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Archive for the ‘World Issues’ Category

israel

It is funny in a sad way how systems of theology (especially erroneous ones) effect the way we live and minister to others.

I remember listening to Christian radio maybe 5-6 years ago and hearing “those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed”. I won’t saturate you with the scriptures that were used to defend such a case. But to put it frankly they are all Old Covenant texts. I remember hearing people cheer as Israel would strike their enemies (my good brother Daniel Cosby has a good post on facebook about that). So they would applaud the death of those wicked “Palestinians”.

I really didn’t know how to take that. I thought it wrong to cheer the death of an enemy given the fact that Jesus says “love your enemies” and Paul says “if your enemy is thirsty bring him something to drink”. I would wonder how we would applaud the death of someone who did not know Jesus thus they would spend an eternity away from God. I thought that we should mourn and tear our clothes at such an event, but many were endorsing and applauding all in the name of American Christians responsibility to “bless Israel”.

So I want to address a theological fallacy. That fallacy is the one that states Israel is God’s people! Now to be biblically faithful Israel is God’s chosen people, the problem is who is the “True” Israel. If you spend anytime in Romans or Galatians or Ephesians or even Peter that questioned is answered quite easily. The problem is when we apply the broken interpretive method of reading the New Testament through the lens of the Old. That is similar to a group of individuals who celebrate the first half of a football game when they were up 3 points at half but lost by 30!

If you want to faithfully handle your bible, the first thing you want to do is begin with the fulfillment of God’s plan. Paul says God gave Him the full revelation to that which was a mystery hidden from the writers of the Old Testament. They see shadows and types, however, the New Testament writers see the full picture. They don’t talk about a Messiah. John says “we touched Him”. Peter says the prophets “longed” and “speculated” on what God was revealing to them, however, they walked with Jesus and received the full revelation of God’s eternal plan of redemption.

So with that said, there is only ONE people of God. Paul says in Ephesians “that two people are made one new man”. The one new man is the Church or the true Israel of God in Christ! That leads to the point of this blog. The church is not to involve herself with the ethnocentric/nationalistic/self preserving conflict in the middle east, other than to pray for peace and to find a way to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ.

To applaud Israel’s method of controlling a land (that has been fulfilled in Christ) is to employ, as Boyd would say, the kingdom of man! As believers we don’t get people groups to comply by exercising power over, but power under. I remember when Dr. Black told me “I pray for the opportunity to wash Bin Laden’s feet“.

Peace in the Gaza Strip will not be accomplished with the sword. As Jesus says “he who lives by the sword will die by the sword”. Jesus did not gather a group of man to bring a militia against Rome! Jesus was not concerned with an earthly parcel of land, wrongly defined today as the “promised land”. No! Jesus’ kingdom was not and is not of this world and that means neither is ours. The kingdom we are servants of is the kingdom where our King currently reigns and will reign until God the Father makes all of His enemies His footstool. Those enemies aren’t Palestinians friend. Those enemies are those who did not do will of the Father.

I want to let you know I am not “anti-Semitic”. I am pro-Christ! And Christ’s heart is for the whole world and the remnant that will believe is who the bible calls Israel or as Paul says in Romans 2 “a true Jew”. I love Palestinians as much as I love the Jewish people. I love Iraqis as much as I love Americans who they are fighting with.

We should be alarmed when a minister of the Gospel spews hate speech from his mouth in the name of nationalism. The center of the Gospel is love displayed by a “joy” (as Hebrews says) to endure Calvary. Believe it or not, Jesus does not need the land we have defined as Israel today. Jesus is not coming to set up an earthly kingdom. Jesus is already reigning as the Son of David and when He returns He will return for His bride that He has made pure. Our job is prepare others for the King.

I close with this. Our hearts should be broken by the constant warfare and the loss of life that plagues this never ending conflict. We should be quick to rebuke anyone who applauds such demonic nationalism, especially if they name the name of Christ. We have the only answer to the problem. That answer is Jesus of whom both those of Israel and Palestine reject. As bullets fly in this earthly realm we are to move to the Spiritual. Lets beg our Lord of peace and reconciliation during these turbulent times. Both parties are equally wicked, both are fighting for a parcel of land that will be leveled at the second coming of our Lord. Neither are endorsed by God. Lets pray that the Gospel would infiltrate their hearts and they would drop the national ties and see each others as brothers and sisters, which only can be done by and through the Spirit!

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I love this quote from Greg Boyd’s The Myth of a Christian Nation

So, too the reason God now calls kingdom people to remain separate from the ways of the kingdom-of-the-world is not to isolate them from their culture but to empower them to authentically, serve their culture and ultimately win it over to allegiance to Jesus Christ. The reason we are not to be of the world is so we may be for the world

This point is especially important today, for a significant portion of evangelical Christianity has come under the influence of an escapist apocalyptic theology. Believing Jesus will soon “rapture” Christians out of the world before destroying it, they have little concern with the church being a witness on issues of social justice, global peace, the environment, and so on. To the contrary, in the name of fulfilling biblical prophecy, many are actively supporting stances that directly or indirectly encourage violence, possibly on a global scale (of instance, extremist Christian Zionism). Since the world is doomed for soon destruction, the thinking goes, the only thing that matters is getting individuals ready for the rapture.

Whatever else one thinks about the New Testament’s eschatology, it certainly does not encourage this sort of irresponsible escapism. The hope offered to believers is not that we will be a peculiar elite group of people who will escape out of the world, leaving others behind to experience the wrath of God. The hope is rather that by our sacrificial participation in the ever-expanding kingdom, the whole creation will be redeemed (Rom. 8:20-23; Col 1:18-20)

I believe Mr. Boyd to be correct in his assessment. It is much easier to let the world go to hell in a hand basket then engaging it with Calvary type love. It is much easier to look at homosexuals with AIDS and say “this is God’s judgment” than to put our arms around them and love them. It is much easier to ignore the rapid decline of our environment than it is to march hand in hand with “tree lovers”. It is much easier to say “we will be raptured away from it all, so prepare yourself for the next kingdom” while ignoring the world around us. Why care about child slavery? Why care about Darfur? Why care about world hunger? It is funny that Jesus came to reverse the curse of the fall while we not only avoid assisting Him, we actually applaud such destruction and pain in the name of God’s judgment!

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Here is a quote from Paul:

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich…………13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

In Paul’s second epistle (or third or fourth depending on what you mean) he is encouraging the saints in Corinth to fulfill a promise they had made over a year ago. The Jerusalem Church was suffering (yes Agabus’ prophecy came true). Paul must have taught or talked about it during his missionary journeys. Well this motivated the Corinths to take up an offering to meet this need, somehow this information got to the Phillipi/Macedonia Church and in their great poverty they gave before the Corinths. By the time Paul writes this epistle (again a year later) they still had not given what they promised.

I say that to say this is not an attempt at manipulating the scriptures. I do want to focus in on something Paul says. He says “your abundance at this present time should supply their need……”. Why do I say that? Because today must of us live in abundance, most of us are thinking of nice gifts to give to our families. Power Wheels, jewelry, clothes, trips, movies and the like. Nothing is wrong with that at all. I think God has so blessed us so that we can provide for our families and even give them good gifts. However, that isn’t the only reason. As believers we recognize that we have a higher responsibility than just giving good gifts. We also have the same responsibility that our elder brothers and sisters had. That is to meet the needs of those who lack while we bask in utter wealth (yes we are much wealthier than those who live on $90 a year).

Paul goes on to use an Old Testament reference in the gathering of the “manna”. Why does he do that? Because he was showing us and the Corinths that all that they have comes from God. Just as God had provided for Israel so He provides for us. Not for us to store up and have our “manna” spoil as the Israelites did. But to ensure that no one in the camp lacked! All who gathered had enough for it was God who provided. So God has povided us with much manna so that the rest of the redeem will not lack (How wse is or God?).

The Need!

Second, as you know we are starting this clinic in Burji.  To date, comparing designated gifts for the clinic with costs of the clinic, we are about $10,000 in the red.  The great bulk of this is because the cost of purchasing the solar power stuff (panels, invertors, wire, etc) was more than we had expected, plus we went ahead & are installing the loudspeaker for the chaplain’s communication of the Gospel while people are waiting (now it will be heard in all the area surrounding the clinic as well as under the waiting shelter), plus we had to pay about $5500 to ship the supplies, plus we had to pay about $5000 for Customs fee, storage, loading, etc., and we’ve bought alot of start-up medical equipment (the clinic didn’t even have a blood pressure cuff!)   God’s people have been very generous in helping with these expenses, but we’re still $10,000 off as of today.  Stewardship requires us to monitor this, so we don’t want to get further behind.  Perhaps people reading your website will be appointed by Him to help these people with a “Christmas present” that lasts & lasts, perhaps even to eternity!  All checks can be payable to BeckyLynn Black (non-tax-deductible), or Bethel Hill Baptist Church (tax-deductible, but a minimum of $500).  Either way, the checks should be sent to us at 2691 White House Rd., Nelson, VA 24580.  My son Nathan will be checking our mail daily, so nothing will be lost.

Lets help the Blacksfulfill the Great Commission and not only that lets support a modern Priscilla and Aquilla meet the needs of the Saints of God. These are our brothers and sisters and they don’t have much. EVERYTHING that you give will go to building the clinic and getting wells and meeting the other needs of our Ethiopian sisters and brothers. 100%. Above there is a tax-deductible ($500 minimum) or a (no min..) non tax deductible way to give. Please as you give this Christmas and as you provide gifts for your family please consider giving here! I have met the Blacks personally and they are much lovelier than you would every imagine! If your finances have been effected due to our current economic crisis please, please, please pray then pass this need on by posting the information or letting your church know! God bless and thank you Blacks tell the team we love them and are praying for them.

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The “Resurrection” in the life of the believer is pivotal to say the least. Without the resurrection… well Apostle Paul said it best…. 1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain.Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

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These figures above may bring back horrid memories to some. To others like myself, probably not as offensive since I grew up after this era. These pictures above are referencing a term that was used offensively used throughout history over the past 200 years and made more popular within the last century. There are many stories on the history of this term one says that the origins of the word “Sambo” stem from an occurrence believed to be at the height of the British Empire. An unknown slave ship had docked in the then-popular Morecambe Bay area to buy various sundry items; once back at sea it was noticed that a black member of the ship’s staff had been left ashore. This man’s name was Sambo; shunned by the people of Morecambe, he was made to live out the remainder of his days on the outskirts of the villages at that time. To this day there is a monument known as ‘Sambo’s Grave” on the coast of the Lancashire village of Heysham. The term “Sambo” has its origin from the Spanish word “nzambu” which means monkey. The Royal Spanish Academy gives the origin from a Latin word which in modern Spanish means “bow-legged.”

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As I watched the news here in America, the different news stations were talking about the inevitable recession, tax cuts, presidential candidates, and the Super Bowl. Many are worried that they will lose jobs or at the least the value of their investment portfolio will decline. Others are worried about the lowest level of new homes being built will cause more frenzy in the market not to mention a multibillion dollor write off by one of the worlds leading banking institutions.

Some are worried about Brady’s ankle as he was caught wearing a boot and others are asking who is going to fill the Atlanta Falcons or Redskins coaching vacancies. Colts fans were excited to see Dungy return for another year, while Giants fans are preparing to do whatever it takes to get to Arizona to see their beloved (this is a joke) Manning number 2 compete for the world’s most coveted trophy in Superbowl 42!

I watched TBN this past Sunday and I saw the same ol same ol. Duplantis, Dollar, and other such false teachers were spewing their weekly dose of heresy cloaked in the ever so popular “Health, Wealth and Prosperity” foolishness. And I was taking all of this in I read this article here.

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