Carried Away-Pt. 2

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14 NIV)

Making disciples of all nations seems like a daunting task—and it is! Yet is anything too hard for the Lord? Would Jesus tell his followers to do the impossible? The prophecy above indicates the job will be completed, but “How?”

If world evangelism is left up to people with the most spiritual and physical resources, will it be accomplished? America has proven its many churches and its prosperity do not mean the Gospel spreads at home or abroad. In the West, Christianity is in decline while Islam’s influence rapidly increases.

Jesus’ order to “Go into all the world” means boots on the ground.

Some believe the solution lies in satellites beaming Christian TV and internet. It may be ours, but it isn’t God’s answer. Jesus’ order to “Make disciples” means their must be boots on the ground. Like bombs dropped from airplanes, bombs cannot replace infantry. Neither do electronic signals substitute for beautiful feet on the mountains (Romans 10:14-15)! “Go” means “Get off your padded pews and go!”

The present trickle of Christian volunteers cannot meet the battle’s demands. As I see it, what must happen is conscription (sp. the means rulers use to enlist fresh recruits). When kings go to war, they don’t wait for enough volunteers; they go in search of conscripts (i.e. fighting-aged men who, not by choice, trade in work clothes for combat fatigues.)

All nations will hear, then they will worship the Lord. How will they believe, lest the Gospel is proclaimed to them? Believers will go out in shackles and in tears. They will return rejoicing, bringing along a great harvest of souls.

Next, I will describe a likely scenario in which the Great Commission will be fulfilled.

Carried Away- Pt. 2
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14 NIV)
Making disciples of all nations seems like a daunting task—and it is! Yet is anything too hard for the Lord? Would Jesus tell his followers to do the impossible? The prophecy above indicates the job will be completed, but “How?”
If world evangelism is left up to people with the most spiritual and physical resources, will it be accomplished? America has proven its many churches and its prosperity do not mean the Gospel spreads at home or abroad. In the West, Christianity is in decline while Islam’s influence rapidly increases.
Jesus’ order to “Go into all the world” means boots on the ground.
Some believe the solution lies in satellites beaming Christian TV and internet. It may be ours, but it isn’t God’s answer. Jesus’ order to “Make disciples” means their must be boots on the ground.  Like bombs dropped from airplanes, bombs cannot replace infantry. Neither do electronic signals substitute for beautiful feet on the mountains (Romans 10:14-15)! “Go” means “Get off your padded pews and go!”
The present trickle of Christian volunteers cannot meet the battle’s demands. As I see it, what must happen is conscription (sp. the means rulers use to enlist fresh recruits). When kings go to war, they don’t wait for enough volunteers; they go in search of conscripts (i.e. fighting-aged men who, not by choice, trade in work clothes for combat fatigues.)
All nations will hear, then they will worship the Lord. How will they believe, lest the Gospel is proclaimed to them? Believers will go out in shackles and in tears. They will return rejoicing, bringing along a great harvest of souls.
Next, I will describe a likely scenario in which the Great Commission will be fulfilled.
Walls that Divide Pt. 3

The most damaging of the walls Christians have built are the mental and physical ones that separate Christian from Christian. A group of believers sees another group as the enemy so they fight hard prevent an exchange of ideas or dialogues because they believe differently. We have prominent groups that produce all their own teaching materials, educate their own leadership in their own specific seminaries or Bible schools and restrict Christian books to the precious few that earn the imprimatur of the authorities.

Walls multiply once we start using them. A wall springs up for all facets of life. Instead of developing critical thinking skills and apologetic abilities, Christians become cult-like finding their security in a leader who thinks for them.

Venturing out becomes rare. Certain topics are not discussed, because–God forbid–an outside idea might be entertained. Our group status would be in peril, if we uttered a thought contrary to the collective dogma.

Walls make those behind them timid. Outside there are dangers, conflicts and arguments about views that are strange to those inside. Inside everyone nods in agreement.

Per chance on the outside of the walls there is a discussion on politics, for example. Suppose it turns into an argument that challenges our set of assumptions. Our conversation becomes emotional and we become defensive because our presuppositions are under attack. The vulnerable one is the person who has mental walls. They are not accustomed to battling in the realm of ideas. So the cultist makes a mental note not to engage again in meaningful conversation with that person and to rush back to our four-walled citadel as soon as we are able. And let the rest of the world goes to hell.

All dividing walls are soon going to be obliterated. All mind control will be internal, not external. No more asking if it is okay to listen to this talk show or if it is acceptable to watch this cable news outlet or should one read this author or that commentator. Christians will employ the mind of Christ. They will filter everything through Scripture and listen intently for truth as well as the lie. That includes those we acknowledge as spiritual leaders.

If it isn’t too late, it is time to take the church of Jesus Christ out from behind the walls. Release the caged lion and let the Gospel do what it does best, penetrate the defenses the devil has built. It past time for believers to spread their wings and discover they can fly.

You Won the Argument Pt. 2

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. (2 Timothy 3:6-7 NIV)

Decades ago, I began purchasing a synthetic oil for our only vehicle. When I moved to another location, I found another garage and maintained the practice with every oil change. For reasons that had to do with my financial situation, I changed back to a cheaper, regular “non-synthetic” oil; that’s when I ran into problems. When my engine developed a clang and bang, I went back to the oil dealer looking for his help. After some deliberation he said that I needed a new engine. When he told me how much a replacement would cost, I almost cried. It was an outrageous amount.

I was depressed. The Lord snapped me out of it by reminding me no one in my family was dead, or even sick. We were healthy. We had a roof over our head. We’d survive.

After mentioning my engine noise to a mechanically-inclined friend, he said he thought he could fix it. When I got it back, his bill was around $20. There was no clang or bang. Instead of pulling my engine for a new one, he changed the oil again. The expert at the garage, had tried to talk me into something I did not need. He had me believing a lie. He took advantage of my ignorance and trust.

In Part 1, I attempted to highlight a group of experts. They are well-educated, gifted talkers and skilled writers. They dominate political and, in some cases, spiritual discussions. I want to break down some of their strategy for winning arguments and persuading less-knowledgeable and trusting souls.

Several steps are involved: First, frame the argument. Whoever can frame the argument to suit them, has the best chance of winning.

Next, talk fast and make several assertions in rapid-fire fashion so that the opponent cannot address them separately.

Next, stress the first assertion is accepted by scholars and every Bible-believing Christian who ever lived. You would have to be a heretic to deny what they are going to say. It comes out like this: “Of course, we know that…” and it goes from there. Then the next point is built on the foundational statement, but is so quickly delivered you cannot interrupt and say, “Wait a minute! Who accepts that premise? I certainly don’t!”

Illogical- So What? Part 1

Don’thave anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.  (2 Timothy 2:23 NIV)

So it goes in America:

“The Russians were involved in the 2016 Presidential election to help Trump get elected.”

“How? There is no evidence that anyone tampered with voting machines or the vote count. How did they effect the vote?”

“Well look at the conversations between Trump’s associates and Russian officials. It all points to collusion. There needs to be an investigation.”

“What would investigators be looking for? There’s no evidence of wrong-doing.”

“I don’t know but there has to be something there between Trump and Putin. We’ve got to get to the bottom of it. There’s plenty of smoke, and where there’s smoke there’s fire.”

“How? There is no evidence that anyone tampered with voting machines or the vote count. How did they effect the vote?”

“Well look at the conversations between Trump’s associates and Russian officials. It all points to collusion. There needs to be an investigation.”

“What would investigators be looking for? There’s no evidence of wrong-doing.”

“I don’t know but there has to be something there between Trump and Putin. We’ve got to get to the bottom of it. There’s plenty of smoke, and where there’s smoke there’s fire.”

Most in the U.S. are justifiably tired of hearing about the Russians and the election. The argument continues despite its baseless premise. If politicians had to stay within the bounds of logic, we would have civil discussions. But, no, we have legislators who prefer to engage in quarrels.

In my opinion, this is due to the legal system’s influence in government. Law students learn the art of argumentation. When they become lawyers they can win cases because of their superior debating skill. Clever sounding arguments often win, even over truth and justice. God help us!

Tragically, the art of argumentation has infected our Christian fellowships. One of the first things we should teach new converts is Logic. If the new Christian knows Logic, then they can hear a fallacious but clever argument headed their way. After the red flag goes up on a few fallacious arguments (“ad hoc ergo prompter hoc,” “the straw man,” “the red herring,” etc.), the new convert could excuse themselves, that is unless they want to test their ability to argue.

Recently, I became locked into a conversation that, unfortunately, became a quarrel. My head was spinning. My emotions got the best of me. I was frustrated and wanted to walk away. The other person had an answer for everything. My points ran into a wall. After more than a half hour, I blurted out “Your argument is foolish,” then it really turned into a mess. (Thank God I didn’t say “foolish and stupid” like 2 Timothy 2:23.)

I was entangled in a logical fallacy called a “circular argument”—the very thing the Apostle said to avoid. On the ground, I drew a circle with my finger. I said “This is how our discussion is going.” Had Paul’s warning been fresh in my mind, I would have bowed out as soon as the circular reasoning came into play. (“A is true and so B is true because A is true.”) Believing I could ride it out and reason successfully, I had to go around and around and around ad nauseum.

Next time, Part 2, The illogical invades the Christian church.

Introducing “The Priests of God”

It is with great joy that we at The Prophets of God blog announce “The Priests of God: Unveiling the Order of Melchizedek,” the next installment in THE PROPHETS, PRIESTS AND KINGS SERIES. God willing, we expect a release on or before July 26th. Below is part one of a question and answer with writer, pastor and teacher, John Finkbeiner.

Q- First off, I congratulate you. I do not recall any books on this subject. Are you aware of any? How did you come up with the idea for The Priests of God?

A- I’m reluctant to accept congratulations after all the patience and grace God has shown me. This book was written because God wanted it to be, not because of anything I’ve done that deserves congratulations. For some reason, the Lord chose me and never gave up on me. Eventually, we produced a book I am proud to be a part of, but it took awhile.

No, I don’t know of anything like it. There may be, but I never research the topic. My approach is to dig into the Bible and pick up other material as I come across it. I heard recently the Mormons have had an interest in Melchizedek. Not sure what they came up with, but it does not really matter. My writing is on Biblical-rich topics. I don’t have any reason to consult commentaries or extra-Biblical materials.

As to the last part of your question, the idea for The Priests of God was born of necessity. The idea for the series Prophets, Priests and Kings, came to me first. I noticed that theme in Scripture as a whole and felt it was begging to be explored. It was too big a subject to treat as a whole so I had to examine each part. The subject of God’s priesthood is the one I knew least about, but it could prove to be the most revolutionary.

Q- How long did it take you to write?

A- I like the answer “All my life.” I heard that from a writer once and believe it’s true for me. It took me to a ripe old age before I published anything. The People of God came out in 2010, then it was two more in three years. Here we are, more than four years after Lifesaver. There were long months of inactivity, but my ideas were marinating and my Scripture reading was kindling a curiosity for more knowledge. Thinking seriously about the topic started ten years ago. There were times I wasn’t sure whether I was going to write this book, but that’s all history now. The Priests of God is in book form and I could not be happier.

An Open Letter to My Brother

Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his  people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews. (Esther 10:3 NIV)

Re: Your stated that your only previous experience with a Protestant Church were my services in the Chapel. If you don’t know, I must tell you: My approach to services and worship were far from the ordinary Protestant services. In fact, a contributing factor to my exit one year ago, was this: I came to the conclusion that even my extreme model for Sunday worship was of little value. Over the many years I had morphed from a seminary-trained, robe-wearing, baby-baptizing, smiling main-line denominational, Sunday bulletin-following, “call-me-reverend pastor, into someone who rejects that model. I couldn’t continue producing a weekly dog-and-pony show, that competed with such things as sleeping in or watching Joel Osteen. Believing the weekly church service, as we know it, to be pagan in its origins, I became cynical. I doubted that what I was doing was worth the energy I put into it. Moreover, I felt like I was helping perpetuate a myth, that church-going was fulfilling our once-a-week duty for God.

Somewhere along the line, I realized the real church met on Sat. a.m., sat in a circle, openly discussed matters of faith and life, and went out from the gathering place committed to applying what was shared. Genuine saints were the Sat. a.m. regulars who came to learn, share and grow. I became torn between the façade of calling Sun. a.m. services church or worship, or Sat. “the Sabbath” as the day the church met to be edified.

I accepted one invitation to preach since I left. It left me cold. God has closed the door for me to put on the jacket and tie, and follow the agenda in the bulletin, while preaching the nice message. Success is having the people shake hands at the door, and with a smile say “Nice message, pastor.” (I almost feel ill when I think about the shallowness and phoniness of it all. And I helped perpetuate this fakery for over 35 years.)

Never will I forget running into a man who served as a pastoral mentor. Following a brief conversation at the movie theater, in the presence of his wife said, “It is time for the church to go underground.” He said it, but he could not make the break. He was pastoring a very large church in the area, and, as a bishop, was sought after by pastors who wanted to be where he was some day. He tried to go underground as we met monthly for a year for fellowship and support the house church movement. Beside the revolution inside me, nothing revolutionary came out of it. Churches were started, but they cannot be characterized as underground.

The world will try to squeeze you into its mold. If you acquiesce, becoming like the frog that is boiled incrementally, you will find yourself in a compromising position. God will deal with you in the way he thinks best, but I want to encourage you to be an anticipator instead. The time will come, and now is, when those who worship God, will not confine their worship to a building or place. They will worship him in spirit and in truth. For those are the worshippers the Father seeks.

God is about to judge his church or his house, those called by his name (1 Peter 4:17-19, Revelation 2-3.) It is essential for good and faithful servants to be proactive and anticipators. How can we sound the alarm of judgment if we operate from the inside? We need to be on the wall.

As we know from prophecy, many who claim to be believing Christians will fall away. Why? Because the traditional church will fail them. They cannot bring themselves to sound the alarm. They are watchmen who will refuse to blow the trumpet, and so the blood of their people will be on their hands. The time will come when you must decide: Do I want the approbation of men or the approval of God? (Romans 12:1-2)

How can we pretend any longer our nation will not soon face disgrace, that calamity will not overtake us? (Micah 2:6-7) Are we so blind we do not see “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” on the wall? To be given the mantle of a prophet, then failing to speak God’s Word just as he gave it means that we will fall by the same sword as those who are at ease in Zion, ignorant of the warning of God’s true prophets.

Pray for your strength on the day of reckoning. Pray for me also, that I might prove faithful to my calling. Who knows, but the Lord will see fit to spare us, and give us a name like Mordecai, among his people (Esther ).

Five Reasons to Leave Church

I love the subject of politics. It is what politics has become that distresses me. I love my country, but I hate the decadence, deceit and evil I see everyday. I love the Church of our Lord. Like others, I am deeply concerned by how woefully unprepared Christians are about what’s coming.

God’s design for the church was always about “a people,” but we have made it “a place.” I love the saints, the people of God, and always will, but I reject the church as a building–and believe God does also. Nothing good is going to come from the attachment Christians have with bricks and mortar.

With the Lord’s return near, the saints of God (people) must relegate the four walls we call church (place) to the past. Jesus cannot be contained by walls. Worshipers the Father seeks must worship Him in spirit and in truth (cf. John 4:19-24). The physical obstructs the spiritual. No matter how beautiful it is, the Lord wants us out of the building (place). For reasons, it is condemned (cf. Matthew 24:1-2, 1 Peter 4:17). Soon our lovely houses of worship will be a spiritual and physical trap.

Soon all will be forever altered. From Scripture I plead with everyone who loves Christ, to exit the building before everyone inside falls into Antichrist’s hands (cf. Revelation 13:7.) Those who heed this prophetic word and form communities of God’s people will live and spiritually prosper in the days ahead. (More on the alternative to staying in the next post.)

Think don’t just react. Below are five Biblical reasons God’s church of chosen people need to leave the physical church (place): First, Jesus commanded his disciples to go. Mt. 28:18. By going we are demonstrating we are his. In the process, we save our lives and those in our family who are with us. Luke 10:1-20

Next, we see the storm clouds forming. This is a time of war, not peace. (South Africa and the press.)

Another reason is that sitting inside a building is a possible death trap. A soft target for those who want Christians dead. Start a fire. Lock the doors from the outside. On the inside, take out the leader and the flock will scatter.

Buildings or places like the twin towers are static, not fluid. Remember Pearl Harbor. Mighty ships are vulnerable moored to the dock. They cannot be steered when in port. They are built for the open sea. In war time, God’s model is a camp of people ready to pull up stakes and go, not an easy target brick and mortar cathedral.

Lastly, the reason we need to leave is because Jesus has left the building. Not the people who are his, but the form of religion we call the church.

Kept in the Dark

Not everything is for everybody. Somethings should be brought to light, yet they remain hidden. The Congress’ quest for information from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), a part of the executive branch of government, has been consistently thwarted (“stone-walled”). Documents sometimes take a year or more to be handed over, and then they may be heavily redacted (i.e. important facts blacked-out for so-called security reasons.) Why the “slow-walk” or non-cooperation? Why the necessity to level contempt threats against DOJ officials? With a special counsel investigation having free reign to look into charges against the President of the United States, what are top law officials trying to hide? In contrast, the Trump administration has turned over everything that has been requested, 1.3 million documents in all to the Special Counsel. Why is Congress, the branch of government charged with oversight over the DOJ, being kept in the dark? We know the reason. The office of the attorney general is protecting some bad actors, that much is certain.

All the above is being disputed by a large number of Americans for reasons of ideology rather than lack of evidence. The same can be said for the divide among Christians over Biblical “eschatology” (i.e. the study of last things). This blog promotes a view that opens the Bible, insists on the application of the rules of interpretation as well as using credible historical and linguistic resources to let the evidence speak for itself.  However, no such transparency has been forthcoming from the other sides of Pre-Tribulational Rapturism (PTR) or Amilllennialism (Preterism). These long names may not be recognized, but the two end-time positions they describe dominate Western Christian teaching of the church. Why the need to raise the volume and talk over the other? Why do stress levels rise and tempers flare? What the personal attacks? Why the attempts at intimidation and name-calling by otherwise soft-spoken Christians? Is there something to hide other than truth?

Make no mistake, PTR and Amillennial (“No literal Millennium”) doctrines are ideologies. An ideology will protect itself at all costs, while those seeking truth desire the facts at all times. Ideologies all have something that must not come to light. Truth invites the light and exposes the darkness. Those who love the darkness hate the light (John 3:).