Eschatology: a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind. Merriam Webster Dictionary
Eschatology can be a touchy subject these days. Those who endeavor to understand it soon find themselves traversing a theological gauntlet. Today some sects and denominations reject those who do not adhere to their end-times doctrine. Add to that the multitude of failed end-time prophecies, in the 1970s and 80s and it’s no wonder that eschatology has become a proverbial hot potato that many pastors simply avoid. Still, if we adhere to the basic tenants of Christianity rooted in an eternal perspective, we will always begin with the end in mind.
Our view of the end drives how we live in the present.
Most people automatically think of the book of Revelation anytime the end times are mentioned. Yet it is a huge mistake to begin there. None of the New Testament existed when Jesus gave His near bullet-pointed eschatological discourse on the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Even so, given that we are studying the Book of Ephesians it may be worthy to note that Ephesus is the first Church to be addressed in the Book of Revelation.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.Rev 2:4-5
Given the current and emerging state of Polycrisis in today’s world, more and more people are concerned about eschatology. That’s not a bad thing. The sheer number of unbelieving friends and family that suddenly wanted to know about the end times when COVID lockdowns went into effect made us realize that sometimes “eschatology drives discipleship”.
Still, there is a multitude of eschatological views and variations of those views regarding when and how the end times play out. Add to that the differing views regarding when a “Rapture” Harpazo takes place and you’ve got seeds of even more division. We think Jesus is super clear in Mat 24:29-31. Even so, we will be thrilled if we are wrong and receive early cloud tickets home.
Confusion arises when people trust their preferred eschatological experts without testing 1 Thess 5:20-21 or searching scripture to see if it is true. Acts 17:11 Reading books and listening to sermons about scripture instead of studying scripture itself is unacceptable 2 Tim 2:15. At the end of the day, eschatology should be studied like any other topic in the Bible. That means as literally as possible in the original textual, grammatical, and cultural context.
A common problem among those most interested in eschatology is viewing scripture through a lens of current events. The tendency is to focus on topics like the Mark of the Beast Rev 13 as people try to predict the identity of the antichrist and the trajectory of humanity toward the greatest tribulation.Dan 12Mat 24:21Rev 13 An unintended result is that the plans of the enemy may trump (pun intended) the return of Jesus as every disease, conflict, disaster, and member of the political and financial elite is falsely correlated with scripture.
This approach becomes most problematic when the resulting eschatological views become dogmatic. That’s what happened with people such as Hal Lindsey in the 70s and 80s. In the end, the multitude of false end times prophecies made Christians everywhere look like children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Eph 4:14 They also helped to validate things like New Atheism as those not firmly rooted and grounded in God’s Word continued to destroy the Christian witness with bad exegesis.
Hence not only can eschatology drive discipleship. Eschatology can also drive heresy.
We’ve studied it in depth and still only scratched the surface. If you still insist on studying eschatology; great. But let us do it soberly and well. 1 Thess 5:6 “Sober” is nḗphōto be calm and collected in spirit, temperate, dispassionate, circumspect.
Our Hope in Two Parts
The Gospel message is two-fold. First, we have the fulfilled Gospel of Salvation whereby Jesus conquered sin and death and made a way for all people to be reconciled to the Father. Eph 2:8-10 Where people previously relied on a high priest to enter the Holy of Holies on their behalf Heb 9:7, Jesus tore the veil that separated us from God. Mat 27:51 Today we are able to come boldly to the throne of grace…on our own. Heb 4:16 This is the meaning of “It is finished”. The second part is eschatological, the Gospel of the Kingdom which is yet to be fulfilled. Rev 21-22 Together these define the Aramaic word
If we view the world and its events through the lens of scripture then we remain mindful that Judgement comes first to the house of God.1 Pet 4:17 Our first concern should be the status of the body of Christ, not the anti-Christ. Psalm 139:23-24, 1 Cor 1:10, Eph 4:13, Heb 12
Any correct view of eschatology prioritizes the fulfillment of God’s purpose and plan for His bride without spot or wrinkleEph 5:27. The endgame for the end of days is the full acquisition of our inheritance for which Holy Spirit deposited in every believer is
That’s not to make light of the gift of Holy Spirit but a call to be mindful of how much more is to come. This is the correct approach to eschatology. We must keep in mind that our inheritance will only be realized by individuals existing as part of a unified bride, not individual Gnostic Christians, prepping for battle with returning Nephilim and the antichrist. Regardless of how we imagine the end times, if we study eschatology as Jesus taught it we will see an emphasis ona call to endurance and faithfulness.Rom 5:3-5, Mat 24:13, Rev 12:11, Rev 13:10 Jesus framed endurance in the context of childbirth. Mat 24:8 Faithfulness carried to fruition looks like All attaining to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… Eph 4:13 Incidentally “manhood” does not refer to the masculinity of individual men any more than the spotless bride refers to individual women. Both are allegorical references to the body of Christ unified in Him. Eph 2:15-17
It’s no accident that Paul concludes Ephesians 5 with the image of marriage between a husband and a wife. The one newman and unity of the faith is represented in ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.Gen 2:24, Mark 10:7-8This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.Eph 5:32-33 It follows that the state of our marriages in the church reflects the state of the church and visa versa. Hence, our eschatology should be more focused on spot and wrinkle removal, unity in the faith, and maturity than on wars and rumors of wars over which Jesus said we should not be alarmed. Mat 24:6I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.2 Cor 11:1-3
The potential consequences of rejecting this essential foundation of eschatology are profound.
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”Mat 22:11-14
The benefits of embracing it are beyond comprehension.
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”Rev 19:6-9
Our view of the end drives how we live in the present.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,Eph 5:11-13
Expose is elénchōbring to the light, convict, refute, confute, reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove, chasten, to punish.
Ephesians 5:3-20 addresses the issue of sin, in the church. …instead let there be thankfulness to God. It also instructs us to Look carefully then how we walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
The biggest question in our Acts 17:11 Bereans Bible Study this past week was “Exactly what do we expose and rebuke?” “What does that look like if we do?” Are we to simply reject those who are in sin as Eph 5:7 seems to imply?
Therefore do not become partners with them…
But Jesus hung out with sinners. Luke 7:34-35 Yes but He did not participate in their sin. That said, Ephesians 5 specifically addresses the issue of sin as it relates to believers within the church. Paul addresses the same subject in 1 Cor 5 when he orders the church “to deliver (The offender) to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”
Mathew 18:15-20 gives clear instructions for exposing and rebuking sin on an individual basis. Ephesians 5 goes deeper. In my opinion, we are to bring sin that might not be identified as sin to light so it can be clearlyseen, understood, and avoided.
…when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Eph 5:13
If you are young and or new to the church you may be unaware of the most recent spiritual attacks that produce unadulterated heresy. This is evidenced by a growing number of formerly biblically sound teachers like Tim Keller, Beth Moore, Mike Todd, and Andy Stanley to name just a few who have embraced aspects of what is commonly called WOKE ideology. WOKE ideology creeps into the hearts and minds of believers under the auspices of compassion and acceptance in a spirit of
Given the history of racism in the USA, especially in the South, the basic tenets of WOKE ideology seem righteous and loving. After all what kind of Christian supports racism or opposes justice for the oppressed? Given the history of publicly sanctioned atrocities e.g. slavery that occurred before the Civil Rights movement, only a monster would oppose a movement underpinned by the idea of making previous wrongs right. Micah 6:8 The question is not if righteousness is required but rather; what is righteous? The heresy begins when we regard the flesh as identity, mistake reparations for grace, confuse justice with equity, and love with acceptance of sin. At the end of the day, WOKE is another gospel for which Paul says those who preach it are accursed.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.Gal 1:8-9
He reminds us that we are soldiers in a war and instructs us how to fight.“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”. 2 Cor 10:4-6
Perhaps you have seen news footage of parents in front of school boards disputing the teaching of subjects like Critical Race Theory (CRT) and aberrant sexual behavior to children in schools. The normalization of all that was previously defined as mental illness is simply unfathomable to most. Hence much of Paul’s meaning in Ephesians 5 involves shedding light on the enemy’s methodologies in leading people astray. Eph 6:11
What is commonly known as Critical Theory and Post Modern Theory form the philosophical backdrop of the Woke movement. It is a mutation of an opportunistic virus created by Satan when he rebelled against God and was cast out of Heaven. It is rooted in pride, fertilized by entitlement, and watered by conflict. Just as the Bible provides genealogies that culminate with the birth of Jesus, so does the WOKE movement have a satanic genealogy that culminates with the intention of destroying the Church and any civilization supporting it. For those who may be interested I have compiled a timeline listing people and events that directly influenced the replication and propagation of all that resulted in WOKE ideology up to 2021. You can download the PDF here.CRT History.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is often framed by words like “diversity”, “unconscious bias” or “sensitivity training” and always in the name of love.
The Woke Church is CRT applied to the gospel.
Again, as the aforementioned download shows, CRT is derived from failed Marxists in the Frankfurt School of Economics during the early 20th century. I say “failed” because Karl Marx believed in an inevitable violent revolution of the working class against the capitalist class. Rooted in the Hegelian Dialectic this revolution was to produce order out of chaos and finally a utopia. However, Marx did not account for the fact that while the rich indeed got richer under capitalism, the poor got richer too. When the Russian Revolution only produced greater economic disparity and human suffering, the Marxists returned to the proverbial drawing board. Given that Marxism requires conflict between oppressor and oppressed classes, Critical Theorists substituted race and gender for the previously failed model based on economics alone. Minorities and women became the oppressed and white males the oppressors. While it is certainly true that disparities exist in society and are problems to be overcome, they are a vital means to a desired outcome for these rebranded Marxists.
The keyis in the word “CRITICAL”
The “Critical” in CRT is not the same as the “Critical” in Critical thinking. Critical thinking is based on the discipline of logic and the laws of coherence, noncontradiction, and correspondence. Simply put, Critical thinking applied to problem-solving is solution-focused. Critical Theory is problem-focused. Critical Thinking is constructive. Critical Theory is deconstructive. All Marxist revolutions begin with historical, cultural, linguistic, and institutional deconstruction then revision.
Critical Race Theorists are Cultural Marxists or Neo-Marxists.
Some dispute this title as “Marxist” is often regarded as a pejorative.
In more spiritual terms, Voice of the Martyrs founder Richard Wurmbrand wrote that Karl Marx a Jew by birth then “backslidden” Lutheran eventually became a Satanist. Fabian Socialism which is clearly Satanic, is the English version of Marxism that preceded and contributed to the development of Critical Theory in late 19th-century England. “Like critical theory, Fabianism was informed by Marxism and was responsible for the setting up of the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1895 to “study and eradicate social injustices and societal ills”– The origins of critical theory in education–
Fabian Socialism was a catalyst for Critical Theory in that they also recognized the futility of violent revolution and instead sought to transform society via social and ideological reform. Therefore deception is key.
“The Fabian window explicitly reflects the goal of the Fabian Society to portray an outward role contrary to its real character, i.e. to use deception in pursuing its ultimate aim. Specifically, a wolf in sheep’sclothingis the image which appears in the shield above the world being wrought in the Fabian mold.” The world is heated by socioeconomic and politically orchestrated chaos and then beaten into the desired shape by the proverbial Fabian Socialist blacksmiths. If we look closely we will see CRT and Fabianism working in harmony to undermine the Judeo-Christian foundations of Western culture.
Satan always comes as an angel of light 2 Cor 11:14 and always in the name of the greater good.
Antonio Gramsci was an inspiration for Critical Theorists. Imprisoned by the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini Gramsci was the first to define socialism as a religion and stated “socialism is precisely the religion that must kill Christianity.” He is best known for his Prison Notebooks that inspired future critical theorists and formed the basis for the theory of hegemony whereby instead of a violent and bloody revolution Marxist goals could be achieved through institutional manipulation and coercion via institutions like media, religion, and education. His socialist religion was rooted in “trust in man and his best strengths as the sole spiritual reality.”
Not everyone needs to study and comprehend all the nuances of CRT and its proverbial cousins. But just in case you are still thinking these are coincidences rather than parts of an elaborate and very well-thought-out satanic plan…
In 1963 undercover FBI agent Cleon Skousen testified before Congress and outlined a45-point plan of the American Communist Party.(also a PDF download) Incidentally, the word Communist is from the “Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx. Here are a few points in the plan worthy of note for this discussion.
24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks, and retarding of children to the suppressive influence of parents.
As you can see they have been rather successful in promoting an agenda formed at least sixty years ago.
CRT Thinking Errors
Similar to atheists who frame their defense of atheism based on what atheism “is not” Today’s CRTs do the same when confronted with its abject lack of coherence. For example, if I dispute the framing of my identity as “white” on the grounds that it is racist, CRTs will readily admit that my “whiteness” makes me guilty of racism. However, “whiteness” has nothing to do with skin color. On the other hand, if I say a black person is being racist they will say black people can not be racist. Only white people can be racist.
But I thought it wasn’t about skin color?
That their reasoning is incoherent within an objective worldview is irrelevant. In their eyes, objective truth does not exist. They regard knowledge derived from critical thinking and logic as a form of colonialism. Basically, the evil, Christian, cisgendered white male-dominated patriarchy colonized all knowledge as a means of oppressing women and minorities. That this absurdity has taken root as truth should be regarded as a clear and present danger.
WOKE is a worldview.
As I’ve said, all world views are based on one or more empirically unprovable presuppositions. Some basic Christian presuppositions are that God created the universe and all people are created in His image. Truth, reality, and morality are objective, absolute, and enumerated in scripture that is inherent. “Objective” means it is coherent and corresponds to reality as defined by our orthodox Christian worldview and does not contradict scripture. A very simplistic example of objective truth would be that if I jump off a cliff I am going to hit the ground below. Or, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap…Gal 6:7-9 Absolute means the same thing will happen every time. While Christians regard the Word of God as absolute objective truth. CRTs consider reality and the very idea of truth, especially moral truth to be a social construct. “Social construct” means man-made. The primary building blocks are language.
Hence what one says to a CRT carries more weight than what one does.
Postmodernism is another root of the Woke. Postmodernism maintains that truth if it exists at all is relative. What is true for you might not be true for me. What matters is that we respect one another’s FEELINGS. That means I respect your right to determine your truth. You respect my right to determine mine. If gay marriage and abortion fit your moral paradigm I should accept it. If any implied disagreement on my part hurts your feelings it is my moral duty to apologize for my insensitivity and admit I am wrong. In some places, insensitivity is grounds for being charged with a hate crime.
Postmodernism was a catalyst for Critical Theory to enter the church. Critical Theory is also veiled by the word “Progressive”. As is the case with Progressivism which views the US Constitution as a living document, Progressivism applied to Christianity views scripture the same. The understanding of scripture evolves in conjunction with the moral advancement of humankind. Gay marriage, Transgenderism, and abortion are moral advancements. If the Word of God is a living document its interpretation is always subject to revision according to our socially constructed reality.
Add CRT to the mix and traditional orthodox interpretations of scripture become invalidated due to their oppressive, racist, patriarchal roots. Hence today’s progressive WOKE church frequently frames Jesus as a revolutionary, who fought the patriarchy on behalf of the poor and oppressed. He was subsequently murdered by the same patriarchy for His impassioned pursuit of social justice. Hence, patriarchy in any form is always oppressive. This includes but is not limited to all creation governed by our Patriarch in Heaven.
Intersectionality further groups society based on subcategories of oppressed versus oppressor status. Influence and authority are determined according to the number of intersectional groups to which one claims membership. In a word, it validates and turbocharges the “victim stance”. For example, black is one group. Women are another. There are Muslim, gay, transgender, bisexual, nonbinary, soon-to-be Pedophiles a.k.a. MAPs (Minor Attracted Persons), and AI to name a just few. The point here is that a gay black, woman has more clout than a mere black woman. A gay, Muslim, black woman has even more. Oppressor groups have just four categories white, male, cisgender, and Christian. While it is possible to have membership in both oppressed and oppressor groups e.g. a white woman, or gay male, white, heterosexual Christian males can only be oppressors. Again this is not because of anything they do but because of who they are. Any disagreement with this paradigm is labeled “White Fragility” which means an oppressor is too fragile and weak to accept culpability as the sole cause of all past and present social ills. Any denial of guilt is regarded as further proof of guilt.
Intersectionality defines reality and truth according to “lived experience”. This is called Standpoint Epistemology. Metaphorically speaking, “lived experience” is a form of social credit. These proverbial credit scores are elevated according to the number of intersectional groups to which one claims membership and their corresponding lived experiences as an oppressed person. Voddie Baucham called this “Ethnic Gnosticism” because it asserts secret knowledge held by the oppressed. The oppressed have the right to speak and to be heard. Those with the highest scores become influencers with the power to define truth. Oppressors have the right to shut up, listen and admit their guilt. Those who admit their guilt and actively oppose their fellow oppressors are called
Corporations can also be allies
Membership and participation in the “community” is their reward. Community membership is maintained by compliance with the group consensus. Consensus and acceptance are love. Disagreement is hate.
Hate must be canceled.
Scriptural meat that counters empty CRT deceit
In the case of professing Christians who have been “cheated through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”Col 2:8,scripture clearly refutes the foundations of CRT.
Christianity in practice is about redemption and reconciliation between mankind and God in Christ.
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the. ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Cor 5:16-19
CRT defines all human interactions according to power. Power and reparations are the goal.
Daniel interceded on behalf of Israel and modeled how we should pray to God regarding the collective sin of a nation Still, Christianity is predicated on repentance from personal sin. Forgiveness from God, and for others are core values without which it is impossible to be a Christian.
CRT is obsessed with the past collective sins of ancestors we never knew and for whose actions we are to be held responsible but never forgiven. Christian repentance and forgiveness are not possible in CRT because racism is not something one does.
Racism is something one is.
Eternal penance through never-ending “anti-racism work” and becoming an “ally” are the only path to partial redemption. Redemption can only be partial because anti-racism work means continually identifying how one is a racist until the day that one dies.
Christianity maintains that everyone is created equal in the eyes of God and everyone is equal in the face of truth. Ethnicity and social status have no bearing.
“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”Lev 19:15
While Christians should be concerned about injustices like genuine active racial oppression, abortion, abuse, human trafficking, etc. true biblical justice is only promised in eternity. The American legal system was based on the premise that we are innocent until proven guilty and it is better that a guilty man go free than for an innocent man to be convicted.
CRT pursues social justice by aligning oppressed groups against designated oppressors for the sake of retribution and equity. One is guilty based on gender and race and unless proven to be a member of an oppressed group.
Equality versus Equity
CRT dismantles meritocracy and equal opportunity with the goal of achieving equity of outcomes. Everyone is to be rendered the same regardless of intelligence, ability, or effort. That the greater means of one person resulting from parents who worked sixteen hours a day to provide a better future for their children while those of another used drugs and refused to work at all is irrelevant. Unfortunately, just as impassioned Marxist revolutionary pawns learned during the previous century, applied Marxism never ends with equity for the poor but a consolidation of wealth and power among a ruling elite. Please understand, you are always facing a form of Marxism when the word “equity” is used in the context of social issues and social justice.
Wielding the Sword of the Spirit.
An entire counter-argument is contained in the scriptures that follow. I recommend copying the scriptures that resonate most with you. Formulate your own argument and be ready in season and out to rightly divide the word of truth and cast down these vain imaginations that exalt themselves above the word of God.
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.” Rev 12:10“Accuse” is katēgoréō from which the English word categorization is derived. Like Satan, CRTs forever classify people into socially constructed subcategories under the primary headings of oppressor and oppressed. Acts 10:34-35, Rom 2:11-16, and Gal 3:28-29 are clear that God is no respecter of persons, genders, social status, ethnicity, etc. Categorizing anyone apart from the Imago Dei and In Christ v.s. Not yet is demonic; period. God’s only criterion for acceptance is that we love and obey Him. Of course, we weep and pray for all who are blinded by the god of this world many of whom are in our own families 2 Cor 4:4. Still, we know that apart from Christ our most righteous deeds are like filthy rags. Rom 3:10-18, Isa 64. In the end, those not “in Christ Jesus” Eph 2 will perish for their lack of repentance just like the Galileans in Luke 13:1-5.
“There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Woke is predicated on a lie
When engaging Woke ideology it is vital to understand that committed CRTs are never objectively honest. Not because they are intentionally lying, but because they have a different definition of truth. They will not examine or even acknowledge their own logical fallacies and thinking errors. Instead, they divert the conversation, move the proverbial goalposts, redefine their terms, and engage in “whataboutism” to keep you on the defensive. As for the Christian Woke, they rarely cite scripture. If they do they do so out of context. Isaiah 61:1 is a favorite that they interpret as speaking about themselves in the context of a personal social justice anointing, not the prophetic word that Jesus fulfilled in Luke 4:18. In my experience, there is little point in debating with them. Most importantly, be angry but don’t sin. Don’t give way to anger as their goal is often to trap us and invalidate our witness. Simply, define your terms, state your point, and preach the gospel. Any increase is up to God. 1 Cor 3:6-9
Finally, when contending with the Woke know that Rom 1:18-32 always applies from the first presupposition regarding God and his creation through the entire downward spiral to becoming reprobate. Almost every tenant of the Woke is addressed. Remember, hold your ground and reject Wokness knowing that it is the ideological spirit of the antichrist not the person in front of you that you oppose and seek to expose.
This PDF Download list of Bible verses is intended to help you frame a solid 1 Pet 3:15apologia regarding God’s view of humanity and expose the contrast between the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and the increasingly popular false gospel of the WOKE church. You may also be interested in reading how Jesus dealt with racism here.
Given that I am very visual, I have always likened faith to Indiana Jones’s “leap of faith” in the movie The Last Crusade. Ironically it is the final step in his search for the Holy Grail, the cup from which Jesus drank that he needs to save the life of his father. Left with no other option but to trust the instructions he was given he fans the flames of his courage and steps off the edge as a bridge appears beneath his feet. As is the case with so many Christians today, faith is portrayed as the tool he needs to
If you’ve read the book of Job then you are familiar with the quagmire associated with answering the question; why do bad things happen to good people, especially when spirit-filled believers pray the prayer of faith? It’s confusing because Luke 10:19, says that Jesus has given us all power– exousía (authority) over the power dýnamis (strength, supernatural Power) of the enemy such that nothing can hurt us or stop us from manifesting the hope of His calling. Eph 1:18
Why then are we hurt and why do believers still get sick and die when we pray?
My Word of Faith friends say this is the first question they will ask when they get to heaven.
That said, scripture does not contradict itself. Only my understanding does. It would seem that scripture says power is the birthright of all who are born again and in Christ Jesus. Eph 2:1-6
So what am I missing?
Maybe it’s a question of how we access that power.
Jesus names unbelief (distrust) as the reason for the disciples’ failure to do so.
“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”Mat 17:16-20
More often than not I see nothing happening when I pray. Still, I’ve seen enough signs and wonders to know they are real. I prayed and saw a demon cast out once. I prayed again and a man with a stomach ailment was healed. Three weeks after being saved Cathy prayed for her dad’s colon before his surgery to have a tumor removed. Soon after the dumbfounded doctor emerged and proclaimed “he has a healthy colon! We didn’t find a thing!” She says she had no idea what she was doing at the time. We’ve seen deaf ears opened once and the miraculous replication of food twice. Ironically the first time no one prayed. We were trying to get rid of the food as fast as we could. It just wouldn’t go away. The second time a group of five-year-old Mozambiquens prayed. You might accuse me of negative expectations or unbelief. The truth is I had negative expectations and unbelief every time something happened. When I fully expected something to happen nothing did, at least nothing I could see. I feel like my faith must be a lot smaller than a mustard seed. If indeed faith is the key to miracle-working power then
The obvious question is how do I get more?
We can’t believe God unless we first hear His word. Hence we know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Paradoxically the word of God also produces the ability hear. Rom 10:17 Most Word of Faith people claim they are growing in faith. That seems sound. After all, Galatians 5:22 says faith is a fruit. Then again Ephesians 2:8 and 1 Cor 12:9 say that the same faith (pístis) is a gift. Hebrew 11:1 says faith is the substance of our hopes and the evidence of what we can’t see. Paul separates the gifts and healing though they are given by the same spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:4–11. That might explain why some are healed and others are not. However, the consensus among the charismatics I know is that faith drives healing. 2 Tim 1:6 says faith can be imparted – that we can fan the flames or stir whatever gifts we have. But it does not say how we should do that. Finally, as far as I know, scripture does not say that faith is something we can will into existence of our own volition.
Maybe I have a wrong perspective.
Could it be that my desires are out of alignment with God? You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people!Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.James 4:3-4
Hold on, Brian! You just went off the cliff. Paul is clearly talking about lust and hedonistic pleasures there, not prayer. We pray for others because we care about them. Fair enough. I’m not saying that you don’t. Still,
whose desires motivate you?
What would you say if I told you that altruistic people are driven by selfishness? That selfishness has been inescapable since the fall of man in Gen 3.
I find it both ironic and comforting that when questioned by a reporter regarding why she chose the life she did, Mother Teresa replied, “When I looked inside myself I saw Hitler”. She later stated that she was the most selfish person she knew. While it might not meet the world’s criteria for selfishness, Mother Teresa was insightful enough to recognize that at her core she lived as she did because it provided her with a sense of meaning and fulfillment. Interestingly, only two documented supernatural healings are attributed to her even though healing in Jesus’s name was her life’s work.
If I am honest, I find selfishness is at the root of all my most righteous thoughts and deeds. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags… Isa 64:6 Paul reiterates this principle in Rom 3:11-12 Yes, of course, we are new creations IN CHRIST JESUS. But the self-centered, self-willed self has no part in Him. Mat 16:24 I’m not implying that we are not clothed in His righteousness. 2 Cor 5:21 My point here is that the people addressed in both Isaiah 64 and Romans 3 were obsessed with their “identity”. They believed their salvation was sealed because of who they were instead of who He is. How many today refer to THEIR identity as confirmation of their salvation? There is a subtle but important distinction here.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Phil 1:21
Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.2 Cor 5:8
Why would I dictate that God keep someone I love away from Heaven and the fullness of seeing Him face to face especially if they are suffering except that I am selfish? Not only that but doesn’t my overwhelming desire to remain in the world for as long as possible still qualify as
“friendship with the world”?
Maybe. Maybe not. It certainly seems worth asking.
Still, it was in response to Peter’s seemingly selfless concern for Jesus’s well-being that He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Mat 16:24-25
“Awww… But Peter loved Jesus.”
Jesus explained what loving Him looks like. John 14:15-31 No, Peter was led by his emotions rather than the will of God. The idea of losing someone he loved was too much for him to bear and he inadvertently sided with Satan.
Perhaps I’m not as mature or on as high a level as some. Perhaps some of you are more like Paul who viewed his remaining days on earth as a sacrifice – a delay in receiving his full inheritance for which Holy Spirit in us is just a downpayment. Eph 1:13-14 While I am certainly more sanctified and detached from the world than when I first believed, I am also so, so very grateful for everyone and everything in my life. You might debate me on this. But there is a fine line between gratitude and attachment. Paul’s mind was fully set on the things above. Col 3:1-4 Mine could just as easily be set on my next meal. If I am honest, I remain more consumed with the affairs of this life than the Bible says I should be.
No man that warreth entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.2 Tim 2:4
Hang on. It gets worse.
Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:6-10
I could be wrong but the hubris that we know as contemporary pride aside; am I not prideful if I assume the right and power to dictate to God what should be done in His name? Am I not prideful when I proclaim the indisputable rightness of my views regarding His character and nature especially when others read the same Bible verses differently? Furthermore, why do I seek things like His manifest presence or joy except that I want it for me? Why don’t I just forget about me and ask on behalf of those dying in Ukraine, or believers who are being persecuted in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, or Iran? I must be really important. “He wants to give it to ME because He loves ME.” you say. This may be true. The question is; who am I really magnifying and why?
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.Psalm 34:3
Once again, old things are new and I am now a beloved son. Eph 5:1Embrace the paradox… Still, I have had the repeated experience of realizing that so much of what I previously regarded as my righteousness in Christ was just selfishness and pride in disguise. One thing is certain, the closer I draw to our Holy God, the more I am convicted of my remaining double-mindedness.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
It seems that wherever a spiritual failure or shortcoming exists; self is there.
Self is insidious
I find it noteworthy that in the context of assuring the disciples that the power to move mountains is theirs and requires so little faith, Jesus prioritizes humility.
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.Luke 10:20
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Mat 11:25-30
Lowly is tapeinós: humiliated (in circumstances or disposition):–base, cast down, of low degree, brought low with grief, depressed, humble, deferring servilely to others.
How often are believers caught up with such a desire for supernatural power and outcomes that they skip the most fundamental principles such as the fact that we are barely saved? 1 Pet 4:18 And,
Once again, Deny is aparnéomai –to utterly, disown, abstain:- affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone, to forget one‘s self, lose sight of one‘s self and one‘s own interests.
If the power to heal and cast out demons begins with faith then faith begins with the abrogation of self, not the embellishment of “my identity”. If I miss this, my theology will always be more self-centered than God-centered and powerlessness will be the result.
Could it be that faith is proportional to the degree of my self-denial?
In my observation, my faith grows when I empty my hands in voluntary surrender or utter despair – when I submit to the reality that HE
Is our Father, We are the clay, and (He) is our potter; And all of us are the work of (His) hands.Isa 64:8
It is with hands up and arms wide open, emptied of all to which I most desperately cling, that my faith seems to grow. In my experience, faith is never the exercise of my will in His name. Rather it is the fruit of my delighting in Him alone until His desires become my desires.Psalm 37:4 and I become an unconscious instrument of His will.
Faith increases to the degree that I Trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding. When in all my ways I acknowledge him, he makes my paths straight. If I remember to not be wise in my own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.Prov 3:5-8
I find that my trust in Him grows.
Viewed through the lens of scripture, it seems that the flames of faith are fanned by trials and testing. James 1:2-4, Mat 5:48 I have found that my faith expands most when amid testing and trials, God preserves me like Jacob in Gen 32:30. Preserve is natsal topreserve, recover, rescue, to snatch away, deliver, rescue,
to plunder, to strip.
My faith is stirred when I surrender all to Him despite my circumstances in a spirit of, though he slay me, I will hope in him…Job 13:15
Weakness and brokenness always result.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.Psalm 51:17
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Cor 12:9
So why do bad things happen to good people, especially when spirit-filled believers pray the prayer of faith?I could be wrong but I suspect it may be because what we call prayer is often a veiled attempt at “dictating to God”. While many “git’er done” believers view the signs and wonders that Jesus performed as ends in themselves – that healing was and is for healing’s sake. I suspect the real purpose is to facilitate dependence that produces absolute, unadulterated trust. At the end of the day, everything we see is temporary2 Cor 4:18this life is a vapor James 4:14 and this earth is not our homeHeb 13:14.
It’s probably no coincidence that Oswald Chambers said it best on the very day that I finished writing this post.
If only we could get it.
“The only aim of life is that the Son of God may be manifested and all dictation to God vanishes. Our Lord never dictated to His Father and we are not here to dictate to God; we are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants. When we realize this He will make us broken bread and poured out wine to feed and nourish others.” – My Utmost for His Highest, May 15th –
All our self-willed striving in His name is backward. At best all our claims regarding His thoughts and ways reveal just how silly, small, and ignorant we are. If only we could recognize our utter dependence on Him for every breath and heartbeat, every thought that is true, maybe then we would
Trust God to do what only He can do!
“God, we love you and we thank you for your amazing, amazing patience. I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch us down here chasing our tails scratching all our itches thinking we’ve found answers. We’re digging holes in the ground calling them wells – just starving little people. But God if we’d open up our hearts to you – trust you – you’d do something only you can do.” -Casting Crowns- Here’s My Heart-
As I’ve said, Roland Baker reminds me of Miyagi from the movie The Karate Kid. I remember listening as people tried to debate him on theological topics in Harvest School. “Is God like this or is God like that?…” “Well…this and that.” Roland would reply. “Do we have free will?”
“Yes and no.”
Have you ever found yourself in a discussion with other believers on something as seemingly clear as salvation a.k.a Soteriology and left feeling more conflicted and confused? How could two believers read the same Bible and arrive at such different conclusions?
If you aren’t Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Coptic then you are Protestant. The roots of every Protestant denomination began with the Protestant Reformation. Over time, these denominations continued to split over theological disagreements. Blatant heresies like Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses aside, these disagreements were almost always rooted in the views of two theologians, John Calvin, 1509-1564, and Jacobus Arminius 1560-1609. Both arguments are rooted in five opposing points as follows.
Total depravity – Mankind is incapable of obeying the law of God. No one is righteous Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23 We are “dead in trespasses and sins”. Ephesians 2:1 We have no hope of salvation apart from divine intervention.
Limited atonement – Jesus’ death and resurrection made salvation possible. However, it is only definite for those elected (Predestined) by God. At the end of the day we don’t choose salvation we are appointed to it. “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48
Unconditional election – Those who are saved are predestined to be saved. Ephesians 1:4-5 God chose them before the foundation of the world. Salvation is in no way influenced by our decisions or actions but by the sovereign will of God.
The irresistibility of grace – No one can be saved unless God draws them. No one can resist God when they are drawn. John 6:44 “All that the Father gives me will come to me,” John 6:37 Whom God calls He will justify, sanctify and glorify. Romans 8:28-30. Those predestined to be saved can not stop God from saving them.
Denominations that lean toward Calvinism include Primitive Baptist or Reformed Baptist Churches, Presbyterian Churches, and Reformed Churches. The United Church of Christ, The Protestant Reformed Churches in America.
Human Free Will – God does not want anyone to perish 2 Peter 3:9 but many do. If God is sovereign, then part of that sovereignty must include that he gave man free will to choose Him or reject Him.
Conditional Election – God has foreknowledge of who will be saved because He is omniscient. He does not pre-determine who will be saved. In the end, we make the final decision whether we will be obedient to the call. 1 Peter 1:1–2
Prevenient Grace – We absolutely CAN reject salvation via our own free will. We hear the Gospel John 6:45 are convicted John 16:8 and exercise free will to believe in Christ. Holy Spirit makes us open to the message Acts 16:14, Luke 24:45 and draws us to God. John 6:44, 12:32 Still, we must exercise our free will to believe.
Denominations that lean toward Arminianism include The Evangelical Methodist Church, the Church of the Nazarene, the Free Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Church, and the Salvation Army. The Assemblies of God, Church of God, and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
Calvinists accuse Arminians of minimizing or even denying the sovereignty of God. Arminians see Calvinists as robots living in a proverbial Truman Show before Truman realized he had free will.
Most debates concerning the character, nature, and will of God are reduceable to the subject of free will or the lack thereof. Exactly how much free will a.k.a POWER do I have? Arminius says, “Some”. Calvin says, “None”. Consider this. Suppose every thought and action of yours was in fact predetermined by God.
How would you know?
Roland Baker frequently writes provocative FB posts illuminating this seemingly bottomless rabbit hole and Ecc 1:9 debate.
If Roland’s posts don’t clarify the confusion the comments certainly do.
“Who cares!” some of you say. “That’s theology or “religion”. “I’m led by Holy Spirit!” Ok. But doesn’t every believer makes that claim? Like it or not we all have a theology especially those “religiously irreligious” people who claim they do not. That said, anyone who has studied theology understands the Ecc 1:9 nature of most unresolved theological debates.
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
One thing is certain, our theology is at least partly shaped by the denomination or faith stream we choose. Hardly anyone reads their Bible without also consulting books and commentaries written by theologians and teachers aligned with their stream. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this unless you don’t read the Bible and only read books by theologians and teachers aligned with your stream. Think about it. How many of those aligned with Bill Johnson read books by Paul Washer or God forbid the likes of John MacArthur? If they do it is usually through the lens of Bill Johnson.
“That’s not right! Bill Johnson says…”
Of course, the opposing side is just as guilty. The point is that too many determine the truth by who said it. This is the Genetic Fallacy and always results in Christian tribalism otherwise known as denominations and streams.
So much for attaining the unity of the faith…Eph 4:13
Call me crazy but maybe we have never agreed on the answers to certain questions because we are asking the wrong questions. “Can I lose my salvation? Or in the words of Martin Luther, am I free to “love God and sin boldly?” “How righteous or unrighteous am I? “What is my true identity?” “How much power have I been granted?” “Does more faith mean more power?” “Can I choose to grow in faith or am I stuck with the measure I have been given?” It seems to me that a better question might be,
Does Jesus know me?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’Mat 7:21-23
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Prov 9:10
Some of you were just triggered.
For the record, fear is never the goal. 1 John 4:18 Most fears among believers are rooted in groundless accusations from people and the accuser of the brethren. Still, sometimes fear points to things that we are reluctant to address Phil 2:12
All fear aside, What if it is only possible to understand what matters to God in the context of doing what matters to God?
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.James 1:22-25
For example, Ephesians chapter five speaks of marriage between Christ and His Church in the context of the relationship between a husband and a wife. It follows that learning about marriage would be a good way to understand Paul’s words to the Ephesians.
Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Eph 5:25-27
I could study about being a husband, and read opposing arguments about loving a wife. I could read books about family dynamics. I could get a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I could memorize all the love languages, read books on human sexuality, and neuropsychology, and become an authority on the differences between the male and female brain. I could lead marriage seminars and debate other credentialed therapists before writing my own expert opinion on marriage. I might even become a celebrated expert cited by other credentialed experts. I might have paid speaking engagements, sell millions of books and God forbid, find millions of people rebutting arguments with,
“But Brian Gray says…”
At the end of the day, the only way to know anything about being a husband and loving a wife is to be married to one. Even then most of what I know is beyond what mere words can convey. The same applies to walking with God as a part of His body and bride. For the record that is not an excuse to not study yourselves approved. 2 Tim 2:15Faith (still) comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Rom 10:17. God’s Word remains Truth. John 17:17. The full understanding of God’s word comes by walking it out. Eph 5:9-10 Don’t go beyond what is written. 1 Cor 4:6 And don’t extrapolate weird abstract meanings from scriptures. Focus on what is clearly stated in the text.
Then walk it out
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Eph 5:1-2
Roland Baker is a theologian. More importantly, he is an imitator of God. That’s not an invitation to put him on a pedestal as another celebrity idol.
You’ve missed the point entirely if you do.
If you’ve been to Mozambique and seen the suffering that surrounds him and spoken with the locals alongside whom he and Heidi suffer, then you know Roland’s knowledge of God is beyond words he can express. It is rooted in his best attempt at walking in love, just as Christ also lovedhim. Again I’m not suggesting that Roland is some elevated saint whose shadow heals and whose touch turns everything to gold or that he can mystically impart his knowledge and anointing through his hands. That’s Harry Potter Christian silliness. I am saying that he is an example of what it looks like to imitate God’s faithfulness the best way he knows how. God calls us to be faithful, not successful. Mat 25:23 Faith precedes knowledge. Everything else is the fruit of
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.Eph 5:1-2
Beloved isagapētós: esteemed, favorite, worthy of love. It is the same word the Father spoke immediately following Jesus’ baptism.
“And behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved (agapētós) Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Mat 3:17
God’s love in John 3:16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…” is agapáō love in a social or moral sense, to be fond of, to love dearly.
The difference is subtle but profound. Agapáō in John 3:16 is the love with which He loved us even when we were dead in our trespasses…by nature children of wrath. Eph 2:1-3. This is a statement of God’s character. He loved us because of who He is despite who we were. In contrast, Agapētós in Eph 5:1 is a statement about us. As believers made alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised up with him and seated with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,Eph 2:5-6 we are now esteemed as His favorites, worthy of His love.
The reason for the change in our status remains the same. For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.Eph 2:8-9 Nevertheless we have been promoted to the rank of favored children with Jesus and seated with Him as if we’d been there the entire time.
Let that sink in…
When viewed correctly this revelation should provoke both
Gratitude and Fear.
Historically, believers embrace one or the other. We are consumed with Rom 7:15-25 “Oh what a wretched man I am! Who will save me from this body of death?” Or we redact Romans 7 completely in lieu of Romans 8.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.Rom 8:1-2
Mind you this is Paul the Apostle speaking about himself. He went a step further in 1 Cor 4:13 when he described himself as the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. He said this in the context of addressing what I call “celebrityism” beginning in chapter three.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.1 Cor 3:7
“Celebrityism” is born of the “self” that Jesus requires us to deny. Mat 16:24 “I” becomes doctrine such that “My identity” supersedes His wherever “self” is not slain. It is so subtle, so seemingly normal that most do not give it a second thought. The doctrine of “I” is most clearly seen in an obsession with “My Ministry”, “My Calling”, “My gift”, “My significance” etc.
I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?1Cor 4:6-7
“Celebrityism” begins with a sincere desire to be used by God and becomes idolatry when we idolize those we wish we could be in the world. “Celebrityism” is pride unwittingly instilled by culture. It is carnal- a work of the flesh. 1 Cor 3:1-4 It is a desire to be something or someone in the world in Jesus’ name. It is a fruit of immaturity, comparison, performance, and a perverted understanding of what it means to be
Many believers wrestle with the paradox of identity IN Him. Either we are so consumed with beholding our reflection in His eyes as we imagine it that we can not even see Him. Or we are so consumed with guilt, shame, and condemnation that we can not see Him. Either way, the enemy doesn’t care if we are consumed with narcissism or self-hatred. He only needs us to be focused on the unholy trinity of
Me, Myself and I
It’s been the same game since the fall when Adam and Eve’s attention went from perfect fellowship with God to an obsession with self when their eyes went from Him to themselves and they realized they were naked. Gen 3 The enemy doesn’t need us to choose sin. He just needs us to be focused on sin. He is perfectly happy to have me indulging with impunity or shamefully struggling in the flesh to avoid it. If only we would realize that all of us are born addicted to self, that
We’d understand our identity as beloved children and be free.
That identity is a dead child of wrath revived, redeemed, and now beloved because of who God is, not because of who I am. He does not need me. He wants me. His plans are not contingent upon anything I do or fail to do. My participation is an undeserved privilege granted to me as a beloved son. If I rule and reign with Him it is only because my life is in Him. Today, I do not regret the past or wish to shut the door on it because it is covered by the blood of Jesus. Hence, my brokenness has become my blessing, my rap sheet my resume. I don’t need to affirm my or your identity in Him because the “I” is dead or still needs to be slain.