(Repentance Not Included) The Call

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, March 2, 2021 0 comments


by Chad Koons

In my post last month, we looked at the definition of and the need for repentance. Now we ask the question: what does repentance look like? Thank God that we have excellent examples given by Jesus Himself! Although these two examples are different, they are very much the same.

In Luke 15, we find the story of the Prodigal Son.
To me, however, it seems more the story of the Joyful Father. You’ll see why in a minute. Anyway, it is here that we see not only a picture of true repentance, but also a demonstration of it. A father has two sons. The younger son requests his inheritance early, only to skip town and waste it all on a sinful lifestyle. Eventually the funds run out and he hits rock bottom. In his exhausted and wasted state, something stirs inside of him. He thinks to humble himself and return to his father. He planned to humbly confess, “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” In this way, he would throw himself upon his father’s mercy.

It is important to recognize that the son had made a decision followed up by actions. He had rejected his sin, changed his mind, turned around, and began journeying once again back to his father’s house. This, my friends, is where repentance begins.

Upon eyeshot of his homeland, something nearly unheard of happens. His father sees him, and pulling up his robes, his father actually begins running down the road to meet his wayward son! He catches him up in an embrace and kisses his cheeks. The son, still compelled to humble himself as he should, confesses to his father, “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son…” But the father, already knowing the sincerity of his son’s actions, immediately begins yelling to his servants, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” In this amazing display of reconciliation, the father not only meets and welcomes his son, but he ushers him in, forgives, restores, and honors him with celebration and gifts beyond anyone’s expectation! This is true repentance accepted. The Lord will do the same thing with you.

Repentance is also seen with the woman caught in adultery.
In John 8, Jesus was teaching a crowd of people in the temple. The religious leaders saw this as an opportunity to test and condemn Jesus, so they conveniently found a woman caught in adultery and threw her down before Jesus. “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women,” they said, “So what do you say?” Jesus famously stated; “Let you without sin cast the first stone.”

Some seem to interpret this story as a “do not judge” sort of thing – that love and grace are more important than our actions, that sin is unimportant, that repentance is not necessary, and that if Jesus canceled judgement, then so should we. Yet given the context of this story, the above interpretation could not be any more wrong! To say that Jesus ignored her sin completely devalues their encounter and entirely misses the point. Jesus did not ignore her sin, nor did He cancel it or treat it lightly. Jesus recognized a sinful woman in dire need of mercy. He expected her to reject her sin, and then He led her to repentance. After all, every sinner needs repentance, always and forever.

This woman had repented, and this is what caused Jesus to extend His forgiveness and invite her to follow Him. Otherwise, she would not have been forgiven. How do we know this? Because of what He said. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” Notice that she called Him Lord, implying that she had rejected her sin, repented, and had submitted to His Lordship. Therefore, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more” (John 8:11, emphasis mine). The Bible doesn’t tell us anything more about this woman, but I believe that she completely abandoned her sinful lifestyle and faithfully followed Jesus. Broken as she was, she had repented before Him, and His words of “Go, and sin no more” opened the door to her freedom!

Here’s something that completely overwhelms me. In each of these stories, there was a response initiated by both parties – by the sinner and by the Redeemer. It is absolutely amazing to me how the Lord will turn His attention toward us when we repent. He is so very loving and patient. His goodness leads us to repentance. No greater love exists. Come with your whatever scraps you have left, come with your addictions, come with your raw and bleeding wounds, come just as you are, but please come.

If the Lord is drawing you to repentance, act upon it immediately before it is too late. The Lord is commanding people everywhere to repent. He will run to you and make you His own.

If I could sum this up, here is what I would say; there is freedom, dear reader. No matter the struggle, no matter the depth of root, no matter the abuse that has bound you, no matter the heartache, no matter the chains digging into your skin, freedom is available, and it begins with true repentance. Come to Jesus and He will not cast you aside. Forgiveness and new life await.

“Lord, I come before You in need of forgiveness. I have sinned against You and I have sinned against others. I know that I need to serve You with my whole life, so therefore I make the decision to repent; to turn away from my sins and to turn towards You. Cleanse me from my sin, create in me a clean heart, oh God. Renew a right spirit within me. Jesus, You are my Lord and Savior.”

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

Eschatology: What About the End Times?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 1, 2021 4 comments


by Katie Erickson

One of life’s great mysteries is what will happen in the end times. The primary reason it’s a mystery is that it hasn’t happened yet. How will the world end? When will it happen? What will those events look like? These concepts are alluded to in the Scriptures, but the answers given are not clear and detailed - at least in our limited understanding while on this earth.

One related topic that we do have slightly clearer answers on is what happens to a person when they die. The Bible does tell us about heaven and hell (click the links for more on each). Roman Catholics also believe in purgatory as a place people go after this world but before they go to heaven or hell. While we don’t know the details of heaven and hell, we know that heaven is where we will exist with God, and hell is the complete absence of God.

How does the timing work after a person dies? Are you immediately sent to your “final destination,” or do you exist in some other space for a while, or do you have no sense of time at all? There are a lot of opinions on these matters, but we don’t have clear answers to these questions from Scripture. There are 3 primary positions held by Christians on this topic. The first is that a person goes immediately to purgatory. When their sin is “taken care of” by enough prayers being offered for them by those who are still alive, that person goes to heaven. If a person has committed a mortal sin, however, they go directly to hell; they would also go to hell if they’re still in purgatory when Christ comes again. The second position is some sort of intermediate state between earthly life and the new heaven and the new earth that will happen in the future. The third position is that a person is immediately judged upon their death and then proceeds to heaven or hell depending on their relationship with Jesus Christ.

Now, onto the bigger topic - the end of the world. When will it happen? Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:36: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” This is mind-blowing when you look at it in the context of the Trinity; the Father, Son, and Spirit are three persons yet one God, and there’s this one piece of information that is not shared among them; only the Father knows it! So, anytime someone claims to know the day or the hour that the world will end, the world will definitely not end at that day or time, or else that would go against this passage of Scripture.

One commonly disputed point regarding the end of the world is that of the millennium, a period of 1000 years that is introduced in Revelation 20. There are also 3 positions on this: amillennialism, premillennialism, and postmillennialism. Amillennialists believe that the 1000-year period does not represent a specific time period but the reign of Christ in heaven during the current age of the church. Christ will return again at the end of history, so the church presently lives in the final era. Premillennialists believe in a literal interpretation of the book of Revelation regarding the last times, including a rapture of believers, a seven-year time of tribulation, a reign of Christ on earth for 1000 years, and a final victory over evil. (This is the view held by the authors of the popular Left Behind series.) Postmillennialists believe that the millennium is a time period of undetermined length where the world is at peace, and Christ will return at the end of this period.

Various theologians over the years of church history have held each of these positions, and they each have Scripture passages that they use to support their views. So which is actually true? That is the ultimate question.

Personally, I’ve been asked which view I hold, and I had to write a paper stating my view on it as part of a theology class when I was in seminary. My official belief is that I don’t know, and I’m really glad that God does know how it’s all going to play out! Many people worry about the end times and what’s going to happen, but I’ve landed on this position of really not caring about it. Sure, I’m looking forward to being in heaven and meeting Jesus face-to-face someday; but it’s because of Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection that I know I don’t have to worry about how this world will end. I am living in this world for whatever the span of my life here ends up being, whether I die a natural death or if Jesus comes again before my time comes, but my true home is in heaven, thanks to the work of Jesus on the cross.

If we’re currently living in that 1000-year period, then I will still end up in heaven for all eternity because of Jesus. If there will be a rapture, tribulation period, etc., then I will still end up in heaven for all of eternity because of Jesus. If there will be 1000 years of peace before Christ returns, then I will still end up in heaven for all eternity because of Jesus. That’s all that really matters. Sure, it’d be great to know the details, but that’s clearly not something that God wants to reveal to us just yet.

What do you believe about what happens after death? What do you believe about what will happen in the end times? If you do not yet have that faith in Jesus Christ that you will end up with God for all eternity, please reach out to us at Worldview Warriors; we’d love to talk with you about that!

While today is very likely not the end of the world, this is the end of my blog post series on theology. I hope you have enjoyed digging into all of these topics with me!

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

Idolatry: Stealing

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 26, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

“You shall not steal.” -Exodus 20:15

I hope that over the past few weeks, you’ve seen the dangers of idolatry and why we must take it seriously. The last couple of weeks have been very heavy. It’s very difficult to address the murder and adultery of idolatrous practices “softly,” and trust me that I held back as much as I could on it. But these are issues our little kids are being confronted with the moment they step outside the house (if they haven’t been flooded with it on TV already). This post will be much lighter, however, I’m not done yet. Idolatry does not merely lead to stealing. It is a form of stealing. Yes, if you worship any god other than the True God, you are a thief. Idolatry is thievery.

There is only One True God. He is the Lord. There is none like Him. There is none who can compare with Him. There is none who can create, none who can deliver, none who can perform great acts, none who can save, none who can produce life, and none who control all things. None, other than the True God. One thing greatly missing in many churches is the study of God. It is rare to hear a sermon about the attributes of God and an accurate description of who He is and what He is like as revealed in Scripture. I know of a few books about the attributes of God, but good luck finding them in your local Christian bookstore and good luck finding one among contemporary preachers. When the preachers themselves don’t preach about God and who He is and what He is like, why are we surprised when the general population doesn’t know about Him either? The fact is that God’s true character is scandalous to culture. God is offensive to us in our sinful state, but unless we describe God as He revealed himself to be, then we are practicing idolatry and are attributing that which belongs to God to a being of our own liking. This is stealing.

When someone takes part of God’s message but mixes it with other philosophies and ideas and proclaims it as their religion, they are stealing from God. I call the atheism of our day a form of plagiarism, since they love to boast about their academics. As we know, plagiarism is the greatest sin of academia. You get expelled from college for it, yet plagiarism is practiced most heavily by the professors at these universities. How can I say that? They steal from God and claim it as their own models. Where does morality come from? The atheist will say “society.” Where does “society” get it? In reality: God. Or they will say, “Everyone knows what is right and wrong.” To which I agree but then follow up with Romans 2:14, John 1:9, and Romans 1:19-20 which reveals that the reason why everyone knows what is right and wrong is because God has told everyone what it is and given us a conscience to prove it. But the atheist claims it as his own morality and doesn’t give its proper credit to where it is from. That, by the book, is plagiarism.

Jesus lashed out at the Pharisees for attributing His works and deeds to Beelzebub. They had seen and heard all Jesus had done and instead of wonder and awe, they attributed His works to demons. Jesus called this the “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.” As John MacArthur put it in this sermon, “This puts them out of the possibility of being saved.” The Pharisees had an idol in their minds. They had a picture of the Messiah being a great military leader, yet nothing in Scripture ever suggests that. They had a false image of God and it prevented them from seeing Him when He was right in front of their eyes.

There is a lot of idolatry going on today. A lot of people proclaim a version of God that fits their ideals then call it “God.” That’s not just blasphemous; it’s theft. It’s stealing from God and putting it where it doesn’t belong. If your idea of God changes based on the culture, the latest “scientific findings,” or on whatever some person tells you rather than being based on Scripture, then you have an idol and you are stealing God’s glory and God’s name for your personal gain.

One form of this stealing is on display in Matthew 7:21-23. Many in the church are false converts and they will speak the language, do great deeds, even perform miracles and cast out demons, but Jesus will turn on them and say, “I never knew you.” The Message’s paraphrase of Jesus’ statement essentially goes: “You just used my name for your own platform.” Let me make this clear: there are many who claim the name of Christ and they don’t have a right to it. They are stealing from God, claiming something for themselves that isn’t theirs to claim. It has not been given to them by God to wear in the process God calls to get it. They just claimed it, but God knows the real from the fake. Often the fakes do a fine enough job to reveal themselves as such. The false convert isn’t just a false believer; he’s a thief. He is stealing from God that which isn’t his. Some of us need to get right with God right now. I’m not innocent of this charge either. There are times where I’ve declared I’m doing something for God’s glory and His purposes, when I’m really doing it for mine. Frankly, that’s stealing. A thief will not enter the Kingdom. That should disturb us.

Next week, we’ll deal with lying. Don’t be surprised if there is a lot of similarity to what I am saying here today.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

What Must We Learn from Ravi?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, February 24, 2021 2 comments


by David Odegard

It has become clear now that popular Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias covered up a ravenous sexual brokenness “including sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape.” You can read the full statement from RZIM here. This brokenness has come to light as every secret eventually must (Luke 12:3). As we examine the posthumous fallout from Ravi’s dark side, hopefully, we are also examining ourselves.

Ravi was a man of immense intellect, and he articulated a Christian worldview very well. We now discover that he seems to have had large holes in his practice as a Christian. The internet has erupted with questions, allegations, and apologies: How did we fail Ravi? How did Ravi fail us? How are we failing God in all this? Not to mention that the watching world is discounting all the very true and remarkable things he said for all those decades because it turns out that he is just as hypocritical as they privately are.

Among the loudest salvos are calls for more accountability. This is certainly true, but it misses the most crucial point: Ravi was able to creatively circumvent all the accountability structure that RZIM actually had in place. Ravi is a tragic reminder that what we know must become who we are if we ever hope to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10).

Jesus taught us the way. Christian virtue ethics is that way and it teaches us that we need to allow the Holy Spirit to reshape our mind, will, emotions, and even our bodily habits (see Matthew 22:37). Ravi had a well-developed mental life, but some of his habits appear to have been unreformed. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). It is natural for human beings to be filled with these things, but when someone turns to Jesus and desires to follow His way, all of that person’s desires must reorient around God Himself. We simply must allow God to reorder our highest loves.

Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). To love God first is the beginning of the good life. We love everything else rightly when we have loved God first “with all your heart.” We must love God with “all our mind,” too. Ravi certainly did this, but this area alone is not enough. Our devotion to Christ must go much deeper than our minds until we have been captured in our whole person.

What does it mean to love God with all of our strength? Dallas Willard taught that sin dwells actually in the members of our bodies (see Romans 6). The muscle memory in our bodies has been trained in a habit of good or bad. Real virtue ethics is the retraining of our habits to align with what we know to be true. To learn more about this I would recommend Dallas Willard’s book Renovation of the Heart; many books have been compiled on this topic, but this one is a great place to begin.

The ancients talked about the head being the seat of reason and the belly being the seat of the primal passions or appetite, after all it is what growls when you are hungry. The head and belly were considered to be at war with one another. The head wanted to contemplate poetry and mathematics; the belly wanted to get drunk, procreate, overeat, and sleep in. Every hung-over student in calculus class testifies to the ancient dilemma.

The ancients had various answers to this dilemma like hedonism (obey the belly) and stoicism (obey the head); these are gross over-simplifications, but they are sufficient. The problem with these approaches is that one is always at war with himself or herself. And the head and belly (reason and passion) will always be at war. “Who shall deliver us from this?” (see Romans 7).

Christian virtue is different. The way of Jesus leads to truth, freedom, and peace with both God and man. Virtue arises from loving God first with all of one’s being—body and soul. If reason is the head and appetite is the belly, then virtue is symbolized by the chest. Virtue is courage and honesty, contentment and justice, etc. Virtue teaches us that the head must rule the belly through the chest, and the chest must be filled with deliberately Christian virtue (see Augustine’s Confessions).

This is why C. S. Lewis’s essay “Men Without Chests” was so critical of the kind of spiritual formation public school children were receiving. It was all head with no virtue, and he drew the obvious conclusion that these children would grow up to be bad adults. To ask them to be kind, upright citizens filled with honor and honesty was absurd since their education divorced ethics from learning. It was like “cutting down the orchard and still demanding its fruit” or “gelding the colts and demanding them to be fruitful and multiply.”

I looked up to Ravi, and the things he spoke were true and good. Truth must go deeper than our minds—it must remake us. In Lewis’s book The Great Divorce, he demonstrates how redemption can reach all the way back through our entire lives so that even our pain, brokenness, and suffering are redemptive toward saving our souls. This is also true for Ravi. Imagine the isolation and despair he must have known, grappling with his sin and not being able to reach out to others for fear of his own reputation. And his suffering is just. That being said, God redeems sinners. Nothing is as important as loving God and knowing Him for all eternity. Let us love God, examine ourselves, and be formed in Christ’s image.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

Ecclesiology: What Is the Church?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 22, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

What is the church? Depending on who you ask, you’ll likely get a variety of answers. The song I learned as a small child tells me that, “The church is not a building; the church is not a steeple; the church is not a resting place; the church is a people. I am the church! You are the church! We are the church together! All who follow Jesus, all around the world! Yes, we’re the church together!” While many people (and I have been guilty of this as well) refer to the church as the building where we go to gather together for worship services, this is not the Biblical definition. Through this look into ecclesiology, or the study of the church, we’ll find some insight into what the church really is.

The word ecclesiology comes from the Greek ekklesia, which most literally means a gathering or an assembly. Whenever we see the word “church” in the New Testament, this is very likely the word that’s in the original Greek. So, even the very word itself points to people instead of a building.

In the Old Testament, the people of Israel were representative of the church. The New Testament describes the people who are the church in a variety of specific ways: the people of God (1 Peter 2:9), a community of salvation (Matthew 28:19), the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), a servant people (2 Corinthians 4:5), and a community of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:4).

While the focus of the early church was defining what doctrines are true and which are false more than defining who they are as a church, they still had consensus on what the church was and is. The church was to be a spiritual society of sorts to replace the nation of Israel as God’s holy people. All people were now welcome, regardless of their ethnicity; you didn’t have to be “born into the club” anymore! The church was responsible for spreading the Gospel message, helping believers to grow in their faith, and making disciples. In the first century, it was the only place where authentic Christian teaching was taught.

There have been many good books written about the history of the church (this being one that I personally recommend), so I’m not going to go into all the details of how the church went from the first century to the twenty-first century. One of the “highlights” of church history was the Reformation in the 1500s. The church had previously split in 1054 into the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church. The Reformation further split the Roman Catholic Church into Roman Catholics and Protestants. In 1541, theologian John Calvin defined the essential doctrines of the Protestant church to be preaching God’s Word and rightly administering the sacraments (such as baptism and communion).

During that same time period, John Calvin also made the distinction between the visible and the invisible church. The visible church is what we see and experience as the church; it’s the group of believers who come together to worship God, for the preaching of His Word, and for the sacraments. The invisible church, however, is the fellowship of all the saints; it includes all of the believers who have gone before us. Regarding this, Calvin said, “Wherever we see the Word of God preached purely and listened to, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, we cannot doubt that a church exists.”

The church itself has 4 primary characteristics: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. The church is one because it is unified in the belief in Jesus Christ. While there are many individual congregations of the church, it is still one unified church. All members of the church are in a relationship with the one true God of the Bible. Many other things (structure, worship styles, leadership, etc.) will differ, but the gospel of Jesus Christ is the one thing that truly defines the church.

The church is holy not in the moral sense of doing no wrong (as it’s made up of imperfect people), but in the sense of being set aside by God for His good purposes. The church can also be considered holy because we always have forgiveness of our sins through our faith in the work of Jesus Christ.

The church is catholic not in the sense of Roman Catholic but meaning universal or extending across time and space. The church is not limited to one geographic area, one people group, or even one time period. Check out this blog post for more on that idea.

The church is apostolic because it carries on the teachings of Jesus’ apostles. Jesus’ twelve disciples were the first apostles of the church, and it was the teaching that they received from Jesus and continued to proclaim that has been passed down as foundational to the church as a whole.

The church today is still God’s people, even though the church exists in a very divided state in our modern world. We should strive for unity as a church, but it is most important to remember our mission as the church, direct from Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

That is what makes us the church: following the mission of our ultimate leader, Jesus Christ Himself. He is the reason that the church exists.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

Idolatry: Adultery

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 19, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Disclaimer: This post contains sexual details that may not be suitable for our younger audiences.

“You shall not commit adultery.” -Exodus 20:14

We live in a sex-charged society. Sexual depravity is exceedingly rampant and in the last ten years, I’ve seen a change in society. No longer are people hiding their sexual depravity; they are flaunting it in arrogance as though they are daring God to do something about it. There are many forms of sexual depravity. I’ll name them, because this commandment doesn’t apply to just one form of it.

Adultery: Having sex with someone outside of marriage
Affair: A married person sleeping with someone not their spouse
Bestiality: People having sex with animals
Bisexual: Having sexual attraction/activity with both genders
Drag Queen: Men dressing up as women (the reverse is also applicable here)
Fornication: Sexual activity with anyone prior to marriage
Homosexuality: Having sex with someone of the same gender (male-male or female-female)
Oral Sex: The act of using the mouth for sex
Pedophilia: Having sex with children (usually prepubescent, but teens count here too)
Polygamy: Being married to multiple people at the same time
Sodomy: The act of anal sex
Transgender: Declaring yourself a different gender than what you biologically are

There is only one thing in this list that isn’t publicly accepted yet: pedophilia, but there’s a big movement to change that. See my post from last summer about it how that’s happening. Polygamy is accepted in Utah, where the Mormons dominate culture. I still remember when these actions were considered not just immoral but also insanity. It wasn’t long ago when homosexuality was considered a mental illness. The Bible describes male prostitutes as perverted persons. The book of Romans describes these behaviors as being unnatural and a result of a “reprobate/debased” mind. And it’s not merely adults who do this in their rebellion against God. Numerous children are being seduced into engaging in this behavior, and there’s no age limit to their lusts.

Adultery is a serious issue. Paul describes all sexual sin as a sin against the body, not just against God. God has designed the body to have “in-holes” and “out-holes.” When the purposes of these holes are misused, it does physical damage to the body. There are other side effects of sexual activities besides just the STDs, some of which are too graphic to describe here. I’ll compare it to drinking. While someone might have “fun” while they are actively drinking, they don’t tell you about the immediate and long-lasting side effects that are not fun. The same is true about sexual promiscuity. Just like abortion, there is no safe way to do it. Along with teaching the kids how to act sexually, they also teach the kids to get abortions and give out condoms without parents’ direct consent. Satan plays dirty and he loves going after precious, innocent life… especially children.

How does idolatry play a role here? It’s often not mentioned, but a large majority of the rituals of the Ancient Near East in their worship involved sexual orgies. The image of Asherah was shaped as a penis. I’m not joking. The Greek gods had all sorts of sexual issues. It can be rightfully said that much of the problems in Greek mythology would have been easily solved if Zeus had simply kept his pants zipped. No matter where you went, if the ancient idols were involved, sexual deviancy went with it. It was said that during the “party” of Israel’s Golden Calf in Exodus 32, there was singing, dancing, drunkenness, and when any of that is involved, you know sex is happening along with it. Sexual depravity is how Balaam told Balak to get Israel to effectively commit suicide by seducing their men with his women. When the kings tore down the high places where these idols were worshiped, there is also mention of removing the prostitutes of the temples, both male and female. Yes, men served at the temples for giving sexual pleasure to the “customers.” And it was not just adults serving these idols; so did many children, mostly young girls. In India, many young girls work at the Hindu temples serving as sex workers. Amy Carmichael was able to rescue and raise 300 of these girls.

There’s nothing new under the sun. The temples of the Ancient Near East haven’t gone away. They’ve just changed forms. We call them “Adult clubs” or “brothels” today. There are the dance areas in the front side of the store, then there are the rooms in the back where what takes place is too graphic to describe on a Christian forum. In third-world countries, these clubs/brothers are also occupied by young children, who are sold and trained for “performance” at/or by age five. Even in Europe, there are buildings used for boy or girl sex and you knew which room had which by the color curtains. When sexual depravity is practiced and embraced by society, no one is safe, and no one is “out of bounds.” Fortunately, here in the U.S., we aren’t there yet. Pedophiles dread going to prison because that is the “no-no” crime among the prison culture and they often get what they did to the kids done to them.

However, there is an aspect of modern culture where adultery is directly taught as approved by idolatrous practices: the cults. Jude 3-4 says there are two keys to watch for to identify a false teaching: denying Christ and teaching an immoral act as being good, namely sexual immorality. The Church of Thyatira was a generally good church, but they had a false teacher who was among them, permitted to speak, and taught sexual behavior was good. The Church of Pergamum had the same issue. When you are looking at a genuine cult, there is sexual immorality somewhere taught in that group. Let’s examine a couple.

Mormonism: Mormon theology is primarily about sex. Men were to have as many wives as possible so they could have as many children as possible. Then when they get to heaven, they will become their own gods and with their many wives get to have many spiritual babies to rule their own planet. The idolatry of the false god of Mormonism teaches sexual depravity.

Islam: One of the promises given to a faithful Muslim is to have seven virgins waiting for him in heaven. While they do teach specifically against homosexuality (killing them), and they demand women to remain chaste, Muhammad was a pedophile. He “married” a 9-year-old girl and raped her. It is a common practice for very young girls to be “married” to men along with others to be part of the harem. Polygamy is part of Islam, too.

The strange cults of Branch Davidians (David Koresh) and others like him would renounce the marriages of those in the cult so David Koresh could produce his “apostles” by his own seed. In these cults, the “guru” is usually some sexually depraved maniac, and with his skills in charisma can control the minds of his followers.

I can go on and on, but I’ll wrap up with this. In Romans 1, the denial of God as Creator leads to a denial of God’s moral standards. When a society takes this path, sexual deviancy is frequently the highlighted form of sin. When the True God is not viewed as being on the throne, then any sexual deviancy becomes permissible and to justify his lusts, man will come up with any god he chooses to justify it. In American society, the secular/atheistic worldview has become the idolatrous religious. Yes, I will say that “no God” is just as much as an idol as any other false god. When “no God” is the religion, what takes God’s place is a combination of government/society and self, and that becomes “god.” And when you are your own “god,” whatever sexual desires you have will be fulfilled. It is a great evil and any basic study of world history will reveal that when homosexual and pedophilic practices are embraced by the culture, that culture’s doom shortly followed. Idolatry leads to adultery in all its forms. It also is a theft of that which belongs to God. That will be for next week, when we look at idolatry as a practice of stealing.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

Spiritual Enmity, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, February 16, 2021 0 comments


by Eric Hansen

I really enjoyed writing about TULIP recently and I want to explore that further, but there’s another topic that has been hitting close to home lately for me. As I sat thinking on what to call it, the term “warfare” felt complicated for the matter. The Holy Spirit doesn’t go to war; it bridges the gap between us and God. The word enmity fits the qualifications pretty well of what we go through when we start talking about “spiritual warfare” far better.

When I Googled ‘enmity’ for its definition you get this: “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” This is exactly what we experience: an active hostility towards God. In this series of writings, I aim to cover the how, the why, and what we can do about it.

Spiritual enmity is when we are in a state of resisting God’s will. This isn’t just telling God, “No, I won’t do/say that.” It may not even involve God directly at all. We all face moments where we don’t want to get up in the morning to go to church, read our Bible, pray, or praise Him. We may even want to spend our time playing on our phones instead of talking to our families or engaging in relationships with others. Or we could feel depressed about an event in our life, and instead of going to the Father for guidance, we drink our sorrows away. Maybe we just want to hit the snooze one more time but we end up waking up late and missing that much needed job interview.

At this point, it’s extremely important to make a clear distinction between temptations and trials. Trials are delivered to us by God in some form to strengthen our spirit and faith, to remember we are His children no matter our age. Temptation, though, is anything that drives us away from God, whether it be pleasure or punishment. In the examples given above, none of those are trials but temptations. We were tempted to tell God no because it would inconvenient us, to not go to church, play on our phones, drink, etc.

A book can be (and numerous have been) written on this topic, but it’s always important to remember it is evil that is behind our temptations, not God. God doesn’t desire us to stare at people in magazines with lust, or to lie to our partner to avoid arguments. Those are desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:17-21). Everything we do, say, or think abhors either God or ourselves, because we are either going to sin or be righteous. In our evil desires, we abhor God, and all of the evil forces know how to make that happen. The human race hasn’t changed since Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3). The desire for Eve to better herself by her own deeds drove her to eat that fruit, and Adam’s desire to know what was so enticing about it drove him to do the same. Then they both lied to God because of the guilt and shame that we feel even today when we sin. Evil watches us day and night to understand what our weaknesses are to exploit them. We all have weaknesses, no matter how grounded we are in faith.

Since Jesus Christ was both fully divine and fully man, Satan had a few tricks up his sleeve as well. Satan knew he couldn’t attack Jesus’ divinity, but every man he’s tempted fell prey to insecurity, glory, or needs, so he went this route. We see this in Matthew 4:1-11 where Satan tempts Jesus with food (need, as he was fasting; verses 2-3), insecurity (verses 5-6) and glory (verses 8-9). Each attempt Satan made he started with the word “if,” similar to what he did with Eve by implanting doubt into the statement. But the insecurity trick is the most intriguing to me as we move forward in this progressive-driven world.

Satan in his wisdom of scripture and trickery says, “IF you are the son of God, throw yourself down” (emphasis mine) and then follows that with scripture (Psalm 91:11-12). This is just like what happens to us now. We may hear a voice in ourselves or a friend say, “If you feel this way then here’s a verse to help you,” but all we have to do is look at the first 2 verses of that psalm to see that it doesn’t apply to Jesus because He Himself is God, so He cannot take refuge in Himself. If we take these verses out of context and silo them, then we can do more harm than good in dealing with these times of doubt, because we don’t truly look at the conveying message. But evil, whether it be Satan or some other force, loves to pick things apart and deliver to us a broken message.

This is what makes staying in the Bible during these times that much more important, because we are weak and easily manipulated. It is also why it is important to keep attending a church, Bible study, etc. to keep that fellowship in our lives. But evil will always try to rip that part of our life out so we feel hopeless and worthless to God.

Covering the how and why in some detail in this post, the next element is how do we handle this. In the midst of the struggle, it is definitely easier said than done to go to church, talk to fellow Christians, be in the Bible, etc. So the next important thing is to look at is what we can do to begin just talking to God again and to know that God hears us and loves us, wants our attention and to bless us with light. Stay tuned for my next blog post for that.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE