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No Sympathy For The Devil

Monday, May 12th, 2014

i-df02b342033198fb027c2376798aaf6c-Harvard-Seal-Nice*

And they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Tim. 4:4

Today’s headlines sensationally announce a planned “Satanic Black Mass” to be held tonight at Harvard University. It is being co-sponsored by the Satanic Temple (of New York) and Harvard’s own Extension School’s Cultural Studies Club.[1] Predictably, an outcry has arisen from the surrounding community with the Roman Catholic Church being especially vocal in their opposition. The University President Drew Faust struck a modern mealy-mouthed tone by first pronouncing it “deeply regrettable” that the organizers are proceeding with the nefarious ceremony, and subsequently affirming the organizer’s right to hold it on campus in this statement: “Nevertheless, consistent with the university’s commitment to free expression, including expression that may deeply offend us, the decision to proceed is and will remain theirs. At the same time, we will vigorously protect the right of others to respond — and to address offensive expression with expression of their own.”[2] One wonders if it were a group opposing cherished liberal causes like homosexual rights if Harvard would take such a hands-off approach. But the incident touches on a deeper issue: it demonstrates what happens when the truth of Christ’s gospel is rejected in favor of lies.

Bible Schools Gone Wild

America’s oldest college, Harvard was founded to train Christian ministers and was named in honor of a local pastor and benefactor, John Harvard.[3] A pamphlet of that era details the student rules; two will suffice to give the Christian origins of the college:

“2. Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 17:3, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him Prov. 2, 3.

3. Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein, both in theoretical observations of the language, and logic, and in practical and spiritual truths, as his tutor shall require, according to his ability; seeing the entrance of the word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple, Psalm. 119. 130.

4. That they eschewing all profanation of God’s name, attributes, word, ordinance, and times of worship, do study with good conscience, carefully to retain God, and the love of his truth in their minds else let them know, that (notwithstanding their learning) God may give them up to strong delusions, and in the end to a reprobate mind, 2 Thes. 2. 11, 12. Rom. 1. 28.”[4]

After confessing his excessive love of learning in his youth, Harvard’s second President Henry Dunster advised the students: “Take heed of this lest desiring to be as gods ye become devils.”[5] All of this demonstrates the early spiritual climate at Harvard in the seventeenth century, and is a marked contrast from the contemporary secular attitude that thrives there.

Sadly, successive administrations gradually abandoned biblical truth under the influence of Unitarianism, Rationalism, and other false man-made theories. The true Gospel of salvation by faith in Christ alone was jettisoned long ago, and with it the belief in the Bible as God’s Word. Ironically, the school’s original motto was “Veritas pro Christo et ecclesia” (“Truth for Christ & the Church.”)[6] Today it is just “Veritas” in the mistaken belief that truth is lastingly attainable outside of the One who is “the Truth” (Jn. 14:6.) Therefore, it is not surprising that the campus would currently be the site of the celebration of a demonic sacrament.[7]

Enter The Father Of Lies

The Scriptures at the beginning of this post reveal the folly of rejecting the truth, for it always leads to deception. In 2 Timothy 4:4 Paul details the coming time when people would incessantly shop for preachers who appealed to their fancies and predilections rather than proclaiming the truth. In turning from the genuine article, they inevitably are turned to “fables.” People do not exist in a vacuum; if they reject God’s Word, they throw themselves open to multitudinous errors of all types. Satan is always ready to blind human minds (2 Cor. 4:4.) The Lord Jesus rightly called him “a liar, and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44.)

One day the devil’s deceit will culminate in a global humanistic empire, headed by the Man of Sin – who shares the ignominious moniker “son of perdition” with the arch-traitor Judas Iscariot (cf. Jn. 17:12 & 2 Thes. 2:3.) The Bible explains the climate of deception that surrounds his regime: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thes. 2:9-12.) By intentionally rejecting the truth and preferring error, people will be deluded by Satan. Having chosen his wicked pseudo-Messiah – a true “Anti-Christ” – God confirms them in their decision by sending them “strong delusion”; this results in their eternal rejection and punishment in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15.)

Truth Must Be Learned And Obeyed

Of course, no one needs to be deceived. Proverbs 8:7-13, 35-36 personifies “Wisdom” and has her say: “For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. They are all plain to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. ‘I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.…For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the Lord; But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death.’” Colossians 2:3 reminds us that the Lord Jesus is the repository of all wisdom. As He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6.)

If one turns from their sins and receives Christ as their Lord and Savior, trusting that His death paid the penalty for their sinful being and actions and knowing that He rose to freely give them eternal life, they will be saved (read these chapters: John 3; Rom. 3-4.) The Lord transforms them through His Holy Spirit coming to live inside them. The transformation is so radical, the Bible calls it “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17, ESV.) As the Lord said: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32.) Free from delusion; free from an empty life of sin; free to serve God and enjoy Him in the age to come; free to begin a relationship with God through His Son that never ends (Jn. 17:3.)[8]

*Image: http://scienceblogs.com/webeasties/wp-content/blogs.dir/368/files/2012/04/i-df02b342033198fb027c2376798aaf6c-Harvard-Seal-Nice.jpg

[1] Daniel Halper, “’Satanic Black Mass’ will take place tonight at Harvard,” Weekly Standard Blog, electronic ed. accessed on 5/12/14 here: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/satanic-black-mass-take-place-tonight-harvard_791269.html

[2] Quoted in Joshua Rhett Miller, “Harvard’s satanic black mass to be held despite growing outrage,” electronic ed. accessed on 5/12/14 here: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/05/12/harvard-satanic-black-mass-remains-scheduled-despite-growing-outrage/

[3] Likewise, other early universities were founded with religious intentions, e.g. Yale, Princeton, Brown, & Oberlin.

[4]“Rules, and precepts that are observed in the college” in New England’s First Fruits. (London: 1643), 26; modern English version accessed on 5/12/14 here: http://education.byu.edu/edlf/archives/prophets/founding_fathers.html ; the original is here: https://archive.org/stream/NewEnglandsFirstFruitsInRespectFirstOfTheCounversionOfSome/New_Englands_First_Fruits#page/n0/mode/2up

[5] Henry Dunster, quoted in Samuel Eliot Morison, The Founding of Harvard College, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1935),  251; electronic ed. accessed on 5/12/14 here: http://books.google.com/books?id=PQMdzhnfaSwC&pg=PA193&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

[6] Anna K. Kendrick, “Harvard’s Secularization: How a college lost its faith,” The Harvard Crimson, 3/8/06; electronic ed. accessed on 5/12/14 here: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2006/3/8/harvards-secularization-harvard-has-never-been/

[7] For a better event held at Harvard, see this talk by Dr. John Lennox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Kz4OgXsN1w

[8] The Bible teaches that there is only one God and that He exists as a triunity of three persons (“Trinity” is the traditional term describing this doctrine.) Mt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14.

A Loving God Must Send The Lost To Hell

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

TO DOWNLOAD IN PDF., CLICK HERE: A Loving God Must Send People To Hell

A Loving God Must Send The Lost To Hell

“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 if God did not spare the
angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of
darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved
Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the
world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes,
condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would
live ungodly.”2 Peter 2:1-6

Recycling Old Lies

The recent publication of Rob Bell’s Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of
Every Person Who Ever Lived generated much commentary in the media, including interviews
with the eminent journalists George Stephanopoulos and Martin Bashir.i While denying that he is
a universalist, Bell makes contradictory statements that point in that heretical direction.ii Of
course, “evangelical” critiques of the Bible’s teaching on eternal punishment in the lake of fire
are nothing new. During the past thirty years various prominent scholars have vacillated on this
controversial issue, while others have denied it outright.iii Some prominent nineteenth-century
evangelical scholars also had difficulties with this doctrine – F.W. Farrar and Andrew Jukes to
name a few.iv Human doubts and opinions notwithstanding, the clear teaching of the Bible
affirms that the holy God of the Universe will consign unrepentant sinners to eternal punishment
in the lake of fire (e.g. Mk. 9:38-50; Rom. 2:4-11; Rev. 20:10-15.) Peter warned that such false
teachers would arise; thus one should not be surprised to read of heresies like this universalism
and annihilationism reappearing in modern times.
As horrible as it may be to contemplate the future perdition of the lost, eternal punishment
shows that God is righteous and loving. If the Almighty did not judge sin and evil, then He
would be an accomplice to every wicked thought and act ever committed by men on planet earth.
If there is no justice beyond this world, then the heinous deeds of men against their fellow
creatures would be unresolved. It would mean that God does not care about the damage that sin
does to people made in His image. Genocide, war, corruption, oppression, and perversions of
every kind would go unpunished; therefore, the Lord would be saying that He is uncaring toward
those who are hurt by these sins. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and many other tyrants would escape any
reckoning for their lives of iniquity and dissipation. The cross of Christ pronounced judgment
upon this wicked world, for only the redemptive work of Christ – which entailed His
unparalleled suffering for sin in all of its foulness – could adequately provide a payment for such
evil (John 3:18-21; Gal. 6:14; Eph. 1:7.)
Rather than being indifferent or unfeeling toward the plight of fallen humanity, God’s wrath
shows that He loves and cares for His creation. He is “…not willing that any should perish,” and
so has made a way through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ for everyone to receive the forgiveness
of sins and eternal life (2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4-5.) In His longsuffering, He is waiting for human
beings to repent – that is, to change their minds about God and themselves. They must see that
God is holy and good; conversely, they must understand that they are sinners deserving of
judgment and eternal wrath. Then, they must receive the Lord Jesus, confessing Him as their
only Lord and Savior, Who died on the cross to bear their punishment and extend to them eternal
life (John 1:12; John 3:16; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; Rom. 10:9.) He rose again to vindicate His claims as
the Messiah and Son of God, and now lives to intercede in heaven for those who trust Him (Heb.
7:21-28.) But His longsuffering will not last forever. One day He will judge those who reject His
light (2 Pet. 2:9; 2 Thes. 1:6-10.)

Righteous & Holy Love Wins

Because He loves mankind, God does not minimize sin or sweep it under the rug. He insists on
judging all of it. That is why the Lord’s sufferings on the cross were so awful: He was judged for
sin in all of its loathsomeness. His work enables the great exchange: human sin for divine
righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21.) If impenitent people spurn His loving offer of grace, life, and
forgiveness through Christ, then the only destiny that remains for them is banishment to an
eternal hell, where the enormity of rejecting an infinitely good and beautiful God will be
adequately recompensed. If He did not do this, then all of His attributes – including His
righteousness, holiness, goodness, and love – would be impugned. If He does not pour out
everlasting wrath upon sin and evil then He would not be true to His own character, Word, and
justice. By not punishing sin to the fullest extent possible, He would effectively say that evil does
not matter, which is tantamount to saying that people do not matter. Humans matter to God – so
much so, that His Son took on human flesh and died to save sinners. A God of love has already
done all that He can do to save His creatures. If they go their own way, then they make a choice
with eternal ramifications, resulting in their eternal separation from their Maker. In doing so,
they separate themselves from the source of light, life, and goodness. All that remains outside of
Him is darkness, the second death, torment, and defilement (Rev. 22:11.)

i For a good audio interview with Martin Bashir regarding his thoughts on his interview with Bell, see here:
http://www.faithtalk1500.com/LocalHosts/9/ ; Bashir’s original interview may be viewed here:
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/03/15/msnbc-martin-bashirs-interview-with-rob-bell/ Both of
these links were accessed on 3/22/11.
ii For critical & informative reviews of Rob Bell’s book, see the following links: http://www.challies.com/bookreviews/
love-wins-a-review-of-rob-bells-new-book ;
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2011/03/14/rob-bell-love-wins-review/#more-3855 ;
http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/03/16/we-have-seen-all-this-before-rob-bell-and-the-reemergence-of-liberaltheology/?
utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AlbertMohlersBlog+%28Alber
t+Mohler%27s+Blog%29 ; http://www.sbts.edu/resources/event/love-wins-a-conversation-on-rob-bells-new-book/
All of these links were accessed on 3/22/11.
iii John R.W. Stott would be in the vacillating camp (after writing an article advocating annihilationism, he later
back-tracked & now apparently considers himself an agnostic on the subject of future punishment.) Meanwhile, the
late theologian Clark Pinnock and writer Brian McLaren both deny a literal, eternal hell. For a survey of evangelical
views on Annihilationism, see J.I. Packer, “Evangelical Annihilationism In Review,” found here:
http://thirdmill.org/newfiles/ji_packer/Packer.Annihilationisminreview.html#11 Accessed on 3/22/11.
iv The nineteenth century challenges to the biblical doctrine of hell were ably answered by F.W. Grant, (Facts &
Theories As To The Future State, found here: http://biblecentre.org/topics/fwg_facts_and_theories.htm ) & Sir
Robert Anderson (Human Destiny , found here: http://www.gospelhall.org/bible-teaching/sir-robert-anderson–
human-destiny.html ); the links were accessed on 3/22/11.

Let Freedom Ring: Thoughts on Galatians – Part 3

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1:6-8

What could possibly surprise the veteran apostle who traveled across the Roman empire preaching to Jews and Gentiles from all walks of life and belief systems? Surely interacting with people from so many diverse cultures and having many varied experiences would prepare Paul for anything. Yet Galatians 1:6 registers his astonishment on account of the commencement of their sudden defection from the Lord. “I marvel that you are turning away so soon…” reveals both the apostle’s perplexity and the illogical behavior of his Galatian converts. With very little struggle – “so soon” – they were beginning to embrace an aberrant counterfeit of the genuine glad tidings of the Lord Jesus. This was not merely an alternate strain of Christian thought; rather, the Galatians risked losing the truth of Christ entirely by dabbling in a false Gospel.

If It Isn’t Broken, Don’t Fix It

New teachers arrived in Galatia propounding a “new and improved” gospel, which differed significantly from the original version that they heard from Paul. True, they had not deleted anything from the message: they apparently still professed to believe in the deity of Christ and the inspiration of the Bible. The error lay in what they had added to the glad tidings. They suggested that the Mosaic Law was necessary for justification and sanctification. In other words, salvation depended on faith in Christ plus adherence to the law (especially circumcision and kosher food laws.) Tampering with the Gospel is extremely dangerous. John 17:3 explains the momentous issues involved: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Since its truths bring one into a living relationship with the Lord Himself, altering its tenets destroys the possibility of such a connection. In other words, adding to the gospel transforms it into spiritual cyanide.

The false doctrine being foisted upon the Galatians was particularly dangerous, because it had a veneer of morality and religion about it. Those preaching it professed to be Christians, and – judging by certain allusions in Galatians 1 and 2 – claimed to represent the latest doctrinal teaching in the Jerusalem church. The fact that Paul says “Though we or an angel from heaven preach…” (v. 8) indicates that they were charismatic preachers, who seemed to carry equal weight with the apostles. Like a glorious angel, they looked and sounded good. One commentator describes the pervasive threat from this kind of false teaching:

The most destructive dangers to the church have never been atheism, pagan religions, or cults that openly deny Scripture, but rather supposedly Christian movements that accept so much biblical truth that their unscriptural doctrines seem relatively insignificant and harmless. But a single drop of poison in a large container can make all the water lethal. And a single false idea that in any way undercuts God’s grace poisons the whole system of belief. Paul would not tolerate a single drop of legalism being intermixed with God’s pure grace. To turn away from any part of the grace of Christ is to turn away from the power of God to that of human effort.[i]

It was obvious to the Galatians that pagan beliefs like Mithraism and Stoic philosophy were false; but the Judaizing doctrine was especially attractive because it came from supposedly familiar sources. Paul later warned the Ephesian elders of “savage wolves” coming from outside their assemblies. More troubling, however, was the caution that he gave regarding imposters from within their meetings who would speak perverse things in order to build up their own following (Acts 20:28-31.) Even today the worst enemies of the truth often arise from evangelical circles (e.g. the Emergent Church movement.) Regardless of how appealing the spokesman looks or sounds, if they add to or subtract from the biblical gospel, they must be rejected.

In Danger Of Becoming Doctrinal Quislings

Paul says that the Galatians are beginning to act in a spiritually disloyal manner. “Turning away” in verse 6 translates a word that was notorious for philosophical and political treachery. As Stott points out: “It signifies ‘to transfer one’s allegiance’. It is used of soldiers in the army who revolt or desert, and of men who change sides in politics or philosophy. Thus, a certain Dionysius of Heracleia, who left the Stoics to become a member of the rival philosophical school, an Epicurean, was called ho metathemenos, a ‘turncoat’.”[ii] The Septuagint, which is the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, used the word to depict the effect that Jezebel had on King Ahab in 1 Kings 21:25.[iii] Her insidious influence turned him from nominal Jehovah-worship to the adoration of idols like Baal and Ashtoreth. In Galatians the Greek verb is in the middle voice affirming that the Galatians are actively removing themselves from the Lord by their embrace of error.[iv]

Abandoning The Savior

Tragically, they were deserting a person not a dogma. The New King James Version rightly capitalizes “Him” in verse 6, acknowledging that God is the One in view. It is no use claiming that it does not matter what one believes, so long as they have Jesus. Such drivel sounds appealing to Postmodern ears, but the Bible makes it clear that a relationship with the Living God through Christ is the result of believing in the Lord Jesus as the Son of God, and receiving by faith the benefits of His saving work through His sacrificial death, vindicating resurrection, and victorious ascension (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:16; 5:24; 20:30-31; Acts 4:12; Rom. 3:23-26; 5:1; 8:1; 10:9; etc.) As Boice powerfully describes it: “Embracing legalism means rejecting God, according to Paul’s reasoning, because it means substituting man for God in one’s life. It is significant that once again even in the space of a few words (‘who called you by the grace of Christ’) Paul reiterates the true nature of the gospel: (1) it is of God, for God does the calling, and (2) it is of grace rather than of merit.”[v] To depart from the apostolic gospel as it was first preached in Galatia is to put oneself under a false system which results in eternal damnation (1 Jn. 5:11-12.) Moreover, preachers of a fraudulent gospel place themselves squarely under God’s curse (Gal. 1:8-9.)

The Truth And Nothing But The Truth

Thankfully, the phrase “turning from” is in the present tense, meaning that the Galatians had not yet fully embraced the fake gospel. There was still time to adhere to the truth, and repudiate the Judaizers and their wicked perversion of the gospel. Paul asserts that some were “troubling” them. Indeed, to obscure Christ’s good news of grace and peace always troubles the church. Those who are really saved can never impassively accept a caricature of the glad tidings. Conversely, the genuine gospel unifies the people of God. “They were all together in one accord” is the great refrain of the early chapters of Acts as the Christians carried the Lord’s message forth to Jews and Gentiles. The famous hymn puts it well: “I love to tell the story for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.”[vi] If believers genuinely love the Lord, they will love the New Testament gospel, and tenaciously hold to it against onslaughts from the religious and secular worlds.


[i] John MacArthur, Galatians. Chicago: Moody Press, 1996; electronic ed. (Logos), p. 14.

[ii] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Galatians : Only One Way. Downer’s Grove, IL: IVP, 1986, pp. 21-22; electronic ed. (Logos.)

Christian Maurer defines metatithemi thus: “‘…‎‘to turn from,’ ‘to fall away,’ ‘to become apostate,’…” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 8, ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich. electronic ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964, p. 161.

[iii] W.E. Vine, Collected Writings of W.E. Vine: Galatians. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, electronic edition (Logos.)

A modern translation of the LXX of 1 Kgs. 21:25 reads: “Yet Achaab did act foolishly when he sold himself to do what was evil before the Lord , as his wife Jezebel led him astray.” (boldface mine, indicating the use of metatithemi; A New English Translation of the Septuagint, Oxford: The University Press, 2007, p. 316.) Available for free usage here: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/

[iv] W.E. Vine, Collected Writings of W.E. Vine: Galatians. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, electronic edition (Logos.)

[v] James Montgomery Boice, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Galatians, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977; electronic ed.

[vi] A. Katherine Hankey, “I love to tell the story”, accessed at: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/i/l/ilttts.htm on 8/26/10.

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