USHERING IN THE COMING OF THE LORD

This will be very short and to the point.

There is a saying that is often repeated from pulpits. I am sure I have even said it myself in the past, but it is wrong and there is absolutely no truth in it. It is the idea that we can do things that will usher in the second coming of Jesus.

Oftentimes this idea is advanced as a way to get people involved in a certain line of thinking and action, because by doing so they will supposedly be aiding the ushering in of the coming of the Lord, but the reality is there simply is no such concept taught in the New Testament. If there were, the apostles who gave us the New Testament would have accomplished it.

The idea that we can do things that will usher in the coming of the Lord is false and it gives fertile ground to other false teachings. According to the scriptures we are called to live godly and holy lives because the time of the Lord’s coming is to always be viewed as at hand.

We are instructed over and over again in the New Testament to live in a manner that will be pleasing to the Lord when he returns. Throughout the centuries many saints have done just that. This alone refutes the notion that anyone can do anything to usher in the coming of the Lord.

Jesus is coming in the Father’s timing, which he has reserved to himself. 

ECCLESIASTES BRIEFLY EXPLAINED

Recently while on a painting job I let the book of Ecclesiastes play on my Bible app on my phone. Often times people think of this book as depressing (vanity of vanities, vexation of spirit, etc.). However, I believe the point the writer is making is that all the labor an toll of man is meaningless and in vain if we don’t master the one thing he leads us to:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, Fear God, and Keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. ~ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Everything in this life truly is vain if we do not live with pleasing God as our motivation in life. Without this everything we do is in vain.

JESUS WAS MADE PERFECT BY THE THINGS HE SUFFERED: HEBREWS 5:8 -9

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him… Hebrews 5:8-9

What is the writer of Hebrews referring to when he says Jesus was made perfect by the things he suffered? Wasn’t Jesus already perfect, being without sin and one with God?

Certainly he was, but the writer of Hebrews is not addressing Jesus’s divine nature and oneness with God when he says Jesus was made perfect by the things he suffered. He is addressing Jesus’s oneness with human suffering and temptation, and if you will really catch on to what the writer of Hebrews is teaching us, your heart will leap with praise at the wondrous Savior God has given to us.

The writer of Hebrews emphasizes the reality of Jesus’s humanity and how Jesus (as a man) obtained an eternal priesthood through the things he suffered. In scripture, both the deity and humanity of Christ are expounded on. In Hebrews 1 the writer of Hebrews refers to Jesus as the One by whom God made the worlds, and the Lord who in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of his hands.

This very same Son who was with God, and was one with God as creator, is the one who also came and took on humanity in every respect so that he might make perfect reconciliation for our sins.

In chapter 2 the writer of Hebrews says the following:

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.~ Hebrews 2:14-17

His partaking of flesh and blood was in like manner as ourselves so that he could be the perfect intercessor and mediator between an infallible, Holy God, and sinful man. Though Jesus had no sin, he suffered in his flesh by being tempted in every way as we are tempted.

For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. ~ Hebrews 2:18

This is specifically what the writer of Hebrews is referring to when he says Jesus was made perfect by the things he suffered. Jesus became acquainted with the depths of human suffering in every respect so that he could be the perfect intercessor. It does not mean that Jesus was not perfect with regards to his divine nature and oneness with God, but was made perfect as the sacrifice and priest we needed from the humanity standpoint.For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. ~ Hebrews 4:15-5:11

___________________________________________________________

To learn more about Jesus’s Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek follow the link below:

WHAT DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACH ABOUT OBEDIENCE TO GOD?

Below is some (not all, but some) of what the New Testament has to say about obedience.

According to the apostle Peter, believers were chosen by the foreknowledge of God through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and cleansed from sin by his blood. ~ 1 Peter 1:2

God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him. ~ Acts 5:32

We are called to the obedience to the faith. ~ Romans 1:5; 16:26

By the obedience of Jesus many are made righteous. ~ Romans 5:19

We are servants to whom we yield our members (our bodies and mind) to obey. Thus we are either servants of sin that leads to death, or servants who obey God which leads to righteousness. ~ Romans 6:16

When we believe the gospel, we obey from the heart the doctrine of God we have heard. ~ Romans 6:17

The gospel is to be obeyed. ~ Romans 10:16; 1 Peter 4:17

We can be bewitched into not obeying the truth. ~ Galatians 3:1; 5:7

We run our race well when we obey the truth. ~ Galatians 5:7

Obedience is how we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. ~ Philippians 2:12

When Jesus returns he is taking vengeance on them that don’t know God, and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:8

We are to bring our imaginations and thoughts into obedience to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:6

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience by the things he suffered. And he was made perfect (through suffering) and has become the author of Salvation to all who obey him. ~ Hebrews 5: 8-9

We purify our souls by obeying the truth through the Holy Spirit which leads to a sincere love for others (our brethren in Christ), and so we are to love one another with a pure heart fervently. ~ 1 Peter 1:22 

JUDGING VISIONS, AND CLAIMS OF SUPERNATURAL EXPERIENCES

I received a comment from a lady named Nancy, and I want to publicly thank her. She graciously commended me for one of my posts and asked  a follow up question. My answer to her question may benefit others so I want to share it with you.

Nancy wrote, Good analysis/synopsis of this insanity. Wanting to ask you about all these sincere people who have claimed to have visited hell and some repeatedly with Jesus. Many claim to have seen Christians in hell. TY

Nancy, thank you for inspiring me. Here is my response to Nancy’s question:

The older I get and the longer I serve Christ, the less I believe any of them because there is nothing new under the Sun.

There are always contradictions against the scriptures that can be found in their testimonies. There is a reason why Paul described his experience as “hearing things that cannot be told, which man may not utter”  ~ 2 Corinthians 12:4. Paul would not even boast in his experience, yet these people use their experiences to promote themselves and to profit.

When Jesus gave the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus said the rich man went to hell and pleaded with Abraham to have mercy. Notice what Abraham said in response regarding the scriptures:

And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. ~ Luke 16:24 -31

Moses and the prophets is a reference to the scriptures that resulted from Moses and the ministry of the prophets.

In John 5,  Jesus told the Jews, Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. ~ 39-40

Later in the same chapter Jesus told them, Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? ~ v. 45-47 

I know of a preacher who claims to have gone to Heaven years ago and in his book about that experience, he claimed that Jesus informed him that he (Jesus) had brought him (the preacher) to heaven to tell him (the preacher) to tell people he (Jesus) was coming again. That was the message he conveyed.

You don’t need a supernatural experience to preach the coming of Jesus, but if Jesus were to give me an experience in Heaven and told me that he had brought me to Heaven to tell people he was coming again, you can believe that I would preach what Jesus had told me to preach more than anything else.

I don’t think I have ever heard this preacher preach on the coming of the Lord even once, Possibly I have heard him say the Lord is coming, but don’t remember ever hearing him emphasize it. Yet his book and testimony about going to heaven has been widely accepted and I am certain, profitable. In fact, I have my suspicions about his testimony for other reasons I won’t go into here. Suffice to say, I find holes in his claims as I do with many others.

Paul told the Colossians, Let no one disqualify you, insisting on ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm and inflated without cause by his unspiritual mind. ~ Colossians 2:18

The truth is these visionary claims often lead people to elevate the visionary’s words above the teachings of scripture.

Those who claim to have had such visions and experiences appeal to the masses of carnal Christians who often have no depth of spiritual understanding and who are very limited in their true knowledge of the teachings and doctrine of scripture. These visionaries teach and cause gullible believers to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.

I do believe it’s possible that a person could have an experience in which they had a divine encounter with an angel or a vision of Jesus, but those experiences are sacred and not equal to the authroity of the scriptures. A true experience would cause a person to likely not want to talk much about it because it would be too holy of an experience to just tell anyone. Real experiences that people in the Bible had with angels, or seeing the Glory of God were very sacred.

About 35 years ago, I had a very vivid dream in which I encountered Jesus. When I woke up I was aware of God’s holiness and the fear of the Lord was present. I don’t preach or teach based on that dream and don’t promote my ministry with it. It was a dream and a powerful one to me at the time, but it is not what I am called to preach and teach. I am called to preach and teach the Word of God and walk with Jesus daily. Honestly, that dream adds nothing to my life now, because Jesus is real to me because of the presence of the Holy Spirit who abides within my heart. That dream is not something I use to bring people under a spell to place me on a “spiritual pedestal.” In fact people should be free to judge it by the Word of God if I ever shared it and reject it if they found it wasn’t in line with the sound doctrine of scripture.

My wife can tell you I’m not all that – I’m not some spiritual giant because of a dream I had some 35 years ago.

When Peter described the voice that he and other disciples heard in the mount of transfiguration when they saw Jesus’s glory, he writes,  Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.” ~ 1 Peter 1:19

If anyone’s testimony of visions does not amplify the truth of scripture, and point people to the scriptures, they should not be accepted. Those who preach their visions, and make their visions equal to the scriptures in any manner, have embarked on being false teachers in error, and should be rejected.

______________________________

My article on Kat Kerr which Nancy commented on. This article will show you how to hold visions and experiences accountable to the Word of God

https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/2021/01/20/kat-kerr/



DECONSTRUCTING CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM: POST THREE – NEW TESTAMENT EVANGELISM

When Paul confronted fornication within the Corinthian church, he told them to judge the sin in their own house, and to leave the sin of those outside the house of God in the hands of God. Paul writes, It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 NLT

As Christians we are called to live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity to be a testimony of the goodness of God. Our conversation is to be gracious and attractive so that we will have the right response for everyone. ~ See Colossians 4:5-6

Waging political warfare against groups of people outside the Christian faith such as the LGBTQ community is not walking wisely towards them, nor is it gracious and attractive for the cause of Christ. It only further isolates them.

In Titus 3, Paul instructs that we should not slander anyone and we must avoid quarreling and to be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Paul then reminds us that once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other…

But then something happened!

But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. ~ Titus 3:4-7

As Christians we are not called to condemn the world for not living up to our moral standards, and neither are we called to wage political warfare against various groups of people such as the LGBTQ community. Rather we are called to be light to those who are lost in darkness. If you are a Christian, the gay married couple is not your enemy, they are your mission field!

This is understood when we consider the ministry of Jesus.

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. ~ Matthew 9: 9-13

There is a whole lot in this one portion of scripture that upends the entire ideology that many Christians have been indoctrinated with.

First, consider that Jesus called a tax collector (Matthew) to be one of his disciples who would later become an apostle. Secondly, Jesus actually sat and dined with publicans and sinners in Matthew’s house.

How often have you heard of Christians inviting a gay couple from their neighborhood over for a meal? Yet Jesus modeled this when he sat with the publicans and sinners and ate with them. Jesus did not lead them to repentance by isolating them and dehumanizing them as untouchable sinners. No, Jesus led them to repentance, as a physician helping the sick. And he tells those who were appalled by his dining with publicans and sinners, go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.

Unfortunately, many within the church have yet to learn what it means, and if you are indoctrinated with the ideas of christian nationalism and you have made the LGBTQ you political enemy, you certainly don’t know what it means.

In closing, consider the words of Paul who writes the following:

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. ~ 1 Timothy 1:12-16

DECONSTRUCTING CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM: POST TWO

I recently came across an article that was saturated with the ideology of Christian nationalism. While the author does not sound extreme, and I trust he is sincere, the beliefs he espouses are rampant within Christian nationalism. Among them is the belief that the United States has a covenant with God. In his article he compares the United States to Old Testament Israel. He writes the following:

In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses reflects deeply on the kind of character and activities loved by God and the type of behaviors and pursuits scorned by God. The first bring blessings, while the latter lead to reprimands. Like ancient Israel, America is in dire need of a covenant renewal. Obedience and knowledge of His Word are keys to a covenant relationship that equips “kings to reign and rulers to decree justice.”2

The fallacy in his position is comparing America to ancient Israel. The United States is not a covenant nation as Israel was. God personally chose Israel and made covenant with them and through Israel God brought the Messiah, Jesus, into the world.

For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? ~ Deuteronomy 4:7-8

God gave the law to Israel, not to America! And even so Israel could not keep God’s Law. Why then would any Christian think that America could keep God’s law? Israel is the only covenant physical nation that God has ever raised up as his own possession.

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; t
o whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. ~ Romans 9:1-5 

Notice that Paul says concerning Israel: to whom pertains… the giving of the law.

Israel was given the law, and the responsibility of upholding God’s law so that all nations would know that there is a God in Israel, but Israel failed in this commission, because no nation can uphold God’s law, not even Israel. Thus God sent the Messiah, Jesus, to be the Savior of the world.

The church (God’s people in the Messiah) is the body through which the grace of Christ is ministered to a lost and dying world. We are called to be people of reconciliation, bringing healing and hope to the world through the love, mercy, and grace of Christ.  We are not commissioned to enforce the law, which is the agenda of the Christian nationalists, who themselves do not keep the law – this is exactly what Paul deals with among the Jewish nationalists in his day in the early chapters of Romans.

Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. ~ Romans 2:17-24

Rather than dealing with adultery, fornication, and other sins in their own house, christian nationalists would rather make “political emenies” against the likes of the LGBTQ community, because after all, the LGBTQ community are violating “God’s law.” Such hypocrisy is clearly seen by those outside the church and as Paul says, the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you.

In the same article I mentioned above, the the writer also makes the following statement:

When we fail to pass the Christian culture along to the next generation[s], then the nation, as Ephesians 4:14 warns, will be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” [NKJV]

Christian culture is not what needs to be passed on to the next generation. The truth of the gospel needs to be passed on. Christian culture often turns people away from the gospel because Christian culture can often be legalistic, judgmental, religious, cliquish, and hypocritical.  Furthermore, there are so many sects of Christianity, which form of Christian culture do you choose to pass on? People need Jesus not Christian culture.

Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:14 are not for the secular nation in which we live. Paul’s words are for the body of believers who are to grow up in Christ. This is precisely what is not happening if we think the church is called to christian-ize society within the nation though political means.

Christian nationalists want to enforce their culture & morality on the rest of the nation because they have no interest in the real work of evangelism. It’s much easier to oppose gay marriage, rather than show the love of Christ to gay couples.

Being judgmental, condemning, self righteous, and legalistic, requires no prayer, no dependance on the Holy Spirit, and no growth in grace. Walking in the truth of the gospel does.

The gospel reminds us that we are strangers and pilgrims in this world, and our true citizenship is in Heaven. The gospel also tells us that we are ambassadors for Christ, through whom God calls people to be reconciled unto him. These two truths are in no way compatible with the spirit and message behind Christian nationalism which seeks to christian-ize society with their version of God’s law.

The church is not called to Christian-ize society. Rather we are called to shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. And how do we do that? By loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Rather than being enforcers of our version of the law (condemning others by cherry picking verses, and using the Bible to undergird our prejudices), we are to be people of grace. For the person who offends the law in one only point is guilty of all James 2:10). None of us can point the finger because God has concluded that we are all under sin so that he can have mercy on us all – we all need Jesus.

Thus we embrace the love of God! For if we embrace the royal law of love according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, we will do well! ~ James 2:8

Follow the way of love and people will follow you to Jesus.



WOMEN PREACHERS, AND WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

The attitude of some men who claim that women have no place in leadership and that the Bible is the basis for their view, only shows how selective they are when citing the scriptures. Well, let me tell you some things in the Word of God, they won’t tell you.

King Solomon respected the queen of Sheba (the ruler of a nation).

King Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned & went to her own country, she & her servants. ~ 1 Kings 10:13

The queen of Sheba was the head over a nation as a woman, and she was not despised by Solomon. She was honored by Solomon. In the New Testament, Jesus said the queen of Sheba would be a witness on the day of judgment against the unrighteous men of his generation who rejected the gospel.  ~ Luke 11:31

In Acts 8, Philip shared the gospel with, and consequently baptized a man who was a eunuch with great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians (Acts 8:27). Candace was in authority over the men in Ethiopia, and Philip did not teach the eunuch to rebel against her. In fact Philip the evangelist had four daughters who had the gift of prophecy (Acts 21:9).

The first people commissioned to preach the gospel after the resurrection of Jesus were Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. They were commissioned by an angel at the empty tomb (Mt 28:5-7), and they were commissioned by Jesus (Mt 28:10). On the day of Pentecost there were women in the Upper Room who were filled with the Spirit and spoke with tongues that those who heard, heard in their own language as they were declaring the wonderful works of God (Acts 1:14; 2:1).

This fulfilled what had been prophesied by the prophet Joel in the Old Testament.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy… ~ Acts 2:17

Prophecy is a speaking gift of the Spirit, and this prophecy given by the prophet Joel and fulfilled on the day of Pentecosts certifies that women can be gifted to speak on behalf of God. The attitude that scripture has towards women is not the attitude espoused by some men in the institutionalized church.

The leadership of Deborah who was a leader in ancient Israel is recorded for us, and the triumphs of faith by Sara, Rahab, and other unnamed women are praised in Hebrews 11. Two of the apostle Paul’s close companions in ministry were a husband and wife team, Aquila and Priscilla.

In Acts 18:24-26 Aquila and Priscilla came across a Jew named Apollos whom the Bible describes as an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures. However, he only knew the baptism of John (the baptist). After Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and taught him the way of God more perfectly. Apollos became a ministering companion of Paul, after being mentored in part by a woman named Priscilla who taught him the way of God more perfectly.

In his letters to the churches, Paul instructed wives to submit to their own husbands in the Lord. Notice that Paul did not tell the wives to submit to every man. In response Paul instructed the husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave himself for it. Women are called to submit to their own husbands in the Lord, not to be subservient to all men. The idea that men have a superior status than women is an institutionalized ideology and not taught in scripture. In fact there is more commands given to men that are not obeyed than there are given regarding women.

For instance, men are told explicitly to keep silent in the church with regards to speaking  tongues if there is no interpreter present.

If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. ~ 1 Corinthians 14: 27-28.

People see what they want to see, and close their eyes to what they don’t want to see. The reality is, God works through women just as he works through men, and there is nothing that those with the male dominance attitude can do about it.

There are general teachings about how women are to conduct themselves in godliness, but there are far more instructions for men, and I’d dare say most of the male preachers who opposed women preachers, don’t obey the commands of scriptures given to men.

If my wife wants to share the gospel, she is free to do so, because Christ is her spiritual head. I am her domestic head with regards to our family. I am not her spiritual head. Christ is. Christ is the head of the church, where there is no distinction between male and female.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. ~ Galatians 3:28

The husband is to be the leader of the family and the wife is not to usurp his authority in the household, but women can be called by God to share the gospel, prophecy, and teach the Word of God. We have examples of ALL THREE in the New Testament.

There is no scripture that explicitly teaches that women cannot preach or teach God’s word.

Paul’s mention of women being silent in the church has a context, and in that same context men are also instructed as to when they should be silent as well. In fact, Paul tells the whole church at Corinth (men and women), they can all prophesy. In chapter 11 Paul instructs the orderly fashion in which women should pray and prophesy in the church. In the same context, Paul also gives instructions for men.

At the end of the day, we should not forbid anyone from sharing the gospel of Christ. If a woman has received the grace of God, she is free to testify, for the scripture says, “let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”

DECONSTRUCTING CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM: POST ONE

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. ~ John 18:36

Patriotism to one’s physical nation is not a spiritual virtue. There is nothing sinful or wrong with patriotism in general, but it must be secondary to our loyalty to Christ whose Kingdom is not of this world. Our loyalty to Christ must never be draped in patriotism towards our country. Our patriotism must be kept in check by the grace of God. As believers in Christ, our loyalty is first and foremost to Christ, his kingdom, and the spiritual nation in Christ to which we belong as servants of Jesus.

The apostle Peter tells us, ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light… ~ 1 Peter 2:9

The redeemed of the Lord (the holy nation in Christ) are redeemed souls from every nation, kindred, people, tongue

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. ~ Revelation 5:9-10

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. ~ Revelation 7:9-15

I recently listened as a minister made the following argument:

We were commanded to disciple the nations, baptizing them. What is a baptized nation? It is a christian nation. How many of these christian nations are there supposed to be? No set number is given but the simple answer is all of them. All the nations of men are to be brought into submission to Christ, but in the current climate is there any possible way to seek to make America a Christian nation without drawing the charge of christian nationalism? No, there’s no way to do this without drawing that charge. Should we care about this? Not even a little bit. Some will say that it is not possible to make a nation into a Christian nation. Nations don’t have immortal souls and cannot be Christian, to which I would reply, why did Jesus tell us to do it then?

The mistake this minister makes is his interpretation of Jesus’s words from Matthew 28. After his resurrection, Jesus commanded his apostles to go and make disciples of all nations. This is known as the great commission and how we interpret it can lead us into true New Testament evangelism or politically motivated error. When the New Testament is surveyed, it becomes clear that no apostle ever pursued or taught christianizing nations. On the contrary, we see that the Holy Spirit led the church from the law of Moses into the grace of Christ, and the preaching of the gospel spread to all nations. It was not isolated to the people of Israel.

Making disciples of all nations when interpreted according to the whole counsel of the New Testament, is clearly understood that we are called to take the gospel to the whole world. The Kingdom of God is no longer isolated to the Jews as it was under Moses, Now that Christ has died and risen again, people from every nation are invited into the Kingdom of God.

As we follow the teachings of the apostles in the book of Acts and in the epistles, we never see any attempt to christianize a nation’s society. Over and over again, there is a distinction made between the church (the holy spiritual nation of believers in Christ) and those outside the church as expressed by Paul when he says, I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh… ~ Romans 9:1-3

Paul had sorrow in his heart for his fellow Israelites who were outside the grace of Christ. They were his kinsmen, his fellow countrymen, but not part of the same spiritual body to which Paul belonged in Christ. In his letter to the Philippians Paul says the following:

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world… ~ Philippians 2:13-15

As Christians, we belong to God’s holy nation (the spiritual body of believers in Christ), while living in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation that does not know God. Thus we are called to shine as lights in the world while holding forth the word of life. This is how New Testament evangelism works, and when we shine as lights from God’s Kingdom we make disciples of people from every nation, we do not make nations (society) disciples of Christ.

The Judaizers which Paul contended with and refuted in his letter to the Galatians, were Jewish nationalist. They were seeking to proselyte the Gentiles into converted Jews. It wasn’t enough to these extremists that the Gentiles had believed the gospel of Christ and received the Spirit. They wanted the Gentiles to go beyond the cross of Christ and become Jewish proselytes (through circumcision and adherence to the Law). This is the same anti-Christ spirit at work within Christian nationalism in our modern times here in the United States.

For the Christian nationalist, American exceptionalism is synonymous with Biblical Christianity. Their ideals of what America is and their belief in the “infallibility” of the U.S. Constitution is a fallacy. The belief that American exceptionalism is eternally blessed of God is leading many away from the grace of Christ.

In his letter to the Galatians Paul says, For ye have heard of my conduct in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it. And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. ~ Galatians 1:13-14

Paul makes the above statement after telling the Galatians that he marveled that they were so soon being removed from him who had called them to the grace of Christ, unto another gospel.

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. ~ Galatians 1:6-12

Paul is telling the Galatians at the very outset of his letter that those in the Jews religion, in which he once excelled above his peers, are preaching another gospel, for they advocating Jewish identity (via circumcision and adherence to the law) rather than glorying in Christ.

These religious Jews (aka, Judaizers) did not simply want to bring the Gentiles under some sort of “works righteousness” but rather, they were seeking to make Jewish proselytes of the Gentiles. It is this “Jewish supremacy” based on the Jew’s religion that Paul is countering so strongly in Galatians for it was in opposition to the truth of the gospel just as Christian nationalism is in our day.

Because of the cross, there is no privilege of one ethnic group, society, or physical nation above another in the sight of God. In Galatians 5:11 Paul says, “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision (the mark of Jewish identity) why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offense of the cross ceased.

The cross of Christ is an offense to christian nationalism!

_________________________

Post Two: https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/2022/07/19/deconstructing-christian-nationalism-post-two/

CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM: ANOTHER SPIRIT

A truth in scripture that is beginning to resonate in my heart is where Paul mentions another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel. I have always focused more on the words, another Jesus and another gospel, but recently Paul’s mention of another spirit has gotten my attention.

Paul refers to the Corinthians receiving another spirit through false teachers different from the Spirit of God they had received through the preaching of Christ and the gospel which Paul had ministered to them.

The gospel of Christian nationalism promotes another Jesus and those who accept it receive another spirit corrupting their faith. This has happened with many unsuspecting believers. Those under the influence of this false gospel justify hate and embrace lies and violence that their faith in Christ teaches them against. There is no fruit of the Spirit of the Lord in them towards their political opponents. They believe that they are on a crusade for righteousness fighting a flesh and blood enemy, and the end justifies the means.

They have been deceived by another gospel and this dangerous apostasy is happening right before our very eyes here in the United States.