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(454) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY: BIBLIOLATRY (Part 2) – WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE TODAY

In Part 1 of our study on BIBLIOLATRY, we defined its meaning – the worship (idolization) of the Bible.  We looked at how the word bibliolatry is used today showing that in some cases it is used more so as a personal attack on Christians who hold to the Bible’s view of it its Divine origin and authority.  From the verses we looked at, the Bible shows how the study and application of God’s word lead to the conversion of unbelievers (Philip’s use of Scripture in Acts 8:30-31); we are encouraged to know God’s word when we defend our faith (1 Peter 3:15-16); and probably a good passage that sums much of what we can say about the Bible comes from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

But, not to be outdone, today’s Christians face an onslaught of both implicit and explicit influences on their faiths to move in a direction that borrows mystical practices from early church traditions  (Roman Catholic mystics – “saints”) to more not-so-subtle mystical practices from Eastern religions (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism…etc.).  The New Age also includes many of these perspectives. 

The editors at Lighthouse Trails put out a recent commentary on Bibliolatry and how it has become a popular view within the Contemplative movement (i.e. mystical) throughout Christianity today (especially with Evangelicalism).  The quotes in their article from popular authors/speakers/leaders are, in my mind, quite shocking (although I am not surprised anymore).  They reveal not only what these folks believe but also what the particular institution they are a part of is promoting to their students, theological journals, writings and books, future church pastors, leaders..etc.  I took the liberty of highlighting names and underlining portions of the article.

https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=28301

They Call It “Bibliolatry” (Bible Worship) – But Could it Be a Contemplative Smoke Screen?

 

In an article titled “How Evangelicals Became Over-Committed to the Bible and What Can Be Done About It,” Biola University professor J.P. Moreland says that  evangelical Christians are too committed to the Bible. He states:

“In the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ,”  [Moreland] said. “And it has produced a mean-spiritedness among the over-committed that is a grotesque and often ignorant distortion of discipleship unto the Lord Jesus.” The problem, he said, is “the idea that the Bible is the sole source of knowledge of God, morality, and a host of related important items. Accordingly, the Bible is taken to be the sole authority for faith and practice.(source)

While Moreland gives examples such as non-charismatics who steer clear of any and all venues such as “impressions, dreams, visions, prophetic words, words of knowledge and wisdom,” there may be more behind his statements than meets the eye. This idea of “bibliolatry” (the idolizing of the Bible) did not originate with Moreland. Contemplative Brennan Manning (who gets many of his ideas from mystics like Thomas Merton and William Shannon (Silence on Fire), once said this:

I am deeply distressed by what I only can call in our Christian culture the idolatry of the Scriptures. For many Christians, the Bible is not a pointer to God but God himself. In a word–bibliolatry. God cannot be confined within the covers of a leather-bound book. I develop a nasty rash around people who speak as if mere scrutiny of its pages will reveal precisely how God thinks and precisely what God wants.”–Brennan ManningSignature of Jesus, pp. 188-189

Without checking the further inferences of such statements, some may agree with Manning and Moreland solely on the idea that we should not worship a leather-bound book but rather the One of whom the book is about. But few “over-committed” Bible-believing Christians would argue with that. Christians who believe the Bible is the actual inspired word of God know that the Bible is not God Himself, but it is the Jesus Christ proclaimed in that Bible who is to be worshiped. But they also know that within the pages of the Bible are the holy words, ideas, and truths of God. So for Moreland and Manning to suggest that these types of Christians don’t really worship God but rather pages in a book is a misrepresentation of Bible-believing Christians.

Scot McKnight is another who uses this term, bibliolatry. In his book A Community Called Atonement, McKnight says, “I begin with the rubble called bibliolatry, the tendency for some Christians to ascribe too much to the Bible” (p. 143).  Emerging spirituality figure Walter Brueggemann uses the term in his book Theology of the Old Testament (p. 574).

There may be a logical reason why these men condemn those who adhere to the Bible too stronglyAll have something in common – they all promote CONTEMPLATIVE spirituality. And, as we have shown time and again, those who embrace the  contemplative spiritual outlook, often shift their focus from the moral (doctrine) to the MYSTICAL as HENRI NOUWEN suggested in his book In the Name of Jesus:

Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love . . .  For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required. (p. 32)

In Moreland’s book, The Lost Virtue of Happiness, he talks about rediscovering important spiritual principles that have been lost. In Faith Undone, Roger Oakland cites this book in explaining the problem of mysticism:

Two of the spiritual disciplines . . .  are “SOLITUDE and SILENCE” (p. 51). The book says that these two disciplines are “absolutely fundamental to the Christian life” (p. 51). . . .  Moreland and Issler [co-author] state:

In our experience, Catholic retreat centers [bastions of mysticism] are usually ideal for solitude retreats . . . We also recommend that you bring photos of your loved ones and a picture of Jesus . . .  Or gaze at a statue of Jesus. Or let some pleasant thought, feeling, or memory run through your mind over and over again (pp. 54-55)….

Moreland and Issler provide tips for developing a prayer life. Here are some of the recommendations they make:

  • [W]e recommend that you begin by saying the Jesus Prayer about three hundred times a day (p. 90).

 

  • When you first awaken, say the Jesus Prayer twenty to thirty times. As you do, something will begin to happen to you. God will begin to slowly begin to occupy the center of your attention (p. 92).

 

  • Repetitive use of the Jesus Prayer while doing more focused things allows God to be on the boundaries of your mind and forms the habit of being gently in contact with him all day long (p. 93).

Moreland and Issler try to present what they consider a scriptural case that repetitive prayers are OK with God. But they never do it! They say the Jesus Prayer is derived from Luke 18:38 where the blind man cries out, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me,”(p.90) but nowhere in that section of the Bible (or any other section for that matter) does it instruct people to repeat a rendition of Luke 18:38 over and over. (from Faith Undone, pp. 117-119)

To be sure, the worship of any leather-bound book would be unscriptural and idolatrous, but we have never known or heard of a single case where a Christian advocates or practices Bible worship. As far as that goes, we have known countless Christians who respect (revere) the Bible as being the inspired Word of God; now if that were a point deserving criticism and condemnation, then we would necessarily need to place the apostle Paul under such scrutiny for having said, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). Was Paul a Bible worshiper? We know he was not. We also know that he never instructed anyone to repeat words or phrases from the Bible over and over for the purpose of achieving a “silence” (i.e., a mind-altering state). Such a practice is not taught anywhere in Scripture; hence, we propose that it is just such a practice that is a misuse of Scripture. Is it mere coincidence that in virtually every case where someone uses the “bibliolatry” argument, that person also promotes contemplative prayer, a practice that cannot be supported through Scripture? And by downplaying scriptural authority, cannot the contemplative viewpoint be easier to promote within Christianity?

One last case in point about “bibliolatry” comes from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho  (NNU) where Dr. Jay McDaniel was invited to speak. McDaniel is a self-proclaimed “Christian” Buddhist sympathizer. When asked by a student at the lecture whether he believed that Jesus was “the way, the truth, and the life,” McDaniel stated that if Jesus had meant to say that He himself was the way, the truth, and the life, it would have been egocentric and arrogant of Jesus – He only meant to point people in the right direction – letting go of ego and grasping love. McDaniel stated also that Buddhist mindfulness (eastern meditation) is just as truth filled  as doctrine and theology. He said there was an overemphasis in the church on doctrine calling it bibliolatry (idol worship of the Bible). (source

There is an attack on the Word of God. That’s no new thing–secular humanists, New Agers, and philosophers have attacked the Bible for centuries. BUT this attack of which we speak comes from WITHIN the ranks of Christianity out of the halls of highly respected universities and off the presses of successful Christian publishers, and it is being carried forth by those who gain access into the hearts of men and women through their use of contemplative spirituality.

What can we make of this idea of “bibliolatry”? The following statement offers some valid insight regarding this idea that Christians put too much emphasis on the Bible:

Today some are saying that the Bible is a lesser revelation than the Son. But if we do not make much of the Bible, then we cannot know much of the Son, for our only source of information about the Son (and hence about the Father) is through the Bible. Furthermore, if the Bible is not to be trusted,  then again, we cannot know truth about the Son . . . if the Bible is not completely true, we end up with either misinformation or subjective evaluation. Jesus Himself asserted that the Bible revealed Him (Luke 24:27, 44-45, John 5:39). (A Survey of Christian Doctrine, Ryrie, p. 17)

In summary, we find it rather odd that in a time in history when many churches are hardly even opening the Bible, that Bible-believing Christians would be accused of focusing  too much on the Bible. Our continual plea to all Christians is to be diligent in their study of the Scriptures and to be as the Bereans who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). We should also note that Jesus never corrected people for studying the Scriptures but rather for their lack of understanding them. Paul nailed it on the head when he said, “Study to show thyself approved unto God . . . rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Could this accusation of “bibliolatry” be nothing more than a smoke screen to further the contemplative agenda?

Additional information related to this article can be found at https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=28301

 

=> Instead of diving into mystical practices, if you desire to know God and truly understand Him along with a desire for God to talk to YOU – open up your Bible and pray for His Holy Spirit for an understanding of His word (2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

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(453) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY – BIBLIOLATRY

Question: “What is bibliolatry?”

https://www.gotquestions.org/bibliolatry.html

Answer: The term bibliolatry comes from combining the Greek words for Bible and worship. In a Christian context, simply stated, bibliolatry is the worship of the Bible. Typically, the accusation of bibliolatry is used as an attack on those who hold to the inerrancy, infallibility, and supremacy of Scripture. It is often employed as an inflammatory and derogatory attack on believers who hold to “sola scriptura” and/or a literal interpretation of the Bible.photo-1470549638415-0a0755be0619_opt

It is important to note that the charge of bibliolatry does not claim some Christians literally bow down before a Bible and worship it, as if it were an idol. While there may be some strange cult out there that literally worships the Bible, that is not what bibliolatry is referring to. The accusation of bibliolatry is that some Christians elevate the Bible to the point that it is equal with God, or to the point that studying the Bible is more important than developing a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Is the charge of bibliolatry accurate?

First, it is important to understand what the Bible says about itself. Second Timothy 3:16-17 declares, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” So, if the Bible is “God-breathed,” and “God does not lie” (Titus 1:2), then every word in the Bible must be true. Believing in an inerrant, infallible, and authoritative Bible is not bibliolatry. Rather, it is simply believing what the Bible says about itself. Further, believing what the Bible says about itself is in fact worshipping the God who breathed out His Word. Only a perfect, infallible, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God could create written revelation that is itself perfect and infallible.

Do some believers emphasize the Bible to the point that other things of importance—such as tradition, nature, reason, and experience—are neglected? Yes. However, the Bible, based on what it says about itself, must be a higher authority than any of these and must, in fact, be the authority against which they are judged. God would never contradict Himself by revealing something in nature, reason, or experience that disagrees with what He revealed in His Word. The Bible is not to be worshipped, but the God of the Bible is to be worshipped. To ignore what God has revealed about Himself in His Word and instead elevate the subjective “revelations” of nature, reason, and experience is idolatry (Romans 1:18-25).

The Bible is not God. The Bible does not contain all of God’s knowledge. While the Bible gives principles that apply to every situation, it does not explicitly give us all the information we need to daily live our lives. Part of the problem is that some Christians take the saying “the Bible says it, that settles it, I believe it” to extremes. While the statement is absolutely true and should reflect how we view the Bible, God’s Word does not instruct us to abandon our brains or ignore our experiences. True reason is completely compatible with Scripture. Experience can help us in our understanding of Scripture. While the Bible must be our authority, we must also use it to confirm and verify the conclusions we reach with our God-given reason and God-directed experience (1 Peter 3:15). Believing what the Bible says about itself is not bibliolatry. Rather, accepting God’s Word for what it claims to be is in fact worshipping the God who breathed it.

(452) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY – Moody Bible Institute – Leaning Towards Heresy?

Another good article at MidWest Christian Outreach about how easy and subtle it is to “lean towards heresy”.  Again, how easy and subtle aberrant theology flows into churches that may be generally very conservative in their approach to Scripture.  No church is immune to this effect – even Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:28-31

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. (Acts 20:28-31)

This article lays out an example happening today in a well-known Bible institution – http://midwestoutreach.org/2018/04/25/leaning-toward-heresy/

 

Leaning Toward Heresy

                  Few realize how subtly doctrinal drift occurs. It often isn’t a jump from sound teaching and belief in the essentials of the faith to all out denial but is a slight lean from one to the other. It comes with a slight change in wording or application of a new definition which makes an aberrant view sound acceptableJulie Roys  publicly raised this issue regarding Moody Bible Institute last month after spending a great deal of time trying to dialogue with the leadership at MBI. One of the issues was inerrancy. In her article, Moody Bible Institute Takes Bold Step to Affirm Biblical Inerrancy we see the impact of redefining terms:

Yet as I reported last month, two Moody professors last year admitted in a Bible/Theology Division meeting that while they affirmed Moody’s doctrinal statement, they rejected the Chicago Statement, as well as what’s known as a “correspondence view of truth.”

It was a slight lean but was sufficient to demonstrate under scrutiny that they didn’t actually affirm Moody’s doctrinal statement after all. Would anyone have caught the subtle shift had Julie not brought it to public attention? It’s hard telling because although the professors seemingly affirmed the statement no one thought to ask them how they defined “truth.” This is not a new problem but has been with us since the beginning of the church, and truth be told, we see it throughout the Old Testament as well. Much of the New Testament was written to correct false teaching and lay down clear definitions of belief, including Early Church Creeds such as 1 Corinthians 15:3-7. The Church Councils formulated Creeds to clarify the essentials of the faith which were being subtly corrupted by false teachers. As we look at the creeds, they went from the simple statements of the Nicene Creed (325) to longer more detailed statements of the First Council of Constantinople (381, see comparison). By the time we get to the Athanasian Creed it is longer, more detailed and includes definitions which would prevent false teachers from co-opting the language by redefinition. Although it addresses the humanity of Christ, the bulk of the Athanasian Creed focuses on the deity of Christ, the nature of God (One True God) and the relation of the three persons (Trinity) who share that nature. Reviewing this issue in light of recent revelations and discussions, Julie Roys points out:

Moody also announced that it is revising its doctrinal statement regarding the Trinity. The revision adds that God is “three co-equal Persons” and that “these divine Persons, together possessing the same eternal perfections, work inseparably and harmoniously in creating, sustaining and redeeming the world.”

The nuances of trinitarian language often makes a big difference in what is being communicated, so someone who is orthodox in their view may unwittingly use heretical terminology. For example, in 2011 Mark Hensch did a fine article on Evangelicals Take Stand on Trinity with the exception of the statement:

For Spencer and other signers like him, taking stock of the Trinity requires maintaining the Bible’s emphasis on one god and three manifestations of that God. (emphasis ours)

Spencer and the other signers would never use the terms “three manifestations,” as that is the language of an Early Church heresy called modalism. Many point out that modalism is perhaps the most common theological error on the nature of God. It is the idea that God one person Who “manifested” Himself as Father in creation, Son in redemption and Holy Spirit in sanctification – but that they are not co-equal, co-eternal, co-powerful, etc. Did Mark Hensch intentionally embrace modalism by using this term? Probably not. The definition sounded close to the truth but leaned into heresy.

Many churches today opt for “user friendlysermons, and do not teach the essentials of the faith on a regular basis. As a result, most who attend such a church are prey for cults and false teachers who use similar terms with different definitions to pull the unwary away from the faith.

Adding to this problem, some organizations which represent themselves as Christian media promote and sell false teaching online. A book such as Joe Kovacs’ Shocked by the Bible and The Divine Secret, promoted and sold by WorldNetDaily, is little more than an updated version of the false teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong who denied the deity of Christ and doctrine of the Trinity – and promulgated many other false teachings. Even though this has been brought to the attention of the leadership of WorldNetDaily privately and publicly, it has fallen on deaf ears. Unlike Moody, they appear to be uncorrectable.

Again, none of this is new and the Apostle Paul was so concerned about the flood of false doctrine that would flood into the church after his death, he sent for the Ephesian elders and gave them a mandate which still applies to church leadership today:

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. (Acts 20:28-31)

The Apostle visited this theme in Romans 16:7; Ephesians 4:14; 1 Timothy 1:3 & 10, 4:6, 6:3; Titus 1:9, 2:1 and 2:10. Discernment and watchfulness is vital to prevent the flock from subtly leaning or drifting away “from the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).Ω

(This first appeared in the Christian Post)

Don and Joy Signature 2

© 2018, Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. All rights reserved. Excerpts and links may be used if full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.

 

http://midwestoutreach.org/2018/04/25/leaning-toward-heresy/

(447) Christ’s Resurrection – Four Accounts, One Reality – EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY

As we approach Easter, a good article about Christ’s resurrection:

Christ’s Resurrection—Four Accounts, One Reality

Biblical Authority

by Tim Chaffey on April 5, 2015
Christ’s Resurrection led to a confusing day, as His followers raced around the citySkeptics point to alleged contradictions to prove Scripture wrongCan the four Gospels be reconciled?

The Gospels can’t keep their stories straightHow many women went to the tomb and when did they leaveHow many angels visited the tombDid Jesus appear to all the women or just Mary Magdalene?

Actual contradictions in the Resurrection reports would raise serious concerns for ChristianityIf these discrepancies are legitimate, they would be a strike against the preservation of Scripture, but errors would not prove anything against the truth of the Lord’s Resurrection or the infallible original recordsNevertheless, Christians need not worryThese accounts can be reconciled. Indeed, when we put all the pieces together, the wonder of the Resurrection shines out in even greater glory.

Early Morning

When did the women go to the tomb, and how many went?

The Gospels refer to different times and name different women who arrived at the tombMatthew states that “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” came to the tomb as it “began to dawn” (Matthew 28:1)Mark adds Salome to the group and claims that they came “very early in the morning” (Mark 16:1–2)Luke agrees that it was “very early in the morning” and names “Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women” as those who came to the tomb (Luke 24:124:10)John wrote that “Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark” (John 20:1).

WHEN WE PUT ALL THE PIECES TOGETHER, THE WONDER OF THE RESURRECTION SHINES OUT IN EVEN GREATER GLORY.

Regarding the timing of the women’s trip, the sticky point is John’s claim that they went to the tomb “while it was still dark” (John 20:1)Was it very early in the morning at dawn, or was it still darkOne plausible solution is that the phrases used in the Gospels all refer to the same general timeMuch of the sky is still dark when the day begins to dawn very early in the morning.

Perhaps a better solution is that John may have described when the women initially left for the tomb, while the other Gospels described when the women arrivedIf they lodged in Bethany, as they had done earlier in the week, then the women would need to travel about two miles to reach the burial site (John 11:18), plenty of time for the sun to rise.

Resolving the differences in the number of women listed is straightforward. At least five women went to the tomb, since Luke names three of them and then says “other women” went too (at least two)Notice that Matthew does not say that only two women were thereMark does not say only three women were thereThey simply focus on the women they nameAlthough John names only Mary Magdalene, he is clearly aware that she was not aloneReporting to Peter and John, she said, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him” (John 20:2, italics added).

Was the tomb already open, and how many angels appeared?

Mark 16:4Luke 24:2, and John 20:1 state outright that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb prior to the women’s arrivalMatthew’s wording has caused some consternationAfter writing about the women going to the tomb he writes, “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it” (Matthew 28:2)Although this description follows his mention of the women heading to the tomb, Matthew does not claim that this event occurred as the women arrived. Instead, he provides helpful details about what had already happened.

The angelic appearances have also drawn criticismWas there one angel at the tomb, as described in Matthew 28:2–7 and Mark 16:5–7, or two angels, as stated in Luke 24:4–7 and John 20:12This minor difficulty is easily explainedThere were two angelsNeither Matthew nor Mark claims that only one angel was at the tombThe complete number does not appear in their accountsIt is not a problem that Mark and Luke call the angels “men,” since angels frequently appeared in the form of men and were identified as such elsewhere (Genesis 18:1–2Daniel 9:21).

Order of Appearances

The alleged contradictions already mentioned are relatively easy to reconcile, but resolving the diverse accounts given in the four Gospels and 1 Corinthians 15:5–8 concerning the post-Resurrection appearances is more difficultNone of these accounts mentions all of the Lord’s appearances, so the information must be pieced together from all five sources.

When and where did each woman see Jesus?

This is the most complex issue concerning the reporting of appearances.1 Matthew asserts that the women visited the tomb and saw an angelWhile they were on the way to tell the disciples, Jesus appeared to themThere would be no difficulty here except that John has Mary Magdalene individually returning from the tomb to report to Peter and John that the body had been taken awayOnly after her return to the tomb with the two disciples is she granted the privilege of being the first to see the risen SaviorSo how can both accounts of women seeing Jesus be accurate? Many Gospel harmonies have been written, and there are a handful of plausible solutionsI believe the following scenario makes the best sense of the available data (see map).

The Events on Resurrection Day

  • 1
 

Mary Magdalene and the other women travel from Bethany to Jesus’ tomb.

As mentioned above, at least five women set out for the tomb in the early morning, probably from BethanyAs they neared the tomb, they noticed the stone had been removedApparently, Mary Magdalene left the other women to alert Peter and JohnBased on her comment about not knowing the location of the Lord’s body, it seems that she was not among the women who encountered the angels at the tomb.

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Meanwhile, the other women entered the tomb and encountered the angelsOne of the angels proclaimed that the Lord had risen, and then “the women went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word” (Matthew 28:8–9).

So how could Jesus first appear to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9) and then to the other womenAs they headed for the tomb, why didn’t Mary, Peter, and John cross paths with the other women who were going to tell the disciples?

The key to resolving these dilemmas is to understand that Peter and John were probably not staying in the same place as the other disciplesRemember, although all the disciples “forsook Him and fled” at His arrest (Matthew 26:56), Peter and John were brave enough to enter Jerusalem to find out what would happen to Jesus (John 18:15)Of course, Peter fled in shame at the rooster’s crow (Matthew 26:75), but John was present at the Cross (John 19:26). At some point, John and Peter met up, and they were likely staying together in Jerusalem when Mary Magdalene came to the door on Sunday morning.

Where were the other disciples, then? We cannot be certain, but they may well have stayed in BethanyAfter all, this is where Jesus often stayed on trips to Jerusalem, and Bethany was on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives (Mark 11:1), the location of Christ’s arrest.

If these suppositions are correct, then all of the difficulties are resolved nicelyMary Magdalene first left the tomb and entered nearby Jerusalem to get Peter and JohnDuring that time, the other women encountered the angels and then left the tomb to set out on the two-mile trip to Bethany to tell the other disciplesThey may have stopped along the way to tell Clopas and an unnamed disciple about the morning’s events (Luke 24:22–24), or they may have split up so that a couple of them could inform these menIn all likelihood, “the wife of Clopas” was among these women (John 19:25).

Meanwhile, Peter, John, and Mary raced to the tombThe men entered the tomb, saw the grave clothes, and then leftMary stayed behind, weeping outside the tombWhen she looked into the tomb, she saw two angels (John 20:12), and after explaining her grief to them, she turned around and saw the Savior (John 20:16)After Mary departed to tell Peter and John about seeing the risen Lord, Jesus appeared to the other women who were on their way to Bethany (Matthew 28:9).

Three More Appearances on Sunday

The remaining appearances of Christ on that day are much easier to follow. Luke wrote about Clopas and a companion meeting the Lord while they walked from Jerusalem to EmmausThey did not recognize Him until He broke bread with them (Luke 24:30–31).

They immediately returned to Jerusalem to share the good news with the disciples, who were gathered together without Thomas (John 20:19–24). Upon their arrival, they were told by the disciples that Jesus had appeared to Simon Peter (Luke 24:34; see also 1 Corinthians 15:5)It is unclear whether Peter saw Jesus before the two disciples saw Him on the road to Emmaus.

As they shared exciting details about the day’s events, Jesus appeared to the whole groupAt first they were frightened, but the Lord showed them His scars and then ate some broiled fish and honeycomb (Luke 24:40–43).

Remaining Appearances

Jesus continued to appear to people over a forty-day period (Acts 1:3)Eight days after His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples again, and this time Thomas was present (John 20:24–29).

Over the next few weeks Jesus appeared to seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1–2)While still in Galilee, the disciples also saw Jesus on a hillside (Matthew 28:16–17)This may have been the event Paul mentioned where Jesus appeared to over 500 people at once (1 Corinthians 15:6)After that, Jesus was seen by His half-brother James, the son of Mary and Joseph (1 Corinthians 15:7).

The disciples returned to Jerusalem, where Jesus appeared to them a final timeHe delivered the Great Commission, led them out to Bethany at the Mount of Olives, and ascended into heaven (Luke 24:50–51Acts 1:9–11).2

Conclusion

Luke declared that after Jesus suffered and died on the Cross, He showed Himself alive “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3)Skeptics will surely continue to question Scripture and neglect reasonable solutions to the dilemmas they propose…….

 

=> The remaining portion of this article is found at https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/resurrection/christs-resurrection-four-accounts-one-reality/

(480) POSTEVANGELICAL, POSTCONSERVATIVE, POSTMODERNISM (Part 1) – Emerging Trends in the Church Today

CERTAINTY:  A PLACE TO STAND (Part 1)

(1) INTRODUCTION

A very useful book by Dr. Grant Richison with a Forward by Dr. Norm Geisler.

Richison, G. C. (2010). Certainty, a Place to Stand: Critique of the Emergent Church of Postevangelicals (pp. 19–20). Grant C. Richison. 

The book describes the rampant uncertainty in the church today.  So much so that some of the most popular Christian teachers and leaders actually have their own brand of theology that teaches uncertainty as true doctrine.

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Dr. Geisler states that “In a day when the evangelical trumpet is making an uncertain sound, every Christian leader needs to read this book. It shows the need to be anchored to the Rock in our efforts to be geared to the times. At no time in our generation has there been a greater need and a clearer call to return to a surer foundation than that which is laid for our faith.”

The book is a critique of the EMERGENT CHURCH of POSTEVANGELICALS.

Richison also promotes a few other books that will give the reader a view of the POSTCONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT for what it really is:

  1. The Evangelical Left by Millard J. Erickson (Baker Books, 1997)
  2. Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church by D.A. Carson (Zondervan, 2005)
  3. The Courage to be Protestant by David Wells (Eerdmans, 2008)
  4. Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times edited by Millard J. Erickson, Paul Kjoss Helseth and Justin Taylor (Crossway Books, 2004) – critiques Renewing the Center by Stanley Grenz.
  5. The Emerging Church, Undefining Christianity by Bob DeWaay (Bethany Press International, 2009)
  6. Evangelicals Engaging Emergent: A Discussion of the Emergent Church Movement (B & H Academic, 2009) is a balanced book critiquing the emergent church movement.
  7. Why We’re Not Emergent (by Two Guys Who Should Be), by Kevin DeYoung and Tel Kluck (Moody, 2009).

 

(2) DEFINITIONS:  

It important to familiarize yourself with important terms that today are part of the common Christian vernacular.  Throw in several words originating from Eastern mystical religions, your grasp of the contemporary language scene would be complete. 

First, Richison differentiates postmodernism between philosophical and functional:  

Philosophical postmodernism is a belief in a system; the function of postmodernity manifests itself in how people live their normal lives but without a clear understanding of the philosophy. Philosophical postmodernism gives no direct extrapolation to functional postmodernism; we find functional postmodernism in television, movies, and business. Not all postmodernity (the function) comes from postmodernism (the philosophy)

Certainty is lack of doubt about some state of affairs. Certainty admits degrees. Evangelicals do not affirm certainty about all things exhaustively. A proposition is certain if no other proposition has greater warrant than it does.

Absolute certainty is lack of any doubt. The Bible presents its thoughts with certainty, not tentatively (Luke 1:4; Acts 1:3). God’s Word is the criterion for truth. Certainty comes by an act of God through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:4–16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5). Absolute certainty is the supernatural foundation for knowledge.

Postmodernism is a catch-all term that covers many ideas. At its base, postmodernism is belief in plurality: no one can come to ultimate truth because people come to truth from their own perspective.

Postconservatism is belief in postmodernism by evangelicals who are sometimes called “postevangelicals.” This is the belief system behind those in the emergent church who want to soft pedal truth.4

Emerging church is a broad term describing churches that seek to contextualize the gospel by method to postmodern philosophy. Not all emergent churches are postconservative in philosophy but are what we call “doctrine-friendly” or “truth-friendly” churches.

Emergent church is a particular term for an official network of contextualizers committed to postmodern Christianity. All their thinking is emerging; they do not claim certainty of truth. They deconstruct previous evangelical thinking about certainty and other essential doctrines of Scripture. They emphasize narrative theology rather than propositional truth. Presentation of Christianity is by missional living rather than by statements of the gospel. They presume that historic evangelicalism is non-authentic, not involved with non-Christians, obsessed with doctrine, and not operating by Christocentric living.5 This group is not “truth-friendly.”

Coherent truth is the basis of the emergent approach to reality, wherein facts and objective truth are not necessary and only a general coherence of an idea is needed.

Correspondent truth is the view that truth must correspond to facts, objectivity, and reality.

Missional is the term used for attempting to incarnate the gospel with personal and community testimony rather than presenting the gospel through propositions. Postconservatives use the word “missional” in the sense of “improving society now.” It is a way to correct society’s evils.

Proposition is that which corresponds to truth; it is the meaning of a declarative sentence. It is not an encounter, event, or personal experience. Biblical propositional assertions correspond to facts and reality.

Spiritual formation is not what evangelicals call sanctification, but it is rather the means whereby emergents use disciplines such as mysticism to make them feel closer to God. This is a non-biblical, extra-biblical idea. Many evangelicals use this term for sanctification and confuse terminology in doing so.

Foundationalism is an approach to reality that builds beliefs on givens. In the case of the Word of God, Christians build their beliefs on givens in the Bible. Emergents want to “rethink” everything. They do not operate on givens. It is important to distinguish the foundationalism of the Enlightenment from the foundationalism of the Bible. Biblical foundationalism does not rest on rationalism or empiricism but on the law of non-contradiction, the validity of the law of causality, and the reliability of sense perception. Without foundationalism we cannot establish truth by categories. Without the law of non-contradiction, it would be impossible to communicate adequately with others. Certainty does not require total understanding to know something for sure. To reject foundationalism is to reject rationality.

=> Just taking some time to understand what these terms mean and how they are used today in the church and by Christians in general is an important first step to understanding the direction the church is heading.  

In Part 2, we will go into detail in how widespread these terms are being used by Christians who don’t have clue to their origins and how they are used today.

 

 

(453)EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY: DEADLY DOCTRINES

DEADLY DOCTRINES IN YOUR CHURCH TODAY

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Image taken from http://www.challies.com/articles/how-jesus-called-out-false-teachers-and-deadly-doctrine

Deadly doctrines in your church today.  Tim Challies hits the target with his recent commentary on False Teachers and Deadly Doctrines.  He includes several blunt assessments of how Christians and the Church deal with these issues and the attitudes that come from them.  He looks at how JESUS dealt with false teaching with religious authorities as well as how that message was communicated to the crowds.  Very interesting!

How Jesus Called Out False Teachers and Deadly Doctrine

March 13, 2017 

It’s a good time to be a false teacher and to espouse deadly doctrine. It seems that today’s most brazen heretic will be granted a hearing and, in all likelihood, a book deal. Novelty is appealing, orthodoxy boring. It’s the ones who sound the warning and issue the challenge that bear the risk—the risk of being labelledhaters.” There’s more patience for those who smilingly subvert the truth than for those who boldly defend it. Conviction is a sign of arrogance, while humility is expressed in uncertainty. Love, it seems, requires us to bear patiently with any amount of error. And this kind of love, we are told, is modeled after Jesus. Jesus did not judge, Jesus welcomed all opinions, Jesus would have accepted different kinds of teachings—so long as those teachings contained love and hints of truth.

A quick scan of the gospels, however, shows that this impression is a far cry from the Jesus of the Bible. It shows that society has reimagined Jesus through the relativism of our day. When Jesus interacted with people who were seeking, wandering, or misguided, he was invariably compassionate. He answered them with patience and gentleness. But when Jesus engaged with religious hypocrites and false teachers, he responded with righteous fury and bold conviction.

Today, those who love the truth must learn how to show such bold conviction through the old discipline of polemicsthe practice of engaging in public debate and dispute. The purpose of polemics is not to score points or flex theological muscle, but to rebuke peddlers of error and to express concern for those caught up in their lies. Like the ancient heretics of Crete, today’s false teachers “must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach” (Titus 1:11). As we do this well, we imitate Jesus Christ who was a skilled polemicist.

We see an example of Jesus’ polemics in Matthew 23, where Jesus speaks to the crowd about the scribes and Pharisees. What unfolds in this scene is not private pleading but public censure. Jesus publicly addresses the deadly doctrine of these religious leaders for the benefit of their victims and potential victims. He holds nothing back. He does not make time to commend them for the things they do well. He does not temper his speech to give them the benefit of the doubt. Rather, he SPECIFIES their doctrinal error and unrighteousness actions, he LABELS them with STRONG but appropriate language, he WARNS of the consequences of their error, and he CALLS his listeners to REJECT the false teachers and their deadly doctrine.

Jesus Calls Out Their Doctrinal Error
These religious authorities were masking error as truth. Jesus confronts their error by telling the crowd, “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger” (Matthew 23:4). In the name of God, these leaders advocate a works-based system of righteousness that ignores and denies God’s free grace. Jesus gives them an example of their false teaching: “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath’” (Matthew 23:15). They have reimagined the faith so they can maintain a religious veneer even as they blatantly break oaths. They adapt their beliefs so they can remain righteous according to the letter of the law even as they violate its spirit. Jesus identifies this as false doctrine and addresses it head-on.

When we respond to error by giving it the benefit of the doubt, we come close to committing the same error as false teachers: masking error as the truth. Like Jesus, we ought to LOVE TRUTH and LOVE PEOPLE enough to CALL OUT ERROR for what it is.

Jesus Calls Out Their Unrighteous Actions
The religious authorities teach error as truth and, in consequence, act hypocritically. As Jesus warns the crowd of the doctrinal error of these leaders, he tells also of their ungodly actions. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others” (Matthew 23:23). And again, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean” (Matthew 23:25-26). Jesus lays bare the unrighteous actions of false teachers.

Some may find it difficult to reconcile Jesus’ love and his bold rebuke in this scene, but this betrays a dangerous tendency to separate God’s love from his relentless demand for truth. It dishonors God when we call unrighteousness good (Isaiah 5:20). It honors him when we, like Jesus, call unrighteousness evil.

Jesus Calls Out Their True Identity
Having called out their unrighteousness, he appropriately describes and labels the false teachers. In Matthew 23 alone, Jesus calls the scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites” six times. Besides that, he calls them “blind guides,” “blind fools,” “blind men,” “whitewashed tombs,” “sons of those who murdered the prophets,” “serpents,” and “brood of vipers.” You get the point. Jesus does not shy away from calling false teachers exactly what they are. “Jesus meek and mild” sinlessly expresses divine wrath toward those who would speak truth in the name of error, who would teach doctrines of demons under the banner of heaven.

It is true that we must always avoid slandering someone by calling them what they are not. But it is equally true that when God is slandered by false teachers who claim to teach in his name, we must call them out for what they are.

Jesus Calls Out Their Coming Judgment
Jesus ensures his listeners know the full gravity of this deadly doctrine. He knows that adhering to such faulty teaching will have the most dire consequences, so six times he repeats the word “woe.” This is a word of divine judgment, of abject misery that portends a final, miserable end. “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” (Matthew 23:32). They will not, and neither will those who submit to such odious error.

As we have explored throughout this series, false doctrine is deadly doctrine. It leads both teachers and hearers to destruction. It is good and loving to warn them of this destruction, so thatthey may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26).

Jesus Calls His Listeners Toward Truth
Jesus exposes the deadly doctrine and unrighteous actions of these false teachers. He appropriately describes those who espouse it, and he lays out the consequences of such error. However, polemics is not merely confronting error, but also teaching truth. And orthodoxy is not merely knowing the truth, but also submitting to it. For these reasons, Jesus appeals to his listeners to turn away from the absurdity and inconsistency of error toward God’s truth. Contrary to the scribes and Pharisees who do all their deeds to be seen by others, Jesus tells the crowd: “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11-12).

Continue reading – http://www.challies.com/articles/how-jesus-called-out-false-teachers-and-deadly-doctrine

 

(452) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY: THE SHACK AUTHOR -WILLIAM PAUL YOUNG’S JUST RELEASED NEW BOOK

What do you think of these comments by Warren Smith on Young’s new book? – 

“Shack” Author Paul Young States in Just-Released Book—Christ Is “In” Every Single Human Being

By Warren B. Smith

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)

YOUNG PUBLICLY ENDORSES UNIVERSAL SALVATION
In his just-released book, Lies We Believe About God, best-selling author Paul Young openly describes himself as a UNIVERSALIST. In chapter 13, Young would have us believe it is a “lie” to tell someone, “You need to get saved.”1 Young asks himself the rhetorical questions, “Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation?”2 He answers, “That is EXACTLY what I am saying!”3 Young then goes on to teach that “every single human being is in Christ” and that “Christ is in them.”4 With this unbiblical teaching, one recalls how Young put these same heretical words in the mouth of his “Jesus” character in The Shack. He wrote:

God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things.5

THE TRINITARIAN LIE
Young would have us believe his trinitarian lie that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit inherently indwell everyone.6 This is exactly what the false “Christ” of the New Age teaches. In fact, it is the foundational teaching of the New Age/New Spirituality/New World Religion that has progressively moved into the world and into the church.

NEW AGE IN THE CHURCH
As I pointed out in my booklet, The Shack and Its New Age Leaven,7 the teaching that God is “in” everyone is a heretical New Age teaching that has been increasingly popularized over the last thirty years by New Age authors and teachers and heavily promoted by people like Oprah Winfrey. Sadly, it is also found in the books and teachings of well-known church figures like Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, Eugene Peterson, Leonard Sweet, and Sarah Young.8 And in a November 1, 2016 Catholic News Service article titled, “Pope Offers New Beatitudes for Saints of a New Age” Pope Francis, in a Catholic Mass in Malmo, Sweden, proposed a new “beatitude”—”Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.”9

WHAT WILL THE CHURCH DO?
Paul Young wanted to have a conversation about the nature of God, and that conversation is now front and
center before the church. Will pastors and leaders and day-to-day believers contend for the faith and fight the good fight, or will they let false teachers like Paul Young have their uncontested say and have their uncontested way?

Endnotes:
1. Chapter 13 title in Lies We Believe About God is “You need to get saved.”
2. William Paul Young, Lies We Believe About God (New York, NY: Atria Books; An imprint of Simon & Schuster, 2017), p. 118.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid., p. 119.
5. William P. Young, The Shack (Newbury Park, CA: Windblown Media, 2007), p. 112.
6. In C. Baxter Kruger’s book, The Shack Revisited: There Is More Going On Here Than You Ever Dared to Dream, in the foreword, Shack author William Paul Young writes: I want to say, “Thank you, and please read The Shack Revisited.” He adds, “If you want to understand better the perspectives and theology that frame The Shack, this book is for you. Baxter has taken on the incredible task of exploring the nature and character of the God who met me in my own shack” (p. ix). On page 49 of The Shack Revisited , Kruger writes: “For inside of us all, because of Jesus, is nothing short of the very trinitarian life of God.” C. Baxter Kruger, The Shack Revisited: There Is More Going On Here than You Ever Dared to Dream (New York, NY: FaithWords), p. 49.
7. To read this booklet, click here: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=12290.
8.  I have documented a short history of how this deceptive New Age teaching has entered the world and the church in my booklet Be Still and Know That You Are Not God. The booklet includes quotes by each of these figures. To read this booklet, click here: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17572.
9. Cathy Wooden, “Pope Offers New Beatitudes for Saints of a New Age” (Catholic News Service, November 1, 2016,).

 

This article is from http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=22361