Is “Social Justice” Justice?

Those who peddle “Social Justice” never will admit that what they really peddle and encourage is societal envy and covetousness. These peddlers convince themselves that those who “have” must have gotten what they “have” unfairly; some injustice after all is implied. So “social justice” in their minds is simply to make what has been ill-gotten – right or what they would deem “justice”.

Unless someone has what they have illegally or unjustly why should the Government be empowered to take from one and give to another; is that really justice?  No, – “Social Justice” is simply envy cloaked in the suit of Marxist redistributive ideology and is not about justice at all. Faithful Christians should reject such an ideology because it encourages the breaking the 10th commandment: You shall not covet. A second reason faithful Christians should reject this ideology is because social covetousness encourages those who have been influenced by it to use the arm of the Government (via their vote) to take from one and give to another (in the name of justice)  which is theft and a breaking of the 8th commandment: You shall not steal.

Therefore Social Justice policies however good intentioned they might be are not really about “justice” at all; they are all smoke and mirrors and actually are about envy and covetousness.

Envy and covetousness though must have the appearance of ethics and justice so that those who peddle it can feel good about what they peddle whether they realize it or not.

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30

Athanasius on the Incarnation

athanasius

The Logos, Athanasius teaches, is the image of the living, only true God. Man is the image of the Logos. In communion with him consist the original holiness and blessedness of paradise. Man fell by his own will, and thus came to need redemption. Evil is not a substance of itself, not matter, as the Greeks suppose, nor does it come from the Creator of all things. It is an abuse of freedom on the part of man, and consists in selfishness or self-love, and in the dominion of the sensuous principle over the reason. Sin, as apostasy from God, begets idolatry. Once alienated from God and plunged into finiteness and sensuousness, men deified the powers of nature, or mortal men, or even carnal lusts, as in Aphrodite. The inevitable consequence of sin is death and corruption. The Logos, however, did not forsake men. He gave them the law and the prophets to prepare them for salvation. At last he himself became man, neutralized in human nature the power of sin and death, restored the divine image, uniting us with God and imparting to us his imperishable life. The possibility and legitimacy of the incarnation lie in the original relation of the Logos to the world, which was created and is upheld by him. The incarnation, however, does not suspend the universal reign of the Logos. While he was in man, he was at the same time everywhere active and reposing in the bosom of the Father. The necessity of the incarnation to salvation follows from the fact, that the corruption had entered into human nature itself, and thus must be overcome within that nature. An external redemption, as by preaching God, could profit nothing. “For this reason the Saviour assumed humanity, that man, united with life, might not remain mortal and in death, but imbibing immortality might by the resurrection be immortal. The outward preaching of redemption would have to be continually repeated, and yet death would abide in man.”. The object of the incarnation is, negatively, the annihilation of sin and death; positively, the communication of righteousness and life and the deification of man. The miracles of Christ are the proof of his original dominion over nature, and lead men from nature-worship to the worship of God. The death of Jesus was necessary to the blotting out of sin and to the demonstration of his life-power in the resurrection, whereby also the death of believers is now no longer punishment, but a transition to resurrection and glory.—This speculative analysis of the incarnation Athanasius supports by referring to the continuous moral effects of Christianity, which is doing great things every day, calling man from idolatry, magic, and sorceries to the worship of the true God, obliterating sinful and irrational lusts, taming the wild manners of barbarians, inciting to a holy walk, turning the natural fear of death into rejoicing, and lifting the eye of man from earth to heaven, from mortality to resurrection and eternal glory. The benefits of the incarnation are incalculable, like the waves of the sea pursuing one another in constant succession.

Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume III: Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity. A.D. 311-590

“Saving” Christianity… from Christianity itself?

Ravi Zacharias, Al Mohler, and R.C. Sproul on post modernism and the Emergent Church.

Along with the issues that Ravi, Al, and R.C. make,  at the very heart of the Church’s embrace of post-modernism is the fact that Christians in this generation do not want to carry “their cross”.  The Gospel (which first calls men to repentance) and biblical Christianity is simply too offensive – it brings the promised persecution and tribulation (Matt 13:23) today in the form of ridicule, scorn, and mockery.

With the introduction of post-modernism into Christian theology, a convenient way to eliminate the offensiveness of the gospel message and biblical Christianity has been found.  If you eliminate “truth” itself or make it unknowable (as Emergent folks do) than the need to stand for anything conveniently disappears. The offensiveness of biblical Christianity can be taken away and thus save Christianity and make it less offensive to today’s culture. The Emergent Church and I dare say an ever increasing element within evangelicalism today, is hell bound on “saving” Christianity – from Christianity itself.

The world is becoming increasingly hostile to traditional biblical Christianity, to those who claim they know truth, and those who use offensive biblical words like, sin, repent, wrath, wickedness, abomination and hell. The Emergent Church and this ever increasing element within evangelicalism that I speak of, is seeking to move away and to distance itself from traditional Christianity and from those who hold to it, because they are embarrassed.  They are more and more embarrassed by traditional Christians who continue to call men to repent and believe the gospel. They are embarrassed by a biblical Christianity which divides the the world between the righteous and the wicked (Matt 10:34). They are embarrassed of those who who would speak authoritatively about objective truth in a world given to radical post-modern skepticism.

I recently heard one of these evangelical leaders say that they are trying to “restore the reputation of Christ” in the community. Maybe I’m wrong, but when he said it, I couldn’t help but think he was trying to “restore the reputation of Christ” among unbelievers by telling them Christianity is not what people like me (a traditional christian) say it is. He’s embarrassed of Christians like me who make (in his opinion) Christianity offensive. If I am right, than he and others like him too are trying to save Christianity – from Christianity itself.

As comfortable north American Christians we need to be reminded that Christ himself calls us to partake in his suffering. We, just as Christians of old are called to carry “our cross” – we too are called to suffer “for righteousness sake” (Matt 5:10-11). Suffering usually comes when we preach and stand for the “truth” of God and of His Christ in this wicked and perverse generation.

Let us let us not shrink from our cross but embrace it, let us remember the words of Christ: “he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt 10:38). Does the one who bore the cross on our behalf deserve any less from us?

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“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23

Postmillenialism Simplified

This is Part 3 (3 of 25) from the DVD “The Beast of Revelation: IDENTIFIED” produced by JC Rogers of The Forerunner.com.

I encourage you to watch the rest of it here (the DVD is available for purchase here) – This DVD is so convincing that it became instrumental in turning our church from pessimistic premillennialism to optimistic postmillenialism!

The Antithesis and “Common Cooperation” Theology

There is a lot of talk today of Abraham Kuyper’s “common grace theology” in the evangelical world today – even men like Rick Warren and many of the Emergents have gotten on the “Kuyperian” bandwagon lately.

As I have listened to these folks, I have noticed a subtle difference between their view of “common grace” and Kuyper’s.

For a while I have been trying to put my finger on exacly what the differnce is and I have come to the conclusion that what they lack is the doctrine of “the Antithesis”.

Without Kuyper’s theology of “the antithesis” his “common grace” theology has metastasized into a doctrine of “common cooperation”. This metastasized doctrine preaches cooperation with the unbelieving world for the “common good” of mankind… and this being done in the name of advancing the kingdom of God.

I believe this metastasized “common grace cooperation” theology is largely contributing to a dialectical assimilation of the contemporary Church into the modern pagan culture and an adoption of its ethical values, values like radical egalitarianism, socialism, and environmentalism. This hybridization of biblical ethics and modern pagan ethics will eventually lead the Contemporary Church to abandon or minimalize true biblical ethics in favor of pagan ones…

A few weeks ago I listened to a couple of very good messages from the Kuyper Foundation. These messages I believe have helped me clear up a lot of the differences between the two theologies and I higly recommend them to you.

You can find them here

Can A Dead Man Resurrect Himself?

I have been having a discussion with my friend Silas on his blog about Calvinism and am hoping that he will discover from this video that Calvinism is perfectly “logical”and not “inconsistent with human reason”…

You can see our discussion here and here and here

A Sober Exhortation to Preachers and Future Preachers…

This is taken from a message I gave a few years ago to a few future Pastors and Church leaders. I have condensed it for this blog…

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. ( 2 Timothy 4:1-7 NKJV)

In the 19th century our nation was visited by a renowned French author, historian, and philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville. He came to America to look for the source of her greatness, and this is what he said:

“I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits AFLAME WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

I have a deep frustration with the current evangelical ethos in America today. I long to see “pulpits AFLAME WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS “ once again. Many say about government, that our governors are a reflection of the people who put them in office, and I believe this to be true, I also believe that Christians in America are a reflection of the preaching they sit under. I feel the American people have ceased to “be good” and have become the scourge of the world mainly because of its preachers. We live in a time where many of the pulpits of our country are occupied by pragmatists and cowards, men who are afraid to preach the “whole council of God.”

Whatever happened to biblical words like sin, righteousness, judgment, wrath, holiness, and hell?

All too often preachers who refuse to use these words are in effect believing that they are wiser than God. Preachers all to easily can deceive themselves and this why Paul has given the young preacher Timothy this exhortation and four directives or charges:

First he is to faithfully preach the word, second he is given an instruction “when” and “how” to preach, third he gives reasons “why” he must preach, and fourth he is given a call to persevere.

In Paul’s first directive he commands Timothy to preach the word, verse one:

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word!

Paul “charges” or gives Timothy a mandate to Preach the word. In his mandate is a reminder that he is to preach in the sight of God and the Lord Jesus Christ who will be his Judge. Paul reminds him that he is to Preach “GODS word“ not his own. Paul knows that this young preacher needs to be cautioned that he is handling the very words of God. Very similar words are found in James 3:1

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

So very often I hear modern preachers softening the tone of God’s word or moderating the plain teaching of scripture. I understand their primary motive, they feel they do not want to “offend” people and thus turn them away from the Gospel. These preachers refuse to use words like Hell, Sin, Judgment or other words like these.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that: THE LANGUAGE OF THE BIBLE, IS THE LANGUAGE OF GOD

God wants people to hear his voice, and his voice is best heard through the unadulterated, undiluted preaching of his Holy Word, not through the preachers pragmatic approach to people’s sensitivities. Preachers must be cautioned not to soften God’s word or avoid preaching on certain texts. When preachers do this, they are saying to God that they are wiser than Him when it comes to dealing with people.

Again this is a weighty exhortation to preachers: THE LANGUAGE OF THE BIBLE, its promises, its comforts, its warnings, its harsh tone to the disobedient, all of it is…

IS THE LANGUAGE OF GOD

Preachers must be careful how they handle it, they must be careful of what they stress as “important“, and what they stress as “as not that important“. I think of the words of Jesus words in Mat 12:36-37

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

In Paul’s second directive he instructs Timothy “when” and “how” to preach, verse two:
“Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.”

This “in season and out of season” is a clear call for preachers to be faithful to God and to His word in all situations and in all circumstances, to be faithful to the word whether the circumstances are favorable or not. Faithfulness to the ministry of the word is what he is called to, not what he thinks is “effective”.

He tells Timothy to convince or to correct, which simply means it is the preachers responsibility to teach his hearers where they are in error and to point out the sin in their lives. The word that is translated “convince” in this text is the is the same word translated “convict” in John 15:8 when used in speaking of the Holy Spirit’s ministry :

“And when He has come, He will “convict” the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”

Robert Murray M’Cheyne in a message he gave in February 1837 titled “conviction of sin” said this about preaching:

Why should you say that we (preachers) are harsh and cruel and severe when we begin to deal with your souls by convincing you of sin? Am I become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

When the surgeon comes to cure a corrupted wound, when he tears off the vile bandages which unskillful hands had wrapped around it, when he lays open the deepest recesses of your wound and shows you all its venom and its disease — do you call him cruel? May not his hands be all the time the hands of gentleness and love?

Or, when a house is all on fire, when the flames are bursting out from every window, when some courageous man dares to alarm the sleeping inmates, bursts through the locked door, tears aside the close-drawn curtains and with impatient hand shakes the sleeper, tells him to wakeup and run A moment longer, and you may be lost! Do you call him cruel? Or do you say this messenger of mercy spoke too loud — too plainly? Ah, no. All that a man has he will give for his life.

Why, then, brethren, will you blame the minister of Christ when he begins by convincing you of sin? Do you think that the wound of sin is less venomous or deadly than a wound in the flesh? Do you think the flames of hell are less hard to bear than the flames of earth? The very Spirit of love begins by convincing you of sin; and are we less the messengers of love because we begin by doing the same thing? Oh, then, do not say that we are become your enemy because we tell you the truth!

We have moved a long way away from the preachers of old like this. It takes a lot of Courage to step on peoples toes but this is exactly what Paul is telling Timothy to do! He tells him to rebuke and exhort, this implies to be sharp or severe and to warn of the consequences of disobedience and of future judgment.

Charles Spurgeon charged his student future preachers that it is their job to: “thrust the sword of the spirit – into the hearts of men”

It is important to understand people don’t need the word of God toned down in order to swallow it, they need it given as Paul says with all long suffering and teaching. He is telling Timothy to be patient with people, as opposed to getting angry with them knowing that Godliness takes much patient teaching and instruction. They are to give the word in strong doses but to be patient as it says in Gal 5:9

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

In Paul’s third directive he gives Timothy reasons “why” he must preach In verses three an four, Paul warns Timothy what will happen to the sinful nature if it is left unchecked

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

Isn’t this exactly what has happened in the modern Christian culture. Many of today’s “Christian’s” have a shopping mall attitude about Christianity. We have leaders who fuel this attitude with marketing schemes, and “specialized” ministries to meet every so called need because “this is what works”

A Fox News article Called “Religion gets supersized at Mega Churches” helps makes my point:

These massive holy houses attract churchgoers by the thousands with celebratory services that tout contemporary music, television screens and sermons that aren’t “churchy,” according to the pastor of the nation’s largest church. But critics say the sin-free pep rallies don’t encourage personal transformation and reflection, keystones of religion. Instead of a pulpit, pews and a group of familiar faces found at traditional community churches, megachurches can resemble a campus. “They are so large you can select the activity that you like,” said Ken Woodward, Newsweek’s contributing editor who covers religion. “If you want to lose weight Jesus’ way, you can join the weight-loss program or join a basketball team … These churches have so many people they don’t just sponsor a team, they sponsor a league. “Not everybody can afford to join a country club.” At the biggest church in the country, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Pastor Joel Osteen preaches to some 25,000 people each week — and sin is not on the menu. Osteen said his goal is to “give people a boost for the week.” “I think for years there’s been a lot of hellfire and damnation you go to church to figure out what you’re doing wrong and you leave feeling bad like you’re not going to make it,” Osteen said. “We believe in focusing on the goodness of God.”

You see the spirit behind all this is a kind of pragmatic attitude that says: “hey its this is working, is bringing people into the kingdom, right” It is easy to aim at Mega Churches but this pragmatic spirit isn’t just found at these kind of churches it is all over modern evangelical Christianity. I would say (I could be wrong) that most of the decisions made in evangelical churches today are made solely based on “what works”.

But does this pragmatic approach really work in the long run?

What about the average American Evangelical Christian? How many can name all the ten commandments? How many have read the whole Bible? How many Churches have regular prayer meetings anymore?

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12

Remember Jesus’ sobering words in Matthew 7

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Are these churches really helping and loving people if they keep the sobering truths of God’s word far from their hearers because they are afraid of offending them? Preachers must be careful not to become teachers that who “itch ears” and “turn ears away from the truth” and teach in Paul‘s word‘s to Timothy here: “fables”.

We need bold and courageous Preachers who will Preach and teach “the whole council of God”.

In Paul’s fourth directive he calls Timothy to persevere in his preaching ministry, verse five:

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Of all people the Preacher must guard himself because as Jeremiah said:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
It is so easy for the preacher to slip into self deception, and to do, as one man has said: to run from the 3 “C”s of Conflict-Controversy & Confrontation to embrace the 3 “C”s of Comfort-Compromise & Cowardice.

If the preacher cannot see the “deceitful nature” of his own “sinful heart” how will he teach others? And if the preacher will not confront the “deceitful nature” of their peoples “sinful hearts” who will? Oprah? Dr Phil? The politicians? The news media? No! God has given this ministry to the Preacher! How many modern preachers are willing to take this call? The call to confront people with who they really are? Wretched sinners who need God’s Amazing Grace to help us overcome the sin that wreaks havoc in our lives.

This kind of ministry is not easy, it doesn’t always win them many friends, as a matter of fact it some cases it could be very costly. But if preachers are not willing to carry their crosses and be crucified (by possibly being called nasty names, having their intentions maligned or even being falsely accused because they expose the deed‘s of darkness and bring them to the light, just like our Savior did) how will those who sit under their ministry do the same and carry their crosses in their workplace and neighborhood?

I once spoke with an old Methodist minister who after many years in the ministry said to me in speaking of his congregation, “they know how to make old men like me shut up”, In it I could hear the regret’s of an old preacher. I thought about what I would say to him if I ever get the chance to speak to him again. I would encourage him, I doesn’t have to end that way, preach the truth! – Who cares what it cost’s you now you’re an old man and you don’t have much to loose GO FOR IT! You have only one life! You still have time fight the good fight, run the race! Finish well so you will hear the words “well done good an faithful servant”…

Preachers are to Preach, Teach and Minister in such a way – as their death approaches they won’t have any regrets. This way they can say with Paul the words he says to Timothy in verses 6 and 7 of this 4th chapter:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

May God raise up faithful Timothy’s all across our land so that our churches and our pulpits in America will once again be AFLAME WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Lar