Religion and Salvation

Religion and Salvation
Vol: 23 Issue: 22 Wednesday, June 22, 2016

At Babel, God deliberately confused the languages of men and dispersed them into different nations. The purpose, according to Genesis, was to prevent them from all coming under the authority of a single dictator, as happened under Nimrod.

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” (Genesis 11:6)

Denominationalism is the spiritual equivalent, ensuring that one powerful leader couldn’t take over Christianity and lead the true Church into error, as the Bible says the antichrist will during the Tribulation Period.

There is an effort by some world church denominations to reverse the process and bring all denominations together under the banner of ‘ecumenism’ but, because the separation is Divinely ordained, it has been unable to attract those denominations that most closely follow the Bible.

The World Council of Religious leaders is such an organization.  Formed at the Millennium World Peace Summit in 2002, The World Council adopted its own charter outlining how they can play an active role in global government:

“The World Council of Religious Leaders aims to serve as a model and guide for the creation of a community of world religions. It seeks to inspire women and men of all faiths in the pursuit of peace and mutual understanding. It will undertake initiatives that will assist the United Nations and its agencies by providing the spiritual resources of the world’s religious traditions in the prevention, resolution and healing of conflicts, and in addressing global social and environmental problems.”

Jesus Himself addressed denominationalism, writing to the seven Churches in the first three chapters of Revelation. Each of these churches is different, both in their doctrine and in the emphasis they place on it.

Thus, we have the Church of Ephesus ‘hating the deeds of the Nicolaitanes’ (a separate status for clergy and ‘laity’) whereas the Church of Pergamos is depicted as holding to “the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.” (Revelation 2:6,15

It isn’t the denominationalism that Jesus ‘hated’ but the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, who developed a complicated hierarchy of bishops, priests, and ‘laity’ to oversee a Grand Church, as opposed to the Biblical model of local church self-government. 

Theoretically, Christian denominations share the same basic statement of faith, that of the sin nature, the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith, the Power of the Shed Blood of Christ to cover sin, the free offer of salvation to all who trust Jesus’ sacrifice, and who share the belief that salvation is the product of a relationship with Christ, not a relationship with a church.

How can you tell if you are a member of a Christian denomination or a form of ‘Christian religion’? There are eight sure signs, any of which should make a Bible-believing Christian sit up and take notice. 

‘Religion’ can be defined as man’s way of making himself acceptable to God, whereas Christianity is God’s way of making man acceptable to Himself through a personal relationship. 

The first sign that a denomination has gone ‘religious’ is the denial of the true nature of God.

The Unitarians deny the Triune nature of the Godhead, for example. Many allegedly ‘Christian religions’ deny the Deity of Christ, commonly claiming that Christ as God was not an early Church teaching.  

A second warning sign is the emphasis on salvation by works.

Although many denominations include the idea that God’s grace is important in the role of salvation, the leader normally emphasizes the idea that salvation ultimately comes through one’s own efforts — as defined by ‘the church’.

This imparts power to the denomination, since it changes salvation from a gift to wages, and gives the religious hierarchy the authority to act as paymaster.

The third sign is that of exclusive truth.

Denominations tend to universally identify themselves as the ‘one true church’ to the exclusion of all others. They will agree that some other denominations have some truth, but teach that full truth has somehow been lost and can now only be found in their ‘one true church’.

Fourth, religions prefer an authoritative leadership.

In some denominations, that authority is carried to the extent that they claim to speak directly for God. This is the ultimate result of the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes that Jesus twice said He ‘hated’.

The authoritative leadership of the Pharisees and Sadducees came under withering condemnation by the Lord during His earthly ministry.

Religions and Christian ‘religious’ denominations both tend to follow the letter of the law — but as theyinterpret it, rather than observing the spirit in which it was intended.

We’ll explain the difference between the ‘letter of the law’ and the ‘spirit of the law’ using a secular example that is in all the headlines today.

The ‘spirit’ of the graduated income tax law was to ensure, (in theory, at least) that all citizens pay their fair share of the tax burden. This is the ostensible claim of the Occupy Wall Street movement — except they define “fair” by placing most of the tax burden on the 1% to pay for the benefits of the 99%.  

The spirit of the law is that it calls for shared sacrifice. The letter of the law exempts nearly half of American citizens from any federal tax burden at all. 

Fifth, religions also tend to impose their own form of taxation as a condition of salvation.

Some religions equate tithing with salvation or staying in a right relationship with God. The Bible imposes no such burden.

The Pharisee tithed, loudly and with great pomp and circumstance. The widow, on the other hand, gave two ‘mites’ — the smallest coin values of Jesus’ day. Jesus condemned the Pharisee,and commended the widow.

Giving is prompted by the Holy Spirit, Whose ministry the true Church belongs to in the first place. ‘Giving til it hurts’ is a man-made doctrine with an obvious goal that has nothing to do with the things of the Spirit.

A sixth warning sign of a denomination going ‘religious’ is the threat of loss of salvation.  Salvation is conditional on Church membership. If you aren’t a member of the proper denomination, you can’t be saved. 

One group with such a belief is the Boston Church of Christ, also known as the International Churches of Christ. The leaders of the ICC teach that there should only be one church in any particular city, which they say is the New Testament model.

If you leave to attend another, you leave your salvation behind at the door.

Seventh, religions also tend to heap to themselves extra-Biblical authority.

The ex-cathedra teachings of the Roman Catholic Popes are given equal weight with Scriptures, and in the case of conflict, are considered superior.

The same principle applies to Catholic Church dogma. Catholics are taught that when dogma and the Scriptures conflict, Church teachings and tradition are to be given superior weight.  

According to Catholic dogma, there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church and one’s salvation within the Church is dependent on observing Church law on sacraments, mass attendance, holy days of obligation, etc. 

Finally, the eighth sign of Christianity being perverted into a religion is the offer of unique truths never before revealed.

The idea that a hidden mystery or new truth is available only through a particular church should be taken as a strong sign that this group is a counterfeit Christian religion.

God has very clearly shown His truth through the pages of the Bible. A new doctrine, new truth, or special word from God suggests that God left something out of Scripture.

For example, that very doctrine — that God left something out — is the foundation of Mormon teaching. The LDS teaches that God forgot to mention Jesus’ coming to the New World to preach to the “Indians” (who were really the “Lost Tribes of Israel.”) 

But Scripture says of itself that it is complete, so by its nature, if it is some ‘new’ doctrine or truth, it is contradictory with the revealed Word of God.  And things that are different CANNOT be the same. 

Salvation is not the product of religion — indeed, religion is an obstacle to salvation. Salvation comes by trusting in the Shed Blood of Christ as full payment for all sins. 

Conversely, religion offers salvation in exchange for putting your trust into that particular religious system.

Salvation is part of an direct and individual relationship with Christ. Religion offers salvation as part of a corporate system of conditions and works. 

That is not to say that Christians shouldn’t attend church — I don’t want to send the wrong message. It is important to meet regularly with like-minded believers and we are told in Scripture not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. 

But church is NOT religion. It is an expression of corporate worship by individual believers. The person who thinks membership with a church makes one a Christian is as deluded as a person who thinks standing in a parking lot makes one a car. 

The Bible teaches that all men are sinners, and all men require salvation to enjoy fellowship with God. (Romans 3:23Romans 6:23)

There is only one way to be saved during the Church Age, and that is by accepting the free gift of pardon procured at the Cross and offered freely to all men through Jesus Christ. (John 3:365:2414:6)

That the gift of salvation is offered freely to all men is the expressed Will of God, as recorded in 2nd Peter 3:9.

It doesn’t matter how bad a sinner one is, Jesus offers salvation to even the worst sinners. Wrote the Apostle Paul,

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” (1st Timothy 1:15-16)

Paraphrased into modern vernacular, Paul’s statement boils down to, “If Jesus saved me, He’ll save anybody!” All anyone need do is ask. 

Finally, the Bible assures us that once we are right with God, no religion or system has any claim to our eternal salvation. 

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Religion offers bondage — Christianity offers freedom.  Even today, they aren’t that hard to tell apart. 

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 29, 2011

The Haters

The Haters
Vol: 23 Issue: 21 Tuesday, June 21, 2016

When I was a young man, the idea of Christian persecution seemed (to me)  more historical than actual — why would anybody want to persecute Christians?  That baffled me.

I knew about historical persecution in the days of the Roman Empire and I could kind of understand it, when I looked at it in historical context.  Christianity threatened to upset the balance of power within the Roman Empire.

It wasn’t because Christianity introduced a new god to the Roman pantheon. 

The Romans had tons of gods, most of whom they borrowed from the Greeks, who had plenty of gods to spare.  The Romans looked for common ground between their major gods and those of the Greeks, adapting Greek myths and iconography for Latin literature and Roman art.

So to the Romans, another god more or less didn’t make much difference either way.  As the Romans extended their dominance throughout the Mediterranean world, their policy in general was to absorb the deities and cults of other peoples rather than try to eradicate them.

By the height of the Empire, numerous international deities were cultivated at Rome and had been carried to even the most remote provinces, among them Cybele, Isis, Epona, and gods of solar monism such as Mithras and Sol Invictus, found as far north as Roman Britain.

Because Romans had never been obligated to cultivate one god or one cult only, religious tolerance was not an issue in the sense that it is for competing monotheistic systems.

Ancient Rome considered itself highly religious and credited their rise to power to their relationship with their gods and goddesses.  Roman religion was based primarily on knowledge, prayer, ritual and sacrifice, rather than on faith or doctrine.

But the Christian religion wasn’t like the rest of the religions of Rome.  The Christian religion had no defined rituals.  Prayer was modeled after the “Lord’s Prayer” which eschewed ritual formality in favor of a simple acknowledgement of dependence upon the One True God for all things.

And THAT is where all the problems arose.  The whole, “One True God” thing.  If there was only One True God, then that meant that all the rest of them were false gods.

Jesus claimed He was the only God, and that “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”

It logically follows then, that the Roman polytheist was doomed, according to Christian theology.  The population in those days found that sort of doctrine threatening, even hateful.  In fact, that was the charge under which they were persecuted — they called it a hate crime.

How could this be?  The fact is, the claims of Christianity make it the enemy of every single other religious belief structure on earth.

Why?  Because, according to Jesus, any worship that denies Him is worship of the devil.

Assessment:

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)

The United States Constitution’s First enumerated freedom under the Bill of Rights is freedom of religion.  That was another reason why as a young man, the idea of Christian persecution seemed so foreign to me. 

Christianity is not so named because in colonial America, it wasn’t necessary.  The default position was Christian –instituting protections for Christianity would be as unnecessary as setting forth the criteria for marriage as being between a male and female.

(Some things are just so obvious that they don’t need explaining.  Or so they thought 236 years ago.)

It wasn’t Christians whose worship needed protecting.  The Founders were more concerned with ensuring that all religions would be tolerated. 

And in so doing, they ensured that all religions in America would be tolerated.  All of them, except the one they never anticipated would ever need safeguarding.

Consequently, as we count down the last days to the return of Christ, the most dangerous label one could affix to a Christian would be that of “Christian fundamentalist.” 

First, let’s define a fundamentalist as one who stands firm on the fundamental doctrines of his faith.

By the turn of the 20th century, American theological conservatives had identified five basic Christian fundamentals which most of you will recognize from the OL’s basic statement of faith:

  1. The Divine Authorship, inspiration and authority of Scripture.
  2. The Virgin Birth of Christ.
  3. The Atoning Work of the Cross.
  4. The historical reality of Jesus Christ and His earthly ministry.
  5. The historical reality of Jesus’ bodily resurrection and ascension.

If one holds to those five basic Christian truths, then one is a Christian fundamentalist and therefore, a “intolerant hater” that the Department of Homeland Security considers a threat to national security.  But only Christian fundamentalism is viewed by the federal government as a threat. 

To the world, Christian fundamentalists are the ones who advocate the rebuilding of Israel’s Temple in Jerusalem, oppose the creation of a terrorist state beside Israel, oppose the division of Jerusalem, and the destruction of our shared enemy.

They accept the testimony of the Bible as legal title for Israel’s possession of the Land of Promise and support Israel’s right to exist as an issue of doctrine as well as politics.  The world hates them for that.

The world views Christian fundamentalism as being responsible for all manner of hate crimes, not the least of which is its exclusivity.  The entire ecumenical movement is stalled in its tracks by Christian fundamentalism. 

On the other hand, if one adheres to the Five Pillars of Islam, one is a Muslim fundamentalist and, in America, automatically deserving of such respect that even non-Muslims revere Mohammed as “a Prophet” even if offering such recognition violates their own Five Fundamentals of Faith.

For example, in 2012 Tim Tebow sparked a HUGE backlash during last year’s Super Bowl when he starred in a pro-family ad sponsored by Focus on the Family.  The ad was about Tebow himself, and how his mother decided not to abort him when she was pregnant.

The ad set off howls of protests and demands for boycotts against the network amid demands that the ad be cancelled on the grounds there was no place for such controversial ads on public television.

Later that same year, Lowe’s decided to pull its ads from a reality show on TLC about Muslim-Americans due to complaints from Christian groups that the show was promoting Islam as a faith.  Once again, there was a reaction.  But not against the network for producing the program.

Against Lowe’s . . . for pulling its support.

Calling the retail giant’s decision “un-American” and “naked … bigotry,” Senator Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, told the Associated Press he was even considering legislative action if Lowe’s didn’t apologize to Muslims and reinstate the ads. 

In post-Christian, Laodicean America, when compared to the “threat” posed by Christian fundamentalism, even a form of fundamentalism that mandates the murder of innocents in the thousands, pales by comparison.

I began with the statement that when I was a young man, I could not imagine the circumstances under which Christians living in the world’s most Christian country could ever find themselves persecuted for their faith.

Of course, I could also never have imagined that a faith that offers salvation as a free gift extended to all mankind would be considered hateful whereas a religion that demanded murder-suicide as a condition of salvation would be celebrated.  Especially by those whose murder would satisfy those conditions.

But that is where we find ourselves — not over the course of centuries, but over the course of less than two decades.  When Bill Clinton and Al Gore addressed the DNC in 1992, they both quoted what they claimed was the Bible. 

The DNC rocked the US political establishment when it voted to remove any mention of God or Jerusalem from their platform.  When the DNC sought to quell the backlash by holding a voice vote to put God back in, He lost three times before the Democrats did what they do best.

They stole the election for Him.  Nobody quoted the Bible.

America was born out of the principles of Christianity that made her the greatest nation the world had ever seen.   America kept to the basic fundamental doctrines of Christianity for most of her existence and prospered like no nation in the history of the world.

Until, like the Romans before them, they came to worship the  creation more than the Creator, precisely as the Bible predicted would happen in the last days. 

”For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)

Like the fable that says that Christian fundamentalism is dangerous and hateful, but Islamic fundamentalism is to be respected as a “religion of peace and love” in spite of the mountains of bodies that testify to the contrary. 

Ever notice that hardly anybody ever asks where America is in prophecy anymore?

The Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on November 24, 2012.

Featured Commentary: A Saint by any Other Name ~ Wendy Wippel

Blinded by the Light

Blinded by the Light
Vol: 23 Issue: 20 Monday, June 20, 2016

To the average Muslim or the average Jew, Christianity is a polytheistic religion.  Christians can explain that we worship only one God, but in three Persons, but that makes it about as clear as mud.  Jews worship YHWH, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

If there is one verse of Scripture that defines Judaism, it would be the “shema”.  

Shema Yisra’el YHWH Eloheinu YHWH Eḥad – “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Muslims find the doctrine of the Trinity to be even more confusing than do the Jews. The Old Testament makes reference to the Son of God on any number of occasions, whereas the Koran’s references are all negative.

“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.” (Psalms 2:12)

“The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was no more than God’s apostle . . .God is but one God. GOD FORBID THAT HE SHOULD HAVE A SON!” (The Koran: 4:171)

“Those who say: “The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son, preach a monstrous falsehood, at which the very heavens might crack . . .” (The Koran: 19:88)

”God forbid that He Himself should beget a son!” (The Koran 19:29)

Although the New Testament is all about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Redeemer of the World, King of King and Lord of Lords, there is but one verse in the New Testament that clearly outlines the doctrine of the Trinity — and it is suspect.

John Calvin wrote of the Trinity doctrine, “I would insist only on the direct words, unexplained, just as they lie in the text:

“There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: And these three are one.” (1 John 5:7 KJV)

“As they lie in the text. . . “ Calvin’s wording here raises another question:  Is the text itself genuine?

There are those that argue that 1st John 5:7 was added by some scribe or copyist later and that it was not among the earliest doctrines of the Church.

I’ve seen this debated many times over the years – the argument over the authenticity of the text baffles me.  If the text is not authentic, then what is it doing in the Bible?

If the answer is that it shouldn’t be in the Bible, then the next question should be, “who says and how do they know?”

The New International Version is translated from the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts. The NIV version waters down the Trinity proof text this way:

“For there are three that testify: 8 the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”

The verse in the NIV is footnoted. The footnote reads;

“Late manuscripts of the Vulgate testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth: the (not found in any Greek manuscript before the fourteenth century)”

That’s where one moves from the realm of doctrine into that of opinion. Nobody can say for certain if the text was a later insert.  If it was certain, then it wouldn’t be part of the Bible.  But there it is.

So for many scholars, it is a matter of opinion if it is supposed to be there.  

The word translated as “mystery” is musterion which means, “a Divine secret, not previously revealed.”

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is a mystery.  So let me throw this out for your consideration.  The Bible does not require you to believe a ‘mystery’ as a condition of salvation. 

The Bible requires that we believe the facts as they are, not necessarily the Divine mechanics behind those facts as they may be revealed later.

Genesis records that God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.”  That is a fact and I believe it.

There is no mystery in the existence of light.  Only in how it sprang from nothing.  But I don’t need to know that in order to believe that God created light.

“And the Word was made flesh.” I believe this as a fact – my belief is not based in my understanding of the details of how, but in my faith in the factualness of that statement.

I believe the Bible’s statement that God is both Three and One.  I believe that Jesus Christ is the Second Person in the Godhead, and I also believe that God is One. 

HOW this can be is a matter of faith and not one of understanding.  That’s why it is a mystery.

But it is absolute absurdity to reject the facts which God has revealed because we don’t fully understand the mechanics of how it all works.

The ‘mystery’ does not lie in the fact itself, but rather in how that fact comes to be a fact.   Paul wrote,

“Behold, I shew you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”  (1st Corinthians 15:51)

There are many Christians that don’t believe in the Rapture. They have a different opinion about what that verse means.  But their eternal destiny is not in jeopardy.

Nobody is saved by faith in the Rapture.  We are saved by our faith in the Promise of salvation by grace.

 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God . . . “ (Ephesians 2:8)

The mystery is not relevant to the facts.  As a Christian, you are not required to believe the mystery or even to understand it.  But you are required to believe the Scriptures.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2nd Timothy 3:16

The objection that the text describing the Trinity was inserted into Scripture later by a copyist means, by definition, that 2nd Timothy 3:16 is ALSO unreliable.  Doesn’t it? 

If 1st John 5:7 was a later insert, meaning that 2nd Timothy 3:16 must be unreliable, what does that say about Ephesians 2:8? 

How does one know which verses to trust? There is a Latin phrase that deals with these kinds of Bible objections.

Si erro, libenter erro; et me redargui valde recusem.”

It means, “If I err, I err willingly; and I vehemently refuse to be convinced of it.”

Assessment:

There is much that we know but can’t explain.  You are NOT your body.  You are a soul whohas a body. You don’t need to be a religious scholar – or even a Christian – to know that.  Consider a few examples:

  • Aircraft routinely carry the bodies of deceased persons as cargo. Airlines therefore report the number of ‘souls’ on board an aircraft to differentiate with the number of bodies. 
  • An injury to the body is felt by the soul.  An animal will flee from an injury and be done with it.  It takes an injured soul to plot revenge for an injury to the body. 
  • On the other side of the equation, when the soul feels shame, the body blushes.  When the soul feels anger or fear, it is the body that trembles. 

You know it as fact.  The Bible only confirms that it is true, it doesn’t explain how it works.  Neither can you.  Nor should you necessarily have to know how it all works in order for it to be true.

It will be true whether you understand it or not.  That doesn’t mean that nobody should study.  Everybody should.  But it is a command with a purpose:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:15)

These are marching orders for those called to serve — not everybody who gets saved is called to lead others to Christ.  Some are called to the work of evangelism, others are not.

But all need to be saved.  Salvation does not come by scholarship.  Salvation does not come by understanding the mysteries of God as revealed.  One doesn’t need to have ever cracked a Bible in order to be saved.

The Bible says that “faith cometh by hearing . . . the Word of God.”    (I believe it safe to say that Heaven is full of people that never learned to read on earth.) 

John tells us that these Three are One in unity and testimony and also in essence.  1st Timothy tells us that ALL Scripture is Divinely inspired and useful for doctrine.  

Jesus Christ said that every hair on your head is numbered and that not a sparrow falls from the sky without God’s knowledge and permission.  

It then follows that God is equally capable of preserving His Word as He wants each of us to have it, according to His purpose.  That’s another no-brainer that is often overlooked in the quest for scholarship.

The Bible says that God has revealed Himself as one God in Three distinct Persons; the Pater, the Logos and the Hagios Pneuma.  But the Divine mechanics — exactly how God can be one God in three Persons — is not revealed by Scripture.

Where is the wisdom in rejecting what is revealed, based on that part which has not been revealed?

The doctrine of the Trinity is not nearly as difficult as it is made out to be.  Try this for an illustration.  Take three candles into a dark room and put one in each corner.  Light them and go stand facing the other corner.

From that perspective, facing into the corner, you can only see one light.  But you know that there are three candles.  You can’t see the three candles, but you know that they are there.

Do you know how the light from each candle behind you was diffused in order to create the single light illuminating your corner?

Now for the next question.  This is the big one.  Do you NEED to know how in order to be able to use the light to see?  

What if you were already standing in the corner in the dark when somebody else comes in and lights the candles?  Would it change anything about the light if he said there were three different candles in different corners and all different colors?

Would you have to inspect the three candles before you could use the light to see with?  Or is it enough to simply know how many candlepower the light is?  Do you see it?  The Light illuminates the doctrine.

Trying to create a doctrine away from the Light gets the equation exactly backwards. Turn around from your imaginary corner and stare directly at one of the candles for a minute.

Now turn back around and see if you can still see as well into the darkness of your corner as you could — before you blinded yourself by staring too hard into the Light.

It is incumbent upon us to learn all we can from the Word of God because the more we learn, the more we understand how little we know.  That is where wisdom begins. 

In knowing that God is God.  And that we are not.  

The Scriptures tell us; “him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.”

It is easy for God to be a Trinity and still be One God because He is God. Everything is easy for God.

But it is impossible for us to fully understand it because we are not God.  God says it takes three Divine Candles to produce the Light that illuminates my dark corner.

Now that He’s defined that Light for me, I need only worry about using it to see what He is illuminating. 

There will be lots of time to learn about the Candles in detail when I get to Heaven.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 4, 2012.

Featured Commentary: As We See the Day Approaching ~ Pete Garcia

You ARE Worthy

You ARE Worthy
Vol: 23 Issue: 18 Saturday, June 18, 2016

“For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

There is a lot a information packed into this single verse. To begin with, it says ‘for by grace you are saved THROUGH FAITH’ – let’s stop there for a second.

‘Grace’ (Gk charis) means benefit, favor or gift. It is from the word ‘grace’ that we get the word ‘gratitude’ or the sense of being grateful.

Note that grace alone does NOT save. Grace is both the extension of the gift and the gratitude of its recipient. To be grateful, one must first receive. While grace is extended to all mankind, not all mankind accepts it.

Not all mankind is grateful. Grace is extended to all, but salvation comes by faith. A simple concept, but many miss the big picture.

Let’s look at the next section of the verse, ‘And that not of yourselves’. What is not of ourselves? Grace? If it refers to grace, then the Lord has wasted words unnecessarily. Of course we can’t extend grace to ourselves! It is not only impossible, such an extension of grace would be meaningless. We haven’t the authority to save ourselves.

Read the verse again. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Since we already KNOW that grace ‘is not of ourselves’ that only leaves one other element that can be the ‘gift of God’ and that is saving faith.

So the Scriptures say that even the faith that saves us is a gift from God, and not something we conjure up as a result of our own works, ‘lest anyone should boast.’ This verse is the great equalizer of Christians.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44)

We all come to the Cross the same way; recipients of God’s extension of grace, which we receive by a faith which is God-given. None of us has any reason to feel superior. If we are saved, it is because we were drawn of the Father to the Son.

“It is written in the Prophets, “And they shall all be taught of God.” Therefore everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me.” (John 6:45)

Allow that to sink in. “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20:16)

And again; “For many are called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

And again; “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

“Among whom are ye also the CALLED of Jesus Christ:” (Romans 1:6)

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the CALLED according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners encourages others to hope in His grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out.

It is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by His power. It was His purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of His will, and His Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our perseverance to holiness.

‘Holiness’ (Gk hagiasmos) means ‘purification’ which is a PROCESS, also accomplished by God through Jesus.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you will PERFORM it UNTIL the day of Jesus Christ:” (Phillipians 1:6)

There are no Christians more deserving than others. Because you have not yet achieved the state of holiness others have does not mean you are less favored. We all come to the Cross equally lost, and we all came away equally saved.

Salvation is an eternal state for which each of us were chosen before the world began.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” Paul writes to Timothy, (2 Timothy 1:9)

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that CANNOT LIE, PROMISED before the world began. . .” (Titus 1:2)

We are eternally secure, because we are eternally saved, which was accomplished in the Mind of God when each of us was called — BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN!

Assessment:

Let’s bring it together. Nobody can come to Christ unless they are drawn by the Father, who provides us with both the extension of the offer of salvation and the faith necessary to receive it, a calling that was sealed in heaven before the world began, according to His purpose and grace.

Our salvation is immediate and eternal, but our purification is a process, which, having been begun in us at the moment of salvation, will be perform in us BY CHRIST until the day we stand before Him. Lest anyone should boast.

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:23-24)

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

Legalism runs counter to the clear teaching of Scripture. This is a very difficult doctrine to both teach and understand. It sounds like a license to sin. It is not.

It is an understanding that our relationship to Christ is unique — that God knows our hearts, and has already judged us accordingly. So that sin cannot reign supreme in our mortal body and thereby render us useless to our calling.

The most effective weapon we have in our war with the enemy is the knowledge that he cannot take away our salvation. There is never a time when we are unworthy to tell others of Jesus Christ.

Paul tells us, “Finally, my brethren, be strong IN THE LORD, and in the power of HIS might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)

Paul says we put on the ‘armor of God’ in a specific order. The certainty of the truth of Scripture, the breastplace of righteousness (imputed by Christ) the knowledge of the Gospel and the shield of faith. Our heads are protected by the ‘helmet of salvation’ – the certainty of our eternal salvation. These are all DEFENSIVE weapons.

Having secured our defense, we then take up our only offensive weapon, the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

If the enemy can convince us of our own personal unrighteousness (of which each of us is acutely aware) or cause us to doubt the truth of Scripture or of our faith (which is a gift from God, lest anyone should boast) or cause us to doubt our own salvation, then we will not be able to effectively wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

God chose each of us, and His plan is to use us to seek out those similarly chosen and introduce them to their Savior. That is our assignment on this earth. THAT is our ‘calling.’ To spread the Gospel.

That isn’t Calvinism — Calvinism teaches that because the Church was predestinated, we are under no obligation to lead people to Christ — God has already chosen them so He’ll sort it out.

There is a joke about the Calvinist who fell down the stairs, and remarked, “Thank God that’s over.”

Instead, the Scriptures teach that God foreknew who would be saved, therefore it is predestined. But God also knew who He selected to carry the Word to that person. And the enemy will work overtime to thwart God’s will by convincing us we are not worthy to carry it.

As Christians, we have an awesome responsibility before God. We have been assigned to seek out the lost and offer them the Gospel. To accomplish our mission, we need to be fully equipped for the task.

That is what eternal security is all about. Not a license to sin, but rather a certain knowledge that our sin is forgiven.

Jesus said of His sheep (the Church) “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

“Give” (Gk didōmi) means ‘to bestow’. It is a present-tense verb. The Scripture does NOT say, “I WILL give them eternal life,” it says it has already been bestowed upon us.

Jesus said that no man can pluck His sheep from His Hand. I am a man. If I can sin my way out of His gift of eternal life, it is neither eternal, nor is it a gift. It then becomes wages, dependent upon my works.

But the Scriptures say; “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

And since I, a man, can, by my works, undo His Word, it means His Word is not true.

Our works are the ‘fruits’ of our labor for Christ. Our labor is to lead others to Christ.

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” (1 Corinthians 3:10)

Our foundation is our salvation, but our obligation is to build upon that foundation by leading others to the Cornerstone of Life. But our individual salvation is already an accomplished fact.

When we stand before the Bema Seat of Christ, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)

The mission of the Omega Letter is to provide each one of us with the information necessary to equip us for the work of one on one evangelism.

Henry Ford once said, “I’d rather have one percent of the work of a hundred men, than 100% of the work of one man.” Ford was the father of mass production. In the time it takes for one man to build a single car, a hundred men can build a thousand cars.

Don’t let the enemy render you powerless. You ARE worthy, not because you are you, but because of Him Who made you worthy according to His will and by His own Hand.

“Therefore said He unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on September 19, 2006.

JesusLand, Gun Control and the Coming Prince

JesusLand, Gun Control and the Coming Prince
Vol: 23 Issue: 17 Friday, June 17, 2016

”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (US Constitution, 2nd Amendment, ratified December 15th, 1791)

The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is apparently written in language so mysterious and sublime that it means something different to everybody who reads it.

Evidently, it also changes meaning as the clock ticks forward, since it continues to be interpreted and re-interpreted as if there were an ongoing contest for the most original interpretation of a sentence that, to the ignorant and uninitiated masses, seems to make perfect sense just the way it reads on the surface.

For about the first two hundred years of the Republic, the 2nd Amendment meant American citizens had a Constitutional right to keep and to bear arms.

And, for about the first two hundred years of the Republic, the 2nd Amendment functioned as it was intended.  It kept the government at bay.

Originally, the Constitution was approved without a Bill of Rights, then sent to the states for ratification.  The states felt the Constitution, as written, failed to give enough protection to individual rights that they wanted specifically protected by amendment.

Among the rights the states sought to enshrine as Constitutionally-protected were the rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to keep and bear arms.

The intent of the Bill of Rights was to protect individuals from government powers.  They were meant as a guarantee to the individual state governments as well as the American citizens that the Federal government would not try to take away the freedoms which many of them had so recently fought for.

Richard Henry Lee, the Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, noted at the time that,

“to preserve Liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”

James Madison said in the Federalist Papers that the 2nd Amendment preserves,

“the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Noah Webster observed that,

“before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”

Patrick Henry argued that the power to resist oppression rested entirely on the right to bear arms, saying,

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.”

It would seem, as I noted at the outset, that the 2nd Amendment was intended to mean pretty much what it says.  Indeed, our country was born when a group of colonists rose up in arms against British rule.

Guns empower the masses: they are the last line of defense for a citizenry confronted with an evil government.

The regimes of Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s U.S.S.R. recognized this principle and seized all weapons, precluding any effectual resistance to their tyranny.  One need only read the newspapers in New York and Los Angeles to realize that even the innocent have cause to fear the police.

Communities around the country are justifiably hesitant to relinquish their weapons and be at the mercy of local law enforcement.  Law enforcement, by definition, is powerless to act until AFTER a crime has been committed.  Police can’t protect individuals, they can only prosecute after the fact.

(Which, in the case of murder, is of little consolation to the victim)

In countries like Canada and England that have imposed what amounts to a ban on private ownership of weapons, citizens are most vulnerable in their own homes.

Home invasions (burglaries) became the crime of choice among criminals who became the embodiment of the slogan, ‘when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.’

A 1998 study by the US Department of Justice found that there were 40 percent more muggings in England, and burglary rates were almost 100 percent higher than in the United States.

And, counter-intuitively, rates of crimes using handguns is on the rise.  In 1999-2000, crimes using handguns were at a seven year high.

Apparently, criminals were easily able to access guns, but law enforcement officers and law-abiding citizens were not allowed.  (When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns, remember?)

In America, burglars aren’t sure if homeowners are armed or not, but the odds favor there being at least one gun in the house.  So they avoid burglarizing occupied homes.  Only thirteen percent of US burglaries are against occupied homes.

In Canada, the overall burglary rate is higher than the American one, and a Canadian burglary is four times more likely to take place when the victims are home.

In Toronto, forty-four percent of burglaries were against occupied homes, and twenty-one percent involved a confrontation with the victim.

Most Canadian residential burglaries occur at night, while American burglars are known to prefer daytime entry to reduce the risk of an armed confrontation.

A 1982 British survey found fifty-nine percent of attempted burglaries in the UK involved an occupied home, prompting the Wall Street Journal to report that;

“Compared with London, New York is downright safe in one category: burglary.  In London, where many homes have been burglarized half a dozen times, and where psychologists specialize in treating children traumatized by such thefts, the rate is nearly twice as high as in the Big Apple.  And burglars here increasingly prefer striking when occupants are home, since alarms and locks tend to be disengaged and intruders have little to fear from unarmed residents.” ( WSJ, Apr. 19, 1994, page A1)

The London Sunday Times, pointing to Britain’s soaring burglary rate, calls Britain “a nation of thieves.”

In the Netherlands, forty-eight percent of residential burglaries involved an occupied home.

In the Republic of Ireland, criminologists report that burglars have little reluctance about attacking an occupied residence.

In America, burglars are reluctant to invade an occupied home because they might get shot.  One out of every 31 burglars gets shot.  That is about the equal to the burglar’s odds of being sent to prison.

Assuming that the threat of prison is a deterrent to burglary, as in Canada or Britain, it seems reasonable to conclude that the equally large risk of being shot provides an equally large deterrent.

In other words, private individuals with firearms in their homes double the deterrent effect that would exist if government-imposed punishment were the only deterrent.

On the other hand, Switzerland has few restrictions on who can own or carry a firearm.

As a consequence, Switzerland has some of the lowest crime rates in the world, despite very high levels of gun ownership.  Also, despite being sandwiched between two aggressive powers during World War II, the country remained untouched, largely due to the heavy rates of private gun ownership.

Hitler and Mussolini knew that the heavily armed Swiss population would defend itself fiercely, (something they didn’t fear from the French, for example)

But these facts seem to be as lost to gun control advocates as is the clear meaning of the 2nd amendment.  To them, being at the mercy of invaders, either foreign or domestic, is a small price to pay to get guns off the streets.

Most gun control advocates point to the recent upsurge in gun violence by children as an example of why guns need to be controlled.

The fact is the upsurge in gun violence among corresponds with the various successes enjoyed by gun control advocates.  There were more guns in circulation in America in previous generations, but far fewer gun deaths.  (The first federal regulation of firearms in America wasn’t introduced until 1934.)

Previous generations of Americans grew up with guns.  They were familiar objects around the house, like a shovel or a wrench.  There was nothing mysterious about them.  Kids knew better than to play with them.

Assessment:

Gun control advocates argue that the 2nd Amendment gives the right to keep and bear arms to a well regulated MILITIA, and not to the ‘people’.  According to this interpretation, the 2nd Amendment gives the government the right to keep and bear arms via the National Guard.

The silliness of this argument is obvious to anybody but a liberal or an activist judge.  Why would the government give itself the right to bear arms by Constitutional amendment, since the Constitution already gives it the right to do so in order to ‘provide for the common defense’?

But that has been the prevailing legal opinion since the passage of the Brady Bill.  That the right to bear arms is granted to the government via a ‘well-regulated militia’ by the 2nd Amendment.

According to Title 10 of the United States Code:

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are—

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

In other words, the ‘militia’ and ‘the people’ mean the same thing.

Among the various documents and action plans uncovered among the terrorist camps in Afghanistan was a plan for suicide operatives to simply walk up to someone’s door and shoot whoever answers.

Another called for terrorist operatives to set up sniper posts in American cities simultaneously and starting picking off victims.

Both tactics have been used by Palestinian terrorists against Israeli settlements, but were seldom successful, since all Israeli settlers are armed to the teeth.

The terror threat facing the homeland prompted a reexamination of the gun control debate by the DoJ. IN 2004 they released a 103 page Memorandumm Opinion For the Attorney General” issued in August by Assistant Attorneys General Steven G. Bradbury, Howard C. Nielson, Jr. and C. Kevin Marshall.

They studied the history of anti-gun legislation and anti-gun court cases and reached the following conclusion:

“Our examination of the original meaning of the Amendment provides extensive reasons to conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, and no persuasive basis for either the collective-right or quasi-collective-right views.”

The memorandum was titled; “Whether the 2nd Amendment Secures an Individual Right” and conspicuously put the conclusion in the subtitle; “The Second Amendment secures a right of individuals generally, not a right of States or a right restricted to persons serving in militias.”

When I queried Google using the keywords ‘2nd Amendment’, there were only nine stories relating to the DoJ memo.  Of them, only one was in the national media. The Washington Times carried the story under the headline, “Gun group urges 2nd Amendment observance”. (since removed)

Other than that, the media seems to have spiked the story.  To the liberal left, gun control is more than an issue, it is a matter of doctrine.

Gun control is a front for the advancement of the socialist agenda.  Giving in to the idea that guns are dangerous concedes to the notion that it is better to let some lowlife steal your property, rape your wife, and beat you half to death than it is to expedite his passage into the next world.

(Your property was all gained at his expense anyway, so in a moral sense, he’s entitled to it as much as you are.)

That is the core of the socialist doctrine.  And it is the dominant worldview of most of the industrialized world.

But that worldview is changing, it would seem, in the newly discovered country of ‘JesusLand’.  The world is marching in one direction, but Red State America is beginning to turn itself around and march the other way, dragging the Blue States along, kicking and screaming all the way.

As a consequence, Red State America is now the only obstacle in the path of the globalist social engineers who are unwittingly, but eagerly, preparing the way for the antichrist.

Paul says that the ‘mystery of iniquity’ is already at work, but that the Restrainer will continue to restrain, ‘until He be taken out of the way’ at the Rapture.

Without the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit working through the indwelt Church, the Blue State Americans left behind after the Rapture will be only too happy to turn back around, throw away their guns, and defenselessly march in lockstep with their socialist cousins — straight into the waiting arms of the Beast.

“And THEN shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His Mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:8)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on December 21, 2004. (Updated for 2016 readership)

Featured Commentary: Church in the Tribulation ~ Alf Cengia

Islam’s Split Personality

Islam’s Split Personality
Vol: 23 Issue: 16 Thursday, June 16, 2016

Since September 11, there has been a concerted effort to present a new and improved Islam to the world. The moderate Muslim activists in the West avoid referring to teachings that may offend the Western citizen, such as the Islamic code of punishment.

They stress that they believe in Moses and Jesus. They refrain from calling Jews and Christians “infidels”, “Zionists” or “Crusaders”.

They use the term “Sunday School” in place of “Friday Class”, and they end their speeches with the Christian expression “may God bless you”.

Islam has two streams of theological thought; those based on Mohammed’s sayings in Mecca and those penned from Medina. Both eventually were brought together in the Koran, but reflect two entirely different worldviews.

The Meccan view is the ‘universalist’ view that holds that Islam, Christianity and Judaism all worship the same Deity and that we are all “People of the Book.”

The Medina view is the warlike, conquering Islam that is reflected in the Koran by verses such as, “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” [Sura 5.51]

Historians agree that there is a big difference between Mohammed’s religious teachings from Mecca and his teachings after his migration to Medina.

In Mecca Mohammed was weak, struggling to be accepted, often mocked at and ridiculed. He tried to appeal to the people of Mecca by being compassionate and loving. His teachings condemned violence, injustice, neglect of the poor.

However, after he moved to Medina and his followers grew in strength and number, he became a relentless warrior, intent on spreading his religion by the sword.

This change in Mohammed’s personality becomes apparent by comparing the Meccan and the Medinan suras. The following are some additional examples:

In Sura 73:10 God tells Mohammed to be patient with his opponents “Be patient with what they say, and part from them courteously.”

In Sura 2:191 God orders him to kill his opponents “Kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from wherever they drove you out…”

In Sura 2:256 Allah tells Mohammed not to impose Islam by force “There is no compulsion in religion.”

In verse 193 God tells him to kill whoever rejects Islam “Fight (kill) them until there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s.”

In Sura 29:46 Allah tells Mohammed to speak nicely to people of the Book (Christians and Jews) “Argue with people of the Book, other then evil doers, only by means of what are better! and say, we believe in what has been sent down to us and sent down to you. Our God is the same as your God, and we are surrendered to him.”

Then in Sura 9:29 Allah tells him to fight the people of the Book, “Fight those who do not believe in God and the last day…and fight People of the Book, who do not accept the religion of truth (Islam) until they pay tribute by hand, being inferior.”

To justify this sudden change in the Koran’s mood from peaceful to militant, conciliatory to confrontational, Mohammed claimed that it was Allah who told him so.

History demonstrates that what actually happened was that Mohammed grew strong in Medina — strong enough to move from being conciliatory in his religious approach to jihad.

Those who claim to be moderate followers of Islam are those who follow the Meccan Mohammed. The militants follow the Mohammed of Medina. 

Islam teaches love, temperance and moderation. It’s easy enough to prove. Just read the Koran. However, since few ever will, the American face of moderate Islam will read it to you, as is evidently the case with the Bush administration.

But the same Koran teaches jihad, death and destruction out of the same pages, and while the American face of moderate Islam will never read those to you, the militant Islamist reads them every single day.

Verses like the following:

Men are superior to women (Sura 2:228).

Women have half the rights of men: in court witness (Sura 2:282) and in inheritance (Sura 4:11).

A man may punish his wife by beating her (Sura 4:34).

A man may marry up to four wives at the same time (Sura 4:3).

A wife is a sex object for her husband (Sura 2:223).

Muslims must fight until their opponents submit to Islam (Sura 9:29).

A Muslim must not take a Jew or a a Christian for a friend (Sura 5:51).

A Muslim apostate must be killed (Sura 9:12).

Stealing is punished by the amputation of the hands (Sura 5:38).

Adultery is punished by public flogging (Sura 24:2).

Resisting Islam is punished by death, crucifixion or the cutting off of the hands and feet (Sura 5:33).

Fate decides everyone’s eternal destination (Sura 17:13).

Every Muslim will pass through Hell (Sura 19:71).

Heaven in Islam is the place where a Muslim will be reclining, eating meats and delicious fruits, drinking exquisite wines, and engaging in sex with virgins (Sura 55:54- 56) & (Sura 52:17,19).

You might notice I didn’t include a lot of the ‘moderate’ verses ‘proving’ the Koran presents Islam as a religion of peace and love.

That isn’t because they aren’t there. But they are rendered meaningless by the verses that teach the opposite.

Islamic apologists point to the warlike nature of the Old Testament and the seeming contradiction presented by the Prince of Peace in the New Testament.

But the Koran isn’t two separate religions based on two separate Dispensations of God, clearly divided by 400 years of silence followed by the fulfillment of the Old Testament in the life of Jesus Christ.

One has to be an Islamic scholar to separate the Meccan verses from the Medinan verses to know whether Allah wants them to be friends with Christians and Jews or to crucify them.

It is that split personality within Islam that separates the moderates from the militants. We are told that the moderates are in the majority, but all the evidence seems to indicate the exact opposite.

In any case, there are approaching two billion Muslims in the world — that is two thousand million, to put it more descriptively. If even ten percent of Islam follows the Mohammed of Medina, that’s 100 million militant Muslims.

That’s a lot, no matter how you interpret it.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 18, 2006.

Featured Commentary: God Keep Our Land, Glorious and Free ~ J.L. Robb

The Question Nobody is Asking

The Question Nobody is Asking
Vol: 23 Issue: 15 Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Bible has, over the past two thousand years, been subjected to every form of criticism; textual criticism, archeological or historical criticism, criticism of its form, authorship, and content, but has survived every effort to find even a single, documentable, provable mistake in its pages.

The Bible is the #1 best-seller in history.  It has been translated into 2,123 languages and dialects.  Nine out of every ten Americans own a Bible.

There are plenty of folks who claim they’ve found mistakes in the Bible, but the simple fact is this.  If somebody actually found a verifiable, provable error contained in Scripture, they have yet to demonstrate it.

While there are clever and articulate Bible-haters who have dedicated their entire lives to disputing Scripture, not one of them has made it into the history books as the one who disproved the foundational text of Judeo-Christianity.

Instead, they generally find themselves on the list of folks who take the more difficult parts of Scripture that they don’t understand and call them ‘errors’.

And despite the Bible’s record for being 100% accurate in every area in which its accuracy can be measured, there is no shortage of folks willing to step up to the plate, put their reputations on the line, and announce that they, of all the skeptics that have lived in the past two thousand years, have discovered ‘evidence’ the Bible contains mistakes.

Entire organizations and groups have been created for the express purpose of disproving the accuracy of Scripture, from avowed atheists to ‘professing Christians’ like the self-appointed members of the ‘Jesus Seminar’ who vote on which quotes attributed to Jesus were actually spoken by Him.

As an example, the Jesus Seminar’s theologians once considered Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s Prayer and concluded that the only words of that prayer actually spoken by Jesus were ‘Our Father’.  (They say the rest was added later.)

Christians are used to seeing the world twist and pervert the Bible, deny its Authorship, question its teachings and condemn it as ‘hate literature.’  There are entire collegiate-level curriculums exclusively devoted to Biblical criticism.

Even the phrase, ‘Biblical criticism’ refers to anyone who takes a position, pro or con, on the accuracy of Scripture.  Although almost 90% of Americans identify themselves as ‘Christian,’ Bible critics are among America’s most respected thinkers.

Critics of the Koran are among America’s loneliest.

Assessment:

Ever notice that other religious books, like the Hindu Upanishads, the writings of Buddha or Zoroaster, and, most particularly, the Koran, are never subjected to a scholarly analysis of their historical or textual accuracy?

Well, maybe ‘never’ is a strong word, but I can’t think of any famous Koran critics.

The Angel Gabriel is said to have told Mohammed: “This book is not to be questioned.” That is an article of faith among Muslims — subjecting the Koran to the same kind of textual criticism given the Bible would be suicide for a Muslim.

Questioning the Koran isn’t a popular enterprise among non-Muslims, either. It’s a great way to wake up one morning to discover you are dead.

The Arab scholar, Suliman Bashear, argued that Islam developed over time as a religion rather than emerging suddenly.  His students in the University of Nablus threw him out the window as a result.

Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” resulted in a fatwa because it was thought to mock Mohammed.  Islamic scholar Naguib Mahfouz was stabbed because his works were said to be ‘irreligious.’

One scholar of Semitic languages, writing under the pseudo-name Christopher Luxenberg, published a criticism of the Koran in which he claims the text is both mistranslated and misread.

His work involving the analysis of the earliest copies of the Koran led him to the conclusion that parts of the Koran came from preexisting Aramaic texts.  These, he says, were misinterpreted by later Islamic scholars who composed the Koran as it is circulated today.

The classic example of this relates to the virgins supposedly awaiting loyal Muslim martyrs. Rather than ‘virgins,’ Luxenberg observes that in the original text, the Koran actually promises “white raisins” of crystal clarity.

This, one would think, would be a verse carefully scrutinized by Islamists.  Especially those Islamofascists planning to blow themselves up.  Who would want to commit suicide in exchange for a box of transparent raisins?

Those Semitic scholars who dare to voice an opinion are unanimous in their contention that there is no historical evidence of the existence of the Koran prior to 691 AD, about sixty years after Mohammed’s death. Much of what is known of Mohammed is based on texts that were written 300 years after his death.

John Wansbrough of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London says the text of the Koran now used appears to have been a composite of different texts complied over perhaps hundreds of years.  It appears to academicians to have continued to evolve until the end of the seventh century.

There are three schools of thought about who actually wrote the Koran and how it was assembled.  The first school of thought maintains Mohammed wrote the Koran.  The second says the Koran was simply assembled from notes left behind after the prophet’s death.

(It is a matter of accepted historical fact that Mohammed was illiterate. Illiterate men don’t leave behind notes so copious that, assembled together, they could form a six hundred page book.)

The third school of thought maintains that Mohammed dictated the Koran to a trusted [unknown] aide who faithfully transcribed the words of the prophet.

The Koran itself is more accurately an Arab commentary on the Bible, of which the Koran claims to be the final testament.

However, the Koran contradicts both the Old and New Testaments in both spirit and substance.  So Islam claims that the original Bible was changed by the Jews.

A complete copy of the Book of Isaiah was unearthed in 1948 at Qumran as part of the larger collection known as the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’.  Although the exact age of the document is unknown, what is unquestionable is the fact it lay hidden (and untampered with) since at least AD 70 — five hundred years before Mohammed.

The Isaiah Scroll is now on display at the ‘Dome of the Tablets’ in Israel.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  Scholars universally agree that the 2000 year old scroll is identical to the Book of Isaiah in a modern Bible.

Christianity welcomes, even invites textual criticism of the Scriptures.  Each effort merely serves to confirm the Bible’s Divine Authorship.  And, logically speaking, who would want to trust their eternity to a God Who might not be real?  (If the Bible wasn’t true, I know that I’d want to know about it).

But examining the Koran for accuracy and textual consistency is not just unpopular, it is dangerous to the point of being deadly.

If it is true, then what is there to fear?

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on June 12, 2012.