False Prophets: They Tell Us What We Want To Hear

 

(an excerpt from Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing)

Do you foster false prophets?

 

 

You may contribute to their prominence and not realize it.

 DGH Cover Design2

False prophets abound in the Church of Jesus Christ today. What led to their profusion?

They existed in the Apostle Paul’s day, too. He identified them and fought against their heresies. Paul warned his protégé, Timothy, of their invasion and what would encourage their presence.

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

Paul described the conditions and causes within churches that give an open door to false teachers. These conditions permit them to foster their fallacies and errors, and enable them to step into the vacuum where they can assume positions of leadership and lead people astray.

Those same conditions exist today, infecting the professing Church of Jesus Christ.  To prevent the presence and growth of false prophets in the Church, we must heed Paul’s warning to Timothy and turn from the practices that foster false prophets.

Danger Sign #1: Professing Believers Disavow Sound Doctrine.

“They will not endure sound doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4.3)

Paul declared that a time would come when people in the Church will disavow sound doctrine. They will seek the false and not adhere to the truth.

What does it mean when it says they will not endure sound doctrine? It means, very literally, they won’t stand for it. They will not put up with it. They want something else.

What sound doctrine will they not endure? In 1 Timothy 1.10-11, Paul used the exact phrase “sound doctrine” and explained what it meant in verse 11:

“According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

Paul predicted professing believers would not endure the sound doctrine of the gospel, the good news of the gospel that would save them and bring them back into relationship with God the Father.

This group included not just those on the outside of the Church, but also those within the Church. He said that Church members and professing believers, who said they followed Christ, would not put up with the gospel.

We face a grave problem today, the misstatement of the gospel. The Church fails to proclaim even the elementary truths of the gospel.

  • The Sinfulness Of Humanity

The modern day presentation of the gospel evades the issue of sin, because people do not want to hear about their sins. The preaching of the gospel without including the truth of the sinfulness of mankind eliminates the key element of the gospel. The gospel provides salvation from sin. Sadly, many professing believers have never come to recognize their dire sinfulness before God, an elemental part of salvation.

  • The Helplessness Of Mankind To Reconcile With God

Man contributes nothing to his salvation. One preacher said wisely, “The only thing that you bring to the salvation experience is your sin.” Sinners, utterly helpless and dead in their trespasses and sins, obtain salvation only by a gift of grace from God. The presentation of the gospel today frequently excludes this truth.

Most people assume that sinners provide something toward their salvation. However, salvation is neither a cooperative nor a synergistic experience, one where each party participates on a sharing basis. Sinners contribute nothing to their salvation but their sin.

Because the Church avoids these basic elements of the gospel, many people have not obtained salvation. They have never heard the gospel in its entirety.

Leaders within the professing Church today follow the same practice that Paul warned Timothy people would practice in that day. They will not endure the gospel. They will not put up with it. They do not explain it in its fullness.

This describes the first issue that Paul’s warning to Timothy emphasized, which gives rise to false prophets: people do not want the gospel. To avoid the growth of false prophets, the Church must overcome this error and return to a full presentation of gospel truths.

Danger Sign #2: Professing Believers Seek Personal Gratification.

“…but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” (2 Timothy 4.3)

Modern day professing believers delight in satisfying their fleshly natures and desires. The phrase “but after” means they do not want this, but they do want something else. They did not want a spiritual emphasis in their lives, but they greatly enjoyed pursuing pleasure, which captivated their interests.

Professing believers, who lack interest in the spiritual condition of their lives, fill the Church. Holiness, conspicuous by its absence, lacks appeal, reserved only for the devout, an option sought by dour believers. The preference for knowing God “…at a distance” makes the interest in an intimate knowledge of God outdated.

The popular faith does not want God’s interference in life. The discipline of walking with God, pursuing after Him in obedience and trust for life’s plans, has vanished.

To soothe their “itching ears” they “heap to themselves” pastors who tell them what they want to hear:

  • lessons on struggling with stress;
  • messages on managing finances;
  • feel-good homilies;
  • superficial Biblical instruction;
  • thoughts on raising children.

Instead of the gospel and holy living, these professing Christians want messages that appeal to their human natures. They pursue pastors and teachers who will scratch their ears and make them feel good. These conditions give rise to false prophets and teachers.

The Bible expressly speaks against satisfying the demands of our fleshly natures. Paul wrote to his friends at Rome on this very issue.

“I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.” (Romans 7:18)

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14)

This last reference refers to satisfying fleshly lusts instead of putting on Christ. Paul said, “Do not pursue your own lusts. That is not the way you should live as a follower of Christ.”

To avoid aiding the rise of false prophets in the Church of Jesus Christ, Christ followers must reject the popular trend toward satisfying their fleshly desires, and pursue after the knowledge of Christ.

Danger Sign #3: Professing Believers Turn To Error.

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth.” (2 Timothy 4:4)

When professing believers disavow the gospel, and seek personal gratification from those who satisfy their desires, they turn from the truth to error. They gather to themselves deceptive church leaders and pastors who deny the truth. They turn to fables, imaginations, and stories. They follow error, not the Bible.

The Church has begun to enter this phase of decline. The professing Church today debates the existence of truth. The world has tried to debunk and degrade the gospel of Jesus Christ for generations, saying that we cannot know truth, an unthinkable thought which Christ followers should never consider.

The world has said this for a long time. Then world says, “There is no exclusive truth. My truth is just as good as your truth.” Of course, the world would say that. They do not want to believe God’s truth, because it describes them as sinners in need of a Savior, and they don’t want that.

However, it becomes an entirely different problem when false prophets, who profess to follow Christ, assume positions as leaders and pastors of churches and say, “You can’t know the truth.” Their error misleads those who respect and follow them.

False prophets teach that every one can know their truth but cannot know God’s truth. Every false prophet, teacher, pastor, or leader, who makes these kinds of claims, establishes himself or herself above God. They create a truth that they impose which surpasses God’s truth.

The false prophet or teacher who says, “You can’t know the truth” contradicts Scripture, much like the serpent in the Garden of Eden who said to Adam and Eve, “You’ll not die. God has not told you the truth. I am telling you the truth. Believe me. Don’t believe God.”

On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus gave a series of messages to His disciples on the Holy Spirit recorded in John 14, 15 and 16. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth and told how the Holy Spirit would guide believers into the truth.

Christ told them:

“… when He comes, He will guide you into the truth. Many things I cannot tell you now, because you cannot understand them, you will not endure them, nor will you understand them. You cannot grasp them now. But when He comes, He will guide you into the truth.” (John 16:13)

Further, Jesus said,

I am the truth…” (John 14.6)

In His prayer in John chapter 17, Jesus prayed to His Father,

“One thing you will do Father; you will sanctify these people in the truth.” (John 17:17)

The Bible presents each member of the Triune God, the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, as providers, teachers, and revealers of truth. To declare that no one can know spiritual truth defames the triune God.

Untrustworthy teachers welcome the opportunity to encourage their followers to enjoy an easy and false doctrine. They do it subtly, carefully, and persuasively, so that error sounds like the truth.

To elude the support of false prophets in the Church of Jesus Christ, believers must reject the errors of the false prophets and pursue the truth, guided by the Holy Spirit Whom the Father and the Son sent to reveal it.

Summary

Paul’s warning to Timothy applies to the Church of Jesus Christ today, too. Professing believers, open your eyes to the truth. We can know the truth, and it will set us free from unwittingly fostering false prophets in the Church.

The whole sequence presented in 2 Timothy 2.3-4 describes recently published Christian magazines, books, and television and radio broadcasts. Many counterfeit spiritual leaders produce books and internet articles, and preach in churches and to vast crowds all over the world.

Organizations have risen in the last few years for the sole purpose of presenting error as true Christianity. Deceiving teaching looms dark over the contemporary church.

I urge you to bring these issues to the throne of God. Seek Him and His wisdom and stand for the inerrant truth of the Word of God.

Questions For Reflection and Application

Who can you identify that fits Paul’s description?

What organization(s) and churches follow the pattern that Paul explained?

Do you presently attend a church that fits the description of Paul’s warning to Timothy?

Can you recognize untruth when you hear it from the pulpit?

Do you follow the deceitful teachings of a false prophet(s)?

Has it caused you to consider that you cannot know the truth, that God does not demand of you total obedience and surrender of your rights in total submission to Him?

Do you pursue God and His righteousness above everything else?

Thank You, heavenly Father, for Your great grace in making provision for Your children by giving them warnings. In giving the warnings, You present that which is true and that which is false and the consequences of that which is false. And, Father, by Your Holy Spirit, apply these truths in our lives, that we might be taught by them, encouraged by them, strengthened by them, reaffirmed in the truth by them, corrected by them, conformed more assuredly and more completely to the truth. We will give to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all of the glory for what You accomplish. Amen.

 

 

Jonathan Edwards: Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

Caution? Jonathan Edwards’ Monumental Warnings

10 Precepts to Adopt

 

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Jonathan Edwards preached his classic sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” in the early 1700s to his church and again in 1741. Edwards based his message on Deuteronomy 32:35: “…their foot shall slide in due time.”

 

This presentation gives a summary of the message followed by a link to the complete sermon.

Summary of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1)

There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.

Most of the sermon’s text consists of ten “considerations”:

  • God may cast wicked men into hell at any given moment.
  • The Wicked deserve to be cast into hell. Divine justice does not prevent God from destroying the Wicked at any moment.
  • The Wicked, at this moment, suffer under God’s condemnation to Hell.
  • The Wicked, on earth – at this very moment – suffer the torments of Hell. The Wicked must not think, simply because they are not physically in Hell, that God (in Whose hand the Wicked now reside) is not – at this very moment – as angry with them as He is with those miserable creatures He is now tormenting in hell, and who – at this very moment – do feel and bear the fierceness of His wrath.
  • At any moment God shall permit him, Satan stands ready to fall upon the Wicked and seize them as his own.
  • If it were not for God’s restraints, there are, in the souls of wicked men, hellish principles reigning which, presently, would kindle and flame out into hellfire.
  • Simply because there are not visible means of death before them at any given moment, the Wicked should not feel secure.
  • Simply because it is natural to care for oneself or to think that others may care for them, men should not think themselves safe from God’s wrath.
  • All that wicked men may do to save themselves from Hell’s pains shall afford them nothing if they continue to reject Christ.
  • God has never promised to save us from Hell, except for those contained in Christ through the covenant of Grace.

 

  • For the entire text of the sermon, follow this link.

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Evil Assaults On Biblical Belief?

Evil Assaults on Biblical Beliefs: 5 Truths Empower Victory

A Top 10 Sermon PDF Transcription

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It happens every day. Evil assaults on Biblical belief make headlines. Their frequency and intensity increase every day.

How can you overcome these attacks? This Top 10 Sermon PDF Transcription provides 5 truths to empower you to victory. Download it here.

Caution: Christian Church Controversy

Christian Church Controversy

6 Practical Precepts To Adopt

An Excerpt from the First Place Award winning book,

Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The legend of the Trojan Horse captivates our imagination. According to legend, the Greeks attempted to conquer the city of Troy, situated on the west coast of Asia Minor around 1200 B.C.

When the people of Troy denied them entry, the Greeks devised a scheme to enter the city by deception. They built a colossal, magnificent horse as a gift to the victorious Trojans.

Virgil described the scene in Aeneid, Book 2 as translated by John Drydan.

“By destiny compell’d, and in despair,

The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war,

And by Minerva’s aid a fabric rear’d,

Which like a steed of monstrous height appear’d:

The sides were plank’d with pine; they feign’d it made

For their return, and this the vow they paid.

Thus they pretend, but in the hollow side

Selected numbers of their soldiers hide:

With inward arms the dire machine they load,

And iron bowels stuff the dark abode.”

Notice the warning they received.

“[…]   Laocoon, follow’d by a num’rous crowd,

Ran from the fort, and cried, from far, aloud:

‘O wretched countrymen! What fury reigns?

What more than madness has possess’d your brains?

Think you the Grecians from your coasts are gone?

And are Ulysses’ arts no better known?

This hollow fabric either must inclose,

Within its blind recess, our secret foes;

Or ‘t is an engine rais’d above the town,

T’ o’erlook the walls, and then to batter down.

Somewhat is sure design’d, by fraud or force:

Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse.”

(Virgil’s Aeneid, Book 2 (trans. John Dryden).

When the Trojans brought the horse into their city, they never realized that enemy troops lurked inside its hollow center. At night, the Greek troops left their hiding place in the horse and captured the City of Troy.

Similarity in the Christian Church

In similar fashion, false prophets and teachers have invaded the Christian Church of Jesus Christ today. They have deceived many and contributed to its spiritual decline.

Jesus warned believers of this danger in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:15-20)

This passage provides a very clear warning: “Beware of false prophets.” They have existed in every generation, and you can recognize them. In fact, if you examine the Scriptures, this is not a new warning.

Old Testament Prophecies

For example, in the Old Testament at least four stalwart men of God warned of the dangers of false prophets.

  • In Deuteronomy 13, Moses talked about the false prophets who would come.
  • Elijah made a spectacular appearance on Mount Carmel when he slew hundreds of the false prophets of Baal.
  • Jeremiah warned about them and gave some clues that described them.
  • Ezekiel warned of false prophets, too.

Throughout the Old Testament, the Bible issues warnings about false prophets and teachers.

New Testament Settings

Jesus did not proclaim a new message. He spoke out against the Scribes and Pharisees, His contemporaries.

Paul, the distinguished apostle, warned against them. In his letter to the Galatians, he identified their characteristics. He also wrote his friend, Timothy, and spoke against the false teachers present in the church under Timothy’s care.

The book of the Revelation contains strong warnings and identification of false prophets, teachers, and leaders. Of the 7 letters to the churches, 6 of them contain corrections about the false doctrine, errors, and treacherous teachers present in those churches.

False Prophets Today

Therefore, this message of the Lord Jesus provides a pertinent message for us. His warning not only proved true in that day, but we greatly need it today. Yes, false prophets abound in the Christian Church.

They hold prominent positions of leadership as pastors and teachers in the Church. They profess to follow Christ but preach unbiblical messages that captivate the minds of the unwary and lead them astray. They publish books and promote their counterfeit teachings over television, radio, and the Internet.

Their influence thwarts conformity to God’s word. Therefore, the Christian Church today faces great injury because of their presence and influence.

Effects of False Prophets

Their leadership has brought us to a point where the world disrespects the Church. It has no fear of it and mocks it without fear, making fun of the Lord Jesus, the Savior of sinners. They curse His name without rebuke or any kind of chastisement against them.

The spiritual decline of the Christian Church under the influence and leadership of counterfeit prophets has grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit, and contributed to its ineffectiveness.

God has withdrawn His glorious, manifest presence. We have replaced it with hype and emotionalism, pathetic replacements for the real presence of God. Multitudes fill our congregations who think they have experienced salvation, but, instead, have followed a damnable heresy.

Biblical Course Of Action

Because of the prevalence of false prophets and teachers and their detrimental influence upon the Christian Church, the followers of Christ and His Church must heed the warnings of Christ, identify the false leaders, and refuse to follow them.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to this imminent danger, correct the Christian Church, and bring to it the spiritual revival it so desperately needs.

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.

Astonishing Discovery: Emergent, Postmodern, Seeker-friendly Origins

A Church Growth Top 10 Podcast: Emergent, Postmodern, Seeker-friendly Origins

Photo by Joselulnunes

Photo by Joselulnunes

The new essentials for church growth: emergent, postmodern, and seeker-friendly methods?

Their promoters call them the “New Wave Requirements” for church growth.

When did these ideas begin? What activated them?

Listen to this Top 10 podcast and learn the roots of this modern sensation. It will open your eyes.

Monumental Problem: Bible Compromise

Bible Compromise: 11 Looming Catastrophes

You Need To Know

 

Have you ever seen anything perfect and flawed at the same time? Can it even happen?

While you try to unravel that conundrum, someone already declared, “The Bible is Flawed and Inspired.” (1)

We live in amazing times. In the Bible – Culture Wars, culture boasts an amazing win percentage. Culture wins again. Bible compromise begins.

Photo by Adnam Islam

Photo by Adnam Islam

 

According to many, including professing Christians, the Bible must conform to the culture for it to have any impact upon society.

They say that the Bible contains errors, condemns too many culturally accepted practices, e.g., homosexuality and adultery, and “approves” slavery, genocide, etc. Therefore, the Bible fails to sustain any belief in its inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility. The Bible has lost all credibility in the culture, and Christians must take action to preserve its relevancy.

Bible compromise on these popular, accepted errors predominate religious dialogues today, even in the professing evangelical community of believers. Many elevate erroneous ideas, formulated in casual discussion groups, to sacred doctrine and reject teachings formulated by the prayerful study of generations of Biblical scholars under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Take a few minutes and consider the following implications of Bible compromise that, if accepted, will produce the premature death of the Bible.

Culture > Divine Inspiration of the Bible?

A divinely inspired and flawed Bible cannot exist. This oxymoron smells of the noxious fumes of hell. Start with a definition of Biblical inspiration:

“Inspiration may be defined as the inward work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of chosen men who then wrote the Scriptures so that God got written what He wanted.” (2)

Those who put God’s words into human language served as vehicles of divine expression. They wrote the truths that God by the Holy Spirit inspired them to pen.

Therefore, to assume errors in the Bible eliminates divine authority and inspiration throughout every part of sacred scripture, restricting divine authorship only to those parts of the Bible other than the alleged errors.

The Bible makes no such distinctions between inerrant and fallible parts. How, then, can finite humans distinguish between these diverse parts?

Those who attempt such divisions rely upon their own intuitions, desires, and cultural pressures to identify them. Scholars defend the ‘inspired with errors’ fallacy by saying that God merely accommodated Himself to the cultures of Bible times. These critics assert taht knowledge since those times reveals certain parts as flawed and error.

Think for a moment of the implications of those statements.

  • It calls God and the Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus called “…the Spirit of Truth…,” the authors of error, since God by the Holy Spirit authored the whole Bible. (3) HERESY!
  • It aserts that, contrary to the promise of Jesus that the Holy Spirit would “…guide you into all truth…,” the Holy Spirit guides us into error. (4) HERESY!
  • It implies that God deliberately deceived and misled centuries of people with errors which only lately became known. HERESY!

The failure to accept the divine inspiration of the entire Bible produces incontestable death to the Bible. The failure of any one of the legs of the three-legged stool upon which the Bible rests destroys the stool. Then, the Church needs to hold a funeral for the Bible.

God by His Holy Spirit divinely inspired the entire, self-authenticating Bible, or none of it. No other choice exists. Biblical compromise with culture must cease.

Superseding The Christian’s Proper Basic Belief

Proper basic belief(s) sit(s) in the central position in a person’s life. Individuals hold it/them with the greatest possible conviction. They provide the basis upon which a person’s mind apprehends and determines beliefs, knowledge, and understanding. (5)

Many possible basic beliefs exist. Some use science, others rely upon culture, still others trust individuals, e.g., philosophers, scientists, self, etc. Biblical compromise affects one’s proper basic belief(s).

Too often, science, philosophy, and culture displace the Bible from its central role in primary basic beliefs. Critics, even among professing Christians, then analyze the Bible through the lens of science, philosophy, and culture. As a result, they modify the Bible to fit their primary basic beliefs.

Instead, humanity, particularly Christians, must establish God and His self-revelation as the primary basic belief(s) and evaluate all other competing ideas through His revelation. God’s self-revelation in creation, the Bible, and Jesus Christ comes to humanity in ways suitable to our nature so that we know Him. (6)

The divine inspiration of the Bible from God Himself by His Holy Spirit makes it inerrant and infallible in all of its parts. Because of its divine inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility, the Bible provides an objective, crucial, and trustworthy standard in a person’s life.

Therefore, we must evaluate all competing beliefs, knowledge, and understanding of creation, mankind, God, and Jesus Christ through the Bible’s revelation. We interpret science, philosophy, etc. from a Biblical perspective.

The same approach holds true for the myriads of issues a person confronts in life:

  • religious concerns;
  • health;
  • wealth; and
  • employment, to name a few.

We must evaluate and interpret all of life’s concerns by the divinely inspired, inerrant, infallible, and self-authenticating Bible, God’s self-revelation to His creation.

11 Catastrophes Of The Removal Of The Bible As Proper Basic Belief

Inserting another foundation to supersede the inspired, inerrant, infallible, Bible causes disastrous consequences. The following list highlights the catastrophic implications.

  1. It elevates humanity to transcendence.
  2. It questions the Bible’s veracity, reducing it to the status of another book, undermines it, and eliminates its authority.
  3. It replaces Biblical authority with human authority.
  4. It permits everything in the Bible as fair game for its/their rejection.
  5. It eliminates the cognitive authority of the Bible.
  6. It denies the clarity of the Bible.
  7. It makes the Bible fallible.
  8. It leads to reliance upon secularism, naturalism, and liberalism instead of the Bible.
  9. It produces skepticism re God’s self-revelation in creation, Jesus Christ, and the Bible.
  10. We believe a lie.
  11. It dismisses Jesus Christ.

Summary

Two intersecting lines that have only 1° of separation at the point of intersection continue to deviate from each other in ever widening fashion. In a similar manner, even a small distortion of a flawed, compromised Bible produces innumerable errors.

Appraisal of the Bible by accepting human theories, postulates, and presuppositions as ultimate certainty destroys the divine character of the Bible and eliminates it as God’s self-revelation to mankind.

Therefore, the divinely inspired, inerrant, and infallible Bible provides the only certain foundation upon which Christian faith rests with Jesus Christ as the Chief Cornerstone. We must demand that the Bible retain its position in primary basic belief(s) and that we evaluate all human theories, postulates, and presuppositions from a Biblical perspective.

References

  1. Flood, Derek. “The Bible is Flawed and Inspired.” Available at this link: http://www.therebelgod.com/2015/05/the-bible-is-flawed-and-inspired.html
  2. Lindsell, Harold. The Battle For The Bible. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI 49506. 1976. p. 30.
  3. John 16.13; 14.16-17; 15.26.
  4. John 16.13.
  5. Grier, James. I profited from frequent one-on-one meetings and seminars with Dr. Grier who emphasized this truth.
  6. Grier, Ibid.

 © Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.

 

John MacArthur: Uncompromised Love Conquers Controversy?

John MacArthur’s easy, promising secrets to value

“Christians who confront sinners with Biblical truth are regularly labeled as unloving.” (John MacArthur)

John-Press-02

 

You thought that you loved everybody. Then, the current controversy of uncompromised love arose. Now, culture demands uncompromised love from Christians and the church.

How should Christians and the church respond? Take 5 minutes, read John MacArthur’s article, and discover a Biblical example that instructs us on God’s plan for us.

 

Hypnotic Agony of Envy

A Top 10 Video Cast

An epidemic of envy permeates our culture today. We want what others have and plot how to get it or its equal.

Image courtesy of alexisdc at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of alexisdc at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Men and women alike quiver at envy’s potential. In a thousand ways we justify our greedy obsessions with little or no thought of its pitfalls.

Aaron and Miriam, Moses’s brother and sister, obsessed with envy over his position. They devised a plan for their replacement of his leadership. They did not consider the dangers of their plot.

This Top 10 Video cast describes the implications and God’s response to their plans from Numbers 12.1-16. You can view it at this link.

 

 

Prominent Controversy: Sodom’s Dirty Secrets

8 Reliable Perspectives To Reclaim

What happened that night when the men of Sodom confronted Lot? How does the Bible characterize Sodom?

Image courtesy of nongpimmy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nongpimmy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do Sodom and Gomorrah exemplify the sin of homosexuality? Has the homosexuality community interpreted the Bible correctly? Should you accept the LGBTQ(1) version?

Though many attempt to reconcile homosexuality with the Bible, such efforts fail. You cannot reconcile truth with error.

The battle to legitimize homosexuality began with an all-out attack upon the Biblical record of Sodom. This assault changed the story of homosexuality in Sodom to lack of hospitality in Sodom. Homosexuals misinterpret other references to Sodom similarly.

When LGBTQ cannot alter the clear meaning of a Biblical text that refers to homosexuality, they simply reject it as irrelevant to the issue. In essence, they remove any passage of Scripture that remotely describes the sinfulness of homosexuality.

These misinterpretations and denials developed into an accepted error. They form the foundation of the homosexual movement. The LGBTQ community believes that the Bible legitimizes their behavior.

In fact, many professing evangelicals accept and promote these errors, too. Consequently, it appears that the Bible not only fails to condemn homosexuality, it actually permits it.

These questions deserve a response. The Bible provides ample confirmation of God’s attitude toward homosexuality. In particular, the Bible describes what occurred that night in Sodom. It makes it an example throughout all of Scripture. A comparison of Bible texts confirms the Bible’s stance on Sodom and homosexuality, which contradicts the version promoted by the LGBTQ community.

Roots of Homosexuality

The proper understanding of the events in Sodom actually begins many chapters before the record of Sodom in Genesis 19. It begins before the flood as recorded in Genesis 6. As God viewed the world before the flood, He described mankind’s wickedness and the total corruption of humanity. (2)

This awful wickedness included the full range of sexual immorality: fornication, incest, and homosexuality, even homosexual marriage. (4) The practice of homosexuality predates the flood.

After the flood, the Bible records another homosexual event. After Noah and his family departed from the Ark, Noah planted a vineyard. He drank too much of the fruit of the vine and became drunk.

The wickedness of Ham ensued. Ham uncovered the nakedness of his father, whom Ham saw lying drunk on the floor of his tent. (4) This description sounds innocent. But, when Ham saw his father, it literally means that he gazed with satisfaction upon his nakedness. (5) His look occurred with purpose and intent, not accidentally or harmlessly. (6)

When the Bible says that Ham uncovered the nakedness of his father, it describes sexual immorality. (7) Rabbinic exegesis of this passage indicates that Ham’s gaze turned into homosexual rape of his father. (8)

After the incident between Ham and Noah, Ham delightedly told his brothers what he had done. With great care, his brothers covered their father without observing his nakedness.

After Noah awoke from his drunkenness, he learned of Ham’s behavior toward him. Then, because of Ham’s wicked act, Noah cursed Ham’s son, Canaan. (9)

Homosexuality In Sodom

The effects of Ham’s wicked act upon Noah and Noah’s curse upon Canaan do not appear until Genesis 13. This chapter records the split between Abram and his nephew Lot. Abram gave Lot the first choice of land, which allowed Lot to separate from Abram and to take his family and herds to a new location. Lot chose the Plain of Jordan and moved his family toward Sodom in the Plain of Jordan.

The Canaanites, Canaan’s offspring, occupied Sodom. (10) Genesis 13.13 describes the people of Sodom as “…wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.”

Adam Clarke, in his commentary upon this passage, said that it describes persons breaking the established order of things, openly before God. Radically evil, they sought satisfaction in sensual gratification with depraved, shameless, out of order passions. (11)

Not long after Abram and Lot separated, God appeared to Abram in the form of three persons. As the three men rose up to depart, they told Abram of their plan to visit Sodom. They told him that they had heard the outcry of Sodom, because of their grievous sin. (12)

In fact, the practice of homosexuality permeated the Canaanite peoples long before the record of Sodom. Canaan’s offspring, the Canaanites, became noted for their sexual perversions, including homosexuality.

The Mesopotamian, Middle Assyrian, and Hittite peoples (descendents of Canaan) openly practiced homosexuality in those days. Eventually, this wicked practice became commonplace in Grecian and Roman cultures. (13)

Two of the three men who visited Abram continued on their way to visit Sodom, knowing its wickedness. At Lot’s insistence, they did not stay out in the city square at night as planned, but went into Lot’s house. The men of Sodom came to Lot and demanded that he release the men to them in order that they might know them.

The two men protected Lot by sending blindness upon the men of the city. In the morning, the two men dragged Lot, his wife, and his two daughters out of the city and then destroyed it. (14)

In contradiction to the LGBTQ version of these events, the Bible clearly depicts the homosexual wickedness of Sodom, which began many years previously. This passage contains several key elements that require explanation.

The context in the Bible and nonBiblical records delineate the homosexual behavior of Sodom. A proper understanding begins with the meanings of key words in the text.

  • Key Words: The men of the city

The LGBTQ community has diminished the emphasis of this phrase. They describe it merely as a delegation of men who came to see Lot. Yet, the text clearly states “…all of the men of the city, including young and old, from every part of the city, came to Lot’s house.” (15)

They did not come to Lot’s house to welcome his guests into the city nor to interrogate them. All of the men of the city came with one purpose: to have homosexual sex with Lot’s two visitors.

  • Key Words: Know

The intent of the men of the city comes clear with the proper use of the word know. This word has different functions in the Bible. Therefore, the context of its use provides insight to its meaning within the text.

The context for the meaning of this word in this text begins early in Genesis. On three previous occasions, it appears as a euphemism for sexual intercourse. (16)

In the immediate context, the conversation between Lot and the men of the city show that Lot understood their meaning as sexual intercourse. He called their demands wicked. Further, he offered his virgin daughters to them in an immoral attempt to satisfy their sexual desires. When he did, he described them as virgins who had not known man. (17)

Lot did not misunderstand the men’s demands as a request for an interview with his guests. Nor does understanding of the text hinge upon the failed interpretation of inhospitality by the men of Sodom. Lot understood their evil, sexual demands and rejected them, hoping he could persuade them to satisfy their passions upon his daughters.

The wicked behavior identified with Sodom and the surrounding peoples confirms this interpretation. Even Egyptian texts and traditions use know to describe sexual intercourse. (18) The LGBTQ community fails in its attempt to distort the true meaning of this term to support their agenda.

Key Passages In Reference To Sodom

The Bible offers numerous references to this occasion and confirms its homosexual application. A brief review of these passages will verify it. Many passages use it as an example of how God detests wickedness and judges it. Sodom provides a vivid illustration.

  • Isaiah 1.1-9, 3.8-9, 13.19, Jeremiah 23.14, Zephaniah 2.8-11, etc.

From these and other references, the LGBTQ community attempts to interpret them as itemized lists of the sins of Sodom other than homosexuality. They attempt to bypass the descriptions that identify homosexuality as the sin of Sodom. However, these references simply list the sins of Israel and warn it of impending judgment as God brought to Sodom.

  • Ezekiel 16.48-56

In particular, the homosexual community uses this verse as their trump verse. It does list the sins of Sodom. The last sin in the list, abomination, does not serve as a summary of the previous list of sins. A singular noun, it identifies a separate sin in addition to those previously listed. The Bible calls homosexual behavior an abomination, describing it as sexually perverse behavior. In this text, abomination describes Sodom’s sin of homosexuality. (19)

  • 2 Peter 2.1-8

Peter refers directly to the wickedness of Sodom and God’s judgment upon it. Here he calls the inhabitants “wicked” with “filthy conversation,” and their acts “unlawful deeds.”

In verses 1-3, Peter warns his readers about false prophets and teachers. In the next five verses, he identifies three specific examples of God’s judgment upon those who followed the sinful ways of false leaders, the last one Sodom and its sister city Gomorrah.

The “filthy conversation” of the people of Sodom does not refer to their speech habits. It means their manner of life, “…(the) sensual conduct of the wicked.” (ESV) Their behavior lacked moral restraint, and they practiced sexual licentiousness. (20)

Peter’s description does not call their lawlessness as “lusts for angels.” The men of Sodom experienced defiling desires and sexual lusts for Lot’s visitors. (21)

  • Jude 1.7

Jude mentions Sodom in his warning of judgment upon the wicked. He described their sin as “fornication” and going after “strange flesh.”

The word “fornication” describes sexual immorality of any type and kind, including, incest, bestiality, and homosexuality. (22)

The phrase “strange flesh” does not refer to angels. It describes the practice of unnatural uses. They did not content themselves with sexual intercourse with their wives or other men’s wives. The men of Sodom sought perverted homosexual sex. (23)

Summary

Contrary to popular error, Sodom exemplifies the sin of homosexuality. When all of the men of Sodom attacked Lot’s house, they demanded that he release his two visitors to them so that they could indulge their homosexual passions.

In other texts, the Bible reverberates this same understanding of those events. The LGBTQ community and many professing evangelicals misinterpret the Bible’s declarations of Sodom’s wickedness. Christ followers must reject the homosexual community’s Biblical interpretation of their behavior and accept God’s explanation of their sinfulness.

God made provision for sinners like you and me. He gave His son, Jesus Christ, as a substitute for sinners. Jesus took the punishment that people like you and I deserve.

His resurrection completed the task that God sent Him to fulfill on behalf of sinners. Jesus Christ will reconcile to God every sinner who turns from self-trust and trusts Christ as his/her substitute.

God gives new life to those who come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ. For those who come to Him, He washes away the sin and guilt of their past regardless of its wickedness, forgives their sin, and makes them new creatures.

I recall the day that I first trusted Christ. He truly made me a new creature, and I know many others with the same testimony. If you have never trusted Christ in this way, I pray that God by His Holy Spirit will bring you to experience it today.

References

  1. LGBTQ: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning
  2. Genesis 6.5-12.
  3. Wold, Donald J. Out Of Order: Homosexuality In The Bible And The Ancient Near East. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 49516; 1998; p. 66-76.
  4. Genesis 9.20-22.
  5. QuickVerse 10 Bible Software. WORDsearch, Corp. “The Genesis Record.”
  6. Leupold, H. C. Exposition of Genesis. DeWard Publishing Company, Ltd., Chillicothe, OH 45601; 2010. p. 214-215.
  7. QuickVerse. “Wilmington’s Guide To The Bible” @ Genesis 9.20f.
  8. p. 66-76.
  9. Genesis 9.24-27.
  10. Genesis 13.7.
  11. QuickVerse. “Adam Clarke’s Commentary Upon The Old Testament” @ Genesis 13.13.
  12. Genesis 18.16-21.
  13. Wenham, Gordon. “The Old Testament Attitude to Homosexuality.” Expository Times102 (1991):L 259-363.
  14. Genesis 19.1-25.
  15. Genesis 19.4.
  16. Genesis 4.1, 17, 25.
  17. Genesis 19.5-8.
  18. p. 77-89.
  19. Leviticus 18.22; 20.13; Gagnon, Robert A. J. “Why We Know That The Story Of Sodom Indicts Homosexual Practice Per Se.” Available at this link: http://www.robgagnon.net/homosex7thDayAdvArticleSodom.htm Accessed online at 6/25/15.
  20. Logos Bible Software. “Louw and Nida” @ “sensual.”
  21. Gagnon
  22. Logos Bible Software. “Louw and Nida” @ “immorality.” Also “New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology” @ “immorality.”
  23. Logos Bible Software. “Word Pictures” @ “unnatural.” Also “Louw and Nida” @ “unnatural.”

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.