Rethinking Conditionalism (Part 7a) – Rethinking Hell’s Proponents

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I keep saying over and over again that the annihilationism/conditionalism discussion would take on a different form if it wasn’t for all the heretics Rethinking Hell and others like them affirm, associate, and keep company with. As I pointed out in article 5a concerning the atonement, there are some very serious concerns that should be addressed, not just about the unsound biblical hermeneutics coming out of this camp, but also the corruptions these associations bring to the table. Saying this, have you ever taken a gander at Rethinking Hell’s list for “proponents” of conditionalism? I have. Seems overwhelming at first. It’s almost like so many orthodox scholars and preachers would adhere to this position. Well, I have watched videos and listened to podcasts where Chris Date touts some of these names when asked for scholars that believe in conditionalism. But are you aware of what some of these people believe about some of the essentials of the faith? Are you even aware of the names of the people that are being used in the Rethinking Hell articles, podcasts, books, and conferences? You should. Because some of these people stand out if you diligently seek to know those that labor among you (1 Thess 5:12). For some of these names, it didn’t take long before something damnably heretical turned up. For others, (some of which I was already aware of), I was surprised (but not really) that Rethinking Hell, which considers themselves within the bounds of orthodoxy, would list such heretics and not call them out as they are. But if you’ve read article 5a on the atonement and how Unitarians, Universalists, and those that deny penal substitution are on the approval list for even supposed gospel-centered Calvinist like Chris Date, then this article may not come as a shock to you. Let’s deal with a few of these men now.

Homosexuality

1) Jeff Cook is listed as a modern  and Professor at University of Northern Colorado. In an online debate with Preston Sprinkle (who also is a conditionalist), he writes some pretty disturbing things. To cut to the chase, he affirms monogamous same sex marriage as not  immoral. He says: Continue reading

Every Christian Believes Election

Not everyone consciously affirms the doctrine of election. The reasons for this vary and are definitely outside the scope of this particular article. But whether you don’t like it, don’t agree with it, or are simply neutral about it for the time being, predestination and election are concepts in Scripture that every believer will be confronted with. Even if you choose not to deal with it, the unbelieving world still has heard about it, learned it when they were in church as a kid, and/or logically deduces it through the knowledge that God knew before hand that man would fall, and yet still created us. So even if we bury our head in the sand and ignore this, the world will not let us. And, if we have faithful pastors and brethren in Christ who challenge, edify, and provoke us in godliness through the word of God, they won’t let us ignore this topic either.

Although you may hold to a more unique position concerning predestination and election, you will probably sympathize with one of these two views:

Continue reading

Atonement Theories on Echo Zoe Radio

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I had the pleasure of being a guest on Echo Zoe Radio with Andy Olson to speak about the differing views of the atonement. This is a very important topic that I am seeing wedged into my conversations more and more. Whether I am counseling, evangelizing, or defending the faith among heretical teachings, the varying views of the atonement keep coming into play.

Can you tell the differance between substitutionary atonement theories and penal substitutionary atonement? As you listen to this podcast, take notes concerning the language used by those that ascribe to the more damnably heretical forms of atonement. The reason being is that they use words like substitution, sacrifice, atonement, punishment, and the like, but they mean them in entirely different ways. And they apply them differently depending on what other theologies they hold accomodate thier position.  Grab a drink, a snack, sit back, and may God bless the edify the understanding of His atonement in your soul.

http://www.echozoe.com/archives/4156

-Until we go home

Black Lives Matter, Darwinian Evolution, and Black Liberation Theology

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I urge you to take the time to watch this video. It explains the roots of the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) which follows a doctrine called Black Liberation Theology. In the beginning of the video, I briefly touch on the hypocrisy of those that support BLM and yet believe in Darwinian Evolution, but then afterward thoroughly expose the history of this movement by dissecting an interview of what is deemed the founder of Black Liberation Theology – James Cone.

Take a seat, turn on your brain, because this one is going to require a lot of your attention. Please share this with other Christians and non-Christians alike.

-Until we go home

Click link to watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP4dhE08KK0

 

Is Your Wife Your First Ministry?

I holistically support men who support their families. Men who make discipleship and love a priority for the home. The home is one of the central building blocks for a society, and the marriage is the sun by which everything in the home orbits. Having said this, there are many priorities that pastors, open air preachers, and everyday christian men have that may sometimes burden us. We can become anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed with the multiple obligations that we are to tend to. And yes, wives are included in this list of feelings. And the one thing that is not helpful are Christian cliches like, “Your wife is your first ministry.” It has a nice ring to it, and for the most part it is well meaning, but it does not properly convey the responsibilities and obligations a Christian may face on a day to day basis. It has also been abused by certain preachers that wish to exclude certain men from ministry.

I have attached a blogtalk episode that I and a pastor friend of mine recorded about this topic. My hope is that we would all take into consideration the biblical model of men not just in ministry, but just being men in general. Here is the narrative and link of the episode below.

“On this exciting episode of G220 radio, George will be joined by Pastor Tom Shuck from Pilgrim Bible Church. Pastor Shuck is a graduate of Master’s Seminary and Columbia Evangelical Seminary and was a missionary to India for 12 years. He holds both a Masters of Divinity (MDiv.) and a Doctorate of Ministry (DMin.). He has been a pastor of Pilgrim Bible Church for 4 years and helped start a seminary in India as well as planted a church there. He enjoys sports, music, family trips, and George’s personal favorite, linguistics. He has evangelized in cities like Oakland, Orlando, Mumbai, Pune training believers how to evangelize, preach the gospel, and make disciples. His wife is Lisa Shuck and two children.”

“This episode we’ll explore the cliche “Your wife is your first ministry.” Is it Scriptural? Are there other primary biblical responsibilities? Can you make ministry your idol or mistress? What should a man who is called to preach do with this kind of cliche? What about missionaries and evangelists of old that we look up to that sacrificed much, even their marriages, for the gospel? What about Matthew 22:35-40, 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, Ephesians 5:22-33, and 1 Timothy 3:5?”

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/g220radionetwork/2016/05/10/ep-157-is-your-wife-your-first-ministry

-Until we go home

 

Make Disciples, Not Converts? Really?

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Cliches are normal in any language. Sometimes they are able to capture a snippet of thought accurately, other times they muddy the waters of theological judgment. Of course, the impact of any cliche is purely subjective, but it seems that western Christianity is full of cliches that are just not biblically supported. Obviously from the title, you know which one I have in mind so I won’t waste time getting to the point. Continue reading

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin Redeemed

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If you’re like me, you cringe when you hear the trite phrase, “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Depending on who who says and hears this, this can be interpreted a multitude of ways. A liberal leaning might mean it as, “love the sinner, accept the sin.” Another way that someone might take this is “love the sinner, accommodate/tolerate the sin.” Of course, whenever this subject comes up with professing Christians, it tends to lean more toward, “love the sinner, don’t talk about the sin.”  In other words, love them as they are, and simply share the love of Christ (whatever that looks like these days). But then you have the more dreaded extreme by which certain people love the sinner, by showing the maximum amount of hatred toward the sin. That is, they show that they “love” the sinner through harshly expressing their extreme hatred for the sin.

Other than this phrase becoming a mantra for pragmatic church goers who don’t really understand the gospel, and the relationship between God’s wrath and His grace, one of the greatest reasons why this phrase should be offensive to any Christian is that it is attributed to God. Before this idiom was clipped into a nifty little catch phrase for practical application in talking to homosexuals, prostitutes, drug addicts, etc., it was originally stated that “God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.” Meaning that when God looks at a person, His love for them seems to be disconnected from their crime. In essence, God loves the criminal, but only hates the crime.

I would love to go into why the Bible doesn’t truly say this about God. But this subject has been greatly dealt with by mainstream writers. My intent here is to ask another question. “Can this phrase be redeemed?” Regardless of how people may feel about this phrase (myself included), is there a way in which we can twist this quaint phraseology to our advantage to start a biblical conversation and get down to the nuts and bolts of what the gospel is really about? I think we can.

I attended a men’s Bible study about two weeks ago with my church. We were discussing a chapter in Jerry Bridges’ book, The Joy of Fearing God, and this subject of love the sinner hate the sin was brought up. I thought this would go in the direction it usually goes. People getting offended and drawing strong pragmatic lines, and eventually parting ways. However, that was not the case. Every man at that table delivered some pretty informative concepts concerning the kind of theology this tiny phrase insinuates, and the cautious approach we need to have in accepting/stating this phrase. The most interesting part was how we were able to dissect the phrase in our favor to discuss the biblical model of how God, and how we, should deal with sin. Although this was not their intention in the discussion, it opened up my eyes to the possibility that I can now use this phrase in my favor to preach the gospel.

As I mentioned above, when people use “love the sinner, hate the sin” it can mean several things to different people in various contexts. But from this point on, if someone tells me “love the sinner, hate the sin” I will respond in one of three ways:

1. Yes but, do you really love the sinner? If you do, then why won’t you talk to them about their sin so that they might know about salvation. Jesus, Peter, Paul, James, and all Christians in church history mentioned, exposed, and unashamedly condemned sin when they preached the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross. And they didn’t just lightly gloss over it. So if you really love the sinner, but hate the sin, then you should at least talk about their sin(s) so that they might come to know Jesus, and why they must be born again!

2. But do you really hate the sin? Think about this, if you really hated the sin, you would talk about it. People are prone to talk about what they are emotionally pleased and disgusted with. This doesn’t mean we turn Westboro Baptist on someone when we preach the gospel, but it is a valid question to ask someone if they lob this phrase at you. If you truly hate the sin, and know that sin is the reason for which Christ died, don’t you think God hated it too? So much so that Christ endured the wrath of God so that guilty sinners can be set free?

3. Love the sinner, hate the sin? Only if it’s biblical. This was one of my favorite points in our men’s meeting (my most favorite is below). If a professing Christian tries to persuade me that I should be more loving toward the sinner, and simply express hatred toward the sin, I would then simply respond, “only if it’s biblical.” This will hopefully spark a conversation about how God both loves and hates the sinner, and that He expresses both anger/wrath just as much as He does mercy/grace. Only God is able to love and hate sin and sinners, and do so equitably, with balance, and without contradiction. I would love to show how the work of election is a crucial puzzle piece that helps us to understand this concept of God’s love/hatred better, but that is beyond the scope of this article. For now, “only if it’s biblical” is a great way to retort in order to get a discussion going.

I might not have been able to “redeem” this phrase, but responding in one of these three ways is best when someone decides to press this practical dogma against you. Regardless of how we respond, the idea that we must grasp is that asking the right question(s) about what someone means when they say “love the sinner, hate the sin” will hopefully lead to a conversation about the gospel and God’s greatness to redeem criminals to Himself. God’s hatred and love were both fully expressed on the cross when Christ was being punished on our behalf for sin. God unleashed His holy fury on Christ, who became sin for us. His love was equally poured out by demonstrating in that while we were still sinning, Christ died for us. If we trust in that sacrifice, and repent of our sin, God’s holy hatred and wrath that abides upon us, is propitiated. And although God loves us in the general sense that we are His creation, only His beloved, those that are born again, experience the fullness of His grace, love, and mercy.

As I hinted at above, there is a statement that better expresses what should be our reaction toward the lost, and has become my new, favorite rebuttal. If you are a Christian, and you know the true, unadulterated gospel, let this be your mantra: Love the sinner, preach the gospel. (Thank you Sam Young for this quote).

 

– Until we go home

Science, The New Hate Speech

It should be no surprise to any believer that the Christian worldview is going to be hated. Jesus promised that those that follow Him will be hated because they really hate Christ Himself. But we are entering into a new area of deceit. An era that will not even heed or reason according to its own authority. An era where it is okay to contradict your own worldview because there are no absolutes, and there is no way to tell whether or not what we know is right, right?

This kind of postmodern buffoonery has disparagingly rooted itself deeper by denying the most fundamental knowledge in the scientific community – what makes us male or female. Here is a great illustration of what is common knowledge concerning how gender assignment occurs in the most basic of biological text books.

 

ChromosomesIf If you have read anything about genetics, this is how this chart works. Typically (I’m saying typically for a reason, which you will see below), the sperm will enter the egg during intercourse where the egg houses the X chromosomes. Gender is determined by the sperm, because it can have the X or Y Chromosomes. When we have XX, it is girl. When we mix XY, we have a boy. But wait, there’s more! There is a gene present in the Y chromosome called SRY protein. This gene is responsible for initiating male sex determination in humans, which then will typically cause testes to grow. Wherever this protein is absent, ovaries will grow instead. There are other factors that affect development of sexual organs, but overall, this is how sex determination works. For a great graphic visual of how this works, go here. (Warning: This video goes over anatomy. Although it doesn’t show actual human genitalia, it does reveal the process via computer graphics)

However, because of the fall of Adam in the garden, this process does not always work together harmoniously. Disorders of sexual development (DSD), or atypical genitalia, is a condition which can be diagnosed with various kinds of outcomes, including hermaphroditism. The percentage of people that can be classified as true hermaphrodites are very small. And even though there are other conditions that are likened to this, there are procedures in place that can assist parents and doctors to determine the sex of the child. For more reading about this, click here.

Now let us get to the meat of the matter. Since Bruce Jenner’s “sex change,” there has been a circus of people on TV and in the media outlets that are giving their various opinions on this critical issue. The biggest problem I see is that the majority of people who are applauding this behavior are lashing their tongues at those who view this kind of behavior has unnatural. I have read some pretty hateful comments on Vanity Fair’s Facebook page that truly should be deemed hateful. Anything from “sick” to “yuck” to “I just vomited.” But those remarks don’t get nearly as much attention as those that say, “Bruce Jenner is still a man” or something along those lines.

If we were to place the biblical worldview aside, what do you say about those that are calling Bruce by his new name Caitlyn? What about when they address him as she? What should we call those that bow the knee to such an idea that breast implants and facial reconstruction (which is all Bruce has done for now) makes a male female? One thought comes to mind, science haters. That’s right, science haters. Because it seems that science is the new hate speech. If that is too strong, then science deniers is also fitting. Either way a point in this direction needs to be made.

When we reevaluate what exactly makes us male and female from the time of conception, it should cause a reasonable human being to stop for a second and ponder that sex reassignment requires a change of genetic make up! As of right now, that is genetically impossible! For now at least. What’s worse, though, is if you even challenge the idea that Bruce Jenner is still male because of the scientific reasons cited above, you are still labeled a bigot and hateful person. Hold the phone! Am I a bigot because I cite the most fundamental knowledge discovered by the scientific community? Are we to throw out and burn every page that demonstrates to us the most basic knowledge of how we are made male or female? This is pretty scary stuff. Not only are Christians labeled bigots and haters because we state that homosexuality is sinful, but now foundational scientific discoveries are being openly defied in the name of sexual freedom.

America lost its moral fabric a long time ago. Tracing the black thread that has unraveled us to this point would be too much to write and is outside the scope of what I am trying to convey here. But when a country is willing to spit in the face of the most basic of testable, observable, and repeatable proofs concerning our genetic make up, we have indeed jumped off the precipice of moral hypocrisy to pure insanity. People will quote scientific discoveries all day long and will try to pit it against the Bible as if true science contradicts Scripture. They will quote study after study, and journal after journal using a Darwinian worldview in an attempt to demolish and minimize Christianity as being dangerous, insane, and intellectually foolish. But it seems that observable science is only the intellectual high ground when it is convenient.

The fact that the scientific community is not in an uproar concerning the antics put out by the media and liberal activists is not at all surprising to me. Mankind desires to be autonomous and to be free to sin however they like. They will jump from one argument to the next, like a checker piece, to justify their actions and their immorality, even when they know it is inconsistent within their own worldview. The American public has demonstrated that they are willing to overthrow what has been scientifically observable in order that they might celebrate what they feel is a “heroism.” It doesn’t require any specific worldview or a rocket scientist to affirm that X and Y Chromosomes make a male. But we are not to fret. The gospel of Jesus Christ shines the brightest in times like this.

Decade after decade God has shown Himself mighty in nations that have lived in all manner of confusion and debauchery. And there are only a few ways God moves in times like this – judgment or revival (in some ways, a mixture of both). I’m praying to see God glorify Himself through the faithful few who are going to be bold as lions, and will make the effort to speak truth to their neighbor, their co-worker, friends, and family…Christians who will display the love of Christ by opening their mouths wide to proclaim the truth that Jesus saves sinners wherever people are found. We need a holy people to walk righteously before a perverse generation, and to make His gospel known. Let’s be about our master business and be a witness to those that are within our reach. These things that sinful men glory in are temporary, but there is an eternity that awaits us all.

-Until we go home

Incarnational Sonship

I recently had a run in with someone who posed themselves as believing a doctrine called the “Incarnational Sonship” of Christ. I soon discovered this was merely a small, insignificant theological problem compared to his views about the Trinity as a whole. Nevertheless, the actual position of the Incarnational Sonship of Christ peaked my interest because I had never heard the term before. In essence, the doctrine can be briefly summed up by saying that it is a position in which someone does not believe that Jesus was the “Son of God” from eternity. This doesn’t mean that they believe Jesus Christ is not eternal. They just believe that the Sonship began when he was “begotten.” In other words, the title of  Son of God did not become realized until Jesus’ incarnation.

Although this sounds strange to the ears, and would merit anyone espousing this doctrine having to reinterpret the many Scriptures that affirm the eternal Sonship of Christ, I believe it is possible to hold this position and be truly born again (I’m making room for grace). Moreover, I recognize that theological ignorance or semantical misunderstanding can play a role as to why someone would choose to believe this doctrine, even after being confronted with the insurmountable truth that Christ was always the Son of God before time began.

Surprisingly, John MacArthur once held to this doctrine (other advocates were Ralph Wardlaw, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, Finis J. Dake, & Walter Martin). Thankfully he no longer believes it, but I figure posting his article here would be fitting. After all, why write about something when someone else credible has done the work, right? It is my hope that in revealing this doctrine we all become more aware of the various kinds of Christological teachings, even the ones the skate on thin ice.

http://www.gty.org/resources/Articles/A235/Reexamining-the-Eternal-Sonship-of-Christ

 

I also stumbled across a gem of a post that explained this theology in contrast to the Eternal Sonship of God. After researching this doctrine, I found this contrast helpful.

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

Jesus was always the Son of God. He is the Eternal Son. “Son of God” is Who He Is. His Sonship directly relates to His Deity.

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

Before the incarnation, Jesus was the Eternal Logos, not the Son. “Son of God” is What He Became. His Sonship directly relates to His incarnation, and has no bearing on His essential Deity.

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

Christ’s Sonship is essential to His true identity and cannot be divorced from the person that He is. “Son of God” is who He is in His being of beings.

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

Being the Logos is essential to His inherent unchanging identity.”Son of God” is merely a title and role that He assumed, a relationship He was born into.

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

“Son of God” means equal with God, indicating likeness or sameness of being.

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

“Son of God” as an attribute of assumed humanity speaks of subservience, being less than God. [A debatable point]

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

God the Father has always been God the Father.

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

God has always been God. Prior to the incarnation He was “father” in a metaphorical sense as Creator. With the Incarnation He became a Father in the literal sense. Relationship does not involve a change in Person.

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

The Father-Son relationship has eternally existed in the Godhead. Before the Incarnation the Son was ever in the Father’s bosom.

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

Before the incarnation there was no Father-Son relationship in the Godhead. This does not imply there was no Triune relationship between persons (God, Logos and Holy Spirit), merely that we have no other term but “God” to represent the 1st Person of the Trinity. The Logos was ever in God’s bosom.

 

ETERNAL SONSHIP:

The Father sent His own Son into this world (see John 3:16-17; Galatians 4:4; etc.).

INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP:

God sent His own Logos — the One who was born Son — in Person into this world. Once again, a change in relationship does not equate to a change in Person

Taken from bro.ralph@gmail.com

 

Because of my recent experience, here is a warning/exhortation. If you come into contact with someone that believes that Christ was not eternally the “Son of God,” take a breath and don’t be quick to label them as a heretic. Find out if they believe whether Jesus eternally existed with the Father before the world was made. If they deny that Jesus, as the 2nd person of the Trinity, did not exist with the Father before time began, and/or they believe that Jesus and the Father are not one essence yet two distinct persons (not “manifestations” like some Oneness Pentecostals like to say), then it is safe to expose it as heresy. If, after pleading with them and correcting them on their position, they remain resolute, warn them about their dangerous position, that you will be obligated to warn others concerning them (especially if they are a teacher/leader), and that they will be marked as a heretic. You want to give space for them to admit openly that they are willing to at least consider the essential doctrine of Christ and His eternal essence.

If provided an opportunity, follow up and find out if there is any change or a willingness for further discussion. If, for whatever reason, they are unwilling to discuss the issue with you, and remain staunch concerning their heretical position, then the removal of the right hand of fellowship is sadly in order. This doesn’t mean you can’t talk with them in future contexts, pray for them, or perhaps further assist them with good works (if they care to have you in their company) that may open their hearts to the true gospel. It just means you can no longer consider them a brother or sister, or among those who are truly born again. However, if they are a teacher, leader, or just a strong advocate of their heresies, one of the options is avoidance.

Some Scripture concerning the handling of heretics: Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10; 1 John 1:7-11.

One final thought. It is one thing to contend against a Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Oneness Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, etc. that are openly affirming their denomination and what they believe (whether ignorantly or with knowledge), but it is quite another when you have someone that marches among the ranks of Christianity who are posing to have a biblical view of the essentials of the faith and are found wanting. Also, it is important to reserve heretical judgment toward someone until we are absolutely sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, they are believing historical heresies.  Always verify and ask for clarity. We are to treat all people with respect, but we must fear God and sin enough to speak the truth to others that may hold to damnably erroneous views of Christ. Let love lead our motive, truth organize our thoughts, the gospel guide our passions.

– Until we go home

9 Steps Toward Personal Apostasy

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John Bunyan in the classic novel, Pilgrims Progress, illustrates the 9 progressive steps toward personal apostasy. This list is modified and modernized for your understanding. Please read and take heed. Save this in your journal, your computer, or make it your bookmark, but remember this well. I have bolded words that are important elements of understanding. If you want to read this portion of Pilgrims Progress in context, click here

  1. You draw away your thoughts from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come.
  2. Then, you slowly stop private duties like closet prayer, curbing your lusts, watching for temptation, sorrow for sin, and the like.
  3. Then, you turn away the company of lively and warm Christians.
  4. After that, you grow cold to public duty, as hearing the word preached, reading the bible, godly fellowship, and the like.
  5. Then, you begin to pick holes in the coats of some of the godly; and do it maliciously, that you may have a seeming excuse to throw [the Christian] religion (for the sake of some sin you have seen in others) behind your back.
  6. Then, you begin to adhere to, and associate yourself with, carnal, loose, and immoral men/women.
  7. Then, you give in to carnal and immoral discourses in secret; and you are glad if you can see such things in anyone else that is called Christian, that way you can commit your sin more boldly through their example.
  8. After this, you begin to play with little sins openly.
  9. And then, being hardened, you prove yourself to be as lost as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, you perish forever in your own deception.