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Divergent Doctrines Part III

Having looked at some of the major sticking points Christian denominations have had over the years, I wanted to tie this up by looking at how these differences will be used against the church in the days, months, and years ahead. Another parable He put forth to them, saying:


“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32


So here in the Mustard Seed Parable, you have a tree that is much larger than it should be (Mustard trees don’t get very big), and evil birds that have taken nests inside the safety of that tree. So how do we know that the birds are meant to represent something bad or evil? In the previous parables in Matthew 13, the bad or wicked things are represented by images of the tares, leaven, and birds of the air. The birds represented wickedness, (Matt. 13:4, 19) because they came along and ate the seed that was meant to grow in the soil and produce fruit. So Christ is describing in parable form, that Christianity would spread from its humble beginnings to a global movement, which would come to house both the bad and the good within the confines of Christendom. This begs the question then: are our differences inside of Christianity a bad thing?


Yes and no.


Yes in the sense that as the body of believers, we were to be united in Christ and not squabbling over various issues that could easily be resolved by removing biases that have developed over the millennia. But no, in the sense that I believe these differences were expected, and serve a purpose of sorts. The Bible was constructed in such a manner, as the Holy Spirit moved men to write what they wrote, in such a way that clear doctrines such as the omniscience of God, salvation by grace through faith, the deity of Christ, inerrancy of Scripture, and other core redemptive doctrines could be clearly understood. In other words, if you deny these clearly taught core doctrines, you ain’t a Christian.


But other doctrines, such as the Rapture, baptism, and the Triune nature of God, are not as clear. Don’t get me wrong, they are clear when you approach the Scriptures without liberal bias or corrupted hermeneutics that pervert your interpretation. But these are not requirements for salvation. As Jack had previously alluded to in reference to the Tower of Babel, God never intended fallen, sinful man to be united, because He knew what kind of devastation man was capable of.


Think about it this way: God COULD have had the Bible written in such a way, that no doctrine it put forth, could be disputed. He could have had all the differing doctrines written in such a way, that no reasonable argument could be made to say otherwise. But we don’t, we have the Bible that we have, and I think that is the way God intended us to have it. Some of it is very clear, some could easily be misconstrued once removed from its proper context.


Just like Jesus speaking in Parables, His disciples asked why He didn’t just come out and say what He meant. He responded…


“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Matt. 13:11-13


I think in a way, God was and is protecting us from ourselves. If every doctrine were absolutely black and white in its interpretation, Christianity would have united long ago under a singular, universal type of system.


We see how that was almost the case in the ‘Dark Ages’, when the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) dominated what was then, Christendom. This was a time when it was forbidden to even own your own bible. All the Bibles that the RCC had, were still kept in Latin, which required that a Catholic priest interpret and dictate to the people what it said. And when you consolidate that much power and authority into the hands of such few people, bad things happen…as they did with the selling of indulgences, the Inquisition, Crusades, abuse of power, and papal dogma that directly contradicted Scripture. As a result, millions of people died, and many tens of millions followed a false religious system that sent them into an eternal hell.


Assessment


Although the plan was to keep man separated to a certain degree, this does not by any means give man free license to continue teaching and promoting heretical doctrines. Doctrines which deny the Trinity or the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, or that promote transubstantiation or baptismal regeneration are still unbiblical, and still lead people away from the truth in Scripture. We will all answer for our stewardship of God’s word, and how we managed the information we had available.


Christendom in the 11th century was still battling out over being able to own your own copies of the Bible. Christendom in the 15th century was battling over trying to reform the corruption in the Roman Catholic Church. Christendom in the 17th century, was battling over Infant Baptism. Each generation has had its own struggles and the fact that we are now arguing over how the world ends points to the lateness of the hour in which mankind finds itself.


Today we know more now about how the end is going to come than those who came before us. The reason is that we are seeing it unfold before our very eyes. We are the generation alive to see Israel back in her land. We have seen the Jews retake Jerusalem. We are watching the Roman Empire reviving itself. We now have the technology that no other generation before us had, which is driving religion, politics, and the economies of the world to converge into a single, unified system.


As we move closer to the end of this age, we see ‘Christendom’ moving with great speed toward that global, ecumenical reckoning which I believe is the ‘falling away’. We are so far along at this point, that Catholics, Charismatics, Mormons, and Protestants are willing to set aside their hugely, fundamental differences, just to try and remain culturally relevant. The push now is to unite, in order to stand against abortion, or Obamacare, or whatever…and play down doctrine in order to build a coalition of moral community.


Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition


This to me, is the fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 in which the great falling away isn’t just becoming apostate over one hot-button cultural issue or another, but in a general turning away from what makes Christianity, Christian. And the only way you can sweep Christianity into the bin with all the other world faith systems and lifestyles is not by denying Christ ever existed, but by denying the standard which Christ Himself demanded of us…in that, we must come through Him to get to the Father. (John 14:6). It’s not by denying the Lord who bought us, but by having a form of godliness, and denying the power thereof. (2 Tim 3:5; 2 Peter 2:1) We’ve seen this over the last two centuries with the attacks first on the inerrancy of the Scriptures, then it was over translations, then over the validity of the Pauline Epistles, over the interpretation of the Prophetic texts, etc. and so on.


There is a transition for individuals and for denominations…like a lifecycle from believer to apostate, which goes something like this:


1. Quit believing the Bible is the Inerrant ‘Word of God’

2. Quit believing in a literal understanding of Biblical events as real events, of which they become symbolic or metaphorical. This of course then is subject merely to one’s own interpretation…and everyone has their own opinions.

3. Inserting doubt over the translations, or elevating corrupted translations that significantly change the Bible.

4. Denying the prophetic nature of God’s word. This is also a direct denial of God’s omniscient nature, knowing the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:9-10)

5. Either denying core doctrinal positions, or inserting doubt into them, first causing uncertainty, then distrust, and finally skepticism.

6. Lastly, a complete rejection of God’s Word.


I believe whoever created this meme originally nails the process very succinctly.


The danger in this is significant, because once you reach that last stage, it is practically impossible, aside from God’s divine action, to bring a person back to that point where they believe. Peter tells us…


For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:18-22


Since Pope Francis has come to take the reins of the Roman Catholic Church, he has been working overtime in attempting to bring the Protestant breakaways back under the papal umbrella. He has linked arms with Muslims, Protestants, Atheists, with anyone who will work with him toward this end. He uses humbleness to win over those who are skeptical, but we should not be misled or fooled by his intentions. His goal is not to unite the world back under the shade of the true Gospel but under the shade of the Roman Catholic Church.


We have seen the rapid rise of the Emerging Church movement, which is targeting the youth and young adults in the Evangelical churches. Cross-denominational organizations such as Promise Keepers, World Council of Churches, Red Letter Christians, Interfaith movements, Chrislam, and ecumenical movements. Popular books that promote “we all worship the same God” along with New Age mysticism that tries to hang Eastern mysticism back onto Christian rituals, or in place of them, and is attempting to saddle this message onto the backs of Protestant and Evangelical Churches. From Satan’s perspective, this is the Hegelian Dialectic:


1. Thesis: Have an endstate at the beginning: —a one-world religion


2. Antithesis: Create the problem —confuse and corrupt churches and religions so they are bitterly divided and constantly fighting


3. Synthesis: People demand change (unity) and (moral cohesiveness) —present ecumenism over a common problem (climate change) as the only solution.


Conclusion


Jesus Christ promised us that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church He is presently building (Matt. 16:13-20). But once that true Church is removed at the Rapture, there will be a rapid and colossal return to a singular, utterly blasphemous, Christ-hating church that professes anything and everything, except for the Lord who could save them.


It shouldn’t be any surprise to any of you watchers out there, that if Satan controls the current world system we inhabit, he also controls all the false belief systems out there (Luke 4:5-7; Eph 2:2). Once the true church is removed, Satan will be able to rapidly bring all the world's religions together under one banner by which he will woo with lying signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9), and these will be given over to believe the lie, unto their own destruction.


But we are also told in Revelation 7, that there will be those who come to faith after the Rapture. These will be outcasts who are quickly and violently martyred by a religious system that has wholeheartedly rejected Christ and the Bible. Hatred towards those who follow Christ will be at an all-time high. These will feel as justified in their killing of Christians, as the Nazis were in killing Jews during World War II.


However, this hatred doesn’t happen overnight. It takes conditioning, desensitization, and dehumanization (of Christians) to cause the overspreading of the ‘spirit of antichrist’ we see gaining ground in our day today. They will label all those who claim Christ as haters, bigots, ignorant, racists, ‘sexists, homophobes, transphobic, and intolerant to name just a few. Are any of these starting to sound familiar?


At present, we have the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit holding things at bay. And if things are getting bad now, it will become unbearable for those one minute after the Rapture. This is why we share the Gospel now and try and bring with us, those who are on the fence about salvation through Jesus Christ. At the least, they will have heard us talk about the disappearance before it happens, so right after it happens, thru the prompting of the Holy Spirit, they will finally have the demonic veil lifted from their eyes.


Continue sharing. Continue witnessing. God's word said of itself, that it does not return void. Our God is merciful and is longsuffering that none should perish. While we may not see the fruits of our seeds just yet, we can trust that God works all things out for good.


Maranatha!

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DesertMarlin
DesertMarlin
May 24, 2023

When you see war…

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Dan Malone
Dan Malone
May 21, 2023

How is it that the Air Force puts out some of the best expositional Pastor's around? The late, Steven Armstrong? Chuck Missler? And you, the "expositional blogger?"


For an old GI Joe, I'm impressed! HOOAH.....


Pete, you guys at 310, are a breath of fresh air in a World that has little.


Blessings on more insight ahead.

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Pete Garcia
Pete Garcia
May 22, 2023
Replying to

Army!

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Hi Pete

Disappointed in the descent steps particularly women being pastors being singled out. I believe we all need to be careful about this especially since God has created us in His image Male & Female. He expects us all to do his work telling all about Jesus not just men. The gifts of the spirit are given to all. God decides who is called and he extends that call to all of us, Male & Female. The Jews made this error of deciding who God chooses, and God used Cyrus. Jesus didn’t hesitate in telling the truth to the woman at the well and she went to the town and the town came back to hear. Paul himself praise…

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Replying to

God’s intention was what was created in Eden. What we ended up with is the fallen state. God did make the pronouncement changing the ideal to a fallen one. Paul has to deal with Middle Eastern

Culture, Jewish culture and a new Christian church. That certainly created challenges with churches meeting in homes and what ever else was available. The Christian faith was meant for men & women & family worshiping together. Paul’s work with God’s help, allowed the new church to be birthed, keeping family together and taking into account the male & female roles/aspects of family . So could they? Or should they? I certainly don’t believe this should be framed as a step in the descent.

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wellgardener
wellgardener
May 20, 2023

Amen! Even nonbelievers know that things aren't "normal." We now know that there was no such thing...thank you, Pete! This quote really made me nod..."Each generation has had its own struggles and the fact that we are now arguing over how the world ends points to the lateness of the hour in which mankind finds itself."


Cars, homes, churches, workspots, neighborhoods...keep on keeping on with physical and spiritual resources for the future TribSaints. Scatter Scriptures, tracts, anything the Lord leads you to scatter everywhere He opens the door. Every day I meet someone who didn't know there is something we can actually be doing in addition to praying and conversing as we occupy. Maranatha, Tribe 310.


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Rae Lynn Merritt
Rae Lynn Merritt
May 22, 2023
Replying to

Love the white biz card with truth, and the addresses on where to find and abide.

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DesertMarlin
DesertMarlin
May 20, 2023

A truly concise definition of the “apostasy”. I realize Andy Woods has offered a variation on the rapture he has called “apostasy”; however, current world conditions seem to indicate your framework is certainly playing out in real-time. Sadly so…

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DesertMarlin
DesertMarlin
May 20, 2023
Replying to

I believe Andy offers his perspective on the falling away as a possibility rather than a hard doctrine. It seems to me to be somewhat redundant with the idea of removing the restrainer. I find the idea of global conditioning for a one-world religion to be more direct.

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