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Believers in the World III: 
Prosperity Gospel, Tithing, Cults and Legalism

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Question #1: 

Do you have any CD's or DVD's on the health, wealth and prosperity gospel?

Response #1:  

I don't have any CDs or DVDs of any kind, but I do have the following on the so-called prosperity gospel:

The "Prosperity Gospel"

The Dangers of the Prosperity Gospel

Are Health and Wealth a Part of the Gospel?

Does God really want us to be sick and poor? Revisiting the prosperity gospel

What is wrong with the "prosperity gospel"?

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Hi Robert,

I would love to own my own business and would love to foster kids with my wife.

Can you please pray that this would come to pass?

Thanks Robert

Gods richest blessings

Response #2: 

I have said a prayer for you. God has plans for us all. Obviously, we would all like to be "rich and prosperous", all things being equal. However, there is no such thing as a "prosperity gospel" (see the link), and it is important to point out that "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22 NIV). Therefore all believers need to "count the cost" of discipleship (Lk.14:28), and be ever looking to our eternal reward, seeking what is well-pleasing to the Lord and choosing what He wishes (rather than what we want and/or prefer). This does not mean that God does not bless – indeed He does – or that the Christian life necessitates only toil, suffering and deprivation; but it is true that Christians are tested in ways the lovers of this world are not, and that we will only make serious progress in this life if we set our sights on things eternal rather than on the things the world runs after.

In Jesus who is our all,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

I have another question. It's about Psalm 37:25. Could you explain it to me? That's never sat right with me. I'm sure there have been many Christians who have starved to death. I'm not talking about martyrs. I mean modern day Christians. I figure I must be missing something. I just can't make it work in my mind. I know the message is that God is faithful. I understand that is what is being conveyed. My point is that lots of Christians are impoverished.

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
Psalm 37:25 NIV

Thanks,

Response #3:  

I can assure you that the Lord has never "forsaken" a single believer who was walking with Him – and has even delivered an untold number an untold number of times, even when they were not.

The second half of the verse is speaking about the humiliation of being reduced to begging which is a disgrace that comes upon the unrighteous and is here presented as the disgraced "profession" of this hypothetical person who does not belong to Him (cf. Ps.109:10). This does not mean that believers will not have tough times, and that is true even if we are not talking about divine discipline (which can take many forms); we are all tested in many ways, and deprivation is one of the ways the Lord sometimes tries us to demonstrate to us and all the angels what is really in our heart of hearts:

"So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD."
Deuteronomy 8:3 NKJV

However, the substance of this passage most definitely does assure us that the Lord will take care of all of our needs, and that is absolutely true, even if from time to time we have to be patient and endure testing the better to hone our faith and build our trust and reliance on the only One who can be relied upon in the end, our God and Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Don't we pray for this every day in the Lord's prayer? And everything in that prayer is designed to remind us of what we do have from God: provision ("give us this day our bread for today . . ."), forgiveness ("forgive us our sins as we forgive. . .), and deliverance ("and deliver us from the evil one").

"Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Matthew 6:31-33 NKJV

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

How do we obtain financial blessing from the Most High? I don't believe in tithing.

Response #4: 

Yes, tithing was a form of state taxation for the ancient kingdom of Israel; scripture does not authorize it for local churches. Clearly, a local church can do what it wants (up to a point), but promising blessing for tithing (and/or implying cursing for failure to tithe) is an absolute lie. As to your question, here is what I read in scripture:

If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1st Timothy 6:3-10 NKJV

Spiritually speaking, the "great gain" we as Christians should be striving for is the eternal reward that lasts forever, rather than money which is only useful on this earth – and which, as the passage above attests, can be a trap once it becomes more in a person's heart than a means to an end:

Do not store up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and corrosion eat them away and where thieves dig through and steal them. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor corrosion eat them away and where thieves neither dig through nor steal them. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21

No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or cling to the one and despise the other. No one can serve God and Mammon (i.e., money).
Matthew 6:24

Financial success is not evil in and of itself, but in the history of the Church there have not been many spiritual giants who were wealthy in monetary terms. The advantages of money are 1) it may free up a person's time for spiritual growth, progress and ministry (although much more often a superfluity of it ends up distracting and compromising those who go after it, whatever the motive in the beginning), and 2) it may afford a person the opportunity to give to others in a liberal way (although we know from the story of the widow's two coins that it is the motive not the amount that counts, and wealthy people have a tendency to give smaller percentages overall than those without massive resources – then brag about it).

God is for you and He knows all of your needs. Since we are not going to be taking anything out of this world, any surplus is really of no particular benefit. We ought to make it our business to pursue spiritual growth and progress – and the ministries to which Christ has severally called us – with all our hearts, trusting in the Lord to provide all of our needs in so doing (rather than focusing on potential means as some sort of prior necessity). If we step out of the boat in faith, we will not sink, for the Lord will support us in all our genuinely good desires to serve and follow Him; if we wait until the storm abates and everything is perfect, we may end waiting forever and never taking that walk on the water our Lord wants us to take. Here are a few links which deal with some of these issues:

Cast thy Bread upon the Waters

Eternal Rewards

Christian finances

Money does not provide security

Strangers in the Devil's Realm

Tithing and church polity

Tithing

Tithing and the Book of Life

Is Tithing Net or just 'Gross'?

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – who is all sufficient for our every need,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

In Luke 16:13, what exactly is Jesus talking about when he says we can not serve God and Money? Serving money in what sense? I am under the impression that we do need to work hard for a living to provide the means for our needs, but what is meant by serve money?

Thanks again

Response #5:  

You're very welcome.

As to serving money/mammon, the Greek vocabulary at Luke 16:13 is enlightening (and the same key words are used at Matt.6:24). The word "master" here is kyrios, or Lord, and the Greek word "serve" is douleuo, "to act as a slave to". Christians voluntarily subordinate their will to that of our dear Savior; much of the world, however, makes money its god ("lord") and will do anything and everything to serve it, selling and enslaving themselves to money to increase money as if that were the only reason for existing. That is a far cry from working for a living. After all, the New Testament is very clear about the fact that we are responsible to the Lord to work for a living so as not to be a burden to others (e.g., 2Thes.3:8-10), and even in that time and culture wages were generally paid in terms of money (e.g., Matt.20:1-16). So I think it is quite clear that money is not the problem; rather it is the attitude of many people toward money that is the problem: it is the love of money that is "the root of all manner of evils" (1Tim.6:10), not money itself, i.e., looking to money for their security and happiness, making money their god instead of the One true God who paid for their salvation in the blood of His own dear Son.

When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." They who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" But He said, "The things that are impossible with people are possible with God."
Luke 18:22-27 NASB

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5

For more on this, please see the links:

Greed

Christian Finances

Cast thy Bread upon the Waters: What do the seven and eight portions in Ecclesiastes 11:2 mean?

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Hi,

Please could you kindly let me know your thoughts / biblical perspective on where you are to make your tithe.

I have a doctrine which believes in tithing (as well as love offerings) so I am not asking about the biblical view on whether or not to tithe ... But rather ... Where? The general consensus is that a tithe should go to the storehouse ... Or the place where one is being fed, nurtured , developed and cared for etc.

Does the Word provide any directions or precedents in this matter.

Thank you so much for your consideration and advice.

God bless

Response #6: 

Here is the verse in question:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Malachi 3:10 KJV

The "storehouse", or more literally in Hebrew, "house of treasury", is the temple in Jerusalem. Solomon's temple had side rooms which were used to store the items dedicated by David and also by later kings, and these were also used to store up the tithes which were paid in agricultural produce (cf. 2Chron.31:6-9), brought to Jerusalem by willing hearts who responded to the requirements of the Mosaic Law as encouraged by the Lord for all Israelites in the verse above. The use of the definite article in this passage, that is, we are talking about THE storehouse (not some other place one might by analogy designate as "A storehouse"), makes it clear that bringing such tithes to Jerusalem for the support of the priests serving in the temple and at the altar is the only way to fulfill this command (cf. 1Ki.7:51; 15:18; 2Ki.12:18; 1Chron.9:26; 26:20-26; 28:12).

Here are some further links, if interested:

Tithing 2

Is Tithing Net or just 'Gross'?

Tithing

Tithing and the Book of Life

Tithes and Tithing

Christian giving

Charity

Giving and Ichthys

In Jesus Christ our Savior, the Gift of life.

Bob Luginbill

Question #7: 

Thank you Professor, I am back. I was just going through a rough period. I am back and focused and I'm going to work on my prayer life and spending more time with the Lord. I am studying your lessons about God tonight. Thank you for your prayers. If tithes are no longer required how do we receive financial blessing from our Lord? V/r

Response #7:  

I'm very glad to hear it, my friend. Any time we spend learning, believing and applying the truth is always well spent.

As to your latest question, in my reading of scripture we are not called to financial (or material) blessing, but to spiritual blessing in this life and great reward in the next for following through with the Lord's plan for us here on this earth (see the link). Our Lord told us not to worry about tomorrow (the only thing a treasury of money or gold is useful for), and to ask only for today's bread; and Paul tells us to be satisfied if have sufficient food and clothing (1Tim.6:8). Since most of us in this country have far more than that, as long as we have enough to do what the Lord wants us to do (i.e., grow spiritually, progress in our walk with Christ, and help others do likewise through the ministries we have been given), we do have enough absolutely – even though sometimes it may not seem or feel that way. On the other hand, setting our hearts on having more than we need is a potential cause of spiritual trouble (1Tim.6:8-10).

You are certainly welcome at Ichthys any time!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Thank you for clarifying the financial part. It's only been a couple of years since the Lord revealed to me that tithing no longer applies. I'm not seeking to be rich I just want to be able to buy my family a house (which would probably be taken during the Tribulation). I just wanted to break that generational curse and be the first in my line to own some land and a home. Trust me when I say, "The hardest thing to do in this World, is to blindly submit to the Will of God in every aspect of your life to the point that our supplications are not based on our wants and needs but HIS Divine Will." The Lord gave me that quote. I'm going to copyright that! Love you in the Lord!

Response #8: 

You're very welcome!

I would agree that the Lord has also not necessarily called us to be dirt poor, and that we are not being "unspiritual" if we work hard to try to provide a decent living for our families. The point is to use the talents and provisions God gives us to serve Him – rather than allowing ourselves to be mastered by these worldly material things so as to live according to the world's false priorities as He didn't matter in our lives.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Satan's worked hard to destroy churches, so many examples. What are your thoughts on Tithing? I'm not in a position to do that now but if that does happen, I'd like to be able to give something, seems like it would be more beneficial to give to an organization or church that really helps people in need. I may be poor but hundreds of millions are far worse off than I. I don't know that much about southeast Christian but the swimming pool next to the pulpit seems excessive, to put it mildly. A relative told me that it wasn't necessary to receive a water baptism as an adult, and refused to go back to that church, but another relative still attends.

Response #9:  

Tithing is certainly not required. It was ancient Israel's "income tax", so to speak, but we live in a secular state (which takes way more than 10% from us). God "loves a cheerful giver" and we are not required to give beyond our means. The 10% figure may be no burden for some but may kill others (families with virtually no disposable income). It's great to give from the heart. Giving for legalistic reasons probably receives no reward at all. And laying this burden on church members on the grounds that it is a biblical standard is downright evil. Surely everyone who has read the Bible knows you can't find tithing in the New Testament. Here are some links on that:

Tithing issues

Tithing

Tithing and the Book of Life

Is Tithing Net or just 'Gross'?

Water baptism of any kind is not only not necessary, but really is a bad idea, since it was a Jewish ritual that anticipated the coming Messiah, John being His herald, but as it is now the Messiah has already come and died for our sins. The fact that most people who approve of water-baptism cannot give a clear explanation for what it signifies or why it is needful is an indication of the problem. Here are some links on this issue:

Baptism: Water and Spirit I

Baptism: Water and Spirit II

Baptism: Water and Spirit III

Baptism: Water and Spirit IV

Baptism: Water and Spirit V

One Baptism: the True Meaning of Peter's Words at Acts 2:38.

John's Water-Baptism versus the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Is baptism necessary for salvation?

Hoping that you health and situation are improving day by day, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Hello Dr Bob,

1. In my previous email I raised a concern about Tithing where even Abraham gave it to Melchizedek some 430 years before the law or priest 's office ,so how did Abraham know about that service ?

2. Rev 2:5-6, if it can be applied to a Christian ,what can a lampstand represent ? And originally, what did Jesus mean to remove the church from that angel if he didn't repent ?

3. When God gives life/spirit at birth now, does He give the corrupt /fallen spirit that a man grows sinful until he turns to God?

4. When God started creating things in Genesis 1, there's a repeated phrase ,"and there was evening and there was morning ". We know this is possible today with the sun, but what about the first 3 days?

Yours In the Lord.

Response #10: 

Good to hear from you. As to your questions,

1) Tithing was "an ancient and widespread practice" throughout the ancient Middle East, according to The Interpreters Encyclopedia of the Bible, and most interpreters (Kiel and Delitszch) affirm that it was an ancient pagan practice regarding temple/priest cults; cf. Encyclopedia of Religion: "The practice is known from Mesopotamia, Syria-Palestine, Greece and as far to the west as the Phoenician city of Carthage." So Abraham was merely following "standard practice" of the time. This is understandable. When the Lord gave Moses the Law, it established a tabernacle which was to become a temple – a fitting counterpoint to pagan temples which are not of God at all. But all this does show that it would be better, once liberated from the Law, for believers not to have any pagan associations, so as to be " turning back to those weak and miserable forces", so as to be "enslaved by them all over again" (Gal.4:9 NIV)

2) The lampstands represent the seven church eras (we are in the last one, Laodicea). Removing the lampstand absent repentance meant ending one era (Ephesus) and bringing on the next. This is all explained at the link: "The Seven Churches"

3) The human spirit is indestructible. It is the body which is corrupt. The heart is often described as sinful/corrupt (e.g., Jer.17:9), but the heart (or less correctly "soul") is the combination of the body and the spirit, the inner us where we think, feel and decide. In that "place" the spirit is influenced by the flesh, and we make our decisions for or against the flesh, for or against the spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit when we choose what is right.

4) The rotation of the earth around the sun marks the days for us, but God of course "knows" the span of time precisely regardless of the markers He places in the heavens for us. In any case, these seven days restored the earth for man's habitation (after the pre-historic judgment on Satan and his angels).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Peace be with you. I trust you will be able to enlighten me using scriptures on the following. I would like to know are we obliged to pay tithe, Will I go to hell if I do not ?

Response #11:  

Good to make your acquaintance.

No, tithing was a sort of "income text" for the nation of Israel; it is not necessary for Christians today, and nothing untoward happens to those who do not tithe. Those who claim tithes must be given, however, are flirting with divine displeasure (if not also receiving it already).

Question #12: 

Good day.

Thank you so much for your time and your quick response. I am on a spiritual journey as I am doing my first year bible school in Johannesburg. I am studying ministry. I am looking for biblical truths. I so believe in God with all of my heart. My dream is to just know the truth and know God for who he really is, and believe in him the way he wants me to not in my own way.

What does it mean when you wrote: "Those who claim tithes must be given, however, are flirting with divine displeasure (if not also receiving it)"?

Regards

Response #12: 

Good to her back from you.

As to your question, what I mean is that there are many so-called Christian churches and organizations which are looking for means to mulct their parishioners and sheer the sheep. For these sorts, proclaiming "tithing" to be a biblical necessity is a great device to convince people to give more than they otherwise would. This results in many cases of Christians giving money they cannot afford to give to support groups that are barely "of God" (if they are of God at all). There are degrees of being involved in any bad policy, so I do not wish to say that any group which mentions the word "tithe" is 100% wrong about everything else, but the presence of tithing is a good indication that a Christian should seriously consider moving on to some place where grace rather than legalism is the principle upon which things are done. Here are some more links on this topic:

Tithing issues

Tithing

Tithing and the Book of Life

Is Tithing Net or just 'Gross'?

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Good day sir,

When Jesus said 'I am going to prepare a place for you' does He need our help to do that in terms of paying tithes and working in the vineyard for Him? There is this belief in my country that when a believer pays tithes or do a thing in the church he/she sends material to heaven for the building. Sir I need your thought on this as I cannot remember where it is stated in the bible as it is being preached here.

Response #13:  

Good to hear from you, my friend. I am keeping you and your family in my prayers day by day.

Once again, your "spiritual common sense" is correct. God does not need our help with anything, obviously. He could create a trillion other universes bigger and "better" than this one in the blink of an eye. But He sent His Son here, to help us, and our part is to respond to the Lord Jesus in faith, both at salvation through trusting in Him for deliverance from sin and death, and afterwards through our spiritual growth, spiritual progress in passing the tests of maturity, and spiritual production in the ministries He assigns us.

Tithing was a form of income tax for the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. It has no validity for the Church today since we Christians do not constitute a physical nation state – our "citizenship" is in heaven, not on earth (Phil.3:20), and there is no biblical command for anyone outside of the divinely established previous state of Israel to tithe (the present Israel is a secular state). Ministers and ministries who vigorously promote tithing – especially if they attempt to place false, "biblical" weight on it as you relate – inevitably do so to fill their own coffers without any great regard for the spiritual well-being of the sheep they are fleecing. It is seldom a good idea to have anything whatsoever to do with such people. That is because where Mammon rules (as it seems it must if a person/group can distort scripture and truth in the way you describe for their own benefit to the detriment of those who listen to them), nothing good can come of it.

"You cannot serve God and Mammon."
Luke 16:13b

Here are some links on this for your consideration:

Greed and Money

Christian Finances

Cast thy bread upon the waters

Tithing

Tithing

Tithing and the Book of Life

Is Tithing Net or just 'Gross'?

In Jesus Christ who is our all and everything – and who is sufficient for every need.

Bob L.

Question #14: 

Hello Dr. L,

I have been getting stumped on the UFO subject. What is your take on it?

Response #14: 

Good to hear from you. To answer your question, a little over six thousand years ago, the universe was light-less and filled by the tehom, the universal deep (see the link: "The Waters Above"). This state of affairs had come about many years – perhaps many eons – previously (no one knows how long as scripture does not say) as a result of Satan's revolt (see the link: SR 2: The Genesis Gap). After the devil's rebellion, the Lord removed Himself and His loyal angels to the third heaven, and allowed the devil and his followers to "play around" on the original earth for what apparently was quite some time (no one knows how long as scripture does not say – this period could have been even longer); but at some point the Lord rained down judgment on the original Eden, the earth and the universe as originally created. This judgment did not "hurt" Satan and his crew, as angels cannot be hurt by material events such as this – but it did no doubt terrify them and cause them much distress, being without light for however long a time and left to anticipate the next phase of God's judgment . . . on themselves. This blacked out, inundated situation throughout the universe obtained until God restored the heavens and the earth during the six literal days of re-creation (an absolute surprise to the devil and his minions – but even so they did not respond to His grace).

In other words, it has only been a very short time since corporeal life was even possible again anywhere in the material universe. There is, of course, no such thing as "evolution", but even if there were, no one would argue that it could take place from scratch in only a few years. So, no, there are no UFO's. God is the source of all life, and earth is the center of the universe, theologically speaking. This is the place that the Father had His original headquarters (so to speak), this is the place and we are the people to whom the Lord Jesus came, this is the place to which He will return, and this is the place – once re-made after the conclusion of creature history – where we who have chosen Him over the world will dwell with our dear Lord Jesus and the Father forever and ever. So not only is any independent evolution of "aliens" absolutely impossible but it is also the case that there would be no reason for the Lord to create them: Jesus Christ, God, the second Person, the Son, became a human being. The only other orders of spiritual beings are the angels and the animals (the former of which do not have physical bodies and the latter of which do not have the image of God).

Here are a couple of links on this subject:

Aliens, Antichrist and Eschatology

Christians and Outer Space

Do Aliens Exist (in War in Heaven)?

Yours in the dear Lord Jesus Christ, who bought us free from our sins with His blood in dying for them on the cross.

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Hello Bob,

I hope you are well.

Bob, Moses in Genesis tells us that God created man from a handful of dust. However, it appears that the Angel Gabriel told Muhammed that man was created from a clot of blood. If I was to pick one I would go for dust because it forgoes the obvious, awkward, question from whose blood was the clot formed?

Thoughts please.

Response #15:  

I'm not understanding your question. The Genesis account is in the Bible. The other things you mention are extra-biblical man-made fiction. For more on the biblical account of creation, please see the link: "The Creation of Man" in BB 3A.

Yours in Jesus Christ through faith in whom alone we are saved.

Bob L.

Question #16: 

After class I talked to a peer. He asked me if I wanted to watch a show with him. I told him that I as a Christian consider it bad to entertain fiction.

Now this guy was a really clever person, and on the basis of his Star of David necklace I figured that he was a liberal Jew. But what he specifically said was a really good lie. In fact, it was so good it took me over a year to figure out how exactly he lied, even though at the moment when I heard it I knew that it was a lie.

"Jesus spoke using parables, so why is it always a bad thing for Christians to entertain fiction?"

To understand why this is a lie requires a bit of background regarding the meaning of genre. The book /A Million Little Pieces/ was promoted as a nonfictional book, even though it was later discovered that it contained events that did not happen in real life. Why wasn't it reclassified as fiction?

Because the genre of nonfiction has nothing to do with whether or not its members are entirely factual. It's determined mainly by a rubric of style. Similarly, Jesus' parables contain events that are strictly speaking not factual, but yet it would be a gross lie to say he spoke fiction, because his parables fail to meet the rubric of style that determines fiction. In fact, it is entirely possible for a novel to be written whose events are 100% nonfictional and yet have the novel itself be classified as fiction.

Finding a source of the truth is hard enough. Understanding the truth after finding a source is hard enough. Believing the truth after understanding it is hard enough. Applying the truth after believing it is hard enough. But to have people throw these petty tests that would make any honest person go back to square one make it very easy to lose one's patience. And what happens if you fail these on-the-spot tests? You're deemed a 'liar for Jesus' and are made an example of the dangers of 'fundamentalism' on the young mind.

I'm sick of life,

Response #16: 

Well done! The only thing I would quibble with is your personal conclusion. Job went through an awful lot, but it was just this sort of thing, the slanted (and therefore horribly wrong) pronouncements of his supposed friends that finally "got his goat". Don't be "sick of life" because every day is an opportunity to make a difference for the Lord (in the true godly way of spiritual growth, advance and the genuine production of helping others do likewise). It's OK, on the other hand, to be "sick of the world" . . . because the world is sick, and irremediably so. The more we are sick of the world the more we are encouraged to look beyond this world to what really counts, namely, a good report from our Lord on that blessed day of days, and the unimaginably wonderful eternal rewards that will fall to the lot of those who did truly live for Him in this life – His way. It is hard down here on planet earth, and harder for believers who appreciate these things as you do than for those who have accommodated with the satanic world system and who are getting their comfort now. But the truth is good; it is light to the eye and to the heart, like the sun to the physical eye. The fact that truth illuminates the darkness and shows it up for what it really is a grand and glorious thing, once we learn to see what we really are and where we really stand down here: we are soldiers of Jesus Christ with whom the world will never be at peace, but we are protected and empowered by our commanding officer who has a mission for us.

The road is long and can be hard and trying; blessedly, we only have to tackle it one step at a time and one day at a time, and we never know what's coming next – and I think I have enough time-in-grade to assure you of that principle: we never know what's coming next. We do know, however, that God is for us . . . so that no one and no thing can truly prevail against us. What we have to remember is that this is a conflict bigger than us, and therefore that we need to be very careful not to take these sorts of things you mention personally. It's not about us. It's about Jesus Christ. We and our good applications are opposed because we have given ourselves to Him and now belong to Him. So all attacks are not personal ones but come to us because of the side we have chosen. Just as every soldier needs to understand that the enemy is trying to kill him not because of some personal foibles but because of the color of the flag on his shoulder, so also we Christians need to keep that perspective of remembering that the world will never love us:

"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
John 15:19 NKJV

Here is a link I strongly suggest you read (even if you have already done so in the past):

In SR 4: "Strangers in the Devil's Realm"

Your fellow soldier for Christ in the fight that really counts -- and the only which produces lasting rewards.

Bob L.

Question #17: 

[question about a Facebook relationship that has gone "over the top" in disturbing ways]

Response #17:  

There are good things about the internet and the opportunities it provides to connect with others, but I think your email presents the problems. You don't actually "know" these people, and for all you know this might be a 70+ year old man who's making everything up. In any case, my suggestion would be that whenever things start to get unwantedly personal, "weird", or even worse (as in this reported exchange) with someone known only "virtually", it is a good time to end the online relationship – and that's not a bad rule for people you know face to face either!

Pull the plug. That is what I would do and what I suggest you do – immediately.

Trying to look out for you in the Lord,

Bob L.

Question #18: 

Some one sent this to me and I hope you don't mind me asking you about spell caster your info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

I NEVER BELIEVED IN LOVE SPELLS UNTIL I MET THIS WORLD'S TOP SPELL CASTER . . . [details omitted]

Response #18: 

Christians should stay far, far away from anyone involved anything like this. At best, it is a scam; at worst, it is an actual involvement in the occult. Here are a few links on that:

Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic in the Bible

Religion and the Occult

Witchcraft and Drugs

Is the star of Acts 7:43 the star of David?

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19: 

Hi Bob,

http://www.returnofkings.com/36915/what-humans-can-learn-from-the-mice-utopia-experiment

Very important. Please read the whole thing.

Sincerely,

Response #19:  

I read it. Science would do well to read the Bible. Maybe a "what science can learn from the Bible" article is needed? But they would never "read the whole thing", let alone believe it. This mouse experiment only shows me that any time anyone manufactures any kind of an artificial environment for creatures with spirits, weird things are bound to happen in this post-Eden world in which we live. Anyone who thinks odd, self-destructive and dangerous human behavior is restricted to Easter Island should read a little history (WW II will suffice). And, after all, we humans have a sin nature in the bargain and free will – neither of which facts evolutionists and most behavioralists accept, of course.

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20: 

What I got out of it is that the complete breakdown of social cohesion is sufficient to cause the extinction of a species. More importantly, social animals that experience unlimited resources (but finite land, so as to prevent unbounded growth) will experience a breakdown of social cohesion that will ultimately lead to said animals being unable to reproduce.

Most importantly, western civilization is in that exact state: unlimited food/water, but finite land. Our aversion toward having children, an aversion considered insane by our forebearers, is easily explained in terms of the mouse experiment: we are experiencing a breakdown of social cohesion driven by unlimited resources but finite land. If all of humanity were to achieve similar prosperity to that of western civilization, it is highly likely that all of humanity would go the way of the dodo, absent some divine intervention.

Response #20: 

Well I certainly agree with that. If the Tribulation were not so close, such considerations might be worth dabbling in. As it is, humanity will soon come close to the brink, but because of heightened satanic interference on the grandest scale ever . . . in just a few short years when the Tribulation begins and the devil rules the world through his son (temporarily).

Looking forward to the resurrection on the other side!

Yours in our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #21: 

Thanks Bob, I'm just going through your site ... do you believe in "secret rapture" theory?

Response #21:  

You're very welcome.

As to a "secret rapture theory", when I hear the word "rapture", people usually mean that word to connote a resurrection of the Church before the Tribulation begins (aka "the Pre-trib rapture"). That is the most common use of the word in the evangelical community. I cut my theological teeth in a ministry which subscribed to that view, but had to abandon it many years ago (when I found in trying to support it with biblical evidence that there was none). In that sense, there is no "rapture": the Church is not resurrected (one could use the word "rapture", but I avoid it to prevent confusion) until Christ's second advent return (that is what, e.g., 1st Thes.4:15-17 is referring to). Please see the links:

When is the Rapture?

Parousia

The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride (in CT 5)

As to a "secret rapture" vs. a "rapture", I'm not sure what the difference would be. In my experience, there are many theories and theorizers out there in the ether these days, and it doesn't take much to put up a website and style oneself an authority. So I would want to know who originated the theory, who is propounding it, and what, specifically, this person means by those words. My guess is that it's the same as the "rapture", that is, a "pre-Tribulation resurrection of the Church" -- whereas in fact the resurrection only occurs at Christ's parousia, His second advent return.

"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:30-31 NKJV

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus whose return we breathlessly await.

Bob L.

Question #22: 

Robert,

Good evening and here I go again. I hope you don't take offense and pray everything is well with your mother. I might be jumping the gun and you probably will discuss this in upcoming CT Part 6 I believe. I am only on the war in heaven. What is your thoughts on the following discourse, the outer darkness mentioned by our Lord and Savior is not the same as the Lake of Fire. I read during bible searching on Kingdom of God and found an interesting idea I have never heard of. That the outer darkness is reserved for carnal believers who did not repent of their ways during the Millennium reign of Christ, while the Lake of Fire is for unbelievers. After the 1,000 year reign of Christ, then the believers in outer darkness will be in eternity with the Lord.

Here is the link:

http://www.agrainofwheat.com/Kingdom/09.A%20Just%20Re
ward.pdf

Please see page 5. I come to you Robert for clarity because I trust your ministry is Spirit lead. Please let me know where they are wrong. FYI, I have not come to your CT section on Millennium kingdom yet for full discussion but wanted to reach out to you.

What they are saying is that carnal believers, not apostates, but carnal believers who have not repented in this lifetime and repented of their disobedience will have to be punished, "rewarded" when Christ comes to rule for 1,000 years. This is a process of pruning disobedient children who have not apostatized but are not ready to live eternity with Son and Father because of their lack of discipline, unrepented heart in this life.

We are not talking about apostates or non-believers, but carnal believers who lived carnal lives and what happens to them after death. Are they advocating purgatory? I vehemently disagree with that, or in reference to rewards for believers?

Thanks Robert for listening like always.

Response #22: 

It's always a pleasure for me to see my fellow believers grow in the Word and in the truth. You are developing an excellent "spiritual common sense" and becoming able to see not only that someone/group is teaching something wrong but also just exactly what is wrong with their teaching. No, there is no purgatory. That was invented by the Roman Catholics hierarchy in the middle ages in order to provide a rationale for bilking money from superstitious adherents ("pay money to get uncle Charley out of purgatory"). It's based upon some verses in the Apocrypha (not in the Bible). Clearly, only unbelievers are thrown into the lake of fire – all believers are saved; and no one is judged on the basis of sin since Christ died for all sin (except for the sin of rejecting Him). And the lake of fire is a dark place separated from the new heavens and new earth (see the link), so that "outer darkness" is a perfectly good description of it. Finally, the parable of the talents is (deliberately) conflating the entire final judgment of believers and unbelievers both (whereas we know from other places in scripture that believers will be judged in two installments, unbelievers have their own "Great White Throne" judgment). Here is something I recently wrote on that:

On Matthew 25:30, every actual believer will have something to put before the Lord on that great day of days, no matter how insignificant (a single prayer prayed, for example, or a cup of cold water offered). But the "talent" in this parable represents our free will; those who use it to believe in Christ and respond to Him (as all should) produce a good crop; those who don't use the free will they have been given as those created in the image and likeness of God to respond to Christ but "hide away" their will being unwilling to offer it up to the Lord so as to be saved are lost. The Lord envisions only two general categories in this parable, the saved who respond and are productive (as we all should be) and the lost who are not even willing to believe. It is true that there will be many who allow the world to choke their productivity – but that is not how it should be. I have treated this passage at the link: "The Judgment and Reward of the Church".

Feel free to write me back about any of the above – and congratulations again on your continuing spiritual progress!

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23: 

I am just a little frustrated over how ignorant the majority of people are regarding the Word. Even though you show them the truth they still are blind to it. V/r

Response #23:  

None of us should get too upset that the world is not interested in the pearls of wisdom it is our great honor to possess from the Word of God. After all, the vast majority our Lord's contemporaries completely disregarded everything He told them, even when backed up by the most profound miracles – and He is the Lord.

"If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!"
Matthew 10:25 NIV

Yours in the One whom we love more than life, our dear Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #24: 

I had a fight with a relative who says Genesis.9:4 supports vegetarianism. Sir please help. He says the word for meat in Hebrew means "protein".

"I will demand an accounting FROM every animal"

In the above verse: Is the word "for" or "from" in the original text?

Thanks,

Response #24: 

The Hebrew preposition in verse five is min and it does mean "from"; it does not ever mean "for" in this sense. Also, one only has to read the earlier context to see that this position is untenable:

"And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs."
Genesis 9:2-3 NKJV

That is the context of the caveat in verse four: "but you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood" – all animals were given as food BUT could not be consumed WITH the blood; because blood is the symbol of life and was dedicated to the altar in order to teach the coming sacrifice of Christ. Here is a related link: "Christians and vegetarianism".

At least your relative is reading the Bible! Many unbelievers have been saved in this way, even though that was not their intent in picking one up.

I am praying for you to find a good livelihood, my friend, and for other matters of concern as well.

Your friend forever in Jesus Christ the Lord,

Bob L.

Question #25: 

I have been reading some of your answers regarding the law of Moses. I have a dear friend who has woven her way through several denominations. Now she is into what I call the legalism of the Bible. She does not believe that God would sacrifice his son for the sins of people because the book of Deut. speaks against fathers sacrificing their sons. She says G-d (as she calls Him) would not do such a thing. They do not believe anything Paul wrote since he was wanting to do away with Torah. She is really big into saying almost everything is paganistic. I just don't know how or what to say to her anymore. Please respond if you will. Thank you.

Response #25:  

Good to make your acquaintance. Let me start with a few comments about the true meaning of the Law. It's true essence of is found in our Lord's own words:

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.".
Matthew 23:23 NKJV

and

Jesus said to him, " ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ "This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

And as Paul says:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."
Gal.5:22-23 NKJV

I can sympathize with your concern for your friend. There are all manner of false teachings and cult-like groups out there these days, and groups which, in one way or another or to one degree or another, are trying to seek salvation through keeping their own interpretation of the Law. That is apparently quite the rage these days. Of course, there is no temple currently standing, no Levitical priesthood presently practicing, and no way to be saved through the Law in any case. We are, as I am sure you are aware, saved only by grace, through faith. The entire purpose of the Law is to demonstrate that it cannot be kept (Rom.3:20; 4:13; 7:4-25; Gal.2:19-21:) and that God must therefore intervene on our behalf else we would have had no way to be saved. So the saving work of Christ on the cross is of course the true focus of the Law – represented in every sacrifice (and in virtually every detail of the Law).

For Christ is the fulfillment (lit., "end") of the Law, resulting in righteousness for everyone who believes [in Him].
Romans 10:4

How to get through to your friend is another matter. In my experience, when people are no willing to consider the Bible – and that is what rejecting the New Testament, the epistles of Paul, and the deity and humanity of Christ, His perfect Person and perfect His work in dying for all sin – there is not much we believers can say. All we can do is pray for such a person . . . and encourage them to read their Bibles. It is a common characteristic of all cults to discourage Bible reading (or at least the parts which contradict their lies – as in cutting Paul's epistles out). Obviously, because the Bible will contradict all false teaching, especially if a person sets to reading it comprehensively and with an open heart. If a person really does seek the truth of scripture with an open heart, then the Spirit will begin to work on that heart – convicting the person of sin, for example (as no one can be pure, even by a false, selective standard such as the one you report). So I would encourage prayer, and also repeated pleas to "just read scripture" without excepting any part of the Bible.

There are many links at Ichthys which deal with this subject (I will give you a short list below), but the one study I would ask you to read first (and to try to get your friend to read) is: "*Read Your Bible".

Here are some of those links:

Legalism, Past and Present

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism IV: Unclean and Impure?

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism III

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism II

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism I

The Apostles, the Jerusalem Council, and Legalism then and now.

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church II

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I

Witnessing: Cults and Christianity II

Witnessing: Cults and Christianity I

Combating Legalism VI

Combating Legalism V

Combating Legalism IV

Combating Legalism III

Combating Legalism II

Combating Legalism I

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #26: 

Hi Bob,

Hope you're well,

Can I please get your opinion on the following article on false grace:

http://www.johnburton.net/grace-message

Thx

Response #26: 

I couldn't recommend this message/messenger. This represents, in my opinion, the other extreme. OSAS is definitely not true; "pins and needles" salvation (represented in this link) is equally incorrect. Consider one quote from it: "If we embrace a lifestyle of sin, we are not saved. We won’t go to Heaven. The day of judgment will be a day of horror." This misstates the issue dramatically. Faith is the issue. Sin does undermine faith; but relying on works instead of faith is the other lane in the road to hell. I think the Roman Catholic church would find nothing particularly offensive in this message. For example, another quote: "Throughout the New Testament it’s proven over and over again that obedience, works and production (fruit) is mandatory if we are to be—and stay—saved." Mr. Burton has obviously never heard of the Reformation (or understood the Bible). I think, on balance, any Christian giving heed to this sort of drivel would very soon become mentally unhinged (through their inability to conform to the false standards here erected) or else become insufferably self-righteous – redefining sin and salvation in their own favor in order be comfortable with these teachings. I am relatively certain this is what Mr. Burton must have done, but he offers no guidance to his readers as to how they too might become good Pharisees and have similar comfort. Modern day Phariseeism is at present all the rage. Prudent Christians who want to grow in Jesus Christ should give it short shrift and a wide berth.

In our dear Lord who actually did die for all of our sins irrespective of any "good" we may think we are doing.

Bob L.

Question #27: 

Robert,

I stumbled across your ichthys website and am reading your dissertation on soteriology. What an amazing work. Thank you and God bless you for being a willing vessel of the Holy Spirit. I have several Christian friends that seem to be hung up in "works", continuously feeling the need to "repent" and "regain their salvation". It breaks my heart. I shared your dissertation on my Facebook page in hopes the Holy Spirit will guide them to read it and enlighten them into the miracle of the finished work of Christ and beauty of his infinite mercy and Grace for all willing to receive it. Please stand with me in intercessory prayer for them and their deliverance from this religious spirit of fear and condemnation. The Lord knows who they are.

Your brother in Christ,

Response #27:  

Good to make your acquaintance.

Thanks for your very kind and encouraging words. Yes, legalism is a very big problem in the church-visible these days. There is a good deal about this at Ichthys, not only in the major studies. Here are a few other links:

Legalism Past and Present

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism IV

The Apostles, the Jerusalem Council, and Legalism then and now

Combating Legalism VI

Sin, Atonement and Forgiveness II

Sin, Atonement and Forgiveness I

Salvation Lost and Found

No, Hebrews does not teach that you lost your salvation.

It's a worthy prayer – I promise to say it too.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #28: 

Robert,

I thought you might enjoy. This speaks of modern day American Christianity. Coincides nicely with your apostasy series in CT.

WELCOME ABOARD THE TITANIC: I was saved by faith in Jesus almost 40 years ago. As I see what is happening around the world I wonder how I would have survived mentally and emotionally if I did not know Jesus. And in forty years the church has changed so dramatically that it takes your breath away if you are watching and if you even care. Yes there were large problems back in 1975 but what is taking place today is outrageous and shocking. When I went to Bible College no one ever thought about joining with Mormons or the Roman Catholic Church. We all rejected the social gospel. The prosperity movement was just gaining steam and all of us knew it was wrong. Christian television was basically Billy Graham, Rex Humbard, and Robert Shueller and we all rejected Shueller. Back then there were things that every committed believer avoided. There were no motorcycles or cars or beds in the auditorium as props for preachers. Preachers did not make outlandish promises that if you gave money God would save your family or get you houses and cars. Our evangelical churches never thought about having a New Years Eve bash and serving alcohol. We all knew foul language was wrong. Yes, we were patriotic back then but there was not the political fervor there is today. We prayed at prayer meetings. We were concerned for the lost and we witnessed and passed out tracts. Things have changed since then. There is a spirit of greed and self righteousness which fills the pulpits and pews. And the world is barreling down to Armageddon. And yet while death and hell awaits this world its inhabitants are partying on the Titanic. The great ship left Southampton on April 10, 1912 and she headed for New York City. It was her maiden voyage and it was filled with all sorts of wealthy passengers. 2224 passengers set sail that day including the ship’s designer. It was to be a gala event and most of the world was paying attention. The ship provided all the luxuries anyone could want on a ship, and everything seemed very normal. That is until just before midnight on April 14th. Without warning this great vessel hit an iceberg and began to sink. It was widely presumed that the Titanic could not be sunk. But within a few hours she broke apart and sank. It was a great calamity and it made worldwide news. 1514 people lost their lives. While they partied eternity loomed. Surrounded by gold and tinsel, and faring sumptuously, their lives were required on that horrific night. Who among them sounded a warning? Who experienced any foreboding? The food was spectacular, the champagne was flowing, the music was inspiring, and all was well with the world. But in the darkness was an iceberg which stood between the Titanic and New York. Most would not live to see New York. Close your eyes and imagine being on the great ship. Think of having no care. Think about enjoying all the wonderful amenities. Imagine being surrounded by lavish accoutrements and being waited on hand and foot. Now open your eyes and look around. We are sailing on the Titanic this very day. We enjoy all the technologies money can buy, and most of us will have to buy new and larger clothes next year. Even if they are not larger, many believers will still buy new clothes. Most believe this ship cannot sink. The ship sails on. Wars here and there and rumors of impending wars swirl around us. People massacred in Syria and elsewhere but it is just a news item. Professional football has begun and the dormant excitement is revived. The stores are filled with people buying school clothes and pens and paper and book bags. The election approaches, and like chromosomes taking sides before splitting, the political sides have been formed. The ship sails on. Bigger and better buildings provide for bigger and better congregations. Incredible music programs and all sorts of elaborate ministries for children often define a church. The preachers have rock star status and they have learned the art of fundraising very well. Tithing will help avoid God’s wrath and bring about much material blessings. Millions upon millions of dollars flow freely to television hucksters who fly in their own jets. The ship sails on. No longer satisfied with being inconvenienced by going to the movies to see explicit violence and sexual content, the cable companies pump loads of visual garbage into tens of millions of homes including professing believers. Promiscuous actors receive their awards and give lip service to Jesus. Church teens learn inappropriate behavior at an early age, and being armed with the social network and texting they delve deeply into areas reserved for marriage. The ship sails on. All kinds of marriage seminars are given throughout the evangelical community. Sermon series’ on how to have a happy marriage abound. Books and Cds flood couples with great advice for their marriage. Valentine’s Day banquets with special speakers uplift couples every year. But all the while adultery and divorce remain rampant. The ship sails on. The sex saturated culture is not enough for the church. She must encourage more and more sex with incredible frequency. Titlating sermons preached upon beds behind pulpits and on roof tops create sexual thirst. Preachers have clandestine rendezvous with illicit internet material as well as mental imagery involving other church women. This must be the path to purity. The ship sails on. The Joel Osteens and the Rick Warrens and the Rob Bells entertain the masses and throw out all kinds of theological fairy tales and the people love to have it so. Peruse the Christian bookstores and see professing believers who own them making money selling heresy and Christian trinkets. Listen to "Christian" television as men perfect all sorts of ways to separate people from their money with false promises of earthly success. The ship sails on. Sit back and take in the amazing sight as millions upon millions of people trudge to and fro on Sunday mornings with nary a change and with a redundancy that resembles rush hour traffic. The restaurants love the church folk as they provide much Sunday traffic for their establishments. Football games begin at 1:00 so everyone can get church out of the way and enjoy what Sundays are really for. Like an assembly line the parade of evangelical pew dwellers discharge their religious obligation secure in the knowledge that eventually heaven awaits them. The ship sails on. I know, how bleak. What a downer. Why not just enjoy yourself and bask in what God has provided? Yes, go ahead and dance. Pop the champagne! This ship will not sink unless we let the gays or Muslims or North Koreans or the liberals take away our earthly freedoms and sink this ship. And no one wants that. After all Captain Washington has set our course. But lurking in the distance is an iceberg of colossal proportions. This one cannot be avoided. This is the iceberg of God’s judgment and it will soon come upon the entire world. Millions of church goers will be suddenly awakened but without a hope. The warnings will be history and the future will now be the present. Millions of professing believers may find that their profession was leaky to begin with and that their tepid confession will hold no water. They will seek for a life raft and find none. There will be only one chance and that chance is gone forever. But millions of passengers have been told there are plenty of life rafts, in fact God has a seat for everyone regardless. False voices like Rob Bell have told then there is no iceberg, and that the only troubled waters are here on earth. Eternity will take care of itself. Do not worry, and if the ship should spring a leak, you can always put on a life vest later.

The ship sails on. The ship sails on. The ship sails on and on and on and…

http://judahslion.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=

2014-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&updated-max=2015-01-0

1T00:00:00-05:00&max-results=50

God bless

Response #28: 

Thanks. This is pretty good, aside from three things.

First, it has a mild tinge of legalism. E.g., professional sports are a complete waste of time, and idolizing them is bad, but in and of themselves they are just a past-time; alcohol in excess is bad and encouraging its abuse is bad, but it is wrong to suggest that imbibing at all is a sin; divorce is a tragedy, but it is unkind (and wrong) to suggest that those who have been divorced against their will are somehow at fault (or that anyone is "beyond the pale" without hope of restoration); witnessing is a Christian responsibility, but the pre/post WWII method of passing out tracts et al. is one I find questionable – holding it up as a standard of virtue is certainly problematic.

Secondly, this piece suggests that God is going to judge America because of our sinful conduct as if it were a Christian nation in the mold of ancient Israel. The reality is that there is no such thing as a Christian nation (Israel of the past and future was / will be unique – "Israel" today is a secular state); the trouble about to come upon Babylon will be unique because of her association with antichrist. The problem for Christians in this country at that future time will be to avoid becoming so incensed at the present trouble that they go the wrong way when the real trouble begins. So taking this "call to arms" the wrong way can have worse results than it chronicles here (apostasy for those who enlist with the beast, even if done for what are felt at the time to be "righteous reasons").

This brings me to the third point: the solution to national spiritual dissolution is individual spiritual growth – and I don't find anything in this piece which even hints at the correct solution. What this piece seems to imply is that "cleaning up one's act" and going back to the less-bad legalism of pre/post WWII evangelicalism is the solution. In fact, not only is that not possible (that milieu was as culturally fixed to its own point in time as today's excesses are), it would not be helpful even to try. What was needed then and what is needed now is genuine spiritual growth on the part of individual believers. In fact, the present horrible state of evangelicalism is merely the natural extension, given cultural devolution, of what that previous sad state of affairs leaned towards – it too was part and parcel of Laodicea. There are no collective solutions (that's politics), only personal ones (individual believers becoming "salt" through growing closer to and walking more closely with Jesus Christ through the truth and their response to it).

There is no substitute for genuine spiritual growth from the truth of God's Word. Trying to do things any other way always results either in the sort of cultural accommodation against which this piece inveighs, or the sort of legalism with which it is tinged. Neither approach leads to the glorification of Jesus Christ or a good eternal reward. To avoid both extremes on the one hand, and to embrace what is good instead, requires putting the truth of the Word of God (through Bible reading and accessing solid Bible teaching) – believing it and applying it to one's life – at the absolute center of our walk with Jesus Christ. Everything else leads to shipwreck, no matter what name we give to the boat.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29: 

I would like to know if it is all right to use the Hebrew name of the Messiah, which is Yahshua (pronounced Yawshua) as He seems to have many names. I am English and use the Messiah’s English name of Jesus. Some people I know refuse to use the name Jesus and say it means Zeus! They also refuse to use pagan words and say not to use Holy, glory etc., and say they are not Christians.

Can you help me?

Response #29:  

Great to hear from you! It's been a while. I hope and pray all goes well.

As to your question, yes it is certainly alright to use a Hebrew name for our Lord – but it is not alright for anyone to tell another Christian that it is wrong to call Him "Jesus" – especially since that is the name used for our Lord everywhere in the New Testament! As to the "Zeus" canard, that is a ridiculous false theory that has been making the rounds – it has absolutely no validity. Please see the link: "Cults and Christianity II" (under Q and A #5).

I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers day by day. Thanks for your prayer for me and for this ministry too! They are necessary and appreciated.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

 

 

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