Truth or Favoured Teachings?

Following is a reply I wrote to a commenter on another blog.

That person has spent some time arguing against a series of articles written by the blog owner, in which the blog owner was addressing the errors of “Once Save Always Saved” (OSAS).

The commenter includes links to a site promoting “Free Grace” theology – which basically says that once a decision has been made for Christ, then no matter what comes afterwards, that decision ensures eternal security.

As an example of this belief system, in one article posted by that commenter it was stated:

 “The Bible clearly teaches that God’s love for His people is of such magnitude that even those who walk away from the faith have not the slightest chance of slipping from His hand (my emphasis in bold type – onesimus)”

Such a statement is the worst kind of false teaching because the Bible does not teach anything of the kind, clearly or otherwise.

The “foundation” to this belief seems to be a single phrase “by grace you are saved” found in Ephesians.

In one of their replies to me the commenter said:

I told you not to bother answering me and to go back and study things…….didn’t think you would…….

 

This was my reply:

I have spent a life time studying, from my late teens.
The first years I studied what men said about scripture and what they said scripture meant, and I could quote verse upon verse to prove what they had taught me.

And then a lot of what I’d learned came crashing down when I found I could no longer push aside my increasing questions about why some of their teachings didn’t add up; that the parts of scripture they ignored tended to contradict some of the things they were teaching.

During the last couple of decades, I have let scripture itself be the authority and found it was much easier to understand than I expected.
I learned that proof-texting, or relying on individual bible statements to “prove” a point was not only counterproductive, it was destructive.
ANYONE can quote verses to “prove” whatever they want to believe. It’s often more enlightening to note which parts of scripture are avoided instead of the parts being quoted as “proof”.

The Bible is NOT a collection of countless individual theological points encapsulated in convenient quotable texts. The Bible, as a whole, is a developing revelation of God and His relationship with His creation, (in particular mankind) from the very beginning of this current creation, through to the establishment of a new heaven and earth.

It is impossible to grasp the truth by fixating on parts of scripture while ignoring the rest.
It is impossible to grasp the truth by fixating on individual words in scripture, while ignoring the rest.

Instead of fixating on a word like “grace” from one verse of scripture to establish an all-over doctrine of salvation – try getting an understanding through the whole of scripture, seeing God’s grace AT WORK through His ongoing relationship with mankind.
See God’s grace in action rather than applying man’s artificial definitions of what grace means.

It would be a worthless exercise for me to attempt to counteract the proof texts of others with proof texts of my own – I long ago recognised that proof text duelling is a fruitless exercise.

The truth will only be discovered and accepted by those who have a desire for the truth, who are willing to search the scriptures (the WHOLE of scripture) to find it.
It will not be discovered in out of context, cherry-picked parts of scripture.

Will Hating Muslims Lead Them to Jesus?

I’m blocked from commenting on Bill Randle’s’ site, so I want to use this post to address something said on his blog.

In recent articles Randles has  been lamenting how the “West” has abandoned Judeo-Christian influences and has taken a too welcoming approach to Muslims, something he sees as a threat to Western values and security.

When Steve (a frequent commenter on my blog) questioned what Randles had written with regard to Muslims, another commenter, in support of  Randles’ assertions, said:

This is about Islam, not Muslims…

https://billrandles.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/treacherous-dealers-dealing-treacherously-the-west-in-prophecy-pt-9/#comment-23042

 

But Bill Randles’ post doesn’t reflect that “Islam not Muslim” claim.

Within Randles’ article the following statements ABOUT MUSLIMS were included.

 

Evidently, the “new normal” for our once secure nations, is carnage in the streets, broken bodies of men, women and children, streaming with blood and broken toys, courtesy of “immigrant guests” from third world countries, usually Muslim

These leaders have dumped upon their taxpaying populations, millions of miserable, ungrateful and downright murderous Muslims,

…a five year old special needs child was attacked, raped and humiliated by three of her “Muslim immigrant” neighbors

…sexually harassed and raped by savages from Muslim lands

Muslims will continue to be “welcomed” into our societies, so we can wait for the next outrage.

 

See complete article here:
https://billrandles.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/treacherous-dealers-dealing-treacherously-the-west-in-prophecy-pt-9/

 

I have to ask, how profitable is this kind of rhetoric against non-Christians?

Muslims also need Jesus and are able to seek and find Him – but why would they want to seek the truth of the gospel if they think posts like Randles’ article are an example of it?

 

In closing I’d like to ask you to make a comparison between the attitudes expressed in Randles’ articles and those I’ve recommended in some of my earlier posts, such as those linked below, and think about which more closely reflect a Christlike viewpoint:

https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/responding-biblically-to-the-refugee-crisis/

https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/empathy-and-evangelism-in-days-of-crisis-by-dalton-thomas/

and

https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/why-the-church-must-love-the-refugee-by-scott-Gustafson/

 

 

The Good the Bad and the Ugly ( Attitudes displayed, not necessarily in that order)

A Christian teacher respected by many, a man I’ve written about in earlier posts, has recently written two posts on his blog* about “the West in prophecy” (what seem to be reposts of articles first published on his blog a year ago – probably revisited because of the recent Islamist attacks in Britain ).

As an example of the tone of those articles I quote a couple of sentences from the conclusion of the second article:

…Europeans for the most part cannot be bothered to have children, The All powerful superstate has seen fit to try to fill those empty taxpaying slots in the economy with Muslims. Millions of them.(After all people are interchangeable units aren’t they?)

What is happening in Europe physically through Immigration is a reflection of what has happened spiritually. For the most part the house is empty, this is not to say there isn’t a remnant of Christians in Europe(and America) for there is.

… into the larger vacuum in Europe are pouring hordes of third world , barbarian savages. America is experiencing similar problems.

Firstly I’d like to point out that I have something about Muslims scheduled to be posted early tomorrow morning (Eastern Australian time) in which I think the writer (Joel Richardson) expresses a much more Christlike view.

Secondly, I posted a comment on the blog mentioned above, that has now been deleted by the “Christian teacher”. And what was my comment? I posted a video that I think addresses the issue of Muslim refugees from a biblical perspective. A video I posted here a few weeks ago.

____________

* Link to the blog post containing the quote above.

Nationalism and Rejecting Ripe Fruit.

Sometime in the early 1980s, I recall seeing an episode of a Jimmy Swaggert TV broadcast in which he spoke about the rise of antichrist and a one world government. The thing that MOST struck me at the time, and has remained in my memory, is that his main fear about antichrist and his government was that the US would lose its sovereignty as a nation.

That US-centric concern is clearly not an isolated opinion of a televangelist who was soon to be disgraced by the exposure of his sexual infidelities. And it is not a mindset now faded into the history of US evangelicalism.
The revering of nationhood and national sovereignty continues today among evangelicals, (not only in the USA), at the expense of the work of the gospel, and the risk of misrepresenting the heart of God.

And here is an example. I’m REALLY finding it difficult to find the slightest trace of the heart of God reflected in the following:

For the price of settling a thousand disgruntled Muslim refugees in the (despised) West, Trump knows that you could settle 120,000 Muslims in “safe places” in the Middle East, establishing comfortable homes and safe, temporary communities in places much closer and much more agreeable to the refugees, saving the West millions of dollars ,countless rapes and murderers of its own citizenship and the serious destabilization of our once blessed nations.

https://billrandles.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/it-is-amazing-what-you-can-do-when-you-are-not-owned-by-the-saudis/

It’s quite painful to even think of addressing this in detail, but here are a few objectionable points:

1) “Disgruntled Muslim refugees” –

I think having one’s who life ripped apart, family members killed, homes and livelihoods destroyed, would take a person far beyond “disgruntled. More like desperate. Devastated. Destitute.

2) Settle Muslims in “safe places” in the middle east, establishing comfortable homes…etc.

Didn’t they HAVE “safe places” “comfortable homes” in the Middle East – until the area was destabilised by Western military involvement?

3) “communities…much more agreeable to the refugees”

Much more agreeable in nations where access to the gospel is severely limited? Much more agreeable to keeping them separate from the gospel?

4)”saving the West millions of dollars”

Now THAT seems to be closer to the real heart of the issue.

5) “saving the West …countless rapes and murderers of its own citizenship and the serious destabilization of our once blessed nations.

What are the comparative figures between “home grown” rapes and murders and those alleged to have been carried out by refugees? That statement seems much more like fear-mongering than anything with the slightest relationship to truth. Trying to stir fear is NOT the work of Jesus who many times commanded his followers to “fear not”.
The latter part of the statement reflects the REAL agenda of those who see these views as valid. The real agenda relates to “our once blessed nations”. It does NOT relate to the Kingdom of God and God’s agenda – it does NOT relate to improving the chances of bringing more people (Muslim refugees) into the Kingdom of God, by welcoming them, loving them, and giving them an increased access to the gospel of Jesus Christ at a time when they have most reason to be disillusioned with their traditional religious background.

I am about half way through a book about the rapid growth of house churches in Iran – a growth due to an increasing number of Iranians leaving Islam to follow Jesus.
The author looks at the history of the past 40 years to show how successive corrupt Islamic regimes helped damage the religious foundations of many people’s lives. Through the teachings and actions of the Ayatollah Khomeini, and later President Ahmadinejad, both of whom claimed to have Allah’s approval to carry out his will in Iran, many had their eyes opened enough to question the kind of god at the heart of a religion represented by those men.

Already by 2005 many were rejecting Iran’s religion because of what had happened in Iran as a result of Khomeinism. Now a new generation was presented with its child, Ahmadinejadism. Again they were being asked to make a decision about their national religion. And again many decided that since Ahmadinejadism belonged to Islam, they were unable to equate this with God. The shadow between the rhetoric and the reality was too dark. Hence the impact of Ahmadinejadism on Iran was to widen the wound that already existed between her people and her religion”

(Too Many to Jail, Mark Bradley)

In this is a caution that Christians can heed – the dangers of aligning themselves to political movements and candidates, especially those displaying characteristics clearly divorced from any degree of Godliness.

The book later details how an increasing number of those disillusioned by Islam were drawn to recognise Jesus, becoming His followers despite the institutionalised threat of persecution, jail, or in extreme cases murder. This was made possible through an encounter with the real gospel and with committed Christians showing them the love of Christ.. willing to take risks to welcome the newcomers into their homes and lives – despite the risks of potential betrayal.

Now consider again the quote near the beginning of this article related to Muslim refugees. What kind of Christian witness is given in that quote and in its attitude to the refugees?

In an earlier post I asked whether [ Western] evangelicalism was so weak that it can’t cope with an influx of foreign refugees ripe for the gospel and suggested that the truth is that [Western] evangelicalism has NO gospel to preach to them. It has been replaced by a form of religious nationalism.

The quote above ends with a statement about Muslim refugees causing “serious destabilization of our once blessed nations”.

More than ever, I’m increasingly seeing that the assumed blessings Western nations have experienced (that the above writer clearly wants to maintain) are in fact the thorns and weeds that choke out the fruitful of the word of God in our lives.

Trump-loving!

Yet more Trump-loving propaganda from Bill Randles

And the recommendation of a video titled: “Trump saves civilisation”

https://billrandles.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/it-is-amazing-what-you-can-do-when-you-are-not-owned-by-the-saudis/

Sorry Bill I reject that saviour, the one emblazoned across your blog on the video you recommend.

There is only ONE saviour. His name is JESUS.
Randles starts his post by saying:

“Within one week into his presidency it looks like Donald Trump has brought us to a possibly sane solution, which may be on the way to solve the utterly destructive “Muslim Refugee Crisis”, humanly speaking, of course.”

Sane solution? To a problem greatly caused (or at least exacerbated) by incompetent US military ventures in the middle east?

Sadly Randles is not trying to be ironic.

Is American evangelicalism so weak that it can’t cope with an influx of foreign refugees ripe for the gospel? Perhaps the truth is, American evangelicalism has NO gospel to preach to them,  considering the saviour they now look to is a lying, self-confessed* sexual abuser of women, a businessman turned president. (* A confession later reacted and labelled as “locker room” talk).

Read Randles’ article and weep – that American evangelicals and once respected teachers have fallen so far.

The “Trump Saves Civilisation” video that Randles recommends is by Stefan Molyneaux who on the link below  is described as “an atheist anarcho-capitalist” who  “tries to tell you that your parents are liars and bullies if they believe in government or religion”

 http://www.fdrliberated.com/brief-introduction-freedomain-radio/

Obtuse, Obsessive and Splitting Hairs

My correspondence about the nature of some recent political campaign material has been an eye-opener.

In response to what I’ve written I’ve been told by various people that I’m obtuse, obsessive and I’m splitting hairs; and I’ve been accused of playing silly games, of wilful stupidity and of defending the killing of babies.

How discouraging it could be to see how truth can be treated with so much disdain by professing Christians if Jesus hadn’t warned that such falsehoods would become prominent in the latter days.

 

If this ongoing matter was merely about different political opinions I’d have no problem stepping back and agreeing to disagree – but politics isn’t at the heart of it, at least not on my part.

But I’m not so sure whether that is the case on all sides, considering the kind of things Christians have been willing to accept and promote to advance a particular political outcome.

 

Personally I was never in favour of either of the presidential candidates.

On the one hand I saw that Clinton would continue a “more of the same” path with little immediate upheaval in the US and around the world, but she probably wouldn’t address things that seriously needed change.

A Clinton win would also probably mean a continuation of the “evangelical” hostility shown to Obama as well as the continuing stalemate enforced by a republican congress that made it difficult for Obama to get anything to be done in the US during his presidency.

 

On the other hand Trump seemed likely to shake everything up but not necessarily in the beneficial way his supporters expected. A Trump win would give “evangelicals” the kind of leader their behaviour showed they wanted after their 8 years of hostility and lies directed at Obama. I see their favoured leader perfectly mirrors that “evangelical” behaviour towards the outgoing president.

I  can see that a Trump presidency could be God’s way of shaking American evangelicals, opening their eyes and giving them the opportunity to repent of their trust in their Nation and its secular political system.

However, the opening of eyes requires a willingness to see and recognise the truth. Sadly, my recent experiences and observations don’t make me optimistic about the likelihood of many of those Christians/evangelicals being able and willing to take advantage of that opportunity.

______________________________

In the latest email I’ve received from Bill Randles he said: “The issue is not the video, but the words of Hillary telling us that we would have to alter our religious beliefs”
However, the issue IS the video, which projects extremist meaning onto “the words of Hillary” to proclaim that she’s demanding things like: “Kneel and deny your Christian faith”. (I’ve already addressed Clinton’s actual words elsewhere).

I’m sure someone with ill intent could easily trawl through Bills recorded sermons and find something that could be twisted to give it an unintended sinister meaning, and could do so successfully if it was presented in the unscrupulous manner of that video to an audience as undiscerning and hostile as those who find the anti-Clinton video to be truthful.

 

[If anyone reading this doesn’t usually refer to the comments section of a post, I recommend that you do so this time. I think there are some important additions to the ongoing issues mentioned above]

Percentage of evangelicals supporting Trump

On another blog I made a comment that 80% of evangelicals reportedly supported Trump. Another commenter seemed doubtful of the stat, even though most of those commenting on that “evangelical” blog were expressing support for Trump (albeit as more of a vote against Clinton than a vote for Trump).

The figure of 80% came from a radio story I heard about a week ago. Since then I’ve found the following stats reported.

[Trump’s] popularity among white evangelical Republicans has grown significantly, and now the group is one of his strongest bases of support. According to a June survey by the Pew Research Center, 94 percent of them would vote for Trump over Clinton in November.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/evangelicals-have-rallied-to-trumps-side/

…white evangelical Protestants show no statistically significant change in their willingness to vote for Trump, with 65 percent of them in his camp.

http://religionnews.com/2016/10/11/poll-trump-support-remains-steady-among-evangelicals/

Yet this year in July, 78 percent of white evangelicals said they would vote for Donald Trump, a man who has repeatedly shifted his stance on abortion as it’s convenient.*

http://thefederalist.com/2016/10/18/evangelicals-support-trump-clinton-odious/

Nearly two-thirds of likely evangelical voters, 65 percent, said they support Trump in a nationwide survey released Tuesday by the nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute — this after the airing of an 11-year-old video in which he was recorded lewdly bragging about having made sexually inappropriate advances to married women.

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/what-s-behind-evangelical-support-donald-trump-less-you-think-n666146

Many Americans are surprised by evangelicals’ support for Donald Trump, who has the backing of as many as 71 percent of white evangelical Protestants in his bid for the presidency, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/10/09/the-deep-disgust-for-hillary-clinton-that-drives-so-many-evangelicals-to-support-trump/

More than three-quarters of self-identified white evangelicals plan to vote for Donald Trump in the fall (78%).

http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/july/pew-most-evangelicals-will-vote-trump-against-clinton.html

Also listen here (statistic regarding evangelical support at 2 min 30 second mark):
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/how-americas-christians-view-donald-trump/7883852

_____________________

* My emphasis, because the issue of abortion and Trump’s assertion that he’ll appoint anti-abortion judges, is the foundation of a lot of “evangelical” support. To me this highlights the lack of wisdom behind single issue politics. It makes it so much easier to deceive, requiring the making of only one promise about one issue to guarantee support, but as we constantly see with politicians they easily break promises after the desired result has been achieved.