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Category Archives: Church

The Lie of Two Kingdoms

American Christians have been encouraged to think they must divide their allegiance between to kingdoms. That, as citizens of God’s Kingdom, it is still permissible [expected even] to play by the rules of an earthly kingdom when it comes to life within it.

In this sermon, Greg Boyd speaks of how Scripture has been twisted by the majority of American minded Christians. This is not a truth that I have come to accept easily as it goes against much of what I have been taught to believe about being an American citizen. I was taught contra this sermon at home, church, and school. However, I am convinced by what I find in Scripture that what Greg Boyd is attempting to teach Woodland Hills Church is biblical and should be the mindset of every follower of Jesus.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Christian Life, Church

 

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We Need To Have A Talk

dialogue

There are many different points of views within the body of Jesus on a variety of topics; so much so that there is a ton of ink spilled, both from the inkwell and the ink cartridge, than most would care to read in it’s entirety. Some devote their lives to studying it and some of those have begun the task only to give up out of desperation. All this disagreement is within the group who are a family; a group who all is to be following the teachings of one Man – Jesus the Messiah. These disagreements can get pretty nasty at times. But disagreements aren’t just within the group of people who follow the teaching of Jesus, but are also had between those who claim to follow Jesus and those who do not. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Table of The LORD

I just ended a weekend men’s conference at The Cove in Ashville, NC. I enjoyed a wonderful weekend of fellowship with my dad and another gentleman from the church I grew up in. The music was wonderful and the messages were encouraging; but none of that was the highlight of the weekend. The highlight was the Eucharist that we all partook of at the conclusion of the 3 day retreat. The drama we all lived out in that moment was phenomenal. It was something I had never experienced before as I partook of communion. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in Church, Family

 

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A Brief Look at Ephesians 2:11-22 and short Critique of J.B. Phillips on the passage

Ephesians 2:11-22 is one of the clearest passages in Scripture about the union of Israel and the Gentiles. I find it baffling at how J. B. Phillips tries to work around the “plain reading” of Scripture (something he claims sets him apart from those who would say Israel and the Church are one). While this is by no means an exhaustive commentary on the Ephesian passage, nor an exhaustive critique of Phillips’ work, I would like to take a brief look at the passage as well as some of Phillips’ comments and make a few of my own, and show how the dispensationalismsystem he holds (which has only been around since the 1830’s) is founded on an assumption not Scriptural teaching.

Here is the passage in discussion:

 

11 So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcision,” which is done in the flesh by human hands.12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, 15 He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16 He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it.[d] 17 When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. 21 The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. 22 You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:11-22

 

In speaking of vs 12, Phillips says, “prior to the great dispensational change that has now taken place, the only way a Gentile could partake of the spiritual blessings and covenantal benefits of Israel was to become a Jewish proselyte. Gentiles were natural-born aliens and had no part in the great covenantal promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David. Cut off from these promises, the Gentiles had no hope and were without God.” He goes on to say that once the gospel came, “Now they [Gentiles] no longer needed to belong to the commonwealth of Israel; they could establish a direct relationship with God themselves.” (Exploring Ephesians and Philippians: An Expository Commentary by John Phillips, pg. 70)

There is much he assumes to be true here, but is found nowhere in this passage, or any other passage. While he is correct in the fact that Gentiles needed to be proselytes to be a part of the Jewish commonwealth and the covenant promises, he seems to fail to realize that at no point in the history of Israel was simply being a blood-born child of Abraham enough to establish a relationship with Jehovah. It was ALWAYS by faith (Romans 9:1-13, 30-33; Hebrews 11:13 to give just two examples). No one was ever privy to a relationship with Jehovah simply because of who their daddy or grandpa was. But Phillips, along with every other dispensationalist, has to assert this type of distinction. Even though there is no textual support for it, they have to keep Israel and the church separate. So you will see, from the above quote and further down, that every time Phillips speaks of the union of the two he is quick to qualify it in some way as to mark it out as a different type of union. (As you will see, he will even go so far as to take natural born Jews out of Israel and have them join the church.) Phillips states that while the Gentiles were separated from the promises of God to Abraham and his descendants, that now Gentiles are joined to God WITHOUT those things. That there is no need to be a part of the commonwealth of Israel. This line of thinking ignores what Paul said at the start of this passage. “At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.”

1.Without the Messiah: a distinct promise Israel was waiting on. The Messiah was so united to Israel that He is called “Israel’s consolation” (Luke 2:25, also note Isaiah 61) and when Simeon sees Jesus he refers to Him as bringing glory to Israel. On that same day, Anna (also in the temple) began to tell everyone who was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem about The Messiah. He was the long awaited promise to Israel (Galatians 3:16).

2. Excluded from the citizenship (commonwealth) of Israel: to be outside of God’s people meant you were outside of God’s covenant promises. Now we know that all those who were born into Israel weren’t all partakers of the covenant to Israel, but there was a remnant of the faithful (I Kings 19:18, Romans 9:6, 9:27-29), but one could not be outside of Israel and partake of the promises. Which leads to the third point.

3. And foreigners to the covenants of the promise: To be outside the commonwealth of Israel was to be outside God’s people, thus a stranger to the covenants of the promise (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 17:8; 24:7; Galatians 3:16). The promises were to Abraham’s family.

4. without hope and without God in the world: This sums it up. Gentiles were not part of God’s people, we had no claim to the covenants, no claim to The Messiah, we were strangers among God’s people.

BUT! Paul uses a contrasting conjunction here. “But now in Christ Jesus [or Jesus The Messiah]” all that has changed. When the Messiah came, He didn’t just proclaim peace to Israel, but also to the Gentiles. He brought the kingdom to those who were near and far off. Notice the implications this has on us Gentiles. In verse 19, Pauls says, “So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household” We who were outside Israel, are now inside Israel. In other words, we are adopted members into God’s household (Israel). It isn’t that God pulls Jews out of Israel and Gentiles out of the world and make a church apart from Israel, only to eventually go back later and fulfill the promises made to Abraham. Not only is Phillips’ view not taught in this passage, but is contradictory to what is taught. Paul explicitly states that the Gentiles are joined to Israel as God makes this new man. The new man is not just natural born Jews, but Natural born and Unnatural born. Nor is this “new man” something separate from Israel. We see Paul declaring this in Romans 11:11-24 that the natural branches (the physical descendant of Abraham) has been broken off from their OWN tree because they didn’t have faith in their own Messiah while the unnatural branches (the Gentile) is grafted into the Jews OWN tree. It’s not that believing Jews are grafted into a new tree with the believing Gentiles, but that the believing Jews are left in their own tree with the Gentiles being grafted into it. He also states that the Jew can be grafted back into his tree if he/she believes in the prophesied Messiah, but they only need to be grafted in if they were previously cut off due to unbelief).

Pauls also says in Galatians 3:27-28, “27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment.28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.” Being joined to Christ makes me a child of Abraham, which makes me an heir according to the promise given Abraham. There is no separating the covenants of Israel from salvation in Christ.

 

Dispensationalism creates a division within the Scriptures as well as the body of Christ that isn’t there. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah that the OT prophets spoke of. He is the hope that Israel was waiting for. He is the promise Jehovah gave David, the One Moses pointed to, the promised seed of Abraham. You cannot separate the mission of Jesus from Israel. It is clear from the OT and the NT that His very Jewish mission always included adopting the Gentiles into the family (Acts 15:14-18; Amos 9:11-12), and He did just that as we are taught here olive treein Ephesians 2:11-22, as well as in Romans 11, Galatians 3,  and Romans 8:15. Jesus is The Messiah – The Hope and Glory of Israel – and us Gentiles are grafted into that Israelite Olive Tree because of the love and grace of Jehovah! Amen!!

 

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Apologetics, Church

 

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Stop Bogarting the Bible

bogarttingThe recent debate between (Young Earth Creationist) Ken Ham and (Natural Evolutionist) Bill Nye (“the science guy”) has sparked much conversation, especially within the Christian community. There is diversity on the issue within Christendom as not everyone who believes the Scriptures to be the Word of God is a young earth creationist (YEC). Yet, there is an overwhelming tendency of YEC-ers to “bogart” the Bible. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Keeping Israel in the Gospel

   I was raised to believe that there is a marked distinction between Israel and the church. Not merely that they are slightly different in some aspects, but rather they are two separate entities. I was instructed to hold the distinction so markedly that it was to essentially believe that God has two separate “peoples”: Israel, and then a side group called the church. Like many things I was taught to believe, I questioned in light of Scripture and I no longer hold that position. I do find it interesting that I was taught to believe that God had temporarily set Israel aside and is working through the church for a while and will pick Israel up again later; now that I no longer hold to that dispensational ideology those very people who essentially believe in a “temporary” supersessionism (the church replaces Israel) accuse me of believing supersessionism, which I do not. My primary aim is to lay out why I do not believe any form of supersessionism, and hopefully assist in clearing up a misconception that is propagated in dispensational circles, many times as a ploy to keep people from studying the Scriptures on this matter. Many a child has been confined to their bed by the fear of the imagined monster in the closet (or underMonster-Closet the bed, or behind the coat on the door, etc). It is my aim here to show that there actually is no “monster” and thus dispel the fear that may keep children of God confined to their dispensationalism. If one chooses to be a dispensationalist then it should be because they are convinced by Scripture, not a default stance they hold out of fear of being a heretic by believing/examining another perspectives. Also, this is not meant to be exhaustive, merely an exercise to show that a Covenantal view of Scriptures does not necessitate taking a “replacement” view of Israel… quite the opposite, actually. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Church, Jesus Christ

 

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Dude, You’re Missing The Point!

 

My oldest son was watching this commercial while we were in a restaurant. He had seen it before and he laughed when it came on as he exclaimed, “Look! The commercial where the man is running after the boy like, ‘Hey, Give me my taco back!’” It was obvious that although he had seen this commercial multiple times; and I wanted to say, “Dude, you’re missing the point!” (That wasn’t the time or place.) He was seeing the same things I was seeing, and hearing the same things I was hearing, but the real message was missed by him. Why? Because he didn’t understand the meaning of the phrase, “Her parents came home early”. See, in his world, the real meaning of that phrase doesn’t compute. Due to this he unknowingly supplies his own context and meaning to make sense of the commercial. The thought of two young people engaging in physical contact that would set the daughter’s loving father on the war path never even crosses his mind. So the clear meaning of the commercial is that the grown man came home early and walked in on the kids eating his Taco Bell food, now he is chasing the boy out of the house trying to recover the meal.

   We may laugh, but that is exactly what has happened in many of our churches. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Apologetics, Church, Scripture

 

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