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Archive for November, 2007

“GIVE ME NEITHER POVERTY or RICHES”: The MISSING FACTOR, whether for or against WOF (Part 3)

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 30, 2007

Going ALONG WITH THAT…..Another “BALANCED” Scripture RARELY MENTIONED 4 PROSPERITY


Quote:

James 1:9-11

9The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

Christians who are not in high positions in this world should be glad because they are GREAT IN THE LORD’S EYES. This brother in humble circumstances is a person without status or wealth. Such people are overlooked, even in our churches today, but they are not overlooked by God.

The poor should be glad that riches mean nothing to God; otherwise these people would be considered unworthy. The rich should be glad that money means nothing to God because money is EASILY LOST. We find true wealth by developing our spiritual life, not by developing our financial assets. God is interested in what is lasting (our souls), not in what is temporary (money, power, and possessions).

If wealth, power, and status mean nothing to God, why do we attribute so much importance to them and so much honor to those who possess them (and NOTE: I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT COPELAND ONLY, but even YOUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR OR CO-WORKER WHO HAS SOMETHING YOU WANT).

Do your material possessions give you goals and your only reason for living>? If that were gone, what would be left? What you have in your heart, not your bank account, matters to God and endures for eternity.

Proverbs 22:2
Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.

__________________Quick COMMERCIAL BREAK….Consider this


Quote:

Luke 14:7-11

7When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8″When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’

Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Question: How often have any of us speaking against Prosperity teachers (with valid reasons, of course) done what this passage is describing? DID IT HAPPEN AT THANKSGIVING DINNER? How about planning for this UPCOMING CHRISTMAS (at your house, )?

You rarely hear about events like this taking place (except at a shelter, though even there it generally the case that EVERYONE’S ON THE SAME LEVEL…..& rarely would you see this happening at a CHURCH SOCIAL.

In all honesty, if a poor man walked into a church during a church social at most modern day churches, that man would probably be passed up, escorted OFF THE PREMISES for fear that “He might steal something or just wants to get a hand-out” or avoided because of stereotypes (i.e “He may be dirty so don’t get too close…..”, or “He looks scary…”)

How many would go up, give the man a hug, and give him the SEAT OF HONOR? More often than not, he would not be placed besides those within the middle class but at the end of the table…..and probably most people wouldn’t have any compassion on his situation. They would talk amongst themselves regarding life and theological issues……& even perhaps the FOLLY SEEN ON TBN as a DISGRACE TO THE GOSPEL (ironic ISN’T IT, )

Moreover, most people would never stop to consider that many people who were at the poverty line were once MIDDLE CLASS THEMSELVES. I remember having a conversation with someone who was homeless and it was amazing to hear their stories.

I had NO IDEA that this man was once a PASTOR, Married, and in ministry…..but his wife became involved in sin, kicked him out the house, and he was struggling looking for a job. And yet most people driving by would never even talk to him but dare speak out against the SINS IN THE MODERN CHURCH!!!!!!!

The point it this: ARE YOUR STANDARDS TRULY IN LINE WITH GOD’S????

I can rail all day about whaT Copeland or Creflo is doing, saying they’re exploting/dishonoring the poor…..& yet if I SHOW FAVORTISM in wanting to associate moreso with people on MY ECONOMIC LEVEL, I’M JUST AS GUILTY:

Quote:

G
James 2

Favoritism Forbidden

1My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. 2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

5Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?

8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “Do not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
Footnotes:

How dare I speak against issues with the prosperity gospel and yet NEVER consider how often we treat a well-dressed, impressive-looking person BETTER than someone who looks shabby. We do this because we would rather identify with successful people than with apparent failures…….but the irony is that the supposed winners may have gained their impressive life-style at our expense.

Are you easily impressed by status and wealth or fame? Are you partial to the “haves” while ignoring the “have nots”?

The next time a statement comes out of our mouths saying “All those who are poor are just lazy and should work harder”, or look down on them, have you considered that wealth may indicate intelligence, wise decisions and hard work but it can also indicate the good fortune of being born into a wealthy family? Or that it can be even a sign of greed, dishonesty, and selfishness?

By honoring someone just because he or she dresses well, we ourselves are making appearance more important than character. Sometimes, we do this because poverty makes us uncomfortable, and we don’t want to face our responsiblities to those of us who have less than we do…..or we want to be wealthy too and hoppe to use an person with a good socieo economic background to meet that end……or we want the rich person to join our church and help support it financially.

All these motives are SELFISH; they view neither the rich or the poor as a human being in need of fellowship.

Amazing to see how the Sword always CUTS BOTH WAYS….

 

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“GIVE ME NEITHER POVERTY or RICHES”: The MISSING FACTOR, whether for or against WOF (Part 2)

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 30, 2007

I brought up the Scripture regarding “Not wanting either POVERTY or RICHES” as an ideal…..and someone had this to say in response:

I think personally that the “poverty mentality” has been part and parcel of fundamental Christendom for a LONG time. You can hear it in hundreds of southern gospel hymns – “Cabin in the corner of Gloryland”, “Mansion over the hilltop”, “This ‘ol house”, and of course the famous picture of the pathetic desperate Christian clinging desperately to the “solid rock” in the midst of a storm-swept sea. It seems sometimes the most that a Christian should expect out of life is a merciful death. Many of the AoG churches that I went to in the years before the ’70s tended to WORSHIP subsistence living as a “holy” calling, and looked foreward to that big ‘ol “Pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye”.

Naturally when the LOVE of material gain is the motivation, then something’s out of order. I’m “filthy rich” compared to 90% of the world’s humanity – most U.S. citizens (including many under the “poverty level”) are, relatively speaking.

Could be that the OVER emphasis on “prosperity” is just an “introduction” to the simple fact that God gave PROVISION to folks in the OLD Covenant, and still does under the NEW Covenant. When a “truth” goes out of balance, it’s STILL a truth, and just has to be put in proper balance with all the other truths.

To that, I thought it was a very interesting observation.  Someone else in response said how a lot of these songs were sung in churches that had southern slaves in them that were considered property, and would have had nothing except a bed role and a change of clothes in personal property. An ol’ cabin in the corner of Gloryland like the poor white share-cropper down at the end of the lane, probably looked like a pretty good mansion to get in glory-land. I suspect that ol’ house, an ol’ feather bed full of bed bugs and a wood cook stove was luxuries of great value to some.

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“GIVE ME NEITHER POVERTY or RICHES”: The MISSING FACTOR, whether for or against WOF

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 30, 2007

>Proverbs 30:7-9

7 “Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;

give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.

9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

For many against WOF, one of the main issues has been what appears to be such a heavy emphasis on pursuing riches/wealth as a pre-requsite for glorifying the Lord……which of course is dangerous because having too much money can lead to one turning AWAY from the Lord.

However, where many adressing the issue may miss it is that they end up advocating what appears to be a POVERTY MENTALITY. In other words, not having riches/wealth or living comfortably becomes the standard…..and the reality is that having too little can be just as dangerous as well.

Regarding the scripture posted, how often have you heard sermons preached on the issue from BOTH SIDES? More often than not, it is an “EITHER OR” mentality when it comes to discussing the prosperity doctrine.

Being poor can, in fact, be hazardous to spiritual as well as physical health. However, being rich is NOT THE ANSWER. As Jesus Pointed out, RICH PEOPLE have trouble getting into the KINGDOM OF GOD (Matthew 19:23-24)……and the solution to BOTH EXTREMES is realizing that neither is the ideal……and that, moreover, living in victory means that we must do like Paul and learn to live whether we have little or plenty (Philippians 4:12), but our lives are more likely to be effective if we have “NEITHER POVERTY OR RICHES.”

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KEEPING THE FIRE IN THE FIREPLACE!!!!!: Excellent Analogy Describing the State of the Church today (by Mr. Greg Harris)

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 28, 2007

  

  http://greggharrisblog.blogspot.com/

  

Reformed, Charismatic & Evangelical: Keeping the Fire in the Fireplace!

FOR MANY YEARS the Bible has been treated like a deck of cards. Denominations behave like players in some doctrinal “card game” where each church holds only a few cards in its hand as it competes with other churches for new members. Every church has its own “doctrinal distinctives” or emphases which are often reflected in the church’s name (e.g. Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.) In addition, churches are grouped into larger camps, based on over-arching values (e.g. Reformed, Charismatic & Evangelical). Such divisions rob every church of its heritage in the whole counsel of God.

Generally speaking, Reformed churches hold tightly to the cards (i.e. the passages of Scripture) that pertain to “the doctrines of grace.” They also emphasize the need to guard sound doctrine from error. Charismatic churches hold the cards that relate to the Holy Spirit and His gifts. They emphasize supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Evangelicals hold on dearly to the cards that teach the Great Commission, personal evangelism and world missions. They emphasize winning the lost to Christ.

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SPIRITUAL GIFTS (Part 18): A Interesting Case Against CESSATIONISM

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 28, 2007

 http://www.pneumafoundation.com/resources/articles/answers02.pdf

Answering the Cessationists’ Caseagainst Continuing Spiritual GiftsFrom the Spring 2000 issue of the Pneuma Review (Vol 3, No 2)By Jon Ruthven   

In the preceding article, we left our friend, George, the novice charismatic whose excited testimony ran into awall of biblical-sounding arguments from his pastor, a cessationist.1 This article offered a kind of pocket guide of“pro” charismatic arguments which George (or you, gentle reader) can photocopy and send to your cessationistfriends for comment. We now offer George some responses to a cou

ple of prominent arguments he is likely to hearfrom his cessationist pastor and others like him.

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1st Corinthians/Spiritual Gifts: Sermons on the issue by Christchurch Newport

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 28, 2007

Do spiritual gifts exist for today or have they simply ceased to exist? What is Prophecy? What is Tongues all about?

        Most likely, if you’ve been raised up Charismatic, you’ve asked all of these questions or at least have been asked theses questions by those skeptical due to the abuses taking place within the Charismatic Movement.

That said, I’d like to share with you some resources that another excellent brother from one of my favorite blogs was able to dig up (“HEAT & LIGHT”). They’re by a man named Pete Greasley of Christchurch Newport in the UK, who has done what I consider to be an EXCELLENT STTUDY for the PAST MONTH on the Gifts of the Spirit.

 

To find the entire series on I CORINTHIANS, go here:

 1 Corinthians is here,.

 

Some other which are extremely insightful are these:

Concerning Spiritual Gifts

Prophecy Today

The use and abuse of Tongues part 1

The use and abuse of Tongues part 2

         If interested, consider following the series through subscribing to their iTunes feed….

 

 

Also, if anyone’s interested, consider these audio sermons which deal with essential issues:

 

 

  • Acts 17:22-28 – Sam Storms
  • How Signs and Wonders Helped Add Multitudes to the Lord – John Piper
  • Prophecy and the Contemporary Pastor – Wayne Grudem
  • Prophecy and the Contemporary Pastor – Wayne Grudem
  • Romans 15:13 – Sam Storms
  • Spiritual Gifts and the Sovereignty of God – Wayne Grudem
  •  

    & as always, whether you agree or disagree, STUDY ON YOUR OWN, CHECK OUT ALL THE FACTS,  AND BE WILLING TO SEEK OUT THE TRUTH REGARDLESS!!!!!

    Proverbs 14:6
    The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

    Proverbs 15:14
    The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

     Proverbs 18:15
    The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.

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    REFORMED CHARISMATIC: The REAL 411 on what it means to be one…..

    Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 28, 2007

    Most likely, if you were to hear of the phrase “Reformed CHarismatic”, you’d scoff thinking that there can be no such thing. However, I’d contend that there is…..& in my humble opinion, the best balance one could be on the issue: Having a HIGH LOVE FOR THE WORD OF GOD and DESIRING EARNESTLY TO EXPERIENCE HIS PRESENCE/GIFTS in OUR LIVES FOR HIS GLORY.

     

         Sam Storms, who is a Charismatic Calvinist himself (and a former Cessationist) offers an explanation on the issue and I think it would be of benefit to those who’d be willing to hear of it.

      

    Below is a sermon by Sam Storms on “Reformed Charismatic” theology, with a QUESTION AND ANSWER session available as well (Part 2)

     

    http://www.sojournchurch.com/audio/download/50105/samstorms2007-07-14_part1.mp3

     

    http://www.sojournchurch.com/audio/download/50104/samstorms2007-07-14_part2.mp3

     

     

    Pray everyone enjoys…..

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    SPIRITUAL GIFTS (Part 8): The Gift of Prophecy (and an EXCELLENT EXPLANATION of the Subject)

    Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 27, 2007

     By

    Heat and Light

    an online resource for Reformed Charismatics, Pentecostal Calvinists, & Empowered Evangelicals

     http://heatlight.wordpress.com/2007/07/24/earnestly-desire-spiritual-gifts-the-gift-of-prophecy-is-todays-church/

    As an Evangelical Christian, you may hold to a wide array of Evangelical perspectives. Among my fellowship runs the whole gamut from dispensationalists to preterist – Calvinist to Arminian – young-earthers to old-earthers to the few (very few), the proud, the sailhamer-ites – cessationists, and even charismatics. It is because these differing opinions can be found among genuine Evangelical Christians that I believe this topic is of such great importance – especially as it relates to the last two categories: cessationists and charismatics.

    Historically, Reformed Christians have been cessationists beginning with Martin Luther and John Calvin. This means that they often believe that the more outstanding miraculous gifts have ceased. The list could include: healing, prophecy, and speaking in tongues, among others. This has caused a great tension oft-times between reformed Christians and the more recent religious movements referred to as Charismatic and Pentecostalism, who believe not only in their continuance, but, on a sliding scale from church to church and denomination to denomination, believe strongly in their prominence in the normal Christian life and worship. Both have been caricatured by the other: in one corner we have the frozen chosen, versus the holy rollers in the other, and n’er the twain shall meet.

    Recently, however, there has been a refreshing shift in both movements – a movement towards self-criticism and reflection. John Piper and Wayne Grudem both represent the most solid of Biblical and Evangelical theology, and both write from the perspective of Reformed Charismatic Baptists. And the road is going both ways. I know of a number of former Pentecostals and Charismatics who are moving away from their Arminian tendencies and towards a more Reformed perspective on God (a good example of this would be the great number of friends I have from the Wesley Foundation who are now in Reformed Seminaries across the country). In fact, the leading Charismatic systematic theology, entitled Renewal Theology, is written by a former Presbyterian theologian, J. Rodman Williams. Also, there exists now an entire denomination known as Sovereign Grace Ministries that is essentially a Charismatic Calvinist Baptist grouping of churches. Interestingly enough, one of their leaders is the author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Joshua Harris. Personally, I am encouraged by this move, in spite of its many dangers and pitfalls, because I think many of our differences come from a collective misunderstanding of the gift of prophecy.

    When we think of prophecy one of the first things that come to mind are the Old Testament prophets, mainly because they make up the bulk (or, as I would posit, ALL) of the Old Testament, which makes up the bulk of, and background to, the whole of the Bible. In the Old Testament, prophets are the authoritative messengers of God, usually beginning and/or ending their prophecies with phrases such as “declares the Lord and “thus says the Lord“. They often shift back and forth between first and third person, sometime speaking as one relaying a message, and other times as the mouthpiece of God himself. Look closely at Jeremiah 1:9 for just one clear example: “I have put my words in your mouth.” If you need more to think about regarding this, look up Exodus 4:12, Numbers 22:38, Deuteronomy 18:18, and Ezekiel 2:7, among many others. No matter how it is phrased though, it is clear that the Old Testament prophets spoke the very words of God, and as the words of God they were absolutely authoritative.

    There is a practical outworking of this truth – to disobey or disbelieve an Old Testament prophet’s words was to disbelieve God himself! Deuteronomy 18:19 says, “If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him into account.” This truth is echoed and expanded on in 1 Samuel 8:7, 1 Kings 20:36, 2 Chronicles 25:16, Isaiah 30:12-14, and Jeremiah 6:10-11. To deny a prophet was direct disobedience to the Lord.

    Because of this authority, there were incredibly harsh punishments imposed on those who presumed to speak for God and were discovered to have not. Deuteronomy 18:20 says, “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other Gods, that same prophet shall die.” Because of the authority divested in the office of Old Testament prophet, to speak the very words of God, harsh penalties HAD to be instated lest false prophets abound in Israel.

    This, as I’ve encountered it, is the popular and common view of prophecy both in Charismatic and Reformed circles – the only significant difference is that one group believes it is still common today (in worst case scenarios elevating it almost to the same level as scripture), and the other does not (often dogmatically asserting that anything posing as prophecy is nothing short of demonic). Unfortunately (or fortunately), this is not necessarily what is being spoken of when the gift of prophecy is mentioned in the New Testament.

    I’d like us to look for a moment at

    Acts 21:10-11: “While we were staying for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us he took Paul’s girdle and bound his own feet and hands, and said, ‘Thus say the Holy Spirit, “So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this girdle and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.”‘” Now I’m going to read to you from this prophecy’s fulfillment later on in that same book: “When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, shouting, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place.” (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple area.) The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions.

     Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. The crowd that followed kept shouting, “Away with him!“” (Acts 21:27-36) Did you notice the discrepancies? The “prophet” Agabus prophesied that Jews would bind Paul, however, it was the Romans who actually bound him.

    Agabus later prophesied that the Jews would deliver him into the hands of the Romans, but in fact they attempted to kill him themselves and the Romans RESCUED him forcibly from the violent mob. Agabus had not spoken in necessarily a misleading way, yet, as D.A. Carson states, “I can think of no reported Old Testament prophet whose prophecies are so wrong on the details.” (Showing the Spirit, pg. 98) Should someone have sought out Agabus to stone him to death? Or why, in Acts 21:4 is Paul told, apparently by a prophet, “not to go to Jerusalem“, yet Paul openly disobeyed it. Would Paul have chosen to do so if this prophecy were the very words of God? No – Agabus should NOT have been stoned to death, nor was Paul disobeying the Lord by going to Jerusalem because New Testament prophecy is NOT the very authoritative words of God.

    Although the Hebrew Old Testament word for “prophet” meant “authoritative messenger of God”, by the time of the writing of the New Testament the Greek word didn’t necessarily carry that same connotation. We have a number of extra-Biblical writings ranging from the time 60 B.C. – 199 A.D. wherein the word “prophet” is used to mean anything from a philosopher to a medical quack – a botanist to historian, and any range of things in-between. The primary definition for the Greek word “prophet” was essentially “one who declares, proclaims, or makes known” and that appears to have only sometimes been a proclamation of secret knowledge revealed from the spirit-realm. That is why the soldiers who blindfold and beat Jesus in Luke 22:64 command him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” They are not commanding Jesus to speak revealed words of divine authority, but simply to tell them something hidden that has been revealed to him. Actually, this appears to be a good working definition of the New Testament gift of prophecy as well.

    First, New Testament prophecy was not necessarily authoritative – rather than to accept it as a message from God, Paul said that it must be “weighed” (read 1 Corinthians 14:29-38) and to “test everything, and hold fast to what is good” (read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21). Notice that it is not the prophet’s gift that is in question. It is the content of the prophecy that is in question – and in that it is acknowledged that some will be good, insinuating that some may also, in fact, be bad.

    Secondly, Paul explicitly states to those using prophetic gifts in Corinth that they are NOT speaking the words of God. He asks them, “What! Did the word of God come forth from you, or are you the only ones it has reached?” Clearly the implied answer to this question is, “No, as New Testament prophets, the word of God did not come forth from us.

    So what IS the gift of prophecy in the New Testament? Apparently, it is anything that God may suddenly bring to mind or impress on someone’s heart – and in that, it is even an imperfect, partial revelation. 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 says, “Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away…For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully…”

    Wayne Grudem states in The Gift of Prophecy, “The mirror image suggests both indirectness and incompleteness in the knowledge that comes through this revelation…If we apply this to prophecy, it means that the prophet does not see God face to face or speak with him directly, but only receives revelation from God in some kind of (here undefined) indirect manner. It also means that what the prophet sees or learns is only a glimpse of some reality, but not the whole picture…(it) indicates that what the prophet sees or learns, or the implications of what is ‘revealed,’ are often difficult to understand.” Also note the phrase, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part.”

    Again, quoting Grudem, “Prophecy only gives partial knowledge of the subjects it treats.” This means, for example, that Agabus, the prophet in Acts who got so much wrong yet generally spoke truth, might have come to truly know something about the future, but could not see the whole picture, making it difficult even for HE, as the prophet, to understand and interpret. Because of the nature of New Testament prophecy, Agabus spoke prophetically, but his prophecy must be sifted, for the truth that God revealed was indirect and only a glimpse of the whole truth. Thus the prophetic utterance of Agabus was his best interpretation of what he felt God was communicating to him. It was NOT, however, the authoritative words of God.

    Apparently because of the nature of prophecy some Christians were tempted to throw the gift out altogether, which is why Paul wrote the church in Thessalonica to “…not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Today Reformed Christians appear to be fearful of the prophetic for the same reason – we argue that the Canon of Scripture is closed, and, operating on a false idea of prophecy, therefore conclude that the prophetic gifts must have ended with the closing of the Canon. Yet, the New Testament was not written by prophets, with the exception of the Revelation of John (who was also an Apostle)! You see, there WERE a group of men in the New Testament who spoke the words of God with God’s authority – they were called “the Apostles.”

    First, the message the Apostles proclaimed was the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the revelation of God’s message of salvation to the world. As Grudem points out, “Such an insistence on the divine origin of (this) message is clearly in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets.”

    Secondly, Jesus promised a special empowering to the 12, who were called the Apostles after Christ’s resurrection. John 14:26 says, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Later, in John 16:13, Jesus says to the Apostles, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth…” Jesus promised the Apostles that the Holy Spirit would help them remember and understand the message that he gave them to proclaim to the world.

    Lastly, the Apostles recognized the authority of their own teachings and writings as the very words of God. Paul commands the church in Thessalonica to receive his words “…not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13), and points out, as was the case with denying the words of the Old Testament prophets, that anyone who disregards his words “disregards not man but God” (1 Thessalonians 4:8). Others are punished for disregarding the message of the Apostles; “If anyone refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonians 3:14) Also, in 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter equates Paul’s letters with “the other Scriptures.” Further, Acts 5:3-4 & 21, implies that lying to an Apostle is equivalent to lying to the Holy Spirit, and thus God himself!

    The New Testament is made up of the writings of the Apostles (or of those under their authority) because it is THEY, not the New Testament prophets, who are the authoritative messengers of God during that time. And since to be in the office of New Testament Apostles you had to have personally experienced the living or physically resurrected Jesus, that office (in the New Testament sense of being an authoritative messenger of Jesus) is now closed, thus no one can any longer speak the very words of God to his people, except in that they are rightfully dividing His written word (the teachings of the Prophets and Apostles) in the Scriptures.

    If this is true, what is the case Reformed Christians have for cessationism? If the New Testament gift of prophecy is not that of speaking the authoritative words of God, what argument is there that the gift has ceased? Has God never given you a word, or opened your eyes to a deeper truth, that you could then look at in light of the Scripture and test and see if it was indeed from God? I was surprised to find that even the Westminster confession of faith gives allowances for the modern-day usage of prophecy when it says in paragraph 10 that the Holy Scriptures are “the supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees or counsels, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits are to be examined…” “Private Spirits” is an older English term for “personal revelations” – what we are here referring to as “prophecy.”

    I’ll be the first to admit it: these sorts of gifts can be scary and quite dangerous if not used properly. But, I must close, again quoting Grudem:

    At this point someone may object that waiting for such ‘promptings’ from God is ‘just too subjective’ a process. My reply is that the people who make this objection are exactly the ones who need this subjective process most in their own Christian lives! This gift requires waiting on the Lord, listening for him, hearing his prompting in our hearts. For Christians who are completely evangelical, doctrinally sound, intellectual, ‘objective’ Christians, probably what is needed most is the strong balancing influence of a more vital ’subjective’ relationship with the Lord in everyday life. And these people are also those who have the least likelihood of being led into error, for they already place great emphasis on solid grounding in the Word of God.”

    As Paul taught in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, I also echo: “Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, but test everything…“, even the content of this blog.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    “And you will know GOOD & EVIL”: The danger of learning the right thing AT THE WRONG TIME

    Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 21, 2007

    Curious

    Could anyone answer the question of why all the trees were given to eat from and yet the
    was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the only one denied?

    This question was brought up elsewhere by another on the Philosophy board at CARM. After inquiring what her thoughts were on the subject, this is how she responded to me:

    My thoughts would be through all the knowledge that is collected of men, much confusion comes forth. Many divisions of faith, for one.

    A small scripture appears in Mark 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a lttlle child, he shall not enter therein.
    This is also repeated in Luke 18:17.

    Pertaining to the pure faith, even without knowledge, I am assuming.

    So…with this being the Philosophy board, I am wondering about how someone philosophically would explain.

    I know within my own learning…the more I know, the more I want to know and it can become very addictive. It is also dangerous as to the amount of knowledge one has compared to the responsiblity which is placed upon the one with that knowledge.

    Bringing me back to the tree of knowledge.

    I thought she had some excellent points. Remember the movie “Jurrassic Park”? I bring that up because some of HER points reminded me of one point in the movie where Dr. Ian Malcom is talking to Mr. Hammond about the ramifications of creating a park full of Dinosaurs……& while Hammond is justifying his decision, Malcom makes it explicitly clear that DINOSAURS WERE MEANT TO BE EXTINCT FOR A REASON, & bringing them back only meant harm as they were UNATURAL to our world & could NOT BE PREDICTED as to how they’d act, meaning that there was no guarantee to knowing WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES WOULD BE & HOPE OF CONTROLING THE RESULTS………& when Hammond said they had the tecnhnology/knowledge to do it & were actually doing what they believed to be a service to mankind, Malcom sharply disagreed with them, saying that they didn’t take the time to learn the knowledge for themselves/take responsibility for it as those before them did—-they simply studied the knowledge others before them aquired & manipulated it so they could get a profit of of it……

    And as Malcom pointedly said,

     

    Quote:

    “But Your scientists spent so much time wondering whether or not they could do something that they never stopped to think if they should……”

    On that last point, I think it’s worthwile to say that this is essentially what the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD & EVIL issue is about to a degree: Not weighing the ramifactaions of our actions in the knowledge we aquire & how we attain or use it…….rather than asking ourselves “Is this the knowledge I need right now….or does having this knowledge pose a threat somehow in the LONG-TERM rather than the SHORT-TERM results it may bring?”

    Question: The devil was present during the creation of man & obviously had plans for ruining God’s creation from the get-go. To clarify,

    Satan is the author of sin and the cause of the fall of man. A. Satan is created upright.

    1. Genesis 1:31 declare that God looked on his creation and saw that everything he had made was very good.

    2. This statement includes Satan, who had not fallen as yet.
    3. There was no sin or death in the world in Genesis 1:31.

    B. Between Genesis 2:25 and Genesis 3:1, pride drives Satan into rebellion.

    1. The time of his fall is after creation, not before creation or during creation.

    a. Genesis 1:31 – When God finished creating, he said everything was very good.

    b. When Jesus said this, there was no sin, no wickedness, no rebellion and no death in the world.

    c. Satan had not fallen as yet.

    2. Genesis 3:1 – Satan came to the woman to deceive her.

    a. At this point, Satan had fallen.

    b. Ezekiel 28:12-19 and Isaiah 14:12-14 were being set in motion, although the secondary prophecies of these verses will not take place for a long time.

    3. Ezekiel 28:12-19 – This passage is double prophecy.

    a. The primary prophecy is concerning the king of Tyrus.
    b. The secondary prophecy is concerning Satan.

    1) Verse 12-15 refers to the condition of Satan before his fall.

    2) Verse 16-19 refers to the reasons Satan fell and the consequences of his fall.

    4. Isaiah 14:4-23 is another double prophecy.

    a. The primary prophecy is written to the king of Babylon.

    b. The secondary prophecy is written to Satan.

    C. The result of Satan’s rebellion.

    1. Satan is given dominion over the world.

    a. Job 9:24“The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?”

    1) Job is speaking, therefore we can know this is correct.

    2) God owns the world (Ps. 24:1“The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”) but, as we read in Job 9:24, the world has been ‘given into the hand’ of Satan temporarily; and Satan dominates it, subject to such limitations as God is pleased to impose.

    b. Matthew 4:8,9“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”

    c. Luke 4:6“And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.”

    d. Ephesians 2:2“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”

    e. Psalm 76:10“Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”

    1) Satan is the prince and power of the air, but just as God restrained Satan from killing Job, so Satan is restrained in the evil he is allowed to do.
    2) Revelation 9:4,5 – When these demons are released from the bottomless pit, they are restrained from hurting the people of God, but they are allowed to hurt the people who have not the seal of God in their foreheads. God restrains these demons from killing people, but allows them power to torment for the limited time of five months.
    3) Note the power of God over Satan, and that power continues today and will continue for all eternity.

    2. Satan was given authority to sow tares in the world, which are his children – the non-elect. a. Matthew 13:25, 13:38-39 – Satan sowed tares in the world when he deceived the woman.
    b. The tares are mixed in with the wheat.
    c. There can be saved people in every family, even though they are born of lost parents.
    d. There can be lost children in every family, even though they are born of saved, Godly parents.

    Going back to the original point with what transpired in the GARDEN. Satan was present and yet God told man from the beginning that he was to have DOMINION over the EARTH, going into uncharted territories and subduing the world in HIS NAME (Genesis 1:26-30).

    Also, for the task of cultivating the garden, God had given man everything he needed….from food to water/nourishment & everything else he needed to get the job done at that point (Genesis 2:1-20).

    However, evil wasn’t something on the “to-do” list yet……..but Satan was obviously planning/plotting & and present during CREATION.

    Seeing that the forces of darkness were going to eventually be approached by Adam & Eve in their quest to have DOMINION over the planet, would’nt it be logical to say that there was no NEED OF THEM EATING OF THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD & EVIL since GOD WAS GOING TO HAVE TO INSTRUCT THEM ANYWAY ON what EVIL WAS & HOW TO PROPERLY COMBAT/HAVE DOMINON OVER THAT AS WELL WHEN IT ARRIVED???

    Seeing it from that angle adds a WHOLE NEW TWIST on the subject, for it really serves to illustrate the danger of seeking to take knowledge for oneself in the wrong way….. & at the WRONG TIME!!!!
    As my friend said in response to the issue,

    I am going to bring this down to a personal level, because that is what it is in each of us, really. When first reading the Bible, what is understood, is not exactly the same as it is understood as the years go by. The level of understanding changes, or there are more avenues of interest. In searching for deeper knowledge and understanding of the Bible, doubts…yes doubts, creep in as to the authenticity of the earlier teachings. As seeking continues, responsibility continues being heaped upon one as to what they will do with this knowledge acquired. What may have been said to another student of the Bible may well have been wrong as later learned. Therefore, to instruct anyone is a risk. The knowledge one has may not be the full knowledge that will be available.
    So…in the long-term, would the results from the earlier understanding’s interfere with what was shared with someone in the past…and the responsibility of that shared conversation be weighed upon the shoulders of the one doing the sharing?
    Does that make any sense?
    It is almost as if one should not share too much knowledge, if any, because of the long-term consequences. And yet, if one does not share, we would all be dummies!!!

    In some sense, it comes to mind that we have all eaten of that tree.

    Probably one of the greatest examples I can think of is the topic of SEX. God made it, it’s AWESOME, & BEAUTIFUL……at least, we done in CONTEXT/THE RIGHT TIMING

    Song of Solomon 2:7

    7 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
    by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
    Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

    However, when discussed/opened PRE-MATURELY (such as in the ages of childhood when they shouldn’t be even thinking of it or ready to handle it), it creates problems……& yet many kids have been exposed to the knowledge of it, as well as the practice of it, FAR TOO EARLY……which is now resulting in a MYRIAD of PROBLEMS (i.e. STD, early Pregnacies at earleir ages & far too young to handle, emotional issues that come from sleeping around & dealing with the severing of ties that INEVITABLY happen when you become ONE with another, which is another reason why God says DON’T DO IT WITH ANYONE ELSE BECAUSE SEX IS LIKE SUPERGLUE…& UNLESS YOU ARE READY TO BE FULLY COMMITTED TO SOMEONE & have the CONTEXT APPROPIATE TO HANDLE IT, your leaving them will rip something from you and apart of you will be LEFT BEHIND, ETC)

    If children do not trust their parents with the knowledge they need & that it’ll be given to them when they need it, or trying to gain the knowledge of it in the WRONG MANNER, they’re only settting themselves up for danger…..& that’s exactly what happened with Adam & Eve.

    According to my Study Bible,

     

    Quote:

    “Adam & Eve got what they wanted:an intimate knowledge of Good/Evil….but they got it by doing EVIL, & THE RESULTS were DISASTROUS…….True freedom comes from OBEDIANCE & knowing what NOT TO DO……and the restrictions he gives us are for our good, helping us avoid evil. We have the freedom to walk in front of a speeding car, but we don’t need to be HIT before we realize it would be foolish to do so. Don’t listen to Satan’s temptations. You don’t have to do evil to gain more experience and learn more about life”

    It’s all about TRUST……..

    For some excellent commentary on the issue, consider these thoughts from another:

    So far things have been perfect. Everything that the Lord created was good in the Lord’s eyes (Genesis 1:31). God has authored and ushered in marriage between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18, 23-25).

    God established the first and the most intimate of all ‘intrahuman’ relationships between Himself and man. God, the creator of the universe and maker of man, set him up as his vice regent over the rest of creation and commanded him to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1: 28-29). His relationship with man was set at a very personal level (Genesis 2:4 onwards).

    Man is entirely dependent on God but not a robot—He has free will, the exercise of which is informed or assisted by God’s love in his guidance and word. A specific example of God’s guidance/word is seen in Genesis 2: 16-17.

    “Of every tree in the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Note the stress on ‘surely’

    Observe the expanse of freedom in this area. Everything but the one tree he could eat. God even informed them of the negative consequence of eating from that tree.
    Trusting God (Basis and Extent)

    How far should we trust God? There is much more to the universe than we in our limited minds can see. God, on the other hand, sees and knows the total picture. He is God overall. If He is not the utmost/supreme/highest in the entire existence/universe, then we have serious cause to be shaky in our trust or commitment in Him. This God who identifies himself here runs through to Jesus in the New Testament, the only pillar on whom we have staked or should stake our entire being, future and ultimate.

    God Loves Mankind Deeply

    It is from this perspective that God gives us His word and boundaries. He means not to destroy us but to protect us and secure our freedoms.

    Adam received all his benefits from God. His position and his mandate were from God. He knew God and what God’s word meant to him. He did not know guilt or shame, but had complete fellowship with God. “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…. ” (Genesis 3:8).

    The God of the Bible has revealed to us as much He determines we need to know. We need to know what he has revealed, treasure it and wisely use it in worship, making decisions and responding to him..
    B. The test —A third player on the scene—the serpent

    Genesis 3:1 introduces a third player in the form of one of the creatures—the serpent. Strange that a serpent should talk to man!

    Serpents Line of Questioning:

    ‘Has God indeed (really) said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’ (Genesis 3:1)

    1) Did the serpent not know what God had said?
    2) What should Eve’s answer had been? “Yes” or “No”?
    3) What is the serpent’s motive in asking this question?
    Is this motive clear (or clearly portrayed to Eve)?

    You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:4-5)

    The Serpent goes further here than the first twisting of God’s word, to outright denial and contradiction of what God had expressly told them earlier. As yet they did not know death. They had not lost the fellowship of God, trusting that God loved them and meant what He said. They trusted God had their welfare at heart for all their provisions including THIS prohibition.

    Outright contradiction

    The serpent spoke in outright contradiction to God’s word. Eve knew and practiced God’s Word but an appealing promise caught her off guard.

    1) Who is making the promise? Is it God? If not God, who? Does it agree with God has said? What is the end purpose of it? Does God promise that? If yes, why not wait for God in his timing? If not, why bother with it? Can I check with God in prayer?

    2) Since it is clearly in conflict with God’s word, the decision boiled down to who Eve trusted —God who she had known well all this while and from who she derived her being and all her position? Who am I most responsible to? And if I do not know it all, whose word would I trust?

    3) Note the nature of the promise. You do not have a way of testing it independently without disobeying or setting aside God’s clear warning and it’s negative consequences. How is this like some modern marketing tricks? This is important with regard to temptation.
    Where was the serpent’s motive?

    What was the serpent’s real or hidden motive or desire in these temptations?

    • Take revenge at God.
    • Dominion over man and creation.
    • Steal what authority God had given man.
    • Control over God’s creation.
    • Become God himself ruling over some of God’s creation. John 10:10, Matt 4:9-10.

    Eve’s decision making considerations :

    Eve’s priority of parameters considered (Genesis 3:6)
    ——–good for food
    ——–pleasant to the eye
    ——–desirable to make one wise
    ——- what the Lord had clearly said
    ——–warned them not to do,
    – ——consequence of dying
    ——–Recall God goodness and heart towards her
    Were all these considerations that Eve highlighted wrong in themselves?

    Why are you being called upon to set God’s word aside? The love and testimony that God has shown you? Why are you called upon not to remember these? Who is calling you to set it aside?

    Why was the serpent’s appeal so strong? Was he appealing to an innate desire in Eve? Did Eve want to be like God? Or want to be God? Can she be? Who wanted to be God? Scriptural reference

    Two clear options— a decision had to be made.

    Sometimes the options are distinctly different—so called black-and-white options,

    Other times the options are not so distinctly different.

    This occurs when the option does not clearly contradict a given dictum or principle of scripture.

    These are called gray areas. “All things are lawful but not all things are profitable” towards the end goal is an example of this.

    Satan loves to confuse us in the murky sides of the issues. This murkiness decreases with knowing and obeying the word of God and prayer.

    The most important part of making a decision is the responsibility to decide who to trust the most when you:

    • do not have all the parameters
    • do not know the future
    • do not have a good perspective on an issue.

    What does one need to think through when making important decisions?

    • You have to settle in your heart who you trust the most.
    • You have to settle in your heart what your purpose in life is.
    • You have to settle in your heart what price you are willing to pay for that purpose.
    • Who is your primary audience? Who do you need to please the most?

    What was Eve’s mistake? If I were in Eve’s place what would I do? Then? Now? What about Adam? His Response to the Offer :

    Adam, the leader of the home, the one who named her woman, should know and act better. But surprisingly, the Bible is silent on Adam putting up any fight at all. He took the serpent’s bait coming through his wife ‘hook, line and sinker’.

    1) Why didn’t Adam implement any kind of filter to protect Eve from the serpent’s words?

    2) Should our fascination with or love for our spouses set aside our responsibility towards God?

    In the previous lesson, we saw that a marriage was not between man and woman alone but in real truth a tripartite covenant—God being the third and overseer. It is each person’s responsibility and healthy relation with God that strengthens the bond between the two people.

    The point here is to underscore the order of priority of man’s loyalty in relationships:

    • 1) Unique Personal Relationship of God to man
    • 2) Relationship of man to His wife preceding all other ‘interhuman’ relationships
    • 3) Relationship of man to other creatures under God’s sovereignty

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Is anyone important enough to cause us to set aside the Lord’s clear word, will or purpose or override his “do not”?

    Is anything, any glory, any prestige, reputation, or promise great enough to set aside or contravene God’s word for?

    Does God ever ask us to set aside His precepts in order to obtain His promises?
    A clear no!

    C.) The Results of the Fall into Sin (Genesis 3:7-13, 22)

    There were two contesting consequences from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    • 1) God’s “You shall surely die”
    • 2) The serpent’s “You shall not surely die. For God knows that in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    Serious subversion is expressed counter questioning the nature of God and His supremacy. Telemarketers appeal to potential victim’s vulnerability but hide the real cost.

    Immediate

    Eyes were opened (Genesis 3:7)

    They got to know good and evil and in that sense became like God. (3:22) so the serpents promise came true…..but they got MORE:

    While God has knowledge of good and evil, evil never has a controlling part. This shows God’s remarkable will and holiness! But for man, this knowledge of good and evil came with subject to the control of evil, loss of rulership to Satan and loss of the very ideal of life as God designed it.

    In knowing good and evil, they lost the free access to the tree of life which if they had eaten after that would have lived forever.

    The irony is that the excellence of their faculties was infinitely depressed. This is where mankind is today. He does not even have a proper perspective of God, His creation, the future, goodness and the other attributes God originally gave to man. This also contradicts the belief is that man is good in himself. Even by man’s own standards, man questions this!

    Guilt, shame, lost innocence

    • Knew they were naked (Genesis 3:7 compare with Genesis2:25)
      They were ashamed at least they were honest about that (unlike the nudist proponents). Tried to make clothes to cover up their nakedness–but inadequate clothing.(Genesis 3:21); God had to provide better clothing.
    • Hiding from God’s presence (Genesis3:8 -10)
      They had to hide (if not brazen) because of sin. Sin does not make us want to go to God as it brings a fear of God’s presence (distinct from the healthy fear that aspires into God’s presence).
    • Passing the Blame (Genesis 3:12)
      ‘Buck-passing’ or ‘clever’ denial man’s personal responsibility to trust and obey God. Does God buy it? Compare this to his faculties in naming the living creatures and the woman.
    • Deceived and Excuses (Genesis 3:13)
      The woman also passes the buck but at least admits that she was deceived—-only after the deception had worked it’s end—too late after the fact.

    Deception—the essence of the enemy of God and our souls!

    Why would anyone deceive? When does a deceiver want you to find out the truth? Perhaps never, but definitely not early enough to see through his deception or stop him from getting what he is deceiving for. So what did the serpent get for his deception? We have touched on his motives earlier on. But in pursuing his motives, he does not care a hoot about man’s welfare.

    Did the serpent’s promise that “you would not surely die” come true?
    —-No.

    Did they surely ‘die’?
    —Yes.

    Why did God not bother about all the additional benefits of eating the fruit when he warned Adam and his wife not to eat it?

    —The dying far outweighed the benefits. God’s wisdom hits foundational issues. God’s promises are dependent upon our obedience.

    The unfolding of the ‘surely die’ will continue on in the chapter. In fact it has continued all through human history and till today. We really have no innocent man as Adam and the woman were then.

    Long term results:

    Adam subjected all his progeny to the dominion of sin for eternity. In fact we shall see later that it is God, in His wisdom, mercy and grace, who immediately took steps to prevent this from happening (3:23-24).
    Man does not love anywhere near to the degree that the God of the Bible does.

    This is why we say that natural man born of the will of man is fallen. Even the best of us struggle with the dominion of sin in our own members. Very pathetically, we cannot on our own make it back to the standard of God. Man has prided himself in his lofty human cultures, but God’s standard is infinitely higher than those achievements. Mankind just doesn’t know what they are missing.


    CONCLUSION:

    * In choosing to ignore God while exercising their free will, Adam and Eve suffered the very consequences of God’s warning. Man is responsible to God irrespective of which way he exercise his free will. Trust Him enough to obey Him or be so consumed by his own desires as to ignore God’s word.

    * If only Eve and Adam had taken God at His word—knowing who He had been to them and put Him first and foremost, above everyone else—themselves or their spouses, their fellow creation-the serpent they would not have fallen.

    * In making decisions- small or great- to put the clearly defined will and principles of God in action. God never asks us to set it aside to obtain His promises. John 17 :17.

    *Natural man is no longer innocent but Fallen.

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    Proclamation 4 Black Men (& MEN in general): RISE UP!(rather than leaving women to fight ALONE)

    Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 21, 2007

    Exclamation Black Men (& MEN in general): RISE UP!(rather than leaving women to fight ALONE)


    To anyone interested,

    This should prove interesting, especially for those of us that are black.

    Recently, I came across an interview on CNN on the issue of BLACKS/THEIR FAMILIES dissentigrating:

    After watching it, I decided to bring the issue up here because it seems that the issue with women in leadership seems to DIRECTLY tie into the majority of issues one sees in our society with men who are dysfunctional/over the edge nowadays….& this is especially true in the BLACK COMMUNITY, seeing that one will quickly come to realize that it seems there are more WOMEN stepping up to the plate/leading the best they can in the homes than MEN TAKING UP THE CAUSE…..& as noble as it is seeing the stories of mothers/grandmothers who held down the fort to ensure that their children make it, it’s still sad because there’s a limit as to how far a woman can go in endsuring that her male children grow up to become healthy men & prepared for leading in the home when THERE’S A CONTINUAL LACK OF MALE LEADERSHIP!!!!

    Without MALE LEADERSHIP, the BLACK FAMILIES OF OUR NATIONS have lost any sense of what a REAL FAMILY LOOKS LIKE (IMO).

    As another wisely said, “

     

    Quote:

    It’s an order that Blacks have progressively lost over time and progressives have known this for decades. Regardless of all the excuses we see today from the Liberal/Progressive types. Look at what a New York Democrat put out in 1965!

     

    Quote:

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan underscores rising rates of single mothers and illegitimacy, divorce and separation, unemployment and welfare dependency among blacks.

    Unstable black families threaten the fabric of black society in the U.S., writes Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his famous 1965 report, The Negro Family: the Case for National Action. Moynihan, then assistant Secretary of Labor and later a U. S. senator, underscores rising rates of single mothers and illegitimacy, divorce and separation, unemployment and welfare dependency among blacks.

    Men Leaving Families: A growing proportion of black men are leaving their wives, writes Moynihan. Though the percentage of abandoned or divorced wives among whites also increased between 1950 and 1960, it never toped 10% for most age groups.

    • Husbands are absent or divorced in 22.9% of non-white families compared to 7.9% of white families living in urban areas.
    • In northeastern urban areas, 26% of once-married black women are divorced, separated or have absent husbands.

    Divorce Rates Rising While the divorce rate for blacks and whites was equal in 1940, by 1964 the non-white divorce rate was 40% higher. As a result, writes Moynihan, very few black children grow up with both parents present.

    Moynihan says that the result of these trends is that almost 25% of black families are headed by women, nearly double the rate for white families.

    Black Welfare Dependency is Rising

    The disintegration of black families is also marked by an increased rate of black welfare dependency, writes Moynihan. He notes that over 50% of black children receive AFDC benefits at some point during their childhood (vs. 8% for white children)

    In 1964, 14% of black children and 2% of white children were receiving AFDC assistance. According to government estimates, most of the increase in welfare dependency from 1948-1955 can be attributed to a rise in broken homes. Since the creation of AFDC in 1935, the number of families lacking a father grew from 33% to over 66% in 1964, he adds.

    Moynihan notes that after 1961, the number of AFDC cases opened grew even though the non-white male unemployment rate fell.

    The greatest challenge to the equal rights movement is the disintegration of black society, due in large part to the disintegration of black families. Moynihan says that a concerted national effort is needed to strengthen the black family so that blacks can take advantage of new opportunities.”

    For the sake of reference, the statistics on the issue of blacks can be found here:

    http://www.saveus.org/docs/factsheets/portrait_black_family.pdf

    In connection with the interview, Though I understand where Goldberg is coming from, I think that it’s merely another case of treating the “symptoms” but not the “disease”.As David Prowlison once said, “Diagnosis proceeds Cure”……..& in my humble opinion, the issue of the disentragation of the Black family is more than something which Blacks alone are responsible.

    Everyone has had a hand in this, paticularly MALES…..and more specifically, THE CHURCH when it comes to MALE LEADERSHIP BEING REPLACED WITH WOMEN!!!!

    Read the WOrd of God & one will quickly discover that both the Hebrew and OT/NT society UNDERSTOOD their roles on the lives of children deprived of male leadership. ANd Scripture is laced with a call to care for those outside the bounds of a “normal family”:

     

    Quote:

    Deuteronomy 10:17-19

    17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

     

    Quote:

    Deuteronomy 24:17

    Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.

     

    Quote:

    Psalm 10:18

    defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

     

    Quote:

    Psalm 68:5

    A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

     

    Quote:

    Isaiah 1:17

    learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

     

    Quote:

    Isaiah 1:23

    Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.

     

    Quote:

    Jeremiah 5:27-29

    27 Like cages full of birds,

    their houses are full of deceit;

    they have become rich and powerful

    28 and have grown fat and sleek.

    Their evil deeds have no limit;

    they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it,

    they do not defend the rights of the poor.

    29 Should I not punish them for this?”

    declares the LORD.

    “Should I not avenge myself

    on such a nation as this?

     

    Quote:

    James 1:27

    27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    The issue with the disentigration of the Black family may be a mere symptom of the fact that all too often the modern church/society acts as if the fatherless children don’t exist, choosing to focus our energy on intact family units with one man & woman.

    In preparation for an upcoming “Rite of Passage” conference to guide boys into godly manhood, I recently finished reading an EXCELLENT book entitled “Passed through Fire” by ChristianYouth Worker Rick Bundschuh (who happens to be white, lol)

    He does extensive work with young men of all races…..& HAS had many insightful insights on the issue of training boys to be men that have greatly helped me.

    At one point, the author pointedly states, “Among the problems of our modern culture, childen who are fatherless as the result of divorce, casual parterning, or a womans’s single choice may prove to have the greatest negative repercussions of all. WITHOUT THE HELP of fathers, we are raising males who can’t find their way to being men.”

    The author of the book described a study done in a nature Journal once showing how young bull elephants raised in a herd lost of all adult male members were easily agitated, became wild/destructive, killing and causing chaos at random. …..which of course wasn’t typical elephant behavior.

    Destroying these violent youngsters seemed to be the only option……but then wildlife managers captured them, & shipped them off to a herd with a healthy population of adult males. The results were dramatic, for the young bulls settled down as the older males began to imprint “correct male elephant behavior” into them.

    That study was what the author felt to be symbolic of our society as well, for what is true in the wild is also true in civilization….& a boy without the imprint of a good man will join together with other boys and turn toward the brutal, twisted, and desolate…..& as noble as it sounds, HAVING WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP/AUTHORITY can only do so much for the problem.

    As the author makes clear,

     

    Quote:

    “An imprint of a godly man on the heart of a boy forms the contours and diagram of what he needs to become. This by the way explains the reason gangs are so prevelant in urban cultures. The numbers of fatherless boys far exceeds that in the surburbs…..& the pull toward violence/cruelty is amplified in these situations. Repeat teenage pregnancies and unmarried liasons have produced streets filled with young boys desperate for a man’s guidance…..without nature to challenge; with limited places to release energy; without a father, grandfather, or positive male mentor, the boy views the streets as his proving ground….& the wrethced cycle of violence, sexual conquest, abandoment of children, substance abuse, and irresponsibilitiy repeats itself over & over again……& what ha been the norm for fatherless children in the inner city is quickly becoming the norm in the heartland”

    Needless to say, I felt that the book was dead on the money, for MEN HELP BOYS TO BECOME MEN……& TOO often those with the privelage of seeing what a healthy family looks like will never take the time to enter into the lives of those who lack it & show male guidance. They simply sit back, look at the problems, & say “Blacks need to deal with it”…..when the reality is that it’s the responsibility of MEN—-REGARDLESS OF COLOR/RACE—to CARE FOR THE FATHERLESS.

    Of course, idealy, the person to teach boys to become men are a young man’s own father….& there has been increased awareness in recent years by evangelicals of the NATURAL dynamics BETWEEN a father & a son & various resources/ideas to stregthen things, with some resources like Robert Lewis’s “Raising a Modern-Day Knight”, the Promise Keepers’ Passage program, & James Dobson’s “Bringing Up Boys”.

    However, despite what many Christian men are doing to help their own sons, the reality is that doesn’t aid/adress the fact that for a enourmous amount of men, a picture of manhood is absent…..& no one wishes to get involved with it/wish to actually sacrifice by actively demostrating it, whether through mentoring or “big brother sister” programs & other venues.

    Many are simply content to call out the problems they see but never go further than that…..

    As a youth worker/deacon myself, I’m amazed at the effects that take place when those who know what it means to be men get involved in lives of black males without it. And even if the men weren’t black themselves, it was powerful nonetheless.

    I was fortunate enough to have that myself/witness the difference. Growing up as single child, with a mother who was a foreigner & trying to make it through med-school, I was raised predominately by Godly women…..& though the Lord did TOO MANY AMAZING THINGS IN OUR LIVES, it was still different not having any male leadership in my life.,….OR BEING ACCUSTOMED TO NOT OFTEN SEEING IT IN CHURCH.

    When I got that, however, in the form of my step-father & other godly mentors later in life, it was amazing to see how much I developed.

    They didn’t have to do so……..& many of them could’ve easily stepped back/watched my situation…enjoying the “positive family structures” they were privelaged to experience while simply saying of mine that it was a “Black Problem” & that we needed to help ourselves. But thank Heavens that they choose to get involved in my life…..despite their own issues or the children/families they were already raising….& realized the importance/duty of the local church/society to provide an imprint of MANHOOD for those in our community who lacked man in their lives.

    Without it, I’d probably be apart of the statistics mentioned on Black families.

    Sorry for the length of this post, but this is a very emotional subject for me…….but I hope someone feels where I’m trying to come from. The issue here with Blacks isn’t just a Black related problem. Everybody’s GUILTY, IMO……BUT ESPECIALLY THE CHURCH FOR NOT BEING MORE VILIGIANTE IN ENSURING MALE LEADERSHIP BE A MUST….Not only in MINISTRY, but in General.

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