ONCE UPON AN ELECTION Friday, Oct 12 2012 

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.  (Proverbs 29:1, 2)

My students know that I seldom deal with suppositions.  The Bible is full of factual information that calls for obedience, and that should occupy the center of our attention.  I admit that the question of “what if” may be entertaining, but it often leads to the invention of non-truths – the kind of things that can be found in the “theological error of the month”.  The same is true of prognostication.  I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet.  While God knows every detail of the future, we don’t know much about it at all.  What we do know is what has been given to us in the divine revelation of the word of God; going any further than that can be dangerous.  The Bible also gives us adequate information about a holy God, and our understanding of what may be in the future rests on who He is and what He has said.

This article is not a guess about who is going to win an election; it is about what we already know.  It seems astounding that people could know, and give support to, the very things that will destroy their way of life. Giving consent to deconstruction would cause anyone to ask, why?  Cheering moral depravation, mocking the work ethic, and creating a society of dependent slaves chills the bones of any thinking, moral person.  A culture that is exceedingly proud of its intellectualism, but that has abandoned common sense, is headed for disaster.  Why would people deliberately surrender freedoms that are so dear, freedoms that were won by the blood of our forefathers?

It is true that some of these people live in denial because they are so practiced at accepting a lie.  Others think their elite liberal perspective can triumph and destroy all conservative perspective and practice.  Like all false religions that their belief cannot conquer with truth, they must force their beliefs on others and imprison them in a humanistic mold.  The leaders of the elite are deliberate in their creation of a slave culture; everyone must be equal except them.  Examples of this include dictators, socialists, and communist societies as well as those controlled by a single intolerant religion.

WHAT IF THEY WIN?

We have no idea what will actually happen, but some things we do know.  History teaches many lessons about nations that take such drastic turns.  That is another story.   Some things we do know for sure: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  (Romans 13:13)  No one rises to power without the knowledge and permission of the sovereign eternal creator of the universe.

The next question is, why would God allow such a person with a wicked, anti-god agenda to come to power?  This answer is also in the Bible.  God has often directed or allowed the wicked to rule in order to judge a nation for its sins.  The scripture describes how God has allowed destruction of a country when its wickedness overwhelmed the land.  The wholesale murder of the unborn and the acceptance of sodomy in our own nation are sufficient evils to warrant the judgment of God.  Then there is the rejection of, and opposition to, Israel; that alone is sufficient to bring the judgment of God.  When a people turn their backs on a holy God, we can be sure that He will send judgment, which often is done through allowing wicked men to be in authority.

We also know from the Bible text that God uses such terrible times for the benefit of his own people – in this age, the church.  It is true that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church”.  It is also true that persecution tends to bring more spiritual awareness on the part of believers.  In an affluent economy, even believers tend to expect help from the things of this world, with less dependence on God.  Where a government provides everything from the cradle to the grave, it becomes a matter of “who needs God, anyway?”  This attitude seems to be especially prevalent among the younger generation of today.  In the main, they have little interest in heaven and the things to come; rather, their lives are focused on the here and now, the things of this world.  Even the church has failed in this area.  Music, message, and ministry tend to be more about earthly things than heavenly goals.  When we collect prayer requests, very few of them anymore are about the lost.  Heaven has faded behind the fog of things, people, and stuff.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?

Before we list the failures of liberalism, socialism, and humanism, we should observe our own weaknesses . The church in our nation has failed to obey the clear teaching of scripture.  We have not shared the good news with those who are implementing the deconstruction.  The church has become apologetic about the truth in the whole counsel of God.  Believers have not only fallen in love with the things of this world; they have downgraded the meaning and effect of sin.

One of the most disturbing developments has come from popular evangelicals, moderates, and intellectuals, who keep telling us that sin is not all that bad.  This dumbing down of evil is oh, so slick.  If there is some offense to God that they don’t think is really so bad, they just tell us that “the Bible doesn’t speak to that”.  After all, they are the elite, and they think they just may know more than God.  When a heinous practice is condemned by those who teach the holiness of God, this group reminds us that no sin is worse than any other and we shouldn’t be so hard on that crowd.  It doesn’t seem to matter to them that God has condemned that practice.

Finally, there are the misguided leaders who keep reminding us that we shouldn’t deal with the bad in this world.  We are told not to speak out on political things.  Don’t bother voting; just love people, forgive them, and let them make their own choices.  While love, forgiveness, and soul liberty are important, that is not all that the Bible teaches.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MATTER?

The big question is, what are we supposed to do?  The writings of the apostle Peter will answer much of that question.  No matter who wins, temporarily there will be persecution and suffering.  Paul’s epistle to the Philippians outlines how it is possible to retain one’s testimony and joy when circumstances appear to gang up on us.  For now, we need to go back to the Bible for instruction as to why we should speak out on matters of righteousness, and that would include speaking for truth at the polls.  The real power, however, is in prayer.  So, how should we pray in light of all of this?  It is easy to construct an imprecatory prayer against those that we disagree with.  Contrary to the intellectual view, there are times to pray for such a victory…as long as we leave it with God.

Have you ever thought about what would happen if we were to participate in concentrated prayer for the salvation of a wicked ruler?  If God were to act in response to the cry of His people, the major problem would be solved in a split second!  This reminds me of the terrorist who was saved a couple years ago in the morning service of a student church planter.  In one second, he went from being a destructive force to being instead a man who will never fly a plane into a building in order to destroy hundreds of innocent people.  He came to church a coward, but left that morning a man of courage who now helps people instead of hating them.

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MODERATE EVANGELICALS Friday, Oct 12 2012 

Ecumenical evangelicalism is alive and thriving.  Like a pack of wolves, the left leaners are devouring the stable theology of the right.  There appears to be some kind of death wish on the part of those who feel driven to erase a theology that is biblical by merging it with all kinds of aberrations.  This ecumenical activity is willing to set aside important doctrine in order to draw people together.  Their argument is that only love, the gospel, unity, or any such singularity is all that matters, along with getting people together; as long as you have the central doctrines, whatever they are, you can trash the rest of the text.  This is done by stealth and the redefining of such things as the gospel itself.

Defining the main players is easy; they regularly confess their participation in print.  Placing them in categories is another matter altogether.  There is no single category where everyone holds to the same views.  Terms like atheist, agnostic, infidel, apostate, modernist, liberal, or neo-orthodox is one thing; dealing with evangelicalism, neo-evangelicalism, conservatism, and fundamentalism is something else altogether.  Trying to sort them all out is like trying to pick up mercury.  In general, each designation does have some major things in common; but none of these is equal to the others.

When individuals try to straddle the theological fence between liberal and conservative, they are most often referred to as moderates.  This position of compromise gives credence to the views of both sides.  It always means, however, that they have to give up something to the right of them.  You cannot hold two contrasting views at the same time; one of them will have to be damaged or disrespected.  Part of this problem comes from the desire to be tolerant.  We ought to respect others in that they have a right to a view, but that does not mean they are right.  The moderate, however, sees tolerance as allowing a broad range of theological positions with a focus on just a few things that are often unstable in themselves.

Recently, discussion has centered on a group called conservative evangelicals.  The term alone admits that not all evangelicals are conservative, so this designation is an effort to build a bridge between two divergent positions.  It is true that there will be some common ground between them, but they are two distinct views.  In light of the forgoing discussion, those who stand in between the two views are really moderate evangelicals.

THE MODERATE PROBLEM

The moderate position has to surrender something.  One cannot hold to a theology that is biblical and blink at the error of another.  We don’t have to attack the persons who hold them, but we are obligated to state the contrast of biblical doctrine and to reject error.   An example of this is what happened with the invention of progressive dispensationalism.   Admittedly, it was an effort to build a bridge between standard dispensationalism and covenant theology, but that is impossible.  The gulf between them is as wide as the Atlantic Ocean, and it is impossible to bridge the two.  In this case, the moderates had to give up something.  While they continued to claim to be dispensational, they departed from the true meaning of the word and developed something new.  This, of course, leaves serious questions for them to answer; but this is the nature of the moderate position.

What brought them to this place?  Why would anyone want to be caught in the middle?  One of the reasons is an insatiable lust for intellectualism.  The pseudo-intellectuals have painted fundamentalists and dispensationalists as being a little less than bright.  The truth is that some of the finest minds we know are in the ranks of historical dispensationalists; many of these trusted scholars, however, have not felt the need to appease those on the left of the discussion.  It is a serious flaw to “want to be like them” so much so that you would walk away from, or be embarrassed about, key doctrines of the faith, because you end up joining the moderates’ choir singing “the time of rapture is not something to separate over”.

I am frequently asked why so many of our young men are following the pied pipers of theological error. Immature students are apt to be fooled quite easily by intellectual gurus.  They reveal their passion by repeating telltale buzzwords and questionable theological pretzels such as a “misguided kingdom theology”.   Like their mentors, they are quick to discard such important parts of the theological puzzle such as cessationism and to adopt such things as the replacement theory.  This not only identifies spiritual immaturity, but also shows that they have had poorly-taught biblical theology in their seminaries.  The real bombshell, though, is the absence of the one biblical hermeneutic that would have prevented them from gulping their minds full of doctrinal error.  This ministry tragedy can be placed at the feet of the moderates.

WHAT MODERATES ARE MISSING

Every doctrinal error and theological diversion comes from an erroneous hermeneutic.  This is the heart of the moderate problem.  The one biblical hermeneutic is exact; it is mathematical.  Letting the text speak for itself will bring us to common conclusions.  This process would exclude any moderate. On the other hand, the hermeneutical system used by moderates actually lets them conclude anything they wish – and they do.  So why would anyone who is committed to a theology that is biblical, established by a biblical hermeneutic, want to hold theological hands with the moderate?

It is one thing for the authors of the “theological error of the month” to ignore the one biblical hermeneutic. Their bad hermeneutical habits go way back to the Jewish rabbis, Origen, Clement of Alexander, Thomas Aquinas, and – surprise! – to Luther and Calvin.  To argue that some of them were right some of the time is to argue for the value of a stopped clock.  It is true that some of them claimed to own a literal hermeneutic, but their writings tell us otherwise.

The most disturbing thing about this subject is that there are so few people among us who really understand what the plain, normal, consistent, literal hermeneutic is and fewer yet who actually use it. Using the biblical system will not let you agree with the wayward theological ideas that are being fed to young minds these days by the moderate evangelicals.

CONTRAST TO THE MODERATES

The liberal mind infects the moderate mentality.  It will focus on form instead of content and meaning.  It loves complication that creates a smokescreen for the infusion of human reason into biblical text.  Such thinking is so well practiced that it is hard to peel the layers off.  This is where the biblical system of interpretation is so valuable.  When you are following the biblical system, it is impossible to arrive at the many theological errors that exist and are even now being created.  On the other hand, there is real joy in knowing that we are allowing the text to speak for itself.  Leaning on the grammar, the context, and the historical setting of the text will produce that purity of doctrine that our Lord desires us to have.