Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Questioning someones Salvation based on how much they agree with your interpretation of The Bible

Some fellow believers in Eternal Security won't fall into the trap of questioning someone's Salvation based on behavior.  But they may insist that a Truly Saved person won't hold views that disagree with The Bible.

They base it mainly on verses like "Everyone who is of the Truth hears my voice" in John 18.or John 8:47 "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.".

The danger of this view is that it's very strongly based on opinion.  Yes I believe every Biblical question has only one correct answer. But the Brain is still of the Flesh.  The Faith that saves is of the Heart, not an intellectual belief.  The thief on the Cross didn't even expect his Belief would save him.

Basically this view says a Saved person can be mistaken on something at first, but if you show them from The Word the truth and they don't believe it they aren't Saved.

They may add that a Saved person can be stubborn on maybe 1 or 2 issues, but if they do it repeatedly they're not Saved.

The main Pastor I saw teaching this, tied into it his view that the Disciples (most anyway, not Judas who was never Saved) were already Saved all through Jesus' ministry.  Saying they were Saved before Jesus called them.  Well the Disciples repeatedly refused to accept what Jesus told them, that he had to be killed and rise again.

In my view, if someone outright doesn't care what The Bible says then maybe it can be logical to question their Salvation.  But if they clearly care what it says, if they're doing mental gymnastic to get around a clear teaching.  Or just insisting that you must be misusing that verse without an argument at all, then it sounds to me like they are hearing The Word, just struggling with accepting it like the Disciples did.

I think It's pretty difficult for an unsaved person to even believe The Bible is infallible.  One might say they view it as God's Word but have some qualifiers to that which make it fall short of true infallibility.

The World makes it pretty hard to simply see The Bible as Infallible.  Historically when someone has come to the conclusion that The Bible is a perfect book for purely logical reasons, they get Saved almost immediately.

Reason why I'm so annoyed about all these tests Christians throw out to prove someone isn't Saved, is that the Bible is far less ambiguous on what Proves someone IS Saved.

1 John 4:2 says " Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God".  And verse 15 says "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.".

Romans 10 says "All who call upon the name of The Lord shall be Saved" no qualifying statements.

Those who take the verses on "knowing a tree by it's fruits" to say an Unfruitful Christians can't be saved are misunderstanding the verse.  BUT if a believer has borne visible Good Fruit, then that person's Salvation certainly should not be questioned.

I would also never question the Salvation of anyone who died for their Faith in Jesus.  Yet many Catholics have done that, especially during the French Revolution.  And none are more doctrinally wrong then Catholics.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Outer Darkness is Outside New Jerusalem

I've mentioned that view of mine before, why do I believe that?

For starters the term is only used in Parables.  You have to be careful building Doctrine off Parables, things aren't always what they seem.

First of all, to fellow believers in Eternal Security (True Eternal Security, without any Calvinist or Repentance based qualifiers) who are uncomfortable with this suggestion for whatever reason, read Matthew carefully.  There is no way to get away with saying the people Jesus describes being sent there were never saved.  In 22:13, 24:51 and 25:30 they are servants, the unsaved are never servants of God, they're in rebellion against him. The people sent there are contrasted not with all believers but those who receive rewards based on their works.

And in 8:12 they're the "children of the kingdom".  Most people want to in this context make that phrase refer to Israel.  But it's only other usage in Matthew 13 clearly identifies them as the Saved.

Now the frequently linked "Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth" is an idiom of grief and sorrow.  That is sometimes likened to Judgment of the Unsaved (I never think it's actually Hell directly), like in it's one appearance in Mark.  But it certainly is not required to always be in that context.

Jude 13 also refers to the people being in the darkness of blackness forever but not being tormented.

It can make sense to describe damnation as "Outer Darkness" if you accept the Un-Biblical yet popular idea that Hell or the Lake of Fire is "eternal separation from God".  But not if you believe what The Bible says.  Revelation 14:10 describes the Lake of Fire as being in God's presence.  The fire and brimstone that burns the damned emanates from God's presence in Isaiah 30:33 and II Thessalonians 1:8-9.  God Himself is called a consuming fire in  Deuteronomy 4:24 and Hebrews 12:29.  So it's neither "outer" nor "darkness".

New Jerusalem is defined as where the Light is in Revelation 21:23-25.  Then verse 26 contradicts those who insist all the Saved are the Lambs Wife, it says there are Nations of the Saved outside New Jerusalem.  The people listed here though still get to come to New Jerusalem to worship it seems.

Revelation 22:5 returns to discussing how New Jerusalem is where the Light is.

People who are Universalists of some kind like to point to Revelation 22:15, where it seems to them like the same people sent into the Lake of Fire earlier are now merely outside The City.  And you can't argue the Lake of Fire is outside the City because I already showed it is The Presence of God.  It isn't clear these are the same people however.

People who teach Salvation can be lost (or the fifth point of Calvinism/false repentance doctrine) love to use 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:21 and Ephesians 5:5.  All these are vice lists warning that those who continue in those sins will not Inherit the Kingdom, and they're clearly warnings to already Saved Believers.  But they do not say salvation can be lost, only inheritance.  Like the Prodigal Son a Believer can squander his inheritance but he'll never lose his Sonship.  They are the believers not allowed to enter New Jerusalem.

The Bema Judgment will not be a Judgment where anyone is really scolded or punished for their Sins.  It is a handing out of Rewards only.  But one of those Rewards is for keeping your Flesh under control, the Imperishable or Incorruptible Crown.

Luke 8's account of the Parable of the Sower divides people who hear the word into four groups in verses 12-15.  Only the first, those who never believed, are described as unsaved.  There are people who will believe for a little while and fall way, I discussed Hebrews 6 elsewhere.  Also there are those that are believers till the end but are also very worldly.  And then those that are fruitful.  Only the Fruitful I think will really be New Jerusalem.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rape in The Bible

Did you know The Bible actually depicts and condemns an example of Female on Male Rape?  People miss it because they go into it with their Rape Culture "Men can't be Raped" attitude.  But Lot was Raped by his own Daughters.  Yet people commonly treat it like it's just about Incest.

Lot did not "Get drunk and impregnate his daughters" as some describe it.  His daughters got him drunk and made him impregnate them.  And they premeditated doing it.  Genesis 19:32 "Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father."

You may be assuming his daughters were very young.  Their age isn't specified, but there is reason to suspect they were born before Lot ever came to Sodom.  Even if they were born soon after, Lot had been in Sodom for probably over 20 years before this happened.

Some people also have it in their head The Bible doesn't condemn anyone's actions in this story just because the narrative voice doesn't stop to say "and what they did was wrong".  The Bible often does things that way, especially in Genesis.

The Bible condemns examples of Rape various times.  But the part of The Law of Moses that is the civil law code of Israel is like plenty else in The Law imperfect in how issues are addressed.  Because while given by God it's still a Law Code for an imperfect fallen world.

Anyone who studies Jewish attitudes to their Law knows the intent of The Law matters.  And Besides murder every capital offense in The Torah is only meant to be viewed as a maximum penalty not a minimum one.

Only if a Woman is betrothed or married would her having any sex outside marriage be a capitol offense.  And we see with how Joseph handled Mary's situation that the Groom/Husband is fully allowed to simply drop the charges.

Deuteronomy 22:24 is attacked because people read it as "All the Rapist has to do is cover her Mouth and he'd get away with it".  That's not the intent, the intent is clear that if It's Rape she shouldn't be executed.  And He wouldn't get away with it, he gets killed no matter what.

If I wanted to I could attack Deuteronomy 22:25-27 from the other way.  It seems to be an exception to the usual rule of needing two witnesses.  A betrothed Damsel could just say some random guy raped her in the field and no proof is needed, he'd just be dead.  If we take this law at face value.  Today it's politically incorrect to suggest a woman would ever make a false Rape accusation, and the way this law is set up suggests to me the Bible's authors might have agreed with modern SJWs on this.  The only false Rape accusation in The Bible is what lands Joseph in prison in Egypt, and that was a woman far more privileged then most.  If The Bible mentions something only once, you can't build doctrine on it.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is repeatedly refereed to as if it not only explicitly included Rape but was specifically about Rape.  (That's partly because it's mistranslated in versions other then the KJV).  And that it's saying a unbetrothed woman who's raped is forced to marry her Rapist.

First of all it doesn't in this case even address if it's Rape, and the point is not about the Woman but about the Man's responsibly to a Woman who's virginity he takes.  I think most Rabbis would agree that it's implied neither the woman or her father is required to do anything, and that if he refused to accept the Silver no marriage happens.

Deuteronomy means the second giving of the law, almost every law in it is repeated from earlier.  This specific situation is a less detailed repeat of Exodus 22:16-17.
And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.  If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
When it's acknowledged at all, an annoying perception exists on one site that Deuteronomy is specifically about rape and Exodus is specifically about if it's consensual. But use common sense, even the law codes that are the worst on Rape have never made a Rape victim more guilty then a woman who has sex consensually.  The problems come from people refusing to acknowledge rape.

Both these passages are clearly different wording expressing the same thing.  And it's purely the modern world's fixation on attacking the Bible that has made Deuteronomy's version more famous.  This part of Exodus is where any good study of The Law should begin.  It's repeated at all only to ensure it's importance is understood.

The word translated entice in the KJV is sometimes translated "seduce".  Many ancient languages used the same words for seduction and rape.  Both this Hebrew word and the one rendered "lay hold" in Deuteronomy includes according to Strongs an implication of deception in their meaning.

In the case of Amnon's rape of Tamar however she does reference back to this Law and condemn him for not obeying it.  Modern women I know can't possibly relate to the idea that a woman would want to marry the man that raped her.  But women 3000 years ago were in a very different situation.  They mostly needed to be married to even survive.  That's why Jesus said that a man forces his Wife to commit Adultery by remarriage if he divorces her.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Appealing to the Early Church Fathers

In the letters to the Seven Churches there is only one Doctrine Jesus said he hates.  The Doctrine of the Nicolatians.  Which means "conquerors of the lay people".

Appealing to Church Authority or Tradition, no matter how old, is this Doctrine.  Yet even people who are correct in identifying what that doctrine is fall into the trap of doing just that.

People want to cite various passages from The Epistles foretelling the arising of False Doctrines as relevant to their objections to what are viewed as inherently modern heresies.  But Paul said ravenous wolves would arise teaching these doctrines as soon as he departed (Acts 20:29).  And he dealt with people teaching wrong things during his life also, as did John. 

There is a tendency to view Catholicism as beginning with Constantine, but that's not true.  Pergamos had all the basic qualities of Catholicism when Revelation was written.  All the people we call Early Church Fathers were trying to reconcile Christianity with Rome.  The book called 1 Clement teaches Apostolic succession and the supremacy of the Roman Bishop is heavily implied.

Critics of Eternal Security love to insist no one taught it before Calvin, and the non Calivnist form (what I believe) emerged in America in the 1800s.

Clement of Rome is the only of the "Apostalic fathers" who's words we have directly we have Scriptural verification did in fact know the Apostles.  Ignatias and Polycorp we think knew them based on their own word or their followers words.  Only First Clement is legit, the other works attributed to him are forgeries.

But even in First Clement he's teaching Apostolic Succession, that's the point of the letter actually.  And implying the supremacy of Rome since he thinks it's his business to tell the Corinthians what to do.  And he believed the pagan myth of the Phoenix to be true, he cited it as a fact and tried using it prove a point.

Still, Clement did teach by Faith Alone how Protestants and Evangelicals define it in chapters 32-33.  And the things quoted from him used against Eternal Security do not really say that, he encourages us to do good works, but says nothing to imply he thinks it's possible for a person to be Saved yet later wind him in Hell.

As I said in an earlier post the epistle of Barnabas was not written by Barnabas.  That epistle fails to even properly teach Salvation by Faith alone.

Maybe it is true all the Church Fathers seem to have been unanimous against Eternal Security.  But to say the doctrine didn't exist is wrong. Origen clearly refers to it being taught by "Heretics".
“Certain ones of those [heretics] who hold different opinions misuse these passages. They essentially destroy free will be introducing ruined natures incapable of salvation and by introducing others as being saved in such a way that they cannot be lost.” ~ Origen (c. 225)
At first glance this might sound like the Claivnist form.  But he may have been misrepresenting what they taught.  And on the incapable of Salvation part he perhaps only meant what many non Calvinists theorize about the Unpardonable Sin (that a person can become "Reprobate" and unsaveble).  Or it could be these were two beliefs Origen considered wrong "Belief in Salvation that can't be lost, and belief in people who can't be saved", that he affiliates with each other here, but weren't necessarily believed by the same people, or at least not always.

History is written by the winners.  The Nag Hamadi collection seems to have shown Irenaus to have been basically accurate in how he represented the Gnostics (his critics nitpick some things he said of course).  The problem is there is a tendency to confuse the Gnositics with other groups.  And that may have existed among some of their contemporary critics as well.

My point is, we should maybe consider that some groups like the Montanists were completely misrepresented.   And perhaps were really hated mainly for believing in Eternal Security, and/or that the Covenant with Israel as a nation still stood.  Or simply in some way threatening the church hierarchy.

If you're against Replacement Theology and appeal to the Church Fathers in opposition to Eternal Security, you're a hypocrite.  They were equally unanimous on that.  Likewise if you believe in Eternal Security and appeal to the Church Fathers to back up your support of Replacement theology.

And if you disagree with them on either of those positions, but especially both, and then appeal to the Church Fathers to express your disagreement with my views on Sexual Morality, especially Homosexuality.  You're very hypocritical.  Because there is far less they said on Homosexuality then on those issues.  See the Post I already linked back to.

Also if KJV only you shouldn't like the Church Fathers on the Old Testament, they favored the Septuagint over the Masoretic text. until Jerome at least.

I don't question any of their salvation, many were Martyred for the Faith and I don't consider it possible for a fake believer to become a Martyr.  But they were not Biblically sound.

Eternal Security is perhaps a more valid issue to consider them relevant.  Since those who hold it see it as foundational to the Gospel itself.  But to me the evidence it existed is sufficient.

At least one Early Church Father's main quote on saying Salvation can be lost is one that most honest opponents to Eternal Security must agree is the weakest of all verses they use.  The phrase "He that Endureth to the End shall be Saved" from Matthew 10 and 24, which are Eschatological and about surviving Persecution to be Saved by Christ's return, NOT Eternal Salvation.  And even then the verses don't say who doesn't wont be saved, that's just something read into it.  The point is that failing to endure isn't Sin in those verses but dying.

The point is, no matter how unanimous Church Opinions may have seemed.  Scripture alone is the Inspired Infallible Word of God.

I don't know whether or not John Chrysostom believed in Eternal Security.  But he does have a quote that speaks to how I'd respond to those who view Calvinism and Eternal Security inseparable.  Who assert that you can't believe we're Saved by our Free Will if we can't also lose it.
“All is in God’s power, but so that our free-will is not lost...it depends therefore on us and on Him. We must first choose the good, and then He adds what belongs to Him. He does not precede our willing, that our free-will may not suffer. But when we have chosen, then He affords us much help...It is ours to choose beforehand and to will, but God’s to perfect and bring to the end.” (On Hebrews, Homily 12)
Here is another blogger on this subject.  But I do not agree with everything he says. Here is one on what I must qualify is a Calvinist blog.  It's about Justification by Faith alone not specifically Eternal Security.  But some quotes alluding to it's existence are there.  Contrary to Catholic and Orthodox critics the Early Church absolutely DID teach Justification by Faith Alone, as we Evangelicals define it.  Here the same Calvinist blog deals with Eternal Security.

My annoyance on the Eternal Security issue is how the mere fact that the Church Fathers themselves didn't teach it is considered proof that it didn't exist, and yet I have found examples of those same Church Father teaching against it.

Augustine of Hippo in City of God, 21:17-27 addresses many varied views of Salvation that existed at this time.  In 26 he says.
"But, say they, the catholic Christians have Christ for a foundation, and they have not fallen away from union with Him, no matter how depraved a life they have built on this foundation, as wood, hay, stubble; and accordingly the well-directed faith by which Christ is their foundation will suffice to deliver them some time from the continuance of that fire, though it be with loss, since those things they have built on it shall be burned. Let the Apostle James summarily reply to them: ‘If any man say he has faith, and have not works, can faith save him?’”
His misuse of James here is common in modern attacks on Eternal Security and Salvation by Faith alone.  He is quoting a question not an answer.

After Augustine's day, Bede writes against those who believe "that it does not matter whether they live evil lives or do wicked and terrible things, as long as they believe in Christ, because salvation is through faith" (JPJ, 31).

Jerome's writings seem to have contradictions.  Sounding sometimes like a Universalist and sometimes like he believes in a very Non-Calvinist Eternal Security.
"Just as we believe that the torments of the Devil, of all the deniers of God, of the ungodly who have said in their hearts, 'there is no God,' will be eternal, so too do we believe that the judgment of Christian sinners, whose works will be tried and purged in fire will be moderate and mixed with clemency.' Furthermore, 'He who with all his spirit has placed his faith in Christ, even if he die in sin, shall by his faith live forever."
But he also said things contradicting that elsewhere.

It seems Hilary, Jerome, Abmrose and Abmrosiaster taught an early form of Purgutory.  Dividing people's fate at the Judgment into 3 Camps.  The Ungodly who with he Devil will burn forever.  The Sanctified who go directly to Heaven.  And the average Christians who need to be "Purged by fire".  They probably got this "purged by fire" notion from a misunderstanding of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:15 about the Bema Judgment.  That there will be believers who get no rewards because their good deeds were all burned up, but they are still saved.

Tertullian truly proves problematic in Against Marcion, where he goes overboard in opposing Marcion's use of Paul to assert Paul is not a valid Apostle at all, and in that work he seems to oppose even By Faith Alone.  He also does not even consider the Four Gospels equal.

Also a number of these early fathers cited for their opposition to Eternal Security were Universalists.

Delilah

This post I made on another blog about Delilah may be of interest here

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Can an unsaved person lose their ability to be saved?

That this can happen is popularly taught by some pastors.

I'm not saying it can't happen, issues like the Mark of The Beast are difficult to deal with.  That issue is of course purely eschatological.  If your even concerned about these kinds of issues that's solid evidence the Holy Spirit hasn't given up on you.

My ultimate point for this post is that no specific external Sin or amount of Sin should be used as outward evidence someone has reached that point.  Paul called himself the Chief of Sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and indeed he persecuted the Faith, I really don't think any Sin would be more difficult for God to forgive then being a persecutor of his children.  But we have Proof in Paul you can be redeemed even from that.

People like to cite in Hosea when God says "I will love them no more" This ignores the context of the entirety of Hosea, where he is talking about the people of Israel and clearly saying they will ultimately be forgiven and brought back to him.  This is not about an individual person(s).  Like how Calvinists misuse the references to Esau and Jacob in Malachi and Romans, those are about the nations, not the individuals.

Romans 1 (which I'll talk more on latter) is cited as a reference to God giving people over unto Sin.  And they think that means they can't be saved anymore.  And will compare it to God hardening Pharaoh's Heart.

Not only is being delivered unto Sin by God not proof you can't be Saved, it isn't even proof your not already Saved.  Saul was Saved well before God sent an Evil Spirit to afflict him for his Sin.  And in 1 Timothy 1:20 Paul speaks of Hymenaeus and Alexander being delivered unto Satan.  Their clearly spoken of as being fellow believers, but ones with problems.  And he said that was done so they''d learn a lesson.

Using Romans 1 that way ignores the context of Romans 2 and 3 which follow.  Where Paul tells the believers he's talking to that they are no better, they're guilty of every single Sin he described the Pagan Romans engaging in in Chapter 1, weather they realize it or not.

One interpretation of Hebrews 6 taken by some fellow believers in Eternal Security is that it's not describing people who were ever saved, but people who understood The Gospel and outright rejected it.  

They are explicitly described as Falling Away.  And they tasted the Gifts of The Spirit, that is not comparable to the way the Holy Spirit sometimes moves unsaved people.  The Gifts of The Spirit are for those He truly indwells in only.

I recommend Chuck Missler's explanation of Hebrews 6.  First of all the fact that is clear in the Greek Grammar (and not in conflict the KJV reading) is that it's God who won't Repent.  God often says rhetorically he'll do something and then repents of it.  But when he swears and Oath he won't Repent.

Hebrews 6 needs to be understood in light of Numbers 13-14.  The people rejected The Land because of the spies report.  The Angered God, and he said (rhetorically at least, that he's destroy them for that that).  But Moses prayed for them and said to God  that the Egyptians would hear it and say "Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness."

So in 14:20 God says he shall forgive and pardon them.  But they still had repercussions for That Sin he would not turn back from.

Nothing in Hebrews 6 or 10 says the people being spoken of go to Hell.

The Blasphemy against The Holy Spirit is a difficult issue.  It is first of all spoken of in a way that implies it's the absolute only unforgivable Sin.  But those who want to accuse other Sins of being evidence of inability to be Saved just say those are Sins you can't commit till after who's done the unpardonable Sin.

If we define what The Blasphemy against The Holy Spirit is based on the context of The Story, it's accusing something done by The Holy Ghost of being done by Demons.  Thing is, sadly, Independent Baptists who's salvation I don't question risk doing this attacking Pentecostals and Charismatics all the time.  Of course the specific context is casting out Demons.  Matthew 7 proves unsaved people can cast out Demons, but they don't do it by Demons, they still clearly did it in Jesus name.  Their damned because they placed their faith in those Works not in Him.

I think some of what we assume about what Jesus meant here may be wrong.  In the Mark account he says of those who had done this "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation".

Danger does not mean guaranteed.  So if your KJV only, you have to admit maybe they're not as Un-Saveable as we assume.

"But, they receive no forgiveness?".  Aren't we Christians supposed to ask forgiveness when we Sin? Even though we're already Saved and can't lose that Salvation?  There might be a difference in terms of forgiveness at the Bema Judgment and forgiveness at the White Throne Judgment.

Since many consider Matthew 12 as when the leadership of Israel formally rejects Jesus as Messiah.  This may also be meant to be compared to Numbers 13-14.  Besides, it is implied in Acts latter that most of the Phrasiees did become believers.

Now I want to go back to Romans 1.  I've expressed elsewhere why I don't think verses 26-27 meant what most think it means.  But that's immaterial to the discussion here.

One thing both I and people who hold the traditional view on Homosexuality agree on is that the "abusers of themselves with mankind" in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is referring to the same thing Romans 1:26-27 refers to.  Verse 11 makes clear there were Saved people in the Corinthian congregation saved out of every single one of those Sins listed.  Then verse 12 says "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." Showing how we're not bound by The Law (New or Old Testament Law), but there are still good reasons to follow it.

Certain Pastors will back up viewing Homosexuals as beyond Salvation by saying "It's not part of the Sin Nature" and talking about how they (and presumably most people) are never even tempted to do that.

I have never been tempted to Drink Alcohol, or Smoke Cigarettes, or do any Drugs.  And plenty of other Sins.  Each individual is different, just because you can't relate to something doesn't mean it's inherently abnormal.

The word for "Nature" in Romans 1:26-27 is the same in both the Greek and Hebrew as when Paul refers to  men having long hair in 1 Corinthians 11:14.  Does Paul intend to say that's something that is biologically unnatural?  No clearly not.  Also in the Greek the word for "shame" in the Corinthians verse is the same a "vile" in Romans.  This is the most similar passage to Romans in terms of how Paul uses those two key words.

Another verse they will bring up is Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."  Which they take to mean believers can't be tempted by anything uncommon.

Paul's intent here was not to create a way to know what temptation we can't face, but to assure all his readers every temptation they face is common, they are not alone.  In fact I see no reason to use this verse as evidence that "uncommon sins" exist at all.

The problem with people using this verse this way is that they think common equals majority.  When I was collecting Pokemon cards as a kid the Ratata card was labeled common, that did not mean 51% of all cards were Ratata.  I think the percentage of cards that were Ratata was in fact smaller then the percentage of the human race that has felt some form of sexual desire for the same sex.

This same epistle refers to others thing that would be "Uncommon" by the same standard if Homosexuality was uncommon as being sins people within the Body were dealing with.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Judge not, that ye be not judged

Matthew 7:1

This is a popular verse to quote.  But it's also popular for "Conservative" Christians to insist that "Liberal" Christians are taking this verse out of context when they quote it with the intent of saying Judgmentalness is inherently Un-Christian.

They say the point Jesus goes on to make is that you need to make sure your not guilty yourself of the Sin your Judging someone for before you judge them.

No, the point of everything Jesus goes on to say is like all the verses where he talks about the importance of not sinning with the intent of showing we can't be saved by our own Righteousness.  Read Romans 1-3.

In John 8, when Jesus said "Let he among you who is without Sin cast the first stone".  There is no qualifier of not guilty of the same sin.  Paul said we are all Sinners.

"But, when your Saved you won't be or at least shouldn't be sinning like you did before".  Again Romans 1-3 Paul is specifically telling those believers they're in error for judging the non believers.

We are supposed to be informing the World that we're all condemned because we're all imperfect.  But Jesus died to take the penalty of Sin for us.

Judgment is for Jesus alone.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Judas being Lost

So I was reading one website attacking Eternal Security suggesting that the way Eternal Security believers use part of John 17:12 "I have kept, and none of them is lost" as being undermined by the following statement in regard to Judas.

First of all, they horribly misrepresent the passage by saying "Jesus admits to losing Judas".  This passage is not an admission of any failure.  "I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled."  This is presented as the absolute only exception, the exception that proves the rule.  We this absolute only one exception principle elsewhere in Scripture, the Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only Sin that won't be forgiven.

The reason Judas is allowed to be Lost is to fulfill Bible Prophecy.  Psalm 19 and Zachariah 11, the Idol Sheppard that Leaves the Flock.  There are no Bible Prophecies about Salvation being lost.  Jesus said to the damned in Matthew 7 (even specifically proffering Christians who are damned) he NEVER knew them.  There is no such state of a damned former believer.

Scholars may debate all day if Judas was really Saved and lost it, or just rhetorically being spoken of as if he was one of them (I prefer the latter view). But either way the point is he's one of a Kind.  Son of Perdition is a Unique title used only once elsewhere in Scripture, where I believe it's The False Prophet.  And still the same person as Judas.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What is Repentance

I had an earlier post on Repentance and Salvation.  I stand by my points there, but what's more important is what Repentance means.

The Greek word translated Repent means a change of mind.  A Change how how you think.  Mark 1:15 says "repent ye, and believe the gospel".  It's all about Belief.

The people who overemphasis Repentance, who puts memes on Facebook saying "If your Gospel doesn't include Repentance your teaching a False Gospel", think Repent means to Turn from Sin.  It doesn't mean that.  Judas Repented of what he had done, and then went and immediately committed Suicide.

One more thing.  John's Baptism is defined as the Baptism of Repentance.  Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3, Acts 13:24 and19:4.  Some view that as part of argument Johns' Baptism was a different Baptism then what the Apostles Baptized.  I don't have an opinion on that yet, but either way the point here is.  Jesus was Baptized by John?  Why?  He was Without Sin?

The reason is Jesus did everything necessary for Salvation for us.  Including Repentance.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Female Partnerships in The New Testament

Romans 16:12 says "Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord."  Both of those are universally in all Greek and English texts female names.  Both the use of the word "labour" and the context and function of Romans 16 confirm that Tryphaena and Tryphosa should be seen as missionaries.

Paul's usage of only one verb for the two means they're a missionary couple.  The other four missionary couples mentioned are all one male and one female.  Priscilla and Aquila, Andronicus and Junia, Philologus and Julia are the first three, the nature of how they're related isn't specified.  But we know from elsewhere in the New Testament like Acts that Priscilla and Aquilla are husband and wife.  The Fourth is Nereus and his sister.  With the Male-Female pairs it is inferred that if how their related isn't mentioned they are probably husband and wife.

Philippians 4 mentions Euodia and Syntyche.

When he describes the ministry of Euodia and Syntyche, Paul uses a couple of the same terms he had previously applied to Timothy and Epaphroditus.  Paul writes that Euodia and Syntyche had contended together with him “in the Gospel”.  Earlier in the same letter, Paul had also described Timothy as someone who had served with him “in the Gospel” (Phil. 2:22).  Paul goes on to refer to Euodia and Syntyche as his “fellow-workers“.  Earlier, Paul had also referred to Epaphroditus as his “fellow-worker” (Phil. 2:25).  So, according to Paul, the ministries of the women Euodia and Syntyche were comparable to the ministries of the men Timothy and Epaphroditus.

 Early church bishop and theologian, John Chrysostom (c349-407), believed that Euodia and Syntyche were leaders in the Philippian church.  Moreover, he compared them to Phoebe, a woman minister (diakonos) in Cenchrea (Rom. 16:1-2).  In his 13th Homily on Philippians he wrote:
 These women [Euodia and Syntyche] seem to me to be the chief of the Church which was there, and [Paul] commends them to some notable man whom he calls his yokefellow; [Paul] commends them to him, as to a fellow-worker, and fellow-soldier, and brother, and companion, as he does in the Epistle to the Romans, when he says, I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a minister of the church at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1). (Homilies on Philippians, 13)
It is commonly assumed the conflict Paul alludes to is between the two women. However comparing to other Paulian passages I feel the disagreement is between Paul himself and the two women.  Like First Corinthians 1:10.  Earlier in Philippians 1:14-17 Paul refers to others preaching the Gospel in competition to himself.  In verse 18 we see that Paul rejoices at this.  Another perspective has been offered also.
In Philippians 4:2, Paul urged Euodia and he urged Syntyche to, literally, “think the same thing”.  That Paul addressed Euodia and Syntyche personally and individually, reinforces the idea that these women had considerable influence in the Philippian church and probably were leaders.

Were Euodia and Syntyche quarrelling?  This is the assumption most people have, and many Bible versions convey this assumption in their translations.  Paul, however, does not say, or intimate, that Euodia and Syntyche were quarrelling.  Paul simply urged each of them (literally) “to think the same thing in the Lord”.  “Think” (phroneō) is a key word in the letter to the Philippians.  In the preceding verses in Philippians, Paul had been encouraging mature people to have the same thinking as himself – that of reaching out for the goal spiritual perfection (Phil. 3:14-15).  It could well be that Paul is carrying on this thought and, using almost identical language (in the Greek), is saying, “I encourage Euodia and I encourage Syntyche to have the same thinking in the Lord ” that of aspiring to spiritual maturity and perfection (Phil. 4:2).

Chrysostom did not see any sign of a quarrel in Paul’s plea to Euodia and Syntyche; he saw only praise from Paul and wrote: “Do you see how great a testimony he [Paul] bears to their virtue?”  (Homilies on Philippians, 13)
Phillipi was a region where Women were more independent then most parts of Greece at this time.  Acts 16:12-17 even calls attention to this.

I think this information should open people's eyes somewhat.  This pattern of Female Partnerships can possibly be expanded into Extra-Biblical examples, where possible evidence of Homo-Romantic affection exists but is frequently ignored. The acts of Paul and Thecla has another Tryphena sponsor Thecla.  Perpetua and Felicity believed to have been Martyrs in 203 AD  Artemilla and Eubula in the Apocryphal acts of Paul.  Maximilla and Iphidamia in the Acts of Andrew.  Of course there are also themes in these apocryphal stories that reflect some of the problematic Misogynist attitudes of the developing Church as well.  Especially in the Acts of Thomas which features Mygdonia, Marcia and Tetria. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Questioning The Salvation of Fellow Believers

Seems to be a favorite pastime among Christians today.

Even a lot of believers who say they believe in Eternal Security, really simply mean by that the Fifth Point of Calvinism, or some variation there of.  That certain Sins, or Apostasy, or Bad Doctrine can be used as proof of a lack of true Salvation in a professing Christian.

Like people who believe Salvation can be Lost or in Works Salvation they will miss use verses there for the purposes of showing how impossible it is to earn Salvation.

But they will add to those verses, verses that are about Works as evidence of Faith. The Evidence of Faith in question isn't for other Believers, but about Witnessing.  The great Commission actually says in the Greek to "Be A Witness".  We should be credible representatives of God's Kingdom.  That is why Jesus told the Apostles that The World will Know them by their Love for one another.  And why Nathan told David he gave Occasion to the Enemies of The LORD to Blaspheme after he sinned with Bathsheba and killed Uria.

Faith without Works is Dead.  But you can't have Dead Faith if you never had Faith.

1 Corinthians 3:15 says "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

Saul we know was Saved.  His Salvation was depicted before he became King.  Yet he backslid horribly and became a Villain of David's Story.   But when his Death was foretold Samuel said he and his Sons would be with him.  I know in the Old Testament, before The Cross all the Saved went to Sheol.  But in Luke 16 we're informed it has two distinct compartments for the Saved and Unsaved.  What Samuel said there isn't with him as in their both in the same place the same way someone in Racine or Milwaukee are both in Wisconsin.  It means they will be together.

Solomon also didn't Persevere to the end.  And Lot and Samson were both Worldly.  The latter each have New Testament verses confirming their Salvation.

Hebrew 6, and latter parts of Hebrew elaborating on the same Subject are controversial.  I agree with Chris White that the Sin in mind here is Apostasy (not bad doctrine, but renouncing your faith).  But he's wrong in taking the view that Apostasy is the one exception to Eternal Security.

I highly Recommend what Chuck Missler says on Hebrews 6, (he falls into the same traps Calvinists do on some other verses, but on Hebrew 6 he nails it).  He points out issues with the Greek Grammar that aren't easily carried over into English.  But mostly bases his point on going back to the Old Testament passage it draws on, Numbers 13-14, the Spies who rejected The Land.  God was very angry with them, but Moses Prayed for them and they were Forgiven, BUT they were not allowed to see The Land and that's why they wondered for 40 years.  Likewise when a Saved person commits Apostasy Jesus Prays for him just as he Prayed for Peter.

The Prodigal Son squandered his Inheritance but did not lose his Sonship.  When Jesus in Matthew refers to the "Outer Darkness" that is not Hell.  That refers to being Outside New Jerusalem, where The Light of God will be.  Some people refuse to admit that not all the Saved are New Jerusalem.  But Revelation 21:24-27 makes clear there are entire nations outside.  Many are simply because they weren't Saved during the Church Age, but there will also be Church Age believers who lose their Citizenship of The Holy City, but not their Salvation.

A certain pastor I don't want to name, who teaches Eternal Security, and preaches against all Five points of Calvinism, still loves to question people's Salvation based on Doctrine.

He says based on "My sheep hear my voice and follow me" that whatever problems they have, a truly Saved person will respond to God's Word.  This verse is about Salvation, and another one Calvinists might miss use to support their view of Predestination, but what their wrong on is the cause and effect.

This same Pastor agrees with me on using Saul to Prove Eternal Security, and also Solomon.  But both of them heard God's Word from anointed Prophets and Priests trying to turn them from their backslidden paths yet they did not do so.

The KJV Biblical Word most Calvinists I've seen view as what they mean  by "Persevere" is Overcome.  Mainly how it's used in 1 John and Revelation 2-3.  Overcome is used in many senses of many things in The Bible, plenty no Clavinsits thinks is about Salvation.

1 John 5:4-5 says
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
What John means here is clearly all the Saved.  And doesn't matter if you Persevered to the end or not, simply Believing means you overcome the world.

Some of the usages in Revelation 2-3 and 21:7 may or may not be using it specially of those who who don't lose their Inheritance.  I believe all Seven Churches, even the two worst ones, were congregations of Saved individuals, or else Jesus wouldn't have written to them at all.

You're saved if you Overcome, but not every saved person will Overcome to the end.

Romans 10 says "All who call upon the name of The Lord shall be Saved" no qualifying statements.  1 John 4:2 says " Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God".  And verse 15 says "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God."

I'm not saying there are no professing Christians who aren't saved.  But those that are are people who were born in the faith, or who converted for the wrong reasons.  But everyone who understands they need a Savior and accept Jesus is Saved.

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." - Romans 4:5
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the
deeds of the law." - Romans 3:28
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." - Ephesians 2:8,9

Friday, October 10, 2014

Homosexuality and Church History

Prudish attitudes have always existed, and plenty of quotes among the Church Father show the seeds of Homophobia existed among them.  The Church Fathers were of course also Anti-Semitic which is why they had to be Post-Trib.

Still, some quotes used by "Conservatives" to back up their view that Homosexuality has always been consistently condemned are misused just as The Bible verses are.

The Didache is considered the oldest Christian writing not part of the Canon.  The passage from it cited as condemning Homosexuality is.
"You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit prostitution, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one that has been born." - Didache 2:2
The basis here is the use of "pederasty".  That term is NOT for any and all Homosexual acts however, it refers specifically to an older Man with a much younger Boy.  A Boy who'd be a Minor by modern legal standards and also probably ancient ones too.

The quote from Polycarp's epistle to the Corinthians that is cited against homosexuality from section 5 uses the same two words as 1 Corinthians 6.  Yet one translation chooses to render them "nor the passive homosexual partner, nor the dominant homosexual partner", which I explained elsewhere there are far better ways to express that.

The Epistle of Barnabas is a popular piece of Apocrypha.  Some people will cite it as if it actually was written by Barnabas the friend of Paul (Conservopedia wrongly dates it 74 AD).  But that is impossible, it was clearly written during The Bar Kochba Revolt, when The Jews were planning to rebuild The Temple.  This is why it's also the first Christian writing to advocate for a form of replacement theology.

On the Homosexuality subject it is quoted as saying "You shall not commit prostitution; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not be a corrupter of youth".  Again, it's a reference to specifically Pederasty that people want to cite as if it and Homosexuality were inseparable.  Which is what lots of modern Christian Homophobes argue.  But that is not how Doctrine should be built (if we were building doctrine on this extra-Biblical text at all, which we shouldn't).
...to expose newly-born children is the part of wicked men; and this we have been taught lest we should do anyone harm and lest we should sin against God, first, because we see that almost all so exposed (not only the girls, but also the males) are brought up to prostitution. And for this pollution a multitude of females and hermaphrodites, and those who commit unmentionable iniquities, are found in every nation...And there are some who prostitute even their own children and wives, and some are openly mutilated for the purpose of sodomy; and they refer these mysteries to the mother of the gods. - Justin Martyr, First Apology 27 (A.D. 151).
This is clearly about Pagan ritual prostitution.
All honor to that king of the Scythians, whoever Anacharsis was, who shot with an arrow one of his subjects who imitated among the Scythians the mystery of the mother of the gods . . . condemning him as having become effeminate among the Greeks, and a teacher of the disease of effeminacy to the rest of the Scythians. Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 2 (A.D. 190).
Again, more of what I said above, and of what I said about Malakos in my main Homosexuality dissertation.
For your gods did not even abstain from boys, one having loved Hylas, another Hyacinthus, another Pelops, another Chrysippus, another Ganymede. - Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 2 (A.D. 190).
Again, he said "boys" not "men".

There certainly were attitudes among the Church Father against any same sex relations.  But remember, these are the same people out of whom came The Catholic Church.

In terms of the references that specifically bring up Lesbians.  I feel it can be well demonstrated that the Anit-Lesbain attitudes some Church Fathers had was an example of then endorsing the prevailing attitudes of the Pagan Greco-Romon world, rather then rebelling against it.  A few Non-Christian scholars of Lesbian history have spoken on this subject, though accepting the wrong view that Lesbianism is addressed in Romans 1.  Like Bernadette Brooten.
Drawing upon a broad range of sources from the Roman world, I illustrate in my forthcoming book that early Christian views of female homoeroticism closely resembled those of their non-Christian contemporaries. Some prior researchers have tended to take an apologetic pro-Christian stance and to see early Christian sexual values as of a higher moral level than those of their environment. Other researchers have viewed early Christians as proto-Puritanical and repressive in contrast to the more sex-positive pagans around them. My research is more in line with those researchers who see a continuity between non-Christian and Christian understandings of the body. A focus on female homoeroticism makes this continuity clearer than would a focus on male homoeroticism, since nearly all extant sources on sexual relations between women condemn such relations, whereas some Roman-period, non-Christian sources express tolerance toward male-male sexual relations, which masks the similarity between Christian and non-Christian understandings of masculinity. Because the reasons for condemning female homoeroticism run deeper than the reasons for promoting marriage or celibacy (on which there was much debate in the Roman world), there is a cultural continuity of views of female homoeroticism.
Although ancient Christian writers resembled their non-Christian contemporaries in their views on erotic love between women, both groups differed from our own culture in their overall understanding of erotic orientation. Whereas we often dualistically define sexual orientation as either homosexual or heterosexual, they saw a plethora of orientations. (When we in the late 20th century think about it, we also recognize bisexuals and transsexuals, leading us to speak of a spectrum, rather than a bifurcation.) Their matrix of erotic orientations included whether a person took an active or a passive sexual role, as well as the gender, age, nationality, and the economic, legal (slave or free), and social status of the partner. For example, for the second-century astrologer Ptolemy, the configuration of the stars at one's birth determines a person's lifelong erotic orientation. A man born under one configuration is oriented toward females alone; under a second configuration, he desires to play a passive role toward males (i.e., to be penetrated); under a third, he desires to penetrate children; and under a fourth, he will desire males of any age. But the list does not end there. Other configurations give rise to men who desire low-status women, slave-women, or foreigners. In this schema, female homoeroticism constitutes one erotic orientation out of many, rather than a subcategory of two orientations (heterosexual and homosexual). Ptolemy and other authors reveal a gender bias in that they present far more differentiated pictures of the male erotic life than of the female one, even attributing more orientations to men than to women. By keeping in mind the larger picture of ancient classification systems for erotic orientation, the reader will better understand the specific discussions of female homoeroticism that I analyze in my book.
Still, I have my suspicions that Lesbians did exist in The Early Church.  It's that the patriarchs are the one's who've provided our written sources.