Sunday, May 31, 2015

The man of sin appears as an angel of light

The pope has been championing justice and charity as his rallying call to unite the people of the world under one banner, arguing that doctrinal differences are birthing fundamentalist extremism. On the face of it the argument sounds logical and the cause looks noble; so what's the problem?

What's wrong with justice? Justice is good. What's the problem with charity? Charity is excellent! Unity is ideal! But the question is, where do justice and charity come from?

Or rather, do we human beings have our own internal reserves of justice and charity from which to draw? Or, contrary to this idea, is there a greater Source outside of ourselves, which is really the highest Standard of justice and charity?

I'm not splitting hairs here but dividing between truth and error.

Now the Scripture says no good thing comes out of man, but the pope says every man has intrinsic goodness.

According to the pope if everyone unites on the basis of human nature (intrinsically good) they will form a kingdom of GOD (deputized by the pope) and the thing will be blessed by GOD.

According to the Scripture if everyone unites on the basis of human nature (sinful by default) it will be to rebel against GOD (worship the beast and receive his mark) and this will earn GOD's wrath (seven last plagues).

We also have the testimony of history, to test these contesting propositions with. Will you believe the Bible or the pope? One certainly speaks askew. Many of the popular spiritual leaders (and pop stars and politicians and scholars) are choosing the pope's side of the controversy, in many not-so-obvious ways, every passing day.

There is no justice and charity (or virtue, generally) but that which comes from GOD. He is revealed in his Word (both Christ and the Bible.) Therefore correct doctrine is not the fly in the ointment of world peace; rather, it is the knowledge which is a savor unto life for those who look for it as for water of life, avoiding the dry broken cisterns of false teachings. Separation naturally arises, the division is a present precursor of the chasm that will separate the sheep from the goats in the great Day of the Lord. What a day that will be! Are you preparing to stand in that day?

But the "charity" and "justice" peddled by the pope are counterfeits which would turn our eyes away from the character of GOD. It is much like the secular world "legalizing love" by opening the door to LGBT marriage. It is a redefinition of love, a turning upside down of GOD's blessed order, indeed, a rejection of GOD's love by defiling the gift. "License they mean, when Liberty they cry." Sodom and Gomorra also "legalized love" (at least de facto) without scrupling over what GOD declared abomination as opposed to what he blessed and sanctified. While they looked forward to endless days of unbridled pleasure, a hail of fire and brimstone awaited the day their iniquity was full.

What is the basis of unity? The putting away by churches of doctrinal differences for unity constitutes a sacrifice of truth for whatever ends envisioned (at least for some of the consenting parties), so that any union that arises thence is founded on commonly held lies. If unity was the glorious end that justifies such a means, then why hasn't anyone thought of this before, to round up all the fish in the religious seas into one orderly ocean where no troublous extremist fundamentalist species may disturb the peace? Indeed just that has been tried in the past. History calls that period the Dark Ages, when the Papacy claimed authority over all living souls in the known world as far as her hand could extend, persecuting "heretics" who did not embrace her doctrines, unseating self-willed rulers, martyring many, rich or poor, who obeyed their own consciences according to the Word of GOD, conducting lucrative traffic in the very souls of men by her monopoly of the keys of heaven and hell. Truth being set aside for unity, it became a time of great superstition and ignorance on a grand scale; misery and disease were rampant, but the Church remained a wealthy, hard and cruel steward over the masses in bondage to her false doctrines, by which she extorted their very lives and livelihoods. Only with the Protestant Reformation did an enlivening essence animate the societies previously fastened in her iron grip. And what was the Protestant Reformation all about? The inerrancy of Scripture, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, separation of church and state. Then, with the much vaunted yet cannibalistic unity collapsing, real progress resumed her onward march in history after a hiatus spanning centuries.

Today we see the pope arising in the public esteem to popular status fuelled by his image of a humble man, a pope of the people who champions wide-ranging reforms in church and world with conviction. Amidst all the brouhaha let not sight be lost of the danger. He downplays the role of Scripture and magnifies the role of the Church over which he is the head. And the world has been bullied into the position where she is again ready to sacrifice freedom of conscience for "peace" and "unity" under pretexts like "justice" and "charity". Such a step will represent a massive backward leap for mankind, whose results will baffle belief to see, because GOD Himself will signally disapprove of it.

Contrary to public declarations on the part of deceived and deceiving apostate church leaders, the Protestant Protest is not over. "Great numbers of influential preachers abandoning the Protest for worldly acclaim wholesale doth not a Protest over make!" It only means they are not Christ's, for if they had been His, they would not have gone away from Him. Expect to see much more of the same as the issue gathers steam.

As for the Protest, it will continue as long as there is deception, for GOD's Word stands eternally against the devil's lies. The only thing that will end the Protest is when its opponents are finally silenced forever and truth alone remains supreme. Then there will be nothing in all GOD's creation for us to protest against.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

On Beatification

“It is the most impudent of all impudence to affirm that to be a part of Christianity which Christ never taught.”
Martin Luther
A certain dead nun was declared “Blessed”, based on miracles attributed to her. The event took up the limelight as it was the first beatification ceremony to be held in Africa. Among the by-products of the main event were a cleaning upgrading of Nyeri and an explosion of economic activity in the period when visitors thronged the town. Who’s complaining?

Any true Protestant (one who believes in the Bible alone as a rule of faith) should immediately be disquieted by a series of question marks when they encounter this curious ceremony.
1. Who is a saint? Has the Catholic church authority to canonize saints?
2. What is the state of the dead? Are they conscious in afterlife, or asleep in the grave?
3. Can the dead intercede for the living? (Can the living intercede for the dead!?)
4. What role do miracles play in a believer’s faith?
True Christianity is to worship the Creator and believe and obey His revealed Word. The just shall live by faith.

The bitterest enmity against GOD’s kingdom is not to be found in the ranks of sworn Satanists. Rather, counterfeit Christianity fabricates an elaborate series of decoys that masquerades as the real thing. Paganism in the guise of Christianity, like a wolf in sheepskin, betrays the Son of man with a kiss. Paganism simply defined is the worship of the creature more than the Creator.

Counterfeit Christianity is actuated by the same spirit as paganism. While the human heart is naturally awed by scenes of beauty and themes of grandeur, being proud it lacks the humility to ascribe the glory to GOD and rather prefers to view the object itself as intrinsically glorious. Romans Chapter 1. This is the root of idolatry. Satan knows this – idol worshippers really worship Satan. Therefore his counterfeit has just enough religiosity on the surface to be called Christianity. But the substance is the same lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life that lays aside judgment and ignites in the heart of man veneration for legendary and monumental false gods of doubtful virtue. The seduction once complete blinds the deceived worshipper to the inefficacy of rites painstakingly observed, even while enchaining the supplicant to a useless round of ceremonies impossible to be understood, being rooted in lies and fables, whose end is destruction.

The history of sainthood in the Catholic church is fraught with controversy. In the early days of the church, the Catholic church made many compromises with the pagan religions in order to attract more followers. One of these compromises was the inclusion of pagan dieties into their worship, except that these false gods were “baptized”: renamed and retitled as “saints!”
Apostasy is like the descent of heavy bodies, it proceeds with ever-accelerating velocity. First, lamps were lighted at the tombs of the martyrs; next, the Lord's Supper was celebrated at their graves; next, prayers were offered for them and to them; next, paintings and images began to disfigure the walls, and corpses to pollute the floors of the churches. Baptism, which apostles required water only to dispense, could not be celebrated without white robes and chrism, milk, honey, and salt. Then came a crowd of church officers whose names and numbers are in striking contrast to the few and simple orders of men who were employed in the first propagation of Christianity. There were sub-deacons, acolytes, exorcists, readers, choristers, and porters; and as work must be found for this motley host of laborers, there came to be fasts and exorcisms; there were lamps to be lighted, altars to be arranged, and churches to be consecrated; there was the Eucharist to be carried to the dying; and there were the dead to be buried, for which a special order of men was set apart. When one looked back to the simplicity of early times, it could not but amaze one to think what a cumbrous array of curious machinery and costly furniture was now needed for the service of Christianity. Not more stinging than true was the remark that "when the Church had golden chalices she had wooden priests." 
James Aiken Wylie, the History of Protestantism, volume 1

The righteousness of men is as filthy rags; it avails nothing to themselves much less to others, only the righteousness of Christ in man constitutes the kingdom of GOD. A saint is anyone who has Christ enthroned in their heart and life. Yet Rome would have men regard and venerate fallen dead men rather than the Savior. The army of intercessors which Rome would interpose between humanity and Jesus Christ and GOD the Father, spanning millennia since Mary until Irene Stefani, with more doubtless to come, serves only to obscure Christ from view.

Besides, these “saints” are dead, unconscious and therefore incapable of hearing anything, much less prayers to them; which even if they could hear (an unwarranted speculation!), they would grieve for their utter inability to do anything with, and would cry sorely for the dire delusion of their petitioners in targeting prayer at them, even prayers to them to pray for them to the Father.

The idea that one’s prayer to GOD for forgiveness needs to be pushed through and by dead “saints” is reprehensible. It calls GOD’s character into question by depicting Him as a hard wrathful avenger only to be placated by the intervention of a dedicated galaxy of austere dignitaries pleading tirelessly on the sinner’s behalf. No, rather GOD himself in His word promises to us that whosoever seeks after Him with the whole heart shall find Him, also that He is afflicted with the feeling of our afflictions. His terms to accept us are our repentance of sins, to turn away from them, but the doctrine of dead saints praying for us non-stop seeks to relieve us of that burden of sacrifice. The attitude is “Let them be praying for me as I go off and live my own life, that will work.”

Truly the need for repentance remains, for our sins have separated us from GOD. But the only one who can mediate our reconciliation with GOD is One who paid with His own blood the penalty our sins demanded. No one else in the entire universe dare stand in that gap but the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Go to Him with your heavy burdens and He will give you rest.

Nor does Rome’s superimposition of unworthy and incapable intercessors stop at the veneration of dead saints to the work that is Christ’s alone. By the use of priests who hear confessions and claim authority to absolve sinners, a great blasphemy is perpetrated, an attempt to usurp a prerogative of GOD alone – the forgiveness of sins. In truth the sins thus confessed remain unforgiven and the conscience rests carelessly in the shadow of a fellow sinful mortal human. This mindset emanates from the apex of that idolatrous system whose head titles himself the Vicar of the Son of God; in layman’s language the “deputy of Jesus Christ on earth,” a lofty imposture rebuked in Scripture, whose perks include the keys of heaven and hell. Strong delusion!

Many have lent support to this beatification without understanding its background. Of the army of dead people that the Catholic Church declares to be saints worthy of interceding for sinners before GOD, none are actually doing that, for they are dead. Nor would sainthood thus attained confer any special intercessory obligation or capacity on anyone as only Christ can intercede for humanity before the Father in that sense. This is why our prayers are said in Jesus’ name – He alone is perfectly God and perfectly man; he having been tempted as we are and yet overcoming in all points is a worthy representative, he presents His own blood for our justification. Between Jesus and His followers the bond is close and personal, real by faith. Come boldly before the throne of grace. Pray more, pray always, pray directly to Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

But communication with the dead is abomination before GOD. The dead cannot communicate with the living – it is impossible. Yet even here Satan erects a lie. What happens is that evil spirits impersonate the dead person’s voice and appearance so that they may mislead the living that they are hearing instruction from ‘the other side’ whereas it is the league of fallen angels beaming doctrines of devils at them. Saul’s experience at the medium of Endor, when he called up ‘Samuel’ from the dead, is a warning to others in this respect. The whole class of people who claim to be able to communicate with the dead, summoning underworld solutions for temporal problems, are an abomination before GOD, because they are really in advanced talks with Satan and his demons.
ISAIAH 8:19-20 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and mutter: should not a people seek unto their GOD? For the living to the dead? To the Law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Nor have we seen the worst of this spiritualistic assault from the demon world. Prophecy testifies that in the last days evil spirits will play a leading role in deceiving the world’s political and religious leaders to unite in rebellion against GOD in forming the image of the beast by Sunday legislation. At that time the Spirit of GOD will be withdrawn from the earth, and men will be left to the control of the evil spirits they have allowed to deceive them by rejecting the truth. Only these evil spirits will likely manifest as dead saints and departed luminaries of ages past bringing ‘wisdom from beyond’ which will contradict GOD’s Law.

In short, let us repudiate the veneration and intercession of the saints. Look, I hold nothing against the woman they canonized, I never knew her. She’s just as dead and ineffective as all the other “saints” they pray to/through. Satan would like to take advantage of people’s ignorance of their privilege and responsibility to pray for themselves in Jesus’ name. Just you be certain the whole idea that anyone other than Christ is in heaven praying for sinners is a pleasing fable. It is one of many false teachings in that blend of doctrines Revelation calls “the wine of Babylon’s fornication.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Love versus Passion

But if the sense of touch whereby mankind is propagated seem such dear delight beyond all other,
think the same voutsaf’t To Cattel and each Beast;
which would not be to them made common & divulg’d,
if aught therein enjoy’d were worthy to subdue the Soule of Man, or passion in him move.
What higher in her societie thou findst attractive, human, rational, love still;
In loving thou dost well, in passion not, wherein true Love consists not;
Love refines the thoughts, and heart enlarges, hath his seat in Reason, and is judicious,
is the scale by which to heav’nly Love thou maist ascend,
Not sunk in carnal pleasure,
for which cause among the Beasts no Mate for thee was found.

(John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book vii)

Apology: I edited the paragraph to align by punctuation. Makes for easier reading than the original.

Here John Milton argues that love is superior to carnal lust ("passion") because mankind has great capacity for reason and emotion than the animals, hence a greater scope for the exercise of love. All other animals can partake of carnal relations but for man to settle for that baseline is to sell himself short. It's quite relevant in this age of overhyped melodramatic romance (also "passion") which is really only confusion in a nice dress. The passage actually tells men to love the aspects of their better halves that are attractive, human, rational, but not to abandon the reins of judgment to "passion." Sound advice?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Should We Then Make Mirth?

Last Sabbath (Saturday) in church the preacher made the divine hour a humorous adventure. By the looks of him he is a naturally mischievous man with an unapologetic sense of humor. He began well enough, with a Bible verse and an exposition of the principles it entailed - the need to pray in faith. Then his natural predilection for jokes kicked in and he went on and on, raising bouts of laughter from the congregation with spontaneous good-natured jokes (the young lady I was seated next to was a particularly rampant giggler), until eventually, when the joke was too good to let slide, he spoke unadvisedly, something downright irreverent, and he reaped a hailstorm of laughter.

Earlier on today (Sunday) I was at a roadside hotel for late breakfast with a friend (long story!). The TV at this chapati-and-mandazi establishment was tuned to a live Sunday broadcast of some church service somewhere in Kenya. The pastor's message was the usual "prosperity gospel" fare that's all the rage these days- "your breakthrough is in the pipeline". The camera cut to scenes of attractive listeners nodding in inspired expectation. Effectively his message was that Jesus' blood had purchased his audience's miracles. Now that may be open to interpretation, but his focus was decidedly temporal. Afterwards the worship team leader turned out to be a shrill, loud lady.

With hindsight there was little difference between these two sermons. That disturbs me. Christians are supposed to have a message for the world that is distinct from the world, especially at this time of world's history. But the podiums have become stages for "charismatic" but meaningless performances of humor and smooth talk. "All will be well, relax, have a laugh."

Elisha's rhetorical question to Gehazi in 2 Kings 5:26  becomes relevant.
...Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
You may think I'm being uncharitable with criticism. Hear me out.

Ezekiel 21:8-9 (I recommend you read the whole chapter) contains GOD's message to Israel at a time when judgment was imminent. It thus gives us the correct attitude we should have in view of the impending end of the world:
8 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
9 Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished:
10 It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my Son, as every tree.
A sword brings death; GOD's sword is His executive judgment upon the wicked who reject His ways - they shall be destroyed forever.
A rod represents correction; the rod of GOD's Son - the cross - is the only means by sins may be forgiven.
These verses are prophetically telling us that if we reject Christ's "rod", we must then contend with GOD's sword! That someday it will be too late to apply the rod of correction, and only the sword of destruction will be applicable! Could any warning be more urgent? Indeed it is repeatedly given throughout the Scriptures in a variety of ways! 

But the churches increasingly have other things to say.
The signs of the times multiply, prophecies of the end time are fast fulfilling, but many pastors, the shepherds of the flock are blind to these things hence not preaching the need for preparation. Even excepting that, there is a wealth of spiritual instruction for character development (take up your cross daily, etc) that a pastor must overlook before they settle for jokes and nice-sounding promises of prosperity. These two sermons were similar in their omissions, by which the true gravity of the present situation was minimized in peals of laughter and obscured by visions of opulence.

 Ezekiel 13
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,:1-16
2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD;
3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
5 Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.
7 Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?
8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.
9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:
11 Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.
12 Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?
13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it.
14 So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
15 Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it;
16 To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.
Indeed. Not peace, but a sword.