Sunday, January 18, 2009
The parable explained Matthew 13:36-43
The clear meaning - Jesus, the son of man has "sowed" His children throughout the word. The enemy (Satan) as corrupted the field and mingled his children with God's children. Together, believers and unbelievers live side by side. The final Judgement, GOD, not man, will separate the wheat (believers) from the tares (unbelievers).
The field is not the Church - it is the world. The UN-biblical notion that we in the body of Christ (the church) are to permit and tolerate unbelievers is False. Nor should there be any notion that this parable some how illustrates that believers in the church have some sort of divine permission (in the name of love, unity, or tolerance) to let them be - thinking that eventually God and His angels will sort them out.
Quite the contrary - Believers in the church are to have nothing to do with false teachers and those who corrupt other believers. 2 John 9-11 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds (NASB).
Indeed, we are commanded to - 1 Corinthians 5:7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed (NASB).
This parable is instructions for the church living in the world. We live, breath, and share the world with unbelievers, but we are not to rid the world of unbelievers. Historically we have ample examples of when the church does not heed these instructions; the Inquisition and other early church history of fanatics killing genuine believers thinking they are the enemy.
The church's mission is not political - believers are not called to "destroy" anything. God has planted us in the field (the world) for a reason; attempting to escape that fact is useless, in other words you'll bear no fruit. You are where you are today to bring God glory, not escape from the world.
Let us also consider the symbolism at play here. Genuine Tares can never be Wheat. However, a "son of disobedience" can be transformed. Paul reminds us we are all by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:2-3). Our Faith (our salvation by God's grace alone) transforms us into "God's household" - verse 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household.
In essence, from our fallen nature in Adam, all wheat begins as tares, no? Without the divine breath of Christ - this transformation will not be a reality.
Make no mistake, sons of the evil one may masquerade as sons of God. How will the "reapers" know who is which? Pay close attention - verse 41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness.
Clearly the difference lies in behavior and character - one might call these things "fruit". A tare bears no fruit, wheat does. In the final judgement - the reapers will assuredly know. Believers need not force the Kingdom of God unto the world. We need not "throw pearls before swine" - we are commanded to teach and preach the gospel, and live a life that bears fruit with mercy and grace. A "solider" of Christ does not write his own orders, he obeys the orders he as been given.
The question may arise, if someone says they're a Christian, shouldn't we just believe them and take their word for it?
No. The body of Christ is to always be on the look out for wolves in sheep's clothing. Liberal theologians have taken this "tension" and broke it down to nothing less than utter indifference to sin and ungodliness. Remember, the text here reminds us about the difficulty in telling wheat from tares, not that there is no difference!
An equally important point that can be illustrated from this parable for the believer - is acknowledging the fact that the ungodly do indeed often appear to be righteous. So we have both a warning and a the command - let them grow together in the world.
Thus we must preach and teach against sin. Guess what, we might just have a positive effect on some tares. It may seem like a really foreign concept today, but Christians are not suppose to live and behave like unbelievers. Repentance, a call for holiness, and submitting to the Lordship of Christ and the authority of His word are not optional.
In the end, the crop will be clearly identified and in the hands of God and His angels. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit (Matthew 7:18). If the fastest growing denominations are the ones consisting of practicing homosexuals, as evidenced in our recent times, then these are not sons of God, but clearly sons of the devil - indeed you will know all of them by their fruits.
Live with righteousness, teach against sin and it consequences, and be living examples of a holy life lived in sacrifice to God. We are not God's reapers - we are sons of the living God, maturing in our faith - ever aware of the false teachers and swine we live together with. The church never offers a free for-all pass into its fellowship (2 Corinthians chapter 6); nor should it "command fire to come down from heaven and consume them" - Luke 9:54, albeit we may understandably desire instant judgement and retribution against the wickedness in the world.
Living under the Lordship of Christ; teaching and preaching the Gospel - is the difference between wheat and tares. A superficial response to the Gospel is a clear sign you remain a tare, in the ever growing epidemic of false professions of faith in Christ. Disobedience is nothing less than unbelief, plain and simple.
It's only a matter of time before the harvest. Repent, carefully count the cost, and follow Christ!
1 Peter 5:10-11
10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Another "gay christian / pastor" - "a man of great faith" with HIV - sexually abuses a 15 year old boy
With our new President and the ever so popular christianettes like Rick Warren proclaiming a "pop culture" faith - I would guess till Christ returns bringing that storm of Judgement He promised. Make no mistake, we have been warned over and over for over two thousand years.
Pastor DL Foster reports:
Here we are again. Channel 5 News (via the AP) in Nashville broke the tragic story of a James Bell, Jr, a COGIC pastor who sexually abused a young boy and most likely infected him with HIV.
SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A central Kentucky pastor charged with sexually abusing a juvenile has told police he is HIV positive.
James H. Bell was arrested Dec. 30 after he went to the Shelby County Detention Center and spoke with police. An arrest citation said Bell told police he is HIV positive and had unprotected sex with a 15-year-old. The citation said Bell did not tell the juvenile he was carrying the virus. State police said Bell told them he had sex with the minor “on multiple occasions” in 2007. The 47-year-old Bell is pastor of Refuge Temple Church of God in Christ in Shelby County.
Although, these cases continue to mount in COGIC, neither the presiding bishop Charles Blake nor any officials of influence have had the integrity to publicly address clergy sexual abuse by its members.
COGIC and Bishop still silent on sexual abuse and gay clergy
Homosexual COGIC pastor murdered, new details surface
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Jeffery S. Siker, Assistant Professor of Theology at Loyola Marymount University, ask the question – “Despite our experience, do we insist that homosexual Christians can have the Spirit of God only if they are ‘heterosexual homosexual’ Christians?” Professor Siker rejects the creation stories that argue heterosexuality is the norm since he claims it is an argument “largely from silence, since nothing there is said about homosexuality.” He also argues that the Old Testament Holiness codes must not be taken out of context lest we misapply them. Professor Siker’s post modern worldview is most evident when he states:
“…just as Peter’s experience of Cornelius in Acts 10 led him to realize that even Gentiles were receiving God’s Spirit, so my experience (italics mine) of various gay and lesbian Christians has led me to realize that these Christians have received God’s Spirit as gays and lesbians and that the reception of the Spirit has nothing to do with sexual orientation.”
He opines that the moral repulsion some Christians have with homosexual relationships; is it no different than the “revulsion that early Jewish-Christians apparently felt when contemplating association with impure Gentile Christians?” In essence, Professor Siker is asking if the church should rely on first century (ancient Israelite) social constructions of sexuality and apply them today. The Gentiles he argues can be thought of in a more modern context, the gay Christian. If the church is willing to accept this, as he has done, then the church is doing what God would have us do. Although he makes no reference to the command to “love” as justification, he relies on the “Spirit” of God and argues the Spirit is not always self-authenticating, and it must be nurtured within “friendships”. Perhaps again, it is the community and its means for discerning right from wrong (sin) that takes a logical priority over the biblical texts. He concludes by welcoming our new found brothers and sisters in Christ, and suggest we get on with the tasks God has called us. Professor Siker does not address what, if any, call to obedience and faith in Christ had upon the Gentile’s inclusion. Was their inclusion in God’s redemptive plan of salvation based on nothing more than being a Gentile, or is there more to what it means to be a true follower of Christ, as even the apostles eventually realized?
Biblical love and Sin
The biblical doctrine of love must always be communicated within the biblical context and authority that - “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The word sin is most important here, for at its most basic definition it is the failure to keep the law of God.
The law by which sin is defined is the law of God, not an impersonal and freestanding set of rules. The law reveals God’s personal will; failure to obey his command entails personal opposition to him. Sin is mistrust (of God), betrayal, ingratitude and disloyalty; hence ‘Everything that does not come from faith is sin’(Romans 14:23). 
Pastor Samuel S. Shin, Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary argues that the pro gay Christian scholars who attempt to exegete biblical passages to meet their favor do so by rejecting scripture’s infallibility or simply by misinterpreting certain passages by forcing a personal bias on the texts. If the church casts aside the issue of homosexuality, we do nothing less than reject the call of Christ to “love our neighbor as yourself.” He further argues that in order to begin to live a life that our Lord calls us to live, it must first begin and end at the cross of Christ.
John 15:9-10 – “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (NASB). Clearly this love is neither emotional nor “mystical”; a postmodern view will often use the word “spiritual” to indicate an emotion. Dr. Stan Jones of Wheaton College, who holds a B.S. in Psychology from Texas A&M University, and an M.A.and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Arizona State University writes:
Christians believe they are called to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord (Acts 2:36; 1 Peter 3:15). Jesus stated,” Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:21, NIV). Sexual purity is one way in which Christians are to show their love for their Lord—we are to conduct ourselves in accord with God’s “rules” as revealed in the entire Bible. Obedience (a word Americans do not often use today) is the best way that we, the recipients of God’s great gifts, can show our love for him, thank him with our lives for the gifts given, and best use those gifts.The biblical view holds that love and obedience are inseparable; they are linked together. The most effective way for a post modern theology to get away from this, is an appeal to a higher authority, not ancient texts – but perhaps, modern science.
When adherents of the gay Christian movement make an appeal to science, they are in essence appealing to a higher authority, and obviously it is not God’s word. If in fact people are born gay, the argument follows that the Church would lose its authority as a force in condemning homosexuality as a sin. Dr. Robert Gagnon, Professor of New Testament Studies, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, writes in his letter to the President of the University of Toledo, who had fired an employee of his, Ms. Dixon, who expressed her disagreement with equating gays to blacks in a local newspaper:
Ms. Dixon is absolutely right that sexual orientation is not akin to race or sex. Unlike a homosexual orientation, race and sex are 100% congenitally predetermined, cannot be fundamentally changed in their essence by cultural influences, and are not a primary or direct desire for behavior that is incompatible with embodied structures.
In addition, Dr. Gagnon argues that:
…an appeal to a biologically based orientation is not a moral argument. As two researchers who have worked hard to demonstrate congenital influences on homosexual development have admitted: "No clear conclusions about the morality of a behavior can be made from the mere fact of biological causation, because all behavior is biologically caused" (Brian S. Mustanski and J. Michael Bailey, "A therapist's guide to the genetics of human sexual orientation," Sexual and Relationship Therapy 18:4 : 432).
The subtle post modern shift has been to make sin a natural tendency. The reasoning follows that if it is “natural” - then it must be good and acceptable. On the other spectrum - from a biblical worldview, we are all guilty and responsible for our sin; Christ, not medical research or science is where one turns for redemption and forgiveness. If the community is a bunch of sinners, then a post modern theology must embrace the sinner and reject any universal call to obedience and repentance – this then becomes what it means to love. “Loving” one another becomes an act of acceptance or inclusion, and Christ’s name is invoked to lend authority to this claim by the adherents of the gay Christian movement. What is most striking here however, is the fact that only one group in the post modern worldview is “embraced” – those who agree with their positions. The termination of Ms. Dixon’s employment by the University’s President seems to suggest the great lengths some will go in order to protect the “corporate” understanding of Truth.
When human sexuality is divorced from God’s word, it must then be divorced from God’s Truth. When human wisdom defines God’s “love” and His call for “loving” obedience, it is reduced to nothing more than an emotional love and a superficial secular obedience. In essence, the cross of Christ (the greatest loving act of all eternity) will ultimately be assimilated into the shape of a particular culture or community. Sin is made subjective, thus irrelevant in standing before a Holy God. The inclusion of the Gentiles is not based on something they are or would be; it is based on God’s universal redemptive plan which includes all who put their faith in Christ and His work on the cross. The church once again has before itself a choice to make; proclaim the gospel of Christ or compromise with the world. Os Guiness writes- “Compromise is compromise regardless of when, how, or why it happens – though certainly there are qualifications to it. Thus Christian compromise with the world is usually unconscious, and not deliberate. It can be a matter of lifestyle as easily as belief.” If the church builds its theology around “lifestyles” and not God’s word, the foundations are then built on relativism, not eternal absolute truths.
What most in the gay Christian movement see as an immutable “orientation” is really nothing more than a modern day golden calf. With their heavy reliance and acceptance of a post modern worldview, it could be argued that the gay Christian movement is as much a political movement as it is religious. The Gentile argument is but one approach, but what about the desire to link sexual “orientation” a kin to being black? If this approach is successful, “loving” from a biblical worldview will be labeled as a form of hatred, bigotry, or “spiritual violence.” The hermeneutical gymnastics the gay Christian movement utilizes can be seen by Metropolitan Community Church minister Larry J. Uhrig when he states regarding the relationship between David and Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi – “It is inevitable, but deliciously (italics mine) ironic, that they are both between people of the same sex.” His implication is these relationships were sexual and biblically celebrated. The idolatrous passions that consume the gay Christian movement must be resisted.
Godly love starts and ends at the cross of Christ. The gay Christian movement is not founded on biblical principles of either a biblical love or sexual purity. It is built on a human desire to separate God’s holiness and judgment from sin and his love. The only suitable course for building such a theology is to deny the reliability of scripture, deconstruct its clear meanings, and divorce any and all biblical Truth claims to mere scribbling texts of ancient near eastern men; verses divine revelations. The potential venom contained in this worldview is clearly evident by the response of those who oppose such “corporate truth” claims; this has been demonstrated by Ms. Dixon’s termination of employment. The church must not be slow to respond, and it must not corrupt or compromise the eternal Truths, reliability, or authority of God’s divine revelation – His holy word. Sexual purity and God’s holiness are neither subjective notions established by the community, nor are they optional doctrines of the Christian faith. Lest we ignore the divine warning recorded in the book of Jude – “4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Indeed, the “unnoticed” will invoke the name of Christ, lest they be discovered, yet bear no submission to His word or Lordship. “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed Maranatha.”(1 Corinthians 16:22) NASB.
Os Guinness, Dining with the Devil (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1993), 56.
Robert J. Williams, “Toward a theology for lesbian and gay marriage,” Anglican Theological Review 72, no. 2 (Spring 1990): 147.
Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962,1963, 1968, 1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Jeffery S. Skier, “How to Decide? Homosexual Christians, the Bible, and Gentile Inclusion,” Theology Today 51, no. 2 (1994):
Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962,1963, 1968, 1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission
T. Desmond Alexander and others, New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 200), 783.
Samuel S. Shin, “Homosexuality Hermeneutics and Its Deadly Implications: A Pastoral Reflection,” Trinity Journal 26, no 1 (Spring 2005): 116
Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962,1963, 1968, 1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission
Stanton L. Jones, A Study Guide and Response to Mel White’s What the Bible Says and Doesn’t Say About Homosexuality [pdf. Online] (Wheaton College, IL: 2006, accessed 12 December 2008); available from http://www.wheaton.edu; Internet
Robert A. J. Gagnon, An Open Letter to a University President regarding the Suspension of a Black Female Administrator Who Challenged a Comparison between Homosexual Practice and Being Black [pdf Online] (accessed 6 December 2008); available from http://www.robgagnon.net/articles/homosexToledoPresident.pdf; Internet.
Samuel S. Shin, “Homosexual Hermeneutics and Its Deadly Implications: A Pastoral Reflection,” Trinity Journal 26, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 114.
Friday, January 02, 2009
The Key message in both - the utter joy that fills heaven over the repentance of sinners. The third parable is the Lost Son (prodigal son). It is exactly the same - but now back dropped with an older brother's depraved resentment and displeasure over his younger brothers return and his father's utter delight. Jesus was about to publicly expose the wickedness and hypocrisy of the Pharisees once again - for all to see, then and now.
Luke 15:7 - I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety -nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Jesus is represented by the father of the two sons in The Lost Son parable - and perhaps the shepard and the woman in the other two parables - either way it was God who was indeed seeking what had been lost.
Who was listening to these words? The Pharisees - they thought they needed NO repentance, and that's why when Jesus takes them into the Lost Son parable - the hero would have been the father if he had just given his dishonoring son a good old fashioned ancient near eastern beating - or even perhaps a public stoning as the law allowed such a harsh penalty for rebellious son - see (Deut 21:18-21).
In fact, the hero through at lest half of this parable was the elder son as perceived by the Pharisees. The ending, however, will reveal it is indeed the elder son that is not only the very subject of this parable - but the one who is in the most bondage to sin - a mirror image of the Pharisees! An image they most assuredly did Not fail to notice.
A great celebration, the ring, the robe, the sandals, the father running like a school boy to kiss his pig stenched rebellious son - was incomprehensible to Pharisees! [Please note and perhaps do some further study - the ring, the sandals, the robe and the father, a noble and very wealthy man, running - are ALL significant]. Everything the father did - was an utter disgrace to the Pharisees. Jesus did indeed have their attention!
Resource - John MacArthur's, A Tale of Two Sons.
Jesus ate with sinners, called sinners, accepted hospitality of sinners indeed. Jesus did not however, at any time, seek fellowship with sinners in their sin! Jesus was always the deliverer, extending His grace and mercy, healing and forgiveness - never affirming anyone in their sin. In fact He did indeed give His whole self to sinners - He freed them from sin's cruel bondage as the prodigal son experienced. The only thing the Pharisees had correct - was that Jesus was indeed truly their friend.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is nothing less than a lesson about true repentance. This son is indeed a symbol of every man or woman (sinner, you and I) who has ever lived - we are all prodigal sons and daughters.
Luke 15:17 - But when he came to his senses...
He would make a full confession and throw himself on his fathers mercy. True repentance always begins with an accurate assessment of one's own condition. So called "gay christian" teachers should take notice and listen - saving faith is never divorced from the long walk home the lost son made back to his father. The authority of God's word (Christ - God in flesh) does not ever compromise - Jesus asks all of us, are You willing to do what I want you to do? (Matt 19:21). Christ never once offered mere psychological relief absent of His complete and utter Lordship in our life.
Far from a mere change of mind or some intellectual exercise - true repentance is different. You can feel remorse, cry like a baby or feel sorry for a life time, but until you realize it is God you have sinned against, and it is NOW God you desperately seek at all costs to yourself - it is no repentance at all! Remember, the son knew full well if he went "home" he could have been killed by his father, suffer public humiliation, and even be spat upon and beaten, nonetheless, he accepted his responsibility and threw himself on his father's mercy.
Luke 15:18 - Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.
The Father's reaction was shocking to the Pharisees - jaw dropping I would imagine. Granting full forgiveness, instant reconciliation, lavish celebration, heir to his "kingdom", fully restored son-ship and authority - without one single deed, act, or work of restitution done by the son to earn his way back to favor - this was simply unheard of!
Want to know what separates Christianity from every other religion or cult on earth - there it is folks! Way back in Gen 15:6 - He believed in the Lord and it was counted to him as righteousness.
Faith is the only way and is never absent or divorced from acknowledging our sin. In fact, in Luke 14:33 we see with utter clarity of what saving faith is - not one other place in scripture does it ever demand that one sell everything and give it all away. Jesus challenged the rich young ruler right where he lacked - Faith! He simply did not believe! Notice also the rich young ruler sincerely wanted to know and to be saved. Good intentions mean nothing - write that down - the rich young ruler was indeed a Pharisee at heart.
Think about this - even before the son could finish expressing his repentance - it was a done deal! The father, after a dishonoring running sprint (humiliating act in this culture and time) towards his son ("dead" son); in broad day light ( He saw him from a far distance - probably to protect him from the potential harm he could have endured for being such a wretched son from the community); kissing and hugging his pig stenched neck. Not even a bath or a cleaning up and the son is being clothed in a robe of honor and one heck of a celebration is being prepared. In this time - it would have been a whole community event - and a really big one at that!
That my friends is life changing grace! If you are unwilling to turn from your sin, self centered self righteousness - you will not turn to Christ in faith.
The older brother's despising of his fathers grace - he condemns himself. The older brother hated his father, probably hated his brother too. He thought all his work would reward him with his fathers riches - just like in the beginning of the parable, he also wished his father was ultimately dead so he could get his share of inheritance. What the elder brother lacked the younger one didn't - the utter boldness to say so from the beginning.
It could be argued it is easier to deal with the wanton public sinner than it is to deal with the hidden and hypocritical sinner behind closed doors - the Pharisees. Pretty soon the hidden self righteous sinner will really believe in their own righteousness. Their hypocritical veneer - full of a false love for God, neighbor, and enemy - and eventually they really start to believe their own lies.
This is one thing the gay "christan" movement adherents should wake up to - they have utterly failed to love God, neighbor and enemy - just like the rest of humanity. Similar to the Pharisees - their righteousness comes not from God, but a self righteous love - instead of claiming righteousness in Abraham's seed or the keeping of the law, they claim it in loving their enemies and neighbors - you know, the ones who preach REPENTANCE and Christ's Lordship; yet their words and deeds tell a different story altogether.
They are really no different from the Pharisees - they are likewise under the demonic delusion they are keeping God's law. In essence, the very thing they both deny - is the Lordship of Jesus! They very thing saving Faith requires. The Pharisees loved the fact they were not sinners in need of a savior; the gay Christan loves the similar illusion they have kept God's law by loving any and all. Does anyone but me see a correlation - Repentance not necessary - at lest not repentance for sinning against God, maybe man, but certainly NOT God! Hum....
Make no mistake - even Judas had a personal relationship with Jesus, and if we think about it, so did Satan. God takes no one on their own terms, never has, never will.
In the end - the Pharisees write the "ending" of this parable which to some seems to end without a conclusion; make no mistake, Jesus intended that precisely! They kill Jesus. And once again - when the Pharisees (those who need no physician) did their very worst - God's best was accomplished.
The invitations have been sent out - acknowledge your sin and repent - and be reconciled to God! Don't stand on the outside like the elder son and Pharisees. This celebration is indeed for the honor and glory of God! Just has it was for the father whose DEAD son had returned!
Can we even imagine how God "feels" and heaven celebrates with an eternal Joy when just one repents vs the ninety-nine that don't? Let's again take a look at the Cross, and stay focused on it until we die, eh?
If you think you are not sick, God has nothing to say to you - but Judgement. Jesus never pleaded with the Pharisees - that was by no accident. He simply told them the Truth, the Truth they refused and hated - like standing outside the great feast, the elder son refused to come and rejoice, even at his fathers loving request.
The invitations have been written - sealed in the blood of Christ - God's word. The choice is yours.