Wednesday, June 06, 2007

We're Moving

Its been nice here at but its time for a makeover and Wordpress enables us to have more flexibility in the format of the website so without further adeu: please update your boomarks.

The New Website is located at:
When To Leave a Church: A Biblical Approach

Quoting Robert Reymond . . .

If a Christian's church is faithfully proclaiming the Word of God, administers [the Lord's Supper and Baptism] according to the institution of Christ, and faithfully exercises discipline, his church is a true church of God, and a repudiation of it is wicked and a denial of God and of Christ, even though it may have some error in it. But the Bible recognizes that there are some circumstances that may arise in a church which will compel the Christian to separate himself from his church. The Greek New Testament employs two nouns in the main to describe dreadfully sinful situations in the church: apostasy (gr: apostasia) and heresy (gr: hairesis) :

2 Thessalonians 2:3: "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion [gr: apostasia] occurs."

1 Timothy 4:1: "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon [gr: apostesontai] the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."

2 Peter 2:1: "[False teachers] will secretly introduce destructive heresies [gr: haireseis]." (see also 1 Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20; and Titus 3:10)

In general usage "apostasy" has come to refer to total renunciation of the Christian faith, with "heresy" being viewed more atomistically as any subversive doctrine professing to be Christian (of course, "systemic" heresy is hardly distinguishable from apostasy).

The New Testament lays down the following principles to protect the church in such a situation and to maintain its doctrinal purity:

Elders are charged to guard the church by guarding the truth (Acts 20:28-30; Tit. 1:9; see 1 John 4:2-3). The New Testament is realistic about the problems the church will have with false teachers. The passages cited presuppose that the Christian faith has a definite content, and that there are certain pivotal truths which are absolutely necessary to it.

Apostates and heretics ought to leave the church (1 John 2:18-19). It is not schismatic, indeed, it is quite appropriate, for antichrists to separate themselves from the Christian church. But more often than not, they set themselves up in the church. What is to be done with them then?

Unrepentant heretics who do not leave the church should be disciplined (Rom. 16:17; Tit. 3:10; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 2 John 10-11; Rev. 2:2, 14-15, 20). As there were false prophets in Israel, so there are and will be false teachers in the church. As the former were subject to discipline, so the latter should be as well, mutatis mutandis, that is, by excommunication rather than execution.

Separation from one's local church or denomination is appropriate if it will not discipline heretics (2 Cor. 6:14-18). If a church rejects discipline for theological errors that subvert the foundation of the gospel and becomes theologically pluralistic in practice (even though it may retain an orthodox confession by which it promises to be guided), that church has become "heretical" in that it no longer stands under the authority of God, and the orthodox are compelled to separate from it to bear witness to the marks of the church.

Error in the church should always be of concern to the Christian, and he should charitably labor to rid the church of error. But a Christian should not lightly repudiate his church even when there is perceived error in it. Differences of opinion over [light causes] should not be made the basis for division in a local congregation or denomination. Such division for light causes is "schismatic," schism being understood here as formal and unjustified separation from the church. Paul speaks against such unjustified separation in 1 Corinthians 1:10: "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions [gr: schismata] among you" (see also 1 Cor. 11:18; 12:25).

A New Systematic Theology Of The Christian Faith

Monday, June 04, 2007

So how can he be God ?

The church and more importantly the Bible recognizes the deity of the Son. Most cults strip him of this making the Son only a man, an angel or at best a secondary divine being created by the Father. They ignore the fact that the son is called God just as the Father is. If one says the Son or Spirit are not called God then they would have to be consistent and say the Father is not either.The reason the Father is explicitly called God by Jesus is because he is honoring another instead of himself. Each person in the godhead does this, yet we find their is a hierachial structure (a successive order not in time but of position).

Jesus is called the Son over 200 times throughout the N.T. The Father is referred to as distinct from the Son over 200 times. Over 50 times Jesus the Son and the Father are mentioned in the same verse. Yet we find Paul’s greeting as grace and peace from both God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus identifies himself as the Son of God all throughout the Bible. He is always put on equal status with the Father being able to bestow grace to the believer. The only time he is not equal is by position, never in nature.

John 20:31 ...That Jesus is the Christ the Son of God." Jn.16:3 "And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor me." Here he is distinguishing himself as another from the Father. Jesus separates himself from the Father in person but not in nature.

Jn.10:30: " I and my father are one" this is not a numerical one, Jesus is not saying he is the father. they are not one person but in nature they are a united one. It actually reads we are one in Greek the first person plural esmen . Examining his claim further "I and my Father are one." The Jews pick up stones because they understood this as blasphemy in vs. 36 Jesus interprets what he meant by saying because I said, "I am the Son of God." There is a very good reason for this because…. Contrary to those who claim the Son of God means less than God it actually affirmed his deity.

In Jn.20:17 Jesus said "I am ascending to my Father and your Father to my God and your God." Anti-Trinitarians claim since Jesus had a God over him he could not also be God. What we are not saying is that he is the Father or the Spirit. Coming in the servant role and as a man he was submissive to the Father as a Son. Notice he makes a distinction from "my Father and your Father" not saying our Father. The same is applied to " my God and your God." As a man he acknowledged the Father as "my God" .We are unable to say this in the same manner as he did. God is his Father from eternity past, he being the Son of eternal generation. Thomas bowed before Jesus saying, he is his God and his Lord, Jesus could not say the Father was his Lord in the way man does.

Jn.11:41-43 Jesus lifts his eyes toward heaven and prays, " I thank you that you heard me, and I know that you always hear me." We see consistently he is praying toward heaven just like all the saints in the O.T.. So why pray if your God. Because he is dependent on God in his lowered state and he is giving us the perfect example of our having a relationship with the Father. The Son was instructed by the Father as his God, since he decided not to use his position independently. Jesus never referred to his Father as "our Father" in prayer together with others. Father was a term for the Jews who were in covenant with God . Jesus who being God in nature was divine and equal in all respects to God could not call God his Father as we do, being adopted children. God was his Father in a different sense than ours, in that they were united together from eternity. So he makes a distinction of "my" and "our". " "When Christ prayed to the Father, you have the Son on earth the Father in heaven. this is not separation but divine disposition. now we know that God is within the depth's and exists everywhere, but in might and power, the Son being, indivisible from the Father is everywhere with him, yet in the economy, the Father willed that the Son should be found on the Earth, himself ( the Father ) in heaven." (Tetullian.) What he is explaining is that the omni-presence of God is everywhere yet the location of his persons are in different areas. ( Jn.11:41-42,12:28, 17:1-26)

Mt. 26:39-42 In Gethsamane he prays three times to the Father in doing his will. Why does he ask for the Father to let this cup pass if he is God, Isn’t this like asking himself? Jesus' ( 2nd person of God ) was God communing with God the Father (1st person of God ). Jesus is struggling over the soon and coming separation he will experience with the Father. He is asking if there be another way so he will not experience this. Otherwise he has his own human will that is not submitted to God and he is sinning. The concept the scriptures portray of the crucifixion is not that God died but that he was separated spiritually and died in the flesh . In Gethsamane it was the cup that Jesus asked to be removed. If he was praying that he would not have to experience physical death he would be rejecting the very reason he came. His obedience is shown as in Phil.2 says even to the death on the cross. He would not be praying for the very purpose of his coming to be removed.

This is why the cults deny the deity of Christ because they recognize that these are two different persons. It is because of their preconceived ideas and training that God is strictly singular. In their attempt to uphold Monotheism they cannot receive the teaching of his nature being triune, they then lose the Son of God as a distinct person.