7 Reasons Why Jesus Was Chosen As the Lamb of God

It was not just because He was sinless; for, even the Father and the Holy Spirit are sinless.

1. It was because all things were created through Him (Jn.1:3); therefore, only through Him could all things also be redeemed (Eph.3:9; Col.1:16; Heb.1:2).
2. It was because He is the heir of all things (created for Him); therefore, He alone had the right to redeem all things (Heb.1:2,3).
3. It was because the old creation was through Him; therefore, it's end could also be through Him (1Cor.15:45; Jn.5:22)
4. It was because the old creation was through Him; therefore, the new creation could also be through Him. (Rev.21:5)
5. It is in Him that all things consist (Col.1:17); therefore, it is in Him that all things (in heaven and on earth, not below earth) can be reconciled and gathered together (Eph.1:10).
6. It is by the word of His power that all things are upheld (Heb.1:3; 2Pet.3:7); therefore, it is by the word of His power alone that all things can be preserved for immortality (Jude 1:1).
7. It is because Jesus is the only begotten Son of God; therefore, it is only through Him that humans can obtain adoption, the redemption of the body (Rom.8:15,23,28; Eph.1:5), and inheritance (Heb.9:15); so, that the only begotten Son of God could be the Firstborn among many brethren (Rom.8:29).
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Does the Bible Encourage People-Group Church Planting?


Pentecost has a number of theological implications for missions that cannot be ignored. The ethno-linguistic-geographical division that resulted at Babel was obliterated at Pentecost; and the pouring of the Holy Spirit entailed not only the transcending of linguistic barriers but also the ingathering of both Jews and Gentiles into one. "If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?"(Acts 11:17). Of course, though this doesn't mean that barriers and divisions are no more, it does certainly mean that missionary methods must honestly conform to the biblical picture of the Church.
Theologically, we can recognize at least four distinctions in God’s ordering of the history of humanity: the original ordering, the divisive ordering, the in-gathering ordering, and the final ordering.

1. The Original Ordering. In the original ordering, humanity is one. Nationalities didn’t exist because plurality of language and culture was unknown. This original ordering began to break down after sin when man first understood the sense of shame and guilt as the man and the woman hid behind trees to hide their nakedness. Later, jealousy, murder, and lustful imagination employed the original ordering to infect the entire humanity to the extent that God desired to wipe off the entire human race. A global flood became the only resolution.

2. The Divisive Ordering [Babel, Gen.11]. After the Flood, humanity was given a divisive ordering.  ‘Confusion’ was the word used to describe this division because humanity was ordered in such a way that each nationality wasn’t able to so much understand another. Division should have prevented any religious epidemic to be globalized irresistibly. The divisive factor was language and the barrier helped develop cultural variety. On Mars Hill, Paul understood this divisive ordering to have a singular purpose: that mankind would seek God and haply find Him (Acts 17:27).....

3. The In-gathering Ordering. ...The New Testament declares Christ as the Mediator – the one in whom all walls of division between God and man, and man and man, are broken. Man is no longer an enemy of God and the Jew has no advantage over the non-Jew. This was announced on the Day of Pentecost through the outpouring of the Spirit with the manifestation of tongues (understandable to everyone trans-linguistically). The Body of Christ was not based on a political covenant like Israel was based upon; the new covenant transcended all linguistic and cultural barriers. Interestingly, Paul describes praying in tongues as praying with the Spirit (non-understandable to anyone except God). The Great Commission calls forth the church to preach the Gospel to all nations and make disciples of them because the new covenant was no longer the property of a particular race or nation. The New Testament was written in Greek because God was not just the God of the Hebrews. The Gospel had to get global because God was global and His new covenant was global. The church at Jerusalem was not divided into a Greek Church and a Hebrew Church, despite their disagreements. The in-gathering ordering is captured in this statement of Jesus: ‘And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.’ (John 10:16 NKJ) Spiritually, this comes to be through the Holy Spirit; consequently, all bias, division, and hierarchization among believers is carnal (1Corinthians 3:1-4). It is not from the Spirit.

4. The Final Ordering will happen at the end of times when all things, in heaven and on earth, will be gathered together in Jesus Christ (Eph.1:10). Then, one will say that the Kingdom of Heaven had fully come. [Gospelization and Globalization....]
When Jesus talked about preaching of the Gospel among every nations and making disciples of every nation, the spirit of the commandment was to break through the Jewish privileged mentality and break across to every nation. It was the commission to be ethnically impartial and universal in the communication of the Gospel. The Gospel was for all nations. However, it is important to understand that this command was in no sense a command to go and plant ethnic churches. At any cost, Jesus never meant the planting of separate Greek and Hebrew (linguistic or community/caste based) churches in the same region. That is not a biblical ideal or goal at all. While vernacular language (the language spoken by the majority of people in an area) has its role, neither language nor people-group division determines the nature of biblical mission. Mass community/caste movements in history are not Spirit given examples for doing mission in the world.

On the other hand, we have more region-based church planting strategies encouraged in the Bible:
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."(Acts 1:8)
And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation [ethnos] under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.(Acts 2:5-6)
Now in the church that was at Antioch [not the Greek or Hebrew Church of Antioch] there were certain prophets and teachers....(Acts 13:1 )
"For so the Lord has commanded us: 'I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.' "(Acts 13:47)
And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region.(Acts 13:49)
...to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's sphere of accomplishment.(2Cor 10:16)
"To the angel of the church of Ephesus [not Roman Church of Ephesus or Greek Church of Ephesus]...(Rev 2:1) [all emphatics above mine]
Of course, with regard to easing of communication barrier, one can speak in matters of grammatical-conformity without doctrinal compromise (whether related to cultural semantics of verbal). Thus Paul says: "and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some (1Cor 9:20-22). Similarly, "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.(1Cor 10:31-33) Obviously, Paul is not talking about people-group church planting; but, doing whatever was lawfully right and necessary to save some. In fact, he asserts to the Church at Colosse that they must put on the new man (created in Christ) and not walk according to or in order to celebrate or idolize the ways of Adamic humanity (to idolize culture or tradition above the new man). "Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.(Col 3:9-11).
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Sources of Our Thoughts


"This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there." (Jas 3:15-16)

The Bible talks about at least four sources of human thoughts:
  1. The World (books, images, media, friends, traditions, culture, belief-systems, etc)
  2. Our Nature or Soul (Gr. psuchikos; past experiences, inferences, memories, feelings, desires, lusts, undealt sin, immediate need, wickedness inside)
  3. The Devil (Evil spirits, occultic teachings)
  4. God (The Holy Spirit, The Word of God)
Examples of Worldly Thoughts:
  • You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. (Lev 20:23)
  • As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. (1Kgs 11:4)
  • Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: (Col 2:20)
Examples of Soulish Thoughts:
  • Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen 6:5)
  • And Abraham said, "Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife. (Gen 20:11)
  • When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, because she had covered her face. (Gen 38:15)
  • "Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,' and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it become sin among you. (Deut 15:9)
  • The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. (Ps 10:4)
  • For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. (Matt 15:19)
  • When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (1Cor 13:11)
Examples of Demonic Thoughts:
  • Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matt 16:23)
  • Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? (Acts 5:3)
  • The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1Tim 4:1)
  • They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Rev 20:9)
Examples of Thoughts from God:
  • Divine Vision: I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in my bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me. (Dan 4:5)
  • Good Conscience that Bears Testimony to God's Law Within: "Since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) (Rom 2:15)
  • Holy Spirit: The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." (Acts 8:29)
  • The Word of God: "and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2Tim 3:15)
Whenever we feel confused and uncertain about the origin of our thoughts, we should ask: "Did I get these thoughts from the world, or from my mind and heart, or from the devil, or from God? One thing is sure, if these thoughts involve envy, self-seeking, confusion, and every evil thing, they are not from God. The characteristics of divine thoughts are that they are "first pure (without malice), then peaceable (peace-loving, open to reason), gentle (not aggressive and hurtful), willing to yield (submissive), full of mercy and good fruits (forgiving, edifying, and comforting), without partiality and without hypocrisy (unbiased, unprejudiced, honest and transparent)."

Keys to Walking According to Divine Wisdom
  • Cleanse your heart, keep it pure. "The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him. (Prov 15:26, NIV)
  • Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established. (Prov 16:3)
  • Contemplate on the Word of God (Psa.1:1-3)
  • Conform life to God (Rom.12:2; 1Pet.1:14,15).


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Truth, Freedom, and Determinism

"Tell a lie, speak it loudly, repeat it often, and the majority of people will believe it." ~ Adolf Hitler

Sinister as this quote appears, deliberate lying is part of propaganda and advertisement all around. And, while people recognize much of it as false (for instance, an ad that shows women swarming on a man using a particular body spray), it is held that somehow the elevated picture one paints will have a psychologically deterministic noetic effect. But, are truth and determinism compatible? That is a vital question the answer to which will decide two things:
1. Whether humans have epistemic freedom; that is the choice to know.
2. Whether knowledge entails moral responsibility.

While some sort of psychological determinism exists, as evident from experiments in group conformity, Milgram's authority experiments, and Piaget's experiments on cognitive ability with children, the determinism of psychology argues in support of uniformity of experience and not diversities of truth. That is to say, that the psychological experiments may be repeated to bring forth the same results each time, to verify the theory; however, if someone says that each human is wired separately to believe in contradictory things as true (for instance, one's conviction of pantheism versus another's conviction of Trinitarianism; or one's conviction of determinism versus another's conviction of non-determinism), then we face a different kind of problem.

To say, for instance, that one is wired to see one thing as truth and another is wired to see its contradictory position as truth is to make a statement that denies the existence of freedom in matters of truth; this means that the person making the statement has no epistemic freedom; but, if he doesn't have epistemic freedom, then he is either the one who is deceived or is not, though both believe that the other is the deceived one; how will, then, he know whether he is the one who is deceived or the other is the one who is deceived in reality? This disqualifies him from making any statement regarding truth; for in order for one to make a statement regarding truth, one must posit freedom as an essential attribute of truth. Therefore, the one who asserts that people are not wired to believe contradictory things, but choose to believe have the upper hand. This latter position makes the volitional epistemic event also a moral one.

Secondly, to say that one is wired to see one thing as truth and another is wired to see its contradictory position as truth, if this means the jettisoning of truth as absolute category, would plurify and relativize truth; however, if truth is relative, one cannot make a universal or absolute statement of truth, like "one is wired to see one thing as truth and another is wired to see its contradictory position as truth." This position is self-contradictory and self-defeating. Again, the asserter of freedom gains the upper hand.

Thirdly, to say that one is wired to see one thing as truth and another is wired to see the same as truth as well, but wired to willfully reject the truth, is to imply, firstly, that freedom is subjective and ultimately illusory; secondly, that knowledge is passive; thirdly, that knowledge is subject to causality and, therefore, is necessarily driven (in other words, it is impossible for anyone to have wrong opinions); however, this contradicts experience, for if freedom were illusory then responsibility would be illusory as well, if knowledge were passive, then all minds would see things equally unless fashioned dissimilarly, if knowledge is necessarily driven then people can't have false opinions, but experience proves the contradictory (even determinists believe that people have false opinions); therefore, the wired-theory is false.

Therefore, it is evident that for truth to be absolute, freedom must be a necessary property of it; and, since humans have freedom of will, they have epistemic and moral responsibility towards truth.
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Humility Before God and Men (1Pet.5:5)

"Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." (1Pet 5:5)

~Humility before God includes humility before fellow humans as well. What matters more is not how much we know or what we have accomplished, but how much we love God. For, "Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him (1Cor 8:1-3). Humility doesn't mean compromise of truth and values. There is something called a false humility that we must beware of. G.K.Chesterton said it well, "But what we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.... We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table." A humility that fears to speak the truth in love is not true humility at all. A knowledge that is not teachable is not true knowledge as well. True humility is submissive and willing to learn even from a child. Pride, however, regards self-esteem above the knowledge of the truth. True humility doesn't regard itself as superior to anyone because of anything whatsoever; pride despises others for very minor reasons. To be submissive to one another doesn't mean to be slaves of people; it means to have an attitude of willingness to serve anyone as one would serve Christ; to not judge, but to have compassion; to not try to justify self, but to live a life of repentance all the time.....

God knows those who love Him; not those who know about or argue about Him, or even use His name.
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The Security of the Elect – Is It Possible for the Elect to Fall?

The answer is “No”. But, this is not the doctrine of eternal security as taught by Calvinism. According to Calvinism, God predestines certain individuals to damnation and certain others to salvation. Those whom God has predestined to be saved will endure to the end. Thus, it is not “those who endure to the end will be saved” but “those who are saved will endure to the end.” In other words, the elect will endure; it is not those who will endure that are the elect. We reject the Calvinist explanation of the security of the elect for several biblical reasons stated elsewhere; but, primary, is that it paints a very wrong image of God. In this post, we will try to explain why we believe that the “elect” of God will not fall. Election is not unconditional, but conditional.

  1. The elect of God are those whom God eternally knows as the ones who are His, i.e. those who have endured to the end in faith (2Tim.2:19).
  2. These who are foreknown by God as His are the elect of God according to His foreknowledge (1Pet.1:2), because He predestines these, who He foreknows, to be conformed to the glorious image of His Son (Rom.8:29,30,33).
  3. Similar is the case also of the elect angels (1Tim.5:21); they are called “elect” because they stood faithful to Christ as His angels (Matt.16:27) during Satan’s rebellion (2Pet.2:4; Jude 1:6).
  4. Those who do not endure to the end, though they may have had faith earlier, are not counted as among the elect (1Jn.2:19). Again, it is not that they failed to endure because they were not the elect; on the contrary, they cannot be called “the elect” because they failed to endure, and because they cast away their faith.
  5. In our earthly experience, every believer is accepted as “the elect” or as member of the “election” (1Thess.1:4-5), but only those who are diligent to make their election sure by enduring to the end are the true elect of God according to His foreknowledge (2Pet.1:10; Col.3:12).
  6. Election is according to grace (Rom.11:5); however, that grace is not unconditional. Only those who did not bow their knees to Baal were protected by God from annihilation (Rom.11:4). Similarly, those who lack faith are cut off (Rom.11:20; Jude 1:5; Rev.3:5); however, those who continue in faith to the end, stand, because it is by faith that one becomes a recipient of grace. Faith is the subjective aspect of what grace is the objective side. In the same manner that “according to grace” doesn’t mean “according to works”, similarly, “according to faith” doesn’t mean “according to works” (i.e. of human merit). However, faith without works is also dead. We must differentiate between works of faith and works of the law.
  7. False Christs and false prophets will try to deceive the elect, if possible, but the elect will not fall (Matt.24:24). The days of tribulation will be shortened for the elects sake and the elect will be gathered at Christ’s coming to God (Matt.24:22,31). But, there will certainly be a huge falling away from faith (2Thess.2:3; 1Tim.4:1). Those who fall away are not the elect of God.
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If Christ Died For All, Why Are They Still Condemned?

"The sin of Adam," says Charles Hodge, "did not make the condemnation of all men merely possible; it was the ground of their actual condemnation. So the righteousness of Christ did not make the salvation of men merely possible, it secured the actual salvation of those for whom He wrought."

The great Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon said: "If Christ has died for you, you can never be lost. God will not punish twice for one thing. If God punished Christ for your sins He will not punish you. 'Payment God's justice cannot twice demand; first, at the bleeding Saviour's hand, and then again at mine.' How can God be just if he punished Christ, the substitute, and then man himself afterwards?", Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.
While God's love is unconditional, salvation is not. Therefore, it says, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (Jn.3:16). The Atonement of Christ is God's provision for the salvation of the world. However, only those who make an independent choice to believe are saved.
While all men inherit death because of Adam’s sin, all men will not unconditionally inherit life because of the righteousness of Christ (Romans 5). Faith is the condition for justification. While in Adam, death “spread to all men” (Rom.5:12), in Christ righteousness is “imputed” to those who believe (Rom.4:24). In Adam, one talks of generations to whom death is passed by one man. In Christ, every person is given the opportunity to make his/her personal, independent, choice and be justified. Those who make this second, independent, Adamic choice to persist in the autonomy of Adam will inherit Second Death. Those who accept the Death of Christ (the Last Adam) will inherit the newness of eternal life of the Resurrected Second Man (1Cor.15:47).

Humanity fell by one man’s choice; but, each human is saved by his own single choice. Therefore, in the resurrection, the saints are a multitude of sons (not sons, grandsons, and great grandsons). [See Full Article]





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What is Eternal Life?


"And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (John 10:28 )

The search for the elixir of life or the potion of immortality fills the pages of human religion and history. While various religions affirmed immortality of the soul (or even a-soul as in Buddhism), the quest for the ambrosia (nectar or amrit) to enhance physical longevity could hardly be erased. The Bible records the Tree of Life in Genesis 2:9; however, we have less theological warrant to assume that it has power to give eternal life, separately of God. God cannot create a stone heavier than He can lift, because that would be a contradiction of terms. Similarly, a tree of life that can bestow immortality apart from God, immune against God, is a contradiction of terms. The statement “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Gen.3:22) must be understood not in the sense of eternal life but in the sense of “forever”. In that sense, it only logically indicates physical immortality in the sense of duration, not the eternal life of God. It is important here to distinguish between godless immortality (which is everlasting death) and divine immortality. The angels possess immortality, but that doesn’t mean that they are imperishable; the demons can be tormented and there are angels kept in chains. Also, in the resurrection, there will also be the resurrection of those whose names are not written in the Book of Life; they will resurrect to everlasting destruction (2Thess.1:9) and suffer everlasting torment (Rev.20:10). Actually, hell was prepared for the devil and his angels who do not have the possibility of atonement (Matt.25:41). The angels who fell, each made a separate personal choice to rebel and, possessing immortality, were damned to everlasting destruction. It seems only possible that Genesis 3:22 could point towards this kind of damnation that man could fall to (damnation without mediation or possibility of salvation), if they had extended their hand and eaten of the tree of life to become like the angels.

While there are “convictions” among some Christian theologians that eternal life can be granted apart from the life of Christ, the New Testament is very clear about this that this life is not something that can be segregated from the divine life of God—it is not like a candy or a toy that a parent gives to a child. In fact, it is not even like a mother giving birth to a child; in which case, the child is a reproduction and so can live without the mother after birth. In the case of eternal life, that is not the case, though the former picture is what confuses Christian theologians with regard to an understanding of the doctrine of salvation. For, if that were the case, then God would be reproducing gods, which is theologically absurd; the infinite cannot finitely beget the infinite.

With regard to the “candy” analogy, there are some who erroneously hold that God gives eternal life to those who believe in Him in the same way that a pagan god gives a particular magic gift or boon to a devotee. That would again take a person back to the ambrosia issue. But, eternal life is not like that. The reason is because eternal life is the life of God and God has given that life to us in the Son; only he who has the Son has the life of the Son (1John 5:11-12). Further, this life of the Son is communicated to us by the Spirit of the Son; therefore, he who has the Spirit has life. Eternal life, thus, is the life of the Triune God in us.

“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Rom 8:9-11).

There are thus two aspects of this eternal life:
1. Present Aspect. Fellowship/Communion of the Way-Truth-Life (Jn.6:54; 12:25; 1Jn.1:3-7; 2:4-6,9; 3:6,10,15,23,24; 5:2-4,20). The Spirit of Christ in us, Life (Rom.8:9-10). Christ in us, the True God, Eternal Life (1Jn.5:20; Jn.14:6; 1Jn.1:2). The Father is the giver of Life in the Son to us (Jn.6:32; Jn.5:21; 1Jn.5:11-12). Therefore, the Son speaks of giving eternal life to as many as the Father has given to Him (Jn.10:28; 17:2,3).
2. Prospective Aspect. Resurrection (Matt.25:46; 1Tim.6:12; Tit.1:2;3:7; Jude 1:21). The Triune God is the Author of Resurrection unto Life. The Father raises the dead (Jn.5:21). The Son raises the dead (Jn.5:21). The Spirit raises the dead (Rom.8:11). Christ is the Resurrection and the Life (Jn.11:25).

Eternal life is assured to us on the grounds of faith:
1. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of Christ in us (Rom.8:9-11)
2. Through the witness of the Holy Spirit in us (Rom.8:14-17)
3. Through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us (Rom.8:1,2,13,14; 1Jn.4:4; 5:4,5; Eph.1:17-20).
4. Through the assurance of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ and the promise of His return (Col.3:1-4; Phil.3:20,21; 1Jn.3:2; Heb.6:17-20).
5. Through His providential protection of us and guidance of our life in grace as we submit to His care (1Thess.5:23,24; 2Tim.1:12; 1Pet.1:5; Rom.8:28-39)
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Can the Forgiven Become Unforgiven Again?

Jesus gives the answer to this question in His Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matt.18:23-35). The man was forgiven but his forgiveness became invalid and was withdrawn the moment he showed unforgiveness to someone else who was indebted to him. This man failed to walk according to the grace he received and soon turned to the law when it came to someone else. Jesus told that with the measure we measure out to others, it will be measured back to us (Matt.7:1-2). We are told not to judge. We must be forgiving not just in deed but also in disposition. Forgiveness doesn't mean that we restore people to the same circle of relationship; it means to harbor absolutely no hatred or desire to hurt or of they being hurt.

Forgiveness flows out of mercy and "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Matt.5:7). The entire service of the Temple was founded upon the concept of mercy; the Law only functioned to show people their state of sin. It was at the Temple, at the Mercy Seat, that people received mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, He says, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" (Hos.6:6). It's because, the person who brings a sacrifice without mercy in his heart blocks himself from the mercy of God. One didn't bring sacrifices to perform the works of the Law but to obtain mercy. Similarly, one who approaches the Throne of Grace in prayer, is appealing to the mercy of God through our merciful High Priest (Heb.2:17; 4:14-16). However, one who approaches the Throne in a legalistic manner will not receive any mercy. To forgive anyone as an act of the law (in a legalistic way) is also unacceptable. One must forgive out of mercy and because we ourselves are recipients of the mercies of God.

Similarly, whoever lives with the attitude, "Oh, they are getting what they deserved!" or "Well, God created them in such a situation; they are "called" to bear it!" is walking according to the law and not according to grace. Our attitudes matter. We are called to show mercy. Those who think that their law (or system) is a hindrance to them from helping the weak and the needy are like the Pharisees who thought the law of Sabbath prevented them from helping a person in need. Jesus rebuked them for such an attitude of mercilessness and self-imposed weakness. We can break through any barriers in order to have mercy and kindness on others.
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Honoring God

What Honoring is Not
1. Honoring is Not Mere Lip Service (Isa.29:13)
2. Honoring is Not Mere Sacrifices and Offerings (Isa.1:13-15)
3. Honoring is Not Honoring Out of Greed and Covetousness (Job 1)

How do People Dishonor God
1. Receiving Honor from Men (Jn.5:44; Gal.1:10)
2. Not Obeying His Counsel (Psa.107:11; Lk.7:29,30)
3. Dishonoring by Not Giving Unto the Lord (Mal.3:8-10)
4. Dishonoring by Bad Giving (Mal.1:6,7,12-14)
5. Dishonoring by Betrayal (Heb.6:1-11)
6. Cursing God when Things Don't Go Well (Job 1)

Honoring God
1. Honoring God with our Hearts (Isa.29:13; Deut 6:5)
2. Honoring by Obeying God rather than Man (Acts 5:29)
3. Honoring by Right Giving (Prov.3:9)
4. Honoring by Blessing God and Worshiping Even in Dire Circumstances (Job 1; Acts 16:25)
5. Honoring God by Public Confession (Not being ashamed of Him, Mark 8:38, Rom.1:16; 1Pet.3:15)
6. Honoring God by Bearing Fruit Unto God (Lk.3:8; Rom.6:22; Phil.1:11; Col.1:10)
7. Honoring God by Doing Good, Seeking Justice, Rebuking the Oppressor, Defending the Orphan, Pleading for the Widow (Isa.1:17)
8. Honoring Continually with Sacrifice of Praises (Heb.13:15; Psa.34:1)
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Job 1: The Man Who Put The Devil To Shame

Job by Blake
Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing?" (Job 1:9)

In Job 1:9, the devil is for the first time seen accusing anyone in the history of humanity. The accused guy is a healthy, wealthy, holy man called Job.

3 Claims of the Devil:
1. Anyone can fear God if God becomes their protector
2. Anyone can fear God if God becomes their prosperor
3. Anyone will curse God if God withdraws His protection and prosperity

The Devil is happy as long as we fear God for something: for healing, for blessing, for good friends, for things going on well, even for salvation... However, the Devil is distraught the moment he sees that we fear God for "nothing" related to us, but everything related to God, even for intense suffering. This the Devil can't bear, for it contradicts his nature; he is thoroughly wicked and he can't believe anyone is capable of being good, of truly fearing God.

Job is the story of how God stripped Job of everything he had, ultimately even his health; and, yet he held on to his faith in God. It may not have been faith in the sense that comfort-zone Christians know about. Job's faith went through intense tensions and pressures that are not very normal to humans in general. So, we may expect his faith to do things that we usually may not approve. But, that was the kind of faith that God was looking for; the faith that could be bent, but not broken; that could be heated up, but not melted, that could be battered, but not crushed. When Job's faith came out pure as gold, the devil's face so pale, he disappeared from Job's book. Job was the man who bashed the devil.

"But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" (Job 1:11)

How often it is okay for us as long as God doesn't touch what "we have"? We distinguish between what belongs to (or is donated to) God and what belongs to us. We may not bother to give God our tithes (and feel happy about keeping the letter of the law); however, if God touches the 90% that we keep for ourselves, worship becomes difficult. It is like a child who receives gifts from his parents; but, he will not tolerate that they touch that gift after they had given it to him. Or it is like a dog, that moves about wagging its tail as long as the Master gives food, but turns aggressive the moment he touches the bone in its mouth. Job reminds us that what we got from God is still God's; He has power to turn these even into the hands of Satan: "all that he has is in your power" (Job 1:12). But, Satan could not break Job's faith. When in a moment's time, he lost all that he had, he fell to the ground and worshiped God saying "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD." Jesus said that it is hard for the rich who trust in their riches to enter into heaven. Job was rich. He had 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and many servants. Yet, Job was not someone who trusted in his riches; his trust was on God.
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Anthropological Consequences of Regeneration Perspectives

Take for instance the case of your neighbor or a friend that you know is not a believer in Christ. What is the difference between you as a believer and the other? The constitutionalist would say that there is a constitutional or ontological difference: the unbeliever’s spirit is dead, or the unbeliever’s nature is totally wicked (though he may sometimes seem to be doing good), while your spirit has been made alive or recreated and you have been imparted a divine nature. Thus, there is a constitutional difference between you and the unbeliever.

The non-constitutionalist, on the other hand, will say that there is no constitutional difference between the two of you; the only difference is faith, which in the believer is present, but in the unbeliever is absent. Christ and the Spirit indwell us by faith (Eph.3:17; 2:22). Faith is epistemic condition, involving free choice; it is not an ontic property related to nature and being. Now, the presence of doubts at times doesn’t make one an unbeliever, because doubt is not committed unbelief. A person might observe some doubts arise in his mind at times, however, they are soon quelled and put to silence as he seeks the Lord. One good example of this is the situation of Asaph in Psalm 73, and the situation of Job in the book of Job. Similarly, one who has not heard the Gospel message clearly has not been given the clear-cut chance to choose unbelief. However, those who know and choose not to believe suffer condemnation (Jn.3:16-20; Jude 1:5).

Thus, a person who does not have the faith of Christ may fall into, at least, one of these three positions: ignorance, or doubt, or unbelief. The Bible says that God overlooks sins during the times of ignorance (Acts 17:30); however, that does not excuse people from judgment according to conscience (Rom.1:19-32; 2:12-16). The situation of doubt is a temporary time of suspension and not of decision; it is volatile and can lead to either belief or unbelief. However, those who choose unbelief forfeit the salvation of God.

Is it possible for someone who has accepted the Gospel to forfeit faith and salvation? Yes, it is. People can drift away from faith (Heb.2:1), make shipwreck of their faith (1Tim.1:19), and can fall away from faith (2Pet.3:17; Heb.6:6; 2Thess.2:3).

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This Generation Will By No Means Pass Away Till All These Things Take Place, What Does THIS GENERATION mean?

Second Coming

"Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. (Mark 13:30)

A look at the use of the phrase "this generation" indicates that the phrase doesn't always only mean a historical generation (of a particular time); but, it means "these kind of people" or "this Adamic generation". Thus, Jesus was not telling the crowd that His return would be within 60-90 years from then, or that there would be some who would continue to live on and never see death till He returned. From a study of the use of the phrase, it seems more reasonable to interpret "this generation" or the phrase "there are some standing here" as meaning "this sinful generation". It points to the fact that the end-time appearance of Jesus will be upon "this generation" while they are still alive. It is important to ask why Jesus should appear alive upon "this generation"? What is the point of His manifestation upon a generation that is going to perish anyway?

Paul writes about this eschatological experience of the Church (though some interpret it as the first of two phases of the Second Coming): "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."(1Thess 4:17)

Then, John prophesies about the anti-Christ: "Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone."(Rev 19:20)

With regard to those who pierced Him, it is said: "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.(Rev 1:7)

Evidently, "they who pierced Him", if taken in the sense of a literal chronological generation, will seem improbable. However, if taken in the sense as "the rulers of this age" who crucified the Lord of Glory (2Cor.2:8), in the sense of "the world", the sinful Adamic race; then, the sense becomes very clear.

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power."(Mark 8:38-9:1)

But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation." (Mark 8:12)

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38)

"But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, "and saying: 'We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not lament.' "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children." (Matt.11:16-19)

"from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.(Luke 11:51)
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7 Marks of Maturity (Phil.3)

"Let us, as many as are mature, have this mind" (Phil.3:15)
7 MARKS OF MATURITY
1. Having no confidence in the flesh, i.e. with regard to race, tribe, caste, culture, class, position, training (Phil.3:3-6)
2. Christ-mindedness, i.e. to regard relationship with Christ above every other thing in the world (Phil.3:7-8)
3. Pursuing God's righteousness, i.e. neither being legalistic nor being libertine, but pursuing the righteousness of faith. (Phil.3:9)
4. Resurrection-focus, i.e. to fasten the mind on the new creation, the power of His resurrection, with the final glorification being the focus of entire life (Phil.3:10-11).
5. Never considering to have already attained or achieved or reached (Phil.3:12), which is a great hindrance to spiritual growth and maturity.
6. Forgetting the past, i.e. to not be reveling in old accomplishments nor be depressed by old failures, to neither idolize the past nor be victimized by it; to not keep knots, to not hold grudges, to not keep a record of evil, to not keep wishing things had been different, but to embrace the freshness of each moment by faith and absolute reliance on God (Phil.3:13)
7. Reaching forth to things ahead, pressing on toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ (Phil.3:13,14). To stretch forward, to strain ahead, to keep moving, to exert every ounce of strength to move toward the goal of God, i.e. the glorification of the saints, the manifestation of the sons of God.
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4 Hindrances to Experiencing a Miracle

In Mark 3, we have the story of a man with a withered hand who was healed by Jesus. In contrast, there were people there who were not at all blessed by the miracle; but, instead grew worse after they saw what Jesus did. Let's look at four reasons why these people couldn't experience the miracle of Jesus in their lives:

1. Because of Their Critical Attitude
Mark says that "they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him." (Mark 3:2).

They had a very critical, skeptical, and evil attitude towards Jesus. A negative mind is like the grave that is never satisfied; it is like the bottomless pit that can never have enough. Even if God would split the sun into two, a critical mind will not be able to say, "Yes, now I accept you Lord!" People with a critical mind cannot receive the miracle of God. That is why the Israelites who murmured perished in the wilderness; because though they had seen so many miracles, even to the extent that they saw the Shekinah glory dwelling in their midst and leading them on, they could not believe in God. God had to destroy them in the wilderness (Jude 1:5).

2. Because of Their Legalistic Mind
It is written that they wanted to find fault in Jesus with regard to the law of the Sabbath. The Jews were known for their extreme legalism with regard to the Sabbath. Barclay writes about them:
The best way in which we can see the strict orthodox view of the Sabbath is to remember that a strict Jew would not even defend his life on the Sabbath. In the wars of the Maccabees, when resistance broke out, some of the Jewish rebels took refuge in caves. The Syrian soldiers pursued them. Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that they gave them the chance to surrender and they would not, so "they fought against them on the Sabbath day, and they burned them as they were in caves, without resistance and without so much as stopping up the entrances of the caves. They refused to defend themselves on that day because they were not willing to break in upon the honour they owed to the Sabbath, even in such distress; for our law requires that we rest on that day." When Pompey, the Roman general, was besieging Jerusalem, the defenders took refuge in the Temple precincts. Pompey proceeded to build a mound which would overtop them and from which he might bombard them. He, knew the beliefs of the Jews and he built on the Sabbath day, and the Jews lifted not one hand to defend themselves or to hinder the building, although they knew that by their Sabbath inactivity they were signing their own death warrant. The Romans, who had compulsory military service, had in the end to exempt the Jews from army service because no strict Jew would fight on the Sabbath. The orthodox Jewish attitude to the Sabbath was completely rigid and unbending.

The Law is rigid and stiff; therefore, it cannot give life. God wants us to walk in the Spirit; not in the letter of the law. The letter kills bu the Spirit gives life (2Cor.3:6). A legalistic mind cannot accept the miracle of God. But, a legalistic mind is like a whitewashed tomb that is all white outside but has dead bones within. This is so because the very exaltation of law proves the hardened nature of the heart and its corruption by sin. The law was given to the Jews because of their hardness of heart (Matt.19:8); and, it was given to people who were by their actions unlawful and unrighteous (1Tim.1:9). The law didn't produce life for the Jews; it became a hindrance for them because they didn't treat it as a mirror that showed them their face (revealed their sin), but used it as a mask of hypocrisy.

Legalists try to put God in a box and say, "Well, miracles have ceased. God cannot do miracles," or "If you follow these steps, then you will automatically have a miracle". It is sinful to think that man can do things to compel God to act. Prayer and seeking God is not magic. One cannot place rules on God by looking to the letter of the law. The Jews did that. They had idolized Sabbath so much that they now saw Christ's act of miracle on Sabbath as proof enough that He was worthy to die.

3. Because of the Hardenness of Their Hearts
Jesus saw their hardened hearts and was angry with them. "And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts..." (Mark 3:5). Jesus had asked them a question which was very logical. If their heart was truly seeking to know the truth, they would have been able to learn the true meaning of Sabbath through this.

Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent. (Mark 3:4)

Their hearts were so hardened that they were no longer able to respond to the Word of God. When the heart has become like a hard rock, it cannot respond to any seed that falls on it. Such is the condition of those whose hearts have been hardened by traditions, by lusts, and by desire to disobey and disbelieve.
...because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thess.2:10-12)

Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." (Jude 1:14,15)

4. Because of Their Rebellious Disposition
And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him. (Mark 3:5,6)

Instead of accepting the miracle, they only turned against Him and immediately plotted with the Herodians (who were like gentiles to Jews), how they might destroy Jesus. Evil had blinded them so badly that they were willing to go to any extent (even if it meant a compromise of their beliefs) to get rid of Jesus. While one may say that such a disposition towards Christ doesn't exist among believers, the Bible does talk about those who confess God with their mouth but deny Him with their actions (Tit.1:16), who crucify Christ afresh (Heb.6:4-6), and who go in the way of Cain, run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perish in the rebellion of Korah (Jude 1:11).

The Response of Miracle
However, the man with the withered hand received his miracle. There are not many reasons why he received his miracle. Chesterton once said that there are an infinite angles at which a man may fall but only one in which he stands. Similarly, there may be myriads of reasons why people don't receive God's miracles; but, there is just one why they receive (i.e. perceive and accept). We are told that when Jesus told this man to stretch his hand, he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. In other words, this man received his miracle because he obeyed Jesus.
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The Significance of Pentecost in the Theology of History and Missions


Excerpt from "Globalization: A Theological Overview", Paper at CMS Consultation, UBS, January 2014


Theologically, we can recognize at least four distinctions in God’s ordering of the history of humanity: the original ordering, the divisive ordering, the in-gathering ordering, and the final ordering.

1. The Original Ordering. In the original ordering, humanity is one. Nationalities didn’t exist because plurality of language and culture was unknown. This original ordering began to break down after sin when man first understood the sense of shame and guilt as the man and the woman hid behind trees to hide their nakedness. Later, jealousy, murder, and lustful imagination employed the original ordering to infect the entire humanity to the extent that God desired to wipe off the entire human race. A global flood became the only resolution.

2. The Divisive Ordering. After the Flood, humanity was given a divisive ordering. ‘Confusion’ was the word used to describe this division because humanity was ordered in such a way that each nationality wasn’t able to so much understand another. Division should have prevented any religious epidemic to be globalized irresistibly. The divisive factor was language and the barrier helped develop cultural variety. On Mars Hill, Paul understood this divisive ordering to have a singular purpose: that mankind would seek God and haply find Him (Acts 17:27). Perhaps, this divisive ordering gave birth to plurality of religions – and, it started with language. Paul’s interpretation also seems to indicate the short-term purpose of this division. It was to be till the Age of the Spirit of Grace, during which God commands all people everywhere to repent. Of course, the nations would continue to exist, but the reason for the division would not.

3. The In-gathering Ordering. Following the 6th and 5th centuries, empires such as the Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-persian, Greek, and Roman tried to bring a great mass of humanity under their fold. The need for interflow of economic resources invited many various ways in which humans attempted some sort of globalization. The 6th and 5th century also mark the beginnings of the dispersion of the Jews and the anticipation of their future ingathering. Meanwhile, the dispersion helped early Christian mission as the synagogues usually became platforms of evangelism – though not always. While the anticipation for the future ingathering of the physical Israel caught hope, God did make a central move to gather in His spiritual Israel. The New Testament declares Christ as the Mediator – the one in whom all walls of division between God and man, and man and man, are broken. Man is no longer an enemy of God and the Jew has no advantage over the non-Jew. This was announced on the Day of Pentecost through the outpouring of the Spirit with the manifestation of tongues (understandable to everyone trans-linguistically). The Body of Christ was not based on a political covenant like Israel was based upon; the new covenant transcended all linguistic and cultural barriers. Interestingly, Paul describes praying in tongues as praying with the Spirit (non-understandable to anyone except God). The Great Commission calls forth the church to preach the Gospel to all nations and make disciples of them because the new covenant was no longer the property of a particular race or nation. The New Testament was written in Greek because God was not just the God of the Hebrews. The Gospel had to get global because God was global and His new covenant was global. The church at Jerusalem was not divided into a Greek Church and a Hebrew Church, despite their disagreements. The in-gathering ordering is captured in this statement of Jesus: ‘And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.’ (John 10:16 NKJ) Spiritually, this comes to be through the Holy Spirit; consequently, all bias, division, and hierarchization among believers is carnal (1Corinthians 3:1-4). It is not from the Spirit.

4. The Final Ordering will happen at the end of times when all things, in heaven and on earth, will be gathered together in Jesus Christ (Eph.1:10). Then, one will say that the Kingdom of Heaven had fully come.

...
Sadly, the Christian church has been too expert about division-making. The denominational divisions apart, there are divisions also based on race, language, culture, caste, region, and civilization within the global church (West vs. East). The internal fragmentation makes the external responsibility a difficult mission to accomplish. While networking is a worthy concept, it might still preserve connotations of fragmentation. Gospelization will be hampered by the failure of the church to a true letting out of the Gospel. The internal principle is above the utilitarian method.

One wonders if the people-group and the Bible-into-every-language approaches have missed the significance of globalization. This neither speaks against the people-group approach nor against Bible translation. However, it is possible to miss the goal by focusing on the method. One must not lose sight of the other factors that render a method meaningful. People group approaches are good where group solidarity has also some ideological or religious threadline exclusive to the group alone. However, in the present situation, that is not always the case. Media and academic globalization have pulled down many semantic lines between groups today, especially among the new generation. Globalization compels intensive transformation of cultures by breaking down the barriers and allowing a free interflow of ideas and concepts. The very of idea of ‘context’, thus, becomes dynamic in the context of globalization.

This demands contextualization to check against extremities. For instance, to say that one must don the saffron robe in order to be meaningful in India is to disregard the non-Hindu groups. The saffron robe might perhaps appeal to a Hindu but certainly not to a non-Hindu. However, one can ask oneself if a Hindu evangelist wearing a robe, a cassock, and a cross would have any appeal for a Christian. Inclusivism is not unbiblical because God has been speaking to people everywhere in history; however, how far one can go or ought to go must be contextually determined – and the present context is more of globalization. Anachronous and incongruous contextualization may only produce cultural confusions and shocks.

But, what about saying that such contextualization is a form of the Gospel being glocalized? That needs to be delicately observed; yet there still remains the problem of an impression of some imported stuff being given a local flavor, only if it works – yet, the theologian is obliged to provide reasons why such import is necessary in the first place. Globalization just for the sake of globalization is idolatrous; similarly, rejection of globalization just for the sake of localization is equally idolatrous. But, where a theological basis can be provided, imports, exports, and adaptations can be enriching.
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The Apostles' Creed, The Nicene Creed, and The Chalcedonian Creed

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed is the earliest creed that we know. It listed the main and basic doctrinal statements of Christian Faith.
The Creed
1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
5. The third day he rose again from the dead:
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:
9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
10. The forgiveness of sins:
1l. The resurrection of the body:
12. And the life everlasting. Amen.
Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed was adopted by the First Council of Nicaea in 325 in response to heretical views of Christ related to His divine and human nature.
The Creed
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Chalcedonian Creed

The Chalcedonian Creed was adopted in A.D. 451 at the Council of Chalcedon in Asia Minor. The Creed asserted the divine and human natures of Christ and His divinity as co-equal, co-substantial, and co-eternal with God the Father.
The Creed
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [coessential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.
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Miracles - Teaching Outline by Dr. Matthew Thomas

Mark 5:24-34
The Miracles of Jesus Christ
1. Clarification
2. Calling
3. Counting
4. Categories
5. Critics
6. Cause or Purpose

1. Clarification:
Miracles of Christ are supernatural acts caused by the will of Jesus Christ which contrast to and interrupt the way in which life ordinarily functions

2. Calling
What are miracles called in scripture?
Dunamis - Power: mighty works, virtue, power, miracle
Semeion - Sign or indication, miracle
Ergon - Acts, deeds, work
Teras - Extraordinary, wonders

Dunamis emphasizes the Power behind the miracle
Semeion emphasizes the Purpose behind the miracle.
Ergon emphasizes the Performing of the miracle
Teras emphasizes the Praise from the miracle

3. Counting
Some think Jesus performed only 37 miracles, but the Bible says that they were innumerable (Jn.21:25)
a. Many miracles were summarized (Matt 8:16).
    12  summary statements in Matthew
    10 in Mark
    5 in Luke
    6 in John
b. Some miracles are similar; they could be the same or different (Matt 9:32,33; 12:22; Lk.11:14)

4. Categories
There are 33 prominent miracles that can be divided into 4 classes
a. Ruling Over Nature
b. Restoring of Health
c. Removing Demons
d. Raising the Dead

Dangers - 9 Miracles
Diseses - 17 Miracles
Demons - 4 Miracles
Death - 3 Miracles
I believe in miracles but I trust in Jesus

5. Critics
3 Major Attacks
a. Day. Sabbath Day. 7 out of 33 miracles on Sabbath Day (Lk.13:15)
b. Devil (Matt.9:34; 12:24)
c. Denial

People criticize miracles because they do not want to accept the authority and message of Jesus Christ

The Message of Christ and the Miracles of Christ are connected

6. Cause and Purposes
a. For the Glorification of God
b. The Confirmation of Christ's Claims as Son of God, Messiah, and Savior of men.
c. The Demonstration of Divine Power
Miracles are happening not because of you but because of the power of God
d. The Alleviation of the Needs of Humanity
e. The Subjugation of Satan's Power and Evil
f. The Education about Matters of Faith
Your life should not be based on miracles but on the Miracle worker Jesus Christ
g. The Fulfillment of OT Prophecies (Isa 29:18-19; 35:4-6; Mat.8:17; 11:1-5)
Jesus is the Master of every situation
Matt 4:23

One section that has all categories of miracle (Mark 4:35-5:43)
1. Victory Over Danger (Mk.4:35-41)
2. Victory Over Demons (Mk.5:1-20)
3. Victory Over Disease (Mk.5:21-34)
4. Victory Over Death (Mk.5:35-43)

Miracle by themselves are not proof that a man is sent by God (2Thess.2:9).
Jesus did not perform miracles to get crowd. He usually avoided the crowd
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Contemporary Theologies - Outline

UNDERSTANDING THIS AGE

Modern Period (19th & Early 20th Centuries)
Post-Modern Period (Late 20th Century)
Post-Postmodern Period (21st Century)

MODERN PERIOD (19TH & EARLY 20TH CENTURIES)
  1. Rationalism
  2. Scientific Temper
  3. Utopianism
  4. Secularism
  5. Skepticism
  6. Liberalism

POST-MODERN PERIOD (LATE 20TH CENTURY)
  1. Mood Against Truth (No Absolutes)
  2. Rejection of Reason
  3. Emphasis on Style over Substance
  4. Privatization of Morals (Morals are personal)
  5. Pluralism
  6. Image or Virtual Culture
  7. Rejection of Metanarratives

POST-POSTMODERN AGE (21ST C)
  1. Intense Globalization and Trans-nationalism
  2. Intense Fundamentalism
  3. Return to Modernism
  4. Between Modernism and Post-modernism
  5. Neo-romanticism (Attempting to turn finite into infinite)
  6. Pseudo-modernism (Internet Culture of Clicks, Likes, and Downloads)

LIBERALISM
Friedrich Schliermacher, Harold De Wolf
  1. Rationalism and Scientific Temper
  2. Genesis 1-11 as Mythological. Not Literal. No Original Sin.
  3. Hyper Contextualization of Theology
  4. Emphasis on Natural Theology (Natural Religion)
  5. Anti-orthodoxy, Anti-traditionalism
  6. Scientific Method
  7. Emphasis on Experience or Empirical Research
  8. Undermining of Sin
  9. Division of Jesus of History from Christ of Faith
  10. Rejection of Fundamentals such as Trinity, Original Sin, Virgin Birth, Inerrancy of Bible, Atonement, Second Coming


NEO-ORTHODOXY
Karl Barth, Emil Brunner
  1. Emphasis on Biblical Encounter Revelation (Barth called natural theology as demonic; Brunner accepted it)
  2. Emphasis on the Transcendence of God. God is the “wholly other”
  3. Emphasis on Regeneration by Grace from Original Sin
  4. Personal Revelation, Not Propositional Revelation. Encountering Christ as the Word.
  5. Christo-centric Theology


PROCESS THEOLOGY
A.N.Whitehead, Teilhard De Chardin, Charles Hartshorne
  1. God is mutable, temporal, and passible (i.e. affected by the world)
  2. Everything, including God, is in process
  3. Everything in nature has value, every living being is equally important. Eco-centric Theology
  4. The world is in some sense part of God (Panentheism)
  5. God is in some sense a physical or material being.
  6. Emphasis on freewill
  7. God feels how we feel without feeling as we feel (e.g. God feels our fear of death but He doesn’t fear death)


EXISTENTIAL THEOLOGY
Soren Kierkegaard, Paul Tillich, Rudolf Bultmann
  1. Existence precedes essence
  2. Emphasis on Being
  3. God as the Ground of Being (God Above God)
  4. Christ is the manifestation of the New Being
  5. Authentic Existence
  6. Anthropo-centric Theology
  7. Demythologization


SECULAR THEOLOGY
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Harvey Cox
  1. Secularization as a Biblical Process in History
  2. Emancipation of Church from State
  3. Religionless Christianity
  4. Church as Witness
  5. Church as Transforming Factor

DEATH OF GOD SCHOOL
Gabriel Vahanian, Paul Van Buren, William Hamilton, John A.T. Robinson, Thomas J. J. Altizer, John D. Caputo
  1. Contemporary culture is godless
  2. God is Dead Vs There is No God
  3. Do-It-Yourself Religion (Don’t wait for God)
  4. Anti-Traditional
  5. Engagement with (not isolation from) the World
  6. Churchless Christianity

LIBERATION THEOLOGY
Martin Luther Jr. King, Desmond Tutu, Arvind Nirmal, V. Devasahayam, Mary Daly, Rosemary Radford Ruether.
  1. Social Christianity
  2. Justice & Equality
  3. Black Liberation Theology
  4. Feminist Liberation Theology
  5. Dalit Liberation Theology
  6. Palestinian Liberation Theology

DOMINION THEOLOGY
R. J. Rushdoony, Gary North, Peter Wagner
  1. Christian Reconstructionism: Calvinism, Cessationism, Post-millenialism, Biblical Law
  2. Kingdom Now Theology: Apostolic and Prophetic Movement, Restoration, Spiritual Warfare
  3. 7 Spheres: Mild Dominionism. Christians must ascend peaks of the mountains of cultural influence: Arts, Business, Church (Religion), Development and Media, Education, Family, Government, (Health).
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Drachma and Denarius



1 Drachma was the daily wage of a skilled laborer (Greek Currency)
1 Denarius was the daily wage of an unskilled laborer (Roman Currency)

1 piece of silver (Tetradrachm) equaled 4 drachmas; thus, Judas' 30 tetradrachms equaled 120 drachmas or 4 months' (120 days') labor wages of a skilled laborer.

*According to Labor Dept of Delhi government, the minimum wages per day of a skilled laborer is Rs.423; of unskilled laborer, Rs.348, but could be higher than this minimum rate.
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Is Tithe the Same as Income Tax?

There is a teaching going on that "tithes" in the Old Testament were a kind of income tax that the Israelites paid to the Levites in their theocracy, and so Christians are not obligated to bring tithes to the Church since they are already paying taxes to the government. However, this view is very misinformed. Governmental tithe as tax was separate from the Temple one (1Sam.8:15). Abraham gave tithes, not to a Levite, but to Melchizedek when the Levitical order was not there. In 2Kgs.4:42, a man brings firstfruits to Elisha who was from the tribe of Issachar, at a time when they could not go to Jerusalem. In the NT, Paul talks about Christian workers living by the Gospel in the same way that the Levites lived by the offerings in the Temple (1Cor.9:9-14). There are things of Caesar, but there are also things that belong to God if we belong to the Body. And, in a Body, it is not just about voluntary giving. Suppose, the eye says to the finger, "I am only going to look when I feel like looking, because I am no longer under the Law"; how will the finger of a watchmaker be able to work properly? In the Body, everyone is obligated to give even as one takes. Tithe is just the minimal; we are called to love God with all we are and present our bodies as a living sacrifice. To treat our talents, treasures, and time as first belonging to Christ. This is not to feed the vain, luxurious, "visions" of carnal-minded leaders, but to give in order that the work of the Gospel is provided for (2Cor.9:12)
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