All posts by ahuff

Faith or Works

In Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia in Asia Minor, churches he previously had visited on his missionary journeys, Paul addressed those in their midst who were attempting to pervert the Gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:7). There were those who were coming into the churches and telling those who had put their complete faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for salvation as Paul had preached, that in addition they needed to be circumcised for complete salvation. In Galatians chapter five Paul adamantly disputes the notion anything needs to be added to Christ’s sacrifice for salvation.

Paul admonished the Galatian Christians to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (5:1). Paul wrote that if anything is added to God’s free gift of salvation, “Christ shall profit you nothing” (5:2). Paul declared those who agree to the need for circumcision in addition to faith in Christ for salvation place themselves back under the Law, and Christ becomes of no effect unto you,” (5:3-4). Earlier in Paul’s letter he had written to the Galatians, “By the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified,” (2:16). Jesus said during His Sermon on the Mount, “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil,” (Matthew 5:17). Christ fulfilled through His death, burial and resurrection all that is needed for man’s salvation.

There are those who promote, in addition to faith in Christ, the need to immediately be  baptized to wash away sin or the need to do good works in order to obtain forgiveness of sin and salvation in Christ. Just as with those in Paul’s day calling for circumcision to be added for salvation, Paul emphasized, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love,” GOD’s love: AGAPE love (Galatians 5:6). The attempt to obtain salvation by any other means but through faith in Christ Alone is a false salvation. Paul calls it “another gospel: which is not another,” and gives this proclamation, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed,” and to emphasize the importance of his point he immediately repeats, “As we said before, so say I now again, If any preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed,” (Galatians 1:8-9).

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“Social Justice” – A Positive or Negative

The truth about social justice is put forth in a resolution that is under consideration by the Resolutions Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention which will convene its annual meeting in Dallas, Texas, in June 2018. The resolution is written as follows:

“Whereas the social justice movement and worldview are being promoted worldwide, and are being presented using various labels such as eco-justice, economic justice, racial justice, and global justice, to name a few, and

Whereas social justice by definition is based on the anti-biblical and destructive concepts of Marxist ideology, and among other things is interested in redistributing wealth, opportunity, and privileges within society, and

Whereas social justice activism should be considered evil in that it is a vehicle to promote abortion, homosexuality, gender confusion, and a host of other ideas that are antithetical to the gospel, the Christian worldview, and God’s call to holiness (1 Peter 1:16), and

Whereas social justice is now being promoted and enforced by governments worldwide, with Canada being one example that as of 2011 developed Social Justice Tribunals, and is seeking to enforce Bill C-16, a bill passed in 2017 that in application sees it as a hate crime to use the wrong gender pronoun to describe an individual, and

Whereas social justice is deceptive, in that well-meaning Christians become unwittingly drawn into such ideology under the false assumption that social justice equates to standing up for people’s rights and compassion, and

Whereas social justice is based on Marxism and Postmodernism, and should be opposed because of its anti-biblical stance and worldview, and although Christians are attempting to blend social justice with Christianity, they must realize that to accept social justice ideology is to invite liberal theology and liberation theology into our churches, schools, and institutions, and

Whereas authoritative voices have warned against such, for example on the May 2010 “Glenn Beck Program” when Jerry Falwell Jr., declared that social justice was “insidious,” and Glenn Beck warned of a “perversion of the gospel” and called on Christians to “run as fast as you can” away from churches who start teaching social justice because of the toxic nature of social justice, and

Whereas social justice is showing it’s true colors at George Washington University and other campuses in 2018 where they are holding classes and seminars seeking to combat “Christian Privilege,” and attacking Christianity for it’s prominence in society using the social justice ethic, wherein the seminar at GWU students are taught “American Christians receive things they don’t deserve and are not worthy of getting,” and

Whereas Southern Baptists ought to furthermore be warned by the example of the Methodist and Episcopal denominations that have already embraced the social justice movement, and instead of growing in number, these same denominations continue to lose membership at an alarmingly fast rate, and

Whereas we have a present crisis point in the Southern Baptist Convention, in that the same social justice has been recently defended and promoted by Russell Moore of the ERLC within the Southern Baptist Convention, with Dr. Moore writing multiple articles and hosting events promoting social justice, and

Whereas the social justice agenda in the Southern Baptist Convention has become pervasive in some seminaries and state conventions, even to the point that it is apparently an unwritten rule not to speak against the social justice movement, or one’s job or position will be in jeopardy, and

Whereas we are repeatedly warned in Scripture concerning such error and being deceived, with Ephesians 5:6Hebrews 13:9, Colossians 2:8, and 1 Timothy 4:1 being just a few of these warnings, and

Whereas social justice and Christian ethics are clearly antithetical to each other in the areas of tolerance, sexuality, gender, human life beginning at conception, and in general the role of a believer and the purpose for good works being to glorify God, and

Whereas social justice differs from the New Testament in that social justice expresses compassion for certain groups they deem as “victims” while hating those with whom they disagree, rather than following the command of Christ to love everyone, and especially our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and

Whereas social justice warriors routinely shut down speech that they disagree with, often with violence as part of their “social justice,” instead of “seeking to live at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18) and

Whereas social justice destroys lives by convincing people they are victims who are right to magnify even the most minor of offenses, and to note every disagreement or slight as a “microaggression,” and to complain rather than obey scripture and “count it all joy,” (James 1:2) and

Whreas true Christian theology builds people up to be resilient in the face of trials, but social justice seeks to stoke discontentment (1 Corinthians 10:10Hebrews 13:5), and

Whereas our own denomination must reject this harmful social justice philosophy in it’s entirety, and

Whereas biblical doctrine and the Christian ethic must be chosen over social justice, then be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 13–14, 2018, decry and reject the terms and framework of social justice as insufficient to adequately reflect the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Christian worldview; and be it further

RESOLVED That the entities of the Southern Baptist Convention be encouraged to avoid the terms “social justice” and social justice warrior” when referring to Christian ethics or activism, and that the Holy Scriptures be used as a guide without mimicking the verbiage of the Anti-Christian social justice movement, and be it

RESOLVED That all SBC Colleges and Universities be encouraged to review their teaching programs with special attention given to Humanities Departments to ensure that Marxist based social justice is not being taught in our colleges, universities, and seminaries, and be it

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches in preaching, teaching, and in discipleship to address the issues of racial reconciliation, poverty, the environment, sexual and gender issues, immigration, and education from a Christian worldview and reject the ideological underpinnings and verbiage of the social justice movement.”

(http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/sbc-social-justice-resolution/)

 

Why I’m No Longer Roman Catholic – A Testimony

Dr. Fred Tarsitano gives a clear Biblical testimony in this video, “Why I’m No Longer Roman Catholic,” as to why, although born and raised in a Catholic family in New Jersey and a staunch adherent to the Catholic traditions, found new life in Christ based upon the blood of Jesus Christ Alone and not upon the added good works of man for salvation, for “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our Righteousnesses are as filthy rags… There is none that calleth upon Thy Name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee: for Thou hast hid Thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities,” Isaiah 64:6-7. It is only through the sinless perfection of Christ salvation is able to be obtained, for Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.

Rejected by God

God’s Word is plain as to what displeases Him, for before the inhabitants of the Southern Kingdom of Judah were carried away captive to Babylon, the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom were taken captive to Assyria for their sins against the LORD God. The sins the Northern Kingdom repeatedly committed against God had reached full capacity of His cup of wrath which was poured out upon them for their disobedience.

Twenty years prior to being taken captive to Assyria, the Prophet Hosea warned the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom it would come to pass they would say, “We have no king, because we feared not the LORD… None at all would exalt Him,” (Hosea 10:3; 11:7). Recorded in 2 Kings 17 is the sins that brought the Northern Kingdom to its demise:

  1. They feared other gods
  2. They walked in the statutes of the heathen
  3. Did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD
  4. Built high places in all their cities to worship idols
  5. Set up images and groves in every high hill and under every green tree
  6. Burnt incense to idols
  7. Wrought wicked things to provoke God to anger
  8. Served idols

“Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the Law… Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God,(2 Kings 17:13-14). Therefore they:

  1. Rejected His statutes and His Covenant
  2. Followed vanity and became vain
  3. Went after the heathen round about them
  4. Left all His commandments
  5. Made them molten images
  6. Made a grove to idols
  7. Worshipped all the host of heaven (sun, moon, and stars)
  8. Served Baal
  9. Caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire
  10. Used divinations and enchantments
  11. Sold themselves to do evil to provoke God to anger

“Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only… The LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until He had cast them out of His sight. For He rent Israel from the House of David.”

King Solomon and His Many Wives

It is true Solomon “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines” for it is recorded in God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures, in 1 Kings 11:3. It has been suggested many of his wives and concubines could have been daughters given as gifts to him by surrounding potentates when peace treaties were negotiated with the Kingdom of Israel. As Solomon’s kingdom and influence grew so did his desire for these foreign women whom God strictly forbade His people as they entered the Promised Land from becoming involved with because of their idol worship (Deuteronomy 7:1-4; 1 Kings 11:1-2).

After all the magnificent successes God had given King Solomon throughout his reign, the Book of Kings records “when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods.” Those gods included “Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians… Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites… Chemosh, the abomination of Moab… and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.” Solomon offered sacrifices and burnt incense unto the gods just as his forbidden wives did who did not worship the One True GOD who had blessed Solomon in wisdom and riches (1 Kings 11:5-8).

Because of His Righteousness, God’s judgment fell upon Solomon and the entire Kingdom of Israel. It was then God pronounced the kingdom would be divided after Solomon’s death into the Northern Kingdom consisting of ten tribes of Israel, and the Southern Kingdom consisting of the remaining two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. Solomon’s son Rehoboam would rule the Southern Kingdom consisting of Jerusalem, while Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam, would rule the Northern Kingdom (1Kings 11:11-13,43; 12:1-24). As a Divided Kingdom God’s judgment continued to be poured forth as a result of Solomon’s sin for the next 400 years, until eventually the Northern Kingdom was carried away captive by the Assyrians and the Southern Kingdom found themselves under captivity in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 17:5-6; 2 Kings 24:10-16; Jeremiah 52:28-30).

According to 1 Kings 11:4 Solomon’s “heart was not perfect with the LORD his God” concerning his many wives and worship of idols. King Solomon is made mention in the closing words of Nehemiah’s book after the walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt and the return of Israelites from the Babylonian captivity had taken place. Nehemiah contended with those who were once again taking wives of the Ammonites and the Moabites, saying, Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things?… God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?” (Nehemiah 13:23-27). Solomon is not one to be emulated or used as an example for having multiple wives, for in doing so he greatly sinned against the One True God.

Lame Excuses

Since the dawn of time man has proclaimed lame excuses for his downfalls and sin against God. Adam blamed the woman God had given him for causing him to sin by eating the forbidden fruit. Eve blamed the serpent for tricking her into being the first to partake of the fruit (Genesis 3:1-13). Moses’ brother, Aaron, blamed the fire for producing the golden calf idol when Moses’ return from Mt. Sinai seemed to be delayed (Exodus 32:1-24). Even King Saul had his share of lame excuses in attempting to blame others for his disobedience.

As King Saul’s patience waned in waiting for Samuel’s arrival in Gilgal, Saul went ahead and took it upon himself to offer the burnt offering for God’s blessing and protection before going into battle against the Philistines, something only a priest could do. Upon Samuel’s arrival as the giving of the offering concluded, Samuel asked Saul, “What hast thou done?” Saul’s defense in disobeying God’s explicit command clearly given in His Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai were numerous: 1) The people were scattered from me;  2) You didn’t come at the appointed time;  3) the Philistines are gathering against me; and, the lamest of all,  4) I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.” (1 Samuel 10:8; 13:8-12)

Saul’s lame excuse concerning the burnt offering did not prove to be his last, for on the occasion of battling the Amalekites for which he was commanded to destroy both life and property for their coming against the Children of Israel in the wilderness, Saul returned from battle with “the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good.” He had also spared the life of their king, Agag, whom he had taken as prisoner. Saul’s lame excuse to Samuel this time was But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.” It is then Samuel replied, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.”

For Saul’s lame excuses and continuing disobedience, God’s judgment was rendered against him. Samuel’s pronouncement from God against Saul was “Because thou hast rejected the Word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” It was then Samuel was sent to the sons of Jesse to anoint David the next king of Israel. (I Samuel 15; 16:1-16)