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In Defense of the Faith

Dave Hunt

Are Good Works Essential for Salvation?

Question:  James says that faith without works is dead (James:2:20, 26). Paul wrote, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians:2:12). Shouldn’t we conclude, therefore, that good works are necessary for salvation? And wouldn’t we be in a dangerous position if we failed to recognize that good works are essential for salvation? Christ even says that if we don’t forgive others, we can’t expect God to forgive us. What about that?

Response:  If good works are essential for salvation, then we must have some standard for those good works. The gospel would have to specify how many good works and of what kind. Where does one find such teaching? Nowhere.

There is no mention of good works in the “gospel by which we are saved” (1 Corinthians:15:1-4). In fact, Paul argues that “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans:3:28), and he reminds us that “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus:3:5).

Nevertheless, all the world’s religions are based upon works. The idea that we must live up to a certain standard of works to be saved is the foundation of paganism. The gods must somehow be appeased by human effort or sacrifice. The same idea is innate in all people: “If You will get me out of this predicament, God, then I’ll do this or that for You!” Clearly, that is not what James is teaching under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

A works-for-salvation mentality marks every cult. Indeed, even atheists justify their rejection of Christianity on this basis. Famed atheist Robert Ingersoll sarcastically complained against the gospel of God’s grace:

“They [Christians] say a certain belief is necessary to salvation. They do not say, if you behave  yourself you will get there; they do not say, if  you pay your debts and love your wife and love your children, and are good to your friends and your neighbors and your country [like we atheists are], you will get there. That will do you no good; you have got to believe a certain thing.

“No matter how bad you are, you can be instantly forgiven; and no matter how good you are, if you fail to believe that which you cannot understand, the moment you get to the day of judgment nothing is left but to damn you, and all the angels will shout ‘hallelujah.’”

Christianity alone rejects this universal delusion. We have already seen that keeping the law perfectly in the future could not make up for having broken it in the past. As Paul said, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans:3:20). It is therefore clear that we cannot be saved by good works.

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NewsWatch

Various

Trustees Pass Pro-Free Speech Resolution 

TheCollegeFix.com, 8/10/22, “UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees pass pro-free speech resolution” [Excerpts]: The University of North Carolina Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a resolution in favor of academic freedom and campus freedom of speech following a review of new student survey, The Carolina Journal reported August 3. The resolution is in the agenda document.

“University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Tenure Policy affirms this commitment [to freedom of inquiry by faculty] by acknowledging that ‘it is the policy of the University to maintain and encourage full freedom, within the law, of inquiry, discourse, teaching, research, and publication and to protect any member of the faculty against influences, from within or without the University, which would restrict the faculty member in the exercise of these freedoms in his or her area of scholarly interest,’” the resolution stated.

The resolution also committed the university to the Chicago Principles on free speech and the University of Chicago Kalven Committee Report on the University’s Role in Political and Social Action, which “recognizes that the neutrality of the University on social and political issues ‘arises out of respect for free inquiry and the obligation to cherish a diversity of viewpoints.’”

The principles also affirm “‘a heavy presumption against the university taking collective action or expressing opinions on the political and social issues of the day...’” Liberal students felt the most comfortable sharing their view, but a greater share of conservatives felt “uncomfortable giving honest opinions in class....”

https://bit.ly/3TJR1TI

Israel: Friends, Frenemies and Worse

StrategyPage.com, 7/19/22, “Israel: Friends, Frenemies and Worse” [Excerpts]: [On July 15] the American president left Saudi Arabia after a four-day visit to the Middle East that involved meeting with Israeli, Palestinian and Saudi leaders.

Hours after the American president left Israel, Hamas in Gaza launched two rocket attacks, each with two rockets on targets in southern Israel. One of the rockets was intercepted because it was headed for a residential area while the other three were ignored by Iron Dome because they were headed for open ground. Early on the 16th, Israel responded by using ground-penetrating bombs to destroy an underground Hamas rocket component storage bunker. This was obvious because of the large secondary explosion caused by sixteen tons of explosives and rocket propellants stored there detonating. The loss of this material will reduce Hamas production of new rockets for a while.

Iran assists in smuggling in rocket components.

https://bit.ly/3RCxtzn

Flood Buried Dinosaurs with a Bang

ICR.org, 12/7/20, “Flood Buried Dinosaurs with a Bang” [Excerpts]: Scientists from the University of Bath have found that dinosaurs were thriving up to the end of the Cretaceous. This discovery conflicts with earlier claims that dinosaurs were declining in number towards the top of the Cretaceous System. However, these findings fit the predictions from a global Flood scenario.

Publishing in Royal Society Open Science, the paleontological team from Great Britain used statistical methods to analyze available dinosaur fossil data. They determined that dinosaurs were flourishing on every continent right up to the K-Pg boundary. The team found no sign of a decline in numbers or diversity. Dinosaurs just suddenly disappeared at the K-Pg.

Dinosaur fossils are found in rocks from the Late Triassic System through the end of the Cretaceous System. The reason why dinosaurs seemingly went “extinct” has been a mystery to secular scientists. Many have tried to link it to an asteroid impact, to volcanic activity, or to disease. But no solution seems to satisfy the data or the secular community.

“[We] don’t really have enough data to know either way what would have happened to the dinosaurs,” [Author] Bonsor said. “Instead we’ve shown that there is no strong evidence for them dying out, and that the only way to know for sure is to fill in the gaps in the fossil record,” added Bonsor.

The global Flood also answers why dinosaurs were still alive and flourishing until the end of the Cretaceous. At that moment in the Flood, they were likely trying to stay on the highest ground available as waters encroached closer, week by week.

https://bit.ly/3qdGItF

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TBC Notes

T. A. McMahon

Circle the Wagons!

One of the things we learned from our conference experience was the importance of biblical fellowship. We wanted to restore what we lost due to the Covid pandemic and we went about it in a very conservative way, numbers wise. Thanks to the generous financial support of our fellow Bereans, we were able to make the conference a no-cost attendance event that included free lunch and dinner meals. That greatly enhanced the fellowship as all the participants were able enjoy meals together throughout the conference. In summary, it couldn't have worked out better!

It also reminded me of what Dave Hunt would declare from time to time as he would comment on the apostasy that was growing exponentially: “We believers need to circle our wagons with like-minded Bible believers!” That's what Hebrews:10:25 is all about. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Dave would then add, “As the day approaches, the circle may well grow smaller.”

 We don't have to let that happen. 

“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts:2:42)

T. A. McMahon

Executive Director

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Quotable

Various

“Just when we think we are not being tempted, that is the time of danger, and so it is with the church. We lean back on our laurels and say, ‘That may be true of some churches, but it is not true of us. We are increased with goods and have need of nothing!’ (see Rev:3:17). This is to remind us that we must fight for what we have. Our little field of God’s planting must have the necessary weapons and plenty of watchmen out there to drive off the crows....We must keep our field healthy, and the only way to do that is to keep true to the Word of God. We must constantly go back to the grass roots and get the Word into the church.” A. W. Tozer 

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Letters

Various

Dear TBC,

It seems that many of those who have spent years at seminary studying man’s thoughts about God’s Word are the majority of those that climb aboard the Calvinist bandwagon. Dave Hunt, who has studied the Bible since his childhood, was not steeped in man’s interpretation of what they have decided God said in His Word. The Word that is to make us wise unto salvation, and that without a seminary or academic degree. I was first introduced to Calvinism, when I returned to college after a career changing injury, by a professor who was renting a room from me.

He was highly intellectual, but I found more Godly wisdom in the one that led me to Jesus, who knew his Bible well though he lacked man’s “higher” education, than I ever saw in this Ph.D. The same universities and seminaries where Higher Criticism caught on, which denied much of the Bible’s Divine inspiration, are the sources of the push for Calvinism. Calvin himself was a product of this “higher” education, where he focused initially on philosophy, then as a lawyer with a heavy humanist persuasion and at Catholic institutions. His awe of Augustine has its roots in this education in Catholic institutions. Many of Calvin’s actions in Geneva demonstrate the “fruit” of man’s ideas towards what they believe God really intended. It’s my belief that the Holy Spirit is fully capable of showing me what God’s will is and how to understand what’s written in his Word. Thank you for this book, Dave, giving words to the belief that I’ve had since God made me a new creation. I look forward to meeting you when God brings me into His presence. CH (email)

Dear TBC,

I was pleased to see a sound explanation of the pre-tribulation rapture of the church to finally put all these growing false teachings to rest. That being said, I can see how easy it is to misunderstand the Scriptures in this area, and I thank Dave Hunt and you for clarifying it for myself as well. I worry about the majority, though, because it is a fast-growing heresy and it will cause many to “Sin today and repent tomorrow,” thinking they will have to go all the way through some or all of the tribulation before being caught up (raptured). I believe this trend against the rapture is causing such fear in people that it opens them up to many other false and new-age teachings…. For too long, the church has not been the fellowship of the body of believers but a public place for sinners under the roof of profit because no one has been instructed well and they simply think they can bring persons into a service to let the teacher “convert” them.

This is not correct. Not only has the enemy been let in, but they are running things! Here I speak of enemies of Christ, not those who seek Him. Surely, we are close to seeing the Lord, and my heart is heavy for those who are deceived by every wind of false doctrine that abounds today. I am thankful for your work, and my prayer is that it will continue unhindered through the protection of the Lord at all times. KE (email)

Dear TBC,

It’s a sad statement about our society that those who have problems have to pay someone exorbitant amounts just to get them to listen to their problems. These are the kind of issues that people used to talk over with their best friends and find themselves feeling better after “getting it off their chests.” Unfortunately, today most folks don’t have a friend that they consider trustworthy enough to discuss their problems with and so they have to pay these so-called “experts.”

Pastors—stick to the Bible, as it contains all that’s necessary to solve any problem man may have. Anything else is man’s poor substitute for the wisdom of God’s Word—or did God leave Christians hanging for 1800 years without any help until godless men could come up with psychology and psychiatry? When I first became a Christian over 44 years ago, I thought Dobson had some good ideas, but now that I’ve spent enough time in the Bible to see how man-centered his ideas are, I realize that despite his Christian camouflage he’s just a slightly less objectionable charlatan pushing the faux science of psychology with a candy coating of Christian terminology. CH (email)

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Question: What is "Easy Believism"?

TBC Staff

Question: I have heard the term “easy believism” and “carnal Christianity,” with the first applying to the way some people “come to Christ” and the second, I suspect, to apply to what they actually become when they respond to a false, “easy” gospel. Would you please comment?

Response: The best way to deal with these questions is to examine Paul’s testimony with respect to the Christians in the Greek city of Corinth. Paul spent more time in Corinth, evangelizing and teaching, than he did in any other place. That the church at Corinth was composed of genuine born-again Christians there can be no doubt. First of all, we have the testimony of the Lord himself, who, speaking to Paul in a vision told him to remain there for an extended period of time (it became 18 months), promised him special protection, and explained why: “For I have much people in this city” (Acts:18:9-11).

Second, we also have the testimony of Paul, who, in his epistles to the Corinthians, declares that the members of the church at Corinth are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and calls them saints. Never does he suggest that they are not true Christians, that they made a false decision, or as a result of their sin have fallen away and are now lost.

Yet at the time Paul wrote to them, in many ways the Corinthians were a disgrace to Christ. Likewise were the Galatians, of whom Paul wrote, “...I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians:4:19-20). Was their problem that they had made a false decision and were not Christians at all? Though Paul expresses his doubts, it seems to be for the purpose of shocking them and reasoning with them, for he certainly treats them as true Christians, though confused by the Judaizers of that era, concerning faith and works, and having little understanding of the power of the Holy Spirit to produce godliness.

Indeed, most of the epistles were written to correct errors that had already come into the early church, much of it doctrinal but also much of it involving all manner of fleshly (yes, carnal) conduct that was a reproach upon the Lord. Beware then of taking a simplistic approach to the failures of professing Christians today that explain it all in terms of unscriptural evangelistic methods (e.g., “easy believism”) and deny that they are saved at all on the basis of their carnality. True, a false gospel is in many instances being preached, and there are false methods that produce false converts who are a plague in the church. Yet we dare not deny that “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh” (Galatians:5:17). This is as true today as it was in the first century and will continue to be true of every Christian until the redemption of our bodies!

Nor do I encourage Christians to live fleshly lives by acknowledging that it is possible, but, like Paul, exhort them to turn from their carnality. Paul exhorts the Galatians, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” So it must be possible for a real Christian not to walk in the Spirit but in fact to fulfill the lust of the flesh, or Paul would not have needed to make such an exhortation—an exhortation that is just as applicable to us today. And what does Paul call those who, rather than walking in the Spirit, fulfill the lust of the flesh or walk according to the flesh (2 Corinthians:10:2)? He calls them carnal. And since he also acknowledges that they are Christians, they must therefore be that which many people today deny can even exist: that is, carnal Christians!

To what, then, does Paul attribute the Corinthians’ horrible condition? Was it poor evangelistic methods? No, Paul said that the problem with the Corinthians was that they were walking after the flesh instead of being led of the Spirit. Again, they were carnal Christians! “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal…. For ye are yet carnal…. Are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians:3:1-4)

Now, the difficulty in understanding the above is that many people associate certain false beliefs with the idea that a Christian can be carnal. They call carnal Christians the product of something called “easy believism,” which is not true. Easy believism denies the Lordship of Christ—it makes Him Savior but not Lord, by teaching that He will save us from our sins but not become Lord of our lives and require anything in return, and it does not produce Christians at all.

Finally, if you respond to all this by saying, “The carnal Christian heresy denies that the Lordship of Christ is found in every true believer” I believe you are confused. I believe that a Christian is either led of the Spirit or the flesh, that he is either spiritual or carnal; but I do not deny that Christ must be Lord. Paul, who called the Corinthians carnal, did not deny the Lordship of Christ.

Therefore, earnestly fight the denial that Christ is Lord, but don’t confuse it with the biblical teaching that a Christian can be carnal!

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Question: Why do Christians use the term "bride of Christ"?

TBC Staff

Question: I started a study on the “bride of Christ” and am very bothered as to why Christians use the term! Since the primary example of the church is “the body of Christ,” how can the Lord’s very own body be feminine when He is masculine? To be fair, how could a person not steeped in religious tradition ever get the idea that we are the bride of Christ?

Response: If the church is not the bride and thus the wife of Christ, then who is? To whom (if not the church) do such verses as the following refer: “for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Revelation:19:7), and “the Spirit and the bride say, Come…. Surely I come quickly. Amen.… Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation:22:17, 20)? If the bride here is not the bride of Christ, why would she be longing for His return; and whose bride is she if not His? She is called the bride because she has not yet been married to Him.

John the Baptist said of Christ, “...he that hath the bride is the bridegroom” (John:3:29). The bride, clearly, belongs to Christ and will be married to Him in heaven (Revelation:19:7-9). Who else is in heaven at this time to be married to Christ except the saints of all ages who have been caught up to heaven at the Rapture? That the bride is composed of such saints is clear, for she is “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white” and the “fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (verse 8). Is it not the church that is expecting Christ and longing to be taken to His Father’s house in heaven (John:14:2-3)? That promise is for none other.

That the church is the body of Christ (Romans:12:5; 1 Corinthians:12:27; Ephesians:4:12; Colossians:1:18), as you admit, is all the more reason to believe that it is also His bride. Man and woman, when married, become “one flesh” (Ephesians:5:31). In the very next verse Paul writes, “This (being one flesh) is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” As the wife is with her husband, so the church is one flesh with Christ. This entire passage (Ephesians:5:22-33) is about the relationship of husband and wife and it is likened to Christ and His church.

You say that Christ’s body “can’t be feminine when He is masculine.” You are separating Christ from His body. The “one flesh” that husband and wife become is neither male nor female but something new comprising both of them—a “mystery.” So the body of Christ of which He is the head consists of Christ and His bride. It cannot be separated from Him but is neither male nor female. Indeed, because of our union with Christ in one body, Paul writes that in the church “there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians:3:28).

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Meditating upon the Word of God

T. A. McMahon

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

Jeremiah:9:23-24

As we read through the Scriptures, too often we may go at a pace that causes us to miss not only its more profound teachings but also some very clear and simple truths. That may be why the Scriptures exhort us to meditate upon God’s Word. Biblical meditation, as I hope we all know, is the opposite of Eastern meditation. 

The former is thinking deeply, reasoning through the Scriptures according to Isaiah:1:18, getting a better understanding of what God is communicating to us. The latter is thoughtlessness, clearing out the mind—turning it into a blank slate that may generate feedback from the demonic realm.

Reading the Book of Jeremiah at a somewhat hurried pace may accomplish one’s goal of getting through it in a timely fashion, but at the same time we may fail to notice some important things that the Lord has communicated.

If there’s an upside to growing old, slowing down is a condition most of us experience. Of course, I'm not thrilled with the physical consequences of aging, but in this case what I have in mind is growing old in the Lord and having a greater appreciation of how truly wonderful He is. In one sense, it’s more than just stopping to smell the roses. Rather it is taking in a host of other things that we either may have missed or haven’t fully taken to heart. 

That is what biblical meditation is all about. “His delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm:1:2). Not only is that activity for the delight of the meditator, it also delights the Lord! The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to read God’s Word and exhort others to do the same: “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all” (1 Timothy:4:15).

As an exercise in this, let’s meditate on Jeremiah:9:23-24. It begins with “Thus saith the LORD.” That clearly tells us that what we’re reading is God’s Word. That phrase and others, such as “the word of the LORD came to me” are found thousands of times throughout the Bible. Each time those phrases are used, we’re being told that it is God himself speaking specifically to an individual, or collectively to a group of people or a nation. It also includes those who read His Word at a later time.

Our infinite God is communicating what He wants His created finite beings to know. How important is that recognition? Sometimes when an admonition is offered, we’re told, “Don't take it personally.” Whether it’s an admonition, an exhortation, an encouragement, or whatever the case, when we read “Thus saith the LORD,” we need to take it personally. The Person of our Lord and God is communicating to us!

Yet, too often in our day, if I told someone that I had recently received a note from God, it would be met with much skepticism for a number of reasons, which I'll present. Probably few would realize that all I’m saying is that the note I recently read from Him is what He has communicated in the Bible to everyone who reads the Bible!

Part of the general skepticism comes from those who are aware of people who claim that they are literally hearing from God on a continual and personal basis. It’s not that we don’t believe that could happen (although there’s no example in Scripture of that taking place except between Jesus and God the Father). 

In fact, we find that very thing being taught by a highly influential teacher among women: Beth Moore. She encourages her followers to engage in two-way, intimate conversations with Jesus, which she claims she has continually. 

One must wonder from what “Jesus” she claims to be hearing! Moore declares that her Jesus calls her “Baby” and “Honey” and joins in playful conversation with her.  Sarah Young also claims to have an ongoing personal communication with “Jesus,” which she describes in her book Jesus Calling. Based upon what her Jesus speaks, it is clear that he’s not the biblical Jesus! Furthermore, not even Daniel, who is called “beloved of God,” had ongoing two-way communications with the Lord. He even had to wait twenty-one days for God’s response to his request for help (Daniel:10:12-13)! 

Men have not been left out of this communication delusion, even to the point of supporting it with a heretical practice that exists primarily among those who adhere to the hyper-Charismatic Word/Faith movement.

They claim that God communicates to Christians in two different ways today. One is known as rhema, the other as logos. The former is literally hearing from Him, while the latter is the written word. When the communications are in conflict with each other, it is said that the rhema-received information supersedes and therefore supplants the logos. That is completely false! In fact, both terms are used interchangeably throughout Scripture.

Those misrepresentations of Scripture aside, I’m concerned that too often we overlook the reality that “Thus saith the LORD” tells us that God, the Creator of the universe, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, is speaking to us! One of the reasons for this oversight is that the Adversary has sown confusion among Christians regarding their views of the Bible itself.

When I suspect that professing Christians with whom I'm having a conversation have some ideas about the Bible that are clearly mistaken, I often ask them for their view of the Bible, such as, who is the Author? Is it inerrant? Is it their authority, and do they believe it to be sufficient for “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter:1:3)?

That conversation usually provides a great opportunity to help a believer, especially a recent convert, to search the Scriptures in order to get biblical understanding regarding things they haven’t read or about which they’re confused.

That confusion often includes whether or not the Bible is solely the Word of God, or is it partially from God, or does it contain human contributions in various places? 

The numbers of different translations, such as the cultic New World Translation, the messed-up and ego-centric Message, the NIV, the NASB, the NKJV, the KJV, and others, at the very least, may distract Bible readers from the fact that God’s Word (in its original autographs, and as it was later translated correctly) is His Word. It is therefore inerrant, meaning it is completely trustworthy.

“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke:4:4). “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs:30:5). So, taking the time to meditate on the simple phrase, “Thus saith the LORD,” will enable us to better understand and receive what follows, especially the recognition that it contains instructions coming from God himself! 

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD....”

In God’s own words, He is underscoring mankind’s chief problem: self—his wisdom, his might, his riches.... Self is not only at the root of humanity’s dominant sin, but it is promoted in the world as the solution to all of mankind’s problems! Self is at the heart of psychological counseling.

It is also at the heart of so-called Christian psychology, which is the attempt to integrate the antichrist teachings of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and their fellow disciples with the teachings of God’s Word.

In the decades of the 1970s and ’80s, those leaders who professed to be Christians rejected the sufficiency of the Scriptures and turned to secular psychotherapists for their godless theories. One such Christian psychologist explained: “It was humanistic psychologists, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, who first taught us the need for self-love and self-esteem.”

Arguably, the most influential Christian psychologist of that time period, Dr. James Dobson, declared, “If I could write a prescription for the women of the world, it would provide each one of them with a healthy dose of self-esteem and personal worth (taken three times a day until the symptoms disappear). I have no doubt that this is their greatest need.” (Dobson, James, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women, Tyndale House, 1975, 60.)

Greatest need? That conclusion was not arrived at by meditating upon the Word of God or even reading it casually. There’s no verse that can be found to support such a statement, yet the belief in the value of self-glorying (a.k.a. self-love and self-esteem) is still a delusionary stronghold in Christianity today.

“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me....”

Understanding and knowing God is the foremost way of becoming aware of our lowliness before the great “I AM.” Any attempt at making a self-promoting comparison is both the height of rebellion and an act of insanity. 

Yet that didn't hold back Lucifer in heaven from declaring that he would “be like the most High” (Isaiah:14:14), nor did it keep Eve from buying the lie that she could be as God (Genesis:3:5). Both self-oriented desires preceded and then brought about sin, first for some angelic beings, and afterward for all humanity.

Understanding and knowing God can only come about through the enablement of the Holy Spirit after a person is born again, which is also necessary for anyone to be able to meditate upon the truth of God's Word. 

As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he “ceased not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That…the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power…” (Ephesians:1:15-19). 

John the beloved adds, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 John:5:20, emphasis added).

Those verses and many more refute the lie of the Contemplative Movement that is gaining followers within the church. Although Isaiah:1:18 declares “Come let us reason together…”, their claim is that we cannot know God through our reason but only through a mystical experience. The list of influential professing Christians who promote some aspect of this error is huge and increasing daily. It includes Richard Foster and his Renovaré ministry, Beth Moore, John Piper, Rick and Kay Warren, Max Lucado, Larry Crabb, the late Dallas Willard, Brian MacLaren, Tony Campolo, and many, many more. The meditative approach they advocate stems from the practices of the Roman Catholic Desert Fathers, and is clearly rooted in Eastern mysticism, the goal of which is to merge with God. It is also at the heart of the religion of the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians:2:4).

As we noted, the Word of God exhorts us to meditate upon what God Himself has communicated to us. That's the only way we as believers can know Him better and grow stronger in our relationship with Him. How else can we truly love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind except we immerse ourselves in His Word (Luke:10:27)?

He proclaims, “I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth….”

In getting to know His character, we meditate upon the numerous verses in which He exercises lovingkindness. Psalms:143:8: “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” We study the different ways He executes judgment and learn that His judgments are always righteous. John:7:24: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

Finally, in meditating upon what God Himself has communicated, we find that that joyful activity not only increases our understanding and knowledge of Him, but it delights the One “who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy:6:15). “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John:17:3).

TBC

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As we read through the Scriptures, too often we may go at a pace that causes us to miss not only its more profound teachings but also some very clear and simple truths. That may be why the Scriptures exhort us to meditate upon God’s Word. Biblical meditation, as I hope we all know, is the opposite of Eastern meditation.

Nuggets from Occult Invasion

Dave Hunt

Schuller, who claims to deal in the same common denominators of all religions, has castigated preachers “who spew forth their angry, hate-filled sermons of fire and brimstone.” Yet Jesus spoke often and firmly about hell, warning mankind without apology and in what Peale and Schuller would call “negative” terms. Schuller has taken the occult teaching of the Power of Positive Thinking from his mentor, Norman Vincent Peale, turned it into “Possibility Thinking,” and attributed everything one could ever want to this occult power. For more than 20 years he has been saying, “Possibility thinking makes miracles happen…. The greatest power in the world is the power of possibility thinking.” What happened to God?

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Jesus is the Scapegoat

TBC Staff

It’s fascinating that one of the most stubbornly-defended Adventist doctrines—besides the obvious doctrine of the Sabbath and the slightly-less-obvious doctrine of “soul sleep”—is their almost-unseen doctrine of the scapegoat. Adventists, by the authority of Ellen White, identity the scapegoat of Leviticus 16 as Satan—in spite of the fact that Leviticus 16 establishes conditions that prohibit Satan from being the scapegoat.

Adventists are quick to argue that Satan does not really bear the sins of the saved—rather, he is punished for causing them, as he should be. After all, humans are guilty because Satan tempted them and deceived them into sin. 

Yet this argument—that Satan doesn’t really bear the sins of the saved and does not receive the punishment for them—is not Adventist doctrine. Adventist doctrine, as per Ellen White, says that Satan is punished for our sins and that his bearing them away actually cleanses the heavenly sanctuary. 

The layers of heresy implicit in this doctrine are horrifying. The investigative judgment says that when a person “accepts Jesus”, his or her sins are transferred by Jesus’ blood from that person to the books in heaven. Jesus then writes “pardoned” next to the person’s name in the heavenly record, but that sin remains on the record, recorded there by the blood of Jesus, and it is NOT REMOVED from the heavenly record until Jesus completes the investigative judgment. In the meantime, the professed believer is not yet forgiven but is on probation.

At the end of the investigative judgment, Jesus places those confessed sins on Satan the scapegoat who carries them out of heaven—thus cleansing it—and receives the punishment they deserve in the lake of fire. When the sins are fully confessed and overcome and carried out of heaven by Satan, Jesus then writes “forgiven” by the person’s name, and they are then ready to be saved. 

Most Christians—and many Adventists— are not aware that Adventist soteriology says that when a person accepts Jesus, they are placed on probation and are “merely” pardoned but are not fully forgiven until much later when Satan finally takes away those sins. 

When Adventists try to support their belief that Satan is the scapegoat, they often argue that Satan does NOT receive the punishment due for those sins. They insist he’s just getting what he deserves because he is responsible for causing humans to sin. Yet they are wrong on both counts.

First, Satan is not responsible for human sin. He did not cause Eve and Adam to doubt God’s word and to eat that fruit. He tempted them, but Scripture clearly says that sin entered the human race through Adam. Paul says this in Romans:5:12–14: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come” (Romans:5:12–14).

Thus the first argument, that Satan made us do it, is disproven by the word of God. Humans are responsible for human sin. (In fact, this reality is why Jesus HAD to be human in order to atone for our sin. He had to shed sinless human blood in order to be the propitiation for human sin.)

Second, Adventist doctrine DOES teach that Satan receives the punishment for the sins of the saved. Look, for example, at these quotations from Ellen White (and these are by no means exhaustive): “Since Satan is the originator of sin, the direct instigator of all the sins that caused the death of the Son of God, justice demands that Satan shall suffer the final punishment. Christ’s work for the redemption of men and the purification of the universe from sin, will be closed by the removal of sin from the heavenly sanctuary and the placing of these sins upon Satan, who will bear the final penalty” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 358).

In this doctrine Ellen White blasphemes the Lord Jesus and His completed atonement. Jesus, not Satan, is the one who bears the FULL penalty for human sin. Jesus is the One whose death removed our sins as far as east is from the west: “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm:103:11–12).

Furthermore, Jesus Himself took our imputed sin and bore the full wrath of God for that sin: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians:5:21).

Satan, not Jesus, is actually Adventism’s sin-bearer. Jesus’ blood, in EGW’s scenario, is the means by which heaven is defiled in the first place: it transfers the person’s sin from the person to heaven where the sins remain on the books of record until the end of the judgment. Then they are placed on Satan, and they are removed from heaven. The universe is finally cleansed.

https://blog.lifeassuranceministries.org/2022/09/08/jesus-is-the-scapegoat/

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