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Church-Goers Losing Interest in Partisan Religion

Excellent message by Buff Scott Jr. at Apostasy Watch.

If you’re a News addict, as I am, you have heard the report that a large number of church-goers and religious zealots have “given up the ship” and are no longer supporting and promoting partisan religion. Catholicism is losing more ground than her counterpart, Protestantism, as per the report.
The report indicates that many past believers no longer show interest in Christianity, and that churches across the country are feeling the pinch monetarily and in attendance.
Well, I’ve got news for those News reporters and Networks. In general, believers are not surrendering their allegiance to the God of creation or to the Son of God. Nor are they losing their faith. They have begun to think independently and are surrendering their allegiance to the Religious Establishment or Organized Church.
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Are You Prepared?

From Herescope

Reading and watching the video embedded within this article is a wake-up call to the Church in the West. It also bears witness to the ridiculous “non gospel” we dare call The Gospel which is taught and preached in America.  

quote:

While reviewing church history recently I was reminded of some of the things we should learn from history. But before I share those with you, I want to remind you that what normally passes for church history is the history of the apostate church (lower case “c”). The history of the true Church is not normally taught in Bible schools and seminaries except for a passing mention to the little groups of true believers that were a thorn in the side of the institutional churches.

The following are the central truths we learn from Church history:

  • Even in the darkest hours of the last 2000 years there have always been true believers and true Churches in this world.
  • The real Church has always been small in numbers and poor in political power, finances and popularity.
  • True churches and believers have always been persecuted.

It is on this third point I want to dwell. Persecution has come from many different sources, even though the ultimate origin is Satan and his forces.

The Jews, initially under the leadership of Saul of Tarsus, persecuted and killed believers beginning with Stephen. Of course Jesus was the first “Christian martyr,” and before the New Testament era many prophets were also brutally killed by Israel because of their message.

The Roman government persecuted and brutally martyred Christian believers for almost 300 years until Constantine in 312 AD.

Immediately after 312 the Roman church took over from the Roman government and began to persecute believers who did not submit to their authority. Persecution under the Church of Rome continued for the next 1700 years right up to the present, reaching its peak during the Inquisition (c. 1200 to c. 1600). It is very difficult to find an accurate estimate of the numbers of people killed by the Roman church, but the best studies indicate a number of around 80 million Christians, in addition to witches and others, killed by Rome![1]

Even while Rome was killing Protestants, the Reformation leaders were torturing and killing Anabaptists and other believers who disagreed with them. Just one of many to die at the hand of the Reformers was Michael Sattler, a true believer. “He was shamefully mutilated in different parts of the town, then brought to the gate, and what remained of him thrown on the fire, His wife and some other Christian women were drowned, and a number of brethren who were with him in prison were beheaded.”[2] Most of the Protestant leaders, including Luther and Zwingli, engaged in the most severe and cruel torture and murder of anyone who disagreed with them. But the most vicious of all was Calvin. In Geneva, Switzerland, he institutionalized torture and death as a legitimate means to change people’s views and purge the “church” of dissenters.

There have been massive persecutions of Christians all across the world, many still ongoing, by Muslims, Chinese governments, Communists, and all sorts of other unbelievers. Just recently I was shocked to hear that a friend and former colleague, as well as two women, were brutally killed and mutilated by Satanists in South Africa, making them (as far as I know) the first martyrs to die for the faith in South Africa. It is estimated that today[3] more Christians in the world are being persecuted than are free to worship the true God. A comprehensive Pew Forum study found that Christians are persecuted in 131 countries containing 70 percent of the world’s population. Other studies indicate that between 100,000 and 200,000 Christians are being martyred for their faith every year,[4] and that around 200 million Christians are denied fundamental human rights because of their faith. (See: Video: Islamic state threat: ‘A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross’)

All this should not come as a surprise since the New Testament is replete with statements that persecution would be the norm for Christians. In Jesus’ first mention about the Church He spoke of the war that would be brought against His Church: “…[O]n this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”(Matthew 16:18). Paul said: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). And Peter said “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

In spite of the evidence of history, and the plain teaching of the Bible, the vast majority of Christians in the so-called “Free World” still believe that it is the right of Christians to be popular, fairly treated and respected, and that a “happy” life should be the norm for believers.

As I have been reminded how most true Christians have been mistreated, and how they lived as vagabonds and fugitives throughout the last two millennia, I began to think about my own life and how easily I complain about the relatively minor inconveniences and rejection I experience because of the Gospel. I feel ashamed that I dare complain when thousands, right now, are experiencing the most extreme physical pain, emotional anguish, and death for the sake of the Gospel of Salvation. Who am I to grumble when I am free to come and go, live in relative comfort, and enjoy the company of my wife, while others are in prison, being tortured and killed?

But I also thought about how easily many stay away from the gathering of believers because it is too hot, too cold, or they are too tired because of watching TV or partying too late on Saturday night. I struggle to reconcile this picture with the one of men and women being torn apart by dogs, their limbs pulled from their bodies on the rack, and the smell of burning human flesh on the fires of the persecutors. I struggle to understand how some are unwilling to give up their sinful pleasures when millions have to give up their very lives.

I struggle to understand how the pleasure-centered and self-centered “Christian” of the West can claim to share a common faith with the martyrs. I struggle to understand how preachers who preach a gospel of happiness, prosperity and popularity believe that their message is the same message that was preached by the faithful minority of the last 2000 years – believers who, like the prophets of old, “…had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth” (Hebrews 11:36-38).

Can the faith that results in persecution, torture, and death be the same faith that promises carnal happiness, a new Mercedes and popularity? Can the faith that pursues pleasure, comfort and earthly happiness be the same faith that counts it a privilege to suffer for His name?

Will the hedonist[5] and the martyr share the same heaven?

Endnotes:
1. David A Plaisted. Estimates of the Number Killed by the Papacy in the Middle Ages and Later. 2006.
2. E. H. Broadbent. The Pilgrim Church. Gospel Folio Press. Grand Rapids, MI. 1999. p182.
3. October 2012
4. David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, and Peter F. Crossing in their 2009 report in theInternational Bulletin of Missionary Research (Vol. 33, No. 1: 32) say the figure is about 200,000 per year and rising.
5. Hedonist = a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.

*Adapted from Pastor Anton Bosch’s article titled “Hedonists and Martyrs,” originally published in the Discernment Newsletter, Nov.-Dec 2012:http://www.discernment-ministries.org/Newsletters/NL2012NovDec.pdf. This article will be included in a forthcoming book of devotionals by Pastor Bosch. Stay tuned to Herescope for details.

BE PREPARED! For additional encouragement, see our article series from January 2010, “Preparations for Sufferings,” where we reviewed John Flavel’s dissertation titled “Preparations for Suffering, or The Best Work in the Worst Times” (Volume 6), pages 3-83, found in the Works of John Flavel, Banner of Truth Trust (1820, 1968), ISBN 0-85151-060-4.

Part 1: Preparations for Sufferings
Part 2: Are You Prepared?
Part 3: Unanticipated Benefits of Sufferings
Part 4: Prodigious Sottishness
Part 5: Why God Warns
Part 6: Rest in the Day of Evil
Part 7: People-Lovers or God-Pleasers?
Part 8: The Necessity of Foresight
Part 9: The 6 Habits of Readiness
Part 10: Fool’s Gold & Fairweather Faith
Part 11: Sufficient Grace
Part 12: Faith Enough

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The Gospel of the Kingdom: THE BEGINNING OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

A few points from chapter four of Mauro’s book, The Gospel of the Kingdom:

CHAPTER FOUR

THE BEGINNING OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD

THE words of our chapter heading are the first words of the Gospel by Mark. They are enlightening words; and indeed they are quite sufficient in themselves to answer a question that confronts us at this point: When did the Gospel era begin? It is exceedingly important that we should have the right answer to that question; and we know where to seek it.

We have seen that the Bible distinguishes two great eras, and those two eras are closely related, the one to the other, though there are marked differences between them; the first being variously designated as, “the old covenant,” “the law and the prophets,” or simply “the law”; and the second being variously designated as, “the new covenant,” “the kingdom of God,” or simply “the gospel.” Our Scripture tells us we are now at the “beginning” of something; and that that something is “the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Could we have a plainer answer to our question?

And the passage goes on to tell what it was that marked “the beginning of the gospel”; and further to declare that the event that marked it was something that had been foretold in the Scriptures. For we read: “As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” The reference is to Isaiah 40:3; and the prophecy was fulfilled, as this first chapter of Mark’s Gospel declares, in the preaching and ministry of John the Baptist.

This was the very “beginning,” the very first event of that long expected era. “THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD.” But John’s ministry (John the Baptist) was of short duration; for the enmity of the Jews was speedily aroused, because of the contradiction between his preaching and their expectations; and he was cast into prison. And then happened another event of transcendent interest; for the public ministry of Christ Himself (whose “way” John had been sent to “prepare”) forthwith began. For it is written:

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (vv. 14, 15).

These words make it evident that “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” and “the gospel of the Kingdom of God” are one and the same. Moreover, the words, “The time is fulfilled” manifestly point to something of exceptional importance whereof promises had been given by the prophets. They refer, of course, to that promised era of victory over sin, that era of the bruising of the serpent’s head, of the salvation of God for all men through the coming of the promised Deliverer, the era of the everlasting covenant and the sure mercies of David; in a word, they referred to the appointed time for the fulfilment of all the glorious things that God had spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. “The time” for the thing for which all believing hearts had looked and longed, was “fulfilled.” So said Christ; and He also exhorted those who heard the announcement, to repent, and believe the gospel.” Note that the proclamation that the time was fulfilled He calls “the gospel.”

But, in direct contradiction to these statements (which are as plain as is possible for anyone to make) the “Scofield Bible” asserts that the dispensation of the law, with its “pitiless severity” and all the appalling characteristics of condemnation, death and the curse which that publication attributes to it, continued until the crucifixion of Christ; and it further asserts that “the Kingdom of God” (which that dispensational authority takes to mean the earthly kingdom of Jewish expectancy) was not “at hand,” but was in the far distant future.

Here then we have a very serious situation. For if this era of John the Baptist were not “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” then the plainest of plain Bible words, which have been understood for nineteen centuries in accordance with their apparent sense, have a meaning altogether different to what has always been supposed. And if the Kingdom our Lord said was then “at hand,” was not at hand at all, but far away, He certainly caused those who heard Him believingly and all who have listened to His words for nearly two thousand years, to believe what was not true.

We take up first the question:

What Kingdom was it that Christ said was at hand?

In considering this question let it be noted that there was a “Kingdom of God” then at hand; for Christ’s servants shortly thereafter began to preach it as a present reality (Acts 8:12; 14:22; 20:25, etc.); and moreover, the apostle Paul, in his great Gospel letter, gave a definition of it (Rom. 14:17). Are there then two different Kingdoms of God; one of which was at hand, and one afar off in the future? Is God the author of confusion? And if there were two Kingdoms of God, one then close by and the other afar off, is it conceivable that the Kingdom of God which Christ said was then “at hand” was the one that was actually in the remote future?

How is it possible, I ask, for any who undertake to explain the Scriptures to arrive at the conclusion that the “Kingdom of God” which actually was “at hand,” is not the “Kingdom of God” which the Lordsaid to be “at hand”; or, (to state it the other way) that the “Kingdom of God” which the Lord publicly declared at hand, proved to be not at hand at all; whereas, marvelous to relate! another “Kingdom of God” whereof He made no mention, was at hand?

I have carefully examined the notes of the “Scofield Bible” in quest of the explanation of this. I find on one hand that no Scripture is cited to support the editor’s view; for there is not one word in the Bible to the effect that the Kingdom announced by the Lord has been “postponed” or is “in abeyance.” The Lord’s own statement, from first to last, never modified, but proclaimed with ever increasing emphasis, was that the Kingdom was “at hand.”

But the teaching of the Scofield Bible as to the Kingdom of God is founded nevertheless upon the baseless assumption that the prophets of Israel, in predicting the coming of the Messiah and of an era of blessing, salvation and victory for His people, were foretelling the restoration of the earthly greatness of the natural Israel. Therefore the editor of the Scofield Bible, having committed himself thoroughly to this startlingly novel idea, and having lost sight of the many interpretations of those prophecies in the New Testament which show that they referred (in figurative language) to Redemption and to the Spiritual Kingdom based thereon, has attempted in his notes to make the New Testament agree with his mistaken theory.

But the attempt is an impossibility. In fact the editor himself abandons it completely after carrying it partly through the Gospel of Matthew. Anyone can see this for himself who will take a little pains to examine the matter. For we have to begin with the bold but unfounded assumption that the words “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of heaven” on our Lord’s lips meant the earthly kingdom of Israel. Then we have the equally bold and equally unfounded assumption that the supposed “offer” of the earthly kingdom to the Jews of Christ’s day was rejected by them, and that, as the result of such supposed rejection, it was withdrawn and postponed; though there is no trace whatever in the inspired records of any such offer, or rejection, or withdrawal, or postponement; and though there is no hint that God’s purpose to introduce the Kingdom which He had announced (and announced without any qualification whatever) was, or could have been, defeated or postponed by the action of the Jews of Christ’s day.

In the “notes,” the alleged rejection is located at Matthew 11:20, as appears by the following statement:

“The Kingdom of heaven announced as ‘at hand’ by John the Baptist, by the King Himself, and by the twelve, and attested by mighty works, has been morally rejected.”

Then the Lord’s words recorded in Matthew 11:28, 29, are called by the editor, “The new message of Jesus–not the kingdom but rest and service”; and this, we are told, is “the pivotal point in the ministry of Jesus,”–that is to say the point at which He abandoned His message about the Kingdom’s being at hand, and began to substitute a message of entirely different character!

I earnestly protest that these statements are wholly erroneous, and confidently maintain that the Lord had but one message, which was the gospel of God, and that the Kingdom which He preached while on earth and introduced when He sent the Holy Ghost from heaven, is the very “rest and service” which He offered and still offers to all the weary and heavy laden ones.1

Following this is a note (on Mat. 12:46) which asserts that our Lord, “rejected by Israel,” now intimates the formation of the “new family of faith.” But the fact is that the “new family”–composed of the children of His Father in heaven–had been previously addressed at length and in the most precise terms as to their relationship with God, in the Sermon on the Mount. But inasmuch as it would upset the editor’s theory completely to find any hint of the “new family” in that part of Matthew, he firmly closes his eyes to the conspicuous presentation of it in those chapters, and locates the first“intimation” of it in chapter 12. For it is as plain to any babe in Christ as the sun in the sky at noonday, that in the Sermon on the Mount God, the “Father in heaven,” is speaking to His own “children” on earth, by the lips of His own Son. But that fact, so vital to all the household of God, would, if acknowledged, completely destroy the editor’s theory, so he ignores and even contradicts it.

In order to obtain an appearance of support to his views, the editor states in a note on the Lord’s interview with the woman of Syrophenicia, (Mat. 1:2 that “For the first time the rejected Son of David ministers to a Gentile.” This is necessary to the theory we are examining; for if Christ should be found ministering to a Gentile prior to Matthew 11, that action on His part would destroy the “Jewish” and “legal” character which the editor imputes to that part of the Lord’s ministry; and would demolish the theory completely. How is it possible then that the editor and associate editors and all who have been helping to correct the errors of his edition for more than a score of years, have been blinded to the fact that the Lord healed the centurion’s servant, as recorded in Matthew 8:5-10, and in connection therewith used those remarkable words, “Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith no not in Israel”? And how can we account for the failure on the part of all those learned men to observe the record in Matthew 4:24 that the fame of Jesus went throughout all Syria, and they brought to Him all sick people, and He healed them? And for their failure to observe also that, even before the Lord began to preach publicly in Galilee, He ministered and revealed Himself as “Christ” to the woman of Samaria, and that many of the Samaritans believed on Him? (John 4).2

These are but a few of many instances which show that the advocates of the postponement theory are mysteriously blinded to the plainest facts when those facts are in conflict with that theory; while on the other hand they claim the ability to “see” things in the text of Scripture which support their theory, although others are utterly unable to find a trace of them. But, without dwelling upon this, I would ask particular attention to the fact that, even according to the kind of proof by which our friends seek to maintain their theory, the facts concerning the centurion’s servant and the Lord’s personal ministry of salvation (the “living water”) to the Samaritans, refute that theory completely.

Chapter Four is Continued HERE

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She Who Rides On The Beast

An important word for the Church in the West;

She Who Rides On The Beast

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The Gospel of the Kingdom

This is an interesting book by Philip Mauro. After ordering it at Amazon I realized a condensed version was available online, so want to post a few portions from it’s contents, as I read it in paperback. Beginning with his intro you can sense by his tone how dangerous he believes this “new” fangled “modernistic” form of theology was. Let’s begin….

The Gospel of the Kingdom (1927)

By Philip Mauro

Introduction:

THROUGH an incident of recent occurrence I was made aware of the extent–far greater than I had imagined–to which the modern system of dispensationalism has found acceptance amongst orthodox christians; and also of the extent–correspondingly great–to which the recently published “Scofield Bible” (which is the main vehicle of the new system of doctrine referred to) has usurped the place of authority that belongs to God’s Bible alone.

The incident alluded to above is what prompted the writing of this book. For it awakened in my soul a sense of responsibility to the people of God to give them, in concise form, the results of the close examination I have been led to make of this novel system of doctrine (dispensationalism).

Let it be understood at the outset that my controversy is solely with the doctrine itself; and not at all with those who hold and teach it, or any of them. Indeed I was myself one of their number for so long a time that I can but feel a tender consideration, and a profound sympathy likewise, for all such.

Moreover, as I said in another place:

“It is obvious that, in a matter involving truth of God so vital to His entire household, personal considerations must needs be disregarded. I greatly regret having to mention by name the “Scofield Reference Bible”; but that cannot be avoided, inasmuch as it is unhappily the case that that publication has been, and is, the chief agency for promulgating the errors against which I feel called upon to protest. I deeply regret having to bring any man’s name into the discussion. But we must deal with conditions as we find them. It is a matter of grief to me that a book should exist wherein the corrupt words of mortal man are printed on the same page with the holy Words of the living God; this mixture of the precious and the vile being made an article of sale, entitled a ‘Bible,‘ and distinguished by a man’s name.”

It is mortifying to remember that I not only held and taught these novelties myself, but that I even enjoyed a complacent sense of superiority because thereof, and regarded with feelings of pity and contempt those who had not received the “new light” and were unacquainted with this up-to-date method of “rightly dividing the word of truth.” For I fully believed what an advertising circular says in presenting Twelve Reasons why you should use THE SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE,” namely, that:–

“First, the Scofield Bible outlines the Scriptures from the standpoint of DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH, and there can be no adequate understanding or rightly dividing of the Word of God except from the standpoint of dispensational truth.”

What a slur is this upon the spiritual understanding of the ten thousands of men, “mighty in the Scriptures,” whom God gave as teachers to His people during all the Christian centuries before “dispensational truth” (or dispensational error), was discovered! And what an affront to the thousands of men of God of our own day, workmen that need not to be ashamed, who have never accepted the newly invented system! Yet I was among those who eagerly embraced it (upon human authority solely, for there is none other) and who earnestly pressed it upon my fellow Christians. Am deeply thankful, however, that the time came (it was just ten years ago) when the inconsistencies and self-contradictions of the system itself, and above all, the impossibility of reconciling its main positions with the plain statements of the Word of God, became so glaringly evident that I could not do otherwise than renounce it.

At that time I was occupied almost exclusively with the central doctrine of the system; a very radical doctrine indeed concerning the supremely important subject of the Kingdom of God, which our Lord and His forerunner proclaimed as then “at hand,” and which they both identified with the era of the Holy Spirit.1

According to the new dispensationalism, our Lord and John the Baptist were not proclaiming the near coming of that “Kingdom of God” which actually began shortly thereafter with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and which actually was then “at hand,” but were announcing a kingdom of earthly grandeur for which the carnally minded Jews and their teachers were then (and are still) vainly looking; though the earthly kingdom of Israel is not called in the Scriptures, “the Kingdom of God,” and though (as is now evident enough) it was not “at hand” at all.

As I continued, however, to study this new system of teaching in its various details, I found there were more errors in it, and worse, than I had at first expected; and these, as they became evident to me, I have attempted, by occasional writings subsequently, to expose. The work, however, is not yet finished; and hence the need for the present volume. Indeed, the time is fully ripe for a thorough examination and frank exposure of this new and subtle form of modernism that has been spreading itself among those who have adopted the name “Fundamentalists.” For Evangelical Christianity must purge itself of this leaven of dispensationalism ere it can display its former power and exert its former influence.

Happily, however, there is a positive and constructive side to what I am now seeking to accomplish. For the object is not merely to expose the errors of twentieth century dispensationalism, but also and mainly to set forth the great, and truly “fundamental,” truths of Scripture which that system has, for those who have received it, either completely obliterated or at least greatly obscured.

Finally it is appropriate in these introductory remarks to call attention (as I shall have occasion to do once and again in the pages that follow) to the striking and immensely significant fact that the entire system of “dispensational teaching” is modernistic in the strictest sense; for it first came into existence within the memory of persons now living; and was altogether unknown even in their younger days. It is more recent than Darwinism.

Think what it means that an elaborate, ramified and comprehensive system, which embraces radical teachings concerning such vital subjects as the preaching and ministry of Jesus Christ, the character and “dispensational place” of the four Gospels, the nature and era of the Kingdom of God, the Sermon on the Mount, the Gospel of the Kingdom, and other Bible topics of first importance, a system of doctrine that contradicts what has been held and taught by every Christian expositor and every minister of Christ from the very beginning of the Christian era, should have suddenly made its appearance in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and have been accepted by many who are prominent amongst the most professedly orthodox groups of Christians! It is an amazing phenomenon indeed. For the fact is that dispensationalism is modernism. It is modernism, moreover, of a very pernicious sort, such that it must have a “Bible” of its own for the propagation of its peculiar doctrines, since they are not in the Word of God. Ample proof of this will be given in the pages that follow.

Nevertheless, what I now urge in view thereof is only:–

First, that we have in these historical facts a most cogent reason why we should, each for himself, scrutinize this modern system most carefully in the light of Scripture; and second, that the above stated fact, of the very recent origin of the system, raises the presumption that dispensationalism is not in accord with the truth of God, and is not to be accepted except upon clear and ample proof.

In concluding these introductory remarks I would point out that this modern system of “dispensational teaching” is a cause of division and controversy between those followers of Christ who ought to be, at this time of crisis, solidly united against the mighty forces of unbelief and apostasy; and further that it tends to bring the vital truth of our Lord’s second coming into discredit with many, because it associates that great Bible doctrine with various speculative details for which no scriptural support can be found.


NOTES

1. John preached, saying, “Repent Ye; for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” and he announced the coming of Christ, saying, “He shall baptize you WITH THE HOLY GHOST” (Mat. 3:1,11). And Christ Himself taught a Jewish rabbi, saying, “Except a man be born of water and of THE SPIRIT, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Compare Paul’s definition of that Kingdom:”For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy, IN THE HOLY GHOST” (Rom. 14:17)

CHAPTER ONE

TWENTIETH CENTURY DISPENSATIONALISM:
WHAT AND WHENCE?

FOR some of our readers a definition of modern dispensationalism will be a necessity, and for all it will be a convenience. It has been defined as “that system of doctrine which divides the history of God’s dealings with the world into periods of time, called “dispensations’.” And it is an essential tenet of the system that “in each dispensation God deals with man upon a plan different from the plan of the other dispensations. . . . Each dispensation is a thing entirely apart from the others, and, when one period succeeds another, there is a radical change of character and governing principles.”(Rock or Sand, Which?, by Matthew Francis).

For example, we are told that the present era is “the dispensation of Grace,” and the last preceding was “the dispensation of Law”; and therefore the teachers of the new system strain their ingenuity to show that there was no grace in the preceding “dispensation,” and there is no law now; whereas in fact there is all the law of God now that there ever was, and there was abundance of the grace of God in the “former times.”

In the elaboration of this crude system of error, the greatest harm has been done to the revealed truth of God concerning this present era of the Gospel. According to the prophecies of the Old Testament and the apostolical scriptures of the New as they have always been understood heretofore, this is the long looked for era of the Kingdom of God, foretold by the prophets. As Peter stated it,“All the prophets from Samuel, and those that follow after as many as have spoken, have likewise”–he had just referred to Moses–“spoken OF THESE DAYS” (Acts 3:24); and in his first Epistle he declares that the things now reported by those who preach the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, are the very things, including the salvation of souls, that were ministered in times past by the prophets; and that it was the very same “Spirit of Christ that was in them,” Who now empowers the gospel preachers (I Pet. 1:9-12).

Likewise Paul emphatically declared that in all his preaching (which even the extremest dispensationalists acknowledge as belonging to this era of grace) he had said “none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come” (Acts 26:22).

But according to “dispensational teaching” this age is “a mystery,” a gap of unmeasured length intervening between the past era of the natural Israel, and a future era in which (so it is taught) that apostate nation will be reconstituted and its earthly glories will be restored and enhanced. We are told that “this gospel era was not in the view of the prophets at all;” and this is maintained despite the plain statements of Scripture just cited above and of others to the same effect.

One of the unhappiest of the results of this violent wrenching of the “things the angels desire to look into” from the place to which the word of God assigns them, is that “the Kingdom of God” in its entirety, including “the gospel of the Kingdom” (Mat. 24:14; Acts 20:25; 28:31) has been transferred bodily from this present age, and “postponed” to an hypothetical and mythical “dispensation” yet to come. This surely is a matter of such importance as to demand the most earnest attention of every saint of God; for it does violence to both the Old Testament and the New.

A RADICAL SYSTEM OF DOCTRINE

It will be readily seen therefore, that we have here to do with a system of teaching which, whether true or false, is of the most radical sort. Hence if true, it is most astonishing that not one of the Godly and spiritual teachers of all the Christian centuries had so much as a glimpse of it; and if false, it is high time its heretical character were exposed and the whole system dealt with accordingly. And inasmuch as it contradicts what every Christian teacher, without a known exception, has held to be the indisputable truth of Scripture concerning the Gospel of God and the Kingdom of God, it clearly belongs in the category of those “divers and strange doctrines,” against which we are specially warned (Heb. 13:9). For it is undeniably diverse from all that has been hitherto taught the people of God, and it is altogether “strange” to their ears. This I deem worthy of special emphasis, and hence would ask the reader to keep constantly in mind the fact of the absolute novelty of dispensationalism. For here is modernism in the strictest sense; and it is all the more to be feared and shunned because it comes to us in the guise and garb of strict orthodoxy.

WHENCE CAME THIS MODERN SYSTEM?

As regards the origin of the system: the beginnings thereof and its leading features are found in the writings of those known as “Brethren” (sometimes called “Plymouth Brethren,” from the name of the English city where the movement first attracted attention) though it is but fair to state that the best known and most spiritual leaders of that movement–as Darby, Kelly, Newberry, Chapman, Mueller and others, “whose names are in the Book of Life” ” never held the “Jewish” character of the Kingdom preached by our Lord and John the Baptist, or the “Jewish” character of the Gospels (especially Matthew), or that the Sermon on the Mount is “law and not grace” and pertains to a future “Jewish” kingdom.

From what I have been able to gather by inquiry of others, (who were “in Christ before me”) the new system of doctrine we are now discussing was first brought to the vicinity of New York by a very gifted and godly man, Mr. Malachi Taylor, (one of the “Brethren”) who taught it with much earnestness and plausibility. That was near the beginning of the present century, either a little before or a little after. And among those who heard and were captivated by it (for truly there is some strange fascination inherent in it) was the late Dr. C. I. Scofield, who was so infatuated with it that he proceeded forthwith to bring out a new edition of the entire Bible, having for its distinctive feature that the peculiar doctrines of this new dispensationalism are woven into the very warp and woof thereof, in the form of notes, headings, subheadings and summaries. There is no doubt whatever that it is mainly to this cleverly executed work that dispensationalism owes its present vogue. For without that aid it doubtless would be clearly seen by all who give close attention to the doctrine, that it is a humanly contrived system that has been imposed upon the Bible, and not a scheme of doctrine derived from it.

A REVIVAL OF ANCIENT RABBINISM

Then as to what this modern system of teaching is, it will be a surprise to most of those who love the Lord Jesus Christ to learn that, in respect to the central and vitally important subject of theKingdom of God, twentieth century dispensationalism is practically identical with first century rabbinism. For the cardinal doctrine of the Jewish rabbis of Christ’s day was that, according to the predictions of the prophets of Israel, the purpose and result of the Messiah’s mission would be the re-constituting of the Jewish nation; the re-occupation by them of the land of Palestine; the setting up again of the earthly throne of David; and the exaltation of the people of Israel to the place of supremacy in the world.

Now, seeing that a doctrine is known by its fruits, let us recall what effect this doctrine concerning the Kingdom of God had upon the orthodox Jews who so earnestly believed it in that day. And in view of what it impelled those zealous men to do, let us ask ourselves if there is not grave reason to fear its effect upon the orthodox Christians who hold and zealously teach it in our day? The effect then was that, when Christ came to His own people, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand, but making it known that that Kingdom did not correspond at all to their idea of it; when He said, “My Kingdom is not of this world,” and taught that, so far from being Jewish, it was of such sort that a man must be born of the Spirit in order to enter it, then they rejected Him (“received Him not”) hated Him, betrayed Him and caused Him to be put to death.

Now let it be carefully noted in this connection, that the apostle Paul, referring to what had been done to Jesus by them “that dwelt at Jerusalem and their rulers,” said that the reason for their murderous act was “because they knew Him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day”, and furthermore, that “they have fulfilled them in condemning Him” (Acts 13:27). This plainly declares that it was because the Jewish teachers had misinterpreted the messages of the prophets, that they were looking for the restoration of their national greatness, instead of that which the prophets had really foretold, a spiritual Kingdom ruled by “Jesus Christ of the seed of David raised from the dead” (2 Tim. 2:18).

Have we not therefore, good reason to fear disastrous consequences from the fact that the teachers of the new dispensationalism say the Jewish rabbis were right in their interpretation of the prophecies, that the kingdom foretold by the prophets is an earthly kingdom of Jewish character, and that in fact Christ’s mission at that very time was to restore again the earthly Kingdom to Israel? And why then did He not do it? The answer the dispensationalists give to this crucial question is one of the strangest features of the whole system. They say, in effect, that Christ was ready to do it, and that He would have done it, but that when He “offered” them the very thing they were ardently expecting, they (most inconsistently, it would appear) “refused the offer,” whereupon it was “withdrawn” and the kingdom “postponed to a future dispensation.” And when we ask for the citation of a single Scripture that mentions the alleged “offer,” or its “refusal,” or the alleged “withdrawal” and “postponement,” not a reference is produced. And particularly, when we press the vital question, what, in case the offer had been accepted, would have become of the Cross of Calvary, and the atonement for the sin of the World, the best answer we get is that in that event, “atonement would have been made some other way.” Think of it! “Some other way” than by the Cross!

Now, in view of the above facts, I do most positively insist that, whatever the conclusion one may reach after an examination of the whole subject, there is to begin with, and because of the facts just stated, a very heavy “burden of proof” resting upon those who advocate this novel and radical system of teaching. And specially I insist that, as regards the doctrine of a future restoration of national Israel, with the accompaniment of supreme earthly greatness and dominion, there are two relevant facts that should receive our most serious attention: first, that that doctrine was the very cornerstone of the creed of apostate Judaism in its last stage, and the prime cause of their rejection and crucifixion of Christ; and second, that it made its first appearance among Christians near the end of the nineteenth century. These facts may not settle anything; but certainly they do impose a heavy “burden of proof” upon those who now teach that the apostate Jews were right in their interpretation of the prophets (whose “voices,” the apostle declares, “they knew not,” Ac. 13:27) and that christian teachers and expositors for nineteen centuries were all wrong.

SOME PRESSING QUESTIONS

Moreover, because of the springing up in our midst of this new system of doctrine, certain questions of the deepest interest to the people of God are pressing for an answer at this time. Among them are the following:

Was it any part of the work of Christ to revive and reconstitute the Jewish nation? to re-establish that people in the land that was once theirs? to revive their system of worship, etc.? Did He come to reinstate the bondwoman and her son in the family of Abraham? and to make the son of the bondwoman to be heir with the son of the free woman? Did He come to raise up again, and to make permanent, that “middle wall of partition” between Jew and Gentile, or to take it away entirely and forever? Did He come to restore the “shadows” of the old covenant, or to abolish them? These are questions of surpassing importance, and they press for settlement at the present time. We are deeply convinced that one of the most urgent matters for the Lord’s servants and people in these last days is to grasp the truth that there is absolutely no salvation of any sort whatever, no hope for any human being, except “through the blood of the everlasting covenant;” that there is nothing but the abiding wrath of God for those who do not stand upon the terms of that covenant; and especially that there is absolutely “no difference” in God’s sight, and in His future plans, between Jew and Gentile.

The Gospel of the Kingdom

To be continued….

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The plot to kill our Lord was evil and made by evil men

Good message from Mike Ratliff at Possessing the Treasure.

The persecution of Christians in these last days will most probably be at the hands of professing christians. This is nothing new. Just look at what happened to those who led the way into the Protestant Reformation. In any case, be encouraged my brethren. Stay focused on our Lord and doing His will in all things. Forget about following men. Seek our Lord’s will and do it. Never forget, God is Sovereign and no matter how difficult or hard our travail, He is there with us in the midst.

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I Don’t Regret a Mile

Heard this a few days ago. It was the first time I’d heard it in many years and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. I have many regrets folks….but all the years of miles I’ve walked with the Lord (35 now) is not one of them. Only wish I had come to Jesus earlier in my life and my journey had been a much longer one…

Music from Broken Chords

Down in the human heart, crush'd by the tempter, Feelings lie buried that grace can restore; Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness Chords that were broken will vibrate once more. From the Hymn "Rescue the Perishing" by Fanny J. Crosby

Lead Me

"Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully."

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A blog by Dr. Jonathan Welton

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Salvation, Miracles, Peace and Justice

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