To judge

Matthew 7:1: Judge not lest you be judged.

The favorite verse of those who don’t like anyone who criticizes someone they like.  I love that.  It’s like we can’t say anything critical about anyone if you are a Christian.  It seems like we are supposed to just let anyone tell us anything if said person come in the name of Christ.  What if a young man said to your daughter: “God told me that we will be married one day so it will be acceptable for you to have sex with me, you know, since we are getting married one day.  We both love Jesus so it’s okay.”  He said Jesus’ name and he claimed that God told him directly that they would be married, right?  So who am I to say that he is wrong since he is claiming direct revelation from God?

Let’s use that example in a church.  Someone says something that is somewhat close to what the bible teaches.  But that someone the other 99% of the time is usually hustling people for money donations in the name of Christ.  Or a teacher denies the doctrine of the Trinity and teaches modalism, that God manifests Himself in three different persons but cannot exist in all three at the same time.  There is only God the Father or God the Son or God the Holy Spirit, never God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, are we supposed to let that heretical teaching go unchallenged?

Let’s say we like to use a Christian group’s music in church worship.  The church that the group is associated with does things that are beyond heretical into the demonic.  They will go to the gravesite of some dead “apostle” or person of God and hover around their grave, hoping to soak up their “anointing” so to speak (source).  I believe the word for that is necromancy.  They also claim that glory clouds of gold dust fill their church during their anointed services, and sometimes they have angel feathers too!!!  And lastly, they depict God the Father as a God who is infantile and borderline insane (source).  But wait, they use the name of Jesus in their music and say how much he loves us and such.  Hogwash.  Blasphemers at best, demonic most likely.

Then there are the people who engage in staged healing.  They call people up on stage and touch them on the forehead and they fall.  And when they stand back up they are healed of some ailment that cannot be verified.  Or they are a swashbuckling coat-swinging person slaying people in the spirit with every swing of the coat (source).  Then they ask for money for healing prayer.  The amount of money that is sent is directly proportional to the amount of faith one has to be healed, the larger the better.

These people are the young man who is trying to manipulate your daughter so that he can “go into her”.  They are whispering sweet-nothings in your ears, making promises and proclamations so that you can sleep with the whores that they have become.  Whore may seem harsh but that is exactly what they are doing: they will do anything or say anything and promise any earthly thing of riches so anyone and everyone will send them their money.  They are carelessly tossing around the Name of Jesus, appearing to truly represent Him but their appetite is found in fleshly desires.

There are a lot of verses that command us to question anything and everything that someone is saying in the Name of Christ.  The book of Jude is a plea for believers to contend for the faith against false teachers, those who teach unholy doctrine in the name of Jesus.  Paul commends the Bereans, calling them more noble than other Jews that Paul had talked to, because they searched the scriptures to see if the things Paul was teaching were true.  The apostle Paul’s teaching was questioned and verified against what the scriptures taught, and he was not offended or indignant.

Please, don’t accept all people who claim to come in the name of Christ of believe anyone simply because they are associated with some large ministry or megachurch.   Know the Word of God so you can be equipped to use the Sword of Truth, the Word of God, against these false teachers and wolves.  We are to judge what is taught in the name of God with what is written as the Word of God, the bible.

Hebrews 1:1-2:  Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he createdthe world.

Jesus said “Repent”

Luke 5:32: I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

The other day an article was in my Facebook timeline.  It seems the guitarist from Korn, who professes to be a Christian, was lamenting about Christians he labeled “conservative Christians”.  To sum up his lament, “conservative Christians” were giving Christianity a bad name by always bringing up sin and repentance.  His point, which is a pervasive point in mainstream Christianity, that Jesus is about love and having a relationship with Him.  The person’s method of introducing Jesus is through love and just loving on them like he believes Jesus would do.  Jesus always associated with the sinners so He was trying to show them love while apparently overlooking their sin.  “Conservative Christians” are modern day Pharisees.

Let’s see if this holds up.  Here are some verses I found about what Jesus said about repentance:

Matthew 4:17: From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Mark 1:14-15: 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Luke 13:1-5: There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

This is just three passages I found (also read Luke 15).  Huh, it seems Jesus did tell people to repent of their sin.  Isn’t that interesting.  The Jesus of the bible taught that people should repent of their sins or they will be punished in hell for their sins.  He didn’t just love on people, hoping that they would love Him back and have a special relationship.  The relationship comes after repentance because we are spiritually dead and God the Father is Spirit.

The most unloving thing a Christian can do is NOT tell people that they are sinners who need to repent of their sins before God the Father.  They are dead to Him.  The results of not repenting of one’s sins carry eternal consequences, enduring God’s wrath in the torments of hell. I did not see any passages about God the Father needing a relationship with His creation so He sacrificed His Son so that God the Father could once again fellowship with man.  We needed to be right with Him so our sins were imputed onto Jesus Christ on the cross and Christ’s righteousness was imputed to us.  (Yes, Peter does say that God desires that all people would be saved but that does not mean that all will be saved, only those predestined, the elect [but that’s another topic altogether]).

So, how it seems to me is that those negative “conservative Christians” who want to bring up the need of repentance of one’s sin are a lot more loving than those people not telling people to repent.  It is the height of deception to let a person believe that they are saved because they simply say they believe Jesus or that they raised their hand during the end of a service.  Repent of your sins before the Lordship of Jesus Christ, because we need a Savior who is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, who saves sinners from the judgment and wrath of His Holy Father, and the freely given gift grace and the free gift of the Holy Spirit to lead us in sanctification.

That is love and those who teach it do so out of love.

imputed sin/imputed righteousness

The bible has recorded a lot of miracles.  Miracles from the time of Moses in the presence of Pharaoh and during the time of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness because of their unbelief.  This time of miracles continued through Israel’s incomplete conquest of the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua.  Then again there was a time of miracles during the time of Elijah and Elisha.  Then again we see miracles displayed in the time of Jesus’ ministry before His crucifixion and resurrection, and during the time of the apostles as they established the church throughout the known world.  These were important times for these miracles to be manifested because was declaring the importance of a new time in the history of God’s interaction with His creation.

Today, miracles are being cheapened by self-proclaimed or self-identifying apostles and/or prophets.  They are a pathetic attempt, a mockery, of what occurred in the bible.  Those who were the instruments of those miracles in the bible did not boast in their miracles.  They did not say, “Look at me!  Look at that man who was once lame now dancing in the temple courts!  It was through ME that he got healed!”  These can only be attributed to the work of Satan because his best work is a mocking knock-off of God’s workings, a pathetic, second-rate, sleight-of-hand trick.

The utmost miracle is the one we will never understand but we are all benefactors of.  We will never be able to comprehend how God did it.  We will never be able to fully know why He did it.  We will never figure out how He did the transaction, how He took one mass of unholiness and ungodliness and transferred it.

In the time of the early nation of Israel God had instituted the scapegoat.  On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was to take two goats, one for a sin offering and one to take the confessed transgressions of the nation of Israel away into the wilderness.  The High Priest was to sacrifice one goat for the sin offering with the blood sprinkled in the Holy Place in the Tent of Meeting.  After making the atonement by blood the High Priest would then confess the sins of Israel on the remaining goat and have a boy take into the wilderness and let it go free.  It is amazing that this was enough, temporarily, to atone for the sins of Israel.

Then Jesus came, the Passover Lamb, the Lamb to take away the sins of the world.  The ritual of the two goats was precursor to what Jesus would do.  The whole event of the crucifixion is one of wonder, awe, immense power and one to induce an attitude of abstract humility.  God the Father took the sins of the world and imputed them onto His Son.  As Paul says, He who knew no sin became sin for us.  Sin was something that Jesus did not possess.  Our sin had to be taken from us and placed on Him.  Sin is only has substance in the presence of God.  We cannot see it.  We can only witness the effects and consequences of sin.  God took our sin and placed them on His Son. 

And He subjected His Son to our deserved wrath and His, in His humility and ultimate act of obedience suffered on our behalf.

And the miracle of the resurrection.  The Perfect Lamb, unblemished and acceptable sacrifice for the Father, rose from the grave alive and reborn in a new body.  The Father saw His Son’s sacrifice on behalf of His creation as worthy and righteous.  God the Father took the righteousness of the Risen Son and imputed that righteousness to those who would turn to Him and believe in Him as their Lord and Savior.  We receive something we would never be able to gain or obtain or attain to on our own power.

This is a one-sided transaction.  We have no part in any of it except for our sin, the filthy rags of a depraved and destitute soul.  Our sins are gone, taken by God and replaced with Christ’s righteousness.  Our sins were imputed onto Christ and we in turn had Christ’s righteousness imputed to us.  Unfathomable and incredible to behold.

six literal days and the gospel

I have to write something about the Genesis account of creation and some thoughts and assertions that I have heard or read in books.  There are a lot of theories about the meaning or how to interpret the text.  I believe it is important to the message of the gospel that the interpretation of the creation account in Genesis be understood as a literal, six 24-hour day timeframe for the creation of the heavens and the earth, and a seventh day of Sabbath rest.  I cannot understand why one’s belief of the creation account is not deemed a primary and essential doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The best way I could think of is to do bullet points of what I have heard and read.

1.       “Genesis chapter 1 is written in poetic language which is not meant to be understood as literal.”  This bothers me.  It seems to me to be a cop out, a way of trying to meld science with scripture, a way of avoiding having to do any biblical thinking.  If you hold that it is a poetic discourse then it seems you give yourself an excuse to not make a definitive statement about it.  But chapter 1 cannot be separated from chapter 2 or 3.  In the original Hebrew there were no chapter separations.  They were all one text.  I also don’t understand why a poetic discourse cannot be understood in a literal manner.  Where is the rule that poetry cannot carry literal meaning or implications and that only narrative/prose style writing is the only style that can hold literal meaning and historical content? 

2.       “The word “day”, yowm, in Hebrew can mean both a 24-hour period of time and an extended period of time.  In fact, the different uses of the word are similar to the different uses of our English word “day”.  The most common is to when the word references a 24-hour period.  In the context of Genesis chapter one why would it mean more than a 24-hour period?  The text emphasizes, makes it a point, to mention that there was evening and morning, one day.  The Hebrew words for evening and morning most common usage is in the singular tense.  But in the text of Genesis 1 people who want to mix evolution with the bible want to say that in this context they mean a multitude of evenings and mornings, meaning a multitude of days, known as the Gap Theory or Theistic Evolution.  It seems to me that the meanings are stretched so as to fit a man-made worldview of creation and not the biblical teaching of creation, a literal six-day creation process with a Sabbath day for rest.

3.       We cannot meld man-made theories with God-given eternal truth.  What does the knowledge of man have to do with the infinite wisdom of God?

4.       Also, there are times when God does cause trees to grow to maturity instantly.  In the book of Jonah God causes a plant to grow in order to give Jonah shade.

5.       The last bullet point I want to make is that what does theistic evolution or gap theory (not capitalized on purpose) imply towards the text in John 1?  Does in some way impact the authority of Jesus?  If all was created by Him, for Him and through Him, and without Him was not anything made, then saying He couldn’t create the universe and earth in six 24-hour days means that God is a weak God.  Maybe Satan has more power than we think.  Maybe Satan foiled God as He attempted to create the universe which caused God to continue to alter His plans until He finally, after billions of years and attempts, we have what we see now.

I’m sure I am missing some other major considerations.  What I want to say is that a literal six 24-hour day understanding of the God’s creation of the universe and the earth is not just one for an orthodox understanding of scripture.  I want to say that the six 24-hour day teaching of creation is essential to the gospel.  Understanding that God has the ability to create all we see and cannot see ex nihilo, and also uncreate it when He destroys it for the new heaven and new earth, makes it easier to believe in the cross and the resurrection.  The same power was employed to raise Jesus from the dead as was employed in creation.

I believe it is a matter of the utmost importance that we hold to the literal understanding of a poetic text as part of the remaining orthodox in our understanding of the gospel.

the importance of the Trinity

People continue to attempt to define God on their own terms.  They cannot understand or grasp the concept of a Triune God so they make up some explanation that seems reasonable to them.  One thing I know for sure is that we will never understand the Trinity while we are in these fallen vessels.  We can kinda-sorta explain His existence as three distinct Persons who share One Essence but comprehend fully is a fool’s task.  The Trinity is something that true Christians accept on faith because our feeble minds will never understand the whole mystery of God’s eternal state of existence.

We cannot deny the Trinity and continue to be identified as Christians or followers of the King of kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.  Like all essential doctrines we must believe in the Trinity.  We must believe that Jesus is the Son of the Living God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the very Son of the Holy Father.  This is something that we cannot get wrong.  We must understand God as He has shown Himself to be.

If we deny that God exists as a Triune God then we have to reject that Jesus is also God and that the Holy Spirit exists.  Declaring that Jesus is the Son of God born into creation as a man, of a virgin, is essential to the gospel.  To claim that Jesus was born an ordinary man and was somehow picked to be the Savior of the world is nullify His sacrifice and the propitiation He supplied for our sins.  He had to be all of God and all of man for the sake of the eternal security of the elect.

And the Holy Spirit’s ministry would not nonexistent.  He would simply be a ghost, a reference to something we hope exists but doesn’t.  The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity and that has to be necessary for us.  The Spirit could not fulfill His ministry to us if He was not part of the Trinity.  We would be aimless and fumbling about in this world (some people are who claim to know Christ) as we try to figure out what the death of Jesus means.  We would have no hope because the Holy Spirit is the One who brings hope to our hearts and minds as we wallow in this corrupt quagmire of our world.

A belief in the Trinity is necessary to a solid grounding in the gospel and is necessary for us to fully enjoy the benefits of being called an adopted child of the Almighty Living God who created us.

language and phrasology

I read discernment blogs and listen to some of their podcasts.  They talk about some self-absorbed and self-centered speakers are abusing the bible and the Name of Jesus for money.  I agree, these people should be exposed because they are fleecing and abusing the flock of the Great Sheppard Jesus Christ.  Some claiming that they are modern day prophets, a gift revived to this time in history and only some people, special people, receive this gift.  I also hear the discernment people criticize these people for claiming to hear direct revelations from God.  They also take exception when they say that the Spirit put a particular verse inside their heart or mind for them to speak about.

And then I read some things that they write about some things they are working through and they use the same language.  I was reading a blog where the blogger was talking about a reading plan as opposed to how she usually read the bible.  She said she was more inspired with ideas for writing and researching topics with the usual way she read the bible.  One thing she said was that she thinks of parallel verses and other verses the Spirit lays on her heart related to what she is reading.  Wait a minute, how is that terminology or language any different than what people she criticized in other articles used in their nonsense?  Is it somehow more orthodox for her to use that phrasing because she is more orthodox in her beliefs?

There is also an old article by Ken Silva.  Pastor Silva did some great work that still is beneficial to a lot of people as he exposed a lot bad teaching from wolves.  This is the link to the article: http://apprising.org/2005/10/24/the-devils-trying-to-kill-america/, and this is the section I am referring to:

In conclusion, to encourage you to spend more time in prayer with God, who loves you more purely than anyone ever could, and to illustrate the importance of prayer, I’ll share with you something that Leonard Ravenhill was on hand to witness one day. While brother Ravenhill might not be familiar to you, in his day he was one of England’s foremost outdoor evangelists. He tells the story:

One day I was at a conference with Dr. V. Raymond Edman of Wheaton College, one of the greatest Christian educators in the U.S. He told of an experience he had while he was in Ecuador as a missionary. He hadn’t been there long before he was sick and dying. He was so near death that they had already dug his grave. He had great beads of sweat on his brow and there was a death rattle in his throat. But suddenly he sat straight up in bed and said to his wife, “Please, bring me my clothes.” Nobody knew what happened.

Many years later he was retelling the story in Boston. Afterward, a little old lady with a small, dog-eared, beaten-up book, approached him and asked, “What day did you say you were dying?” What time was it in Ecuador? What time would that be in Boston?” When he answered her, her wrinkled face lit up. Pointing to her book, she said, “There it is, you see? At 2 a.m. God said to get up and pray–the Devil’s trying to kill Raymond Edman in Ecuador!” And she’d gotten up, and she’d prayed.

Christian, Jesus has heard your heart cry of near despair: Will somebody please throw me a lifeline! And I encourage you to grab on to that lifeline of prayer and to hold on for dear life. I leave you with a final point: Just like that little old lady was asleep until she heard God tell her to get up and pray, so it is with the Evangelical Christian church in the United States, too many of us also are sleeping.

But if you go to your knees you will hear the voice of the Lord say: The time has come for the Body of Christ to wake up and pray–the Devil’s trying to kill America!

And now the question becomes: Are we going to be like that dear little old lady; are we going to get up and pray?

By the definition of the discernment people, she is claiming to hear directly from God, a clear communication from Him for her to get out of bed and pray, which would seem to be a violation of extra-biblical revelation.  She was not reading her bible or in prayer or even awake.  She was sleeping and God told her to get out of bed and pray for Mr. Edman because he was sick.  This is something the discernment people would criticize if someone like Brian Houston or Steven Furtick said it.

My point is that all those who in some type of ministry full time are there because they believe they are answering a call from God to do be involved in the ministry.  And they will also say that only those are called should be pastors.  At some point we must decide what language can be used and how much is God involved in this world.

It almost seems like some believe that God is almost hands-off in the workings of this world and that God has spoken through His word and that’s final, and also claim He has absolute sovereignty and can do what He wishes.  I agree that the nonsense and shenanigans that is going on in Charismania is not from God or the working of the Holy Spirit.  But on the other hand, how much is God involved in this world and how does the Spirit guide us?

The Spirit is living within His people.  Is He just sitting there?  Does He direct these discernment bloggers to write about this person or that person?  If the Spirit is sanctifying us, is He doing is passively or actively?  Does the Spirit prompt us to speak to a certain individual?  How can we lean on God if are not certain where to go?  The bible doesn’t specifically say, “John MacArthur, I am calling you to be a pastor,” but he must have had some notion that was what God was calling him to do, which would be an extra-biblical communication.

Someone recently posted a quote from R. C. Sproul about one way to live out one’s faith is to serve others, or something to that effect.  Isn’t that what these seeker-driven churches teach as well?  I understand they put too much emphasis on volunteering and serving and not enough on learning doctrine and bible teaching.  But if we take the quote from Dr. Sproul he would seem to be in agreement with the seeker-driven model.

I guess what I am saying in a roundabout way is that we should focus on the fruits and doctrine these false teachers are teaching, and have less focus on how they are claiming to receive these teachings.  In the end if it is contrary to what the Word of God teaches then it does not matter how they claim or explain how they received it.  It can only come from two places if it is not from God: either from their own fetid imagination or from Satan himself.  Let Christ judge them about their false claims of revelation.

not sure if this is coherent

Jesus did not want cowards and wishy-washy followers.  He did not want people who were sprouted of the seed that landed in the rocky soil, the road or among the weeds.  He wants those who are of the good soil.  Jesus said a lot of challenging things that caused a lot of those who were witnesses to and partakers in His ministry and miracles.

These megachurch preachers are teaching a watered-down message somewhat related to the bible, like a distant cousin, forty times removed.  They are sprinkling their messages with bible verses and Christian lingo so it appears to be truly from God but it is far from what the bible teaches, and very far from God.

Throughout the gospels Jesus taught about His Father.  He taught about how the way we live is completely opposed to His Father, in that we fail to recognize and understand His sovereignty over external things and internal things.  He taught His Father was approachable but not until our sin was dealt with, that we were washed clean so that we can to enter into His throne room.

The Father is concerned with our daily physical needs.  He cares for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, and the flowers that bloom in their season.  He cares to send rain in the proper time for the harvest.  How much more does He care for us since we are made in His image?

But He was infinitely more concerned about our internal (spiritual) needs.  Jesus did not come primarily to teach about the Father and to train His disciples for the ministry after He had fulfilled the purpose of His being born.  He was born to die for the sins of the world and to bring life to that that was dead.

If we are to be those who daily pick up our cross and follow Jesus then we are to accept all of His teachings.  We are to accept the teachings that tell us that the Father cares for us more than the any other part of His creation.  We are to accept Jesus’ teaching that we dead in our sins and we need to be made righteous before the Father or Hell is where we are destined to spend eternity.

We are also to accept His claims about Himself.  We are to accept His claims to be the only Son of the Living God, that He was the manna in the wilderness for the nation of Israel, and that He is the only way into Heaven.  No one can get to the Father except through Him.  Through Him means through the blood He shed as the Passover Lamb for our sins, our propitiation as our High Priest, and His advocacy on our behalf as He sits at the right hand of His, and our, Heavenly Father.

In short, we are to believe what is easy to believe and also what is difficult believe, about what Jesus teaches about us and about Himself.

emotion overload

A sermon was preached recently and the final point from the pastor was that God wants our hearts, not our heads (as if we could effectively separate the two).  There are so many things wrong with the point.  It is really illogical in that it makes no sense to only interact with anyone with just your heart, never mind love anyone, and not involve some type of thought or consideration.  It is not only illogical but virtually impossible.  But why would God or His Son Jesus only want just one part of us?

We see the obvious conclusion when Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is.  He to love the Lord your God with all you heart, mind, soul and strength, and the second is to love your neighbor.  These two sum up all of the Law of Moses.  Jesus included the mind, which is located in the head.  So why would Jesus include the mind if all He believed He needed was our heart?  How can we understand Him, His statutes and His teachings if we do not use our heads?

The other part is probably more critical.  An illustration is needed which is how I explained it to my wife.  When you start a new relationship with a person that has the intention of romance what rules the relationship in the beginning?  The heart.  You cannot wait to see the person again, to spend hours talking about nothing and everything.  And then the emotions begin to fade away.  Now you need to make a decision.  Do I stay with this person or move on to ride the next emotional wave?  You must admit that you must use your head to make this decision because I think we all have learned that we should not make decisions with just our hearts, or with just our head for that matter, certain disaster 95% of the time.

When the emotions become dominant in our walk of faith with Christ we become spiritual junkies going from conferences to revival meetings seeking that next emotional fix.  We cannot sustain a relationship on just the emotional rush because we would become burned out and exhausted, and jaded towards the cause of that emotional rush.

We must engage the heart and mind if we are to worship and serve our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus our Lord and Savior and King, and the Holy Spirit.  That is the true essence of worship of a true believer in Christ.  We are shortchanging God and our own person if we neglect to incorporate all of us in our relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

righteous anger

Someone asked me when we should turn the other cheek. This is a complicated issue.  This was a follow-up to why did Jesus not defend Himself against the false accusations of the Pharisees before the Sandedrin and Pilate.  I told the person that in that situation it a singular circumstance.  It was necessary for Him to suffer as the Messiah for the sake of our sins.  He certainly could’ve defended Himself, as He said to Peter, when he cut the ear off the servant, that if He was to be spared of the crucifixion He could call to His Father who would send angels to fight for Him.

So the next question was when do we turn the other cheek as followers of Christ? Interesting question I said because the person was trying to figure out why I would be angry if I was accused of doing something I didn’t do.  If I am accused of something that only affects me then I should turn the other cheek.  But if it has a residual effect or causes collateral damage then I should defend myself because it could affect my position with other people, like business partners, clients, sons, daughters, etc.

What about physical violence? Again, if it is against my physical person for the sake of the name of my Lord then I am to endure whatever happens.  But if it is a case of me being a victim of a crime or in defense of others then I am at liberty to defend myself and others against the attacker.

The person then asked when is it right to be angry or when does the bible say it is right to be angry? I answered that we are to be passionate about our defense against those who are set out to distort the Word of God.  We are to expose the teachings of those who are deliberately deceiving people for the sake of their own selfish gain through deceptive interpretation of bible passages.  We are to defend the honor of God and our Lord, not that He could not do it on His own but we are His ambassadors and it is our responsibility represent and defend our King.

So, the short answer is that we are to defend against those who attack the defenseless or weaker people, and defend the Holiness of God against heretical teachings and people who seek to gain material wealth and power over people.

right response to rebuke and reproof

2 Timothy 3:16-17: 16 34All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that 35the man of God may be competent, 36equipped 37for every good work.

Oh, we are always quick to condemn other people for being critical, judgmental, Pharisaic, legalistic and mean-spirited when we appeal to them for something they taught that was not in line with scripture. We love to climb onto the high horse of self-righteousness and exclaim, “How dare they question what I do in the name of Christ!”  The people on the stage have come to believe that they have a special anointing from God, like David received when he was made king.  They believe this special anointing gives them special status that puts them above everyone else, and especially those mean-spirited, low-life discernment people.  In the New Testament age, only the apostles could claim to have a special anointing because they were personally chosen by Jesus Christ.

So, how did an apostle handle a rebuke and reproof from another apostle? In Galatians 2, Paul is relating a story of what happened in that church when he was there and Peter was there as well.  The Jews from the church in Jerusalem came and Peter eventually segregated himself from the Gentiles and stayed with the Jews.  Paul confronts Peter about this and rebukes him in public, not holding anything back as he showed Peter his error.

How did Peter respond? Well, he didn’t go on and begin to tell Paul that he was part of the “Original Twelve” so he had a higher status rating than Paul.  He didn’t remind Paul that his statement of faith about Jesus being Christ, the Son of God, was the first stone laid on the foundation of Christ.  We are not really told what Peter’s reaction was.

But we can discern what his reaction was. In Peter’s second letter, he places the letters of Paul in equal standing with the Old Testament by calling them “scripture”.  If Peter had held a grudge because of the confrontation from Paul then that statement would have never been made.  Peter was reminded by Paul that the Jews no longer to be considered special because they had been given the Law.  They could not keep the Law so God now included the Gentiles in His plan of salvation and have grafted them into the Vine, Jesus Christ.  In this new covenant, all were in equal standing before God.  Jews were no longer the only people who would receive special grace from God.

Peter is the biblical example on how to handle a biblical rebuke and reproof. If only our megachurch celebrity leaders would read that part of the bible.