ALL THE KING’S MEN Monday, Jul 29 2013 

Most of us older folks can recite the nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty, which begins “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall”, and ends with “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again”. I feel sorry for the pessimists in today’s world as well as the optimists. When either group looks at the condition of our nation and this world, they are very apt to draw flawed conclusions. A biblical Christian, on the other hand, is a realist in that he can observe and discuss the terrible plight we are in but at the same time can clearly see the answers that we need. Some individuals solve problems by simply ignoring them, and there are situations where this might be the best approach. In the case of a “clear and present danger”, however, ignoring the reality can be deadly.

Never in the history of this planet has there been such a worldwide destabilization as there is today. Anyone looking for a stable government, economy, or moral standard, or a peaceful setting, searches the world in vain. For the believer, this is no surprise; the Bible clearly tells us what to expect in the end time. The question is what should we do with this reality?

Never before in the history of this once-great country has there been such a drastic plunge into moral degradation, economic insanity, lawlessness, lack of leadership, and ever-present danger. This is the way of any unregenerate society because it has no moral base, having turned from the Sovereign Creator to the worship of man. The old Wild West was tame compared to the violence in our cities and now in the entire countryside. The question once again is – what should we do with this reality?

Never before in the history of the American church has there existed such disdain for the very Word of God, the Bible. Culture has become the rule of morals and methodology. While all the statements and creeds may still be in print, their contents are very seldom found in the pulpits or in the hearts of those who call themselves Christian. The church has become the favorite whipping boy of those who openly revile God. It has been marginalized to the point that biblical Christianity has next to no major impact on society at all. Society not only rejects the church; it openly mocks it. The question is…what should we do with this reality?

DEADLY SILENCE

From a human point of view, we have a Humpty Dumpty nation and world; there is nothing on the horizon that can mend its broken condition. The judgment of God is apparent in the whole of society, and even creation echoes this. The optimist would disagree because he wants there to be an answer for his own comfort and safety, but his is a false hope. The liberal mind has no answer; it only creates problems and blames them on someone else. Denial and false hope actually keep us from coming up with an answer to this calamity.

Many Christian leaders have not only recommended false hope, but have provided a partial truth, and a half truth is dangerous. It is true that the answer for an individual is the gospel because once someone is saved, his world and future are changed forever. It is true that when a person is saved, the positive influence on his surroundings is an answer. From an eternal point of view, the gospel is the answer; and it has immediate influence on the culture.

For the biblical Christian, we begin with the gospel as described in I Corinthians 15:1-4. I say with respect that the gospel is not the whole counsel of God. A church that preaches only the gospel is only partially obedient. The believer who thinks that sharing the gospel is his sole responsibility will in the end be disobedient to the scripture. The whole Bible is the whole counsel of God. The whole must be believed, taught, and shared with the world around us. If you tell me that I am not to speak to the issues of life openly in society, you have asked me to be disobedient.

Silence is deadly, and the church is paying the price for its silence in our culture. That silence happens because some well-intentioned leader has told you to keep God’s Word to yourself or within the four walls of the building where the local church meets. Morality, abortion, sodomy, and dishonesty are not political issues; they are biblical issues first. If believers refuse to obey God and speak to these issues in public, only the lies of the devil’s children will stand.

NOW FOR THE ANSWER

Silence is not an answer. Ignoring the reality of a tragic society is not the answer. The answer is in the hand of God and in His Word. It is of great comfort to know that the biblical Christian has read the last chapter. God wins, and we are winners because we are in Christ. Our struggles are temporary, and defeat is a fleeting thing. Dr. M. R. DeHaan used to say, “Victory may not always be possible, but faithfulness always is”. Those who have accepted the biblical teaching of the any-moment catching away of the church and the second coming of Christ just prior to the Millennium can rejoice in these answers clearly defined in the text of scripture. These are the final answers, and there can be no doubt about them.

We are still waiting for the sound of the trumpet and the “Blessed Hope”. This is the real world we live in. So, what is the answer to the dilemma of living in this “present evil world”? It begins with our willingness to ignore those who call for silence. We have a duty to speak truth openly in the home, in the church, and in society. It is the gospel that saves, but it is truth that leads one to the gospel. It is the Bible that contains the true gospel, but the Bible is also authoritative in any matter to which it speaks.

The answer is in our obligation to glorify God in all we do. Silence does not glorify Him. It is not our responsibility to change the culture – only God can do that – but it is our responsibility to share with the whole world the truth, all the truth contained in the book. Our world has had a great fall, and it is not our job to put it together again, but we can be obedient. This is no time to hide truth under a bushel.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

The book The Weeping Church was first published in 1985. It has been in constant publication since then, and now Faithful Life Publishers has printed the third edition. It continues to be an effective tool for pastors and churches who are seeking to follow the clear teaching of Scripture as to the polity of the local church.

Faithful Life Publishers.com,The Weeping Church, Clay Nuttall, D.Min ISBN 978-1-937129-80-4

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BAD DOCTRINE LEADS TO HERESY Wednesday, Jul 17 2013 

The past few weeks have produced some serious frustration for me. I continue to be grieved over the number of younger men who have become prey to doctrinal error. In the main they appear to be enamored with the arrogance of scholarship and intellectualism. Much of this wind of doctrine has come from the misguided influence of the Reformed theology. The basic problem however is the hermeneutic they have adopted. While they would call it biblical it is nothing more than the old allegorical system that has done so much harm to foundational theology. The façade for this farce is the use of the original languages. While language is first in the hermeneutical process it produces false conclusions when it ignores the whole of biblical interpretation that God has given to us.

Most of us would condemn the use of proof texting. This is what the average doctrinal error and cults are made of. The intellectual however has turned proof texting into an art form. Instead of using a single text or a few texts to prove a point, that does not exist in any of them, the pseudo-scholar uses page after page of proof texts before assigning a meaning that doesn’t exist in any of them. This process ignores the whole teaching on a subject and as a result produces error. It is built on bad habits of interpretation such as making an exception the rule and causing similarities to be equals. The product is philosophical theology rather than a theology that is biblical.

AN EXAMPLE

Several examples will suffice to illustrate the error of inserting human presuppositions into the text. The Body of Christ, the church is made up of those redeemed individuals from Pentecost to the Rapture. This is the bride of Christ it is not the same as the wife of God discussed by the prophets. Even the slightest attempt to weld national Israel with the church is subject to suspicion and will identify an errant hermeneutic. I am fully aware of the proof texts used to destroy the clear separation of the two. This includes the bifurcating the special ministry to the church, by the Holy Spirit that began at Pentecost.

The church, the body of Christ, is a whole it is a solid unit. Members are a part of this body but they are not the whole. The body of Christ, the heavenly church, is not complete; it has never met and will not meet until the catching away of the church prior to the tribulation period. Members in a local church may be part of the body of Christ but they are not equal to the whole. For that reason the local church, with its many unsaved members is not equal to the body of Christ.

When the heavenly church, the body of Christ is caught away the bridegroom will “present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27; Rev. 19:8)). The teaching is elementary, unless one deliberately complicates it. At this point not one member of the body or the whole has any flaw or blemish in any way. Our salvation and everything that the bride inherently is, eternally, depends on the finished work of Christ. Our works or service has nothing to do with our eternal state or status. To reject this is to attack the veracity of the finished work of Christ.

When Christ returns at the Second Coming, prior to the Millennium, His bride, the body of Christ will return with Him. This complete body “shall reign on earth” (Rev. 5:10) “with” Him. This unity of the bride with the bridegroom is without exception. No member of this glorious church will be absent for any reason from this eternal relationship or status.

AN OLD ERROR

One cannot assume that scholars are always right. Actually we can assume that they are often wrong. This is true of and old error proposed by some scholars. I speak here of what is called “The doctrine of eternal rewards”. At the heart of this error is the idea that some members of the body of Christ will not share in the millennial reign with Christ and that some will not share in the heavenly city, the eternal state. This state of limbo or purgatory is blamed on the unprofitable servant texts in Matthew and is simply a long list of proof texts that ignore the clear teaching of scripture on the body of Christ. This odd teaching arises from an errant hermeneutic sprinkled with the dust of proper use of the language. It may not be as deliberate as it looks but is an effort to “complicate to confuse”.

Our task in bible interpretation is to “simply to clarify”. We also need to begin with the things that we most assuredly know. The clear teaching of the church as bride of Christ and as the one body of Christ in union makes such humanly devised presuppositions impossible. The bible was not written for scholars to toy with. It is written to us as the average believer. While we are grateful for honest and faithful grammarians and well qualified scholars but God has given the average believer a way to know when the experts are not telling the truth. That is what the one biblical hermeneutic is all about. If those who have divided the body into pieces, as to state and status, would have just asked questions of the text their answers would have stood the test of the whole. The reader always needs to ask these who, where, when, why questions before attempting to assign personal meaning to the text. If one does not know who the text in question was written too, how could you expect the bible to answer?

The one biblical hermeneutic is the correct system of interpretation. It is mathematical in that if we use the system of interpreting and the rules that apply to language everyone will come to the same answer every time. The variances in conclusions therefore rise from ignoring the system or violating the rules so that all errors actually rise from and errant system or a breaking of the rules of interpretation.

ONE ERROR LEADS TO ANOTHER

An additional problem in this area of theology is a faulty view of the Judgment Seat of Christ. The texts are very clear on this event. It is our human invention that creates the misunderstanding. The Bema has nothing to do with salvation. We are at the Bema as a result of our salvation through the work of Christ. This judgment is about the service of sons. All sons are equal at this point. The only question here is what rewards are given to whom. This is a positive time and the highlight of it all is that Christ not servants are honored in that all crowns are ultimately cast before the Lord (Rev. 4:10). The center of this scene is Christ and the main issue is the awarding of crowns.

Teaching on this subject is often overwhelmed with the negative. It is true that all service done in the flesh with be burned. It is true that some members of the body of Christ will not receive rewards. That would be sad but that is not the purpose of the Bema. The main purpose is positive, it is rewards. I do not mean to set aside disobedience or un-confessed sin but that is not the focus, it is a by-product. This is another reason why the whole hermeneutic must be used in viewing scripture.

In addition to the micro/macro context, the historical setting of the text always helps answer little questions. The Holy Spirit used the Bema seat because the actual historical event confirms the positive view. The Bema was a raised platform where the judge sat. One of these is still standing in the old city of Corinth. When a race or sporting event was over the Bema was used by the judge to honor the winner, often with a crown of olive leaves. That was the sole purpose of the judge. While it is true the non-winners were not mentioned the judge did not lecture, condemn or exile those who failed to win the event.

When the Judgment Seat of Christ is concluded every member of the bride will stand included and equal “In Christ”. That is because their state and status eternally was settled by the sacrifice of Christ not the works of the believers. This is all so simple and points out why bad doctrine leads ultimately to heresy.