Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Straight Pride; Why Our World Adores The LGBTQ Agenda


            Nothing is more important than the LGBTQ agenda to our world. Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire nailed it, “As everyone knows, June is African-American Music Appreciation Month. It's also National Safety Month and National Smile Month. And we can't forget that it is ALS Awareness Month, Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, Cataract Awareness Month, Hernia Awareness Month, Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month, National Aphasia Awareness Month, National Congenital Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month, National Scleroderma Awareness Month, and Scoliosis Awareness Month. But all of these holy observances must take a backseat to the most hallowed of them all: LGBT Pride Month.”1

            Interestingly, Matt Walsh claims that the LGBTQ community is not persecuted in the USA, rather they are privileged.2

            The secular world worships the LGBTQ community. Suddenly, the LGBTQ community has become a privileged community. Why?

            Oppression could be the key reason.

            An article in the USA Today enlightens us:3

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently apologized to the thousands of LGBTQ men and women who were fired by government agencies, including the military, between the 1950s and 1992. They were investigated and interrogated, some even forced to undergo polygraph testing, then discharged because they were considered threats to national security. It was a “gay purge,” and it was still happening less than 30 years ago.
Visibility and equality
These fights for acceptance and equality aren’t over.
Living proudly and openly in societies where your well-being (emotional, physical, professional) is constantly at risk is nothing short of brave. The fact that we are seeing more people live openly and honestly despite these challenges is a miracle.
Almost every day, we see threats made against members of the LGBTQ community. The scaling back of hard-earned rights and protections of LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people, is difficult to ignore.
So when straight people ask why there is a need for gay pride or wonder why there aren’t straight pride celebrations, it feels a lot like they are saying contributions by LGBTQ people — a minority group that faces constant adversity — are simply not worthy of recognition. Further, they’re denying the importance and significance of identifying as LGBTQ and achieving things — surviving, even — when the odds are stacked against you.
The resilience of the LGBTQ community alone is worthy of celebration.

            Fair enough!

            The laws that govern our world ought to provide protection to everyone – offenders included. The innocent cannot suffer and the guilty cannot not be punished. Even the guilty should be protected, which is precisely why prisons or correctional centers exist.

            This then is precisely the reason for the divide – in supporting or opposing the privilege offered to the LGBTQ community.

            First, the secular world does not find anything morally wrong with the practices of the LGBTQ people. For instance, they claim there’s nothing morally wrong in practicing homosexuality.  They claim homosexuality is an accepted behavioral practice, for it offends none (God excluded). On the contrary, most theists claim that homosexuality is a sin against God.

            Second, the logical second step for the secular world is to protect those being [apparently] incorrectly incriminated for their lifestyle. Thus the insulation-era of the LGBTQ community was ushered. They are being insulated/protected from all means of persecution. Thus, they are no longer persecuted in many progressive societies.

            Those who oppose the LGBTQ agenda (hardcore conservatives excluded) would welcome the protection and the provision of equal status to the LGBTQ community.

            LGBTQ may not be morally wrong in the eyes of our lawmakers. Our lawmakers act according to the forces that reign in their era.

            The practice of LGBTQ is an assault on God. It is a sin against God.

            Thankfully, an eternal and omniscient God cannot be outdone by finite human forces. Hence, HIS commands remain. HIS command that homosexuality is a sin remains irrespective of the human era or the forces that rule. (Homosexuality is taken as a specific case in point.)

            Although the forces that rule our era cannot outdo God, it has the power to vanquish susceptible humans. This is accomplished under the deceptive guise of love.

            Hence, they built a narrative to make the LGBTQ community a privileged one. A narrative in which love is the brand that sells the LGBTQ product. (But the adoration of the LGBTQ community has nothing to do with love; rather it has everything to do with moral blindness.)

            Thankfully for these morally corrupt forces, the Bible speaks much about love. Significantly, the two greatest commandments of the Lord Jesus did not emphasize worship, obedience or belief in God. Rather they emphasized love for God and love our neighbor. These commandments were predicated on love.

            But the Bible makes a very significant distinction. Love of God and of our fellow men does not relegate sins into the realm of endorsement or acceptance. A sin remains a sin and love remains love. 

            In fact, sin mars/ruins the love between God and man. When man sins against God, HIS relationship with God is marred. Hence repentance, confession, and forgiveness become the order of the day.

            This is God’s economy.

            Man’s economy is rather atypical/different from God’s.

            Since the progressive secular man does not consider homosexuality as a sin or an offense against the law, he rides the love-bandwagon and loves the LGBTQ community (and there’s nothing wrong in loving the sinner). That love ride blinds the moral senses of the secular man. When his love for his fellowmen blinds his moral senses, the secular man commits a great blunder.

            That blunder is his endorsement of the LGBTQ practices. This is where he chooses to not realize that love for someone need not necessarily lead to an endorsement of every behavior (only in the context of legitimizing LGBTQ).

            Elsewhere the secular man does not conflate love and endorsement. He may love his neighbor, but when his neighbor steals from another, the secular man imprisons his neighbor under the force of his law. In this context, theft is an offense against the law of the land. Love cannot, in any which way, override the law of the land to acquit a convict.  

            Therein the hypocrisy of the secular man dawns into full-blown brightness/intensity. 

            On the one hand, he loves his neighbor who practices homosexuality, and he even endorses homosexuality. But on the other hand, he accuses his thieving neighbor and throws him behind the bars, thereby condemning the act of theft and the subject/person who steals. 

            The reason for this hypocrisy is the secular man’s choice to endorse homosexuality as an acceptable practice. The secular man has no difficulty, whatsoever, to endorse a behavior that God condemns because the secular man refuses to bend his knee to God.

            Upon removing God from his horizon, he has no difficulty whatsoever to legitimize homosexuality.

            Or is it so?

            When God is removed from the moral equation, evidently the evolutionary paradigm reigns. The secular man contends that homosexuality is perfectly acceptable within the evolutionary paradigm.

            This is where he goes blatantly wrong.

            It can be proved that homosexuality is an aberration even according to the natural law theory. In an earlier blog entitled Does Consensual and Harmless Sexual Intercourse Legitimize Homosexuality? I emphasized the manner in which the natural law theory debunks homosexuality:4

(1)  The nature or essence of every biological organ, according to natural law theory, involves its purposes (or final causes). So the purpose of the eyeball is to make us see. Similarly, sexual intercourse also has its own purpose, which is to procreate (bear children).
But I have heard arguments that the final cause or the purpose of sexual intercourse is the pleasure. This is wrong! Pleasure cannot be a purpose for sexual intercourse.
Think about eating. You may argue that eating is pleasurable, but the biological point of eating is not to give pleasure, but to offer the body the nutrients it needs to be healthy and survive. The pleasure of eating is nature’s way of getting us to eat.
As Professor Edward Feser states, “So, the final cause of sex is procreation, and the final cause of sexual pleasure is to get us to indulge in sex, so that we’ll thereby procreate…Notice also that nature makes it very difficult to indulge in sex without procreation. There is no prophylactic sheathe issued with a penis at birth, and no diaphragm issued with a vagina. It takes some effort to come up with these devices, and even then, in the form in which they existed for most of human history they were not terribly effective.”3
(2) Natural law theory states that an action or a behavior, even if it does not harm anyone else, need not be acceptable or need not be the normal way of living life.
The life of an alcoholic is not acceptable, even if he/she does not harm anyone. Similarly, a person – inclined to molest children (even if he has not molested children) – who masturbates to pictures of naked children is living a sick life. Such a person is not living the way a normal human ought to live.
Therefore, gay sex cannot be justified even if it were harmless.
(3) In the same manner, consensus cannot be a legitimate reason for an action/behavior. Gay people cannot argue that consensual sex is always righteous.
Consensual sex cannot be righteous always. A pedophile cannot argue that he had sex with a child because the child consented. A parent cannot claim that he/she had sex with his/her child (minor or major) because the child agreed to have sex with the parent. In a marriage, consensus between the husband and the wife to have sex with others outside the marriage does not justify their affairs.
I will summarize now:
A. According to natural law theory, the main purpose of sex is procreation through the sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Thus gay sex cannot be natural, but it is an abnormal activity/behavior.
B. For reasons mentioned in (2) and (3), consensual and harmless sex cannot justify gay sex.

            So the reason behind the reverence of the LGBTQ community is the failure to recognize the practices of the said community as sinful against God and as an unnatural act according to the Natural Law Theory.

            While we should love every member of the LGBTQ community, we still maintain that the practices of the LGBTQ community are sinful and hence should not be endorsed. Although the secular world may adore and revere the LGBTQ community, we Christians should remain committed to God’s ways.

            And yes, we do take pride in being straight.

Endnotes:

1https://www.dailywire.com/news/48006/walsh-lgbt-people-are-not-oppressed-or-persecuted-matt-walsh
2Ibid.

3https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/06/01/why-we-have-lgbtq-pride-not-straight-pride-column/658306002/

4http://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.com/2018/06/does-consensual-and-harmless-sexual.html

Websites last accessed on 12th June 2019.

Friday, June 7, 2019

10 False Teachings That Could Ruin The Soul


            The Bible instructs every Christian to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11, NIV). False teaching,1 most certainly, falls into the category of the ‘fruitless deeds of darkness.’ Hence, it is incumbent upon every sincere Christian to expose the false teachings prevalent in churches today.

                        Here’s a list of 10 most dangerous false teachings, which, I believe, have the potency to ruin our soul, if we believe and act according to them. In other words, we may not2 be saved if we believe and live according to any of these teachings:

            1. No Truth: Postmodernists claim there is no truth. In other words, there are no objective standards of truth, rationality, and logic. They subscribe to alternate concepts such as relativism and subjectivism. Postmodern Christians subscribe to this notion as well. The Emerging/Emergent Church Movement is a derivative of postmodernism. The devious import of LGBTQ agenda into the church of Jesus Christ is an outcome of the postmodern thought process.

            2. No Bible: The detractors of Historic Christianity claim that the Bible is not the sole authority for a Christian. You can assimilate just about any religious book and trust just about any book that may seemingly offer you wisdom. This is another postmodern thought.

            The Roman Catholic Church buys into this thought as well. The Catechism of the Catholic Church believes that Muslims, just as Christians, would be saved even though they do not believe in Jesus or the Bible, so much so that the Catholic church considers the Quran and the Bible as coequals, “841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."3303       
    
            Another variant of this teaching is to believe that the Bible is corrupt (filled with error) and fallible. This erroneous belief led the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, to start a new religion.

            3. No Jesus: Those who deny Jesus may believe in HIS divinity, but they also believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is not the only way to heaven. You can believe in just about any god and still go to heaven, they claim. Even if you do not believe in God, you can go to heaven. These are some of the various strands of Universalism. Quite a few Christians believe in Universalism or Inclusivism.

            4. No God, this Jesus: Jesus Christ is not God. Jesus Christ was a mere man during HIS life on earth. “Any teaching that redefines the person of Jesus Christ. Doctrine that denies the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, His sinless nature, His actual death, or His physical resurrection is false doctrine. A group’s errant Christology readily identifies it as a sect or cult that may claim to be Christian but is actually teaching false doctrine. Even many mainline denominations have begun the rapid slide into apostasy by declaring that they no longer hold to a literal interpretation of Scripture or the deity of Christ. First John 4:1–3 makes it clear that a denial of biblical Christology is “anti-Christ.” Jesus described false teachers within the church as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15),” says Gotquestions.org.4

            Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was a mere man when he was born on earth.

            5. No Resurrection: Jesus Christ did not [bodily] resurrect. Proponents of this erroneous teaching either subscribe to a notion that Christ did not resurrect or Christ’s resurrection was not a bodily resurrection. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ’s resurrection was spiritual and not a bodily resurrection.

            Another false teaching that can be accommodated into this category is that Jesus did not die, but lived on to marry and have children. This was the main theme of the bestseller book Da Vinci Code.

            6. No Trinity: “Mormons believe that the Trinity consists not of three persons in one God but rather of three distinct gods. According to Mormonism, there are potentially many thousands of gods besides these,” says an article in The Gospel Coalition.5 
     
            Christian apologist J. Warner Wallace claims that those who deny the Trinity subscribe to some form of polytheism or they deny the deity of Jesus Christ.6

            Trinity is actively denied by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, and Unification Church, etc.

            7. No Hell: Seventh Day Adventists believe that hell is not infinite torture. An article in Christianity.com states, “Adventists believe that hell is not an eternity of suffering and torture. They believe God is just but also merciful and it’s not in the nature of God to torture the unrighteous for eternity. Instead, sinners and unbelievers will ultimately die for eternity.

            Most Adventists believe some variant of annihilationism, which says that after final judgment, all unbelievers will be destroyed rather than suffering in hell. In this belief, the Old Testament and New Testament say that the final end for nonbelievers is total extinction. For example, in Romans, Paul describes hell as a final punishment, where the wicked die, perish or are destroyed.”7

            Annihilationism proposes a lack of hell. Those who subscribe to annihilationism believe that the wicked will die once and for all, thereby escaping the horror of hellfire. 

            8. No Grace, But Hyper-Grace: Hyper-grace teachers abuse God’s grace and teach people that our sins are forgiven once and for all (past, present, and future). Hence, there is no need to confess and repent our sins to God. “In short, hyper-grace teachers “pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality” (Jude 1:4) and flirt with antinomianism…Hyper-grace preachers also claim the Holy Spirit will never convict Christians of their sin. Mature Christians should recognize this fallacy right away. Every disciple of Christ has felt the overwhelming conviction of the Holy Spirit when he or she has sinned. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of Truth” (John 15:26). Truth, by its very definition, will not tolerate anything false. When the Spirit of Truth abides in a believing heart (1 Corinthians 6:19), He brings conviction about anything that is not truth,” says Gotquestions.org.8

            The Lord Jesus said, ““But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the open sea…” (Matthew 18:6, NET). Hence, if hyper-grace teachers teach people that sinning is acceptable in the presence of God, they negate the Bible.

            9. No Grace, Yes Works: “Teaching that adds human religious works to Christ’s finished work on the cross as necessary ingredients for salvation. This teaching may pay lip service to salvation by faith alone but insists that a religious ritual (such as water baptism) is salvific. Some groups even legislate hairstyles, clothing options, and food consumption. Romans 11:6 warns against attempts to mix grace with works. Ephesians 2:8–9 says we are saved by the grace of God, through faith, and nothing we do can add to or take away from it. Galatians 1:6–9 pronounces a curse on anyone who changes the good news of salvation by grace,”9 says Gotquestions.org.

            The Bible does not say that Christians should not do good works. Doing good works, for a Christian, is a logical corollary/consequence to his/her salvation. This verse in the Bible sums it up well, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2: 8-10, NIV).

            Major religions emphasize doing good works (e.g. Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc.). Only Historic Christianity teaches that we are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be saved, “…because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10, NET).

            10. No Historic Christianity, Yes New Age: If you wonder why many churches around the world adopt yoga, then you need to keep the New Age Movement in your radar. Yoga is a Hindu salvific exercise.

            In an earlier blog of mine entitled “Should Christians Practice Yoga,” I stated the false teachings prevalent in the churches:10

False Teaching In Christianity To Encourage Yoga
Some false teachers within Christianity who encourage yoga8 emphasize that the yogic codes such as Yamas and Niyamas can strengthen our appreciation towards the Christian teachings. They maintain that the yogic codes resonate with the Christian moral teachings.
“Ahimsa” (non-violence) is one of the “yamas” (restraints) of the yoga sutras of Patanjali (an Indian sage - considered to be an incarnation of the mythical serpent Anantha, as some believe). It seems Ahimsa resonates with the Christian moral teaching “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Similarly, one of the “Niyamas” (observances) of Patanjali’s yoga sutras is “Saucha” (Cleanliness or purity). Saucha teaches the necessity of purity or cleanliness in body and mind so to attain union with God. Apparently, Saucha resonates with the cleanliness teaching of Matthew 15: 16-20, and prayer, fasting and Scripture reading that focuses on the cleanliness of the heart.
Exposing The False Teaching
At the heart of the false teaching that yogic codes are essential to appreciate Christianity is the notion that all religions should converge, and truth (from various disparate worldviews) is always convergent.
This is Syncretism (fusion of divergent religions) in full force. Syncretism presupposes an inadequacy of any single religion to comprehend the divine on its own.
But every Christian should understand that God can be adequately understood from HIS Holy Word – The Bible. Christianity does not require Hinduism or one of its practices, namely yoga, to help understand and believe in God and HIS Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the significance of these similarities between Patanjali's Yamas and Niyamas with the Bible? None! There is absolutely no significance! So what if two worldviews teach similarly? Does similarity in teaching syncretize religions? No!
Hinduism and Christianity are two fundamentally different religions (Godhead, salvation etc). Certain points of interconnect in the teachings of these religions will certainly not harmonize these religions. 

            By now you may wonder why Prosperity Gospel (Health & Wealth Gospel) does not feature in the list above.  I do not think that those lay Christians who subscribe to health & wealth gospel would go to hell because they do not deny any of the essential tenets of Historic Christianity. But their proponents aka the teachers, who twist the Bible to their own benefit, are most certainly treading on dangerous grounds, with respect to their own salvation (cf. Matthew 7: 21-23).

Endnotes:

1Any teaching that contradicts the Bible is a false teaching or false teaching could be defined as that which denies the essential tenets of Historic Christianity. The essential tenets of Historic Christianity being God’s Triunity, Christ’s Birth, HIS sinlessness, death, burial, bodily resurrection & ascension, Christ’s 2nd coming, the final judgment, heaven & hell, the inspired and the infallible Bible.

2I do not want to sit in the judgment seat, which only belongs to Christ, so I say ‘may not.’ However, the chances of them not being saved are very high.

3http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p3.htm

4https://www.gotquestions.org/false-doctrine.html

5https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/the-8-beliefs-you-should-know-about-mormons-when-they-knock-at-the-door/

6https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/why-is-the-trinity-an-essential-christian-doctrine/

7https://www.christianity.com/church/denominations/10-things-everyone-should-know-about-seventh-day-adventists-and-their-beliefs.html

8https://www.gotquestions.org/hyper-grace.html

9https://www.gotquestions.org/false-doctrine.html 

10https://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.com/2014/02/should-christians-practice-yoga.html

Websites last accessed on 7th June 2019.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Can Prayer Change Prophecy?


            Quite a few Christians believe that [determined] prayers can alter a prophecy. Is this a tenable belief or not?

            God is the source of prophecy. The prophet bears God’s message. This message need not always be a prediction or foretelling of future events but this message can simply be instructional (Acts 21:4), warning (Jonah 3:4), etc.

            A presupposition to the notion that prayer can change a prophecy is that God is capable of changing HIS mind. But God cannot change HIS mind. This Divine Constancy contains various aspects: God cannot change quantitatively or qualitatively and God’s nature does not undergo modifications. Hence, God cannot change HIS mind.

            In an earlier blog entitled, “Could We Change God’s Mind?” I addressed this subject. Here’s a relevant excerpt:1

Can God change HIS mind?
There are two diametrically opposite answers to this question. Some Christians believe that God can change HIS mind, whereas others assert that God does not and cannot change HIS mind.
Let us briefly study their assertions.
God Changes HIS Mind
Some Christians think that God can change HIS mind, “…advocates of a theory called open theism have argued that God can and does change and that we can cause that change. They find their support for this in passages such as Genesis 18, where Abraham intercedes before the Lord for Sodom and Gomorrah, and God seemingly changes His mind. They claim further support from passages like Jeremiah 18:7–10, Jonah 3:10, and Genesis 6:6, which speak of God repenting or relenting or being sorry.”1
These Christians, upon reading these verses, believe that God changes HIS mind:
 “The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.” (Genesis 6:6, NIV, Emphasis Mine).
 “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.” (Exodus 32:14, RSV, Emphasis Mine).
 “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it." (Jeremiah 18: 7-10, NIV, Emphasis Mine).
 “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10, NIV, Emphasis Mine).
God Cannot Change HIS Mind
Pastor, theologian, and author, R.C Sproul, unpacks this dilemma from the vantage point of God’s omniscience.2
There’s one sense in which it seems God is changing his mind, and there’s another sense in which the Bible says God never changes his mind because God is omniscient. He knows all things from the beginning, and he is immutable. He is unchanging. There’s no shadow of turning within him. For example, He knows what Moses is going to say to him in Numbers 14 before Moses even opens his mouth to plead for the people. Then after Moses has actually said it, does God suddenly changes his mind? He doesn’t have any more information than he had a moment before. Nothing has changed as far as God’s knowledge or his appraisal of the situation.
Is God confused, stumbling through all the different options—Should I do this? Should I not do that? And does he decide upon one course of action and then think, Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea after all, and change his mind? Obviously God is omniscient; God is all wise. God is eternal in his perspective and in his full knowledge of everything. So we don’t change God’s mind. But prayer changes things. It changes us. And there are times in which God waits for us to ask for things because his plan is that we work with him in the glorious process of bringing his will to pass here on earth.
Similarly, Dr. William Lane Craig explains this theme from the perspective of God’s foreknowledge and the need for us to understand the literary genre’s of the Bible and the literary devices used by the biblical authors for an effective narration. If we understand these details, we will be able to accurately interpret the Bible. Thus we would possess a proper understanding of God. Here’s William Lane Craig:3
I don’t think that God can change his mind, because as an omniscient being, he knows everything that will happen, including his own decisions. God has foreknowledge not only of everything that creatures will do, but also knowledge of his own acts…If God knows the truth value of all true future tense propositions — then he will know the truth value of propositions about his own actions — like God will part the Red Sea; he knows that. So, God would have knowledge of everything in the future, and therefore there could be no basis for changing his mind. An omniscient being cannot change his mind, it would only be an ignorant being, a being that is ignorant, that could acquire some new reason for doing something that would cause him to change his mind…
There are some Scriptures which, at least superficially to a layperson, looks like God’s changing his mind. Jonah and the whale and Nineveh where God was going to destroy the city unless something happened, and he seemed to change his mind.
It’s vital that we understand the literary genre, or type, of most of these biblical stories. The Bible is in the form of narratives. They’re stories about God told from the human point of view. And so, a good storyteller will tell his story with all the vivacity and color that he wants to enhance his narrative.
And so, you’ll find stories in the Bible about God, told from a human perspective where God not only lacks knowledge of the future, but even lacks knowledge of what’s going on presently. God comes down to Abraham and says, “I’ve heard the outcry in Sodom and Gomorrah. I’m going to go see if what I’ve heard is really happening there.”
Well, that would deny not only God’s foreknowledge, but his knowledge of the present. And there are other passages where God is spoken of in anthropomorphic terms of having nostrils and eyes and arms and other sort of bodily parts—wings. If you take all of these literally, God would be a sort of fire-breathing monster.
And so, these are anthropomorphisms. They are literary devices that are part of the storyteller’s art, and shouldn’t be read like a philosophy of religion or systematic theology textbook. There’s just a naïve view of the type of literature that Scripture is.
            To conclude, let us briefly consider two instances in the Bible that some Christians use to contend that God changes HIS mind.

            Consider the prophecy to King Hezekiah. The omniscient God knew that when Prophet Isaiah warned King Hezekiah (about putting his house in order else he would die), Hezekiah would pray earnestly to HIM, and that HE would extend Hezekiah’s lifetime by 15 years. Hence, if we consider the foreknowledge of God, wherein HE knows every future event, we cannot construe this instance to that of God changing HIS mind.

            Similarly, in Jonah’s case, God knew that the Ninevites would repent upon hearing Jonah’s preaching/prophesying. Therefore, it was not a change of mind that prompted the forgiveness of God. Rather the plan to forgive the Ninevites was always in God’s mind because of HIS foreknowledge of all future events.

            Therefore, a proper interpretation of every prophecy in the Bible would render the notion of God changing HIS mind as untenable. It’s not that God does not change HIS mind; it’s that you and I, however righteous our prayer may be, cannot force God to change HIS mind. So no amount of prayer can change a prophecy, unless God, according to HIS foreknowledge, has already determined another course of action based on the response to a particular prophecy.

Endnotes:

1http://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.com/2017/10/could-we-change-gods-mind.html

Website last accessed on 31st May 2019.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

How Do Some Christians Tolerate Failed Prophecy?


            My previous blog, written in the form of a public letter to Dr. Paul Dhinakaran about his failed prophecy, elicited interesting responses. Intriguingly, a few well-meaning Christians were not as critical as I was about that failed prophecy.

            Some urged me to wait for a longer time. The prophecy, they contended, would be fulfilled if only we were to give it more time.

            Others pointed out a few prophecies from the Bible that were supposedly erroneous and used those prophecies to validate this failed prophecy. 

            My understanding of the term prophecy is defined by this verse, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            Furthermore, my understanding of God complicates my position on (any failed) prophecy. As a classical theist, I subscribe to a position that God is the absolutely metaphysically ultimate reality and HE is immutable or changeless. Hence, God must be impassible (HE cannot be affected by anything external in the created order).   

            A word of caution would serve us well before we proceed any further. We should be unambiguously clear that our stand on prophecy does not determine our salvation. In other words, we could be poles apart on our comprehension of the gift of prophecy in the local church; yet, I believe our growth in Christ could be unimpeded.

            So we come back to our question, how do some Christians tolerate failed prophecy?

            Wayne Grudem’s exemplary work on Systematic Theology offers an interesting perspective. He begins by defining prophecy as “telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.” Do note that Grudem does not define the gift of prophecy as “predicting the future” or as “proclaiming a word from the Lord.”

            He goes on to add that the terms prophet and prophecy were used of ordinary Christians, who spoke not with absolute divine authority but simply to report something that God had laid on their hearts or brought to their minds.

            This ordinary gift of prophecy had a lesser authority than the Bible in the New Testament and even less than that of recognized Bible teaching in the early church. Grudem refers to the prophecy referred in Acts 21:4, Acts 21:10-11, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, and 1 Corinthians 14: 29-38, as a case in point. 

            Furthermore, in the New Testament, prophets from the local church spoke with less authority than the New Testament apostles or the Scripture. Nowhere does the New Testament command us to “obey the words of the Lord through your prophets.” So Grudem comes to the conclusion that the prophecies of today need not necessarily be construed as “the words of God.”

            The Charismatic churches accord much importance to prophecies today. Grudem refers to the Charismatic teachers who believe that contemporary prophecy is not equal to Scripture in authority. Grudem writes, “Though some will speak of prophecy as being the “word of God” for today, there is almost uniform testimony from all sections of the charismatic movement that prophecy is imperfect and impure, and will contain elements that are not to be obeyed or trusted. For example, Bruce Yocum, the author of a widely used charismatic book on prophecy, writes, “Prophecy can be impure — our own thoughts or ideas can get mixed into the message we receive — whether we receive the words directly or only receive a sense of the message.”

            However, complications arise when contemporary prophets preface their prophecies with the common Old Testament phrase, “Thus says the Lord.” Grudem asserts that even though it gives an impression that the words that follow this phrase are God’s very words, the charismatic spokesmen would not want to claim it for every part of their prophecies.

            So those Christians who hold to a similar position (as cited above) could tolerate a failed prophecy. Whereas Christians who believe that prophecies are the very words of God, especially if it is prefaced by phrases similar to “Thus says the Lord…” cannot tolerate a failed prophecy.

            But whatever be our position on the contentious topic of prophecy; even if we believe in Cessationism (the doctrine that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing ceased with the apostolic age.), please note that we can agree to disagree and yet, remain as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Endnotes:

Wayne Grudem’s quotes are taken from his work Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Inter-Varsity Press, England.

Friday, May 24, 2019

A Christian’s Public Letter to Dr. Paul Dhinakaran about his False Prophecy of the 2019 Indian Elections


            Dear Dr. Paul Dhinakaran,

            Your prophecy about the 2019 Indian elections failed miserably. As a fellow Christian, I believe I am well within my rights to take issue with your prophecy, for you boldly claimed that God was the source of your prophecy.1 I believe God could not have been the source of your failed prophecy.

            You are a highly esteemed evangelist. Scores of Christians consider you as a man of God. Even a large group of my relatives and my Christian friends glorify your image and your ministry. To them, you are their supreme Pastor and leader.

            There are more than 200,000 views for your prophetic video on YouTube. Tens of thousands have watched your prophecy and many more may have heard about your prophecy.

            Sir, I reiterate that your prophecy regarding the elections in India failed. Neither has God quietened the present leaders nor has HE established young leaders in authority. The same leadership will continue ruling India for a second successive term.

            Please explain why your prophecy failed. You owe it to your ardent followers, and the Christian community, at large. If you still believe that God spoke through you, then do enlighten us as to how and why God’s Words were not fulfilled.

            You have done a great disservice to Historic Christianity. Not that Historic Christianity will be destroyed, but you have empowered the detractors to mock the Historic Christian faith. Your failed prophesy has provided the detractors of Christianity further ammunition to continue their mocking.

            You have confused many Christians through your prophecies.

            Millions of Christians do not know their Bible. They merely listen to preachers like you. They think your words are the very words of God.

            They may wonder why God erred. These rather naive Christians could think that God’s plan for India has failed. Some of them may even think that the finite man has defeated the infinite God’s plan for India.

            They may also think that God has no control over India. But every sincere student of the Bible knows that God is in control over everything, India included. Of course, God may allow certain perplexing developments. But in no way can we come to the conclusion that God is not in control. The sovereign God rules over everything.

            Little do these naïve Christians know or realize that God, who is the greatest conceivable being, cannot fail. God cannot err. Whatever the sovereign and supreme God decides will happen, come what may. But, alas, your failed prophecy has placed a barricade in an honest disciple’s growth in Christ.

            Did God change HIS mind?

            Some of your very ardent followers may think that God changed HIS mind after speaking with you. But God is good and HE is just. HE cannot change HIS mind so much so that HE misled you into deceiving HIS people, and in the process shaming you as well.

            But the reality is this. God did not speak through you.

            Failure on your part to acknowledge that God did not speak through you is tantamount to cheating your gullible followers. They believe that God spoke through you.

            But God did not speak with you or through you. You spoke out of your own accord. Period.

            As your brother in Christ, my heart goes out for you and many other false prophets and teachers who are roaming the earth doing a great deal of disservice to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I feel for you because the Word of God condemns false teachers/prophets. Here’s an excerpt from 2 Peter 2:

But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They’ll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They’ve put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can’t tell right from wrong.
They give the way of truth a bad name. They’re only out for themselves. They’ll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won’t, of course, get by with it. They’ll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on…
God is especially incensed against these “teachers” who live by lust, addicted to a filthy existence. They despise interference from true authority, preferring to indulge in self-rule. Insolent egotists, they don’t hesitate to speak evil against the most splendid of creatures. Even angels, their superiors in every way, wouldn’t think of throwing their weight around like that, trying to slander others before God.
These people are nothing but brute beasts, born in the wild, predators on the prowl. In the very act of bringing down others with their ignorant blasphemies, they themselves will be brought down, losers in the end. Their evil will boomerang on them. They’re so despicable and addicted to pleasure that they indulge in wild parties, carousing in broad daylight. They’re obsessed with adultery, compulsive in sin, seducing every vulnerable soul they come upon. Their specialty is greed, and they’re experts at it. Dead souls!...
There’s nothing to these people—they’re dried-up fountains, storm-scattered clouds, headed for a black hole in hell. They are loudmouths, full of hot air, but still they’re dangerous. Men and women who have recently escaped from a deviant life are most susceptible to their brand of seduction. They promise these newcomers freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, for if they’re addicted to corruption—and they are—they’re enslaved.
If they’ve escaped from the slum of sin by experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then slid back into that same old life again, they’re worse than if they had never left. Better not to have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn back, repudiating the experience and the holy command. They prove the point of the proverbs, “A dog goes back to its own vomit” and “A scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud.” (2 Peter 2: 1-3, 10-14, 17-22; MSG)
            There are a few Christian friends who are distraught over your failed prophecy. I pray that every Christian and every honest seeker who’s caught in the crossfire of your failed prophesy, the actual election results, and the mocking of the detractors of Historic Christianity would continue to seek the face, the presence and the blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            I do hope and pray that you would do what is good for the sake of the Christian community. I most certainly pray that your ministry would be pleasing and acceptable to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Sincerely,

Rajkumar Richard

Endnotes:

1I refer your prophecy conveyed through a YouTube video entitled “Prophecy 2019 | God's Plan For India | Year of Deliverance | Dr. Paul Dhinakaran.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvtVXXl4Vo8)

Website last accessed on 24th May 2019.