suicide is special

October 22, 2017

Well today was a tough day, I had to do a funeral for a youth pastor that committed suicide. What made it tougher was his home church, the one he worked in refused to do his service as they were sure he went to hell.

After sex, the second most predominant idea in a college kid is suicide.

I’ve lost several good friends to self death, including some relatives it has been an area that I’ve struggled with for many years. To me it’s kind of like the chicken or the egg which came first, is it always depression than suicide or is it shame and them suicide. Fear than suicide.

This is the third person in ministry that I’ve done the funeral of due to suicide.

This is one topic I may change my mind on, but here’s my current thinking.

Since the early days of the church, suicide has been considered a grievous sin. Theologically, it is seen as an act of subverting God’s will.  Because we belong to our Creator and not ourselves, self-murder is on par with murdering another person.

However, all sin is a subversion of God’s will. So how and why did suicide become an “unpardonable sin”? Augustine asserted that suicide was an unrepentable sin based on the fact that “Thou shalt not kill” didn’t exclude oneself. Catholic thinker Thomas Aquinas lent his support on three points: suicide opposes love, it hurts the greater community, and it usurps God’s right to determine the length of his creation’s earthly life. In the Middle Ages, the doctrine was simply that suicide cuts short a person’s relationship with God. The view that suicide doomed one to hell continued with the Catholic church’s view that those who die with unabsolved mortal sin are bound to hell.

Protestant reformation leaders strongly condemned suicide, but generally disagreed with the Catholic church’s stance that suicide would condemn a person to hell. The reformers preached salvation through grace alone, and therefore, it is neither earned nor lost by human works–including suicide. Reformers also opposed the Catholic view as unsupported by Scripture.

Suicide is all that the church has labelled it: a tragedy, a sin, usurping God’s rights. It leaves deep scars on the family, church and community. It is a horrible and painful occurance. But, I believe that we are saved by grace alone, and Jesus’ righteousness clothes even the most wretched sinners, and that nothing can separate us from God’s love, and therefore could answer my friend confidently. There would be many days of pain and regret and healing ahead of them, but they didn’t have to add to that the thought that this Christ-follower was eternally doomed.

Trust me I’ve heard all the arguments, “oh, they weren’t really saved” or “they must have backslid.” I’ve heard pastors preach long time members of the church into hell. Some say, “we must always send them to hell to discourage others.”

What about the fat slob in your church that eat KFC three times a day and we preach him into heaven, with a knowing look of sadness but forgiveness. Death by Cop, death by donut, death by speeding. It’s all about death.

Having been in attendance on both sides of the fence for S.O.S (survivors of suicide) I will tell you the pain and loss of those let behind is a hell all of its own.

I know many folks that survived their suicide attempt and they were all screaming in their head as the bullet thundered down the barrel, “oh God let me live”.

It’s not the answer, but we have to many people living to much in themselves and not living in Christ. As a tag to yesterday’s devotion, “self interest” can lead to self death.”

If your struggling with this issue trust me I know firsthand how the impulse can be so strong, so sudden and seemingly the best answer, it’s not.

Please tell someone, several someone’s, if there is a secret in your life, trust me, tell the secret to someone, shame disappears when it’s no longer a secret.

Please reach out to us at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember I only check my email for this site at 1030 pm central time.

Call 1-800-273-8255 for the national suicide hotline 24/7

Blessings, peace and love, God bless the troubled.

RED MEAT

October 19, 2017

three basic questions arise when discussing the divine election of the saints by God:

Is God fair?

Doesn’t this make us robots?

Why should I evangelize?

All three questions are answered in Romans 9-11, (hopefully this makes you curious enough to read past chapter 8, where so many people seem to stop.)the great passage in the Bible which deals with this doctrine. Romans 9 answers the question of our choice, Rom 10 answers the question of the need for evangelism, and Rom 11 answers the question of God’s fairness. It should be noted as well that Paul’s theology here is not in a vacuum; he begins (vv 1-3) by almost wishing that he could go to hell if it would mean that just one of his Jewish brothers would get saved!

Many folks want to seek a balance between God’s sovereignty and human free will. A balance needs to be sought, but this is not the place. Nowhere do we read in the Bible that God is not sovereign over our wills. Further, we have the explicit testimony of Romans 9 to the opposite effect. As well, there is an inherent imbalance between a creature’s will and the Creator’s will. What right do we have to claim that these two are equal?

The real balance comes between the two broad categories of God’s attributes. God has moral attributes (goodness, love, mercy, justice, etc.) and amoral attributes (he is infinite, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, etc.). In short, the balance is between his sovereignty and his goodness. If God only had amoral attributes, he may well be a tyrant. If he only had moral attributes, he would be incapable of effecting change in the world; he would be impotent.

Putting all this together we see the majesty and mystery of God. God’s attributes cannot be compartmentalized. That is, he is good in his sovereignty, infinite in his mercy, loving in his omnipotence. However, we as mere finite creatures cannot comprehend the grandeur of his plan. Isaiah 55:8-9 says: “My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts; but just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” There is no contradiction in God, but there is finite understanding in us.

The mystery of election is that God can choose unconditionally, yet our wills are not coerced. We are persuaded by the Holy Spirit to believe. Further, we have the sense of free will in the process.

the biblical doctrine of election is that it is unconditional, irresistible, and irrevocable. All this to the glory of God–without in any way diminishing the dignity or responsibility of man. To put this another way: A large part of maturing in the faith is this: we each need to make the progressively Copernican discovery encapsuled in the words, “I am not the center of the universe.” Or, as John the Baptist put it, “That he might increase and I might decrease.

God bless scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

WE ARE NOT TRYING TO PERSUADE YOU TO ONE FORM OF THEOLOGY OR ANOTHER, WE ARE JUST INFORMING YOU OF TWO PREDOMINATE SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT. YOU AS A CHRISTIAN MUST BE READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO ALL.

Part two on theology

Yesterday we talked about Reformed or Covenant Theology. So that would be some Presbyterians, and Baptist, not all but most.

Today we’ll cover Dispensationalist’s. first a cautionary note. And that’s jumping to conclusions. Not all Pentecostals are Dispensationalists. In fact a great many are Reformed in theology except for the speaking in tongues part.

Some great Dispensationalist for you are John MacArthur and The Dallas Theological Seminary. Foundation.

.Plymouth Brethren Movement -J. N.Darby, WilliamKelly . C.I.Scofield . WilliamTrotter . C.H.Mackintosh

Key Influencial Preachers .L. S. Chafer F.W.Grant

.Harry Ironside Erich Sauer .W. A. Criswell John Walvoord

Charles Ryrie

Wiliam Newell

  1. C. Gaebelein- Our Hope Magazine

Institutions

Moody Bible Institute

Dallas Theological Seminary

Grace Seminary, Indiana

Talbot Seminary, California

1930s-1940s

Harry Ironside

William Newell

  1. C. Gaebelein

  2. S. Chafer

Theodore Epp-Back to the Bible (1939)

Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry(1938)

1950s-1960s

Dallas Seminary, Charles Ryrie, John Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost

  1. E. Vine, Erich Sauer

Warren Weirsbe

Lehman Strauss

Charles Swindoll

Quite a surprising list and not to mention there are Classical Dispensationalist and Neo Classic and Modern and Ultra Modern Dispensationalists.

And the New Reformed Movement is attacking Dispensationalists like they were a cult. Which they are really attacking the Ultra Modern’s and not the classics.

So enough of that; here is some info to help you converse and understand the other side of the coin compared to the Reformed Movement.

Dispensational theology is probably the most popular theological understanding in America at this time, even though it has a more recent origin than Covenant theology. The development of Dispensational theology dates back to the nineteenth century in Britain. J.N. Darby (1800-1882), an Irish lawyer, sought to explain the uniqueness of the Christians’ spiritual condition “in Christ.” To explain the radical different in Christian “benefits” from that afforded to peoples in all prior times, Mr. Darby employed the division of time into distinct “dispensations.” Harry Ironside, a later proponent of Dispensational theology, noted that “until Mr. J.N. Darby…it (the dispensational idea of a postponed kingdom) is scarcely to be found in a single book or sermon through a period of sixteen hundred years.” Darby’s novel idea of distinguishing “dispensations” of time became the basis of a new theological system known as “Dispensationalism.”

   As with Covenant theology, it is equally important to explore the socio-political climate in which Dispensational theology emerged. In nineteenth century Britain there existed an abundance of oppressive and depressing sociological conditions, out of which grew an anti-establishment movement of thought against both governmental and ecclesiastical authority. Historical analyst, George Marsden, has noted that two individuals who were contemporaries of one another both became the catalysts of popular systems of thought. J.N. Darby (1800-1882) and Karl Marx (1818-1883), both reacted to the existing conditions in nineteenth century Britain.  Whereas Darby came to the forefront in saying the church must look forward to ‘The Rapture’ as the world was to evil to successfully reform.

   J.N. Darby became an instrumental leader in the movement which became known as the “Plymouth Brethren. (not the same as the Brethren Church)” This independent religious group was outside of the mainline institutional churches of that.Other British Dispensationalists include C.H. Mackintosh, William Kelly and E.W. Bullinger. Darby made at least eight visits to America to promulgate his new interpretations, and they were espoused by such American leaders as Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and J.H. Brookes (1830-1897). Other prominent names associated with Dispensational theology in the twentieth century include W.E. Blackstone, L.S. Chafer who founded Dallas Theological Seminary, and C.I. Scofield who popularized Dispensational theology with his explanatory notes in The Scofield Bible. Dispensational theology became entrenched in the “Fundamentalist” movement of the 1920s and 1930s. More recent Dispensational writers included John E. Walvoord, and Charles Ryrie who like Scofield has added explanatory notes in hisRyrie Study Bible.

   Dispensational theology is not as closely connected with Calvinistic theology as is Covenant theology. This explains in part why it so quickly and easily found favor across denominational and theological lines in America, for there were many American Christians who did not appreciate the rigid dogmatism of five-point Calvinism and desired more freedom for diversity, in typical American pluralistic fashion. One could wish that Dispensationalists could have maintained such tolerance for diversity without becoming so dogmatic and exclusivistic about their own theological and eschatological opinions, which led eventually to the “Evangelical” movement breaking free from the “Fundamentalist” movement in the 1940s. Dispensational distancing from strict Calvinism allows Pentecostal and Holiness theologies, which are quite Arminian, to be Dispensational in theology as well. Covenant theologians are quick to fault Dispensational theology for not adhering to pure Calvinism, but sometimes unfairly charge all Dispensationalists with being Arminian in their theology. (which the majority are not Arminian). (Arminian’s believe you can be saved and then lose your salvation).

   Some of the prominent features of Dispensational theology include (1) distinct dispensations of time, (2) the dichotomy of Israel and the Church, (3) the unconditional covenant of God with Abraham, to be fulfilled physically and literally for the Jewish people in the future Davidic/millennial kingdom. Upon these basic presuppositions the system of Dispensational theology is constructed.

the early formulators of Dispensational theology defined a “dispensation” as “a period of time with a test that ends in failure,” and began to divide all history accordingly. A more complete Dispensational definition of a “dispensation” might be “a period of time wherein (1) a distinctive idea of revelation is given by God, (2) a specific test of obedience is given based on that revelation, (3) man fails the test of obedience, (4) God judges man for his disobedience, and then establishes another dispensation.” These dispensations do not build upon one another, but are regarded as totally distinct and separate from one another.

   Dispensationalists are not agreed as to the number of dispensations of time wherein God deals with men in different ways. At least three dispensations are required for the theological system to provide the contrasts necessary; these are the dispensation of law, the dispensation of grace, and the dispensation of the millennial kingdom. The most popular calculation of dispensational time periods is seven. They are usually identified as

(1) The dispensation of innocence (Gen. 1-3), wherein the test was the eating from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” and the failure was the fall of man into sin.

(2) The dispensation of conscience (Gen. 4 8:14), wherein the test was proper sacrifice and the failure was the continual evil of men’s hearts judged by the flood.

(3) The dispensation of human government (Gen. 8:15 11), wherein the test was governance and compliance with government and the failure was evidenced at the tower of Babel.

(4) The dispensation of promise (Gen 12 Exod. 18), wherein the test came when God offered the Law to the Israelites, and the failure is alleged to be their abandonment of a prior grace/faith relationship with God by their rash and foolish acceptance of the Law.

(5) The dispensation of Law (Exod. 19 Acts 1), the test of which came when Jesus came to earth and offered the Jews the Davidic kingdom which they refused, so God postponed the fulfillment of the kingdom promise.

(6) The dispensation of grace (Acts 2 Rev. 19), wherein the test is for Christians to live obediently in grace, but the failure is predicted to be the apostasy of the institutional church.

(7) The dispensation of the kingdom (Rev. 20), a thousand year period which will end in final rebellion leading to the judgment of God upon the earth and the inauguration of a “new heaven and new earth.”

Dispensationalist’s believe in a more literal interpretation and less allegorical than the Reformed tradition.

A second prominent feature of Dispensational theology is the radical dichotomy and disjuncture of Israel and the Church. In an apparent attempt to keep law and grace distinctly separated, Dispensational theology has divided the nation of Israel from any connection with the Church of Jesus Christ, the Body of Christ. They are alleged to be so mutually exclusive as two separate peoples that “never the twain shall meet.” J.N. Darby indicated that “the Jewish nation is never to enter into the Church.”The physical race of Jewish people is regarded as God’s “earthly people” while Christians are regarded as God’s “heavenly people.” Dispensational theology indicates that separate promises are given to Jews and to Christians.

That is why a Dispensationalist has a problem with Messianic Jews. You are either a Christian or you are not. There are to the Dispensationalists Kingdom promises and then promises to the Church.

A third basic presupposition of Dispensational theology is the unconditional covenant with Abraham, to be fulfilled physically and literally for the Jewish people in the future Davidic/millennial kingdom. Beginning with the promises of God to Abraham in Genesis 12, 15 and 17, the Dispensationalist argues for a literal fulfillment of these promises for the physical race and nation of the Jews. Such fulfillment is alleged to be the epitome of God’s intent and the primary message of the Bible. Charles Ryrie states that “the goal of history is the earthly millennium…(which is) the climax of history and the great goal of God’s program for the ages. John E. Walvoord further explains that “the Abrahamic covenant furnishes the key to the entire Old Testament…(and) sets the mold for the entire body of Scripture truth. Thus, there will be after the Rapture, the time of Tribulation and Jesus returning to set up a literal kingdom on earth for a 1000 year reign.

God therefore postponed the re-implementation of the Kingdom until Jesus comes again to set up the millennial kingdom, which will be the fulfillment of the “new covenant” promised to the Jews. The period of the postponed kingdom, the “dispensation of grace,” is a parenthetical time period wherein God’s primary purpose is interrupted and held in abeyance. The Church is not to be identified with God’s kingdom and was unforeseen by all of the Old Testament prophets whose prophesies never refer to the Church age. The Church, which is primarily for Gentiles, began on Pentecost, and there are many “mysteries” concerning God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ so as to “call out” a “heavenly people” whose destiny is to be seated with Christ on the throne in the New Jerusalem of heaven. Meanwhile the primary futuristic focus is on the return of Jesus Christ to re-establish the realm of the earthly Davidic Kingdom in Palestine during the 1000 year millennial period which fulfills the promised “new covenant,” the “dispensation of the kingdom.” (Some Dispensationalists will allow that the “new covenant” may have a double application: a spiritual application for the church and a physical application for Israel.) The return of Christ is “imminent,” expected at “any moment.” It will be preceded by the “rapture” in order to remove the Church and keep Israel and the Church separated. Dispensational theology is necessarily premillennial, but that does not mean that all premillennialists subscribe to Dispensational theology. There are covenant theologians who believe in a premillennial return of Christ.

There are of course many other ‘schools’ of theology, and most borrow bit and pieces from the other. There are those who say we only have ‘Biblical Theology’ of we only have a ‘Christocentric’ theology. Each borrow strongly from the other.

The more you study you will probably end up like me and say I have an Adaptive Theology. It is the sum of all the parts. There are quotes attributed to Calvin (Reformed) that he never said. As well as quotes to Darby and Dispensationalists that are pure myth. Find out the truth, for one reason, you make sense when you talk and can give a better answer than ‘because’.

Where do i fall, Reformed, Dispensationalist, semi Pentecostal, brethren, Mennonite.

That’s it, no more theology, back to rant and rave, prod and poke.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

what am I?

October 15, 2017

Following our weekly theme of questions, here is a statement that will answer some questions for you or cause even more.

Being a professor and perpetual student of Theology, you can guess my favorite topic. ‘theology’. For some people they think it boring, believe me it is anything but.

Every Christian has a theology. Everyone engages in theology. Everyone has a theology. The word “theology” is derived from two Greek words, theos meaning “God,” and logos meaning “word” with extended meanings of “reasoning” or “logic.” Theology refers to “reasoning about God.” Everyone has some “reasoning about God,” including the atheist who rejects the “god” he has reasoned about.

Here is part one of the two basic Christian theologies, most people fall into one or the other of these two groups. Neither group can claim to be exclusively right or wrong. And these explanations are simplistic at best. But see which group you fall into. And just like the newest hybrid dog i.e. labradoodle, you can be a mix and develop over your lifetime.

Covenant theology is also referred to as “Reformed theology” and occasionally as “Federal theology.” Reformed theology is not equivalent to Reformation theology. In their protestation against the theology of Roman Catholicism, Martin Luther and John Calvin, among others, developed distinctive theological interpretations, so that Lutheran theology and Calvinistic theology both existed prior to Reformed or Covenant theology.

   It was not until the seventeenth century that a systematized theology based upon the idea of “covenant” developed. Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) from Scotland, and Johannes Cocceius (1603-1669) of Holland, were both instrumental in the establishment of Covenant theology. It became firmly entrenched in Reformed Protestant theology after the Church of Scotland accepted the Westminster Confession in 1647, which incorporated the idea of federal or covenant theology into a creedal statement for the first time.

   The socio-political climate in which these ideas germinated is important.1 In the seventeenth century, the European societies were breaking free from the old feudalistic system of governance. There was strong emphasis on national sovereignty and on social contracts or “covenants” to defend national freedom. Societal and moral law was emphasized to maintain the new social structures. These sociological and cultural factors lent themselves to the development of a corresponding political theology which emphasized law and covenant and sovereignty. Covenant theology has been conducive to political enmeshment throughout its history, as is evidenced by the contemporary resurgence of “theonomy” and “reconstructionism.”

   Theologians and authors identified with Covenant theology include Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), Charles Hodge (1797-1878), Philip Mauro, Albertus Pieters, Oswald Allis, William Cox, Anthony Hoekema, Herman Ridderbos and John Murray, as well as many others.
Covenant theology is closely connected with “five-point” Calvinistic theology, though not to be equated with such. Some of the prominent features of Covenant theology include (1) the idea of a common “covenant of grace,” (2) emphasize on the singular collective “people of God,” (3) unity and uniformity of God’s people and the Bible.

   A single, over-all, everlasting “covenant of grace” is postulated by covenant theology. The mention of an “everlasting covenant” in Genesis 17:7,13,19 serves as the basis for this single, unified covenant, within which a series of subordinate covenants are said to build upon one another so as to culminate in the “new covenant.” Even so, the old and new covenants are not viewed as two separate covenants, but only as two forms of the one “covenant of grace.” The progressive sequence of subordinate covenants includes (1) the covenant of works (Gen. 1,2) in the garden of Eden with the promise of perfect environment, (2) the Adamic covenant (Gen. 3) with the first promise of a Savior, (3) the Noahic covenant (Gen. 6-9) with the promise never to destroy the earth by flood again, (4) the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12-35) with the promise of multitudinous “seed,” (5) the Mosaic covenant (Exod. 19-24) with the promise of grace, (6) the Davidic covenant (II Sam. 7:1-16) with the promised throne of David, and (7) the New covenant (Heb. 8:8) which fulfills the promise of Jeremiah 31:31 and God’s ultimate purpose for an “elect people” in covenant relationship with Himself.

   Does the emphasis on “covenant” serve to cast God’s dealings with man into a legal, judicial, contractual framework? Is God the ultimate “legal contractor” who keeps adding clauses to the contract? Does the whole framework of legality diminish the dynamic and ontological essence of God’s function? Does the covenantal and legal framework lend itself to external behavioral legalism?

   A second prominent feature of Covenant theology is the focus upon the “people of God.” God, the Father, chose a “people” for Himself; the Son agreed to pay the penalty for their sin; the Holy Spirit agreed to apply the benefits of the Son’s work to the “people of God.” Does this not divide the Godhead into work assignments? Does God need a “people” so necessarily as to become contingent on man for such? Does the sociological collectivism of an identified “people” overshadow the individual response to God in faith? Does the application of “benefits” adequately explain the life and work of Jesus Christ?

   A third feature of Covenant theology is the “unity” of all God’s people spiritually throughout the covenantal development. This is also identified and applied as the “unity of the Bible.” Does not the unity thesis become a “uniformity grid” which imposes a singularity of divine function, which effectively puts God into a straight-jacket? When all subsequent covenantal actions of God must incorporate all precedent actions, so that there is an equivalency among all the “people of God” in every age, is God really free to do something “new” and unique and novel? Is God unable to change His modus operandi?

   When Covenant theology explains the connections of old covenant and new covenant, it is heavily weighted toward a correspondence of theological content throughout all of the history of God’s dealings with mankind. Both law and grace are said to be co-existent within each era or covenantal period. Despite the almost antithetical contrast that Paul draws between law and grace,2 Covenant theology often attempts to balance these concepts or amalgamate them in such non-biblical phrases as “the grace of the law,” or “the law of grace.” Does God talk out of both sides of His mouth at the same time with different emphases?

   Covenant theology asserts that the gospel has been preached in every covenantal period. Grace has been available to all men with a singular plan of salvation offered to all in every age. God’s divine declaration of righteousness, the activities of the Holy Spirit, and the personal regeneration unto spiritual life are attributed to believers both in the new covenant and in prior times. All of the so-called “divine benefits” are regarded as having an “eternality” of existence based on God’s eternality. Does this not deify God’s actions apart from His Being?

   Emphasizing the eternality of God’s activities in the continuity of historical continuum, covenant theology seems to stereotype God into a commonality of continuous content and action that disallows God from every doing anything different or new. If all subsequent actions are consistent with precedent actions, God is trapped in the box of precedency.

   To sidestep some of these logical contingencies of the covenant theological system, explanation is sometimes given that attempts to show some discorrespondence of theological content and discontinuity of historical continuum between old and new covenants. It is explained that law took precedence over grace during the Mosaic covenant, but that grace predominates over law in the new covenant, even though law still has its function. The on-going function of the law is explained in the arbitrary categories of moral law, ceremonial law and judicial law. One segment of covenant theology has advocated the contemporary application of God’s law in theonomy and reconstructionism,3 which involves the application of their understanding of God’s law as the “law of the land” in the United States.

   A sense of discorrespondence and discontinuity is also suggested by covenant theology when they are forced to admit that new covenant Christians experience “superior” spiritual “benefits,” or that these “benefits” take on “deeper meaning” in the new covenant. Within their emphasis on the “people of God,” there is also a discorrespondence and discontinuity in the explanation that the physical application of this designation predominated in the previous covenant periods, but a spiritual application of the “people of God” predominates in the new covenant period.

   Over-all, the presuppositional insistence on a singular and common “covenant of grace” in Covenant theology leads to an emphasis on a concordance and correlation of covenant peoples, a solidarity and unity of divine activity, which verges on complete identification and equivalence. The “people of God” are one collective and corporate unity, albeit with multiple manifestation in old and new covenants, having one common heavenly destiny in the presence of God. Israel and the Church are in essence the same entity, the “elect people” of God. The Church, the ecclesia, the “called out people of God,” existed all the way back to Adam. The events on Pentecost (Acts 2) comprised but the empowering of the Body of Christ in the new covenant. The kingdom of God, defined by His “right to rule,” has existed from the beginning of God’s dealings with man.

   What, then, was the purpose of Christ’s coming to earth in His redemptive mission? Covenant theology seems to explain that Jesus came to make the final addition to the covenantal progression in order to establish the new covenant manifestation of Israel, the church, the kingdom, wherein the “people of God” might have right relationship with God.

   What are the expectations, the hope of covenant theology? When God’s “people” evidence commitment and obedience within the legal and contractual framework of the covenant relationship, then the situation will progress toward the perfection of God’s intent for the new covenant community. Things will get better and better. Most who accept the covenant theological premises arrive at eschatological conclusions which are amillenial or postmillenial. There are premillenial covenant theologians, though, so eschatological persuasions alone are not the basis for determining whether one subscribes to Covenant or Reformed theology. Likewise, there are those who have amillennial or postmillennial eschatological beliefs, but have an Arminian theology, and could never be identified with Covenant theology which is strongly connected with Calvinistic theology.

   The prominent feature by which Covenant theology is identified is the distinctive idea of a common “covenant of grace,” and this colors their interpretation of all the Scriptures. The covenant idea was, to some degree, sociologically, politically and culturally derived from the sixteenth and seventeenth century transition from feudalism. Covenant theology is closely allied with the closed-system theology of Calvinistic determinism which emphasizes the “sovereignty” of God in the implementation of His covenants. If one accepts the ideological premise of a “predetermined, unified covenant people,” then Covenant theology can be a consistent theological system.

This is basically the theology of the Baptists.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

chasing our tails

October 13, 2017

Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?

Matthew 5: 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Revelation 7:16-17 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.

A word loaded with figurative meaning is the word, “thirst.” In the Bible, “thirst” is a translation of the Hebrew sama, and the Greek dipsos. We have an English word that is derived from dipsos, the word dipsomania used of extreme thirstiness, but especially of the insatiable craving for alcoholic beverages. Thirst refers to the sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat caused by the lack of fluids which results in a desire to drink. From this sensation it seems that people of almost any language use the word thirst as a synonym for a strong desire or craving for whatever the object, like a thirst for knowledge, or a thirst for wealth.

Have you ever really been truly thirsty? To some degree we all know the sensation of thirst and the longing for a drink especially when expending a lot of energy. In the heat of summer when our bodies do a lot of perspiring they cry out for more fluids. But very few of us have ever been in the desert without water to the point of serious life-threatening dehydration and known the real pain of thirst or a craving for water like Hagar and her son in the wilderness of Beersheba (Gen. 21:14).

But I would ask you this, what will it take for you and me to stop chasing our tails. Or in the more common vernacular ‘three steps forward, two steps back” and that’s being wildly optimistic.

Why do we keep screwing up?

Why do we have pornographic thoughts in the middle of our prayers? Or have you ever thought of all the money you’ve spent on things you don’t really need? Oh, that’s right we call it a collection.

Or how about the time the offering plate is going by and you’re going to put in a twenty and see you have a five and grab that instead. The plate goes by and there’s a twinge of guilt and you do what you always do, ‘next time’.

How many ‘next times’ will there be.

The broken promises to God.

Oh, God it was an accident I never was planning on having sex when I left the house.

The cursing you promised you’d quit and the quick not really meaning it “I won’t do it again God” prayer. And since you don’t really plan on stopping, there isn’t even an apology to God anymore.

When did God become a habit or just a religious routine?

And if you are a person without any accountability, you are actually shocked at how far you’ve drifted.

Well someday there has to be a reckoning. You can either do it now, with real intent or just let the carnal cocoon keep spinning its soft web around you, hey there’s always tomorrow.

And    BAM, YOUR DEAD, WHOOPS TO LATE.

Oh well I hope I’ve at least given you indigestion.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ONE WAY IN

October 12, 2017

It’s a real pity that the Word of Faith movement, lying tv evangelists, screwed up Pentecostals, whacked out charismatics, have made talking about faith seem like leprosy. Now for those that don’t know or forgot, I’m eminently qualified to talk about this particular group, as I pastored a Pentecostal church for over 27 years before I had a complete change of mind about how important or should I say less important the “the second blessing” was.

Now don’t get me wrong I still believe in the gifts of the spirit and have seen to many miracles to throw out the baby with the bath water. But I’ve also seen the toxic faith, cult like control and hyper faith movement gone off the track and wreck lives and derail the faith of many folks.

The key word is balance.

The most important thing in the believing Christian’s life isn’t’ speaking in tongues, it’s a biblically centered, sound theological understanding of faith.

The measure of your life’s accomplishment and your victory is your faith. The Bible clearly, concisely, convincingly, and compellingly tells us that, “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). Now, let me tell you something, the identifying mark of a Christian is his faith. As a matter of fact, Christians were called believers before they were called Christians. Faith is the identifying mark of a Christian. But, not only is it his identifying mark it is his chief duty. You have no greater duty than to just simply believe God. John 6:29: “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe.” Isn’t that something? This is the work of God that ye believe.

Glorifying God, by our faith in Him. That’s your chief and main duty. That’s it, that’s the cake, everything else is just frosting.

Now, if faith is the chief duty, then unbelief is the greatest evil. There is no greater sin than the sin of unbelief. As a matter of fact, that’s the sin that will consign you to Hell for eternity. The Bible says in John 3:18: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Not because he steals, not because he murders or lies, not because of his lust of pride, but because he believes not. Unbelief is the mother sin, the father sin, the parent sin, and the sin out of which all other sins grow.

What determines your eternal home is either faith in Christ, go to heaven or unbelief in Christ, you condemn yourself to hell. It’s that simple.

You can stand on the highest platform and yell to the top of your lungs that there is no God. You can get a PhD in philosophy and sound smart. You can say your prayers were never answered, the list goes on. The fact is unbelief is a sin and the mark of a fool.

The Bible makes one statement four times. In Habakkuk 2:4, in Hebrews 10:38, in Galatians 3:11, and in Romans 1:17 there is one verse that is repeated four times. Do you want me to tell you what it is? “The just shall live by faith.” Do you have it? The just shall live by faith. Four times God says that the just shall live by faith. The just shall live by faith, the just shall live by faith, the just shall live by faith. Do you get the idea God is trying to tell us something? Yes, He is and I’ll tell you what it is. The just shall live by faith. My dear friend, the way that you live the Christian life is by faith.

If you are in the heavenly choir shout amen, if there is a large hole in your heart and you are the most miserable of all people, pray to God that Jesus is real and you’d like to have it, believe it. bend your stubborn neck and look at the mess you’ve made of your life and ask Jesus, the Son of God, THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN. Into your heart.

Friend I hope you make that decision, if you have questions or need to talk, email me at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Just so you know I check my emails late at night so don’t be discouraged if it takes me a day to get back to you.

God bless and have faith.

the wrong way

October 11, 2017

Ok a little something you should know about me, I love jokes, quotes and statistics, they just stick in my mind. So here is a great quote I heard today from famed evangelist (deceased) Billy Sunday; “the Rev. Sunday was in a town known for its whiskey drinking, so he preached a hellfire message against liquor, a important town person came up to him and said; ‘Dr. Sunday you are rubbing a lot of folks the wrong way’ where Billy Sunday said; ‘then turn the cat around the other way.”

Anyway

  Rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3).

  There are two ways in which God reveals to us the true condition of the natural man. The first is via the Word: “In me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). The second is via experience: years of struggle with the constant sinfulness and failure of that old nature. If we were more willing to face up to the incorrigibility of the Adamic life within, it might not take us so long to be freed from its domination.

It is quite possible for every one of us to have a perfectly good conscience. A happy state to be in! Have you a good conscience? Are you under accusation, under condemnation? Are you fretting and worrying about the badness of your own heart? That means that you have not the answer of a good conscience to God. What is the matter? You are still looking for something from nature, from the old man. You had better give it up, as that is the only way out; repudiate it.

Tell yourself and tell the accuser once for all that in you, that is, in your flesh, dwelleth no good thing, and you never expect to find anything. The enemy knows it, and yet he is trying to get you on an impossible quest for something he knows you will never find, and that is how he worries you. Years of it! Then why not come onto the Lord’s ground and out-maneuver him? Let us settle it that we can never expect to find any good in our old nature. All our good is in another, even our Lord Jesus. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2).

  “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1).

So stop rubbing the cat the wrong way!

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Be in prayer for Jennifer, she is having cataract surgery October 31, and she is scared spitless.

 

grow some faith

October 9, 2017

Been a while since we did a list so here we go;

Abraham is considered the “father” of the faithful (see Ro 4:16) and a hero of faith (see Heb 11:8–19). So what made him special? He believed God and acted on that belief.

God said go, and so Abraham went (see Ge 12:1–4). He became our model for faithfulness not because he was a moral exemplar but because he trusted God enough to obey. Like Abraham, our trustful response to God’s self-revelation is a sign of faithfulness. Biblical faith is therefore a kind of limited personal knowledge of God. As we grow in our knowledge about God, we trust him even more, thereby increasing our faith. This increased faith leads us, like Abraham, to be increasingly faithful.

Here are five things to know about faithfulness:

  1. Faith and faithfulness are connected—In both the Old and New Testaments, faith also suggests the concept of faithfulness. Faith is not merely a mental assent that we trust in God; it is the willingness to act on this trust.

  2. Faithfulness is the externalization of faith—Faith describes our internal state of trust in God; faithfulness, the external actions that result from that trust. We do not possess true faith if we are not faithful (see Jas 2:26).

  3. Faithfulness is a lifelong process—Abraham exemplified faithfulness when he left his country for the land promised to him by God. But that was just the beginning. God repeatedly called on him to act on his faith. Like Abraham, we, too, are called to continuously act on our faith. Adherence to God’s truth requires that we obey him.

  4. Faithfulness is tested for our sanctification—As we see in the life of Abraham, God allows the testing of our faith to sanctify us (see Jas 1:2–8; 2:14–26). We can expect to endure such tests as a necessary part of our spiritual growth.

  5. Our model of faithfulness is Jesus—Abraham might be the father of the faithful, but Jesus is our perfect model. Jesus was faithful to his Father (see Heb 3:2), and we learn to obey God by following his example.

Hebrews 11:6 King James Version (KJV)

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ann, her marriage, her life, her salvation, learning to be under authority.

Pray for McKee, she needs to find the Lord and get help with her rage.

 

ABIDING

October 7, 2017

  “The God of peace . . . working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ” (Heb. 13:20, 21).

  Abiding involves a dual choice. We can abide in the old nature and thereby become the victims of the internal civil war as depicted in Romans Seven. Or, we can abide (rest) in the risen Lord Jesus, the Source of our new nature, and thereby become the glad recipients of His life and liberty, as depicted in Romans Eight. “The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).

  “How do we abide? ‘Of God are ye in Christ Jesus’ (1 Cor. 1:30). It is all the work of God to place you there, and He has done it. Now stay there! Do not be moved back onto the ground of the old nature. Never look at yourself as though you were not in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Look at Him and see yourself a new creation in Him. Look at Him as the very source of your Christian life. Abide in Him. Rest in the fact that God has placed you in eternal union with His Son, and let the Holy Spirit take care of His work in you. It is for Him to make good the glorious promise that sin shall not have dominion over you’ (Rom. 6:14).”

  “We should be spared years of struggle and failure if we learned at once—as the converts did in the days of Paul—that we ourselves were taken through the death of the Lord Jesus. The past blotted out, the pardoned sinner accounted crucified with the crucified Lord, henceforth joined as a new creation to the risen Lord and now sharing His life (Rom. 5:10).”

  “The Lord Jesus is all that we need for all that we are.”

  “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

This last bible verse, has yielded to me 32 sermons, study this verse Col 3.3 every day, every moment, let it not drift far from your thoughts and you will see great victory come into your life. Rest. Peace. Victory. Yours.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Kevin D, 15 years old, broke up with his first girlfriend, you’ve all been there.

Pray for Jennifer N, new born baby (literally today) a host of complications.

 

hhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm,

October 5, 2017

PROMPTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, ARE YOU SURE?

 

OPPORTUNITIES COME TO THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY SERVING, NOT TO THOSE WHO ARE DOING NOTHING.

Sometimes people don’t serve the Lord because they’ve never experienced a dramatic “call” to ministry. You can turn the steering wheel of your car all day long, but if the car isn’t moving, you won’t get anywhere. You can sit around and pray for God’s direction for service, but you won’t get it if you’re not already serving Him. Start doing something to serve Jesus Christ, and He will redirect you if He needs to.

GOD SOMETIMES LEADS US TO THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITIES BY HINDERING US FROM THE WRONG ONES.

We read (Acts 16:6) that these men were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” (a province in western Turkey). Next, they tried to go north into Bithynia (near the Black Sea), but “the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them” (Acts 16:7). What’s going on here? Didn’t the Lord want those in Asia or Bithynia to hear the gospel? Yes, later He did (Acts 18:19-21, 24-19:41; 1 Pet. 1:1), but not now. All we know is that the Holy Spirit is sovereign over His work, and that He stopped these faithful men from going into these two regions and redirected them into Europe at this time. He did not do it because of anything that He saw in the Europeans that was more worthy than what He saw in the Asians or Bithynians. The gospel does not come to people based on their merit, but rather based on God’s sovereign, unmerited grace.

I’m going to raise a couple of questions that I cannot answer, but you can chew on them with me. First, how did the Holy Spirit forbid these men from going into these areas? It could have been through an audible voice. It may have been through circumstances that blocked the way. It may have been a lack of inner peace. It may have been physical illness on Paul’s part, which was why he linked up with Luke at this point. The bottom line is, we don’t know how the Spirit communicated these prohibitions, since the text does not say. But He uses many different ways of hindering us from heading in the wrong direction. We’re not talking here about doing something that is against God’s Word, but rather about doing good things that simply are not His will for us at this time.

GOD’S LEADING US TO THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITIES IS USUALLY A PROGRESSIVE MATTER, NOT AN INSTANT REVELATION OF THE BIG PICTURE.

Paul was feeling his way along at this point. After these two hindrances, if you had asked him what his plans were, he probably would have said, “I honestly don’t have a clue!”

Usually, knowing God’s will is like driving in the fog. God just gives us enough light to see the next few feet. As we follow, He gives us the light we need to keep moving ahead.

The second question is, how did these men know that the hindrances were from the Holy Spirit and thus to be obeyed; and not from some other source and thus to be overcome? In 1 Thessalonians 2:18, Paul says that Satan had hindered him from visiting the Thessalonians. But here, it was the Spirit of God who hindered them. How did he know the difference? Sometimes God wants us by faith to keep knocking until closed doors are opened. At other times, the closed doors are His way of saying no. All I can say is, we need His wisdom and discernment to know the difference. I don’t have any formulas for figuring it out!

WHEN GOD REVEALS HIS WILL TO US, WE MUST MAKE SURE THAT IT IS FROM THE LORD, AND THEN BE QUICK TO OBEY.

The word “concluding” (16:10) indicates that the missionary team discussed the meaning of Paul’s vision before taking action. The word means to join or knit together, or unite. As they talked, it all came together. As soon as they were sure of what God was saying, immediately they sought to go into Macedonia. They didn’t form a committee and deliberate for months. They figured out what God wanted and went down to the harbor to buy tickets.

Does God direct us through visions in our day? The answer is, He can, but be careful! There are all sorts of crazy visions that people have that are not from the Lord. Benny Hinn (a total nut job) told an audience on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (10/19/99) that the Lord had revealed to him that thousands of people from all over the world would be raised from the dead when people put their caskets in front of their TV sets tuned to that station. I don’t know of any funeral homes that have been lacking for business yet!

On the other hand, Bill Bright tells of how late one night as he was studying with a friend for a Greek exam in seminary, he suddenly sensed God’s presence in a way that he had never known before. He had the overwhelming impression that the Lord had unfolded a scroll of instructions of what he was to do with his life. Specifically, he knew that he was to devote his life to help fulfill the Great Commission by winning and discipling the students of the world for Christ. When he shared it with his Bible professor, Dr. Wilbur Smith, he paced back and forth in his office, saying, “This is of God. This is of God. I want to help you. Let me think and pray about it.” The next day, Dr. Smith handed Bill a piece of paper on which he had scribbled, “CCC.” He explained that God had provided the name for Bill’s vision, Campus Crusade for Christ

The balance we need is on the one hand not to quench the Spirit, but on the other hand to examine everything carefully and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thess. 5:19-21). An obstinate apostle Paul could have plowed ahead into Asia or Bithynia against God’s promptings not to do so. But the obedient apostle obeyed God’s promptings and waited until the Spirit showed him where to go. Then he went immediately. The world has never been the same.

OFTEN, WHEN WE OBEY, THE REALITY DOES NOT MATCH THE VISION.

Paul saw a man of Macedonia calling for help. He got there and found a small group of women gathered by the river, and one of these became the first convert. The second convert was a demon-possessed slave girl. Her conversion landed Paul and Silas in prison with their backs shredded by whips. It wasn’t a glorious beginning, to say the least! But it’s how the gospel began to take root in Europe, and we now know that the history of Europe has been forever different. Often when we obey God’s leading and launch out into His work, the reality doesn’t match the vision. But we must continue to obey what we know He called us to do.

6) THE GREATEST HELP THAT WE CAN GIVE TO PEOPLE IS TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL TO THEM.

“Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:10). Paul went and gave them the best help in the world: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” (16:31). That is the most helpful message that we can give to anyone. It is the most helpful thing that we can do for anyone.

If you were walking down the street and heard someone cry, “Help me! Help me!” you would be stirred to action. If you could not provide help yourself, you would at least make sure that the proper help got to this needy person. Ask God to burden your heart with the cry of the lost: “Come over and help me!” If you cannot go yourself, at least you will give and pray for missionaries to go. That’s the best help we can give to a desperately lost world.

Do you have a burden for lost souls, if not you need to do some real soul searching (pardon the pun). The Gospel is good news only if we share it.