Archive for July, 2011

Can we have ‘great faith’

July 25, 2011

Mat 8:5-13 and Mat 15:21-28

I’ve heard it taught that the faith was ‘great’ because they were not people of the Covenant.That we just have faith and whatever faith we have is enough. That there’s no such thing as ‘great’ faith for a Christian.

 

But – does this teaching stack up with the scripture that it comes from?

Mat 8:10 says:

Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

Now, if the kind of faith Jesus refers to hear is predicated upon not being part of the people of Israel, then by definition none in Israel COULD have it. So, why does Jesus make this apparently meaningless comment – unless it is possible also for a member of the covenant to have great faith?

So, I suggest that this teaching is rather poorly thought through. Please think again people.

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A response to someone who thinks that God is in control and sovereign.

July 5, 2011

In answer to your last paragraph, I’ll take it question by question.

1.What kind of alternative are you providing, Jeremy?
The bible. First Gen 1:26 where God decides to create mankind for the express purpose of MAN having dominion over all the earth and the things listed on the earth. That include creeping things, so by implication the devil (serpent) and his devils.

Once any ruler or chief executive appoints others to execute his will, that execution becomes, by definition, the responsibility of those appointed, unless the chief exec chooses to intervene over the heads of his team.

God, having decided to appoint and create mankind, has left it up to them to have dominion. When He DID decide personally to intervene, in the shape of Jesus, He came as man. He has at other times personally intervened – for example the flood or Sodom and Gomorrah.

However, the overriding principle is that on a day to day basis, God leaves in charge those He has ‘sovereignly’ put in charge – US.

Another example can be found in Luke 9:1 where he calls the 12, gives them power and authority to heal the sick and then sends them out unaccompanied. By definition, it was up to their choices which sick they healed. If they ignored a sick person or missed one, it can only be concluded that they didn’t heal them. You cannot conclude that it wasn’t the will of God, since had they used the power given to them, the sick would have been healed.

There is no evidence that on this mission they were puppets with strings pulled by the heavenly puppet master, such that they could only do things in an exact fashion. Jesus gave them broad instructions on where to go and what to do and left the specifics to them.

The same conclusion can be drawn from Luke 10:19. It was them given the power, and them acting in Gen 1:26 and thus up to them, not God what happened.

2. That God has left humans and the devil in control of everything that He has created? As above, mankind. Of course not the devil – he’s one of the things living on the earth that man has dominion over. Please don’t be silly to try to prove your point.

3. Does God have no power over us and our “free will”? If God claims to give us free will and then exercises power over that free will such that we don’t truly have free will, then that makes God a liar and manipulator. So you are calling the devil ‘god’. That’s not very wise. I suggest you apologise to Jesus for your blasphemy.

4. Should we even worship such a God who is nothing more than a big man?
Your created god is actually a devil, not just a big man. If, as I think you are, you are claiming that I make God into nothing more than a big man, then you are twisting my words and manipulating me. That puts you right in the home territory of devils. I suggest you repent.

5. If you are demanding I show evidence of sovereignty (which I plainly did), show me evidence of this lack of sovereignty and control.

I just did. However, let me add a couple of scriptures for you.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Here Jesus clearly puts the thief (the devil) on one side and himself on the other. He attributes things that steal kill and destroy to the devil and things of life to himself.

Do you think that sickness steals life from people and sometimes takes it. That sickness destroys lives, even prior to death. If so, how can you attribute that to God? If you do you make Jesus a liar.

If you don’t agree that sickness belongs to the side of kill steal destroy, then I suggest you get help for your mental condition.

Let’s consider Gethsemane. In Mat 26:38 Jesus told them to watch with him. SO his will was that they watched. They slept. So his will was not done. He was not in control of their sleeping. I know it’s a trivial example, but it only needs one example to prove that God is not ALWAYS in control. Maybe you’ll say Jesus was tricking them. He really wanted them to sleep, he just told them to watch so that he could guilt trip them over sleeping. Then your jesus becomes a manipulator again.

So you have a choice – accept that your sovereign in control god is a manipulator, or accept that God isn’t always in control.

Finally, and this should be the kicker,
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Clearly not all reach repentance and are saved. Therefore by definition God’s will is not done in them. He cannot be in control of their destiny. Were he in control of everyone’s destiny, then Rob Bell would be correct – Love Wins – all are saved. This is not my gospel or the gospel of the first Wesley.

Why do we place New Testament writings over Old Testament.

July 5, 2011

To answer the question, I am Christian, not Jew. If we read the old testament as a Jew would, then we’re being Jews not Christians. The New Covenant was shadowed and foretold in part in the OT, but is fully revealed only in the NT, and even then only it is only fully taught from Romans onwards.

The New Covenant is the Covenant between God the Father and Jesus that we get to benefit from by being in Jesus. The Old Covenant is the Covenant between God and the Jewish people. There were other previous covenants between God and various individuals and there’s the Covenant between God and humanity that He will never again flood the earth (from the time of Noah). These are not the same as the Old and New testament.

The OT is clearly the Hebrew / Jewish scripture that we get to learn and benefit from. It was written to the Jews. It was not written TO us, but it is written FOR us to learn from. The New Testament is the Christian scripture and that is written to us and for us. But even the book of John was written to the unsaved for the purpose of evangelism John 20:31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Does that mean that once you’re a Christian you don’t need the book of John? No! But it says, of itself, that it’s written so that you [the reader] may believe and have life in Jesus’ name. If the bible says THAT is the purpose of the book, we are obligated to accept that as the purpose. We cannot delete John 20:31 from the bible, even if it contradicts our tradition or belief!
Jesus taught as one under the law and was speaking to those who were still under the law. So not everything Jesus said applies to Christians.

We have to take careful note of John 16:12. It is clear that Jesus never spoke of those many things prior to His ascension. It is also clear that we cannot accept works like the book of Mormon or Koran as fulfilments of this scripture. So we have to find these many things somewhere in the bible, by definition from Acts onwards.

It seems clear to me that there are two separate bodies of work that fulfil John 16:12. Paul’s writings, which were received by direct revelation from Jesus, not from any man Gal 1:12. Plus the book of revelation.

So we have to read Jesus’ own words in the light of these two sets of writings – yes the words of Paul take precedence over the words of Jesus.