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The Beacon 186 October 2013

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Arminian – a Reminder

Below is a repeat of something I wrote a few years ago, but is worth reminding readers about, because it is needful...

“There is no doubt about it. Arminianism is gross heresy. It is gross because it is as far from genuine salvation as you can get. It is heresy because it does not proclaim the real article – salvation as a free gift given to those who were chosen before the world began and who could not, because of sin, choose to be saved.

Though many try to argue with us about this, it is not our argument! If God gives us definitions and conditions, then we must comply. If people do not, it is hardly our problem… we can do nothing to make others comply with God’s commands.

For this reason we are uncompromising about Arminianism as a teaching, and with true Arminianist teachers, for they are wolves in sheep’s clothing and they dishonour and reject God’s word. However, certain observations need to be made about Arminianists…

be saved, no matter what happens, people who teach and preach Arminianism make no difference at all to the ‘total head count’ of those who are saved.

Not that many people are truly Arminian. Most are Arminian-ish. They listen to Arminian-style preachers. They read Arminian-type publications. They respond to theological issues emotionally rather than on the basis of God’s truth. Some of these people are Christians and are the recipients of Gospel blessings. But, they have no idea about their claimed beliefs. They have been misled, in one

way or another. That is why all who claim Arminian beliefs should be given an opportunity to consider the truth. Including those who favour the Alpha Course.”

Think hard, my friends! Even if you are only ‘Arminian-ish’ and not hardened Arminian, what you believe and say dishonours the Lord. You might be saved and you do not intend to dishonour the Lord, but that is what you do. Shed Arminianism in all its forms and get back to biblical belief. Believe me, it is like a maze!

There is no such thing as freedom of the will, and no man has the will-power to accept Christ on the basis of his own thoughts and mind.

Why?

I was doing our weekly supermarket shop. As I reached the end of one aisle a fellow Christian I once knew saw me, turned his back, and pretended to peruse shelves. His wife stood with some products in her hand, looking perplexed (not recognising me).

Is it not strange that Christians in my city are still unloving and uncaring? Yet, that fellow left the same church as I did over 35 years ago, for the same biblical reasons. To my knowledge he has never read anything of or by my ministry!

There are also still churches in the area that call me a ‘troublemaker’ and warn others away from us, but... who bothers to defend our good name? None. This unjust shunning followed our constant opposition to the Toronto Blessing in our city. They have no idea what we do or teach, and do not read our material. So – WHY? It must be plain old sin.

2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2

Those who oppose scripture often do so on ludicrous grounds. One of them is to denigrate texts because of the alleged errors of transcribers, etc.

The 42 years in 2 Chronicles obviously appears to be different from the same topic in 2 Kings. Therefore, say detractors, the Bible is in error. This, however, is not exactly logical.

Firstly, what appears to be error is not an error in the text but an error in handling the reading of the text (most readers have insufficient knowledge to enable them to argue properly, though pride steps in).

Secondly, if there is an error, it is not in the information but in the actions of those who transcribe or otherwise change textual information from one language to another. This is not an error in the original words, but an error in the one transcribing/translating, etc. Thirdly, most of these supposed ‘errors’ are brought to attention by higher critics, whose methodology is not just speculative, but plainly wrong (see my articles on this). Even if a transcriber or translator gets a small thing wrong, it never hurts the gist or meaning. So what’s the problem?

What is the case here? That the king was supposedly aged 22 in 2 Kings when he started his short reign, but 42 years old in 2 Chronicles. Which is true? The answer is easy – he was 22 years old. How do we know this? Because his father, who reigned before him, was only 40 when he died! We now know the true age. Why, then, is the age of 42 given in 2 Chronicles?

Some think a transcriber got it wrong. In itself this is no real problem, for the error is in someone other than the original author. Bear in mind that the error of a transcriber is NOT the same as an error in the original text or the original author. It is just a technical mistake! There are no errors in what the Spirit gives to authors of scripture books.

However, another possibility arises – that the age given is of the new king’s mother, and not the king himself, who was 22. This is not an excuse, for the original Hebrew text puts it “he was the son of forty two years” (that is, the son of a mother of that age), thus allowing for the suggested explanation. Other ancient translations actually have the age as 22, not 42, so the explanation may be accurate.

Therefore, any supposed ‘contradiction’ is only in the mind of the one opposed to scripture. It is not a contradiction at all, but either a transcriptional mistake (doubt it), or an interpretational misperception on the part of the reader. Either way it is not a Bible error or contradiction. One of the easiest ways to check is simply to read contextually as well as trans-Biblically. In this case we have the age of the new king in 2 Kings, so there is no problem. That some try to make it a ‘problem’ is irrelevant, for there is no problem! Those who read scripture theologically merely follow the clues and read trans-scripturally to find the answers. But, those with an axe to grind will grab hold of any and all apparent hooks as an excuse, and rarely read theologically.

As I said, this is one of the favourite ‘errors’ found in the pages of higher critics, so it can fairly easily be disregarded, as higher criticism is itself known to be bogus. Interestingly (as I think I said in my article on higher criticism), Romanism once discounted HC, but now embraces it, because it gives them a jaundiced view of scripture as God’s word, making it full of supposed errors. They should first read the work of higher critics and see how others completely debunk it, before they use their arguments!

Aquinas... Romanist Teaching

Many read and follow the translated works of Thomas Aquinas, not sparing a thought about who he was and his influence on Roman Catholic teachings. In ‘The European Reformations’, we read this:

Aquinas said that grace does not do away with nature but completes it. “So, the famous scholastic phrase, facere quod in se est, “Do what lies within you”, means that salvation is a process that takes place within us as we perfect ourselves. Put another way, we become righteous before God as we do righteous acts, as we do good works.” Page 63.

thomas aquinas

 

Parish priests were left to answer the obvious anxious questions of the faithful – “But how do we know we have done our best to enter heaven?” The best they could do, without knowledge of theological details, was to shrug and say “Try harder”! This is the clue to that great surge in popular piety at that time! This, of course, is equivalent to our Arminian heresies today, and it even affects such cults as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“The church’s pastoral theology suspended people between hope and fear – a sort of spiritual carrot-and-stick incentive system.” P 63

At the time of this criticism, there appeared a Protestant cartoon, published just before the Leipzig Disputation of 1519, part of which depicted a cart being driven to hell by Romanist scholastics; on the side of the cart were the words “doing one’s best”...a very clear reference to the teaching of Aquinas, as influenced by Aristotle. (Source: Elke Walford, Hamburger Kunsthalle). To appear as a popular cartoon, the errors of Aquinas must have been well-known to the European public. (Today, his works are being revived and elevated, even by Protestants. See my book, ‘Tom Got it Wrong’, an analysis of his teaching on salvation).

As can be seen in other parts of this book, Aquinas taught that all the sacraments contained grace (and were, therefore, good in themselves). Interestingly, the number of ‘sacraments’ changed with time up to the end of the 12th century… Peter Damian (died 1072), a Gregorian, claimed there were 12, but did not include penance and the Eucharist. Hugh of St Victor (died 1142) said there were over 30! Author of the ‘Four Books of Sentences’, Peter Lombard, came up with the seven that are still current in the Roman Catholic church today: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders and marriage. (P183). These were given concrete status by the Council of Florence in 1439 (‘Instruction for the Armenians’), and reaffirmed by the Council of Trent, because, as they claimed, they were instituted by Christ Himself. (Where in scripture??).

The ‘sacraments’ do not ‘contain grace’ in themselves, and Christians only accept the existence of two – baptism and communion, both of which are meant to be affirmations of our obedience, and not containers of grace that will help us toward heaven (works).

By saying that the sacraments contain grace, Aquinas was giving form to the teaching of Aristotle’s idea of causality (ie the word is the ‘form’, and the material elements, such as the wafer and wine, are the ‘elements’). It was not a doctrinal fact found in scripture at all.

Aquinas also taught that according to opus operatum, it did not matter if the communicant was pious or moral or not – the sacrament was still holy and effective. According to opus operantis, the communicant must be pious for the ‘received grace’ to be effectual. Practically, this means that a wicked man can still receive grace whilst he continues to be wicked! In other words, it was the sacraments themselves, and not the person taking part, that made the sacrament effective, and would take the person to heaven. (P187)

I urge all believers to shun Catholic teachings and writers, simply because (as I show in my book) Catholicism can be extremely subtle in its deception, far too clever for ordinary folks who have no idea how to read the deceptions in Rome’s works.

What Do You Really Think?

Well, you watch as various groups of Christians fight tooth and nail to overturn homosexual political advances, and to defend themselves against their wickedness, from government downwards.

What do you really think? Do you believe God will overturn their blasphemous, foul designs? Do you think that things have become so evil that there is no hope?

Some wondered why, in about 2005, I stepped out of my three-decade opposition to homosexuality, even though I gave my reasons at the time. I will repeat it – I saw that my role was finished. I had warned and warned everyone, from archbishops to government ministers and prime ministers, hospitals, doctors, and Christians. But, no-one bothered to take heed.

Then, suddenly, after SORs were brought in, groups arose to fight. But, they were fighting a battle already done! We see the results before us. They realised the wickedness too late! We must still oppose homosexuality, especially in the governmental arena, because of legal hatred for Christians.

But, apart from all that, do you REALLY think God will move against such blasphemy and wickedness? Or is it all just lip-service? Do you trust Him?

I have just completed teaching three short studies in Nahum, and draw a parallel with today. God warned Nineveh, through Nahum, that it would be utterly destroyed. All of its evils are present with us today. Nineveh was the largest, wealthiest ruler of the known world. But, God judged against it.

Though Nineveh repented after hearing Jonah’s message, it again turned back to its evils. Yet, God had warned them, maybe a few decades earlier, that they were to be destroyed, for the same sins we see in the West today.

In this we have comfort. In the days of Nineveh, Israel took comfort. They would experience the continuing violence and immorality from Nineveh for a while longer. Then, God would move and the end defied all known circumstances. The oppressed turned on the oppressor, who was annihilated.

However, the enemy was not the victor. God had foretold of the destruction and it was He Who brought the armies to the door of Nineveh. It was God Who set in motion a train of events that led to the fall of godless Nineveh. Today, we must watch and wait. We must never give in to homosexual demands, but, protection against these doomed people is useless, for the time has gone. Now, we must expect to be persecuted.

Even so, God is already starting His move against them. It began with AIDS, and then a second wave of disease. Now, we must wait to see them destroyed. It will happen, and soon. As in the day of Nineveh, the chariots crash around the city and bodies mount up in the streets... but it is God’s doing. After it is over the enemy will disappear and God will show mercy to His people. Watch and pray!

caesar before york minster

Seventh Day, or Not?

Over the years I have read many accounts of why the Sabbath should be Saturday. I have also read equally impassioned encouragement saying it ought to be Sunday. But, sorry to say, none of the claims has a solid basis on which to work. They THINK they have excellent reasons, but they don’t. Even recently, out of curiosity, I contacted a number of rabbinical scholars and Jewish sources, but even they cannot provide a final answer! Lots of interesting arguments, but no true answer.

This is why I tend to stick to what God says – we must abstain from work on the ‘seventh day’; I do not find a particular day spoken of (in Genesis days were numbered but not named). This is the only real fact concerning when the Sabbath/Shabbat should be. I have also read the explanation by a highly-honoured rabbi, relied on by Jews today, but it is far from convincing, and not as logical as the esteemed rabbi thinks it is.

The issue does not bother me, but it still keeps raising its head every so often. In my time I’ve received many ‘proofs’, but on examination they are only conjectures, making some good folk rather hot under the collar, and very irate because I am unable to accept the supposed ‘proofs’. Oh well...

Manetho Got it Right!

Manetho was an Egyptian priest and historian who lived about 270 BC. Like many ancient historians he managed to get some things wrong. But, he attested to the reality of the Flood and referred to the family of Ham moving to what is now Egypt! (Ancient Egypt confirms Genesis is history’, Carl Wieland, Creation magazine, 2013, Vol. 35. No. 4).

Sadly, his mishandled history caused some to decry Bible history, giving it a bad name. Now, however, they are changing their minds, as they see Manetho was not accurate in his writings about his people. In fact, his chronologies were very off the mark! This is because kings from old, who he thought reigned successively, actually reigned together! So his timings have all been amended. Now, his history coincides with Genesis, much to atheistic distaste!

Manetho confirms that Egypt arose from Ham’s family, and records the ancient name for Egypt as Kham (Cham or Ham). As Wieland observes, the ancient Egyptians, who were much closer to Creation than we are, fully acknowledged the Flood and Ham, whereas arrogant modern scholars deny it! Don’t be afraid to affirm Creation or the Flood!

© October 2013

Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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