The Illusion of Reality

There is much current thought concerning the nature of reality and the world we live in. These ideas are expressed in our movies, and written about in our books, and promoted by our gurus and teachers.
Though Rene Descartes’ grappling with the reality of his existence is the usual link to this type of thinking, there is a long history of the concept that reality is only an illusion, dating back to Plato and his man in the cave analogy.
It’s current terminology is simulation hypothesis.

 

 

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Rites of Passage

I am convinced that it is the lack of understanding these realities that gives rise to the hopelessness and despair that is so prevalent within our society today. Hosea scolded the Jewish leaders because God’s people were being destroyed due to a lack of knowledge, and this failure to know more than just “what’s happenin'” had devastating consequences. (Hos. 4:6)
Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Ticknor, criticizing the people of his day who made up the various state legislatures “… the members of which do not generally possess information enough to perceive the important truths, that knowledge is power, that knowledge is safety, and that knowledge is happiness.”

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The Bible–No Errors?

The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by about 40 authors, in three different languages, on three different continents, over approximately 1600 years.  The Bible claims to be inspired and men have also said it is without error (inerrant).  This means that the Bible claims to be from God and that it is without error in everything it addresses. 
When applied to sacred writings, inerrancy is the belief that the words are God’s true revelations to mankind. An inerrant text is considered infallible, truthful, reliable, totally free of error and absolutely authoritative. Inerrancy is not restricted to moral and religious truth. It is normally applied to all statements of fact in the Bible: “scientific, historical, or geographical.” 

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30, 60, 100

   Printed on banners and held aloft in the end-zone of football games, stamped on t-shirts and bumper stickers, the        ubiquity of “John 3:16” is at an all-time high.
It is the marquee verse for evangelical Christians, the apparent go-to text for persuasion to the Christian ethos.
The interpretation of the verse, however, is fraught with difficulty, depending on the school of soteriology to which one subscribes.

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Bittersweet Mix of Sadness, Joy, and Anger

My heart is heavy today.
While many of my readers have no real need to know or understand that, I hope that the lessons I am learning may somehow benefit those who read this all the way through.
I had the joy of visiting with my oldest child yesterday.

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Living Water or Stagnant Pool?

Howard Hendricks shares this insight about the value of learning: When I
was a college student — I worked in the college dining hall, and on my way
to work at 5:30 every morning I walked past the home of one of my
professors. Through a window I could see the light on at his desk, morning
after morning.

At night I stayed late at the library to take advantage of evening study
hours, and returning home at 10:30 or 11 o’clock I would again see his desk
light on. He was always pouring over his books.
One day he invited me home for lunch, and after the meal I said to him,
“Would you mind if I asked you a question?”
“Of course not.”
“What keeps you studying? You never seem to stop.”
His answer, “Son, I would rather have my students drink from a running
stream than a stagnant pool.”

See:  Psa 1:1-3; Psa 119:97

A teacher is not there just to acquaint you with the tools of your
trade; a teacher is a tool of your trade, no matter what that trade is. You
never stop needing teachers. The great musicians never stop taking lessons,
never stop trying to improve. The great concert pianist, Arthur Rubinstein,
used to say that if he missed a day of practice, he noticed it in the
quality of his performance. If he missed two days, the critics noticed. And
if he missed three days, the audience noticed.

See:  Psa 25:4-5; Psa 143:8; Psa 143:10; 2 Tim 2:2

And Jesus Christ has provided us with the greatest of Teachers, the Spirit
of Truth who will lead us into all truth, one step at a time if we will but
open our hearts to him.  How often we are distracted by the cares of the
world and turn a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit?  Let us learn the lesson from
Arthur Rubinstein and practice hearing the Holy Spirit every day so that
the world can truly see we have been with the Master Teacher and have
learned our lessons. John 16:13

Replacement Theology

“Replacement Theology” is a relatively new term for me. I first heard of  it while listening to Kenneth Copeland about a year ago. Then, a couple of months ago, I had opportunity to be reunited with friends from my bible college days.

They are strong on emphasizing our Jewish roots. (See their website at http://www.foundationministriesinternational.org/) While in conversation with them about what they were doing these days, I was asked whether I believed the Church had replaced Israel in God’s economy.

Without taking time to fully define what I believe, nor to define the finer nuances of the question, I replied in the affirmative. “That’s replacement theology.” I was summarily brushed aside with that remark as if I had committed some grievous social faux pas.

A couple of weeks ago, I was following a thread on Facebook where this same friend was espousing more of an “inclusion theology.” (As I understand it, Christians are “included” in the promises of God to Israel.) The post was getting high marks from fans. This has potential for moving in the right direction, but does little to ameliorate the problem of divisiveness I see arising.

So, as is my tendency when faced with something that may lead me astray, I have researched (though only online; and certainly not thoroughly) the supposed error of Replacement Theology.

One of the arguments is that replacement theology is blamed for most anti-Semitic behavior among Christians. It is said that Hitler held to a replacement theology. This is akin to the so-called “gateway” argument that most (male) rapists read Playboy–therefore reading Playboy leads to rape. Or, the “gateway” argument that most hard-core drug addicts began with marijuana. Simply because many anti-Semites espouse Replacement Theology is not proof that the theology is wrong.

These same people also espouse other doctrines including the necessity that one be born again. Should I then assume that being born again leads to anti-Semitism? Of course not!

The other arguments are against the Scriptures that are used to prove replacement theology. This is merely an argument arising from one’s basis for understanding the Word of God–Dispensationalist or Covenantal. This is not the place for me to discuss these two views of Scripture. However, for the sake of full disclosure, I am more Covenantal than I am Dispensationalist. These differing views have profoundly differing interpretations of the Bible and God’s plan for man.

So, now, I am bothered.

I am bothered, for here I see yet another attempt to take people away from the plain and pure Word of God, and move them toward that which ultimately denies the simplicity that is in Christ.

Some–most assuredly not all–of those who are against replacement theology are also moving toward becoming more Jewish–at least in their approach to worship. This does not bode well for the Church.

Paul dealt with this problem when he penned the letter to the Galatians. He dealt with this problem when he went to Jerusalem to check his gospel against that of the Jewish disciples who had personally walked with Jesus.

There is a powerful move among Messianic Jews that is bringing many to the Lord. I love that. I love their music. But, as is true for the negative “gateway” argument, it is also true that just because Jews are reaching Jews for Christ is not an indication that Christians should become Jews–or Jewish Christians.

The danger lies not in that some are espousing a return to Jewish laws, but in that there are certain things we can do that will make us more pleasing to the Lord. “We should remember that Jesus was a Jew!” I am often told.

God tells us plainly through Paul that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but only faith working through love (Gal. 5:6).

No one (to my knowledge) is teaching the necessity of being circumcised in order to be right with the Lord. That is simply the summation of Paul’s argument about the whole Jewish controversy in which the Galatian churches were embroiled.

The main point of Paul’s argument is that there is no necessity for the Gentiles to become like their Jewish brethren in any way.

And today there is no need to wear a talith (prayer shawl) when preaching, or to refer to Jesus as “Yeshua”, or to keep a Saturday Sabbath, or to use Jewish terms of greeting.

My reluctance to do any of the above in no way makes me a hater of the Jewish people, nor excludes me from the promises of God.

And my belief that “a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter” is taken straight from the Scripture (Rom.2:29).