reading:

Never Read a Bible Verse by Stand to Reason

Related Posts:

Ten Rules of Biblical Interpretation

Bible: The Users Manual

Why is it important to interpret the bible objectively?

If like me you are a black Christian, the chances are that you have either come from a black pentecostal type background or you are still part of it. You can read a bit of my background from my About Me section and from my post ‘Black church, White church : The dangers of being in a single-raced church’.  I left that style of church some time ago now and would say that I am more in the reformed camp now. As a person, my goal was one thing and one thing only. I just wanted to hear truth. Period.

The interview below is very enlightening and addresses some of the challenges between historically black churches and gospel-centered theology. Take a listen

If you remember, on my previous post, Paul Edwards interviewed Paula White and challenged her theology. Well Paul Edwards spoke to Martin Bashir about

………. his interview with Emergent Universalist Rob Bell of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids. Martin discloses whether or not he is a committed Christian and if the blog rumors are true that he attends Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.

As a reminder of that interview that I posted before, watch the video below

To listen to the interview click here

Related Post:

To Hell with Rob Bell

Rob Bell: A Brother to embrace or a wolf to avoid

The marks of false ‘christian’ teaching and teachers Part 11 – The Gospel of Inclusion

The Lexi Show: Bishop Carlton Pearson “The Inclusion Conclusion”

Jesus Wins, Rob Bell and not your definition of your love

When I first became a Christian, one of the things that we were taught is that we had to be careful how we lived because if the rapture came while we were sinning, we would be left behind or if I died suddenly before repenting, then I would be lost. Many a Christian lived in bondage and in fear of sinning while Jesus returned. Then after a while, I began to think logically. Even though we are christians, we all still sin everyday. If I went by the logic that I was taught, that would mean that a lot of people would die in their sins and not be taken with Jesus when he returns because at any given point in a day, many christians would be sinning because of our fallen nature meaning that everything would have been in vain. Or they have a sinful thought (which one of us haven’t) and then some tragic happens before they had time to repent, for example, 9/11, they would be lost in the same way that an unbeliever would be lost. There would be no guarantee of our salvation and it would basically be a gamble. It made no sense and made the cross of Christ a bit useless and ineffective. My salvation would be based on what I do and not what he has done. That was until I fully understood what Christ actually achieved.

Christ’s death on the cross and his atonement for our sins was not just limited to the past and the present but also stretches into the future

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, 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. (Romans 8:1,5)

I now understand that once I have repented and put my trust in Christ for my salvation, ALL of my sins have been forgiven. Past present and future. I do not have to live in fear that when Christ comes or when I die, I might be ‘caught in the act’ of sinning in one form or another. I can live with the freedom knowing that even if I have sinned ‘before I have repented’, I will not be condemned and I will not forfeit my inheritance in Christ. Note though that this applies to those that ‘walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’. In other words those who have had a true and not false conversion and have truly repented.

Now…….

I can hear many people saying ‘Well that’s OK then. If my future sins are forgiven, then I can live how I want’. If those are your thoughts and you’re thinking is how much you can sin and ‘get away with it’, then there is good chance that you are not truly born again and could be self-deceived. Because a true believer hates his sins and has NO desire to continue sinning. This is just one of the ways you can know if you are a true christian.

I always like to see it as me and Christ swapping jackets. Christ takes my ‘sinful’ jacket in exchange for His ‘righteous’ jacket. Christ in my jacket was punished at the cross and when I stand before God, He only sees the righteous jacket and therefore I am not punished because all my sins have been accounted for and taken on by Christ. WHAT A GREAT DEAL!!

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21)

For more on this topic and a further explanation, click here

If you would like to know how you can have your sins forgiven, click here

Answer: Depends on what your definition of ‘wonderful’ is?

Taken from Desiring God

Introduction
3:29  The glory of God.
7:16  David Wells and the weight of God’s reality.
9:00  Would you write the book the same today?
12:00 The sovereignty of God.
18:47 How do you speak of God’s sovereignty in the presence of tragedy?
22:01 How do all things work for bad for those who reject Christ?
24:14 Do you hedge on Larry King?
27:00 Unconditional election.
30:18 The importance of eternity.
34:42 How do you conceive of eternity: in heaven, on earth?
38:53 What is the Gospel?
42:00 What did Jesus achieve on the cross?
43:40 Repentance.
50:50 Why don’t you call yourself a Calvinist?
53:09 Propitiation.
54:39 Prevenient grace.
1:00:01 Total depravity.
1:03:00 Hell.
1:09:10 Eternal destiny of those who never heard.
1:12:40 The extent of the atonement.
1:17:00 Do unbelievers always do the devil’s bidding?
1:18:40 Your view of the Bible.
1:22:40 Expository preaching and doctrinal depth.
1:28:10 Rick Warren’s sacred trust