Our experiences and the revelation of who God is

Is God really good to us all the time?

It has been some time since I last posted.  It is not because I have given up the cause of defending The Gospel According to the Gospel, rather it is because life has been very difficult and I have been working very hard trying to make a change.

I would like to use the subject of the difficulties we have endured as a family as the springboard to understand God in relationship to hard times.  Many families have endured a lot of hardship as people have lost jobs, lost homes, seen 25% of their business income disappear and face bankruptcy.  Our story is no different. Continue reading

Illegitimate Children of the first and second Adam

There is a line of thinking in many churches that man does not have a free will.  We the elect are subject to irresistible grace.  But we never had the chance to reject God, since it is impossible for the elect to reject Him. 

Funny thing though, some of those who teach we have no free will state that Adam by his own free will sinned.  Speaking of Adam and the fall of man they state,

But when he was in honor he did not understand it^21 and did not recognize his excellence. But he subjected himself willingly to sin and consequently to death and the curse, lending his ear to the word of the devil. [1]

So is it that only Adam had free will or does this include Eve as well, since she took the first bite?  How is it that these teachers who advocate we have no free will state that Adam had free will?  What gives?

I know that as a sinner, being lost in my sins, I was related to the first Adam.

And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.[2]

So once again I find teaching proceeding out of the mouth of man that contradicts what I read in my Bible.  Not only this, these men contradict themselves by stating the first Adam had free will and we his offspring don’t.

The scripture goes on to say that now as believers we bear the likeness of Christ.  So is it that only the lost have no free will or is it the saved as well?  If we the saved have no free will either, than what likeness do we share with Christ?

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”[3]

We see that Jesus exercised His free will when He laid His life down. 

So now we have the confession from teaches of the “no free will’ doctrine, that the first Adam had free will.  I suppose they would agree that Jesus the second Adam has free will.  So now what, are we as past relations to the first Adam and now relations to Christ the second Adam illegitimate children, since we have no free will?  If we have no free will is there a third Adam we should get to know and call our spiritual kindred?

[1] Beltic Confession Article 14

[2] 1 Corinthians 15:49

[3] John 10:17-18

Free will or Free nil

In Yesterdays post “Be good, be good Johnny” I discussed the nature of man.  I asked if a sinful man who is so totally depraved if he can do any act of good?  The conclusion was that a sinful man can do good even though he is evil.  Keeping in mind of course, that all of the righteous man’s good deeds are as filthy rags. 

So an evil man doing good is not to his credit, rather to show that an evil man on his own can make the good choice to see and respond to God.  That he is not so totally depraved as some would want us to think.  These men advocate man has no free will and God forces on His elect an irresistible grace, because man can not make that choice for himself.

Let’s look at a phrase I have had the privilege to study from Irishanglican who is helpful in my understanding of what some others have concluded. 

“Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning man’s free will, since man is nothing but the slave of sin and cannot do a thing unless it is “given him from heaven.”[1]

These men reject that man has any free will to choose or reject God.  They reject that a man can make the good decision (Be good, be good Johnny) on their own.  Now since they teach that man can not choose or reject God, they have come up with other notions as well.  These being, God predestines some men to hell and others to grace.  Consequently they assume God is more abusive to men than the cast system found in India.  Where a man is born into a status and can never have any upward mobility to better himself. 

They also say the elect can not reject God because His grace is irresistible.  Consequently it would have to follow, since His grace is irresistible, that those predestined for hell never get the opportunity to say yea or nay to this grace.  But this is not what we see in scripture.

There is a lot of rejecting of God in scripture and scripture says so.  Don’t we all know this verse, even those of us who reject man’s free will to choose or reject God?

(Mark 12:10 NIV)  Haven’t you read this scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone ;[2]

Or how about the testimony of men who rejected God’s purpose for themselves?

But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.[3]

Would God be just if He held accountable the generation that asked for His Son’s death and for their rejection of the Messiah if they never had Him offered? 

And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.[4]

If they never had the opportunity to reject God (free will) how can they be guilty of rejecting him?  Yet we see in scripture Jesus saying this generation in their choice (free will) will reject Him.  There is a reason that they will be accountable, its called their choice.

But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.[5]

If you still struggle with man having a free will to choose God or reject Him, would it prove the point if scripture simple came out and said, “refused to obey?”  Why look, it does.

“But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.[6]

Who refuses what has never been offered.  If these men were condemned to hell since they were not of the elect who have irresistible grace, how can they resist a grace that was not ever offered to them?  How can they refuse to obey if they never could do good outside of Christ?  But these men refused God in their hearts!

Somebody somewhere has been doing a lot of rejecting of God’s purpose for themselves.  Somebody in scripture has been doing a lot of refusing to obey as well.  Somebody somewhere had as lot of free will and in their hearts refuse or accept God, not the Free nil that some men advocate.

[1] Beltic Confessions Article 14

[2] Mark 12:10

[3] Luke 7:30

[4] Matthew 23:35

[5] Luke 17:25

[6] Acts 7:39

Be good, be good Johnny

Can Johnny ever be good?  If Johnny is born again everyone would say, yes Johnny can be good.  But what if Johnny was still lost in his sin?  Can Johnny be good then?

What is it in theologians heads that make them say Johnny can never be good if he is not born again? 

Can Jesus ever be good?  All of us would say yes, but for some theologians Jesus is not very well behaved.  In fact He is hard to control.

Jesus seems to forget to teach in accordance with some theologians teachings.  For instance Jesus isn’t very good when he disagrees with those who have theology degrees. 

Theologians teach Johnny can never be good if he is lost in his sin.  Jesus says the theologians are not very good at theology when they teach this.

Jesus says even evil Johnny does good by giving good things to his children.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him![1]

Oh how bad has this Jesus been?  Now be good Jesus, be good.  But Jesus does not pay attention to theologians, for he only does bad again.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?[2]

Can Johnny be good if he is lost in his sin?  Is a man lost in his sin if he observes the Law to obtain his own righteousness?  Why yes he is.  But can Johnny be good by observing the Law, or is the Law to the lost a sin too?

What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”[3]

Certainly the observance of the Law does not do evil but good.  Even to those who transgress the Law, the Law is not sin.  So then the law is good and the commandment is good and righteous things are done even by the lost who try to obtain their own righteousness from the Law.

It is good, not a sin to observe do not murder?  It is good, not a sin to observe do not covet?  It is a good, not a sin to observe do not steal?  Even if done for the wrong reasons it is good, not a sin?

So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.[4]

So can Johnny be good?  Can a lost Johnny do good?  Yes our Lord Jesus says he can, who is not so good for some theologians and Paul, Christ’s Apostle, is not so good to these same theologians.  For they teach a lost Johnny can do good apart from the saving knowledge of Christ.

It is bad theologians who teach Johnny can never be good if he is not a Christian.  Yet scripture teaches that many a good Johnny needs a savior too.

What do you think?  Do you think Johnny can be good?  Or do you believe in the total depravity of man?  Do you think a lost man has no good in him or do you think in your own experiences and the words of Jesus and Paul, that a good man who is lost still can die in his sins?  Or is it only the lost man who is evil in all things that he does that can die in his sins?

[1] Matthew 7:11

[2] Matthew 5:46

[3] Romans 7:7

[4] Romans 7:12

Hot off the presses!

Nothing new here

The Word of God became flesh and dwelt amongst men.  He was obedient to the Father even unto death.  Now raised to life and ascended into heaven, sitting at the right hand of God the Father.  With such a great testimony of how God redeemed mankind from their sins, what was the message that was being spread as fast as they could?  What message was so hot off the presses, they made haste to spread this good news?

Concerning us gentiles, did the delivery boys look for new sources to proclaim the gospel?  Did they sit down with eye witnesses to give an account of all they knew and could gather concerning what took place?  Or was that done latter so the believers in the message, hot off the presses, could have a better account of the events they believed.  Don’t we call these the four gospels?

So if the delivery boys with the greatest news to come to mankind didn’t travel with the four gospels hot off the presses as a testimony to what had taken place, what did these men deliver to those who heard their message.  It was old articles and from dusty old news that these boys were peddling.  Nothing new and pristine was commended to the people to put their trust in, but the old and stuffy.

Peter after speaking to the gentiles by giving a short paragraph of an eye witness account, whips out the old news print at the household of Cornelius.  He doesn’t quote anything from Mathew, Mark, Luke, John or even Jesus Himself.  Instead he invokes all the old news about what we consider a New Testament exclusive teaching.  He said all the old news already testified that everyone who believes in the messiah would receive forgiveness of sins.

All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”[1]

In fact the news these delivery boys were tasked to spread was so old and common, this old news print lying around concerning what they had to say was read every weekend.  It was as if they didn’t have a fresh Sabbath morning paper, so they read the old stuff lying around instead.

The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.[2]

Now we today who have fresh news at our fingertips at any moment of the day toss aside this old news as Old Testament.  Who wants that?  We reject it because who wants to get our hands dirty from the ink of the Law from this old print.  But it was not rejected by the delivery boys.  Instead when standing before kings we learn the old printed stuff even the Law agrees with the gospel.

However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,[3]

Who was prompting these delivery boys to carry around old news print to proclaim what is hot off the presses?  What newspaper editor would want that kind of news circulation?

Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him–[4]

It was our eternal God who had commanded the revelation of Jesus Christ to come through the writings of the old news.  Not through something new hot off the presses.

Here at The Gospel According to the Gospel I advocate that we have a gospel that was first preached at Mt. Sinai as testified by our New Testament.  It further testifies that the message and hope of Jesus was found not only in the prophets but the Law of Moses.  I like to say, we put our hope in the faith of the Law not the Law of the faith.  Law of the faith is works and faith of the Law is our gospel of grace that all the prophets testify to. 

I advocate that we the church have wandered into many an error in our understanding of our gospel since we have made the assumption that grace started at the cross and not in the books of Moses.  See what the New Testament teaches about our gospel, that the church refuses to believe.  Please check out Uncommon Belief to see what our gospel really says.  After going there and reading you will conclude that I have not said anything beyond what the prophets and Moses said.

But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen–[5]

[1] Acts10:43

[2] Acts 13:27

[3] Acts 24:14

[4] Romans 16:25-26

[5] Acts 26:22

Antichrist – in place of Christ

We are all familiar with the tragedy of Nicholas Berge.  He was abducted by Muslims, who were practicing the religion of peace, and they filmed themselves cutting off his head while he screamed. 

The West was horrified that men could stoop so low in their barbarism to commit such a horrific act of violence.  Unlike many people I still can’t get myself to watch the event.  I heard his screaming on the Micheal Savage Show and that was more than I could take.

I assume that many of you share my disgust with the whole affair and understand these men who did this deserve what they get when their end comes.  We condemn these men and their actions for leaving their understanding of God and what can be know of Him through creation.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.[1]

But while we stand in judgment against them, we too have ignored a better word of God and hold a knife in our hands that have cut off a head.  We too are guilty of ignoring what has been revealed to us in scripture about the eternal God just as these Muslims have.  At least these Muslims were a strange to Nickolas Berge and with the most vaporous connections considered him and enemy.  We on the other hand have severed the head of someone who is dear to us.

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.[2]

We say that Christ is our head and we are His body with our lips but what do our hearts do?  Tell me, since Christ is our head and he has given us offices and gifts in the church, why don’t we see them in our churches?

And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.[3]

These offices and gifts are given to us by the one who loves us for our benefit, not His.  Even if it was for His benefit, shouldn’t we want to do it anyway?  Our head has given us these so that we can be ready for works of service then become mature as the body of Christ.  Hence if we do not have what God has given us to become mature, in all of our boasting we are not even close to being what He has called us to be.  Yes, even the mega ministries are not what they aught to be, nor those within its walls.  God has ordered the vehicle to prepare the saints for works of service and we have a lot of service outside of these gifts given to us.

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.[4]

We the church claim to be the body of the Lord who would be manifest in our midst.  But we do not have moving in the body of Christ those gifts that were given so the Spirit can manifest in our midst.  Scripture teaches that to each believer a manifestation of the Spirit is given.  Not only given, but exactly what gift for the manifestation of the Spirit and to whom as He determines.

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.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.[5]

We as the body of Christ have cut off our head and instead have a man as our head that tells the Prophet, the Apostle, the Teacher, the Evangelist what to say, when to say, how to say, if they can say in our churches.  They are not allowed in our churches and we scorn them at a distance even as an itinerary.

We squelch the true manifestation of the Spirit and the power of the gospel that Paul preached by.  Again we have the one man who has replaced the head and allows or disallows prophecy, speaking in tongues, healings, word or knowledge in the church to fit the one mans understanding.

So let us condemn the Muslims and ignore the condemnation we deserve for cutting off the head of the body of Christ so we can have a man over us.  I have always understood Antichrist not to mean against Christ, but to mean in place of Christ.  If this is true, God help us all. 

Man of God who is head of the church, stop squelching what God our head has ordained lest you not only be compared to the atrocities of cutting off heads, but Jack the ripper for dismembering the gift of the body as well.

[1] Romans 1:20-21

[2] Ephesians 5:23


[4] Ephesians 4:11-13

[5] I Corinthians 12:4-11

Bench warming for apathy

I was talking with a long time friend and we were discussing those people who have read and understand too much of scripture to be content with what church offers for the average believer.  My friend made the comment that many believers who find themselves frustrated end up being dissatisfiedly involved in their local church, figuring it is better to do something than nothing at all.

Should believers exchange the gifts of the Holy Spirit in church for participation in some ministry?  Should believers be forced to forsake the office of Prophet and Apostle for the office of the Pastor only?  Should we be forced to accept commentaries and well planned humor in place of the power of God in our services?  The list goes on and on as to what frustrates the believer who reads his word, when one looks at their church in the light of scripture.

So what of it?  Is it better for the believer who is frustrated with their church to continue to participate in their church, even though the practices and in some cases the preaching doesn’t really reflect what we find in God’s word?  If it doesn’t line up with God’s word, isn’t it really idolatry that we now practice, in the name of “It’s better than doing nothing”.

I know of a man who kept the worship, kept the sacrifices, kept the priesthood, and even made it more accessible to those seeking.  But he offered spiritual death in all of this.  He offered idolatry.

Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David.  If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”  After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”  One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan.  And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.  Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites.[1]

Should Israel have participated in such worship?  Absolutely not!  It was a sin.  But what do we as believers do that is any different than what these men of Israel did?  Do we participate in something the Holy Spirit has been wrestling with us about?  If we have come to understand the gospel we put our hope in differently than what is taught and done in the church, what credit is it of ours if we participate any longer?  Why do we think the Holy Spirit wrestled with us in the first place?  So we can console ourselves with, “at least we are doing something”.  With that attitude go join the idolatry of Israel.  They at least were doing something too.

I can hear Jeroboam’s priest already, “Forsake not the fellowship.”  Fellowship with what, light and darkness, God’s word with man’s wisdom? 

Remember we will be judge by the word of God, not by the word of man.

“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I come to judge the world, but to save it.  There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.  For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.[2]

So go ahead and think it ok to be a bench warmer for the church.  After all it is better than doing nothing, right?

Here at The Gospel According to the Gospel it is advocated that we need to forsake the god of our fathers and get back to the God of scripture.  Don’t let you bench warming for apathy keep you in a practice of idolatry when the Holy Spirit is prompting you to seek that which is found in scripture.

If we do not stick up for the word of God in church, how can we say we are not ashamed of God before men? 

[1] 1Kings 12:26-31

[2] John 12:47-49