“…the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets;…”

…the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets;…”

Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. “The LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “The LORD said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’ “Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you.” “

(1 Kings 22:19-23 NASB)

In 1 Kings 22:19-23 we read some information that can initially be troubling to some. It is often quoted by atheists seeking to shake the faith of a believer. Properly understood, it is harmonious with the rest of God’s word. So don’t let it trouble you. Let’s see if we can shed some light on it.

We know that God is truth. We know that He is righteous and holy. Reading this passage, if not properly exegeted, could lead one to believe that God caused false prophets to lie. This would seem to conflict with what we know of the attributes of God displayed to us in the rest of His word. This seeming conflict is easily remedied when we read the scripture in context.

We understand that Satan, has to answer to God. We read this in the book of Job. Satan cannot do anything unless God allows him. This might be a tough concept, but think about it. Satan has to ask permission to do what he was doing to Job. Satan is a creature, created by God. Satan is not God’s equal, or opposite. God could destroy Satan at this very moment. God doesn’t because He is using Satan to accomplish His good will.

Ahab was one of the most wicked kings in all history. God had already pronounced judgment on him. All of Ahab’s prophets were telling him to go to war at Ramoth-Gilead, and that he would succeed.

…Three years passed without war between Aram and Israel. In the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. Now the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we are still doing nothing to take it out of the hand of the king of Aram?” And he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” Moreover, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire first for the word of the LORD.” Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?” …”

(1 Kings 22:1-7 NASB)

Then, we see that Jehoshaphat asks Ahab to inquire of another prophet, a prophet of the LORD or (Yhvh) So Ahab sends for Micaiah.

…The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.” Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting each on his throne, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made horns of iron for himself and said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are consumed.'” All the prophets were prophesying thus, saying, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and prosper, for the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.” Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, “Behold now, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I shall speak.” When he came to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go up and succeed, and the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.” Then the king said to him, “How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” So he said, “I saw all Israel Scattered on the mountains, Like sheep which have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace.'” Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” …”

(1 Kings 22:8-18 NASB)

As you can see, by adding the context of the surrounding scripture we can easily understand what is happening here. God did not cause the prophets to lie. He allowed Satan to have the spirits controlling the false prophets to lie. God used their sins sinlessly to accomplish His righteous judgment against Ahab, a wicked king. The fact that God restrains evil every moment doesn’t seem to enter into our minds, but if he didn’t we would all be worse than Pharaoh or Hitler. When God allows evil spirits or men to act how they want, we get surprised, as if God is the bad guy. Our pitiful minds default to sinful criticism of the one truly good being. That is how messed up we are. I hope this helps. If you have questions, ask your Pastor and Elders, first. If they can’t answer you feel free to ask in the comments section. If I can’t answer, I’ll try to find someone who can. God bless you.

If the LDS are right about who God is, then God and His word are wrong.

If the LDS are right about who God is, then God and His word are wrong.

In the Bible we have doctrines that are expressed by Jesus Himself, The one and only God incarnate, none ever before Him and none after Him anywhere or anytime.  These doctrines are repeated and expounded upon by the Apostles in the Epistles of the New Covenant recorded in the New Testament.  These doctrines are exclusive claims to actual truths.  When someone else confesses a doctrine that asserts something other than what has already been established by the one true, immutable, and infallible God, then our only option is to reject their  assertion as heresy.

Let’s look at some of their doctrines that conflict with Biblical doctrines, and are mutually exclusive in their claims.  Christians claim there is only one true God.  There has never been any other god besides Him. He has always existed in trinity. He has never not existed.  We also claim that if you don’t believe in Him as explained here, as one being in three personages, that you can not be called part of the Church.  Because, you have put your faith in a different god.  Obviously, worshipping a different god makes you not a Christian.

Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormons) do not have one triune God.  They actually have a number of gods approaching infinity.  They choose to worship just one of the gods Joseph Smith imagined for them.  The god they choose to worship, was once a man named Elohim.  He lived on a planet orbiting a star called Kolab.  So their god is an E.T. extra terrestrial, alien from outer space.  Allegedly he was such a good follower of the mormon doctrines that he was promoted to being an exalted man.  He eventually became the god of this solar system and the Earth that we live on.  So the one god that they worship out of the billions of gods they have, was once a created man.  He was born of his father god and goddess mother.  They now call him Heavenly Father and believe he has a body of flesh and bone.  They believe that he had sex with Mary the virgin and that Jesus the spirit child was then embodied in his biological son with Mary.  Here is a quote from the Brigham Young University site,

As the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret” (TPJS, p. 345). Thus, the Father became the Father at some time before “the beginning” as humans know it, by experiencing a mortality similar to that experienced on earth. There has been speculation among some Latter-day Saints on the implications of this doctrine, but nothing has been revealed to the Church about conditions before the “beginning” as mortals know it. The important points of the doctrine for Latter-day Saints are that Gods and humans are the same species of being, but at different stages of development in a divine continuum, and that the heavenly Father and Mother are the heavenly pattern, model, and example of what mortals can become through obedience to the gospel (see Mother in Heaven). Knowing that they are the literal offspring of Heavenly Parents and that they can become like those parents through the gospel of Jesus Christ is a wellspring of religious motivation. With God as the literal Father and with humans having the capacity to become like him, the basic religious questions “Where did I come from?,” “Why am I here?,” and What is my destiny?” are fundamentally answered.

Keep in mind that our LDS friends co-opt many of our words.  They mean something completely different to them.  When we talk of God the Father or Jesus we are talking about a very different God than they are.  They might believe we are talking about the same god, but they have better and more true information than we do.  The gospel to them is not the same things we think of.  Their gospel is a bunch of laws, rules, do’s and don’ts, from their book Doctrine and Covenants.  Our understanding comes from the Biblical definition.  The word, “gospel” means, “good message or news.”  When we think of the gospel of Jesus, we understand it to mean the penal substitutionary atonement wrought by Christ God Himself for the salvation of His sovereignly elected saints to bring glory to His name. In Christianity the work has been done by Jesus.  He paid for our sins.  By repenting and believing in Him, his work is imputed to us.  It is done, done, done.  We do good works because of our new affections and desires born from a regenerated spirit as born again believers.

with this article on only of few of the many differences, I hope it is obvious that the LDS are not Christian.  They are a polytheistic Arian cult, created by the false prophet Joseph Smith.

A Review of Todd Friel’s Book, “Jesus Unmasked: The Truth Will Shock You”

untitled

The title of this book is pretty indicative of the subject matter.  The author succeeds at explaining who Jesus was and is.  He teaches that Christ is the focus of the Bible in its entirety.  He demonstrates how Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies, shadows and types.  All of this is done with simple terms when possible.  When it is not possible Mr. Friel explains the nomenclature for the laymen.

I have to make a small disclaimer here.  I am a big fan of, “Wretched Radio.”  It is a radio show and podcast.  Todd Friel is the host/on-air personality.  I have learned a lot, a lot, a lot, from the show over the years.  My review will be from the perspective of a Reformed Baptist and a fan of the show.  So don’t expect much in the way of negativity.  I honestly agree with all of what is said in the book.  I find it to be Biblically sound and interesting to read.  It is a, “must read” for everybody.  If you’ve just been born again or if you’ve been 50 years into the sanctification process this book will edify you.

In the first chapter the author deals with world views, specifically post-modernism.  This was a great place to start as a philosophy class on epistemology would not be beneficial for the target audience.  This is a short chapter that sets the tone for the rest of the book.  You get a look at the serious subject matter and a look at some of Todd’s humor that makes him such an interesting fellow to listen to.  It is obvious that he has a level of mastery of the subject matter without coming off as an aloof overlord.

The following chapters flesh out some basics of Christian theology in simple terms.  Then he gets down to the bulk of the work, which is highlighting Christ from the beginning of the Bible to the end.  Vary rarely in Christian books of around 200 pages do we get such a complete and profound picture of Jesus.  Most of the books I’ve reviewed in the recent past have been theological fluff, Christian cotton candy, hardly worth reading at all.  You know how you feel after eating junk for a month?  Yep! That’s how most “Christian books” leave me feeling after reading them.  They were time killers with not nutritional value.  I probably would have got more out of them if I’d eaten them.  Well, that is not so of this work.  I would rank it up there with, “The Holiness of God” by R. C. Sproul, or maybe, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan.

The main way that the author highlights Christ throughout the entire Bible is by expounding on the prophecies, shadows, and types, that Jesus fulfills.  This can be a bit tricky.  I’ve seen some pretty bad attempts that only make the Bible look disjunct.  When done correctly, as in this case, the Bible comes alive.  The harmony of scripture sings to the heart and mind of the believer who sees the richness and majesty of the true faith established once and for all by God.  Being able to see the ark Noah built and understand that it is a look forward to Jesus.  Seeing the rock that sprang forth lifesaving water in the desert for the Israelites, and how Jesus is the better fount.  Seeing the Sabbath, from our perspective, looking back to recognize rest in Christ’s work.  These and many more examples fill the pages of this book.  The gospel is fleshed out fully and explicitly.  You won’t find a list of, “do’s” to check off, and you won’t find some silly, formulaic, “pray this prayer.”  You will understand who Jesus is, what you are, what He has done, and how you should respond.  If you have loved ones who aren’t saved, get them this book.  If you have friends or family who are young in their faith, get them this book.  If you have become a crusty old codger, get yourself this book.  It will blow the carbon out of the old exhaust and get you fired up again.

You can buy this book from the wretched store.

You can pick up a copy at Christianbook.com

You can purchase it from the publisher Newleaf

or you can get it on Amazon in different formats including audio.

Review of the book, “Walls Fall Down” authored by Dudley Rutherford

_240_360_Book.1330.cover

In the first part of every chapter Rutherford adds fictional dialogue to the historical narrative of Joshua 6:1-20. I can’t begin to tell you how much I dislike this when people do it. It seems so presumptive. Many people won’t have a problem with this. It is just a personal preference with me. I understand for movies and other media it is common. I just personally don’t appreciate it. You really have to be careful that you don’t change the meaning of the word of God in so doing. It isn’t a risk I think is advisable. There are even some commentaries and study Bibles that have made a mess of the Bible and their authors are usually trained theologians.

I appreciate the concept in the first chapter to take the focus off of our problems and to seek after God’s greatness instead, but he takes it to a different place on page eleven. Rutherford writes, “God can and will make the walls fall down in your personal Jericho, and the first step in accomplishing this feat hinges upon your ability to grasp His greatness” I think he is contradicting Himself a bit here and sounding like a prosperity preacher. So I have to, “grasp His greatness” before God will make walls fall down? Throughout the book there looks like there is a lot of conditional statements. Granted there are some conditional statements in the Bible, but we have to remember that God is sovereign and will accomplish His will.

Rutherford says much that I can agree with on the trinity, omniscience, and omnipresence, of God. He also encourages us to read the Bible daily. Then on page 23 he has to scare me again with this kind of lingo, “This truth leads you to trust not only in His knowledge and wisdom but also in the strategy He has already prescribed for your victory. How awesome that we serve an omniscient God who is willing to share His knowledge with us so that we can conquer the impossible obstacles in our lives.” Now if he is talking about God conquering sin in our lives by the gospel than that would be great, but it doesn’t seem like that is what he means. There is a theme throughout the book that looks like Rutherford is saying that God will conquer every trial we have, oh and sin to. I don’t want to be unfair. He does attempt to make a distinction between the false prosperity gospel and the true gospel. He just comes off as a little of both in his terminology.

On page 42, in chapter two Rutherford makes a good point about God’s promises. When he says something is going to be, it is a certainty and we can and should act on it as a reality yet to be realized. He ties this in with Gods sovereign purposes for us as individuals. Throughout the Bible we can see where God has used people for certain purposes of His and we have purposes. God will use us as He has planned. Subsequently he starts laying out the notion of trusting in God’s plan for your life and how that will look. I agree with him here, when we believe something we behave as if it is true. If we trust God and His word we will behave accordingly.

He teaches tithing as in 10% and something Christians are supposed to do. This is not a true doctrine for Christians. According to the New Covenant we are to prayerfully consider how much to give and then do so with a joyful heart. Some people might be convinced to give 70%. Would you tell them that their obligation is only 10%? I don’t think so. Some people are very poor and are in debt. It would be irresponsible to tell them, “God wants His 10%”. The author missuses a few idioms. One that should have been caught by the editor was, “Shark invested waters” instead of, “shark infested waters.” He quotes Joyce Meyer, Rick Warren. He misapplies and incorrectly exegetes the story of Gideon to imply that it is better to have 300 committed men than thousands of self-serving ones. The text is obviously about God cutting the numbers down so that He gets the glory for winning the battle and not the army. The book isn’t very deep at all. Representative of most of the Christian books out there, a mile wide and an inch deep, like a puddle in a parking lot. He doesn’t endorse works righteousness. He tries to teach obedience to God relationally and God will bless you. I honestly don’t think he is trying to teach you to obey to get a blessing, although it would be very easy to take what he is saying that way. Read with caution; eat the meat throw out the bones. He keeps talking about victory, but over what? He takes until the end of the book to get around to it. I am still not sure of what I just read. Maybe instead of this read, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan or, “The Holiness of God” by R. C. Sproul.

I received this book for free, and am not obligated to give it a positive review.

If you’d like to purchase this book here is a link on Amazon

Taking Requests!

Hello, If anyone out there in the Christian blogosphere would like to read an article on X topic, (where X is a variable that represents your suggested topic.) write  a comment on this post with your request.  Who knows, maybe I’ll know something about it or it will cause me to learn something new.  Either way it is a win win.

I’m a mormon now! Yep, just call me LDS.

     I’ve decided to be a mormon now. I am LDS. I don’t believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. I don’t believe the book of mormon. I don’t believe that I need to be baptized into the mormon cult. I don’t believe that God was once just a man.  I don’t believe that Jesus and satan are brothers.  I believe in the Triune God of the Bible. I believe in His word, the Bible, as being infallible and inerrant.  I believe that the 2nd person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is God incarnate, and that He lived a perfectly sinless life, obeying all the laws to earn righteousness.  I believe He obeyed the will of the 1st person of the Trinity, God the Father, and went up on a cross to bear the sins of all who would be saved.  Their debt was imputed to Him, and His righteousness was imputed to them, so that they could be justified in the sight of God, thus glorifying God through the salvation of sinners.  I believe that God, being just, will pour out His wrath on those who have not been granted repenctance and faith.  He will be glorified in the damnation of sinners, by demonstrating His justice.

     So as you can see, I’m not really mormon.  I talked with a mormon man yesterday.  He insisted he was a Christian.  I asked him, “Are you a Baptist?”  He said, “No, I’m a mormon.”  I said, “Then you are NOT A CHRISTIAN!!!” 
nochristian
He looked very perplexed.  He didn’t understand why I was so offended.  I think he believed he was the one who should be offended.  I explained to him, “If you are a Christian then I am LDS.”  Then I told him the things that I mentioned previously in the first paragraph of this article.  To which he uttered a firm, “You can’t be a mormon if you don’t get baptized into the church!”  I then said, “Exaclty my point.  Thank you.  So then, ipso facto you are not a Christian.”  I was going to explain that if there are in fact, doctrines that make one mormon or not, then there are also doctrines that must be affirmed by a believer to verify that they are Christian, but alas the lad stormed off in a huff.

     So my mormon friends, I emplore you, please stop telling your people to declare, “I’m a Christian!”  When in fact they are not.  If you are so pleased with being LDS, just declare that you are LDS, but don’t insult, and offend me by blaspheming the one true God, whom I, and all true Christians serve.  We are not fooled, and neither is God.  Truly, we find it quite disturbing that you would consider them to be compatible, and obviously, so do you when confronted with the doctrinal differences.

Proof-texting, its dangers, and benefits.

stephen-a-martyr-for-god_jpg_crop_display

            Proof-texting is the practice of quoting a verse, or verses from the text of the Bible, to support, or refute a doctrine.  This practice has been used by the orthodox and the heretic.  The dangers of proof-texting are varied and manifold.  With proper presuppositions proof-texting can be a valuable tool for supporting orthodox doctrines. 

            First, we will go over the problems with proof-texting.  The biggest problem is when a person or group starts with a false presupposition.  For example, a Mormon starts with the presupposition that Jesus is a created being.  They hold this false presupposition because they believe the words of a false prophet, and teacher in authority over God’s very own word.  The Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims, do the same thing. 

With this presupposition when they run into texts like John 3:16 “…For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life…”  They wrongly understand the word, “begotten” to mean that Jesus was the progeny of the Father.  They then, in turn use this as a proof-text for their false doctrine that deny the eternal deity of Jesus, in stark disregard for His proclamation of being the, “I Am.”  This, in turn requires more eisegesis, and proof-texting, in an attempt to refute the true doctrines, in conflict with their false ones.  When apologetically engaged with a heretic or cult member they are usually more than thrilled to proof-text ad nauseum.  This can quickly become counterproductive.  If this is done in a public forum it can be disastrous.  The onlookers could be convinced of the heretical doctrines.

            Our apologetics should be from a capable well rounded understanding of the entire Bible in its own context.  It should be founded on the presupposition that the Bible is the truth, and the authority, on What God has to say to man.  When we start with a true presupposition, and are exegetical in our reading of the Bible, we can proof-text like Paul to the Jews in Hebrews.  When proof-texting is done correctly it can win people’s minds to the truths of the Bible.  There is nothing like a good section of scripture quoted in context at the right time to hammer home sound doctrine.  God’s word is authoritative and when we speak truthfully with the authority of scripture it is a powerful thing to witness.