False Prophets & Teachers Among Us

false-teachers

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber…For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who [i]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.” ~2 Peter 2:1-2,18-19 NKJV

false-prophetsSome time ago I had a bit of a disagreement with some Ghanaian friends on Facebook. They, the Ghanaian People or the Legislature, were proposing a law that you must have a bachelors degree in theology in order to be a minister/priest. I took umbrage with such an argument on several accounts. First as a matter of rights ordained upon us by God and secondly, as a matter of liberty which would be eventually taken away by the government. John the Baptist had no degree in such studies and yet he drove people to repentance. We were reminded by the Apostle Paul that,

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.” ~Romans 1:26-27 NKJV

While this verse primarily discussed the vile passions as being those of homosexuality, the looser reading would be of the vile passions of our spiritual hearts. How many fallen evangelists have had degrees?

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” ~Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV

our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant” ~1Corinthians 3:5-6 NKJV

We have been charged by God, through Jesus, to minister to the people of the world, every nation. We each are called to do so. But, unfortunately, not all heed the call. Just as we were reminded that we will always have the poor among us, we will always have false teachers and prophets among us, as well. And I say this based upon the fact that “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” For false-teachers1whatever their reason or desire, the evil in man’s heart will always strive to turn man from the spiritual blessings that God has to offer him in his life.

It is my opinion, that we can recognize these false teachers and prophets by the fruits of their actions and demeanor. We are suppose to be active learners and studiers of God’s Word by comparing our actions and the actions of our teachers to the Word we have. Anyone who varies the Word and changes the Word to suit his needs…is not a teacher or prophet of God. We are reminded by the Gospel of Matthew the following:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. ~Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV

My greatest concern with such a situation as this, there are several situations which will create adverse problems with an enmeshing of government and religion.

  1. There will be a state sponsored church or religion and all others made illegal.
  2. If you do not meet the state requirements, you cannot be an evangelist, apologist, or pastor.
  3. Some European countries take your 10% tithes out when you claim a religion as part of your taxes.
  4. Though you meet the state mandated requirements, you are free to reassess the tenets of the religion; thereby teaching it wrongly.

The blind allegiance to a country’s governing authority over all matters within the country is very troubling to me. It is bad enough in America where all things religion and political are being reassessed all of the time and reinterpreted all of the time. Sadly, it is very hard to get the student of the Word of God to actually actively listen and discern what he or she is being taught while sitting in church. All the while thinking it was a great and appealing service. We are reminded by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans:

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” ~Romans 1:24-25 NKJV

I believe God gave us not only the ability to discern right from wrong, truth from false, love for God and His Word and a reprehensible hatred of/toward it. God, by His Grace, gave us reason and logic to formulate an understanding in every situation, as well as, the ability to discern the proper path that we should take in any given situation. While the Apostle Paul’s statement in the Book of Romans was primarily geared toward sexuality, it can and is applicable in all matters of truth. God has, throughout the history of man, given man over to the lusts of his heart when he chose not to follow God’s Word. The term “lust” could be anything that man has placed higher in his own heart and mind above that of God.

The Word of God, the Bible, is a manual for our lives and should be used everyday in order to compare what people say (including pastors, ministers, and other people of God) against what the teachings of Christ are. In so doing, we can determine, through the gift of reason and logic, if a person truly is a man or woman of God. By comparing what they teach, say, and how they act we will know their intentions, because You Will Know Them by Their Fruits.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. ~Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV

We, the species of man, should not be placing our governments above our abilities to reason and logic and entrust them is such a way that they will be our moral compass in our lives to protect us from all wrong doings. I have always say, and still believe to this day – despite how crass it may be, “The government is so inept that it can run a brothel into the ground.” [A brothel being an entity which is a self contained and revenue generating business since the beginning of time.] Refer to the article: That Time the U.S. Gov’t Tried (and Failed) to Run a Brothel.

While God has placed our governing authorities in their place for specific purposes, He did not place them where they are that we should place our governing authorities in a higher priority and position to God in our lives. WE must step up our game and strive to make those determining decisions as to what is right and wrong and choose to follow God’s Word and love. These teaching, which Christ promoted and carried forth throughout His ministry, were meant to guide us and lead us to God.

I will leave you with this final word: Read and Follow God’s Word! Rely on no one and nothing else in God’s place.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

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10 REASONS TO ACCEPT THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS AS AN HISTORICAL FACT

TUESDAY, APRIL 11, 2017

By Brian Chilton

When I left the ministry due to my skepticism, one of the factors involved in my departure concerned the reliability of the New Testament documents and the resurrection of Jesus. The folks from the Jesus Seminar had me second-guessing whether I could trust what the New Testament said and if I could truly accept the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In July of 2005, my life changed. I entered the Lifeway Christian Bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and read three books that changed my life more than any other book outside the Bible. I discovered Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, Josh McDowell’s The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, and McDowell’s A Ready Defense. I discovered that there are many reasons for accepting the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as a historical fact.

Through the years, the evidence has increasingly mounted for the historicity of Jesus’s resurrection. This article will provide 10 of the most fascinating arguments for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This list is not exhaustive and my dealings with each argument is extremely brief. Nevertheless, I hope this list will provide a starting point for you to consider the authenticity of Jesus’s resurrection.

  1. The First Eyewitnesses were Women. The first eyewitnesses of the resurrection were women. All the Gospels note that the first individuals to discover the tomb empty were women. Matthew notes that “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb…The angel told the women, ‘Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the play where he lay” (Matthew 28:1, 5-6).[1] Women were not held in high esteem. In Greco-Roman culture, a woman’s testimony was not admissible in court. In Jewish circles, it took the testimony of two women to equate that of one man. If one were to invent a story, the last people one would place as the first witnesses would have been women, unless it were otherwise true.

  1. Minimal Facts Concerning the Resurrection. Gary Habermas has popularized the so-called minimal facts argument for the resurrection. The minimal facts are those things that are accepted by nearly all New Testament scholars. The minimal facts are “1. Jesus died by crucifixion. 2. Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them. 3. The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed. 4. The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed. 5. The tomb was empty.” [2] These facts are nearly universally accepted by New Testament scholars, including liberals.

  1. Transformation of the Early Disciples. As noted in the minimal facts, James, the brother of Jesus, was changed from a skeptic to a believer because of the resurrection. James along with his brothers did not believe in Jesus during Jesus’s early ministry (see John 7:5). However, Jesus appeared to James (1 Corinthians 15:3-9) and James became a leader in the early Jerusalem church. His death is recorded by Josephus.[3] Paul is another example of one who was completely transformed by the resurrection of Jesus. Paul had been a persecutor of the church. After witnessing the risen Jesus, Paul became a proclaimer for the church.

  1. Embarrassing Details of the Resurrection. Historically speaking, embarrassing details add veracity to a historical claim. The fact that women were the first witnesses, that a member of the Sanhedrin (the same Sanhedrin that executed Jesus) had to give Jesus a proper burial, and that the disciples were fearful and fled all serve as embarrassing factors for the resurrection account.

  1. Willingness to Die for What Was Known. Many people will die for what they believe to be true. But no one will die for something they erroneously invented. The disciples knew if they were telling the truth. Yet, one finds that the disciples were willing to die for what they knew to be true. Stephen died by stoning (Acts 7:54-60), James of Zebedee died by the sword at the hands of Herod (Acts 12:2), James the brother of Jesus died,[4] and Peter and Paul died at the hands of Nero.[5]

  1. Documentary Evidence. The documentary evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is quite good. The historian seeks to find how many primary and secondary sources[6] can be gathered for an event to determine the event’s historicity. Concerning primary sources, the resurrection has Matthew’s account, John’s account, and Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians 15, including the additional references by James (if one accepts that James wrote the letter attributed to him) and Jude. The following are secondary sources for the resurrection: Luke, Mark, Clement of Rome, and to a lesser degree Ignatius and Irenaeus.

  1. Circumstantial Evidence. Douglas Groothius notes that circumstantial evidence for the historicity of the resurrection is “namely, the practice of the early church in observing baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Sunday worship.”[7] Baptism is based upon the analogy of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of Christ’s sacrificial death. In addition, it is quite odd that faithful Jews would move their worship from a Friday evening into Saturday to a Sunday morning unless something major had occurred on a Sunday morning. The major Sunday morning event was Jesus’s resurrection.

  1. The Missing Motive. J. Warner Wallace has noted in his lectures and books that when a conspiracy is formed, three motivating factors are behinds such a move—power, greed, and/or lust.[8] The disciples would hold no power behind claiming the resurrection as history. They were running around while often being threatened by the Jewish and Roman authorities. As far as greed, they taught that one should not desire earthly possessions, but spiritual ones. Lust was not a factor, either. They taught celibacy before marriage and marital fidelity after marriage. In fact, N. T. Wright notes in his classic book, The Resurrection of the Son of God, that the disciples had no theological motivation behind claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead as they were anticipating a military hero and a final resurrection at the end of time. What motivating factors existed for these disciples to invent such a story? None! The only reason the disciples taught the resurrection of Jesus was because Jesus’s resurrection had occurred.

  1. Enemy Attestation of the Resurrection. Historically speaking, if one holds enemy attestation to an event, then the event is strengthened. When one considers the claims of the authorities that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus (Matthew 28:11-15), the testimony of the resurrection is strengthened. The early belief that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus is strengthened by the discovery of the Nazareth Inscription that orders capital punishment for anyone who steals a body from a tomb.[9] In addition, several refences to Jesus and his resurrection include citations from Josephus,[10] Tacitus,[11] and Suetonius[12] among others (including the Babylonian Talmud).

  1. Multiple Post-Resurrection Eyewitnesses. Finally, there is multiple eyewitness testimony pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus. Several people had seen Jesus alive for a period of 40 days. The eyewitnesses include Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18), the women at the tomb accompanying Mary (Matthew 28:1-10), the Roman guards (Matthew 28:4), the Eleven disciples (John 21), the two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), an indeterminate number of disciples (Matthew 28:16-20); over five-hundred disciples (1 Corinthains 15:6), to James (1 Corinthians 15:7) and to Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8-9). I am certain that there were many other witnesses that are unnamed.

Conclusion:

Many other evidences could be given for the resurrection of Jesus. Thinking about the methods of history, one must understand that there is a reason why American accept the first President of the United States as George Washington and not Spongebob Squarepants. History backs up the claim that Washington was the first President. In like manner, history backs up the reality of Jesus’s resurrection. Now the question is this: what will you do with such information? Some will try to ignore the event. Some will try to dismiss it. Others will acknowledge the factual nature of the event and worship Jesus as the risen Lord. It is my prayer that you will do the latter.

Notes

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

[2] Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004), 48-50, 64-69.

[3] Josephus, Antiquities XX.200.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Eusebius, Church History XXV.5.

[6] Primary sources are documents written by eyewitnesses. Secondary sources are documents written by individuals who know eyewitnesses. For instance, my grandfather was an eyewitness to the biggest naval battle in World War II history. From the information my dad gathered from him, he would be a secondary source, whereas my grandfather would have been a primary source.

[7] Douglas Groothius, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove; Nottingham, UK: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2011), 553-554.

[8] See J. Warner Wallace, “Rapid Response: I Think the Disciples Lied About the Resurrection,” Cold-case Christianity.com (October 17, 2016), retrieved April 11, 2017, http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/rapid-response-i-think-the-disciples-lied-about-the-resurrection/.

[9] See http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/07/22/The-Nazareth-Inscription-Proof-of-the-Resurrection-of-Christ.aspx#Article.

[10] Josephus, Antiquities XX.9.1.

[11] Tacitus, Annals XV.

[12] Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars-Claudius 25 and Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars-Nero 16.

Original Blog Source: http://bit.ly/2ppUPKK

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Another post of apologetic information to aid in your understanding. I hope & pray you find it of value to your growth!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

Why Do So Many Christians Dismiss Apologetics?

Posted June 14, 2016 by Sean McDowell [SEANMCDOWELL.ORG]

Why Do Many Christians Dismiss Apologetics?

SeanMcDowell.org

I love apologetics. It’s fun to teach apologetics, discuss apologetics, and offer reasons for what I believe to non-Christians who ask. Yet, quite clearly, not all Christians share my enthusiasm. Why not? Below are five common reasons why many Christians dismiss apologetics (thanks to my Twitter friends, acknowledged below).

Apologists have often failed to model gracious apologetics. Rather than blaming others, we apologists might do well to start by examining ourselves. Let’s be honest, we could probably all share a story where we failed to model the kind of evangelism and apologetics we see in Jesus, Paul, and the early church fathers. If you can’t think of a story, then you’re probably not even aware of your own blind spot! As I emphasize in A New Kind of Apologist, many Christians dismiss apologetics because they have seen apologists being arrogant, dismissive, and uncharitable to others. Many dismiss apologetics because of a bad experience.

Faulty understanding of faith and reason. Some time ago my father and I were speaking at a student conference in the southeast. Noticeably upset, a young female youth worker approached us afterwards and (essentially) said, “I wish you guys had a more biblical view of faith. We don’t need evidence. Real faith involves believing something without proof.” And then she stormed away. Sadly, this young lady had bought the idea that faith involves believing something blindly without evidence. If she were right, then apologetics would be frivolous. But the Bible both teaches and models a different view of faith. Simply put, evidence is offered to give people a confident faith (E.g., Exodus 14:31; John 20:30-31; Acts 1:1-3).

Mistaken view of apologetics. A couple years ago I spoke with an influential youth leader about the present state of youth culture. When I inquired about his views on apologetics, he quickly dismissed it, even though his own research showed that many kids were leaving the faith because they had unanswered questions. As I probed further, it became clear that he equated apologetics with a cage-match where people defend their hot-button issue without relationship or gentleness. If that is what apologetics is, then I would dismiss it too! What should apologetics be about? Dallas Willard Perhaps said it best:

Like Jesus, we are reaching out in love in a humble spirit with no coercion. The only way to accomplish that is to present our defense gently, as help offered in love in the manner of Jesus.[1]

Not being engaged in evangelism. Motivated by my friend Brett Kunkle, I have been taking high school students on apologetics mission trips for the past few years. Inevitably, whenever we meet up with atheists, Mormons, student freethinking groups, Unitarian Universalists or people of other faiths, students become highly motivated to study apologetics. Students often study theology and apologetics late into the evening getting prepared for the next day! In my experience, nothing motivates Christians to care about apologetics more than evangelism and spiritual conversations. After all, once you start sharing your faith, people will inevitably have questions about the Bible, evil, evolution, and more.

Apologetics is often motivated by fear. Something stood out to me a few years ago at an apologetics conference—virtually every speaker used the hook of “fear” to motivate people. We were told to fear changing sexual mores, the growth of atheism, the tactics of various “cults,” certain theological movements within the church, and more. While there is undoubtedly a place for healthy fear, apologetics should not simply be a reactive discipline to changing cultural mores. Rather, we ought to provide positive answers and reasons for the supremacy of the Christian faith. Insofar as we are primarily negative, apologists will fail to inspire people to stand up for the faith.

There are certainly other reasons many Christians dismiss the value of apologetics. If you want to see a few more, which were suggested by my friends on Twitter, check out this interesting Twitter exchange. Here are a few samples of their insightful feedback:

@rickwade55: Apologists focusing on true conclusions rather than on the individual they’re talking to and coming to believe.

@triciascribner: Some believe that apologetics undermines the gospel’s supremacy, diminishing the authority of the Word and of Christ.

@smlabonte: I’ve heard people say that Jesus doesn’t need us to defend him. (Not exactly what apologetics is)

@DynAggelos: some Christians think it is unnecessary since the Holy Spirit and the Word of God ultimately do the transforming of the mind.

@prashanthdaniel: I’ve been told that its pointless nitpicking, argumentative and therefore divisive, Sean. Naturally, I disagree.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 15 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

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I was reading through many saved posts on Facebook to clear them out and thought this was noteworthy.

Hope you enjoyed it!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

Murphy’s Law or Job’s Curse?

img_4527All too often we, mankind in general, have to wonder and ask the question, “Why is this happening to me? Now, of all times?” Am I a Murphy? Is Murphy’s Law affecting my life somehow and for some specific reason? Perhaps, the luck of the Irish has something against me because I wore a kilt on St. Patrick’s Day and pretended to be an Irishman? Think about that line of reasoning and logic, or lack thereof, for a moment.

Maybe you are feeling all Biblical and religious for a little bit, once in your life. img_4525Where your remembered that guy named Job who was upright in God’s eye, but somehow lost the bet of luck, or the wheel of fortune was against him, while God and Satan wagered on his character and integrity. Yeah! That’s it…God bet on me and I lost sort of thing! Now think on that one for a little bit longer. Yeah…NO! God, if He bets on any of us…He is on our side! Why? You might ask…because God sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for each and every one of us. You know, the basis of the gift of our salvation!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” ~John 3:16 NKJV

And don’t forget what the Apostle Paul told us:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8 NKJV

Murphy’s Law is not attacking us and we are not branded by the curse that followed Job. Murphy’s Law is a comical way to laugh off the things that happen to us if we should make a bad choice, or not pay attention to what we are doing at the time. Remember, Murphy’s Law states: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Guess what? It would have gone wrong whether you were part of it , or not! If not you, it would have been someone else that it happened to.

And the curse of Job, was not a curse. Basically it came down to a bet on Job’s character and integrity, between God and Satan. [While that is an over simplification, it works for now.] A little background information is that the Book of Job is considered to be the oldest story in the Bible, approximately 2000 B.C. Meaning that the Book of Job is after the Great Flood and before the great Exodus from Egypt. Despite all that Job went through, he never blamed God overtly, there may have been some undertones there throughout his dialogue with his so-called friends. All throughout, Job believed there had to have been some kind of mistake, but he was certain that he could explain, if given the chance. In fact, while speaking with his wife he proceeded to remind her:

…Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” ~Job 2:10 NKJV

BadThingsHappenGood, bad, or indifferent…sometimes bad things just happen because of any one of a number of reasons. The daily struggles and snags we get caught up in are a normal part of everyday life; they are part of the imperfect world we live in. People let us down or misunderstand us. The things we use don’t always work as we want them to and they don’t last forever. Yet these everyday problems aren’t huge barriers that completely block our way in life; they are more like obstacles we can jump over or find a way around. There are so many things that can go wrong every day. Sometimes, one has a day when everything seems to go wrong. Even the little things seem far worse than they really are and you end up having a really bad day. Some days it seems as thought it is a battle and struggle to get some of the simplest things. On other days it is like we are on fire and everything is just going our way. Almost feeling as though we are invincible. But remember this important fact about God:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” ~Romans 8:28 NKJV

You must also consider the story of Joseph and his brothers where he reminded them:

Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. ~Genesis 50:19-20 NKJV

The undertones between the story of Joseph and that of Job are this: Bad things happen to good people and do not, in and of themselves, indicate that man has sinned; however, God permits bad things to happen to good people in order to draw them closer to God so they may rely on Him and His great power through faith! God wants us all to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and reside close to Him. Unfortunately, a great number will never enter Heaven. Jesus warned us

For many are called, but few are chosen.” ~Matthew 22:1-14 NKJV

Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ ~Luke 13:22-32 NKJV

We are warned. Not everyone will enter the gates of Heaven. We are also warned that life will not always be easy, or as a bowl of cherries. There will be times we will want to give up, no matter the reason we may wish to give…but we must continue on the trek and fight the good fight so we may finish the race! We are also taught that Jesus is the way to heaven, He is the narrow gate.

Sometimes things just happen, regardless of what is happening. God is not against you, but is for you. Otherwise, He would not have allowed His only Son to be the sacrificial lamb.

Grace to you and peace be multiplied!

MK Murphy

 

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: Evil or Good?

tree-of-knowledge-good-and-evil

While trolling through my email, I came across this notification by answersingenesis.org, the above titled article by Harry F. Sanders, III on August 15, 2018…I thought y’all might like it, as I found it to be interesting. [THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE]

A recent Facebook commenter asked a very good question about the creation week. V. P. asked, “If God saw that all he had made was ‘good,’ then wouldn’t the forbidden tree and its fruit be deemed ‘good’ as well?” This is a valid question to ask, but one not often considered.

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9).1

And the Lord And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:16–17).

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:31).

The Purpose of the Tree

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, referred to in the question as the “forbidden tree,” was placed in the garden of Eden, most likely on the sixth day. Its purpose appears to have been twofold. The first and most often considered purpose was to provide man with a choice: to love and serve God willingly or to rebel against him and reject the one prohibition he had given them. The second purpose is less clear, but Genesis 2:9 points to a possible option. This verse describes all trees as being either pleasant to look at or good for food. While the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was certainly not good for Adam and Eve to eat (because it would bring death), there is no indication that animals could not have eaten it. This is a small but significant detail. With this second purpose in mind, the popular view of the “forbidden tree” changes. It could have been described as good simply because it had a purpose.

The Source of Sin

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not evil by its nature. There was nothing wicked about the tree. To claim this would imply that God created something evil, which would contradict Genesis 1:31. The tree was not the source of sin; man was. God gave man a very clear command in Genesis 2:17: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The command was simple: do not eat of that one particular tree. The consequence was equally clear: if man ate, he would die. The fruit was not poisonous, evidenced by the fact that Adam and Eve did not physically die soon after eating it. The tree was not the problem; man was the problem.

The tree did not contribute to man’s sinfulness beyond providing him with an opportunity to obey or disobey.

The tree did not contribute to man’s sinfulness beyond providing him with an opportunity to obey or disobey. Man was explicitly commanded not to eat from the tree, yet he decided to do it anyway. This is analogous to a parent telling a preschool child not to put his hand on the stove burner. If the child does so, there are consequences for the child beyond the risk of him getting burned. However, the stove is not evil. It is still serving its intended purpose. The disobedient child sinned. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil can be viewed in a similar light. It was not somehow bad because man used it to disobey God. God confirmed that in Genesis 3 when he issued the curse. There were consequences for the serpent, the ground (thus the tree—and all other trees for that matter), Adam, and Eve. However, God specifically said that the ground was cursed because of what Adam did—not because of some undesirable quality of the tree (Genesis 3:17).

Conclusion

While the tree of the knowledge of good and evil served as the opportunity for man to disobey, it was not wicked on its own. God could rightly have looked at his creation after day six, after making that tree, and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). There was no intrinsic evil in it, so there could not have been wickedness in the “forbidden tree.” The wickedness would be introduced later, but not by the tree. Instead it would be introduced by Adam and Eve’s choice to rebel against God’s command, which caused death and Adam’s sin nature to pass on to all of his descendants (Romans 5:12). In short, the answer to the commenter’s question is, yes, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was good. The fault for man’s fall lies with Adam and Eve, not the tree.

Godspeed My Friends, I hope you enjoyed this article!

MK Murphy

Dysphoria & Identity Crises Today

GenderDysphoriaIdDisorder

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. ~Genesis 5:1-2 NASB

Look at any news channel or report and you will see something going on with someone and their identity crisis with their gender. They do not know what they are, they seem to identify with the opposite sex, or some other species on this earth. So much so that they are being pushed toward some kind of gender fluidity or non-binary creature. Someone, somewhere, is trying to make a headline for themselves, or  their parent is choosing not to label their son or daughter as male or female, because it is their (the child’s) place to do so. Ahhh, WHAT? Talk about enhancing and enabling a dysphoric or identity crisis where actually none exists until they created it! Admittedly so, there are those who have an identity crisis of such a magnitude because there is no one to help guide them on their path in life. Such as a man for a male child, or woman for a female child, in order to mentor them in life.

Even as a parent, I have made my share of mistakes. Unfortunately, since the advent of the politically correct (PC) wave in this country, let alone in this world, things have only gotten worse. Look at the UK for a moment. There is a rise in transgender reassignment surgeries, as of October, 2017. Rita Cooper was the UK’s youngest transgender reassignment surgery at 15, back to a man at 18, and is set for a third reassignment…

Sadly, if you desire to think about it, the fact that God made two sexes, male and female. Consider this, if you are a college/university student: College student kicked out of ‘Christianity’ class for saying there are only two genders. Yes, there are only two sexes because each complements the other through procreation, companionship, psychological, emotional, physically, etc.

Practically, the concept of complementarity has proven versatile and effective. It offers an explanation of human sexual difference that provides individual men and women with a firm sense of identity within their equal, yet distinctive, experiences of human life. It provides a foundation for a positive vision of sexuality and marriage that avoids the deep-seated negativity and suspicions of earlier eras. And it affords a rationale for defending traditional sexual ethics…” ~Did God create men and women to complement each other? By Jacob Kohlhaas

There are those who will posit that there is homosexuality in the animal kingdom; I would retort that this is usually in order to vie for Alpha male status, or Alpha female status within a pack, or group of animals. I have yet to see truly plausible scientific research where the homosexuality within the animal kingdom, or natural law, where two become long term mates in order to set up a same sex marriage, of sort, and adopt children of other packs or groups, thus creating a familial unit & bond.

Ben Shapiro, a Conservative Jew and a Political Analyst for the Daily Wire, has on numerous occasions asserted, rightfully so (I might add!), that Caitlyn Jenner is a man. Why do I say rightfully so and why does Ben Shapiro say this is so? Caitlyn Jenner was born Bruce Jenner, the same one who won the 1974 AAU title and in 1975 he was PanAm champion and set a world record (8,524) in the triangular meet with the USSR and Poland. In 1976, Jenner won his second AAU title and crowned a brilliant career by taking the Olympic gold medal with a new world record of 8,618 points. The charismatic Jenner became a television and movie personality as soon as his competitive days were over. After splitting with his first wife, he married Linda Thompson, who was Elvis Presley’s girlfriend when that legend passed away in 1978. He later identified himself as Caitlyn in July, 2015. And progressively changed his gender (September, 2015) through gender reassignment surgery. And soon was awarded Woman of the Year on November 9th, 2015. Ironic isn’t it??

Considering the fact that this country, as well as the entire world, has moved so far away from the moral ethics of Biblical teaching and have steered toward the relativistic moral ethos of the self…this world is destined to go down hill much as the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.  ~Romans 1:26-27 NASB

When one person who was born as a man and then surgically becomes a woman and advertises himself as a woman and then becomes involved with a man during the course of his life, whether in a long or short term relationship…they (the two involved) are committing an act of homosexuality which is an abomination to God. The fact remains this…though you change your appearance through any means, you are what you were born to be. Your genetics never changed. Though scientists or medical professionals may find a way to alter genetics at some point in time…you are still what you were born to be. Man or Woman, Male or Female…you see, there are still only two sexes!

In the end it is a matter of confusion. Though you may be confused about who you are, this does not mean I am confused about the matter. I am not obligated to be sucked into your dysphoria, or your inability to identify yourself properly.

Sometimes, regardless of our personal thoughts, we must speak & stand up for what moral truth is. I am friends with many who are persuaded to these unnatural ways. But if we believe in the ONE TRUE GOD, then we must be willing to stand alone at times, for the truth of God. Godspeed to each and every one of you!!

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. ~Galatians 5:1 NASB

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. ~1 Corinthians 16:13 NASB

But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. ~Matthew 24:13 NASB

Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants. ~Psalm 119:89-91 NASB

You may be thinking that this post is about judging others, that could not be further from the truth. The Bible is an edict from our Creator on how to live and act. It is also a history of man and where he came from and where he is headed, his purpose and vision. I believe the Bible tells us that God loves us, He wants what is best for us, and that we must love our brothers & sisters, to love them and warn them of God’s judgement. That we are to love the dinner and not the sin.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

What is the “…doctrine of Christ…”

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.” ~2 John 9 NKJV

DoctrineOfChrist

The Essential Doctrines of Jesus, the Christ:

  1. The Deity of Jesus, the Christ
    1. Jesus is the proper object of faith
    2. That Jesus is both God and man (Hypostatic Union)
  2. Salvation by Grace
    1. A gift offered to us by God, an olive branch
    2. We are offered life despite our imminent death
  3. The Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ
    1. Jesus had to be crucified and resurrected
    2. Jesus was to be our sacrificial lamb
  4. The Gospel
    1. Christ is God in flesh
    2. Salvation is received by faith, by grace
    3. and the resurrection of Jesus
  5. Monotheism
    1. There is only one God
    2. Understood to be in three persons
      1. Father
      2. Son
      3. Holy Spirit

 

First, Jesus was,  and is, the center of the faith in order to gain access to God, forgiveness and access to Heaven. We must understand the Deity of Jesus, that He is wholly God and at the same time wholly man. Jesus was very forward about who He was and His belief in His own Christology.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” ~John 8:58 NASB

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” ~Exodus 3:14 NASB

Jesus understood where he received His identity from and His purpose on this earth. Jesus claimed divine title by quoting Moses. He also claimed Divine authority when he publicly read the Book of Isaiah.

And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. ~Luke 4:17-21 NASB

Jesus acknowledged that He was the center of and the proper object of faith. That through Himself that all could receive forgiveness of sins and gain access to God the Father and entrance to Heaven.

Second, that Salvation is by Grace. Salvation is a gift from God offered to man through the person of Jesus, the Christ, through whom we can receive forgiveness of sins through substitutionary sacrifice.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. ~Galatians 5:4 NASB

IF there is a true religion then there is a religion that we must follow and believe. That said, we cannot add to God’s works with our works in order to be saved…as God has already done the job. Remember the final words of Jesus on the cross:

It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. ~John 19:30 NASB

The works were finished on the cross. You and I, imperfect beings, cannot accomplish perfect works. Our salvation is based upon the perfect work of God through Jesus on the cross.

Based upon the writings of James, the brother of Jesus, we show our faith through our works, in that we will inherently act differently once we are saved and have dedicated our lives to Jesus. When we do something, as such, we will act differently. Those are the works that the world will see Jesus through. In that light we will be a beacon to the world.

Third, we must believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. It is a historical fact that Jesus lived, based upon Biblical, extra Biblical, Christian and non-Christian sources throughout history. It is also understood, and therefore factual premise, that Jesus died on the cross based upon Biblical, extra Biblical, Christian and non-Christian sources throughout history, as well as medical determinations from the historical documentation of history (refer to On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ). And based upon all of the above references, as well as, the empty tomb and the fact that the Apostles began their preaching on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the city of Jerusalem, where the crucifixion had taken place. Where were the objections to their preaching, if Jesus really didn’t die on the cross, or for that matter did die and was not resurrected? Nothing mentioned in history, or historical documentation, provides any objections to or refutation of the Biblical narrative.

Jesus had to be crucified and resurrected and the best-known prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures concerning the death of Messiah, Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 certainly stand out. Psalm 22 is especially amazing since it predicted numerous separate elements about Jesus’ crucifixion a thousand years before Jesus was crucified. Here are some examples. Messiah will have His hands and His feet “pierced” through (Psalm 22:16; John 20:25). The Messiah’s bones will not be broken (a person’s legs were usually broken after being crucified to speed up their death) (Psalm 22:17; John 19:33). Men will cast lots for Messiah’s clothing (Psalm 22:18; Matthew 27:35). (Where do the Hebrew Scriptures prophesy the death and resurrection of the Messiah?) Jesus had to be sacrificed for our sins was, for brevity, explained in Isaiah 53, Hebrews 10, and 1John 2:2.

The conclusion of a paper written in 2010 seems to hit the nail on the head concerning the issue.

The resurrection is the ultimate confirmation of Christ’s identity as Saviour, Messiah and Lord (Romans 1:3-4, 14:19). The empty tomb, and the fact that none of Christ’s enemies were ever able to produce a body are important pointers to the historical value of the event. The numerous post resurrection appearances noted by the Gospel writers and Paul, together with the transformation of the Apostles into in some cases martyrs and the subsequent growth of the Church also give credence to the biblical accounts.

Numerous theories (including conspiracy theories) attempt to provide rationalistic explanations for the resurrection. Many of these do not fit the facts and do not appear plausible in the light of the Gospel accounts.

~Outline the arguments made against the historical resurrection, and explain how they should be refuted, Iain A. Emberson, 2010

Fourth, The Gospels must be believed to be true in order that we can understand the purpose of Jesus and the doctrines He taught us and which were carried on by His disciples.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! ~Galatians 1:8-9 NASB

Verses 8 and 9 here in Galatians are a self-declarative statement that you must believe the gospel. The gospel message which in its entirety is that Jesus is God in flesh, who died for sins, rose from the dead, and freely gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe. (Essential Doctrines of Christianity, Matt Slick, 2008) Also, it would not be possible to present the gospel properly without declaring that Jesus is God in flesh.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. ~1 Corinthians 15:1-5 NASB

Within these verses are the essentials: Christ is God in flesh; Salvation is received by faith; therefore it is by grace; and the resurrection is mentioned in verse 4.  Therefore, this gospel message automatically includes the essentials.

And, finally, fifth, the Monotheistic understanding of God and the Trinitarian doctrine. There is one God (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8) as depicted in the Bible. Many mentioned scriptures of of God being “we” (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 11:7) ; however, He is one entity. While the Trinity is not expressly mentioned in the Biblical text, it is inferred throughout the Old and New Testaments.

I hope this is and will be helpful to you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

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