Friday, April 30, 2021

Varying Rewards In Heaven

 

            Christians will be offered varying rewards in heaven (cf. Daniel 12:3; 1 Corinthians 3:14-15). The Bible says all Christians will stand before the judgment seat of God and each of us will give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:10,12). Apostle Paul writing to the church in Corinth tells the Corinthians, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10; cf. Luke 19:17,19).

            Christians need not fear; for during this judgment we will not be relegated to hell (cf. John 5:24; Romans 8:1). God will only judge the Christians to evaluate and offer varying degrees of rewards in heaven (cf. Revelations 11:18).

            It also seems that the sins of Christians would be revealed on the last day for the Lord, “will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5; cf. Colossians 3:24,25). The sins that will be exposed will be exposed as sins that have been forgiven, and thereby there will be the occasion for giving glory to God for the richness of HIS grace.

            While on earth, we, as Christians, should be careful as to how we live, “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15, ESV).

            Even though there will be degrees of reward in heaven, the joy of each person will be full and complete for eternity. If we think that those with greater rewards or higher status would be more joyful in heaven, we are mistaken. For if those with higher status would be more joyful, the apostles and the heavenly creatures would be more joyful than the others. In a state of perfection, this disparity does not seem plausible.

            Millard J. Erickson in his work Christian Theology (Second Edition) offers a useful analogy. He compares the joy in heaven to the varying degrees of pleasure people derive from a concert. The same sound waves fall on everyone’s ears, but the reactions may range from boredom to ecstasy. A similar situation may well hold with respect to the joys in heaven, although the range of reactions will presumably be narrower. No one will be aware of the differences in the range of enjoyment, and thus there will be no dimming of the perfection of heaven.

            What should we do now to gain better rewards in heaven? Gotquestions.org describes this beautifully, “The closer we were to God during this life, the more centered on Him and aware of Him, the more dependent on Him, the more desperate for His mercy, the more there will be to celebrate.”1

            Last but not the least, can a born-again Christian willfully disobey God and yet expect rewards in heaven? This question does not need an answer per se but a more significant aspect to consider is if a born-again Christian could even think of willfully disobeying God. If a Christian thinks so, would it not question his born-again status?

Endnotes:

1https://www.gotquestions.org/rewards-in-heaven.html

Content sourced from: Systematic Theology (An Introduction To Biblical Doctrine) by Wayne Grudem and Christian Theology (Second Edition) by Millard J. Erickson.

The website last accessed on 30th April 2021.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

The New Heavens And New Earth

 

            So many Christians are longing to be free from evil and to live in HIS glorious presence.

            Evil is rampant in our world (cf. Ephesians 2:2). Those whose lives are overwhelmed by evil are yearning for deliverance.

            For Christians, this earthly life is a road to the glorious life we would be living with God forever.

            After our death, our soul (in a disembodied existence) would proceed to God’s presence (although not yet into the new heavens and new earth), awaiting the final judgment.

            After the final judgment, Christians will enter into the full enjoyment of life in the presence of God forever. Jesus will say to us, “‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’” (Matthew 25:34, ESV). We will enter a kingdom where “And there will no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him...” (Revelation 22:3, NET). We would be with God in heaven forever in the new heavens and a new earth – an entirely renewed creation (cf. Isaiah 65:17, 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13).

            The new heavens and new earth is a joining of heaven and earth in this new creation wherein we will live in the presence of God forever. Just as the earth is a place, the new heavens and new earth will be a literal place, not a state of mind.

            In the new heavens and new earth, we will live in our resurrected bodies – a body that will never grow old or become weak or ill.

            We will have perfect knowledge – a beatific vision of God. For the very first time, we shall see and know God in a direct way (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 & 1 John 3:2).

            The following aspects characterize the new heavens and new earth:1

           No death, sorrow, or sickness (Revelation 21: 4; 2 Corinthians 1: 4-5).

           No curse (Revelation 22: 3).

           A place of abundant life and joy (John 10:10; Revelation 22: 1-2 cf. Psalm 16: 11; Luke 15:10).

           Perpetual worship and service (Revelation 4:8, 5:13-14, 22:3).

           We will be perfect in heaven – in body, in morality, in knowledge (Philippians 3: 21; 1 Corinthians 13: 9-12, 15: 51-53; Revelation 21: 27).

           There could be heavenly homes, mansions and palaces (John 14: 1-3).

           We would be reunited with our loved ones in heaven (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18).

           Heaven is a place of eternal rest and eternal reward (Revelation 14:13, 22:12; Hebrews 4: 9)

           Heaven will be exceptionally beautiful and indescribably glorious (1 Corinthians 2: 9; Revelation 21: 18-21; Romans 8:18; Ezekiel 1:13).

            Heaven is an eternal or everlasting or an endless abode. Heaven will not cease to exist (Titus 1: 2; Matthew 25: 46). 

            William Lane Craig describes our post-death corporeal existence in the new heavens and new earth as, “Your next life will not be “in heaven” but on the new Earth that God will usher in after the close of human history and the dissolution of this universe. We shall have resurrection bodies that Paul describes as glorious, powerful, immortal, and supernatural (I Corinthians 15.42-44), inhabiting a new universe which has undergone a resurrection of its own (Romans 8.21), free of decay and death... I would say that the afterlife will, indeed, be “an extension of our earthly life.”... There will not be marriage in the afterlife, but that’s no reason to think that you will not know your earthly wife (or wives!) as your sister in heaven.”2

            How does the study of the new heavens and new earth help us now? The present creation filled with evil is temporary. Our life in the new creation will last for eternity.

            Hence, we should strive to live a godly life while on earth regardless of living in a [perpetual] state of happiness or sorrow (cf. 2 Peter 3:11-13).

Endnotes:

1https://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.com/2016/02/what-is-heaven-like.html

2https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P40/how-will-we-be-different-in-heaven

Websites last accessed on 29th April 2021.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Does God Determine The Date & Time Of Our Death?

           For many of us, living during the Covid pandemic is to stare death in the face.

            It’s not that in pre-covid times we took life for granted, but, then the chances of living were more than the chances of our dying. Today it is not so; the chances of our death have increased exponentially.

            Death seems so much closer to us than ever before.

            Although we hope to die peacefully without being a burden on any one, we are not in control over our death. Some deaths are peaceful, some brutal and violent, and some deaths are sudden and unexpected. We are painfully unaware as to how and when we would die.

            In this context, we may be more secure if God determines the ‘when’ and the ‘how’ of our death i.e. the date, time, place, and the nature of our death. To know that God is in total control of our death is to know that God would be with us when we breathe our last breath (cf. John 14:17). If God is with us, we could be secure and peaceful during our final moments of this mortal life.  

            When we say that God determines our death, we are not alluding to the notion that God knows every detail about our death. Of course, God, as the maximally great being, would know everything – that includes every detail of our death.

            To know something is distinct from determining something. Consider a casual example. I may know that you would be travelling to your destination in public transport. On the other hand, if I play an active role in you using public transport for your travel, I am rather determining the nature of your travel. (The more I increase my involvement in your journey, the more I determine your journey.) Knowledge of an event is included in determining an event. So determining an event includes both knowledge and an active participation of the causal agent in causing that event to occur.

            When God determines our deaths, God is actively involved in the date, time, place, and the nature of our death.

            This does not mean that God is the cause of all suicides. God will not violate man’s freewill.

            God allows man to commit suicide [although in certain instances, God, being a sovereign being, can prevent a man from committing suicide]. In other words, man decides freely to commit suicide. While using his freewill to commit suicide, man chooses to either actively or passively ignore or violate God’s perfect will.

            Unhealthy lifestyles could also usher an early death. But an unhealthy lifestyle is not God’s perfect will for man. However, if man chooses to disobey God to live an unhealthy lifestyle, God, in all likelihood, would allow that man to exercise his freewill.

            So a suicide or an unhealthy lifestyle or a rash decision could usher an early death. But the exercise of man’s freewill does not diminish God’s perfection by any means. God would still determine or be actively involved in the death of every Christian.

            Does the Bible teach that God determines the death of every Christian?

            Consider these verses:

            God has ordained all our days on earth. This includes the days of our birth and death. (Psalm 139: 16 (NIV) “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”)

            God is in absolute control over our life. (Matthew 10: “28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” - NIV)

            God gives us our life and our death. (Acts 17: 25 “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” - NIV [Emphasis Mine].)

            The Lord decides our death. (James 4: “13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”” - NIV)

            (Also refer Deuteronomy 32: 39; 1 Samuel 2: 6; Job 1: 21, 14:5 etc.) 

            To conclude, we may stare death at the face, but worry not, the Triune God who created us and sustains our life is in control over your life and mine.

            On a personal note, my prayer, when I die, is that I will be sane and diligent to pray, “Into your hand I commit my spirit.” (Psalm 31:5 ESV; cf. Acts 7: 59).



Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Should Christians Take Covid Vaccine?

            The anti-vaccine movement is rather rampant. Quite a few anti-vaxxers are actively feeding seeds of doubt into the cautious and contemplative minds of certain Christians, who are uncertain about receiving vaccine shots.

            Some critical objections of the anti-vaxxers are:

1.      Vaccines have not been tested properly. Animal tests have been either inadequate or the vaccine made animals deathly ill in trials.1

2.      Some Covid vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which are completely new type of vaccine. We are clueless if these vaccines will be effective or safe.2

3.      mRNA vaccines will alter our DNA. We would, then, become genetically modified organisms, if we received the vaccines.3

4.      Vaccine hooks us all up to an artificial intelligence interface.4

5.      Some vaccines (Oxford University/AstraZeneca) were developed using HEK-293 cells that were obtained from a human fetus (unborn baby) who was legally aborted.5 So it would be a violation of Christian ethics if we are to take these vaccines.

6.      Covid vaccines are related to the “mark of the beast.”6

How should we respond to these doubts?

A.     mRNA vaccines cannot alter the human DNA, according to the fact-checking website Snopes. “The mRNA is incapable of crossing the nuclear envelope of the cell where that human DNA lives. It means the vaccine cannot alter human DNA,” says Snopes.7

Christian biochemist, Dr. Fazale Rana, in his article entitled The COVID-19 Vaccines and God’s Providence claims God’s presence in the rapid developments of the Covid vaccines. mRNA vaccines are safe to use, he claims.8

B.     Should we receive a ‘morally tainted’ vaccine? John Wyatt, who was the Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics, Ethics & Perinatology at University College London, encourages Christians to receive vaccines that may be ‘morally tainted.’ A Covid patient or a relative of the Covid patient is not as morally responsible as the Christian technologist or  a Christian pharmaceutical executive making decisions about which vaccine candidates to invest in or a Christian politician with responsibilities for public spending.

If our viable option is only the ‘morally tainted’ vaccine, we should receive that vaccine than risk our lives by not receiving one. But if there is another option, then we could opt for the ‘non-morally-tainted’ option.9 

This, of course, matters only to those Christians who are staunch ‘pro-lifers.’ (Pro-choice Christians don’t care about abortion.)

C.     Many Christian leaders (Fazale Rana, Franklin Graham, s/o famous evangelist Billy Graham, Robert Jeffress, Francis Collins etc.) have encouraged vaccination.10

The ‘mark of the beast’ is not a medical procedure and most certainly is not at all something that could be accidentally taken, claims an article in the Logos Academic Blog entitled COVID-19 and The Mark of the Beast.11

D.     There is no concrete evidence for the vaccine to hook us all up to an artificial intelligence interface.

These assertions negate doubts about the inadequacy of the vaccine tests.

            Aside from these doubts, Snopes has refuted an apparent claim that Covid vaccines are called Luciferase, indicating that the vaccines possess satanic connotations. In reality, Luciferase refers to a group of enzymes which act upon a chemical compound called luciferins.12

            Believers of the Lord Jesus should not worry about death with respect to receiving Covid vaccination. Unless, God allows, we will not die. If God allows our death through Covid infection, we would be in God’s presence – a much better place than this evil world.

            Finally, if our government makes vaccine mandatory, could Christians resist receiving the vaccine? “Therefore, since the word of God gives us no specific direction on medical treatment (including on taking vaccines), believers have no Scriptural basis for choosing to disobey a government requirement to take the vaccine,” according to an article entitled Should Christians receive the COVID-19 vaccine?13

            In conclusion, when we have overwhelming evidence to receive vaccination, what then prevents us?

Endnotes:

1https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/covid-19-critical-thinking-pseudoscience/enough-make-scientists-cry

2https://www.hartleychiropracticsaintaugustine.com/letter-from-frank-shallenberger-md-hmd-regarding-the-covid-19-vaccine/

3https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/covid-19-critical-thinking-pseudoscience/enough-make-scientists-cry

4Ibid.  

5https://johnwyatt.com/2021/01/04/article-coronavirus-vaccines-and-christian-ethics/

6https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/02/16/covid-vaccine-misinformation-evangelical-mark-beast/

7https://www.snopes.com/news/2020/12/17/frank-shallenberger-covid-vaccine/

8https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/the-cells-design/read/the-cells-design/2020/12/23/the-covid-19-vaccines-and-god-s-providence

9https://johnwyatt.com/2021/01/04/article-coronavirus-vaccines-and-christian-ethics/

&

https://pastorsacademy.org/blog/pro-life-christians-are-free-to-get-a-covid-vaccine/

&

https://pastorsacademy.org/blog/can-christians-get-a-covid-vaccine/

10https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-26/u-s-evangelical-leaders-preach-vaccine-to-holdout-flocks

11http://academiclogos.wpengine.com/covid-19-and-the-mark-of-the-beast/

12https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/covid-19-vaccine-luciferase/

13https://www.versebyverseministry.org/bible-answers/should-christian-receive-the-covid-19-vaccine

Websites last accessed on 14th March, 2021


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Ravi Zacharias In The Clutches Of Ungracious Christians?

            I am not going to claim that Ravi Zacharias was sinless; that he was not sexually immoral.

I am also not here to dispute the actions of various Christian leaders who responded to Ravi’s sins by either erasing his work or having disassociated with his ministry in some form or the other. That’s their call. Punitive actions may be necessary, as I said before; I am not here to dispute that.

            But I wonder and hence I request you to think if the Christian community were gracious in their action against Ravi.

At this point in time, Ravi (the sinner) has been punished posthumously. Ravi’s victims are passionately supported [maybe compensated] and being prayed for.

However, there is another entity that’s involved in this situation – Ravi’s family. How have they been treated by the Christian community?

Was the Christian community gracious in their actions against Ravi?

In other words, did Ravi’s family, in some way or the other, appreciate the graciousness of the Christian community?

To begin with, let us consider a few punitive actions taken against Ravi Zacharias:

1.      The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) which had ordained Ravi Zacharias revoked his ordination and expelled him posthumously.1

2.      Ravi Zacharias’s books will no longer be offered by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, ““In September, when the most-recent sexual misconduct allegations against the late Ravi Zacharias surfaced, HarperCollins Christian Publishing immediately suspended all projects and shipments of his work,” said Casey Francis Harrell, vice president of corporate communications. “Following the findings in the independent report, the company will immediately take all his publications out of print...””2

3.      Christian author, Lee Strobel, announced that he would halt the printing of his book that featured Ravi. Similarly, Ravi’s forthcoming book Jesus for You will not be released.3

4.      Prominent Christian apologists who served with Ravi Zacharias at RZIM are actively erasing their association with RZIM. They want nothing to do with RZIM.

Essentially, there is a mass movement to erase Ravi and his works from the annals of Christendom.

In this very context, Philip Yancey’s quote becomes very meaningful, “Christians get very angry toward other Christians who sin differently than they do.”

The punitive actions against Ravi Zacharias seem to be a classic case in point.

Grace is nowhere to be found in and through these punitive actions. Why do I say this?

Sadly, Ravi’s son Nathan Zacharias describes the ungraciousness and the hypocrisy exhibited by the Christian community: (Emphasis Mine)4

Many of those remaining at RZIM, along with some former global leadership, have worked very hard to distance themselves from my dad. They’ve busted out their thesauruses and called him every name they think is appropriate. They’ve damned him, erased him, and expressed regret that they were ever involved with him in what was a very successful ministry. If they feel he should be erased and reduced to only the sum of his sins, then they have some hard questions to answer about their theology given the way God allowed his success while these things were allegedly happening. God sure is lucky to have them here to save Him from allowing Dad’s material to ever positively impact another person.

They can’t even acknowledge the reality that God blessed them (wrongly, it would seem, according to their logic) in their own ministries alongside Dad either. Of course they still benefit from the status that came as a result. 10 years ago, no one would have paid any attention to the statements of many of them. Their audience now is a result of the platform they got from their days at RZIM with Dad.

They want no piece of, him, association with him, or remnant of him. Nothing at all.

            Do Nathan’s words sound like the Christian community were gracious? Sadly, no!

            Nathan’s words reveal the hypocrisy of the Christian community.

Those who are actively erasing Ravi or disassociating with his legacy in some form or the other enjoyed [substantial] financial benefits and fame through their association with Ravi and RZIM. While they do not want to do anything with Ravi, would they, with the same intensity, return all the financial benefits they accrued over the years of their association with RZIM?

In his passionate blog to defend his father, Nathan Zacharias presents this scenario, “They want nothing to do with his ministry legacy. But they’re glad to hold on to his financial legacy.” (Emphasis Mine)5

Hypocrisy at its finest!

By being gracious, the Christian community could have ensured that the Zacharias family is comforted and encouraged through this gruelling period. Isn’t that the least one could expect?

Nathan’s words, showcasing the pain in his heart, reveal the ungraciousness and the hypocrisy of the Christian community.

The big question is this, how would Jesus have responded to Ravi Zacharias?

Knowing Jesus, HIS response would have been filled with grace and mercy. Knowing Jesus, HE would not have ignored Ravi’s family, who are in pain, enduring this tribulation.

That’s the Jesus the Bible reveals. That’s the Jesus we love, believe, and worship.

Have we been Christlike through our actions against Ravi?

You decide.

But when we think of the late Ravi Zacharias, let us be gracious. May his family be blessed with comfort, encouragement, strength, and peace from our Triune God.

Endnotes:

1https://www.cmalliance.org/news/2021/02/12/statement-on-the-findings-of-ravi-zacharias-independent-investigation/

2https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/february/ravi-zacharias-books-harper-collins-lee-strobel-rzim-report.html

3Ibid.

4https://defendingravi.wordpress.com/

5Ibid.

Websites last accessed on 31st March, 2021.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

God Cannot Be Evil. Why?

            Some atheists contend that God is an ‘Evil God’ (if at all HE exists, according to their worldview). They suppose that a good God would not permit evil to occur in our world.

            Famous atheist, Richard Dawkins called God an evil God. Philosopher Stephen Law has written elaborately on the Evil God Challenge, which argues for the presence of an all-evil God.

            So, the notion, ‘God is evil’ or ‘there is evil in God’ is quite common against the presence of the all-good God. In other words, atheists contend that we, the theists, cannot establish whether God is good or evil.

            But God just cannot be evil. Here’s why:

            According to the Christian Philosopher William Lane Craig, God is a being worthy of worship. Such a being should be the embodiment of absolute goodness. If absolute goodness is an inherent ingredient of the essence of the ‘Maximally Great Being,’ then God, who by definition, is the ‘Maximally Great Being,’ cannot be evil.1

            Do be aware that we are not ascribing goodness to God because we observe a wealth of goodness in our world. God is not good because there is so much good in our world.

            Contrarily, God is good because HE in HIS essence is good. That’s the property of the maximally great being.

            William Lane Craig takes another route to prove that God cannot be evil. So he writes that the presence of an evil God would prove the presence of the all-good God:2

Suppose we concede for the sake of argument that an evil Creator/Designer exists. Since this being is evil, that implies that he fails to discharge his moral obligations. But where do those come from? How can this evil god have duties to perform which he is violating? Who forbids him to do the wrong things that he does? Immediately, we see that such an evil being cannot be supreme: there must be a being who is even higher than this evil god and is the source of the moral obligations which he chooses to flout, a being which is absolute goodness Himself. In other words, if Law’s evil god exists, then God exists.

            Craig goes on to explain that the ‘moral argument’ for God also reveals that God cannot be evil:3

…we are to conceive of God as an ultimate standard or paradigm of goodness. Once you have that, it will determine not only what is good but also what is evil. Just as something is good insofar as it approximates the paradigm of goodness, so something is evil insofar as it falls away from that same paradigm.

For that reason I sometimes run a moral argument for God based on moral evil in the world: without God objective moral values would not exist; evil exists; therefore, objective moral values exist (some things are evil!); therefore, God exists. Evil proves God’s existence because without God good and evil as such would not exist.

…I doubt that it is even coherent to say that there is an ultimate paradigm of evil. Certainly, there could be some evil being (Satan?) who is opposed to God; but even such a being would be evil only because he fails to live up to the standard set by God. In particular, such a being would fail to live up to his moral duties; but then where do they come from?

            Thus, Craig explains that God, who is the ultimate standard or the paradigm of goodness and who is the cause of objective moral values, should be necessarily good and cannot be evil.

            We can also deal with this objection from another vantage point: the Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy. In other words, the ‘Privation Theory of Evil.’

            Evil is the absence of good. For example, “Dogs are supposed to run, fetch, chase squirrels; they are supposed to have four limbs, be able to see, hear, smell, etc. A dog that does not have four limbs, that cannot see, etc., for whatever reason, is less than it should be, and so has suffered some evil.”4

            In other words, when a ‘good’ part possesses a certain defect, then that defective part is said to have suffered some evil. An eye is good when it provides sight because all its parts are functioning according to their fullest potential. If certain ‘good’ parts of an eye have defects, then an eye cannot provide sight. This defect, then, is the absence of good. Blindness, therefore, is an evil caused by the absence of good.

            So evil per se has no ontology.

            Evil, in a metaphysical sense, is parasitic on good.

            According to the Christian philosopher Edward Feser, God cannot be necessarily evil, since evil is parasitic on the good. Therefore, God, in HIS being, has to be necessarily good, “…evil is metaphysically parasitic on good, and thus…on being, in such a way that whatever is Being Itself would have to be Goodness Itself and therefore in no way evil. Hence, since God is Being Itself, the claim “If God exists, then He is good” is metaphysically necessary, while the claim “If God exists, He might be evil” is necessarily false.”5

Endnotes:

1https://www.reasonablefaith.org/videos/other-videos/could-god-be-evil/

2https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-evil-god-objection/

3https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/ultimate-evil/

4https://aquinasonline.com/nature-of-evil/

5http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/10/laws-evil-god-challenge.html

Websites last accessed on 13th March 2021. 


Saturday, February 6, 2021

Steve Harvey Is Wrong About Salvation; Christians Watch Out!

          Millions of people follow Steve Harvey. He is “an American television presenter, comedian, actor, broadcaster, author, game show host and businessman. He hosts The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Family Feud, Celebrity Family Feud and the Miss Universe competition (since 2015)… He is a six-time Daytime Emmy Award winner, two-time Marconi Award winner, and a 14-time NAACP Image Award winner in various categories..”1

            Recently Steve Harvey alluded to the possibility of many ways to heaven.

            This is so blatantly wrong on so many levels.

            Many think that Steve Harvey is a Christian. Steve Harvey calls himself a man of faith.2

            As a man of faith, he proclaimed there is more than one way to heaven.3 He said, “"There's no one way to Heaven, no one way to paradise,” Harvey declared. “It's like television, now there's [sic] over 800 channels on cable, and they're all pretty entertaining. So I'm pretty sure that to get to Heaven, there's got to be more than one route. Because somebody watching another channel or taking another channel than you, they're still getting entertained, and they probably still getting to Heaven.””4

            This blatantly contradicts an essential Historic Christian tenet that belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).

            If Steve Harvey is a Christian, does he not know his Bible?

            Alternatively, if Steve Harvey calls himself a Christian, he could be a Progressive Christian.

            Progressive Christians, under the pretext of religious tolerance, believe that all religions lead to heaven. (Hence, those subscribing to Historic Christianity do not believe that progressive Christians would go to heaven.)

            Many people listen to Steve Harvey for his counsel on many matters. If you are one of those, be sure that Steve’s counsel need not be predicated on the Historic Christian tenets. In other words, Steve Harvey’s counsel need not necessarily be based on Biblical principles.

            So be careful when you listen to Steve Harvey.  

            If you wonder why all religions cannot lead us to heaven or God, then please read my blog entitled Three Reasons Why All Religions Do Not LeadTo God Or Heaven.”5

Endnotes:

1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Harvey

2https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J5dhOFPlM0&list=WL&index=1&ab_channel=TheOfficialSteveHarvey; 0:26 mins.

3https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J5dhOFPlM0&list=WL&index=1&ab_channel=TheOfficialSteveHarvey; 1:40-2:08 mins.

4https://www.christianpost.com/news/steve-harvey-says-theres-no-one-way-to-heaven.html

5http://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.com/2019/01/three-reasons-why-all-religions-do-not.html

Websites last accessed on 6th February 2021. 



Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Amen & Awoman! Progressive Christians At Work???

            Did you come upon a Democrat Congressman’s bizarre prayer at the 117th Congress on 3rd January 2021? Here’s a summary, “Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), an ordained Methodist pastor, offered some unusual words in the opening prayer for the 117th Congress on Sunday.

            He ended the prayer with, “May the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon us and give us peace. Peace in our families. Peace across this land and, dare I ask...oh, Lord...peace even in this chamber now and ever more. We ask it in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and gods known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and a-woman.”” 1 [Emphasis Mine].

            This prayer is bizarre for two reasons:

            1. The supposedly Christian prayer mentions various deities of the major religious worldviews.

            2. The prayer closes with a very atypical ‘Amen and Awoman.’

            First, why is there such a backlash against this prayer? This prayer is simply nonsensical from the Historic Christian perspective.

            A progressive Christian2 (who may not be a Christian, to begin with) can pray this prayer, but a Christian subscribing to Historic Christianity cannot pray this prayer.

            Why is this prayer wrong?

            First, a Christian subscribing to Historic Christianity would pray his/her prayers in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:13-14). A prayer that is prayed in the name of the gods of this world is not Christian prayer. Period.

            Second, amen is not a gendered word. Amen does not refer to males or females.

            Amen is from the Old Testament, so it has Hebrew origin. Dr. Brown explains by giving a context to this prayer:3

In case you haven’t heard, House Democrats want to remove all gendered language from their legislation, while the prayer to open the 117th Congress ended with, “Amen and A-woman.” I kid you not. Who would make up something so insane?

A PC Prayer

Let’s start with the PC prayer, which has to be seen to be believed. It is offered in “the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and ‘god’ known by many names by many different faiths.” And it concludes with, “Amen and A-woman,” as if the “men” of “Amen” was somehow a gendered term. How patriarchal and bigoted to use the “men” word in prayer!

Of course, “Amen” comes from the common Semitic root ’-m-n, with the word itself meaning, “So be it.” And it is used in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic liturgy, being found in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Arabic (along with English and many other languages)…

Learning New Phrases?

Following the logic of this prayer, we would have to learn new phrases like, “making awomends,” since “making amends” contains the dreaded m- word. Or, we would have to learn to be “awomenable,” lest we allow a male-dominated word like “amenable” to remain on the books. (Go ahead and make up your own list of words containing “men.” This is madness.)

        Amen is thusly not a gendered word. It means ‘so be it.’ Thinking of amen as a gendered word is absolutely insane and nonsensical.

        Do not use the word ‘Awoman’ while you close your prayer, a fortiori amen is sufficient.

        Can a Christian pray in the name of the gods of this world?

        No, most certainly not!

        Why?

        The God of the Bible is ontologically not the same as Allah or Brahma or any other God.

        If we think of God from the realm of metaphysics, God is a maximally great being or the greatest conceivable being. In fact, from an ontic sense, there cannot be two maximally great beings aka God.

        There can only be one maximally great being. That is the innate property of a maximally great being.

        So when we talk about God, it is either the God of the Bible or Allah or Brahman, etc. It cannot be both the God of the Bible and any other God. Neither can the God of the Bible be called Allah nor Brahma etc. for they are ontologically distinct. The one who believes in the God of the Bible would not and cannot believe in any other god, for there cannot be another maximally great being.

        Therefore, a Christian would only pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

        The prayer prayed at the 117th Congress is absurd.

        Any Christian, who subscribes to Historic Christianity, should only pray in the name of the Lord Jesus and should only say Amen (so be it) at the end of the prayer.

         Amen!

Endnotes:

1https://www.klove.com/news/faith/opening-prayer-for-congress-uses-amen-and-a-woman--19043

2A progressive Christian does not believe the Bible as God’s Word. He believes all gods are the same. The progressive Christian also believes in the contradicting Scriptures of other religions. A progressive Christian departs from serving the God of the Bible while striving to be politically correct. He/she interprets the Bible to his own subjective inclination to form a cultish Christianity that disobeys the God of the Bible in order to conform to the world and its evolving degenerative ethical system.

3https://stream.org/congress-has-officially-gone-gender-crazy/

Websites cited last accessed on 6th January 2021.