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BTRC Correspondence with a Preterist/Postmillennialist
I came across your site as i was going abut a search on a differant issue and i thought i might check it out.
It got me laughing when i saw your test sheet on are you a Arminian. I tried my best to answer them all right and there were some questions i wish that weren't there because I am guilty of some of them hahaha like owning a Bill Hybels book and listening to Billy graham or Charles Stanley but those were in my immature childhood days because after i became older i grew tired of them for they were not feeding me...most of the churches these days seem like they are only nursing the floick instead of feeding them meet.
Speaking out against the premillennial doctrine was one of the main reasons i first came to the Philippines inwhich i was helping a pastor i thought i once knew when i first met him in 2004 but we had a falling out for i decerned too much that he was after money in the ministry instead of really sharing but do not get me wrong when he shared it was great but it hurt knowing that he stole from others including even me which is why i am not with him anymore...psychologically i think he stole because he was greedy how arminian pastors gets all this money plus at the time he honestly needed money but still it was wrong.
When i was in CEBU, i was even on the radio a few times with the pastor i was with and we debated all religions and asked and answered questions and most of all there was this one RCC defender who also has an Attorny degree who would always debate you as a lawyer and not as an honest student of the word of God...i ended up suing his own law tatctics against him later on.
But, i am now on Minidanao Island, where my wife and i reside, and i encountered issues with the immigration, not only here in CDO but even in CEBU as well, but here it really got me wanting to start doing research. I was trying to find ways to save money, the legal way, but each time i did they would ignor me and they would never answer your questions other then say "obide by the system" which means shut up hahaha. I spoke with the vice mayor, who was our mayor at the time and he informed me of what my rights were but when i brought a written letter from our vice Mayor to the immigration they treated it like it was a treate out of a cracker jack box and ignored it but i saw the officer in the immigration dig in his law books seeing if he could find something in his favor but he found nothing.
I then began recalling my former desire in CEBU where i was wanting churches to gather together and help socially involve the people in making this country and even better country...for i heard it from the CEBU' Mayor's own words that he called this country corrupt so i thought why not do something to fix it and that was when i came across a book, written by a Filipino, that was in my favor because since i am a forigner i needed a filipino person or material so the people would not feel i am trying to make them behave as my country but that this is their country and they as people have every right to make a differance within the counstitutional principles.
I have witnessed firsthand how our government offices seem and even looks corrupt but even if we see it in our offices the real corruption is in the people for as the Filipino author would say in his book "the worses thing for a good person to do is nothing while the evil people succeed."
A short part of an article i wrote:
Why did you want us to read this?
Now that I have explained what the meaning behind the famous passages that the doom and gloom evangelists share, I hope that this prepares you for the shock on why I have entitled this article the “Oxymoron Theology.”
As for me personally, I came to the Philippines to hopefully help open some of the eyes of the people as well as some pastors, on realizing that God is someone we can highly trust on keeping His word. But, what it is that I would like to share that I have found, here in this die hard dispensational country, is an article in a magazine. The magazine is called “EVANGELICALS today,” and when we pick up Volume XXXIII No. 2 on pages 8, 9 and 13, we can read an article entitled “Antidote to Dirty Politics.” In this article on an “Antidote to Dirty Politics,” we are being told:
“…the church can no longer afford to watch on the sidelines while our ship is sinking. The church can no longer afford to dichotomize the spiritual and the physical. The church can no longer afford not to be involved. Or else, it will render itself obsolete and irrelevant; it will throw itself to the dustbin of history.
“It is high time that the church puts equal emphasis on evangelism and social action and not to put one over the other. The two are not rivals, they have never been. Neither one can stand on its own…. It is only by being both an evangelist and a social activist that we truly can become followers of Jesus. He is our model.” [“EVANGELICALS today,” Volume XXXIII No. 2 on pages 9]
Does that not sound like an oxymoron towards the theology that most of these futurists hold on to today?
Now, I know I might be twisting his words on this one statement but let us pull it out of his first paragraph where he says, “…the church can no longer afford to watch on the sidelines while our ship is sinking.” The author has claimed the ship is sinking but yet he is calling the church to help a sinking ship when some other evangelist might say “why polish brass on a sinking ship” which is a far better interpretation of the dispensational doctrine. Even other clauses are found in the dispensational doctrine like their support of Israel, but when we look at the whole outline on what their support of Israel will accomplish, we can see that it really boils down to a premeditated murder because we find within their doctrine that two-thirds of the Jews must die.
"I believe the Scriptures teaches that Israel could have obtained her much-sought-after messianic kingdom by recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. We all know the sad reality---the Jews rejected Jesus. As a result, the kingdom is no longer near but postponed". Tommy Ice in "The Great Tribulation" page 115
Isn't it strange that the very end time belief that streses for us to support Israel is themselves guilty of cammiting pre meditated murder of the very people they claim to help?
The main reason why i posted this article was because of this “Oxymoron Theology.” I keep hearing in churches such as dispensationalist who does not even care about standing up in this country of ours to make a differances for they would always rather say "it is a sign of the times" when that time is far behind us.
Dr. Gary DeMar who is a Postmillennial in his eschatology has this to share:
The Passing Away of Heaven and Earth
Jesus does not change subjects when He assures the disciples that "heaven and earth will pass away." Rather, He merely affirms His prior predictions, which are recorded in Matthew 24:2931. Verse 36 is a summary and confirmation statement of these verses.(6) Keep in mind that the central focus of the Olivet Discourse is the desolation of the "house" and "world" of apostate Israel (23:36). The old world of Judaism, represented by the earthly temple, is taken apart stone by stone (24:2). James Jordan writes, "each time God brought judgment on His people during the Old Covenant, there was a sense in which an old heavens and earth was replaced with a new one: New rulers were set up, a new symbolic world model was built (Tabernacle, Temple), and so forth."(7) The New Covenant replaces the Old Covenant with new leaders, a new priesthood, new sacraments, a new sacrifice, a new tabernacle (John 1:14), and a new temple (John 2:19; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:21). In essence, a new heaven and earth.
The darkening of the sun and moon and the falling of the stars, coupled with the shaking of the heavens (24:29), are more descriptive ways of saying that "heaven and earth will pass away" (24:35). In other contexts, when stars fall, they fall to the earth, a sure sign of temporal judgment (Isaiah 14:12; Daniel 8:10; Revelation 6:13; 9:1; 12:4). So then, the "passing away of heaven and earth" is the passing away of the old covenant world of Judaism led and upheld by those who "crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8).
John Owen (16161683)
maintained that the "passing of heaven and earth" in 2 Peter 3:57 had
reference, "not to the last and final judgment of the world, but to that
utter desolation and destruction that was to be made of the Judaical church
and state" in A.D. 70.(8) John Brown
(17841858), commenting on Matthew 5:18, follows the same methodology.
I am sure i can go on and on towards sharing of things when it comes to the study of the Bible or even social issues at hand. I am hoping that after you read most of this that i might get a reply back towards your thoughts on the end time belief being taught in churches within our country and also social issues on how we as Christians in a polite manner can go about towards better society.
I leave with with our Constitution of the Philippines
Section 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.
Office of the Ombudsman
of the Philippines
"..We have to work together and declare to everyone that corruption is violence and integrity is peace. Corruption is violence. Corruption kills. It poisons the environment. It destroys institutions. It demoralizes people. It takes away hope. It makes people take the law into their own hands. That is why corruption breeds conflict and war."
The fundamental law of the land gives the Office of the Ombudsman the calling and badge of "Protector of the People". This constitutional appellation captures the nature of its various functions: The Ombudsman protects the people from abuse and misuse of governmental power for personal aggrandizement. It summarizes the role of the Ombudsman in the scheme of governance. The Office of the Ombudsman is clothed with corresponding authority to implement this constitutional mandate with the passage of Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of 1989.
The Office of the Ombudsman is charged with five major functions. These are Public Assistance, Graft Prevention, Investigation, Prosecution and Administrative Adjudication. The framers of the 1987 Constitution defined the role of the Office of the Ombudsman as a watchdog, to monitor the "general and specific performance of government officials and employees." It also serves as a mobilizer, to effectively "utilize the support of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the youth sector and other major sectors of society" in the campaign against graft and corruption.
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We both reject the
Premillennial as well as the Dispensational view attached to that
eschatology, for it was Christ who refused their offer first not them
refusing Christ's offer as they try to make it seem. They practically make
Christ into a failure, needed to repeat things over a second time, and they
also promote doom and glood theology as well as practicing pre meditated
murder of the very jews they claim to support.
"It is enough for good
The Biblical Antichrist
First, we must find a biblical definition of Antichrist. The word "Antichrist" appears only in John's epistles (1st John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2nd John 7). "What is taught in these passages constitutes the whole New Testament doctrine of Antichrist." John's description of Antichrist is altogether different from the modem image. John's Antichrist is
Anyone "who denies that Jesus is the Christ" (1st John 2:22).
Anyone who "denies the Father and Son" (1st John 2:23).
"Every spirit that does not confess Jesus" (1st John 4:3).
"Those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist" (2nd John 7).
None of what John writes relates to the modern doctrine of the Antichrist as previously outlined. John's Antichrist doctrine is a theological concept related to an apostasy that was fomenting in his day. John did not have a particular individual in mind but rather individuals who taught that Jesus Christ is not who the Bible says He is:
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Dear Mr. J. P.,
Thank you for corresponding with us. We hope that our website would be spiritually profitable to you. I wish to ask you, if you won’t mind, what your nationality is, your ministry, and the church or denomination you are affiliated with. I assume that you are working/ministering in Mindanao as your previous email indicates.
I would like to answer first the question of your email subject. Do Amillennialists have the right to do nothing? No, we do not as Amillennialists have the right to do nothing. I think you have misunderstood my statements.
But it is not a question of Amillennialism whether a Christian should exert his influence in government for the improvement of society or not. The question is can the Christian by his mere exertion of influence to society change the eternal decree and program of God for the ages especially in the end time? Are you telling me that we as mere men are able to change the unchangeable plan of God? Are you telling me that we can reverse God’s appointed Day of Judgment on the wicked?
I thought you believe in sovereign grace for you put as your subject “Sovereign Grace in Mindanao ” in your first email. But it seemed that I was wrong. If this is how you think then God is not sovereign at all. We men after all are sovereign.
I disagree with your assumption that the New Heavens and the New Earth which are the fulfillment of God’s everlasting covenant of grace are existing in our present age. You must be blind as not to see that all around you is violence, murder, ungodliness, immorality and all forms of sin. This is not what the Word of God calls the New Heavens and the New Earth for the Word says,
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15)
The New Heavens and the New Earth is a New Order where righteousness reigns perfectly. All the traces of sin and death shall be gone. That is why the Lord will judge the world together with the wicked as He did in the days of Noah. I am not saying that God annihilated the world in the days of Noah nor will He do it in the future. He did not promise that he will not judge and destroy the world. He only promised in the days of Noah that He will not destroy the world through water. He wiped out the entire civilization of man in those days and only eight remained. But in those eight souls sin still remained. They were still totally depraved and the sin that remained in them developed again as men increased again on earth after the flood. But the great flood was only a picture of a better thing where sin will totally be eradicated from humanity. It will happen in the future. Peter wrote:
“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7)
The earth is reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment. There is still a future judgment because the present world is evil. It can only be cleansed totally through fire, not now with mere water as in the days of Noah. The difference between the two judgments besides the elements is that sin remained in Noah then although he was saved in the ark, but the future judgment by fire will entirely remove sin from those whom God will deliver.
It is true that it is not the earth that is depraved or sinful but human beings. But the Bible also teaches that creation is under bondage because of the fall of man. Creation is yet to be fully liberated from corruption. It has not come yet in this present age:
“For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature [creation] was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (R omans 8:19-22)
On the Christian’s duty or rather calling to exert influence in society, we have no disagreement. However I strongly disagree that such exertion of influence can make a difference to the future. Only God, not we, ordains the future:
“…I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9, 10).
Make no mistake about our position as Amillennialists. We believe that it is our primary calling to preach the true Gospel as a Church and faithfully witness to the Truth:
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15 )
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19, 20)
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem , and in all Judaea , and in Samaria , and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Concerning our relation to our government we acknowledge that it is God’s representative over our nation and the Lord Jesus is the authority behind it.
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. (Romans 13:1-7)
Therefore, although while at the same time believing that wicked leaders and evil government employees are a curse to an evil nation, we also believe that we must submit to the authority of the government in obedience to the Fifth Commandment. We respect government officials and pay taxes.
We also exercise our right and duty to vote for our desired leaders, although as you have said, our participation in such a political exercise is futile.
We believe as Amillennialist Reformed believers that we must also serve as a light and conscience to our government officials and employees. It is our duty to point out to them their evil ways and their corrupt practices. We do not merely confront them with our constitutional rights and their constitutional duties but with the very standard of the Word of God.
We believe that we have a duty to cooperate and act with the government when it calls for its people to contribute to aid the distressed and those who are calamity-stricken. We send donations if possible.
If we have church members who are employees in government, we teach them that they have a calling to be salt and light in their offices. They shall deal with others in all honesty and integrity. They shall not lie. They shall not involve themselves in corrupt practices. They shall not accept bribes. They shall come to office on time or earlier and leave office on time or later and work longer than for what they are paid for if necessary.
Now, the question is, after we have fulfilled all our calling, will it change the future of the earth? Our answer is a big NO!
The Bible is clear that the more the members of Christ’s Church stand for righteousness and truth, the worse the wicked world becomes. The prophecy of Daniel is clear about this:
“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Daniel 12:10)
The New Testament also teaches this:
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:19, 20)
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
We conclude from this that the more we Christians shine as lights in darkness and the more we become more faithful in our witness and the more we stand for holiness and righteousness in the midst of wicked men, the more they will hate us. The honest Christian government employee will be expelled from his job because he refuses an illegal practice. The honest Christian businessman will lose his business because he refuses to bribe the city hall employee in exchange for an urgently needed document. The Christian who has just graduated from college cannot find a job because he refuses every opportunity that requires him to work on the Sabbath day (Lord’s Day). The wicked world just has no place for the true child of God. Evil men make life narrow for the Christian. This is the reason why out of millions in the days of Noah, only eight souls were left. It will happen again in the future before Christ returns.
But the cause of the Lord is not and cannot fail. Although the wicked will grow from bad to worse even through the faithful witness of the Christian, there are still those who will believe the Gospel because God gave them the new birth. They are among those whom God chose from eternity to be saved through Christ’s atoning work. They are among the Elect of God whose number is fixed; no one can add to or subtract from them. They will be influenced by the Christian’s witness because they are born again. They are given faith and understanding. The reason why the wicked will not change nor improve is because they are dead in their sins. They are unregenerate. They cannot understand. They are slaves to their sins. What our society needs is not social or political reform but spiritual regeneration. But it is not by us but by God Who alone can give the second birth to whom He freely and sovereignly choose.
We as Amillennialists do believe that there will come in the future a literal and personal Antichrist. You are correct that the word Antichrist did occur only in the epistles of John. But I want you to notice that John is merely warning us that the spirit of Antichrist is “already” at work. There was an advanced work and influence since John’s day. That means that there is still to come a culminating work of Antichrist in the end times. Notice the verse:
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:3)
Notice, first, that what is present in our time and in the time of John is only the “spirit” of Antichrist, not Antichrist himself. Secondly, it was predicted that he was yet to come. Lastly, the phrase “even now already” implies that there was an advanced influence; yet there is still a full-force influence to come. I hope that is clear.
We also believe that the “Antichrist” of John is identical with the “Man of Sin” of Paul in his epistle to the Thessalonians:
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).
Notice that the context conveys the theme of the second coming of Christ. It is clear that among the events immediately preceding His second coming is a “falling away” of Christendom. The Christian church will apostatize in the last days. It will not and cannot reform the wicked world. In fact Antichrist will sit in the temple of God and will proclaim himself as God. This indicates that Antichrist will deceive Christianity in the last days. It may be a shock to you but Antichrist will emerge from the Christian church!
Another thing, with regard to the definition of Antichrist, I agree that his spirit denies the Incarnation and that Jesus is the Son of God. Generally speaking he denies the doctrine of Christ, that is not only what Christ teaches but who Christ is:
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 9)
We usually understand the word “anti” in its Latin meaning, that is “against”. But John used not the Latin word but the Greek word “anti” meaning “instead of” or “in place of”. Combined with the title Christ, “Antichrist” then means not “against Christ” but “instead of Christ” or “substitute Christ” or an “impostor Christ.”
This is the essence of the false Gospel: a false Jesus Christ:
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4)
Many theologies teach ANOTHER Christ. They preach from the same Bible but preach a different Christ; an “Antichrist.” Arminianism for example, teaches that God desires to save all men and Christ died for all men. This is not the Christ of the Bible. It is “another” Christ; a substitute Christ, an antichrist. The Christ of the Bible was born to save His people (not all people) from their sins (Matthew 1:21 ). The Christ of the Bible died not for all men but only for His sheep (John 10:14 , 15, Acts 20:28 ). The true Christ died only for His Church and not for all men (Ephesians 5:25 ). Therefore, the Christs of the Arminians, the Roman Catholics, Seventh-Day-Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unitarians, Pentecostalists, etc. are not the Christ of the Bible and therefore are false Christs, antichrists. I believe too that many (not all) Dispensationalists and many (not all) Post-millennialists are also victims of false Christs. The spirit of Antichrist as John wrote is already working through them. But one day all these religions will unite and establish a one-world religion which shall produce the personal and literal Antichrist. Their Christ cannot save, therefore as long as they believe in a different Christ, an “antichrist”, they are not saved. They must repent of their sins and repent of believing a false gospel and a false Christ. They must believe and trust the true and only Christ of the Bible: the Christ who is able to save those whom he desired to save.
This is what we believe as Reformed Amillennialists. We indeed believe in a sovereign and gracious God whose purposes cannot change as He is the Eternally Unchanging One.
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You have said:
I can only say the same thing about you that you also must be blind for i am not looking at planet earth as evil for did not God tell Noah that He will never curse the ground again for man's sake even though his heart may be wicked? The evil is in humanity who are without Christ and we need to bring them to Christ through the gospel.
Rev 21:25 And the gates of it shall not bee shut at all by day: for there shall bee no night there.
The gates not being shit is the gospel still being preached for Christ reigns now for He is our high priest.
If you look at planet
earth and make your judgment from what you see with your eyes you miss the
whole thing for it is a covenant we have with God for the planet earth is
tempory. YOu only need to look back in Isaiah and Genesis which spoke on
heaven and earth it is coenantal lanuage not literal as the
dispensationalist makes it out to be. Christ was on this planet when He put
on humanity and since He was not cursed with the adamic nature, and also
being God, He lived a sinless life to the fullest and then laid it down for
us to atone for our sins as promised since Genesis.
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Dear Mr. J. P.,
Pardon me for making this observation: your grammar suggests that you are not a full-blooded or natural-born American citizen. I hope I will not misinterpret your statements.
It appears that it is difficult for us to agree on the issues in this correspondence. We argue from two different premises. Either one of us is in error, or both of us may be wrong, but certainly we cannot be both right.
You are mistaken in your interpretation that the Final Judgment had already taken place long ago in the destruction of Jerusalem . That was God’s judgment upon national Israel in their rejection of their Messiah. The Final Judgment is yet to come when Christ personally returns.
Matthew 24:29, 30 says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
The Word of God says that Christ‘s second coming shall be IMMEDIATELY preceded by the great and final tribulation. That is not a picture of a New Heavens and New Earth. That is not a picture of the world converted by Christianity.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (Christ’s return) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition…”
That is not a picture of the Church dominating the world. The horrible truth is, instead of world domination, the Word of God speaks of a “falling away”—an apostasy of the church before Christ returns!
Revelation 20:8 says, “And [Satan] shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”
The Word of God says that prior to Christ’s return in judgment Satan will be released to deceive the nations out of whom are as many as the sand of the sea. If Christianity, as you suppose, will dominate this world and make it a better place, where will the multitude of people —“as numerous as the sand of the sea”— to be gathered by Satan against Christ come from? Where will these followers of Satan come from if the world is already Christianized?
This is clear evidence that the Final Judgment is still yet to come. It is future. The severe judgment upon Israel almost 2,000 years ago was only a picture and a shadow of the Final Judgment.
Again, as a “sovereign gracer”, myself, I do not believe that I may sit back and do nothing. Although history has already been determined from eternity, I and my church are called to witness to the Gospel to all without discrimination. No one may accuse me of hyper-Calvinism. I believe that I must testify to the Gospel to Elect and reprobate alike knowing that my testimony is for the Elect his salvation and to the rejecter, the reprobate, his damnation.
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 clearly teaches this: “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
Your quotations from the book of Revelation (22:2, 17) are clearly feature events in fulfilled eschatology. Although in principle these are reality in the Gospel age—this present age, they are yet to be fully realized in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Below is a simple diagram of how I understand the last things:
I am not surprised that there are Old Testament prophecies that are applicable to this present age. For the “Age to come” has been inaugurated since the first advent of Christ. But realization is yet to come in His second advent.
Now I realize that you (and Mr. Joseph Balyeat) have fallen into the error of Reconstructionism, which teaches that the Law of God is valid and applicable to all cultures. This is a serious error. This is Arminianism if not outright Pelagianism. What human society needs is spiritual regeneration—being born anew. Requiring unregenerate men to obey God’s Law or inducing them to obedience by mere example is unbiblical and contradicts the Gospel of Grace. Reforming sinful societies through the Law is like reviving a corrupt tree by painting its trunk or cleansing the water by cleaning the pump handle.
I don’t believe that the physical world itself is evil. I hope I have made myself clear. However, I also believe that it has been gravely affected by the sin of men. God created the world. He loves this world. He cleanses this world from sin. This is what He did in Noah’s day. He did not destroy the world. He cleansed it from elements that did not belong to that world. He destroyed the millions of sinful unbelieving men in Noah’s day who did not belong to that world. But Noah belonged to that world which God loved. That is why God saved him and his household in the ark through the water. The flood water then was salvation to Noah and judgment to the wicked of his day. Because God loved Noah, He sent Jesus to die on the cross for him and for the millions of His Elect people. But sin remained in Noah and his household as long as they were in their body of death. They produced generations of sinners including us. But among those generations of sinners are God’s Elect who by God’s sovereign choice belong to the world God loves. But also among those sinners are those who do not belong to that world. God’s appointed day shall come when He will fully cleanse His world from all traces of sin and death. The Elect will be resurrected and given glorified bodies that will be perfectly free from sin, sickness and death. God will renew this present world for them because they are part of that world. He will not annihilate men or this world. I hope I made myself clear. God will once again cleanse this world from sinners who do not belong to this world. Fire shall come from heaven to devour them (Rev. 20:9) when Christ returns in judgment. Peter says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). I do not understand this verse as “fire annihilating the earth”. The earth shall be burned up in the sense that it will be laid bare. The Lord will once again and finally save (not destroy) His world. He will save His world from the reprobate sinners, from sin, sickness and death.
I do not understand you accusing me of Arminianism just because I hold to this view. The issue of Arminianism is out of the question.
I agree that God has judged men in the cross of Jesus Christ. He justified His Elect and condemned the sinful world through the cross and the resurrection. But I believe that judgment has been in the mind of God even from eternity. Even before the creation of the world God is the eternal Judge and he has been eternally judging men. In eternity His Elect are already justified in Christ. And also in eternity those who were appointed to destruction were already pronounced guilty and condemned even before they were created. But, there will be a final day of judgment. It is not an event where God will start His judgment all over again. But that day will only be the ultimate “REVELATION” or proclamation or declaration of His eternal judgment. So there will be a future judgment. It’s like a criminal caught for murder who has been immediately shut behind prison bars. But a day is appointed in court to officially pronounce that he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
You mentioned that the Great Commission has already been fulfilled. The Gospel has been proclaimed all over the world and you proved this by citing verses. You are now contradicting yourself. You have been criticizing my statements and suspect them to mean that we now have the right to do nothing. If the Gospel has already been preached throughout the world, don’t you think we now have the right to do nothing, sit back, relax and do nothing? This is absurd!
Please realize that what is being proclaimed nowadays to the world is not the true Gospel but false gospels: the false gospel of Arminianism, Roman Catholicism, Pentecostalism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventism, etc. These fatal false gospels are overwhelming the true Gospel of God’s sovereign grace.
You have now introduced a very dangerous proposition that creation can teach us about God’s special grace. By “special grace” I understand to be saving grace, unless you correct me. Creation cannot bring us knowledge for salvation. What it reveals to unregenerate man is God’s wrath: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18). I concede that creation is an elegant book teaching us of God’s glory, power and His invisible qualities. But such knowledge cannot save. Only the Gospel can bring the message by which we are saved. In answer to your argument that creation is used by God to teach us about His special grace. Only the regenerate—those born again—can understand the works of God in creation. The Sun for example is a picture to the regenerate of the “Sun of Righteousness” which is Christ. The sowing of seed is a picture for us of the Gospel sown in our hearts. The birth of a child is a picture of spiritual regeneration and entrance into the Kingdom of God . But only the regenerate can understand it this way. They are given the “eyeglasses” of Scripture, as John Calvin said, to see the essence of creation. They are given life and understanding to perceive heavenly things through physical creation. I don’t speak disdain against physical things. But the unregenerate do not understand God’s saving grace through creation. They cannot be saved through God’s Word in creation. They may through creation know God as Creator, sustainer, the Powerful One, the Glorious One (and they shall be without excuse) but never as their Savior.
Romans 1:19-21 says, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
Please be very careful with your statement, “I also believe that all can be saved but the truth is only the elect will respond to the Gospel” or you will fall into the heresy of Arminianism. This is subtle. The Bible teaches that God does not desire to save all men, and therefore those He did not intend to save cannot be saved. The Elect will respond to the Gospel because they were chosen from eternity to believe the Gospel (Acts 13:48 ).
The Bastion of Truth Reformed Churches believe that the Gospel should be preached to everyone indiscriminately. We confront everyone with the command to repent of their sins and their unbelief and believe the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. But we do not offer them salvation. We do not tell people that God desires to save them and that it will be up to them if they accept God’s offer. The Gospel is not an offer. That is a false gospel—a gospel that cannot save. The Gospel is a sure promise to the Elect alone.
Before you make judgment in preferring the term “Preservation” over “Perseverance” you should have done a thorough research on the reason it was used by the original formulators of the TULIP, the Synod of Reformed Churches held in Dordt (the Netherlands) in 1618-1619. They were not ignorant of the weakness of the term “Perseverance” compared to Preservation. But they knew quite well that there was no perseverance without preservation. It was in the context of the attacks of the Arminian heretics that the Synod of Dordt preferred the term “Perseverance.” Here’s a quote from a commentary on the Canons of Dordt (the original TULIP, although originally arranged as ULTIP) by Prof. Homer Hoeksema:
“The truth of the perseverance of the saints is sometimes also called the doctrine of the preservation of the saints. In the former term the saints are viewed as the subject: they persevere. In the latter term they are viewed as the object: God preserves them. These are not two different doctrines, but two aspects of the same doctrine. The preservation of the saints is the cause of the perseverance of the saints. The grace of preservation is manifest in and through the saints as perseverance on their part.
“However, because the Canons are an answer to the Arminians, who frequently charged the Reformed faith with maintaining a doctrine of preservation which denied all necessity of perseverance, which made of the saints inactive stocks and blocks, and which made men careless and profane, our fathers in these articles proceed entirely from the viewpoint of perseverance, not preservation. This does not say that hey do not mention preservation: for they do, and they emphatically attribute the perseverance of the saints to God’s grace of preservation” (The Voice of Our Fathers, Reformed Free Publishing Association © 1980, p. 632).
I do not trust R.C. Sproul for he is a compromising and a tolerant Calvinist. The BTRC do not endorse him and his books. He believes that Arminians who believe the false gospel of free-willism (while remaining so) can be saved. Calvinists like him are a disgrace to Calvinism for he calls “saved” what God calls “lost.”
We at the Bastion of Truth Reformed Churches practiced “believers-only” baptism in the past and rejected infant baptism. But when we faced squarely the true doctrine of the Covenant, we were convinced that infant baptism is Biblical. Yet we’d rather call it “Household” baptism. Households include parents, children (including infants) and servants. I suggest that you do a thorough research on the doctrine of the Covenant. You have been mentioning the terms “covenantal” but you contradict yourself when you reject infant baptism. For infant baptism is a fundamental ramification of Covenant Theology. Please, prior to anything else, research on the doctrine of the Covenant. Ask questions like: What is the Covenant? How many covenants are there? Are children of believers included in the covenant? And many more.
Consider these passages:
Acts 16:15 “And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.”
Acts 16:33 “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his [HOUSEHOLD], straightway.”
1 Corinthians 1:16 “And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.”
Rejection of infant baptism is Dispensationalism. For the error of Dispensationalism teaches that there are two kinds of people of God: one is Israel in the Old Testament and the other is the Church in the New Testament. There are two different treatments to the children of believers: in the Old Testament children of Israelites are included in the covenant, therefore are given the sign of the covenant: circumcision; but in the New Testament children of the members of the church are not included in the covenant until they reach the age of discretion. They are children of the Devil taught on Sunday School until they profess faith.
But there is only one people of God, one covenant and one administration of the sign of the covenant. Circumcision is replaced by baptism. They are to be administered to the same subjects within the sphere of the covenant: the children of believers.
Colossians 2:11, 12 “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”
Besides, rejection of infant baptism is rejection of the picture of God’s sovereign grace in the entrance of the believer in the Kingdom of God . The Kingdom of God belongs to infants of believers (not unbelievers) (Luke 18:16 ). If the Kingdom of God belongs to them they must be given the sign that they belong to that kingdom. That sign is water baptism which symbolizes the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5), without which no one can even see the Kingdom of God , even less enter it (John 3:3). By the way, John the Baptist was regenerated even from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:41 ). Regeneration is purely the work of God. The sinner has no part or contribution in his second birth just as a baby has no part or effort in his birth. It is purely the work of his mother. In the sphere of the spiritual a person is born into the Kingdom of God , not by his effort, NOT by his FAITH. It is purely the work of God. If you reject infant baptism, you contradict the Word of God that says that children of believers (not unbelievers) belong to the Kingdom of God . If you wait for a child to reach the age of discretion, waiting for him/her to be able to exercise faith before you baptize him/her you are demonstrating that faith is a condition to salvation. That is Arminianism! Faith is an evidence, not a condition to salvation. This is where Baptists gravely err. I understand that you will strongly contest my position but I will not open another discussion on this unless you give me a clear statement of your understanding of the doctrine of the Covenant.
Concerning that Presbyterian friend of yours who rejects infant baptism (if I understood you correctly), he must officially renounce his being a Presbyterian if he rejects infant baptism. He has trampled under foot the Covenant of God. He has betrayed the great Westminster Confessions. If he receives money from the Presbyterian Church, he should stop it if he is truly a man of integrity. He is not being fair to Presbyterianism.
Our view on the sinlessness of the Lord Jesus Christ is non posse peccare (impossible to sin).
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