Dec 28, 2010

It's never wrong to speak the truth

The Bible is clear that truth is paramount.  In fact, to me, the Bible communicates on the assumption that there is a definitive and knowable truth -- a truth self-existent and independent of the mind of man.  In other words, man does not have to exist for the truth to exist.

At one point, Christ spoke directly of the concept of truth.  He taught that is should be accompanied by love.  When being privately questioned by Pilot before being crucified, Christ made it clear what this definitive truth is.

Fast forward to today and we see a cultural climate of non-confrontation and tolerance where Americans seem to have far outbalanced the notion of love (a false love) and abandoned truth altogether.  We've even gone so far in America where many feel it is a violation of their rights for a someone else to express their personal faith viewpoint to them.

I confess to being more than a little frustrated about this and am often reminded that the Scriptures tell me I should expect this and mankind will continue to grow more like this as we approach the end of this age.

I know why people don't want the truth spoken.  I get that.  But, for Americans to hide behind the notion of tolerance (false love) to cover their sins is shameful.

In a similar line of thinking, Ravi Zacharias expressed his thoughts on this matter in his introduction to his book, The Lotus and the Cross.

"One day we will all find out that being respectful and sincere does not give us license to be wrong."

Dec 25, 2010

More 'clergy' showing their anti-Semitism, and lunacy

This past week a Greek Orthodox bishop showed more than his lunacy, he completely destroyed his credibility as a member of that order.  Bishop Metropolitan Seraphim is claiming that Greece’s financial troubles as a nation is a Jewish conspiracy and that the Holocaust was a plan orchestrated by Zionists.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Bishop Seraphim spewed his anti-Semitic remarks during a television interview in Greece when he said “that there is a conspiracy to enslave Greece and Christian Orthodoxy.”

The bishop then said that “Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism.”

Of course Jewish groups have come out and raised objection to Bishop Seraphim’s inflammatory remarks. But, the Greek Orthodox church must take serious action against this anti-Semite. If they don’t defrock this man, it will reveal the Orthodox church’s own similar position regarding Jews and Israel.

Why must the erroneous teachings of some sinful early church fathers continue to be perpetuated through the Orthodox, Reformed and Roman churches? Bishop Seraphim is obviously not reading the scriptures where it is abundantly clear that, despite its waywardness, God has a future plan for Israel and that Christians should have a special regard for their “elder brethren.”

“It is completely unacceptable that someone senior in a mainstream European religious denomination can make such repulsive and hate-filled claims,” said the president of the European Jewish Congress Moshe Kantor who called for the bishop to be fired.

In a statement, the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants said his remarks constitute a brutal assault on the memory of all Nazi victims, Jew and non-Jew.

It’s either insanity or sinfully motivated anti-Semitic hate to claim Jewish leaders would execute such a self-flagellatory plan to have millions of their brothers and sisters slaughtered by the Nazis. Either way, this man proved his deserving of losing his ordination and commanded never to lead a flock again.

Dec 21, 2010

No division of Israel’s land can be tolerated

There’s no political, social, religious or even militaristic reason a person or entity should advocate for any division of the land that God promised to the ethnic decedents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Why? Those who do will incur God’s judgment.
For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land, (Joel 3:1-2).
The United States (its government and its people) should be very careful not to advocate any division of the land promised to the Jews as described in Genesis and Exodus, which includes the Golan Heights, the West Bank, Gaza and every inch of Jerusalem. The boundaries are described as:
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite," (Gen. 15:18-21).

I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates, (Ex. 23:31a).
If someone believes there should be both a Jewish state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine, then they clearly are not reading the Holy Scriptures. The Bible clearly teaches us that this land is not to be divided for any reason, even for what some claim as peace.

When someone advocates that Israel should return lands acquired in conflict, they do, at best, not understand that the land does not belong to any other but whom the Creator (its original owner) has deeded it for a homeland – the ethnic race descended from Jacob.
Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; you shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name." Thus He called him Israel. God also said to him, "I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come forth from you. The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you," (Gen. 35:11-12).
There is no event in history that can abrogate God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. No collection of governments or majority of people can nullify this covenant. But, did the Almighty end the agreement Himself? This cannot be. If God can break His covenants, then what word of His can be fully trusted? No, God cannot break His covenant with the Jews and they have full right and deed to the land God promised as described in His word.

Finally, this covenant God made with Israel cannot be spiritualized to mean that it is now transferred to the church of true Christians. This supersessionism cannot be supported by any normal or logical exegesis of God’s revelation in His word. This erroneous teaching has led many well-meaning Christians to think God is done with Israel as an ethno-political entity. We learn this simply is not the case when we study Romans 9-11 and the Revelation. Yet, this has not stopped hundreds of years of false teaching by some denominations, which leads many of their congregants to anti-Zionism, which as Martin Luther King Jr., so aptly points out, is actually nothing more than anti-Semitism.

Dec 18, 2010

Special love for Jews, the Bible tells me so

After an extended hiatus from the Portico Dialogue one thing has burdened me while away – the near complete neglect Christians have for evangelization of Jewish people. I’ve examined my own life and rearing in a Bible-teaching church and the general Christian culture today and I can detect little effort to love and therefore evangelize Jewish people.

I can confidently say that part of this failure is that a great portion of the believing church adheres to the erroneous supersessionist teachings of some early church fathers and subsequent patristic denominations. These, to a measurable degree, have historically proven to prompt anti-Semitism and in some cases, have led to sinful ideology toward Jews as individuals and Israel as a nation.

Dr. Gary Hedrick, president of CJF Ministries wrote:
Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, was a supersessionist. Near the end of his life, he said that synagogues and Jewish schools should be burned to the ground, Jewish people run out of their homes, their prayer books and Talmudic writings burned, and the rabbis forbidden to preach or teach on penalty of death (“On the Jews and Their Lies,” Trans. Martin H. Bertram, in Luther’s Works [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971], pp. 268-271).
In his book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer wrote:
It is difficult to understand the behavior of most German Protestants in the first Nazi years unless one is aware of two things: their history and the influence of Martin Luther. The great founder of Protestantism was both a passionate anti-Semite and a ferocious believer in absolute obedience to political authority. He wanted Germany rid of the Jews. Luther’s advice was literally followed four centuries later by Hitler, Goering, and Himmler (William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich [New York: Simon & Shuster, 1960], p. 236).
Notwithstanding whether Shirer proved that the Nazis were partially motivated by Luther in his best-selling book, the words of the founder of the Reformation cannot be denied. Luther wrote, “that their synagogues or schools be set on fire, that their houses be broken up and destroyed ... and they be put under a roof or stable, like the gypsies ... in misery and captivity as they incessantly lament and complain to God about us.”

The lamentable fact there is an umbilical between supersessionism and anti-Semitism cannot be denied. History proves the connection. But, the reader should note carefully that I am not claiming by definition every supersessionist is anti-Semitic or anti-Zionistic – that would be unfair. What I am trying to point to is the serious lack of love for Jews by modern Christians and, to a great degree, this comes to us through the Reformed movement.

Why was I not brought up to have a special place in my heart for God’s elect nation? Why are the true Christian pulpits of the world not a source for clear understanding of the future of Israel, the believing remnant and the reason the apostle to the Gentiles teaches we are to take the gospel to the Jew first, then to the Gentile?

Thus I was prompted to study Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s excellent commentary on the book of Hebrews and a careful study of Chapters 9-11 of Romans and have concluded that I have little esteemed the people to whom God gave special and irrevocable promises. I am guilty of not seeing Israel in the proper eschatological light and not seeing Jewish people as those whom I should have special consideration for evangelization.

I have never claimed a label for my theological understanding – not covenant, not dispensational – but I move forward from this moment to accurately see God’s future for the ethnic, spiritual, political, and territorial future for Israel as outlined in His word and my divinely given commission to herald the Gospel of Christ to “Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”