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Apostasy: Invalidating the Word of God For the Sake of Religious Tradition (2)

         For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. [Hebrews 6:4-6 RSV]

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         First of all, it must be noted that the great bulk of that which is called “Christianity” is not real Christianity, but something entirely different. It is not watered-down Christianity. It is not less-than-the-best Christianity. It is not weak or backslid Christianity. Instead, it is a completely separate entity.

         With reference to the above verses of scripture, the clear facts are:

(1) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never tasted the heavenly gift.

(2) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never become partakers of the Holy Spirit.

(3) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never tasted the goodness of the Word of God.

(4) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never experienced the powers of the age to come.

         For all of these reasons, it is therefore impossible for those who make up the great bulk of Christianity to commit apostasy simply because they never had the real thing to begin with.

         Apostasy is a conscience decision of the human will to quit on the Lord Jesus and walk away. Whoever does this can never be restored again to God until they make the decision on their own to return to God. No one else can thus force repentance upon them.

         But the majority of those called “Christians” are not real Christians and never have been. They are playing a game with their chosen form of Christianity and have substituted empty and powerless replacements that have no actual spiritual effect whatsoever. The only thing distinguishing these people from non-believers is the exterior wrapping. And as a person associates with a larger group of people clothed with the same chosen exterior wrapping, such a person feels completely secure within said group and becomes convinced the group is the “right” group or an “approved” group.

         How do we then distinguish real Christianity from the many counterfeit forms? Here’s how: Real Christianity has the power of God. This power is released through the use of the Name of the Lord Jesus and through His pure Word.

         However, the only people who can use the Name of the Lord Jesus properly and legally are those who have completely surrendered their lives to Him. These are real believers who have have given Him their entire heart. They have subjected their hearts to full heart circumcision. They have turned away completely from all sin, disobedience, and rebellion against the Lord. This is the nature of repentance. They have also been filled with the Spirit of the Lord with the outward evidence of a complete change in their speech—their tongue, the most unruly member of the body, has been completely subjected to the Lord.

SPEECH

         In the act of real repentance, the tongue is the very last member of the body to yield to God. Once this happens, an immediate proof of the occurrence follows: The new believer begins praising God in a new language. The person’s speech is at once given over, as if a switch was flipped, to praising God and even prophesying of the things of God. This is all very clearly spelled out in scripture.

         James wrote the following:

         If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. [James 1:26]

         For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

         Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.

         So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

         For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. [James 3:2-8]

         It is obvious then, that a tongue never yielded to God proves sinner status and non-discipleship, regardless of anything else by which a person claims to be a Christian. The yielded tongue, however, with miraculous speech following, proves a new birth.

         This new birth then allows for invoking the powerful Name of Jesus. Its use, as given by the Lord, results in miracles. The use of the Lord’s Name is only given to real disciples.

         This is also why each and every real believer as recorded in the Book of Acts invoked the Name of Jesus in water baptism. The reason why is otherwise simple: Without the Name of Jesus there is no spiritual power.

         We can see, therefore, that if there are no miracles within a Christian group, it obviously follows that there is no spiritual power, which indicates the group is not right with God. It proves that the group has never yielded to God.

         Real Christianity is distinguished by the following:

         And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

         “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

         “These signs will accompany those who have believed: In My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” [Mark 16:16-18] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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The “Official” Christian Rule Book: Invalidating the Word of God for the Sake of Religious Tradition (1)

         I was sitting in church one day years ago. It was relatively early in a midweek service. We all sat waiting expectantly to hear a message from the Lord. The pastor had just begun his sermon and he told the congregation, “Please turn in your Bibles to the Book of…”

         A twenty-something man toward the front, an unbright visitor with no understanding of church protocol, then immediately blurted out, “Wait! What page!?”

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         One wonders why, in the face of many centuries of ecclesiastical control and strident oversight within Christianity, that someone has not yet addressed this issue. Why don’t we have just one Bible and one translation so everyone can follow along the same way many Christians do with everything else?

         Wait. In fact, “Christians” did think of this. Many centuries ago. Then they quickly surmised it would be even better if they simply dispensed with the Word of God altogether. Then they could make up their own rules and their own book and no one would be the wiser.

         They could have called it The Official Christian Rule Book.

         All facetiousness aside, such a thing actually happened, exactly that way. For a thousand years (let me repeat), FOR A THOUSAND YEARS, the Bible was effectively outlawed within “official” Christianity.

THE ORIGINAL PROTESTANT REFORMATION

         Christians forget that there was once a Protestant Reformation. They also forget that the Protestant Reformation arose for only one reason—it was a PROTEST against the Roman Catholic Church.

         Why were so many people protesting against the Roman Catholic Church? And why were all the ringleaders Catholic or former Catholics?

         Actually, the Protestant Reformation did not simply begin at a single point in time in the early 1500s, though that was certainly the beginning of the open and successful Reformation that the Catholic Church could no longer suppress or contain. It had been ongoing for, yes, A THOUSAND YEARS.

         The problem for the various Protestants through the intervening years prior to the early 1500s was that they were usually politically unprotected single individuals, much like Old Testament prophets, or relatively small Christian societies. They were always outnumbered and outvoted, which included by possibly the millions otherwise sympathetic Catholics who were intimidated into silence without the courage to join them. Thus, these early Protestants were very easy to suppress and kill off by the so-called mother church.

         Never mind that the Catholic Church violated always and repeatedly the clear teachings of the Lord Jesus in this regard in order to gain and maintain its strict religious control; it was obvious to the evil leaders thereof that no other method was feasible. The RCC spared no effort or funding to engage in ongoing religious cleansing of dissenters in order to establish and maintain a religious monolith.

         Once a person decided to protest against obvious rule-breaking by the new illicit rule makers, such a person became their enemy. The religious controllers could attempt certain punishments to bring such righteous dissidents back into line, such as applying a non-tangible whip like a guilt trip or social excommunication, or they could go much further and engage in actual physical “discipline.”

         If such efforts failed and the recalcitrant party refused to buckle under, the only things remaining were the dungeon or death. Both had been used forever by evil despots to silence their critics, and the new “Christian” clergy knew it must also use the same tactics to stay in power. Otherwise, their lies would be overwhelmed by the honest words of honest men who stood for the teachings of the Lord Jesus, and the clergyites would be defeated by truth.

         Hence, the Original Protestant Reformation continued on throughout the many centuries of the Dark Ages—ages made dark for one reason—the elimination of the Word of God from the people. Therefore, the opponents of the Catholic Church—the protesting opponents who favored the free use of the Word of God for everybody—were actually the real friends of God. This exposed the real enemies of God—the Catholic clergy—the ones who purported officially and openly to be God’s friends and spokesmen.

         Remember, there are two things that the enemies of the Lord hate more than Him, and that is HIS WORD and HIS NAME:

         As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John 8:30-32]

         Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. [John 20:30-31]

         The elimination of the freedom-releasing, life-giving, and spiritual power-producing Word of God and Name of God is a must if the Lord’s enemies are to be successful. That this happened through a false front “Christian” operation would otherwise open many eyes save for the extreme duplicity and treachery involved.

         It is what we call religious guile, deceit, and hypocrisy of the highest order—standard operating procedure at the hands of the official Roman Catholic clergy of that time—and the very thing the Pharisees of the Lord’s time were guilty of as well.

THE ORIGINAL PHARISEES

         The Lord Jesus saved His greatest, most forceful, and most damning rebukeathons for the evil Pharisaic leadership for one reason—they refused to allow the pure Word of God to be in the hands of the people—they refused to allow God to be in charge. They majored on instant condemnation for rule breakers. They were much more interested in the Gotcha! Protocol (and the quick punishment thereof) than any forgiveness, compassion, understanding, love, or mercy.

         Sound familiar?

         The Pharisees also insisted they must teach from a perverted “official” substitute rulebook written and sponsored by them and by no one else. The desire and goal of the Pharisaic leadership was complete and dominant religious control over every single person within what was left of the nation of Israel, as well as to infinity and beyond:

         “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” [Matthew 23:15]

         The Pharisees succeeded at this for a while, maybe two or three centuries. Their efforts ended up destroying their nation. But their success was minimal in comparison to successful Roman Catholicism, which not only caused the European Dark Ages but became the greatest Christian offshoot in history to the tune of one billion plus worldwide at present.

         And it still operates the same way it always has, though obvious outward changes had to be made since the incredible spiritual successes of:

(1) The Protestant Reformation,

(2) The unprecedented establishment of complete, legal spiritual liberty and religious freedom with the against-all-odds creation of the United States of America. This freedom and liberty did not exist in Europe, even among Protestants, and certainly not among Catholics who spent a millennium and half fighting against it.

(3) The giant, ongoing, ever-increasing, worldwide Pentecostal movement of the last 120 years. 

         As had the Original Pharisees, the Roman Catholic Church still possesses its official rule book. It is a book loosely based on the Word of God. Yet, whoever knowingly teaches against the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus, makes additions or subtractions to or from them, and refuses to honor all of His teachings are, like the interloper Judas Iscariot, the Lord’s greatest enemies.

         They are such because they both pretend to be something they are not and deceive people into believing it, and are flippantly arrogant in their effective rewriting of God’s original Word for the sake of their own illicit religious kingdoms and elite power structure.

         Regarding the approach of the Lord Jesus toward such illicit rule book makers who revel in lording it over others, we know how He approached the Torah teachers (lawyers) and Pharisees of His time in the following passages:

         “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.” [Luke 11:52]

         “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:13]

         “And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” [Matthew 15:6] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!)

GREAT AWAKENING ALERT        

         In light of my most recent post, What Was In The Village? (link), many excellent comments were made in answering that question. For those who haven’t read it I encourage you to do so, and suggest you read the comments as well.

         In the following two articles listed below, I further identify what was in the village of Bethsaida in the Lord’s time when He had to lead a blind man outside of town in order to heal him. There was something located in Bethsaida that made it not possible for the healing to take place there.

         Many of us can identify with this phenomenon. The hindrance is much closer than many of us realize. The following articles reveal this. I strongly suggest we read these articles both for the knowledge therein, but also to get free and set others free.

         There is much the Lord Jesus wants to do and can do, but many think He has blown them off or won’t answer their prayers. In reality, Strongholds are present in places where we have grown comfortable and must be destroyed in order to first eliminate the deception regarding the Lord’s intentions (or perceived non-intentions), and secondly, eliminate the actual hindrance that keeps the Lord from working.

         Once a particular Stronghold is identified, we can do battle against it, but it’s difficult to fight against an unseen enemy or one we do not even know exists.

         In others words, if we want the miracles we seek, we’ll have to take the Lord by the hand, let Him lead us out of Bethsaida (in our blind condition), and go with Him to a spiritual location where He has full authority…

LINKS:

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 1

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 2

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 2

        The fortifications of hell include the fortresses of false mindsets and lies that keep people in prison. Many are deceived by false ideas that become strongholds. These strongholds must be marched on, attacked, overwhelmed in battle, and destroyed to set people free. This can only be accomplished through spiritual means. The apostle Paul continued his narrative to the Corinthians as follows:

         We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. [2 Corinthians 10:5-6]

         We can plainly see that Paul is speaking of false ideas that make up a false mindset or even a false religion, and that such things must be destroyed. Speculations (“Imaginations” in the KJV) comes from the Greek word logismos. It means, “a reckoning or reasoning” actually hostile to faith in the Lord Jesus, as with the self-explanatory lofty thing. Part of the apostle’s mission is taking every thought captive, to imprison every false idea, to destroy every false argument, and to punish all disobedience.

         The point is to subject all thinking to Messiah. The mind of Christ is pure and correct. The minds of His disciples must be as well. His code is perfect. His teachings are complete and pure. However, because false ideas and lies masquerade as truth and people are brought under their power through deception, a war scenario fits perfectly. The Lord, for example, destroyed the devil’s arguments during His temptation in the wilderness by effectively using the Word of God. The devil was using the Word as well, but had deceptively corrupted it. He had amended it to include lies and a false application. He built strongholds into it.

         This is what corrupt ministers do as well. They adulterate the pure Word of God. They do not teach or live out the pure Word as the Lord Jesus and the apostles did. We have a written record of the Lord’s teachings and actions, as well as those of the apostles and first-century Church. It is not that difficult to make comparisons between then and now. When the Lord spoke the Word, lies were exposed and strongholds came down. The real Word of God is completely pure and very, very powerful:

         For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. [Hebrews 4:12]

         The mature believer is able to minister the Word of God properly in the tearing down of strongholds. The Word can penetrate not only thought processes but also intentions. The apostle Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit, as were all the original early believers. It was not possible to spread the Gospel as far as they did and as fast as they did without the ability to war in the spirit in this way. By the power of God, and with the Lord working with them, everything within and among the enemy’s camp was revealed.

         It is obvious that many people refused to relinquish their revealed falsehoods, however. Instead, being incensed, they would turn the spiritual battle into a purely physical event and beat or even murder the believers. By doing this, they reinforced their false belief systems and actually strengthened their road to hell.

         Yet, those who subjected all their thoughts and ideas to God were made aware of their deception and strongholds. By an act of their will, they allowed the Light of God to shine upon and within them and it exposed their darkness. Their darkness was consequently chased away and they were cleansed. Without the Light of God, they were unaware of the false concepts and ideas implanted in their minds.

         However, they allowed the Word of God to be spoken. They listened, they heard, they believed, and they embraced truth, confessing their salvation. This process can be summed up in the following verse:

         So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. [Romans 10:17]

         People who have not subjected themselves fully to the authority of the Lord Jesus have residing within themselves impure codes of living, false concepts, and lies masquerading as truth. These things are truly very strong fortresses. There are so many false belief systems in the world it is a wonder the planet is not even darker.

         The devil has formulated lies and darkness into what appears to the deceived as truth.

         It is only the Word of God that is able to cut to the heart of such false ideas. As warriors attacking a strong military fortress, real believers must continue to fight against all untruths, giving no quarter, and checking every section until all is secure. The deceived will be set free in no other way, and that, of course, includes all of us.

         “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:36] [1]  

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved [Part 2 of 2] 


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 1

        Truth can be very offensive. People formulate their perception of the world by the choices they make or those made for them.

         The New Testament talks about the concept of strongholds, and this concept is seldom more applicable than when it involves a person’s understanding of truth. Everyone has a code to live by, but of course, not every code is good. Of codes that do appear to be good, most are not pure. If an individual lives according to an impure code, the flaws within the code will eventually appear as flaws within his life.

         Unreal Christianity is loaded with such flaws. To quote from my book:

WHERE HAVE ALL THE TEACHERS GONE? (LONG TIME MISSING)

         Much church teaching is about things other than the pure Word of God. It involves specialized doctrine which is often in opposition to that of other churches and even Holy Writ, and is designed for gaining control and unity within a congregation. Such schooling will never result in the necessary graduation rates of spiritually mature believers required to fulfill our commission.

         The task of the New Testament teacher is to impart that which the written Word of God contains. He does not pick and choose. He shows no partiality toward certain scriptures. The Lord did not place him in the body to express denominational slants or biased doctrinal positions based on improper understandings or traditional outlooks. Since it is obvious that Christianity is still filled to the gills with doctrinal error and silly statutes, it is evident that real teachers are not wanted at the party. Anytime God sends a person to divide truth from error, he or she usually gets run off or becomes an MIA. Truth becomes the victim and error is protected, just as it happened with the Lord and Barabbas. [1]

         Some flaws are obvious. Most flaws are not. Anyone can be deceived or can deceive himself into living according to a flawed code, and thus not be aware of the inherent impurity. Yet, even if one becomes aware of a flaw within his personal or Christian code, it is often discounted or dismissed.

         This could be due to cultural influence or familial allegiance. It could even be due to personal stubbornness, since many people will hold fast to false concepts or wrongheaded ideas after such things are pointed out, usually because such a thing is perceived as an attack on their character or intelligence.

         Sometimes people might think or even know something within their code is wrong, but have no respect for the person or belief system that reveals it. Whatever the case might be, a mental or spiritual stronghold within an individual that is in opposition to truth is a detriment to said individual by limiting his freedom and clouding his understanding.

         What follows is the one New Testament passage that reveals this truth. Since so many believers have been taught from the King James Version or derivatives, and since it is from the KJV that the word stronghold was initially derived, I will list it first, followed by the same passage from the NASV, and from which all other passages in this article are taken:

         For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)…           [2 Corinthians 10:3-4 KJV]

         For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.     [2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NASV]

         In modern English, the words strong holds become fortresses. These are from the Greek word ochuroma, which appears only once in the NT and derives from a root that means, “To fortify, through the idea of holding safely.” It is defined in the physical as a castle, a stronghold, or a fortress—hence, a strong military fortification.

         However, in the sense that Paul uses, it is (1) anything on which one relies (1a) of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavors to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent.[2] In the Scriptural passage written by Paul, the teaching apostle uses the illustration of a powerful military fortification in referring to a false concept, idea, or false argument.

         The Lord Jesus used a similar method when He stated,

         “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” [Matthew 16:18] [3]

         Here we have, again, the illustration of gates, or bars, or a strong prison. It is the rock of revelation that the Lord Jesus is indeed the Messiah, and it is upon this rock that the Lord will build his community. In addition, the gates of Hades will not prevail against or overpower the Church. Death will not hold the Lord. He will die but will not stay dead and will break out of death, and subsequently lead all of those who recognize Him as Messiah out of death as well.

         In this case, hell, or actually Hades, is a real place. It is the place of the dead, apparently in the very heart of this planet. However, Hades is also among us in the here and now, in that spiritual death among living human beings is rampant.

         It is the community of the Lord Jesus, filled with and empowered by His very Spirit that moves against all strongholds and destroys them, especially the stronghold of death when an individual comes to salvation and freedom in the Lord.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 2]  


[1] Page 118 Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[2] UBS Greek Dictionary; Louw-Nida Lexicon

[3] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

         The devil has formulated lies and darkness into what appears to the deceived as truth. It is only the pure Word of God that is able to cut to the heart of such false ideas. [Excerpt from Part 2]