What is postmodernism?
In religion and theology, it means that which came after the modernizing of Biblical truth, which began in the late 18th Century and expanded into the 19th Century, prompted by skepticism, unbelief, and higher criticism stemming from Europe.
For a very simplistic definition, I would say that religious postmodernism has its origin in Eden, when Satan said to Eve, “Indeed, has God said, you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?”
Satan, the archenemy of the Triune Godhead and man, endeavored to entice Eve to doubt what God said and believe what he said. If she would abandon what God said and believe the lie of Satan, he would have her where he wanted her – alienated from God and in allegiance to himself. That’s what happened. And Satan has been enticing people to say, “Indeed, has God said…” ever since.
A denial of the plenary, verbal inspiration and sufficiency of the Bible is to say, “I know more than God does. I don’t need that old-fashioned idea that the Bible contains absolute truth.”
Free from any idea of a sovereign God ruling this universe, autonomous man flounders in every form of philosophical “ism” that happens to catch his mind at the moment. Thinking himself to be wise, he has become a fool, a fool who says in his heart, “There is no god for me!”
In word or deed, most postmodern religious leaders deny the “Five Solas” of the historic Protestant Reformation: Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, and The Glory of God Alone. They have forsaken God’s word, and hence, they have abandoned the God of the Word; and He has abandoned them.
What is needed to counteract the soul-damning effects of philosophical postmodernism in the Evangelical world is a dramatic return to the Gospel of Jesus Christ found in the Holy Scriptures. Pluralism, relativism, humanism, naturalism, pragmatism, consumerism, and individualism be damned with Satan!
“There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony born at the proper time.” “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (I Timothy 2:5-6 & Acts 4:12). Use any form of psychobabble you wish to describe it; but in my mind postmodernism is simply old-fashioned unbelief.
Are men and women really totally depraved in their hearts?
Men and women are incapable of producing any “good” deed that will honor God. It does not mean that the sinner commits or is prone to commit every form of sin. But there is no sin that the sinner, under proper provocation, is incapable of sinning. The sinner has a preference for himself and an aversion from God.
The Psalmist said, “The wicked are estranged from the womb, going forth as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (58:3).
Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (17:9-10).
The Apostle Paul declared, “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God, they have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12).
Paul was restating Isaiah’s statement, “We are like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (64:6).
Therefore, we must agree with God’s Word when it declares, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).
The answer to man’s sinfulness is not a change of nurture. As sinners, we need a change of nature. As infants, we were born physiologically into the family of our parents. We need to be re-born by God spiritually, resulting in repentance and faith which brings to us adoption into the Family of God.
What is catechesis?
Catechesis comes from the Greek word catekeo (kathkew), which simply means to “instruct.” Most common dictionaries define it as “to teach by word of mouth.”
A catechism is a “short book giving a brief summary of the basis principles of a religion in question-and-answer form” (Webster’s New Revised University Dictionary).
A “chatechist” is a teacher.
To be “catechized” is to be taught by means of asking and answering questions.
The reason why few post-Christian Protestant churches do not catechize is because it takes work. It takes work on the part of teachers and on the part of students. Very few professing Christian parents take time to catechize their children. The Westminster Confession of Faith contains both a “shorter” and a “larger” catechism. For example, to answer the question, “What is God?” the shorter catechism answers:
“God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.”
The larger catechism answers the question in a fuller way:
“God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”
The most effective means of teaching biblical truths and concepts is by complementing catechism questions with proof-texts from the Word of God. A good example for teaching the concept of God’s incomprehensibility (the fact that God cannot be fully known by man) is to teach Isaiah 55:6-11, which includes these words, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
A good example of a well taught biblical character was Timothy, Paul’s “son-in-the-Faith.” Paul admonished him, “Continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:14-16).
The Church of Jesus Christ in America and our country’s culture would have a much better hope of survival had catechism been a larger part of our lives. God help us to return to the spiritual foundations that can be built and strengthened by catechizing both young and old in Biblical Truth. (BCS – 8-14-12)
Does the Bible Teach Capital Punishment?
“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed,
for in the image of God He made man. (Genesis 9:6)
If modern man is supposedly evolving into a higher, nobler species, why do people keep murdering other people and why does society look upon this evil with evolving leniency?
The fact is, when the sixth commandment of God says, “You shall not murder,” it means that exactly. One doesn’t need ancient philosophers, modern psychology or someone mumbling political correctness to interpret those words. To take the life of another human being by a premeditated act is to both strike out at God and one of his created beings.
Murder in Relation to our Creator
The fact is murder is a grievous sin, which God detests.
When Cain murdered his brother Abel, God asked Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”
Cain deceitfully answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
To which God replied, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground!”1
Cain knew he had murdered his brother Abel; and God also knew and would punish Cain for his wicked deed.
The fact is murder is condemned by God and He has pronounced what the punishment should be for this deliberate act against Him and one of His creatures:
“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.”2
There, in the beginning of man’s history, we find a Satanic-inspired act of murder and God’s pronounced judgment upon such an act by one human upon another. Although some critics might say, “That’s an Old Testament Jewish commandment that is no longer applicable in this modern time;” I would heartily disagree. Like His other divine attributes, His justice is one of His eternal characteristics. And He has said,
“For I, the Lord, do not change!”3
Murder in Relation to the Creator’s Mandate
For the present period of human history God has also given His pronouncement. It is found in the New Testament book of Romans and reads as follows:
“Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.”4
The fact is the “sword” mentioned here is the death penalty—one means of execution–determined by and carried out by civil authorities that have their origin in the plan of God for the best interests of humanity. Remember that John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea and an Idumean descendant of Esau.
The very writer chosen by God to record the above words, the Apostle Paul, was beheaded under the reign of Nero. His death was not a punishment for evil doing, but the martyrdom of a faithful preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The great Apostle to the Gentiles was murdered by the decapitation of a headsman’s sword on the Ostian Road outside the city of Rome.
Murder in Relation to Mankind
Both individuals and governments are capable of setting aside the revealed laws of God. But we are all still responsible for recognizing Divine authority and yielding to its demands. The fact is, we are also responsible for our brothers and sisters—our fellow human beings. We are to treat them with dignity and respect. That is why God gave commandments regarding lying, stealing, coveting, immorality, bearing false witness, etc. And we are responsible to urge the authorities in power to adhere to the commands of God. This applies to the application of justice in punishing evildoers, such as murderers.
The fact is, when we as individuals or as a society choose to reject the judgment of Almighty God, we incur His wrath and his condemnation. Nations are responsible to God.
God has declared, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”
For States in this Republic to fail to punish the crime of premeditated murder with the death penalty is to shake the fist in the face of God and invite His wrath. Delayed and/or watered down justice, in the face of confessions, DNA evidence, personal witnesses, etc., is an abrogation of God’s law. Unending appeals make a mockery of justice.
One of history’s examples of God’s punishment for iniquity is found in Genesis chapter 6. There we read this account of God’s administration of justice in he form of death:
“My Spirit shall not strive with men forever, because he also is flesh…Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually….But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord…Then God said to Noah, the end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.”5
The depravity of men’s hearts and their evil deeds were so heinous that God pronounced the death sentence on all mankind and destroyed them all by the universal flood. Only Noah and his family were saved from the cataclysmic deluge.
The writer of Hebrews comments:
“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”6
Murder in Relation to Modern Society
Modernity mocks at the Biblical record of the flood. But what is “modernity” anyway? Modernity is the expression of each generation’s attitude toward the eternal and immutable laws of God and the excellence of His person. Modernity is each radically corrupt generation of humanity coming up with what they term “new and enlightened” reasons to reject God and His Word, the Bible.
Each generation grows more arrogant in defying God’s laws. Philosophers and students of “culture” refer to our current rebellion against God as “post-modernism.” But in reality it is as old as Eden. And the so-called intellectual elite comes up with new definitions and uses of such terms as “closure” to try to hide the hideousness of defying God’s laws.
The term “closure” is one of the most misused words in the English language. It normally means a “finish, end, or conclusion.” For the families of murdered individuals there is no “closure” when the murderer of their loved one is put in prison for “25 years to life.”
The family members of the murdered victim become victims themselves. The murderer of their loved one has not suffered the penalty of death. Does he suffer death in the same manner in which he murdered his victim? No. Society is now more interested in making his death (if he receives the death penalty) as “easy” or as “painless” as possible.
If he is imprisoned, he is still “free” in the sense that he is alive, can walk around, watch television, read a book, etc. Now the victim’s family—and society in general—must have to shell out of their pockets tax funds to support the upkeep of a murderer who should have been executed. Justice has not been served. The law of God has not been adhered to. Society has determined that it is wiser than God. And society will be punished by God for abrogating His law.
The fact is, when a loved one dies, within a year or two the pain of loss for that loved one’s presence is assuaged. We who are believers, and know our loved one is in heaven, accept the loss of their presence and appreciate the fact that they have gone on to a better existence in the very presence of their Creator.
The Apostle Paul said, “to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord.”7
We who are Christians—individuals who have repented of our sins and have trusted in Christ’s death on our behalf—have what is called “The Blessed Hope.”
It is “a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”8
Now that will be closure! And with faith we wait for it in full assurance that it is ours. I know this personally, having buried many of my deceased loved ones and having conducted many funerals as a minister of the Gospel. Unbelievers have no such hope.
The fact is, when a convicted murderer goes to prison for “life,” his actual chances of being there for “life” are slim. He may get paroled or released earlier than the sentence meted out to him. What’s worse, neither his family nor the family of his victim will ever really see “closure.” Every time they have to visit him at the prison, every time he calls them on the phone, every time he has a birthday, every time Christmas rolls around, there he is, not suffering the divine penalty of death, which would be a form of closure, but the “politically correct” penalty of rotting away on death row. This can never be called “closure”! In stead, it might be called the cruelest of punishment for everyone involved.
One matter that is often overlooked in the debate over the death penalty is the danger faced by less violent prisoners where murderers are kept. The general public is not made aware of the fact that murderers serving long prison sentences often murder other prisoners. Prison officials are also murdered. And yet, it may take up to twenty years for the murderer to actually be executed.
What We Are Left With
This is what modernity has given us: thousands of justly convicted murderers whose existence is being supported by a weak, unjust society which allows its government to flaunt the laws of God; and tens of thousands of family members—victims of both sides of a heinous act of murder, never seeing closure in relation to the murderous perpetrator or his victim. And a society mesmerized into a false sense of “tolerance,” which now tolerates injustice and its offspring, more murder, because the fear of the just penalty of death has been removed.
To deny that death is not a deterrent is to abandon common sense. The murderer who is put to death will never murder again. The one who is paroled, may, and often does murder again. Then the victims really start multiplying and justice is further abrogated. Rehabilitation is also out of the question. The murderer forfeits his right to live by taking the life of another individual by a premeditated act. Administering the vengeance of God has been delegated to civil authority.
What should the average Christian citizen of this republic do?
1) Don’t be ignorant of what God’s Word says on this matter.
2) Don’t be silent.
3) Make your voice heard to the authorities God has put over you—write letters, make phone calls—logically explain your convictions and the standards of God’s Word.
4) Work to put elected authorities in power that respect the Word of God and God’s laws. You may not have the ability to write letters; but you have the obligation to participate in the voting booth in lifting a standard of righteousness to preserve our freedom to proclaim God’s Word.
5) If you belong to a Bible believing church, insist that your pastor is faithful in proclaiming God’s Word on this vital issue.
6) Pray for a revival of conviction in the hearts of God’s people, which will wake them out of their lethargy and cause them to take a stand for God’s righteous laws.
What is Hyper-Calvinism?
I. Some Definitions
1. A slang expression meaning extremely nervous or excitable, emotionally stimulated or overexcited.
2. “Hyperbole” is an exaggeration or extravagant statement used as a figure of speech. (e.g., “I am so hungry I could eat a horse.”)
3. “Hyperextension” means bending a bodily limb beyond normal limits.
B. “Calvinism” is the theological system derived from Biblical Theology and attributed to John Calvin who taught many of its tenants. The acronym “TULIP” is often used to stipulate the main concepts of this theological system:
1. Total Depravity (radical corruption of the human soul and spirit)
2. Unconditional Election (God’s decision in mercy to choose certain individuals to eternal salvation)
3. Limited Atonement (particular redemption)
4. Irresistible Grace (effectual grace)
5. Perseverance of the Saints (preservation of the Saints)
C. Hyper-Calvinism can be defined as taking the doctrines called Calvinism and bending or distorting them beyond what they actually teach. It is an exaggeration of those Biblical teachings by failing to use the standard principles of Biblical Interpretation. Those principles include:
1. Interpreting an unclear passage of Scripture in light of a clear passage.
2. Interpreting the Scripture in light of its historical, cultural and linguistic context.
3. Interpreting the Scripture in light of the entire Biblical record.
4. Interpreting the Scripture in light of our finiteness and the fact that there are some mysteries of Divine Providence that we will not understand in this life.
II. A Typical Question
“If God chooses those from the human race that He purposes to ‘save’ and fit them for heaven, then why do we need to witness or preach the Gospel?
A. Because God has chosen to save men by the preaching of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16; Rom. 10:14-15).
B. Because God has decreed believers to be the means for the lost to hear the Gospel (John 15:16, 26-27).
C. Because God commands every believer to be a witness for Christ (Matt. 18:18-20).
D. Because we do not know who has been chosen by God. Unregenerate individuals are born again from every generation; and each generation of believers bears the responsibility of proclaiming the saving Gospel of Christ.
III. What does Hyper Calvinism indicate?
A. An ignorance of Scripture and Biblical Theology. (There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant – that’s just not knowing some facts. Now, stupid is another matter.)
B. A failure to understand the Christian’s true vocation, why we are converted.
C. A failure to exhibit love for Christ (John 14:15).
D. A failure to love and to pray for the lost (I John 3:13-14, 23).
E. A failure to realize our coming judgment in this matter (Prov. 24:11-12).
III. Some practical truth we must understand and appropriate in order to be a faithful ambassador for Jesus Christ to our generation and culture.
A. It is God who saves His people (Jonah 2:9-10).
B. God saves or converts men in His time and place (Gal. 1:15-17).
C. It is Jesus Christ who saves – He is the source of our salvation (John 11:25-26).
D. Faith is the means whereby we appropriate the finished work of Christ through the message of the Gospel (I Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 10:17).
E. Faith is NOT OUR WORK, it is the gift of God to us (Eph. 2:8-10). Faith is not something for which God must reward us with salvation.
F. We are saved by God’s mercy in electing love (II Tim. 1:8-10).
G. The “mystery” of the Gospel is “Christ in you” (Col. 1:25-29).
H. What Adam lost in Eden is restored in the union of Christ in His people by means of the New Birth (1Cor. 15:45; John 3:5-8).
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