September 25, 2015

The 50 Main Differences Between Catholicism and Protestantism

My job as a teacher of the Bible is to teach the truth and principles of properly exegeted and interpreted Scripture. As such, because the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is all over the media it seemed like a good time to bring up a few points. This will be another post sure to win me no friends and elicit a flurry of accusations of "harsh" and "unloving" because most prefer to live in an ecumenical world that is mostly a patchwork quilt of disparate and errant feel good theology that is a mile distant of God's word. 

Well, here it goes.

The Pope will be in town tomorrow and millions will fawn over his presence in adulation as if he is deity in a form of Cult of Personality. So now seemed like a good time to post this because this type of adulation towards a man with dubious theological leanings is very dangerous to people's salvation. 

To all my friends in the Roman Catholic Church, know I love you and that is exactly why I post this. If anyone would like to discuss these facts, I will be willing to do so if I'm not personally attacked. Please understand I am not attacking you or the RCC, I am merely pointing out how Protestantism (therefore I) differs from Catholic doctrine/dogma. I will back up every single one of these Scriptural non-conformities with Scriptural proof if I need to. I merely excluded them here to avoid a post of encyclopedic length.

The following are 50 points where Protestantism (therefore I) depart from Catholicism’s dogma and doctrine. There many others but I needed to cut the list off somewhere and these are the primary ones that come to mind when I explain to my Catholic friends why I am not Catholic. These are points of contention where I completely disagree with Roman Catholicism. From my theological perspective, these must be considered false teaching and contrary to Scripture. Some are outright heresy (there, I said it).

The one true measure of all things…including the Roman Catholic Church is Scripture (Sola Scriptura). These dogma/doctrine are where the RCC departs from a Scriptural divine benchmark given by God and they veer off into the side roads of unbiblical man-made traditions. Adherence to a majority of these can endanger or could compromise people’s salvation which is why I list them. 

Please note that this is not a small list or deviation from Scripture but a large pronounced one. The size of just this abbreviated list shows a consistent pattern of deviation from Scripture over a long period of time (centuries). As time has elapsed the deviations increase in number and intensity. I believe that is because once one departs from the infallibility of Scripture they must continually add more and more to cover their mistakes and still be logically and rationally consistent. The Catholic Church has now reached a point of no return in that some of their dogma and Papal bulls are near the point of incredulousness or impossible to believe. If an institution and its leader are infallible, why all the addendum, revisionism and supplemental decrees? It defies logic.

To those that will malign me for posting this, I would be remiss if I loved someone and did not try to protect them from what I view as a danger to them. I mention these things knowing they are error and jeopardize people’s eternal salvation. Of course, as we have learned from this most recent Pope who is an adherent of Liberation Theology from South and Central America, the emphasis of some doctrines over others is a regional thing. Some of the dogma/doctrine/traditions practiced by some Catholics will not be practiced by others. Regardless, I denounce all 50 of the following on Scriptural grounds.

God as my witness, I am using my gift as a teacher/pastor and exegete here as God intended. I too will be held accountable on judgment day. As Martin Luther said, "I can do no less."

1.      The Catholic Church is the one true church (CCC 2105)
2.     Infallibility of the Catholic Church, (CCC 2035)
3.     Papal Infallibility (1870 AD)
4.     Only the Roman Catholic Church has authority to interpret Scripture (CCC 100)
5.     The Pope is the head of the church and has the authority of Christ (CCC 2034)
6.     The Roman Catholic Church is necessary for salvation (CCC 846)
7.     Tradition equal to Scripture (CCC 82)
8.     Forgiveness of sins, salvation, is by faith and works (CCC 2036 CCC 2080 2068)
   a.     Supererogation
9.     True salvation only thru Catholic Church (Vatican 2, Decree on Ecumenism, 3)
10.  Grace can be merited (CCC 2010, CCC 2027)
11.   The merit of Mary and the saints can be applied to Catholics and others (1477)
12.  Penance is necessary for salvation (CCC 980)
13.  Purgatory (CCC 1031 CCC 1475)
14.  Indulgences (CCC 1471 CCC 1478 CCC 1498 CCC 1472)
15.  Mary is Mediatrix (CCC 969)
   a.     Other Mediators Between God and Man
16.  Mary brings us the gifts of eternal salvation (CCC 969)
17.  Ever Virgin or the tradition that Mary was celibate her entire life.
18.  Mary delivers souls from death (CCC 966)
19.  Mary veneration (Worship)
20. The Assumption of Mary
21.  Mary as the Queen of Heaven
22. Fatima or apparitions/appearance of the Virgin Mary to people
23. Pronouncement of anathema
24. Baptismal regeneration.
25. Transubstantiation, communion becomes actual body and blood of Christ
   a.     Consecration of the Host
26. Confession of sins to priest for absolution of sins
27. Celibacy of priests and nuns (1079 AD)
28. Confirmation
29. Extreme unction (526 AD)
30. Infant baptism (370 AD)
31.  Limbo or the place where unbaptized infants may go upon death. 
32. Adoration of the Host (Wafer Bread) (1220 AD)
33. The Mass (394 AD)
34. Sacrifice of the Mass
35. Prayers to Saints (Veneration/Worship) (375 AD)
36. Prayers for the Dead
37.  Idolatry-Making Images (786 AD)
38. Catholic Attitudes to the Bible (1229 AD)
39. Peter as the Rock or Foundaiton of the Churh
40. Apostolic Succession
   a.     Primacy
41.  Apocryphal Books as Canonize Scripture in support of purgatory, indulgences
42. Names of Blasphemy (350 AD)
43. Rosary Prayer Beads (1090 AD)
   a.     The Crucifix with the Body of Christ on it.
44. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary
45. Crossing Oneself (300 AD)
46. Beatification
47.  Asceticism or Monasticism as a Work to Gain Favor with God.
48. Who Gave Us the Bible? God or the Roman Catholic Church?
49. Seven Sacraments. There are two in Scripture. The Lords Supper and Baptism.
50. Belief in Stigmata

September 23, 2015

Are Guardian Angels In the Bible?

I will admit at the beginning of this post that some people in my life that are really important to me including my mother have asked if it is biblical to believe in guardian angels or if they are even in the Bible. Is there a Biblical precedence? My mom had always assumed it was true but since receiving my theology degree, she and others have begun to question me more often on long assumed traditions and beliefs including things like the End Times and, well, angels and such. By questioning me they have refined or reinforced their own beliefs. They question me because they trust me to speak the truth on things that matter to them and they know I usually leave no stone unturned.

As for guardian angels, my mother had even gone to the extent of put an old painting from Lindberg Heilige Schutzengel above my bed (as above). It is a guardian angel protecting two young children walking over a bridge. It will probably be familiar to many of my readers over 40 yrs old. 


Well, I am here to tell you that, yes, it is biblical to believe that guardian angels exist even if they are not so named in Scripture. In all likelihood though they probably do not look like the image above. Nearly all of the occasions when they become visible they usually look like regular people (Lot, Abraham, Jacob, etc).

Jesus’ own words in Matthew 18: 10 clarify this issue pretty well. From Jesus’ very mouth we see an affirmation that angels who act on behalf of God participate in the affairs or mankind…often to protect them.

Matthew 18:10 ~“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

Is this just Matthew’s fanciful understanding of something Jesus said? Probably not. If we go back to the book of Job we will indeed see that angels are often intermediaries between God and men. In Job 5:1 we see Eliphaz challenge Job. How?


Job 5:1 "Call if you will, but who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn?

He dares Job to call on anyone who might answer him and asks him to which of the holy ones he would chose to turn to. Holy ones is plural and assumes this has to be something other than God or man. There is only one other being created holy: Angels. Eliphaz makes a presumption that angels would act as intermediaries between God and Job. As such. This understanding of angels was commonplace in the time of the Old Testament.

It is quite clear that people have angels watching over them. This verse is often interpreted to mean that it is only children. We must never forget that we are all God’s children. At the same time this doesn’t mean that all people have an angel watching over them from the time they are conceived to the time they die either. There is no implication here that each and every person has a “guardian angel” nor can this be found in places like Daniel 3:28 and Daniel 6:22. What it does say is that there are heavenly spiritual beings that are committed to heirs in salvation. The key to this passage and its focal point is not so much the angel but one whom the angel is over…the little ones. The Greek  does not say τέκτων/tekton or children it says μικρὸν/micron from which we get the word mirco or small, little in size, stature, or length.

What should be seen in this passage is the esteem of which the “little ones” are viewed in Heaven by angels. These “little ones” are held in such an exulted position that there are angels commissioned by God Himself to watch over them at times. In other words, the little ones are important to God and being important to God, they are not to be brushed off as triviality. Anything God deems as important or worthy of notice should also be taken notice of by man. We should never disregard the things that God regards as noteworthy. We should never despise those that have supernatural beings as companions, especially when we don’t know for sure when those beings are present or not. We may or may not be entertaining angels unaware.

Although we no longer need an intermediary between God and men for salvation. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, Jesus now intercedes on our behalf before God (1 Tim 2: 5). But the New Testament (including Jesus Himself) still describe angels as having an immediate ministry to believers, as demonstrated by Hebrews 1: 14: “Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” The passage in Acts 12 is even more distinct and shows a continued correlation between angels and people. After an angel frees Peter from prison and execution. Furthermore, Peter goes to the house of his fellow believers in Acts 12: 6– 10. Those inside don’t believe the servant girl’s report that he is at the door. They reply, “It is his angel!” (12: 15). This statement testifies to the early Christian belief that humans had angels who acted as a kind of celestial double— attached to a person for their welfare. The concept of angelic guardianship and activity in our lives is something we have often left to the imagination. 

Additionally, we are exhorted to show hospitality to strangers in Hebrews 13 if for no other reason than the fact that we might be giving that hospitality to messengers of God. The word ξενίσαντες "have entertained" or showed hospitality below also carries with it a sense of astonishment and startled surprise. This of course should not be unanticipated, as anyone who ends up encountering supernatural beings tend to become unsettled or stunned. I know I did. When in is the presence of God this bewilderment is infinitely more powerful.

Hebrews 13:2 ~ “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

We know encountering angels is not only possible- it actually happened to people in the Bible in their ordinary lives. When it did happen, it most often made those ordinary lives extraordinary just as it would today. When God sends His own personal messengers to you, you had better believe that something huge or momentous is afoot and moving about in your life. When the people encountered the angels in the Bible, sometimes people were aware they were in the presence of the supernatural and sometimes not. Sometimes they initially didn’t know but came to an awareness of the fact in the course of the events that unfolded.

The bottom-line is that there is a clear pattern in Scripture to affirm that God does indeed have angelic assistants that actively work on our behalf in the spiritual and physical realm.

Some other New Testament passages concerning the early church that stand out in support of the idea of guardian angels are as follows:

[Acts 8:26-39] The Angel of the Lord told Philip to go to Gaza. There Philip met and converted the Ethiopian eunuch.

[Acts 10:1-8]An angel appeared to Cornelius, telling him that God had heard his prayers and that he should send to Joppa for Peter. The angel said Peter would tell Cornelius what he should do.

Paul, sailing to Rome to be tried before Caesar, was in a storm for two weeks. The Angel of God appears to Paul and tells Paul that he must be brought before Caesar [Acts 27:21-25]. The Angel tells Paul not be afraid for he must stand trial before Caesar; and God had graciously given him all the lives of those who sail with him. Paul then exhorts the men to maintain his courage because Paul believed in faith that things would happen just as God had told him.

September 18, 2015

Biblical Conviction or Personal Preference

[Subtitle: Legalism or Liberty] 

I suppose now is a good time to delineate between what is personal preference, personal convictions, Biblical convictions and Biblical belief. All of these delineations are necessary in a Christian’s life and must be properly divided up and understood or things like personal preference and personal convictions (issues of conscience like 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, 10:23-33) turn into legalism. Biblical Convictions and Biblical beliefs need to be delineated from both personal preference and convictions or doctrines can become cultic or doctrines end up being abandoned for heresies.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 ~ “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

It is best to understand that except for personal preference and person conviction which are subjective and relative to the believer, all other issues become an issue of dogma, objective or absolutes. We are obliged to obey and believe the objective because they are objective truth from an objective God that has provided inerrant Scripture to validate our belief. When in doubt we must consult with Scripture to assure what we believe is correct.

Personal preference and person conviction allow for a bit more freedom and liberty and should not be viewed dogmatically. If people become dogmatic about them it amounts to nothing more than Pharisaical legalism based on their perception of Biblical principles. Furthermore convictions and beliefs can be further broken down into essentials and non-essentials. If these seem confusing I will break it out below into four distinct categories.
  1. Subjective-Personal Convictions-Essential
  2. Subjective-Personal Preferences-Non-Essential
  3. Biblically Objective-Biblical Convictions-Essential
  4. Biblically Objective-Biblical Beliefs-Non-Essential
I may get a little pushback in the personally subjective category but my attitude is where it is not absolutely imperative to salvation, I need to see things with liberty not dogmatism. As with anything, excess, overindulgence or gluttony is never a good thing. Moderation is desired in most situations yet it is still a person’s discretion how much is too much and is dictated by conscience.

So how do these categories break out? Consult the descriptions below. I of course will not list every possible example but merely giving a quick set of examples to base decisions off of. The following I would consider properly categorized concepts, precepts or principles.

Subjective-Personal Convictions (Essential to Individual Believer’s Well-Being):

Alcohol consumption (in limitation or moderation). If you’re going to have a beer have a beer, not a case. If you are out with an alcoholic friend though you should reconsider. Dancing? Really? I need to tell you there is nothing wrong with dancing when it is all over the Bible in worship to God? I should say that the exception to this is today’s “dancing” in nightclubs though is subject to interpretation. Especially some of the drug and alcohol influenced “dancing”. Sexually provocative and sexually suggestive movement and a “bump and grind” isn’t really dancing. It is more akin to a mating ritual and should be avoided. Clothing seems to fit in this area too. What people wear is pretty much their choice. Again it is an issue of moderation or modesty. Does a man wear a tank top to Sunday worship? Does a woman wear a halter top, skin-tight mini skirt and stilettos to the 10:00 service? There is a difference between what is accepted/acceptable and what is inappropriate.

If the clothes distract others from worship, you are causing people to stumble in their walk. Apply commonsense in this situation. Types of education, should children be homeschooled to avoid secular influence or should Christian children attend school to be acclimated to it and to also integrate their Christian worldview into world around them as salt and light? Your call. Politics? Does every Christian need to lean right? Doesn’t pigeonholing Christians to an either/or proposition of left of right defeat Paul’s idea of all things are lawful? Tattoos and music for me fit into this category also.

Subjective-Personal Preferences (Non-Essential to Individual Believer’s Well-Being):

This category is pretty much wide open. In this category I would place value/worth judgments. What kind of car should I buy? Again the clothes enter into this here too. Colors of clothes and styles. Gratuitously sexually suggestive wardrobes might be socially or culturally acceptable but are they appropriate for the Christian? What kind of pet should I have? A dog, cat, snake, lizard, etc. How should I spend my leisure time? Should I keep it personal or perhaps communal? Do I practice hobbies? Engage family? Community service? Do I study the Word of God? Study science? On a lighter note, do I put the toilet paper in so that it will unroll from the top or the bottom? Do I part my hair to the left, right or no part at all? Can a man have long hair and a woman short? You get the picture.

Biblically Objective-Biblical Convictions (Essential to Individual Believer):

This is the category where the ship begins to tighten up. This is where people begin to balk and complain of legalism, dogmatism and a host of other complaints that people claim are unnecessary restrictions on their lives. I suggest that those that would say those words do not fully understand their Bible or theology. These “restrictions” people claim are being forced on them by the Bible (as it were). These issues are now no longer issues of conscience or obeying one’s subjective (personal) measure of morality but issues of disobeying God’s Word and issues of people digressing from God’s objective truth (apostasy). Objective Biblical convictions keep us on the path to holiness and righteousness. Holiness and righteousness which can only be found in God as He is the only true possessor of it and we are ontologically dependent on him for it. Without which we are condemned.

What are the ideas and principles in this category that cannot be negotiable for the Christian? The Trinity. The Deity and humanity of Christ. Holiness of God, Total depravity of Man therefore Original Sin. Man was originally created holy to be in relationship/fellowship with God but fell into sin. Mankind and Creation has therefore been subsequently cursed. Substitutionary atonement in Jesus Christ. Physical Resurrection of Jesus on the third day after death and burial in accordance with Scripture. Salvation by grace through faith alone. Sanctification of believers. Physical return of Christ. Final judgment.

Like it or not a few of the hot-button issues of the culture today fit here too. Why? It’s an issue of obedience to an absolute moral standard without which apostasy and a fall way from God inevitably ensues. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia reside here as well because they are violations of morality which still apply to humanity from the Old Testament and are upheld morally in Jesus Christ. In other words, anything in the Old Testament Law that continues to make you more holy and pushes you in the direction of God’s attributes of morality and holiness still apply. Civil and ceremonial Laws like seed and/or fabric mixing do not. As they were abrogated or absorbed by Jesus Christ at the Cross.

Biblically Objective-Biblical Beliefs (Non-Essential to Individual Believer):

In our final category we again we loosen up and enjoy the freedom and liberty that a higher umbrella allows. Personal holiness is required by the principles of Scripture but how exactly we go about it is the working-out of our individual salvation (Philippians 2:12-13). What exactly we believe based on interpretation of Scripture is given some leeway in some instances, other times not. In the leeway category we have things like personal holiness and how we pursue it. We’ve been given many options in many aspects of our lives to pursue holiness and our relationship with God. How we live dictates this because the more we incorporate God into our lives the higher the prevalence of moving towards holiness even in our fallen sinful state. How we pray and frequency of prayer is also our choice. More prayer is obviously better but we are not given strict criteria, merely encouraged to do so. We also have the role of women (not in leadership), forms of church government/administration. Even the position of and conditions of the Tribulation and Rapture (Post, Mid, Pre-wrath, Pre, no rapture).

In the “other times not” category we have things like exact type of hermeneutic (conservative or liberal, the Psalms, historical narrative, parables), account of the creation, Calvinist/Arminian debate, etc. Psalms need to be understood as poetry/song. The Genesis account is historical narrative, a letter is a letter and an epistle is an epistle. Where you fall on some of these, is what I believe to be an issue of maturity and holistic comprehension of Scripture. Many will say that knowing exactly whether or not the Creation is based on Gap Theory, Young Earth theory (4000 years old Creation and literal Adam) or Old Earth theory (billions of years old, mythical Adam). 

Many will say it is irrelevant and not worth splitting hairs over but any astute theologian or student of Scripture will note that it is indeed important to know where you stand on a figurative or literal Adam. Why? Because Jesus believed in a literal Adam.

The same goes with the Calvinist / Arminian issue and issues of freewill and predestination. Why? Because your understanding of God’ sovereignty dictates your view on His omnipotence and omniscience. They might  not be strictly salvational issues but they are critical to your relationship with God. Why? Because part of a true relationship with someone is your understanding of them. Real love drives you to want to know the reality of the One you love....or it isn't true or real love. If you don't fully know them how can you fully love them? You only understand and love a part. Hence it is an issue of maturity.


If God is indeed sovereign and in control of time and space…he had to have at least foreknown the outcome to things and should’ve had the ability / control to inevitably affect their outcome. I personally believe in a doctrine or belief of Concurrence in this situation. This merely states that underneath the umbrella of God’s providence, God chooses to condescend and cooperate with created beings and system in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do. In Ephesians 1:11 Paul says that God “accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will.” The word translated “accomplishes” / ἐνεργέω indicates that God “works” or “brings about” all things according to his own will. No event in creation falls outside of his providence. Of course this fact is hidden from our eyes unless we read it in Scripture. Like preservation, God’s work of concurrence is not clearly evident from observation of the natural world around us like His existence is.

September 15, 2015

In Their Own Words XXXVII: Quantum Nihilism -or- Faith To Believe In Nothing



To all the atheists that will go apoplectic or tend towards hysterics every time someone says that atheism is a religion I present to you a statement from George Klein (an atheist)…

“I am an atheist. My attitude is not based on science, but rather on faith. . . The absence of a Creator, the non-existence of God is my childhood faith, my adult belief, unshakable and holy.” - George Klein ‘The Atheist in the Holy City.’

At least Klein is being philosophically and intellectually honest with his statement. Atheism is nothing new, and yes, it’s a religion. It is a belief system or a religion of "no God". A religion being defined as a set of beliefs that dictate a person’s worldview or perception of reality that can include the following characteristics: A material dimension/aspect, ritual/rituals, ethics/virtue, doctrinal beliefs of philosophies, a social dimension, a logical basis and a narrative or meta-narrative.

When confronted with the statement that their belief is a religion an atheist's retort is usually along the line of: "If atheism is a religion, then not playing baseball is a sport." Although this is an adroit and ingenious response, it is telling of the mindset of the atheist. They view atheism as an ontological negative or absence of belief not an actual belief. They are in error intellectually. One of the prerequisites for being a religion does not require that a deity be affirmed or believed in. It requires that one have a set of beliefs that are adhered to (in most cases in a dogmatic manner...just like atheists do). A case in point similar to atheism is Buddhism. Buddhism is non-theistic. For all basic purposes, Buddhism is atheistic yet it is considered a religion. Atheists therefore believe there is no God and that takes a leap of faith just as much as believing that God exists. Operative word: Believe/Belief. No empirical facts to back up the claim. Denial of something does not make it not exist. It is just a shifting of the burden of proof.


Furthermore, many of the attributes of religion are also manifested in atheism. Included in the list:


They have a worldview--they are naturalists or materialists. They believe that the physical universe is all that exists. They have a dogmatic orthodoxy---If you step outside of it you are mercilessly beat down. They believe that science (scientific method) can explain everything and that no other source of information is acceptable to glean objective data/information from. As mentioned previously they believe it is possible for an adherent of their belief system to apostatize---If you digress from the naturalist explanations you are considered apostate and ostracized from scientific ranks similar to excommunication. They have a meta-narrative: Evolution and mutation and in some really eccentric cases Panspermia (again, a belief or theory, no empirical data). They even have prophets and messiahs: Marx, Engels, Darwin, Nietzsche, Russell, etc.  They have fundamentalist preachers and evangelists too: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, etc.


When we view atheism in light of the last paragraph we see that atheism is not just the lack of belief in a god, but an outright assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, divinity or supernatural beings. It indeed is a worldview or philosophy devoid or nearly devoid of metaphysics. Atheists in this sense are fundamentalist in their physical naturalism
Sola Fide Scientia! They make overarching claims to things they cannot know for sure, therefore they can only arrive at their conclusions through (imagine this)…a faith or belief in something not provable through experimentation or observable. They make just as much of a Kierkegaardian "leap of faith" as any religious person does. As long as there has been a man around arrogant enough to deny God exists, there has been atheism. When they make the leap of faith to proclaim no God, they are also making an epistomological leap leaving the physical realm and firmly planting a foot into the realm of theology and metaphysics. Atheists making theological statements. How novel.

Atheism in the truest sense is a philosophical position which asserts that no supernatural beings or forces exist. Yet they have no proofs for said assertions. Instead, atheists contend that all phenomena in the universe, including human thought and morality are products of either nature, evolution or mutation. They cannot possibly have no divine origin. To atheists we are nothing but the sum product of atomic and chemical reaction slowly drifting through the darkened cosmic void (stellar wasteland). Because of this, most hard atheists do not believe in the existence of a human soul that survives death nor a “life spark” that makes a person more than the sum of their atom, molecules or cells. In theological terms they are Annihilationists.

How utterly depressing and nihilistic.

Interestingly, modern atheism has been inexorably predisposed and manipulated by the writings of the atheist prophets Marx, Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche. All of these secular prophets saw Judeo-Christian religion/values as a socieo-cultural human creation. For the most part they saw religions as being created out of evolutionary necessity. In the end they all saw religions as vestiges of the past and were now holding humanity back from advancing.  Marx believed religion functioned like a drug to keep people enslaved to the ruling class. He called it the “Opium/Opiate of the Masses”. Freud more boldly asserted that "religion was an illusion". Nietzsche ignorantly proclaimed that "God was dead".  All of them believed in atheism and a focus on the self/humanity in some form believing this was necessary to overcome human suffering and to reach a climax of human potential. This of course is strangely akin to Saṃsāra commonly known in Buddhism as the wheel/cycle of suffering. Samsara being the move away from ignorance characterized by suffering and anxiety and towards liberation. Yet never once did these educated men see their belief systems for what they were: A tired and true religion. 

I imagine it must take a lot of energy to maintain such a stalwart front of nihilistic belief in the face of such obvious natural revelation from God in the world around the atheist. It is as if one deliberately, in faith, tries insanely hard to believe in nothing. They try in vain to suppress the truth (Romans 1:18-23). It must be truly exhausting to believe in a zero-sum-game against the mounting evidences of supernatural origin in the complexity of cells, DNA and the other-worldliness of the sub-atomic or Quantum realm.

The principal and perhaps sole intellectual driving force behind the rise of the new militant westernized atheistic jihad has been the false idea that concrete, testable data is the exclusive portal to reliable beliefs. This is false and irrational. Nonsense remains nonsense; even when it is uttered by world-renowned scientists and so-called "highly educated" people.

If we look into the recent past we would've seen more rational, reasonable and logical statements from respected scientists like Max Plank (1858-1947). Plank being the intellectual equivalent of all the intellectual "titans" mentioned thus-far. He made a statement about the intrinsic role of faith. Faith not only in religion (which is sort of implied between the lines of Plank's statement) but also having faith to believe some of the things that are seen in nature and science. I'm guessing Plank would’ve known best because he was one of the first to deal with the strange world of Quanta. Plank realized that we ourselves are part of the mystery that is reality and we cannot even fully explain that, yet science tries to explain things in a conspicuous absence of God. This in light of the fact that we cannot even fully figure out the things we can see that God created which are the effect of an obvious cause.

Plank, patriarch of Quantum Theory wrote the following:


“Anybody who has seriously been engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye must have faith. It is a quality which the scientist cannot dispense with… Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. That is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of nature and therefore a part of the very mystery that we are trying to solve.” ~Max Plank


{Addendum: Sorry folks, I called the post Quantum Nihilism as a tongue-in-cheek joke. I am merely mimicking science's proclivity to ostentatiously name theories with over the top multi-syllable words to make overly simplistic theories seem important when they are nothing more than outright nonsense. The second part of the title is more in line with the context of this blog post. :) }

September 11, 2015

Judaism is Not Christianity I: Jews That Reject Jesus and The Gospel

This will be the first in a few posts explaining why Judaism is not Christianity. It is sad I need to do this but I've seen a lot of really bad theology floating around in the Church and the Internet and it is disconcerting that Christians has been led so far astray. You know what I'm talking about. The Christians trying to "get back to their roots" or those with political inclinations that feel that they need to support a modern geopolitical Israel, not the spiritual Israel mentioned within Romans 9-11. I don't know if it is Dispensationalism run amok (John Hagee) or if it is some odd need to relate to the Jewish people. Whatever it is, some Christians feel compelled to maintain Jewish dietary laws out of necessity, Easter as Passover, etc. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is some guilt-laden empathy. Regardless, I'll be posting to delineate between the two and explain why Judaism is now a false religion.

We need to help the Jewish people understand these facts. We are doing them no favors when we treat them as Christian brothers and sisters without teaching them or providing them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Without providing them with the Gospel, we condemn them in their sins.

I will go through some of the basic tenants of Judaism to clear the air for the reader. I will admit outright that both Jews and Christians believe in the Old Testament. It might be organized differently and different portions might have different names but it is essentially the same book. The difference obviously comes from misinterpretation of the Old Testament and events that took place after the Old Testament ended. Without seeing Jesus for who He really was it is not surprising the Jews would misinterpret their own holy book. They did not/do not have the proper context and cannot see the big picture as revealed to the believing Christian in Christ.

Jewish holy writ ends with the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible. Christian holy writ continues towards something much greater which is one seriously major caveat for Jews to overlook (or more properly, reject). They've been rejecting Jesus and his claim to divinity since He was alive. If they didn't believe He was God when He Resurrected from the dead then, how are we to expect any different from them now?

John 1:45 ~ “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Luke 24:44 ~ “Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Christians believe Jesus Christ abrogated the Law and fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets. In other words, Jesus is the Messiah foretold by the Jewish prophets and embodied in the Jewish Law. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law because he was God’s Son. Please note I said he abrogated the Law, not overturned it. Even Jesus said:

Matthew 5:17 ~ “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

Trinity

From the Jewish side it becomes a bit more convoluted. Christians believe in the Trinity. Jews do not, at least not the way Christians currently understand it. Because they do not believe Jesus was Messiah and that he came in the flesh and ascended in the resurrection body, they are missing what is tantamount core Christian doctrine. Without it, lack of this information can damn a person if they do not understand and accept it. Jews do not believe in the Gospel. Period. They therefore are condemned and incur the wrath of God. In short Christians believe God is both Spirit and Flesh, Jews believe God is completely incorporeal. This of course totally overlooks the Incarnation and the work of Christ on the Cross.

Sin

Jews do not believe in Original Sin or that sin is imputed from Adam to us today.  If one has an incorrect view of their sinful nature, they do not know how to properly repent because they are confused or unware of their inherently depraved nature. In other words, Jews (and some Christians) do not fully understand their complete inability to recognize their need of The Savior. Don’t get me wrong, they know they need repentance. They just don’t realize that the atonement for their sin is Christ. This of course leads to the difference or atonement for sin.

Atonement

As best I can tell, Jews do NOT believe that blood atonement is absolutely necessary for personal or individual sin even though Leviticus specifically states that:

Leviticus 17:11 ~ “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

This issue is quite strange to me and I’m not sure I fully understand it. It seems to be a Jewish theological contradiction. The Old Testament clearly required a blood sacrifice for sin (Leviticus 17:11) and the Jews of the Old Testament knew this for a fact. Conversely, modern Jews and modern learned Rabbis seem to believe that blood sacrifice is not primary or absolutely required anymore even though nothing has abrogated or legally fulfilled that need in their Law (in their point of view). In the time of the Old Testament it is clear they understood this fact due to the immediate rebuilding of the Temple upon arrival back into their homeland. After the exile, the Jews immediately rebuilt the Temple and began offering blood sacrifices again.

Nehemiah 10:32-33 ~ “We also take on ourselves the obligation to give yearly a third part of a shekel[a] for the service of the house of our God: 33 for the show-bread, the regular grain offering, the regular burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed feasts, the holy things, and the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.”

The prophets also spoke of a [third] temple in the future and blood sacrifices will still be central to atonement in said Temple.

Ezekiel 45:15-17 ~ “And one sheep from every flock of two hundred, from the watering places of Israel for grain offering, burnt offering, and peace offerings, to make atonement for them, declares the Lord God. All the people of the land shall be obliged to give this offering to the prince in Israel. It shall be the prince's duty to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel.

I guess, because the Temple has been destroyed for nearly 2000 years, it’s easy to see why the Jews would want to believe that blood sacrifices have been abrogated in some way.

Obviously, from a Christian perspective, the veil was rent and the Temple was later demolished because the ultimate Lamb of God was slain at the Cross in the message of the Gospel. The Old Testament sacrifices are no longer necessary nor apply to the Christian. They were only symbolic to the Jews anyway because they point to the true Lamb, Jesus Christ.

In light of the Temples absence, Jewish theologians will often argue blood sacrifice is not necessary for atonement. They say deeds and repentance alone can replace blood sacrifices.

Isaiah 55:6-7 ~“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Repentance to whom remains the question. A Triune God devoid of Jesus? That is not true repentance. The good deeds argument arises again in Proverbs 16:6. Again, this is another FAIL. Repenting to a Godhead devoid of Jesus is like repenting to a stone. It’s ineffectual, pointless and meaningless. Psalm 141:2 states that prayer replaces blood sacrifices yet Jews are knowingly making an interpretive error by interpreting a poem/song literally when it is clear David is using analogy here about his prayer life. David’s original meaning had nothing to do with replacing blood sacrifice with prayer. I could go on but you are beginning to see the picture. In the absence of the Temple, Jews are digressing from Scripture because they have no true place to seek atonement absent Jesus or their Messiah.

Christians clearly believe that Jesus is the atonement for sin. Christians believe in the work and deeds that He did, not the works and deeds they do. Not only did Jesus atone for sins, he made it very neat and tidy and easy for people to understand in Scripture. A person would need to be blind to miss it.

Romans 3:25 ~ “[Jesus] whom God put forward as a propitiation [atonement] by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Hebrews 9:22 ~ “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

1 John 2:2 ~ “He [Jesus] is the propitiation [atonement] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

The former sins referred to in Romans 3 is not only the sins of the individual that were committed before they repented and came to Christ but it can also mean the sins that had initially been covered by blood sacrifices in the Old Testament. The sacrifices in the Temple during the Old Testament were only typologies and shadows of the One who would actually forgive the sin: Jesus.

Salvation

We must never forget that Jews see themselves more as a corporate or communal covenant entity. Therefore the idea of individual salvation is sort of alien to their belief. Although Jews believe in ideas of concepts like atonement and repentance, they do not believe in them the way Christians do. Combine this with the fact they do not believe in Original Sin and we begin to see just how much of a “bad way” the Jews are in. Knowing these things it is easy to see why the Pharisees and Sadducee of Jesus’ time became so legalistic and arrogant. The Law misconstrued made them slaves to deeds and this mentality just carried over into the Diaspora and modern times.

For Christians, salvation is through Christ alone. It is by grace through faith in what Jesus did on the Cross by which we are saved.

Acts 4:12 ~ “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8 ~ “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

Although Christianity emphasizes good works, they are not the path to salvation. God’s grace through faith in what Jesus did at Calvary is that path.

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