Thinking, Free of Thought

Thinking, Free of Thought
Vol: 23 Issue: 31 Wednesday, May 31, 2017

To an unbelieving skeptic, religious faith is a little like a child’s faith in Santa Claus.  This gives rise to the skeptic’s argument that faith stands in opposition to reason and therefore mutually exclusive.

In other words, the “faithful” are those that check their brains at the door before entering church.

Those same skeptics are supremely confident that they are right and you are wrong, which brings us to the dictionary definition of “faith” which is “confidence or trust in a person or entity.”   So the skeptic has faith, as well.

Where they differ is in where they put it.  The skeptic puts is faith in his own ability to reason, which is in and of itself a bit odd, since they cannot explain exactly how or why the ability to reason came into existence.

Over at the Skeptic’s dictionary they define faith as “the non-rational belief in some proposition, explaining that, a non-rational belief is one that is contrary to the sum of the evidence for that belief.”

The piece goes on to argue that theologians are playing dirty when they argue that faith means believing in something, but at the end of the day, the skeptic’s argument goes around in circles, arguing by faith in his ability to reason that religious faith is non-rational.

In researching today’s column, I ran across a story headline that summarizes the skeptic’s position; “Choosing Reason Over Faith“.  The story was all about how a person that claimed to be pro-life was forced to resign from the pro-life movement because other members of the movement were people of faith.

“After everything that I had done for the pro-life movement, I decided to resign my leadership role at WAFL, effective at semester’s end. Why had I, a successful anti-abortion crusader, decided that the pro-life activist’s path was not one that I wanted to take? The answer is that I could no longer associate myself with a movement that willingly chose faith over reason.”

Is that the choice?  It is not possible to have reason and have faith?   In any case, after the author’s sense of reason made it intolerable for her to continue to work to advance her alleged principles, those principles began to fade. 

“In addition to promoting scientific reason, in my travels as an atheist activist, I have rethought my positions on “life issues”. While I still believe that abortion is unethical, I have less of a desire to outlaw all such procedures.”

So her sense of reason was able to cool her passion to save babies from a position of red-hot activism to “rethinking” her positions on “life issues.”  Maybe there are times when a baby has no right to live, she argues.

“In my time at Wellesley Alliance For Life, I realized that a woman doesn’t just have an abortion as another form of birth control; rather, there are legitimate reasons for terminating a pregnancy. For example, a Secular Student Alliance member confided in me that she had an abortion after being raped. Although I would have preferred that she had given her baby up for adoption, it was simply unfair for the State to force her to carry the pregnancy to term.

That is where her argument from reason took her.  To the place where she could argue that there are legitimate reasons for taking the baby’s life.  The subtitle of her piece?  “From a Pro-Life Activist to a Freethought Leader.”

I’ve always been a bit confused by the skeptic’s choice of self-description as that of “free thought.”  Free of what?  Logic?  Where is the logic in arguing that a babe in the womb should legitimately forfeit his life because of some circumstances of his birth but not others?

reasoned question to ask at this point would seem to be, “Is it a baby in the womb or is it a blob of unfeeling, unthinking protoplasm?”  Logically, if one is pro-life, the issue is one of life, not circumstances. Circumstances change, but life, once taken, cannot be restored.

Instead, this free-thinker makes the incredibly chilling argument that it is indeed a baby, but that sometimes, it is ok to kill it.

“Although I have abandoned some of my former opinions on “life issues”, I still believe that abortion is wrong, unless the woman is raped, is a victim of incest, or if the mother’s life is in jeopardy.”

She still believes abortion is wrong . . . because. .  . ?  Because . . . ?????  Ummm, why is it wrong?  It is wrong because, ummm,  because. . . well, because. . .  is it because it means killing an innocent human being? 

Logically, if the issue is an aversion to killing babies on the basis they are innocent, then the rape and incest exception is meaningless.

Our freethinker’s thoughts are clearly free of any encumbering, er . .  thought.  And she makes it as part of an argument favoring reason over faith.

Assessment:

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psalms 14:1)

Our freethinker’s argument stands as sufficient testimony to the truth of the Psalmist’s words.  So do all of the skeptic’s arguments, when broken down into their component parts.

To begin with, none of them are in support of their own position, to wit; there is no God.  It then follows that “nothing is responsible for creation.”  It is an odd argument to make, since it is even less possible to argue the existence of nothing than it is to argue the existence of God.

It is at least theoretically POSSIBLE that God can exist.  Nothing is the absence of everything, and therefore CANNOT exist.  So, the skeptic’s argument MUST come in the form of an attack on Something, to wit:  a Creator God.

But even then, they cannot launch a direct attack on the existence of a Creator God since they have ‘nothing’ to use to prove their position, so instead, the attack is centered on what you believe about God vs. what they believe about God.

Because make no mistake, they also believe in God in some sense, or logically, there would be nothing upon which to base the discussion.  They just don’t want to believe and are seeking justification for that disbelief.

(That’s where our free-thinker ended up when she started splitting hairs about the wrongness of abortion. Notice how abortion got “righter” after she began distancing herself from the concept of God?)

Have you ever been in a debate about God in which you didn’t find yourself trying to prove that God exists?  The skeptic’s argument doesn’t offer alternative answers — it only raises questions in the hope you can’t answer them either.

The atheist needs to sucker you into the positive position of proving God exists, because he cannot prove the negative proposition.

Why is that?  It is the atheist whose proposition demands positive evidence, since his proposition demands a belief in the existence of nothing.  Not an absence of knowledge, but a positive declaration of certainty in the existence of nothing.

There are libraries full of books attempting to prove the existence of God or to argue against the existence of God.  There aren’t very many books that attempt to prove the existence of nothing.

The very concept of nothing is something and therefore is instantly disqualified from existence.

Free thinkers believe in nothing.  They reach that conclusion by putting all their faith in their own ability to apply reason.  The fact that such a conclusion is impossible, based on logic, science and reason, is no obstacle.

If you can believe in nothing, then you can fall for anything.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on June 15, 2012

Featured Commentary: Prophecy by Parallel ~Wendy Wippel

God’s Word On It . . .

God’s Word On It . . .
Vol: 23 Issue: 30 Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I am always amused at the skeptics’ claim that there is no proof that God exists.  What they really mean is there is no proof they are willing to accept, not that is there no proof.

The Bible is more than simply proof of God’s existence — it is the written contract between God and man that bears His signature.  Bible prophecy is that signature.

Science can now duplicate or explain many of the miracles of Scripture. No doubt that if the Lord tarries, we will learn to duplicate many more.  But there is one miracle of Scripture that no conceivable scientific breakthrough could ever duplicate.

Because the future belongs to God, only God can know what it will be before it happens.  No other deity or sacred writing has that distinction  — and that, I believe, is by Divine design.

God challenges the pretenders, saying;

“Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.” (Isaiah 41:23)

Consider the difficulties in describing, 2500 years in advance, the geopolitical alliances of the 21st century. It was only 70 years ago that the world was at war. The alliances described by Ezekiel didn’t even exist until this generation.

It was from the ashes of the Holocaust that the nation of Israel was reborn, setting events in motion for the Final Confrontation to come.   Seventy years . . . seven hundred years. . . seventeen hundred years. . . double that — it makes no difference.

Every single event in every single generation from the day God revealed the future HAD to be exactly in order.  What if Hitler’s maternal great-great-grandmother had died at birth? Would the Holocaust have occurred?

Would Israel now exist on that narrow strip along the Meditterranean?

Or would the Jews of Europe still be content in their homes and businesses, as they had been before Hitler’s madness?  Without that single life what would the world look like today?

The Scriptures say that the ‘hairs on your head are numbered’ — multiply that times every single person who ever lived. Every single one of them had free will choices and the choices made by our ancestors, no matter how far back we go, shaped the world we live in today.

Imagine picking out the winning team in the 2234 World Series? Who knows if we’ll even still play baseball?

But the Hebrew prophets named alliances between nations that didn’t exist in their world, and in some cases, didn’t exist until this generation.

Let’s examine just ten of the prophecies of ancient times that are in the process of fulfillment in this generation.

1. ‘Take heed that no man deceive you’ “And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:3-4)

It’s often been said that the ‘devil’s greatest trick is convincing people that he doesn’t exist’. Deception has been raised in this generation to an art form. We expect to be deceived by our politicians, our entertainment, advertisers and the media.

Right now, the President of the United States is in Copenhagen stumping for a global ‘cap and trade’ system which,  when you get right down to it, is nothing less than a tax on air!

Deception?  Not us.  This is the 21st century! We’re too smart to be easily deceived.

2. An increase in the frequency and intensity of wars. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. ” (24:6)

World War I and World War II were cataclysmic events that shaped the 20th century, but they were domestic disputes in comparison with what World War Three with the Soviet Union would have looked like. For fifty years, the two sides were locked in ideological combat in what history calls the Cold War.

Every morning for fifty years, each side woke up wondering if the Cold War would turn hot — the ultimate rumor of war — that ended only a decade ago. But, as Jesus noted, see that ye not be troubled, for the end is not yet. And it wasn’t.

3. The great “Falling Away“. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

The Alabama Courthouse tragedy in which the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court lost his job for refusing to uproot a monument to the 10 Commandments from the courthouse is just the most recent example. I needn’t waste column inches on other examples. You know them as well as I.

4. Daniel Unsealed  “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4).

Until the beginning of the 20th century, very few commentaries existed on either Daniel or the Revelation. Both were considered to be filled with metaphors and symbolism. Even Calvin and Luther passed up the challenge. The words were ‘sealed UNTIL THE TIME OF THE END’.

For this generation, the mysteries of Daniel and Revelation are largely unlocked.

Columbus sailed to the New World 1500 years after the Apostle Paul made his Meditterranean journey. Both sailed on wooden ships equipped with sails, as did ships until the end of the 19th century.

One hundred years later, the same trip takes a few hours by air. It took 1900 years of technology to bring us from from Paul’s sailing ship to the ocean liner.

But it took only sixty-six years for technology to make the leap from the Wright brother’s first flight at Kitty Hawk to Neil Armstrong’s stroll on the surface of the moon.

Moore’s Law says that computer capacity doubles every 18 months. Knowledge is increasing at an exponential rate. There is technology being developed to make computers out of strands of DNA.

5. The Death of Love  “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12) — Anybody else notice how many parents are murdering their children lately? Each of you can make  a case for the increasing tolerance of sin and the collapsing moral structure of society as eloquently as I can.

6. The emergence of the antichrist. Daniel says that the antichrist’s seminal act of power will be to make peace between Israel and her neighbors. Until this generation, there was no Israel to be at war.  The world is crying for a leader who can solve global problems like climate change,  nuclear proliferation, the Middle East, terrorism and outlaw nations.

7. Earthquakes, Famines, Wars and Pestilences — Matthew 24:7 speaks to all of these as being like labor pains — growing in intensity and frequency as the time approaches. Earthquake activity is demonstrably on the increase, while ethnic wars rage across Africa and entire populations face starvation at a time when rich countries are throwing leftovers in the garbage.

The entire sub-Saharan continent of Africa is facing extinction by the pestilence of AIDS — while the technology exists to arrest it.  We can make computers out of DNA strands, but the earthquakes, famines, wars and pestilences just keep getting more intense.

8. The Days of Noah and Lot (Matthew 24:37Luke 17:28-30)

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5)

That wickedness is the hallmark of this age can be proved by picking up a newspaper.  What could be more wicked than deliberately blowing up a bus filled with children to make a political statement?

Television could be described as ‘imagination in a box’. We are entertained by vicariously participating in the story line. What entertains us the most? Based on the most popular TV series, NCIS, the CSI franchises, etc, the answer is undoubtedly murder, mayhem, war, destruction, occultic fantasy and sex.

Lot lived in Sodom, a place where homosexuality was rampant and widely accepted as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.  Today, there is actually a debate about the legitimacy of same-sex ‘marriage’ so profound it provoked the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act.

9. World-wide instantaneous communication  “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached  in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14)

The Omega Letter membership spans the planet. We have subscribers in almost every developed country in the world.  I was looking at our website stats yesterday that ranks countries based on how many hits we receive from each.  The number one country for our visitors is the United States.  Number two is China.

There are literally thousands of Christian websites with the same global reach. Soon, there will be no corner of the earth that the Gospel has not penetrated. Jesus said that once that happens, THEN shall the end come.

10. Religious deception “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:24)

I could make a list of such deceivers. But so could you.

Bible prophecy is the Signature of God, the proof of His existence and the assurance we have of our salvation.

“So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

The King is coming!  We have God’s Word on it.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on December 18, 2009

In Memorial

In Memorial
Vol: 23 Issue: 29 Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day is a celebration of freedom and those that defend it.  We celebrate with heavy overdoses of all things American, fireworks, hot dogs, BBQs, picnics, baseball games and so on.

The fireworks are to remind us that freedom doesn’t come without a fight and the overindulgence in Americana is to honor those that missed the party because they had to pay for it.

Memorial Day isn’t a just the official kick-off of the summer season or an excuse for a long weekend.  It is a day set aside by an Act of Congress in 1971 to honor the veterans of American wars.

Before that, it was called ‘Decoration Day’ since it was first proclaimed by the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.

In 1868, General John Logan ordered that the graves of the Civil War dead interred at Arlington national cemetery be decorated with flowers to commemorate their sacrifice.

His order included both Union and Confederate war dead.  No matter which side they fought on, they were all American.

In recent years, the purposes of Memorial Day have taken second place to the party aspect — it is more a celebration of summer and less a celebration of freedom and hardly at all about honoring our war dead.

Many of the graves of the fallen are ignored.   In those places in America where flying Old Glory isn’t either illegal or forbidden,  proper flag etiquette protocols call for flying the flag at half-mast until noon to symbolize a nation in mourning.

In one of the last acts and few shining moments of his presidency, Bill Clinton issued Official White House Memorandum asking all Americans to pause for one minute at 3 PM on Memorial Day to reflect on the price paid by our fellow citizens for our continued freedom.

In part, the Memorandum states:

“Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.”

Evidently, one day of national reverence is too much for the current White House. On Memorial Day, Vice President Joe Biden will lay the wreath at Arlington National Cemetery on the President’s behalf.

The president has a scheduling confict — he’s on vacation in Chicago. (2010)

Assessment:

The dictionary defines ‘honor’ as: “the reputation, self-perception or moral identity of an individual or of a group.”

This weekend is not just the beginning of summer. It is set aside to honor those who make the supreme sacrifice on your behalf. It is a time set aside to pray for those who protect us from harm. It is a time for us to love those who loved us with a love beyond human comprehension.

This weekend, as in past Memorial Day weekends, the networks will be re-running all those great old WWII propaganda movies.

The ones where the Nazis and Imperial Japanese were evil personified and the American GI is depicted as a salt-of-the-earth guy forced to put down his plowshare to reluctantly pick up a gun and defend his country.

They were called ‘propaganda’ movies and they might have been, but the propaganda message was that America was worth dying for.

They are stories from a bygone era about a nation united, strong and free.  We don’t see those kinds of stories anymore.

Duty. Honor. Country.  These are things worth memorializing.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on May 28, 2010

Featured Commentary: A Little Leaven ~Pete Garcia

The Gifts and Calling of God Are Without Repentance

The Gifts and Calling of God Are Without Repentance
Vol: 23 Issue: 27 Saturday, May 27, 2017

Today’s Omega Letter is a bit off the beaten path from our usual course of discussion. I pray that you will bear with me. Its purpose is to encourage those of you that, like me, have heard the call of the Lord on their lives, but don’t believe they are worthy of answering it.

I didn’t want to write this particular message. But there is somebody out there that God intends to hear it. So, listen up!

Last Thursday, Hal asked me to give my testimony at his Bible study. It occurred to me that I don’t do that very often. I avoid it whenever possible. Moreover, I have never offered my own testimony before our Omega Letter fellowship.

The reason, from my perspective, is simple. I don’t like to talk about myself. But I’ve since come to see that as an excuse – my testimony is not supposed to be about me, but about what Jesus has done in my life.

I am not worthy of being a minister of the Most High God. I know it. So does Jesus Christ. I went to Him with this argument some years back. He reminded me that I was not the first.

I am not Moses, and don’t put myself anywhere near that category, but Moses said he wasn’t worthy. Moses reminded God of what a poor speaker he was. He had other excuses, too. Just like me. (Just like you.)

Isaiah argued that he was not fit to speak the Word of the Lord, saying, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips,” (Isaiah 6:5)

I am not Isaiah, either, but I can make that same argument.

Paul went to the Lord three times to protest his calling, complaining of a thorn in his flesh that rendered him unworthy, asking the Lord to take care of that problem (whatever it was) so that he could be a worthy messenger of God’s grace.

“For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”

I am not Paul, either. But, like Moses, I don’t see myself as a great speaker, like Isaiah, I realize that I am a man of unclean lips, and like Paul, I know my own ego too well and live in fear I will forget I am just the donkey upon whom the Message is carried. I know who I really am inside, just as He does.

But the Lord’s reply to Paul is exactly the reply He gave me when I made the same protests:

“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2nd Corinthians 12:9)

Well, weakness is something I have in abundance. . . I am hardly your typical Holy Joe. If you knew me like I do, your reaction would be more like, “Holy cow!” Nonetheless, here is my testimony:

I was born into an Irish Catholic family. We were your typical Irish-Catholics. Dad would give us a quarter for the collection plate when he dropped us off in front of St. Michael’s Church, although Dad never darkened the door unless somebody was getting married or buried.

My Dad was something special – I never realized how special until after I myself become a man – by which time, it was too late to tell him. (He died while I was in the Marines – I only saw him a couple of times in the last few years of his life.)

There was much bad blood between us. He died never knowing how much I had come to admire and respect him. It is among the greatest regrets of my life.

Dad didn’t have a lot of experience with kids and family. He was orphaned young, spent time in an orphanage, before escaping at a tender age and becoming a Depression-era hobo. He ‘rode the rails’, living in hobo jungles for much of the 1930’s. In 1939, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Regiment and shipped out for England.

He and my mother were married in May, 1940, during the Blitz, and soon after, she emigrated to Canada and Dad went off to war. Dad fought in the first Dieppe Raid in 1940, fought in North Africa, was wounded in Sicily, participated in the Normandy Landing on June 6, 1994, fought his way across France and was among the troops that liberated the Nazi death camps at Dachau.

My parents were married for six years before they spent more than two weeks together. When Dad returned home to Canada in 1946, he had never seen his house. When he entered it, he was 27 years old and it was the first home he had ever known.

I was born seven years after the war. Dad didn’t talk about his wartime experiences much, but I remember he suffered greatly from insomnia. I never gave the reasons why much thought. Being a kid, it was just how Dad was.

Only once in a great while would he ever mention anything about the war, and then it was usually in vague and general terms. Much of what I’ve pieced together about him comes from memories of those brief comments.

My father worshiped my mother. When she died of cancer in 1963, she was just forty years old. They had been married almost 23 years, but the war robbed them of the first six. When she died seventeen years later, so did the best part of my Dad (or so I thought in the arrogance of youth). But one thing was certain. Without her, he was a man without direction.

I never knew if Dad came to Christ. It is my prayer that he did while in combat. I cling to the old saying; “there are no atheists in foxholes.”

Growing up in the Sixties, I adopted the ‘never trust anybody over thirty’ slogan. When I left home at age 14, I was propelled out the door by the toe of his boot. I saw him only a couple of times from then until I turned 17 and needed his signature to join the Marine Corps.

I barely knew the man he really was, and like most kids, I blamed him for everything. I never finished high school – in fact, I never finished the 9th grade. (I didn’t even get my GED until I was 24)

When I got out of the Marines, it was as a medical retiree. According to the VA, I was among those vets who contracted soft tissue sarcoma from exposure to Dioxin (Agent Orange).

(My greatest exposure most likely came when I was stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina. For part of my tour in the Corps, I was in supply and logistics, and I used to sit on a 55 gallon drum of the stuff to eat my lunch).

But all it meant to me was at 23, and with two kids, was that I had cancer and was expected to die, (although I knew that I wouldn’t, somehow. The Lord had different plans for me. I always knew that, deep in my heart, even before I was saved.)

At about this time, my older sister read a book that caused her to leave the Catholic Church and become a ‘born again’ Christian. That book was Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth.”

I made it my mission in life to reprogram her back to being a ‘good Catholic’ (meaning going to Mass every year at Easter, whether one needed to or not.)

So I grabbed Hal’s book and set out to show her where he (and she) had gone wrong.

Instead, I came to believe the Bible was true. One day, I went to my sister’s church and heard the altar call. I didn’t come forward, but the pastor’s words rang in my ears all that night.

I awoke in the middle of the night and my bedroom was deathly cold. I could see my breath in the room. There was some kind of malevolence in the room with me – I wasn’t terrified, so much as I was gripped with a sense of unspeakable horror.

I put my new pocket New Testament given me earlier that day by the pastor under my pillow and finally went back to sleep.

It was the first (but not the last) time Satan overplayed his hand in my life, revealing more than he intended. The next morning, realizing from the experience the night before that Satan was real, I reached the obvious logical conclusion. If Satan was real, so was Jesus. I knew which side I wanted to be on and it wasn’t Satan’s.

I asked Jesus to save me that same morning and instantly knew that my prayer had been answered. I also knew at that instant that Jesus had a plan for my life. I had received the call to ministry, but I didn’t want any part of it. Being saved was one thing. Being a Holy Joe was something different.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t learn enough about Jesus. I recall locking myself away in my younger sister’s root cellar with a lantern and a stack of commentaries, which I devoured like a starving man.

But still, I resisted the call. I even moved away to Texas, (thinking I wouldn’t hear it there).

I resisted for more than ten years, rebelling openly, living my life like a heathen, in the process, destroying my marriage and many friendships. I barreled through life like a tornado, damaging everybody who got near enough to be sucked into the vortex.

When I left law enforcement ten years later, I did so as a broken man – both physically and spiritually – and went home to the bosom of my family in Canada to lick my wounds.

A friend set me up with a blind date with the woman who later would become my wife. God sent Gayle to me to straighten me out, although I thought at the time the situation was exactly the reverse.

Gayle was also a Catholic, and we fought some battles royal over salvation by grace vs. salvation by RCC dogma, but, praise God, Gayle also came to know Jesus as her own, personal Savior and gave herself to Him.

Meanwhile, my call to His service grew louder and louder, but still, I resisted. I was a man of unclean lips with enough thorns in my flesh to do a passable impression of a porcupine.

When I came home, all I knew was law enforcement, so I applied for work as a federal Customs officer. I went through a battery of pre-employment screening tests.

The first series had 1500 applicants, the second, the top 500, and so on, until we got to the top 25 of the original group. I scored 7th on that final list. (Two years later, I still hadn’t heard a word from them.)

I don’t recall the details, but I was offered a job by a ministry in Niagara Falls by Peter Lalonde. I think I saw their new program, “This Week in Bible Prophecy” and contacted them first, but I don’t really remember. What I do remember was that I committed to the job before we even discussed a salary. (When we did, it was minimum wage and the offer was as a janitor.)

It was hardly what I had in mind, but it was, after a fashion, full-time ministry. Before taking it, I had had the most intense session of prayer I’ve ever experienced before or since, literally wrestling with God about it in my bedroom for an entire day and night. I neither ate nor slept for twenty hours or more. (I didn’t even go to the bathroom)

I finally agreed with God that I would answer whatever call He gave me, and I would go where He sent me and trust Him for provision. I called Peter and accepted the minimum wage janitor’s job. No sooner had I hung up the phone than it rang again.

On the other end was a nice lady representing Canada Customs, informing me that I was to report to the Kingston Royal Canadian Mounted Police College for training with the Customs Intelligence Unit. I stunned myself by turning it down, saying I’d taken another job.

I’ll never forget her response; “No, no, you don’t understand. This is Canada Customs calling.”

She even gave me 24 hours to rethink it before going to the next guy on the list. That prompted a whole new battle with God in my bedroom, but I knew I had lost that one before I even started. When she called again, I turned it down again, although I could hardly believe what I was saying, even as I said it.

What I didn’t know at the time was that Peter was looking for a writer to help take on the load of writing the TV program, since he also wrote everything else plus ran the rest of the ministry, which had some dozen or so employees. A week after I started, he offered me the chance to write one segment.

Within a month, I was writing the whole script. Peter offered me a chance to write a TWIBP “Special Report” about Bible prophecy, which we called “Front Row Seats.” It was very successful, and I was soon the ministry’s head writer. I turned out dozens of such specials, plus the weekly scripts.

A few years later, Peter changed direction from direct ministry to producing Christian-themed movies, eventually even producing the wildly successful ‘Left Behind’ series as ‘Cloud Ten Productions’.

But God didn’t call me to make movies. He called me to ministry, so I resigned.

That same week, I got a phone call from Cliff Ford, who at the time, worked for Hal Lindsey, asking me if I would consider coming out to work with Hal in California. (I had met Hal Lindsey a couple of times at prophecy conferences where I interviewed him for the TWIBP program.)

I went out there for a few months to get to know Hal. Hal and I continue to this day to be amazed at how good a fit it was for both of us. We’ve been together for fifteen years now. It has been a deeply satisfying assignment, and a blessing beyond description.

From a kid that didn’t finish high school, God brought me full circle to fellowship with the man who, through his book, first led me to Christ. Moreover, God blessed me by having Hal disciple me, putting me through a course of study that Hal says I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else, including Hal’s alma mater, Dallas Theological Seminary.

After ten years of study under Hal’s tutelage, Hal testified at my ordination, that I was as well -schooled and spiritually gifted as any ministry candidate he had ever known.

(Please understand, I am not saying that in a prideful way, but rather as my testimony of what Jesus has done in my life. I have no more cause to take pride in it than I do to take pride in having a full head of hair. A gift is a gift. The glory goes to the One Who bestowed the spiritual gift, not its recipient.)

I am a most reluctant minister. I don’t like crowds. And I am very uncomfortable in the limelight, much preferring my role as a teacher and facilitator, rather than that of the guy up front.

I started the Omega Letter ministry, (with Hal’s blessing and encouragement) in part, because I could do it from seclusion in my attic.

That is what I’ve most enjoyed about working with Hal. He never pushed me, never insisted that I come out to California for any extended period, (other than for training purposes) and allowed me to work with him from the seclusion in my attic via the internet for most of the past fifteen years.

About a year ago, I got another call that changed our lives as we knew them. Gayle and I were driving from North Carolina up to Canada. I do a lot of praying when I am driving on long trips. This trip was no exception, but the calling startled me.

I turned to Gayle and said, “I think God is calling me to sell our house, buy an RV and go off on some mission for Him. Doesn’t that sound nuts?”

Gayle said to me, “It sure does. I’ve been getting the exact same calling. I thought I was losing it – I was afraid to say anything. Thank God that you brought it up first.”

So, on Good Friday of 2006, we put our house up for sale. The first and only showing was on Easter Sunday. The couple who toured the house put in an offer 27 days later. We accepted it on faith, and the deal closed on July 14.

We followed our leading, and God has provided, exactly as He promised He would, way back on that day in 1989 when the nice lady from Canada Customs gave me twenty-four hours to think things over.

Things haven’t been easy this last few months – if they had, I would have questioned my calling. Particularly since we set out on our ‘road tour’ – for want of a better name to describe it.

We’ve had our share of bumps and bruises, but I write them off to enemy interference with the mission. (As we accepted this latest calling, I learned from a routine blood test that a blood transfusion from a 1991 gall bladder operation infected me with the deadly Hepatitus C virus.)

I don’t know what God has in mind, but the enemy doesn’t much like it. That’s good enough for me.

As I’ve noted in the past, my voice and God’s Voice sound EXACTLY alike in my head. But I’ve learned to tell the difference. (When it is MY voice, I like what it is telling me to do.)

I don’t know where He will lead us next, or even what our mission actually is, at the moment. But I trust Jesus. He knows what He is doing.

And to you, whoever God is speaking to right now about your own calling, let me say this. He STILL knows what He is doing.

Of COURSE, you aren’t worthy! That’s why He is calling YOU. To demonstrate His strength through your weakness. That’s why He is God, (and you are not.)

The time is too short. There is too much to do. Don’t waste as much time as I did. Know that the call is irresistible. The harder you resist, the louder it becomes. And the more painful your rebellion against Him will get.

The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. He isn’t going to change His mind. You need to change yours.

Do yourself a favor and don’t fight Him on it. Trust Him and He will make the way clear.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalms 23)

To that one whom the Lord is calling right now, I know that this message is specifically for you. So do you. The sting of my tears as I pen these words is all the confirmation I need. Write me and let me know that you heard it.

And may Our God richly bless us all as we continue in our service to Him. Until He comes.

Amen.

Note:  We found Jack’s testimony in the archives.  This brought us to his verbal testimony he did following this brief written in 2006.  We pray you are encouraged.  

When Preaching is a Crime. . .

When Preaching is a Crime. . .
Vol: 23 Issue: 26 Friday, May 26, 2017

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:7-8)

Of course, the ‘Church at Philadelphia’ of which Jesus speaks is not a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Biblical Philadelphia was located about twenty-eight miles southeast of Sardis.

The city was founded in 189 B.C. by Attalus Philadeiphus, for whom it was named. Some believe it was so named because of the love and loyalty existing between Philadeiphus and his brother, the king of Lydia, hence the nickname, “The City of Brotherly Love”.

Philadelphia was also known as Decapolis, because it was one of the ten cities of the plain.

Philadelphia has been given a number of new names. It was sometimes called Little Athens because of the magnificence of its public buildings. Its modern Turkish name is Ala Shehr, which means “The City of God” or “The Exalted City.”

The modern US city of Philadelphia took its name directly from the Book of the Revelation. The name was chosen for its meaning, “The City of Brotherly Love” — and its commendation from Christ. It was a Church that had “not denied My Name” (Revelation 3:8)

The Philadelphian Church Age corresponded to the release of the common Bible issued by King James in 1611 through to the end of the missionary age, sometime around 1900.

The “New Thought” movement that swept Europe and eventually made its way to the shores of the United States ushered in the Laodicean Church Age — the “last days” Church.

That isn’t to say there are no Philadelphians left and that we are ALL members of the lukewarm Church of Laodicea. But it is the Laodicean Church that best fits the overall Church in these last days.

A historian wrote of the contrasts of Philadelphia and Laodicea. He said Philadelphia as a missionary center was successful because it was more interested in the message than the money.

On the other hand, Laodicea was a great failure as a missionary center because it was more interested in the profit than the message.

Turn on a little ‘Christian’ TV and you will immediately see the difference. Check out Christian websites and you will see the same phenomenon.

How many lost people do you think will watch a televised 55 minute pitch for money followed by a five minute altar call?

The only people who watch such stuff are Christians — nobody gets saved by promises that sending $1000 to a televangelist will return you a profit of $9000.

That kind of for-profit ‘prophet’ merely confirms to the lost that all this ‘God-talk’ is designed to separate an idiot from his money. It edifys no one.

Five minutes into it, a lost person will change the channel. Those TV ‘preachers’ aren’t reaching out to the lost, they are pandering to the saved. They are Laodicean preachers.

A Laodicean preacher realizes that an appeal to the highest level of spirituality doesn’t pay off as well as an appeal to our base nature of greed. So, if you send money to them, God will reward you with a ten-fold increase.

(I always wondered — if that works, why don’t they send the money to each other? The resulting ten-fold increases back and forth between them would make an appeal for money unnecessary.)

A Philadelphian preacher puts the message first. A Philadelphian trusts the Lord. He would ask Jesus to speak to their hearts as to what should be given. It is from this obedience people are willing to give everything the Lord wishes of them.

There aren’t many Philadelphian preachers that ever get their own TV shows. I don’t know any Philadelphian preachers that have their own private jets. (Hal is an exception — and when he flys, its commerical coach)

The same applies to Christian websites. If a website follows the Laodicean model, it is filled with flowery phrases, speaks ‘Christianese’, and talks more about the expense of maintaining a website than it does about fulfilling the Great Commission.

Read through some of them and ask yourself if YOU would have even understood what they were talking about before you were saved and you will see who their target audience is.

If they are more interested in checks than they are salvation testimonials, they are of the Church of Laodicea. A Laodicean preacher will preach what is politically correct in a social context, avoiding topics like Islam, homosexuality and false doctrines.

They pepper their messages with admonitions of what Christians ought NOT to do, but spend almost no time telling the lost what they NEED to do to be saved.

They aren’t talking to the lost. There’s no profit in it.

Assessment:

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:14-16)

Ironically, the best example of the Laodicean Church Age model comes from the City of Philadelphia. Not the one in Asia, but the one in Pennsylvania.

Eleven Christians were arrested in that city after preaching to a crowd of homosexuals at the pro-homosexual “Outfest” event in early October 2005.

Four of them have been bound over for trial on felony charges that carry a maximum penalty of 47 years in prison.

William Devlin is founder of the Urban Family Council of Philadelphia. In an interview with the Chalcedon Report, Devlin lays blame at the feet of local church leaders and politicos.

“The real story here is the silence of the city’s clergy,” Devlin says. “Over the last ten years, I’ve been to pastor after pastor in this city, trying to get them to put pressure on the elected officials who’ve been pushing the homosexual agenda. They’re all afraid to speak up. There is a collective spirit of fear hanging over this city. Right now, the gays own Philadelphia.”

Here’s the background. The Christians, led by Repent America founder Michael Marcavage, were surrounded by the Pink Angels, a group of homosexuals who held up Styrofoam signs, blocking the group.

Police arrested only the Christians.

After viewing a videotape of the incident at the December 14 hearing, Municipal Court Judge William Austin Meehan dropped charges against six other defendants, including a 72-year-old grandmother, because they were not seen quoting Scripture on the videotape.

A juvenile defendant awaits separate court action.

The four adult defendants, who face a total of 47 years in prison if convicted of the three felonies and five misdemeanors, pled not guilty.

Their crime was to cite Bible verses, which a prosecutor called ‘hateful,’ and to urge homosexuals, like other sinners, to repent. They were charged with felony ‘hate crimes’.

In all, eight charges were filed: criminal conspiracy, possession of instruments of crime,[signs with Bible verses on them] reckless endangerment of another person, ethnic intimidation, riot, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and obstructing highways.

None of the ‘Pink Angels’ were ticketed, arrested or charged.

The ‘ethnic intimidation’ charge stems from the inclusion of sexual orientation into the state’s hate crimes laws.

The reaction from the Christian community was immediate and predictable. Furious at the arrests, they mounted a legal challenge on the basis of their First Amendment rights.

(“Laodicea” is a compound Greek word meaning, in essence, the “People’s Rights”)

The Christian community is correct — politically. The 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of assembly and freedom of worship.

But Christian persecution has become something of a sport in America.

There are idiots like Michael Newdow, who wants “In God We Trust” removed from US money and “Under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. Because he doesn’t believe in God, he wants the court to legislate that nobody else can believe in Him, either.

Because the Supreme Court didn’t hear his case the last time around, he is getting another bite at the apple.

The real question is, how did it ever get this far?

This is a direct consequence of the influence of the Laodicean Church in this generation. In the Philadelphian Age, (when the city in Pennsylvania was founded) the message from the Church was salvation, and the target of the Church was lost sinners.

In the Laodicean Age, the message from the Church is ‘send us money and we’ll tell you what you want to hear in order to get it’. There are homosexual bishops in mainstream Protestant churches — and there are even entire churches catering to the homosexual lifestyle.

“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)

Jesus’ letter to the Church at Laodicea was the last of seven letters to the seven church (ages) and it ends with the admonition;

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:22)

The VERY next verses, Revelation 4:1-2 say:

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, COME UP HITHER, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And IMMEDIATELY I was in the spirit . . .”

Compare that with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and it gives you a sense of where we are on God’s timetable.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

America is the last bastion of Christianity left in the world. We are at war with Islam because of the perception that America is a Christian country.

All the polls say that the vast majority of Americans consider themselves to be Christians. But preaching Jesus at a homosexual rally can get you forty-seven years in prison — in Laodicean America.

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”(Revelation 22:20)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 6, 2005

Featured Commentary: Modern Israel as Proof of God’s Existence ~Alf Cengia

Them That Dwell Upon the Earth

Them That Dwell Upon the Earth
Vol: 23 Issue: 25 Thursday, May 25, 2017

According to Webster’s dictionary, “tribulation” means “a state of great trouble or suffering.” The Tribulation is a period of time set aside for two purposes; the judgment of a Christ-rejecting world and the national redemption of Israel.

I’ve searched the Scriptures on this particular topic and nowhere can I find a third purpose that could involve the Church.

The twenty-one judgments of Revelation are the culmination of the Edenic curse; there are environmental judgments against the earth and sea, judgments against animals and fish, and judgments against those whom the Apostle John says “dwell upon the earth.”

Uniquely, Revelation uses this curious phrase “dwell upon the earth”. John is carefully distinguishing those that “dwell upon the earth” from those that are ‘dwelling’ elsewhere.

The word “dwell” means ‘to inhabit’ in the sense of a physical home and came to Old English from the Middle Dutch word “dwellen” which means “to stun or perplex” according to the on-board dictionary that comes standard on a Mac.

(I’m not doing an ad for Mac here — I want to be clear that my source here is an ordinary dictionary which has no point to make)

The phrase “they that dwell upon the earth” is used in Scripture exclusively within the framework of the Tribulation Period.

Revelation 3:10 draws a distinction between those who dwell upon the earth and those the Lord will keep from the trial specifically designed for them:

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

I’ve heard every possible refutation of that verse as it pertains to the Church and the Rapture. However, one cannot explain away the fact the Lord is drawing a distinction — those that dwell upon the earth will undergo a period of ‘trial’ whereas, somebody else will be kept from it.

In Revelation 6:10, the martyrs slain for the Word of God “. . . cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”

Again, we have a distinction between the martyrs for Christ and those that dwell upon the earth. The phrase “them that dwell on the earth” is used to describe those responsible for shedding the blood of the martyrs.

They “that dwell upon the earth” are identified in Revelation 11:10 as rejoicing over the deaths of the two witnesses;

“And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.”

In Revelation 13:8 they are identified as the unsaved who will worship the antichrist:

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

The Scripture says specifically that ‘they that dwell upon the earth’ during the Tribulation are those against whom the Two Witnesses prophesied, which is why they that dwell upon the earth during the Tribulation will rejoice.

It also links “all that dwell upon the earth” to the antichrist and says that their names are NOT in the Book of Life.

In Revelation 13:14 John says the False Prophet:

“. . .deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”

Those that dwell upon the earth will be universally deceived by the means of miracles and will worship the beast as a god.

Meanwhile, Revelation 14:6 further identifies they that dwell upon the earth as those in need of salvation . . .

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”

Note also that while ‘them that dwell upon the earth’ are in need of the Gospel, there appears to be nobody around to preach it to them. That job has been assigned to an angel.

Revelation 17:8 provides further insight into both the Beast and who they that dwell upon the earth might be.

“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

I believe John is identifying the Beast in all its forms, political, religious and systematic; Political Rome was, but then collapsed, went ‘underground’ so to speak, transferring power to the papacy temporarily — until the political Beast reemerges as leader of the revived Roman Empire.

John identifies “they that dwell upon the earth” once again as being those whose names are not in the Book of Life and who will join the Beast ‘in perdition’.

Assessment:

It is fairly obvious from these Scriptures that they that dwell upon the earth during the Tribulation Period are not Christians. Those who are Christians are pictured in heaven.

Those who get saved during the Tribulation, whether through the 144,000 evangelists of Revelation 7 or the angel of Revelation 14 cannot be included among those “that dwell upon the earth” because they will be executed.

“. . . cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. ” Revelation 13:15 says. That is another way of saying “all” — although John gets more specific on that point in the next two verses.

“And he causeth ALL, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

And that NO man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17)

That seems pretty inclusive. One can find within this structure those whose names are not written in the Book of Life, those who by taking the mark will have their names blotted out and those who are killed for refusing the mark.

But those who are killed are NOT those that ‘dwell upon the earth’ — they are the ones dwelling with John in heaven.

In 2009, a crowd estimated at 1.7 million marched on Washington to protest the government plan to impose health care. Can you imagine the protest that would come if the millions of Christians in America were given the ultimatum of denying Christ and worshipping Obama?

However, if those millions suddenly vanished into thin air and Obama claimed credit for it, them ‘that dwell upon the earth’ would line up to get their mark as quickly as they lined up for Cash for Clunkers.

If one begins from the perspective that the Church is not uniquely exempt from judgment by virtue of being saved, then it isn’t really too hard to find verses in Tribulation that might be interpreted as the Church. Tribulation saints easily become born-again Christians in this view.

But if one begins from the perspective that judgment for sin means sins both forgiven and unforgiven, then again, it might be possible to argue that the Church qualifies for the twenty-one judgments of the Tribulation.

But if one simply tries to figure out who John is referring to when he speaks of “them that dwell upon the earth” it is abundantly clear that the one thing they ALL have in common is that their names are not found in the Book of Life.

And according to the Scripture, they are the only ones dwelling here. The Church is present with John from the moment that John hears a voice from heaven saying “Come up hither” in Revelation 4:1.

It would be a simple matter to delve into Revelation and interpret a few verses a bit differently and build an argument for a pre-wrath or post trib Rapture — I am anticipating getting a few in response to this column.

What is not so simple, however, is coming up with verses that suggest the indwelt Church is numbered among “they that dwell upon the earth” during this period.

And if the Church isn’t among those dwelling upon the earth, then where is it dwelling? There is only one answer that fits both the Scriptures and the chronological and logical narrative presented by Revelation.

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. . . .” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)

“. . . .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)

The Tribulation is specifically set aside for “them that dwell upon the earth”. “Them that dwell upon the earth” are specifically identified as the unsaved whose names are not in the Book of Life.

The Church is not there. The Church left, along with John in Revelation 4:1.

“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.”

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on September 17, 2009

Featured Commentary: Eye for an Eye ~J.L. Robb

Hagiasmos

Hagiasmos
Vol: 23 Issue: 24 Wednesday, May 24, 2017

One of the most controversial (and least understood) points of doctrine apart from eternal security or a pre-trib Rapture is the doctrine of predestination.

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29)

‘Predestination’ suffers from the same malady as do many other controversial doctrinal issues — political correctness. 

(WHAT?  No, really.  It’s true.  Hear me out.)

There are two main objections to predestination.  One is doctrinal, the other, political.  Let’s look at the political objection first.

If the doctrine of predestination is true, then it follows that those who were not predestinated to be conformed to the Image of His Son were predestinated for hell.   That is politically incorrect;  it is hateful and exclusionary.    

The second objection to predestination is that it negates free will.  Of the two objections, this seems to be the one with the least ground to stand on.   Because God knows what your decision is going to be doesn’t mean that you don’t have any choice.

I could offer you a million dollars, tax free, without any strings or a good swift kick in your behind.   I could also predict in advance what your choice would be.   

You may surprise me and choose the kick in the rear.  But my prediction would not affect your choice. 

The difference is that in my case, I could be wrong on my prediction, whereas God isn’t guessing.  He already knows.  But YOU don’t know what your choice is until you make it.

Your free will is unencumbered.  

Assessment:

Many of the same people that just can’t seem to get their head around the concept of predestination have absolutely no problem in believing in Bible prophecy.   How is it that YOU view Bible prophecy?  

Consider the following Scriptures:

“I  am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.”

“For dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet. I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me. They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture.” (Psalms 22:14-18)

Did Psalms 22 predestinate the Crucifixion?  Or does it simply predict it?  Is there a difference?  In what way?

Did God foreknow Judas?  Did God foreknow Caiaphas?  Did God foreknow the Roman soldiers who scourged Him, spat upon Him, drove the nails into His hands and feet?   Did God foreknow which of them would gamble for His robe?

Is this really even a question?  Of course God foreknew each of them — or He couldn’t have foreknown me.  Which then means the Bible cannot be true, since it says that He foreknows us all.

Foreknowledge is the same thing as predestination in the sense that God’s knowledge is perfect.  But since you don’t know your own future, how can your free will decisions be encumbered by the fact that God does?

The politically correct response to predestination being advanced as a doctrine is to shout “Calvinist!” at the top of one’s lungs, cover one’s ears with one’s hands and to run screaming from the room.

One needn’t be a Calvinist to believe that God is omniscient.  One needn’t be a Calvinist to believe that the Old Testament prophets predicted Christ’s First Advent.  Isaiah wasn’t a Calvinist when he wrote of the suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53.

“Calvinist” is a label applied to the five major points of doctrine outlined by French theologian John Calvin in the mid-14th century.   Calvin’s five points are identified by the acronymTULIP.

  1. Total Depravity of Man
  2. Unconditional Election
  3. Limited Atonement
  4. Irresistible Grace
  5. Perseverance of the Saints

Calvinism teaches that salvation is entirely the work of God; God chose His elect, the Son died to pay their sin debt, and the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the Gospel.

I am not a Calvinist, primarily because the general understanding of Calvinism is that Calvinists need not witness to the lost because God’s irresistible grace nullifies our obligation under the Great Commission.  

So according to that understanding, I am not a Calvinist.  But that understanding is so totally flawed that it astonishes me that anyone can actually believe it.

If prophecy is foreknowledge, why is it not predestination? And if it is predestination, then what is the argument against predestination?  If prophecy were to fail, what would that mean?  That man’s free will trumps God’s foreknowledge? 

“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 anything done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5)

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:” (Philippians 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 called before the world began, or else the Bible is not telling the truth.

“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.”  (2 Timothy 1:9)

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

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 performed in us — BY CHRIST — until the day we stand before Him. Lest anyone should boast.

That’s not my opinion of what the Bible says — look up the verses in context and see if you can make them mean something else.

“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)

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.  

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

We don’t think like God does, which is why He inspired the Scriptures.   To provide us with the tiniest bit of insight into the way God sees things.

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.

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 has a plan for each of us, and His plan is to send us to seek out and introduce others to their Savior. That is our assignment on this earth. THAT is our ‘calling.’

To spread the Gospel.

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.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1st Peter 3:15)

The most effective weapon we have in our war with the enemy is the knowledge that he cannot take away our salvation.  We walk in the light of the Gospel, but we remain human beings and sinners, washed in the Blood of the Lamb, but still trapped in the “body of this death“.

Consequently, there is never a time when we are unworthy to tell others of Jesus Christ.  

 “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”  (1st John 1:7-8)

Bible prophecy isn’t Calvinism.  Is Bible prophecy predestinated?  Well, it is written down in advance.  The choices necessary for its fulfillment have not yet been made by the participants. 

And God says that Bible prophecy will all be fulfilled to the letter.  What else could it be?

Predestination plays no role in your free will, or in the free will choices of anyone else.    

“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

Trust Him.  The more hopeless you think you are, the more you have to rely on Him.

Don’t let the enemy convince you that you aren’t worthy to carry the message.  After all, your prospect is just as liable to say, “Heck, if he can be saved, then there must be hope for me.”

God knew what He was doing when He gave you this job.  Trust Him.

And get ‘er done!  Maranatha!

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on June 11, 2012

Featured Commentary: Heart of Darkness ~Wendy Wippel