Christianity From A to Z
by Christopher Andrus
- Assurance of Salvation on Account of the Atoning Work of Christ
- Believing in God is All that He Requires to Be Saved
- Celebrating the Salvation of Sinners Like Me and You
- Denial of Our Utter Dependence on God – The Sin at the Root of All Other Sins
- End of This World (The Eschaton) is Brought About by God, not Man (Environmentalism as a False Religion)
- Feminism Taken Too Far (Due to the characteristic sin tendency of women – An excessive need to control others, as seen especially in many marriage failures, in efforts to feminize boys and men, in partiality to “nanny state” socialism & in the demand for the right to abortion, which denies both the life of unborn children and the fact that they belong equally to the fathers. The Biblical answer: Submission to the will of others where circumstances require it, following the example of Jesus Christ – Ephesians 5:21-24. But, lest you think I am singling out women, see “M” below.)
- Good Works are the Result of Salvation Not the Path to It
- Homosexuality & Other Sinful Sexuality (The Biblical “ABC” – Acknowledge that it is sin, Believe that God forgives & will provide a path to purity, Commit to fighting your sin & living for God)
- Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology in the World (unless Muslims give up the hope of world conquest, as most modern Christians have)
- Justification by Faith (The Radical Consequence: That true believers are permanently loved by God as His children no matter what they do or don’t do. But they are also certain to be sanctified.)
- Kingdom of God – It’s Already Here, But It’s Invisible Now. But It Will Be Seen By All When Christ Returns.
- Love – God’s Definitive Attribute, Which We are Called to Mirror (Even to Our Enemies)
- Male Chauvinism (Due to the characteristic sin tendency of men – Excessive selfishness, as seen especially in the pursuit of self-gratification through materialism, sexual indulgence, & exploitation which ranges from insensitivity all the way to cruelty. The Biblical answer: Self-sacrificing love, even to the point of death if necessary, following the example of Jesus Christ – Ephesians 5:25-28.)
- New Covenant versus Old Covenant (Spirit, Faith, Righteousness & Life versus Flesh, Law, Sin & Judgment)
- Oppression of the (Relatively) Innocent – Why Does God Allow it? (Because suffering is beneficial & “to die is gain” for God’s children.)
- Politics & Faith (Pluralism and compromise, while wrong with regard to one’s beliefs & theology, are necessary in the realm of politics. Peaceful coexistence requires this. So, while it will never be perfect, the best situation will be one of maximum freedom for people of all religions or no religion, not either a secular nor a theocratic state.)
- Questioning God versus Judging Him (God welcomes the first, so long as one is willing to accept His answers. But the second was humanity’s original sin and continues to be seen in those who reject God, despite the fact that they know Who He is and how dependent they are on Him.)
- Religious? – Yes, You Are! (Even if you are not a member of a religious group you still have a belief-system, Humanism/Materialism/Empiricism, a set of unprovable and generally unquestioned beliefs which is functionally equivalent to a religion. Consequently, public education as currently constituted is actually an unconstitutional establishment of religion.)
- Sanctification of Believers (God’s Personalized & Irresistible Renovation Program)
- Tolerance – Its True Meaning (Not the elimination of what is offensive, but rather the allowing & even defending of what is offensive)
- Unity & Plurality of God
- Vengeance on the Wicked & Vindication of the Righteous When Christ Returns (Though justice is elusive in this world, the Perfectly Just Judge is coming.)
- Word of God – The Uniqueness of the Bible (The Definitive Revelation from God)
- Xenophobia Opposed (Christianity is not threatened by diversity. The Real Xenophobia: When whites are petrified of offending the self-righteous liberal morality-police by anything they say or do about others.)
- Yesterday is History (Though your past affects who you are today, it does not control who you will be from now on.)
- Zionism – The True Significance of the Nation of Israel (Romans 3 & 9-11)
A. Absolute Assurance of Salvation on Account of the Atoning Work of Christ
- The advantage of knowing over hoping (Motivational difference between receiving a Publishers’ Clearinghouse “You have already won!” letter & getting an inheritance notice about a wealthy relative. Which one would you be more motivated to answer?)
- Hoping you will be saved comes from not understanding what Jesus Christ came to do.
- If you were saved it happened almost 2000 years ago.
- If you could not know that you have been saved then the precious promises of the Scriptures are hollow.
- Knowing that you have been saved does not mean that you always feel like you’ve been saved.
- Not knowing that you have been saved does not mean that you have not been saved.
- Though you can know for certain that you are going to heaven and that you should make every effort to gain this greatest thing that one can know, it is not possible to know that you will not go to heaven until you die.
B. Believing in God is All He Requires to Be Saved.
- Why it has to be this way – Because anything you try to do to save yourself is a rejection of what God has already done to save us.
- The unconditional offer of salvation by God – Salvation through Christ’s atoning work is truly a free gift to all who would receive it. (To reject God’s offer of eternal life by trusting in Christ is far more foolish than a starving man who refuses a completely free, no-strings-attached invitation to come in to the most sumptuous buffet that one could imagine.)
- Trust in God is all you need – The believer receives all he or she will ever need at the moment of first believing.
- It is impossible to lose your salvation, even through disobedience, though this will temporarily cost you joy & peace.
- The Only Question you absolutely need to answer in life – Do you truly know the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? Is God truly your Father? Did the Son die for you? Does the Holy Spirit live in you?
C. Celebrating the Salvation of Sinners Like You and Me
1. The Christian Life is Recovery. (My personal testimony)
2. The incomparable liberating power of the Gospel – As believers we can admit our faults & weaknesses because we always stand in God’s favor on account of Christ’s perfect Atonement (Justification) and we can be confident that God is surely remaking us in the likeness of His Son, using all the circumstances of our lives (Sanctification).
3. The Church must be a hospital & haven for recovering sinners, not a club for those who want to be respectable.
D. Denial of Our Utter Dependence on God – The Sin at the Root of All Other Sins
- Everyone in the world knows deep down inside that the God of the Bible is Real and that he or she could not take their next breath without His sustaining power.
- Celebrating our dependence on God is the pathway to peace under all circumstances.
- No one can stop what God intends to do with your life. Not even you!
- Believing that your life unfolds according to your own God-given destiny, far from undermining motivation, is actually the strongest possible motivator.
- The true nature of human freedom – We are free in the sense of not being under any natural necessity (like robots or puppets). Our choices are real and form the basis for our responsibility for being sinners. But, our choices are foreknown by God (indeed, they are actually foreordained) so that we could not have done otherwise after the fact. Though, of course, we don’t know what we will choose beforehand.
E. End of This World (The Eschaton) is Brought About by God, not Man (Environmentalism as a False Religion)
1. The necessity but insufficiency of Science. It is insufficient in that it cannot even possibly account for the subjective, much less explain it. (For example, brain chemistry will never be able to explain what a thought or a feeling is. It can only explain the physiological activity that accompanies a subjective experience.)
2. Science becomes a false pseudo-religion insofar as it is seen as the sole arbiter of truth, both in the objective realm (the world of “objects”, its proper area) and, especially, in the world of subjective experience; and insofar as it dogmatically rejects the supernatural.
3. The End of the World, that is, Judgment Day is coming. If it doesn’t come to you, you will go to it at death.
4. The greatest intellectual scam of the modern world – Evolutionism (Founded on & driven by anti-theism, it requires “faith” in the absurd notion that randomness can produce order. This notion is absurd in two respects. First, it is logically absurd because it falsely assumes that randomness comes before order. In fact, the opposite is always the case. Order always comes first and randomness is only recognized as being the lack of order. Secondly, the notion of randomness producing order to this degree is a practical absurdity. That is, it has never been observed in nature, in which the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics rules, which says that ordered systems always tend to greater disorder. For example, for random motion over time to produce a human being is actually far more inconceivable than a wind blowing through an airplane junkyard and assembling a Boeing 747!)
5. Rejection of the ideas of Intelligent Design & a Grand Designer actually hinder the advance of Science by causing it to explore in unproductive directions and blinding researchers to important evidence. While Science can & does advance in spite of false theories, it makes its greatest advances when there is theoretical advance. And what is most needed today is a rejection of Darwinian Random Selection & the notion of Universal Randomness and a return to viewing the universe as a product of the Great Architect.
6. The current hysteria over “climate change” is the most significant example of the absurdity of the modern scientific pseudo-religion. Driven by an eschatological phobia, which is not conclusively established by the evidence and is actually unwarranted under the evolutionary world-view (which should make the extinction of mankind and other species acceptable), climate-change-fighters simultaneously advance false & contradictory notions that, on the one hand, mankind is responsible for the future of the planet, but, on the other hand, we must live “in harmony” with the planet without assuming that we have the right to use its resources as we see fit. (The contradiction is also seen in the idea that in a world-view that denies that there is anything other than “Nature”, what mankind does somehow becomes “unnatural”! In fact, mankind’s God-given dominion over nature is actually implied in all Environmentalism. So, far from being opposed to Environmentalism, Bible-based religion may be seen to be the only true foundation for it. In this view God has given mankind the earth so that we might be caring and responsible stewards of it. In fact, those who would exploit the planet without regard to long-term consequences are actually acting in a manner that is more consistent with Nature and “law of the jungle”, in which survival is the goal and there really are no “rules”, only the rule of the strongest.)
F. Feminism Taken Too Far (Due to the characteristic sin tendency of women – An excessive need to control others, as seen especially in many marriage failures, in efforts to feminize boys and men, in partiality to “nanny state” socialism & in the demand for the right to abortion, which denies both the life of unborn children and the fact that they belong equally to the fathers. The Biblical answer: Submission to the will of others where circumstances require it, following the example of Jesus Christ – Ephesians 5:21-24. But, lest you think I am singling out women, see “M” below.)
- The need for wives to be more patient with, understanding and forgiving of their husbands, especially in the area of sexual purity.
- Tendencies to over-emphasize victimization wallow in self-pity and engage excessively in passive aggression.
- Most of the problems of mutual understanding & communication between the sexes are driven by the false assumption (on both sides) that the other is (or should be) the same as me.
- This problem of false projection is actually involved in all types of relationships. This is because it is a natural tendency for all people to interpret what others say or do or think in terms of what it would mean if I said or did or thought the same thing. But this is a false assumption. It is frequently the case that the other person means something else.
- Feminism, lies behind the steady movement of Western democracies toward socialistic statism. Desire for increased “nanny state” controls can be seen to be overwhelmingly favored by women voters. It is no mere coincidence that the rise of Socialism coincides with the political enfranchisement of women (though, of course, we cannot turn back the clock on this).
(Ladies, lest you think I am discriminating, look at letter “M”! The inherent problems with Socialism will be examined under “P” for Politics & Faith.)
G. Good Works are the Result of Salvation Not the Path to It
- “Good” Works → Salvation (Sorry. This doesn’t work. Works done in order to be saved are actually selfish and not fully good, hence the quotes.)
- “Faith” → Salvation (Nor does this one work. Again, the quotes point to the fact that viewing any belief or belief system to be a requirement for salvation is a false conception of faith which, in effect, makes faith merely a form of work.)
- “Faith” + “Good” Works → Salvation (Still won’t do it. Two wrongs don’t make a right.)
- Salvation → Faith + Good Works
- What truly makes one good – Realizing that you are not God and that there is a Higher Power that you will have to answer to. In other words, you must have faith (though your theology may vary). People are not saved because they have faith or good theology, they have both only because God has saved them.
- Evil people often do good things (by common grace), but that doesn’t make them good. On the other hand, good people often do evil things (out of ignorance or weakness, due to a remnant sinful nature), but that doesn’t make them evil.
H. Homosexuality & Other Sinful Sexuality (The Biblical “ABC” – Acknowledge that it is sin, Believe that God forgives & will provide a path to purity, Commit to fighting your sin & living for God)
- Today’s popular culture and modern “Progressives” (or Liberals) love homosexuals and certain other types of sexual sinners too much.
- But, there is inconsistency here – along with homosexuality and bisexuality, other types of sexual “freedom” such sexually-“liberated” women and sexually-exploring young or unmarried people are encouraged, as long as their experimentation is not too bizarre. But other types of sexual practice are still hated, such as male sexual “predators” (even non-violent “womanizers”), bestiality or, especially, pedophilia. Pornography is also seen as acceptable (except for child porn). But, because “post-modern” people have no absolute and transcendent Standard, there is no real justification for making these distinctions.
- The contemporary efforts to legitimize & normalize homosexuality are doomed to fail because they are based on a foundation of lies that everyone knows are lies (subconsciously, at least) – especially that it is equally “natural” to heterosexuality and that it is not sinful. There is no parallel between antipathy to homosexuality and racism because the former is a matter of behavioral choices and because homosexual practice is unambiguously described as sinful in the Scriptures and, indeed, is regarded the same way in all traditional ethical systems.
- Encouraging others to develop & celebrate deviant sexual practices (including all extra-marital activity) is extremely destructive, as is seen in the dramatic rises in divorce, in suicides among professed homosexuals, and in the increasing incidence of bullying of the same (although the practice of the latter is nonetheless inexcusable).
- Today’s Church culture loves homosexuals and other sexual sinners too little.
- Virtually all men and probably most women are tempted to sexual sin to some degree and, even if they are not, they have other equally-serious sinful tendencies. So, there is no justification for the Church to single out homosexuality and discriminate against people with homosexual (or other sinful sexual tendencies) who are truly repentant and seeking sexual purity (nor is this appropriate for any other type of sin).
I. Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology in the World (unless Muslims give up the hope of world conquest, as most modern Christians have)
- World conquest (universal submission to Allah) is intrinsic to Islam, since the very name “Islam” means submission.
- Islam is a political ideology, in which there is no separation of the religious from the political, a mixture that will always lead to conflict, as we observe both in history and today wherever Islam spreads.
- The Islamic perversion of the idea of martyrdom from the Christian notion of being willing to sacrifice one’s life in order to save others to being willing to sacrifice one’s life in order to kill others.
J. Justification by Faith (The Radical Consequence: That true believers are permanently loved by God as His children no matter what they do or don’t do. But they are also certain to be sanctified.)
- Justification is not one step on the path of salvation (followed by Sanctification and then Glorification) but a continual & permanent reality in the life of believers that they are in the favor of their Heavenly Father.
- Saving faith is not something that we must do so that we can be saved. Rather, it is something that God enables us to do as a part of His comprehensive work of Redemption, which is completely done on His side. Faith is merely the instrument that God uses, through which we are connected to the saving work of Jesus Christ accomplished for us at the Cross.
- Sanctification is not the result of Justification (nor is the reverse true). Rather, both are continual & permanent realities for God’s true children, with Justification focusing on the believers’ relationship to God and Sanctification focusing on their activity flowing out of that relationship.
K. Kingdom of God – It’s Already Here, But It’s Invisible Now. But It Will Be Seen By All When Christ Returns.
- The Final Establishment of the Kingdom of God will only come when God brings about a Cosmic Transformation at a point of history that only He knows (history being, after all, His Story).
- Consequently, all human efforts to establish the Kingdom in this world or to bring about its establishment by God are doomed to fail, often with disastrous results.
- Jesus Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of God with His death & resurrection. But, until He returns to establish it in its Fullness, it exists as a largely-invisible Spiritual Kingdom comprised of all those who have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, being seen only indirectly in the daily lives of believers & communities of believers.
- Ever since the First Coming of Jesus Christ all human beings live in situation where we are always just a moment away from the Fullness of the Kingdom, whether we go to it through death or it comes to us on Judgment Day.
L. Love – God’s Definitive Attribute, Which We are Called to Mirror (Even to Our Enemies)
- The indwelling Holy Spirit reveals to believers what love requires.
- All human love reflects God’s perfect love for His own.
- How can a loving God send people to Hell? (Answer: He doesn’t. Hell is chosen by some over submission to God.)
- Is it possible that Hell is really Purgatory? (Yes, since the Biblical language indicating that it is everlasting could possibly be hyperbole. But, even if it is you still don’t want to go there, as it is the most horrible fate that one can experience.)
- It does seem contradictory that a perfectly loving God would keep some of His created beings in everlasting torment (indeed, some of those who are described as being the pinnacle of His creative work and formed in His image). However, in God’s perfect wisdom this remains possible even if we, as mere humans are never able to come to a full understanding of it.
M. Male Chauvinism (Due to the characteristic sin tendency of men – Excessive selfishness, as seen especially in the pursuit of self-gratification through materialism, sexual indulgence, & exploitation which ranges from insensitivity all the way to cruelty. The Biblical answer: Self-sacrificing love, even to the point of death, if necessary, following the example of Jesus Christ – Ephesians 5:25-28.)
- The need for husbands to be more self-sacrificing through giving more of their time & energy to their wives & children.
- Tendency to hide or deny weaknesses, refusal to develop & express emotions
N. New Covenant versus Old Covenant (Spirit, Faith, Righteousness & Life versus Flesh, Law, Sin & Judgment)
- There are two most important Covenants that God has made with mankind. The first is the Covenant of Works, which He gave to our first parents in the Garden of Eden, whereby there was the implied prospect of greater blessing upon obedience to the commandment concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil (which, of course, was never realized) & the implied prospect of a curse for disobedience (which was subsequently realized & exists to this day). This is the condition into which all human beings are born.
- The Covenant of Works, being implicit in the Garden, was formally re-established by God for Israel with the giving of the Law of Moses at Mount Sinai (which is known in the Old Testament and to the Jewish People to this day as the Covenant & in the New Testament as the Old Covenant). This was done as a means of reminding the Israelites that, in spite of the glorious privilege of being the Nation in which God chose to dwell for a time and work out His Plan of Salvation, they were nonetheless still under the curse on all mankind. It also served to prepare them for the coming of their (and the world’s) Redeemer and also to provide the appropriate setting for the Redeemer to do His work. The entire Old Testament may be seen to focus on this Covenant – in its historical emergence, its terms, stipulations, sanctions (in those portions traditionally labeled as “the Law”) & applications (in the Wisdom Literature in the traditionally-labeled “Writings”), and in the Covenant lawsuit that God would bring against His People, as expressed in the writings of “the Prophets” & chronicled in the post-Sinai history of the Israelite nation (the historical portion of “the Writings”).
- The Redeemer, Jesus Christ, established the New Covenant (which is the second of the two main Covenants between God & mankind) through His death. This New Covenant involves the fulfillment of both the blessing & curse sanctions of the Old Covenant, the first through Christ’s perfect obedience to the Law, or Old Covenant, and the second through His substitutionary suffering & death as the only truly innocent man. Jesus did so on behalf of the Covenant heirs, who receive their inheritance through faith in Him.
- Unlike the Old Covenant, the New Covenant provides only blessings because it has already been fulfilled by Christ on behalf of His children.
- The New Covenant was prefigured & promised in the Covenant given to Abraham in Genesis 15, which was the true basis for the hope of final salvation for all believers until the Redeemer arrived.
O. Oppression of the (Relatively) Innocent – Why Does God Allow it? (Because suffering is beneficial & “to die is gain” for God’s children.)
- Because all humans are members of a fallen & naturally disobedient race there is no one who is truly innocent before God, so there is no suffering that is truly unjust. That there is not immeasurably more suffering (and that there is any pleasure or joy at all) is only due to God’s goodness & mercy.
- Still, it is appropriate and, indeed, necessary to speak in terms of relative innocence and to decry & fight against all forms of oppression, especially that which is done against groups.
- Ultimately, though, God allows oppression & suffering for the benefit of His children, in order to prepare them for Heaven; as a warning & foretaste to unbelieving victims of what is to come in Hell so that they might have the opportunity to repent; and as a vindication of His justice in Hell for those oppressors who refuse to repent or a glorification of His mercy & grace for oppressors who repent.
P. Politics & Faith (Pluralism and compromise, while wrong with regard to one’s beliefs & theology, are necessary in the realm of politics. Peaceful coexistence requires this. So, while it will never be perfect, the best situation will be one of maximum freedom for people of all religions or no religion, not either a secular nor a theocratic state.)
- It is always necessary to reject social/political “gospels” on the Left (such as Utopian Socialism) and on the Right (such as Theocratic movements). Political parties will never be better than the people who join them. Rather, they are worse because of the corrupting power of power itself.
- In the Gospels Jesus may be seen to speak like a conservative, focusing on personal responsibility and accountability before God and not on political change or governmental responsibility, but He often acted like a liberal, spending time among and caring for the poor and needy and calling for his disciples to do the same (as the Old Testament frequently exhorts).
- Dramatic improvement of a society can never occur in a “Top-down” fashion, only in a “Bottom-up”. Therefore, the only way that cultures (or churches) are reformed is when large numbers of individuals become spiritually revived & enlightened. And, only God can make this happen. So, prayer must always be the top priority.
- No society in this world (short of the Heavenly Kingdom) will be truly just, but will be either too permissive (such as the contemporary United States or Western Europe) or too repressive (such as the former Soviet Union or fundamentalist Islamic theocracies). In spite of the excesses of such, an overly permissive state is to be preferred because it prizes freedom, including freedom of religion in general and Christian liberty in particular.
- Compromise is necessary in politics with regard to strategy & implementation, but true & virtuous principles should never be compromised. Well-meaning religious people frequently fail to understand that “the perfect is the enemy of the good” and make the mistake of forsaking the good that could be done for the sake of a perfect goal that can never be reached.
- Though there are times in history where evil is concentrated in political movements, it is always wrong to assume that one’s political opponents are evil even if it is clear that their positions are wrong. For good people are often wrong. At the same time, even if one’s opponent is evil (something that is actually impossible for us to know for sure in practice), evil people are sometimes right.
- There are four categories of people: Good people who unwittingly support bad causes (I would suggest that well-meaning Socialists would fit into this category.); Bad people who nonetheless support good causes (such as loyal Church-supporters who are actually hypocrites); Bad people who are committed to bad causes (such as malevolent Socialists); Good people who are committed to good causes (which, of course, is the ideal and is seen especially in true martyrs, who risk or even sacrifice their lives in order to help or save others).
- The constitutional democratic republic is the best form of government this side of Heaven because of its foundation in God-given universal principles (which are both naturally & Scripturally revealed), and its practical function, which allows for universal involvement and guards against the tendencies for power to be concentrated among a few or a single tyrant and also guards against the danger of a tyranny by a majority.
- Maintaining a free republic and a free market economy requires a culture that stresses the fear of God. For, a people who cannot police themselves will eventually find it necessary to institute a totalitarian police state.
- Obeying God or man? – Christians are called to obey and respect earthly authorities (Christianity is not inherently revolutionary in any political sense) unless they either require what God forbids or forbid what God requires, in which case not only can Christians resist such authorities, they must resist them even to the point of death.
- The separation of the civil and the religious is a basic principle of Christianity (unlike the intentionally-temporary situation that God had created with the Old Testament Theocracy of Israel) and this separation is necessary for the promotion of civil peace & freedom in this world. Both Muslim Jihadists & secular Socialists fail to maintain this separation, the latter doing so by seeking to subsume the Market under the State in the name of Justice, which is essentially a religious goal.
- There is no “civil religion” that is ever appropriate, as it will always lead either to an inappropriate compromise or denial of one’s own beliefs or an inappropriate effort to require others to act contrary to their beliefs. In other words, it only promotes hypocrisy.
Q. Questioning God versus Judging Him (God welcomes the first, so long as one is willing to accept His answers. But the second was humanity’s original sin and continues to be seen in those who reject God, despite the fact that they know Who He is and how dependent they are on Him.)
- The former is always welcomed by God, so long as we “remember Who we’re talking to” (or about). But the latter is, in effect, to put one’s self above the God who holds their life in His hands, the most foolish thing that a creature could ever do.
- All human beings already know the True God (subconsciously, at least) but they are naturally-inclined to resist & reject Him in favor of a conception & standard of their own choosing, by which they judge the True God & everyone else.
- The commonly-used saying: “It is wrong to be judgmental.” Reveals the inconsistency of the modern “Relativist”. This statement itself is a judgment!
- Perhaps the greatest irony of modernity is the common tendency of people who claim to be against making judgments about others condemning & hating religious people who dare to question the actions of others and assert that there are absolute standards that we all must live under.
- We may and, indeed, we must question the correctness of the actions of others in order to live in this world. But, we are unable to know the hearts of others (though God does). So, we cannot know for sure that anyone else is an evil person and therefore we are not permitted to judge them as such.
R. Religious? – Yes, You Are! (Even if you are not a member of a religious group you still have a belief-system, Humanism/Materialism/Empiricism, a set of unprovable and generally unquestioned beliefs which is functionally equivalent to a religion. Consequently, public education as currently constituted is actually an unconstitutional establishment of religion.)
- Even if you are not a member of a religious group you still have a belief-system, such as Evolutionary Naturalism and/or Humanistic Socialism, which is equivalent to a religion.
- Consequently, public education as currently constituted is actually an unconstitutional establishment of religion.
- Everyone in the world necessarily lives according to a body of assumptions that are normally never questioned. Indeed, they could not be questioned without undermining the entire direction, meaning, and motivations of one’s life. This is why one’s personal “religion” is not normally examined unless a crisis of faith & circumstances demands it.
- Modern Secular Humanists assume (falsely) that the only things we know for sure are those things which have been established scientifically. At the same time, they must actually assume a long list of things that Science cannot possibly account for in order to live their daily lives (including the reality of their own existence & that of the world around them and that some things are good while others are bad).
- Everyone seeks to spread (or impose) his or her own “brand” of religion insofar as we seek to influence or control others.
S. Sanctification of Believers (God’s Personalized & Irresistible Renovation Program)
- The divine preservation of the saints which causes them to persevere
- If you truly know the True God then everything will work for your good so that you will grow in holiness.
- It is impossible to “blow your witness” if you are truly a believer as even your failings will magnify God’s grace and glorify Him through your acknowledgement of them and repentance from them.
- The “graph” of each believer’s Sanctification (or growth of holiness over time) will differ, though each one will have up’s & down’s (of varying length & depth) and the overall trend will be upward.
- The true believer’s growth in understanding of his or her remaining sinfulness will always outpace his or her growth in holiness, since the former is what leads to the latter. As a result, though, true believers will be characterized by thinking that they are getting worse even though they are actually getting better, while hypocrites do the opposite. The result of the former is true humility instead of the false pride of the latter.
T. Tolerance – Its True Meaning (Not the elimination of what is offensive, but rather the allowing & even defending of what is offensive)
- The key to freedom, especially freedom of religion, and peace in this world (Quote associated with Voltaire: “I disagree strongly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”)
- Intolerance in the name of tolerance (“Political Correctness”, ex. of “The most dangerous place for an African-American child is in the womb.” billboard being removed, labeling of opponents as “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobes” or “Islamophobes”)
- The real intolerant & judgmental people, whether on the political “Left” or “Right”, are those who regard those who disagree with them not only as wrong (which is normal) but as evil.
- Judgments regarding people’s actions, words or, even, thoughts are unavoidable for everyone, but Jesus’ call (Matthew 7:1-5) is for accuracy, equity and consistency in judgment. Furthermore, judging whether another person is ultimately good or evil must be left to God for only He can see the heart of another. So, we are prone to mistake evil people for good or good for evil.
- Intolerance is driven by a natural but sinful human tendency to assume falsely that everyone else is just as bad as me or worse.
- Intolerant people are self-righteous hypocrites who either falsely claim that they are keeping God’s Law (the error of the Pharisees and other religious hypocrites) or claim that there is no Higher Standard (at least not for them) but still find a way to judge others (the hypocrisy of the Left).
U. Unity & Plurality of God
- Christians are not tri-theists – We ought to know!
- A plurality of Persons within God’s Divine Being is actually necessary for Him to be a Personal God and to be relational without needing to create.
- So, the Triune God of Scripture is the Highest & Purest Conception of Deity.
- The Trinity is clearly taught in the Scriptures as all three Persons are identified as the same God but have distinct functions. (Though they are all equally God the three Persons have characteristic attributes & roles –the Father is the Unapproachable Holy Transcendent One, the Creator who is over the Creation, who is the Author of all divine activity; the Son is He who does His Father’s bidding, ultimately, while remaining fully God, becoming also a man in order to be the Accomplisher of the divine plan; the Holy Spirit is the Immanent Presence of God, the Applier of the divine plan.)
- The Trinity is the basis for both objectivity & subjectivity in the Creation.
- The Trinity is the basis for both unity & plurality in the Creation.
- The self-existence of God is the ground of all existence.
V. Vengeance on the Wicked & Vindication of the Righteous When Christ Returns (Though justice is elusive in this world, the Perfectly Just Judge is coming.)
- The New Testament does not alter the Old Testament promise of a coming Judgment Day for all people in which the wicked will be judged and the righteous blessed.
- It is possible to know with absolute certainty that one is among the righteous (by grace through faith) and it is impossible to know for certain that one will not be among the righteous in the End. But it is not possible to know with absolute certainty about anyone else (in either way), though one can be nearly certain either one way or the other about some (specifically, that professing believers whose lives consistently show “the fruits of repentance” are righteous & saved and that those who have been guilty of monstrous evil and show no sign of repentance are evil & under God’s wrath).
- The key is not what people do or say or think, but whether or not they acknowledge that they must answer to a Higher Authority, even if they don’t know His Name (though it would always be better for them if they did).
W. Word of God – The Uniqueness of the Bible (The Definitive Revelation from God)
- For those whom God has enabled to consider it objectively (most people being subjectively biased to disbelieve in its uniqueness), the Holy Bible, consisting of the 66 books of the Old & New Testaments proves itself to be perfectly trustworthy in revealing to mankind who God is and who we are.
- Because of the blinding & corrupting power of sin in mankind it was necessary for God to provide an objective (or “Special”) form of revelation.
- Therefore, while there are many true applications of any particular portion of Scripture (along with many more false ones) there is only one correct interpretation or meaning. Of course, it is often impossible to know for certain what that correct meaning is. However, God has made His Word sufficiently clear that those things which are essential for one to know Him as Savior & Lord can be understood by anyone who truly desires to do so.
- God’s revelation of Himself is not limited to the 66 books of the Bible, but includes that which comes through the world-at-large, which reflects its Creator at every turn, and through human nature, which has been made in His image. This additional revelation (traditionally called “Natural”) can never conflict with His objective revelation in the Bible insofar as each are rightly understood.
- Therefore, there is no inherent conflict between Science & the Christian Faith from the Christian side. This conflict is actually the invention of non-Christians, while also arising at times from some believers, who have an excessive Biblicism which falsely rejects the other sources of God’s revelation.
X. Xenophobia Opposed (Christianity is not threatened by diversity. The Real Xenophobia: When whites are petrified of offending the self-righteous liberal morality-police by anything they say or do about others.)
- Differences in the world-at-large (gender, racial, cultural, and, even, religious) must be accepted and even celebrated in many cases.
- There are many differences that must be accepted within the Church as non-“crucial” (pun intended) theological or practical differences (such as assurance of salvation, baptism, sabbath observance, the drinking of alcoholic beverages, the continuation of certain apostolic gifts, or different preferences in styles of worship). See Romans 14.
- There are, however, some differences that must not be accepted within the Church (such as questioning or denial of the existence of God or of the Deity of Christ, holding good-works to be a prior condition of salvation, or attempts to justify activity that is clearly described as sinful in the Scriptures such as homosexuality or other sexual sin, but also more commonly-accepted sins such as glutton, greed, envy, slander, gossip or anger).
Y. Yesterday is History. (Though your past affects who you are today, it does not control who you will be from now on.)
- It is important to understand your history because for individuals as well as nations “he who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it”. But those who understand the past learn from it.
- Your history determines (at least in part) the issues & problems that you deal with today, but it does not determine what you will do about them. Even though you may have been victimized you are never a truly helpless victim. You are capable of making a positive response and responsible to do so.
- Forgiving those who have sinned against us (or, at least, who we think have sinned against us) is the first step that we need to take toward overcoming whatever damage they have done to us and it is also the only way that we can possibly help them.
- Whatever happened to you in the past was God’s will and, as such, it had to be for your good one way or another as an expression of His goodness & grace, either to bring you to the point of acknowledging & trusting in Him for the first time or to keep you trusting in Him, since it is impossible for God to sin against you.
Z. Zionism – The True Significance of the Nation of Israel (Romans 3 & 9-11)
- That the Jewish people have survived to this day, in spite of continual & vicious persecution is (paradoxically) a sign that God still loves them.
- However, God does not have two separate programs for Jews & Gentiles. There is only one “Holy Tree” comprised of believing Jews & Gentiles. Israel & the Church are one and the same.
- Nonetheless, unrepentant Jews remain “natural branches” of the Holy Tree and will be grafted back into it “when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” so long as they don’t reject their Savior in the End.