Category Archives: Contemporary Issues

How Often Have People Misapplied Prophecy?

There has been a long history of people misunderstanding and misapplying biblical prophecy. The Jews preceded the church in misapplying prophecy. Convinced that a God-anointed King (Messiah) would lead them to military victory over the Romans and establish a dynasty that would bring Israel’s story to fulfillment, they ignored the warnings of both John the Baptist and Jesus that national repentance and purification would have to precede national restoration. Consequently they supported numerous military leaders and false messiahs

1 during the first and early second centuries, leading to the disastrous wars of AD 70 and 135.

In the second century, a Christian sect believed itself gifted with new revelation from the Holy Spirit. Montanism claimed that the end of the world was at hand and that the heavenly Jerusalem would be established in Phrygia (the base of the movement). Believing that the end of the world had almost arrived, this sect practiced extreme asceticism and became a serious threat to the life of the church.

As time continued, Christians repeatedly mistook the conditions of their day as the fulfillment of endtime prophecy and this continues to this day. Every generation of Christians rightfully thinks of itself as significant to God’s plan, and when unusual conditions arrive—especially periods of warfare, calamity, or any major cultural change or social upheaval—they usually see circumstances and individuals of their day fitting remarkably well with the symbols and images of biblical prophecy.

In the late Roman period, Attila’s Huns and the Germanic Goths were viewed by terrified Christians as “Gog and Magog,” and after the great defeat of the Roman Army at Adrianople, Bishop Ambrose of Milan declared: “The end of the world is coming upon us.”

The Crusades were a period of great eschatological expectation. The Encyclopedia Britannica states:

The eschatological strain of the Crusades can be noted in the Crusade sermons of Bernard of Clairvaux in 1147, who kindled enthusiasm to liberate Jerusalem with reference to the pressing terminal dates of the endtime.

During the Crusade period, many believed that Frederick II (who conquered Jerusalem in 1229) would usher in the millennium. Even after his death, people continued to believe he would return from the dead to establish the kingdom of righteousness (Frederick redivivus). Historian Paul S. Boyer writes that during this time period:

Manuscripts . . . complete with illustrations and elaborate charts (a staple of later prophecy writers as well), circulated through Europe and England, stimulating apocalyptic speculation. Further, . . . the material . . . linking the Jews explicitly to Antichrist helped to fuel an upsurge of anti-Semitism in late-medieval Europe (When Time Shall Be No More, p. 53).

During the early Reformation, large groups of Taborites in Bohemia and Anabaptists in Germany and the Low Countries held fanatical views of the imminence of the endtimes that resulted in armed rebellion against the religious and secular authorities, and some of the most horrible episodes of violence in Western history.

The major reformers too perceived themselves as standing on the verge of the apocalypse. They viewed the pope as an “internal antichrist” established in the temple at the holy place and the marauding Turkish Muslims as the “external antichrist.” During the 17th century, England was awash with prophetic speculation.2The English colonies in North America were also preoccupied with the endtime:

Puritans who traveled to America in the 17th century and Quakers, Baptists, and Methodists in the 18th century believed that America was the “wilderness” promised in the Revelation to John. William Penn gave the name Philadelphia to the capital of the woodland areas ceded to him (1681) because he took up the idea of establishing the true church of the end time, represented by the Philadelphia community of the Revelation to John. A great number of the attempts undertaken to found radical Christian communities in North America may be viewed as anticipations of the coming Jerusalem (Britannica, vol. 16, p. 301).

A cluster of radical apocalyptic movements appeared in the United States and England in the early to mid-19th century, leading to the rise of the Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormons, along with other cultic groups that are still large and growing today. Also in the mid-19th century, a heretical Christian cult took root in China, resulting in the Taiping Rebellion (1845­–1864). The prophet/leader of this movement, Hong Xiuquan, combined social reforms with authoritarian, visionary leadership to create the largest uprising in human history, creating an army of over a million and directly bringing about the deaths of approximately 20 million people.

A large number of political, religious, and military circumstances in the early to mid-20th century made it appear almost certain to many premillennial observers that all the circumstances were in place for the imminent rise of the Antichrist, the false prophet, the rapture, and the beginning of the 7-year tribulation period. However, from the vantage point of the beginning of the 21st century, it is obvious that many of the boldly projected prophetic scenarios didn’t occur.

Evangelicals who have lived through these changes have learned through several generations of experience how misleading it can be to reach sweeping conclusions through prophetic interpretation of current events and how important it is to avoid dogmatism and undue speculation while remaining open to the possibilities. Today, the astonishing power of international bankers and corporations, the unprecedented rapidity of technological development, and the international tendency towards a world government offer many opportunities to speculate about the relationship of current events to biblical prophecy. Yet, given the mistakes made by Christians in the past, we would be wise to dedicate our time and energy to Christian witness rather than eschatological speculation.

(See the ATQ article, Can We Know If Current Events Are the Fulfillment of Prophecy?)

  1. “In my name (epi toe onomati mou). They will arrogate to themselves false claims of Messiahship in (on the basis of) the name of Christ himself. Josephus (Wars of the Jews VI, 54) gives their false Christs as one of the reasons for the explosion against Rome that led to the city’s destruction. Each new hero was welcomed by the masses including Barcochba. ‘I am the Messiah,’ each would say.” (Robertson’s Word Pictures, Matthew 24:4-5) Back to Article
  2. From 1642 to 1660, as England experienced civil war, regicide, a commonwealth, and military dictatorship, end-time anticipation ran rife. John Milton, the poet of Puritanism, was but one of many who invested these events with high eschatological significance, viewing them as the prelude to the moment when “the Eternall and shortly-expected King shall open the Clouds to judge the severall Kingdomes of the World.” The urgent apocalyptism of these years can scarcely be overstated. One William Sedgwick, drunk on the Millennium, predicted the end in two weeks, a rash venture in date setting that earned him the lifelong nickname “Doomsday Sedgwick.” The coming “day of doom,” reported an observer in 1647, was “the common talk about London.”

    The career of Milton’s teacher Joseph Mede (1586–1638), a prophecy scholar and fellow of Christ College, Cambridge, illustrates the ubiquity of prophetic interest in these years. While he sometimes indulged in the prevailing tendency to interpret current events apocalyptically, Mede’s larger objective was to integrate the Bible’s various prophetic and apocalyptic sections into a single, synchronous end-time narrative. So impressive did English Puritans find his 1627 work, Clavis Apocalyptica (Key to the Revelation), that the House of Commons ordered it translated and reprinted posthumously in 1643. This and Mede’s other prophecy writings, collected in Works of the Pious and Profoundly Learned Joseph Mede (1672), circulated widely in England and America. Influenced by Alsted’s eschatology, Mede embedded a future Millennium firmly in his prophetic scheme, stimulating a revival of this doctrine in the English-speaking world.

    With the defeat of Charles I in 1646 and his beheading in 1649, apocalyptic speculation surged among English radicals, largely drawn from society’s lower ranks, who saw an egalitarian new order on the horizon. Like the Taborites and early Anabaptists, they invoked Bible prophecy to validate their expectations. (Paul S. Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More, pp. 64-65) Back to Article
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How Can Christians Claim that Their Faith Is Rational? 

Agnostics, atheists, and adherents of other religions often disparage the “contradictory” doctrines of the Christian faith as reason to reject it. They imply that a true religion or worldview would be free of such complications.

Christians agree that real contradictions imply real falsehood. A proposition cannot be true and not true at the same time. No worldview should be based on irrationalism. But statements that seem contradictory may not really be. Sometimes an apparent contradiction is merely an illusion of language. In other cases, ideas that seem contradictory on the surface assert a truth that we can’t fully understand given the present state of our knowledge. They represent a mystery that, while not irrational, permits analysis only to a certain point. They underscore the limitations—either temporary or permanent—of human thought. The word that is usually used to refer to such seeming contradictions is paradox.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines paradox as “a seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true.” Regardless of one’s worldview, a number of basic paradoxes exist that no one has yet resolved. Let’s take a look at three of them.

Paradox one: freedom and determinism. 1 If we look at human behavior through the empirical eyes of science, it seems to be shaped by genetic and environmental influences. On the other hand, meaningful human experience and relationships depend on our freedom to choose, 2 as does our way of dealing with one another legally and morally in everyday life.

Paradox two: the “ghost in the machine” (dualism). What is the connection between mind and matter? When I consciously decide to take a physical action (stand, lift my arm, move my pen), what is the connection between my thoughts and the physical actions they command? The greatest philosophical and scientific thinkers have struggled with this problem for hundreds of years. So far they have failed to come up with a convincing model that explains how mind influences matter.

Paradox three: the “anthropic universe.” Scientists have observed that the universe is not only fantastically complex, but that it appears to have been designed specifically to permit the development of life and consciousness, even human self-consciousness—thus “anthropic.” The universe clearly seems to be designed by a Creator, yet no Creator imposes Himself upon us or makes His presence obvious. Just as the paradox of dualism acknowledges that my ability to “will” my arm to reach out and grasp the handle of a coffee cup is mystery, the paradox of the anthropic universe acknowledges that although it seems there must be a Creator, His identity and manner of interacting with the universe are unknown.

All of the so-called “contradictions” of Christian theology are reflections of these and other basic paradoxes of reality with which every thinking person must contend. Every worldview has to deal with the underlying paradoxes (or apparent contradictions) of human experience. Some do better than others.

Atheists, for instance, must live as though their lives and relationships are meaningful, while at the same time maintaining that the universe is a gigantic accident with no ultimate purpose.

Pantheists—including Hindus, New Agers, and neo-pagans—have a worldview that denies any ultimate distinction between good and evil. Still, like everyone else, they are faced with real moral decisions.

Honest, perceptive people don’t expect to find a worldview that contains no paradox or apparent contradiction. Instead, they look for a worldview that is most faithful to the laws of logic while maintaining fidelity to the depth, wonder, and mystery of reality.

At least two and a half millennia have passed since the book of Job was written, but its wisdom still rings true today:

The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job 38:1-4).

  1. Dr. Bill Hodges, a remarkable American medical missionary in Haiti,was also a skilled amateur archeologist and philosopher. He summarized the paradox of determinism and free will this way:

    As any college student knows, the argument about freedom and determinism goes back many centuries. The Westerner has been mightily tempted to regard all freedom—as does the pagan—as an illusion. There really isn’t any. Whether the universe may be regarded as the capricious whims of the spirits, or as the meaningless inter-reaction of electrical charges, it would seem that there is only a senseless destiny in which man and his “will” are merely phenomena of the system. Strangely enough, however, all Western culture conceives of human freedom as real, and the social structures presuppose it . . . .

    Our institutions assume that the human being has a choice: He can obey the law, or he can commit a crime. Our philosophy, on the other hand, is inclined to the view that the crime itself was mediated by dozens of factors ranging from birth injuries to parental neglect,and that therefore the crime is only an inevitable consequence of those factors over which the criminal has no control. The historian, the anthropologist, or the biologist may trace the various meanderings of human history and believe that all events are mediated by a determinism . . . be it economic, cultural, or revolutionary, . . . but subconsciously they believe that they are describing “truth,” and that in some mysterious way their analysis is not subject to the same rules.  Back To Article

  2. The school of behavioral psychology insists that if we are the product of a purposeless evolutionary process, it’s logical to conclude that what seems to be choice is merely an illusion. For these people, free will doesn’t really exist. They consider it to be an “epiphenomenon of consciousness,” that is, only a superficial sensation of freedom that conceals a deeper determinism, a determinism in which we only appear to choose things that our genes and our environment have already selected for us. It seems that this would be an uncomfortable thought for most people, one that is in direct contradiction to human experience. In fact, wouldn’t it have the potential to drive a sensitive atheist mad? Back To Article
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Why Shouldn’t I Use Marijuana and Other “Recreational” Drugs?

The negative consequences of using drugs “recreationally” far outweigh their short-term pleasures.

First are the physical effects. Marijuana, for instance, may have dangerous long-term effects, including cancers of the head and neck. Amphetamines and cocaine are highly addictive and cause rapid physical deterioration. Barbiturates depress the central nervous system and are so physically addictive that withdrawal can be fatal if someone dependent on them attempts to stop taking them without medical supervision. (Another peculiar danger of barbiturates is the ease with which a person can take a fatal overdose.) Alcohol, too, is highly addictive for persons with a genetic tendency towards alcoholism.

Most drugs that are used for “recreational” purposes are physically addictive to some degree. All of them are psychologically addictive. Because they chemically induce euphoria and an altered state of consciousness, they introduce what has been called the “pendulum effect.” As the effect of the drug wears off, the user pays a price for the experience of a chemically induced “high.” The user’s emotional state following an artificial high is invariably worse than his original one. This produces an slightly greater dose of the drug is needed to duplicate the same effect.1This pendulum effect often results in a vicious cycle of escalating drug use. 2

The term jaded has long been used to describe a person whose normal sensitivities have been dulled by obsessive pursuit of pleasure. Today there is serious concern that at least some artificial highs may cause permanent damage to the nervous system. Chemically induced highs—especially in the case of such powerful drugs as cocaine—may permanently diminish a person’s capacity to experience physical and emotional pleasure. But even if artificial highs cause no permanent damage, they interfere with the development of our ability to experience the legitimate joys and pleasures that God designed to be part of daily living.

  1. 1. Increasing immunity to the effects of a drug is called tolerance. Back To Article
  2. Tolerance for a drug occurs when greater amounts of the drug are required to achieve the same high. Back To Article
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Should a Christian Get a Tattoo?

Tattoos are remarkably popular right now. In the past in the West, they were viewed as desirable only within limited social groups like soldiers, sailors, gang members, and bikers. Acceptance was generally confined to males of lower economic classes, For professionals or women they would be unthinkable.

There are a number of cultural and religious reasons that tattoos were viewed negatively by past generations in the West, reasons that I’ll summarize a bit further on. But regardless of our earlier Western distaste towards tattoos, they are no longer sought out only by enlisted military men, gang members, and bikers, but are popular among younger people regardless of social class, gender, or religious background.

Most young people who get tattoos do so innocently, with no intention of expressing rebellion against core values of their parents or religious community. They usually know little or nothing about traditional society’s reluctance to approve tattoos. Current fashion makes tattoos appear attractive and desirable, so young people get them. With this in mind, I want to make clear that by explaining why tattoos were disapproved by traditional western culture I am not condemning people who have chosen to be tattooed. I am not labeling them rebels, or suggesting that Christians with tattoos are spiritually deficient. In fact, I have close family members who have tattoos.

While Christians should scrupulously avoid hostility or self-righteousness towards people with tattoos (imagine how absurd it would be for Christians to reject a new convert because he or she has tattoos!), we should honestly consider whether the tattooing fad is something that Christians—even Christians who already have tattoos—should encourage.

If you haven’t been tattooed and are considering whether you want to be, here are some things you should consider. Tattooing has a long association with the worst kinds of paganism. Even pagan Graeco-Roman civilization associated tattooing with barbaric, violent peoples like the Picts, Scythians, and Huns. Missionaries encountering new peoples also associated tattooing with repulsive practices like cannibalism. Even today, young people with tattoos are statistically more likely to engage in violence or other socially deviant behavior. 1

Because of their pagan origins, both body piercing and tattooing are forbidden by Old Testament Law:

“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:28).”

Because of these commandments, religious Jews to this day shun tattooing as an abominable practice. 2

Historically, the tattooing of slaves and prisoners has added further stigma to the practice. It was outlawed after Christianity became the majority religion in Europe.

This cultural and historical context raises the question of whether the living skin of a human being miraculously made in the God’s image is really an appropriate “canvas” for the relatively crude art of needles and ink. Ink colors fade, muscle tone deteriorates. After 40 years, what was once a colorful tattoo on the back of a youthful leg may look like varicose veins—or worse. Even more importantly, As we age and mature, our perspective changes. Maturity brings changes in priorities, world-views, behavior, grooming habits, life-style and many other things. If you are tattooed in a prominent place—even with a Christian symbol—you “brand” myself for life with a decision made at one particular stage. Regardless of who you become, the impression that others will have of you will continue to be shaped by your tattoo—and tattoos are difficult and expensive to remove.

All of these factors should make a Christian consider whether getting tattooed is showing proper respect for the body as the dwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)?

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1Corinthians 6:19-20).

Although there are strong biblical, psychological, and historical grounds against tattoos, Scripture doesn’t absolutely forbid Christians to get tattooed. Getting tattoed is a matter of Christian liberty. But getting a tattoo is also very likely an impulsive decision, that may have some bad long term consequences.

  1. The findings of this study may impact the general perception of adolescents. The results show that the presence of tattoos and body piercings in adolescents is associated with greater risk-taking behaviors of these adolescents in the areas of gateway drug use, hard drug use, sexual activity, suicide, and disordered eating behaviors. In particular, young adolescents with tattoos and body piercings are at greater risk for suicide and cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use. Violence is found to a greater degree in males with tattoos and females with body piercings. Finally, abuse of hard drugs such as cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and Ecstasy increases as the number of body piercings increases. The presence of tattoos and body piercings in adolescents does not necessarily indicate risk-taking behavior in particular individuals, however, the presence of such should alert parents, teachers, and health care providers of the possibility of greater health risk in adolescents with tattoos and/or body piercings, and appropriate care should be implemented.
    Clear differences were found between adolescents with and without tattoos and/or body piercings. Additional investigation is warranted. Examining a larger population of adolescents with tattoos and body piercings may show significant differences in the areas that were found to be suggestive of differences in this study. (Tattoos and Body Piercings as Indicators of Adolescent Risk-Taking Behaviors Sean T. Carroll, MD, Robert H. Riffenburgh, PHD, Timothy A. Roberts, MD and Elizabeth B. Myhre, CPNP, MSN, PEDIATRICS Vol. 109 No. 6 June 2002, pp. 1021-1027) Back To Article
  2. In our day, the prohibition against all forms of tattooing regardless of their intent, should be maintained. In addition to the fact that Judaism has a long history of distaste for tattoos, tattooing becomes even more distasteful in a contemporary secular society that is constantly challenging the Jewish concept that we are created b’tzelem Elokim (in the image of God) and that our bodies are to be viewed as a precious gift on loan from God, to be entrusted into our care and [are] not our personal property to do with as we choose. Voluntary tattooing even if not done for idolatrous purposes expresses a negation of this fundamental Jewish perspective.
    As tattoos become more popular in contemporary society, there is a need to reinforce the prohibition against tattooing in our communities and counterbalance it with education regarding the traditional concept that we are created b’tzelem Elokim. But, however distasteful we may find the practice there is no basis for restricting burial to Jews who violate this prohibition or even limiting their participation in synagogue ritual. The fact that someone may have violated the laws of kashrut at some point in his or her life or violated the laws of Shabbat would not merit such sanctions; the prohibition against tattooing is certainly no worse. It is only because of the permanent nature of the tattoo that the transgression is still visible. (quotation from Rabbi Alan Lucas in Back To Article
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Why Are There So Many Christian Denominations?

Divisions in the church go back to the first century. In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul lamented that strife and divisions had resulted in some saying, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos” ( 1 Corinthians 3:3 ).

Denominations, which could be called “formalized division,” began a little later in the Apostolic Church, when orthodox1 believers defended the teaching of the apostles against the distortion of the gospel with false teachings based on pagan2 or Jewish3 traditions.

Eventually the true church was firmly established on a foundation of essential doctrinal truth: belief in the deity of Christ and the Trinity, and acceptance of the established Canon of Scripture. This universal agreement of the early church was characterized by the Greek word katholikos, which meant “according to the whole.” The English term was “catholic,” and it meant the true church as accepted by genuine followers of Christ. Outside the catholic church were sects that denied important elements of truth: Gnostics, Ebionites, Montanists, Arians, Pelagians, and others. These were considered “unorthodox” (not accepting the right doctrines).

The two terms, catholic and orthodox, eventually came into common language as indicators of true Christian belief. Sadly, however, they also became the names of the first denominations: A separation occurred within the church in 1054 when the Greek-speaking church of the east separated from the Latin-based church in the west over a number of political and cultural differences, along with some relatively minor doctrinal disputes. The church in the east became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the church in the west was called the Roman Catholic Church. These main divisions continue to the present.

Later, reformers among the Roman Catholics felt a need for spiritual renewal and correction within church. They especially protested the addition of non-biblical tradition to the Bible as essential to the faith and practice of Christianity. These protesting reformers eventually brought about a second major separation. From this “Protestant Reformation” came Lutheran, Calvinist, Baptist, and other denominations.

Finally, in the first part of the 20th Century, the Pentecostal Movement came into bloom. This group of Christians were convinced that all the gifts given by the Holy Spirit to the followers of Christ at Pentecost (the dramatic moment when God’s Holy Spirit descended upon the Christians fifty days after Jesus’ ascension) must be evident in the life of believers today. The Greek word for divine gift is kharisma; hence the term “charismatic” is often used to describe this group of denominations. The additional bestowal of some of these gifts after one accepts Christ as one’s personal Savior is often referred to as the “second blessing.” 4

While there are differences between the denominations, most of the basic doctrines agreed upon by the early catholic church are still accepted by all. For example, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, most Protestants, and most charismatic groups believe in the Trinity and in the Deity of Christ—established by the church councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon. All orthodox Christian denominations agree that Jesus Christ, the God-man, died to atone for the sins of the world, and was raised from the grave to break the power of Satan and death.

With the exception of the reference to Christ descending to hell, the principles contained within the Apostles’ Creed, taken primarily from the old Roman Creed, are also universally accepted. This creed is recited in hundreds of thousands of Christian churches around the world every Sunday, regardless of denomination:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

It is important not to become so preoccupied with the minor differences between the denominations that we overlook their broad areas of agreement. While some of the doctrinal differences that exist have produced serious perversions of the Gospel, there are other aspects to the presence of a wide range of viewpoints that are positive. Because of denominational differences, there are a variety of practical approaches to Christian living. While this fragmentation makes it more difficult for the world to see the unity of the Body of Christ, it’s also true that these groupings make it harder for the church as a whole to become mired in ritual and formalism than would be the case if one denomination dominated Christian life. As a source of more information regarding Christian denominations, we recommend A History of the Christian Church by Williston Walker (Scribners). We also recommend the books of outstanding historian, Kenneth Scott Latourette.

  1. Orthodox is a term taken directly from the Greek language. It simply means “correct belief.” Any church is considered to be orthodox in the broadest sense if it accepts the formulations of doctrine that were made by the major councils of the early Church such as those held in Nicaea in 325 and in Chalcedon in 451. These decisions settled such important doctrinal issues as Christ’s Deity and the unity of His personhood while possessing two natures (human and divine). Back To Article
  2. Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible makes this observation regarding early pagan influences in the church:
    About the time the New Testament letters were being written there began to develop a number of sects which later (in the 2nd century) came under the general heading of “Gnosticism.” They varied considerably in detail, but shared the basic belief that “matter” was evil and spirit was good. It followed that God could not have created the world out of matter, nor could his Son have become incarnate in it. So they envisaged a whole range of subordinate beings between God and the world. Humanity shares in the evil of the material world, but they also (or some of them) contain a divine spark which can be set free and thus redeemed. In order to be redeemed they need to have knowledge (Greek gnosis) of their heavenly origin. These views were expressed in fantastic myths and made known to initiates in sects like those of the mystery religions. Back To Article
  3. The pernicious influence of Judaizers is vehemently denounced by Paul in Galatians 5:1-8 and Philippians 3:1-7. Back To Article
  4. The doctrine of the “second work of grace” or “second blessing” is rooted in the Wesleyan/Armenian tradition. It maintains that we can, if faithful, experience a special time of spiritual growth and renewal. Because the Bible teaches that sanctification is a progressive experience, it is certainly possible that some people will have a wonderful season of renewal that could be called a “second blessing.” However, Scripture nowhere indicates that all Christians will experience this. Many Christians experience the steady growth in their lives that can only be attributed to the power of God’s Spirit.
    The Bible teaches a three-fold aspect of sanctification. First, there is a positional aspect in which every believer is sanctified or set apart for God at the moment of salvation ( 1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 1:1; Hebrews 3:1 ). Second, there is a progressive aspect of sanctification in which believers are being sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures ( John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 5:25,26; 1 Thessalonians 5:23,24 ). And third, there is the consummation at the return of Christ when our sanctification will be complete. We shall be in the likeness of Jesus Christ ( Ephesians 5:27; 1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 ). Back To Article
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