Category Archives: Knowing God

Tithing and the New Testament Church

Dubois Park and Jupiter Inlet14″ Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross….” Colossians 2:14

10 “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Acts 15:10

7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

 

I strongly believe that generous giving is an essential element of New Testament Christianity. We are to give to the poor (if coupled with gospel evangelism), and to those who labor in the word, in evangelism and in doctrine. I also believe we are to care for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to the extent that they have physical needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. The scriptures are clear – we are to give joyfully, freely and without any type of man-made limit. We are told time and time again by Jesus and Paul, that we are not to live for the treasures of this dying world but instead are to build up treasure in heaven where moths and rust cannot destroy and where thieves cannot break in and steal. Therefore, generosity should be second nature to any true believer, redeemed from the lies of this world by the precious blood of the lamb.

What I wholly reject, based on the clear mandate of scripture, is the teaching that the Old Testament law of tithing (Hebrews 7:5) is still somehow in effect. Jesus abolished the law (ALL OF IT) in his body on the cross. (Ephesians 2:15, Colossians 2:14-17, Hebrews chaps.7-10, Galatians chaps. 2-5, etc.). In the western church, many pastors have greedily and fearfully resurrected a dead doctrine, thereby spitting on the very cross they preach. Tithing perished on calvary, yet is taught as law by tens of thousands of pastors either out of willful ignorance, or in order to manipulate their congregations into giving. If God is truly for their ministries, then HE will provide, with no wresting of the scriptures required.

There are a multitude of sound biblical arguments, which prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that tithing is dead. As a starting point, believers are NEVER, ever told to tithe in the New Testament. Furthermore, there are enormous portions of scripture (in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, to name a few), which torturously lay out the fact that the entire body of Old Testament law died with Jesus on the cross. Yet many pastors still, somehow, gleefully and forcefully proclaim it as the law of the Christian land, without teaching that any other part of the Jewish law (such as animal sacrifices) survived the cross. Why do they cling so tightly to the only law that gives them money? I think we all know the answer, and in America at least, that an$wer is green.

When I am out evangelizing on the streets, a substantial number of the church goers I meet, especially those from lower income areas,  have been brainwashed into believing that they MUST sow their seed to their pastor by, at a minimum, tithing. They are so indoctrinated by their “church” that they often become angry when anyone suggests the contrary, even when using scriptures. Many are so deceived by this false and legalistic rule, that they ignore the fact that their pastor has a Mercedes and a nice house while they have a bike and share a small, filthy apartment with six other family members. It is truly disgusting, but just like everywhere else where serious doctrinal error exists, the problem is due to the fact that they haven’t studied the Bible for themselves, but simply trust whatever the well-dressed, charismatic preacher on stage tells them…yet may God be true, and every man a liar. (Romans 3:4).

Paul addresses New Testament giving clearly and directly in 2 Corinthians 9:

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

Not only does Paul make it clear that we are not to give with a bad attitude or because we feel we must (ahem…guilt over tithing), but he also makes it resoundingly clear that a generous heart will lead to bountiful reaping. While I do not know what that means exactly, I do know from 1 Timothy 6:4-6, that we are not to equate godliness with financial gain. What I have seen in my own life is that when I am hoarding my money and placing my trust in material blessings, I never seem to have enough, but when I am free with the things the Lord has provided for me, I always seem to be at peace with where I am financially. That…can only be from the Lord.

Another key point in the case against tithing is the fact that, when the Jerusalem Council  met (see, Acts 15) to discuss what elements of the Old Testament Law should survive for the protection and edification of the church (as legalism had begun to leach into the body), money was not even mentioned one time. While many of the converted Jews were trying to reinstitute elements of the OT law (such as circumcision), the concept of creating a new, legal framework for believers was resoundingly rejected by the apostles. Instead, a few simple guidelines were laid out to help protect the young church from slipping into sin. Here is a brief summary of why the Council met, and what was said by the apostles:

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them (the Gentiles), and to command them to keep the law of Moses.And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe…And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  Acts 15:5-10

After discussing the fact that the church should not be placed in the unbearable fetters of the law, the Council declared:

28″ For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well….”  Acts 15:28-29

Even the way the above passage is phrased makes it clear that no Old Testament laws were put back in place for the church. Instead, the church was simply given guidelines in order to help believers walk in the holiness to which we are all called…and money wasn’t mentioned at all.

The question I have for everyone who considers tithing mandatory or even highly advisable (versus giving freely and generously through the spirit), is: why would you lay a yoke of slavery on either yourself or others that our forefathers in the Judeo-Christian faith couldn’t bear, and one which the actual apostles refused to place on their own disciples?

It has been argued by some that, since tithing preceded the Law of Moses (Abraham tithed to Melchizedek), then it should survive the death of the law as well. My answer to that is simple. Besides the fact that not even one New Testament scripture supports this belief, animal sacrifices also predated the law (Abel, Abraham, etc.), and, like tithing, were merged into the law – yet no one teaches that they somehow survived the cross (not Paul, not Peter, and not even Benny Hinn or Creflo Dollar!). All of the law perished via the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that includes the practices which predated Mosaic Law but were merged into it. I have never heard even one sound argument(or scripture) explaining why tithing survived the cross but blood sacrifices did not.  More importantly, there is not even a single letter to a church from an apostle that tells us that tithing is still in effect. Thus, there is no biblical justification for teaching it today. Fortunately, we now have a better testament, a living hope, and the yoke of slavery…is gone.

 

EPILOGUE

It is often said that biblical doctrine can not be gleaned from one verse on a subject. In the case of tithing, as noted above, there are exactly zero verses where Paul, Peter, James or John tell the church to tithe. In fact, the most direct verse on giving (2 Cor. 9:7, quoted twice in this article) says the very opposite – do not give out of necessity but give what you want to give from your heart. That exhortation is consistent with everything the blood of Jesus Christ did to the law. It was destroyed in the body of his flesh so that a new, better testament, written in blood, might prevail. Thus, in my estimation, those who push this false doctrine, are in deep danger…wresting the scripture to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).

Caring for the needs of the poor, and providing for our Christian brothers and sisters, are most certainly acceptable acts of financial stewardship in the eyes of our holy God. Giving directly to a sound teacher, author or evangelist is also in perfect accord with the scriptures – whether or not they are part of a building with the word “church” on it. Sadly, the corporate “church” has falsely corralled believers into thinking that a 10% tithe must first go to them, and then and only then can one give “offerings” to anyone else. That teaching is self-serving, false, and will not stand at the judgement seat of Christ. The very reason Jesus came to earth to live and then die brutally on a cold, hard cross, was to set us free from the bondage of the law of sin and death (Romans 8). Yet out of ignorance, greed and fear many pastors are quick to place that yoke of slavery right back on our necks…exactly where it was prior to the blood of our great God being spilled to wash away our sin. Pastors and teachers are informed by James that they are under a higher standard of judgment than the average believer (James 3:1). If I were one of them, I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with placing even a small part of that unbearable yoke on the necks of God’s precious little flock.

I would love to see pastors, worldwide, reject the false doctrine of tithing, and to publicly repent for the bondage under which they have placed their congregations.  I would love to see them trust the God of heaven and earth to provide for their church no matter the cost, even if they, like Paul (a tentmaker), have to occasionally work to meet all of their needs. If their ministry is truly of Jesus Christ, instead of simply being a means to have a nice middle class lifestyle on the backs of God’s children, then He WILL provide. It may be a struggle, and the pastor’s life might not look like it did when the yoke of slavery was on his congregation, but it just might look a lot more like the life of the greatest apostle to ever preach the gospel….Paul, and great will their reward be in heaven.

Money and the Ministry: What did Jesus and Paul say about it?

Authority and the New Testament Believer

The written word of God is truth

 

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The Mark of The Beast And The Bible Version Issue: A Warning

Sunset Cloud“Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he approveth.”  Romans 14:22b

 

As the readers of this blog know, the Bible version issue is dear to me and one that I approach with a great measure of seriousness, since the Bible is God’s voice to his beloved children. We cannot afford to listen to and teach from the wrong Bible. As I studied this issue in great depth over a period of many months, I was shocked to see the stark, substantive  differences between the new versions (ESV, NIV, NASB, etc.) and the King James Bible (KJV), a version I had dismissed entirely some 25 years earlier. The new versions and the KJV flow from two entirely different streams of Greek manuscripts, which I have written about in some detail here: The Bible Version Controversy . That link also contains additional links at the end, which show specific departures (deletions and additions) from the Majority Greek text (which is the one used by the KJV), by the ESV, NIV and NKJV. I encourage anyone who wants to understand this issue in more depth to read my article, and then review the links at the end.

It has recently come to my attention that all of the new versions state, in Revelation 13:16, that the mark of the beast will be “on” our right hand, while the KJV says that it will be “in” our right hand. “On” and “in” are NOT the same thing, and based on my research into the Bible Version issue (see link above), I believe that this critical, eternity-affecting difference is intentional, and will be used to deceive thousands and perhaps millions into taking the mark of the beast. The ESV, NIV, NASB, et al. will be used to prove to those alive during that horrific season, who are concerned about the mark, that they can and should take it in their right hand…since “in” after all is not “on,” and how could the ESV possibly be wrong since so many of the men I respect love it??

Based on technology readily available today, and already in use in some places in Europe, I believe that it is highly likely that the “in” referred to in the KJV means an RFID chip. In Europe for instance, RFID chips encased in silicate glass have been inserted into the right hands of some in order to store medical and contact information, while in Sweden an inserted chip has been, in at least one case, used to open locked doors without a keycard at an office building. I certainly wouldn’t swear by this or say that this definitively will be the mark, but it is highly suspicious given the fact that these chips can store banking information and other personal details and are injected with a needle…in to one’s right hand.

My challenge to all Bible believers is to contemplate this” on”/”in” difference and review the Bible version issue again, carefully. The Bible is God’s voice to us and we need his authentic word now more than ever with all of the charasmatic false teachers rising up, and the dark opposition to the biblical Jesus that we are seeing wax stronger every day in our sick and godless society. The version issue is especially important in the context of the mark since an eternity in heaven vs. an eternity…on fire…in hell…is at stake. While we may or may not be here when the mark is unveiled, those we have influenced will be…and if the Bible we taught from and praised, is used to dupe those we love into taking the mark, it will not go well for us at the judgement seat of Christ – and as for those deceived into taking the mark: “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the lamb…and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they shall have no rest day and night….” Revelation 14:6-11.  I want no part of leading anyone into that horrific fate.

Paul tells us in Romans 14, that, blessed is that the man who is not condemned by what he approves. Romans 14:22b. May we not condemn ourselves by teaching and even using a Bible that, among many other things, is working to seduce people into taking the mark of the beast, lest you, by ignorance, pride, the fear of man or hard-heartedness, lead others off the cliff and into the fiery pit where the worm never dies and the fire is never, ever  quenched.**   We are all watchmen…..

Ezekiel 3:17- 21

“17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.”

** I was ignorant of the Bible versions issue for 25 years, and was a huge NIV 84 and NKJV fan. However,  when my wife, after reading through 6 different versions, noticed huge, substantive differences between the KJV and others…I didn’t want to hear it. I debated her hard-heartedly for about 8 months…but ultimately the great weight of the evidence was so overwhelmingly in favor of the Greek text used by the KJV Bible (the Textus Receptus/Majority Text/Byzantine Text), that I knew my beloved NIV belonged in only one place…the trash.

The Bible Version Controversy

Hell and the Wrath of God Almighty

Heaven With God Forever

The Written Word of God

 

 

RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT

                                              

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.  Philippians 1:9-10 kjv

 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.  John 7:24 kjv

 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  1 Thessalonians 5:21 kjv

 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.  Proverbs 9:8 kjv

16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:16 kjv

 

 

One of the most profound and destructive lies spouted by both Christians and non-Christians alike, is that believers in Jesus Christ are not to ever judge anyone or anything. We are simply told to live and let live, as our culture and even our Christian friends disintegrate before our eyes…falling into apostasy, and away from all that is true and right before our great God.

In Matthew 7:1-5, the passage most often quoted when the issue of judgment arises, Jesus Christ makes it clear that “judging” others is wrong…if the person doing the judging is guilty of the very same thing they are pointing out to the recipient of the judgment:

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold a beam is in thine own eyeThou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Based on the above passage (and John 7:24, quoted at the top of the article), it is clear that Jesus is not rejecting all judgment, but is only condemning hypocritical judgment. He even instructs his audience at the end of this passage, that once they have removed the plank from their own eyes, they are free to help their brothers deal with their own sin as well. A few verses later, Jesus goes even further, warning the people to be on guard for false prophets, whom they will recognize by their fruit, thus, making it clear that we must not only evaluate (aka judge) the fruit of others, but we must also have a clear standard by which to test that fruit. That standard is truth. What is truth? According to Jesus, Christ while he is praying to his Father, “Thy word is truth,” (John 17:17b), and the Bereans knew that well….

In Acts 17, the Bereans were noted to be more noble than other believers because they tested every single thing they heard from their teachers, with scripture. They used the word of the Lord as it should be used – as a sharp two-edged sword, separating truth from error, judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart and laying bear everything before the one to whom we must all give an account (Hebrews 4:12-13). The Bereans, even with their lack of resources compared to today, relentlessly used the word to ensure that they weren’t ingesting false teaching shrouded in charisma, the wisdom of the world or sweet-tasting lies.

Jesus made several other statements about his own judgments, which explain why they were truly righteous, rather than being sanctimonious or hypocritical. In John 5:30, Jesus stated that his judgments were “just” because he sought not his own will, but instead sought only the will of his Father. In John 7:18, Jesus reminded the Jews gathered outside the temple that he was not on earth to seek his own glory but instead was seeking only the glory of his Father who sent him. The eternal truths of God are the only things that matter when exercising biblically sound judgment.

As Philippians 2:5-11 states so eloquently (see the entire passage at the end of this article), the humble and obedient attitude Jesus had toward his Father during his earthly life, must be our attitude when making scripturally mandated judgments. Humility, biblical truth and obedience to the unambiguous teachings of Jesus Christ are the measuring stick we must use when testing our hearts for jealousy, pride or anger, as we both give and receive reproof, encouragement and exhortation to and from those we love and respect in the body of Christ. The only way we can be certain that our judgments are “right” is if they line up perfectly with the word of God, and if they are spoken in gentleness and love.

An excellent example of a “right” judgment is found in Galatians 2:9-21, when Paul, very publicly and without equivocation, rebuked Peter for his hypocrisy and fear of man, which was leading others astray. After an unidentified friend of James started influencing the brethren for the worse by encouraging them to turn back to elements of the Jewish law, Peter began to withdraw from his Gentile brothers during meals. It became such a problem that even Barnabas was deceived (vs. 13) into believing that the grace of God was not enough, and that believers must still honor certain Jewish customs and traditions in order to maintain their salvation.

When Paul saw that Peter and the others, “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel,”(vs. 14) he called Peter out and reminded all of the gathered brothers that they were saved by grace alone and not by works of the law. While the passage does not explain how the situation was resolved, I am certain that Peter humbled himself and repented, gladly turning away from his metastasizing sin, so that no one else would be led astray. The truth of Jesus Christ was Paul’s only goal in bringing this issue up publicly. He was not concerned with the short-term embarrassment this confrontation caused, even to a much-beloved personal friend of Jesus, such as Peter.

Paul clearly loved Peter, but he was no respecter of persons when it came to contending for the truth of the gospel. We too shouldn’t place men above the clear truth of the word (1 Cor. 4:6), meaning that we must never be afraid to challenge our brothers in Christ who are teaching (or practicing) that which is manifestly false according to the scriptures. Paul revered the saving gospel message and knew that Jesus Christ alone bore his sins in his body on a cold, hard cross, broken and bleeding in the presence of his enemies. Therefore, he did not shrink back from a brief, but necessary moment of disunity among the brethren. Instead, he fixed his eyes firmly on the truth of Jesus, pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him (Philippians 3:7-16).

Paul also made the point in 2 Corinthians 10:12,18, that we are not to measure ourselves by our brothers or sisters in the Lord. Other fallible men are never our standard. As Paul said, those who measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves to themselves are not wise. It is not those who commend themselves who are approved by God, but it is those whom God commends. We must never test ourselves or others by what men think or say…even men we love and respect. Instead, we must judge rightly by using the penetrating blade of the word of God as we test everything…prove everything. Men can and often do become idols, and can subtly replace the truth of God in our lives. Let us do as the Bereans and test, first ourselves, and then our brothers, with the eternal scriptures, not to criticize or wound, but to prepare each other to meet the Lord face to face. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

As Jesus noted in John 3:19, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Most of us don’t want the truth, so when our entrenched ways are tested by those who dare to love us enough to challenge us with the word of God, we fling it back in their face imploring them not to judge. Paul pointed out this problem when he rhetorically asked the Galatians if he had now become their enemy by telling them the truth (Galatians 4:16). Don’t we, as servants of the living God want truth, even the sharp, soul-piercing truth of the word of God? I pray that myself first, and then everyone else who longs for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior, will speak and receive life altering biblical truths in gentleness, meekness and love.

 

EPILOGUE

God’s judgments are always right, and he has given us a sharp two-edged sword with which to rightly cut away the clever and wicked deceptions of this age from his pure and everlasting message. We MUST wield this sword in power and grace, not only to protect ourselves, but also to protect his precious little flock from the sweet sounding lies of western “Christianity” which lead down the broad and primrose path of eternal destruction. Jude tells us, in no uncertain terms, to earnestly contend for this great faith, given to us by Jesus Christ and his Father. We honor that command by growing in love, knowledge and judgment, so that we are able to approve that which is excellent and praiseworthy (Phil. 1:9-10kjv). The only way we are able to mature in Christ is to eat, drink and breathe the everlasting word of God…not as taught by fallible men, but as taught by the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:27). May we all invest our hearts in the things of eternity as the clock of time…winds down.

 

***BONUS KJV SCRIPTURE***

Revelation 2:2 This…is what God loves, and why he commended the church at Ephesus:

2I 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….

 

Romans 16:17-18

17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

 Titus 1:13

 …Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith….

 Titus 2:15

 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

 Titus 3:10

A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject….

 2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

1 Timothy 4:16

16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

 1 Timothy 5:20

Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

 Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the crossWherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

False Prophets and Teachers

The Written Word of God

The Bible Version Controversy: The War Over God’s Word

Ecumenism Part 1: Jesus Christ as He is in the Word, is the Only Way to God 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIGH TREASON AGAINST THE LIVING GOD: Ecumenism Part 2

HIGH TREASON AGAINST THE LIVING GOD: Cowardice and Joining Together With Unbelievers

 

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34

20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils.22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?              1 Corinthians 10:20-22

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men….  2 Corinthians 5:11

 

As our time on this planet melts away, I feel a great urgency to encourage all believers, myself first, to test each and every action we undertake in the name of Jesus Christ, against the eternal word of God, lest we be deceived by the sweet-tasting lies of this world and face a God who is disappointed with us when we stand before him. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, when speaking about the judgment seat of Christ (which all believers will face), “Knowing, therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” It is my passion, stemming from my own past failures and brokenness, to persuade everyone I know who calls upon the name of the Lord, to test everything…prove everything, while there is yet time so that we will not experience terror on that day, and as John says, that we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his appearing (1 John 2:28).Preach the Word Boldly and Do Not Be Ashamed

False teaching, the patterns and traditions of this wicked world and the love of money and recognition, abound in the modern church. May everyone who reads this article, test their hearts and their actions against the Holy Scriptures, and flee from that which is not clearly supported by the word of truth. False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

One of the areas that is most disturbing to me in terms of patent apostasy, is the move towards ecumenism. This grieves me deeply because the scriptures are so very clear on that topic, yet so many good men are involved in prayer groups and gatherings where Muslims, Buddhists, and Jewish friends are treated as brothers before God…allegedly all under the same heavenly Father. There is no brandishing of the sharp double-edged sword of the gospel of truth, which leads to repentance, and there is no discussion of the reality of the fires of hell for those who do not turn from sin to the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Therefore…in fact…there is no concern for the eternal destiny of these “friends.” The false, short-term relationships created by such events will perish in the flames, along with those men’s souls, when this world ceases by the breath of God. Hell and the Wrath of God Almighty

As the scriptures state, without equivocation, Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word, and that blade is swinging, dividing parents from children, brothers from sisters and friends from friends.(Matthew 10:34-39; Ephesians 6:17). How much more does Jesus Christ want us to divide from those who do not even believe that he, as God and man, bore our sins in his body on the cross? He wants (and even demands) that the truth of God separate us out from the world – not to create meaningless disunity, but rather to create true unity among those who truly know and love the God of the Bible, all under the headship of the one who made us and loves us with an everlasting love.

Perhaps the most comprehensive and direct passage on the issue of separating from unbelievers is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, quoted below:

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

 2 John 1:9-11, also states, in no uncertain terms, that if we invite one who does not hold to the doctrine of Christ, into our house, or wish them well, without confronting them with the gospel of Jesus, then we are actually partakers in their evil and godless deeds:

 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

 If these passages and the one quoted at the top of the page from 1 Corinthians 10 are true, how can we possibly sit down at a table with unbelievers (and even more with those who openly worship a pagan and thus, demonic “god”) and fail to confront them with the death, burial and resurrection of our great Lord Jesus Christ for the sins of the world? We cannot, therefore, do not, lest you taste the anger of God when you stand before him.

 Jesus and Paul made it clear – we, as believers and children of the living God, are not to join together with unbelievers unless we are preaching the gospel message of Jesus Christ to them. The context of the relevant passages is not limited to marriage, business or prayer meetings. Our God is a jealous God, and he demands that we pursue holiness, purity and righteousness by refusing to water down exactly who he is and what he did for our sin on the cross…ever. Jesus also made it abundantly clear that when we do follow him with all of our hearts, the world will indeed hate us just as they hated him (John 15:18-27). Let us embrace the fact that we are, as Peter said, strangers and pilgrims on this earth, living not for a city built by men, but for an eternal city – one built for us by the very hands of God. Heaven: Your Best Life…Later

 

EPILOGUE

If we are not experiencing pushback and rejection from the world, and even from the “believers” we know who are caught up in the most glaring heresies of today (false signs and wonders, hypergrace, the contemplative,ecumenism, prosperity/word of faith, latter rain, etc.) then perhaps we should examine our hearts to determine if we, like Paul, are truly considering everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord, and his death and resurrection for our sins (Philippians 3:7-15). We all must, without fear or shame, boldly proclaim the only message that can save souls from a rapidly approaching eternity in hell…the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. As Peter says so eloquently regarding the inevitable reproaches we will receive for the sake of Christ, “Happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you…” (1 Peter 4:13-14). For in a short time, we will receive an eternal reward, far more glorious and wonderful than anything our temporal minds could ever comprehend. May we all seek that everlasting kingdom with all of our hearts.

Heaven: Our Best Life Later

 

*** A Few Bonus Scriptures***

1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:2

For the preaching of the cross is to them the perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1:18

For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified. 2:2

Proverbs 9:8

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.  

 Proverbs 14:12

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

 2 Corinthians 10: 12,18

12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise18 For (it is) not he that commendeth himself (who) is approved, but (he) whom the Lord commendeth.

Romans 10:13-14

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

John 12:42-43 (This refers to confessing Jesus as he truly is in the scriptures, not a generic Jesus, who, as a prophet, is respected by all religions. He is God and savior…nothing else)

42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Jude 1:3

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Ecumenism: Jesus Christ, as He is in the Word, is the Only Way to God

Preach the Word Boldly and Do not be Ashamed of the Gospel

Catholicism and the Worship of Mary

Leadership in Christ: Our Responsibilities as Teachers and Hearers of the Word of God

 

 

The Bible Version Controversy: A Brief History of The War over God’s Eternal Written Word

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psalm 12:6-7

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Galatians 5:9

Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.1 Thessalonians 5:21

Yea, hath God said…?”   Satan to Eve, and the textual critics to the world. The most destructive lie ever told lives on….  Genesis 3:1b


 

I used to dismiss the King James Version of the English Bible entirely. I thought of it as a ridiculous and outdated translation – an anachronism at best. I viewed it as a shabby antique – one that belonged under a half-inch of dust in my grandmother’s attic….but then I studied the history of current English Bible translations in great detail, and realized that ALL of the new versions use corrupt and purposely adulterated Greek manuscripts, which water down the eternal word of the living God…every last one of them. That Greek your pastor often refers to in church? It flows from corrupt Greek manuscripts first edited by the gnostic, self-castrating “scholar” Origen (and a student of his work, Eusebius), who believed in purgatory, universalism, that all human souls have existed from eternity past, that satan (and demons) would eventually be redeemed, and that Jesus did not actually return to earth in the flesh after his resurrection.

The manuscripts Origen compiled and edited in Alexandria, Egypt in the 200’s, form the two primary Greek New Testament manuscripts (Codex Vaticanus, and Codex Siniaticus) used by Westcott & Hort, Nestles & Aland and the United Bible Society to make ALL of the modern English Bible versions. These manuscripts were more or less hidden from view from the late 300’s until the 1400’s (1800’s in the case of Siniaticus, when it was found in a trash bin at the St. Catherine’s monastery in Egypt)…hardly making them the word of the Lord preserved from generation to generation per Psalm 12 (see above). The fact that these two foundational manuscripts conflict with each other in almost 3,000 places in the gospels alone, does not help their credibility.

In the 1800’s, Westcott & Hort, two Anglican clergy men and open occultists, whose own letters expose their veneration of Darwin and the Catholic Church, their love of seances and their total disregard for Eden, Heaven, the flood and the cross, made their own Greek New Testament manuscript. This new manuscript cleverly deleted out, added in or simply rephrased whatever scriptures they thought they could get away with without causing a furor …verses and passages that lined up with their “enlightened” thinking and, not surprisingly to anyone who has studied the Bible version issue, their changes almost always lined up with catholic doctrine.

Westcott & Hort did expect some push back on their changes even back then…but they heard hardly a peep (Dean John Burgon’s vigorous dissent was an exception). Leading men loved these brilliant, iconoclastic lies shrouded in the dense and deceiving fog of “scholarship.” Did we really not have a true Greek New Testament until the late 1800’s?? That is exactly what the textual critics/new version advocates are saying.

It is important to note that all of this information regarding Westcott & Hort’s beliefs is gleaned exclusively from their personal correspondence, published by their children after their deaths. That is the only way we know these key facts about their unbiblical beliefs, reverence for Darwin, Rome and the occult, and their motives for changing the scriptures…and we are all reading and teaching from their Bibles.

The first English translation to flow from Westcott & Hort’s so-called “critical Greek text” was the 1881 English Revised Version. Subsequently, their Greek manuscript (with additional changes made by the Nestles and Åland committee and the UBS, also using Siniaticus and Vaticanus) was used as the foundation for EVERY single new version. It is deeply corrupt, and if one examines charts with the actual departures from the Textus Receptus and the KJV (I have added links to charts at the end of my article), I can assure you that he or she will see through this brilliant plan to weaken God’s unchanging word, and turn eternal concepts into temporal ones (the famed Jeremiah 29:11 is but one example of a spiritual promise turned into a temporal one in the new versions). I, personally, was both shocked and disgusted by the numerous substantive changes to my Bible, yet… I do concede that the modern versions are a bit easier to read and understand due to more familiar language. The new version translators  (and satan) knew all too well that this generation would take ease of reading and the lofty and pretentious claims of scholarship over the sharp double-edged sword of truth. I did for over 25 years.

The KJV detractors, and there are many, attempt to denigrate the 54 scholars who jointly worked on the KJV, with their subjective and pseudo-intellectual textual criticism. Many of the translators were brilliant men, with sterling, easily verifiable scholarly backgrounds (I have seen all of their CV’s)…men such as Lancelot Andrews, George Abbot, John Aglionby and the head of the OT committee, Dr.John Bois, who was reading and writing in Hebrew at age 6. All of the criticism of the KJV on intellectual grounds is pseudo-academic nonsense. The KJV is hated because it stands as the preserved word of God, starting in Antioch and then spreading all over the world, only to be gathered together by the brilliant catholic-defying scholar Erasmus in the 1500’s. Luther, Tyndall, Coverdale, the Geneva Bible translators, the Great Bible translators, the ancient Wessex Gospels translators, and many more used the same Greek manuscript family as Erasmus (known as the Textus Receptus, Byzantine Text, Majority Text or Traditional Text), and since satan couldn’t burn all of the copies…he decided to change the Bible from the inside, using proud men, far too “enlightened” to believe many of the “superstitions” of God’s word. Noted occultist/ theosophist Helena Blavatsky (a favorite of Adolph Hitler, and publisher of the periodical “Lucifer”) and her disciple Alice Bailey, have openly discussed satan’s ultimate plan to infiltrate the church from the inside…and the Bible was a perfect place to start.

I understand that the language of the KJV is old fashioned at times, and most seminarians and Bible college graduates will have a dismissive attitude towards it. Why? Because the vast majority of seminaries and Bible schools are part of the ecumenical, watered-down gospel machine (even Dallas Theological Seminary is waxing emergent). Yes…satan, the father of pride, works everywhere – but especially in academia. Men love to know better than other men because they went to this school or that school and studied under this professor or that one. Satan was and is counting on the pride of men to weaken God’s word by imparting to them limited, but “scholarly” knowledge, in order to proliferate his altered Greek manuscripts and thus, his modern Bible versions. The apostle Paul specifically noted that he was well aware of satan’s clever schemes to deceive men. 2 Corinthians 2:11.

As for the new versions having older manuscripts…that is technically true in a general sense, because the Alexandrian manuscripts were written on higher quality papyri/vellum at their well-funded gnostic schools, and because they weren’t frequently handled for over a thousand years…since almost no one took them seriously outside of Vatican City until the 1800’s. The early Antiochan manuscripts (Textus Receptus) were true to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles, yet were on lower quality paper, because the early church wasn’t wealthy – and they were sent all over the world by foot and by ship, which exposed them to the elements. They were also worn down due to constant usage and thus, were recopied time and time again…unlike the gnostic manuscripts, which were hardly used at all. Despite those facts, the earliest New Testament manuscript surviving today is an Antiochan(TR) Syrian translation, called the Syrian Peshitta, which dates to circa 157 AD. So…even the “oldest manuscripts” argument, often used to support the corrupt Alexandrian Greek texts, fails.

Kurt Aland, co-author of several late editions of the Nestles & Aland Greek New Testament text, and a vigorous KJV detractor, admits that early copies of Textus Receptus manuscripts are non-existant (besides the Syrian Peshitta) because they were intentionally destroyed by Rome during the brutal Diocletian persecution(303-311 AD), along with unfavorable weather conditions in Asia Minor and Greece. Once the Roman persecution of believers ended circa 311 AD, there was, naturally, an explosion of new Textus Receptus manuscripts inside the Roman Empire, prepared by actual Bible believing christians (such as the Waldensians in Italy and the Vaudois in Switzerland ), in order to make up for all of the copies which had been burned. This easily explains the concern textual critics have with the sudden appearance of a large number of Textus Receptus manuscripts in the late 4th Century, and beyond.

Even KJV rejecting scholars agree that well over 95% of all ancient Greek manuscript evidence agrees with the KJV, while less than 2% agree with the new versions (the last official count I have seen was 5,321 to 45, which is more like 98% to 2%). Any claim that the new versions are superior is patently false from both a spiritual and scholarly standpoint. Yes, they are easy to read, but they have many deep heresies intended to draw mankind away from many of the simple yet profound truths of God. As Jesus said to his Father in John 17, “Thy word is truth” – but not if his eternal word has been edited by wicked and deceitful heretics, who, like Satan in the garden, boldly and proudly cast doubt on God’s word by proclaiming to the world – “yea hath God said?” The question is: Are you believing that very same lie today?

EPILOGUE

This is by far the most divisive topic I have ever written about because we all love our modern Bibles, and cannot possibly believe that so many people have it wrong. My beloved seminary professor is wrong?? My distinguished and learned pastor?? My youth group leader?? Yes…even him – or her. Everyone talks about this issue as if they understand it, but usually they just understand one side…the anti-KJV side, the side I was once on. It took a trusted friend about 8 months to finally shake me out of my NIV 84 stupor with hard, raw evidence. Once I took time to study the history of the Greek and Latin manuscripts that form the foundation of our Bibles, and then reviewed the specific changes(deletions and additions) in the actual biblical text…I was done with all of my new versions forever (A few of the hundreds of passages with substantive changes: The removal of the compassion of Jesus four times in Matthew,Genesis 30:27, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 9:13, Mark 10:24, Luke 4:4, Luke 9:55-56, John 7:8-10{is Jesus a liar??},Acts 8:37, 1 Corinthians 1:18, Galatians 5:12, Colossians 1:14, Romans 8:1, 1 Timothy 3:16, James 5:16, 1 John 5:7, and Revelation 1: 6, 8, 11). Sadly, I discovered that my dear NIV – even the one written back in 1984 – was the worst of the lot (the Message doesn’t count because it cannot seriously be called a Bible due to multiple ridiculous and even occultic additions). It was hard to read the KJV at first…but I prayed for help from the Holy Spirit…and now I can’t live without it.

I am not one of those people who believe that one can only be saved via the KJV Bible, or that the KJV is perfectly written. I simply believe that the KJV, whose Greek foundation lines up with approximately 98% of all ancient manuscripts, according to the most recent studies, is the preserved word of God for this English speaking generation per Psalm 12:6-7. That passage, which I have quoted at the top of this article, was  (not surprisingly) edited heavily in the new versions (Septuagint Greek), so that it’s meaning is entirely different. Yea hath God truly said in Psalm 12 that his word would be preserved forever?? Not according to your new version.

After much study, and after hoping against hope to come to a conclusion that allowed me to keep my NIV, my NKJV or even my brand new MEV, I determined, along with countless other men and women far smarter than me, that the only legitimate Greek manuscript used as a foundation for a Bible is the Textus Receptus – and despite the claims of the NKJV and MEV editors, the only true Textus Receptus Bible in English is the KJV.

Unlike the new versions’ Egyptian/gnostic roots, the Textus Receptus flows from the spirit-fed spring of the early believers in Antioch…all the way to London in the 1600’s. Do the new versions have many things right? Of course. What satan does best is weave darkness and light together, so that the two cannot be distinguished. He has done a brilliant job with the new Bible versions…yet with an open heart and mind, along with a willingness to exchange comfort and familiarity for truth, his scheme can be defeated. I challenge everyone who reads this, to study the actual textual changes for themselves, in context, ignoring ad hominem attacks on those who have exposed this scheme…for there are many, and they are often nasty. John 15:18-19 warned us that if we were of Jesus Christ, the world would hate us…and nowhere is that more evident than in the battle for God’s eternal voice to mankind. The very truth of His preserved word to this and every succeeding generation is at stake. Yea hath God said? Yes. He did actually, and you can read his words to the world, preserved for eternity, in your King James Bible.

Revelation 22:18-19

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

***The 1960 Reina Valera is an excellent Spanish Textus Receptus Bible.

***Please remember that if you look up the changed/corrupted verses in the Greek online, chances are very high that the only Greek you can find is the Westcott & Hort/Nestles & Aland/UBS Greek, which is where the corrupted verses originated and metastisized. Unless you check the verses in a verifiable Textus Receptus (TR) Greek (and several people who have dedicated their lives to study this issue say that there are no true TR’s online) you are using the corrupt Westcott & Hort/Nestles & Aland Greek. Even some of the supposed online TR manuscripts have been intentionally altered, as has the new supposed TR Bible, The Modern English Version (and the New King James for that matter). Now why would anyone  try trick good Christian men and women into reading a Bible that we thought was based on the TR but really isn’t? As Paul said in a verse I cited above, we are not unaware of satan’s devices.

****Why is your ESV different then your NASB, which is different than your NIV? The answer…is ca$h. In order to receive a copyright on a new version, the law requires that it be 20% different than all other versions. So, the editors of the new versions simply grab a thesaurus and go to work, changing whatever words they can and rephrasing other passages. Do we really need all of these new versions? Of course not – but the editors and publishers want your money and are more than happy to nip, tuck and carve up God’s eternal word to get it…and the plan seems to be working well.

If one studies the history of the KJV’s translation process, it is clear that prayer played a very large role. Furthermore, the translators never profited from its sale.

***Mark of the Beast Issue***

The ESV, NIV, NASB, etc. all say that the mark of the beast will be “on” your hand, like a scannable tattoo (See, Revelation 13:16). The KJV, however, says that the mark is “in” your right hand or forehead. “In” and “on” are not the same things, and thus, someone is lying to us. I believe that the ESV etc. will be used to try and prove to people that the implantable chip we will all be required to have, is not the mark…when actually it is. The smoke of the torment of those who are tricked into taking the mark…will ascend forever. Throw away your new versions and tell everyone you know to do the same. I wrote a brief article on this issue: The Mark of the Beast: A Warning, and on how the new versions delete key words regarding repentance and sin:Repentance, Salvation and the new Bible versions: Yes, it really does matter

Additional Resources:

Quotations Proving that Westcott & Hort Were Not Christians

NIV Chart Showing Deletions and Changes

More NIV problems

ESV deletions and changes

King James vs. New King James…which is really no King James at all

The Trinitarian Bible Society, Dr. Edward Hills, Dr. David Otis Fuller, Dr. Mickey Carter, Dr. Hayes Minnick, Dr. William Grady, Dr. D. A. Waite, David Cloud, Dr. Sam Gipp, Dr. Douglas D. Stauffer, Dr. Al Lacy, and Dean John William Burgon(1813-1888).

The Underground Christian Network has excellent podcasts on this issue, which can be found via a search inside your Iphone or smart phone’s podcast app., and I recommend Dr. David Otis Fuller’s book Which Bible?; Chick Publications, Look What’s Missing; Dr. Stauffer’s book One Book Stands Alone; Dr. Sam Gipp’s The Answer Book; Dr. Edward Hills’ The King James Version Defended; and Dr. William Grady’s Final Authority.

David Cloud’s www.wayoflife.org website also has helpful resources on this issue (including a well-researched downloadable book), as does D.A. Waite’s excellent scholarly book Burgon’s Warnings on Revisions of Textus Receptus and the King James Bible. The Burgon Society’s website is: www.deanburgonsociety.org. Dean Burgon’s, The Revision Revised, is a brilliant critical, and often incisive analysis of Westcott & Hort’s Greek manuscript by one of their contemporaries.

Eternal Answers Ministry has some helpful information as well: http://eternalanswersministry.blogspot.com/2009/06/textus-receptus-vs-alexandrian-codices.html; Some of the NIV’s problems are laid out on this site: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/PDF/keith-piper-serious-omissions-in-the-niv.pdf

Many KJV questions are answered at the link below, which I found the night this article was published:http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/pages/KJV/400-years-of-the-king-james-bible.htm

If you want to watch a long but thorough video on the changes in the new Bible versions, watch Gail Riplinger’s 2.5 hour, 80’s era presentation to the Prophecy Club on youtube: https://youtu.be/zpQ_W6-tb84https://youtu.be/zpQ_W6-tb84

Dr. Douglas D. Stauffer has several first-rate presentations on youtube on the NKJV and how it masquerades as a TR Bible – and on the NIV. Below is his EXCELLENT presentation on some of the NIV’s most glaring errors, especially those edited or omitted to conform to catholic doctrine: https://youtu.be/OQFtvmVHBb4

And another video from Dr. Stauffer showing NIV changes which affect  New Testament doctrine of salvation: https://youtu.be/T0o2yKJgvnA

Ecumenicism: Jesus Christ as He is in the Word is the Only Way to God

False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

Catholicism and The Worship of Mary

 

 

 

 

Favorite Scripture #6: One of The Many Reasons Why Jesus Christ is Great…And I am Not

One of my all-time favorite scriptures is 1 Peter 2:21-24, which so beautifully and powerfully captures the essence of who Jesus Christ was while he was on this earth:

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

This passage speaks to my heart about the supreme greatness of Jesus because it illustrates his perfect obedience to the Father, and his unwavering humility, even in the midst of the most horrific of suffering. As our magnificent saviour hung on a cold wooden cross, iron spikes protruding from his hands and feet, all in the presence of his gloating and triumphant enemies…he did not retaliate, speak a word in his defense, or even threaten his tormentors with what was going to happen to them at death. Instead he silently entrusted himself to the one who judges justly…his Father.

Jesus knew that in obedience to God and as an example for us, he must endure unfathomable suffering and humiliation at the hands of his most bitter enemies…and so must we…so must I.

The primary lesson I absorb from this passage is that, for me to truly be Christ-like, I must be willing to quietly endure even the pettiest of rejections I face as a follower of the biblical Jesus. Really – anything I suffer for his name is petty compared to what he went through on our behalf – yet sadly, it is difficult and even agonizing at times not to defend myself. My pride rises in my throat as I seek to defend my name, my reputation. But wasn’t Jesus of no reputation? Didn’t he allow himself to be mocked and even abused for the very same sin that rises in my wicked heart as I speak his truth?? As Paul said so eloquently: oh what a wretched man am I!  Who will rescue me from this body of death? …

…Jesus Christ…He alone bore my sin in his body on the cross so that I might die to sin and live for righteousness. By his wounds I have been healed. I believe Lord and I am so thankful for who you are and what you did. I forgive those who have hurt me…help me to perfect that forgiveness in my heart just as you so willingly forgave me while I was yet a sinner. Do not let my love grow cold but help me to fix my eyes on you as you truly are in your word, as I speak your scriptural truths in love and as I run this race with endurance, hand in hand with you, my saviour and my Lord….

Favorite Scriptures #1: Paul’s Perspective on the Purpose of Life

The Written Word of God: What Did Jesus, Paul, and the Apostles Say About the Written Word of God?

False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

AUTHORITY: Whose Authority Should A Believer Be Under?

                           

                 Authority: Whose Authority Should A Believer Be Under?

There is a strong movement amongst church and Para-church leaders to push professing Christians under the umbrella of a group or a “leader.” I believe that the scriptures do, with great clarity, point to submission to government entities as long as they are affirming values that are objectively good and are punishing evil. (Romans 13:1-7). We are also exhorted to submit to our brethren in accordance with the biblical model given to us by Jesus, Paul and Peter. Christ centered leadership does not lord authority over others, as Jesus Christ himself showed us by serving the sick and the poor and by washing his disciples’ feet even as he was about to be brutally executed by his enemies.

Many of the well-known Christian leaders of our day reject any type of scriptural examination of their teachings, claiming that, as David spoke of Saul, so we are not to touch (or question) God’s” anointed.” Fortunately, we have the great apostle Paul as an example of how a leader is supposed to respond to a flock that tests his teachings. In Acts 17:10-12, it is clear that the Berean church was highly esteemed…because they tested EVERYTHING Paul taught them with the scriptures. They were not rebuked or rejected by Paul for daring to test his teachings. Instead they were considered to be more noble than other churches for examining his words, and have been recorded forever in the canon of scripture for that very act. May we find leaders who feel the same way about honest men testing their teaching in the refining furnace that is the word of God.

It is a very good (and sadly, a very rare) thing to have mature and honorable people in our lives who truly believe and understand the word of God. I am a firm believer that when the Lord brings us such people, they should feel the freedom to use God-breathed scripture to correct, train, teach and even rebuke us…getting us back on the straight path to Jesus Christ. The word of God should always be our final authority, as it was for the noble Bereans, for it will endure long after this earth and it’s inhabitants burn away. (1 Peter 1:23-24).

I personally long to know men and women of honor and truth with whom I can share this journey to Jesus Christ…believers who have put aside the deceptive lies of this world: wealth, status, sex, power, constant recreation, and instead joyfully subject themselves to the only one who judges righteously…Jesus Christ. But as noted above, such believers are few and far between as the wickedness of this world flows like an open sewer into the body, destroying the hearts and minds of even the most sincere followers of Christ.

Below are several scriptures that set forth the biblical model of authority, warning us that we should be cautious when submitting to fallible men, and reminding us that Jesus alone is our final authority. The scriptures also illustrate that biblical authority should not look like temporal authority. Instead it should look … like Jesus. I encourage those who read this to do so with a Bible in hand. This is far from an exhaustive study, but it does attempt to capture the primary theme of the verses that address this issue.

Matthew 23:8-12

In this passage, Jesus instructed a large crowd that they should not call anyone teacher or master, for Jesus Christ alone is our master. He also warned them that they (and we) are not to call anyone father other than our Father God in heaven. Instead, whoever is greatest among us must be our servant and whoever exalts himself will be humbled. In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus also emphasizes the fact that those in authority through Christ should be a servant, just as Jesus Christ came to serve mankind and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Luke 16:15

In this passage Jesus points out that what is highly esteemed by men is detestable in the sight of God.

Nowhere is the above statement truer today than in the church, where both leaders and laymen are enamored with the wealthy “Christian” businessman or the “Christian” celebrity athlete. Often authority and respect are erroneously given to a wealthy businessman not because their hearts and character have been tested with the refining fire of scripture, but because character is simply assumed because they have had temporal success. In my experience I have seen church leaders ignore the fact that many of these men have stepped on the necks of business partners – even ones who were struggling financially – to gain more power and wealth for themselves. Also, the fact that many of these men have often ignored or left behind wives and children as they built an empire for themselves that will soon burn away (Revelation 18:10-19), is forgotten, because in today’s church, cash and outward appearances are almost always king. Paul and Jesus, however, cared nothing for material wealth and had no place to rest their heads as they traveled from city to city on foot, in order to love and serve the poor with integrity. (See Paul’s thoughts on all things temporal: Favorite Scriptures #1: Paul’s Perspective On This Short Life (Philippians 3:7-14)) Are those in power in our spheres truly caring for the weak and powerless on a consistent basis as Jesus and Paul did? Not likely, because as much as it is talked about in our sanctuaries, it is rarely a significant item on the schedules of the men leading our churches since there is much fund raising and book writing to do.

John 2:24-25

Jesus did not entrust himself to men for he knew what was in men.

While Jesus was God, and was fully submitted to the Father while on earth, this statement by John makes it clear that we should be very cautious when trusting ourselves to others, just as Jesus was. Perhaps that is why Jesus, in John 14:26 (and 1 John 2:27) told us that the Holy Spirit, not rabbis or pastors, would teach us all things. We must all simply take the time to study the word of God ourselves, with the help of the spirit, and not delegate that duty to any man.

1 Corinthians 4:6

Do not think of man above that which is written.

This is an excellent verse, making it clear that Paul does not want any man to place him or any other elder above the scriptures. The word of God alone is our final authority, not man.

1 Corinthians 4:6

The head of every man is Christ

This unambiguous statement by Paul makes it clear that in Christ, men do not rule over men. Jesus Christ is our Lord and it is to him alone that we must give an accounting for our lives. Thus, we should get to know what is important to him straight from the fountain…avoiding the middleman where the fountain often becomes polluted.

2 Corinthians 1:24

In this verse Paul makes states that he did not want to have dominion over anyone else’s faith. He simply wanted to be a helper…a servant to his flock because each one of them, and each one of us, stand and fall based on our own faith.

In 2 Corinthians 11 and in Galatians 1, we also see that in both Corinth and Galatia, the people in the churches were easily submitting themselves to a different gospel and a different Jesus than the one Paul preached. Why? It was undoubtedly because they, unlike the Bereans, did not test what they heard from their leaders with the word of God. Even Jesus Christ himself used the word of God when he battled Satan in the desert after starving for 40 days. He could have easily come up with his own memorable and powerful phrase with which to hammer Satan. But Jesus Christ himself chose to use the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God in reminding Satan that, “It is written….” With those words, Satan fled.

Jesus and Paul both warned us, and Paul with tears, that we must be on guard, for many false prophets and teachers will arise from inside the church. These greedy and power hungry men lord their authority over the flock, and as Peter said, turn us into merchandise…a means to comfort, wealth, power and fame. I believe we can all say that we have seen far too much of that type of leadership in the body…some subtle and some not so subtle.

In Galatians 2, Paul also makes it clear how he feels about challenging authority if he believes that false practices or teachings are taking place. He did not mind challenging even the great apostle Peter – and in front of other believers. Peter was leading the church back into legalistic practices, some of which Peter himself ignored when it suited him. So Paul called him out in a very clear and direct manner, not demeaning Peter but calling the sin that was taking place sin, with no attempt to prop him up or protect him from what he had to face. Paul’s only desire was to honor and glorify God by making it known publicly that Peter’s actions were wrong and were infecting the body.

Neither Jesus nor Paul was a respecter of persons. They loved people but did not idolize them or place them on a pedestal. The scriptures are clear: only Jesus should be worshipped and treated as above criticism. Yet somehow today, some in the church feel that we should cover or down play the sins and false teachings of our leaders because it will hurt the body if they are exposed. Quite the opposite is true. There is nothing…nothing more beautiful than a good, strong leader in Christ owning up to his failures and being an example of humility and teachability to the brethren. That…is true power through the spirit of Jesus Christ.

It is also clear that Paul did not believe that he had to run every decision he made by other men. When he received his calling to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, he stated that he did not confer with flesh and blood before undertaking that commission. (Galatians 1:16). He, like Jesus, did not need to be told by fallible men what he knew the spirit was calling him to do. Is it wise to run important decisions by men we trust, who know the word and use it as their lamppost? Yes. But if there are no such men available, we are able to trust the word of God and the mighty Holy Spirit within us to lead us into all truth. (John 14:26, and 1 John 2:27).

Ephesians 5:21

Submit yourselves to one another in the fear of the Lord.

Again, Paul makes the point that in Christ, we who are growing towards maturity are not supposed to lord authority over each other. Instead we should mutually submit to the biblical wisdom and insight that our brothers and sisters have for us through knowing and fearing God. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “follow me as I follow Christ,” meaning follow him to the extent that what he is doing is truly following Jesus. We do not have to blindly submit to the worldly advice and insights given to us by our friends and fellow believers, for each one of us are ultimately accountable to the only one who judges justly.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

Paul states that he and his brothers put their faith, not in men, but in the gospel, seeking to please God who tries their hearts.

I love that Paul emphasizes throughout his letters, that we must remain aware, at all times, that it is ultimately Jesus Christ to whom we are accountable. We must constantly live in a state of godly fear and awareness of his mercy, power and majesty as we remain in him, bearing fruit to the glory of the Father.

1 Timothy 2:5

There is only one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

This is another scripture that states clearly and directly that we, as believers, are beholden to no man, but are instead personally responsible for our own faith and must communicate our sin, our troubles and our thanksgiving to Jesus Christ himself.

Similarly, Hebrews 4:15-16, reminds us that we have a high priest in the heavens who can relate to our infirmities since he himself was a man. Therefore, we can approach his throne of grace with boldness so that we may obtain mercy from him directly in our time of need.   Notice how there is no mention of going first to a pastor or brother. We all may, due to the sacrifice of Jesus’s body on the cross, approach him directly and with great confidence. Furthermore, Hebrews 12:1-3, tells us, eloquently and with great spiritual power, that we are to fix our eyes not on man…but on Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith who, for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning it’s shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. It is the Jesus of the Bible that we must focus or minds, our hearts and our eyes on, not man.

2 Timothy 2:15-17

In this passage Paul reminds Timothy that he has known the Holy Scriptures since he was a child, and that those scriptures are able to make him wise unto salvation. Paul goes on to tell him that ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and for instruction in righteousness so that he – and we – might be fully equipped for good works.

The lesson here is that, if I am to mutually submit to another for instruction, correction and reproof, those admonishments must come from the scriptures…and not from the mind and heart of a man.

Hebrews 13:17

In this passage, Paul tells us to obey those that have “rule” over us for they are accountable to God for our “souls.”

Based on how the words “ruler” and “soul” are used in both this passage and in Romans 13:1-7, and based on what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 23:8-12(discussed above), it appears that this passage is addressing temporal rather than spiritual authority. Regardless, the Berean church established with great certainty that examining those who posses the gift of leadership with the word is a noble thing.

1 Peter 5:1-3

Peter instructs the elders to feed the flock of believers rather than to lord authority over them. He also encouraged them to be good examples to the younger brothers and sisters.

1 John 2:20,27

We all have the anointing from God and “know all things,” so we “need not that any man teach” us since the anointing from God will teach us instead. These verses are similar to Jesus’ statements in Matthew 23:8-12 and John 14:26, which are discussed earlier in this writing.

1 John 2:20 and 27 directly address two key issues as they relate to authority in the church today. First, they establish, with certainty, that there are no longer any specially anointed men who are not subject to a careful examination with scripture. While we all have different gifts and we can learn from each other…everyone who is truly in Christ is personally anointed by God. Secondly, these verses remind each of us NOT to delegate our responsibility to learn about Jesus Christ to an authority figure. We all are to seek God ourselves while he may yet be found and we must test everything we hear from men with the word, lest we be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14).

There are many men and women today who are desperately trying to obtain power and wealth by declaring themselves (or by having their cohorts declare them) apostles and prophets of Christ. They expect all believers to get in line under their self appointed headship and to obey everything they teach, including many so-called revelations, which often contradict scripture directly. One of the best examples of the obvious false teachings of both the Dominionists/NAR and Bethel, is their false eschatology, which is the exact opposite of the clear teachings of Daniel and Revelation. In Revelation 13:7 and in Daniel 7:21, 7:24, 8:24, and 11:33, it is clear that believers are NOT going to retake the world to usher in Christ’s return. Instead, the saints will be defeated by the antichrist, and Jesus will take his revenge in his time and in his way. It is not about us and our fleshly desire to reign. It is about Jesus Christ and his perfect plan, which takes place in his perfect timing.

There truly is only one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ, our wonderful and precious high priest who gave his body and his blood for us…cold and naked on a hard wooden cross. This great and wonderful God has given us the gift of his Holy Sprit, which will indeed teach us all things as we seek him with all of our hearts. (John 14:26). We must reject the worship of proud, charismatic men and must instead invest our hearts in the one thing that we know is true…the unchanging, everlasting word of God. Then we will be able to understand God’s perfect love and his will for our lives.

EPILOGUE

If we do find faithful believers who are truly following the model of a Jesus centered life, as illustrated by the apostles, by all means follow them as they follow Christ. But…know the word for yourself so that you, like the Bereans, are equipped to test everything, and do not fall for clever sounding phrases and thoughts sprinkled with the name of Jesus and other Christian language. Submit to committed followers of Christ as they teach you God’s eternal word…but understand this: all men will fade away and die, like grass in the hot sun (1 Peter 24-25), but the word of God endures forever. When we stand before God at the end of days, with everything laid bare before him, he will ask us if we truly loved him with all of our hearts, and if we did, why didn’t we take the time to test the things we were taught and practiced with the scriptures since many courageous men were burned at the stake so that we could have it by our beds and on our electronic devices. I hope that we are all able to tell Jesus, with great boldness, that we did love him and that we were not fooled by the call from proud and deceitful men to listen to their interpretation of the Bible and ignore our own, through the Holy Spirit. Seek the Lord in truth and with great earnestness while he may yet be found. Time is short my brothers and sisters. Make the most of it while there is still daylight….

False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

The Written Word: What Did Jesus, The Apostles, and the Psalmists say about the Eternal Written word of God?

Teachers, Preachers and Mammon: Money and the Ministry

Leadership In Christ: Responsibilities of Teachers, Leaders and Hearers of the word