Sincere, but Wrong

“When living in an egotistical age, it is hard to convince people that what they give to God sincerely may not be acceptable to Him. Narcissism imagines that God must simply melt at the sight His child’s scribble-drawing, knowing how sincere the amateurish effort was. Scripture shatters this pleasantly self-satisfied view.

“We think of Aaron and Israel making a symbol of Yahweh out of gold, declaring ‘Tomorrow is a feast day unto Yahweh!’ (Exod. 32:5). God suggested to Moses that an appropriate response to this kind of worship would be to annihilate the entire nation.”

He includes 10 other Scriptural examples and ends with this line.

“The lesson from all this must be that God does not accept worship merely because it is offered in His direction.”

David de Bruyn, The Conservative Church

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Little Gods: The Deification Heresy

Some false teachings are so bizarre that one wonders how anyone can believe them. Yet people do believe the charismatic doctrine of deification. Deification is the belief that the incommunicable (non-moral) attributes of God can be given to men. Examples: creative power, eternality, sovereignty. Many popular teachers and the immensely popular TBN teach this heresy. See Christianity in Crisis, pages 107-127 or Charismatic Chaos, pages 328-336 for documentation and further examples.

  1. Kenneth Hagin: Man “was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority.”
  2. Kenneth Copeland: Adam “was not a little like God. He was not almost God. He was not subordinate to God even.”
  3. Joyce Meyer: “If you as a human being have a baby, you call it a human kind. If cattle have another cattle, they call it cattle-kind. I mean what’s God supposed to call us? Doesn’t the Bible say we’re created in His image?”
  4. Creflo Dollar: “You are gods because you came from God and you are gods, you’re not just human.”
  5. Morris Cerullo: “And when we stand up here, brother, you’re not looking at Morris Cerullo; you’re looking at God. You’re looking at Jesus.”
  6. Paul Crouch (TBN president): “I am a little god! Critics, be gone!”

I have heard more than one pastor in the rural areas of Africa claim to be god, and many church attenders have told me they have either heard this teaching or they believe it themselves. Their videos aren’t posted online, but they believe the same thing as these who are. After all, where did the Africans get this theology from?

Deification is an entirely false doctrine. It is no more Christian than Islam. Those who believe it are worshipping an idol or a demon. Here are seven deductive proofs and as a bonus, one inductive proof that men are not little gods.

Syllogism 1: One God
Proposition 1: The Bible clearly states that there is and only ever shall be one God. Deut. 6;4; Isa. 43:10; Mark 12:29; John 17:3; 1 Tim. 2:5
Proposition 2: The one true God is not merely a man.
Conclusion:    Therefore, no mere man can be the God or a god.

Syllogism 2: Blasphemy
Proposition 1: To lessen the perfections of God or to ascribe the incommunicable attributes of God to a creature is blasphemy. Col. 3:8
Proposition 2: To blaspheme is a sin that God or gods cannot do.
Conclusion: Therefore, men are not the God or a god.

Syllogism 3: Unconverted Men
Proposition 1: In an unconverted state men are children of Satan who hate God.
Proposition 2: Children of Satan are not God.
Conclusion: Therefore, men are not the God or a god.

Syllogism 4: Converted Men
Proposition 1: To reach a converted state, a man must be made into a new creation. 2 Cor. 5:17
Proposition 2: A thing that has been made or has a beginning is not God.
Conclusion: Therefore, men are not the God or a god.

Syllogism 5: Soli Deo Gloria
Proposition 1: If man is god in the sense that he has the power to create reality with his words or by sovereignly exercising some control over his Creator, then some glory should go to man. Isa. 45:5-6
Proposition 2: However, all glory belongs to God alone.
Conclusion: Therefore, men are not the God or a god.

Syllogism 6: Humility
Proposition 1: All true Christians must be humble about the reality of their creaturehood and sinfulness.
Proposition 2: But God must not be humble because He is neither a creature nor in any way sinful.
Conclusion: Therefore, men are not the God or a god.

Syllogism 7: Hermeneutics
Proposition 1: There is no Scriptural, hermeneutical reason to think that the image of God in man is evidence that man is the God or a god.
Proposition 2: The image of God in man is the key biblical “evidence” that Word Faith teachers offer to prove deification.
Conclusion: Therefore, men are not the God or a god.

Bonus: Church history
Evidence: No reputable writer, preacher, pastor, or scholar in the history of the Christian church has ever believed that men have in themselves the incommunicable attributes of God.
Conclusion: Therefore, men are not the God or a god.

Why is this doctrine important? Because this teaching destroys Soli Deo Gloria. Because this teaching weakens total depravity as the gospel calls sinners to realize how bad they are not how good they are. Because this doctrine damages Solus Christus as Christ is reduced to one among peers.

If even one of these proofs is true, then deification as taught by the Word Faith teachers is false. What should be as obvious as gravity needs to be explicitly stated since the sin of man has so befooled our natural powers. There is only true God. Saving Jesus Christ, no man or woman is the God or a god.

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Why Dispensationalists Believe in a Millennium

Recently a friend wrote to me, “Am I so far off base when I say dispensationalists want a millennium so Christ can vindicate His first advent and prove He is all He claimed to be?” When some pastors who believe in a pretribulation rapture more quickly catechize their churches in the timing of future events rather than the glory of the Cross, his question is well-founded.

Why do I believe in a future period of peace and glory during which Jesus Christ will rule the earth?

  1. Revelation 20:1-10 Not only does this passage promise 1,000 years 6 times, but more importantly, it places this era directly following the second coming of Christ in Rev. 19:11-21 and directly before the final Judgment.
  1. Romans 11:25-29 All the Jews will be saved one day. They are not cast away. They are still uniquely God’s people. There is no promise for all the Egyptians, Assyrians, Edomites, or Americans to be saved. This ethnic group has some future plan in the mind of God here on earth.
  1. Luke 19:11-27 In this parable Jesus promises rewards to faithful servants in the form of ruling authority at His return. Nor is this the only time His people are motivated by power to rule nations. Rev. 2:26-27 “He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;” Faithfulness until the end will result in a reward of ruling authority. See also 1 Cor. 6:2-3; Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30; Rev. 3:21. The doctrine of rewards supports an earthly kingdom.
  1. Acts 1:6-7 After having taught the disciples for 40 days about the Kingdom, the disciples wanted to know when the Jews would be restored to their earthly national power as the OT promised. Jesus replied with, “You don’t need to know when.” He did not rebuke them for missing the main point of his 7 weeks’ instruction.
  1. Hebrews 8:5-13 The Old Covenant is a shadow; it is the first; it is old; it is decaying; it will soon disappear. The New Covenant is better; it is the second; it is new. Therefore, there is not a single controlling Covenant from Genesis to Revelation. Without this “Covenant of Grace,” then those passages that talk about Israel, a kingdom, and future glory make sense as fulfilled on this earth. See also 2 Cor. 3:6-16.
  1. Zechariah 12-14 The prophecies of these chapters do not fit any other interpretation than the premillennial.
  1. Jeremiah 31:35-37 The most famous verses in this chapter come just before this paragraph promising a New Covenant. Then the prophet promises on the sun and stars that the nation of Israel will always be His people. If Israel is still God’s people, then they are distinct from the church. If that is true, then the other prophecies given to them will still be fulfilled as this one.
  1. Isaiah 2:1-4 This passage stands at the head of numerous other passages in the prophets. Unprecedented peace and prosperity. Universal religious purity. Restoration of Israel. This category forces us to a premillennial position. See also Isaiah 11:4-9; 65:17-25; Jer. 3:14-19; 23:1-8; Jer. 30:4-24; etc.

Why do dispensationalists believe in a millennium? Because we see it repeatedly in the words of Christ, His apostles, and the OT prophets. Some dispensationalists sadly diminish the glory of the cross, and some non-dispensationalists sadly diminish the fulness of His glory that will be revealed when He comes again.

 

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The Value of Memory

“The great ancient rhetoricians considered a strong memory indispensable for their craft. Medieval and Renaissance thinkers turned out books and treatises on the art, containing elaborate systems to train the memory to store copious amounts of material and access it instantly. Today we stand amazed at the oratorical skills of political figures of the 19th century and shake our heads in dismay at the sloganeering and soundbites that pass for political discourse today. Our politicians rarely write their own speeches and seem incapable of delivering them without the aid of a teleprompter. Surely something precious has been lost. That something is our memory.”

Andrew Campbell, Living Memory, page 7

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Should Pastors Read Widely?

Reading widely provides a sure-footed stance when a preacher gives facts in teaching and preaching; it produces interesting illustrations; it guides him away from time-wasting topics when evangelizing the particular group to which God has called him; it produces applications that have a ring of authority; it lends credibility to his ethos in preaching; it hints at the blindspots in his own life; it highlights the traces of grace from the image of God in man; it gives him joy in the immense reach of the sovereign hands of Jesus Christ; it tunes his imagination so that all the metaphors of Scripture have brighter colors and return more frequently to his prayers and preaching.

These benefits do not speak against reading the Bible and books that directly deal with Scripture. Yet if there is truth in general revelation, we should not despise it. Unconverted historians, philosophers, and storytellers have found some aspects of truth through God’s common grace the way diamonds were found in Kimberly, South Africa. At first they stumbled on something, and then they had to labor for years. The years they have taken honing their skills are like the infrastructure that goes into making a successful mine. If I am a rich businessman dealing with real estate, I would do well to listen to men who for years have made fortunes from diamonds.

Some examples, historian Martin Meredith helps me when I preach to Tsongas who are subtly self-righteous. They think that the Afrikaners are evil because of apartheid, but when I explain how evil Shaka or Mzilikazi was they are humbled because far greater sins are lurking within their own homes.

Theologian Wayne Grudem’s Politics gives me the statistics to show that government cannot produce wealth and so the Tsongas must not trust or even receive the government grants. Nor should they support through voting those groups that give out grants and thus defeat their own long-term ability to support their own pastor or send out missionaries.

Doing Their Own Thing by philosopher and linguist John McWhorter teaches me that cultures that rebel against absolutes in general and God’s authority in particular will devolve. I use this commonly as I train the young couples and my own children to have godly standards and traditions. I can speak with confidence about sinful musical styles because McWhorter carefully explains how these styles support his godless philosophy.

Wide reading does not draw a man to Christ apart from Scripture anymore than amazing banyan trees save a man. But wide understanding of the world does help us to worship Christ when coupled with knowledge of Scripture.

Reading fiction gives a preacher pictures for the greatest truths in Scripture. Through J. R. R. Tolkien, I saw more clearly than ever before the depths of depravity and the effects of sin as it cripples and corrupts and confounds Gollum. I have seen the need for initiation in friendship because of Sam Gamgee. I have seen what a gentle authority looks like with Aragorn. As pastors read commentaries to gain insights, so I have gained a library of pictures that speak to me daily about the greatest realities in the universe.

A few other recent precious stones that I have quarried out of fiction:

  • Les Miserables: Grace is far more glorious than law. I must learn to default to a gracious, serving spirit.
  • The Scottish Chiefs: True masculinity will not lose its morality even in war.
  • The Iliad: The Greeks thought every turn in life was somehow caused by the gods. Why don’t I see every turn in life as controlled by the one true God?
  • Pride and Prejudice: When men aren’t men, everything goes wrong. Almost all of Austen’s plots revolve around a masculine weakness, and the tension resolves when the men change their ways.

No man can understand Scripture who does not speak the language of metaphor, and therefore, the best fiction bows in front of the preacher offering the most memorable, lasting images of the most rock solid truths.

With all these benefits, there is a danger of loving gift more than Giver, serving the creature more than the Creator—reading widely because we are unspiritual. But the danger is not removed by only reading the Puritans anymore than it would be removed if we plucked out our eyes so as not to see the world around us.

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Three Financial Warnings for Missionaries

  1. Resist the overwhelming urge to think that money will make a church plant successful. As Americans, we think that to have a church means money to rent a building, advertise, pay the pastor, and have transportation. Do not give in to that thinking because it is not found in the NT, and it pulls our hope away from the Holy Spirit as well as the cross.
  1. Make sure the new believers feel the weight of their own responsibility. Every situation is different, but if you are working in a context, where people have few jobs and in general do not provide well for themselves, then what will handouts likely do? In some cultures, their own sin has already robbed them of all but the most basic responsibility. Western money in that place would attract false converts and rice Christians.
  1. If the people know that you have money, and if they know that you can turn it on when you want, then they will tend to view you not as a Christian brother or spiritual father, but rather as a typical white—their potential ticket to some earthly pleasure if they can only manipulate the circumstance.

Here are some articles on this topic: When hurting helps (a review of the book When Helping Hurts).

And if you are new to this thinking, then run—don’t walk—to read Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?.

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The Birth of a New Church

An Indigenous Church
In roughly 15 years of preaching, Paul the apostle visited over 20 places that are listed in Acts leaving churches in each place. Our calling is the same though our gifts and godliness are a shadow of the first Christian missionary. After 10 years of evangelism in the villages around Elim, last week we gathered for the last official meeting with the Elim Baptist Church. As you may recall from our May letter, Alpheus Nyalungu has been ordained as the pastor of the 25 believers there.

What passed through our hearts as we worshipped with them for the last time? The sadness we think we would feel when one of our children leaves the home. The joy that is in the presence of the angels, since one decade ago, all of these who are now dear brothers and sisters were separate from Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world. The fear of future sin, since it is a long and dangerous journey through the narrow gate and to the Celestial City. The hope that these believers would show themselves examples of the faith as the Thessalonians did (1 Thess. 1:6-8).

An Indigenous Building
This week, just before the new year dawned, the church finally gained protection from the rain as we raised the roof. Over the last 4 years, 99% of the labor was done by Tsonga Christians the majority of whom began the process as boys and ended it as men. Lord-willing, the church will use the new building this weekend because the daycare in which we had been worshipping was destroyed in a storm on 24 December! The church’s first service will be conducted in a building without doors, glass in the windows, or the missionary; but they do have bricks, a roof, and the Word of God.

An Indigenous Budget
In November 2012, EBC made the final payment for the land and began digging holes for fence poles. At that time the average monthly offerings were $22 and the estimated building cost was just under $18,000. The membership contained only 4 adults, none of whom were employed. This year, there are 14 adults representing 9 jobs with an average of $285 per month in the offerings. During the building project, the members voted to support a churchplanter in Zimbabwe at 10-15% of their budget, and in 2017, the members voted to raise the missions support to 20% of their budget.

Though the members paid for nearly everything themselves, this year New Covenant Baptist Church in Johannesburg surprised us with a generous offering to cover the entire roof. Without that gift, I am not sure what the church would do now in light of last week’s storm, since none of the members has a home large enough to hold the 30-40 who meet each Sunday. Like David found Barzillai (2 Sam. 19:32), we have found friends along the road as well.

Paul’s Prayers for a Young Church
As we look back at this church, our only hope is found in the Lord of the Church and His reviving Spirit, since both our labors and their maturity are sandy foundations at best. Do labor with us in prayer as Paul did for his beloved Thessalonians.

  1. Thank God for their faith. 1 Thess. 1:2
  2. Pray that these Christians would be models of the faith. 1 Thess. 1:6-7
  3. Pray that the Word of God would sound forth from EBC. 1 Thess. 1:8
  4. Pray that they would increase in love for one another. 1 Thess. 3:12
  5. Pray that each Christian’s heart would be established in holiness. 1 Thess. 3:13
  6. Pray that they would persevere until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. 5:23

Future Plans
Lord-willing tomorrow, we will begin Sunday services with a small group in Valdezia, another village about 25 kilometers northeast of Elim. We must meet at someone’s home under some trees because we do not live there, and it is poorer than Elim. Thankfully, EBC purchased chairs for us to begin this new churchplant. Since August 2015, I and other believers from EBC have been teaching in homes throughout this village of about 15,000. Please pray that God would open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light.

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Should Everyone Speak at the Same Time When Praying?

In many churches, people speak out loud at the same time during their prayer times. Is this a Biblical way to pray? Here are 12 reasons to oppose simultaneous praying, or prayer meetings where multiple people speak at the same time.

  1. All speech in the church should be understood by the other members of the church. 1 Cor. 14:5-6

5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying. 6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?

When people pray at the same time, they cannot understand each other, and therefore, they cannot be built up in their faith. Paul repeats this concept throughout the 14th chapter regarding tongues, praying, and prophesy so that we would never disconnect the rational mind from worship. See also, 1 Cor. 14:19.

  1. Some, but not all church members should speak at church. 1 Cor. 14:26, 27, 29

26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; … 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.

Group praying gives everyone a speaking role, when that is not God’s plan for many of His people. Not everyone should be speaking at church. (1 Cor. 12:5-6, 12, 29-30)

  1. Church services must be edifying. 1 Cor. 14:26

26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

Rational beings cannot become like Christ without the presentation of truth to their minds. The practice of simultaneous praying at church blocks us from comprehending whatever the other believers are doing.

  1. Church services must be orderly. 1 Cor. 14:33, 40

33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. … 40 But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.

Prop. 1: Scripture condemns confusion in the church.
Prop. 2: Many people speaking different words at the same time is confusion in the church.
Conclusion: Scripture condemns many people speaking different words at the same time.

  1. When a new speaker begins, the previous speaker must be silent. 1 Cor. 14:30

30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent.

Everyone likes to talk, but the Spirit-filled man is ready to stop talking if that will bring the greatest good to the other believers.

  1. Simultaneous praying encourages a specific prayer sin that our Lord warned us about. Matt. 6:5-6

5 When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Prayer meetings where everyone speaks at the same time tend to cause people to raise their voices, find catchy phrases, and otherwise enhance their “prayers” in order to be noticed within the crowd.

  1. Since simultaneous praying is a performance, it encourages the repetition of phrases. Matt. 6:7-8

7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

Not all the people at a religious gathering will be able to link their words together smoothly, but if they are all told to pray at the same time, then they have to say something. I have heard people in these settings commonly repeat the same phrases and words over and over which is precisely what our Lord was rebuking in the Sermon on the Mount.

  1. Solomon led a great crowd in prayer while they silently listened. 1 Kings 8:22-23, 54, 62

The people apparently listened while Solomon spoke, and then joined him when he offered the sacrifices.

  1. God designed the church to be a united family where they mutually support each other.

At least 54 times in the NT, the church is told to do something to “one another.” The church is not a collection of individuals concerned about their own prosperity, entertainment, or experience, but rather a family that always thinks of each other. If everyone speaks at the same time, they are not loving each other or building each other, they are acting individually.

  1. Simultaneous praying uniquely “makes provision for the flesh.” Rom. 13:14

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

We are tempted to desire the praise of man whenever we perform in a group. We are tempted to entertain those who are listening. We are tempted to impress others with a “good showing in the flesh.” We are tempted to notice ourselves, our words, our audience, our reception rather than the unutterable majesty of God. When a man truly prays he hates and runs from every sin because God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Why would we use a method that is not commanded in Scripture and that holds company with so many temptations?

  1. The greatest Christians in the history of the church who saw revival, sent out missionaries, and sacrificed for their faith did not pray this way.

Augustine did not advocate this method of prayer. Nor did Calvin, Von Zinzendorf, Wesley, Carey, Paton, or any of the men whom God has greatly used to convert thousands of people. This method is a new invention along with other questionable or clearly sinful practices of the contemporary church.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Heb. 13:7

  1. This method of prayer brings no spiritual blessing with it.

It is not commanded in Scripture. It is not found in Church history. It is spiritually dangerous since it brings numerous temptations. And yet even if you could maneuver past all these dangers, what blessing would you have? Simultaneous prayer gives no blessing that is not also present with a more orderly form of prayer.

No benefits and many dangers. Why would God’s people use this practice?

 

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Optimistic Christians

Should Christians be optimistic about the future of the Church? Ken Gentry couldn’t finish his answer to that question in less than 600 pages in He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology. The book in one sentence: Jesus will slowly conquer the entire world for Christianity through His church before returning physically at the end of time.

Gentry has, for the most part, measured prose and he prefers to tack his arguments down with Scripture rather than history alone. Reading this book confirmed in my mind that amillennialism is not a viable Scriptural option. There are finally only two hermeneutical positions, and if they are followed consistently, then you will either end up with an optimistic, covenantal, baby-baptizing, theonomic worldview in which nearly all Bible prophecies are already fulfilled or a pessimistic, dispensational, credo-baptizing, church-planting worldview in which there are still a number of prophetic difficulties still to be revealed in the future.

Having labored to get into the mind of the author and more importantly this system, here are the top 10 arguments for Postmillennialism in the order that I found them most persuasive.

Ten Best Arguments for Postmillennialism

  1. The parable of the mustard seed teaches gradual and exponential growth. Matt. 13:31-32
    The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.
  2. The parable of the leaven teaches gradual and exponential growth. Matt. 13:33
    The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.
  3. PM teaches a single resurrection and judgment.
    Matt. 13:30 Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”
    John 6:39-40 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.
  4. The natural reading of 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 has no gap between the resurrection and the end of all things.
    But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end,
  5. The natural application of Matt. 21:40-41 to the destruction of Jerusalem and its contextual nearness to Matt. 24.
    Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers? They said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.
  6. The weaknesses of amillennial interpretations of OT kingdom prophecies coupled with the weaknesses of premillennial interpretations of NT resurrections.
  7. The “soon” statements in Revelation’s introduction and conclusion imply that the contents of the book would not be waiting 2,000 or more years.
    Rev. 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place;
    Rev. 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.
  8. PM assumes that through His church Christ will conquer, display His glory, defeat sin, and win the war.
    Gen. 3:15 He shall bruise the serpent’s head.
    Matt. 3:2 The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
    Rev. 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb,
  9. It offers a natural reading of Matt. 24:34.
    Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
  10. William Carey, Jonathan Edwards, and Iain Murray all held to this position.

However, that is not the only list this book produced. Again, in order of persuasive power.

Ten Best Arguments Against Postmillennialism

  1. PM requires the Covenant of Grace which unifies the Israel of the OT with the church of the NT.
    Yet Acts 2, 2 Cor. 3, Heb. 8 demand a difference between the old covenant people of God and the new covenant people of God.
  2. PM changes the definition of Israel fluidly—sometimes they will interpret this word to mean the ethnic, OT nation and sometimes it is the church.
    e.g. PM says the word Israel means nation in Isaiah 19:24 In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth,
    But the words Judah and Jerusalem mean the church in Isaiah 2:1-4.
  3. PM cannot stop with partial preterism.
    Preterism is the teaching that most of the prophecies of Scripture are fulfilled in 70 AD when the Jews’ temple was destroyed. That means many passages that seem like they are talking about the second coming of Christ have already taken place. However, that position leads to full preterism which denies that Jesus will return at all.
  4. Numerous difficulties within the Olivet Discourse cannot fit—or only with great difficulty—into AD 70.
    24:7 nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.
    24:13 the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. Saved from what?
    24:14 Was the Great Commission completed 40 years after the cross?
    24:15 Daniel 11:31; 12:11 happened in AD 70?
    24:21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.
    24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders,
    24:27, 30, 37, 39, 44 In PM, the first two “comings” of Christ are in AD 70, and the next three are at the end of the world.
    24:30 All the tribes of the earth will mourn…
    24:30 The Son of Man coming in the clouds…
    24:31 Describes missionaries and not the second coming? 1 Thess. 4:16
    24:34 “All” means each and every, but it does not mean each and every in 24:30.
    24:36 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Suddenly, the context leaps forward to the end of the world even though the same terminology is used: day, coming of the Son of Man?
    24:36-51 In PM, this lengthy section deals with the end of the world, not AD 70. Why not just stay with AD 70 like the full preterists?
  5. The Christian is called to suffer until Jesus Christ returns.
    2 Tim. 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
  6. PM finds numerous difficulties in Revelation.
    1:7 “every eye will see him… all the tribes of the earth…” To PM, this means the Jews.
    1:7; 5:6, 9, 13; 8:7; 13:8, 12; 18:3, 23 The book has a universal, worldwide scope, yet PM requires that these terms exclude most of Africa, all South America, all India, and all China. At the most, the universal terms only cover the Roman Empire, which was not even 1/3 of the world’s population at that time.
    11 Strained interpretations throughout this chapter.
    17-19 The harlot is Israel and the Bride is the Church. That interpretation places a harsh distinction between the two peoples that are necessarily unified in CT.
    19:11-21 The return of Christ in this passage has already been fulfilled.
  7. A hermeneutic that tends to see extrabiblical terms as superior to Biblical terms weakens inspiration.
    eg. Church is extra biblical in the prophets; Israel is Biblical.
  8. A tendency to gloss over false Christianity in the name of the church’s triumphs.
  9. A tendency to ignore the wartime lifestyle metaphor for Christian living.
  10. Increased affection for the present world and thus a disinterest in the next world.
    Col. 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
    Tit. 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

 

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Three Chains of African Traditional Religion

The animism that is commonly called African traditional religion is one more example of depravity in false religion. Here are three chains with which the demons behind this system bind so many millions on this continent. If you sometimes wonder how to pray for missionaries, pray that God would save people from these traps.

1. The Limited Good Theory
In general the animism of this continent holds to the limited-good theory which stifles all productivity and self-improvement. This theory says that all the wealth in the world is like a bag of apples, once the apples are taken, there are no more. Thus jealousy, laziness, and hopelessness keep them from virtuous ambitions that would allow them to start businesses, build schools, and maintain infrastructure. The Biblical view of the world says that wealth is like an apple tree that can be replanted as long as there are willing farmers.

2. Vocabulary
The animism of this continent obscures discussion of abstract ideas so that the mind is shackled, a self-imposed inability through long practice that blocks them from extended reflection on the great issues of life. As one example among many, Tsonga, Venda, and Shona (representing around 15-18 million people) have no words for “right” and “wrong” among many other vital concepts. (Such as “vital” and “concept.”)

3. Uncertainty
The animism of this continent preserves haziness on the main topics of life. Why am I here? Where am I going? What can I do with my sin? With so many changing, capricious spirits, each unknowable, we cannot hope for any definite or specific knowledge. Questions about life and death are answered by one great guess or distraction after another. Those who have been influenced by this religion have a 3 meter wall placed between them and the solid answers to the vital issues of life.

These—and others like them—are the great terrors of this demonic religion which only the gospel can eradicate. Paul’s calling 2,000 years ago is still ours, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” As proof of this verse, a number of dear believers are breaking from these bands as their minds are renewed by Scripture.

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