Saturday, November 14, 2015

How should Christians respond to Islamic terrorism?


















I’ll cut straight to the chase. In that book by your bedside or on your coffee table – you know the one book that most folks in our culture think is archaic, outdated and not very relevant? There is a verse that has rung out its truthfulness over generations. And that verse is this:

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

The years 1095 – 1230 AD have rightly been attributed as the darkest chapters in the history of Christianity. And skeptics today still cite them as their most frequent objections to the Christian faith. And looking at them historically, I would say they have a point to some degree.

From 200 to 900 AD, Christians primarily inhabited the lands of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. However, when Islam came upon the scene around 500 AD, it spread, through violence, to the point that they invaded these lands and brutally oppressed, enslaved, deported and even murdered Christians living in those lands. Islam eventually took over the Holy Land and her most sacred places.

And the response of the Western Church who “claimed” the name of Christ was to fight. To fight and win. Sword with sword. Violence with violence. And take back what is rightfully theirs by the Divine Writ of Jesus (so they reasoned), His Holy Land. We have to repel them back by force, murder and bloodshed just like they did.

Well, my friends, that happened in the name of Christ, but it didn’t make them Christians. As a matter of fact, that type of behavior during the Crusades in the Middle Ages goes directly against the message of Christ and His Gospel. Just ask Peter in the Garden of Gethesemane. In fact, I would argue that the Name of Christ was abused, misused and blasphemed by the actions of many of the crusaders during that dark period of our history. But the point is well taken nonetheless.

But in 1979 the Islamic Revolution came to full fruition in terms of the war within their own ranks as to which form of Islam was going to be the most culturally dominant, even if it isn’t the most popular. And the most culturally dominant and aggressive form where Sharia Law is invoked won out. They argued that their form of Islam has direct roots to the Prophet Muhammed’s life style himself. “He died in Jihad. Therefore so should we.” And “they” would be right.

We didn’t care about this in the United States (still don’t). That is until Jimmy Carter was too soft and misunderstood the significance of 1979 because it signaled to anyone paying attention that the new Islamic jihad was going to be directed not inwards anymore, but outwards towards us (Europe and The United States). He learned really fast during the hostage crisis he was wrong. The Islamic war against the West has been growing and growing and growing and growing and building and building ever since. And it will not stop. And that’s because it aims to conquer. Period.

And the reasons for this are simple: they want revenge from the crusades that took place in the Middle Ages because they have roots in a part of the world where history never dies. They also want total control of the West and will stop at nothing to evoke Sharia Law in the places they conquer through repopulating the area with people who think like them and then hold others who don’t hostage, by force if necessary (research Deerborn, Michigan if you don’t believe me).

And here is how the Crusades have been allowed to expand in the West: 

Hubris – We are prideful about our way of life and think nothing can harm us. Nothing can conquer the Western Spirit, either in Europe or in the United States. Uhm…say hello Roman Empire. Again, there is nothing new under the sun. 

From Within – You can’t attack the United States head on. You have to destroy them from within. The answer? Birthrates. In the Paris attacks yesterday, one pro-ISIS individual professed to having 34 children. I have two. The birthrates in this militant Islamic climate is staggering in comparison to those who are reading this. Imams in major metropolitan areas of the United States who have views similar to Ayatollah Khomeini have encouraged this for a reason. You establish a majority from within and then commit jihad. Ah, Derrick that’s hogwash. Really, my friend? Did you watch the news yesterday about what happened in Paris? Do you think they just hopped on a plane and did that? No. It was an inside job. A battle has been brewing in Paris for a while now over Sharia law. Why do you think that is? Wake up. It’s gonna happen here. It’s a matter of certainty, not possibility.

They See Our Ideas About Tolerance, Love, Openness and Kindness as Weak Character Traits, Not Strong Ones. – I have these character traits and I’m proud to have them. That’s the kind of person God created me to be. And I’d rather be naïve with these traits than to be the exact opposite and without mercy. This type of radical Islam that you are seeing exploits people who are like me and probably like you. Well ISIS and folks repopulating major urban areas in our country RIGHT NOW use forgiveness, mercy and kindness and love to their own advantage because they see it as weakness and an opportunity to take advantage of people for their own benefit. That’s called having evil motives to begin with. We make mistakes and ask for forgiveness because we want our hearts to be pure before the God of the Bible. But this type of extremism you are seeing in Paris – they believe – will usher in the End of Days in their world view. That’s why it is encouraged. And the more infidels they kill the greater the reward in heaven. So my friends, be as gentle as doves but as wise as a serpents. Your graciousness can and will be used against you in the years ahead. But don’t change. Be wise and think instead of letting the media do your thinking for you. 

The Media Encourages Us To Think of Islam as a Tolerant Religion When The Very Roots of It Are Born In Violence and Murder – That’s how it began. It’s not how the Old Testament began in the first two chapters. And what flows in chapter 3 of Genesis sets the stage for all of humanity, not just Jews, Christians or Muslims. Quite the opposite with regard to Islam to begin with. It began with violence and conquered through force. That’s a fact from history. It spread by force from Mohammad himself. That’s the exact opposite of Jesus’ message, which was spread through love at the expense of oneself. Now listen carefully. Not all Muslims are the same. Not even close. Some are more gracious than Christians. My next-door neighbor is Muslim and he’s one of my best friends. I love talking to him because we are worldviews apart, which is very beneficial for both of us. But I asked him about ISIS and Paris and Bin Laden and these radical cells and his response was “I left Afghanistan because of this extreme radicalization that aims to conquer. It’s here now and I’m worried about it.” It’s one thing for a white redneck Southern preacher to talk about being worried. But quite another for an honorable Muslim from Afghanistan who thinks the exact same way about what is going on. That tells you all you need to know. 

The Presidential Administration is Pro-Islam not necessarily in word, but deed - Nothing wrong with encouraging diversity. I like diverse religious opinions. It helps me think through things. But the problem is the extreme ISIS type folks who are having 634 children to my 2 are using this “tolerant” idea and mass-producing preparing for Jihad…all under the rubber stamp of this Presidential Administration. And make no mistake, this is an administration that at the same time discourages Judeo-Christian principles. This is indeed a religious issue that will result in problems down the road. Don’t be confused by the word “secularism” by the talking heads in the media. You don’t encourage one religion in the public sphere and discourage another in the name of secularism. 

And Here Is What You Need to Do: 

Pray – of course – but that’s not enough.

Develop a Gospel Centered Apologetic – An “apologetic” doesn’t mean you are apologizing for being a Christian. It means, “to defend the faith.” And to defend the faith in our pluralistic culture you not only need to know why you believe what you believe about your faith. You also need to be familiar with Islam and its historical roots. You need to do some studying on the prophet Mohammad and Jesus and compare and contrast the two religious figures. Their messages are radically different. 

Avoid Mudslinging – When you sling mud on others not only do you get your hands dirty, you also lose a lot of ground. Love the people you encounter who believe that all religions are equally truthful and say essentially the same thing but are wrong in their thinking. You need to be able to explain the differences and why this is important for them in terms of having a relationship with God. This issue will come to the forefront with Islam spreading. You will be in the minority as a believer in Christ in the next twenty years and need to know why you believe in Jesus that goes beyond your upbringing or church attendance.

Turn Your Sword Into Plowshares – Unlike Peter, we don’t fight violence with violence. We fight it through faith and the truth of the Gospel. 

Be courageous and encourage your church leaders to be as well – leaders must address these issues. They must educate their people without fear of being marginalized by “secularists.” 

Be practical as well and recognize that this issue is bigger than your own personal comfort in life and will continue to be – Above all I am someone who will give his life to defend and protect the people I love with all my heart. To watch them have the prospect of prospering, growing and being safe and happy under my guard makes me happy to think about. Life is at stake. Liberty is at stake. And so is our way of life. And when you stand up for Jesus and address these issues without fear, you are equally defending and protecting the defenseless so they can prosper. And to do that we need to be courageous as believers in this Brave New World, particularly Christian leaders. And I fully intend on being a soldier of the Lord and dealing from a religious perspective with what is doing on in the public sphere, most especially in Vero Beach, Israel and New York (where I have a number of speaking engagements). 

I'm not short on courage and never have been. I believe with all my heart that the Gospel has the capacity to change people’s lives. And to make them safe as well as civilized. That’s essentially how Western civilization began in Europe and America. It all began with a Gospel Witness. And that’s what I intend to do. And that’s because one has gone before me that is greater than me and given me an example to follow. His name is Jesus. 

What about you, my friend? Will you stand up for Him in the coming days of religious tension that isn’t just possible, but assured? If none go with me, still I will follow my Audience of One. But I hope you will join me.

The God of Heaven loves you more than you could ever think, ask or imagine. And, my friends, I do as well. God Bless You.

Written by: Pastor Derrick West, M.Th. of Genesis Church Vero Beach


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Monday, September 21, 2015

Should Christians be Republican or Democrat?

With the election cycle in full view and debates raging over who may be the next nominee in each political party, the question of faith and politics will always come up in our dialogue with others. Is there a distinct political party that Christians should be more favorable towards? Can you be a Christian and subscribe to a specific political party? Will God be happy with us if we vote for the Republican candidate rather than the Democrat, or vice versa? These questions are common and reasonable for any Christian who desires to please God in all that they do and in this article we will attempt to answer them from a Biblical perspective.

First off it is important to understand the role that our culture and upbringing has on our political preference. Depending on our background and the political preference of our close relatives and friends we all have an underlying propensity toward a certain political party whether we realize it or not. Many people identify with a certain party on this basis alone and really have no idea what that specific party believes or if they agree with all of the statements in the "party platform." With this in mind we must not be quick to judge people based upon the political party that they claim to subscribe to. It would be unreasonable and unfair to judge the genuineness of a persons relationship with God based solely upon the political party that they have an affinity for.

Regarding political affiliation. As it relates to political affiliation we must begin by reviewing the "party platform," and next the political candidates themselves, comparing their beliefs with what the Word of God teaches. Out of all political issues, the Bible puts the heaviest emphasis on the category of social issues. The reason for this is because God cares deeply about our spiritual well-being as a Nation, I believe every other political issue is secondary to this in God's eyes. BiblicalQuestions.net does not endorse any political candidate who personally affirms the killing of the unborn, and the legitimacy of gay marriage. These two issues are the reason that a large portion of the Republican vote is comprised of Evangelical Christians, because the Republican party generally opposes these two issues. The Bible consistently forbids both of these practices (Ex. 20:13, Prov. 6:16, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-28) and as Christians we are obligated to do all that we can to prevent political candidates who condone these issues from ever entering into office.

The other three issues that many have questions regarding are immigration, foreign policy, and tax policy. Regarding immigration the Bible tells us that we are to treat "aliens" with respect (Leviticus 19:33-34), but it also does not encourage the breaking of laws (Romans 13:1). This means that we should be kind and receptive to those who decide to immigrate to America, we should support working towards a simple process for people to use if they would like to do so. At the same time we should be careful not to condone illegal immigration in "the name of compassion." Regarding foreign policy the Bible tells us that we should "seek justice" (Micah 6:8), and that "Israel is the apple of God's eye" (Zech. 2:8). This means that we should only support war that is predicated on serving justice to wrongdoers (Romans 13:4), and we should oppose all candidates and policy decisions that treat the Nation of Israel with antisemitic contempt. Regarding tax policy the scripture says "give unto Caesar what is Caesar's" (Mark 12:17). This is an area of scripture where God doesn't comment heavily. In the Old Testament people paid tithes to the temple, but no specific taxes to the government were outlined to secular nations. Jesus basically said "pay your taxes." This means that whether you are for higher taxes or lower taxes it doesn't make much of a difference to God as long as you do not encourage tax evasion or encourage people to use tax dollars to avoid contributing to society (2 Thess. 3:10).

 So, "Is there a distinct political party that Christians should be more favorable towards?" It depends on the candidates that are available to choose from, we must all do our due diligence (1 Thess. 5:21) to evaluate the candidates and see if they believe according to God's Word, you may find candidates from any party that do not agree with the totality of their party platform. "Can you be a Christian and subscribe to a specific political party?" Yes, as long as you do so in good conscience toward God and you have studied thoroughly to conclude that the party is fairly consistent in their Biblical beliefs. Prayer and reading your Bible will always help in these matters. "Will God be happy with us if we vote for the Republican candidate rather than the Democrat, or vice versa?"  God is looking at our heart. Nobody can fully trust or know everything about every candidate. God is expecting us to be prayerful and use good judgment, if we do this, He will be pleased. All in all we must be committed to voting our Biblical values as best as we can at election time. Many Charismatic candidates are sure to show their talents off this political season, but we must be careful to vote for the candidates who show character rather than the candidates who show charisma. God bless and happy voting!

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Should Christian public officials disobey laws that go against their conscience?


Much talk concerning Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk of court who was jailed for not issuing gay marriage licenses, has spawned regarding the topic of civil disobedience. In this article we will take a brief look at Kim's specific situation, what the Bible says about civil disobedience, and then how that specifically relates to public officials such as Kim Davis who intend on disobeying laws that go against God's Word and their conscience.

Prior to the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage that happened in June of 2015 Kim Davis took the oath of office as a county clerk in Kentucky (November of 2014), which was an oath to uphold Kentucky law. At the time, Kentucky had a ban on same-sex marriages in place. After the Supreme Court decision took place Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples citing her religious convictions. Other arguments occurred pointing out that Kim took an oath to defend the laws that were in place at the time she took her oath of office and therefore she deserves an exemption on issuing same-sex marriage licenses until the end of her term. Eventually a judge ordered Kim to issue the licenses, and Kim disobeyed the order resulting in contempt of court and being remanded to federal custody.

The Bible commands submission to governing authorities (Romans 13) in all situations unless they are being commanded to do evil in direct opposition to what scripture commands. The first instance of Biblical civil disobedience is in Exodus 1 when the Hebrew midwives refused to kill infants as ordered by the Pharaoh. We find other instances in the Old Testament such as Rahab in Joshua 2 when she disobeyed the king's order to produce the Israelite spies, instead she protected them in good faith towards God. Several other instances of civil disobedience exist flowing all the way into the New Testament, specifically in Acts chapter 4 and 5 in which the Apostle Peter ultimately disobeyed the command given by Jewish authorities to not preach the gospel saying, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). It is important to understand that we are to submit to all governing authorities in all situations, the only time we have grounds to object is when we are being forced to do something which the Bible indicates to be sinful. The Bible does not support anarchy nor Nazi submission to law that results in breaking God's laws.

Our conclusion regarding the Kim Davis situation is this: It is not a black and white issue when it comes to whether or not Kim should have resigned or demonstrated conscientious objection. The Bible requires us to civilly disobey laws (in a non-violent manner) that contradict God's Word, it also does not specify whether or not we should resign or remain in office to take a stand in Kim's given situation, both are legitimate expressions of denying personal approval of gay marriage. This decision becomes personal between Kim and God. If God has called her to remain in office and take a stand then she is right in doing so, if God calls her to resign she is also right in doing so. Some may argue that dispensing a gay marriage license is not sinful in particular, the question we need to ask ourselves in that regard is "can we issue the license in good faith toward God?" The Bible says "whatsoever is not of faith, is sin..." This is something that we need to deeply consider. BiblicalQuestions.net does not condone issuing the licenses and recommends resignation, but we also recognize that God does call some people to stand and fight in certain situations. All in all we need to pray for Kim, and pray for all others related to this matter, no matter how we feel about they way she handled the situation. The fact that they have jailed her is absolutely outrageous and should bring great concern to every person of faith in the country. This could be the start of a slippery slope that leads to greater frequency of incarceration for people of faith. We resent any legal action that results in jailing an individual for demonstrating their religious convictions, that is not the American way, ever!

Written by: Kyle Bailey, M.Th.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Why are there so many denominations?


The simple answer to this question really involves acknowledging how the fall of man has caused even Christians to pursue a system of labeling themselves to the point of sectarianism and exclusionary tendencies. Inherent within our sin nature is an urge to puff ourselves up as having the "only correct interpretation."   Some denominationalism arises from a desire to distinguish ourselves according to a certain heritage such as the African American civil rights movement or some other significant historical event that drove people to their faith, but most denominations came about in an attempt to distinguish a certain doctrinal position that a certain church held to. The primary issue with denominationalism is not that different church communities have a different interpretation of the "negotiable doctrines," it's that we tend to slap labels on ourselves which can lead to sectarian divisiveness and lack of overall unity in the body of Christ. The true Church is made up of all believers in Christ across the world, no matter what denomination they are in.

Let's take a look at the history of how denominations came about. Between 33-60 AD the New Testament church began to be established. This church was based upon the doctrines of the early Apostles and Prophets of the Bible (Eph. 2:20). Relative harmony existed within the New Testament church until about 125 AD when the "gnostics" began to introduce heresy into the church. Only a few other "splinter groups" attempted to infect the early church with false doctrines to no avail  until the time between 300 and 400 AD when a major societal shift regarding the church happened.

In the early 300's the Roman emperor Constantine issued an edict that ended hundreds of years of violent Christian persecution in the Roman empire, this resulted in a period of favorable relations between the Church and the governing Roman officials. As the times progressed an official meeting between church elders and Roman officials commenced in 325 AD called the "council of Nicaea." This basically reorganized the early church model into was was known as the Catholic Church. So here we find the introduction  of the first denomination of Christian history, we can see that the New Testament church experienced a "break-off" into which the "Roman Catholic denomination" came into being.

Over the next 700 years Christianity was made up of those who considered themselves non-Catholic and those who were part of the Catholic denomination. One could argue that the "non-Catholics" perpetuated the continuance of the Early Church as the Catholic church began to institute rituals and traditions which are alien to that which was practiced by the early church in the Bible. At around 1054 AD an event called "the great schism" happened which basically split the Catholic denomination between East and West. Out of this "great schism" the second major denomination in Christianity came into formation, the "Greek Orthodox church." This split had to do primarily with an objection to the authority of the Pope in the Eastern church, however it did result in creating a denomination that held several differences in doctrine to that of the Catholic church.

So by 1054 AD we had 2 denominations, the Catholic and Greek Orthodox, and then we had those who claimed to adhere only to the teachings of the New Testament regarding faith and conduct (non-Catholic/Greek Orthodox Christians). This was the basic landscape of Christianity all the way until the 1500's when the 4 major "protestant" denominations came into existence.

The word "protestant" basically refers to groups that decided to engage in "protest" against the Catholic church in the 1500's. One of the first protestant movements was called the "anabaptist movement" in about 1521 AD. It basically was a movement that took issue with the Catholic doctrine of infant baptism and argued that one must make a personal decision to follow Christ before being baptized. Around the same time a German monk named Martin Luther began what many historians call "the great reformation" when he published his 95 theses against the Catholic church in 1517 AD. This led to the founding of the Lutheran church in about 1526 AD.

Two additional "protestant" denominations began in the mid-1500's called Anglicanism and Calvinism. Anglicanism began when the King of England (Henry VIII) was prohibited from divorcing his wife by the Catholic church. He then decided to break away in protest to this, and thus created the Anglican church otherwise known as "the Church of England." Calvinism began when a French theologian named John Calvin wrote his book "The Institutes of the Christian Religion." In Calvin's writings he built upon many of the teachings of Saint Augustine of Hippo and Martin Luther regarding justification by faith alone. Calvin also became well known by his teachings regarding predestination and divine election.

So by the end of the 1500's we find six major denominations at work: Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Anabaptist, Lutheran, Anglican, and Calvinist. From these six major denominations we essentially derive all other denominations that we have today. Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches still have their respective houses of worship with only a few minor factions within. From the Anabaptists came the Mennonites, Amish, the 7 day Adventist churches, and all Baptist denominations,. From the Lutherans we find a couple of different branches which all wear the Lutheran label. The Anglicans remain fairly firm in their structure to this day, the Episcopal church is basically the American version of the Anglican tradition, which was created after the American revolution. In the 1700's an Anglican minister named John Wesley reportedly experienced a deep religious conversion which eventually led to his leaving the Anglican denomination and beginning the Methodist movement. From this came all modern Methodist, Wesleyan, Pentecostal, and Charismatic denominations. And finally from Calvinism came all of the Presbyterian and "Reformed" churches that we see today.

The reason we have so many branches of the 6 major denominations that existed in the 1500's is due to several factors. Sometimes regional locations cause different branches to happen, for example the Northern and Southern Baptist conventions. Most often the differences boil down to a difference of interpretation regarding the mode of Baptism, the nature of the Lord's supper, God's way of administering divine election, the process by which God brings about salvation by grace through faith, adherence to a particular confession or creed, contention over the validity or reasoning for infant baptism, and etc. For the most part all major denominations have traditionally affirmed the inspiration of scripture (some liberal branches do not), the diety of Christ, the Trinity of God, and the truth that we must believe in Christ to be saved. What is important is to realize that some branches every denomination can be guilty of violating scripture in their doctrine so we must be very discerning.

The pattern that God has called us to follow is not that of any particular denomination. God has called all believers everywhere to study His Word with diligence (2 Tim. 2:15), and to find a church home to worship and fellowship with other believers in (Hebrews 10:25). If the church that you attend continually teaches something that violates an area of scripture that is clearly lined out in God's Word then you may want to begin searching for a church that seeks to be more consistent with the New Testament pattern. There is no perfect church, so as you seek to find a body to connect with ask the Holy Spirit to guide you completely and give you grace and patience for being a member. Many non-denominational churches exist in our day so we are seeing some of the denominationalism beginning to decline. The main thing we must do is show love and respect toward believers in ALL denominations, be apart of a local church, and seek to encourage each other to let God's word guide us above and beyond any man-made creed or confession. God bless.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, M.Th.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Should Christians Support Abortion?








 To start I want to make sure that I make it clear for those who have been through the tragedy of abortion that God loves you tremendously. He died on the cross to bring healing, forgiveness, truth, love, and mercy! If you have had an abortion God stands ready to heal and forgive with arms wide open! Click here to read more about this.

The primary factor in answering the question "should Christians support abortion" is whether or not an unborn child is considered alive in the Biblical sense of the word, in other words, "is an unborn baby considered a human being to God?" This is the primary factor because the Bible clearly states that we should not murder someone or shed the blood of an innocent person (Ex. 20:13, Prov. 6:16). So the two things we want to look at in this article are the Biblical data regarding how God views the unborn, and a couple of common arguments related to the abortion issue.

There are multiple scriptures that refer to the unborn Job 10:8-12, Isaiah 44:2, Psalm 139:13-16 , Psalm 51:5, Genesis 25:22, Hosea 12:3, Jeremiah 1:5, Luke 1:41, Matthew 1:18-20, each of these scripture references refer to the unborn as a person. When Elizabeth conceived John the Baptist the scripture called him a "baby" while he was still in her womb (Luke 1:41). This reference uses the same Greek word that the Bible uses for the word "baby" when referring to newborn children. So whether out of the womb or in the womb, God considers us human beings. We even find Mary from the time of conceiving Jesus to be "with child" (Matthew 1:18-20). This means that God considers us human beings from the moment we are conceived.

Since God considers the unborn to be human beings then it logically follows that we should not take the life that God gave them. Therefore, Christians should not support abortion. Some people support abortion because they believe that people will get abortions whether it is legal or not so we might as well make it a safer process for people who want to get one. The problem with this is that we are expected by God to protect the life of the innocent rather than make sure that those who seek to kill their unborn child have a safe way of doing so. This produces a trade off that amounts to trading protection for the innocent in order to provide protection for those who seek to harm the very ones we are expected to protect! Nobody wants women to be harmed, however people who seek to harm others should not have a free pass to do so.

One other common argument made for abortion is that countries who outlaw abortions have basically the same abortion rate as countries that allow them. This is just not true when you look at the data. In a recent study, 9 of 11 named countries which have made abortion illegal are in the bottom 75 regarding abortion rates. These include:


-Costa Rica 10%
-Ireland 5.8%
-Malta 0.9%
-Venezuela 0.8%
-United Arab Emirates 0.10%
-Mexico 0.09%
-Poland 0.09%
-Chile 0.02%
-Panama 0.02%


These percentages reflect the amount of pregnancies which end in abortion within the named country. As a reference point, the United States has an abortion rate of 22.6%. The statistics produce a trend which shows countries with pro-life laws having a lower abortion rate than countries with pro-abortion laws (http://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2011/11/01/abortion-rates-for-101-countries/). Now I do want to address the fact that some countries who have banned abortion remain somewhat higher on the list regarding the abortion rate (Brazil is one example). This is primarily attributed to lack of enforcement of abortion laws and lack of available birth control.

So as we can see Christians should not support abortion. The reason for this is because as Christians we are to look to God's Word for the answer to all ethical and moral questions. There is a lot to be done in order to address the abortion issue in our society including birth control issues, education regarding abstinence, greater available resources for adoption options, and etc. These other issues cannot be properly addressed if Christians do not bring moral clarity to an issue that is truly heartbreaking to God. May we all seek His wisdom as we advocate for the life of the unborn and the protection of the sacred relationship between mother and child. God bless!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

What the Bible say about Hell, Judgment, and Eternal Punishment?


Over the centuries Hades, Eternal Judgment, and the Lake of Fire (which is the technical term for Hell) have been issues of great debate within various Christian circles. I myself have long had the struggle of trying to understand exactly what the Bible is attempting to communicate when it speaks of Hell and the eternal punishment of the wicked. This struggle is something that one would expect every Christian to undergo with immense carefulness and cautious openness to how God's word truly addresses it in the original manuscripts. In this paper I will discuss the historical views within the church regarding what hell will be like and also do an analysis regarding what the word “eternal punishment” means in the original language and exegetically.
Currently there seems to be three dominant views regarding the Bible's revelation of Hell and Eternal Judgment. Those views are as follows: Eternal Conscious Torment, Universal Reconciliation, and Ultimate Annihilation. The traditional view for the past several hundred years in the Church has been Eternal Conscious Torment and the alternate minority view has historically been ultimate annihilation, both are considered to be evangelical by most respected theologians. The Eternal Conscious torment view goes as follows: After the Great White Throne Judgment those whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of Life will be thrown into a lake (all-encompassing geographical location) of literal fire which is often depicted as being thousands of degrees hot (some writers compare it to the temperature of the center of the earth). After being thrown into this lake of literal fire unbelievers will experience the conscious torment of being encompassed by fire for all of eternity for the sins they committed in life. Traditionalists usually use scriptures such as Revelation 14:11 to support this view. This view was thought to have been first formally systematized in the early 400’s by Saint Augustine.
“In no way did Augustine “invent” the idea of Hell, this idea had been around in many cultures for centuries by the time that he wrote his most graphic, detailed arguments for a punitive judgment. The City of God, Books XX and XXI concern these topics, and were completed in 426, four years before his death, and so represent his mature thought. Book XX is an exhaustive examination of the theme of judgment, with the emphatic emphasis on its retributive nature. Ideas taken up at the height of Hellfire preaching by the likes of Jonathan Edwards some 1300 years later find their origin here.” (1. Patton, Nic. soundandsilience)
The Universal Reconciliation view has only recently begun to find traction in the Evangelical Christian world, influenced greatly through a book by Rob Bell called "Love Wins." In this view, advocates use scriptures such as Colossians 1:20 to justify the idea that after a period of time in a lake of "purifying fire" the wicked will then be allowed to come and join the righteous to partake in eternal life with them all. The problem I have with this view (among many things) is that the gospel is about being saved by grace in this life, not by a process of purification by hellfire which punishes us into changing in the next life. Secondly, Revelation 21:27 states that anyone whose name was not in the book of life cannot ever partake of the blessing given to the righteous by grace (paraphrased). When the method of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone seems to change, I usually have a very difficult time giving merit to the idea, which is ultimately why I reject Universal Reconciliation.
The Ultimate Annihilation view has actually been around for centuries. It has usually taken a minority position next to Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT) due to the seemingly clear depiction of ECT in Verses like Revelation 14:11. Nevertheless, Annihilationists have put forward quite a few good questions regarding the original usages of words translated "forever and ever" in our English Bibles, which are derived from Greek words that have often been used to mean "age" or "eon" rather than "time without end." The annihilationist view generally believes that the wicked will receive God's just punishment in proportion to their sins by a process of being totally destroyed by literal fire in hell (the lake of fire). Many traditionalists argue that this would take away the fear of hell in people, but on the contrary most annihilationists believe that each man will certainly suffer a wrathful punishment by hellfire (in accordance with God's holiness and the particular person's sins) of which the timeframe is undetermined, this process will eventually lead to total destruction of soul and body. Annihilationists use quite a few seemingly unambiguous scriptures in order to support their view, such as 2 Thessalonians 1:9- "They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might," the Greek word here for "destruction" is "olethron" which means " ruination with its full, destructive results." They also use scripture like Isaiah 47:14, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 13:40-42, 2 Peter 2:6 to communicate the idea that at some point the punishment of the wicked will become complete. It's important to note that annihilationists believe that the term "everlasting punishment" means a finite (yet severe) punishment that has everlasting results, not a continual "punishing" from God that lasts forever without end. Ultimate Annihilation has held a minority evangelical position during the majority of church history.
The vast majority of Christian writers, from Tertullian to Luther, generally held to traditional notions of hell. However, the annihilationist position is not without some historical warrant. Embryonic forms of conditional immortality can be found in the writing of Justin Martyr. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107) is also supposed to be a conditionalist according to some conditionalist writers. In his Epistle to the Magnesians, he wrote "Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be". (2. Theopedia)
In light of the top two of these three views (Eternal Conscious Torment & Annihilationism) we begin to see that the debate is rested on two main ideas: 1.) Is the soul naturally immortal or did the curse of death from Adam's sin only affect the body? That is, if the soul is naturally immortal, it would mean the soul of the wicked could be tormented forever, if not the fire "or the second death" would eventually destroy both soul and body, see Matt. 10:28.  2.) What is the duration of time that the wicked will be tormented in the lake of literal fire, will they eventually burn up as some scriptures seems to imply, (2 Thessalonians 1:9, Isaiah 47:14, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 13:40-42, 2 Peter 2:6) or will they eternally experience the conscience torment of being encompassed by fire (Rev. 14:11)? I believe that the honest person after evaluating the original manuscript evidence and hearing both sides make their case, no matter which view they concede to, will have to admit that the answer to these two questions is very difficult to completely know from a Greek word meaning standpoint to say the least. Both sides present fairly persuasive scripture and Greek word meaning evaluations (based on my current observations) to support what they believe regarding the nature of hell. To me this begs the question, "What key components regarding hell do we need to be careful not to compromise no matter which view we concede to?"
I think the basic relationship between hermeneutics (proper interpretation of scripture) and sound doctrine gives us the answer that we are looking for. The fundamental principle of hermeneutics is to use what God makes clear in His word to interpret certain concepts or verses that tend to be unclear. In light of this, I will list a series of scriptures that clearly portray what eternal judgment in Hell will be like for the wicked:
-It will be extremely unpleasant:
Romans 2:9- "There will be trouble and distress for all who do evil."
-It will exclude the wicked completely from the Presence of God forever:
2 Thessalonians 1:19- "They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might."
-Each man will be repaid in exact accordance with the sins he committed:
Romans 2:6- God "will repay each person according to what they have done." (Considering the depth of mankind's sin, this is a terrifying thought that must not be taken lightly)
- It will be a terrible day for the wicked when God executes His justice on them:
Malachi 4:5- "See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and terrible day of the LORD comes."
Revelation 20:11-"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them."
- It will be extremely painful:
Luke 13:28- "There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
-Every word we have ever spoken will be judged:
Matthew 12:36- "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken."
-Every hidden thing will be brought into the light:
Romans 2:16- "on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."
Ecclesiastes 12:14- "For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."
-None of the wicked will ever partake of the eternal blessings given to the righteous:
Revelation 21:27-"Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
The wicked will be punished in a permanent way:
Revelation 20:15-"Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." (see also Matthew 25:45-46)
The wicked will be punished with fire:
Revelation 20:15-"Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." (see also Matthew 25:45-46)


So, as you can see there are certain clear statements in the word of God regarding Hell and Eternal Judgment that we can be absolutely sure about. As I mentioned earlier in this paper two major elements of the implications of hell that are currently in debate between Eternal Conscious Torment and Ultimate Annihilation advocates are: 1.) Is the soul naturally immortal or did the curse of death from Adam's sin only affect the body? That is, if the soul is naturally immortal, it would mean the soul of the wicked could be tormented forever, if not the fire "or the second death" would eventually destroy both soul and body, see Matt. 10:28.  2.) What is the duration of time that the wicked will be tormented in the lake of literal fire, will they eventually burn up as some scriptures seems to imply, (2 Thessalonians 1:9, Isaiah 47:14, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 13:40-42, 2 Peter 2:6) or will they eternally experience the conscience torment of being encompassed by fire (Rev. 14:11)?  Whether or not we ever get a clear answer to these two questions doesn't negate the fact that hell is MOST CERTAINLY depicted as a place where perfect justice will be rendered to the wicked. We can be sure that Hell is the most terrifying place that anyone could ever go to. We can be sure that the enemies of God will regret having ever set themselves up against Him. We can be sure that sin, Satan, death, and evil will never again have a part in the land of the living. Now let’s move onto discussing the meaning of the phrase “eternal punishment” in the original languages and exegetically.
Many Evangelicals may not realize that there is actually a debate taking place regarding the meaning of everlasting punishment. I mean, come on, how much clearer can it get right? At first glance it would seem like having a debate over such a seemingly clear concept found in scripture would be absolutely pointless. Nevertheless, an interesting question has surfaced in reference to this component of the final judgment, that question being: "Does everlasting punishment equate to unending continual and repetitive punishing, or does it equate to a punishment that has an unending result or consequence?"


Let’s look at the most common scripture we find regarding this topic:


Matthew 25:45-4- "Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


Before getting into the particularities of the debate itself I would like to uncover the basis of what exactly is being debated in this passage of scripture. The two words that seem to be in question in this portion of scripture are the words "everlasting" and “punishment." What I mean by "in question" is that these two words, depending on their meaning and usage, could absolutely mean two different things. So the debate centers on what the proper exegetical interpretation of everlasting punishment truly means. Let’s look at the Greek meanings:


Everlasting- Derived from the Greek word "aiōnion" which is used 45 times in the Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament. Aiōnion is derived from aiṓn which means "an age, having a particular character and quality." So aiōnion means properly, "age-like," "like-an-age," "age-characteristic," (the quality describing a particular age) or "relating to an age/ ages." If we combine this definition with the context of the 45 passages we find it in, we can be fairly confident that the word does tend to favor the words "eternal" or "everlasting." One must admit though, there is a marginal measure of ambiguity in asserting that aiōnion definitely means everlasting, I see a slight possibility that it could mean "age-long" or "a measure of undetermined time." (3. Strong’s Concordance 166)


Punishment- Derived from the Greek word "kolasis" which is used twice in the Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament. Kolasis is cognate to the latin word colaphus which means "a buffeting, a blow." Kolasis is thought to be derived from kolazo which means "to lop, prune, as trees, wings," this brings to mind the imagery of Matthew 13:30 where the weeds are gathered up from all of the Earth and burned. Kolasis is thought to properly mean (according to HELPS Word-studies), punishment that fits/ matches the one punished." (4. Strong’s Concordance 2851) Based on this definition, one could make a fairly persuasive argument regarding the justice of God revealed in Romans 2:6- "He will render to each one according to his works." This argument would state that if each person will receive a different measure of punishment according to their sinful deeds, then how could every one of them be punished unendingly? I have seen conditionalists make a good case by arguing that "eternal punishment" refers to the outcome of a finite process of punishing rendered in the lake of fire according to each person's deeds.


So, in essence this debate typically takes place between advocates of Eternal Conscious Torment (the traditional view of hell) and Evangelical Conditionalists (the annihilationist view of hell). The traditionalists would argue that punishment really means an infinite recurring level of torment, while the conditionalist would argue that punishment means a finite penalty which results in an eternal outcome. In this regard I remain undecided as to which view is ultimately correct. It seems to me that you would almost have to change the word "punishment" to "punishing" in order to accomplish the traditionalist interpretation, but then you would have to explain how phrases like "forever and ever" in other parts of the Bible that speak about hell means a “period or age” of time in order to accomplish the conditionalist interpretation. Nevertheless, the debate rages on.


In this paper we discussed a brief history of the different views of hell in the church. The scripture is clear that hell will be a tormenting, excruciating, and terrifying place of punishment for the wicked, but there seems to be at a consistent evangelical debate over the centuries regarding the duration of hell to the point where I feel it wise not to carry a heavy dogma regarding the issue. I would rather stress the perfect justice of God and how horrible it will be for those who reject Christ however long the duration may be. We also discuss the meaning of eternal punishment from a word meaning and exegetical perspective. This paper was intended to approach the topic of hell, justice and eternal punishment, from a balanced Biblical perspective, and I pray you were bless while reading it’s content!

Written by: Kyle Bailey, M.Th.


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SOURCES:

1. https://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/eternal-punishment-in-augustine%E2%80%99s-the-city-of-god/

2. http://www.theopedia.com/annihilationism

3. http://biblehub.com/greek/166.htm

4.http://biblehub.com/greek/2851.htm

Monday, July 6, 2015

What did Jesus say about homosexuality?


Several proponents of the movement to try to make homosexuality compatible with scripture have often claimed that "Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality, therefore it's not something we should forbid in the New Covenant." Is this true? Did Jesus give a free pass on the sin of homosexuality? I would like to start by saying that this approach is both deceptive regarding the teachings of Jesus in His ministry and completely misrepresentative of the doctrine of the scripture's infallibility.

Firstly, Jesus explicitly affirmed the Biblical definition of marriage as God's plan for sexually intimate relationships:

"‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder" (Mark 10:5-9)"

We also find Jesus explicitly condemning all forms of sexual immorality after His resurrection when He spoke to the Apostle John in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 2:20-"But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols."

In Revelation 1:17-18 Jesus appeared to the Apostle John and began giving him directives regarding what to write to the churches in that present time, when Jesus began to address the church at Thyatira He directly condemned sexuality immorality. Sexual immorality is defined very clearly in the Bible as adultery, homosexuality, fornication, bestiality, and all other forms of sexuality outside of heterosexual marriage. Simply put, Jesus not only condemned homosexuality in Revelation 2:20, He also condemned all other forms of sexual relations outside of Biblical marriage. 

Whoever started this "rumor" that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality is either ignorant or flat out lying in order to promote a personal agenda within the Christian world. It denies the areas in scripture where Jesus does address it, and it also undermines the reality that the entire Bible is inspired by God, not just the parts referring to Jesus' earthly ministry. The New Testament is comprised of every inspired writing that the early church included in it's Holy Scriptures, the canonization of these texts were simply the affirmation of inspired writings that were already universally affirmed by the early church. Among these Holy Scriptures that we now call the Bible are numerous verses condemning homosexuality:

Romans 1:26-27-"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error."

1 Corinthians 6:9-10-" Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Galatians 5:19- " Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,"

These are just a few of the scriptures in the Bible that clearly prohibit homosexuality as it does other sin. My reason for writing the article is not to express a harsh, mean spirited attitude toward gay people. My reason is to address the deceptive rumor that is floating around the internet which claims that Jesus never dealt with the topic, He did. For more information about the homosexual issue CLICK HERE.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, M.Th.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

What is Corporate Election? Is Predestination Biblical?


Here is an another excellent concise summary of the doctrines of conditional election and predestination from the corporate election perspective, which differs from the traditional Arminian view of individual election based on foreseen faith. <borrowed with permission from SEA Blog site and with some edits by Professor Leighton Flowers>

Both the traditional view and the corporate election view are allowed in SEA, for both conceive of election and predestination as conditional on faith in Christ. This material comes from Zondervan’s NIV Life Study Bible (now available only in the KJV under that name but still with the NIV or other translations). The description of the doctrines of election and predestination is followed by some comments quoted from the study Bible’s notes on 1 Peter 1:2 and Romans 8:29 to show how the corporate election perspective might view the place of foreknowledge in election, also quite different from the traditional Arminian view, though completely consonant with Arminian theology, figured as it is within a conditional view of election and predestination.

Election. God’s choice of those who believe in Christ is an important teaching of the apostle Paul (see Ro 8:29-33; 9:6-26; 11:5, 7, 28; Col 3:12; 1 Th 1:4; 2 Th 2:13; Tit 1:1). Election (Gk eklego) refers to God choosing in Christ a people whom he destines to be holy and blameless in his sight (cf. 2 Th 2:13). Paul sees this election as expressing God’s initiative as the God of infinite love in giving us as finite creation every spiritual blessing through the redemptive work of his Son (1:3-5). Paul’s teaching about election involves the following truths:

(1) Election is Christocentric, i.e., election of humans occurs only in union with Jesus Christ. “He chose us in him” (Eph. 1:4; see 1:1, note). Jesus himself is first of all the elect of God. Concerning Jesus, God states, “Here is my servant whom I have chosen” (Mt 12:18; cf. Isa 42:1, 6; 1 Pet 2:4). Christ, as the elect, is the foundation of our election. Only in union with Christ do we become members of the elect (Eph 1:4, 6-7, 9-10, 12-13). No one is elect apart from union with Christ through faith.

(2) Election is “in him…through his blood” (Eph 1:7). God purposed before creation (Eph. 1:4) to form a people through Christ’s redemptive death on the cross. Thus election is grounded on Christ’s sacrificial death to save us from our sins (Ac 20:28; Ro 3:24-26).

(3) Election in Christ is primarily corporate, i.e., an election of a people (Eph 1:4-5, 7, 9). The elect are called “the body of Christ” (4:12), “my church” (Mt 16:18), “a people belonging to God” (1 Pe 2:9), and the “bride” of Christ (Rev 19:7). Therefore, election is corporate and embraces individual persons only as they identify and associate themselves with the body of Christ, the true church (Eph 1:22-23; see Robert Shank, Elect in the Son, [Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers]). This was true already of Israel in the OT (see Dt 29:18-21, note; 2Ki 21:14, note; see article on God’s Covenant with the Israelites, p. 298).

(4) The election to salvation and holiness of the body of Christ is always certain…(a) God’s eternal purpose for the church is that we should “be holy and blameless in his sight” (Eph 1:4). This refers both to forgiveness of sins (1:7) and to the church’s purity as the bride of Christ. God’s elect people are being led by the Holy Spirit toward sanctification and holiness (see Ro 8:14; Gal. 5:16-25). The apostle repeatedly emphasizes this paramount purpose of God (see Eph 2:10; 3:14-19; 4:1-3, 13-24; 5:1-18). (b) Fulfillment of this purpose for the corporate church is certain: Christ will “present her to himself as a radiant church…holy and blameless” (Eph 5:27). (c) Fulfillment of this purpose for individuals in the church is conditional. Christ will present us “holy and blameless in his sight” (Eph 1:4) only if we continue in the faith. Paul states this clearly: Christ will “present you holy in his sight without blemish…if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel” (Col 1:22-23).

(5) Election to salvation in Christ is offered to all (Jn 3:16-17; 1Ti 2:4-6; Tit 2:11; Heb 2:9) but becomes actual for particular persons contingent on their repentance and faith as they accept God’s gift of salvation in Christ (Eph 2:8; 3:17; cf. Ac 20:21; Ro 1:16; 4:16). At the point of faith, the believer is incorporated into Christ’s elect body (the church) by the Holy Spirit (1 Co 12:13), thereby becoming one of the elect. Thus, there is both God’s initiative and our response in election (see Ro 8:29, note; 2 Pet 1:1-11).

Predestination. Predestination (Gk prooizo) means “to decide beforehand” and applies to God’s purposes comprehended in election. Election is God’s choice “in Christ” of a people (the true church) for himself. Predestination comprehends what will happen to God’s people (all genuine believers in Christ).

(1) God predestines his elect to be: (a) called (Rom. 8:30); (b) justified (Ro 3:24, 8:30); (c) glorified (Ro 8:30); (d) conformed to the likeness of his Son (Ro 8:29); (e) holy and blameless (Eph 1:4); (f) adopted as God’s children (1:5); (g) redeemed (1:7); (h) recipients of an inheritance (1:14); (i) for the praise of his glory (Eph 1:2; 1 Pe 2:9); (j) recipients of the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13; Gal 3:14); and (k) created to do good works (Eph 2:10).

(2) Predestination, like election, refers to the corporate body of Christ (i.e., the true spiritual church), and comprehends individuals only in association with that body through a living faith in Jesus Christ (Eph 1:5, 7, 13; cf. Ac 2:38-41; 16:31).

Summary. Concerning election and predestination, we might use the analogy of a great ship on its way to heaven. The ship (the church) is chosen by God to be his very own vessel. Christ is the Captain and Pilot of this ship. All who desire to be a part of this elect ship and its Captain can do so through a living faith in Christ, by which they come on board the ship… Election is always only in union with the Captain and his ship. Predestination tells us about the ship’s destination and what God has prepared for those “marked in Him by faith” (Eph. 1:13). God invites everyone to come aboard the elect ship through faith in Jesus Christ. [Life in the Spirit Study Bible, pp. 1854-1855]

Life in the Spirit Study Bible note on 1 Peter 1:2 — the foreknowledge of God We are “chosen” to be God’s people according to his foreknowledge, i.e., according to God’s own comprehensive knowledge of his plan of redemption in Christ for the church, even before creation and human history began (see Rom. 8:29 note).


NOTE: No, this is not an impersonal view of election, as some opponents suggest: In fact, one could argue that it is MUCH more personal because it is a choice of an individual WITH ALL THEIR SIN IN FULL VIEW. Calvinistic election to salvation is said to take place prior to the creation of the world and without any regard to the personhood, choices, actions of the individual. What is more impersonal than that? Ask any woman if she would rather be loved by a man who chose her based on a prearrangement with her parents without regard to anything about her personally before she was born, OR a man who knew her fully, faults and all, and chose to love her anyway! Our corporate view of election is MUCH more intimate and personal than the Calvinistic theory and it does involve individuals being chosen despite many false misconceptions of this view that have been propagated by those who do not rightly understand it. <note added by Professor Flowers>

Foreknowledge is virtually a synonym of God’s sovereign and far-seeing purpose to redeem according to his eternal love. The “chosen” are the company of true believers, chosen in harmony with God’s determined plan to redeem the church by the blood of Jesus Christ through the Spirit’s sanctifying work (see article on Election and Predestination, p. 1845). All believers must participate in their election by their response of faith and by being eager to make their calling and election sure (see 2 Pe 1:5, 10, notes).

Life in the Spirit Study Bible note on Romans 8:29 — those God foreknew “Foreknew” in this verse is equivalent to “foreloved” and is used in the sense of “to set loving regard on,” “to choose to bestow love on from eternity” (cf. Ex 2:25; Ps 1:6 Hos 13:5; Mt 7:23; 1 Cor 8:3; Gal 4:9; 1 Jn 3:1).

(1) Foreknowledge means that God purposed from eternity to love and redeem the human race through Christ (5:8; Jn 3:16). The recipient of God’s foreknowledge or forelove is stated in plural and refers to the church. That is, God’s forelove is primarily for the corporate body of Christ (Eph 1:4; 2:4; 1 Jn 4:19) and includes individuals only as they identify themselves with this corporate body through abiding faith in and union with Christ (Jn 15:1-6; see article on Election and Predestination, p. 1854)

(2) The corporate body of Christ will attain to glorification (v. 30). <…>

******************End of Study Bible Quotaion************************

Another corporate interpretation of foreknowledge in relation to election beyond those mentioned by the study Bible is that it refers to the prior acknowledgment of the corporate people of God as his covenant partner (see Brian Abasciano, “Clearing Up Misconceptions about Corporate Election”, Ashland Theological Journal 41 [2009] 67-102).

At the risk of oversimplification, all these corporate views of foreknowledge in election can be boiled down to saying that in the corporate election view, election according to foreknowledge refers to election based on the prior election of Christ and the corporate people of God.

COMMON ACCUSATION: “Corporate election is impersonal.” This is a misunderstanding of this perspective: READ BLOG POST TITLED: “Corporate Election = Impersonal Election.”


Click Here for a great video on Corporate Elction.

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Edited by: Professor Leighton Flowers of http://www.soteriology101.com/

Content borrowed borrowed with permission from SEA Blog site 
photo credit to:https://sites.google.com/site/edrianelim/predestination...

How did Christians respond to Plagues throughout History?

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