Showing posts from May, 2019

The Late Great Discipline of Study

Hal Lindsey to Retire
I heard this morning on HisChannel that Hal Lindsey lately of The Hal Lindsey Report and author of the 1970 best-seller The Late Great Planet Earth is retiring. First, let me say that Hal has been a workman these many years. He helped introduced a dispensational view to the Jesus Movement of the late 60s and early 70s. He has had a powerful influence on the Calvary Chapel Movement. I am not the judge of another man's servant (Rom 14:4), but none of our teachings are above scrutiny (cp Acts 17:11).

This is not meant to cast a dim light on Hal, but I do want to use the influence of his book to make a greater point. My theology is not what is was 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 1 year ago, last month. The course of my understanding can be seen as moving in a particular direction, yes, but it is nonetheless moving. And as I continue to dig into some topics I also acknowledge that some things I hold are set in stone. I am building upon a firm foundation…

A Fresh Look at 1 John - Part 2

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. -John 8:12
We turn our attention to the full context of "light" and "darkness" in 1 John. We noted last time that the "cleansing" of 1 John 1:9 is a continual action. That helps us see the "confessing of sin" in the past tense. All sin was taken away by the cross ("the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world... it is finished"). God has reconciled the world to himself through Christ (2 Cor 5:18). But we experience that past act as a present condition.

Something like: "If we are counted among those who have confessed they are sinners and were cleansed, he is faithful and is continually cleansing us from sin." 
  When we widen out from that verse, it starts to become clearer still.

Verse 8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

The Two Terrible Dichotomies of Christendom

We previously looked at The Two Great Dichotomies of Scripture(The Seed War, The Two Trees), along with another great dichotomy: the New nature versus the Old nature. But there are two unbiblical dichotomies prevalent in our churches which obscure a clearer understanding of the bible. 
When we read heaven/hell (the traditional "hell" of Christendom) and saved/lost into every scripture, we end up missing quite a bit (and risk great loss). In our study on Walking in the Spirit we noted the Christian is quite capable of being rather slothful and wicked. Peter even goes as far as warning his readers (Jewish believers) they should not be condemned as murderers, thieves, evildoers or gossips. 
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. -1 Peter 4:15
Can a Christian be a murderer? Obviously this is possible. Does he forfeit a free gift? No. That's impossible. We have covered the Christian walk in our series on Wa…

A Fresh Look at 1 John - Part 1

The Common Understanding 
I endeavor in my studies to seek out the truths of scripture by studying verses, passages, books, etc. in context. In the case of 1 John 1:9, I have not been comfortable with the common interpretation and application of this popular verse.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Pretty straightforward, one would think, but there are a few concerns I have with its blanket application. I'll quickly address the most obvious: this can only refer to true Christians. While that may seem obvious, it is important to note that almost the entire Bible is written to believers. This is especially important to note when dealing with the epistles. We start, then, with noting this is given to sanctified and secure believers. That "security" will be important as we look at the greater passage.

Beyond the seemingly obvious application to believers, we need to look at the surrounding cont…

Scriptural Mysteries

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.-Prov 25:2  The Bible has a series of "mysteries" which the Lord unfolded as he willed.

μυστήριον = musterion = something hidden (until revealed)
Now, the mysteries in scripture are not puzzles or "secret knowledge." This is no Gnosticism. When the Lord reveals these mysteries, they can be known. Sometimes they're obvious, sometimes they are meant to be difficult.  Sometimes people just refuse to see it because it messes with their preconceived theology.

We saw this diversity in understanding in our series on the parables of Matthew.

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has w…