"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
Vol. XV, No. 4 April 1, 1999
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REPOSTEROUS PRETERISMBy Eld. Laurence A. Justice TEXT: Revelation 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
I have in my possession a postcard I recently received in the mail. Superimposed on a background of a beautiful sunset are the words "The Second Coming Of Jesus Christ Already Happened."
My first reaction to this card was "What? What wacko sent this and who would even print such a thing?" After looking into the matter I found that the person who sent this card is no isolated loony with too much time on his hands.
Instead he is one who has been caught up in an error that is having increasing influence on modern Christians. This error is called preterism, P-R-E-T-E-R-I-S-M, and those who believe this way are called preterists.
Some time ago I preached a message which I called "Bible Prophecy And The Year 2,000" in which I pointed out that as the new millennium approaches there will be a tremendous upsurge of emphasis on and interest in Bible prophecy. The first ripples of this surge came in 1987 with publication of the book "Eighty Eight Reasons Why The Rapture Will Come In 1988." Now larger waves of this interest and emphasis are beginning to swell and Preterism is part of these larger waves.
In this message we want to consider Preterism and measure it by the word of God. First of all,
WHAT IS PRETERISM?
The word preterist and its relative preterit means simply, past or by-gone. When this word is used of a verb tense it refers to an action as being perfectly past or finished. When used to refer to a person, a preterist is a person who is primarily concerned with the past.
According to the "Random House Dictionary Of The English Language" when this term is used of a persons view of biblical prophecy, a preterist is "one who maintains that the prophecies in the Apocalypse have already been fulfilled."
Preterism includes ones views, not only of the book of Revelation, but of all other biblical prophecy as well. Preterism is the opposite of and contrasts with futurism which sees the books of Daniel and Revelation and much other biblical prophecy as having its fulfillment still in the future rather than in the past.
The options available in looking at Bible prophecy are that prophecy is either basically predictive or basically descriptive. The preterist relegates that which is to be future to the past.
It is very important to understand that there are different kinds and degrees of preterists. There are what are sometimes called full preterists and there are what are called partial preterists. Full preterists believe that all prophecy in scripture has already been fulfilled. Partial preterists believe that only some of the prophecy in scripture has already been fulfilled. This matter becomes confusing when we realize that there are partial preterists among premillennials and among amillennials and among post millennials. Hal Lindsay and Jack Van Impe who call themselves premillennials make good money mixing preterism and futurism in their books on prophecy.
Now where did this type of thinking come from? Well, preterists base many of their theories on the non-biblical apocryphal book of I Maccabees. This book claims to be a history of the Maccabean wars in which Israel struggled to be free from the successors of Alexander the Great who were called the Ptolemies and the Seleucids. I Maccabees 1:54 declares that Antiochus Epiphanes, a Seleucid king, was the little horn of Daniel and was the one who actually set up the abomination of desolation of which Daniel 12 speaks.
Preterists also love to quote Josephus as an authority for their thinking. Flavius Josephus was a Jewish army general and historian who wrote an eyewitness history of the Roman conquest of Jerusalem between 66 and 70 AD. Josephus, an unregenerate, unbelieving Jew, who was not in sympathy with the cause of Jesus Christ, declared that Daniels writings were fulfilled in the Roman general Tituss conquest of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Eusebius, the so-called father of church history, who lived in the fourth century AD also bought Josephus interpretation of Daniels prophecy as being fulfilled by the Romans. Because of its heavy reliance on the views of First Maccabees and Josephus, preterism may properly be called Maccabeanism or Josephusism.
Most Bible historians today recognize the Jesuit priest Alcasar who died in 1613 AD as being the originator of modern preterism. Other fairly well known preterists include F.W. Farrar, an Anglican clergyman who lived from 1831 to 1903 and was Chaplain to Queen Victoria and who in 1879 wrote "The Life & Works Of St. Paul" which is still studied today. Philip Mauro who worked and wrote in the early years of the twentieth century has been very influential among preterists. Leading contemporary preterists include Max King and Ed Stevens who are both Campbellites.
Alarming to me is the fact that the present day upsurge of the twisted thinking of preterism is taking place largely, though not exclusively, among those who call themselves Baptists. Probably the most visible and vocal preterist today is John L. Bray of Lakeland, Florida who is a Southern Baptist evangelist. Brays book "The Rapture Of The Christian" is being mailed free to Southern Baptist pastors around the country and somehow a copy of it has fallen into my hands and I have recently finished reading it.
By the way, the post card which I mentioned at the outset of this message is actually an advertisement for something called the SOVEREIGN GRACE PRETERIST SEMINAR in San Diego, California, July 31-August 1, 1998 and the address for those with questions is KINGDOM OF SOVEREIGN GRACE in Sacramento, California.
WHAT PRETERISM TEACHES
There are three major things preterists teach at which we shall look here. First, preterists teach That the prophecies of the book of Daniel have already been fulfilled. Preterism views Daniel 11 as being a history of Alexander the Greats successors up to and including the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes in verses 21-32. Preterism says that Antiochus Epiphanes was the little horn of Daniels visions.
Whenever anyone says Antiochus was the fulfillment of any part of the book of Daniel, that person is either a preterist or has been influenced by preterism. Preterism rejects the application of Daniels writings to the second coming of Christ. Preterists find fulfillments of Daniels prophecies in persons and events which preceded even Christs first coming. Preterists would close the book of Daniel for good and keep it closed.
Secondly preterists believe that the prophecies of the book of Revelation have already been fulfilled. They dont see any prophecies in the book having to do with a future coming of Jesus Christ. Instead these people hold that the book of Revelation is a record of the conflicts of the early churches with Judaism and paganism.
F.W. Farrar believed that Revelation was written in the summer of 68 AD and he actually said that the third section of the book, the "things which shall be hereafter," all took place between 68 and 70 AD surrounding the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans. According to Farrar everything in chapters 4 through 19 of Revelation took place in the troublous times when Nero began to persecute Christians in 64 AD.
John L. Bray says in his book "The Rapture Of The Christian" that the tragic holocaust of 67 to 70 AD when the Romans crucified thousands of rebellious Jews was the great tribulation. Farrar saw the beast of Revelation 13 as being the emperor Nero and most shocking of all he said that ". . . the fall of Jerusalem (in 70 AD) was in the fullest sense, the Second Advent of the Son of Man . . ."
Farrar and other preterists say that the reason we know that Revelation has already been fulfilled is because of the word "quickly" which is used in Revelation 2:5,16,3:2,11:14 and 22:20. Lets look at two of these uses of the word "quickly" just to see what these preterists are talking about. Look at Revelation 11:14. John is writing about the great Woes of the tribulation here when he says, "The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly." Now look at Revelation 22:20. "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Preterists reason that if the Lord said he would come quickly He certainly would not have waited 2,000 years to come back.
A third thing that preterists teach is that Jesus Christ has already returned. Joe V. Thomas, pastor of the Orthodox Baptist Church of Pensacola, Florida, said in a 1998 letter to pastors on his mailing list, "The great deception in the religious world today is . . . that the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the events associated with it are yet to occur in the future."
Preterists teach that Jesus Christ returned in the year 70 AD when the Roman army conquered and destroyed Jerusalem. Heres what John L. Bray in his book, "The Rapture Of Christians" says:
"I have come to the conclusion that the event which we have termed the Second Coming of Christ actually took place in the first century during that generation of people who lived in the time of Christ, according to the prophecy and predictions of both Jesus and the writers of the New Testament. All teaching, therefore, concerning the resurrection and judgment connected with the second coming of Christ must be studied and understood in the light of this context."
Heres another quote from the same book: "When Christ came in 70 AD he raised all the Old Testament saints (from the dead) . . . the dead were raised then and the living Christians did not precede them. The living Christians also would be resurrected but at the time of their death, not at some long, distant, future time away . . . dead Christians were resurrected when Christ came in AD 70 . . ."
"What happens to a Christian when he dies? He leaves his old body and receives his resurrection body at that time . . . Christians no longer have to wait until a future second coming of Christ to obtain their new bodies."
The main point of all of John L. Brays writings seems to be that Jesus Christ returned as the Roman army to destroy Jerusalem in 70 AD. Joe V. Thomas said in the above quoted letter to pastors that "The judgment day occurred at the Second Coming in 70 AD."
Preterists try to make Matthew 16:28 mean that Christ was predicting the time of his second coming to be in 70 AD. Note this verse. "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
In his book "Matthew 24 Fulfilled" John L. Bray says that the Lord Jesus was saying here in Matthew 16:28 that he would come back before some of his disciples died. Matthew 24:34 is a favorite proof text of preterists for teaching that Christ Himself said that he would return in 70 AD. Lets turn to it. Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. The Lord is speaking of his Second Coming here and He says, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
Preterists reason that a generation is a period of forty years and since the Lord said that that generation would not pass away until all the things he had been saying about his return should be fulfilled, and since a generation was a period of forty years, forty years from the time the Lord made this statement would put the time at about 70 AD, therefore preterists conclude that the Lord Jesus was predicting that his return would be in 70 AD.
Along these lines John L. Bray says in the above quoted book, "Where do we get it from that there is yet in our future to be a Second Coming of Christ? Why would God put off for thousands of years into the future that which he promised would take place in that generation? It doesnt really make sense does it? . . . Jesus and the writers of the New Testament clearly taught that the Second Coming of Christ would occur in their generation in that century."
Finally and most importantly in this message on preterism is the matter of
WHAT GODS WORD TEACHES
First of all let us consider what the Word of God teaches about the book of Daniel. Prophetic events in this book have most definitely not all been fulfilled. As we have seen in our Sunday evening studies in Daniel, especially those in chapters 7, 8 & 10-12, these prophecies pertain to "the end" climaxing in the Second Coming of Christ, the destruction of the little horn or Antichrist, the restoration and conversion of Israel, the resurrection of the dead, the rewarding of the righteous and the reign of Christ on the earth. Events in Daniel 10-12 are specifically stated to be yet in the future. They are said in Daniel 11:40 to be "at the time of the end."
This is decisive in denying preterist attempts to find Antiochus Epiphanes in this part of Daniel because Antiochus died 163 years before Christ came the first time. Also the Lord Jesus specifically states in Matthew 24:15 that the setting up of the abomination of desolation was still future when He (Christ) was living on earth. Turn to it.
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)"
Antiochus could not possibly have set up the abomination of desolation in 164 BC because Jesus Christ, 194 years later, spoke of this event as still being future. No, the Lord Jesus Christ rejected the preterist view concerning the book of Daniel and nowhere do those who try to make Daniel entirely history fail more miserably than here in Daniel 10-12.
Next let us consider what the word of God teaches about the book of Revelation. As we have pointed out, preterists teach that the prophecies in this book have all or mostly been fulfilled already. Revelation is a book of prophecy! Seven times the word prophecy is used to describe the contents of this book. Revelation 1:3 is one example. "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." The other six instances are in Revelation 11:6, 19:10, 22:7,10, 18, 19.
Prophecy means two things: 1. It means forthtelling or proclaiming Gods message and 2. it means foretelling. Much prophecy is purely predictive. Chapters 4-19 of Revelation refer to the same seven year period as does the seventieth week of Daniel 9:20-27, the tribulation. This part of Revelation had not been fulfilled as of the writing of the book of Revelation because Revelation still speaks of the tribulation as being future at the time when Revelation was written.
The Lords great prophetic discourse in Matthew 24-25 which has much to say about the coming tribulation is also mostly still future as far as its fulfillment and thus is in harmony with the book of Revelation. Everything from the fourth chapter to the end of the book of Revelation is still future but preterism renders both Daniel and Revelation meaningless to us because it makes both of these books speak only of events which took place in the far distant past either in the Inter Testamental period or in the first century after Christ.
3. Thirdly let us consider here what Gods word says about the Second Coming of Christ. The book of Revelation is all about the Second Coming of Christ, His personal appearing. Seven times Revelation states that Christ will come again. Revelation 1:7, 2:25, 3:3, 3:11, 22:7, 12,& 20. The book of Revelation opens with "he cometh" in 1:7 and closes in 22:20 with "Even so, come Lord Jesus. The apostle John actually wrote the Revelation in 95 or 96 AD, 25 years after the preterists say that Christ returned in 70 AD. Something is wrong with their dates, fatally wrong as far as their system is concerned.
Turn to Revelation 1:7. "Behold, he cometh (or is yet to come - future tense) with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." Acts 1:11 says that when the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven after his resurrection his disciples saw him as he went and the angel told them the the Lord would come back that very same way as they had seen him go. "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
If Christ came back in 70 AD, why did no one see Him? If some did see Him why did they not say that they had seen Him? Why didnt anyone see him come back if he came the same manner in which he went away? Revelation 1:7 says that when Christ comes back every eye shall see him but nothing like this happened in 70 AD nor at any other time from that day till this.
How will we know when the Lord Jesus comes back? Gods word says that we shall see Him and if we see Him we wont have to be told that he has come back. How in the world can preterists expect us to see the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD as the Second Coming of Christ?
Several verses promise that Christs coming will be "quickly." For example the Lord Jesus says in Revelation 22:7, "Behold, I come quickly . . ." Because of such statements preterists say that this just adds to the evidence that Christ came back within forty years from the time he said this. Well, it may not appear to us that the Lord is coming quickly or shortly because 2,000 years have elapsed since these words were spoken and still they have not been fulfilled. But II Peter 3:8-9 answers these "quickly" arguments. Here the scripture says, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Peter says here that God measures time differently than we do and time means nothing to Him. What seems like an eternity to us is but the blink of an eye with Him. In Matthew 24:34 where the Lord was talking about His return and events surrounding that return He says, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
The word generation does not, as the preterists claim, refer to a period of forty years time. Instead it refers to what we call a progeny or offspring or issue. Often in his earthly ministry the Lord Jesus spoke of a wicked, perverse, crooked, adulterous generation or progeny meaning people with the same attributes and character. "Generation" in Matthew 24:34 does not mean forty years of time but progeny. This progeny, this wicked offspring with these wicked characteristics, shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.
Now look at Mark 13:32. Here the Lord Jesus says in speaking of his return, "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." Here the Lord says that during his earthly ministry not even He Himself knew the date of his return. But the preterists contradict the Lord Jesus and say that he actually did know when he would return and that he actually predicted what they call the "time frame" of his coming. Listen, a forty year "time frame" is still a time. It is still a date so the preterists have the Lord predicting the time of his return even though he had said that he did not know that time.
In conclusion, preterism tends to destroy any future significance of Bible prophecy and reduces that prophecy to little more than a literary or historical curiosity with little if any meaning for today.
Worst of all, preterism takes away the blessed hope from Gods people and thus robs Gods people of their comfort and encouragement as they face the difficulties and trials and troubles of this old wicked world.
In light of the clear statements of Gods word then, preterism is truly preposterous!
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By Elder Steve Montgomery
(Missionary to Brazil)
Many well intentioned brethren believe we should not use congregational singing in our churches. Some brethren do not use musical instruments in their churches. The charge has been made that modern churches are wrong in using either. The argument is that Benjamin Keach initiated congregational singing among English Particular Baptist churches. He came from an English General Baptist background. Many Baptist churches in North America are direct descendants of those Particular Baptists, and inherited from them the practice of congregational singing and the use of musical instruments. How much merit is in their argument?
First, we do not go back far enough when we use English Particular Baptists as a role model. They were influenced by Puritans and persecution, and prior to Keach's day, for a number of years, they were not able to practice congregational singing. Each generation inherits the customs, right or wrong, of the former. This is why brethren opposed Keach. Many Waldenses and Anabaptists also practiced congregational singing. I remember reading how they would have to sing low in volume to avoid capture and torture. To make congregational singing the invention of either Benjamin Keach or General Baptists goes too far, in my opinion. It leaves the impression that it is wrong for a congregation to sing praises from the heart unto the Lord with united voices. I believe Jesus sang with the church at the close of the Supper, Mk. 14:26; Heb. 2:11-12. Jesus promised to take the Supper again with us when He comes, and will we not sing again at that time? Rev. 15:3 seems to indicate that we will. The Song of Moses and the Lamb!
Second, and this may not relate to you personally at all, it is passing strange that brethren who use Old Testament passages about Israel to apply to the church, who avoid the futurity of Daniel's 70th week, the literal millennium, the restoration of the physical and literal nation of Israel to her land, who reject her genuine repentance in the future, are usually the ones who reject the use of instrumental music and even congregational music. Zion is, to them, the church. Israel, idem. The promised land is heaven, the removal of the curse on the creation is equated with regeneration of the individual now, and on and on. Yet it is in Israel of the OT that we find regular bands or orchestras, choir singing, responsive singing and the use of many musical instruments. If Zion is the church, then why not accept OT music in "Zion" today? And if the book of Revelation is only symbolic of the present victory of the church, then why can't she sing the Song of Moses and the Lamb?
Third, To say we can't sing with the voice because we sing in the heart is not the answer. We must sing in the heart, or else what is done with the voice is in vain. Colossians 3:16 teaches me that we teach and admonish one another by the means of singing that which is in our heart. The teaching, admonishing, and singing explains how we allow the Word of Christ to dwell richly in us. These words modify the word "dwell-richly" in the Greek text. This certainly does not negate singing together in church.
Fourth, if congregational singing is wrong, and only started with Keach, then it means you can't sing congregational PSALMS either. It proves too much; it goes too far. If you prove one, you must accept the other. How can the church sing Psalms (150 of them) if they must do it only in the heart? Keach and the General Baptists were right in reviving what had been done in former centuries.
Fifth, some churches use a collection of the 150 Psalms set to meter or music. They call it correctly The Psalter. This is not to be confused with the Psaltery which is a stringed instrument used to accompany vocal singing. The Psalms were not necessarily restricted to the 150 only. It was any song accompanied by stringed music. This could have included Song of Solomon, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, etc. which were a part of the Jewish division of the Old Testament called the Psalms. Jesus accepted this three-fold division of the Old Testament of which the 150 Psalms is but one part, Luke 24:44. If this is wrong, I would like to know about it.
Sixth, In my evaluation of things, I believe that many of God's good people are locked into a time frame of two or three hundred years ago, (like the Amish, Quakers and Mennonites) and perhaps are imitating or following some of the customs of those brethren. God's people have always had the inclination to accept traditions of the generations immediately before them. I think the Particular Baptists were wrong by not using instrumental as well as congregational singing.
Seventh, music played a big part in the Old Testament. It was a part of worship in the Tabernacle by the Levites. David had a group of "singing men and singing women." Music was used when Kings were crowned, I Kings 1:39-40. Deborah and Barak sang a song of victory in Judges 5:1-2. When Hezekiah restored the religion to Israel, and cleansed the Temple and offered sacrifices, he used music: "And when the burnt offerings began, the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel," II Chron. 29:27. Earlier, when Jehoiada put Joash on the throne, destroyed Baal worship and restored true religion according to the Law of God, he used rejoicing and "singing, as it was ordained by David," II Chron. 23:18. It was when the wicked woman Athaliah heard the noise of rejoicing that she ran into the house of God and there she saw the king and the princes, "and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, and ALSO the singers with instruments of musick, and such as taught to sing praise." This made her shout, "Treason, treason." II Chron. 35:25, music was made an ordinance to be used in funerals. Here the singing men and singing women are mentioned. The Jews were accustomed to singing the songs of Zion when happy, but when in captivity, they hung up their harps because of sadness and refused to sing for their captors, Psa. 137:1-4.
SOME of their instruments used:
Shofar or ram's horn, cornet (trumpet); used in war, used for calling the people together, used in the temple worship; for announcing festivals, etc.
Timbrel, which was a tambourine.
Harp of ten strings, according to Josephus, and considered the national instrument of Israel. David used it, and it was used in worship, I Sam. 10:5, in jubilee II Chron. 20:28, in mourning Job 30:31.
Psaltery or viol. Was a six stringed guitar and there were later models of it with ten strings.
Pipe. It was a flute. Used at banquets, Isa. 5:12; funerals, Mat. 9:23.
There are several musical terms or symbols used in the OT. The exact meaning of some of these words is not clear, but all are agreed they are words or symbols used in singing and/or playing of instruments.
Selah. Seventy-one times in the Psalms. Many think it meant for the singers to pause for an instrumental interlude.
Neginah. Found in title of Psalms 4, 54, 55, 61, 67. It indicates the use of musical instruments when the psalm is sung.
Michtam. In the title of Psalms 16, 56, 57-58-59-60. Some say it means to sing in a sad or plaintive manner. (As in a dead church that wants to appear spiritual? <grin, or groan>)
Maschil, which means instruction, translated understanding in Psa. 47:7. It is found in the title of Psalms 53 and 88.
Mahalath, found in 53 and 88 also. Some say it has to do with the instruments to use, or the melodies to use.
Higgaion. Psa. 9:16 used with Selah for instrumental interlude. In Psa. 92:3, according to Gesenius, it indicates sadness or singing in a plaintive manner. In Psa. 19:14 it seems to indicate meditation.
The conclusion I come to is that God has pleasure in the praise of His saints, whether in the Old or New Testament times. Music must come from the heart, but can be expressed jointly by the entire church or several in the church, and can be accompanied by musical instruments. We can expect to have perfect music, a perfect combination of melody, harmony and rhythm to worship and praise a perfect God forever.
"I sing for I cannot be silent;
My Father planned it all."
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"In every form of worship we must constantly come back to the one great and basic themeit must be done in spirit and in truth. John Gill found his brethren in the coffeehouse usurping the authority of the churches, and though he was but a young man at the time, he challenged them on this error, but he did not leave off the meetings of the preachers in the coffeehouse!
This is what so many brethren do. They simply cannot accept the fact that every one else does not see things as they do and they develop cliques which are more divisive than associations, more strict in their decrees than the Pharisees, and more worldly in their spirituality than were the Sadducees!"J. C. Settlemoir
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East USA:Several months ago I sent you an email concerning certain members of my church expressing interest in promise keepers. I want to express my appreciation for the facts you present in this web site, as I was able to use it to thwart off a possible onslaught of deception among the men in my congregation. The PK movement is all but dead in Mt. Zion Baptist Church (except for one or two liberal members).
Satan has so many weapons with which to deceive the church, from these so called para-church organizations, to these new modern versions which have done nothing but cause confusion in the church, and allowed liberal theologians to indoctrinate the churches with new-age beliefs. We have a real fight on our hands, my friend. I join you in fighting the good fight of faith, as we have been assigned the task of guarding that which has been entrusted to us, namely the Truth.
WWW: your life is worthless to humanity great thorn your swirl of conviction exposes the bald underside where your hatred sags like the stomach of a baboon. THe fact that you believe this all to be lies shows you how you work. You can decieve yourself until the very end when you find yourself alone in the void with no faith in yourself to sustain and no indpendence. Believe in yourself because its all you need. Why am I happy and successful and loved if I dont have a god? Jesus was a good man but I should think he woulndt take a liking to you. Best wishes.
WWW: "do not judge, lest ye be judged yourself" what was the cut against Mother Teresa? She was a wonderful person and led a wonderful life helping others. I am a devout satanist who has studied the bible and found many contradictions in it. Do you believe everything you read. There were also many contradictions on your little "sermon." Please get to know yourself and the God you think you worship before becoming a self righteous ____________. Thank You.
[Ed. Note: Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. It is always interesting to me how folks seek to answer fact by calling one names. In logic, this is called Argumentum ad hominem. "In this fallacy the argument is directed against the character of the man who is the opponent instead of adhering to its proper task of proving the point at issue" (The Essentials of Logic, R. W. Sellars, P. 157). One who does not believe the doctrine of free and sovereign grace is heard to call one who does a Hyper-Calvinist. A brother once called me a hyper-Calvinist. I defined the term and then asked him to show wherein I went beyond Calvin. He could not give a single instance but said, "I still will call you a hyper-Calvinist." If you have a weak argument, I guess you can always buttress it with a few choice epithets and labels. To some people, the end justifies the means.]
WWW: I love your web site and enjoy reading each topic. You mentioned a little about gifts of the Holy Spirit in one of your topics. I was just wondering if there would be anyway you could add a topic to your web site about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your stand you make on God's Word. I pass your web site to all of my friends.
WWW: I read your article on God's word being pure but never purified and I agree completely that His word issued pure from Him. Of course the problems develop in the different translations. I'm not convinced that the Septuagint (LXX, Vaticanus) was available in the time of Jesus, or if it was He used it. Do you feel that Jeremiah 44 especially verse 26 was NOT applicable to Jews in 250 B.C.? Would Jesus have legitimized a translation that included non- canonical books? If the A.V. translators felt that the LXX was scripture why did they not use it? Pastor I too use the A.V. After using the NKJV, NASB, and finally the NIV, God in His sovereignty led me to His pure word. I attempted fervently to warn my friends of the errors in the modern (Catholic) translations but generally was met with derision or a Ho-Hum attitude. Pastor I would hate to see you wasting your prolific talents by entering this black hole of an issue. Your many other subjects are very interesting and informative and I look forward to reading as many as the Lord allows. I just want to warn you on the KJV issue that I believe it to be unresolvable in this life. Thank you.
USA: I read your article on PK. I'll verify some of you claims, of course, but I found it very enlightening. It is a good example of how careful Christians have to be about new teachings. The 7 promises seem right on at first blush, but I was not aware of their source.
WISCONSIN: I used to be a big promoter of Promise Keepers since all my good Christian buddies have attended at least one stadium event, and said nothing but good things about it. However, when I researched the (un)holy laughter movement about a year ago, I found definite connections to PK and did more research.
Needless to say, I am thoroughly against this movement now, and have found your articles to be the best as far as telling the truth about Promise Keepers.
Anyway, I just wanted to connect with someone out there I really respect, and who shares my concern for this para-church. Thanks for listening and I look forward to reading more of your discerning articles.
WASHINGTON: Hello, Praise the LORD for your boldness. Good information on holidays. Keep it up. Sincerely, An X catholic.
TENNESSEE: I have read your articles in the Commercial Appeal and believe you are on target in your declaration of God's free and sovereign grace. If you have any other published material, I would appreciate being put on the mailing list.
ILLINOIS: A friend made me aware of your newsletter. I really like how you devote some of you time to writing about Baptists. I am a pastor in Metropolis, IL, and every time I find something like that, it is like gold. I am writing to ask if you would please put me on your mailing list. I would gratefully appreciate it.
ALABAMA: I have appreciated your well-documented articles on whether or not baptism is the door into church membership. As far as I understand your position, you also believe it is the door but not in the same sense that some make it.
I have also noted, with some sorrow, that some are prone to hold up church history as long as it supports what they believe. But, when it can be shown that some Landmark Baptists of the past have disagreed with their position, church history becomes irrelevant and is denigrated by them. Or, the writing of some of the old Landmarkers, such as A. C. Dayton, is carefully manipulated to make it appear that he agrees with them. Your March 1, 1999, issue showed unmistakably that Dayton did not believe baptism was the door to the church.
WWW: I am currently in high school doing a persuasive English paper on the authenticity of the Bible. I was wondering if you could tell me where I could get some more information that might be helpful in writing my paper. I have read you composition and found it very helpful to me and hope to find more information. I would greatly appreciate it if you wrote back to me . . . with any information you could give me. Thank you so much.
CALIFORNIA: I have been enjoying your paper and many of the articles on your web site. Always a pleasure to read your wonderful writing.
WWW: Poor lost soul, I pray for you!
NEW MEXICO: I grew up catching catfish on worms. Barnacles are what is useless and drags down the ship of faith. Thanks for scraping off the many barnacles weighting us down. Literally stealing our Christian Liberty in the guise of "Landmarkism".
OHIO: I want to compliment you on a fine article in your latest issue of the GP&P. It was delightful to see an article exalting the work of our Savior and glorifying what He has done on our behalf. We need more works like this proclaiming to a lost and dying world what the glorious message of the gospel is.
WWW: I grew up in a legalistic environment. My father being a very well know educator. I want nothing to do with your way of life and hatred. Why don't you try to be like Christ and reach people rather than wasting your time fighting this kind of battle. You only create a black eye for the gospel.
[Editor's Note: I cannot help one growing up in a particular environment. But, the suggestion that warning folks of heretical movements is a waste of time certainly contradicts Paul's words to Timothy. 1 Timothy 4:1-6 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
MICHIGAN: When I went to your web site, I found some good stuff and it was really a blessing to listen to Praises to our Lord while copying a message. It took the printer a bit and so instead of walking out of the room, I stayed to listen. Thank you!
THE PHILIPPINES: I'm from the Philippines and would like to say that I enjoy reading your articles about the Promise Keepers. Several big name Christians in the Philippines, some of them my friends are involved with PK. I praise the Lord for people like you in showing people like me the light and truth.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask you about churches like Saddleback and Willow Creek. These churches have become symbols and models for local churches in the Philippines to emulate. Rick Warren of Saddleback was over here recently and thousands came to hear him speak.
I just want to know if these guys are clean or not. Hope you can take time out to respond to me despite your busy schedule.
NORTH CAROLINA: I have just located your WebSite and find it truly encouraging. It is always refreshing to find like-minded believers. Please let me know how I can obtain a subscription to your newsletter.
NEW YORK: "Chain-Link Ecclesiology: I was fascinated by your treatise on this subject. I never knew that this controversy even existed! The saddest thing about this is that people probably spend more time trying to unchurch "unworthy" churches than they do spreading the Gospel.
OREGON: After reading your article on homosexuality, I must admit that I feel nauseated. As tends to be the case with most polemics against homosexuality, you demonize and depersonalize gay men and lesbians. While I have no intention of trying to persuade you that your stance is wrong, I feel that an opposite viewpoint needs to be heard. I don't follow the "Killer God" Christianity that has characterized the religious right.
You seem to say that homosexuality is God's abandonment of homosexuals. I seek a clarification of your argument. What sin have homosexuals committed that causes God to make them homosexual? I find your implication that God causes people to sin as punishment for another sin to be un-Christian and judgmental on one hand, ill-reasoned and ignorant on the other.
I have Christian beliefs, but I am constantly amazed at religious groups that use the Bible as a justification for hate and the marginalization of human beings. While your writings and beliefs may not directly cause an act of violence against a person, I know that many people respect and belief what you say. You are not responsible for hate crimes, but you (and many similarly-minded men and women) have done nothing to stop them. I respect your beliefs and worldview, but when your beliefs sanction, cause, and create an environment that supports violence, hate, and intolerance, then I believe that must be challenged.
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Last updated on Friday, March 04, 2011