Posted: April 5, 2015 in religion
Christ follower. It’s a good thing? Growing up I went to a Independent Fundamental Baptist camp during my summers while there I heard many excellent sermons and it was where God first called me to preach. However, years later I reflected on the theology taught and found it not only lacking but legalistic. Recently a gentleman and I were having a conversation and he used the phrase “Christ follower” and went on to describe what he believed that to be, which was saving the whole person. Then he added it’s not enough for a person to “just believe”. While I would agree that it is highly important for discipleship and we should want to walk alongside those who get saved and guide them. This terminology is nothing new in fact you probably have read the phrase or theology behind it in books like Radical and/or Crazy Love. In my opinion it is nothing more than repackaged Reformed theology for a new generation of readers. The motto seemingly is ‘If it sounds right then it is right’. These writers are well intentioned and believe in their hardest of hearts that what they are doing is correct, nevertheless it is still bad theology. While I should be happy (I am) that above all else at least Christ is preached, I am concerned that the toleration of bad theology will do considerable harm to the next generation of believers. It is something I like to call the Charles Finney effect.
Permit me to write that I am willingly to acknowledge that Charles Finney has done more for the Lord than I have or will. Now that, that is stated his theology was amiss and had some dramatic consequences. Charles Finney was an evangelist who lived in the 1800s. For starters Finney taught a second work of grace apart from salvation (see Merrill Unger for more). This second work of grace concept became the basis for the modern Pentecostal movement. Finney affirmed that works were the evidence of faith, which one could consider the same as stating ‘We need to save the whole person and not just simply believe.’ My question is where is the justification by faith alone? Today it seems it is a justification by faith alone but as long as you have the good works to back it up, but if you sin at some point then may be you were never really saved. Finney was a charismatic preacher and he wrote a great deal, however, his theology is found wanting and destructive.
Save the whole person? Of course I believe that Christians should walk next to new converts and help disciple them. However, the question fails to allow for the concept Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 3:4-12, one person planted the seed and another waters. Believe it or not God likes to use different people in all our lives to enable us to grow in grace. God has use a great many different people in my life. My brother told me about Jesus, but it was a pastor in SoCal, who discipled me years later. ‘Save the whole person,’ is a clever way of getting people to think that they have to do something more than simply believe in Jesus Christ. That my friend as the Fundamental Baptist Preachers used to say, ‘Is a lie straight out of the pit of Hell.’
Jesus said, ‘Believe in me for eternal life’ (John 6:47). “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12. Discipleship and Salvation are not one and the same. Discipleship is a choice a believer makes to follow Christ, to take up his cross. Salvation is a free gift with no strings attached that Jesus offers freely to all (Revelation 22:17).
Posted: January 14, 2015 in religion
Prophecy for Today is a blog by me, Dan Robb. I am Student Pastor and have a high interest in bible prophecy. Some might say, “What gives me the authority to write a blog?” I earned a Master Divinity and have been studying bible prophecy for the last five years. I believe people should know and comprehend not only the bible, but the prophecies in it.
Bible prophecy might be considered a scary subject however, it was meant to be understood. Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it because the time is near.” I do believe in the return of the Lord (John 14:1-3). I also believe in a Rapture of the Church. Who is this church made of? People who believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life (John 3:16; 6:47). A person does not need to belong to a church or get baptized in order to go to heaven. While those things are good and should be done, they are not necessary in order to receive salvation.
I take a conservative approach to scripture. In order to interpret the Bible correctly one must investigate the context, grammar, style, audience (to whom is talking or talking to), and history. Otherwise people could make the Bible say whatever it is they wanted it to say and many have done this and continue to do so today. You may disagree with my theological position and I am fine with that, however, have courtesy when commenting. I realize people get heated and talking religion, however, there is no need to be rude. I will respect your opinion and hopefully we can have a lively dialogue when exchanging ideas.
May the peace of Christ comfort your hearts.
In this blog post I attempt to discuss the different views people have regarding the Rapture. What is the Rapture? The word “Rapture” is a Latin word for the words “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The concept is that the Lord will return for believers (John 14:3 and Acts 1:9-11). 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says that those who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…” The context of this concept from chapter 4 is found in 1:10 which says, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” Some things stand out, like the promise of the Lord’s return. Also there is a wrath that is coming. This word “wrath” is not defined for us until 5:9, which says “For did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The context of the word “wrath” here is found in the preceding verses. 5:4 says, “But you brethern are not in darkness so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.” The word “Day” is referring to the concept of the Day of the Lord (5:2). The Day of the Lord is an OT concept, that has two phases 1. God’s judgment against sinful people 2. God’s eternal reign over His people (Joel 2:28-32; Isaiah 13:9-11; Zephaniah 1:14-18; 3:14-15). The book of Joel as a whole is an exposition of the Day of the Lord. On a side note, it is important to understand that the word “Day” is not meaning an actual 24 hour period, but rather a span of time. In this 1 Thessalonians book, Paul uses the phrase Day of the Lord to refer to Christ’s return and coming Judgment.
The college and seminary I went to did me a favor in the way I was to approach the bible. They taught me not a systematic theology (although I took all the courses on that), but to be a bible expositor. What does that mean? It means to read the bible and look at key factors before I interpret like 1. the Grammar 2. Language (Greek or Hebrew) 3. the audience 4. the style 5. Historical. Why is this important? Many today feel the need to read the bible through their systematic theology rather than allowing the bible to speak for itself. This is extremely easy to do. For example, many of a Reformed Church background like to substitute the church for Israel in scripture. Therefore, the promises of God to Israel are now meant for believers. Israel rejected Christ therefore, the promises transfer to the church. The problem with this way of looking at scripture is that the context twisted. It can lead a person down a slippery slope. In my opinion, legalism usually follows close behind.
What does this have to do with the Rapture? The audience and context is highly important when one reads the bible, especially concerning prophecy. The Rapture is a biblical concept that means to be caught up to meet Jesus in the air. My next blog will be about the different views on when the Rapture will take place.
Recently I have been having a conversation with an individual who did not believe in the freeness of the Gospel. This gentleman tried to tell me that while salvation is initially free (meaning we had to just believe), in order to keep or have it we also had to Remain in Christ, obey, love Him. All of these conditions were necessary in order to go to heaven. It was as if he wanted it both ways. He wanted to merit his salvation. We are not required to prove to God that Jesus did not wasted His blood for us. All Christ asks us to do is believe in Him (John 3:16, 6:57). I have no problem with the things his man proposed for Christians to do, they are things Christians should be doing. However, our eternal destination is not based upon them, rather it is the finished work of Christ. To add a list to Christ’s work is to say what He did on the cross was not enough. John wrote his Gospel so that people would believe in Jesus and that by believing we have life (John 20:31). If other conditions were necessary then when the jailor asks Paul in Acts 16:30 what must he do to be saved, the response should be “Well believe, but then if you must remain in Christ, obey and love Him. If you fail in these things then may be you never really believed to begin with or you needed to strive harder to merit eternal salvation.” It was a simple, straightforward question Paul was asked and he gave a direct answer. Believe in Jesus, that was all he had to do. For the jailor this was different than what he grew up with there in Philippi. There he had to please and appease the gods. He was used to continually doing something in order to stay in good favor with the gods. Nothing was free. Yet salvation is. Still today man strives to do something for his salvation. All Jesus asks is to simply believe.
The gentleman I spoke with also referenced the Gospel I spoke of as “Cheap Grace.” I thought it was interesting he used the term because it is “cheap grace,” because it is Free! Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2) and all the world has to do is believe in Him. It is simple and easy.
Some might say, “Hey where is the accountability here?” I’m glad you asked the question because we will judged according to our works the things done in our bodies (2 Corinthians 5, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15). We are accountable for how we live. We should be laying for ourselves treasures in heaven. Our focus should be on eternal things, not the here and now. The things of this earth will pass away.
Salvation is free. There is nothing I can do to merit it. Nothing I can do to prove to God I am worthy enough. He has done the work, all He asks is for us to believe. In a world where religions and churches demand so much from people. True Christianity stands in stark contrast. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I like the use of the word “have” in this passage because it implies that we “have” everlasting life the moment we believe. It’s free. Will you believe in Jesus today?
I was at a camp when I heard about the war between Israel and Hamas. This skirmish should come as no surprise to believers because the conflict is written in the Bible. The unrest will continue despite President Obama’s best efforts. The peace will only happen albeit temporarily when the Beast (of Revelation) or King of the North (Daniel 11) strikes a covenant. This covenant will assure the world of a false peace and will signal the start of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:23-24). While the US plays a major role today in the peace talks it will soon find itself on the outside looking in. Someone new will step in and be able to do what no other nation could do.
This individual will use his new found fame to capture the attention of the world. The Tribulation will be a turbulent time to say the least. However, the Beast will grow in popularity until all the world recognizes him and worships him. The ironic part is the message that the new atheism espouses about the end of Faith. I have been amazed by how they evolutionist and humanist alike can speak of the end of God with confidence and yet ignore what is happening right before their eyes. Say what you will, disagree with me but there is an unrest in the Middle East and in Russia, that should make the world take note and pause. As the old saying goes, “There are no atheist in foxholes.” Everyone believes or exercises faith in something. Now that faith may be in science. Those who exercise their faith in science feel comfortable because they believe they have the facts or at least smarter people in their corner. The god of atheism is the god called self. Or as Richard Dawkins might put it, “The selfish Gene.” Nevertheless, despite this new atheism the world will exercise faith and put that faith in the Beast of Revelation. It will be a fatal mistake.
When will all these events take place? They are beginning to happen, but the next event on God’s time table is the Rapture of His church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). Afterwards the covenant with Israel will be signed.
What do we do now? Put your faith in Jesus for eternal life (John 6:47). You do not need to join a church or get baptized in order to be saved. You simply need to believe in the Son (Acts 16:30-31).
This blog called Prophecy for Today is one that specializes in bible prophecy. I do not believe in just spewing doomsday dogma at people on the Internet. Over the past year it has been amazing to me to find support as well as opposition. Most of the opposition I have been given has been people who do not believe in the authority of the bible. I always find it very interesting when they comment or try to get a rise out of me.
I am not a doomsday prepper. I also do not endorse people running for the hills and isolating themselves in fear of what may happen to this world. Jesus said in Luke’s Gospel, “For whosever desires to save his life will lose it, but whosever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and is himself destroyed or lost?” (9:24-25). The very thing preppers attempt to do is hold on or protect their life. As Jesus said it is the very thing they will lose. It is not wrong to work hard and make money and have nice things. But if that is all we live for then it is pointless, because we gain everything then when we die we lose it all. Or the stock market crashes and then we lose it all. Instead of wasting time prepping we should be using that time that God gives us to share the truth of what Jesus did for the world (1 John 2:2).
Jesus came to earth to give humanity hope through faith in Him. John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Another way to say the word “begotten” is only. The emphasis is on the fact that Jesus was God’s only Son.
I do not believe in prepping or storing canned goods. I believe in a Holy, loving, gracious, and Just God. Throughout the bible whenever God judged the world or nations, He always provided a way of escape. He did this during the flood in Genesis 6 then with Moses in Egypt. God has a plan and though I may not understand it completely I know that He will take of His people. We have to walk by Faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Believe in Jesus for eternal life (John 6:47).
The word Gospel means Good News. It is the good news about Jesus. I recently went to a conference and an old truth hit home to me. The question was what sends people to Hell? If you walk into any Christian bookstore you will notice a wall of the latest and greatest books. Books that deal with many different topics about the bible and the Christian life. A few of these books I have read over the years and found myself in serious disagreement with the author, like Francis Chan, John McArthur, and RC Sproul.
Theology is a system, which helps us look at God through the Bible. The word “theology,” is the study of God. Many different denominations and churches have different theologies. Therefore, if your Theology is off then it will affect the way you read the bible. The beautiful of the bible is that anyone can read it and understand it. However, there are passages in the bible that can be difficult to understand, especially if we do not know the background, literary devices the writer is using, and culture significance. This is the main problem with Evangelical Christianity today. There has been a major influx of Reformed Theology that is influencing Christians today through the local Christian bookstore. People see a popular author and pull out the book and lead to a works based system. I read the book “Crazy Love,” and my thought was that Francis Chan was the one who was crazy. As a pastor I can say that it is always a temptation to make the bible say what I want it to say. However, I have a responsibility from God to rightly divide the word of truth. As much as I do not want to spend time in my Greek, I make the sacrifice in order to lead the sheep correctly. The God that Francis Chan serves is not the God that I know or serve. The God I serve has a plan of salvation that is through faith ALONE in Jesus Christ (John 3:16 and 6:47).
What sends people to Hell? It has nothing to do with sin. Jesus already died for the sins of the world ) 1 John 2:1-2; John 3:16). He died for ALL who have ever lived, currently living, and will live. People die and go to Hell because they do not have life. Life is only found in the Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). It is after all the book of Life that will be opened and Revelation tells us that if people’s name are not found in it then they will go into the Lake of Fire (20:15). God has removed the Sin problem of the world through His Son’s death and resurrection. People only need to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life and they will be saved. It is really that simple.
This blog post is not about bashing certain Christian authors, whom I disagree with. However, it is about rightly dividing the truth and being discerning of the truth. You might read this and disagree with everything I have written, which is totally fine. Jesus paid it all so I do not have too.
I went to the Lego Movie the other night with my wife. It was a pretty cool movie and we enjoyed it. However, in one of the previews of an upcoming IMAX movie on some animals really struck me. The narrator called the animals mankind’s (or as people would say now humankind) relatives. He stated it, not as a question but as fact. It bothered me because of what the statement implied, which is man is only an animal. There is no glory in him, there is nothing inspiring about him. He was not created but merely evolved and is lucky.
It is this view that man is really an animal that has enabled him to pursue his own way of life apart form any moral accountability to God (or any god). He is freed to do whatever he desires. Some might argue that even those who profess a belief in God live the same way, which is sadly true. However, a belief in God means that man can be something more and was created to be that way by a God that cares about him.
The prevailing belief today is that man is an animal and thus is his own god. If everyone is their own god then there is no real truth and life IS meaningless. Sure we can and do sugar coat it by doing good but there is no substance behind the good deeds. As much as atheists will claim they have morals (which I do not doubt at all) there is nothing behind the morals but morals for morals sake. What is then true for one person then is not for another. There is no set moral code. I am not suggesting this is anything recent as in the last 50 years. Man has always attempted to make a life apart from God and even be a god himself. However, the end of this way of thinking has never been a good one.
Genesis 1:26 tells us that man is created in God’s image. When the bible says “Let us make man in our image, the Hebrew grammar suggests it means “Let us make man as our image.” In ancient times an emperor might place statues of himself throughout the remote part of his land. These symbols would declare that those areas were under his power and reign. Therefore, God placed man in the world as a living symbol of Himself on earth to represent his reign. This is why God gives the command for man to have dominion over the earth. This is the reason God values people so much: We are made to reflect His majesty on earth. There is a significance to mankind. There is no chance or survival of the fittest. One only has to look to the world created around him to understand if this is all random chance then they should go to Vegas and gamble it all.
God has created a world and given man the opportunity to know Him.
When I saw on the news Monday (February 10th) that Iran warships were coming close to the US coast I thought, “Is April Fool’s Day happening sooner this year?” Fox News reported on their website that Iran is doing this because the US has deployed ships close to their borders. This is a puzzling development. Iran is obviously attempting to take a stand against the US. The US appears reluctant to start a war. Could this be the beginnings of a new cold war? That is one possibility.
While the world pursues peace, there will always be a stumbling block for it until the Antichrist strikes a deal with Israel and the Muslim community in the Middle East. What does this mean for people living today? The time is now to put your faith in the one true God. Things are only going to escalate more and more and more in the coming years. The peace the world desperately wants will never be until the Lord returns (John 14:3). The bible tells us that God sent His Son to the world to die for our sins and the sins of this whole world and all that is asked is not for us to join a church or give money or be a good person. All that is asked for you to believe in Jesus for eternal (John 3:16 and 1 John 2:1,2). You do not need to pray a prayer or become a Christian in order to believe in Jesus. All you need to do is believe in Him (John 6:57).