DID JESUS AND PAUL PREACH THE SAME GOSPEL? (PART ONE)

According to Paul’s gospel, salvation is the free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Was Paul’s doctrine of faith in Jesus consistent with, or foreign to the gospel preached by Jesus and the original apostles whom Jesus commissioned with the gospel? Did Jesus, and the original apostles preach salvation through faith?

To begin, consider that Jesus emphasized faith before Paul ever did. Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom, telling people to repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:14-15). And it was Jesus who commissioned his disciples to go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). Jesus declared “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (v.16).

In his gospel, the apostle John highlights the importance of faith in Jesus in relation to salvation. John begins his gospel by declaring that Jesus was the Word of God made flesh, and says the following in his prelude:

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. ~ John 1:10-13

Belief in Jesus, the Son of God, is the central message of John’s gospel who wrote the things he did that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. ~ John 20:31

John makes this statement in view of Thomas’s encounter with Jesus after his resurrection. Thomas, who was one of Jesus’s disciples did not believe the reports of Jesus’s resurrection by those who had claimed he was alive.

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. ~ John 20:24-25

John tells us that eight days later Jesus appeared to the disciples and Thomas was there with them. When Thomas saw Jesus, Jesus said to him, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing (v. 27). 

Next we are told the following:

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:28-31

As I close this first post on this topic, I want you to notice that John says “by believing you might have life through his name.” Faith in Jesus is not merely a get out out hell free card, or a free pass into Heaven. Instead, it is life from the dead. Genuine faith in Jesus changes us, and that change begins because God’s Spirit fills our hearts through our faith in Jesus.

Blessings…

WHY I DID NOT VOTE FOR DONALD TRUMP – A TEXT TO A DEAR FRIEND

I recently sent the following text to a dear friend:

Brother, I just want to let you know that I did not vote for Donald Trump this time around. I voted for Joe Biden. As a result I have been called a baby killer and told I like pedophiles. I have been told I am leading people to hell. 

I saw what Trump was provoking in evangelicals (the cult like loyalty) and turning people away from the purity of the gospel. What happened on Jan 6th at the US Capitol is just the tip of the iceberg of how deep into sin Trumpism is leading people. Evangelicals have lost so much credibility with the world and I am very grieved by this.

I hope this does not change our friendship, but I wanted you to know. It’s not about politics, its about the state of Christianity in our country and the heart of evangelicals.

I have written a number of articles addressing this and I pray that Pastors will have the courage to teach their congregations to live after the Spirit of Christ, being people of grace, compassion, understanding, and patience, rather than people of political strife and hatred towards those who have differing views. 

We will never win the lost through political warfare, only through the gospel of Christ. 

Jesus said, by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, because you have love one for another. If we would truly listen, we would see that God is actually using the lost to tell us that we are not representing his Son. And that is to the church’s shame. 

Thank you. I love you and I hope I haven’t disappointed you.

A REMINDER TO EVANGELICALS – CHRIST CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS

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. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ 1 Timothy 1:15-17

Evangelicals need to be reminded that Christ came into the world to save sinners. Paul refers to this as “a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation…” 

A faithful saying is a timeless message, and an enduring truth. Worthy of all acceptation means it’s it something we must never forget and always be mindful of.  I think this is why Paul says in the next breath, “of whom I am Chief.” Paul did not view himself as the chief of sinners because of a sense of guilt, but rather from a heart of gratitude.

Paul never wanted to forget that he once was lost and God had mercy. Paul then tells Timothy, that his own salvation was a pattern of God’s great salvation to those whom God would save after him. Paul understood the depth of his sinful past, and even so God was merciful, for Christ had come into the world to save sinners. 

In his letter to Titus, Paul tells Titus to remind the people to be examples of godliness with regards to governing authorities, and to speak evil of no man, and not to be brawlers (abusive, fighting, etc.) but rather be gentle, showing meekness to all men (not only to Christians, but all men) because we too were at one time foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving different lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 

Too many evangelicals are sending the wrong message of us vs. them. We are not an exclusive group whom God favors and while hating sinners. God forbid! Instead, we are people who have been saved by the grace of God and at one time we too were lost and we should never forget it. If we do, we forget our calling and our purpose.

Christ came into the world to save sinners and has called us as co-laborers with him so that through us the savor of the knowledge Christ might be known in every place, so that the world can taste and see that the Lord is gracious. 

IN RESPONSE TO MARIO MURILLO

The following is a response to Mario Murillo’s article: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED BETWEEN THE PROPHETS AND THE ELECTION.

Mr. Murillo, in the beginning of your article you give this qualifier, “I did not prophesy a Trump victory, but I supported the true prophets who did.”

In response, it is highly questionable that those who prophesied of Donald Trump’s reelection are true prophets. While I do not know which ones you are specifically referencing that you supported, I do know many of the so-called prophets who predicted Donald Trump’s re-election did not repent but instead doubled down after he lost the election. Many of them continued to give more false prophecies, claiming that Trump would still win the election. At the time of my writing this, there are some who are still claiming Donald Trump will be President (not in 2024, but this time around), and the inauguration of Joe Biden was more than 2 weeks ago.

In your article, you argue that the prophecies were not wrong, but instead “lukewarm” Christians were to blame for Trump not winning. Are lukewarm Christians the reason these prophets kept spewing out false prophecies for weeks after the election was over? What about those who continued to claim that Donald Trump will be President even after the inauguration of Joe Biden? Are lukewarm Christians also responsible for these prophecies being false? Where does it end, and when are those who prophesied falsely (causing much damage to the cause of Christ) going to be held accountable?

Even after the inauguration of President Joe Biden, there are those among evangelical ministers who refuse to acknowledge the presidency of Joe Biden. Such behavior is not a display of spirituality, but rather of pride and disobedience to the Word of God with regards to how we are to conduct ourselves as servants of Christ.

Respectfully, these prophets you are defending did not speak on behalf of God. They followed Donald’s Trump’s lead who months before the election was making assertions that the only way he could lose the election was if it was rigged. The false claim that the election was stolen comes from Trump’s rhetoric, not from revelation from God. The so-called prophets prophesied by inspiration from Donald Trump, and not by inspiration from the Lord.

In your article, you do not place the responsibility for their false prophecies where it belongs. Instead you blame, as I mentioned above, lukewarm Christians who did not vote for Trump or pray for his reelection. Since when did support for Donald Trump become the gold standard for determining whether a Christian is dedicated to the Lord or not? By declaring such things, you are defending false prophecy with false accusations and advancing Christian Nationalism instead of sound doctrine according to the truth of the gospel of Christ. 

The “Trump prophets” were wrong because their prophecies were not from God!

Some of these very same “prophets” boasted against the coronavirus, prophesying false hope as if it would pass over quickly with minimal effects on the United States. Were those false prophecies also the fault of lukewarm Christians?

Did any of the false prophets you are defending warn of extremism and deadly violence which we saw play out at our nation’s Capitol because of Donald Trump’s rhetoric? Did any of them warn against “cult loyalty” to Trump and the detriment it would cause to evangelical credibility? Did any of these Trump prophets ever stand up to speak truth to power and hold Donald Trump accountable? There were many opportunities to do just that. Did any of them warn evangelicals against the political rabbit hole leading to right wing extremism?

A fundamental problem with your defense of these “prophets” is the misrepresentation of what the ministry of a prophet actually is. The prophets in scripture were not fortune tellers going around predicting the future and casting blame on others when they were wrong. The prophets in scripture, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, were preachers of the Word of God who spoke God’s Word with integrity regarding righteousness and truth. Within the context of serving God in righteousness, God would show them what he was going to do, and they would prophesy accordingly, and God fulfilled his words!

In the book of Acts, the apostle Peter said of the words of the prophets that spoke of Christ, “… those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.” ~ Acts 3:18

Nothing Israel or any other nation had done could stop the words of God from coming to pass which he had spoken by the mouth of his prophets. If God says it, he will fulfill it! God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? ~ Numbers 23:19

Be careful you do not fall into the error of defending false prophecy with false teaching about prophecy.

You referenced of 2 Kings 13, with the following explanation:

We read in 2 Kings 13 about a prophetic prediction. Jehoash the king faces the doom of the Syrians and beseeches the prophet Elisha for God’s help. “And Elisha said to him, ‘Take bow and arrows.’ And he took bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Put your hand upon the bow.’ And (Jehoash) put his hand upon it, and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. And (Elisha) said, ‘Open the window to the east.’ And he opened it. Then Elisha said, ‘Shoot.’ And he shot. And (Elisha) said, ‘The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria. For you shall smite the Syrians in Aphek until you have destroyed them.’ Then he said, ‘Take the arrows.’ And he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike on the ground.’ And he struck three times and stopped. And the man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had destroyed it. But now you shall strike Syria down only three times” (2 Kings 13:15-19).First, Elisha prophesies the complete destruction of Syria at Aphek, saying, “For you shall smite the Syrians in Aphek till you have destroyed them.” But the king failed to seize the promise, and rather than striking repeatedly, Jehoash made a half-hearted effort. The promise, though valid was thwarted, and the prophet said, “But now you shall strike Syria down only three times.”

This text has nothing to do with the Trump prophecies falling because of lukewarm Christians. Jehoash, the King of Israel, came to Elijah while on his deathbed. This all happened in the same setting, and Jehoash’s failure to strike the ground 5 or 6 times occurred before his encounter with Syria in which he was told exactly how it would turn out before he engaged in that battle.

Elijah did not prophesy about the King’s encounter with Syria and then after the battle give an excuse as to why his prophecy did not come to pass. This was a dialogue in a single setting and all occurred beforehand. Elijah told the King exactly what would happen before it happened, and then Elijah died in the same setting.

In your interpretation of the scriptural reference above, you say the following:

That is a direct parallel with what happened in America. There were true prophets and false prophets. And, while their messages about Trump seemed the same, there was a stark difference. The true prophets rightly coupled the promise of Trump’s victory with a call for the Church to repent. But the false prophets spoke as if we were entitled to an automatic victory. We also entered a “but now” moment, just as the king did. Elisha said, “But now you shall strike Syria down only three times.” In the same way, now, we got an election win, but not the victory to carry us over the finish line. Just as the prophet ordered the king to “take arrows and strike the ground,” so God ordered the American Church to rally around Trump. The true remnant struck the ground, but many others did not. Some misguided voices diluted the church’s ability to run with the prophetic promise.

In response to your assertion that the true prophets rightly coupled the promise of Trump’s victory with a call for the church to repent. I ask the following: repent of what? Not supporting Donald Trump? Your entire message is steeped in Christian nationalism rather than the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Biblical repentance has nothing to do with supporting a political candidate to win an election so as to enforce your morality on others.

By saying “we got an election win,” you are advancing a lie. Donald Trump lost this election. Your claim that God ordered the American church to rally around Trump is a false statement. There is not a single text in all of the New Testament that supports the ideology that Jesus would order his church to vote for a political figure and those who didn’t would be in disobedience.  I walk with God and I voted for Joe Biden. I received no directive from the Lord ordering me to vote for Donald Trump, and I am sure there are many others who would say the same.

You then claimed “the true remnant struck the ground, but many did not.”

When did Donald Trump and MAGA politics become the plumb line for determining who is the “true remnant” of believers among Christians in the United States? Christ alone is the standard for the people of God and Christ alone is the Captain of our salvation, not Donald Trump!

In your closing, you reiterated saying, Nevertheless, we struck the enemy three times, and we actually did win the election. Trump won by a landslide. But we did not get the full victory that would have come if the fraud had been exposed and overturned. That victory was in God’s original plan, but the American Church’s response was simply too little, too late. We could have taken more authority over demonic power. We needed the lukewarm to repent. That is why we saw the Supreme Court collapse, and why Mike Pence and other Republican leaders chose to save their own political careers, rather than save the nation. On January 6th, a demonic blanket of evil fell over Washington as Antifa, and BLM protestors posing as Trump supporters, along with a few misguided rightwing extremists, allowed the march to walk into a trap, release great tragedy, and handed the enemy an excuse to try and destroy Trump permanently. That plus the lethal combination of ‘woke’ Christians, false prophets, and assorted cowards, combined to weaken the enforcement of the true prophecy that Trump would remain in the White House. Instead, we have a puppet and a Jezebel spirit lurking in the people’s house.

Nevermind the fact that Donald Trump’s contesting of the election failed in court some 60 plus times. In all, there were approximately 86 lawsuits by Trump and others contesting the election results. Nearly all the suits were dismissed or dropped due to lack of evidence. Nevermind the fact that Mike Pence had a constitutional responsibility to oversee the certification of the electoral college votes, and there was nothing he could legally do to give Trump the victory. Never-mind the fact that Trump supporters made videos of themselves breaching the Capitol which they posted on social media sites, and are now being rounded up by the FBI.

Nevermind the truth –  it’s somebody else’s fault, it’s those lukewarm and woke Christians. Could it be the real culprits for Trump’s loss were those who built a shrine to him in their thoughts? Maybe the American evangelical church needs to get their focus on God and on Christ again and become the fragrance of Christ to our fellow Americans rather than trying to bring our country under our rule of Americanized Christianity. Just maybe we need a refresher course in true Biblical evangelism.

EVANGELIZING FOR CHRIST, OR TRUMP?

The word “evangelical” is derived from the concept of evangelism or evangelizing, which is communicating the message of Christ. Every professing evangelical should take seriously their responsibility of evangelism. In the New Testament the apostle Paul instructed Timothy to do the work of an evangelist.

Consider Paul’s instructions to Timothy regarding evangelism:

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. ~ 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Paul places emphasis on the preaching of the Word of God for the purpose of sound doctrine in connection to telling Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. It should be noted that Paul’s words to Timothy are instructions for ministry – “make full proof of thy ministry.”

What then is evangelism for the everyday Christian evangelical? The New Testament is saturated with the answer. We are called to live in a manner that is evangelistic. Consider for example, the words of the apostle Peter:

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish menAs free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. ~ 1 Peter 2:11-18 

As Christians, we are called to produce good works which those who do not know God will see and thus glorify God on the day of visitation. Peter echoes the words of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:16

As Christians we are called to let our light shine through good works. Peter expounds on exactly what that looks like in our everyday lives as Christians. Unfortunately, many evangelicals have either forgotten or just simply don’t know how to live in a manner that is truly pleasing to God in his desire to redeem the lost.

The politicalization of Christian morality seldom if ever, produced godly fruit. Imagine if instead of weaponizing issues such as abortion through political strife evangelicals took a more evangelistic approach.

The lack of sound doctrine among evangelicals is the number one contributor for the lack of true evangelism. This shamefully reflects on the spiritual condition of many evangelical ministers who promote their political views more than sound wholesome words which lead to godliness

One well known minister claimed that Joe Biden as President is the conspiracy and twisted the word of God in such a manner as to encourage people to reject the legitimacy of Biden’s Presidency. This same minister also said, “I will never accept Joe Biden as President.”

How does such rhetoric promote godliness? How is it consistent with the apostle Peter’s instructions referenced above?

Political strife does not espouse the fragrance of Christ. We are called to love our enemies and not to hate them. Yet hate is exactly what many Christians are displaying in their political passion which was gas lighted by the hardhearted rhetoric of Donald Trump.

Less than 3 weeks ago, from the time of the writing of this article, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, chanting death threats and causing chaos and havoc. Some even had the audacity to pray in the Senate Chamber as if God were on their side. If they would have had any sound doctrine in them they would have known the scriptures condemn such behavior. Rioting is a display of the flesh and does not cause the ungodly to glorify God on the day of visitation. 

Rioting is not an expression of godliness and is condemned by the New Testament. In fact Paul’s instructions to those who want to lead in ministry include being blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. – Titus 1:6

Unfortunately too many evangelicals, and evangelical ministers approve of the Capitol riots, or at the very least fail to condemned it. That is utterly shameful!

As christians, we are instructed to walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. ~ Romans 13:13-14

All those verses regarding how we are to put on Christ and live godly is the sound doctrine that we are called to live by, and that is New Testament evangelism. The sad reality is the manner in which many evangelicals displayed their support for Donald Trump revealed what was in their hearts.

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. ~ Mark 7:21-23

These are the kinds of things that Donald Trump stirred up in many of his staunch supporters. And this is why so many who are not Christians marveled at the hypocrisy of evangelicals. Evangelicals who confess to know Jesus displaying political strife is not the fragrance of Christ to the ungodly. When unbelievers see a “Jesus Saves” flag in the midst of rioters committing an insurrection, how should they respond?

It is a sad day when the ungodly need to point out to evangelicals that their behavior is not Christ like. It is a sad day when the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you. ~ Romans 2:24

In view of Paul’s instructions to Timothy to do the work of an evangelist, Paul had previously told Timothy the following:

Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. ~ 1 Timothy 6:1-3 

It is a terrible testimony for evangelicals when “the clarion call” is no longer godliness, holiness, purity, righteousness, coupled with love, mercy, and grace for the lost. Instead, the evangelical clarion call has become political strife, hatred for your political opponents, rebellion, and insurrection.

You did not learn such behavior from Christ!

THE TRUMP INFLUENCE – BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD MANNERS

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people. For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us— not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy … ~ Titus 3:1 – 5

The New Testament instructs us to respect authorities and live in a manner that is considerate and humble towards all people, remembering that we too were once ungodly. When those in authority embrace a positions we may differ with, even on such issues as abortion or being pro LGBTQ, that does not give us the liberty to be hateful, have derogatory attitudes, and slanderous speech.

Certainly we are within our Biblical rights to take a stand against what we perceive to be immorality, but we must do so with kindness, discretion, and purity – not with strife and hate. Such attitudes are never justified and only lead to more ungodliness because the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. ~ James 1:20

Over the past 4 plus years, many evangelical Christians have thrown their political support behind Donald Trump, believing that Trump was serving the righteous purposes of God, even though Trump’s personal character is in conflict with the core values of Biblical Christianity. The end result has been this – Donald Trump has had more influence on evangelicals for evil, than evangelicals have had on Donald Trump for good. That’s the honest truth!

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:33

The negative influence that Donald Trump has had on evangelicals has been so bad that one of the “prophets” who claimed Trump would win re-election refuses to repent of his false prophecies. He recently lashed out at his critics, claiming that God hates them.

As Christians we have the responsibility to judge prophecy and to test the spirits of those who claim to be prophets. When a minister claiming to be a prophet becomes so angry towards those who reject him as a prophet because his prophecies did not prove to be true, that is a tell-tale sign that he is not a prophet sent from God.

In contrast to his retaliation of spewing out a curse by telling people God hates them, consider the words of scripture:

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. ~ 1 Peter 3:9

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. ~ Luke 6:28

Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. ~ Romans 12:14

Do not repay anyone evil for evil… ~ Romans 12:17

See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:13

For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:19-23

It truly is disappointing that so many politically incited ministers are leading other Christians into strife, bitterness, and a failed understanding of the ways of God. Consider this in view of the word of James:

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.  ~ James 3:6-18

American evangelicals truly are in the valley of decision. Are they going to serve our Lord Jesus Christ with godliness, or Donald Trump with bitter envying and strife?

IDENTIFYING FALSE PROPHETS – PART ONE

Many who claim to be prophets lack the basic Biblical qualifications required to hold the office of a deacon, much less that of a prophet.

In 1 Timothy 3, the apostle Paul gives the qualifications needed to hold the office of bishop and deacon. A bishop is an overseer, which would include the responsibilities of a Pastor.

Back in the early 2000’s it became very popular among evangelical ministers to call themselves Bishop. Much like the craze over the titles apostle and prophet in recent years. bishop was the in thing to be called if you wanted to flaunt your spiritual credentials. Evangelicals tend to fawn over titles and are prone to impressive titles to make themselves appear more spiritual than they actually are,

However, true spirituality requires maturity and responsibility and this is precisely what is missing from so many who claim to be prophets. They lack maturity and fail to understand that those who minister the word of God are going to be judged more severely if they lead God’s people into error. Speaking on behalf of God, especially if you are claiming to have a direct message from God, is something that must be done with godly fear and reverence.

If Christians would simply learn the qualifications that Paul set forth for bishops and deacons, they could quickly learn to identify those who aren’t truly prophets, regardless if the predictions of “those prophets” come true or not. Correctly predicting who will win an election doesn’t make a person a prophet, especially when they have a 50/50 chance of being right.

Paul tells Timothy exactly why he gives the qualifications for bishops and deacons – that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth ~ v. 15


Accountability among Christian leaders is extremely important, because the church is the pillar and ground of truth for the Living God, but “if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” ~ Psalm 11:3. The errors of the Trump prophets strike at the very foundation of the witness of the church as the pillar and ground of truth. If our foundation is compromised by hypocrisy and lies, then we lose all credibility as representatives of Christ. Immediately after giving Timothy the qualifications for those in church leadership, Paul tells Timothy the following (keep in mind this is in context with qualifying leaders within the church):

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. ~ 1 Timothy 4:1-3

Now consider the qualifications for a bishop (an overseer) given by Paul in 1 Timothy 3 (I will be citing from the Holman Christin Standard Bible):

This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy— one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.

Notice that among other things an overseer or bishop must be above reproach, self controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, and have a good reputation among those outside the faith. Identifying false prophets wouldn’t take very long if Christians would just simply learn to hold ministers to these biblical standards. The truth is, many who call themselves prophets openly defy these standards

For example, I recently heard one “so-called prophet” angrily retaliate against those who believe he and others are false prophets because they were wrong about Donald Trump’s reelection. Instead of humbly admitting he was wrong, or at the very least expressing an understanding as to why people who disqualified him and others as prophets, he lashed out from his pulpit saying “God hates you!” His rationale was that his critics were bearing false witness, so he used a text from Proverbs 6 to vent his anger and tell them, “God hates you!”

Is this how any leader within Christianity should behave and respond to opposition? Does it in any way conform to the standard of behavior that Paul gives to Timothy for those in Christian leadership? In contrast to his retaliation, consider the instructions given in the New Testament regarding how we should respond when we are criticized, judged, or evil spoken of:

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. ~ 1 Peter 3:9

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. ~ Luke 6:28

Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. ~ Romans 12:14

See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:13

For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:19-23

If this so-called prophet thought he was being wrongfully accused, he should have responded with understanding and grace so that Christ could be glorified through him. People do have a legitimate right to question anyone claiming to have a prophetic word from God when those prophecies fail. In fact they have the responsibility to test the spirits of those claiming to be prophets (1 John 4:1-4).

Now consider Paul’s qualifications for a deacon:

Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons. Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything. Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently. For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Timothy 3:8-13

The qualifications for deacons are almost the same as those of overseers, the obvious difference being an overseer must be an able teacher, because overseers hold more of a ministering the word position. Being gifted to preach, prophesy, speak with tongues, sing, dance, or any other expression of gifts does not qualify anyone to be a prophet or leader in ministry. Those who are leaders within the Church must esteem character and represent the truth of God with godliness and integrity. 

KAT KERR

For those of you who believe Kat Kerr, and her claims of how she sees into the spirit realm so very often, and has supposedly been to Heaven many times and how she claims to have seen God, I want you to consider the following scriptures:

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory… ~ 1 Peter 1:8

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us. ~ 1 John 4:12

If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. ~ 1 John 4:20

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is at the Father’s side, has made Him known. ~ John 1:18

Before we proceed further, I want you to notice a point of emphasis about Jesus in relation to the gospel. Jesus is the one in whom God is revealed to humanity. No one has ever seen God (literally seen his person), only the Son whom God sent can reveal God. This is a fundamental truth with regards to the message of the gospel. Anyone claiming otherwise is promoting another gospel. God is revealed to us in Christ alone!

In the Old Testament, God himself told Moses, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” ~ Exodus 33:20

Now consider Paul’s words:

He alone is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light. No one has ever seen him, nor can anyone see him. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. ~ 1 Timothy 6:16

Earlier in 1 Timothy, Paul refers to God as “invisible” in a doxology of praise – Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ 1 Timothy 1:17

Remember, a fundamental truth about the gospel is that Christ alone can reveal the Father. Thus Paul says of Jesus, “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” ~ Colossians 1:15

Those who in scripture saw the Lord, such as the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 6), did not see God’s face. Instead they saw his majesty and glory, in similar fashion as Moses when God allowed him to see his goodness and glory, but Moses was not allowed to see God’s face. In the New Testament, the apostle John references Isaiah’s experience: “These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.” ~ John 12:41

Now, I want you to think of Kat Kerr’s claims about Heaven where cows drive tractors, where five and six foot rabbits wear aprons, and where a city made of jello can be found. In comparison to this “Alice in Wonderland” and “spiritual Disney World”  description of Heaven, consider the reverence of Moses, Isaiah and the apostle Paul who each had divine encounters with the Holy One.

When God’s presence overshadowed Moses he immediately bowed down to the ground and worshiped (Genesis 34:8). When Isaiah saw the Lord he cried, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” ~ Isaiah 6:5

Now consider Paul’s description:

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:1-4

In contrast to Kat Kerr and others who make claims of regular trips to Heaven, Paul cautiously references an experience 14 years prior, and contextually this was something Paul did not boast in but only mentions it to make his point in refuting the false apostles which were seducing the Corinthians.

In scripture those who had divine encounters with God, or even angels of God, displayed holy reverence. Even the apostle John who walked with Jesus in the flesh and was personally ordained an apostle by Jesus was overcome with in awe (reverence and holy fear) in the presence of the Heavenly glory of Jesus: “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.” ~ Revelation 1:17a

The claims of Kat Kerr and others who make similar claims reduce the glory of the Lord to the commonality of human imagination, but God is not common and can not be crafted by human imagination. God is Holy! God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. ~ Psalm 89:7

You can believe Kat Kerr and others who make outlandish claims of regular trips to Heaven if you so chose, but if you do, you are choosing their words over the holy scriptures. Kat Kerr, and others who make similar claims, have neither seen God, nor had a genuine experience of Heaven. Kat Kerr is appealing to the itching ears of those who are turning away from sound doctrine to fleshly ideas of spiritual realities.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. ~2 Timothy 4:3-4



THEY HAVE NOT HEARD FROM GOD – AN HONEST RESPONSE TO THE TRUMP PROPHETS

I am writing this on the morning of Tuesday, January 12, 2021. There continues to be those within the evangelical community who are prophesying and claiming that God has told them that Donald Trump will still win the election and be President. This simply is not going to happen and they will be proven wrong once again. How many times does a person have to be wrong before they will admit they did not hear from God?

It is especially egregious because they are promoting prophecies that puts God at odds with the foundation of our governing laws on which our freedoms and democracy are established. Under the constitution of the United States Joe Biden was confirmed as the winner of the election. All 50 States have certified their votes and the Congress has certified the votes of the electoral college. It is over!

Their prophecies are not only a display of defiance for our governing laws, but defiance of God’s Holy Word, because their prophecies sanctify Trump as God’s man, even though Donald Trump’s character is at odds with everything scripture reveals about our faith. According to scripture, Christians should reject a man of Trump’s character.

“ Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart…In whose eyes a vile person is contemned…” ~ Psalm 15:1 & 4

Donald Trump is vile person, and those who dwell in God’s presence do not sanctify him as God’s chosen. Even the world sees the evilness of Donald Trump and they marvel at evangelical support of this man. Even after Donald Trump incited a mob of far right extremist to commit domestic terrorism, these so-called prophets continue to double down and claim God is speaking that Trump will continue as President.

At this point they are not simply making a mistake of thinking they have heard from God. At this point they are sinning against God with their false prophecies. They are bearing false witness and undermining the truth of God.

Prophecy within the church is subject to the doctrine of God and is to be judged accordingly.

The written Word of God is authoritative and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. There is nothing in these Trump prophecies that aligns with the sound doctrine of scripture. The truth is, their prophecies are inspired by the words of Donald Trump, and not God.

It is DonaldTrump who was claiming long before the election that it was rigged. It is Donald Trump who has sown division and who has constantly refused to accept the results and who has stirred up many of his followers to turn on their country’s democracy. If DonaldTrump had never made such a claims, and would have accepted the results of the election and agreed early in the process to a peaceful transition of power, many of these prophecies would have never been uttered.

Their prophecies are inspired by Trump, and not God. And that is why they are false and will be proven false, yet again in 8 days from the time of my writing this post.

They have not heard from God!

THE TRUTH BEHIND THE PRO-LIFE MASK

I am a Christian and have been for 40 years. I serve God with righteous convictions and strive to live a life of integrity and truth. My hope and trust is in God’s saving grace and mercy given through his Son Jesus Christ.

I live daily under an awareness that I am accountable to a Holy God, to whom I will one day give an account for my life.

Like most evangelical Christians in the United States, I have, politically, taken a pro life position for most of my adult life. While I continue to hold to the truth that human life is indeed sacred, I no longer process my thoughts about abortion through the same “religious & political” filter that I have in the past.

After my own soul searching, I have reached the conclusion that Christian union with (or loyalty to) right wing politics is not necessarily a good thing for Christian evangelism, nor is it good for promoting the sanctity of human life. This is because many evangelicals have become susceptible to a mob mentality about abortion, and the political right knows this and uses evangelicals to their advantage.

This mob mentality concerning abortion attacks anyone with an opposing view as a baby killer because abortion is said to be murder. Thus, anyone voting for a democrat is disqualified to be called a Christian. There is no reasoning, no dialogue, no in-depth conversation, absolutely nothing. Just a slamming of the gavel because if you don’t think like us, you’re going to hell.

This a bad position for evangelicals to take.

It is a bad position because it demands others to embrace a moral stance without any dialogue or any expression of patience for those who may hold differing opinions. The real truth is most evangelicals could not open the Bible and make a case against abortion if they were put on the spot to do so.

If ending abortions were as important to evangelicals as many claim that it is, there should be more evangelicals searching the scriptures to have a Biblical perspective, along with scientific research so as to be well informed and equipped to engage in discussions about abortion on an intellectual level.

When God gave to Moses the Ten Commandments for the children of Israel to follow, he did not give Moses a moral code with no explanation. Instead, God took the time to explain the commands in detail, and how the commandments were to be interpreted and the consequences applied in different situations in real human life. God did this so that Moses and the leaders of Israel could teach the people how to live by God’s law.

As a result of the politicization of Christianity, along with the influence of unscrupulous ministers who are not expositors of the scriptures, many evangelicals simply don’t know how to interpret and apply God’s truth so as to engage in true biblical evangelism. They never think outside the pro life political box.

If we are being honest we must ask the question, do we really care about the sanctity of human life? Why do we think we have the moral high ground over others if we aren’t equipped, or even willing to be engaged in real compassionate evangelism? When did hate your enemies become an approved behavior for Christians? The real truth is, many evangelicals are masking something just as evil as the murder of unborn children they accuse the pro-choice advocates of – “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” ~ 1 John 3: 15

The real truth is many who are pro-choice are so out of love and respect for the mother and respect of individual privacy. They are not vicious baby killers as they are accused by the very people who should be able to share the truth of the love of Christ with them.

Who is wise and has understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. ~ James 3:13-18