Fruit of the Spirit (Part 2): Joy

I have several friends who are battling depression right now so I know it is no coincidence that the next Fruit of the Spirit is Joy.

It was only a few years ago that I went through a long period of depression. Prior to that time, I saw depression as a spiritual issue, and I still believe it is.  I saw another side, however, and that is that no matter how much I made myself look at the positive, it did not make me feel better inside. I fervently prayed for God to restore my joy or take me Home. Thankfully He answered that prayer by filling me once again with joy and a sense of His presence. Sure, there are still bad times but God’s grace is there, walking with me every step of the way.

joy_fruitsosp

I do not know how people who don’t have the Lord get through life because truly it is often the joy of the Lord which is my strength. If you do not have that joy right now, don’t stop asking for it and fighting to receive this important fruit. Once you receive this joy unspeakable and full of glory, you will be able to share it with others.

In closing, let me remind you that tears may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. Don’t give up hope. Everything happens for a purpose to those who love God. He will complete the work He’s begun in you if you will surrender and allow Him to do so.

Incarnational Sonship

I recently had a run in with someone who posed themselves as believing a doctrine called the “Incarnational Sonship” of Christ. I soon discovered this was merely a small, insignificant theological problem compared to his views about Jesus Christ and his denial of the eternality of Christ. Nevertheless, the actual position of the Incarnational Sonship of Christ peaked my interest because I had never heard the term before. In essence, the doctrine can be briefly summed up by saying that it is a position in which someone does not believe that Jesus was the “Son of God” from eternity. This doesn’t mean that they believe Jesus Christ is not eternal. They just believe that the Sonship began when he was “begotten.” In other words, the title of  Son of God did not become realized until Jesus’ incarnation.

Although this sounds strange to the ears, and would merit anyone espousing this doctrine having to reinterpret the many Scriptures that affirm the eternal Sonship of Christ, I believe it is possible to hold this position and be truly born again (I’m making room for grace). Moreover, I recognize that theological ignorance or semantical misunderstanding can play a role as to why someone would choose to believe this doctrine, even after being confronted with the insurmountable truth that Christ was always the Son of God before time began.

Surprisingly, John MacArthur once held to this doctrine (other advocates were Ralph Wardlaw, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, Finis J. Dake, & Walter Martin). Thankfully he no longer believes it, but I figure posting his article here would be fitting. After all, why write about something when someone else credible has done the work, right? It is my hope that in revealing this doctrine we all become more aware of the various kinds of Christological teachings, even the ones the skate on thin ice.

http://www.gty.org/resources/Articles/A235/Reexamining-the-Eternal-Sonship-of-Christ

 

I also stumbled across a gem of a post that explained this theology in contrast to the Eternal Sonship of God. After researching this doctrine, I found this contrast helpful.

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

Jesus was always the Son of God. He is the Eternal Son. “Son of God” is Who He Is. His Sonship directly relates to His Deity.

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

Before the incarnation, Jesus was the Eternal Logos, not the Son. “Son of God” is What He Became. His Sonship directly relates to His incarnation, and has no bearing on His essential Deity.

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

Christ’s Sonship is essential to His true identity and cannot be divorced from the person that He is. “Son of God” is who He is in His being of beings.

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

Being the Logos is essential to His inherent unchanging identity.”Son of God” is merely a title and role that He assumed, a relationship He was born into.

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

“Son of God” means equal with God, indicating likeness or sameness of being.

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

“Son of God” as an attribute of assumed humanity speaks of subservience, being less than God. [A debatable point]

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

God the Father has always been God the Father.

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

God has always been God. Prior to the incarnation He was “father” in a metaphorical sense as Creator. With the Incarnation He became a Father in the literal sense. Relationship does not involve a change in Person.

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

The Father-Son relationship has eternally existed in the Godhead. Before the Incarnation the Son was ever in the Father’s bosom.

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

Before the incarnation there was no Father-Son relationship in the Godhead. This does not imply there was no Triune relationship between persons (God, Logos and Holy Spirit), merely that we have no other term but “God” to represent the 1st Person of the Trinity. The Logos was ever in God’s bosom.

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

The Father sent His own Son into this world (see John 3:16-17; Galatians 4:4; etc.).

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

God sent His own Logos — the One who was born Son — in Person into this world. Once again, a change in relationship does not equate to a change in Person

Taken from bro.ralph@gmail.com

 

Because of my recent experience, here is a warning/exhortation. If you come into contact with someone that believes that Christ was not eternally the “Son of God,” take a breath and don’t be quick to label them as a heretic. Find out if they believe whether Jesus eternally existed with the Father before the world was made. If they deny that Jesus, as the 2nd person of the Trinity, did not exist with the Father before time began, and/or they believe that Jesus and the Father are not one essence yet two distinct persons (not “manifestations” like some Oneness Pentecostals like to say), then it is safe to expose it as heresy. If, after pleading with them and correcting them on their position, they remain resolute, warn them about their dangerous position, that you will be obligated to warn others concerning them (especially if they are a teacher/leader), and that they will be marked as a heretic. You want to give space for them to admit openly that they are willing to at least consider the essential doctrine of Christ and His eternal essence.

If provided an opportunity, follow up and find out if there is any change or a willingness for further discussion. If, for whatever reason, they are unwilling to discuss the issue with you, and remain staunch concerning their heretical position, then the removal of the right hand of fellowship is sadly in order. This doesn’t mean you can’t talk with them in future contexts, pray for them, or perhaps further assist them with good works (if they care to have you in their company) that may open their hearts to the true gospel. It just means you can no longer consider them a brother or sister, or among those who are truly born again. However, if they are a teacher, leader, or just a strong advocate of their heresies, one of the options is avoidance.

Some Scripture concerning the handling of heretics: Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10; 1 John 1:7-11.

One final thought. It is one thing to contend against a Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Oneness Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, etc. that are openly affirming their denomination and what they believe (whether ignorantly or with knowledge), but it is quite another when you have someone that marches among the ranks of Christianity who are posing to have a biblical view of the essentials of the faith and are found wanting. Also, it is important to reserve heretical judgment toward someone until we are absolutely sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, they are believing historical heresies.  Always verify and ask for clarity. We are to treat all people with respect, but we must fear God and sin enough to speak the truth to others that may hold to damnably erroneous views of Christ. Let love lead our motive, truth organize our thoughts, the gospel guide our passions.

9 Steps Toward Personal Apostasy

personal apostasy

John Bunyan in the classic novel, Pilgrims Progress, illustrates the 9 progressive steps toward personal apostasy. This list is modified and modernized for your understanding. Please read and take heed. Save this in your journal, your computer, or make it your bookmark, but remember this well. I have bolded words that are important elements of understanding. If you want to read this portion of Pilgrims Progress in context, click here

  1. You draw away your thoughts from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come.
  2. Then, you slowly stop private duties like closet prayer, curbing your lusts, watching for temptation, sorrow for sin, and the like.
  3. Then, you turn away the company of lively and warm Christians.
  4. After that, you grow cold to public duty, as hearing the word preached, reading the bible, godly fellowship, and the like.
  5. Then, you begin to pick holes in the coats of some of the godly; and do it maliciously, that you may have a seeming excuse to throw [the Christian] religion (for the sake of some sin you have seen in others) behind your back.
  6. Then, you begin to adhere to, and associate yourself with, carnal, loose, and immoral men/women.
  7. Then, you give in to carnal and immoral discourses in secret; and you are glad if you can see such things in anyone else that is called Christian, that way you can commit your sin more boldly through their example.
  8. After this, you begin to play with little sins openly.
  9. And then, being hardened, you prove yourself to be as lost as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, you perish forever in your own deception.

Prevenient Grace

Manfred:

I have come to see the argument over God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility as a key dividing line between true submission to God and actual worship of self. Those who cannot accept the hard teachings of God always come up with a man-pleasing alternative. From “natural causes” for the crossing of the Red Sea to “natural causes” for the resurrection of spiritually dead souls – our natural state is to deny God’s sovereignty. There is no neutral corner into which we can retreat. We who have been born again by the Spirit of the living God must submit to Him, though our flesh fails us and always tries to lead us astray.

Originally posted on Truth Unchanging:

Many have posited what they call the doctrine of prevenient grace which, according to their view, grants the power of “libertarian free will” universally. Most seem clueless about how they are using that term. The more intelligent of them will actually attempt to define what they mean by free will. They define it as “a person’s ability to choose other than he has chosen.” If I choose to eat chicken, I have equal ability to choose to eat steak. I have no issue with the idea that God has granted people the freedom of choice. Even the vilest sinner is free to choose to leave his sins and follow Christ if he wishes. If he should choose that option, he would do so because he had chosen to do so freely and apart from external constraint. By that, I do not mean that the human will is autonomous and acts…

View original 2,566 more words

Indicatives and Imperatives

The Bible is full of commands, Old Testament and New. Perhaps no issue confuses people as much as rightly determining which commands are for New Covenant people and how they are to obeyed.  Early in the history of our religion, an argument arose that continues still today: does almighty God command man to do that which he is unable to do? When Augustine wrote a prayer asking the Lord to command what He would and grant what He commanded, Pelagius went bonkers over the thought that God must grant the creature the ability to obey what God commanded. His view was that man must inherently be able to do what God commands him to do, as it violated his sense of “fairness” for God to command man to do what man could not.

In our day, many people think Matt 5:48 (be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect) is a command we can perform. This perspective is fraught with an unreasonably high opinion of man, missing the point that Christ alone is perfect and we can only be acceptable in the Father’s sight by being found in Him – not by working real hard trying to be perfect.

To properly interpret and apply commands from God, one must understand the context (historical and theological) and getting things in their proper order – commands follow and are applied according to identity; imperatives follow indicatives. The command to repent and believe on Christ can only apply to and be obeyed by one who has been regenerated and raised from spiritual death by the Spirit of God.

While not anywhere close to a comprehensive lesson on this topic, it’s important to grasp it in order to see why what the preacher in the following sermon did was so wrong. This is not an uncommon error, but it’s one we must be on guard against – no matter who is preaching.

The title of this problematic sermon is good (available here): 4 Marks of a Hell-Bound Man. It sounds like a message about indicatives that reveal one bound for hell. But the way John MacArthur preaches this sermon is to present each of the 4 marks as something you can choose to do if you want to go to hell – “How is it that people die in their sins unforgiven? How does that happen? Unjustified, unconverted, unregenerated, unredeemed and bound for everlasting hell. Well, there are four attitudes that guarantee you will die in your sin, four attitudes. If you want to die in your sin then these four things will make that a reality.”  These four attitudes, self-righteousness, worldliness, ignorance, and unbelief are each presented with this assessment: “You want to die in your sin? Be selfrighteous, worldly, unbelieving and willfully ignorant.” Continue reading

Ekstasis Worship?

Reposted from “The Museum of Idolatry”.  This is the result of what happens when you get away from the truth of God’s Word. Incredibly, the guy speaking in the background and talking about ekstasis worship makes a bold statement that does not line up with Scripture starting around :40 seconds into the video.

“It’s no longer that you have to study the Word, but when you’re inside of an infused atmosphere with dancing and your body is moving and the Word is coming and the music – it becomes part of you…with the repetitiveness of the music, the Word is driven into your body.”

This is heresy and is not in line with the true Word of God.

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‘Ekstasis worship’?

Did you know Patricia King wants you to experience Ekstasis Worship? We will let Patricia King introduce you to this bizzarre worship experience:

“Have you ever heard the term ‘Ekstasis worship’? No? Well many people haven’t. It’s a powerful word. It’s a Greek word that means… well you’ll find out in a little while. Because I want to introduce to you Caleb Brundidge.

He’s one of our itinerant ministries. But also a worshiper with so much passion. In fact if you’ve been to any of our conference, you would see Caleb flagging and worshiping God and opening up the heavens and operating in a real breaker level anointing.

He is actually a DJ as well and leads a lot of Christian events and weddings and you know, High School events and things like that. So if you would like to know mor about him, he’s on our itinerant page on our website. But today, he’s going to tell you about Club Mysterio and about the Ekstasis worship that takes place to bring those times of gathering together. So it’s my privilege to introduce to you Caleb Brundage.”

She aired this following segment on XP media. (You can see Patricia King 55 seconds in.)

The Elijah List allowed Caleb Brundidge to explain his teachings more. To read more on this, click here.

Big Mouths

big-mouths

“He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip” -Proverbs 20:19 (NASB)

As Christians, we should not only be able to rightly discern sound doctrine, but we need to be able to discern sound character. There are many things we all may fail in, but that doesn’t mean we should never be corrected and rebuked for bad character. As we are cautious about heresies that tend to infiltrate our western churches, so we also must be cautious concerning red flags about other people’s character.

In this particular portion of Proverbs, Solomon warns us about a particular problem in human nature – gossip. Particularly, it is gossip that spreads (mis)information, truthful or not, that brings a stain upon another person, intended or unintended. Whether done ignorantly or maliciously is not the warning here. The warning that this proverb is trying to help us understand is that a slanderer comes with a warning sign: A mouth that doesn’t shut.

I picked the Scripture version above because it is the best translation that I think projects the concept of this passage. Although not word for word, if I had to summarize and use the GRV (George’s Revised Version), I would say something like this:

“He who is gossiper reveals secrets, therefore do not have fellowship with or share information with those that are constantly opening their mouths.”

The reason why I worded it this way is because there are a few words in this Scripture that give the picture of someone who is always saying something, or sharing information about others, who will inevitably spread information about you.

The first Hebrew word, רָכִיל rakiyl (talebearer, gossiper, informer), is a word that describes someone that tells others information  or “tales” (thus the term “talebearer” in certain translations). Chances are, it will  be about things that they have no right to share, or were told in confidence something that they should not tell others. Everyone knows someone like this, so this should be of no surprise that these kinds of people have been around for ages. The next word is פָּתָה pathah (one who opens his lips). This word gives a linguistic picture of something spacious and wide, but is used idiomatically to speak of someone who can’t keep their mouth shut. It relates to our English idiom of disgust when we say, “You know, you got a big mouth!” There are no limits, self-control, or barriers to the kind of information that this person will share! Finally, the last word is עָרַב `arab. This word conveys fellowship and sharing. Other uses include giving a pledge, but in this context, it is like exchanging pledges. In other words, there is a trade or transaction of information, which always happens if you are going to communicate meaningfully with another human being.

warning-label

If you notice, the gossiper has to open their mouths and tell someone something that they should not. And this is the WARNING SIGN that we should all take heed to. If there is someone who spreads information about someone else, they will spread information about you. The best way to confront the person is to ask, “Am I supposed to know this information?” Or, if you hear information that may not be accurate, you can correct or inform the individual, taking into the consideration that it’s information that you are not able to openly express as well. Sometimes, a gossiper shares misinformation to gain more information to use it at their whim, so be careful!

The point is primarily this. Scripture warns us to be discerning of individuals that just can’t seem to keep their mouth under control, especially when it comes to information that we should not be privy to. Now, I am a talker. I love linguistics. I love communicating with my brethren about what’s on my heart and how I feel, but I usually only speak to a small circle of discerning friends about certain individuals that have caused me angst. The catch here is that the kind of speech that I should not exchange with someone else is information that may defame, stain, or hurt another individual’s reputation, or spread information that a person has confided with me on. I am not to divulge or indulge anything that I discern to be slanderous. This discernment is a muscle that we need to exercise and make stronger in our day and age where clicking “share” or sending emails without face-to-face conflict is so prominent. And our spiritual palates need to be trained to refuse the juicy morsels that so often cause our gossiping ears to salivate.

Even though I have painted an evil picture upon a person whose disposition is as I previously mentioned, I need to make it a point to inform you that gossip is forgivable. Oftentimes, slander is not tolerated, and it shouldn’t be. But we must remember that we are obligated to show forgiveness toward those who are of this kind of character. If a person is repentant about it, we must show mercy. While it is true that we will probably be more discerning in the future, we should never shy away from offering reconciliation, even if it may take a little while to come to fruition. The sin of gossip is a sin of the heart that is manifested in the tongue, and Christ died for that sin too.

I leave you with Psalm 15 as an exhortation of what a godly character should look like. Of course we know this is not an exhaustive list, but it is still an important one nevertheless. I have highlighted verse 3 in reference to what I have written thus far for your instruction.

Psalm 15 (NKJV)

The Character of Those Who May Dwell with the LORD

A Psalm of David.

1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?

Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

2 ​​He who walks uprightly,

​​And works righteousness,

​​And speaks the truth in his heart;

 

3 ​​He who does not backbite with his tongue,

​​Nor does evil to his neighbor,

​​Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;

 

4 ​​In whose eyes a vile person is despised,

​​But he honors those who fear the LORD;

​​He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

 

5 ​​He who does not put out his money at usury,

​​Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

​​He who does these things shall never be moved.