What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Friday, July 7, 2017

"DEAD" DOESN'T MEAN INNATE MORAL INABILITY - Dr. Leighton Flowers

 Reposted from Soteriology101 FB page

Let's look at the uses of the term "DEAD" in the scripture for you to decide:

1) Jesus called the church in Sardis "DEAD" and called them to wake up.

2) The Prodigal was "DEAD/lost" then "alive/found" demonstrating that the term "DEAD" is idiomatic for "separated by rebellion" not "innate moral inability"

3) “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:13-15‬ ‭
Are we born "DEAD" according to James? Or is DEATH birthed in those who sin after its full grown? 

4) “What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:7-11‬ ‭

Are we born "DEAD" according to Paul? Or was it through the commandment, after "sin sprang to life" that DEATH came?

5) “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:1-3, 6‬ 


This passage says nothing about how or when they died, nor does it relate their condition to any type of innate moral inability. It does say God raised them up with Christ. Is this meant to represent the special inner work of regeneration which effectually causes them to believe after they are raised up? Let's observe what else Paul says about being raised up in Christ.
“In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which *you were also raised up with Him through faith* in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions” (Col. 2:11-13).

They were raised up THROUGH FAITH, not unto faith according to Paul.
Calvinists have the burden to produce just one clear biblical example of the term "DEAD" meaning "the moral incapacity to respond willingly to God from birth."
The strongest rebuttal I've heard to this argument thus far is "Leighton, you just don't think dead means dead!"

In reality, I'm looking for the actual biblical meaning of this term while Calvinists seem to be presuming theirs.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

No Other Way - Pr. Ray Stedman

Reposted from Daily Devotions - raystedman.org
But this is to fulfill the scripture: He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me. I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. I tell you the truth, . . . whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me (John 13:18b-20).
The contrast here is between the knowledge of Jesus and the ignorant unbelief of Judas. Jesus knew from the Scriptures that one among those close to Him would betray Him, and He knew from the beginning which one it would be. But Judas didn't know that. Judas was ignorantly following the greed of his own heart, and he was resisting every effort Jesus made to reach him. Now he was on the verge of that final act of rejection that would plunge him over the precipice into utter and complete disaster.

In the next paragraph you see that described--how he took the sop from Jesus' hand, and that was the final chance he had. When he did, Satan entered into him, and Judas was no longer his own master. But Jesus indicates that He understands what will happen. He says, I'm telling you this before it happens, so when it does, you will know I am the one this Scripture describes. Judas, on the other hand, didn't know what was happening to him or how he had fallen into Satan's snare and now was at the brink of disaster. You can see how these two stand opposed one to another. Jesus sacrificed Himself in order to save His disciples; Judas sacrificed Jesus in order to save himself. Those two philosophies dominate the world today.

In this final appeal. Jesus is directing a word to the holders of these two basic attitudes, Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me. That is a word to us, that when someone comes to wash our feet, to help us with some problem of sin in our life, we are to remember that this person is sent by Jesus. Therefore, it is He who is offering to wash our feet. And we are not to resent this ministry from others. But we are to remember what Jesus says, He who receives any one whom I send, receives me.
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Pastor Lauds Liberation Theology by Bashing Atonement

Reposted from juicyecumenism.com

The Middle East has always been an excellent place to examine the explosive relationship of competing political interests and religious identities. Specifically, it makes an excellent case study in examining how competing convictions influence or interfere with one’s interpretation of Scripture.

On April 21, 2017, Pastor Mitri Raheb, the Palestinian Senior Pastor of a Lutheran church in Bethlehem, spoke at St. Olaf College on the relationship between religion and politics in the Middle East. His comments indicate the growing danger of letting identity politics (manifest under the guise of liberation theology) determine one’s interpretation of Scripture.

During his talk, Raheb primarily focused on interpreting recent Israeli/Palestinian events and Bible passages through the Liberation Theology point of view. Liberation theology misconstrues Scripture and the surrounding world by emphasizing the pursuit of political ends and means to achieve complete social equity.

Contextualizing his lecture, Pastor Raheb began by comparing the Jewish government to Saddam Hussein’s authoritarian dictatorship in Iraq. He accused Israel of using religious texts to secure domestic sovereignty and feign legitimacy in the international community. He then proceeded to label fellow Christians as “Zionists” who were “sent” by the Jews to defend their state under the pretext of horrifically misguided eschatology while they callously ignore the plight of the Palestinian people.

Turning then to Scripture, Raheb offered his own interpretation of Jesus’ death on the cross (emphasis added):
“We have for too long tried to spiritualize the notion of liberation in the Bible. We’ve replaced liberation with salvation and the cross became nothing but atonement. I think we have to put the cross in its original context of political and religious violence…. The cross is a permanent reminder of the millions of people who are persecuted either by the state or by the religious establishment because they raise their prophetic critique to an unjust ruler or to a corrupt form of religion.”
It’s not often that a self-proclaimed Christian uses the phrase “nothing but atonement” with a pejorative connotation. Atonement by Jesus Christ was the single greatest act of self-sacrificial love the world has ever known. It satisfied around four thousand years of prophecy and a covenant made by the living infinite God who chose to make Himself known to a fallen, finite creation. Thinkers, writers, and philosophers alike have pontificated on atonement for hundreds of years. Jesus died a humiliating, excruciating death on the cross at the hands of both Jewish and Roman people because that was how it was prophesied in the Old Testament (e.g., Psalm 22:16-18, Isaiah 53).

Paul was very clear in Romans 6:3-7 when he stated that the cross was meant to liberate God’s people from the tyranny of sin and death. Or again in Romans 8:3, “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,” implying that the cross was the ultimate defeat of eternal slavery to sin.

Raheb concluded his defense of liberation theology by interpreting the Pentecost story in Acts 2 as a celebration of diversity because the disciples were able to speak in visitors’ native tongues. A simple glance over this passage shows that this assertion is simply not true. The disciples were given the ability to speak in many different languages (in the first case of multilingual evangelism) to the Jews who had not yet heard the good news. The Jewish people with their different languages and nationalities were united under their common ethnic and religious background. There is no normative indication anywhere in the passage that would indicate that “diversity is strength,” as Rahab argues.

I agree with Mitri Raheb’s approach to observe modern conflict in a political and religious light. One cannot and should not separate the two for fear of oversimplifying, misunderstanding, and misdiagnosing one of the longest running conflicts in human history. But Mr. Raheb’s identity politics and liberation theology have done just that.

Raheb wove an implicit line of logic throughout the whole lecture: because modern Jewish people are not the ancient Israelites of the Bible, they have no “spiritual” claim over contested Palestinian land. And since ancient Israel’s only purpose was to prepare for the Messiah, there is no need for a Jewish state anymore. Any argument to preserve a physical Jewish state would, therefore, be a Zionist misinterpretation of prophecy and an act of oppression to the Palestinian people.

Pastor Raheb has allowed his political identity as a Palestinian to precede and outweigh his identity as a Christian. This became evident in how he blatantly ignores huge portions of Scripture and facts to support his case for liberation theology.

I will not waste the readers’ time in recounting the “New Zionist” position, but rather direct them to a better defense of it than I could provide in this limited space (or a fascinating read if they so desire). Without dissecting the details, Israel, and more importantly, the Jewish people remain an integral part of God’s redeeming plan for the world, but without implying that the Lord is waiting on us to immanentize the eschaton.
Several facts stand in defiance of Pastor Raheb’s assertions. First, geneticists have revealed evidence that modern Jewish people are in fact descendants of the ancient Israelites of the Bible. Distinct Jewish people groups from all over the world share genetic legacy (not just cultural or religious identity) originating in the Middle East dating back 2,000 years.

And if one believes in the inerrancy and timelessness of Scripture, it would be hard to ignore the numerous passages that indicate that the second coming of Christ will involve a unified Jewish state (Zech. 12:5-9, Luke 13:34-35, and Romans 9 & 11 to name a few).

It is only through God’s outpouring and overflowing of grace onto the Jewish people that Gentiles are also given grace by extension (Romans 1:16). The same grace available to the Jews is available to the Palestinians. Yet Pastor Raheb seems to be so caught up in idolizing his own primary identity as a Palestinian that his view and reception of grace have been warped.

That is the greatest danger of identity politics. Though identities are personally meaningful and powerful in shaping worldviews, they are immaterial in the eternal light of salvation. Liberation theology, specifically, seeks to undermine salvation and spiritual needs by replacing them with material needs and social vendetta.

The relationship between religion and politics is a tangled one. It is often hard to define where one stops and the other starts (or whether the two ought to be mixed at all). But what is undeniable is that if you’re going to claim Christianity as your religion, it must be your first and most important identity. Any party identity, political belief, or doctrinal interpretation must always be filtered through the ultimate and omniscient authority found in the Holy Bible. There will never be a characteristic that can outshine the salvation bestowed by grace alone.
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