|From: Stan||12/2/2011 2:03:08 PM|
|On Free Will, from a very early church elder - Irenaeus. (c. 180 A.D.)|
"This expression [of our Lord], "How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldest not," set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free [agent] from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the behests (ad utendum sententia) of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will [towards us] is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man, as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves. On the other hand, they who have not obeyed shall, with justice, be not found in possession of the good, and shall receive condign punishment: for God did kindly bestow on them what was good; but they themselves did not diligently keep it, nor deem it something precious, but poured contempt upon His super-eminent goodness. Rejecting therefore the good, and as it were spuing it out, they shall all deservedly incur the just judgment of God, which also the Apostle Paul testifies in his Epistle to the Romans, where he says, "But dost thou despise the riches of His goodness, and patience, and long-suffering, being ignorant that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest to thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God." "But glory and honor," he says, "to every one that doeth good." God therefore has given that which is good, as the apostle tells us in this Epistle, and they who work it shall receive glory and honor, because they have done that which is good when they had it in their power not to do it; but those who do it not shall receive the just judgment of God, because they did not work good when they had it in their power so to do.
"But if some had been made by nature bad, and others good, these latter would not be deserving of praise for being good, for such were they created; nor would the former be reprehensible, for thus they were made [originally]. But since all men are of the same nature, able both to hold fast and to do what is good; and, on the other hand, having also the power to cast it from them and not to do it, — some do justly receive praise even among men who are under the control of good laws (and much more from God), and obtain deserved testimony of their choice of good in general, and of persevering therein; but the others are blamed, and receive a just condemnation, because of their rejection of what is fair and good. And therefore the prophets used to exhort men to what was good, to act justly and to work righteousness, as I have so largely demonstrated, because it is in our power so to do, and because by excessive negligence we might become forgetful, and thus stand in need of that good counsel which the good God has given us to know by means of the prophets. ... No doubt, if any one is unwilling to follow the Gospel itself, it is in his power [to reject it], but it is not expedient. For it is in man's power to disobey God, and to forfeit what is good; but [such conduct] brings no small amount of injury and mischief. ... But because man is possessed of free will from the beginning, and God is possessed of free will, in whose likeness man was created, advice is always given to him to keep fast the good, which thing is done by means of obedience to God.
"And not merely in works, but also in faith, has God preserved the will of man free and under his own control, saying, "According to thy faith be it unto thee; " thus showing that there is a faith specially belonging to man, since he has an opinion specially his own. And again, "All things are possible to him that believeth;" and, "Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." Now all such expressions demonstrate that man is in his own power with respect to faith. And for this reason, "he that believeth in Him has eternal life while he who believeth not the Son hath not eternal life, but the wrath of God shall remain upon him." In the same manner therefore the Lord, both showing His own goodness, and indicating that man is in his own free will and his own power, said to Jerusalem, "How often have I wished to gather thy children together, as a hen [gathereth] her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Wherefore your house shall be left unto you desolate."" (Against Heresies, Book 4, 37)
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|From: Stan||5/2/2012 3:36:35 PM|
|I've always been suspicious of all the revival talk and prayer for America in churches and the push for Christian leaders in every area of society. The bible has been hijacked to promote Americanism as if this country was an extension of the Kingdom of God. What nonsense. The only thing in Christianity's favor is much of the population profess it, but officially, America is atheistic. Reconstructionism is based on error and it fails from the start due to its faulty premises.|
Written by Gary Gilley
(January 1996 - Volume 2, Issue 3)
There is a movement about that is casting a long shadow for its size. It is known by different handles such as reconstructionism, kingdom theology, theonomy, and dominion theology, and it is a curious blend of Reformed/Calvinist theology and Charismatic influence. While there are relatively few who would call themselves reconstructionists, a number of the movement's ideas have infiltrated the thinking and actions of many believers, often without them knowing it. The movement is led by such theologians as Rousas J. Rusdoony; Gary North; Ray Sutton; Greg Bahnsen; David Chiltion, and by Charismatic leaders such as Earl Paulk. But their ideas are often reflected by non-reconstructionists such as Pat Robertson, John Whitehead, Franky Schaeffer, and even Jerry Falwell.
Dominion theology (the belief-system behind the reconstructionist movement) teaches that through the coming of Christ the believer has dominion over every area of life. We are now in the Kingdom of God (note the similar view of the Kingdom that the Vineyard movement takes, as well as the plethora of Christian songs being written implying that we are in the Kingdom at the present time) and as a result we should be reigning with Christ over the earth as Rev 5:10 says. The question is when will we reign. If the Kingdom is on earth now then we should have dominion now! Right? Don't many of us proclaim this thought when we sing the popular Charismatic song "Majesty" which invites us to, "Come glorify Christ Jesus, the King," after all, "Kingdom authority flows from His throne unto His own." With this authority from the King we are to reclaim the earth for Christ, not just spiritually, but socially, economically (it is no accident that one of the reconstructionist's organizations is called, The Institute for Christian Economics) and politically. The dominion of the earth is accomplished not only through prayer and evangelism, but through the political process, and social reformation. Christ will not return to earth until the church has accomplished this task.
More specifically, what does Dominion Theology teach? Here are the highlights:
The OT Law is our rule of life for today. Although DT teaches that keeping of the Law is not a condition for salvation, it is a condition for sanctification.
In addition, the OT Law is to govern over society as well. Since we are called to subdue the earth (Gen 1:28), God's Law should rule (or dominate) all aspects of society. This view is known as theonomy (or God's law), and is described by Greg Bahnsen as, "The Christian is obligated to keep the whole law of God as a pattern for sanctification and that this law is to be enforced by the civil magistrate" (Theonomy p34). This would mean that Christians would be obligated to keep the whole OT Law except in a case in which the NT explicitly cancels a command, such as the sacrificial system.
A central piece of DT is its belief in covenant theology. As a result it makes no distinction between the church and Israel. However DT goes beyond traditional covenant theology and teaches that the church is to be governed by the same laws, is subject to the same curses, and is promised the same blessings as Israel.
DT teaches a high level of social and political activism. If the Kingdom of God is to gradually take dominion over the earth, it only makes sense that Christians should be attempting to change society through the changing of laws and through social action.
Followers of DT, like many Charismatics, especially the Latter Rain movement, looks for a great end time revival in which the masses will turn to Christ. As a result DT does not believe in the rapture. The world should be, and is becoming, a better place through the efforts of Christians.
As with many others who follow the teachings of George Ladd, DT believes that we are in the Kingdom age, but the Kingdom in another sense is yet to come. We are in the Kingdom, and have Kingdom authority, but on the other hand, we are ushering in the Kingdom through our efforts. "The Kingdom is now, but not yet," is a popular slogan.
DT is postmillennial. It is believed that as a result of the reconstruction of society by Biblical principles that the final aspect of the Kingdom of God will be established on earth. Christ cannot return until a certain amount of dominion is achieved by the church. It is believed that the curse will slowly be removed as the world is won over. Even disease and death will be all but eliminated before Christ returns to the earth.
DT is preterist in its interpretation of prophecy. This means that they teach that virtually all prophecies which most Christians believe are still future, have in fact been fulfilled already, mainly between the years A.D. 30 and 70. In David Chilton's book, Days of Vengeance he says that the book of Revelation , "Is not about the Second Coming of Christ. It is about the destruction of Israel and Christ's victory over His enemies" (during the first century) (p43).
DT uses an allegorical hermeneutic, especially in reference to prophecy. So we find that the Great Tribulation took place at the fall of Israel in A.D. 70; the Antichrist refers to the apostasy of the Church prior to the fall of Jerusalem; the Beast of Revelation was Nero and the Roman Empire, etc.
Space does not permit a detailed critique of DT (see Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? by Thomas Ice and H. Wayne House if deeper study is desired). However, we would like to comment on the most important distinctive of DT — its belief in theonomy. DT teaches that Christians are under the Law as a way of life, and are obligated to ultimately bring the world under that Law. This concept is based on several passages. First, Gen 1:28 commands Adam to subdue the earth. Adam lost his ability to do so to Satan as a result of sin. The church should now be in the process of reclaiming from the devil what Adam lost. You will note a hint of the Spiritual Warfare movement here (see our paper Vol I #6-8). Secondly, the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20) commands the the followers of Christ to disciple all nations, which we are told, goes beyond personal salvation and sanctification to the reformation of society.
Finally, Matt 5:17-19 is the passage upon which the system hinges. DT claims that the word "fulfill" actually means "confirm." Thus Christ did not in any sense fulfill, or complete, or do away with the Law, rather he confirmed it as our rule of life today. It should be mentioned at this point that the normal and best translation of plerosai is "fulfill" not "confirm." Besides this however, we have the weight of the NT teaching concerning the Law. The epistles clearly teach that believers are no longer under the Law of Moses (Rom 6:14; 7:6; 8:2-4; Gal 3:24,25; 5:18) having been set free from that bondage to serve under grace and the law of Christ (Gal 6:2).
And besides, if the Christian is still under Law why do we not keep the OT ceremonial laws? DT's answer is that the Law was divided into three sections: civil, moral and ceremonial. The ceremonial law, it is claimed, has been fulfilled by Christ and is no longer incumbent upon the believer, but not so the moral and civil parts of the law. Therefore, we are to live under the moral law and seek to establish, in our society, the civil system of OT Israel. The problem with this view is that nowhere in the Bible is the Law broken into these three sections, this is something invented by men. Whenever the Law is mentioned the Scriptures are speaking of the whole Law as a unit. The Jews were as obligated to keep the sacrificial system and commandments concerning food and dress (ceremonial law) as they were the Ten Commandments (moral law). If the NT says that Christ fulfilled the Law, and that as Christians we are no longer under the Law, it means the whole Law. Church age saints are no longer obligated to any aspect of the OT Law. No one has the right to arbitrarily claim that we have been set free from some of the Law (the parts we don't like) but that the rest of the Law is obligatory. Either the believer has been released from the whole Law (Rom 7:4,6) or none of it. As Thomas Ice reminds us, "The Law of Moses was given to a specific people (Israel), to be followed in a specific location (the land of Israel), to deal with their specific situation. Therefore, the Law cannot simply be obeyed today by the Church, as was expected of Israel when it was given to that nation" (Biblical Perspectives Vol II #6). On the positive side Ice comments, "Paul teaches in Galatians 3 and 4 that Christ has set us free from the bondage of the Law, not so that we can be lawless as the Reconstructionists insist, instead, so that we can walk in the newness of the motivation of the Holy Spirit" (Ibid p2).
What negative effects are the teachings of DT having on evangelical Christianity today. We would mention several:
Reconstructionists teach that the mission of the church goes beyond the spiritual transformation of individuals to a mandate to change society. For Christ to be pleased with Christians they must become political and social activists. We must change the laws of the land, gear up to elect Christians to office, and generally seek to take dominion over our world and bring it under the Law of Moses. We see the influence of this thinking even in those who may know little about DT: James Dobson, Larry Burkett, The Christian Coalition, Pat Robertson, Promise Keepers, Charles Colson and the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document, Operation Rescue, are but a few of the evidences that reconstructionist thinking is beginning to dominate the evangelical world.
Motivation for godly living, based upon the blessed hope: the return of Christ (Titus 2:16), is replaced with the task of restructuring society. This is a task that may take thousands of years, even by the DT's own admission.
If we are in the Kingdom of God now then the Charismatics are right to teach that health and prosperity is the right of believers today. This is why "Reconstruction" Calvinists and "Kingdom Now" Charismatics have formed at least a loose unity — they both have the same world view. They are not looking for Christ to return and set up His Kingdom, they are attempting to set it up for Him.
(Gary Gilley allows the reposting of his articles as long as they're not altered.)
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|To: Stan who wrote (445)||9/8/2012 11:22:17 AM|
|(found this image posted on a blog)|
When I used to get Benny Hinn junk mail, I sent their donation form back with a request for a donation from him to me and our little fellowship. I tell him you will get up to a hundred-fold back so give the best you can. I even referenced a great verse, one I’ve heard him use. Mysteriously, the junk mail stopped. And no best offering ever arrived. Is he that much against getting a blessing from the Lord?
I hope Joel realizes he’d be missing out on up to 10 million dollars by not giving his twitter follower his $100,000 request. He should think of his wife and his little family before turning down such a sure-fire investment. What a testimony he could give on the next broadcast when the millions came in from that act of faith. He would be flooded with many similar opportunities from all over his viewing audience nearly immediately. His already huge church would grow 30,60 or even 100-fold in less than a week following that broadcast! Think Joel before you turn it down. You too Benny.
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|From: Sidney Reilly||9/22/2012 3:33:50 PM|
|Church "membership" is also the sin of partiality and is a man made invention used to make distinctions between members and nonmembers as well as to set pastors salaries. Jesus doesn't need a head count.|
James 2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Sin of Partiality2 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 2 For if a man comes into your [ a]assembly with a gold ring and dressed in [ b]fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3 and you [ c]pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil [ d]motives? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor [ e]of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and [ f]personally drag you into [ g]court? 7 Do they not blaspheme the fair name [ h]by which you have been called?
8 If, however, you are fulfilling the [ i]royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the [ j]law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole [ k]law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the [ l]law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy [ m]triumphs over judgment.
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