Monday, December 15, 2014

Growing In Grace and Knowledge -- “The Father Sent the Son to Be the Savior of the World” (1 John 4:14)

In a world that is continuing to march toward God’s historic and prophetic purposes, we would do well to stop and remember John’s words above.  Those words bring us comfort; those words bring us hope; those words remind us that we are not alone, and that evil does not triumph in the end.

The Sovereign God of the universe, in an act of amazing sacrificial love, provided for mankind an escape from the judgment, punishment and condemnation that is due him because of his unending sin.  God was neither required nor obligated to do so.  John, in his gospel, tells us that the motive for God sending the Savior of the world was love, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).  Despite the wicked and rebellious ways of mankind, God’s love compelled Him provide the way of salvation for all those who would believe and receive His son, Yeshua (Jesus), the Savior of the world. 

Paul reminds us that it is, “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast,” (Eph. 2:8-9).  “Grace,” unmerited favor; God giving us something that we don’t deserve:  eternal life through the Savior of the world.  “Grace,” unmerited favor; God giving us something that we don’t deserve:  forgiveness of ALL our sins, past, present and future (Col. 2:13b).

As Paul points out, “it is the gift of God.”  We understand the word “gift,” especially this time of year.  A gift is something that we give to others to celebrate a special occasion and to bring them joy.  A gift is also something we receive from others without the offer of payment.  It’s a “gift” – not a purchase. 

God’s “grace-gift” to all who will believe and receive Jesus as their Savior is salvation (rescue) from the judgment, punishment and condemnation that we deserve.  We can neither earn nor buy this salvation, for if we could, then there would be reason for us to “boast” about our accomplishments.  It is the “gift of God, not of works.”

The Savior of the world, Jesus, makes this very clear, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life,” (John 5:24).

This is the true gospel.  This is the ultimate “gift,” the one that should bring us the greatest joy:  God has provided the Savior to save us from ourselves; to save us from our sin; to save us from judgment and eternal condemnation.  Praise the Lord!  

This time of year we sing the songs of Christmas in celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world and rightly so.  However, in keeping with the theme of this article, allow me to close with some lyrics that have been special to countless believers; lyrics that will remind us of this amazing gift that the Father has given to us.

How Great Thou Art
“And when I think of God, His Son not sparing; Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in; That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin.”

And Can It Be
“Amazing love!  How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world,” (1 John 4:14).

What greater gift could be given? 

May the Lord bless you as you and your families as you celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world.

Monday, November 17, 2014

What In the World Is Going On? Another “Gospel?”

For the last six months, I’ve been voraciously reading about the new “trends” in the post-modern “church.”  What I’ve read has been, both, fascinating and frightening.  There appears to be a huge push toward personal “experience” and mystical practices, all in the name of “Christianity.”  This is not something brand new.  This has been going on for centuries.  However, what used to be labeled as heresy has now become, not only accepted as truth, but also embraced by mainstream denominations, seminaries and Bible colleges.  As a result, countless people (church attendees, seminary and college students) are following these false teachers believing that what they are doing is endorsed and approved by the God of the Bible.

It is not my intent to give an exhaustive explanation of what’s happening today in almost every denomination.  There is a huge library of information out there regarding these new practices.  Therefore, I will only briefly describe some of the most popular practices and ask some serious questions.

Contemplative Prayer
“Contemplative Prayer” is the term currently used to describe what is nothing more than the repetition of a phrase or word, over and over again, with the promise of “growing closer to God.”  This is otherwise known as the repeating of a “mantra.”  This type of recitation has been practiced for centuries, in the same manner by those who follow eastern religions such as:  Buddhism, Hinduism, Transcendental Meditation, etc.  What’s really going on is an attempt at integrating Biblical Christianity with other pagan religions, something that would never have been tolerated, let alone embraced, by the true Church of Jesus Christ.

The current day practice of contemplative prayer in the postmodern church can be traced back to ancient mystics.  Here are but a few by name:  Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) to St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) to Madam Guyon (1647-1717) to Thomas Merton (1915-1968).

 To be sure, true believers are instructed to “meditate” upon God’s Word.  In Psalm 119, the word “meditate” is used ten times but always referring to God’s precepts, statues, and Law.  The references to meditating upon God’s truths are many.   A quick look at a concordance will provide plenty of places to look.
This Biblical meditation, however, is not simply the mindless repetition of a word or phrase.  It is, rather, the quiet contemplation of spiritual truths found in God’s Word.  It is a thoughtfulness, a deliberate and purposeful attempt to think through and understand what the Scriptures are saying, what they mean by what they say and how they apply (or do not apply) to true believers as individuals.

This is not the chanting of a mantra that supposedly brings one closer to God via mindless repetition.   There is nothing “new” here.  It’s simply paganism being revisited and embraced by those who profess to be Christians.

 In Matthew 6:7, Jesus instructs his disciple how to pray and then gives a caution, “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.”  Food for thought.

Paul‘s words to the church at Galatia are very apropos here, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-8).

The Emerging Church
As so much has been written regarding the doctrines and practices of the “Emerging Church,” I won’t spend a lot of time explaining the details.  Articles can be found on the Internet from John MacArthur, Norm Geisler, Michael Patton and many others, who clearly layout the doctrines and practices of those involved in the Emerging Church movement. 

In the interest of brevity, here is the basic premise of those who lead or espouse the Emergent Church’s beliefs:  that we cannot know absolute truth, even if we read the Scriptures.  The postmodern idea of relativity has taken deep roots even in the church.  Yet, as Dr. Geisler points out, their premise is “a self-defeating one.”  To make the statement that “there is no way to know absolute truth” is to make an absolute statement about absolute truth.  They are apparently absolutely certain that human beings cannot know absolute truth.  If we cannot know absolute truth, how is it that they are absolutely certain about that alleged truth?

A reminder from the apostle Peter would be helpful for those attempting to weigh this belief: 
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God,” (2 Peter 1:20-21). 

Are we to believe that the Holy Spirit somehow conveyed His Truth through the writers of the Bible in such a way that we cannot know whether it is true or not? 

What about the words of Jesus, “Sanctify them in truth; Thy word is truth,” (John 17:17).  Are we to believe that Jesus’ high priestly prayer to the Father on behalf of His disciples was pointless?

Even in the Old Testament, the author of Psalm 119 was telling his readers (contemporaries and future) that God’s Word is truth, “The sum of Thy Word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting,” (Psalm 119:160).

If we’re to believe the leaders of the Emerging Church, then we are left with no other option but to doubt the integrity of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, all of the New Testament writers and the writer of Psalm 119, and that is a very dangerous path to travel.  Who would be so foolish as to dare to impugn the integrity of a psalmist let alone the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus Himself?
Another Gospel:  The Gospel According to Men
What we’re seeing is not THE Gospel according to Jesus, the apostles or the writers of the New Testament.  We’re seeing yet another “gospel,” one this is according to men.  This gospel is not new; this gospel is not salvific; this gospel does not address the condition of man, that is, that he/she is permeated with a sin nature that he/she, on his/her own, cannot recover from nor fight against.

This is a non-Christocentric gospel, one where “experiences” and “feelings” are the driving factor – not the absolute truth that “there is none righteous, no not one . . .” (Romans 3:10-12).  These false teachers have created another gospel, one that has nothing to do with Jesus or the reason why He had to come, had to die, had to resurrect and has to, on a daily basis, intercede on behalf of all true believers. 

This non-Christocentric gospel is all about the individual feeling good about himself/herself.  Here’s some important information:  it’s not about you!  The absolute truth is, “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12).

The apostle Paul felt so strongly about the truth of the Gospel that when he wrote his letter to the church at Galatia, he had to firmly rebuke them, “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatian 1:8). 

We would do well to listen to Paul’s exhortation, as there really is nothing new in the “Emerging Church” doctrine or philosophy.  It may be spiced up, it may be more emotional in its presentation, it may even be portrayed as “new revelation from God.”  But the real truth is, there is nothing new here.  It’s just being repackaged and sold as something that no one has ever known before.

The Church Hijacked
During the formative years of the Church, Paul, Peter, and Jude were all writing with regard to the false teachers of their day that were trying to hijack the Church from its Christ-oriented foundation.  Peter gives this warning, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves,” (2 Peter 2:1).  Both the proponents and the followers of these “new” methods would do well to consider what the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Peter, has recorded in the Bible.

One obvious question we must ask is:  Were all of the Reformers Wrong?  Are we to believe that Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and so many other brilliant, Bible-believing, God-fearing scholars were complete idiots in their struggle to bring the true gospel of Jesus Christ to the average person?  Are we to believe that these great men of the Christian faith somehow got it all wrong?  Are we to believe that only these post-modern “teachers” know something that all the rest missed?  Really?

 Ecumenism Isn’t In the Bible
One common thread that can be found today is a striving for “unity” amongst all denominations.  Biblical doctrine is cast aside in favor of “just loving one another.”  Here’s the problem with that:  You won’t find Jesus, Paul, Peter or any of the other writers of Scriptures advocating for a compromise of God’s Word or God’s message. 

The absolute truth can be found in God’s Word and here’s what He has to say: 
There is none righteous, not even one; 11 there is none who understands,
there is none who seeks for God; 12 all have turned aside, together they have become useless;
there is none who does good, there is not even one.” 13 Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; 14 whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; 15 their feet are swift to shed blood, 16 destruction and misery are in their paths, 17 and the path of peace have they not known.  18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18).

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

For the wages of sin is death;” (Romans 6:23a).

For by grace you have been saved, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9).

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus. 3:5-8).

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son what whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). 

Let’s reiterate that last one:  There is salvation in NO ONE ELSE!  There is no other name . . . . . no other name.   One more time:  “NO OTHER NAME” by which we must be saved.

Is Anyone Listening?
It’s astonishing that so many people are chasing after “another gospel” when the true Gospel is right there in their hands (assuming they are reading their Bibles and not just carrying them).  And if people are reading their Bibles, then the true Gospel should become quite apparent and the false gospels easily recognizable. 

Paul’s admonition to the church at Ephesus was as follows:  “. . . we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” (Ephesians 3:14). 

That same admonition holds true today.  Everything that we read and everything that we hear should be run through the filter of God’s Word.  If it is in agreement, wonderful; if not, then it should be rejected.  We are to mature in our walk with the Lord – not remain spiritual infants.

Peter assures his readers (and us) that God hasn’t withheld anything from us.  He has revealed all that is necessary for salvation and for godly living, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  (2 Peter 1:2-3). 

How does one get to know, and know more about, Jesus?  There’s only one way – read and study His Word, the Bible.  How does one get to know about the true Gospel message?  Read and study God’s Word.   Listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying with humility.  Read and study with the intent of growing in the knowledge of who God really is and with the intent of obeying His commands. 

 The Missing Link
These other “gospels” all have one thing in common:  a missing link, if you will.  These other “gospels” are all gospels that are excluding Jesus.  That’s what all of these other “practices” have in common.  They are man-centered or self-centered rather than Christ-centered. 
These “teachers” have conveniently left out THE most important fact that every human being needs to know in order to be forgiven of their sin and freely be given eternal life: 

Jesus is the Lamb of God, sacrificed once for all: 
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” (John 1:29b).

 For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all,” (Romans 6:10).

Jesus is our High Priest:
For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself,” (Hebrews 7:26-27).

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption,” (Hebrews 9:11-12).

After saying above,’ Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast not desired, nor hast Thou taken pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the Law), 9 then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Thy will.’  He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.  14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified,” (Hebrews 10:8-14).

Jesus is the Savior of the World: 
The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). 
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit,” (1 Peter 3:18).

Jesus is the Kinsman Redeemer: 
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus is the one and only mediator between God and Man: 
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:5-6)

The one sacrifice of Christ is Sufficient: 
“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near.  2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?  3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.  4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,
“SACRIFICE AND OFFERING THOU HAST NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY THOU HAST PREPARED FOR ME;  6 IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES FOR SIN THOU HAST TAKEN NO PLEASURE.  7 “THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE ROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME ) TO DO THY WILL, O GOD.’”  8 After saying above, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN THOU HAST NOT DESIRED, NOR HAST THOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 9 then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO THY WILL.”  He takes away the first in order to establish the second.  10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, 13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.  14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  (Hebrews 10: 1-15).

Paul tells Timothy what the goal of his instruction was really all about and he warns Timothy about “fruitless discussions, “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.” 1 Tim. 1:5-7,

The fact is that there is “nothing new under the sun.”  The purveyors of Contemplative Prayer, Emerging Church doctrine, mystical eastern practices and integrated “Christian yoga” are offering nothing new.  It’s been around for centuries.  The difference in our post-modern day is that human beings, with their fallen natures, are so self-centered and narcissistic that these pagan practices are openly accepted because they give the illusion that somehow “I am closer to God” or “I just feel like God is speaking to me.” 

Many years ago I was involved in the Awana Clubs Program.   In the “Sparks” Club (k-2ndgraders) they were taught this acrostic:
S is for sin:  Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

P is for power, God’s power:  Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of salvation to all who believer.”

A is for according to:  1 Cor. 15:3, “that Christ died according to the Scriptures.”

R is for rose again:  1 Cor. 15:4, “and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

K is for keep:  James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

S is for Savior:  1 John 4:14, “The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”

The true Gospel, the one that exalts Jesus as the Savior of all who will believe and receive Him as their personal Savior; it’s the one that Paul gave his entire life for; it’s the true Gospel that changed, forever, the twelve apostles.  That’s the Gospel that this world needs to hear, believe and receive. 

It’s simple enough for children to understand and believe; it’s a stumbling block for the proud and self-righteous; it’s “too easy” for those who want to take credit for their own “goodness”; and it’s a life raft for the truly humble who find themselves drowning in a sea of empty promises and false teachers.

Jesus said, “I will build My church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18b).  Jesus is building His Church on His truths, which are found nowhere else other than in His Word, the Bible. 

If absolute truth is unknowable, then how could Jesus build His church on the shifting sands of uncertainty and doubt?  How could we trust that what He says is true?  How can we maintain a hope in a Savior whose doctrines are in a constant state of flux? 

Do the modern-day proponents of “unknowable-ness” really believe that Jesus is making it all up; that He was lying? 

Do the modern-day proponents of integrating eastern mysticism with Biblical truth really believe that the words of Jesus, Paul, Peter and the other men who wrote under the Divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit didn’t tell the whole truth?  That the authors of God’s inscripturated Word withheld something from the early Church that has only become available in the last 10-20 years?

If that is true it reflects a very low view of the Scriptures, which I suspect is at the root of all of these false teachings and self-centered practices.

It’s a very slippery slope to be on when one no longer sees the Bible as absolute truth.  It opens a very wide door that leads to all sorts of man-made heretical teachings because the authority of Scripture has been denied.

To those who hold God’s Word in high esteem:  Continue to trust in His Word, His truth and His Son.  Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away but My words will not pass away,” (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).

To those who question the validity of God’s Word, ask yourself this question:  Why would God, (who did not spare His only begotten Son), withhold from us anything that would lead to a better understanding of Who He is and what He has accomplished on our behalf through Jesus?

I will close with the Holy Spirit’s explanation of salvation as imparted to the apostle Paul,
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that, not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast  (Eph. 2:8-9).

May the Lord bless you as you continue to study His Word and seek to serve our Savior, Jesus, the Christ.

Monday, September 15, 2014

What In the World Is Going On? Ears Being “Tickled?” Read and Study your Bible

About seven years ago I was blessed to serve as the Associate Pastor at a church where the Senior Pastor believed in the absolute Sovereignty of God and the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture, (two traits which are becoming more and more scarce amongst teaching pastors). He and I were/are theologically on the same page even though we attended different seminaries. Almost every day we would have great theological discussions about God, His Word and why it is that so many people are willing to go to the local “Christian” bookstore, where they will spend a lot of money, to buy and read someone else’s opinion about all things theological instead of simply reading their own Bibles. This is a most puzzling practice among modern-day churchgoers.

One of the other topics that we would discuss is the high level of Biblical illiteracy that is found among so many of those who attend a church of any denomination. When asked to open their Bibles to the book of Hosea, most either have never heard of it or have no idea where to find it. There was a time when memorizing the books of the Bible and where to find them was a common practice among professing believers. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

At the same time, ask them about some of the most popular televangelists (male or female) and their latest books, and they will joyfully tell you how good it makes them “feel” to have read it in their “Bible study” group. Seems a little peculiar to attend a “Bible study” group and not study the Bible, doesn’t it?

In Jesus’ high priestly prayer for His disciples He prays, “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth,” (NASB John 17:17). What is it about that declaration from Jesus that causes people to seek spiritual “truth” from other writers? Is it a function of poor exegesis and teaching from the pulpit? Is it a function of laziness on the part of those who attend church? Is it a manifestation of lukewarmness? Is it because too many people are looking for a self-centered “experience” instead diligently studying their Bibles to find out the truth about themselves and how much they need Jesus? Maybe it’s a combination of all those things and the direct influence of our culture and its false teachers.

Reading books written by other authors is not necessarily bad. There are some outstanding, godly authors out there. But one must be wise and discerning. The filter through which all other writings must pass is God’s Word. If, for any reason, the words of other authors disagrees with the Scriptures, then it’s the authors who are wrong, not God’s Word. Currently, there is a movement in the other direction, that is, man is right and “God wasn’t clear enough in His Word, so we need to help Him.”

A major part of the problem relates back to the lack of Biblical literacy, which only makes it more difficult for people to be wise and discerning when evaluating what has been written by other authors.

The verses below clearly lay out why reading and studying the Bible is so important. It’s a practice that ALL true believers need to either return to or improve upon.

This first verse is Peter’s response to Jesus as He asks His disciples if they, too, want to stop following Him,
“Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. ‘And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’” (NASB: John 6:68-69).

The next verse is the great apostle Paul encouraging his spiritual son, Timothy, to,

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth,” (NASB 2 Tim. 2:15).

We should all pay close attention to Paul’s instruction to Timothy and do what Paul tells Timothy to do.

May the Lord bless you as you diligently read and study His Word.

By His Grace,
Dr. Gary T. Dromi

Monday, August 18, 2014

Setting Up for the “Peace-maker”

How many times have the various nations of the world tried to broker a peace treaty between the nation of Israel and her numerous enemies? United States presidents have tried repeatedly; Egyptian officials have tried; the United Nations has tried; European leaders have tried. Still, no peace. The fighting goes on.

To be sure, there have been “cease-fires,” some longer than others. But what everyone appears to want is a “long-lasting peace,” one that doesn’t need to be repeatedly brokered every few days, weeks, month or years.

Once again, it appears as if God is aligning the nations on the world’s stage to carry out His prophetic Word. And His Word tells us exactly what will happen and how it will happen.

The Book of Daniel is filled with prophecies about the end-times. Teaching pastors would do well to spend a considerable amount of time reading it, understanding it and sharing it with their congregations. We are living in one of the most amazing times in all of human history and the prophet Daniel helps us to catch a glimpse of what’s yet to come.

There is not enough time or space to do an exhaustive study or the entire book of Daniel. So this will be concise and to the point. Daniel 9:26-27 reads, “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.

There is much here to understand and I encourage you to do an in-depth study of the entire book of Daniel. But for the purpose of this article, let’s focus on “the prince who is to come” and“he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week.

The “prince who is to come” is the Antichrist who comes on the scene at the start of the “the great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; Mark 13:19; Rev.7:14), also known as “Daniel’s 70th week.”

This prince “will make firm” (confirm; cause to prevail) a “covenant with the many,” that is, with nation of Israel “for one week” (a seven year agreement). Daniel goes on (later in his prophecy) to tell us that three and one half years into this “covenant” the Antichrist will break his agreement with Israel and cause the “abomination of desolation” against the Jewish religion. This violation will ruin what Jews regard as sacred, namely their holy temple and the honoring of God’s presence there. Jesus refers directly to this in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:15).

Some questions to ponder:

1. Isn’t it fascinating how God has already told us what’s coming?
2. Isn’t it fascinating that the nation of Israel has said repeatedly, “We just want to live in peace.”
3. Isn’t it fascinating that the “peace-brokers” are trying to find a “long-lasting” solution?

We should not try to establish times or dates. We do not know when this “prince” will come on to the scene and make his “firm covenant” with Israel. But we can observe how very much a “long-lasting” peace is desired.

Last question (for now):

4. What will be the circumstances that will cause the Jewish people, to agree to this particular covenant, with this particular individual, when they have been so wary of all the others?

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you,” (Psalm 122:6).
Dr. Gary Dromi currently resides in Springdale, AR. He has been in full-time ministry for over thirteen years. He holds a B.A., M.A. and a D.Min. in Biblical Studies. While on sabbatical, he completed his Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling and is now available for pulpit fill, seminars and a full-time pastoral position. He can be reached at:

Monday, July 21, 2014

What In The World Is Going On? The “Time” Has Come!

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

If we pay close attention, we can see (and hear) Paul’s prophetic words being fulfilled right now. One may argue that there have always been cults, false religions and pseudo-churches around. However, what Paul is talking about is not outside of the Church - he’s referring to what would be happening within the Church.

they will not endure sound doctrine.” The Greek word translated as “sound” means to be correct, to be accurate. Many a godly pastor has been asked to leave a church simply because his desire was to remain true to God’s Word. He taught the whole counsel of God, including the parts about sin, wrong behavior and God’s sovereignty. The congregation (however small or large) thought his message was too serious or perhaps he wasn’t telling enough jokes. So, he was “asked to resign.”

they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires.” The solution is to find someone who “makes us feel good about ourselves.” “We need to find a pastor who won’t make any judgments.” “We need to find a pastor who believes that everyone is going to heaven because a loving God would never send anyone to hell.” “We need to find a pastor who believes in singing more and teaching less.” They get what they want at peril of their souls.

and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” Though this is not a new phenomenon, it as been accelerated at a rate that is nothing less than astounding. The amount of non-biblical doctrine that’s being taught from pulpits across the country is frightening. The biblical illiteracy found in churches today amongst the congregations leaves them wide open to the “myths” being put forth by their leadership.

Paul’s admonition to Timothy was to “Preach the Word.” Lest we forget, “the Word” Paul was talking about was God’s Word, the Bible - not man’s philosophies, theories, or opinions.

In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul writes, “13 Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent?

To those who are sent, listen to Paul and “preach the Word” from your pulpits. God will honor your faithfulness. To those who are sent, how can we do anything less and still remain faithful to our calling and obedient to our God?

May the Lord give you strength and courage as you shepherd your flock and preach His Word.
Dr. Gary Dromi currently resides in Springdale, AR. He has been in full-time ministry for over thirteen years. He holds a B.A., M.A. and a D.Min. in Biblical Studies. While on sabbatical, he completed his Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling and is now available for pulpit fill, seminars and a full-time pastoral position. He can be reached at:


Monday, June 16, 2014

What In the World Is Going On? Post-modernism: What Is It and Why Should We Be Concerned?

Not many people today are familiar with the term “post-modernism.” Unfortunately, this lack of familiarity has led to the acceptance of its beliefs without questioning whether or not those beliefs are in line with God’s Word. It is not my desire to write an exhaustive examination of post-modernism; that has been done well by many others. Rather, it is my hope that what is written here will spur the readers on to look deeper into the beliefs and tenets of post-modernism and of those who espouse post-modernism in order to make an educated decision as to whether or not those beliefs are compatible with the absolute truth that is found in Scripture (John 17:17, “Sanctify them with truth; Thy Word is truth.”)

Dr. Norman Geisler has done a masterful refutation of the beliefs and tenets of post-modernism and those in the “Emerging Church” movement in his paper: The Emergent Church: Theological Postmodernism (March 2012). Some of what he wrote will be shared here. It would be wise to obtain a copy of his entire paper for your personal library.

When did it start and who started it?
It is believed that the post-modern movement finds its roots in Friedrich Nietzsche and the death of God movement that he started. Nietzsche wrote: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, the murderers of all murderers, comfort ourselves?” (“The Madman” In Gay Science, p.125).

Once it was pronounced that God is dead, then, over time, the rest of post-modern thoughts began to emerge. Here’s a brief explanation: If God is dead, then, there is no absolute Moral Law-giver. If there is no absolute Moral Law Giver, then, there can be no absolute moral law (the rise of subjectivism). Likewise, if there is no absolute moral Mind, then there can be no absolute meaning (the rise of conventionalism) or absolute truth (the rise of relativism). In the same way, if there is no objective meaning, then there cannot be an objective interpretation of a text. What follows, then, is de-constructionism.

“So, the death of God leads to the death of every other area of thought and life as follows” :
1. “Death of God” – Atheism
2. Death of objective truth – Relativism
3. Death of exclusive truth – Pluralism
4. Death of objective meaning – Conventionalism
5. Death of thinking (logic) – Anti-Foundationalism
6. Death of objective interpretation – Deconstructionism
7. Death of objective values – Subjectivism

As is clearly seen, the tenets of post-modernism run in complete opposition to biblical truth.

Today’s Proponents of Post-modern Theology

It’s important to understand that post-modern beliefs and tenets have made their way into the church. It’s also important to understand the affects that those beliefs are having in terms of
doctrine and hermeneutics. The current proponents of post-modern theology are: Brian McLaren, who wrote The Church on the Other Side; A Generous Orthodoxy; and A New Kind of Christian. Stanley Grenz, the grand-father of the movement wrote, A Primer on Post-Modernism, Beyond Foundationalism, and Revisioning Evangelical Theology. Rob Bell was on the front page of Time magazine not too long ago, in part, because of his denial of Hell in his book, Love Wins. He also wrote Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones co-authored, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope. Tony Jones also wrote, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier.

What are the basic tenets of post-modernism? What follows is some of Geisler’s excellent explanations of the beliefs and doctrines of post-modernism and his refutation of those beliefs :

  • Anti-Absolutism. McLaren wrote: “Arguments that pit absolutism verses relativism, and objectivism versus subjectivisim, prove meaningless or absurd to postmodern people” (McClaren, “The Broadened Gospel,” (in “Emergent Evangelism,” Christianity Today [Nov., 2004], p.43).

As Geisler notes, “As we shall see, the root problem with post-modern thought is that it is self-defeating. It cannot even state its view without contradicting itself. For example,--

1. Relativism Stated: “We cannot know absolute truth.”
2. Relativism Self-Refuted: We know that we cannot know absolute truth.

  • Anti-Exclusivism. McClaren wrote: “Missional Christian faith asserts that Jesus did not come to make some people saved and others condemned. Jesus did not come to help some people be right while leaving everyone else to be wrong. Jesus did not come to create another exclusive religion” (A Generous Orthodoxy, 109). “But Christianity’s idea that other religions cannot be God’s carriers of [redemptive] grace and truth casts a large shadow over our Christian experiences (Samir Selmanovic, in Pagitt’s, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, p.191). “Christianity is a non-god, and every non-god can be and idol” (p.192). “God cannot be hijacked by Christianity” (p.194). “If a relationship with a specific person, namely Christ, is the whole substance of a relationship with the God of the Bible, then the vast majority of people in world history are excluded from the possibility of a relationship with the God of the Bible…” (p.194). “To put it in different terms, there is no salvation outside of Christ, but there is salvation outside of Christianity” (p.195). “Would a God who gives enough revelation for people to be judged but not enough revelation to be saved be a God worthy of worshiping? Never!” (p.195).

Geisler again refutes this claim:
  1. “The Anti-exclusivism claim: “It is wrong to make a claim that one view is exclusive truth as opposed to opposing views.”
  2. The Self-refutation: The anti-exclusivist claim is exclusively true as opposed to exclusivism.

  • Anti-exclusivism is just another term for pluralism. The problem is clear: the claim that no view is exclusively true is an exclusivistic truth claim itself.                   
    1. The Claim of Pluralism: “No view is exclusively true.”
    2. The Self-Refutation: It claims that its view (that no view is exclusively true) is exclusively true.”
  • Anti-Objectivism. Grenz wrote: “We ought to commend the postmodern questioning of the Enlightenment assumption that knowledge is objective and hence dispassionate” (Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism, p.166).

Geisler’s response in simple form:

  1. The Claim of Anti-Objectivism: “There are no objectively true statements.”
  2. The Self-Refutation: It is an objectively true statement that there are no objectively true statements.
  3. In short, their anti-objectivism makes an objective truth claim. Hence, it is hanged on its own epistemological gallows. It self-destructs.
Anti-Rationalism. It is a form of fideism that states that reason has no place in matters of faith. Grenz stated, “Twentieth-century evangelicals have devoted much energy to the task of demonstrating the credibility of the Christian faith…” (Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism, p.160). He added, “Following the intellect can sometimes lead us away from the truth” (Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism, p.166). Geisler rightly states, “Of course, he seems blissfully unaware of the fact that not following basic rational thought will lead you there a lot faster!”
  • McLaren, added: “Because knowledge is a luxury beyond our means, faith is the best we can hope for. What an opportunity! Faith hasn’t encountered openness like this in several hundred years,” (McLaren, The Church on the Other Side, p.173). He urged: “Drop any affair you may have with certainty, proof, argument—and replace it with dialogue, conversation, intrigue, and search” (McLaren, Adventures in Missing the Point, p.78). But here again we are faced with a self-defeating claim:
Geisler’s answer: 

  1. The Claim of Fideism: “There are no reasons for what we believe.”
  2. The Self-Refutation: There are good reasons for believing there are no good reasons for what we believe.

To state it another way:
      3. The Claim of Fideism: “Knowledge is a luxury beyond our means.”
      4. The Self-Refutation: We have the luxury of knowing that we can’t have the luxury of knowing.

How has it affected society?

The tenets of post-modern thoughts and beliefs have had a serious impact on our society and culture. It begins with the declaration that “God is dead.” With that single statement we can trace a long list of consequences:

  1. God is dead. Therefore, humanity has no one to whom they will be held accountable.
  2. Objective truth is dead. Therefore, truth is whatever each individual believes it to be.
  3. Exclusive truth is dead. Therefore, just because it’s true for one person doesn’t necessarily make it true for another person.
  4. Objective meaning is dead. Therefore, words can be redefined to fit whatever one’s agenda may be.
  5. Logic (thinking) is dead. Therefore, contradictions can exist without question or correction. The Law of non-contradiction is ignored.
  6. Objective interpretation is dead. Therefore, one interpretation is just as good as any other and to believe otherwise is to be arrogant or intolerant.
  7. Objective values are dead. Therefore, everything is subjective, that is, whatever an individual deems to be proper in his/her own mind is proper regardless of any other logical refutation.
Once there is some understanding of the post-modern mindset, it becomes a little easier to see why decisions and adjudications are made throughout our society that are in direct conflict with God’s absolute truth. In a post-modern culture, there are no absolutes. Therefore, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,” (NASB, Proverbs 21:2a).

How has post-modernism affected the Church?
Michael Patton in his paper Understanding the Postmodern Mind and the Emerging Church (Sept. 2005) breaks post-modernism into two groups: hard post-modernists and soft post-modernists. Briefly, here are a few of the distinctions :

  • Hard post-modernism: “Hard postmodernism might be defined as those who have had a philosophical shift with regards to the nature of truth. The key phrase here is “nature of truth.” Hard postmodernists would see truth as being relative to the time, culture, or situation of the individual. In other words, truth does not exist beyond the thoughts of the subject. Hard post-modernism is a logical outcome of atheism or pantheism. Since both atheism and pantheism deny the existence of an eternal personal God, then there is no reason to believe in eternal truth that is mediated through the dictates of a personal agency. This type of post-modernism is explicitly evidenced in our culture in many higher education institutions, whose philosophy is clearly articulated in such a way. It is also evidenced implicitly in our culture when God is left out of the equation in matters of fact and science. It is important to note that this type of belief is decidedly non-Christian. It has no part in a biblical worldview.” 
  • Soft post-modernism: “In general, they are suspicious of all truth claims. Their suspicion, however, is not rooted in a denial of the existence of truth, but a denial of our ability to come to terms with our certainty about the truth. In other words, the soft post-moderns believe in the existence of objective truth, but deny that we can have absolute certainly or assurance that we, in fact, have a corner on this truth. To the soft post-modernist, truth must be held in tension, understanding our limitations. We can seldom, if ever, be sure that we have the right truth. Therefore, there is a tendency to hold all convictions in limbo. Soft post-modernism is not built upon the denial of truth itself (a metaphysical concern), but with our ability to know the truth (an epistemological concern). The emerging Church, for example, would believe in an eternal God who has laid down eternal precepts that time bound man has broken and therefore needs restoration through Christ. But attempting to define exactly who God is, what exactly He requires, how redemption is accomplished and applied is something that must be held in tension considering our own limitations. People are limited in their understanding, being bound by their time, culture, and situation. The result is that, in the emerging Church, because of their soft post-modern tendencies, all distinctions are minimized or ignored. The issues that were the center of the controversy during the Reformation are no longer important—certainly not enough to divide over. In other words, the Roman Catholic - Protestant theological distinctions are irrelevant to the emerging church. Why? Because, while there may be a right answer, who is to say who’s right? More than likely, both are right and both are wrong.”
Closing Thoughts

Post-modern tenets and beliefs should not be minimized or ignored. Post-modernism has affected not only our society’s norms, it has invaded the church to such a degree that the great orthodox truths and Christian doctrines passed down to us (from Genesis to Revelation, from the prophets of God, to Jesus and the apostles), are being challenged and, in some cases, rejected as untrue, or at best, debatable.

The question becomes, what do the post-modern advocates in the church do with the following truths:

  1. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
  2. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly [correctly] dividing the word of truth, (2 Tim. 2:15).
  3. Paul’s words to Timothy: “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths,” (2 Tim. 4:1-4).
Those outside of the church (unbelievers) will continue to “go with the flow,” that is, they will adapt and adjust to the culture as it changes based upon secular morals and values. They can do nothing else unless, or until, God graciously saves them by drawing them to Himself. If, and when, that happens, then the Holy Spirit will redirect them to His Word as absolute truth and they will grow in grace and truth.

Those inside the church, true believers in Jesus Christ, must guard the truths found in God’s holy Word with love and strong conviction because the evidence compels us to do so.

If there is one solitary issue with regard to post-modern theology vs. orthodox theology, it comes down to this question: Is God’s Word inerrant and inspired? For those to believe that it is, there can be no wavering or compromise with His absolute truth. For those who do not believe that it is inerrant and inspired, they, unfortunately, will attempt to manipulate God’s Word in such a way that it is more palatable and less offensive to their followers.

In Jesus High Priestly prayer He prays to the Father, “13 But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.” (NASB John 17:13-17).

It would be interesting to hear the post-modern theologian exegete v.17.

[1] Norman L. Geisler, The Emergent Church: Theological Postmodernism (March 2012), p.1.
[2] The disbelief, or lack of belief, in the existence of God or gods.
[3] The doctrine that knowledge, truth and morality exist in relation to culture, society or historical context and are not absolute.
[4] In epistemology, pluralism is the position that there is not one consistent means of approaching truths about the world, but rather many.
[5] Conventionalism is the philosophical attitude that fundamental principles of a certain kind are grounded on (explicit or implicit) agreements in society, rather than on external reality, such as God’s Word.
[6] An anti-foundationalist is one who does not believe that there is some fundamental belief or principle which is the basic ground or foundation of inquiry and knowledge. Anti-foundationalists claim that truth only exists in statements, not in facts. The general populous must be convinced that these statements are true. If they are convinced, then it is true. If they are not convinced, then it’s false.
[7] Deconstruction denies the possibility of a pure presence and of any essential or intrinsic and stable meaning — and thus a relinquishment of the notions of absolute truth.
[8] The doctrine that knowledge is merely subjective and that there is no external or objective truth.
[9] Norman L. Geisler, The Emergent Church: Theological Postmodernism(March 2012), p.3-4.
[10] Michael Patton, Understanding the Postmodern Mind and the Emerging Church, (September 2, 2005), p.1-2.

Monday, May 19, 2014

What In The World Is Going On? From Sochi to Crimea: Russia Is On the Move by Dr. Gary Dromi

It wasn’t but a few months ago that we were watching the world’s greatest athletes assemble in Sochi, Russia for the winter Olympics. There were concerns about safety, security, and possible terrorist attacks. Many U.S. politicians and media outlets were asking whether or not President Vladimir Putin had the capability to protect the athletes from “credible threats.” He and his country were on the stage and in the spotlight.

As the opening ceremonies began, we watched our televisions and were impressed by the pageantry and choreography of the Russian performers. As the opening ceremonies were coming to a close, we watched with excitement as the runners carrying the Olympic Torch made their way outside to the place where the Olympic Flame would be lit to signal that the games were officially opened.

Throughout the games, there were winners and losers. In some cases, the favorites won the gold medal. But that was not always the case. There were some upsets and some surprises. Perhaps the greatest surprise for many was that there were no terrorist attacks. There were some who dared to protest but they were few and didn’t receive much press coverage.

March 2014, one month later, President Putin is, once again, in the spotlight. It seems the Russian president has his eyes set on part, if not all, of the Ukraine. The Crimean Peninsula is now his and, at the writing of this article, Russian troops are beginning to assemble along the eastern border of Ukraine. How will this play out? “God only knows.”

Those three little words, “God only knows” should be very comforting, especially for the true believer in Jesus Christ. God knows because He is sovereign (a word not used or understood by many people today - even amongst those who attend church). Throughout Scripture we see the sovereignty of God being described. One example is found in Daniel 4:34-37. Here, we see Nebuchadnezzar declaring the sovereignty of God as he regains his sanity:

“But at the end of that period I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What hast Thou done?’ 36 At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. 37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”

Though the world around us appears to be spinning even more out of control (economically, socially, and spiritually), hold fast believers! We serve a God who is still on His throne and who is still in charge of His creation. At the present time, He appears to be aligning the nations for His purposes and it’s all happening according to His timing.

Don’t panic. Don’t worry. Exercise that “faith muscle” and trust Him. His Word is true and He is faithful.

Believers should be eagerly awaiting the return of King Jesus when He will descend from heaven and retrieve His bride, the Church (1 Thess. 4:16-18). What a glorious day that will be! Halleluiah! Come quickly Lord Jesus.
Dr. Gary Dromi currently resides in Springdale, AR. He has been in full-time ministry for over thirteen years. He holds a B.A., M.A. and a D.Min. in Biblical Studies. While on sabbatical, he completed his Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling and is now available for pulpit fill, seminars and a full-time pastoral position. He can be reached at: