The New Value System of Our Culture


Wife do not honor your husband until he learns to love you first… until he is next to perfect. In the process, do not honor him, turn your back on him and especially, make sure you do not acknowledge him publicly.

Men, do not honor women, follow the instructions of the hymn book of the church of hip hop.

Children, why honor your parents? Have you not notice all of their issues? Disrespect them, curse them out, don’t obey them, not one word of what they tell you until they fix their issues. Make sure, by the way, that the whole world knows how disgusting you are with them. In the process do whatever you want, act as if you are father and motherless.

You heard that it was said, respect one another; be selective in whom you give your respect to. You heard that it was said love one another, no! love those who agree with you and assault those who don’t.

Did somebody say that love covers a multitude of sin? Foolishness, we expose everybody’s mess!

What about those who believe that love delights in truth? Nonsense! We delight in all that we can get away with. We delight in the destruction of our enemies! But we are supposed to love our enemies, right? Destroy them, show them no mercy and no compassion.

What about when folks are down; surely that is not a time to kick them? That is the best time to do so because they can’t defend themselves… it is all about strategy!

Surely we will honor free speech, after all that is a foundational constitutional value of our country; at least we can listen to one another, right? We absolutely despise the law of the land! Free speech is not a right but a privilege that only those who subscribe to our ideology are able to enjoy. What about the others? No, not the others, only us! We mock, we turn our backs on facts, we make things up, we destroy everything and everybody who disagree with us. We call what was considered good, bad and what was considered bad, good. This is a new time… a progressive time… a liberal time!

Shall we honor and pray for our leaders? Is that not what the good book says? What good book? We follow ourselves, what we feel, what we want and what we desire; we make up our own reality and we follow ourselves; we are gods and we rebel against all authorities, against all orthodoxy… against God himself, after all He is the problem!

We make up our own realities and we resist godliness and patriotism. We redefine families and we redefine genders. I am whomever and whatever I want to be.  Why stand for anything? Why stand for a flag, why stand for any national anthem? Why stand for America? We will stand only, and just ONLY, after America is finally as perfect we.

Ladies and gentlemans, welcome to the new and progresive United States of America! HELP US GOD!

Después del Huracán María: Palabra de Esperanza para Puerto Rico


os-es-huracan-maria-puerto-rico-catastrofico-islas-virgenes-informe-ultima-hora-20170919

Mi corazón se quebranta por mi país Puerto Rico mientras escucho las noticias de las consecuencias devastadoras del huracán María. Nada se ha sentido como mi hogar desde que salí de Puerto Rico el día 8 de Julio de 1991. Mientras oraba y buscaba el rostro de Dios con gran angustia en mi alma, escuché al Señor decir que estos no son los tiempos de predicar Mateo 24 (Profecías de los últimos tiempos). La realización de Mateo 24 en esta tierra va a ser mucho peor… dice el Señor. Mas este es el tiempo para que el mundo sepa que mientras ellos me continúan rechazando “…esta es la condenación: que la luz vino al mundo, y los hombres amaron más las tinieblas que la luz, porque sus obras eran malas.”[1] La falta de luz es obscuridad, la ausencia de Dios es presencia del diablo, lo que quiere decir que cuando Dios es rechazado el diablo es bienvenido. Jesucristo vino a dar vida en abundancia, mas el diablo viene a matar, a robar y a destruir.[2] Estilos de vida que promueven y exaltan la vulgaridad, el odio, la violencia, la burla, la brujería y la idolatría son rechazos directos a Dios; ese mismo Dios que utilizó a esta isla como un poderoso gigante para evangelizar a Sur América. Estos estilos de vida son un rechazo abierto a el Dios que por décadas nos viene protegiendo de tantos huracanes. Le dije a Dios, “…pero Puerto Rico no es el único país que te ha rechazado.” Fue entonces que escuché al Señor decir: “Puerto Rico está experimentando una gran obscuridad, una gran angustia y falta de esperanza, pero hoy le digo al pueblo sobre el cual mi nombre es invocado, que se humillará delante de mi, que invocarán mi nombre, que orarán y buscarán mi rostro, que se convertirán de sus malos caminos y que oiré sus oraciones desde el cielo y perdonaré sus pecados y sanaré su tierra.[3] Luego causaré que mis ríos de aguas[4] vivas cubran toda la isla de Puerto Rico y los prosperaré así como sus almas serán prosperadas.”[5] En esta palabras encuentra descanso para mi alma.

 

[1] Juan 3:19

[2] Juan 10:10

[3] 2 Crónicas 7:14

[4] Juan 7:38

[5] 3 Juan 1:2

After Hurricane María: A Word of Hope for Puerto Rico


os-es-huracan-maria-puerto-rico-catastrofico-islas-virgenes-informe-ultima-hora-20170919

My heart is absolutely broken for my country Puerto Rico as I hear the devastation that hurricane María left. Nothing has truly felt like home since I left July 8, 1991. As I seek the Lord I hear Him saying that this is not the time to be preaching Matthew 24 (End-time prophesies); the fulfillment of Matthew 24 will be much worst. However, this is the time to tell people around the world that as they continue to reject HIM, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”[1] The absence of light is darkness; the absence of God is the devil so when good is rejected, evil takes the throne. Jesus came to give abundant life, the devil came to kill, steal and destroy.[2] Lifestyles of vulgarity, hate against each other, violence, mockery, witchcraft, idolatry and others are an open rejection to the God who used Puerto Rico as a powerful giant of evangelism around South America. An open rejection to the God who for decades protected this island from direct hits, hurricane after hurricane. I said to my God, “But Puerto Rico is not the only one!” I heard the Lord saying, “Puerto Rico is in great darkness, anguish and disappear right now, but my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and will turn from their wicked ways and I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.[3] I will then cause my river of living waters[4] to cover the island of Puerto Rico and I will prosper them even as their souls prosper.”[5] In these words I find consolation and hope for my soul.

[1] John 3:19

[2] John 10:10

[3] 2 Chronicles 7:14

[4] John 7:38

[5] 3 John 1:2

Supporters of Hate


stop-using-the-word-hate-1

A Republican or a Democrat is not necessarily filled with hate because of their political affiliation. A disagreement is not hate. We are using and abusing the word hate as much as we are using and abusing the word racist.

            On the other side of each ideologies is where hate is found; why? Because all ideologies are manmade; all ideologies are the product of the god of this world; the devil himself (2 Corinthians 4:4). That is why we need to keep our eyes on Christ and not on anything the world has to offer.

            The problem is that a democrat easily recognizes the hate on the extreme right and a republican easily recognizes the hate on the extreme left, but both are unable to denounce the hate on their own extremes. They serve an agenda; a selfish agenda! But I have news for you: the street of Chicago are filled with hate, when a brother kills another brother that is hate; gangs are filled with hate, terrorism is hate, any religion that promotes killing and violence is hate, when a father refuses to discipline their children that is hate (Proverbs 13:24), domestic violence is hate, abortion is hate, Black Lives Matters promoting the killing of police officers is hate, police officers harassing and killing minorities just because the color of their skin is hate, talking about killing our president is hate, not praying for our government, but promoting resistance and rebelliousness is hate, calling our own men the “N” word and our own women the “B” word is hate; making music that promotes killing and violence is hate. Should I keep going?

            So HATE has to be denounced everywhere with zero compromises. When you are willing to denounce hate everywhere you are courageous; when you don’t, you are a coward. When we only denounce hate on the other side of the fence, but refuse to do the same on our own side, we are filled with hypocrisy and supporters of the same hate we are denouncing.

The Dark Side of Alaska “Four Years Later”


AK_StateIcon

On August 10th of this year, just a couple of days from the moment I write these words, I celebrated four years since I arrived in Fairbanks, AK. I drove ten days from Gates County, North Carolina. Without knowing much about Alaska, other that it was cold and, without knowing anybody, my wife, my six children and I decided to make Alaska our new home.

         I love the beauty of the State, I love the summers here; they are absolutely amazing! I love my home, landscaping, cutting trees for firewood, splitting, stacking and the whole process of preparing for the winter. However, there is an obvious dark side to Alaska that I am unable to ignore.

         According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence “Alaska has the highest homicide rate for female victims killed by a male perpetrator in the nation. 59% of adult women in Alaska experience sexual abuse in their lifetime.”

         On September 29 of last year The Alaska Dispatch News reported that, “The statistics are sickening. One in every four women in Alaska  will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. The Alaska     rape rate is 2-1/2 times the national average, and the child       sexual assault rate in Alaska is close to six times the national        average. For the Native Alaska population, the numbers are even rougher. One out of every three American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped during her life, and three out of every four American Indian and Alaska Native women will be physically assaulted.”[1] The Statewide Suicide Prevention Council reported the following:

  • Alaska has one of the highest rates of suicide per capita in the country.
  • The rate of suicide in the United States was 12.57 suicides per 100,000 people in 2013 (the most recent year available from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control). In 2015, Alaska’s rate was 27.1 suicides per 100,000 people.
  • At least one suicide occurred in 186 Alaskan communities between 2006 and 2015.
  • In 2015, the rate of Alaska Native males that died by suicide was 79.7 suicides per 100,000, more than six times the national average.
  • Youth who are exposed to suicide or suicidal behaviors are more at-risk for attempting suicide, according to the American Association of Suicidology.
  • Suicide deaths consistently outnumber homicide deaths by a margin of three to two, according to the American Association of Suicidology.
  • More than 90% of people who die by suicide have depression or another diagnosable, treatable mental or substance abuse disorder, according to American Association of Suicidology.[2]

         There are many other awful statistics in Alaska and, I suppose, many have taken the time to present possible causes. I heard that the long, cold and dark winters in Alaska are the reasons for such awful statistics. However, the cause, more than physical, is spiritual. There is an obvious spiritual darkness and coldness in Alaska. In September of 2008, in an article entitle, “Survey Finds Alaskans Less Religious Than Other Americans” the Pew Research Center found “that, compared with the nation as a whole, Alaska is home to a higher-than-average number of people who are unaffiliated with any particular religion. More than one-in-four Alaskans (27%) describe their religion as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular, compared with 16% among the adult population of the continental U.S.”[3]

         If you take away the light you are left with darkness. In doing research for this article I am finding, over and over, that Alaska is commonly recognized as, not only one of the least religious states in the United States, but in fact, one of the least Christian states in the United States. This makes perfect sense to me judging by my own personal experiences in churches in Alaska.

         In my 20 years as a born again believer I have been a part of mostly Pentecostal churches. When I arrived to Fairbanks I quickly became a part of a Church. There, for the most part, the preaching and teaching of God’s Word was weak. I heard outrageous things such as “God is a God of two truths who follows us alone the way as we navigate in life.” What? Are we not called to follow HIM? Is it not HE the Truth, the Way…? When invited to a leadership meeting, in that same church, I reminded the Bishop that the Bible encourages us to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; he proceeded to point at the denomination’s constitution. Is the Church’s constitution above God’s Word? Well, things did not end well there!

         On my second church I heard more outrageous things also, such as an elder testifying that he got saved, but repented later. When I confronted him with this doctrinal atrocity he challenged me to show him in Scripture where the Bible tell us to repent. Well, from the Old Testament, to John the Baptist, to Jesus, the Apostles… repentance is all over the place! Needless to say that with no biblical justification I was kicked out of this church. Thirdly, I applied for a senior pastor position in a local Baptist Church. These folks did not even give me the opportunity of an interview; they rejected me even when I told them that I was available to do the job for free. For free! I am sorry guys, but I have to LOL on this one!

         Experiences like these forced me to gather my family, take a look at the enormous house God has provided for us and, open up my own ministry. My main focus is my family! However, even as I am open to minister to all; I can’t deny my passion for the Native American community in this region and, that is precisely where the Lord is beginning to open doors for me. There is no other way to say it and, I know that I may run the risk of offending some folks; but strong Bible preaching and teaching are painfully lacking in Alaska.

         After four years, it seems like I have nothing to show for. By far, I have minister very little in Alaska compare to Florida and North Carolina. I have to say that my ministry, for the most part, has been rejected here! That is the truth, I can’t make stuff up and give you guys the wrong idea of what is going on here in terms of ministry. My wife and I have never seen the degree of disloyalty we have seen here. We know folks, some have become closer than others, but do we have true friends as we did in our previous communities? No, not even close!

         However, the last four years have been also years of intense training; of truly paying attention to what we believe, to study theology and doctrine, those concepts that are not too popular amongst the Pentecostal/charismatic denominations, to not accept anything as truth that is not clearly confirmed in Scripture; to openly reject traditions of men that again, have nothing to do with God’s Word, to study like never before, go back to school (Liberty University) and dig deep into the things of God. I don’t know how much longer I will be residing here; I am leaving that in God’s hands. What I do know is that all these training is with a purpose and that either more doors for ministry will open or, perhaps, the time will come for me to shake the dust off my feet.

 

 

 

 

[1] https://www.adn.com/commentary/article/why-alaska-rape-capital-us-because-we-allow-it/2013/04/08/

[2] Information is from the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics unless otherwise specified.

 

[3] http://www.pewforum.org/2008/09/04/survey-finds-alaskans-less-religious-than-other-americans/

 

Challenges Against Scripture from Within: Defending the Inerrancy of Scripture


The-Word

Introduction

            The issues with the minimization of the authority of God’s Word can be traced back to the Garden of Eden with the devil himself questioning God’s mandate regarding the Tree of Life and, it has continue through the ages. From the Catholic Church elevating manmade traditions and the word of popes to the level of God’s Word, to Neoevangelicalism and some of our modern-day theologians, it is obvious that we have a problem from within our own walls. Through the window of two thousand years of church history we can see the dangers of the moving away from God’s Word. Erickson states that there is evidence that when theologians, schools, or movements disregard the inerrancy of the Bible, it always causes the abandonment of cornerstone beliefs in our faith.[1]

            These theological tragedies take places because people loose sight that, without the Bible, we have no authority to establish any doctrine, we loose power to reproof or correct anything and it leaves us open for private interpretations regarding what is truly righteous according to God’s standards (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, the inerrancy of Scripture is not a small matter, but a foundational one. By no means this study is presented in a fatalistic way, as if somehow and someway God’s ultimate plan will not come to pass. God’s will, will indeed be done. However, there is a tendency to oversimplify these issues and concerns under the umbrella that God is in control.

            As we take a look at the seven churches described in the book of Revelation, we can clearly see that God held things against some of them for not doing and dealing with issues they were suppose to. In Revelation 2:14-16 the Lord tells the church of Pergamum, “14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” (NIV)

            I am aware that this battle against the authority of Scripture will continue and will be the central cause for the great falling away from the faith (2 Thessalonians 2:3). As we get closer to the last days, it is not a coincident that this assault against the Bible seems to have grown in the last hundred years. It is Satan’s favorite tool to move people away from God by causing them to move away from his Word. At the end of the day, the way we view Scripture is at the center of our very nature as disciples of Christ. We can’t be disciples of Christ if we do not rightly honor his Word. Jesus himself stated, “… If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32 KJV). To continue in his word is to abide in his word; this means that we, as Christians, are not called to live our lives based on opinions or in any other way of life outside of what is established in God’s Word.

Body

Some Statistics

            In May 2007 Gallup showed that one third of the American adult population believes that the Bible is the actual Word of God. “About one in five Americans believe the Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends and moral precepts recorded by man.”[2] The same study shows that a strong relationship between the level of education and belief in the Bible as literal; “with such belief becoming less prevalent among those who have college education.”[3] On a research done in 2013 Barna observe a slight decline in considering the Bible a sacred book. He noticed that Boomers and Elders (ages 67) are more likely to regard the Bible as sacred, while the 18 to 47 years of age are less likely to considered the Bible sacred. 56% of Americans considered that the Bible has little influence in our society today.[4] These statistics may sound alarming, however these numbers are to be expected in the world; perhaps they will get worst with time. Nevertheless, the focus of this study is on our views of the Bible within our own walls. Arguments with the world concerning the inerrancy of the Bible should be discouraged; for the lost are blinded by the god of this world (First Corinthians 4:4). We have a bigger problem; these attacks are coming from within the walls of some of our own churches.

Diverse Views of the Inerrancy of the Word Amongst Us

            Feinberg’s defines inerrancy as “the view that when all the facts become known, they will demonstrate that the Bible in its original autographs and correctly interpreted is entirely true and never false in all it affirms, whether that relate to doctrine or ethics or to the social, physical, or life sciences”[5] Erickson equates those beliefs to doctrines. Furthermore, he establishes that those doctrines must “…rest upon the authority of Scripture”[6]

         Erickson defines and explains various conceptions of inerrancy (Erickson 2013, 191-193). I passionately embrace Full Inerrancy and loudly reject all other conceptions for the simple reason that it fully honors God’s Word. Furthermore, Full Inerrancy explains controversial scientific and historical issues. The Bible was not written and applicable only for those of the generation of the original writers, as Limited Inerrancy seems to suggest. Certain concepts had to be explained in ways the writer could understand, which is why some will argue as to its application for the modern age. In the book of Revelation, for example, there may be references to airplanes, but airplanes were not invented until nearly two thousand years later; so other ways of explanation needed to be used. This is not difficult to understand for those who know the voice of their Shepherd (John 10:27), but there will always be room in the Bible for those who want to discredit it.

            I rest in the fact that in God’s Word, I confirm truth: the truth that I can count on, the truth that will make me free (John 8:32), the truth that will carry me on and carry me trough the tough times and teach me to face the good times with humility. This is the truth of God’s Word and the truth that I should live for. Even if I find myself walking though the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4), I can stand without fear just because, the Bible tells me so.

Liberalism

            One of the main tools use by the devil in this assault against the authority of Scripture is liberalism. This is not just a political ideology, it has taken residence in some of our churches under the name of Liberal Theology. “Liberal theology had its beginning in the German Enlightenment of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, which demanded new ways of thinking about the relation between religion, culture, and science.”[7] If we can create a culture where absolutes are rejected, we then create a culture where truth becomes relative to whatever reality the individual wants to create. So we can create our own ideas regarding family, gender, what is good and what is evil. Erickson points out this problem by stating, “As part of postmodernism, there has been an objection to the idea of foundationalism, which is the view that all beliefs are justified by their relationship to certain basic beliefs”[8]. This foundationalism is seen as primitive, old fashion and outdated, while liberalism dance together with terms such as modernism and in our circles as Christians, Neoevangelicalism. These terms give the sense of something new, something smart and sophisticated. Nevertheless, Liberalism is founded on rebelliousness against God; they object to the idea that truth must be justify and validate by God’s Word. Liberalism is bad, not only in politics, but in our society, in our cultures, in our families and particularly, in our churches. As Christians, everything that has to do with the way we should live must be confirmed in Scripture and if not, passionately rejected, especially if it contradicts God’s Word.

Titles and Degrees are not Above God’s Word

            We are facing real arguments: arguments that sound intelligent and logical, arguments that come from people with titles, titles that give them authority to say things. But is there anybody exempt from the mandate to continue in God’s Word according to John 8:31? Absolutely not! It becomes even more dangerous when in Christian higher learning circles, the Word of God seems not to be enough as an agent of truth. In writing our own academic papers, unless we are able to quote somebody with the right title and credential, we run the risk of lacking any authority or credibility in whatever point we are trying to make, no mater how much Bible verses we give to support such points. This is troubling and could open doors for liberal ideas to infiltrate the minds of Christians students. For example, a couple of professors of divinity, after pointing out the challenges with sexual orientation, gender, abortion etc. concluded their article by stating, “The church needs to become a larger and more tolerant tent, encouraging a diversity of beliefs and practices that cut across old divisions and keep in view the radix of all good theology. If that can be accomplished, whether theology is called ‘liberal’ or not does not matter.”[9] Is there is anything to compromise when speaking about gender issues? Can we compromise anything concerning the issue of abortion?

            These compromising may sound good and harmless, but again, the Bible tells us in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (KJV) It is our duty as Christians to speak truth; in love, nevertheless speak the true. First Corinthians 13:6 tells us that love delights in truth.

The Gospel is Offensive

            The Bible tells us that Jesus is the rock of offence (1 Peter 2:8). The Gospel expresses God’s love, but also deals with our sin; somewhere down the line somebody will repent and receive Christ as Lord and Savior or reject God all together. Since when are we call to be friends of the World? These same professors speaks about the church becoming a more larger and tolerant tent, however the Bible tells us in Matthew 7:14, “…narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (NKJV). From the Old Testament to the new Testament there is a cry for us to come out of this world system not to join with them; but these professors seems to think that the way to be more effective as ambassadors of Christ is by compromising. So we are left with a water down Gospel that requires no repentance and does not deal with sin. They simply avoid any controversial issues; they focus on God’s love and the beauty of heaven, but ignore the topic of the Lake of Fire and Hell all together.

Can’t be a Disciple Without Honoring God’s Word

            This high view of Scripture is becoming more and more primitive. There is even a name for those who insist in honoring the Word; is called Bibliolatry; a basic definition of this term is the “excessive reverence for the Bible as literally interpreted.”[10] There is either the correct or the wrong approach to Scripture. Second Corinthians 3:6 tells us, “…for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” No doubts that we can’t approach the Bible like any other book; no doubts that people have used the Word to advance demonic agendas and no doubts that we need the Holy Spirit to help us. But the idea that we can hold God’s Word to a level that could be considered too high, it is not realistic to me. If anything, we do not hold the Word high enough. If anything, we must remember the inner struggles that we have in us as the Spirit and our own flesh battle for our will (Galatians 5:17).

            In John 8:31-32 Jesus tells us “…If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (NKJV) The very essence of our discipleship, our access to the truth, and our very freedom as Christians cannot enter the realm of reality without fully honoring the authority God’s Word as inerrant. I am aware that we can’t abide in God’s Word on our own; I am aware of the sacrifice of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in us an through us… this is indeed a process; nevertheless when we are serious about God’s Word, we are serious about holiness; that is because we desire to do God’s will. One of the results of pursuing holiness is stated in 2 Timothy 3:12, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” (NIV)

The Cancer of Postmodernity Approach to Scripture

            This Neoevangelicals who are embracing this liberalism in our current postmodernity see persecution as if we are missing something, as if there is something wrong with our faith or with our approach. Through church history we have seen a constant attempt to make our faith more appealing to the world, nevertheless First Corinthians 1:18 tells us, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (NIV) This message, no matter how sophisticated we try to make it, is foolishness to the world; that is why the conversion of a soul is a supernatural God-given miracle.

            There is a strong wave that has become a tsunami of heretical approaches to Scripture. Andrew Davies made many alarming statement on his academic article entitle, A New Teaching Without Authority: Preaching the Bible in Postmodernity when he states, “As a preacher and an educator of preachers, however, I still feel that religious of the Bible can gain from an increasingly secularized biblical scholarship.”[11] This new compromising and water down gospel that many are embracing as progressive come straight out of the pits of hell and is indeed leading people astray. In Revelation 18:4 the Bible tells us, referring to Babylon who represents the secular system, “…’Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;” (NIV) In attempting to become friends with the world they become enemies of God (James 4:4).

The Greatest Blessings of the Reformation

            In a few months, this year, we will be celebrating five hundred years since the Reformation. I believe this is a good time to reevaluate our own condition and relationship with God’s Word. Jacobson points at three blessings that the Reformation gave us: 1) The plain meaning of Scripture, 2) the idea the Scripture interprets Scripture and 3) Scripture shows forth Christ.[12] Even as we know in part according to First Corinthians 13, Scripture has a specific meaning. We are not called to squeeze in our own ideas concerning how things should be, Scripture itself interprets itself. Lastly, it is impossible to separate Christ from his Word; he is the Word. John tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (NIV) To reject God’s Word is to reject God. To Minimize God’s Word is to minimize God himself.

Bringing Home the Point

            I have struggle finding bold articles that give, what I consider, proper honor to God’s Word. One article that truly touch me was written by Grindheim. Grindheim does not view the Bible as one more theological approaches; in light of 2 Timothy 3:14-15 he presents the power of Scripture to give wisdom that leads to salvation. He expands on 2 Timothy 3:16 as the Apostle Paul expresses, specifically, what the Scripture is useful for: 1) Teaching, 2) Rebuking, 3) Correcting and 4) Training in righteousness. Grindheim does a super job in biblically pointing out the painful process of going through God’s reproof, correction and discipline. He calls it the “corrective function of Scripture.” He describes the words of Scripture as firm and reliable. In light of Hebrews 4:12-13 Grindheim reminds the reader the dual promise of the future rests in God, but also his judgment.[13]

            We can argue a man’s opinion; but who can argue the Word of God when is approached in love and humility; not trying to force our opinons into the Scripture, but allowing the Scriptures to speak and teach us? With this in mind, how can there be any argument against Mr. Grindheim’s thesis? He proves his thesis by using the same Bible he is crying out for scholars to take seriously. He, not only presents his apology in advocating for a protagonist role of Scripture, but also proves that it is what brings judgment to the world and to the Body of Christ. We will all be judged based on the words written in Scripture. The world will indeed be divided between the guilty; those who never surrender their lives to Christ and the not guilty, who were washed by the blood of the lamb. Why go around in circles to prove his thesis? His thesis is not really his own, but it is displayed all through the pages of the Bible. Grindheim gives the Bible the righteous place that the Bible deserves… period!

            Grindheim does not leave me with any questions; he leaves me confirming what was already in my spirit and, he leaves me inspired. Mr. Grindheim is not advocating for spiritual laziness or arguing against our biblical mandate to study and show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15) by the correct application of systematic, historical, biblical and philosophical theology in our lives. He is, however, making it very clear that the truth that makes us free (2 Timothy 2:16) can only be found in Scripture. Grindheim states that the Greco-Roman focus on right knowledge as a guide to right action differed from the apostles’ focus. The apostles recognized that a more radical approach was necessary. Grindheim elevates the need for the power of God to ensure that people can do good when they are accustomed to doing evil (Jeremiah 13:23). Grindheim expands by saying “that ethical transformation is not accomplished merely through to correct instruction, it is a matter of new creation.”

            I agree whole heartedly with Grinheim’s perspective. I want to see Systematic, Philosophical and Historical theology bowing down not to Biblical Theology, but to the Word of God. I find peace in knowing that I am not an original or an inventor of anything. The truth is in God’s Word and thanks to Christ, his blood, and the power of His Spirit, I now have access to my heavenly Father and, I now find myself growing in grace and in the knowledge of my Savior (2 Timothy 2:15); there is tangible hope in that! Any principle or ideology designed to affect our souls that is presented as truth, outside of the authority of Scripture, will quickly lead to devastation and, if not corrected, to the flames of hell.

Conclusion

            The minimization of God’s Word continues to this day. It has taken a sophisticated form. In the name of being accepted we have been willing to compromise which always lead to the destabilization of our foundational and non negotiable doctrines. In spite of two thousand years of church history and the dangers we have witness through the pages of such history, the devil is busy, as he did in the Garden, planting seeds of doubt in our hearts concerning what says the Lord. Moving away from the Word is taking place in the World, that should not surprise anybody; they are lost. However, it becomes our concern when such ideas attempt to infiltrate the minds of our people.

            The inerrancy of Scripture is not a small matter, but a foundational one. It is very important that we speak up and stay grounded in God’s Word. Not to be intimated or accept something as truth just because the person speaking holds particular degrees or prestige. Nobody is exempt from John 8:31 where Jesus states “… If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;”  (KJV). We can’t be disciples of Christ if we do not rightly honor his Word.

            This paper is a humble alarm, a cry to return to God’s Word as the compass of truth; a loud rejection to anything that attempt to exalt itself against the knowledge of God. I hope that I presented the problem well and I hope that I was clear in my proposed solutions.

Bibliography

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology, Grand Rapids: Baker Academy, 2013.

Newport, Frank “One Third of Americans Believe the Bible Is Literally True,” Gallup, May 25, 2017.

Barna Group, The State of the Bible, New York, New York: American Bible Society, 2013.

Elwell, Walker A.. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 2nd ed..Grand Rapids: Baker Academy. 2001.

Hodgson, Peter C.,. Finney, Charles G. “Liberal Theology.” The Expository Times. 2010.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/bibliolatry

Davies, Andrew. “A New Teaching Without Authority: Preaching the Bible in Postmodernity.” The Journal of the Pentecostal Theological Association.

Jacobson, Diane. “Sola Scriptura: Strengths and Challenges,” Wiley Online Library, September 2016.

Grindheim, Sigurd. Biblical Authority: What is it Good For? Why the Apostles Insisted on a High View of Scripture. JETS. 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academy, 2013), 195-196.

[2] Frank Newport, “One Third of Americans Believe the Bible Is Literally True,” Gallup, (May 25, 2017).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Barna Group, The State of the Bible, (New York, New York: American Bible Society, 2013), 7-9

[5] Walker A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 2nd ed., (Grand Rapids: Baker Academy, 2001), 156.

[6] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 206.

[7] Peter C. Hodgson, Charles G. Finney, “Liberal Theology,” The Expository Times, (2010):5.

[8] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 206.

[9] Peter C. Hodgson, Charles G. Finney, “Liberal Theology,”

[10] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/bibliolatry

[11] Andrew Davies, “A New Teaching Without Authority: Preaching the Bible in Postmodernity,” The Journal of the Pentecostal Theological Association, 169.

[12] Diane Jacobson, “Sola Scriptura: Strengths and Challenges,” Wiley Online Library, (September 2016) 2 – 4.

[13] Sigurd Grindheim, Biblical Authority: What is it Good For? Why the Apostles Insisted on a High View of Scripture, JETS, (2016) 791-803

Fellow Minorities: THEY ARE LYING to Us!


Lyndon Johnson campaigning in Illinois in 1964, the year he declared ‘war on poverty’

The United States Census Bureau showed that in 2015 43.1 million people were poor; that is about 13.5 percent of the population.[1] The Henry J. Keyser Family Foundation showed that in 2015 9% of whites in America were poor compare to 24% of Blacks and 21% of Hispanics; 14% were in the category of “Other”.[2] Even as Blacks and Latinos are minorities in this country, when it comes down to poverty we are the strong majority.

         In 2012, the federal government spent $668 billion to fund 126 separate anti-         poverty programs. State and local governments kicked in another $284 billion,    bringing total anti-poverty spending to nearly $1 trillion. That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of  three.[3] The famous war on poverty started on January 8, 1964 under the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson 53 years ago. Twenty-three of those 53 years under Presidents of the Democratic Party; that is including 8 years under Bill Clinton and also, 8 years under Obama. Lets take a look at the way the government is fighting this war of poverty.[4]

         As we look at these numbers, can we conclude that we are loosing this war on poverty? We can’t say that the issue of poverty has been ignored in the United States; the numbers do not lie. The government is investing a lot of money on these programs; so why is it that the poverty numbers remain consistently high amongst our people? I believe that many who engage on this war on poverty have the best intentions; but good intentions are not above biblical truth and principles. Jesus stated that the poor will always be amongst us (Matthew 26:11). However, does that means that Blacks and Latinos will always be the kings of poverty? Absolutely not! Poverty is not God’s will for his people! So we are missing something, what is it?

         We, as minorities are allowing politicians to limit their talking points by offering us more food stamps, more free health care, more free housing, etc. Not that these things are really free; tax payers are actually paying for these programs, but the person receiving these benefits are not required to do anything to earn anything. This approach has created the culture of entitlement. These are the folks who feel that everybody owns them something just because they are black, just because they are latinos and, just because, they are natives. They find justifications on the atrocities committed against us through the bloody pages of our history. The God that I serve is the God of justice. The Bible tells me that his judgments are true and righteous (Revelations 19:2). Our job as Born Again believers is to forgive (Colossians 3:13) God will take care of the rest.

         But the question remains, how can this problem of poverty be resolved? The answer is not all that complicated; it is actually very simple: 1) Place our trust in God: (Proverbs 3:5-6). The ultimate trust for our lives, for our families and for our nation, must be giving to God. Only God is worthy of our trust. God is the only one that will NEVER leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). 2) Be aware that it is God and not the government who is able to supply for all of our needs: (Philippians 4:19). David knew this that is why in Psalm 23:1 he is able to declare the following, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” (KJV) Do you know what is it to bless to the point of wanting nothing else? The Government is very limited in what they can do; God has no limits. Not only that he is able to supply for all of your needs, but he is able to give you things that money can’t buy, such as peace and joy. 3) The way out of poverty is through jobs not through federal programs: It is through hard work, not through handouts that we are able to overcome poverty. I am going to offer plenty of biblical references to prove this point because I am aware that telling people to go and find a job is consider offensive and insensitive these days.

  1. We work for and serve the Lord as we work for and serve others (Colossians 3:23-24). So we are call to do our jobs well and with the right attitude.
  2. We are called to work and make our surroundings better. (Genesis 2:15) Regarding of the size of your paycheck; as a man and as a woman of God you should be a blessing in your job and in everything that surrounds you.
  3. God promise to establish the work of your hands not your laziness (Psalm 90:17). Should I say more? You have to do your part and give God something to work for. To work is to obey God; laziness is disobedience to God… is that simple!
  4. To have food to eat is part of making a living; in order to have food you must work (Proverbs 12:11).
  5. Not working makes no sense before God (Proverbs 12:11).
  6. If you want to have things you are required to work for them; nobody is under any obligation to support you permanently (Proverbs 13:4).
  7. Lazy people are never in charge; they always depend on others (Proverbs 12:24).
  8. At the heart of making a profit is hard work; at the heart of poverty is laziness (Proverbs 14:23 / Proverbs 6:10-12 / 2 Timothy 2:6).
  9. Not providing for our own families is denying our faith as Christians and a worst spiritual condition than an unbeliever (I Timothy 5:8). If you go back and read this verse it is clear that we have a responsibility to help each other out as extended families; but especially for those under our own roof. People run to social services for help, but that is what family is for.
  10. It is God’s will to prosper us through his plan for our lives; it is his will to give us hope and a good future (Jeremiah 29:11). God wants to give you that job; it is his will!

         There are more Bible verses that speak against laziness and the blessing of hard work, but I believe I have given you plenty to think about. The words I am giving you today are not Republican or Democrat. They are not part of a political agenda or a particular ideology; these are not empty words; they come straight from the heart of God. Today, I echo the words of my master when he states,

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32 (KJV)

         This is the true we need; they are lying to us; lets go after God like never before, lets get to work and lets break this curse of poverty out of our lives. For that, we need God, not the government!

 

 

 

[1] https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2016/demo/p60-256.html

 

[2] http://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

 

[3] http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/01/08/war-on-poverty-at-50-despite-trillions-spent-poverty-won.html

 

[4] http://federalsafetynet.com/poverty-and-spending-over-the-years.html

 

The Doctrine of Mercy and the Great Promise


photodune-681350-mercy-xs

We are not and will never justify sin and sinful lifestyles, but we cannot take anything away from the power of the blood of Christ. If we are honest with ourselves, we are all struggling with something… I know I am! It may be sexually related, it may be anger, it may be pride, greed, etc. but nobody is exempt from the desires of the flesh! That reality should humble each and every one of us.

         The reality is that we all stand in need of mercy; we can’t make it without mercy. I guess that’s why His mercies are knew every morning; we need them every day. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NIV) Mercy flows out of God’s love for us. Because of His love we are not destroy.

         The flesh is disgusting! The desires of the flesh are disgusting and everything about the flesh is disgusting. That is, whether you are a born again believer or an atheist. The flesh’s desires are contrary to everything that God stands for (Galatians 5:17).

         Jesus gave us a powerful principle when he stated, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (NIV) There is a part of us, (the flesh), that wants nothing to do with God. There is another part of us, (the spirit), that is willing to cooperate with God; it is our inner most, it is the part of us with the ability to carry on our greatest responsibility as believers, to worship God according to John 4:23. And yet, there is a part of us that stand in need of restoration; it is where the work is taking place, in our souls; that is, the seat of our emotions, our mind sand our will. That is the complexity of us humans.

         In this world we have two kinds of people, the guilty and the not guilty. The guilty because without Christ we are all guilty; that is because we have all sin and fall short of God’s glory according to Romans 3:23. The non-guilty is tricky; because our innocence as believers is not based on our good works, but based strictly on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is what we are… THROUGH HIM.

         I am so glad that Jesus took away the guilt for our sins of the past, our sins of today and even our future sins. I am so glad that through Him we are righteous, holy and a finish work. But also, I am glad that through the Holy Ghost, He is changing us. But in that process of changing us, because it is a process, He is dealing with us through discipline, for God discipline those He love according to Hebrews 12:6 and, through mercy.

          We can’t fail my brothers and sisters! Today, we are a part of that great promise He made to the Children of Israel, as we are also, New Testament folks. That greater promise is that He is going to take the WORD, His precious Law, and place it in our hearts. He will finish the work no only through HIM, not only in a positional way, but also in US. That actual finish work, I believe, will take place in the New Jerusalem. So I end with these words from Jeremiah 31:33,

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (NKJV)

 

Deliverance: Is It Real? Part 5


breaking-free-01

Glorification

         This is the ultimate goal! This is where perfection takes place; this is our ultimate destination! This is heaven and life in the New Jerusalem; this is our glorious future. Romans 8:16-18 tells us,

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (NKJV) “…the glory that SHALL BE revealed in us.” That, my friend, is our ultimate deliverance!

         In conclusion, we see salvation as a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8. Even as it was a gift for us; Jesus paid a big price for it as explained by prophet Isaiah.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities;

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

And by His stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;

We have turned, every one, to his own way;

And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6 (NKJV)

         Jesus Christ was wounded for our transgressions and bruise for our iniquities; He died for all of our iniquities! He paid the price in full.

         Sanctification is also a gift, for we are sanctified in Christ. However, sanctification is also a process, as the Holy Spirit works in us and through us. Lastly, glorification is our future, our true home and the promise of the eternal experience. I close then, with these very appropriate words,

But as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)

Thank you all for taking the time to read about this very important topic. If you have any questions or any comments please do not hesitate to write us. If you prefer a private discussion please write me at angelcasiano@aol.com. God bless you all!

 

 

 

 

Deliverance: Is It Real? Part 4


breaking-free-01

Sanctification

         I am aware that there is a lot of controversy and division in the Body of Christ concerning our understanding on sanctification. I go as far as saying that, it is here where we become victims of bad doctrine. It is here where we see casualties. It is imperative that we get a good understanding of what sanctification is. Jesus provision is not an excuse for us to live any kind of way; that is not a legalistic statement, but a biblical one. In Galatians 5:13 Paul speaks about the liberty that we have in Jesus, but he also stated,  “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (NKJV)

         We must understand that God has set us a part and that underneath the blood of Christ his Spirit is forming sanctification in our own hearts; one of the ultimate promises of the New Testament (Jeremiah 31:33). To better explain this concept of sanctification, we must look at three aspects: Sanctification must be seen in three fold: 1) Instantaneous sanctification, 2) progressive sanctification and 3) ultimate sanctification.[1]

         I believe that brother Harold S. Martin did a remarkable job in explaining sanctification, so I will use his direct words:

  1. Instantaneous sanctification-is the standing before God, which is assigned to individuals at the time when they accept Jesus Christ by faith. We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:13b that “God hath … chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit.” And from 1 Corinthians 6:11 we learn that “Such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” The Christians at Corinth had lived very ungodly and pagan lives, but now they were new creatures in Christ Jesus.
  2. Progressive sanctification-is the life process of growing in holiness; it is pressing on in the upward way, and more and more being delivered from the power of sin. Thus sanctification speaks of following in the path of righteousness, choosing the more excellent way, and seeking the mind of Christ. We are told in 2 Peter 3:18a to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” That takes place when we are devoted to reading the holy Word of God, using the tools of Bible study, and exercising the spiritual disciplines of prayer, meditation, and participation in the ordinances of God’s house. There is also an admonition in 2 Corinthians 7:1b which says, “Therefore … let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” The Apostle Paul spoke of pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God (Philippians 3:13-14). The New Testament does not suggest any short-cuts to sanctification. It simply encourages us to give ourselves to the old-fashioned and time-honored means of Bible reading, and meditation, and prayer, and worship, and self-discipline.
  3. Ultimate sanctification-is the final state, which will be attained only when we are fully and completely set apart to God in heaven. The wish of the writer in I Thessalonians 5:23 is expressed as follows: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And in 1 John 3:2b, we read, “It doeth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

Instantaneous sanctification has to do with our standing.

Progressive sanctification has to do with our spiritual growth.

Ultimate sanctification has to do with our eternal state.

 

 

To be continued…

[1] http://www.thechristianscompass.org/3_tenses.htm