Monday, August 14, 2006

FALSE DOCTRINES IN THE CHURCHES TODAY


False Doctrines in the Churches today

False doctrine is rampant in todays churches - some of God's elect suffer in silence due to criticism from false shepherds who will cause trouble for them in the church and mark them with 'religious spirit' or someone who 'argues over words' - I will now pursue tackling some of these major false doctrines that are a particular danger to Bible-believing churches in our day and a concise biblical refutation of them.
I'd like to thank all who were responsible in helping me to compile these posts - in order to tackle these heresies.


SOME BIBLE FACTS ABOUT FALSE TEACHERS

1. Jesus warned about false teachers (Matthew 7:15-17)
2. Paul warned about false teachers (Acts 20:29-30 - 2 Timothy 3:13 - 2 Timothy 4:3-4)
3. Peter warned about false teachers and said that many will follow them (2 Peter 2:1-2)
4. John warned about false teachers (1 John 2:18-20)
5. Jude warned about false teachers (Jude 3-4)


SOME BIBLE FACTS ABOUT DOCTRINE

1. The Bible is given for doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
2. We are to continue in the apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42)
3. No false doctrine is to be allowed (1 Timothy 1:3)
4. Preachers are to give themselves to doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13)
5. Our doctrine is to be uncorrupt (Titus 2:10)
6. We are to separate from false doctrine (Romans 16:17)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

THE FALSE TEACHING THAT HELL IS NOT ETERNAL TORMENT


The false teaching that Hell is not eternal torment

(This heresy is found in the following cults - Jehovah's Witnesses - Mormonism - Seventh-day Adventists - christadelphians and also false teacher Billy Graham)

What does the bible say?

The doctrine of death and hell were not fully revealed in the Old Testament; these were brought to light with the coming of Christ (2 Timothy. 1:10).

Matthew 13:42 - Jesus says:
"And shall cast them into a FURNACE OF FIRE: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 25:41 - Jesus says:
Depart from me, ye cursed, into the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels

Matthew 25:46 - Jesus says:
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment

Matthew 26:24 - Jesus says:
The son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the son of man is betrayed: IT HAD BEEN GOOD FOR THAT MAN IF HE HAD NOT BEEN BORN.

Question: why would it have been better for Judas not to have been born?

Answer: Because he will suffer eternal damnation in the fire and torment of hell.

Mark 9:43-49 - Jesus says:
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
For every one shall be salted with fire,


Mark 9:42 - Jesus says:
And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

Question: Why did Jesus says this?

Answer: because Jesus warns about the consequence of hell fire as we saw above in the following verses.

Isaiah 66:22-24
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Psalm 9:17
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Isaiah 33:14
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?


By Chris Jesus' Boy!

THE HERESY OF SOUL SLEEP


The false teaching that death is a sleep and not a journey

(This false teaching can be found in the following cults: - Seventh-day Adventists - Jehovah's witnesses - Christadelphian)

What does the bible say?

The Old Testament plainly says that death is a journey (Genesis. 25:8 - 35:18; Numbers. 27:13; 2 Samuel. 12:23; 1 Kings. 17:21-22).

The New Testament plainly says that death is a journey:
(1) Jesus said death is a journey (Luke. 16:19-23 - 23:42-43). That Luke 16:19-31 is not a parable is evident by the fact that Jesus named the names of Abraham and Lazarus. He never named names when He was giving parables. Further, even if it were a parable, it would still teach literal truth.
(2) Paul said death is a journey (2 Corinthians. 5;6-7; Philippians. 1:23; 2 Timothy. 4:6).
(3) Peter said death is a journey (2 Peter. 1:13-15).
(4) The fact that the dead saints return with Christ from heaven at the time of the rapture shows that dead saints go to Heaven at death (1 Thessalonians. 4:14).
(5) John's heavenly visions show that dead saints are conscience in heaven prior to the resurrection and during the Great Tribulation on earth (Revelation. 6:9-11).
(6) Moses' and Elijah's appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration proves that the dead have conscious existence between death and resurrection. Moses and Elijah, though dead, were allowed by God to appear in time on that mountain and to converse about events which were soon to take place in Jerusalem (Matthew. 17:1-3 - Luke. 9:30-31).

The Bible sometimes speaks of death as a "sleep," but it is the body that sleeps not the spirit (James. 2:26).

Ecclesiastes sometimes speaks of death as nothingness (i.e., Ecc. 9:5), but this is because Ecclesiastes is written from the perspective of the man "under the sun" (Ecc. 1:3, 9, 14, etc), the perspective of man looking at life the way it appears apart from divine revelation. To the natural man who does not have the revelation of the Scriptures, death appears to be the end of things. But other portions of the Bible tell us that this is not the case. Even the book of Ecclesiastes itself, in its conclusion, says that death is a journey (Ecc. 12:7).

The Old Testament speaks of the "spirit" as the breath once or twice, but usually the "spirit" of man is that non-material part which is separate from the body and which lives on after death (1 Thessalonians. 5:23). False teachers make the mistake of refusing to allow the context to define Bible words and instead they put their own preferred definition on the word and force that definition into every context.

FALSE TEACHINGS OF THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT


The false teachings of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement

(These false teachings can be found in the following - Assemblies of God/AOG - and also the
Word Faith Cult)


The false doctrine that tongues speaking is for today

What does the bible say?

The Bible says tongues were a real language (Acts 2:3-11).

The Bible says tongues were a sign to the unbelieving Jews (1 Corinthians. 14:21-22).

After Israel rejected God's sign of tongues and Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the Jews were scattered to the ends of the earth, the need for tongues as a sign was finished.

Biblical tongues had to be used according to the teaching of the apostles, yet the Pentecostals and Charismatics do not submit to these restrictions:
(1) Women are not allowed to speak in tongues (1 Corinthians. 14:34)
(2) Tongues were to be spoken only by course (1 Corinthians. 14:27)
(3) Tongues must be interpreted (1 Corinthians. 14:27)
(4) There is to be no confusion (1 Corinthians. 14:33)
(5) Everything is to be decent (1 Corinthians. 14:40)
(6) Everything is to be orderly (1 Corinthians. 14:40)

Tongues were not spoken by every believer even in the days of the apostles (1 Corinthians. 12:28-30).

Biblical tongues were not sought after but were sovereignly given by God (1 Corinthians. 12:11).

There is no instruction in the Bible about HOW to speak in tongues. Those who believe in tongues speaking today claim that they can teach people who to do it.

The Bible says tongues speaking, prophesying, and words of knowing will pass away (1 Corinthians. 13:8). When the New Testament was completed, there was no further need for these particular gifts.

The false doctrine that healing is promised in the atonement

What does the bible say?

The Bible says that not all sicknesses are healed (2 Corinthians. 12:97-10 - 1 Timothy. 5:23 - 2 Timothy. 4:20).

The Bible says that the physical part of our salvation is for the future (Romans. 8:17-25).


Peter says that Isaiah 53:5 refers to spiritual healing of the soul (1 Peter. 2:24-25).

The false doctrine that miracles should be sought

What does the bible say?

Jesus warned that it is not good to seek miracles (Matthew. 12:39).

The miracles performed by the apostles were special (2 Corinthians.12:12).

Not every Christian could perform miracles.

Faith does not come from miracles but from God's Word (Romans.10:17).
Multitudes witnessed Jesus' great miracles, but most did not believe.



The false doctrine that we should exal and pray to the Holy Spirit

What does the bible say?

The Lord Jesus Christ foretold what role the Holy Spirit would have in the church age (John 16:13-15).
In this passage we learn that the Holy Spirit does not exalt Himself and the Holy Spirit does not draw attention to Himself.

There is no example in the N.T. of praying to the Holy Spirit.
The Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray to the Father, not to the Holy Spirit (Matthew. 6:6,9 - John. 16:23).
The Apostle Paul taught us to pray to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit (Romans. 1:8 - 7:25).

There is no example in the New Testament of inviting the Holy Spirit to work. Neither Jesus nor the apostles did that.

The false doctrine that we should not test those who claim to represent the Holy Spirit... with the Bible

What does the bible say?

The Bible warns that there are false spirits and that the devil tries to deceive (2 Corinthians. 11:4 - 1 John. 4:1).

Therefore we must test everything carefully or we will be deceived.b.

The Bible commands us to prove all things (1 Thess. 5:21).

The Bible commended the Bereans because they tested everything by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11)


The false doctrine that the believer can be rid of his sin nature

What does the bible say?

Paul taught that the believer still has the struggle with sin (Romans. 7:14-21; Galatians. 5:16-17).

John teaches that the believer still has sin in his life (1 John 1:8-10)

The false doctrine that victory in the Christian life comes through unusual baptisms and experiences

What does the bible say?

The Bible does not exhort us to make spiritual leaps through unusual experiences. Rather, it exhorts us to GROW in Christ (1 Peter. 2:1-2 - 2 Peter. 3:18).

The apostles wrote many epistles instructing the believers about how to deal with sin an spiritual problems, but they never instructed the believers to seek a second baptism or other such special experiences.

The false doctrine that visions and 'new' prophecies and 'new revelations' are for today.

What does the bible say?

The Bible says the faith was completed in the days of the apostles (Jude 3).

The Bible says that the Scriptures are sufficient (2 Timothy. 3:16-17).

The Bible says that Scripture is more sure than visions (2 Peter. 1:16-21).

The Bible says that prophecies will pass away (1 Corinthians. 13:8).

FALSE TEACHING THAT BAPTISM IS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION



The false teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation

(Church of Christ aka Campbellites)

What does the bible say?

Paul taught that baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-4)

It is the blood and death of Christ that takes away our sins, not water or religious rituals.

Paul says that baptism is not the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:17)

The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
Baptism only symbolizes the gospel.

The book of Acts teaches us that baptism follows salvation (Acts 8:36-38 - 16:30-33 - 18:8)

Acts 2:38 does not teach that baptism is a part of salvation, because Peter later taught that baptism is a symbol (1 Peter 3:21)

Acts 2:38 teaches that we are baptized because we have been forgiven of our sins not in order to be forgiven.

GOD IS NOT A TRINITY HERESY



THE FALSE TEACHING THAT GOD IS NOT A TRINITY

This heresy can be found in the cults such as - Jehovah's witnesses - Unitarians - Oneness Pentecostals - Mormonism

What does the bible say?

The term "trinity" is not in the Bible, but the doctrine is
Matthew 28:19
John 14:16
John 14:26
John 16:7-15
2 Corinthians 13:14
Ephesians 4:4-6
1 John 5:7

The Old Testament teaches that God is one in a plurality.
Though the Old Testament does not fully reveal the doctrine of the Trinity, it does teach us that God is a plurality.
It is left for the New Testament to open up this revelation fully.

Genesis 1:1 - The Hebrew word for God here is elohim. This is a plural noun, but the verb is singular, teaching that there is one God in a plurality.

Genesis 11:6-7 - Here again God is spoken of in the plural and in the singular at the same time.

Deuteronomy 6:4 - This verse could be translated, "Jehovah our elohim is a united Jehovah." The word "one" refers to a unity. The same word for one is used in Genesis 2:24, speaking of the oneness of a husband and wife. This verse summarizes the Bible's teaching about God. He is one but exists in three Persons.

Psalm 45:6-7 - According to Hebrews 1:8-9, God the Father is speaking in Psalm 45, and He is referring to the Son as God.
Sometimes people ask, "If Jesus Himself was God, why did He address the Father as God?" The answer is that Jesus addressed the Father as God for the same reason that the Father addressed the Son as God-because they are both God!



Baptist confession of faith - chapter 2 - God and the Holy Trinity

The Lord our God is the one and only living and true God; Whose subsistence is in and of Himself

- Who is infinite in being and perfection; Whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but Himself;

- Who is a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions

- Who only has immortality

- Who dwells in the light which no man can approach, Who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, in every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute;

- Who works all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory;

- Who is most loving, gracious, merciful, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth;

- Who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin;

- Who is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him;

- and Who, at the same time, is most just and terrible in His judgements, hating all sin and Who will by no means clear the guilty.
God, having all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and from Himself, is unique in being all- sufficient, both in Himself and to Himself, not standing in need of any creature which He has made, nor deriving any glory from such.

- On the contrary, it is God Who manifests His own glory in them, through them, to them and upon them. He is the only fountain of all being; from Whom, through Whom, and to Whom all things exist and move.

- He has completely sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do through them, for them, or to them whatever He pleases.

- In His sight all things are open and manifest; His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and not dependant on the creature.

- Therefore, nothing is for Him contingent or uncertain.

- He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands.

- To Him is due from angels and men whatever worship, service, or obedience, they owe as creatures to the Creator, and whatever else He is pleased to require from them.

In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and the Holy Spirit. All are one in substance, power, and eternity; each having the whole divine essence, yet this essence being undivided.

The Father was not derived from any other being; He was neither brought into being by, nor did He issue from any other being.

- The Son is eternally begotten of the Father.

- The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

- All three are infinite, without beginning, and are therefore only one God, Who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties, and also their personal relations.

- This doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and our comfortable dependence on Him.

THE DAMNABLE HERESY THAT TEACHES JESUS IS NOT GOD


THE FALSE TEACHING THAT JESUS IS NOT GOD

This teaching is found in the following religions/cults - Mormonism - Jehovah's witnesses - some 7th day adventists - Christadelphian - Islam


The Bible clearly says that Jesus is God
(1) Isaiah called Jesus God (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6)
(2) Matthew called Jesus God (Matthew 1:23)
(3) Jesus called Himself God (John 5:17-18 - 8:58-59 - 10:30-33 - Revelation 1:8)
(4) John called Jesus God (John. 1:1 - 1 John 3:16 - 5:20)
(5) Thomas called Jesus God (John 20:28)
(6) Paul called Jesus God (Acts 20:28 - Philippians 2:5-6 - 1 Timothy 3:16 - Titus 2:13)
(7) God the Father called Jesus God (Hebrews 1:8-10)

In His incarnation the Lord Jesus Christ "made himself of no reputation" and became a lowly servant to God and man (Philippains 2:7)
The Greek word for "made himself of no reputation" is "kenoo," meaning "to empty, to abase, to make of none effect" (Strongs concordance)
Jesus did not cease to be God.
Philippians 2:6 plainly states that He is God, but the Son of God willingly laid aside His glory for the purpose of redeeming man by the cross.

There is an order to the Trinity.

God the Son submits to God the Father, even though they are equal.


MATTHEW 1:23
"...they shall call his name EMMANUEL, which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US."

JOHN 8:24
"...if ye believe not that I AM he,ye shall die in your sins."-JESUS CHRIST

Isaiah 43:11
"I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour."

2 Peter 3:18
...our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:12
To the only wise God our Saviour...

Titus 2:10
God our Saviour.

1 Timothy 4:10
...we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour.

Luke 1:47
God my Saviour.

John 4:42
...the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Titus 1:4
...the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Luke 2:11
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.


JESUS IS UNCREATED

God created the universe and earth by Himself.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Isaiah 44:24
I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.


Jesus Christ created the universe and the earth.

Hebrews 1:10

Unto the Son he saith...Thou, LORD, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.

Colossians 1:16
By him (Jesus) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth...all things were created by him, and for him.

John 1:3
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.


God is the Word.

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

Jesus is the Word.

John 1:14
...the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...



God is the first and the last.

Isaiah 41:4
I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

Jesus is the first and the last.

Revelation 1:17
Jesus said, "Fear not; I am the first and the last:"


God forgives sins.

Psalm 103:2-3
The Lord..forgiveth all thine iniquities...

Mark 2:7
"Who can forgive sins but God only?"

Jesus forgives sins.

Mark 2:5
Jesus...said..."Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."


God is our redeemer.

Isaiah 63:16
Thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer..

Jesus redeemed us.

Titus 2:13-14
The great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ...gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity..



God is one.

Deuteronomy 6:4
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.

Jesus and God are one.

John 10:30
I and my Father are one.

John 1:1, 3, 10, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...All things were made by him...He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us

John 14:9
Jesus saith...he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.


God is the Holy One

Psalms 71:22
I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth,O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.

Psalms 78:41
Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

Psalms 89:18
For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.

Isaiah 10:20
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

Psalms 16:10
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Messianic Psalm)

Jesus is the Holy One

Acts 2:27
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Acts 3:13-14
The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;

Acts 13:34-35
And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.


Only God is worshipped

Matthew 4:10
... Then saith Jesus unto him... Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Jesus is worshipped

Matthew 9:18
While [Jesus] spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him...

Hebrews 1:6
And again, when [God] bringeth in the firstbegotten [Jesus] into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

John 20:28
And Thomas answered and said unto [Jesus], My Lord and my God.


God is Messiah

Isaiah 9:6
...unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder...and his name shall be called... The mighty God, The everlasting Father...

Jesus is Messiah

John 4:25-26
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.



God is from everlasting

Psalms 93:1-2
The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.

Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) is from everlasting

Micah 5:2
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah...out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.


Only God is glorified

Isaiah 42:8
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another...

God glorified Jesus

John 17:5
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

John 5:23
All men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

Hebrews 1:8
But unto the Son he [God] saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

FALSE DAMNABLE DOCTRINE OF FAITH + WORKS



The false teaching that salvation is by grace plus works

(Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Church of Christ, Roman Catholic Church, Many Arminian churches)

Bible Answer:
1) The Bible says salvation is by grace without works and that works follows after salvation (Rom. 4:1-6; Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-8)

2) The Bible says that grace and works cannot be mixed together (Rom. 11:6)

3) Grace means a free gift. Salvation is called a gift 16 times in the New Testament.
If salvation requires some works, then it is not a true gift.
The gift of God is free for the sinner because Jesus Christ purchased it at great price with His blood and death on the cross.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

PICTURES OF CHRIST


The question of the propriety of pictorial representations of the Saviour is one that merits examination. It must be granted that the worship of Christ is central in our holy faith, and the thought of the Saviour must in every instance be accompanied with that reverence which belongs to his worship. We cannot think of him without the apprehension of the majesty that is his. If we do not entertain the sense of his majesty, then we are guilty of impiety and we dishonour him.

It will also be granted that the only purpose that could properly be served by a pictorial representation is that it would convey to us some thought or lesson representing him, consonant with truth and promotive of worship. Hence the question is inescapable: is a pictorial representation a legitimate way of conveying truth regarding him and of contributing to the worship which this truth should evoke?

We are all aware of the influence exerted on the mind and heart by pictures. Pictures are powerful media of communication. How suggestive they are for good or for evil and all the more so when accompanied by the comment of the spoken or written word! It is futile, therefore, to deny the influence exerted upon mind and heart by a picture of Christ. And if such is legitimate, the influence exerted should be one constraining to worship and adoration. To claim any lower aim as that served by a picture of the Saviour would be contradiction of the place which he must occupy in thought, affection, and honour.

The plea for the propriety of pictures of Christ is based on the fact that he was truly man, that he had a human body, that he was visible in his human nature to the physical senses, and that a picture assists us to take in the stupendous reality of his incarnation, in a word, that he was made in the likeness of men and was found in fashion as a man.

Our Lord had a true body. He could have been photographed. A portrait could have been made of him and, if a good portrait, it would have reproduced his likeness.

Without doubt the disciples in the days of his flesh had a vivid mental image of Jesus’ appearance and they could not but have retained that recollection to the end of their days. They could never have entertained the thought of him as he had sojourned with them without something of that mental image and they could not have entertained it without adoration and worship. The very features which they remembered would have been part and parcel of their conception of him and reminiscent of what he had been to them in his humiliation and in the glory of his resurrection appearance. Much more might be said regarding the significance for the disciples of Jesus’ physical features.

Jesus is also glorified in the body and that body is visible. It will also become visible to us at his glorious appearing—

“he will be seen the second time without sin by those who look for him unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).

What then are we to say of pictures of Christ?

First of all, it must be said that we have no data whatsoever on the basis of which to make a pictorial representation; we have no descriptions of his physical features which would enable even the most accomplished artist to make an approximate portrait. In view of the profound influence exerted by a picture, especially on the minds of young people, we should perceive the peril involved in a portrayal for which there is no warrant, a portrayal which is the creation of pure imagination. It may help to point up the folly to ask:

what would be the reaction of a disciple, who had actually seen the Lord in the days of his flesh, to a portrait which would be the work of imagination on the part of one who had never seen the Saviour?

We can readily detect what his recoil would be. No impression we have of Jesus should be created without the proper revelatory data, and every impression, every thought, should evoke worship. Hence, since we possess no revelatory data for a picture or portrait in the proper sense of the term, we are precluded from making one or using any that have been made.

Secondly, pictures of Christ are in principle a violation of the second commandment. A picture of Christ, if it serves any useful purpose, must evoke some thought or feeling respecting him and, in view of what he is, this thought or feeling will be worshipful. We cannot avoid making the picture a medium of worship. But since the materials for this medium of worship are not derived from the only revelation we possess respecting Jesus, namely, Scripture, the worship is constrained by a creation of the human mind that has no revelatory warrant. This is will-worship. For the principle of the second commandment is that we are to worship God only in ways prescribed and authorized by him. It is a grievous sin to have worship constrained by a human figment, and that is what a picture of the Saviour involves.

Thirdly, the second commandment forbids bowing down to an image or likeness of anything in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. A picture of the Saviour purports to be a representation or likeness of him who is now in heaven or, at least, of him when he sojourned upon the earth. It is plainly forbidden, therefore, to bow down in worship before such a representation or likeness. This exposes the iniquity involved in the practice of exhibiting pictorial representations of the Saviour in places of worship.

When we worship before a picture of our Lord, whether it be in the form of a mural, or on canvas, or in stained glass, we are doing what the second commandment expressly forbids. This is rendered all the more apparent when we bear in mind that the only reason why a picture of him should be exhibited in a place is the supposition that it contributes to the worship of him who is our Lord. The practice only demonstrates how insensitive we readily become to the commandments of God and to the inroads of idolatry. May the Churches of Christ be awake to the deceptive expedients by which the archenemy ever seeks to corrupt the worship of the Saviour.

In summary, what is at stake in this question is the unique place which Jesus Christ as the God-man occupies in our faith and worship and the unique place which the Scripture occupies as the only revelation, the only medium of communication, respecting him whom we worship as Lord and Saviour. The incarnate Word and the written Word are correlative. We dare not use other media of impression or of sentiment but those of his institution and prescription. Every thought and impression of him should evoke worship. We worship him with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God. To use a likeness of Christ as an aid to worship is forbidden by the second commandment as much in this case as in that of the Father and Spirit.

Author unknown

IDOLATROUS PICTURES OF CHRIST

PICTURES OF CHRIST

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6).

In this second commandment we are forbidden to make any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. We are forbidden to bow down to them or to serve them. Now the question has been asked whether or not this commandment forbids the use of pictures of Christ. Naturally the commandment forbids the bowing down before such pictures and worshipping them. There can be no question of that.

But in many Protestant churches and in many evangelical churches pictures of Christ are used in teaching, and in the homes of Christians pictures of Christ are hung up to remind them, I suppose, of Christ.


Is that Scriptural?
Does it meet with the approval of God?
Is it sinful?
Is it another way of breaking the second commandment?

No doubt, if I state that the use of pictures of Christ is unscriptural; that it does not meet with the approval of God; that it is sinful; and that it is a breaking of the second commandment—I will be considered as a fanatic, a reactionary, and perhaps not quite normal. But before you have such unkind thoughts please hear me out. If we are Christians our service and worship will be regulated by the Word of God. The Bible is our infallible guide in faith and worship.

Now here is the surprising thing. Nowhere in the Bible, either in the Old Testament or New Testament, is there a physical description of Christ. Isn’t that strange if God wanted to use the picture of Christ in spreading the Gospel or in worship, that we are not told whether Christ was tall or short, fair or dark, light or dark hair, blue eyes or brown eyes?

With all their love for the Lord you would think that Peter or John would have given a description of him—unless, of course, they were forbidden. They wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Surely it is significant that neither they nor any other of the Scriptures gave a physical description of the Lord. Surely if God desired the use of pictures of Christ to further the cause of Christ he would have had a physical description of his Son in his Word.


Why should we consider ourselves wiser than God and provide what he has deliberately left out?

The second amazing fact is that in the first four centuries of the history of the Church no picture of Christ was used. These were the years when the Church made her most astonishing growth. These were the years in which the Christians conquered pagan Rome. It is so frequently stated that we need pictures of Christ in order to teach people the Gospel. The apostle Peter did not need pictures of Christ to instruct the young or bring the Gospel to adults. The apostle John did not need pictures of Christ to convert pagans and instruct the Church. The apostle Paul did not need pictures of Christ to convert Barbarians and Greeks. The early church did not need pictures of Christ to conquer paganism. They accomplished it by preaching the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

When pictures of Christ were first introduced they were opposed. The Church historian Eusebius, who lived in the fourth century, declared himself in the strongest manner against images of Christ in a letter to the Empress Constantia who asked him for such an image. Amongst other things Eusebius wrote: “Who can therefore counterfeit by dead and insensible colors, by vain shadowing painter’s art, the bright and shining glistering of such his glory? whereas his holy disciples were not able to behold the same in the mountain; who, therefore, falling on their faces, acknowledged they were not able to behold such a sight.”

Here Eusebius touches on one of the reasons why it is impossible to have a true picture of Christ.


If you want a picture of Christ do you want it as he was upon earth or as he is now in heaven?

If you want a picture of him as he was upon earth you have quite a problem. There was no picture of him painted. The so-called pictures of Christ which are present today are from the imaginations of the artists. That is why there are so many different pictures. Not one of them is a true picture. So every time you say this or that is a picture of Christ you are uttering a lie. You cannot teach truth by a lie. Christ is the Truth, and surely he would not want the use of a false means to point to him. Christ abhors lies and falsehoods.

How would you like it if someone who never saw you painted a picture and told every one that it was a picture of you?


Certainly you would resent it. And certainly Christ must resent all those counterfeit pictures of him.

But supposing you wanted a picture of Christ as he is now. The disciples had such a vision of him on the mount of transfiguration. We read in:


Matthew 17:2
“And his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.”

This was the glorified Christ. No artist could give us a picture of Christ which would show the glowing of Christ’s face as the sun and his raiment as white as the light. They would only rob Christ of his glory by miserably falling short of a true painting of Christ in his present glory.

But someone will state that at least we can depict the humanity of Christ as he appeared upon earth. But who are we to separate his humanity from his divinity!


John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Notice that the apostle states that even while Christ was in the flesh they beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. In other words, they beheld his divinity as well as his humanity. This one cannot paint. So one must behold his humanity as separate from his divinity. Then one falls into the ancient error of Nestorius. He stated that Christ consisted of two persons: one human and the other divine. There was, according to Nestorius, a separation between the human and the divine persons.

That was the ground on which the Council called by Constantine V condemned paintings of Christ. You see, this question of pictures of Christ was the subject of controversy throughout the eighth century. So Constantine in 753 called a council of three hundred and thirty bishops. Their conclusion was this:
“If any person shall divide the human nature, united to the Person of God the Word; and, having it only in the imagination of his mind, shall therefore attempt to paint the same in an image; let him be holden as accursed. If any person shall divide Christ, being but one, into two persons; placing on the one side the Son of God, and on the other side the son of Mary; neither doth confess the continual union that is made; and by that reason doth paint in an image the son of Mary, as subsisting by himself; let him be accursed. If any person shall paint in an image the human nature, being deified by the uniting thereof to God the Word; separating the same as it were from the Godhead assumpted and deified; let him be holden as accursed.”

This council points out the difficulty and indeed the impossibility of painting a portrait of Christ. Christ is more than man. He is God-man. It is impossible to depict by a painter’s brush the almighty power of Christ; the glorious majesty of Christ; the infinite knowledge of Christ. You cannot localize by a painter’s brush the everywhere-presence of Christ. One can only succeed in degrading Christ. When one considers the deity of Christ it is no wonder that the apostles did not attempt a physical description of their Lord and Saviour.

There is always, also, the danger of worshipping the picture of Christ and attaching power to it. Even a Protestant publishing firm stated that there is power in a picture of Christ. It stated: “When one plants deeply and firmly in his mind the picture of Christ, it has a strong and powerful influence in his life.” Thus instead of attributing this influence to Christ and the Holy Spirit they attribute it to the picture they are trying to sell! That is a breaking of the second commandment.

But can it not help in the saving of souls, it is asked.


But how?

Looking at a picture of Christ hanging upon the cross tells me nothing. It does not tell me that he hung there for sin. It does not tell me that he hung there for my sin. It does not tell me that he is the Son of God. Only the Word of God does that. And it is the Word of God that has been given us to tell the story of salvation through the blood of Christ. It is not through the foolishness of pictures that sinners are converted but through the foolishness of preaching.

It is amazing how slowly unscriptural practices enter the Christian Church. We must at all times go back to the Scriptures. The Bible is our infallible guide. And if our practices and doctrines do not conform with the teachings of the Scriptures, then we must eliminate them. The Bible instructs the Church not to make any likeness of Christ. The present day pictures of Christ are false and no one would make a serious claim that they resemble Christ upon earth. They separate his humanity from his deity. They do not at all give us a glimpse of his present glory. They are not condoned by the inspired apostles.

God has ordained the foolishness of preaching to evangelize the world. He has promised to attend the preaching of the Word with the power of the Holy Spirit. The so-called pictures of Christ are a hindrance and a temptation to idolatry. Let us cleanse the Temple of God from them.


Author Unknown

WHY BIBLE-BELIEVING STUDENTS SHOULD USE THE KJV


A Recapitulation

By Edward F. Hills - AUTHOR OF 'The King James Version Defended'

In regard to Bible versions many contemporary Christians are behaving like spoiled and rebellious children. They want a Bible version that pleases them, no matter whether it pleases God or not. “We want a Bible version in our own idiom,” they clamor. “We want a Bible that talks to us in the same way in which we talk to our friends over the telephone. We want an informal God, no better educated than ourselves, with a limited vocabulary and a taste for modern slang.” And having thus registered their preference, they go their several ways. Some of them unite with the modernists in using the RSV or the NEB. Others deem the NASV or the NIV more “evangelical.” Still others opt for the TEV or the Living Bible.

But God is bigger than you are, dear friend, and the Bible version which you must use is not a matter for you to decide according to your whims and prejudices. It has already been decided for you by the workings of God’s special providence. If you ignore this providence and choose to adopt one of the modern versions, you will be taking the first step in the logic of unbelief. For the arguments which you must use to justify your choice are the same arguments which unbelievers use to justify theirs, the same method. If you adopt one of these modern versions, you must adopt the naturalistic New Testament textual criticism upon which it rests. This naturalistic textual criticism requires us to study the New Testament text in the same way in which we study the texts of secular books which have not been preserved by God’s special providence.

In other words, naturalistic textual criticism regards the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures as of no importance for the study of the New Testament text. But if we concede this, then it follows that the infallible inspiration of the Scriptures is likewise unimportant. For why is it important that God should infallibly inspire the Scriptures, if it is not important that He should preserve them by His special providence?

Where, oh where, dear brother or sister, did you ever get the idea that it is up to you to decide which Bible version you will receive as God’s holy Word? As long as you harbor this false notion, you are little better than an unbeliever. As long as you cherish this erroneous opinion, you are entirely on your own. For you, the Bible has no real authority—only that which your rebellious reason deigns to give it. For you, there is no comfort, no assurance of faith. Cast off, therefore, this carnal mind that leads to death!

Put on the spiritual mind that leads to life and peace! Receive by faith the true text of God’s holy Word, which has been preserved down through the ages by His special providence and now is found in the Masoretic Hebrew, the Greek Textus Receptus, and the King James Version and other faithful translations!

SIX REASONS WHY THE KJV VERSION SHOULD BE RETAINED

By Edward F. Hills. author of 'The King James Version Defended'

“The Old Testament in Hebrew...and the New Testament in Greek...being immediately inspired by God, and by His singularcare and providence kept pure in all ages...”
(Westminster Confession of Faith 1:8).

1. In the first place, the English of the King James Version is not the English of the early 17th century. To be exact, it is not a type of English that was ever spoken anywhere. It is biblical English, which was not used on ordinary occasions, even by the translators who produced the King James Version. As H. Wheeler Robinson (1940) pointed out, one need only compare the preface written by the translators with the text of their translation to feel the difference in style. And the observations of W. A. Irwin (1952) are to the same purport. The King James Version, he reminds us, owes its merit, not to 17th century English—which was very different—but to its faithful translation of the original. Its style is that of the Hebrew and of the New Testament Greek. Even in their use of “thee” and “thou” the translators were not following 17th century English usage but biblical usage, for at the time these translators were doing their work these singular forms had already been replaced by the plural “you” in polite conversation.

2. In the second place, those who talk about translating the Bible into the “language of today” never define what they mean by this expression. What is the language of today? The language of 1881 is not the language of today—nor the language of 1901, nor even the language of 1921. In none of these languages, we are told, can we communicate with today’s youth. There are even some who feel that the best way to translate the Bible into the language of today is to convert it into “folk songs.” Accordingly, in many contemporary youth conferences and even worship services there is little or no Bible reading but only crude kinds of vocal music accompanied by vigorous piano and strumming guitars. But in contrast to these absurdities the language of the King James Version is enduring diction which will remain as long as the English language remains—in other words, throughout the foreseeable future.

3. In the third place, the current attack on the King James Version and the promotion of modern-speech versions is discouraging the memorization of the Scriptures, especially by the children. Why memorize or require your children to memorize something that is out of date and about to be replaced by something new and better? And why memorize a modern version when there are so many to choose from? Hence, even in conservative churches children are growing up densely ignorant of the Holy Bible because they are not encouraged to hide its life-giving words in their hearts.

4. In the fourth place, modern-speech Bibles are unhistorical and irreverent. The Bible is not a modern, human book. It is not as new as the morning newspaper, and no translation should suggest this. If the Bible were this new, it would not be the Bible. On the contrary, the Bible is an ancient, divine book which nevertheless is always new because in it God reveals Himself. Hence, the language of the Bible should be venerable as well as intelligible, and the King James Version fulfills these two requirements better than any other Bible in English. Hence, it is the King James Version which converts sinners soundly and makes of them diligent Bible students.

5. In the fifth place, modern-speech Bibles are unscholarly. The language of the Bible has always savored of the things of heaven rather than the things of earth. It has always been biblical rather than contemporary and colloquial. Fifty years ago this fact was denied by E. J. Goodspeed and others who were pushing their modern versions. On the basis of the papyrus discoveries which had recently been made in Egypt it was said that the New Testament authors wrote in the everyday Greek of their own times. This claim, however, is now acknowledged to have been an exaggeration. As R. M. Grant (1963) admits, the New Testament writers were saturated with the Septuagint and most of them were familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures. Hence, their language was not actually that of the secular papyri of Egypt but biblical. Hence, New Testament versions must be biblical and not contemporary and colloquial like Goodspeed’s version.

6. Finally, in the sixth place, the King James Version is the historic Bible of English-speaking Protestants. Upon it God, working providentially, has placed the stamp of His approval through the usage of many generations of Bible-believing Christians. Hence, if we believe in God’s providential preservation of the Scriptures, we will retain the King James Version, for in so doing we will be following the clear leading of the Almighty.

Monday, May 15, 2006

CHRISTMAS


Jeremiah 10:1-3
“Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen...for the customs of the people are vain”
Christmas is coming! Quite so;

but what is “Christmas?”

Does not the very term itself denote its source—“Christ-mass”?

Thus it is of Roman origin, brought over from paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Savior’s birth.

It is?
And who authorized such commemoration?

Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth.

Moreover, who knows when, in what month, He was born?

The Bible is silent thereon. It is without reason that the only “birthday” commemorations mentioned in God’s Word are Pharaoh’s (Genesis 40:20) and Herod’s (Matthew 14:6)

Is this recorded “for our learning?”

If so, have we prayerfully taken it to heart?

And who is it that celebrates “Christmas?”


The whole “civilized world.” Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who “despise and reject Him,” and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on its lowest ground, we would ask:

is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification?

Does any true born-again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys?

Verily, the customs of the people are vain; and it is written,

Exodus 23:2
“Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil”

Some will argue for the “keeping of Christmas” on the ground of “giving the kiddies a good time.”


But why do this under the cloak of honoring the Savior’s birth?

Why is it necessary to drag in His holy name in connection with what takes place at that season of carnal jollification?

Is this taking the little one with you out of Egypt (Exodus 10:9-10), a type of the world, or is it not plainly a mingling with the present day Egyptians in their “pleasures of sin for a season?” (Hebrews 11:25).

Scripture says:

Proverbs 22:6
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Scripture does command God’s people to bring up their children

Ephesians 6:4
“in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”

but where does it stipulate that it is our duty to give the little one a “good time?”

Do we ever give the children “a good time” when we engage in anything upon which we cannot fittingly ask the Lord’s blessing?There are those who do abstain from some of the grosser carnalities of the “festive season,” yet are they nevertheless in cruel bondage to the prevailing custom of “Christmas”; namely, that of exchanging “gifts.” We say “exchanging” for that is what it really amounts to in many cases. A list is kept, either on paper or in memory, of those from whom gifts were received last year, and that for the purpose of returning the compliment this year. Nor is this all: great care has been taken that the “gift” made to the friend is worth as much in dollars and cents as the one they expect to receive from him or her. Thus, with many who can ill afford it, a considerable sum has to be set aside each year with which to purchase things simply to send them out in return for others which are likely to be received. Thus a burden has been bound on them which not a few find hard to bear.

But what are we to do?

If we fail to send out “gifts,” our friends will think hard of us, probably deem us stingy and miserly. The honest course is to go to the trouble of notifying them—by letter if at a distance—that from now on you do not propose to send out any more “Christmas gifts” as such. Give your reasons. State plainly that you have been brought to see that “Christmas merrymaking” is entirely a thing of the world, devoid of any Scriptural warrant; that it is a Romish institution, and now that you see this, you dare no longer have any fellowship with it (Ephesians 5:11); that you are the Lord’s “free man” (1 Corinthians 7:22), and therefore you refuse to be in bondage to a costly custom imposed by the world.What about sending out “Christmas cards” with a text of Scripture on them?



That also is an abomination in the sight of God.

Why?

Because His Word expressly forbids all unholy mixtures; Deuteronomy 22:10-11 typified this.

What do we mean by an “unholy mixture?”

This: the linking together of the pure Word of God with the Romish “Christ-mass.” By all means send cards (preferably at some other time of the year) to your ungodly friends, and Christians too, with a verse of Scripture, but not with “Christmas” on it.

What would you think of a printed program of a vaudeville having Isaiah 53:5 at the foot of it?

Why, that it was altogether out of place, highly incongruous. But in the sight of God the circus and the theater are far less obnoxious than the “Christmas celebration” of Romish and Protestant “churches.”

Why?

Because the latter are done under the cover of the holy name of Christ; the former are not.Proverbs 4:18
“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto perfect day”

Where there is a heart that really desires to please the Lord, He graciously grants increasing knowledge of His will. If He is pleased to use these lines in opening the eyes of some of His dear people to recognize what is a growing evil, and to show them that they have been dishonoring Christ by linking the name of the Man of Sorrows (and such He was, when on earth) with a “Merry Christmas,” then join with the writer in a repentant confessing of this sin to God, seeking His grace for complete deliverance from it, and praise Him for the light which He has granted you concerning it.Beloved fellow-Christian,



James 5:8
“The coming of the Lord draweth nigh”

Do we really believe this?

Believe it not because the Papacy is regaining its lost temporal power, but because God says so—

2 Corinthians 5:7
“for we walk by faith, not by sight”.

If so, what effects does such believing have on our walk?

This may be your last Christmas on earth. During it the Lord may descend from heaven with a shout to gather His own to Himself.

Would you like to be summoned from a “Christmas party” to meet Him in the air?

Matthew 25:6
“Go ye out to meet Him”

The call for the moment is out from a Godless Christendom, out from the horrible burlesque of “religion” which now masquerades under His name.2 Corithians 5:10
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad”.

How solemn and searching! The Lord Jesus declared that

Matthew 12:36
“every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment”.

If every “idle word” is going to be taken note of, then most assuredly will be every wasted energy, every wasted dollar, every wasted hour! Should we still be on earth when the closing days of this year arrive, let writer and reader earnestly seek grace to live and act with the judgment seat of Christ before us. His “well done” will be ample compensation for the sneers and taunts which we may now receive from Christless souls.Does any Christian reader imagine for a moment that when he or she shall stand before their holy Lord, that they will regret having lived “too strictly” on earth?



Is there the slightest danger of His reproving any of His own because they were “too extreme” in “abstaining from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11)?

We may gain the good will and good works of worldly religionists today by our compromising on “little (?) points,”

but shall we receive His smile and approval on that day?

Oh to be more concerned about what He thinks, and less concerned about what perishing mortals think. Exodus 23:2
“Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil”.

Ah, it is an easy thing to float with the tide of popular opinion; but it takes much grace, diligently sought from God, to swim against it. Yet that is what the heir of heaven is called on to do: to “Be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2), to deny self, take up the cross, and follow a rejected Christ. How sorely does both writer and reader need to heed that word of the Savior, “Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Revelation 3:11). Oh that each of us may be able to truthfully say, “I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word” (Psalm 119:101).Our final word is to the pastors. To you the Word of the Lord is,

1 Timothy 4:12
“Be thou an example of believers in word, in deportment, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity”.

Is it not true that the most corrupt “churches” you know of, where almost every fundamental of the faith is denied, will have their “Christmas celebrations?”

Will you imitate them?

Are you consistent to protest against unscriptural methods of “raising money,” and then to sanction unscriptural “Christmas services?”

Seek grace to firmly but lovingly set God’s truth on this subject before your people, and announce that you can have no part in following pagan, Romish, and worldly customs.

Arthur W. Pink



QUESTIONS FOR DISPENSATIONALISTS

If the dispensationalist will simply answer these honestly presented queries, we will be able to discern whether the accusations against dispensationalism are true -

1. Has the OT saint partaken of the blood of Christ shed for sins?

Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." -John 6:53-54

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." -Matthew 26:26-282.

Does the Spirit of Christ dwell in the OT saint?

"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him." -John 6:56

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. -Romans 8:93.

Are ALL the saints of ALL the ages ONE BODY, drinking of the SAME Spirit?

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. -1 Cor 10:16-17

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. -1 Cor 12:13

If one answers in the affirmative the above queries, one has abandoned Dispensationalism. Congratulations, brother, welcome to orthodox Christianity! If one answers any of the above in the negative, then the accusations against dispensationalism are true, and we would ask that person to produce the means of the OT saints salvation!

Soli Deo Gloria !

HOW THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE DENIES THE GOSPEL


By John H. Gerstner

We have discussed the fact that the dispensationalist's understanding of "dispensation" invalidates the reality of grace in any age, how the dispensational "Kingdom Offer" impugns the honesty of God and makes the gospel nothing more than an afterthought, and how presumed distinctions between Israel and the church deny the New Covenant to either. We will now examine how the peculiarly dispensational doctrine of the Pretribulational Rapture of the Church makes manifest these errors.

The novel doctrine of the pretribulational rapture is central to dispensational teaching. The removal of the church to heaven preceding the Tribulation period, when the stopped prophetic clock begins ticking for Israel again with the "Seventieth Week of Daniel", was Darby's innovation.


Darby broke not only from previous millenarian teaching but from all of church history by asserting that Christ's second coming would occur in two stages. The first, an invisible "secret rapture" of true believers could happen at any moment, ending the great "parenthesis" or church age which began when the Jews rejected Christ.


Scofield also taught this doctrine along with Chafer, Ryrie, Walvoord, etc. At dispensational schools, failure to hold steadfastly to the doctrine of the pretribulational rapture may have dire consequences.

...the doctrine of a pretribulational rapture of the church seems to be a litmus test of orthodoxy. To "outsiders," including classic premillennialists, this doctrine is not crucial, if it is believed at all. But not only is it vigorously maintained in Dallas Dispensationalism, but deviation from it causes a person to be suspect and institutions to shake and sometimes split.

It is unfortunate that "outsiders" - historic premillennialists, postmillennialists, and amillennialists - have not taken this distinctively dispensational doctrine more seriously, for it is here that dispensational theology stands or falls. It is the doctrine of the pretribulational rapture that proves conclusively that Dispensationalism is not, as dispensationalists claim, a return to Biblical theology - but a pseudo Christian cult.

Most arguments against pretribulationism have focused upon showing that the doctrine is a new development in theology and can not be found in the scriptures. Various orthodox commentators and theologians, from the ranks of each of the millennial views, have presented this case with considerable skill. We will therefore take a different tack, and show that the doctrine is in direct opposition to the everlasting Gospel of Christ Jesus.


Most earlier dispensational theologians allowed that the Old Testament saints would be resurrected along with the church in the pretribulational rapture. Alexander Reese, a classic premillennialist, utterly destroyed this position with convincing scriptural arguments locating the resurrection of the Old Testament saints at the Day of the Lord at the end of the Tribulation.

"At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. -Daniel 12:1-2


Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?" And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. "Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. "And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. "Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. "But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days." -Daniel 12:8-13


No dispensationalist would argue that the "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation", the "abomination of desolation", and the taking away of the daily sacrifice is not a reference to the time of the Tribulation. Yet, Daniel is told that the resurrection follows these events.

Dispensationalists then, for the most part, amended their position to separate the resurrection of the Old Testament saints from the rapture.
... many careful students of premillennial truth have come to the conclusion that the opinion that Israel's resurrection occurred at the time of the rapture was a hasty one and without proper Scriptural foundation. It seems far more preferable to regard the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as a literal one following the tribulation, but not to be identified with the pretribulational rapture of the church... The church will be raised at the time of the rapture before the tribulation, and the Old Testament saints, including Israel, at the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ.


On this point the dispensationalist has jumped from the frying pan into the fire. In order to preserve the precious doctrine of the pretribulational rapture of the church, they raise the Old Testament saints apart from the saints of the church age. We note that this is consistent with the dispensational understanding of "dispensations" and with their distinction between Israel and the church. It also reveals that the longstanding charge made by orthodox Christianity that dispensationalism teaches multiple methods of salvation is absolutely true. Let us look at some of the texts concerning the resurrection of the saints -

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" -1 Cor 15:50-55

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. -1 Thes 4:15-17

In these classic dispensational proof texts of the pretribulational rapture, we see that the righteous dead are raised first, and then those who are alive and remain are translated into incorruptable bodies and gathered to Christ. How, then, can the dispensationalist justify the concept of the Old Testament saints being raised at some later point in time?

Some people are startled by the thought that the Old Testament saints will not be resurrected until the end of the Tribulation. But keep in mind that the rapture is a promise to the Church, and the Church only.

We see that the dispensationally imposed distinction between Israel and the church is at the root of this argument. The Old Testament saints are not "in Christ" and therefore will not arise to everlasting life at the same time as the church saints.

According to dispensationalists, the Old Testament people are not the heirs of the Holy Spirit, are not regenerated by Him, and are not grafted by Him into Christ in the same way that the New Testament people are.

...the verse simply says that the dead in Christ will precede the living in Christ in the rapture. If you are saying that Daniel would be included in "the dead", then you have to show that Daniel is "in Christ". If you will study the NT you will see that "in Christ" refers to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink"...There is no way that Daniel was part of the body of Christ. This verse in 1 Thess 4:16 simply does not apply to him.

The Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell believers in the OT. It is not really people or time period that delineates the church--it is the Holy Spirit. Personal faith in Jesus Christ--which is what the passage is referring to--was not an option for OT saints. They are not in view in this passage. It is referring to people who do have the option of this personal faith in Jesus...OT saints are "in Christ" in that sense that the death of Jesus is the basis for the salvation of anyone--past, present, future. However, they were not part of the body of Christ, in the sense of being permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

The technical term for the Church is those who are "in Christ." 1 Thess. speaks of those who have died "in Christ" being resurrected at the time of His coming IN THE AIR. The context has ONLY the Church in mind.

This dispensational distinction between the OT & NT saints, the church & Israel, is in fact what denies dispensationalism any claim to Christianity at all, for in that very distinction dispensationalism teaches multiple methods of salvation. By excluding the OT saint from the ekklesia (church) the dispensationalist is required to produce some means, other than partaking of the New Covenant in Christ, for one or the other of the groups to be granted eternal life. The teaching of the church for the last 2,000 yrs precludes this, as does our Lord.

Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. " - John 6:53-56

Notice these points which contradict Dispensational doctrine -
No one has life who does not partake of the New Covenant in Christ's Blood. The OT saint must partake, as does the NT & tribulation saint, in order to have life.


ALL who partake are raised at the LAST DAY. That day is the "end of the days" prophesied to Daniel -
"But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days."- Daniel 12:13
ALL who partake are "in Christ" and He in they.
ALL THE SAINTS are promised the same resurrection, by the same Blood, at the same time!


And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. -Hebrews 9:15


By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. -Hebrews 11:9-10

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth...But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. -Hebrews 11:13,16

And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. -Hebrews 11:39-40The dispensationalist, ignoring the clear teaching of scripture and the historic church, denies the existence of the general assembly, and falls back to perdition by advocating shadows as the means of salvation for the OT & Tribulation saint, all in order to preserve the delusion of the pretribulational rapture!

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. -Hebrews 12:22-29

The dispensational argument that proclaims that the OT saint is somehow saved because of Christ - rather than being "in Christ" by partaking of the New Covenant in His Blood - is opposed to orthodox Christian soteriology.

The truth will inevitably manifest itself. It has in dispensational soteriology. The truth is that another way of salvation which is somehow connected with Christ but not resting on Christ is a DIFFERENT way. The dispensationalist at this point is, unconsciously perhaps, consistent with himself. He does not regard the Old Testament people of God as second, third, or fourth class citizens of the Kingdom of God. They simply are not citizens at all. While dispensationalists roundly assert that Old Testament people were saved by Christ, there is NO WAY IN THEIR THEOLOGICAL SYSTEM they could be.