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Posted by Mike Williams on Tuesday, June 5, 2018
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Posted by Mike Williams on Tuesday, May 29, 2018
In All Things, Love. There’s a saying that goes something like this: “In essential things unity, in non-essential things liberty, in all things love.” There are thousands of denominations that can’t agree on what is essential in the Christian religion. Therefore, Christianity isn’t unified.
The Tower of Bull Sugar represents Christianity’s gospel. Bull Sugar aptly describes a gospel that says, “God loves you, but will make you suffer in hell forever for rejecting his love.”
Gods like Janus have personalities disorders. One religion claims its god is a god of love as it throws living people into hell to suffer forever. Oh, the insanity!
This video is about the beginnings of Apostolic Succession and the fake gospel of works plus grace that’s found along side of the true gospel of love.
Some Things Can’t Be Denied, such as love.
This video is about “The New Heavens And The New Earth” being a state of being rather than a place.
Tuesday night living room Gospel Revolution
Posted by Mike Williams on Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Why do people stuck in religion
make no attempt to escape?
Reason number one why people stuck in religion make no attempt to escape.
I don’t know one Christian, who does not have unanswered questions about their religion. But Christianity is not a religion of answers; it is a religion of if’s, and’s, but’s, and maybe’s. When Christianity cannot answer a question with a simple straight response, suddenly the answer becomes, “oh well that is a mystery”. How self-servingly convenient! But reality doesn’t work that way.
I remember when I was in the word of faith movement, asking why physical healing was such a hit and miss thing. Dishonest preachers invented all kinds of reasons; my faith wasn’t strong enough, the person wanting to be healed, had sin in their life and hence God could not heal them. The reasons proffered went on and on. When push came to shove, it suddenly became a mystery; “God works in mysterious ways, don’t you know?!”. I started to realize, that if faith healing was to be trusted at all, and if it was a work of God, then the results would at least be consistent. I realized, that if I dropped a pencil from my hand, it would travel downwards to the floor, every single time.
But so much of Christianity cannot be relied upon for consistent results. Take answered or unanswered prayer, for example.
Christianity demands different results over multiple thousands of belief systems practiced by multiple thousands of denominations. Statements of belief, differ from sect to sect, and there is no unity in that, only disunity and dualism.
Orthodoxy is that which decides who to call a heretic, and who to call a believer, on the basis of ever-changing rules, that it makes up as it goes a long. Orthodoxy was founded in division, decided in pools of blood and swordplay, and maintained with murder, character assassination, and anything but the love described in 1-Corinthians 13, and easily disproving any positive answer to the prayer of Jesus, who prayed that we would be one. So Jesus doesn’t get his prayers answered, but you do?
Voltaire famously said, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” This holds especially true for religion. Anybody who persistently asks a Christian leader any given question about why that church believes what it does, knows exactly what I mean. If you want to survive in Christianity, do not ask questions. Yes, religion always makes the best liars. Without any question, Christianity survives on unanswered questions, easily as much as on unquestioned answers. That in a nutshell, is either intellectual bankruptcy, or deliberate deflection and manipulation.
In a digital age ignorance is a choice, because sustained inquiry, together with using one’s own intelligence, cannot help but magnify the holes in many church doctrines. Devotion to Christianity, means that you are being manipulated by the two most basic and successful human motivators, which are, the hope of gain (heaven), and the fear of loss (hell). Quite naturally, Christian leaders will tell you that they didn’t invent these motivators, but that God did. So apparently God says, I love you so much that I invented hell just in case you didn’t love me back. Does that make any sense to you at all?
What do you want, Jesus?
I want to save you from what I will do to you, if you don’t open the door.
And then there is heaven, and haven’t we all got our own picture about heaven, despite the fact that so little is written about it in the Bible, and that the only person that the Bible says can go there, already must previously have descended from there? Not to mention the fact that the only person to return from the dead never talked about it afterwards.
The Trinity is another such doctrine (I speak as a nominal Trinitarian).
Or ask the average Christian, where babies go when they die? They will offer you nothing from the Bible, except cut-and-paste, hit and run bait and switch inferences emanating from their own emotional comfort zones. They hate to think that God would possibly consign a baby to hell, even though Jesus plainly said, “if you don’t believe, then you are condemned already”.
There are black and white things in the Bible that every Christian tends to ignore because it simply does not agree with their emotional comfort zone.
The most common form of theological manipulation is reading out of context. Any Texan will know what a longhorn is, and we used to use a term called Longhorn preaching – a point here and a point there and a lot of bull in between. Christianity hardly knows how to support any of their doctrines without proof texting; that is to say, taking a verse from here and a verse from there, and hey presto we have a new denomination, a new theology, a new way to divide otherwise happy people, and yet another hand reaching into your pocket. The next method of theological manipulation is the clever use of logical fallacies. Strawman arguments, red herrings, ad hominem attacks, bandwagon appeal (ad populum), begging the question, Hobson choices, and circular arguments are all fair play in the mind games of Christianity. They will say that the Bible is Scripture despite that which Jesus clearly identified as Scripture; that is to say, the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets. The New Testament was canonised over the dead bodies of those who disagreed. Go ahead, research it. Surely the truth.is not going to hurt you, or is it? They will point you to a verse in Paul’s Epistle to Timothy that says that all scripture is inspired by God. So here is the argument.
The New Testament is Scripture.
Because the New Testament says it is Scripture.
Therefore the New Testament is Scripture.
Because the New Testament says it Scripture.
Therefore the New Testament is Scripture.
AAAAAaaaarrrrgh! The lunacy of at all is truly breathtaking.
Reason number two why people stuck in religion make no attempt to escape.
The fear of a wasted life
You would be surprised how many people get to their old age or even their middle age, and are so afraid that they may have wasted their life on wrong beliefs, that this alone is sufficient to decide them on keeping to that which they either know or strongly suspect to be wrong. .
This needs little more by way of explanation, and is probably the most understandable of all the reasons why people stuck in religion make no attempt to escape. Of course, it goes without saying, that this sets yhe individual up for the most horrible “what if” scenarios. On his deathbed, the famous comedian and atheist, W. C. Fields, was asked by his wife, why he was thumbing through a Bible. His return quip was, “just looking for loopholes dear, just looking for loopholes”. But while this is the most poignant and perhaps understandable reason, why people stuck in religion make no attempt to escape, it also involves a clear level of dishonesty, that is at odds with the religion they espouse
Reason number three why people stuck in religion make no attempt to escape.
If I am wrong about this what else could I be wrong about – better be safe than sorry – so let’s stick with orthodoxy, or at least my version of orthodoxy!
Back when Christians were killing each other openly and boasting about it, over nothing more than theological differences, (and don’t think that Catholicism was the only culprit here, when Protestants were every bit as guilty), this excuse would have carried a lot more weight when your life depended on it. Today though, with all of the free Bible tools we have, along with the Internet, we can read the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, any number of different languages, and good Bible dictionaries to tell us what words actually mean.
And what is the best thing they can come out of this? You may, if you are at all interested, discover for yourself, what the Bible actually says. Why is it important? Because you must ask yourself why there are over 900 versions of the Bible in English alone, and the obvious answer is, because they don’t agree with each other, so a new one is written to espouse either this theology or that theology. Why is hell mentioned in the King James Bible so many more times than in the NIV Bible? The best thing that can happen is it you will find out what the Bible says accurately, and the worst thing that can happen is that you will upset your Christian leaders when you start asking questions about it.
Reason number four why people stuck in religion make no attempt to escape.
it is truly remarkable, that for people so devout, that for people who claim to want to know the truth, for people who are willing to be ostracized or even killed for their version of their pet truth, that Christians are so comprehensively ignorant of the history that produced them, their public holidays, and their favourite doctrines, high holy days, and saints.
Christian history covers a span of some 2000 years. The Roman Catholic Church is reputed to have over 1500 miles of counter space and shelving containing books and manuscripts, independent examination of which they refuse. The Roman Catholic Church has been what it is today, for approximately 900 years, prior to which, it was involved in numerous schisms, the most public of which was that between the Roman Catholic Church,, and what is today recognized as the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Roman Catholic Church, you will note, is called the ROMAN Catholic Church, not the holy Catholic Church, nor simply the Catholic Church, nor even the Christian church, but it is called the ROMAN Catholic Church. Why do you suppose that is? Why not the Jerusalem Catholic Church? Why not the Ephesian Catholic Church? These were both very active centres of Christianity in the first century. The answer is really quite simple. Rome, in the early days of Christianity, was the equivalent of today’s Washington, New York, London, Berlin and Moscow. It was in short, the seat of global political, military and even religious power. Rome was where the money was. But in those early days the Bishop of any one geographical region, was exactly equal, in power, voting rights, and honor, to the Bishop of any other area. But for Rome to achieve the preeminence in the religious world, that required money. And Rome was where the money was. The Bishop in Rome had both the influence and the cash to bribe smaller churches elsewhere. Let’s say that a certain r4egion was choosing a bishop. Rome could offer either political or financial capital, on condition that the Bishop they voted in was one that was amenable and acceptable to the church in Rome. Of course, the bribe was made as a gift to give help to the poor, or build a new cathedral. Whether it was used for that purpose or not, was irrelevant. The church in Rome had access to slaves that no other church had. Imagine the advantage it would give you, if you were offered a deal where freed slaves would be assigned to your church, together with the obvious income that would provide as those slaves became employed freemen. You certainly did not want to cross the church in Rome, and you did want benefit from its gifts.
Move ahead to the sixth century, and we see the church in Rome de-sainting saints they had previously honoured and touted as leadership examples. Why? Because the church’s theology had grown ever more restrictive, it’s political power more weighty, and it’s leadership more concentrated, with effective power at the top and the great unwashed masses at the bottom, just like a modern corporation, and like any corporation, the bottom line was profit. The church had been re-invented as a pyramid, and this in clear contravention, to the biblical convention, that the church was built on Jesus as a chief cornerstone, then the apostles and prophets, and then the church in that order. By now Rome had converted, subverted, and inverted God’s blueprint.
Move ahead to the 11th century and we have the biggest schism of all time in the Christian church. Move ahead to the 16th century, and the Roman Catholic Church is now offering people the first version of true greasy grace, as the priests in Germany would quote a little poem, “when you’re coin in the box you fling, then your soul into heaven will wing”. These were the tele-evangelists of the 1600s, making money out of promising escape from Purgatory. It was the straw that broke the camels back, brought on the Reformation, and birthed the rebellion against the Catholic Church that had been brewing for 1000+ years.
Fast forward to the continued discovery of the new world, and we have the doctrine of discovery, promulgated by the Pope of the time, and embraced by all Catholic and Protestant nations alike. The doctrine of discovery states that if any nation discovers a previously unknown land,and the inhabitants of that land do not worship Jesus, then genocide is a God-given option, in the subjugation of the natives and the theft of that land. Not only did this become international law, but it was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 1823, in the case of Johnson versus Macintosh. Australia, the Americas both north and south Africa and India all suffered as a result of this hellish doctrine. Marry that doctrine to the doctrine of just war, first enunciated by almost all churches poster pinup boy, St Augustine, and again revived during the Middle Ages by St Thomas Aquinas,, and you have the perfect recipe for the horrendous and disproportionate murder of native peoples worldwide. If you are a Protestant then this is your history. I know that you claim that you are the member of a religion that is as close as possible to the early Christian church. If that is you, you probably need to read a book called Pagan Christianity by two well known Christian leaders and sells for only a few dollars on Amazon. It is written by Frank Viola and George Barna, but you really don’t want to read this if you are not interested in historical, factual, evidence.
Somebody once wisely said words to the effect that if you do not know your history you will be doomed to repeat it. Most western Christians are either unaware of the part that their own church leaders played in the inhumane horror of slavery. Australia, America, the United Kingdom, and countless other nations profited handsomely from this ungodly doctrine promulgated and supported by the Church. It was only in 2006, that the largest protestant denomination in the world, the US Southern Baptist Convention, publicly apologized for the role it had played in the maintenance and financing of slavery. But it wasn’t alone. Almost every Protestant church in the USA at that time, were complicit in the illicit use and murder of slaves both black and white. Carl Sagan once famously said, “The fact is, that far more crime and child abuse has been committed by zealots in the name of God, Jesus, and Mohammed, than has ever been committed in the name of Satan. Many people don’t like that statement but few can argue with it.”. That was true when he said it, and is true today.
“When the missionaries arrived the Africans had the land and missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them they had the land and we had the Bible.” ~ Jomo Kenyatta.
Reason number five why people stuck in religion make no attempt to escape.
This is perhaps the most despicable of all the reasons we have outlined here. Self righteousness is the act of relying on your own intelligence and actions to be considered righteous, either by God, or other people. It can take many forms, but it can be boiled down to one thing; I am right because I say I am right. Far from mental laziness, this is invincible ignorance at work using selective segmented salvation as its justification. Depending on the denomination to which you belong, the steps to achieving and maintaining your “salvation” will differ slightly, but almost always includes something that you must do to become righteous in either God’s eyes or men’s. This could amount to something as simple as saying a magic prayer to get you born again, up to weekly confessions with suitable penances and other good works as espoused by the Roman Church and others. This is institutionally supported, but individually earned, self righteousness at work.
Every single denomination also has an excommunication clause, which is invoked when you have surpassed what the institution deems to be acceptable behavior, and may infect the rest of the flock if you are allowed to stay. This is variously called, excommunication, reading out, putting out, disfellowshipping, shunning, and various other terms. In every case, when this is invoked, you are judged not to be sufficiently righteous in a kind of kangaroo court, and, like a gangreneous limb, must be removed to ensure that good health of the rest of the “flock”. This is institutionally supported, group endorsed, self righteousness at work, but you must never underestimate the power of sheeple in large groups.
When it comes to staying fixed in the same religion or political party that your parents raised you in, or when you say, I was raised a Presbyterian and I shall die a Presbyterian, as though that was some badge to be worn with honour, it only puts on display, your disability to think for yourself. Never forget, that terrorist suicide bombers were taught to never question their religion. What do you teach your children? It may be done out of honouring one’s parents, but it’s most likely done out of mental laziness and self righteousness. Self righteousness makes us proud of what we have done. The gospel makes us proud of what Jesus has done. In the strictest sense, self righteousness occurs when you convince yourself that you can be righteous before God without God, depending only, or even partially, upon yourself or your behaviour. Self righteous people have to pretend you’re either wrong or a bad person, so they don’t feel guilty about the things they say about you, or do to you. God forbid they be accountable for their own crap.
Another way of exercising self righteousness is when you anthropomorphize God, by presuming him to be just like yourself, and judging him based on the norms of human behavior. Many people do precisely this, and in doing so, throw the baby out with the bathwater. A good example is how people will say that the angry God of the old Testament could not possibly equate to Jesus in the new Testament. Their presumption is as foolish as an ant judging a human. If the whole of universal knowledge could be put into a container, we would discover that the smallest component would be that knowledge that we know that we know. The next largest component would be that knowledge that we know that we don’t know. But the overwhelming component would be that knowledge that we don’t know, that we don’t know. For you or me to judge God, we would have to be in receipt of all knowledge, which clearly we are not. When you judge anyone from a limited knowledge base, you are exercising self righteousness and self righteousness is a stinking canker on the carcass of religion.
Reason number six why people stuck in religion make no attempt to escape.
The Stockholm syndrome.
Stockholm syndrome is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors, as a survival strategy during captivity. These feelings, resulting from a bond formed between captor and captives during intimate time spent together, are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. Generally speaking, Stockholm syndrome consists of “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly eight percent of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.
Reason number seven why people stuck in religion make no attempt to escape.
Somebody who is being deceived, does not, axiomatically, realize they are being deceived. That is what makes deception, deception. Many people elect to stay in religion that is robbing them of freedom and wounding them permanently with spiritual abuse, because they are deceived into believing that by doing so they are pleasing God and justifying their beliefs and behavior.
The human brain is an amazing organ. It keeps working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 52 weeks a year, from before you leave the womb right up until you find religion.
The story is told, of a farmer whose neighbor came to visit him. As they were chatting, a hound dog lying on the floor, let out a quiet wail. The neighbor asked the farmer what the problem with the dog was. The farmer replied, “Oh he’s sitting on a nail”, to which the neighbor replied, “then why doesn’t he move?”. The farmer said, “because it doesn’t hurt him enough yet”.
Like the hound dog, most people stuck in religion aren’t hurting enough yet to leave. This would not be such a bad thing if church was merely a social event, a club, or somewhere we find or maintain meaningful relationships based on mutual trust and respect. But as much as that would be nice, that is NOT what we find in religion. Religion depends for its very existence on distrust of ones-self and others.
The hamster is dead but the wheel keeps turning. The hound dog isn’t hurting at all because its mind has already turned to jelly.
All of these reasons why people stick with their religion, in spite of the lack of any evidence that it is helping them, and with the certain knowledge, that more atrocities have been carried out in the name of religion than anything else, can be found in the words of Jesus, when he rebuked Peter; Matt 16:23-24 (KJVA) Jesus turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
There it is in a nutshell, “you don’t care about the things of God, but you prefer to care about the things of men.”.
When one care’s enough about pursuing truth, they will follow Jesus, and their religion will fall away from them, but until then, they need to stay in religion until they hurt enough.
If your religion doesn’t challenge you to care for people you might otherwise be dismissive about, and instead reinforces your negative feeling about them, you don’t have a religion; all you have is a formalized structure for institutionalizing your biases.
Stephen Colbert said, the if this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just a selfish as we are, all we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition, and then admit we just don’t want to do it.
The Church industrial complex in the USA alone is a $600 billion a year industry, yes, that’s billion with a B, and yet still only 1% of all that money, hits the ground running in countries that have never heard the name of Jesus, but are aware of the Coca-Cola symbol. Join your own dots.
Don Bartlett for www. gospelrevolution.com
In John chapter 6 verse 28-29, Jesus is asked the question what do we have to do to work the works of God. The verb they use is “ergazomai”, a Greek word meaning to toil or to expend energy at doing something. The noun used is “ergon”, the Greek word from which we get our English word ergonomic, and it means a working occupation invoking effort. So the question Jesus is asked, has been fairly well translated as “what shall we do that we might work the works of God?”.
Jesus then answered them, and said, “this is the work of God that you believe on him whom God sent”. In other words, Jesus referred to believing, as a work. Paul said, “for by Grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast”. Now the word “works” that Paul uses is precisely the same Greek word “ergon” as Jesus used. so it seems unarguable, that in the eyes of Jesus and in the teaching of Paul, believing is a work. Note also, that Paul’s statement says you have been saved by grace through faith and that not of yourselves. What is not of yourselves? Everything that went before that statement. That is to say, neither the grace NOR the faith had its genesis in or by you. If the faith was yours, then you are depending on your works to save you, and we all know how fragile faith is. Just look at Peter walking on water, and you get a pretty good idea, of just how faith works. Thank God all the faith that was needed for my salvation and for my redemption was found in Jesus.
My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.
I have no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.
When some people observe the Gospel Revolution Or Mike Williams Ministries beimg critical of Christianity, they automatically presume that the Gospel Revolution is hostile to Christians. This foolish notion is a natural consequence of confusing the organization of Christianity with the individuals contaminated by it. Christians love to say, “hate the sin, but love the sinner”. This statement typifies the convoluted logic of a religion that judges others, whilst excusing themselves, the very thing that Paul says is a sign of people being a law unto themselves. (Romans 2:14-15)
That statement, “hate the sin, but love the sinner”, is of course, the exact opposite of what Jesus taught. Jesus taught us to love the sinner but hate your OWN sin.
This example typifies the hypocrisy of Christianity. In fact without hypocrisy, Christianity could not operate at all.
Tony Campolo, once famously said at a Christian conference, “last night while you were sleeping, 30,000 children died around the world from malnutrition, and most of you don’t give a sh*t”. Then he continued, “but here is the real tragedy, that you care less, that 30,000 children around the world died last night from malnutrition, than the fact that I said sh*t!”.
Jesus taught us that the Church is an organism. Christianity teaches us that the Church is an organization. Jesus taught us that love is the final and fruitful product of righteousness. Christianity teaches us that judgment is the full and final product of righteousness. The Bible tells us to forgive our enemies but Christianity tells us that God is going to torture his enemies, eternally, for 70 years of mistakes down here. Jesus prayed that we should be one. Christianity is fractured into multiple thousands of versions, sects, and warring factions that have often been only too glad to murder each other.
When the Gospel Revolution criticizes Christianity, it is criticizing that level of hatred and judgment. When the Gospel Revolution criticizes Christianity it is not criticizing Christians. It is criticizing the organizations whose hypocrisy has led to our current fractured state of affairs. Christianity has had 2000 years to prove its worth, but all it has to show for it are creeds demanding belief or excommunication, and blood knee deep. At its very best, Christianity is nothing more than a shame based behavior modification system, and at its worst, the exact opposite of love. It depends for its success on the two most basic human instincts; fear of loss (hell) and hope of gain (heaven), and there is not one sect within Christianity, of which I am aware, that does not practice, to some degree, this protection racket.
Lastly, when Jesus criticized the Pharisees, he did not mince words. He called them a den of Vipers, or on another occasion whitewashed graves full of dead men’s bones. We haven’t yet gotten to Jesus level, even though we can think of a few people claiming to be Christians, rather deserving of those titles.
As a biblical scholar, after I have uncovered a particularly unsavory truth about the biblical text, I am inevitably asked, “So are you saying you don’t believe the BIBLE?” And here is my answer.
“I believe the Bible…
enough to seek to understand not only what it says but what it means.
enough to study the context of the text.
enough to honor its original languages, the fact that words don’t always mean the same thing over time and that some words do not translate.
enough to realize that the King James Version contains wonderful poetic language that inspires and comforts but it also contains horrendous translation errors.
enough to know that the Bible did not fall out of the sky, leather-bound in the King James Version.
enough to attempt to understand that the text without context is a train wreck.
enough to know that councils of men, often with political agendas, fought over which books would be included in the Biblical canon. As is often the case, those with less power lost. (The Gospel of Thomas got some GOOD stuff.)
enough to know that God didn’t stop speaking when they closed the canon.
enough to know that the Protestant Bible is not the oldest version of the Bible.
enough to see the Bible as a tool of liberation and not a means of oppression.
enough to know that Africans had God before they had the Bible.
enough to recognize that when it was written, women were property and slavery was acceptable. Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t make it right.
enough to know that it never claims to be a science book.
enough to know that it is not a manual on all things related to sex and gender.
enough to know the the Bible is not God.
enough to realize that the full revelation of God does not begin and end with Genesis & Revelation.
enough to realize that theologies and religious perspectives have histories that can/should be explored and critiqued.
enough to realize that God is big enough to handle my questions and problems with the text.
enough to realize that my denomination of origin did not always give me permission to ask the difficult questions of the text.
enough to realize that being a faithful Christian does not necessarily equate to good interpretation skills.
enough to realize that devotional Bible reading is not the same as Biblical research.
enough to realize that racists used the Bible and their narrow view of God to justify slavery — and not much has changed.
enough to believe that the letter can and has killed many individuals – but the Spirit gives life.”
© Kendal Brown
The Apostle Paul, who was especially commissioned by both God (Romans 1:1-5) AND Peter, James & John (Gal 2:7-8) to preach the gospel to the NON JEWS, claims at the end of his life, that he had declared the ENTIRE COUNSEL OF GOD (Acts 20:27).
The options presented here are limited to either (a) ALL of the counsel of God is contained in Paul’s teaching, OR (b) Paul was somehow delusional.
Take, for example, the subject of “Hell”. If Hell is real how could Paul never have warned of “Hell” in any of his letters, IF in fact, he had declared the ENTIRE COUNSEL OF GOD? If Hell is real, wouldn’t Paul, of all people, warn of it repeatedly?”
The same goes for any other difference of opinion between Paul and the other “apostles”, no?
It seems apparent in any logical exploration of the New Testament, that Paul stood at odds with the other writers.
JAMES ~ It is easy to forget that James was never an apostle, and was never a follower of Jesus during His lifetime, in fact, James belittled and derided Jesus (John 7:5). At one time he, and others, even presumed Jesus to be insane (Mk 3:21). Then later, James, without any recorded conversion experience, was press-ganged into the top job (probably by his mother), as was the custom in the middle east of the times, after the death of the CEO, Jesus.).
PETER was the Apostle who saw a vision of a sheet let down from heaven (Acts 10:11) and the voice of God saying, “do NOT call unclean that which I HAVE CLEANED! Past Tense! PAST TENSE!!!
When he reports this back to the other leaders at Jerusalem, Peter accurately recounts the vision, but as is clear in Acts 17:11, they all (Peter especially), chose to see salvation not as a finished work, as God had already said (cleaned – past tense), but chose to see it as a future possibility based on the response of the listener to the gospel.
JOHN ~ was the Apostle, who, after God had plainly stated that the gentiles had already been cleansed, insisted on the Old Testament doctrine of the confession of sins.
The writer to the Hebrews said this, “Heb 6:1-2 (KJVA) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”. These were all Old Testament doctrines, including, when on the day of atonement, Yom Kippur, hands were laid on a goat to transfer sin from the people to the sacrificial goat and confession was made of sin. That John, like James and Peter, were fully convinced that Jesus was simply an addition to Old Testament Law, can be clearly seen in the 7 letters to the 7 churches in Revelation, in which, the divide between Paul and the other 3 becomes even clearer.
Notice please, that in the so-called letters to the 7 churches, we learn the following;
- PLEASING GOD IS ALL ABOUT YOUR WORKS; faith has no place in pleasing God whatsoever. Elsewhere, Hebrews 11:6 says, “… without faith it is impossible to please God …”
But in these letters, it is all about Works; Works; Works! In these 7 letters to 7 churches, the word “works” is mentioned 11 times, while the word “faith” as relating to the readers, is mentioned only once. Join your own dots. Note Rev 2:23 (KJVA) And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I WILL GIVE UNTO EVERY ONE OF YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS.
- ALL THE SINS MENTIONED ARE OLD COVENANT SINS
Just as in the book called “James”, all of the sins enumerated in Chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation, are peculiarly, Jewish sins, and they were all apparently sufficient to get your salvation annulled (Rev 3:5) As an example; “Eating food offered to Idols” Rev 2:14 (KJVA) But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. Also Rev 2:20.
Rev 2:5 (KJVA) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
What are the “first works”? For a Jew, they are always the Mosaic Law, PLUS Sacrifices, Circumcision, Offerings, Tithing and Sabbath Keeping (S.C.O.T.S.). All these preceded the Mosaic Law and they were all terminated in the death of Christ when He became all these things, in which a small portion was removed in order to sanctify the remainder. In Jesus, a small piece of “flesh” (Jesus) was cut off from the land of the living, in order to sanctify all the remainder of human flesh. He became our circumcision!
- YOUR SALVATION IS ALWAYS IN DOUBT.
Rev 3:5 (KJVA) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will NOT blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. If God is well prepared to blot selected names out of the “book of life” then according to Christian doctrine and Rev 20:12, you will be judged by your works (and NOT your faith) and then (Rev 20:15) consigned immediately to Hell.
- GOD’S GREATEST ATTRIBUTE IS THAT OF UNRELENTING VENGEANCE RATHER THAN A MINISTRY OF MERCY.
Refer: Rev 2:23 (KJVA) 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. Sounds like Jesus to you?
- THE TARGET OF THESE LETTERS IS NONE OTHER THAN PAUL HIMSELF.
What do we actually know about the “Judaisers” who followed Paul around to reconvert Pauls converts (Jews and Gentiles alike) to Judaism plus Jesus?
(a) We know that Paul withstood at least one of them to the face for duplicity in Gal 2:11 (KJVA) But when Peter was come to Antioch, I (Paul) withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
(b) We also know from Paul that the Peter, James & John, forced Paul’s gentile travelling companion to be forcibly circumcised; Gal 2:3 (KJVA) But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
(c) We know that Paul had very little respect for the gang of 3 and their followers; Gal 2:5-6 (NIV) We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. As for those who seemed to be important whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance those men added nothing to my message. Can you taste the sarcasm here? “As for those who seemed to be important” And just in case we missed the sarcasm first time around, Paul cutely reminds us in; Gal 2:9 (nkj) And when James, Cephas, and John, who SEEMED TO BE PILLARS, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Check out the greek here and you will find that a better rendition is, Gal 2:9 (nkj) and when James, Cephas, and John, who thought themselves to be pillars, etc. (G1380 δοκέω dokeo (dok-eh’-o) v. 1. to think Strongs Bible Dictionary)
(d) We know that James was personally responsible for the discord that occurred in Antioch; Gal 2:12-13 (KJVA) For before that certain CAME FROM JAMES, Peter ate with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. (Dictionary definition for dissimulation = to conceal one’s true motives, thoughts, etc., by some pretense; speak or act hypocritically.) Sounds like Jesus to you?
To understand the full gravity of this statement, read that again carefully, and note that James sent those who were practiced in the art of hypocricy! James was either willfully coming against the gospel, OR he was a very poor judge of character in choosing hypocrites as his emissaries. Either way, James was a jerk, and Paul was well and truly his target for correction.
(e) We know that the gang of 3 (Peter, James & John) were SO successful in hijacking the gospel and morphing it into a Jesus PLUS, shame based behavior modification system, which in Modern Christianity, it has remained to this day. 2Tim 1:15 (nkj) This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. And when we read the 7 letters to the 7 churches in Revelation, WHERE WERE THOSE 7 CHURCHES?????? That’s right! ASIA!
(f) Who else in the whole Bible is recorded as saying that eating meat of any kind is permissible so long as you have faith to eat it and that you do not cause your brother to stumble in doing so. PAUL ALONE! And yet what are the deadliest of sins found in these 7 letters? That’s right eating meat offered to idols! Rev 2:14 (KJVA) But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. This “sin” is repeated to more than one of these churches.
Here is a passing strange thing. When you enter an Asian restaurant, Chinese or otherwise, look around yourself and you may well see a little shelf on the wall with incense burning and an apple or an orange in a saucer. What you are looking at is meat offered to idols. And Christians happily ignore this instruction by John, as that fruit will be in your meal tomorrow. Religion is so amusing.
- IMPLICIT REFERENCES AGAINST PAUL
Lastly, let’s look at the implicit references to Paul, in these 7 letters. Who called himself an apostle, who was never a disciple during Jesus’ lifetime? That’s right, Paul. With that in mind, let’s read; Rev 2:2 (KJVA)I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which SAY THEY ARE APOSTLES, AND ARE NOT, and hast found them liars:
Rev 2:9 (KJVA) I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of THEM WHICH SAY THEY ARE JEWS, AND ARE NOT, BUT ARE THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN.
Rev 3:9 (KJVA) Behold, I WILL MAKE THEM OF THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN, WHICH SAY THEY ARE JEWS, AND ARE NOT, but do lie; behold, I WILL MAKE THEM TO COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE THY FEET, and to know that I have loved thee.
In this verse we have a double header. Even if we do not think that this verse is referencing Paul, there is no escaping the clear and simple fact that John here is claiming that Jesus is saying that some humans will be forced to worship some other humans. Sound like Jesus to you???
- UNFULFILLED PROMISES
Rev 2:26-28 (KJVA) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.
Question; Humans here are promised that they shall rule someone with a rod of iron. Sound like Jesus to you?
Question; Have you or anyone you know seen this promise ever come true?
Question; WHO is the morning star Isaiah 14:12: says it is satan.
My mother died soon after I was born in Ecuador while my parents were SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) missionaries there. The incident was due to doctor error. My mother died after I was born became a monkey on my back.
The ape was the continual implication that my mother died so I could be born. My birth mother’s death was touted as my the supreme sacrifice so I could be born and become a great preacher.
I grew up believing I had to do something great for god because of (what I was led to believe) the supreme sacrifice my mom paid for giving birth to me. My life was supposed to make my mother’s death mean something for the rest of my family. I was supposed to validate my mother’s death by becoming nothing less than a great preacher in the mold of Billy Graham.
The ape on my back got bigger month-by-month and year-by-year. It rode on my back like a wild monkey on a bicycle. My life felt like an ape cage filled with swinging, screaming monkeys.
I wanted to be free from the monkey zoo. Somewhere in the midst of monkeys hollering, I swore I heard Jesus calling me to be his preacher. I came to my wit’s end and decided to become a preacher on a Spring Sunday morning in 1998.
I had hoped that preaching and going to seminary would relieve me of the monkeys, but I was switching zoos and getting into a different cage, one that was filled with angry gorillas. These gorillas were happy to be angry at society, each other, and everybody looking in the cage.
The seminary I attended was a good cage for me to learn the ways of gorillas. It motivated me to question all gorilla doctrine and accept nothing simply because gorillas had been around for a long time. I jest, sort of.
Seminary was a good fit for me. Seminary developed my research skills, which made me unsatisfied with anybody else’s answers but my own. My research created more questions, which led to even more questions.
I learned to trust my answers only and not take someone else’s word as truth. I wanted to know the true meaning of life. I knew I was the only one who could find answers to the plethora of questions that religious tradition created in my mind. I tried asking learned theologians questions, but their answers were fraught with circular reasoning with no logical conclusions. I felt as though the monkeys were telling me to ask the gorillas, and the gorillas were sending me to ask the monkeys.
I was able to narrow my search for the meaning of my life down to one question: “Do I know who Jesus Christ is?” After many years of searching, my answer crystallized with all clarity one day, “Yes!”
The answer I discovered came down to one Koine Greek word for fish, “Ichthys,” which is pronounced, “Ick-thoos.” Ichthys is the Koine Greek word many used as an acrostic thousands of years ago that means, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”
Ichthys is what I live by today; it reminds me that Jesus Christ beat death to death with his stick, the cross. It reminds me that Jesus Christ came back to life, which is significant because it means humanity lives beyond the grave. If Jesus lives, all humanity lives. If Jesus does not live then humanity is dead meat.
What I love about Ichthys is that a person knowing nothing about Jesus Christ is as just as alive as I am. What I really love is that even those who do not believe Christ ever existed are just as alive as the most religious person on earth. Belief or disbelief does not make Ichthys any more or less real, nor does it make people more or less alive. Ichthys is who makes all people alive by what he did on the cross and by his resurrection from the dead.
In conclusion, Ichthys knocked the monkey off my back, which freed me to be myself–an independent, responsible, moral agent. I may act like a monkey at times, but that is just me being myself, ooh, ooh, ooh. And that’s no bull!
Often the very different (and strongly disagreeing) answers to the same question, are all correct and all wrong at the same time depending on your starting premise. In other words, our starting point inevitably determines our conclusions. We see this in politics all around us, every single day. If we understand a SuperSet of principles governing any discipline, then we will far better comprehend and understand the SubSets either flowing from or feeding into that SuperSet. When we consider the Sciences for example, if we understand, say, Biology, (the SubSet), we will not necessarily understand any more about the discipline of Physics (the SuperSet), than the absolute least we need to know in order to improve our understanding of Biology. But if we study out Physics (the SuperSet, or if you like, the Big Picture or the Macro-Level), our comprehension of Biology (the Subset, or if you prefer, the Little Picture, or the Micro-Level) will unfold both faster and broader.
My problem with most of the conclusions we see in the “Grace Movement”, is that, in the effort to explain away assumed anomolies in the story, most amateur theologians, try to divorce the “untenable” bits from the record. This is nothing new. In most of Modern and Post Modern Christianity, there are no end to the concoctions dreamed up in order to explain miracles or say, the angry God of the Scriptures talking about beating out the brains of babies upon a rock versus Jesus the “express image of God” inviting the little children to “come unto Me”.
IF we view the evolution of the story as one in which God was reactionary, then fitting these two SubSets into the one Superset becomes impossible without first deprecating one of the apparently conflicting claims; in other words, one of the facts apparently in evidence, must either be seen to be allegorical at best or false at worst.
But if we view the evolution of the story as one in which God was not reactionary, but “actionary” or as the initiator rather than the respondent, a very different picture might emerge.
The “God was never angry” theory, is dependant in whole, upon aat least two common errors;
(1) We anthopomorphise God; that is to say, we have the human tendency to think that God is just like us but bigger. We assume this because, if we were created in God’s image, then WE must be just like God but smaller, no? We depict God as human so that we can understand God, examine God
or judge God the same way we would any other human. We shouldn’t be angry, so why should God be angry etc.
This is, of course a false assumption; God is, in fact, an alien of the first order to us, and all too often, we choose to view God through the wrong end of a telescope in order to reduce Him to something we can then put in a box. Think of an ant trying to understans a human person, and judge that human person by ant standards. Curious indeed, how we might laugh at that comparison, yet take ourselves so seriously when we replicate that foolishness in our own thinking.
(2) We make the mistake of thinking that when God tells us SOMETHING about a topic, He has told us EVERYTHING about it. The Bible talks about God’s secrets, which we conveniently overlook. All those alleged Christians from history who murdered each other, all the time trumpeting that the very same Holy Spirit, had led them all to completely conflicting positions, made this same very obvious error.
Could it be that we are asking the wrong questions? Is that possible?
Instead of asking how we can correlate or synthesize the claimed competing images of an angry Father, a loving Son, and the Son being claimed to be the express image of the Father, what if the question shifted to “what is the SuperSet here?”; What is the REAL big Picture?
What if as part of that imagined superset, this alien God PLANNED to exhibit anger for purposes of His own? After all, in Jesus, we certainly seem to witness conflict resolution, no?
Why is it so important for us to make everything dovetail together according to our “ant” reasoning? Is it possible that it might be so that WE, asd humans, can feel good about God acting like any reasonable human should? Is it so that we can feel good? ? Or is it so that we can arrive at the truth?
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The Carriage House Inn
Mike is back in the Great White North in September! He will be speaking on the topic of the New Testament Book of James. The conference will be held at The Carriage House Inn. To make reservations, please contact the Carriage House at 1-800-661-9566 and ask for the Grace Conferences special room rate. For more information, you can contact our Florida office at 561-557-1329 or Vic d’Obrenan in Calgary at 403-686-0841.
Sept 15, 7pm
Sept 16 10AM, 2PM and 7PM
Sept 17 10AM
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“Predestined to Life” is Mike Williams’ new series from a recent Gospel Revolution Conference in Canada. In this series, Mike exposes the theology of predestination in the light of the gospel as opposed to traditional Christian theology. He studies out all references to predestination in the original Greek texts, as well as in the English translations. Find out who was predestined and when, and also find out what roles faith and hope play in predestination and whose faith and whose hope they were.
It is our very great pleasure to offer this series for free. Just click on the link and right click; then select the option, “save link as”.
|Predestined to life 1a||Predestined to life 1b||Predestined to life 2|
|Predestined to life 3a||Predestined to life 3b||Predestined to life 4a|
|Predestined to life 4b|
Eternal security is the name given to the concept proposed by Calvinism and some forms of Arminianism who believe that once you are saved you will remain in that happy condition.
The logical comparison, is that one’s salvation may not be secure, or, if you prefer eternal insecurity, resulting in spiritual and mental insecurity in the here and now, nevermind eternity. In the group in which I was brought up, we believed, once saved always saved. However even with the assurance of eternal security, there were times when I got born-again, again. How many times can you get born-again again? In my case I was very probably the most saved kid in Brisbane.
Even with eternal security in mind, I was raised, fully doubting that I had any eternal security, and consequentially, no temporal confidence, because what if I wasn’t born again to begin with.
Calvinism handles this by saying that if people’s works do not bear out their beliefs, then They Were never “the elect” to begin with. Modern Christianity has tried to escape the obvious heartlessness of Calvinism which determines, ipso facto, that if God elected a certain number of people to be saved, it must necessarily be honestly stated that he likewise chose a certain number of other people to experience eternal conscious torment.
Calvinism is based on five principles which, if treated logically, intersect and dovetail in such a way, that if you disprove one, or choose not to accept one, the other’s don’t make a whole lot of sense. Calvin himself was a front door Calvinist. He at least had the honesty to be upfront about the logical conclusions of his theology, which are, that God must inevitably have chosen those to go to hell equally as much as he chose those to go to heaven. Most modern Calvinists are backdoor Calvinists. They have neither the required courage nor the simple honesty to follow in the steps of John Calvin. Much of modern Christianity prefers to hold to some of the five principles of Calvinism, as well as some of the five principles of Arminianism, in some kind of hybridised bastard child of both theologies without the strength to pull the skin of a rice pudding. And THAT is why we have seen star power Pastor after star power Pastor in the Joel Osteen mould, turn into a mixed bag of watery stuttering soup, when faced with honest questions by seasoned TV interviewers.
A basic understanding of both theologies could be summed up this way. Calvinism proposes a God who COULD save the whole world but capriciously chooses not to. Arminianism proposes a God who wants to save the whole world, but is just too weak to. In many modern Pentecostal circles, who have traditionally tried to ride Roman style these two competing theologies, you come away with the distinct impression that God is fighting a rear guard action at all times, and can barely hold off the devil. When thought about in the cold light of day, it is like a RoadRunner cartoon, in which the devil is always outwitting God, but God just barely wins the day by the skin of his teeth. Meep Meep!
Now let’s consider Redemptionism.
As compared to both Calvinism and Arminianism, Redemptionism proposes a God who wanted to save the whole world and did.
But to understand this we must also understand the Eternal Councils of God, in which, before the foundations of the world, The Godhead proposed to create a species of other sentient beings, with which The Godhead could commune both as individuals, and as a compound component of the Godhead.
Christianity loves to say that as a believer I am in Christ and Christ is in me, but refuses to take this thought to its logical conclusion, being that inevitably, Christ and I must be one. Not that I am Christ, but we are nevertheless one as individuals thoroughly in union. Redemptionism says that when Christ died at Calvary, he died as the very last of the Adam species. In this He Was the Last Adam. When he rose again, all of humanity rose with him as a new creation, a new species.
In as much, as this is true, God and man are one. In this new creation we do not know where we stop and God starts, or where God stops and we start because we are a new species infused with each other as individuals in a union that is ONE. Many Christians thoroughly agree with this when they say … “The Holy Spirit told me…”. They would never bet their house or car that they were right; they aren’t THAT dumb; we know that what they claim that the Holy Spirit told them is often enough proven to be manifestly wrong. Remember that the Holy Spirit apparently told the Roman Catholic Church to murder those who disagreed with them, as did Protestants after them. Remember that it was apparently the Holy Spirit that convinced the largest protestant denomination in the world, the Southern Baptist Convention, to support slavery in the USA for several hundred years, and only apologize for it in 2006, 150 years after it was begun to be prosecuted.
My eternal security did not commence when I heard the good news of Redemptionism, or even when I believed this good news. My eternal security was guaranteed in the eternal councils of God. I may have only discovered it recently, and in that discovery my soul has been wonderfully saved. In fact I get saved every day as I understand the magnitude of the eternal councils of God and their far reaching effects and patient machinations.
I no longer am concerned with whether I am born-again or not, because I was born-again with the resurrection of Jesus Christ when he was born-again. I died with him, I rose with him, I live with him. I am, God in the Earth. I am not God, but I am God in the Earth, and my life is secure in and with Him. Death is but a doorway. I am not a human having a spiritual experience, I am a spirit having a human experience, and as such, I am a being from outside of this timespace continuum to which I shall return when my human tent, my body, quits. Eternal security? OH yes! Yes… YES!!!!