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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Theology / (κοινωνία=2841- 43) Koinonia: The Communication of Grace Welcome Guest
    (κοινωνία=2841- 43) Koinonia: The Communication of Grace
          Committed to the informed sharing of God's free economy of GRATIS salvation (communicate, communion - 20 x, 4 primary verses: Gal 6:6; Phl 4:14; 1 Tim 6:18; Heb 13:16 KJV).

          New visitors, please see the signature posting for 5.17.08.

          The short poems, pieces of fiction, thematic footnoted discussion, the many recommended books and sites in the blog roll listing, and such are offered as an enjoyable learning experience for the curious Christian seeker who does not believe, and, the one who believes, yet wants to know the who, what, where, when, why, and how they believe that they are saved (Rom 1:2; 2 Tim 3:15). I welcome all comments and thank you for visiting:

          "When the heart is cast indeed into the mould of the doctrine that the mind embraceth; ... not the sense of the words only is in our heads, but the sense of the things abides in our hearts; when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for,—then shall we be garrisoned, by the grace of God, against all the assaults of men. And without this all our contending is, as to ourselves, of no value. What am I the better if I can dispute that Christ is God, but have no sense of sweetness in my heart from hence that he is a God in covenant with my soul? What will it avail me to evince, by testimonies and arguments, that he hath made satisfaction for sin, if, through my unbelief, the wrath of God abideth on me, and I have no experience of my own being made the righteousness of God in him?"

          John Owen

    Mon, Sep 29th - 11:17AM

    New Diggs at WEbook.com




    Dear Reader,

    I thank all my 4000 visitors to date. However, owing to the fact of virtually no feedback from viewers of this page, I have relocated. Enjoy what I've done here, or you can go to the following link location to view my current writings.

    http://www.webook.com/projects.aspx?pn=gonzodave
                   

    Vaya con Dios,

    ~gonzodave

    Comment (0)

    Fri, Sep 12th - 12:37AM

    A Personal Testimony of Amazing Grace!




    Visit Free Book Express




    When the Bough Breaks, a personal testimony of Glorious Grace!


     

    The following is an excerpt from my unfinished trilogy of non-fiction work - The Gonzo Journalism of Grace. All Bible verses are from The NExT Bible (free to share @bible.org):

    ... The verses above represent the "good news of Christ" that is intended for those who will join themselves to the will of Our Father and "obey the gospel." The "bad news" with obeying the gospel is that within what is considered orthodox Christianity there is a false gospel that will not save. This is the negative gospel that is presented and argued against within these pages.

    Many may certainly disagree, but I have personally experienced what Scripture reveals concerning the fact that the Holy Spirit of God effects the spirit of a man in order to convict him of sin, and righteousness, and judgment. This is necessary because man is blinded by Satan and his world system that we all live in. The matter of man's free will and the divine action of "drawing" upon a man is a given truth in Scripture. Might this divine drawing be removed by another force? This is the relevant question to answer, rather than the limits of free will. 1 Of the four seeds that are sown (Mtw 13:3-9); one is snatched away by "the evil one," one "fell among thorns" and "the care of this world (age)," and two fall on "not much earth" and "good ground." But only "good ground" produces a multiple-fold increase.

    I make the following statements with much certainty, as my salvation was not in answering an altar call by Billy Graham at the Astrodome when I was a teenager. Nor at any time in the following years was my salvation a result of attending church or repeating a prayer. However the providence of God works, from childhood I was extremely curious about God and heaven. Having the misfortune of not being exposed to the gospel of the grace of God, I was never satisfied with the limited answers and slogans that I received in response to my questions. I instinctively felt something was wrong with what I was hearing at the time and this - not because I knew what was right. I had a very limited religious background that was Catholic and Methodist. Which is to say, that salvation and heaven was seen as a reward for good behavior. To believe in Christ was to believe in good behavior, not a Savior who would forgive my bad behavior and insure my eventual perfection. My religious background was exclusive of any and all Pentecostal or charismatic interests and associations. That is to say no holy rollers had influenced my spiritual perceptions.

    But a miracle occurred, my salvation was secured in private, in one mid-morning moment of personal insight and ownership, when a mental picture of the first Adam, the old man, and the last Adam, the new man Jesus Christ, was juxtaposed against the paternal twins, Esau the older and Jacob the younger. In this image from the OT, Jacob disguised as Esau by his mother, stood in front of his blind father Isaac and received the elder's blessing that originally belonged to Esau. Christ, like the hairy Jacob dressed in concealment by his mother, could not disguise His voice when speaking to His Father.

    The mere reciting of this event cannot convey the dynamic of that moment; but, in that moment, I accepted with my whole being that the man Jesus Christ was my Savior God and, not only the gospel of the grace of God was true; but from the very first word to the last, I admitted to myself that the Bible was absolute Truth. A flood of admitted Truth overcame me.

    Immediately, thereupon, I began to shake, rattle, and roll with a new love and a fierce desire to be in heaven with Jesus. Soon afterwards I learned this was yielding to the Holy Spirit. This is considered by God to be a "normal" Christian state of being filled by the Holy Spirit. And this, only possible after salvation through the permanent indwelling of the Spirit. It was a manifestation of the Spirit, the ecstasy of divine love - not my own. It was an aspect of the very nature of Christ that I experienced i (John 17:26; Rom 5:5; Gal 5:22).

    • Rom 5:5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


    • 2 John 1:5 But now I ask you, lady (not as if I were writing a new commandment to you, but the one we have had from the beginning), that we love one another.


    • "(v. 5) Law (of Christ), Summary: The new "law of Christ" is the divine love, as wrought into the renewed heart by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5; Heb 10:16), and outflowing in the energy of the Spirit, unforced and spontaneous, toward the objects of the divine love (2 Cor 5:14-20; 1 Thes 2:7, 8). It is, therefore, "the law of liberty" (James 1:25; 2:12), in contrast with the external law of Moses. Moses' law demands love (Lev 19:18; Deut 6:5; Lk 10:27); Christ's law is love (Rom 5:5; 1 John 4:7, 19, 20), and so takes the place of the external law by fulfilling it (Rom 13:10; Gal 5:14). It is the "law written in the heart" under the New Covenant (Heb 8:8, note)." ii


    • Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, no one would have looked for a second one. 8:8 But showing its fault, God says to them, "Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 8:9 "It will not be like the covenant that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord. 8:10 "For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people. 8:11 "And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, 'Know the Lord,' since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. 8:12 "For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer." 8:13 When he speaks of a new covenant, he makes the first obsolete. Now what is growing obsolete and aging is about to disappear.


    • "(8:8) The New Covenant, Summary: (1) "Better" than the Mosaic Covenant, not morally, but efficaciously (Heb 7:19; Rom 8:3, 4). (2) Established on "better" (i.e. unconditional) promises. In the Mosaic covenant God said, "If ye will" (Ex 19:5); in the New Covenant He says, "I will" (Heb 8:10, 12). (3) Under the Mosaic covenant obedience sprang from fear (Heb 2:2; 12:25-27); under the New from a willing heart and mind (v. 10). (4) The New Covenant secures the personal revelation of the Lord to every believer (v. 11); (5) the complete oblivion of sins (v. 12; Heb 10:17; Cf. Heb 10:3); (6) rests upon an accomplished redemption (Mt 26:27, 28; 1 Cor 11:25; Heb 9:11, 12, 18-23); (7) and secures the perpetuity, future conversion, and blessing of Israel (Jer 31:31-40; see also "Kingdom (O.T.)," and 2 Sam 7:8-17). The New Covenant is the eighth, thus speaking of resurrection and of eternal completeness. (8) The New Covenant rests upon the sacrifice of Christ, and secures the eternal blessedness, under the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal 3:13-29), of all who believe. It is absolutely unconditional, and since no responsibility by it is committed to man, it is final and irreversible."iii


    During this divine experience, I had much pent up truth to concede to Christ. This response was particular to me. I had previously studied the Bible in private off and on for years in order to find my own answers about Christianity. I was motivated by my disillusionment with religion and the many differing denominational ideas regarding Christ, salvation, and Christianity. I asked myself, How could so many differing ideas come from what is one fairly short book, the New Testament? In my studies I found that Christ Himself despised religiosity. I also learned the meaning behind "strange fire" and "strange smoke" mentioned in the OT. I found the only curses in the NT are laid on a false gospel, or spiritual sin. I loved the thoughts and realities suggested in the Epistles, especially Galatians and Ephesians, but I avoided the synoptic gospels, as the words of Christ seemed terribly repetitious and out of sync with the rest of the NT.

    I then began to read the OT. I now have learned the meaning of "rightly dividing the word." The future earthly kingdom teachings in the synoptics are a different message and primarily are an extension of Old Testament covenantal promises, "Behold, I will send my messenger and he [John the Baptist (Mtw 3:1-3)] shall prepare the way before me [the first advent of Christ when He was rejected by the nation of Israel]: [the second advent of Christ predicted at the end of the events in the seven year tribulation period] and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mal 3:1). Consequently, the gospel of God's grace grounded in the death and resurrection of Christ is contained in the Gospel of John, the Book of Acts of the Holy Spirit, and the Epistles, which are the letters written for Christian instruction in this age. Owing in large part to a destructive "admixture" of the above, I understand also, that the world's negative opinion of religion is mostly correct. Jesus Christ is harmed much in the house of His friends (as during His first advent), but never by His Church, His Bride, and His Body of brethren (His interim work in heaven as our resurrected Savior).

    My understanding has grown precept upon precept, and drop by drop, by the power of divine illumination of the Scriptures, provided to me and every child of God by Christ Himself. "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:45). This understanding is administered only as one will yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit that resides in every believer. The benefits thus derived are not intended for the world at large. Any thing that comes "in Christ" and is done "in Christ" is for the benefit of His Body of believers, both current and future.

    There are many degrees of effect in different personalities and circumstances. Truth, the person of Jesus Christ, comes to someone in a way that is uniquely suited to them. The presentation of Christ, the true gospel of grace by spoken or written word, and the wholehearted full acceptance of the Truth - are inseparable and vital. The complete acceptance by the mind, will, and emotion in unison is saving faith. The reality of a never to be denied choice.

    The theology that adheres to the rationalism which accepts that it is the "inalienable right" of a man or woman, that it is within the power of a true believer to voluntarily forfiet, or "give back" one's salvation is merely a system of Christian profession, not faith. How may a sinner saved by grace completely and forever deny His Savior? How may the Savior "give back" His own gift - the new sons and daughters of God whom the Father has given Him as "brethern" that are to be "created in His image" for all eternity?

    The following is an entry from my journal dated October 4, 2004. In retrospect, I believe this was the starting point of a "voluntary desire" that made this writing effort possible:

    "I struggle with why God has made life "full of troubles" and why the "precept upon precept" of knowing Him "line upon line" and "drop by drop" - the working out of my love for God - is so constant and immediate. But just now His Spirit in me says, "Your present concerns are a result of free will. The measure of your love for me, the starting point the most difficult point in your life is accomplished. What you will always have after that, which you live with day upon day, is Me working in your life. Note to Self, Let our virtues learn to suffer test."

    In closing, I'd like to show you some family photographs from our Book of Life. The Word of God gives us the gospel in a series of beautiful pictures of the silent Truth in the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ:

    Pilate as he was considering the sentencing of our silent Lord asked, "What is truth?" and walked away from Truth. Later, Pilate presented Christ to the Jews and said, "Ecce homo - Behold the man!" Mary, His mother at the foot of His cross. The three hours of Darkness in which Christ suffered the sins of the whole world. The dead pierced body of Christ on His Cross of Crucifixion as the Centurion admits, "Surely, this man was the Son of God." The stone and soldiers that guarded the burial tomb. The empty tomb. The wounds in His resurrected body. The ascension of Christ to heaven after forty days. The witness of the two angels concerning His return.

    Truth - Man - A virgin birth - Sinless and unique - The blood of the Lamb for the sins of the world - God Himself - Dead and buried - He's alive and resurrected - Witnessed and confirmed by many - He has ascended and will return.

    Christ is in heaven now ministering to His living Church of believers that are placed eternally and securely into His Mystical Body by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. His future return to earth with all the saints who are His brethren is promised. Grace and Truth cannot fail!

    "Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ's behalf, "Be reconciled to God!" God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God." iv

    • John 17:3 Now this is eternal life 8 that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.


    • John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ. 1:18 No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known.


    • John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.


    • John 14:6 Jesus replied, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 14:7 If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him."


    • 8sn This is eternal life. The author here defines eternal life for the readers, although it is worked into the prayer in such a way that many interpreters do not regard it as another of the author's parenthetical comments. It is not just unending life in the sense of prolonged duration. Rather it is a quality of life, with its quality derived from a relationship with God. Having eternal life is here defined as being in relationship with the Father, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent. Christ (???????, Christ?s) is not characteristically attached to Jesus' name in John's Gospel; it occurs elsewhere primarily as a title and is used with Jesus' name only in 1:17. But that is connected to its use here: The statement here in 17:3 enables us to correlate the statement made in 1:18 of the prologue, that Jesus has fully revealed what God is like, with Jesus' statement in 10:10 that he has come that people might have life, and have it abundantly. These two purposes are really one, according to 17:3, because (abundant) eternal life is defined as knowing (being in relationship with) the Father and the Son. The only way to gain this eternal life, that is, to obtain this knowledge of the Father, is through the Son (cf. 14:6). Although some have pointed to the use of know (???????, gin?sk?) here as evidence of Gnostic influence in the Fourth Gospel, there is a crucial difference: For John this knowledge is not intellectual, but relational. It involves being in relationship.


    ______________________________________

    Footnotes

    **Greek fonts do no convert in this .txt file


    1 "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37). "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44). In these two verses, spoken in the same passage, Jesus states both sides of the coin with no apology or contradiction. Any can come and not be cast out (free will of man 6:37). All who come have been chosen (sovereign election by God 6:44).
    i "There is a very real human love, but all Christian love, according to Scriptures, is distinctly a manifestation of divine love through the human heart. A statement of this is found in Romans 5:5, "because the love of God is shed abroad [lit. gushes forth] in our hearts by [produced, or caused by] the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us." This is not the working of the human affection; it is rather the direct manifestation of the "love of God" passing through the heart of the believer out from the indwelling Spirit. It is the realization of the last petition of the High Priestly prayer of our Lord: "That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them" (John 17:26). It is simply God's love working in and through the believer. It could not be humanly produced, or even successfully imitated and it of necessity, goes out to the objects of divine affection and grace, rather than to the objects of human desire. A human heart cannot produce divine love, but it can experience it. To have a heart that feels the compassion of God is to drink of the wine of heaven. (He that is Spiritual, Dr. Lewis Chafer, p 48)
    ii Old Scofield Study System, Dr. C. I. Scofield, p 1326
    iii Ibid., p 1297-98
    iv 2 Cor 5:20-21 NET



    Copyright 2007 David Coulon. All rights reserved.


    ______________________________________



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    Tue, Sep 2nd - 9:47PM

    Gonzo Grace



    Gonzo Grace



    by gonzodave





    "So, now, whenever anybody says to me, "Your view of the atonement, you know, is very old-fashioned, the doctrine of substitution is quite out of date;" I am not at all shaken in my belief.

    The gentlemen of the modern-thought school, who have been to Germany for their theology, do not like that glorious doctrine of substitution. They think that the atonement is a something or other, that in some way or other, somehow or other, has something or other to do with the salvation of men; but I tell them that their cloudy gospel might have surrounded me till my hair grew grey, but I should never have been any the better for it. I should never have found peace with God, nor come to love the Lord at all, if it had not been that I distinctly saw that he, who knew no sin, was made sin for me, that I might be made the righteousness of God in him.

    When I realized that, although I had gone astray from God, and broken his righteous law, he had laid on Christ my iniquity, and punished him in my stead, my soul found rest at once; and, to this day, it cannot rest under any other explanation of the atonement of Christ. So I bear my own personal witness, and many of you can heartily join with me in bearing similar testimony. You have been with Christ, so you can speak of the power of his substitutionary sacrifice as begetting peace in your soul."
    Charles H. Spurgeon
    1880

    "Objective journalism is one of the main reasons American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long. You can't be objective about Nixon."
    Hunter S. Thompson

    There is no OLD SCHOOL - there is only ONE SCHOOL - which teaches that only two kinds of Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, et. al. exist within any so-called denomination today. Those who trust completely in the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ for continued salvation and those who trust in themselves - just like the rest of the world (e.g., no palengenesis; no regeneration; no new birth from death to life).

    It is impossible to be objective about one's own salvation. Objective Christianity is the reason for the latitude that allows for the corrupted message that proudly teaches a loss of salvation for those who are not "good enough" to be accepted by God. The objective is to defend and proclaim God's free grace secured in the blood of Christ Jesus for sinners.
    gonzodave




    Dear Reader,

    (Essay from an unpublished manuscript. About 2800 words)

    THE HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL PREMISE OF AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY

    What has been gained by the enthusiastic focus on the Christian family, concerning matters that are psychological, behavioral, and legal, when all the while, inside the church there is no difference in the rate of divorce and unwed or unwanted pregnancies? Divorce, pregnancy, and abortion may be said to be completely voluntary in more than 99 of 100 incidents. Also, there is an extreme overemphasis by many so-called Christian organizations against secular attacks upon Christianity. The presumption being that current legal activities to defend religious freedoms maintain the greater democratic freedoms that were founded by men who believed in Jesus Christ for salvation. Keeping in mind the just previous section of HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL FACTS, is this assertion accurate?

    In 21st century American society it is rather difficult to distinguish Christianity from the historical beginnings of political thought that began in the post-Reformation and Protestant led English Civil War which continued in the humanism of the politics that were championed in the "Age of Reason/Enlightenment." Christianity has been joined to political thought and used by atheist and deist (e.g., Freemasonry 1) to extend their influence and control. The great contributors to American political thought, John Locke and Thomas Paine, were English Deists and certainly not Christians. John Hancock, for one, and others who signed the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons. Also, George Washington appears in a famous painting sporting full Freemason regalia and the famous Freemason "apron."

    Beyond the era of the founding fathers, the Freemason William Taft, the US President between Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, was a professed Unitarian. Both recent Presidents named Bush are members of the freemasonry "Skull and Bones Club." Which is an ivy-league fraternity. "In God is our trust" is one line in the Star Spangled Banner. "In God We Trust" was not mandatory on all US currency until 1955. This motto was not originally a national movement. It first appeared on a few Union coins in 1864 - during the War Between the States.

    Fierce individualism is a tenet of an unencumbered free economy conceived in the Enlightenment era and is not a NT Christian nor a OT Jewish ethic. Freedom and liberty from the power and penalties of sin contained in the gospel of saving grace does not translate into the "pursuit of happiness" coined by Jefferson (or "property" as originally penned by John Locke). If the OT Jews desired their non-voting theocracy under God so much, why were they constantly being defeated, enslaved, and dispersed as a result of their non-observance of the Sacred Scriptures?

    All this is not to say that God and morality were not held in high regard in early colonial America. A little appreciated fact is that a much different "populist" Christianity existed in Colonial America than that which has dominated Protestantism since the 1850's. This dissimilarity is above and beyond any moral considerations. A sovereign grace Puritan of the 1700's is not the free will Arminian of 2008. The "New Light and Old Light" Christian of the "First Great Awakening" is not the Arminian Christian of the "Second Great Awakening." The distinction, once again, is not morality, or rules for living; rather, it is the doctrine of salvation (Soteriology). The vital foundation of the evangel of "good news." Which is "the gospel" message for the lost.

    The core difference being what is believed about the value of the death of Christ for salvation. Did Christ pay the full price or not? This was the essential difference of "justification by faith" between Luther and the Roman Church in the Protestant Reformation. This difference continually returns and makes its home inside Christianity. Cults are not in view in this discussion. However, the so-called orthodox Christian salvation - in which cults share the same Soteriology of "parolee" salvation is in view.

    In the blood of Christ, denominational distinctions disappear and contain no vital difference. The death of Christ is either considered the single focus, or, it is merely adapted to "rules of life," that consist of so-called biblical Christian commands for continued salvation. The two are not separate "opinions;" rather, one is false and one is true. They cannot occupy the same space. Christ did not die two separate deaths. So, then, historically, American Christianity is properly packaged and separated into apple barrels and orange crates. The distinction of probationary salvation and its traditional form of overly stressed dramatic preaching about hell-fire exists today in the vast populist presence of Arminianism that was spread throughout the early frontier America (1810-1850) by stump-jumping, turn or burn circuit riders who were farmer preachers performing for their evening meal and traveling money (viz., the non-intellectual rural nature of American "populist" Christianity).

    Much of the present-day social contention over Christian freedoms would be eliminated and disappear if transferred to the common area of civil freedoms. But, only if the underlying Holy Grail of a tax-exempt status were voluntarily relinquished. "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's" is not an anti-Christian idea, it is the plain teaching of Jesus and the NT Apostles in many verses of the Epistles. Should this occur, the ACLU would then have no privileged adversary and, thus, no socially offended underdogs that can be elevated to the status of a "specially protected citizen." Also, there would be no "cash cow" for judgment awards to fund their extortive activities.

    More importantly, what kind of Christianity is being paraded through the courts of America? Does God really bless America because of the unique worthiness of today's "populist" American Christianity? The character of Christianity that threatens her enemies in the modern secular world is quite a different hazard than that which jeopardized the 1st century secular enemies of the church. Aside from His blasting condemnation of the spiritual sin of the Pharisees, Jesus did not condemn sinners for being immoral. He cleansed the temple of spiritual sin and "thieves" who were "money changers." Also, Jesus allowed demons that He had exorcised to destroy 2000 income producing pigs that were illegally owned by Jews. The villagers promptly ran Him out of town. The Apostles, who were poor as dirt themselves, took away income also. They did this by silencing a persistent slave girl who was a fortune teller and converting people to Christianity. The well-to-do owners of the demon-possessed slave girl lost their livelihood and the conversions threatened the powerful metalsmith union that produced idols and depleted the local Jewish synagogues of tithe paying Jews. (The continued practice of Judaism for acceptance before God became spiritual sin after the death of Christ.) The Ephesian believers burned 50,000 man-days (almost 200 man-years) worth of "books of magic and spells" several years after their conversion. All of the above mentioned financially injured and non-believing parties sought legal retribution. The common thread is monetary loss of income earned by "spiritual" sin against God in the form of denying Jesus Christ, not moral sin.

    The epistolary NT gives explicit details to determine a false teacher by their doctrine, not their morality. The first three Gospels, with advice intended primarily for a future time, state just the opposite. The greatest "spiritual" sin committed today is by those who enjoy a fabulous life-style from preaching a false Christianity. The "poor little donkey," the teachings defended by the NT writers against the internal enemies of the early church had to contend with adversaries who bear much resemblance to today's "populist" Christianity. A popular Christianity that esteems riches and recognition to be the deserved rewards for continued faith in Jesus Christ. Should Christianity genuinely be a "health and wealth" contract only the foolish would turn it down. Since this idea is false, who are those that offer and who are they which accept such a contract? "Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by which ye are called? For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a man in vile raiment; Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of (with) evil thoughts?" (James 2:6, 7, 2, 4).

    It may be said that there exists a pecking order - an order of importance and prestige held by a "populist" Christianity. A direct example between "two forms" of Christianity may be found in chapter 22 of the book of Numbers. In this chapter, a poor little servant donkey, who later actually speaks, receives a beating from the false teacher, Balaam (Heb.=destruction). As perceived by Balaam, the donkey delays the prophet in his pursuit of a reward for cursing the immoral enemies of a king named Balak (Heb.=to make empty). These enemies threaten the religious freedoms of the king and his followers. But, as we are shown in this story, Balaam is actually serving the wrong king. He serves an easy world conformity. In this scenario, Jesus, as the Angel of the Lord, appears and says to Balaam: "And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive" (Num 22:34).

    In the temptation of Christ recorded in Matthew 4:3-10 there is an uncanny parallel between Balaam's donkey and Christ in the threefold sequence of physical need, self-harm, and worship. Some insightful teachers advise a new Christian to first seriously study the temptation of Christ rather than the Gospel of John. Jesus is love, yes; but what was his experience in love? and, what might the Christian expect?

    THE GONZO JOURNALISM OF GRACE

    Many books have been written about grace. Most are one-sided and outside-in homiletic treatments where grace is approached more by sentimentality than zealous defense. Abraham was declared righteous by God when he believed in what God said. Only one other man in the OT was declared righteous by God (other persons are named by the NT in Hebrews 11). The grandson of Aaron, Phineas, was a priest who acted in the defense of God's honor in response to the false teaching of Balaam which had seduced the Israelites. Through Abraham, the entrance into grace is typified. Through Phineas, faithful action within grace is typified. I understand these two men as demonstrating the meritless gift of grace through faith and the meritorious rewards of action because one has received the free gift of grace. Both together encompass the Christian life. This is in contradiction to behavior grounded in biblical commands and a reward of salvation for continuing faith.

    Grace is the all-important theme of this work. The enemies of grace are found in the house of her friends. If there is no outrage at the parasitic nature of a false Christianity that ridicules the grace that sustains true believers; that holds the true children of God up to mockery and contempt for holding to the "law of Christ" and not the Law of Moses; that unreservedly asserts the child of God is lying about God's Word when assurance in the blood of Christ for salvation is claimed. Then where, I ask, is the love for Christ in those who will not and cannot defend the honor of Christ who died so that they could live? May it be recognized and well understood that the assumption of a higher ground of morality is the same turn of logic that is used by secular moral relativism to silence any arguments about moral standards. A Christianity based on broken legal commands that can destroy God's grace is in league with the world - certainly not Christ and the teachings of grace. This is a much more vital threat than secular atheism. The fact that the unsaved are atheist is hardly news or a threat to a properly informed Christian. The correct response of a worthy and pious mind is to recognize the tactical diversion of an extra-biblical threat from an atheistic world-view for what it is, namely: Get a grip, man, that's the mission field not the battlefield!

    But, then, how may the proper battle be fought? By being a proper witness who defends God's saving grace in the presence of the mission field. By exposing "spiritual" sin and cleaning first the house of the Lord. How then may "spiritual" sin be known and proven beyond all doubt? How may the false friends be exposed for the "spiritual" crime from which they earn their livelihood? How may true believers who are zealous for the honor of Christ remove this insult to the grace of God, first from their own lives and then the stain from the honor of Christianity? The answer is simple by understanding grace. The process is not so easy. The transformation of the spiritual mind takes much Scripture and dedicated attention. Also, a guide is needed. Someone or something, who Christ has instructed and prepared for such a purpose. Someone who has been there and come back to tell others. This book is a guide that will detail that journey.

    To begin to understand the position and moral high ground assumed by a false Christianity, one must first appreciate that God's offer of salvation in Christ, on the sole condition of faith, is a very straight forward proposition. However, sadly, as religious and pretentious men would have it, no straight forward proposition is preached by a "populist" Christianity. A higher moral ground than grace has been claimed. In a word a Mountain, the symbol of a kingdom. Willful ignorance is extremely hard to separate from convenient ignorance. In the OT this is dramatically illustrated: "Then said Micah, Now I know that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest" (Judges 17:13). Concerning Micah, Dr. C. I. Scofield writes, "A striking illustration of all apostasy. With his entire departure from the revealed will of God concerning worship and priesthood, there is yet an exaltation of false priesthood. Saying, "Blessed be thou of Jehovah," Micah's mother makes an idol; and Micah expects the blessings of Jehovah because he has linked his idolatry to the ancient Levitical order." i

    The Gospel record of Jesus Christ in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the first chapter of Acts has been divinely written to be historically correct. The record within the four Gospels is chronologically accurate. There exists only minor perceived exceptions which do not actually conflict; but only provide different details of different incidents at different times. Many common scenarios are contained in the first three Synoptic Gospels. This having been said, the very existence of this correct historical record invites the grossly false and insulting misconceptions that have been preached as so-called "true" doctrines of "the gospel" by false Protestants teachers for centuries. Is this to say the Bible is used against the Bible. An emphatic affirmative is the one answer. Bear in mind the corrupted religion depicted above, from the OT with Micah as the example. Does this seem terribly confusing? Confusion is not of the Lord's making; but perplexity is the stumbling stone that discourages the unsaved who are curious and entangles the believer who is immature. Lazy minds crippled by 10 second sound bytes are not able to digest the mature spiritual "meat" of God's grace contained in Scripture. No clear distinction can be made between law and grace until a knowledge of both is obtained by contrasting one to the other.

    To properly separate myth and false doctrine in "populist" Christianity from the pure teachings of NT grace, and, to understand grace from the "inside-out," as opposed to a superficial "outside-in," is a formidable task. Beyond any personal doubt, this fact has been demonstrated as a result of this extended effort. Over 7000 pages of theological instruction and references, along with three Bible translations, have been scoured and gleaned to assemble the doctrines of central importance. These teachings of God's grace have been selected to produce the proofs used in this investigative report.

    A correct exposition of grace needs a highly subjective and radically honest comparison to non-grace. A passionate and dedicated, highly subjective, non-fiction - a gonzo journalism of grace - was used to identify the source, not symptoms, of misleading propaganda that would diminish the reverence that the grace of God deserves. The word "propaganda" has its origin in the 1700's. It is derived from the Latin expression, Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, "Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith."

    My regards in Christ Jesus,

    gonzodave



    Post Note #1: More detailed reading on the historical background of today's populist Christianity may be found at http://www.spurgeon.org/downgrd.htm 

    Post Note #2: An interesting, yet criticaly relevant, abstract to "gonzo journalism" is thoughtfully stated by Mike Madias (Clinical Sociologist, Freelance Journalist) at the following address:
    http://acjournal.org/holdings/vol3/Iss3/rogue4/madias.html 




    Footnotes

    1 The earliest of the U.S. lodges, founded by authority of the Grand Lodge of England, were the First Lodge of Boston, established in 1733, and one in Philadelphia, established about the same time. By the time of the American Revolution, about 150 lodges existed in colonial America. American Freemasons today make up more than three-fourths of the total number of all members throughout the world; world membership exceeds 5 million. Microsoft Encarta 2006. 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    i Old Scofield Study System, Dr. C. I. Scofield, p 308

    Reference: The excellent and comprehensive historical work by E. Brooks Holifield, Theology in America.




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    About Me

    Name: gonzodave coulon
    ChristiansUnite ID: gonzodave
    Member Since: 2008-05-17
    Location: Southeast, Alabama, United States
    Denomination: none - Reformed Protestant
    About Me: Just another basket case, who like the Apostle Paul was saved by the grace of God. I am committed to sharing and defending God's grace through the knowledge of imputation, penal substitution, and completed satisfaction contained in the infinite worth... more

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