The Ostrich Theory (Uncovering The Errors Of Dispensationalism) PART III

I was VERY legalistic in the early years of my christian experience. After trying so hard to please God and failing woefully, I was ready to quit when God opened my eyes to the message of grace.

The revelation was electrifying and super liberating. I could never atone for my sins and I could never impress and appease God with my good deeds.

But along the line, I began to see that the message of grace today is going to extremes. Scriptures on sanctification are being explained away, and more and more the church is getting worldlier, and preaching on holiness is termed ‘legalism’.

What is the relationship between sanctification and ‘saved by grace’? Read this article by Paul Benson.

Let's Get It Right!

ostrich theory “ERRORS? WHAT ERRORS? DO YOU GUYS SEE ANY PROBLEMS WITH OUR THEOLOGY? I SURE DON’T!”

by Paul Benson

(This is Part III of a series of articles on the errors of Dispensational Theology. You can find Part I HERE and Part II HERE.)

Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.Paul – an apostle of Christ

If there ever was a man who had a revelation of the majesty and glory of God, and the richness of his grace, it was the Apostle Paul! His writings are quite full of profound expressions such as ‘his unspeakable gift’ or ‘ the unsearchable riches of Christ’.

And Paul fully recognized our need for the grace of God. He devoted his life to the quest of *dispensing the wonderful grace of God upon those who would repent and open their hearts to the…

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Extremes in conducting deliverance

The area of deliverance remains a controversial one. Many arguments surely arise. But a keen student of the Bible will undoubtedly agree that there are extremisms that more often than is realized, hurt their victims physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. People have died during deliverance. People have been wounded while undergoing deliverance. Others have succumbed to spiritual abuse in the search for deliverance. Embarrassing situations have been tolerated during deliverance that can make the average unbeliever wince at the thought that God’s people could think of such alternatives to biblical precedence.

also read Holy Ghost fire prayer is not biblical

Unless a strict adherence to Biblical precedence and the lead of the Holy Spirit that doesn’t contradict written Scriptures is encouraged, more harm will be incurred in this area. It is easier to copy formulas and methods than to search the Scriptures. It is easier to go with the physical than seek to be led of the Holy Spirit. It is easier to be moved by sight (manifestations) than by faith. But to please the Lord and bring honor to His name, His followers must endeavor to do things the way he intends for them to do.

It is my belief that the encouragement of right knowledge and practical right living will go a long way to deal with the rush in the quest for deliverance today. Many people seeking deliverance today do not in reality have demonic problems. It’s a mentality that has been programmed to associate every unfortunate happening or character flaw with demonic influence, but the Bible teaches us that there are works of the flesh (with consequences when indulged).

Galatians 6:7-8 KJV

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting

The believer must fight against the works of the flesh, must put off the old man by renewing the mind with God’s word, and putting on the new nature which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Right living is not automatic for the born-again believer. It’s a conscious pursuit, a conscious submission to the work of sanctification by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:22-24

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

There is no deliverance from works of the flesh apart from walking in the spirit and putting to death what is earthly in us. You can’t cast out the flesh; you deny it dominance over the spirit. The Bible is very clear on this.

Yet it is common place for people to associate works of the flesh to demonic activity and have the ‘demon’ allegedly cast out.

Colossians 3:5

Mortify (put to death, deprive of power) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (brackets mine)

The list continues through verses 6-9 to include, malice, anger, obscene language, blasphemy and lies. These are all works of the flesh, characteristics of the sinful nature, which the new creature in Christ must seek to live above.

This practice of having works of the flesh allegedly cast out as ‘demons’ is not the only area of extremes and error in deliverance ‘ministries’ today. In some circles, anything goes. The Lord’s example and God’s word are basically kept aside in preference of new methods and formulas, some of which are all too popular but not only lack Scriptural backing, but in fact stand in stark contrast to God’s Word.

Did you know?

  • Neither the Lord Jesus nor the disciples ever asked demons to manifest. The demons usually manifested in the presence of the Higher Authority, and not because of obedience to a command. The Lord, as well as the early disciples, commanded devils to come out, to leave their victims; they were not interested in (and they did not enjoy watching) the victims of demonic influence manifesting.
  • Only once did the Lord ‘converse’ with demons. And that was a very short conversation. That instance cannot be used to commend the lengthy conversations with demon spirits in deliverance ministries today, sometimes accompanied with other activities such as dancing, testifying and prophesying (from demons!). That one time conversation did not include bargaining with the demon and asking it whether it would leave its victim or not.
  • Neither the Lord nor the disciples ever asked anyone to fill out questionnaires and go get “prepared” for deliverance. I’m not suggesting help doesn’t come from doing so, but I don’t see it in Scripture. In some ways, it helps empower the devil – he’s so powerful that days and days of preparation are needed to cast him out. Formulas replace the leading and inspiration of God’s Spirit.
  • The Lord and the disciples did not need to know the name, class and level of a demon before casting it out. Whether it’s the least among the demons or their master, Satan himself, it is the authority in the Name of Jesus that drives them out!
  • It may be possible that the Lord did not enjoy having a crowd ‘watching’ deliverance (? Mark 9:25). If he were today, would he take pictures of people rolling on the floor, etc. and post them on social media in exchange for likes, comments and shares? Would he use cameras and microphones to record and broadcast to the world? I am not saying those broadcasts are totally wrong, but some of what is broadcast shows there’s no consideration or compassion for the people involved. The people doing the broadcasts seek to promote themselves and their ‘work’. That is why in some circles, people who refuse to come on camera are denied prayer.
  • S/he is not a superhero minister who no longer argues with demons, who doesn’t release “fire and thunder”, who only gives a command in the name of Jesus and the devils obey. That is the Bible way, and should be seen as normal. Abnormal is any deliverance method that undermines faith in the powerful and effective Name of Jesus.
  • Apostle Paul would not receive commendation from an evil spirit. When the soothsaying spirit in Acts 16:16-18 announced to the public who the men of God were, Paul was vexed and rebuked it, setting its captive free.

Hearing God’s voice and being led by the Holy Spirit is indispensable in every Christian ministry. However, since hearing God is something subjective, staying with the clear instructions and principles of God’s written Word is very important in order to avoid accommodating error and weirdness. It is NOT the Spirit of God that orders for the unclothing of someone before deliverance can take place. It is NOT the Holy Spirit that inspires a male minister to kiss a female congregant for whatever reason. The strange and dangerous calisthenics being done and broadcast in the name of the Lord are not done under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is the work of false prophets and misled believers who haven’t taken time to search Scriptures, who have gone with man’s formulas, instead God’s Word.

Whether it is realized or not, extremes and errors hurt. God hates errors, false teachings and wrong practices. That is why he has given of his Word and his Spirit to guide us into all truth. And if we love God, we must hate what he hates and love what he loves; we must love truth and hate error. We cannot continue to see his Word relegated while man’s opinions take center stage, and yet we behave as if nothing serious is happening. We cannot remain indifferent in the face of what God is not indifferent about.

We must get so concerned that we go back to his Word and back to doing things the way he did and the way he wants us to do them.

We must encourage holy living, instead of promoting the dodging of responsibility by putting the blame of people’s actions on unseen demons.

This is not to say demons do not influence people to commit sin. They do. But if the many people seeking deliverance today will learn to submit to the Holy Spirit and the instructions of God’s Word, they would experience true and lasting deliverance and victory over sin. In the Bible we see that demons cast out are mostly those causing conditions such as epilepsy, deafness, speech impairment, soothsaying, sickness etc. I haven’t found an instance where a demon for fornication, drunkenness, stealing etc. was cast out. The Bible identifies these as works of the flesh and also gives a solution to them.

Galatians 5:16, 19-21

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest (clearly seen), which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

See benefits of spending time with God

The devil may influence and inspire people to sin, but the ultimate responsibility to act or not lies on the individual. The devil doesn’t make you do anything. You choose to succumb to his influence. In the same way, you can choose to succumb to the Holy Spirit’s influence.

Holy living is what we need, not the tagging demons and having them cast out.

Jane

Holy Ghost fire prayer is not biblical

 

One area in the church in which there are popular but wrong teachings and practices is the area of prayer. And when a wrong practice is popular, it becomes very hard to come against it. What people have been used to doing takes effort to let go. The tendency is to criticize any contrary view and to continue to hold unto what is wrong. It is my hope that someone reading this will keep aside feelings and opinions about this way of praying and  look to Scripture for enlightenment.

There are many teachings and practices in the Body of Christ that seek to undermine and subvert faith in the Name of Jesus and the power in that Name. Holy Ghost fire, by thunder by fire prayer, by fire by force prayer is one of them.

I personally don’t know where the phrases, “by thunder, by fire”, “by fire, by force”, “holy ghost fire”, “holy ghost machine gun” came from. It is my speculation that someone tried to cast out demons in the Name of Jesus, and it didn’t work. The results were not what was expected. More like the case of the disciples and the epileptic boy while the Lord was on the mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17:14-20). Then comes a difference in the reaction to the failure: while the disciples were confused with their results and sought the Lord for the reason for their failure, the by thunder by fire proponents believe the Name of Jesus alone is not enough to chase out a demon spirit. To the Name must be added fire, thunder, lightning, bullets, all spiritual, in order for devils to obey the command to leave their victim.

Another source of support for this kind of deliverance prayer is from testimonies and confessions. Someone confesses that they were experiencing heat or that they actually saw fire when they were being delivered, and that becomes a foundation for a teaching or practice that has virtually replaced the Name of Jesus with fire, thunder, lightning etc. “I command you by thunder by fire… to come out”.
I once told someone that this kind of prayer is not biblical; you can’t find any Scriptural example for this. They told me they don’t pray by thunder by fire; they pray by thunder by fire, in the Name of Jesus. I then said, why don’t you just scrape off the by thunder by fire phrase, and pray in the Name of Jesus as the Bible demands? They told me they cannot. That is to say the power of their prayer rests in the belief in the spiritual fire or thunder than in the Name of Jesus.

This same mentality is to be found in the adherents of anointed objects. They tell you their faith is in the Lord, not the object, but if you tell them to trust God without the mediation of their objects (usually bought at exorbitant prices) they would tell you they can’t. They don’t believe God will listen to a simple prayer made in faith in the Name of Jesus. They need to spray or drink anointed water, oil, “blood”; they need to touch the anointed picture of their favorite prophet; they just need something physical, before they can believe God. But that is not faith.

The Lord Jesus never did cast out demons by fire by thunder. His disciples never did. Paul never did. The questions that beg for an answer now is “has this generation encountered new demons and an advanced Satan that will not obey the authority in the name of Jesus of Nazareth?” “Has the name of Jesus over the years lost its power and authority so much so that fire, thunder, lightning must be added unto for the same results in the bible to be produced today?”

I honestly believe the devil not only loves this way of coming against him and his host, he actually encourages it: as long as it takes away the believer’s focus and authority from the powerful Name of Jesus, the forces of darkness are having a wonderful time. As long as the believer sweats and frets over one demon to see it leave, that’s just wonderful. And more wonderful, as long as some devils can be imagined and much effort used in releasing fire, earthquake etc. to kill them, that’ll be great.

The reason for the appeal and popularity

This way of praying is emotionally satisfying. As humans we are emotional beings and whatever we don’t feel satisfied about, it’s hard to believe in. Faith is faith and emotions are emotions. The two are deadly enemies. It is hard on the emotions and sight to simply give a command in the Name of Jesus and believe it is accomplished. We feel satisfied when we have shouted out our lungs, raining down spiritual fire, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, because in our minds we can give a picture to what is happening, which in turn affects the way we feel about the situation and our praying. I think it does something to the person commanding, when he sees the demonized person reeling under “fire”.  He feels more powerful.

Second, situations have been encountered where a command was given in the name of Jesus and the devils apparently did not obey. What should one do in such a case? We will talk more on that below.

Third, the make-believe world receives some credit here for the appeal and popularity of the by thunder by fire prayer. This is no indictment against Christian scriptwriters and film producers, but it’s a call for theologically-correct stories. Christian movies should be a medium for teaching and correction, not propagation of false teachings wrong practices.
But doesn’t it work?

I won’t be quick to say it doesn’t work at all. As I have heard said “even a blind squirrel can once in a while come up with a nut,” I believe there are some good results that do come from believers who have genuinely but ignorantly adopted that way of dealing with Satan and demons. But the results could be better, like the results of the Lord and the apostles, who only gave a word of command and it was done. Instantaneous results. No bargaining with evil spirits.
What should you do when demons refuse to leave?

In the instance where the disciples could not cast out the demon from the epileptic boy, the Lord rebuked them for their unbelief, not the method they had employed. Probably they didn’t use the name of the Lord in faith or perhaps when the demon manifested, the sight of the boy convulsing made them give in to unbelief that countered the faith they initially had when they gave the command for the demon to leave the boy; instead of standing in faith, they watched the scene in unbelief. The Lord told them how to deal with the unbelief; He didn’t introduce a new way of dealing with Satan, because it has always been about authority, and that authority will always be about Jesus, not some object.

What about the manifestations that take place when “holy ghost! Fire! Thunder!” is released?

The issue of manifestations is another deceptive area. Before God’s bar, I can confidently say that not all manifestations are genuine. Because it is being expected and sometimes even demanded, some people have manifested when there was nothing happening spiritually. Secondly, if you put someone in a kind of posture and shout on them, they will certainly manifest. Someone with hands lifted up and head tilted behind or stomach punched with a fist will manifest. It’s not any demon in them. It’s the effect of the posture, the punch and the shouts. Someone being commanded to manifest will in the long run ‘manifest’ if they keep opening their minds to the desire to obey the command. That is why there are manifestations upon manifestations, yet no lasting transformation in so many lives.

Manifestation is nothing in itself if nothing truly happens. Depending on a manifestation or lack of it to determine the presence or absence of evil spirits has caused deception and some consequent damages in the area of deliverance. As believers, we desperately need the gift of discerning of spirits, not physical manifestations.

Could this not be about semantics? Doesn’t the actual power lie in the name of Jesus?

As mentioned above, people believe the power lies in the fire, thunder or whatever, even if they refuse to admit it. If they can’t pray in the Name of Jesus alone, then it is evident they don’t believe the Name is powerful and effective enough. It is not about semantics! I wouldn’t waste my time writing this if I believe it’s all about semantics. I have seen the practice and how some Christians are willing to cling to it regardless of what examples the Scripture have to offer.br />
Devils fear nothing like the name of Jesus. The authority in that name signifies satan’s defeat. He can’t stand that Name when it is called in faith. He is obliged to obey the command. Lack of proper knowledge in that Name has given rise to situations where you see people arguing with demons, with the latter vehemently refusing to obey the command to leave the person they have demonized. Why? Because when it comes to by fire by thunder, by fire by force, by earthquake etc. even if the phrase “in the name of Jesus” is attached to those phrases, the devils can contend. These evil forces obey authority and they can tell when one doesn’t know their authority in Christ. They don’t just obey words; they obey words spoken with authority. The authority is not in the tone of voice, how much you can shout. It is faith in the power and the authority in the Name of Jesus.

If you meet a devil who is contending with you, don’t graduate from the Name of Jesus, to fire or force. Go back to the word and study the authority that is yours in the name of Jesus. The devil doesn’t obey you, he obeys the authority you carry, the Jesus you call upon

Let’s restore the glory of the wonderful Name of Jesus. We can do that by learning the power behind that Name and calling it in faith. And should we encounter failure like the disciples of the Lord, let us learn to ask Him, “Lord, why couldn’t we cast out this demon?” and He would enlighten us on what to do. Let’s not cling to methods that undermine the authority and power in the Name above all names, that Name to which every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that the bearer of the Name is Lord of lords. Hallelujah!

Panic Attack or the voice of God?

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Before I understood what was going on, I was confused and exasperated. Very exasperated. Why would God always say ‘No’ to whatever I wanted to do? If I wanted to go to school, he would say no. If I wanted to learn a skill, he would say no. Everywhere I turned, I was sure to get a ‘no’ from him, sooner or later.

The bigger problem was that he seemed never to give another direction; he always waited until when I’d made a decision about something, then he would just come in and say, ‘no’, leaving me confused, and wishing he could just visibly appear to me and tell me CLEARLY all he wanted me to do, and not only wait for me to make a decision so he can come in and cancel it.

The ‘no’ was usually in the form of pangs in the gut when I thought of the thing I intended to do, weak limbs or a racing heart in the middle of the night that would wake me up. All the feelings could be present in one instance or there could be just one or two in another case. They always resulted in me becoming less enthusiastic about the project in question. And if I let go of the thing I intended to do, then I’d be okay, symptom-free.

I always took that to be the voice of God, until after so many times of this occurrence, spanning several years, I began to suspect it was not. God is a loving Father. His leading is clear and gentle, not the symptoms described above that left me confused and emotionally drained. God would not always say no, and never, yes.

But if this was not God’s voice, then what was it? I didn’t have a name for it. I didn’t know what it was.  I could describe the symptoms but I could not tell what I was suffering from.

One morning, I asked the Lord, forcefully, to help me understand what it was. It was hard even admitting that it was not his voice, but I had to ignore the feelings and by faith talk to my Father about the condition. I asked him to help me understand about the ‘pangs’ or ‘flutter’ in my stomach each time I made a decision about something.

The answer was instant, and it was this blog post. The author describes almost exactly what I was going through, even using the same word, exasperated. From the comments on the post, I realized it was somewhat of a common problem.

It was great knowing those feelings were not God saying no. Over the years, I have come to understand some about the condition called panic attack. It has something to do with the fear of man, the fear of man’s negative opinion and disapproval, and the fear of the unknown. Someone who has suffered from low self-esteem, much self-consciousness and a desire to have the approval of men in order of have any self-worth is a likely candidate. And a sometimes, it’s a pure demonic attack coming through condemnatory thoughts that make you begin to have some sort of misgiving about God’s leading.

I have mostly experienced the latter in my journey of trying to follow God’s plan for my life. Had I not discovered earlier that there is a difference between panic attack and God truly saying no through a check in my spirit, the devil would have succeeded to derail me from the path God wants me to walk in.

God sometimes says no to our plans and desires. Because he loves us and seeks to prevent us from making bad decisions and choices, he does intervene and stop us from proceeding in a wrong path. But his no is different from panic attacks. In cases where his Word does not clearly guide, he communicates his will in that particular case to our spirits. It could be a check in our hearts that makes us want to reconsider the intended plan, a ‘something’ within that makes us NO LONGER WANT to do what we intended to do before, or it could be a waning of the excitement we had initially. When we say yes to the check or the ‘something’ and let go of our plans, there is joy and peace in our spirits, not confusion and exasperation.

If you’ve experienced panic attacks and God’s leading through a no in your spirit, you know there’s a big difference between the lack of peace that comes from fearing the opinion of man or the unknown, and the lack of peace that results from your spirit grieving over a wrong decision or choice, or wrong course you about to take.

I don’t know if have articulated the explanation well. I just thought to bring to someone’s attention that there’s a difference between panic attack and the voice of God. To bring to someone’s attention that they might be entertaining as God’s voice something that is not. This is especially important when you have a sincere desire to walk in step with God, where you do not want to do something he does not sanction. Panic attacks and the devil can keep you grounded, confused and exasperated at what you consider God’s dealing, when it actually is not.

If you do not understand that there are conditions that can mimic the voice of God, which panic attack in decision making is an excellent example, you may experience frustration and exasperation like I did. God is a Father, and he does not exasperate his children. He guides us. He does so primarily through his written word, and in situations where his word doesn’t clearly show a path to follow, he still makes us understand what he would want of us in that particular situation. And when he does, we experience true peace within. Even in situation where he would say no, and keep you waiting without an immediate clearer option, you’d experience peace, if your mind is stayed on him.

If your heart loves the Lord, and your mind is stayed on him, any leading that leaves you exasperated is not from God. If you do not feel true relief, joy and peace when letting go of something you had planned to do, then doubt if the leading to let go is truly of God.

A word about overcoming panic attack.

I’m just talking here from my personal experience, what worked for me.

I decided to face the fear and the source of the attack. From adolescence, I suffered from the fear of man. I was so self-conscious that the thought of having someone have a negative opinion of me was unpleasant. I can’t say I have completely overcome; but I have witnessed tremendous improvement. But the thing that brought the victory, after I realized it was not God always saying no to my decisions, was a decision to face the source of the fear and to make a firm decision to damn the consequences, be it the displeasure of man or fear of the unknown, and just do what God wants me to do.

Facing fear or the source of fear is no pleasant job, but it helps to reveal that the greatest fear is fear itself, and not what is feared. To me that caused less and less ‘pangs’ in my stomach when I made a decision and stuck with it. As long I can differentiate the fear from a check in my spirit, I choose to face the fear.

About satan using condemnation to cause thoughts of fear and confusion, feelings which can sometimes cause you to doubt God, one of my friends recently gave me a strategy that works superbly. This year, out of the blues, I received an attack that was more than anything I’d experience in a long time. For several days I was under heavy condemnation and feelings of inadequacy. I knew it was not God speaking those thoughts into my mind. It was the devil.

It was so bad that I got panic attacks in the night. Thank God I knew better than to conclude God was saying anything to me through those feelings. I rebuked the devil, I countered the thoughts, but they just persisted. I then complained to some very dear friends, and they gave me a simple strategy. Just ignore the condemnation. And stand. Simple, isn’t it?

So I just ignored and stuck with what God had instructed me to do. That left the devil with nothing to successfully fight against me. He did all the talking, telling me what a jerk I was, and when I did not agree with his report, when I did not respond in fear or withdrawal from the path God wants me to go in, he got ashamed and began to shut up.

It may be ridiculous that anybody should consider a panic attack as the  voice of God, but I used to think so. Maybe someone out there  still does. That is the reason for this post. I pray God uses my example to explain it better to someone who might be experiencing what I went through.

God bless,

Jane

A genuine fear provoked by debunking the rapture theory

 

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No Rapture?/Pixabay free pics

It is usually unsettling when you make changes in your beliefs, especially major changes. No one chooses to believe a lie. Somebody may deliberately teach a lie for gainful purposes, but no one chooses to consciously believe a lie. It is usually a work of deception and manipulation or ignorance that has people holding unto beliefs that might not be true when scrutinized by Biblical truth. And the debunking of those beliefs by the light of God’s Words may sometimes provoke questions and fears that genuinely need answers.

I have witnessed several times where a preacher uses the imminence of the rapture to browbeat his audience into a weeping and repentance frenzy (which emotional repentance ironically doesn’t always last). Many Christians constantly are aware of sins, shortcomings, feelings of unworthiness, and as such, any message that questions their NOW rapture-readiness would always get the result of the altar full with repenting worshippers. In order words, it is one of the easiest things to do to get people hit the altar: just ask them, “if you know that you would be left behind if the rapture happens NOW, come to the altar and confess your sins.”

I don’t believe preachers who do that have wrong intentions in any way. If the pre-trib rapture were not false, that would be a genuine concern, to make sure church people are ready for the secret event. So I’m not in any way criticizing anyone who does that. I only see the fear being brought up of people getting careless with their commitment should they be taught there is no rapture BEFORE the tribulation, which means they shouldn’t be concerned about any rapture TODAY, as long as the today represents a day when the signs that must precede the Second Coming haven’t all been fulfilled.

It is understandable then how debunking the rapture theory and showing it to be a false teaching can raise the question, “what then would keep believers living holy lives? What would motivate them to live for God if there is no rapture, and if there is no imminence to the coming of the Lord (because we would have to watch first for the rise of the Antichrist and experience the great tribulation)? If there’s no surprise like a “thief in the night” would a Christian not sin blatantly NOW because they are being assured by post-tribulation gathering teachers that there’s no NOW or ANY MINUTE FROM NOW secret catching away?

Why live holy now? Why not sin now and confess later?

In this post I mentioned the fact that I once believed in a pre-trib before my eyes were opened to the truth of Scripture. Did the change in belief make me less committed to God NOW? No. More than ever before, I want to live for God. There are things I feel guilty about now that some Christians would think that is obsession with little things. Many times I regret the sins I indulged while ironically believing in a NOW or ANY SECOND FROM NOW rapture. Every fiber of my being wants to live for God, NOW.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (KJV)

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Fear doesn’t always work; it is not a good motivation.

The fear of being left behind when the rapture occurs is a motivation to holy living for some, but it SHOULD NOT be for someone genuinely born-again and in love with the Lord. Desiring to obey his commands and to honor him should be the motivation for holiness.

It is my opinion that the real state of our hearts is exposed when a fear motivation is removed. That should make anyone realize why they had been acting the way they had. It should even make one question the genuineness of their salvation experience. Was it just an emotional repentance, where hell was beaten out of you, and you had no option than to (un)willingly surrender your life to the Lord? And when the emotions wore off, as they always do, you remained unchanged, waiting for the next altar call on rapture-readiness. Or did you really experience a true change that causes you to want to live for God no matter the circumstances?

1 John 2:3-6 (KJV)

3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: HEREBY KNOW WE THAT WE ARE IN HIM (bold). 6 He that saith he abideth in him OUGHT HIMSELF ALSO SO TO WALK, EVEN AS HE WALKED.

The believer ought to always strive to live for God, to pursue righteous living, not out of fear of being left behind in the event of a secret rapture, but out of love for God and in conformity with the change of heart that happens at the new birth. A genuine Christian does not enjoy living in sin because sin is not enjoyable, even if there was no heaven and no hell.

The coming of the Lord will not surprise the believer in right fellowship with the Lord; it is those living in darkness that the day shall overtake like a thief in the night.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 KJV

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

I do not believe the watchfulness encouraged here is the type motivated by fear of being left behind, nor is it a selfish aim towards self-preservation that has no desire to live for God in case of any contrary revelation. We respond to God’s love with love for him, not fear. Fear is an indication of not being perfected in love. The antidote to that kind of relationship with God is to know his love. It doesn’t glorify God if those professing to be his children will only (or be better) kept from sinning by a fear of not being raptured.

Why wait for a rapture-readiness altar call?

If you sin as a Christian, there is an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (see 1 John 2:1-2, 1 John 1:9). Immediately acknowledge your wrong doing and receive forgiveness. Don’t wait for a sermon on the rapture to beat you into repentance.

Knowing the love of God and the fellowship he calls us into takes away the fear motivation. That love cheers you to want to live for God. God did not sacrifice his Son just so we could escape the tribulation; the Lord Jesus died to set us free from the sin nature so we can enter into a spiritual relationship with our Heavenly Father. This relationship offers us many benefits, but those benefits are not the primary objective. God loves us and wants us to experience him. Eternal life is defined by our Lord in John 17:3 to mean an intimate knowledge of God. That is what the Lord Jesus brought to us.

We shouldn’t hold unto a teaching simply because throwing it away may have ‘disastrous’ consequences on peoples’ commitment to God’s standard. If commitment is not genuine in motive, it is not genuine in action.

The thought “God loves a cheerful giver” just came into my mind. That phrase is taken from 2 Corinthians chapter 9, a passage talking about finances. And I want to believe it is the same with our love, our commitment and services to God. He loves our willingness. Instead of keeping ourselves confessed up so that we remain rapturable, let’s seek to live lives that honor the Lord, in our motives and actions, under whatever circumstance. Let’s delve into intimacy with him, having our roots deep in the knowledge of God, building spiritual stamina through our daily walk with him, so that if the antichrist happens to come in our time, we would have the stamina to resist succumbing to his agenda, instead of panicking then, in bewilderment, because we had believed a lie that we would not be here when the monster comes to town.

N.B if you stumbled on this article and have not read the previous one, I’d still recommend Paul Benson’s Book A Bucket Full of Holes. It is an in-depth teaching that explains, with clear biblical backing what Scriptures teach about the rapture.

God bless,

Jane

Changing my beliefs about the pre-trib rapture teaching taught me a great lesson

 


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One morning I was reading the Bible, precisely 2 Thessalonians 2, when I suddenly began to question the pre-tribulation rapture teaching I had always embraced. For the first time, I saw something in that passage that my firmly held beliefs have always blinded me to.

It was a bit unsettling (it always is, when you begin to discover you have believed a lie for such a long time).

Further study on the subject caused me to change camps and come to a position where I believe there is no rapture of the church before the visible second coming of the Lord. I now believe the dead saints are resurrected, and together with the changed living saints, are caught up to meet the Lord in the air at His coming.

My intention in this post is not to write on the subject of the rapture. Paul Benson has done a wonderful job on exposing the false rapture teaching and the dangers of believing lies in general. I highly recommend his book, A Bucket Full of Holes, to be freely downloaded from the site.

What I want to highlight here is the reason why professing Christians believe what they believe. The Pre-tribulation rapture continues to be the firmly held belief among Christians, though it is very lacking in Biblical backing. Why? I believe the reasons for its wide acceptance can be generalized to other doctrines, be they truth or falsehood.

  1. It is popular

Popular teachings usually pass for truth. The rationale is “if it were not true, not so many people would have believed it”.

But that is farther from the truth. I have heard it said that in every false teaching, there’s an aspect that is appealing to the flesh, to self. You can then understand how a false teaching could become very popular. Why? For the simple fact that people love it and want it so.

Who doesn’t want to leave in the first train before the monster comes to town? Doesn’t it feel good to know you can confess Jesus Christ as Savior and continue to live like the devil, and God would just be madly in love with you?

Or how about believing that the devil would finally be saved alongside those that lived for him here and there is no hell?
The appeal to the flesh contributes easily to the popularity of a teaching, but then, popularity or wide acceptance of a teaching doesn’t make it truth if it is not backed by Scriptures.

  1. It is an established teaching

It is now proven that the church has always believed in a ‘catching away’ of believers at the Second Coming of the Lord, until the nineteenth century when the pre-tribulation rapture was introduced into the Body of Christ and gained popularity. As such many Christians today get born-again and meet this belief as an established teaching in the Church.

In fact, I believed in a secret rapture before I believed in Jesus. Before I became a genuine Christian, I knew that should that secret event happen, I must stand strong and refuse to cave in to the demands of the antichrist, so that I could finally be saved.

It was an established teaching before I became born-again.

So when you come into the Body of Christ, and meet a popular established teaching, it is hard to not believe it. You would read the Bible and only see it through the lens of the established teaching. But when the scales begin to fall, you begin looking for support for the established teaching, but you find none.

As believers we need to let Scriptures speak for themselves. We need to search God’s word to confirm what we are being taught.

  1. My denomination, my pastor, Apostle, Prophet So-and-so teaches it

We live in a day and age where many believe preachers’ word than God’s. once their hearts are captured by man, they fail to continue heeding the biblical warning that says to prove all things, to test the spirits.

It therefore is natural to hold unto a teaching simply because that’s what our denomination teaches; that what my spiritual father teaches; that’s what the respectable so-and-so teaches.

There are sincere Bible teachers I respect who teach the pre-tribulation rapture (maybe because that’s also what they were taught in church or Bible School), but I refuse to believe it simply because they teach it. The authority of persons does not change a lie into truth. Man is fallible, God is not.

That is the more reason why we need to search Scriptures, and not only depend on another person telling us what God’s Word says. If they are deceived, if they are ignorant, we too become ignorantly deceived. And that kind of deception is not excusable from Scriptures. We must search the Bible to confirm or disprove what we are being taught.

Our denomination or church is not the final authority. While we may belong to denominations or churches, the Bible must be our standard, not our denominational dogma.

Denominational dogmas are only truth as long as they align with Scriptures.

  1. The alternative is horrible

This aligns with the saying that in every false teaching is an appeal to the flesh. The false teaching offers more good-feelings and hope than the truth presented in Scriptures. When coupled with a man’s perception of God’s love, the falsehood is embraced and taught as truth.

As such, false teachings are accepted while truth in suppressed, based entirely on human feelings and logic.

It is terrible to accept the church will go through the great tribulation. It is terrible to believe in a literal hell. It doesn’t feel totally good to believe holiness must be pursued in the life of believer as evidence of salvation.

No matter how well we may wish for the alternative not to be true, God’s Word stands firm. Man’s lies can never become divine truth.

  1. God revealed it to me (or my pastor, prophet, apostle) in a vision

God speaks in visions and dreams, but He doesn’t contradict His written word.

When opposing sides of a teaching both have visions and revelations, which of them is truly hearing from God?

I have heard and read testimonies from both sides of the tribulation issue of how “God revealed to me lalalalalal….”How can we tell who is right and who is wrong? Through the written word of God. Test the spirits, the Bible says.

We are warned not to base our beliefs on visions (Colossians 2:18). Therefore, a vision or a dream is insignificant in establishing truth and dogma, especially when Scriptures have clearly shown what is true.

  1. God’s Word says so

This is the ideal. We need to base our beliefs on what God says. If we can’t prove it from the Bible, either through a direct command, admonition or through a principle, we need to question that teaching, scrutinize it and reject it if there’s no biblical backing.

It is necessary to let God’s Word speak for itself. We must be careful about reading our ideas, hopes and beliefs into God’s Word. False teachings and false teachers have scriptural quotations, but which are usually twisted or taken out of context to say what the reader or teacher wants them to say.

I have used the example of the pre-tribulation rapture, but these points can apply to any teaching. The change made me realize that sometimes we believe a teaching not based on what God says, but because of different reasons. While we may still arrive at believing the truth with the first five points, it is dangerous holding unto beliefs without proper biblical scrutiny.

May we take every teaching up to the exposing light of God’s Word. May we learn to ask “what does the Bible really say?” May we learn to read and study the Bible without our denominational, sensual or wishful thinking lenses. Then we would be free and able to let God instruct us.

I will be doing another post about Fears Provoked by Debunking the Rapture Teaching. This is to address the issue of some who think the imminence of the rapture can be used to instill fear and the need for holy living in believers.

Several false teachings are causing havoc to the Christian world. There is widespread deception, lack of discernment and laziness in searching the Scriptures. We cannot dare continue to hold unto beliefs without having them backed by Scriptures. We shall not be inexcusable before God if we fail to study the Word to see what He, not man, teaches. He has given us warnings about false teachers. That is to call us to watchfulness.

Jane.

The offense of the Prosperity and Seed-sowing message

 

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I believe in prosperity if I am to define what it means to me. To have enough to fulfill God’s purpose for my life is prosperity. To have abundance so I can be a blessing to others is prosperity.
I have an aversion to poverty, lack and want, and I believe it is a basic human desire to have one’s needs met. Churches and Para-church organizations do good work when they try to alleviate sufferings by educating, clothing and feeding the poor.
Everyone accepts God knows no lack or want and since he is the one that supplies the needs of his children, Christians should not be destitute. Except in cases of persecution and in some situations when in stepping out to follow God lack and want can be some of the challenges, poverty and destitution are never truly godly lifelong circumstances.
If someone takes an oath of poverty, that’s their choice and decision, not God’s ordination for them.
Then why is the prosperity message so repulsive to many Christians?
I believe it is the extravagance, self-indulgence and manipulations that sometimes accompany the prosperity preaching. The fruit of the message in the life of its most outspoken proponents is most of the time not godly. The need to “prove” one’s prosperity through fashionable clothes, latest gadgets, a fat bank account, expensive cars is where the message very much draws to itself those who are motivated by lust, and at the same time pushes away those who believe the Bible is against greed and covetousness.

A look at some of the fruit of the extreme emphasis put on the concept of financial prosperity would tell anyone that there is a problem somewhere.

  • Vanity
  • Covetousness
  • Greed and competition
  • Material possession as “proof” of one’s spirituality

The story of George Muller is one of inspiration and a slap to some prosperity preachers today. George Muller never had a bank account, he did not organize fundraisers, and received no fixed salary, but he is famous for building large orphanages and sponsoring the distribution of bible tracts around the world and supporting schools and missions.

He believed God led him to do what he did and trusted him for the provisions. God did it through people’s willing donations, and never through twisting of scriptures, threats and deception

Some things are needs depending on the occasion, but when they are gotten just to gratify the flesh and to prove to others that we are prosperous, it becomes sinful.

The unscrupulous seed sowing motivation strategy

During a fundraiser for a program, Pastor asks people to give or pledge the sum of fifty thousand francs. Some people come out, but they are not enough to raise the needed amount.

Pastor then tells a touching story of a man somewhere who had given that amount some previous year and God blessed him for that giving so much so that the man is now paying tithes in millions.

When he says that, more people come out and pledge to give. Why? The motivation changes from simply giving to support the work of God, to “sowing” thousands so that millions can be harvested later on. Pastor knows well this method works, that is why he employs it.

There should be no mincing of words when calling this manipulation. Pastor does not care about the giver or whether the giver eventually gets the promised harvest. Pastor’s goal is to get the money out of the giver’s wallet. Period.

Many people today regret having fallen prey to such tactics before. The money they could have used to start up an income generating business was sowed as seed and the harvest never came, and the prosperity they were promised never materialized.

Even more painful are the many people who are still waiting and hoping that one day the harvest will come. They have been sowing for years and are being promised to be patient.

The shortcoming with this seed sowing motivation is the failure to see that people can still give willingly and bountifully, without threats and coercion. The giving springs out of appreciation for the goodness of God, out of a desire to see his work progress.

It is an indication of a faulty relationship with God when Christians have to be threatened or manipulated to give for the kingdom of God. People who have come in contact with the unconditional love and goodness of God cannot help but be bountiful givers. It flows out of a love relationship and a grateful heart, not out of a selfishness to have one’s money multiplied or to get God’s favor.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 KJV

7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work

It doesn’t glorify God when people are manipulated to give to his work. God is not glorified in that kind of work. He knows how to provide for his kingdom work, and he has chosen to work through willing and cheerful hearts; that is the kind of giving that gets reward.

Finances are a blessing when they are used within biblical boundaries. Any teaching that encourages and promotes greed and covetousness is not of God.

The Bible calls us to keep ourselves free from the love of money. We are instructed to keep away from the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

Jane