Pseudo-Spiritual Buzz Words

•04/10/2014 • Leave a Comment

For some reason, using the language of the Bible as given to us by God (as long as it is accurately translated) just isn’t enough for some people. They like to create their own pet terms and ideas, perhaps in the hopes of coining a new phrase? getting their sound bite recognizes by their peers? copyrighting the terms to make bank? I don’t really know the reason. But I feel led to use this blog to warn my brothers and sisters against what I call “pseudo-spiritual buzz words”. I say pseudo and not super for a reason. While pseudo-spiritual buzz words are by nature super spiritual (or at least are created by the super or overly spiritual), “super” in this context doesn’t portray what I feel is the right level of disdain.

“Pseudo-” is an ancient Greek prefix that means false. We see its use, for example, in words like pseudonym, or false name. But we also see its use in the Greek text of the New Testament in words like pseudoprofetes, or false prophet. That’s what I’m after with my use of pseudo to describe these words. I want them, in the mind of the reader, to be categorized with false prophets, false brethren, false apostles, false Christs, and etc.

That seems pretty harsh, doesn’t it? But there is a reason I’m taking such a hard-line stance. Words have meaning and they have power. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. The words we speak can be spirit and life, bringing about a positive transformation in the listener, or they can be cruel and mocking, and utterly, psychologically destroy someone. These pseudo-spiritual buzz words are dangerous, if embraced. They take a believer’s faith out of the Bible and put it into the carnal mind of the one utilizing the buzz word.

Does this mean that every single time these words are used, the person behind their usage is some wicked transgressor intent on injuring the flock of the Lord? No, I don’t think so. Nevertheless, we need to guard ourselves. It is already too easy to reduce the importance and relevance of many of the various topics and concepts found in the Word of God. We don’t need to add to that ease by embracing and using extra-Biblical terminology, which, admittedly, sounds spiritual (and that’s the problem right there: these words sound spiritual, and so, make the users feel and believe themselves to be spiritual, when they might not be anything of the sort).

So with this all in mind, I want to share an in-exhaustive list of what I consider to be pseudo or falsely spiritual buzz words (in no particular order).

(Please keep in mind that I am not attacking anyone for their use. I am attacking the words themselves. If you use them, I don’t dislike you. But I encourage you to refrain from using them while also exhorting you to seek to use correct Biblical terminology.)

1.) Journey

There is nothing inherently wrong with this word. It’s as good as any other word, and in fact, can perfectly encapsulate proper meaning. We’re all on a journey, after all, right?

But beware the context. I have seen time and again, when someone speaks of how they moved away from an orthodox Christian faith, to heterodoxy, that someone often comes along and says something like the following:

“I’m on a similar journey.”

or

“Interesting. I would love to know more about your journey…”

This is perilous territory. What’s really being said is, “I backslid, too” or “I would love to know more about your backsliding”. But notice how journey makes it sound spiritual, as if the person is on some poignant, life adventure deepening their walk with God when in reality they are doing anything but?

There is such a thing as “another Gospel“, “another Jesus“, and “another Spirit” (Galatians 1:7-9 and 2 Corinthians 11:14). These other versions are condemned and accursed. They are false. And so is the word journey, when used this way.

2.) Apostolic

Don’t get me wrong. Like journey, it’s as good as any other word. Denotatively, it means “of or pertaining to the Apostles, especially in doctrine, manner, and lifestyle”. This is a good thing!

So what’s the problem? Follow along:

When you start hearing preachers and other higher ups constantly and only talking about things like “apostolic doctrine”, “apostolic identity”, “apostolic holiness”, “apostolic authority” and etc., you’re finding yourself in, dare I say it, cultish territory (Don’t hate me just yet!).

There is something really wrong with refusing to use the word Christian, in reference to doctrine, lifestyle, holiness, and power, like it’s somehow not good enough to describe what we believe, what we live, what we practice, and how we operate.

But using “apostolic” makes it sound more spiritual, more set-apart, more distinct, more intrinsically apostle-esque. We’ve got such an inferiority complex. Listen, no one group has the corner market on the word Christian. We can use it, too, without compromise. We shouldn’t let another group co-opt Biblical language (Note, too, how Oneness Pentecostals don’t have the corner market on the word apostolic. That right belongs to the Holy Roman and Apostolic Catholic Church).

As great and as necessary as the Apostles were and are, they were not and are not Jesus Christ. Some say they are of Paul, some of Apollos, others of Cephas (1 Corinthians 1:12). All were and are Apostles. But when it comes to our doctrine, identity, holiness, and authority, it is always and only “of and pertaining to Jesus Christ”.

3.) Spirit of…

This one might be my favorite to pick on. It’s so common. All the time we hear how there is a “spirit of liberty” or a “spirit of impartation”, or a “spirit or praise”, “spirit of renewal” or what-have-you. There are only four kinds of spirits, Biblically speaking. The Spirit of God/Christ, angelic spirits, evil spirits (i.e. demons and/or the spirit of antichrist) and human spirits. The Discerning of Spirits, a sorely lacking charismata in the church world today, will not let someone discern a “spirit of” apart from these four.

Listen, I know what people mean when they use such phraseology. But why can’t they just say what they mean, AND STAY WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE WORD, instead of conjuring up a more “spiritual” sounding idea? If there is liberty in and among God’s people, it’s because the Spirit of the Lord is present, not because some random, undefinable “spirit of liberty” is present. Mark the difference.

4.) Bind and Loose

Ever hear someone yell into a microphone the following words:

“I bind every evil spirit that would come against this church and loose the mighty angels of God…” or some such similar thing? How about “I loose apostolic authority…”?

What a bunch of nonsense. Speaking something forcefully with conviction doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Binding and loosing usually only has to do with church discipline in the realm of reconciling or ex-communicating a member of an assembly (See Matthew 18:15-20). Additionally, any other binding and loosing begins and ends with eternal salvation and building the kingdom of God through soul conversion (Matthew 16:18-19). More than this is pseudo-spiritual. It sounds neat, and makes a person feel special when they say it, but it doesn’t mean anything.

5.) Anointed

Nowadays, everything is anointed. From preaching to singing, to the microphone, to whatever. Am I against the anointing God can and does place upon people? No. But note that, in the New Covenant, the anointing is placed upon people, not upon intangible, inanimate objects or ideas (this isn’t the OT tabernacle, after all). The preaching wasn’t anointed, the preacher was. See the difference?

Additionally, here is a simple proof that the way “anointed” is used by the church world at large is pseudo-spiritual. Just use its denotative meaning and see what happens:

  • “Wow! That song was smeared with oil!”
  • “What a smeared with oil sermon.”
  • “I’ve never heard such a smearing with oil on a keyboard before.”
  • “He/she was praying with such a smearing of oil…”

Pretty dumb, isn’t it? Compare that to:

  • “This church is smeared with oil (i.e. anointed).”
  • “The preacher was greatly smeared with oil (i.e. anointed).”
  • “Because the sister is so smeared with oil (i.e. anointed), every time she sings, the presence of God manifests.”
  • “I felt a smearing of oil come over me (i.e. an anointing)…”

These might, at first, sound just as silly. But they are not. These are legitimate, Biblical uses of the word. Here, the symbolism behind what it means to be “smeared with oil” comes across. Being anointed means the Spirit of the Living God has come down and upon a person, to choose, commission, and endow that person with a uniquely qualified right and power to operate and minister in some particular fashion. Songs, sermons, keyboards, prayers, and the like, don’t and can’t have this.

6.) Pastor

Well, if I didn’t lose you on Apostolic, I fear I might lose you here. But please read on before you dismiss this.

Like the word anointed, which is over-used and misunderstood, the word pastor is likewise over-used and misunderstood. Anyone and everyone that has some position in the church gets called pastor these days. There are A/V pastors, Family Ministry pastors, pastors of the usher department, and etc. Pastor, as a word in the church, has become a catch-all to describe just about anyone and anything ministry related. This is a gross mis-use of the term.

A pastor is someone who cares for and tends the flock of God, especially new converts. They do not care for and tend a sound booth! Further, as with anointed, the word pastor has a very specific denotative meaning, that, if used, proves that “pastor”, unfortunately, has become just as much as a pseudo-spiritual buzz word as any of the others. Note:

Pastor is a synonym for shepherd. Sounds good, so far. But what is a shepherd? A shepherd is merely one who herds sheep, i.e. a sheep-herder. Do we now go about calling everyone with the title pastor “sheep-herder”? Imagine it, “Hello, my name is Aaron. I’m the sheep-herder of Spirit of the Anointed Journey Apostolic Church.” Of course, we don’t. But why? Because pastor sounds nicer. Sheep-herder sounds crude, even rude. But “pastor” is flowery, even spiritual sounding. It has a ring to it that a mere herder of sheep will never have.

I’m not against the word pastor. It has a Biblical use. But let’s get realistic. I am not a pastor, have never held the title, and do not consider myself, in terms of the ascension gifts of Christ, to be a pastor. And yet, at various times, someone inevitably calls me “pastor” because I hold a place in ministry. It’s like none of the other words found in the Bible to describe God’s servants are good enough (e.g. elder, deacon, teacher, and etc.).

We feel too comfortable using the word. We say things like “My pastor preached a sermon called…”, or “We should call pastor first…”, or “That’s not what my pastor teaches…”, and etc. Imagine exchanging the word pastor for, I don’t know, say, prophet”.

  • My prophet preached a sermon called…
  • We should call prophet first…
  • That’s not what my prophet teaches…

Now it doesn’t sound so good, does it? It sounds just a little bit creepy, almost bordering on idolatry. No one likes the idea of having a “personal prophet” and yet, for all intents and purposes, we have “personal pastors” everywhere, and no one bats an eye. Weird. Maybe we need to rethink this? Some people even use the word pastor in place of a man’s first name, to the point of basically calling their elder the equivalent of father (I had a conversation with a devout catholic who used to do this all the time. “Father said…” or “Father recommended…” and etc. It’s the same thing, folks).

So, let’s just rein it in a bit, shall we. Being a bonafide pastor is spiritual enough. We don’t have to make it (or the people who are) more spiritual.

7.) Decree, Release, Double, and Portion

Oh, boy. You’d think I was kidding, or just being mean. Think again! :)

Read it and weep:

Lord we agree in Jesus Name for the continue [sic] of Apostolic formation of the worldwide network of Apostles and Prophets. Continue to establish your Kingdom in the hearts of your people thru [sic] the structure of the Five Fold Ministry. Raise and release your Apostles to first Awaken and then Activate the Five Fold Ministry in the Body of Christ. Then Orient and Position these Ministries to posses [sic] and take new territories . I decree the prophetic word for 2014 in the manifestation of Double Portion which includes the release of Double Blesssing [sic] and Double Anointing as well as all things multiplied in your kingdom! 2014 is Decreed as a Year of the Double Portion!

A word for word, copied from the very blog, quote of a famous, self-proclaimed “prophet of the nations” and “apostle” in the Oneness movement. Do I even have to comment, or can you see it for yourself? In case not, I submit the following video for your consideration:

Derek Meets A False Apostle While Out

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What does this all come down to?

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would testify or bear witness of Him. By the eternal desire of God the Father, Christ is to be glorified by His people. This use of pseudo-spiritual language sadly, only glorifies the user, by making him or her sound special or unique. Whenever and wherever a person cannot or will not use Biblical language to describe the things of God, but instead resorts to humanly, carnally constructed words and phrases, you can rest assured you’re hearing someone not sufficiently grounded and rooted in the truth. Either through copy-cat ignorance, or an inability (through flesh or will) to submit to the Word, saints of God the world over have embraced this kind of deceptive speech. And we’re just going right along with it like every thing’s fine. It’s not. When we change the vocabulary, it’s not long before we change the MESSAGE the vocabulary is based on in order to make sense of the new vocabulary.

There is nothing new under the sun. This was happening back in the earliest centuries of the faith. But someone somewhere needs to take a stand. Hopefully, I have done somewhat of my part through this blog. I hope you will do your part, too.

Peace and God bless,

Aaron

Publicly Identifying Backsliders and Other Trouble-Makers

•04/05/2014 • Leave a Comment

Purpose:

The purpose of this article is to present the Scriptural merits of intentionally naming backsliders and other trouble-makers, so that their identities can be made public to the church at large.

Introduction:

There is great Biblical precedence for the use of personal names in the Scriptures. The Bible is replete with tens of thousands of names, some famous, some infamous, some mentioned hundreds upon hundreds of times, some only mentioned once.

Since we know and affirm that the Holy Scriptures is the Word of God and so, is inspired by Him for our benefit (2 Timothy 3:16-17), we must conclude that all names, as preserved in the Word, are there for an ordained purpose.

It just so happens that some of the names written therein, being that the Word is “forever settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89), are placed in the Bible to be eternal reminders of those in whom the Lord had no “pleasure” (See Hebrews 10:38).

Precedence:

The following section will show ample Biblical precedence for the public identification of those unfortunate souls who, for whatever reason, forsook the Lord and His Kingdom (All examples will be from the New Testament). Following the Scriptural references, some comments will be made.

1 Timothy 1:18-20,

18. This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
19. Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
20. Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Note verse 20. These two men, Hymenaeus and Alexander, formally men of Christian faith, where delivered over to Satan. Why? Because they had become blasphemers.

In some way not revealed by the Apostle, Paul fully expected that turning these two men over to Satan was going to “teach them a lesson”, as the saying goes.

And look what he did in the process of writing this passage. He called these two out by name, making their sin and their given course of discipline on account of their sin, public. In Paul’s eyes, blasphemy (either against Christ or others) is a sufficient reason for publicly naming backsliders.

2 Timothy 1:15-18

15. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
16. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17. But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

Note the distinction. Even as God said in the beginning chapters of Genesis, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door” (Genesis 4:7).

Onesiphorus did well in maintaining a righteous fellowship with Paul, who was, at this point in his life, a prisoner in Rome. But compare that to Pygellus and Hermogenes.

While we know nothing else of these two, sadly, we know enough. They, along with many others in Asia Minor, abandoned Paul. We don’t know the reasons why, but we ought to ask ourselves: why would two true men of faith forsake an Apostle of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?

(A side note: “turned away from” is one Greek word, namely apostrepho. It means to turn away from, to tempt to defect, to dissipate allegiances, to desert. The use of this word strongly suggests that these two men didn’t depart from Paul on amicable terms. They cancelled their brotherhood with Paul, literally turning their backs on him.)

2 Timothy 2:16-18

16. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18. Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Is it the same Hymenaeus? We can’t be sure, but we also have no reason to assume it’s not the same man. And what if it is? This is the second letter Paul wrote to Timothy, and it’s also the second time Hymenaeus has been publicly indentified. This also means this time around, this naming of names has occurred after Paul turned Hymenaeus over to Satan as a blasphemer.

So now look at him. Blaspheming wasn’t enough. Being turned over to Satan for some form of spiritual punishment wasn’t enough. Now he’s gone in with someone named Philetus, and they’ve both become false teachers. Not only did Hymenaeus backslide from the faith through unrepentant sin, he stayed on pretending to be a Christian, a teacher of the Word of God no less, but in his deception, he began to ruin the trust other believers in the Christian community had in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the hope of resurrection from the dead His appearance would usher into the world .

Clearly, we see why Paul made the effort to publicly identify these men: they were backslidden, false teaching, trouble-makers seeking to destroy the temple of the Holy Spirit of God.

2 Timothy 4:10

10. For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…

Here, Paul announces a formerly faithful man of God as a backslider (See Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24 for proof that Demas used to be a Christian minister and laborer for the Gospel).

Note, too, the strong language Paul uses, chiefly “forsaken” and “loved”. Forsaken is the Greek word egkataleipo. It is a severe word. It means “to abandon, desert, leave in straits, leave helpless, totally abandon, utterly forsake” and etc. In contrast, the same word is used in Hebrews 10:25, as in not “forsaking” the assembling of ourselves together, and also in Hebrews 13:5, which promises us the Lord will never “forsake” us.

Demas, because he loved (i.e. agapao, meaning to love dearly, to be well-pleased or content with) the present world, even in the face of 1 John 2:15-16, left Paul high and dry.

1 John 2:15-16,

15. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Demas ditched Paul the Prisoner in Rome, right before his martyrdom. He loved the world more than he loved a soon to be beheaded-for-the-Gospel brother in the Lord. The love of the Father was no longer in Demas.

He backslid, and he was publicly identified, with his sin publicly announced in the Scriptures.

3 John 1:9-12

9. I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
10. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
12. Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.

Again, notice the contrast:

One man, an obvious trouble-maker and antichrist (he who receives the Apostles receives Christ, right? So what about someone who rejects the Apostles?), frequently and falsely accused New Jerusalem’s foundation (See Revelation 21:14) of whatever hurtful nonsense he could invent (“prating against” means to utter non-sensical, baseless claims, while “malicious words” means statements intended to inflict pain or be hurtful), and not only, but also rejected brothers sent to him by the Apostle, even to the point of ex-communicating those in his assembly who dared to receive and fellowship with Apostle-approved brothers in the Lord.

Now note what John said: He wasn’t about to forget Diotrephes’ evil deeds any time soon. What does this mean? Well, note how John, after publicly denouncing Diotrephes to the church, commended and showed approval for a man named Demetrius. We cannot know for sure, but it looks like the man “who love[d] to have the preeminence” was disposed by the Apostle and another, like Matthias with Judas, was set up to take his place.

Conclusion:

We have just read five different Biblical accounts, written by two different Apostles, in which seven different men, all formerly Christian disciples of Jesus, with some at least having been ministers, were publicly identified as backsliders and trouble-makers to the church at large.

The Holy Spirit inspired that these names would forever be settled in heaven. Whether these men ever repented or not, we do not know. But in the pages of the Bible, we can only come to one conclusion: these men were fallen, not just lost sinners, but backsliders who forsook the Lord, forsook His Apostles, forsook the Word, and in the process, caused much personal and corporate damage to the Church.

We see therefore a sound precedence in which we, in our day and age, have a right and a duty to do the same as Paul and John. We must make the church aware of any and all backslidden, fallen, false teaching, trouble-making, soul-harming, Christ forsaking former brethren who no longer are saved.

We are not talking about someone walking away from the faith for mere carnal reasons. Many give up on Jesus. But some not only give up on Him, they actively pursue a course of action that detrimentally affects those who have remained faithful.

If someone wants to jump ship, but isn’t causing anyone in the church any problems, they need not be publicly identified. But those injurious persons who, having left the faith, intend to continue to cause problems for the believers, must be named, their sins must be proclaimed, and the church in general must be commanded to keep no company with such, for the sake, not only of their own soul, but for the Church, as well who is a Holy Bride unto the Lord.

From Heresy to Heresy

•03/19/2014 • Leave a Comment

I am the LORD, I change not… (Malachi 3:6).

We all could use a little refinement.

There are certain aspects and principles of God’s Word, that no matter how hard we try, are just going to be a little bit past our ability to comprehend. As Paul wrote “now we know in part” (1 Corinthians 13:9). Much of what we can perceive and understand about God, about Christ, about our future hope, and even the entire spiritual realm, is only revealed to us through a “glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), meaning, these truths are reflected to us, as in a mirror, but the view of these truths is sometimes obscured or hard to make out.

So I while I give great latitude to an unrefined understanding of the person and nature of God (and I do so because I think Scripture permits an un-perfected understanding of Him) there does come a time when a line must be drawn in the sand. Within the window of semi-compatible views, we can be less dogmatic with each other if we all don’t completely agree on everything. But that window is pretty narrow, and when someone steps outside of that window, and embraces a completely, demonstrably false view, we can’t just ignore the heresy in our midst.

What am I talking about?

Specifically, I’m talking about the divergent views on the nature of God, especially in terms of the Incarnation. And I am doing so specifically and especially in regards to what is commonly called Oneness Theology.

Now, anyone who reads my blogs has possibly noticed that while I don’t shy away from hard topics, I rarely if ever address Theology or Christology proper. The reason I do that is because this blog, by design, is devotional in scope, not Theological or Christological. As the articles have developed in the last couple of years, I’ve come to realize through the Holy Spirit that much of what I feel inspired to write is for an End Time generation. The topics are to help my brothers and sisters face the coming Great Tribulation with confidence. I have attempted to clear away a lot of clutter and useless debate, so we can just get down to living for Jesus the way we are meant to live for Him.

But I am finding that in order to properly do that, and in order to continue serving the purpose of this blog, I need to step into some controversial waters, albeit for the same reason: to help my brothers and sisters devote themselves to their Creator and His Redeemer.

There comes a point in time when the version of God one believes in, or the version of Christ they confess, just isn’t accurate. Again, I’m not talking about having a slightly different view within an acceptable window of Biblical truth. I’m talking about people turning to, as Paul called it, “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4), even in and within Oneness circles.

This is how it happens. Any wise master builder knows that if the foundation is off, the end result will be off. But notice the orders of magnitude. A corner stone that is off mere millimeters can result in a roof that is off inches. Imagine trying to frame a house and having to compensate 8 or 9 inches when you’re thirty feet off the ground.

Such compensation is pointless, futile. The whole of the frame will have to be taken down, even as the foundation will have to be re-laid. An exhausting, time-consuming enterprise, to be sure. But how badly do you want your building? How badly do you not only want your building, but how badly do you want it to be plumb and straight, agreeing with the blue-prints? Do you want your life built solidly and squarely upon the Rock or not?

Do you want to find yourself forever having to compensate for a “roof” (read: high level of Christian maturity) that doesn’t quite line up with the Word of God?

Or are you willing to un-do whatever flaws are in, not the design (for that comes from God Himself), but in the execution of the design? Can we handle being wrong? Can we humbly admit our limitations? Can we put down the pride of life long enough to say “I’m not there yet. I need refining. Lord, put me in the fire and make me as you wish me to be.”?

Here’s what I’m getting it. It may seem simple, it may seem obvious, but the ramifications are, I daresay, eternal.

1 John 2:22,

22. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

Notice what I have highlighted in bold. For years, many Oneness believers have attempted to use this verse as ammunition against Trinitarians, hoping to show them how Jesus is the Father, even to the point of labeling Trinitarians as antichrist, as if to say, that if you deny that Jesus is the Father and the Son, you are of the Son of Perdition, the Man of Lawlessness, otherwise understood to be Satan manifest in the flesh.

But note something. Unlike some Oneness people, Trinitarians never deny the Father and the Son, conceptually speaking. We can argue and nit-pick over how they understand these concepts and all of that, but that’s been done before, ad infinitum.

So, instead, I want to focus on an unfortunate, growing trend within the Oneness movement. In an attempt to sound as anti-Trinitarian as possible, some Oneness people have gone in the complete opposite direction, all the way to the point of denying the true, complete, and continued humanity of Jesus Christ, which is His Sonship, as in the “Son of the Father” (2 John 1:3), otherwise known as the “man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

This is “another Jesus”. Look at these verses:

Hebrews 10:12,

12. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…

Notice the past tense? “This man”, talking about Jesus Christ, as we know, nearly two millennia ago, sacrificed Himself for sins and so “sat down” and etc. Most Oneness believers want to rush ahead to explain away the “right hand of God” concept. But take a moment. The Holy Spirit inspired the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews to call Jesus, in His post-resurrection, glorified, ascended-to-heaven body, a “man”, i.e. a human being.

Look at Stephen the Martyr’s testimony:

Acts 7:56,

56. And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

As he fell down to die under the barrage of killing stones, Stephen had a vision of the Heavenly Throne. Look what he saw: the Son of Man! He saw the human male being otherwise known as Jesus Christ our Lord. He saw a man!

And yet, some Oneness believers refuse to allow for the Messiah who saved us to be anything other than, in no uncertain terms, without qualification or explanation, God Himself. No humanity, no flesh, no Sonship. This is antichrist!

I am not saying this is happening by you, the Reader, or your church. Nor am I saying it’s happening in my neck of the woods, either. But it is happening out there in the Oneness movement (wherever “out there” happens to be).

Case in the point:

I recently interacted with a person on an Apostolic Pentecostal forum. He posted a video of the Pope speaking on the nature of Christ. I commented that all that was said of Christ in the video is Biblically accurate. After some incredulity on the part of the original poster, I confirmed that I was serious, and posted SEVEN verses proving my point.

These were all summarily ignored, with the following comments (and I quote):

“Jesus Christ is no longer a man, like you and I.”

“Jesus Christ is GOD, not a man.”

I haven’t replied, and I’m not going to. But take a moment and meditate on what is being said. This person doesn’t believe that Jesus Christ is still a human being, AGAINST the testimony of Scripture. This person, by default, has to believe that if Christ was ever human, His humanity no longer exists. It has dissolved or disappeared, AGAINST the testimony of Scripture.

The fact is, the Son of Man is still alive, still existing, still in Heaven, still coming back in the clouds with power and great glory, presently still, and eternally so, a human male being named Jesus Christ. Or Stephen was a liar and bore false witness against the very One he was calling upon as he died.

Oneness believers have run the gamut from one heresy to another. Fleeing Trinitarianism, they’ve run smack dab, face first into the spirit of antichrist, which denies the Father and the Son.

The above quotes are a mere sampling of what’s really out there in our movement. Take another look at the second quote.

“Jesus Christ is GOD, not a man.”

Compare that to these verses:

Numbers 23:19,

19. God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent…

“Jesus Christ is GOD, not a man” versus “God is not a man”. Which one will you believe?

1 Samuel 15:29,

29. …the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

Whose right? The Word of God or the fellow I’ve been quoting?

Job 9:32,

32. For he is not a man, as I am…

Jesus Christ is…not a man, says the Oneness believer. Here, Job says God is not a man, while Scripture says over and over again in the New Testament, that Jesus Christ IS a man. Some 150+ times, actually.

And most telling of all: Hosea 11:9,

9. …for I am God, and not man…

God Himself, speaking in first person, through the prophet Hosea. We can’t have it both ways, Church. My God doesn’t change. Does yours?

Look, I’m not into “discernment ministry” and/or heretic hunting. But there is going to come a point in time in the Oneness movement when we will either have to break the bed we’ve made, or sleep in the one we’ve got. If we don’t get our Christology sorted out properly, some of us, like the above, are going to, BY THE VERY WORD OF THE LORD AND HIS HOLY APOSTLES, end up as nothing more than antichrist. There is a better way, a truer understanding of God and His Son than we, as Oneness adherents, have heretofore been led to believe (I encourage you to prayerfully meditate and consider John 20:17 if you don’t believe me).

2 John 1:7,

7. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

If we cannot or will not confess the true, complete, and continued humanity of the Son of Man, we are but deceivers and antichrists.

I don’t know about everyone else in the world, but I don’t want to be known to my Creator and His Redeemer as a deceiver and an antichrist.

How about you?

Jesus Our Brother and A Happy Marriage

•03/11/2014 • 2 Comments

votivesoul:

An exceptional insight into Jesus Christ, His Church, and marriage. I highly recommend it to all.

Originally posted on The Home Mission:

Jesus is our brother (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11).

Why is that important?

Well, there are a lot of reasons, but my point will be limited to the scope of this blog.

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Christians, of every denomination that I’m aware of, have a tendency to ignore the humanity of Jesus. We seem to think His sufferings, His temptations, His endurance of hardship and His life in our world were little more than an example laid down for our benefit. We assume that it was not a real struggle of a real man but that it was just a matter of course. Jesus wasn’t human the same way we are, after all.

If that is so, then Jesus was an…

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Correcting A Misunderstanding Of Joy

•03/06/2014 • Leave a Comment

John 16:19-22,

19. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?
20. Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
21. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
22. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

There is a terrible misunderstanding of joy in the modern Apostolic church these days. Let’s all just be honest, up front, and admit it:

We want the big, bold, brash, blow-out service. We want the Spirit to take over and set the preacher on the pew while we get down and celebrate the awesome Presence of God.

This, to us, is joy. And anything less than this is somehow lacking and not quite good enough. It can even get to the point where we start to think something is wrong with us if this type of experience isn’t happening on a regular basis.

Why, we might even try to artificially manufacture such an experience just because, you know, we’re the Pentecostals and that’s just the way we “do our thang…”

But look what Christ said about joy.

Joy comes after sorrow; it does not precede it. Great joy is a product of great suffering. We somehow think that if the Lord would just give us a life of Riley, walk on easy street existence, then, THEN we would know true joy. If only our adversaries gave us a break, if only our mortgage payments decreased, if only the kids never got sick, if only that nasty co-worker would get fired, then, yes, we could sit back and know the joy of the Lord.

Not so.

Read again the words of Psalm 30, from which a fairly popular worship song takes its cue:

Psalm 30,

1. A Psalm and Song at the dedication of the house of David. I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
2. O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
3. O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
4. Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
5. For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
6. And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
7. LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.
8. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.
9. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
10. Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.
11. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
12. To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

There is a time for sorrow and grief. We may even weep. It is at times right and necessary that we do so. But after the weeping comes joy. After the rain comes sunlight.

There is more to be enjoyed after the storm clouds break than there is in never having a single storm pass through your life.

A lot of things can make us happy, but happiness isn’t joy.

An unexpected day off of work can make me happy, but if I do not work for a day, I will not experience the joys of coming home after a long day, taking off the proverbial work boots, kissing my wife and having my children run up to me to say hello and give me hugs.

But you ask, “That’s joy?”

Yes. Knowing that I have been blessed by the Lord to work and make a living and provide for my family is a reward that I cannot ever know unless I am doing it.

Which matters more: having a mid-term exam put off a couple of days because of bad weather (and so, having your entire week thrown off) or taking the test when scheduled and knowing afterward that you aced it (because you studied hard, made thorough efforts to learn the subject, and etc.)?

Happiness says “Put off the test for another time”. Joy says, “I took that test on time and I passed it with flying colors”.

For a long time, I have heard it said that the devil is always trying to rob us of our joy. I’ve probably said it, too. But maybe that’s wrong. Maybe our flesh is robbing us of the opportunity to experience joy because we’re too what? afraid? lazy? weak? comfortable? complacent? To go through the fire, experience the trial, and face the hardship of suffering and deprivation long enough to be able to actually rejoice in anything after the fact?

Remember the words of the Lord. It was needful that He departed. There had to be a time of sorrow. A woman needs must experience the travails of labor or else the arrival of her child after the end of nine long months may end up being a lesser occasion than it ought to be.

I know Ecclesiastes is a book of the Bible from which many people don’t receive revelation or inspiration, but it is a necessary book to read from, from time to time. Every one of us who walks with God is going to go through times and experiences similar to the Koheleth (i.e. the Preacher). It’s a fact. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some key verses:

Ecclesiastes 2:24,

24. There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:13,

13. …every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

It is the gift of God and a cause of rejoicing and personal enjoyment when a man has labored hard for his living and well-being. There isn’t an elderly, retired father alive, who, if his heart is right, doesn’t rejoice and smile when he sees his sons working hard and making their way in the world.

Boys need the example of a hard-working father. I know there are times, because of health or other circumstances, when working hard isn’t always possible, in the traditional sense.

But note the following:

Ecclesiastes 9:10,

10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

You’ve only got one life to live. Maybe you are laid off, unemployed, or even injured, but if you can do anything (and do it safely), do it with your might. Let those people in your circle of influence see, that of the things that you are able to do (like pray, love, cherish, and etc.), you do them with relish, with zeal, with passion and compassion. Even the paralyzed man may be able to smile. Even the unemployed man, if he is fit, can shovel his neighbor’s sidewalk (and do a good job of it, too).

(And by the way, Believer, if you are laid off or unemployed but otherwise fit, call up a local pastor and see what you can do to volunteer your time and energy. The Church always needs laborers.)

In ancient days, the following concepts were embraced and believed to be true:

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee (Job 5:17-19).

If you read between the lines, the following facts emerge:

• God Himself is the real source of most suffering
• God Himself is the only real source of healing and restoration
• Deliverance from the Lord is possible, but troubles have to come first
• It’s possible to get to a place in the Lord where no evil touches us, but we have to go through a severe amount of difficulty before we get there.

I have often heard the knock made against “easy-believism”, i.e. the idea that somehow mere mental assent is all God requires of us in order to save us. Basically it’s a divorce of love and obedience from grace and faith.

But sometimes, if we are honest, we also have a similar form of easy-believism. While we may fully embrace the need for loving God and obeying Him in all things (which DOES NOT make us legalists), we nevertheless tend to want the easy way out when it comes to experiencing God’s greatest glory.

Come on, God! I obeyed Acts 2:38! I’m a child of the King! Now gimme, gimme, gimme!

Friend, it doesn’t work that way. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It needs to be cultivated. It takes time to flourish. Adverse conditions and challenges must be faced first.

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ must be served in joy.

Romans 14:17-18,

17. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

Do you see it? Verse 18 reads “in these things“. In righteousness, peace, and joy a man, if he wishes to be acceptable to God and approved of men, must serve Christ.

One cannot simply say they are serving Christ if they are not doing so joyfully. Down-trodden, sullen, grumbling, rote obedience because of a “have-to” mentality is not the right approach. God doesn’t accept such service.

So here we have an entire movement of people, men and women, who make their boast in the Lord and title themselves the People of the Name, who can only serve God joyfully as long as He makes life easy for them, keeps them from all pain and suffering, never allows anything bad to happen to them, and makes sure every time they have a church service, He puts the preacher in his place and takes over and causes an old-fashioned Pentecostal “blow-out”.

Is it any wonder how shallow and worthless these kinds of meetings have become? Have you been to a conference or convention lately? It’s mostly hoop-la and shenanigans. Manufactured moves of the “Spirit” by a bunch of un-anointed, non-inundated with the life-giving Presence of the God, doing the same old, same old because it’s culturally acceptable to “make a joyful noise” and “shout with the voice of triumph” even when no joy is present and no triumph has been achieved.

You know, it’s not really winning if you were never in any real danger of losing.

But find a group of saints who have been tried in the fire, who have suffered and lost, who have experienced deprivation and peril, who know the agonies of despair, who have been troubled on all sides and stood faithful, even in the midst of persecution and malediction, who, when they get together, can still lift their voices, still raise their hands, still sing and dance before the Lord, declaring God is great and greatly to be praised, even when He wounds them and makes them sore, even when He chastises and afflicts them, then, THEN, you will find people who know the joy of the LORD.

But those so-called “saints”, who are comfortable, who sit at ease, who lay back to soak it in, who have learned to be idle, and won’t lift a finger for anyone besides themselves, who, for all intents and purposes, are nothing more than a bunch of Sodomic Pharisees (See and compare Ezekiel 16:49 with Matthew 23:4 and Luke 11:46), are never going to experience the real joy of God, of the “unspeakable” variety, which is “full of glory”. You know, the kind of joy that no one can take away.

I leave with this thought.

The Lord Jesus, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, suffering the shame and humiliation that came with tasting death for every man (Hebrews 12:2 and Hebrews 2:9). In Isaiah 50:6-7, we are told in a prophecy that the Messiah set his “face like a flint“, willingly allowing Himself to be physically attacked, scourged, beaten, and mauled, even to the point of having His beard violently pulled off His face.

When it came time to face down the threat, Jesus stood firm. He was resolute. He knew who and what He was: the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He knew the mission and putting His flesh into subjection, surrendered to the will of His Father, a will that included torture, reproach, physical and spiritual agony, and death.

And He did so for the joy that was set before Him. Jesus knew that after all the suffering and agony, He was going to ascend to the Father and sit down at God’s right hand. He knew that if He just stayed faithful and obeyed all that the Spirit urged Him to do, that there was going to come a time when all things, including the very empire that had Him killed, was going to find itself under His feet (Psalm 110:1 and 1 Corinthians 15:25). Jesus knew He was the God-ordained Rule of the Universe, the veritable Son of the Most High, and nothing, not even death, could separate Him from the love the Father had for Him. In fact, Jesus knew that it was through death (and the resurrection that followed) that His place on the throne of God was to be eternally secured.

What about us?

What are we willing to endure? Do we have a cross like unto the Lord’s? Is it getting heavy? Does it cause you pain? Do you think your cross is going to require more of you than you can reasonably give? Is the cross you’re carrying designed to kill you or not? Do you carry it around for fun? For show? Or is that cross literally, albeit spiritually, around your neck to prove to you, to the world, and even to God Himself, that for the joy set before you, you will willingly endure whatever you have to in this life, so that you, with Christ, can sit in your Father’s throne, and rule and reign with the Savior for ever?

I sincerely hope you know the answer to that question, because everything, including your joy, depends upon it.

 
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Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

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Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

Theo-sophical Ruminations

A collage of theological and philosophical musings

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