Sunday, August 24, 2008
Peter writes:, “The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Pt. 5:10)
First, it needs to be noted that Peter writes, “after you have suffered a little while.” Although God’s plan includes suffering and takes into account trials and tribulations, the suffering is not God’s final destination for his people. The suffering will end. There is a time in our lives identified here as the time “after” suffering.
This reminds me of Paul’s words at the end of Romans: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” (Rm.16:20) The concept here is that believers must maintain hope and endure the process. The end of a trial will come. The end of Satan’s temptation is inevitable. Christ’s glory is revealed in us in the battle as well as it is in the victory.
James says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12) The process will produce for us. Peter says that after the suffering, in fact, even during the suffering, God will do four things for us:
1. Restore you – The Greek word “katartisei” (future, indicative, active) means “to put in order, to mend, to reestablish, to make whole.” It is a medical word used to describe the setting of a broken bone. It is also used of refitting or repairing a broken vessel or of James and John repairing their nets in Mark 1:19. Paul uses this word in Ephesians 412 when he says that the gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are to “prepare” God’s people for works of service. After a time of suffering, even during the time of suffering, God will establish you . . . he will prepare you . . . he will mend you . . . he will position you for the glory of Christ that is to be revealed in you. Probably refers to your character having been prepared to handle God’s plan.
2. Make you Strong – The Greek word “steridxei” (future, indicative, active) means “to set up, to fix firmly, to establish, to strengthen, to support”. A form of this word is used in the previous verse (5:9): “Resist him (Satan), standing firm (“stereos”) in the faith.” Through testing, trials and suffering God will plant your roots deep so that in the future you will be unshakable in you faith. You will be able to resist hopelessness , temptation, doubt and even Satan himself.
3. Make you Firm – The Greek word “sthenosei” (future, indicative, active) means “to strengthen, to make strong”. This word is used nowhere else in the New Testament and rarely used in Greek literature at all. If we see these words in a sequence then this word follows the mending of character and the fixing of faith but comes before grounding on the solid foundation. It would appear that this word refers to your actions and works that are made strong by God. These works would follow character and faith but proceed the final, unmovable product of the glory of Christ in you.
4. Make you Steadfast – The Greek word “themeliosei” (future, indicative, active) means “to make a foundation, to provide a solid foundation, to ground firmly”. Jesus had said that that man who hears and does the word would be like a man who built his house on the rock. The storms of this life would not be able to move this man because he was ground firmly on the truth. In the midst of future storms or suffering you will be steadfast and will not collapse.
Future tense – the action will take place at a future timeIndicative mood – a statement of fact. (not the mood of potential, or a command or removed from actually occurring)
Active Voice – the subject does the action. Here God himself will do each of these four things.
Conclusion of the tense, mood and voice of the four verbs: It is a statement of fact that God himself will do these four things in the future. In the context of the verse, the future is in a “little while”.
God himself will:
- restore your character so that no fault remains
- establish you faith so that nothing will shake you
- strengthen your actions so that you will finish the course
- firmly ground your life so that storms will not destroy your work.
One, this is an age that is far removed from our world today. Assuming the creation account is true and accurate then this genealogy is recording the first 10 generations of human existence. That means Adam, who was created perfect with no genetic flaws, is living and reproducing on the earth. How many genetic flaws are a perfect man and a perfect wife going to hand down to the next generation? None. Comparing this to our world where genetic problems are a daily source of medical and scientific research if is only obvious these people would live longer.
Two, sin was introduced when the first man disobeyed God. In addition to separating mankind from God, this sin corrupted man and his environment. Sin brought a growing destructive force to the human race both physically and mentally. Deterioration would continue through each generation. More than this, sin had an effect on the environment. New types of diseases are part of our modern world. There were no diseases in the Garden of Eden but since that time they have been consistently developing and growing. Quoting the United Nations Environment Program: “Changes to the environment that are sweeping the planet are bringing about a rise in infectious diseases. . . Ailments previously unknown in human beings are appearing. . .” (Feb. 22, 2005, see article here http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0222-02.htm ). So, in these first 10 generations disease was still a developing problem.
Third, today we are told to worry about the ozone layer. Quoting from NASA’s educational resources: “The ozone layer absorbs 97-99% of the sun's high frequency ultraviolet light , light which is potentially damaging to life on earth.” (http://www.nas.nasa.gov/About/Education/Ozone/ozonelayer.html ) According to the creation account in Genesis there was a layer of water in some form above the atmosphere surrounding the earth:
“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.’ So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it.” (Genesis 1:6,7)
The “expanse” would be the atmosphere of the earth. In the next verse it is called “sky”. If the ozone layer in the atmosphere today protects us from ultraviolet light from the solar system then this layer of water (in some form) that God placed above the atmosphere would have done some filtering of dangerous waves. In the account of the flood Genesis 7:11 says “the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.” The opening of heaven’s floodgates on the earth was the collapsing of the water above the atmosphere. It is interesting to note that life expectancy after the flood of Noah is cut in half. Noah’s son Shem lived 500 years and his grandson lived 403 years. (Genesis 11:10-22)
Fourth, in 1906 a list of kings who lived during the same time as the first ten generations was found in a temple library in Nippur of Sumer. (http://www.generationword.com/images/bible_school/sumer.jpg ) It is known as the Sumerian King List (http://www.livius.org/k/kinglist/sumerian.html ) It records eight kings who lived from the time “kingship had descended from heaven” up until “the Flood then swept over.” The number of the generations matches those listed in Genesis when the first man is added and the hero of the flood story is added to the eight. The length of each king’s reign is listed with the king’s name and his city. The length of their reigns is unbelievable even by biblical proportions: 28,800 years, 36,000 years, 43,200 years. What we do see here is:
a similar genealogy
a genealogy from the same time period
a genealogy from the same location
a historical document that had not been tampered with from the time of its writing on a clay tablet before 2,000 BC. There have since been 15 more ancient fragments of this same document found indicating it was a well copied document in the ancient world.
The Flood was an event recorded in ancient Sumerian documents. It is listed as occurring in the same generation as Genesis 5.
Concerning the number of years it is interesting to note that if the Sumerian King List were originally copied from a previous document that had recorded the numbers in a decimal system but the scribe wrongly used the sexagesimal system (http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Babylonian_numerals.html ) which is based on six or sixty instead of 10 to translate the numbers they would have gone from numbers very similar to Genesis 5 to the unbelievable numbers recorded now
( http://www.allaboutarchaeology.org/sumerian-king-list-faq.htm )
See galyn’s generation word notes here http://www.generationword.com/notes_for_notesbooks_pg/genesis/5_1.htm
Visit Generation Word’s home page here http://www.generationword.com/
Dinesh D’souza’s “What’s So Great About Christianity”
Robert J. Hutchinson’s “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible”
The first one was given to me to read by a friend and the other I bought at Barnes and Noble’s because I started reading it in the aisle and wanted to finish reading it and have it for reference.
They both make the same point and use similar statistics when comparing atheism with Christianity. It has been assumed for centuries that religion is the cause of great violence and evil in the world. I have always thought John Lennon’s song “Imagine” is the perfect example of this presumed truth. In what I consider a solid nomination for the most evil song ever written the former Beatle wrote in his hit single:
“Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below usAbove us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.”
The “no religion” mantra from the 60’s and the 70’s is alive and sweeping our nation like an urban myth with email. The rise of radical Islam is the cause for a neo-secular campaign.
The murder and destruction caused by the church in history can not be ignored but it should be balanced with facts. D’souza states that those who were killed in the Spanish Inquisition trials over a period of 350 years was between 1,500 to 4,000 people. In America, the Salem witch trials are sited as examples of the result of intolerant Christian religion. On page 207 D’souza states that less than 25 people where executed in these dark days of American Christianity. Hutchinson uses the Encyclopaedia Britannica to get the number 2,000 dead in the Spanish Inquisition and the book “A History of the Jews” for an estimate of 32,000. Maximum, that is about 97 people a year.
For a total D’souza says “the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the witch burnings killed approximately 200,000 people.” That number is spread out over a 600 year period of church history. We should remember that these were the years 1095-1692. None of these tragedies have occurred in the 20th century. In fact, it has been over 300 years since the church committed these unjustifiable crimes against humanity.
Yet in the 1900’s, the 20th century, or the last one hundred years atheistic states with anti-Christian motives have killed about 170,000,000 people. Here is a list of over 40,000,000 who were killed by atheism from 1900 until present:
USSR: 61,000,000 (1917-1987)
Communist China: 35,200,000 (1949-present)
Mao’s Army: 3,400,000 (1923-1949)
Nazi Germany: 20,000,000 (1932-1945)
Communist Poland: 1,600,000 (1945-1948)
Communist Cambodia: 2,000,000 (1975-1979)
Communist Vietnam: 1,600,000 (1945-1975)
Communist Yugoslavia: 1,000,000 (1944-1987)
Anti-Christian Mexican Revolution: 1,400,000 (1900-1920)
Turkey: 1,800,000 (1900-1918)
Pakistan: 1,500,000 (1958-1987)
Japan: 5,900,000 (1936-1945)
The most deadly force in the 1900’s was atheism. Then add the 25,000,000 soldiers who died fighting in WWII against the atheists.
Compare the numbers:
The church killed 200,000 people in 597 years from 1095-1692. This figures out to be 335 people a year and includes the crusades, the inquisition and the witch trials. About one a day, 300 years ago.
Atheism has killed 170,000,000 in the last 108 years. That is 1,574,074 people a year. About 4,312 a day including everyday of your life.
The world of man is a dangerous and ugly place, but mankind is safer and more beautiful when he embraces his creator and recognizes that there is absolute truth and absolute evil.
John Lennon ends his song “Imagine” by singing:
“You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.”
Lennon was indeed a dreamer, and a prophet of false dreams.
Our only hope is to proclaim the truth and defend individual freedom to respond.
The government of a society can not become a religious state. This is a uniquely Christian view. No other religion can make this separation. In the ancient world governments where intertwined with their religion. The Sumerians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, etc. were all governments dictated by a religion. Even the Jewish nation was a religious state. Today, Islam wants to exist as a religious state. It was Christianity that saw the higher eternal kingdom and could make the separation.
Jesus himself identified the separation when he said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.” In Jesus’ case Caesar got the taxes, but God received obedience. When this is applied we can see that the church has no authority in certain areas that the government has authority in. Likewise, the government can not mandate certain areas that deal with private life that are meant to be governed by religious convictions.
This view recognizes that as a believer in Jesus, the king of the eternal kingdom of God (“the government shall be upon his shoulders”), we are waiting for the government that will combine both religion and state. But, in the absence of Jesus in this age government must be limited to deal with temporal things while individual religion deals with personal values, beliefs and morals. Thus, it is just as wrong for the state to force a religious standard on its people as it is for the church to force their eternal expectations on the government.
This very principle, and it is a Christian principle, was what our nation was founded upon. The United States of America was founded upon Christian principles and one of those principles was that our democracy would not be a religious state.
Now, what is our problem today? Why are Christians clamoring for government power and why are the Pagan’s fearful of the Religious Right? The church has failed to recognize their blessed position in our democracy and have failed to minister the truth to our people. Since the church is failing the position God assigned, the church now must try to accomplish its purpose through government, or legislation, or legalism.
Christians need to see themselves as members of two kingdoms: their temporal nation and the kingdom of God. As members of a temporal nation we need to recognize the limited ability a government has and allow religious freedom. As members of the Eternal Kingdom we must proclaim the eternal truth and live our lives as ambassadors of that truth.
Although it seems easier to seize the temporal power and force obedience to our truth through government, it has never worked. A church controlled government is the same form of tyranny as a government that forbids Christianity. There is no difference. They both oppress human will. They are the same evil.
To recognize this truth is to understand the Christian message and to see how it is different from every other religion including Judaism and Islam. A Christian nation must recognize both the responsibilities and the limits of government. A Christian nation must allow room for the truth to grow or truth to be rejected. Then, in this climate the church of Jesus Christ must be busy, no, they must be obsessed, with teaching and with living the truth among its citizens.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working, but the same God
works all of them in all men.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
Paul uses the image of the human body which “is not made up of one part but of many.” (12:14) Our body is made up of many, many parts. But as Paul says, “though all its parts are many, they form one body.” (12:12)
Diversity with unity is the goal. Diversity simply for the sake of being different is pointless and distracting. Diversity without a common goal or a focused purpose can become destructive. Our human body functions because all the diverse parts work together on whatever goal is set before it. When the body runs, all the parts contribute in their diverse way. When the body sleeps they all have to unite in the process.
How worthless would our body be if all we had for a body were a mouth or many mouths? This body would be lacking diversity. But, what if we had a wide range of diversity in parts but had no unity. In this case the foot would walk away, while the stomach stayed at the table and the head slept on the couch? In this case the benefits of diversity where lost due to the lack of unity of purpose.
Our bodies, our families, our churches and our nation thrive when there is diversity with unity. But, each is destroyed if those diverse parts are encouraged to be diverse with no concern for unity.
God designed diversity to serve the common goal. He did not design diversity to serve itself. So much of what is called diversity today has no benefit for the common good. With all the talk of diversity we should, like our bodies, only accept the diversity that empowers the common goal of the church or the nation.
Diversity that is self-serving is a cancer.
It will be interesting to listen to the radio, read the newspaper, listen to conversations or watch the internet over the next few weeks to see how many times these five institutions are attacked in our own society. You will hear of activist groups demanding their individual freedoms and rights but refusing to be responsible. One out of every two marriages ends in divorce and many more couples live in a marital wreck, while others redefine marriage in a way that is corrupt and worthless to society. The traditional family unit is on its way to becoming a minority because of the collapse of marriage and individual responsibility. The terms “father”, “mother” and “parent” could be illegal in California when SB 777 http://www.ccgaction.org/index.php?q=family/education/ca/sb777action was signed into law. It is easy to see the government is more interested in power and service to its self than in maintaining order in our society. The most tragic of all concerns our nation and the wave of anti-Americanism that seems to be a growing trend among Americans. Who told us we had a bad country? We pump more money and services to the world than any other country in the history of mankind! We should be proud of our nation and defend it by supporting the institutions that made it a great benefit to mankind: responsibility, marriage, family, government, and nationalism.
While we were shopping I noticed three things that I would like to mention quickly.
First, have you ever seen the little stores set up in the mall that sell treats and snacks for your dog? I have walked by it many, many times. Today when we walked by and I saw the cute little treats, some having been dipped in chocolate (or, so it appeared), I thought, “Do dogs even care? Do dogs even know?” I do not think a dog thinks about how cute or interesting a doggy treat is or even if it is shaped like a bone (which it really isn’t since a dog biscuit doesn’t actually look like anything a dog would recognize as a bone but is merely shaped into what we have come to except as a characterization of a bone.) I know from past experience that when I have given a dog a tasty piece of left over steak or even a piece of dried bread, they chomp it and swallow it fast. They don’t savor the flavor. They barely chew it. A dog eats. That is what a dog does. But we insert our perspective on the dog. It is easier for us to understand our dog if we allow ourselves to believe that the dog thinks like we think. It is easier to have a relationship with a dog if we imagine he thinks like we think. We assume that during the Christmas season our dog would like the Santa shaped dog biscuit just like they would prefer the green biscuit around St. Patrick’s Day. (As you may know, dogs don’t see color they way we do. For example, dogs see blue-green as white. Green, yellow and orange all look alike to dogs.)
The point: If we find it more comfortable to interact with dogs by assuming they think like we think, taste food the way we taste it and see color the way we see it then it is very likely that we also find it more comfortable to interact with God the same way. We find it easier to imagine that God agrees with what we think, likes the things that we like and sees sin in the same light that we see it. This is wrong. A man and a dog perceive things differently just like man and God perceive things differently.
The second thing I want to mention is the $1,000,000,000 bill Toni saw laying by the cash register at a clothing store in the mall. Toni saw it first and asked the clerk what it was? (Everyone knows that a $1,000,000,000 bill shouldn’t be left lying outside the cash drawer.) When Toni picked up the $1,000,000,000 bill I could see it had a picture of Charles Spurgeon on it. Everyone was surprised that I knew who was on the $1,000,000,000 bill. When we looked closer at the portrait it had in tiny little letters “Spurgeon” and the text on the bill explained the way of salvation. The clerk said that every Sunday someone leaves a $1,000,000,000 bill in their store. Apparently some church or some Christian was bringing the truth of Jesus Christ to the mall with false $1,000,000,000 bills.
The third and final thing I saw was a bumper sticker in the parking lot the said “My Boston terrier is smarter than your honor roll student.” I instantly found myself evaluating the bumper sticker with three personal thoughts:
I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car.
I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car about my dog.
I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car about my dog so I could insult you concerning your child.
I walked into the store thinking how pointless that bumper sticker is.
So this is what I thought about while I carried shopping bags around this afternoon. Toni and I had a good time. She enjoyed her birthday and I thought about how we elevate dogs to our level while we devaluate God, how we use false money to spread truth and why we feel the need to insult others with pointless bumper stickers. I might take her shopping for her Christmas present in December.
Response: False on three points. i) ID is a positive argument that intelligence preceded and caused the origin of life. ID is an independent theory that would not necessarily be true if evolution were proven false. ii) ID is not diametrically opposed to evolution, if “evolution” is defined as “change over time.” ID is diametrically opposed to the theory that living things originated from random events. iii) The goal of ID is not to “offer” something to “science,” the goal is the same as that of science. . .to seek the truth concerning our origins. ID is a testable theory that can be falsified in exactly the same way as the theory of evolution.
Critic: “Imagine teaching ecology in school without a fundamental understanding of Darwinism and evolution. What would ID tell these students, other than the showing and teaching these alleged students the incredible complexity of nature? What’s the explanation for these systems and their numerous interactions? God did it of course. Cool huh? Sorry, that’s not science”
Response: Straw-man argument. Both ID and Darwinism seeks to learn how these systems and their numerous interactions work. The only difference is ID says an intelligent being is responsible, Darwinism says random chance is responsible. If you push any Darwinist far enough, they will say “random chance did it.” Cool huh. . .But that’s not science either!
Critic: “I challenge any ID proponent to demonstrate a single predictive model that ID can make regarding living organisms and their present day ecosystems. “There are no models, the ID proponents got nothing but faith.”
Response: Predictive model: Animals were designed by an intelligent designer and have genetic limits outside which they are no longer viable. These limits will constrain the fossil record to be composed of clearly delineated familial forms rather than transitional forms.
Experimental evidence: the fossil record.
Now it’s your turn. Please explain the cambrian explosion in purely Darwinian terms.
Critic: “I have my faith too but the difference is I don’t subject you to it.”
Response: False. We are constantly subjected to atheistic and naturalistic explanations of our origins even though these explanations require a great deal of faith. Moreover, you impose your faith on others in a condescending and arrogant manner suggesting you are unaware of the assumptions on which your faith is based.
Critic: “Science is not faith but a way of reasoning”
Response: True if by “science” you mean the scientific method. False if by “science” you mean currently accepted theories. Darwin’s theory of the origin of life requires a great deal of faith that foes far beyond simply “a way of reasoning.”
Critic: Simple question: sum up for me how ID describes the functionality and modeling of an ecosystem?
Response: Simple answer. Almost exactly the same way evolutionists would describe the functionality and modeling of an ecosystem.
Critic: “[ID] can’t use competition and evolution to describe the changing ecosystem or fluctuating species populations.”
Response: Straw man argument. All ID theorists believe that competition and survival of the fittest occurs in a changing ecosystem. Long before ID or the theory of evolution, mankind was aware that populations could be manipulated through breeding and artificial selection-this is even part of Darwin’s premise in origins.
Critic: “What would ID have to say? Wow, this is so complex, forget about understanding this, this had to be an intelligent designer at work. And that’s fine but it’s not science and you can’t do anything with it.
Response: Straw-man argument. The history of modern science rests on the backs of scientists who believed in ID. Complexity in nature did not lead them to say “forget about understanding this,” instead it drove them to understand it further because they believed the more the learned about nature, the more they were learning about the designer. Mendel, the father of modern genetics, was a monk!
Critic: Reconciling your faith should never be an easy exercise and we don’t need to give people another excuse not to think.”
Response: True. What greater excuse is there to not think deeply about something than to believe it came about by an infinitesimally small, accidental, random event. In my experience human beings don’t spend a lot of time trying to understand random, rare events (might I get struck by lightning on a sunny day?), but take very seriously purposefully designed events (could I get electrocuted if I touch this live wire?). Evolutionists are the ones that don’t want to have to think. They prefer to make straw-man arguments, make false assumptions, and throw around condescending statements rather than wrestling with the faith they have placed in a dying theory.
In the OT the confession of sin came along with the sacrifices. Lev. 5:5 “When anyone is guilty in any of these ways he must confess in what way he has sinned and, as a penalty for the sin he has committed he must bring. . . .”
In the OT the confession of sin could occur before or without a sacrifice as with David confessing his sin with Bathsheba to Nathan the prophet. 2 Samuel 12:7-14, “Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! . . . Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ . . . Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin. . . .’ ” This point was made clear to me this last summer at the gift shop of an orthodox Jew down by the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Some one asked him how the Jews could be forgiven of their sins without a temple to make sacrifices. He said that in their scriptures (our OT) forgiveness came first through confession of the sin.
Confession or naming the sin is the attitude behind Psalm 32:3-5, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away . . . For day and night your hand was heavy upon me. . . .Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
Proverbs 28:13, “Whoever confesses and renounces them (sins) finds mercy.”
The principle is also found in the prophets when Jeremiah says in Jer. 3:12, 13, “I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt.”
In the NT the principle continues. Paul commands us to examine ourselves in 1 Corinthians 11:28 when he says in the imperative mood (the mood of Command), A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.” The word “examine” is the Greek word “dokimadzo” which is:
· present tense meaning do it now and keep doing it, calling for a repeated action
· the active voice which means you do it (and it does not mean someone is doing it to you),
· and, of course, the imperative mood which makes it a command and not potential, or a wish or an event that is a fact.
· “dokimadzo” means “to examine, to approve after examination”
See the Tense, Mood, Voice here: http://www.generationword.com/notes_for_notesbooks_pg/verb_tense_mood.doc
In 1 John 1:9
The word “confess” comes from two Greek words. The first means “to speak” and the second means “the same”. Together they make up the Greek word “homologomen” which is the present tense, subjunctive mood, active voice of the word “homologeo” (“homo” = “the same” and “logeo” = “to speak”)
Present – (see above)
Subjunctive mood – is the mood of potential. Meaning it could happen potentially. This explains the class of “if” used in 1 John 1:9
Active Voice – means you do the action. Again, it is not something that is done for you or to you as would be the case if it were in the middle or passive voice.
The four classes of “if” in the Greek are:
First class – “if and it is true”
Second class – “if and it is not true”
Third class – “If and I don’t know”
Fourth class – “If and I wish it were, but it is not”
See more explanation of the Greek “if” here
Confusion may come when we do not recognize the difference between:
1) our eternal position in Christ attained through faith in Jesus
2) our temporal fellowship with Christ maintained by “walking in the light as he is in the light”
I do not believe a believer can loose #1.
I do believe a believer can (and often does) loose #2.
Our daily sin can not affect our sonship.
Our daily sin does break our fellowship.
We enter into sonship once at our new birth.
We are constantly breaking (by sin) or restoring (by confession) our fellowship. This is seen in the context of both the OT and NT and in the verb tenses in the Greek.
At the last supper Jesus told Peter, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet.”
The bath is salvation for eternal life. Washing the feet is the confession of our sins for daily fellowship.
Indeed, I agree with you. The early stages of Gnosticism were developing. Church history records John having to deal personally with Cerinthus, a early Gnostic.
I also agree with you that you can thank Jesus that your sins are forgiven and that by “naming them” or “confessing” them you are saying the same thing as he is and thus restoring your fellowship. Failure to call you personal and daily violations of his word as sin would mean you were not in agreement with him and so you would not have fellowship. You would be a Son of God that was out of fellowship with your Father.
Matthew 7:21 Everyone who says to Jesus “Lord, Lord” is not one of his children.
To believe in Jesus for salvation you must have the correct definition of who Jesus is. The power of faith is not how much you believe something but if that something you believe is true. The power of faith is not how great you believe but how great or true the object of your faith is.
A person can believe with all their heart that gravity does not exist but they will still fall to the ground if they try to walk on air. Why? Because the power of faith is in the truthfulness and reality of what you believe. If a person believes in a Jesus who is a genie that gives them the life they want, or the woman they want, or all the money they want then that person does not believe in the biblical Jesus. They believe a lie and there is no power in a lie to save them.
The power of faith for salvation is not how hard a person believes in Jesus but if what they believe about Jesus is true. Jesus went to the cross to pay for the sins of mankind.
The Palm Sunday crowd believed Jesus was going to save them from the Romans, deliver them into a sovereign and free kingdom and meet all their physical needs in the kingdom of God. They cried out “Hosanna” which means “save us”. But, Jesus was going to deliver them from their sins not from the Romans. Forty years after Palm Sunday the Romans would totally destroy Judea, Jerusalem, the temple and kill or enslave the Jewish people. In 30 AD the Jews believed in a political Jesus not in a savor who would redeem them from sin. The political Jesus did not save them from the Romans because it was a false definition of Jesus. The Lord and Savor did die for their sins and they could believe in that Jesus and be saved from eternal damnation.
As Jesus left the palm trees of Bethany on Palm Sunday morning, about two miles southeast of Jerusalem, his disciples went ahead into a small village filled with fig trees called Bethphage (which means “house of figs”) to get a colt that had never been ridden. Jesus got on the colt and ascended the east slope of the Mt. of Olives. As they came over the top of the Mt. of Olives they could see the city of Jerusalem and the temple towering over the valley on the other side of the Kidron. Thousands of people who had already arrived from Judea and Galilee encircled the city and filled the valley and the slopes of the Mt. of Olives with their tents and temporary shelters. Josephus says that 256,500 lambs where sacrificed at Passover in Jerusalem. If each lamb fed an average of 10 people then there would have been at least 2.5 million people in and around Jerusalem as Jesus rode down the western slope of the Mt. of Olives, through the Kidron Valley and up the steep eastern side of Jerusalem. Over half of the entire population of Judea and Galilee would have seen or heard Jesus coming into Jerusalem that Sunday.
Looking at the Mt. of Olives and over the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem
This day could be considered the highlight of Jesus ministry. The people shouted key phrases which clearly indicated they where calling him the Messiah:
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Mark 11:9)
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David.” (Mark 11:9)
“Hosanna to the Son of David.” (or, “Save us! Son of David.”) (Matthew 21:9)
Yet it says in Luke 19:41, in the midst of the shouting crowd who welcomed him into their city, Jesus began to weep. Why would Jesus weep as a crowd, which could have been approaching a million Jews, shouted “Hosanna” or “Save Us!!”? Because they did not understand who he was. They had the wrong definition of a savior. They had given Jesus a false identity and had chosen to believe it. Jesus said as he wept among the shouting crowd:
“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:42-44)
Our concern today is if we have made the same mistake. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Jesus said in John 15:14:
“You are my friends if you do what I command.”
This is not about being legalistic but it is about believing in the correct Jesus. If a person says they believe in Jesus or they have accepted Jesus but have they have no trouble violating his commands and his expectations of living as a child of God then the assumption has to be that they possibly have not believed in the same Jesus described in the Bible. Along with each person’s name comes the character of the person.
The same is true of Jesus. The Palm Sunday crowd called out to Jesus to “Save us!” They called him “Lord” and “Son of David”. These were the correct names but they had replaced the character and purpose of the Lord with their own desires and plans.
To believe in a Jesus who doesn’t expect you to walk away from sin is to believe in a lie. There is no power in faith in a lie and no power in a belief in something that is not real. The Jews found out that there was no salvation in Jesus when they redefined who he was with their own desires and plans.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:20-21)
Looking east at the Mt. of Olives from the temple mount where the Jewish temple stood in 30 AD.
Jerusalem as seen from the side of the Mt. of Olives. The bottom of the steep Valley is not seen in this picture. On Palm Sunday all of this open area would have been filled with people. Today you can see thousands of Jewish graves up front at the bottom of this photo and Muslim graves on the other side of the Kidron Valley along the eastern wall of Jerusalem.
This seal is 1 1/2 inches long, which is larger than most. It also contains Egyptian and Phoenician symbols of royalty. The images on this seal also indicate it belonged to a female. Seals belonging to women are rare. There have been thousands of seals discovered but only 35 belonging to women. There have been 24 seals belonging to royal sons but only two belonging to a royal daughter.
Most convincing is the four Hebrew letters placed around the seal that spell the name of the owner. The Hebrew letters are יזבל which translate into English as YZBL and is pronounced JEZEBEL. This is the seal that would possibly have been used to seal letters calling for the death of the prophets of YHWH and also, of the letter sent to Elijah by the queen calling for the removal of his head.
“Based on copious evidence from other ancient Israelite and Judean seals and seal impressions, we should expect to find a ל (”belonging to”) somewhere on the seal, preceding the proper noun. This expectation is not conclusive, of course, but it is quite reasonable—and the only place a missing ל could go would be in the broken area at the top of the seal. In my opinion, doubting the ל would be like finding a busted baseball and doubting that it ever had stitches.”
The extant inscription on the actual piece reads יזבל, but Jezebel’s name is spelled איזבל in the Tanakh—hence the need to reconstruct the missing letters. As you can see from the second photo, Korpel proposes to read לאיזבל, which would be the preposition ל (here, “belonging to”) + the proper name איזבל.
Avigad's cautious approach stemmed from the fact that the seal did not come from an officially-approved excavation.
Well, you say, “The clergy are very busy people. Men of the cloth have a lot of things on their minds and tremendous responsibilities.” Well, I don’t buy that. I have been involved with church ministry now for 22 years. I have been a believer for 32 years. I have raised my family in the church and with all of my boys spending some time (probably, too much time) in Christian schools. You ask, why such negative outrage.
Well, here is one of many reasons. About three days after I had emailed the ministries, I sat down one Saturday morning about 8:00 to email seven businesses that specialize in mass production of CDs. I also asked these seven businesses for advice on getting 3,600 sets of CDs (total 180,000 CD’s) to Ghana and Nigeria. (We have already shipped about 75,000 free CDs in the last four years.) After I had cut and pasted the email (even forgetting to change the name of the first company when I pasted the text on the other emails) I took my son to his Saturday morning basketball game. His game started at 9:00 that morning and by 10:15 my cell phone started ringing. This went on all day with companies calling me and emailing me on a Saturday in response to an email I cut and pasted that Saturday morning. Each of the companies had some idea on how to cut cost or make production and distribution more effective. Most of them were involved in their churches or understood the importance of fulfilling this obligation. Obviously, all of them provided a bid and a price breakdown. The difference was they responded a few hours on a Saturday and by 11:00 that Saturday night I had learned more about CD production and had received several very good ideas. Now, I want you to hear this, these men apologized because they wouldn’t be able to get me a complete bid until sometime on Monday because they wanted to talk with their suppliers and get the best price for this job. By Tuesday I had all the bids on my desk and samples began arriving in the mail.
Meanwhile, back in the world of ministry, by that same Tuesday I had waited seven days now and had received just two emails out of twenty, both telling me to check somewhere else for advice. Sixteen of the twenty ministries have yet to reply. It took seven businesses a matter of hours to respond aggressively. It has been two weeks and I am not planning on ever hearing from the other sixteen ministries.
What does this mean to me as a father of six boys? I never want my sons to be employed in ministry or to run their lives like men of the cloth. Instead, I want my sons to be believers in Jesus Christ, live according to the word of God and run their lives like a business man. I hope they never learn the worthless, inefficient, irresponsible ways of ministry.
So far, of my six sons (ages 12-24), one is training for the Marines, one is a snowboard coach, one is in the engineering program with the Air Force and my fourth son is consumed with the stock market, real estate and reading the Wall Street Journal. When it comes time for them to serve God I want them to be able to respond quickly, confidently and produce decisive results.
I wonder what kind of response I would have received from those same twenty ministries if I had asked them for their mailing address in order to send them a check instead of asking for their advice.
This little bit of information will help you discern between things that are truly opinions or things that deal with morality. It is easy to accept someone with a different opinion (color, ice cream, team) but you will feel the tension rise and see divisions form when the moral line is crossed.
Just a warning: If you have had personal troubles because of an ice cream flavor or who won the NBA finals you need to refocus and relax. People are entitled to their opinions. But, you also need to get a focus if you think abortion, homosexuality, marriage and scriptural interpretation is simply a matter of opinion. We all live in a universe with absolute rules in physics, math and ethics.
For example, in 2008 the government will spend $2.7 trillion to provide us with only $1.65 trillion of benefit. But worse, this number of $2.7 trillion in cost is really covered up. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Congressional Budget Office the number is actually double that or $5.2 trillion when the damage caused to the private economy by taxation is figured in.
The bottom line is we are forfeiting $5.2 trillion in exchange for $1.65 trillion in services.
Or, if you have a hard time thinking in trillions of dollars let me say it like a shop teacher. For every $1 we give the government we get 32 cents (1 quarter, a nickel and two pennies) of production. Maybe I could provide you with a couple of examples I can relate to:
Imagine buying a gallon of milk and spilling 2/3 of it on the way to the car.
Or, when you pump a $3.80 gallon of gas into your car squeeze the handle and spray the first $2.53 on the ground.
If you pay for a new home you only get the lot, the basement and part of the garage. The rest of the house was lost somewhere between Home Depot and the delivery location.
Why would we want to give the government more responsibility? Why would we want to give them anymore money? Why would a presidential candidate base their campaign on promises of starting more programs for us?
Watch and see. Our nation will demand more governmental services that will spill our milk, dump our gas and lose our houses.
We need a candidate who will say, “Let’s stop the craziness!”
This is an interesting development considering the information in the blog I wrote on Sunday (4/27/08). God has established the world to operate with some basic divinely established institutions. One of these is nationalism. A natural, effective world requires nations. Globalization will not work.
RESPONSE: In the pre-millennial view the 7 year tribulation takes place. 1 Thes. 2:3-9 says the man-of-lawlessness will set him self up as God in God's temple and the Lord Jesus will overthrow him by the splendor of his coming. More details are given in Revelation and Daniel. This is the temple that will be rebuilt by the Jews for the tribulation. They will be allowed to offer sacrifices there for 3 1/2 years before the A.C. says he is God and takes over for the final 3 1/2 years. A sign of the times then would be the rebuilding of this temple. The Jews have already constructed the furniture (I saw some this summer in Jerusalem) and they have pre-cut, pre-formed walls to move in and set up the temple very quickly once the Muslim Dome of the Rock is removed (or, some other arrangement is made.) The Jews, of course, do not believe the end times will occur as the Christians do, but they are walking in the very steps of prophecy as they plan their own agenda. Many Christians that do not believe in either the rapture, or the tribulation, or even the millennium will say the temple in Revelation is the temple that was destroyed in 70 AD and these prophecies are already fulfilled. This is fine but we still have to work 1 Th. 2:4 and 8 into the equation which seems to put these events right before Jesus' second coming. Some say Jesus "coming" was in 70 AD when the temple of that time was destroyed. I also believe this was the Lord "coming in judgment" but not his second coming where he overthrows the anti-christ.
QUESTION: I think this is a light-hearted question, but another student asked me, "Why did God plan the Millennium." I understand where the Millennium fits into the eschatology, with Christians reigning with Christ, and Satan being bound (?), but I don't have any specific answer to why. To me it’s kind of like asking why God created flies (yes I know they digest waste and feed frogs, etc.), but if you have anything to offer, I'll pass it on.
ANSWER: The reason for the Millennium ties together many loose ends and incomplete parts of scripture and God's plans. First, man was to rule and have dominion. This ended quickly in the Garden. The Seed of the Woman, a man/Messiah, was promised who would crush the kingdom Satan and in Hebrews 2: 5-9 the writer quotes Psalm 8:4-6 where it says that God put everything under man's feet, but yet we do not know or see everything subject to man in our present condition. The writer goes on to say, "But we do see Jesus. . .now crowned with glory and honor." So mankind yet has to experience their fullness on earth, this will only be accomplished through the man Jesus Christ the savior and the king of the whole earth (Zechariah 14:9) Second, God chose Israel to fulfill certain parts of his plan. Many of these purposes and promises have not been fulfilled. They will be in the earthly kingdom of God where Jesus will reign as king. Third, there have been several phases in history where man has had to live and interact with God. The plan and means of salvation has always been the same, but God's way of dealing with man and testing man has been altered. The Millennium is the final phase of God's dealing with man. Mankind will live on the earth under the government and personal rulership of Jesus Christ. The apologetics of the millennium will not be like our apologetics. In our age we often have to try to prove the existence of God, or the deity of Jesus Christ. In the millennium the existence of God and the Lordship of Jesus will not be a hot topic of conversation for very long considering Jesus physically present and will be stationed in Jerusalem where people from all nations will travel to hear his explanations and teaching. Isaiah 2:2-5:
"In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established . . .all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord. . .He will teach us his ways'. . . The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations." But, even in this environment multitudes will rebel and reject the Lord and his ways. Thus proving that man's problem is not that he wasn't sure if there was a God. Nor was man's problem his confusion about who God was or if Jesus really was the Lord. These things will all be obvious. Man's problem is his rebellious sin nature that must be recreated or born again. Man's problem is not God but himself. There are other reasons for the importance of the millennium but I have mentioned these three: the successful reign of man on earth, the fulfillment of Israel, and man's final test.
QUESTION: I am familiar with all the scriptures that deal with Church Leadership and being the man of one wife, and I lean toward believing that means that you are only married once and never divorced (to qualify to be a church leader), unless your spouse is deceased then re-marriage would qualify, but I know there are several other interpretations. So please briefly share your beliefs, because the kids' thoughts seemed to be all over the place.
ANSWER: This is one of those questions that I can give 2 or 3 answers for but I have not settled in my heart my convictions. For me it is kind of like women in the ministry or woman being silent in church. I can give an answer but that answer really doesn’t match my convictions or the way I operate. Why is this? I may be ignorant; I may be too liberal; I may be a product of my culture. I may be immature or need my mind renewed to the word of God. Maybe I am in rebellion to God and need to get saved. The same is true when I answer this question. Several years ago I pastored a church and I went to a district meeting with the district pastors. They asked me if I would ever to a wedding ceremony for a couple where one of them had been divorced. I replied that it depended on the circumstances. Why did the person get a divorce? Were they having an affair with the person they now wanted to marry? I’d say no, don’t marry them. Did their husband abandon them with two young children before she was saved? I’d say yes, if the young mother of two has found a responsible believer, marriage would be an answer to prayer. The self-righteous district pastors said “never”. I responded by asking them who officiated all the weddings of the people in our denomination who were remarried divorced people? Easily 1/3 of the congregation I inherited had been remarried after a divorce earlier in life and several were teaching Sunday school. I told them that they could play their little doctrinal game but clearly very few of them were following it. Now, concerning your question: Some scholars say the text could be saying “husband of one wife at a time” or “husband of one wife, ever”. If it means “husband of one wife, ever” are we supposed then start making assumption for the Law of Moses which allowed marriage after the death of a spouse. In that case the concept is “husband of one wife, ever, unless the wife dies” which is basically saying, “husband of one wife at a time.” I do not know the answer to this because I can not settle my convictions. In my mind there are just too many exceptions. Clearly, if a pastor has an affair, he has disqualified himself to lead people and present the truth. But, what about King David? (Two things, he was a king and not a pastor and he was not in the church age, but does that matter?) What about Moses? Zipporah left him or was sent away (Exodus 18:2, “After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah” – “sent away” is a Hebrew verb used later for divorce) and later Miriam got leprosy because she was critical of Moses and his Cushite wife (Num. 12:1). Some say “Cushite” was a term of contept for Zipporah his Midianite wife. It is also possible the Zipporah had died in Midian and Moses was free to marry. But, reading it for what it says, Zipporah left and went back to Midian and Moses had a wife from Cush (from the southern Nile valley.)
QUESTION: What was the actual mode of action for salvation in the Old Testament? We know that ultimately they are atoned by Christ's blood, justified by their faith, and reminded of sins (and maybe somewhat temporarily cleansed) by sacrifice and the law, with their hope in the covenants and the prophecy, but if salvation was by faith, did the Gentiles technically have just as much access to salvation (belief) in the old testament as the Jews? We know about the people of Ninevah, and a few other examples of God interacting with the gentiles in the Old Testament, but this only complicates the question. And assuming that there was eternal security in the Old Testament, how does this coincide with the temporary visitations of the Holy Spirit?
RESPONSE: A quick response to this very good question is that people of all ages (Old and New Testament) are saved the same way: Faith in Jesus Christ. We who live after the cross look back historically to the cross and believe the promise of God. We know historical facts like the name of the Christ, his mode of death, when he lived on the earth, etc. Those who lived before the cross looked forward historically and believed the same promise of God. They may have understood there was the “seed of the woman”, or, the one from the family of Abraham, or, the Son of David, or, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. They did not know his human name, how he would die or the exact date or location of his death but they did know he would be a man, that he would die and that the necessary events would take place according to God’s own promise sometime in the future. In summary, we believe the Christ (“anointed one) came; they believed Messiah (“anointed one”) would come.
In the church age we have Bible teaching. In the age of Israel they had the tabernacle rituals for teaching and the maintenance of truth. We are not saved by Bible teaching but by believing what is presented. They were not saved by sacrifices but by believing what the sacrifices presented or represented.
Yes, God commanded them to offer sacrifices just like God commanded us to teach his word. It is true that many Jews began to trust the rituals as means of salvation. It is also true that the church age is filled with people who believe that going to church puts them in right standing with God. It is painfully true that our nation is filled with people who have spent their whole lives sitting in church pews on Sunday morning but have no idea what they are doing there. Likewise the Jews who spent their entire lives offering up animals to God could live and die with no idea what the sacrifices meant. Many Jews did not understand the rituals. Many people in church do not understand the Bible.
QUESTION: What can you tell me about "Dual Covenant Theology", and about the doctrinal views of John Hagee, TV evangelist and pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX? I have read several opinions online about Dual Covenant Theology, but until I heard John Hagee preaching on TV, I was totally unaware of it. What is your opinion of this man's ministry?
ANSWER: I have always liked John Hagee and read some of his books. I have seen very little of him on TV. His view of "Dual Covenant Theology" is held by others also, but I think it is a corrupt view of the Old Testament covenant and poor interpretation of Paul's writings of the New Testament. I understand dual covenant theology to mean that the Jews are "saved" because they are God's chosen people through Abraham and the covenant from Mt. Sinai but all other people (the Gentiles) must come to God through Jesus and have faith in Christ. This is a completely wrong view of Jewish salvation, I think, with the simplest proof, besides the clear teaching of the New Testament, being that Paul, Peter and John had to place faith in Christ for salvation yet they were Jews. I do not know what Hagee is thinking when he teaches this or how he came to these conclusions (besides misinterpreting scripture) but I am sure he must have some pretty good evidence and also some scripture to prove his point. I have not really sat down to study it or to try to disprove it because I think it is so clearly off base.
On Sunday mornings we have already seen that the dimensions of the ark are proportionately accurate for a floating barge and there was plenty of room for all the animal families or species on the ark. Also, many ancient cultures including Greeks, Egyptians, Russians, Cree Indians, Cherokee Indians, Aztecs, Peruvians, Fiji Islands, Hawaiians, Chinese and many more from every inhabited continent have relayed an ancient account of a flood. This, of course, is possible since every culture would have had its beginning when Noah’s three sons left the ark to repopulate the earth.
The account of how the flood occurred is another discussion that puts this event right into the realm of reality. Genesis 7:11 says:
“on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.”
The Hebrew word for “burst forth” is “baqa” and is the same word used to describe the earthquake that swallowed Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16:31. In Psalm 78:15 it refers to the splitting of the rock in the wilderness for water (Ex. 17:6). Click the link below to watch a very interesting presentation of how the Flood could have occurred when the earth surface split (earthquake). The results of the Flood are part of our world today. It is worth mentioning that there will be another shaking of the physical earth in the future (Isaiah 24:19-21, etc.):
Click this link to watch a short, interesting video of the physical cause and results of the Flood: http://www.thetaxpayerschannel.org/graphics/creation/fonte23.mov
In the United States in 2008 our Tax Freedom Day is April 23. This is the day that Americans will have made enough money to pay all their taxes including federal, state and local. This amounts to 114 days (82 days of labor plus weekends) to satisfy our tax requirements. (The good news is this is three days less than 2007.)
I find it hard to believe that the Roman’s could run an empire on 2 days of taxation and we just hit the $10 trillion debt mark as a nation while we are taking 31% of our citizen’s earnings each year. I am still checking these numbers and verifying this comparison. I can’t believe mathematically and financially it would be better to be annexed to the Roman Empire than to be a free American. Some one say it ain’t so!
It is clear some scientists are no longer practicing science but are instead promoting ideologies and defending their own world views. The good news is truth is eternal but a lie can not endure. This explains the why atheists and evolutionist are scrambling.
The Roman Road: The Way of Salvation
Death came to all men
“Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”
All men have sinned
“There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
No one will be declared righteous by obedience
“Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law.”
Christ died for us
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ died for our sins;Christ rose because we were justified
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
Wages of sin is death; God’s gift is eternal life
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Righteousness from God through faith
“Now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.”
Gospel is the power of God for everyone who believes
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God, for the salvation of everyone who believes . . . For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.”
Confess Jesus and be saved
“The word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in you r heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be save.”
Sin shall not be your master
“Sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
All things work together for good of those who love God
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him . . . if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
It’s front page news in Des Moines, Iowa both in the paper and on television station websites: Protestant Christianity is declining and shows no sign of stopping. I tend to believe the report but I also realize that these are the same media outlets that are against Christianity and conservative values in the first place. They may be doing nothing more than trying to create the news story they want. But, I think in this case the numbers speak for themselves as does our culture. Christianity is losing its influence in America.
Some of the quotes from the Associated Press article:
- “Mainline Protestant churches are in decline”
- “The United States is 78 percent Christian and about to lose its status as a majority Protestant nation, at 51 percent and slipping”
- “More than one-quarter of American adults have left the faith of their childhood for another religion or no religion at all.”
If you figure in people moving from one Christian denomination to another along with those switching religions or leaving religion “the number rises to 44 percent” of Americans have left the faith of their childhood.
- “One in four adults ages 18 to 29 claim no affiliation with a religious institution.”
- “Atheists or agnostics account for 4 percent of the total population.”
Less than 1 percent of the total population is Muslim.
0.7 percent of those surveyed are Buddhist.
“Jews accounted for 1.7 percent of the overall population.”
Now we crunch the numbers. Despite the trend and the media’s headlines, 51% of our population is Christian Protestants. Compare this 51% with 4% atheists AND agnostics, less than 1% Muslim and 0.7% Buddhists. Score: Protestants 51 Others 5.7!
In a tournament game that is a blowout!! I know enough about coaching to realize that 51-6 is not as good as 81-3 but I’d still rather take the Protestant team back to the locker room at half time or to the gym for tomorrow’s practice than the atheists and Muslims. The media could have ran a headline on the front page that read:
- “Protestants Still Dominate US Religion”
- “Protestant Major US Religion”
- “Only 3% of US is Atheist or Muslim”
Another thing the numbers show is Americans are thinking. They are thinking about religion. Many of them are thinking something like the following:
- I do not like the church I grew up with and am going to look for a better church (19%)
- I do not think the religion I grew up with is worth continuing so I am switching religions or I am giving up on religion all together (25%)
I have been in one of those above groups for the last 32 years. I am glad I had enough thought and desire to make my religion personal and not just stay with the status quo. To the 44% (19% plus 25%), I pray for success in their adventure. I hope they find fulfillment and meaning in their search and I hope they find Truth.
Surely, if people are leaving a religion, that must mean they are not satisfied. If they are not satisfied that means a good portion of them are still looking for something. And if they are still looking that must mean some of them believe there is something to find. And if that something can be found it must be something that is real with some absolute value. I believe they are looking for reality. Christianity calls it Truth.
The basic game has not changed. The rules, the players and the contest are the same.
People always have free will. People are always faced with many emotions, desires and distractions as they move through life. The goal of life has always been to use wisdom and experience to sort through emotions, desires and distractions. Then each person must establish in their soul the correct values, priorities and morals. This becomes their base of operation. Ultimately, victory is living in agreement with the Truth. Truth is the eternal Reality. Since there is an absolute Truth and there is eternal Reality, it is very, very possible to choose poorly and to lose this game of life. Final Score: the loss of your soul.