WHY EVERY BELIEVER SHOULD READ THIS SERIES:
For the benefit of those who may not know me well, I have been given a strong passion for seeking God’s truth on many of the more difficult doctrines of our faith and on some of the more challenging passages in Scripture. I also engage in the study of Apologetics--the defense of the Christian faith, so my first loyalty is to the Lord, then, to preserving the integrity of His Holy Scriptures.
King Solomon, a man of great wisdom once wrote:
Eccl. 1:18: For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
While I would never dare to compare the small measure of my wisdom to that of Solomon's, I can now, at least, relate to the burden he is describing. The inspiration for this prophetic series was birthed from a similar spiritual burden the Lord has given me—as I unintentionally discovered that most of us who attend, or have attended, doctrinally based churches, myself included, have been unwittingly indoctrinated with a few false “doctrines of men” that we always thought were biblical doctrines.
Because these traditional, “hand me down” doctrines were adopted by our church fathers, as truth, before we were born, it never occurs to us to question their source, much less to most suspect they might be a symptom of a larger problem--a foundational flaw within our system of higher spiritual education in America (our Seminaries). Several of these “doctrines of men” have been taught in American churches for so long now that our parents, grandparents and teachers themselves were also mistaught, which would further explain why you and I have more difficulty identifying and distinguishing these culturally familiar ‘doctrines of men’ from true apostolic, biblical doctrines.
If these facts are true (and they are), then I submit that it is now, more critical than ever, that every believer learns how to properly identify these popular, rogue doctrines of the twenty-first century, as they are almost certainly being taught in your church as well.
If we retrospectively look back through history, all the way to the ancient Greek culture, it is easy to perceive that humans have always highly valued their own wisdom and intellect, and have historically placed great trust in their institutions of higher education. While this practice is right and fitting for secular disciplines such as the arts and sciences, I submit, it is an extremely dangerous practice for the spiritual disciplines.
As surprising as it sounds, most false doctrines of men are first introduced at the Seminary and University level. I suspect that the reason is that college professors tend to teach the spiritual disciplines as if they were teaching a course on law or science—relying on precedent and tradition—rather than the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. Each educational institution staffs highly educated Professors who have embraced, and even mastered, the doctrines of one or more smart, dead theologians from previous centuries (like Saint Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Darby, Parham, Hagin, Catholocism, etc.) who then teach our young, inexperienced Pastors and Priests to interpret and understand the Bible through their preferred doctrinal lenses.
These, then later perpetuate the indoctrination on to us, which in some cases can effectively neutralize and immobilize the larger corporate church to the same proportion as it’s splintered parts are misdirected (deceived)!
Job 28:12-28: But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living…28 And to man He said, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
Solely placing our trust in the wisdom of men (our Pastors) alone, taught them through our man-made institutions is a snare. Rather, believers should, in tandem, also learn to seek the Lord’s wisdom through God’s Word, one on one in prayer with the Holy Spirit—just as the Berean’s proved the Apostle Paul’s sermons.
Please allow me to be crystal clear, I am not saying today’s church, or it’s Pastors and Priests, have apostatized, I am simply saying that we are in the process of an ever increasing deception—a course of confusion and unspoken tolerances, which if left unchanged, could lead to the apostasy of many splintered groups as liberal teachings continue to proliferate with every passing year.
In this series, you will be immediately equipped with your own “Baloney Detector,” which includes the tools and techniques to not only identify man-made doctrines, but to also evaluate them objectively. By utilizing your Baloney Detector, you will have a much greater understanding of the Church’s present essential role in the Kingdom of Christ, and also be more aware of Satan's covert and progressive strategy against the church.
I am sad to report to you that fewer and fewer Christians know their Bibles well, and as a result, the New Covenant church has become like the proverbial frog in the boiling water. Remember the story? If you drop a live frog in boiling water, he will instantly jump out, but if you put him in luke-warm water and slowly turn up the heat, he becomes accustomed the rising heat so gradually, he will never realize the danger until it is too late.
Satan's divide and conquer strategy is very clandestine: he knows that neither he, nor the gates of hell, can ever prevail against the church of Jesus Christ corporately (Matt. 16:18), therefore, the only way he can impact the church is indirectly--by deceiving its individual members. To his credit, Satan has been about this business long enough to know that sincere, well-meaning Christians would never buy into an out and out lie--but, if over many generations, he can slowly deviate (or pervert) the truth being taught to the body through their Pastors, to divide the church into splintered groups (denominations)--he can then alter a significant percentage of individual believer's focus and expectations of their future by introducing a few simple "doctrines of men." Once the church is broken up into many denominational factions, each one loyal to their preferred man-made doctrines, Satan has accomplished his first goal of division, leading to inter-denominational debates, confusion and of course, a mutual tolerance of each denominations preferred perspectives—seldom realizing the source of these divisive doctrines are rooted in man-made philosophies.
Once divided into bite-sized pieces, it is now possible to redirect and immobilize the individuals within each splintered group through deception--via indoctrination. How do you eat an elephant? You divide it up and eat one bite at a time, over a long period of time. Thus, Satan's strategy for perverting the New Covenant's church doctrines is the same strategy he successfully employed to pervert the Old Covenant's church doctrines: to corrupt slowly, over many generations, so that the church body never notices the slight deviations.
Within this series, we will prayerfully expose, at least three critical doctrinal perversions (maybe more with future books) that have been handed down from generation to generation, for centuries now, and seem to be significant contributors for the disharmony of the church. By corrupting our past, present and future foundational doctrines, Satan, through 'doctrines of men,' is effectively rewriting church history, and creating church impotence by perverting the individual believer's understanding of God's grace and by confusing the individual Christ follower's expectations for the future of the church:
1. From a past perspective, Satan has effectively rewritten church history by teaching us that God is a racist. Much of the Christian church is incorrectly being taught God pre-selected His "chosen people" (wrongly presumed to be ethnic Israel) on the basis of race (flesh) and nationality. The resulting impact of this racially inspired false teaching is, much of the New Testament Church of Jesus Christ does not realize that there is only one “chosen people” of God, and that she is His "chosen people."
Consequently, most of the church does not comprehend her critical position in church history, nor the essential role she plays in expanding Christ's Kingdom--because she is being incorrectly taught by the late coming Dispensationalists that the Kingdom of Christ was rejected by Israel, therefore, it is still in our future, and the New Covenant Church is merely "a parenthesis," in redemptive history (a topic we discuss in more detail elsewhere): one of two peoples of God theory. These are the very lies, the false 'doctrines of men,' upon which we will apply our “Baloney Detectors” in order to biblically annihilate them in the first book of this series: "Israel Unveiled."
2. Presently, false doctrines of men are stealthfully, but progressively, teaching our Pastors, to teach us, an unbiblical, unbalanced, liberal grace, which strategically neutralizes individual church members, permitting spiritual impotence by means of distorting biblical doctrines surrounding their salvation. These teachings breed an atmosphere of complacency and entitlement. To witness one example of this fact, simply start noticing how many believers are actively serving in most churches. As a result, I suspect that about 10% of believers are now doing approximately 90% of what little work is being done toward expanding Christ's Kingdom today.
This sneaky tactic, if allowed to fully mature, can skillfully and covertly deceive and seduce individual souls into unwittingly excluding themselves from the body of Christ. These are the slippery and controversial topics we biblically grasp within book II: "Balancing Grace."
3. The future of Christ’s Church is being mistaught to a large segment of the church by so-called prophecy “experts.” By futurizing already fulfilled biblical prophecy, the mobilization of these individual believers has been effectively diminished because their expectations for the future destination of the church have been misdirected. As we all know, any traveler would choose alternate routes and make different turns on a trip from Houston to Chicago, than he/she would on a trip from Houston to New York City. A falsely perceived deviation from the true destination, results in alternate decisions being made by the individual believers; and this is exactly what this simple perversion is designed to accomplish.
For example, many believers are being taught the world is falling apart and the "rapture" of the church is imminent--perhaps any day now! Therefore, by deviating many individual believer's expectations (for the destination of the church) onto an escape from this earth, and from the fictitious Mr. Antichrist, by means of a falsely presumed rapture of the Church, Satan effectively misdirects a significant portion of the body of Christ away from their true mission of spiritually restoring the earth (expanding Christ's Kingdom: to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith). Satan has effectively immobilized this segment of the church from their true mission!
To properly interpret the Bible, a sincere student must learn how to allow God to interpret His own meanings by allowing the Word to interpret the Word (the Bible to interpret the Bible). We must guard our hearts against the temptation to take the easy road, by allowing others to teach us their faith. There are numerous false doctrines being taught in our day. Unfortunately, there are many “educated” men teaching their false presumptions, allowing their apocalyptic imaginations to run wild in trying to explain God’s symbolic, metaphorical language. Restating, it is important to invest the time to learn to interpret His language of love on our own--directly from His Holy Spirit. This series will teach us how to identify false doctrines and point us in the right direction.
I am often perplexed at how almost everyone can read Jesus' words in the Holy Spirit inspired book of John 10:9: “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved…” and clearly recognize that He is speaking symbolically. I don’t know of anyone who believes Jesus is saying that He is physically made of wood and hinges!
Yet, if these same persons turn the pages a few times back to Revelation, a symbolic book Jesus primarily dictated to John, (a book chocked full of the spiritual language of Jesus’ symbolism) and suddenly, people want to insist on a literal interpretation of Jesus’ symbolic love language when they read about how the stars of heaven will fall to earth, the mark of the beast, the antichrist, etc. Could it be, we are missing something?
Even though we will discuss Old and New Covenant, predictive prophecy quite extensively (in this series), in order to discern an accurate, biblical picture of the future of Christ's church; the prophetic insights given specifically from this series all fall under the edification and exhortation principles of Paul's definition in 1 Cor. 14:3-5.
I say all of this to say, the purpose of this series is to call individual believers and the corporate church back into unity and to shine some light and insight on the path toward achieving that unity. Along the way however, the transition process may occasionally, but temporarily, seem as though I am the one being divisive, as we will need to confront and tear down some of our old traditional beliefs systems we have all been taught through our doctrinal churches. Once these doctrines of men are identified and isolated, we can then refocus our attention and realign our thinking around the core biblical truths that remain--the pure and refined, eternal biblical doctrines.
Therefore, please do not choose to become offended or skeptical if, and when, we happen to biblically challenge one of your traditional, pet belief systems, as this is a natural, transitional part of the process toward unity that is almost certain to happen if you have been attending any doctrinally based church in America. (i.e. Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Word of Faith, Church of Christ, Lutheran, Methodist, etc.). The truth is, the church has been taught doctrines from the minds of men for so many generations now, that it is very difficult for the average believer to distinguish them from the true, apostolic biblical doctrines (that make every verse in the Bible true).
So, instead of becoming defensive when we challenge a familiar doctrine you have been taught, please allow us a little latitude, and consider the challenge as an opportunity for us all to examine the source of the traditional teaching, and to use our "Baloney Detectors" to scrub the doctrine Accumulatively, Synergistically, Covenantally, Culturally, Prototypically, Historically and Typologically alongside biblical truth. In other words, just please keep reading, and in the end, it will all come together and make a lot of sense.
By the way, just because I have referred to this series as a "prophetic series," does not mean that I am claiming to be a "Prophet," but instead, my intent is that I am prayerfully persuaded the Lord has shared these few prophetic insights through this vessel for the church--based on Paul's definition of prophecy in 1st Cor. 14:3-5, where the Apostle Paul defines a new purpose for New Covenant prophecy, and narrows the scope of all new prophecy from the Lord (going forward), as being limited to the purposes of edification, exhortation and comfort of the body:
1 Cor. 14:3-5: But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
Throughout thousands of years of biblical history, passionate, Spirit inspired men with a zeal for teaching God’s truth have always had to challenge the current, prevailing “wisdom” of the spiritual leaders of their time. Examples could include Jesus Himself opposing the Pharisees, or all of the Old Covenant prophets, as well as, the New Covenant Apostles, and even ordinary men, like Martin Luther who nailed his impassioned 95 Thesis to the door of the Catholic Church in 1517. Then, each individual believer within the body had to make a choice in how they would respond to each impassioned Holy Spirit inspired teacher. Likewise, the Holy Spirit inspired insights I am about to share with you are my 2014 Thesis for Unity—and you have a choice of how you should prayerfully respond. Take what I am about to say, scrub it against Scripture and hold onto the good.
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Back From the Future!
Wouldn't it be nice if we could better understand the whole, entire Bible? And what an incredible bonus it would be if it all fit together perfectly and began making more and more sense: including those challenging and difficult books that deal with prophecy.
Well, that is precisely what this series is all about!
This book could become one of the most important books a twenty-first century believer can read. It is an adventure into discerning core biblical truths; it is about balancing GOD'S grace with OUR faith--biblically. What is the relationship between His gift of Grace and OUR Faith? Most of us have not been taught everything we need to know about our eternal security!
"Israel Unveiled," is this first book of an adventure series about equipping ourselves to discern God's language of love to us (discovering how to discern the symbolism in the Bible), and how to interpret the Bible "Holistically" and purely, rather than through the lenses of various church doctrines, cutting through the fog of doubt and intimidation that often surrounds biblical interpretation.
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