9/27 – Beyond Creation Science (Pt. 7) – Chapters 9-10

Here is the link to the video review through these details, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tYIOMs4B3Y&lc=z23hgpeazwyxh5ygh04t1aokg2hyhfalt3sxqvm4dmevbk0h00410

 

Beyond Creation Science
Chapter 9 – Water & Fire
The Old Testament Background
The Olivet Comparison to the Flood
The Three-Way Comparison by Jesus
Why Sodom is Central to Prophecy
The Three- Way Comparison by Peter
The (Rain)Bow of God’s Covenant Wrath
All Mankind?
Local Flood – Local Prophecy

 

Solely Biblical Arguments for a Local Flood

 

 

 
Beyond Creation Science
Chapter 10 – The Flood & The Tower of Babel

The Global View of Babel

 

Let’s Bake Bricks!
From Where Did All The People Come

 

Global Flood Interpretation vs. the Septuagint
When “Literalism” Goes Wrong
Prehistoric Babel?
The Biblical Solution & The Fulfillment of Babel

 

Local Implies Insignificance?

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Post- Labor Day Sale

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE – https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=AC2YW5BSN6H9E

 

 

Image may contain: Michael Miano, text

 

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8/19 – Beyond Creation Science (Pt.6) – Chapters 7-8 – The Flood Account

Here is a link to the Part 6 video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9liqbjV9iE&feature=youtu.be

Below you will find outlines for both chapters 7 and 8.

 

Beyond Creation Science
Chapter 7 – The Great Flood Debate

The Logic of Flood Geology

 

 

 

Why A Global Flood Is A Modern View

 

 

 

“Antipodes” and the Spherical Earth

 

 

 

The Biblical Context of the Flood

 

 

 

Local Flood indicators

 

 

 

 

Natural vs. Supernatural

 

 

 

The Current Status of the Flood Debate

 

 

Beyond Creation Science
Chapter 8 – The Flood and Prophecy

Chapter Opening

 

 

Universal Terms:

Erets

 

Ge

 

 

A Partial – Local Flood?

 

 

Erets and the Flood in the Old Testament

 

 

Universal Terms:

Face of the Erets

 

Under Heaven

 

 

The Result of Deeper Bible Study

 

 

 

Consistency: Global, Global vs. Local, Local

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Inherent Wickedness & Sovereign Grace

Last Sunday, 7/28, I preached a sermon detailing the Biblical narrative of inherent wickedness and God’s divine intervention with sovereign grace. You can listen to that sermon at the following link, http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630/1468030-7-28-bpbc-worship-service

I also participated in a public discussion/ debate with C. Kyle Elliot at the Spirit & Life Lectureship this past Friday, 8/2, at the Ludington Church of Christ in regards to the nature of man and regeneration. My affirmative in that debate was as follows, “According to the Scriptures, all men are wickedly inclined and are in need of divine intervention for salvation”. You can watch the video of this debate at the following link (starts at 15:19 and ends at 2:00:00), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqvZVRhOFBk&t=2832s

 

For the remainder of this blog, I’d like to share the written outline for the sermon above and the 5 questions answered during the debate.

My goal will be to first and foremost offer up an intellectually honest explanation of the view I hold. However, also, as I endeavor to do through most of my teaching here, I will be highlighting the importance of following the Biblical narrative to develop our theological views. As popular narrative-theology teacher, Andrew Perriman, has written, “The narrative-historical approach to the interpretation of Scripture provides us with much more rigorous and credible connection with Scripture than the selective, reductive, and distorting approach of much modern evangelical theology”.

So this morning, I’d like to deviate from our normal agenda of thinking through the Scriptures where we find ourselves in the book of Numbers, and bring us into thinking through details of the Gospel. This is fitting also since many of us will be going out to saturate the community with Gospel resources following today’s worship service.

 

1.) The Fall of “Man” & the Biblical Narrative

The Blue Point Bible Church Constitution states;

“We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from that happy and holy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but choice; being by nature utterly void of what holiness required the law of God, positively inclined toward evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse”. – BPBC Constitution

Let’s think this through.

Adam was created in holiness, law and voluntary transgression, happy and holy state = covenant

subjected to – Galatians 3:21-24 (law – schoolmaster); Romans 8:19-23 (futility awaiting redeptiom)

voluntary – limited will (choose to obey or disobey). Many, if not all of you, know full well that I often make the case that the story of Adam is a type of Israel’s story. It is not the story of all mankind, but rather a historical background and picture of Israel’s identity.

In theological circles, talking about the sin of Adam and it’s effects often brings up the doctrine of “Original Sin” – all in Adam, die.

I want to take us through a narrative detailing of the innate, idolatrous, and continued wickedness that was demonstrated, dare I say magnified through Israel, however first I want us to look at Romans 3:9-20.

“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, (citation from Psalm 53)“There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God;  All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”  “Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”; “Their feet are swift to shed blood,  Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known. “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”

The story of Adam found in the Law is and was Israel’s story. Covenant death is Israel’s identity. However, the nations (Gentiles) were in idolatrous ignorance, therefore dead to God as well. To put it another way, in the Old Testament, God subjects His people,, Israel, to futility (increase of transgression). The futility of the nations is because of non-election and stubborn idolatry.

The narrative of Scripture is primarily focused in on God’s relationship with Israel. He chose them, unconditionally, to be His servant nation, the priesthood of God to reflect Him to the world. However, the covenant God made with them was based upon their flesh and blood descendants being obedient to the Law, which flesh and blood cannot do because it is wicked (which I believe I will demonstrate clearly in a moment), and the whole point of that covenant relationship with Israel, what we call the Old Covenant, was to prove that. However, the implication of Israel’s mission – to bring salvation to the nations – is that the nations, the Gentiles, were in need of it, because they were wickedly inclined as well. What is magnified through Israel, sin, was also inherent in the Gentiles as well.

As I mentioned, I’d like to provide a narrative detailing of the wickedness that was made known through the Biblical story.

Genesis 6:5 – “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Job 14:1 – ““Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil.”

Psalm 14:1-3 – “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.”

Psalm 53 – similar as Psalm 14

Psalm 58:3 – “The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth”

Prov. 3:5-7 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”

Ecc. 7:29 – “Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”

Jeremiah 17:9 – “ “The heart is more deceitful than all else. And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”

Nehemiah 9:30 – ““However, You bore with them for many years, And admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets, Yet they would not give ear. Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.”

Acts 7:51 – “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.”

Romans 3:9-20 – (I read earlier in the message; above)

Ephesians 4:17-19 – “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”

 

In my book Wicked I charge that, “…not only did Israel subvert the truth of God, but also each of us are predisposed to subvert the truth and lean upon our own misunderstandings as well. Furthermore, (as we continue to learn about the history of God’s people), we will see evidence that even with complete victory given to the Church, subversion and confusion creep in.” I go on to offer somewhat of a beginning solution in saying, “By recognizing this ‘imposter quality’ inherent within us, we can see the subtle attempts at revisionism in making the story fit our design and desires…”

Joel Beeke, a Reformed writer stated it like this, “Total depravity does not mean that the unbeliever is wholly evil in everything he does, but rather that nothing he does is ever wholly good…The very heart of man is unbelieving, selfish, covetous, sensuous, and always desiring to replace God”…He goes on to say, “…when God scrutinizes the human heart, affections, conscience, will, or any part of it, He finds every part damaged and polluted by sin…alienated from God and actively pursuing sin”.

 

God-provided Solution (Gospel)

Due to Israel’s sin and death, dare I call it “total depravity”, as revealed through the Biblical narrative, and the idolatrous wickedness of the Gentiles, divine intervention was and is necessary. As the saying goes, “a dead man cannot raise himself”, neither can Israel in sin and death and the gentiles dead outside of covenant bring themselves to life. Thank God for His sovereign grace, amen?

I love the way former Evangelist, Rolfe Barnard had detailed sovereign grace – ““What do the terms grace and sovereign mean? One of the attributes of God is goodness. The goodness of God is the divine essence seen as energized benevolently and kindly towards the creature; “I will be gracious – I will be merciful”, Saith the Lord. “The Lord is plenteous in mercy.” “The Lord delights to show mercy.” Mercy and grace are varieties of God’s goodness. Grace has reference to sinful man as guilty, while mercy has respect to sinful man as miserable.

This attribute (goodness) expressed in grace and mercy is free and sovereign in its exercise. “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” Exodus 33:19. The goodness of God is infinite and circumscribed by no limits; but the exercise of His goodness may be limited by Himself. God is necessarily good in His nature, but free in His communication of it. If the Bible is plain about anything it is plain about the fact that God must be just to all men; He may be merciful to some. God owes all men justice; He owes no man mercy or grace! A sovereign God exercises mercy and grace as it seems good to Him. “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” Matthew 11:25-26.”

Let’s consider the work of Jesus as described in Hebrews 9:11-15, “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”

The New Covenant was given because fault was found with the Old, not surprisingly, because God in His sovereignty intended it to be so. The Old Covenant was a shadow, not the reality, of God’s true sovereign grace, and it could not bring one into true and spirit worship. Christ, by providing everything pertaining to life and Godliness, enables us to love from a pure heart, have a good conscience, and a sincere faith. As the text said, namely pertaining to Israelites under the Old Covenant, He has “cleansed their conscience from “dead works to serve the living God”. Our immersion, or baptism, in Christ, which I have taught before, and believe to be, an ongoing reality as we grow in Christ and His fulfilled work (dare I refer to it as continually drinking of the “water of life”) not a physical demonstration of being “fully immersed” in water, is that which gives us a good conscience (cf. 1 Peter 3:21).

Without God intervening, giving His people a Spirit to discern Him, birthing them from above – man is lost – Romans 8:8; John 3:1-8; 1 Corinthians 2

John Owen, famed Reformed writer highlighted this point in saying, “Spiritual darkness is in all men and lies on all men, until God, by an Almighty work of the Spirit, shines into men’s hearts and creates light in them”.

Those who come to God must be called – Psalm 65:4; John 6:44; 1 Cor. 1:24-25, 29-31; Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 1:28-29; Titus 3:3-7;James 1:18

I appreciate what A.W. Pink has stated in regard to the notion that man participates with God in his regeneration, “To argue that natural man is capable of co-operating with the Spirit is to deny that man is dead in trespasses and sin, for a dead man is incapable of doing anything”.

God provides “eyes to see and ears to hear” – Duet. 29:29; Luke 24:45; Acts 10:4;Romans 11:33

A change of mind and heart will occur and should continually be renewed thus making the “new creation” spiritually discerned – Matthew 15:17-20; Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

All of that make known, clarified, and thought- through has brought me to the point of believing our growth in Christ is spiritually discerned, should be fostered by efforts of growth, and might not fit into any particular theological box all that neatly. Instead of trying to fit my “soteriological”/salvation views into any doctrinal category, I endeavor to live and preach what I refer to as the “Fully Effective Christian Life”.

Hear the Gospel/ divine intervention  – which comes by way of a preacher being sent. You must hear it to absorb it. (The natural man can hear and know the Gospel in many senses,  maybe even try to follow it, however without the Spirit of God, these truths cannot and will not have their full effect on that natural man’s life).

Repent/die – recognize your thinking is flawed, trust in Him and His ways rather than your own.

Confess/resurrect – acknowledge the Lord in word and deed

Study & Grow – possess and increase (be baptized or immersed in Christ)

 

Conclusion

Biblical narrative – Israel’s total depravity, and by implication the “innate wickedness” found within all men. God’s sovereign grace is seen through His divine intervention, His unconditional election by which he compels us with irresistible grace, and those whom he calls he justifies and glorifies with perseverance.

So, as a thinking church, a small Bible church on the corner of Maple St. and Blue Point Ave. what do we do with this spiritual wisdom? As you would imagine this is a question I consider daily. Of course, I believe we are already doing it and will continue to do so. I conclude by summing up what I believe we are doing and should be doing – 3 particular things.

We must EMBODY Gospel proclamation – our proclamation goes beyond words.

Saturate (Gospel resources);

possess and increase

 

Here are the 5 questions that were asked of me and my written responses in the debate:

1.       What is sin (a nature/rebellion/other)?

I want to emphasize the importance of understanding the unified Biblical narrative. I believe we arrive at good doctrine by taking in the whole story with the various details mentioned, not “proof texting”, especially pertaining to sin and the need for salvation. Most of us are probably familiar with the texts of 1 John 3:4 – “sin is a breaking of the law” or 1 Corinthians 15:56 – “the sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law”. These are the sins that are manifest through the lineage of Adam from the beginning chapters of Genesis all the way through to the New Testament. The Law was given to magnify sin (cf. Galatians 3:19), so that grace would abound.

However, we read in Romans 5:14 that “sin reigned even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam”. Adam violated a law – sin – which lead to covenant death in regards to his relationship with God. Those who do not sin in the likeness of Adam are those who do not have a law, but as James 1:14—15 declares – “ But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death”. This is manifest all throughout the Scriptures regarding the Gentiles, who through God’s divine plan, but manifest through their selfish desires and leaning on their own understanding lived in obstinate idolatry against God.

 

2. From where does the wicked inclination in all men come?

Genesis 6:5; Ecclesiastes 7:29 – Israel’s story – heart manifested evil and idolatry; sought out inventions

James 1:14-15; Proverbs 3:5-6 – lust conceived gives birth to sin; man leaning on his own understanding

Matthew 15:18-20 – from the heart

 

3. What is the eternal fate of a wickedly inclined miscarriage/stillborn/infant/child/teen/adult/ elder who has not been predestined to be part of the Elect of God?

I will readily admit, I’m not all that comfortable calling a miscarried, stillborn, infant or even child “wickedly inclined”. In that regard, the honest and humble answer I can offer up is  – only God knows. I’m sure most if not all of us are familiar with texts such as Deuteronomy 29:29 – “the secret things belong to the Lord” or Romans 11:33 – “How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out”. Understanding and trusting in the sovereign plan of God should lead all of us to be content with His ways are above our ways. I do lean toward God providing a special grace for children, beyond the doctrine of election (which of course is beyond our understanding anyway). The Scriptures seem to posit a kindness toward the children of Believers, or even children in general. We read of John the Baptist “leaping in the womb” at the sound of good news in Luke 1:44 which has also intrigued me.

As for those teens, adults, and elders who have lived long enough to have selfish desires, thereby being “wickedly inclined” and not predestined to salvation – they perish (John 3:16); suffer eternal condemnation; and along with their longings, hopes, expectations and strength – they will come to nothing (cf. Job 8:13; Psalm 112:10; Proverbs 10:28; Proverbs 11:7).

 

4. Does God, according to Sovereignty, always get what He wants?

In talking about God, the Righteous Judge, Job asserts

Psalm 115:3 – But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

Psalm 135:6 – Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

Proverbs 19:21 – There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Isaiah 46:10 – My counsel will stand, and I will do all my pleasure.

Isaiah 55:11 – His Word goes forth and does not return void, it shall accomplish that which I please

I imagine this question was asked because in 2 Peter 3:9 we read the often cited “proof text” that God “is not willing that any should perish”, yet clearly in our observable world – many perish. We must ask, what does God want. The key to understanding this perceived dilemma regarding His sovereignty is solved by realizing who the “us” are in the text. Some correlating texts would be:

John 10:15-17 – Jesus lays down His life for the sheep that they should not perish

John 17:9-12 – of those whom God gave Jesus during His earthly, none are lost; and effectually the same for those who trust in Him through their word (cf. verse 20-21). See also, John 18:9

Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

If it was God’s will that absolutely no one at all should perish, then none would perish.

Also, in our interpretation of Scripture we must be careful with sweeping generalizations of the terms “all” and “none”.

 

5. Is the regeneration of an Elect man performed without his consent?

First, a word about “regeneration” – Regeneration is expressly denied to be of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man (John 1:13), and is ascribed to God himself. Not all men have faith in Christ; and those who do have it, have it not of themselves; it is the gift of God…

“’it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”- Rom 9:16

“And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live…Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.” – Ezekiel 37:14

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive [quickened us] with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5

“It is the Spirit who gives life [quickens]; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”…And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” – John 6:63, 65

You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God… – 1 Peter 1:23-25

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God. – 1 John 5:1

The Biblical narrative of God declaring His covenant never seems to be a choice – did Adam choose and ask God to place him in the Garden of Eden? Did Israel choose and ask God to be in covenant with Him? No. However, when they were brought in covenant, they seem to be willing to be in covenant, though not willing to follow the dictates of the covenant.

No. The Lord makes the man willing. Consider Psalm 51:12; 65:4; 110:3.

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Repentance & Righteousness (Romans chapters 1-2)

Lately, I have been involved in various conversations regarding soteriology, the doctrine of salvation. There is of course the ongoing discussion regarding the moment of salvation and baptism with those who are members of the Church of Christ, then there is discussion with some others regarding the details of 1 Corinthians chapter 6, and debate about “the creation” that is in focus from Romans chapters 1-8. I imagine in months to come, if you’re interested, you may see the fruit of those studies in written articles and public discussions.

REVIEW OF ROMANS 1-2

This morning I began reading in Romans, namely outlining and summarizing chapters 1-2. The Apostle Paul is emphatic that he preaches the “Gospel of Christ”, the “salvation”, the “righteousness of God” that was hidden but highlighted throughout the Old Testament prophets (see, Romans 1:1-2, 16 cf. 1 Peter 1:10-12; Acts 24:14-16; 26:22-23).  The Apostle goes on to cite Habakkuk 2:4, “The just shall live by faith” to express how this salvation is received.  So naturally my studies took me to the book of Habakkuk.

Habakkuk prophesies to Judah during the 7th century BC condemning the corrupt kingdoms of his time. Habakkuk’s prophecy declares the sure coming of the God’s wrath at the “appointed day”, wherein a remnant will “live by faith”. The Apostle Paul’s use of this citation in Romans demonstrates the coming wrath of God upon those who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” and how those in Christ Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile,  will be saved – by faith in Him.

Two salvific details were brought in my study that I wanted to share.

GOODNESS OF GOD LEADS TO REPENTANCE

Romans 2:4 declares, “…the goodness of God leads you to repentance”.

The Apostle Paul is making the point that those who have continued to pass hypocritical judgement upon others, doing the very things they condemn others for, are coming under the sure judgement of God. In their judgement they seem to have failed to realize that their hypocrisy reveals their despising the “riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering…”, all of which lead man to repentance. Notice it does not say, ‘lead man to repent’, but rather repentance is a work of God, so that no man may boast.

FAITH NOT COVENANT SIGNS COUNT FOR OBTAINING HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS

Romans 2:26 declares, “Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the Law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision”.

The Apostle Paul goes on to make the point, citing from Ezekiel 20:27 and Isaiah 52:5, that those under the Law and who had the outward covenant sign of circumcision are not more righteous than the Gentiles who did not have the outward signs. Rather, those Gentiles who lived with a good conscience toward God keeping the righteousness of the Law, despite their lack of an outward covenant sign, were declared righteous, “whose praise is of God, not of men”.  Trust and assurance in, giving credit to, being persuaded by the truth of the God of Israel “inwardly” was sufficient for salvation.

SUMMARY

In summation, reading through Romans requires being a bit familiar with the prophecies of Habakkuk, Isaiah, and Ezekiel. The Apostle Paul borrows prophetic insight from those prophets to declare the  judgement of God that was coming upon the world because of those who “suppressed the truth of God in unrighteousness”, and there would be no partiality with God, outward efforts of hypocritical judgement (trying to seem righteousness) and outward works of “circumcision” would not lead one to righteousness. Instead, “But now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ to all and upon all that believe: for there is no difference (outward signs or not) (Romans 3:21-22)”.

 

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Disregard Audience Relevance. Just Find Your Place.

Sam Frost Debate 2019This blog is a review of my more recent debate (the 2nd time) with Sam Frost, an author and proclaimed “ex-full preterist”. You can view that debate at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woYPNcA6SAY&t=9318s

The title of this blog comes from my continued interactions with Sam Frost since 2012, wherein he seemingly disregards important aspects of Scripture to highlight points he wants tom make. You might remember a blog I wrote about his presentation at the “Kingdom of God Conference” which was titled, “Disregard the Details. Just Be Encouraged”. You can read that blog at the following link, https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/disregard-the-details-just-be-encouraged/

In our recent exchange in May 2019, Sam opened up with his desire to “build a narrative” in which he said “makes sense” and “relates all of us to the story of Jesus”. Unfortunately, I as intend to make clear through this debate, Sam seems willing to “make plain” the story by completely moving aside the primary context of the passage, or words like “all”, “world”, etc.. This was the most prominent of flaws in Sam’s “logic” I took notice of in our recent debate, besides the various false and strange assertions he made (some of which I will detail in the conclusion to this blog).

Sam harped on Isaiah chapter 54 as the hermeneutic for his understanding the details in the New Testament, especially the resurrection of the dead at the “last day”. He brought this into his narrative outline of passages including Matthew 13:3-17; John 5-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:11-12; and Revelation 20:11-15. I would generally agree with connecting these passages, however it was strange to hear Sam’s insistence against and denial of how the 1st century Jews would have understood these things to be coming to fulfillment in that generation – he completely disregards audience relevance.

Isaiah prophesied prior to the Babylonian captivity, “concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” (Isaiah 1:1). The prophecy is set at a time when the southern house of Judah was living in rebellion and idolatry to the things of God. The “hope of Israel” was set toward the days wherein righteousness would dwell in their midst, wherein it could be said they are the chosen of the Lord (Him being their God, and they being His people), so the Prophets, including Isaiah, continue to rebuke and encourage the people in regards to that time. So though this prophecy is set in 6th century BC to the flesh and blood Israelites, Spiritual discernment and the Apostolic wisdom preserved for us in the New Testament, we can see it pointed to Jesus Christ. Isaiah 54:1 is cited in Galatians 4:27 to demonstrate the Spiritual fulfillment of this text and this is exactly what was taking place in the first century.

Not only is the New Testament replete with references to the manifold fulfillment of these prophetic things (to the Jews and the Gentiles) but we also find various time-statements that illustrate the 1st century as the time of fulfillment. As I sought to explain the debate, the prophecy of Isaiah was primarily to the fathers and to the Jews, those who were near (cf. Romans 1:16-17; 15:8-9; Ephesians 2:17), and as can also be ascertained by those passages, the Gentiles, who who were far off. These things had not been clear before but where being made known in that time (cf. 1 Peter 1:10-12; Hebrews 1:1-2) – all of this to the purpose that the church would make known the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10), or in keeping with an Isaiah 54 context, to declare, “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord (Isaiah 54:7)”.  – God’s demonstrated faithfulness and mercy.

The resurrection of the dead that was taking place in the first century was that the living could put their faith in Jesus Christ and go from “death to life” (cf. John 11: 1 John ) and while some of them would sleep, they along with the dead ones (those who died under the Old Covenant) would meet the Lord in the air (Greek – aer meaning Spirit). The Lord truly would and did raise the living and the dead at the Last Day – not only those ‘taught of the Lord’ even the wicked to face judgement. The text of Daniel 12 gives us insight as to when this would happen – at the destruction of the power of the holy people – which was the Temple – being measured and destroyed in Revelation chapter 11.

Now while Sam Frost finds it ludicrous to understand that the “last day of the last days” is in our past and yet find application in that, I believe the fact that God fulfilled Bible prophecy to provide something – His presence, the “hope of glory” Christ in us (cf. Colossians 1:27) and that it can be declared “blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on” (cf. Revelation 14:13) – makes perfect sense and has been demonstrated (oddly enough in works written and published by Sam Frost). The Full Preterist has and continues to make strides in helping others understand texts such as 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians chapter 15 which context, clarity, and consistency.

Despite what seems to be Sam’s intentionally confusing the topic, clarity can be sought. Sam asked, “When is the last day of John 6” to which I responded it would be the “last day of the last days”. A strange question, however I do not believe I was too far off in declaring it to be the 9th of Av, which is a date noted by the Jews as Tisha B’av. To see some correlations between Tisha B’av and how the Jews would have understood the “last days” visit the following link, https://www.preteristarchive.com/tisha-bav/

Using Isaiah chapter 54 coupled with John chapter 6 was the basis of Sam’s argument against me and Full Preterist, however he did mention some other things in the debate I wanted to highlight. All throughout the debate Sam emphasized use of “all” and “world” in a rather generalized way. Regarding such generalization, I remember this poignant passage I took from a forum discussion a while back; “Pertaining to “the whole world has gone after him”, did all the world go after Christ? Pertaining to “then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.” Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan? And pertaining to “Ye are of God, little children”, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one”. Does the whole world there mean everybody? The words “world” and “all” are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely the “all” means all persons, taken individually.” But Sam knows this. How about his confusing rhetoric regarding our seeing or not seeing Christ in heaven about 23 minutes into the debate, what was he saying? Sam goes on to mock the notion of “examining everything carefully (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NASB) and makes it that we must either or agree or disagree with Church Fathers.

I must admit, I believe debating Sam Frost to be futile, this was my thoughts going into this 2nd debate, however I was goaded into it. I do stand by my charge that he intentionally confuses the audiences he speaks in front of and the topics he speaks on, and I believe that has been evident in both debates I have done with him. Prayerfully I have brought clarity to some details mentioned in this most recent debate in this review.

You  can go back and watch the 1st debate Sam and I had at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hz4JEGAsumE

 

May we continue to desire and express a zeal empowered by knowledge.
– Michael Miano

 

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Long Island’s Continued Fight Against Opioid Abuse (Pastoral Thoughts)

Recently I had the opportunity to meet with a few concerned and diligent community organizers/ social workers in regards to Project Safety Net (www.projectsafetynet.org). This was a follow-up and review of a previous meeting I had not attended, however I was encouraged and impressed with work that is on the horizon.

  • Discussions regarding the National Emergency Opioid Grant provided by the Department of Labor were had. Also, talk about the Drug-Free Community Grant was had as well. These are great resources and opportunity for those engaged in the fight against opioid abuse. More information and utilization of these grants are surely necessary.
  • These need for a community-based structure and network was encouraged rather than overly administrative.
  • Taking notice that we met the evening of an early LI-CAN training on May 23rd demonstrates the continued struggle of the various efforts in the fight against opioids on Long Island to properly coordinate and be aware of the various efforts happening around us. Prayerfully, we can work on better working together.
  • It was marked out that a big part of our right is to respond to the issue that many on Long Island “have nothing to do”. Therefore many feel “marooned”. A lack of mobility, lack of a healthy culture and environments that are organic and natural, and a lack authentic-relation mentoring are all contributing factors to drug-abuse on Long Island. We must be creatively thinking – what can be done?

 

As I sat through the meeting, listening intently and enjoying the details brought forth, I did what each of us responsibly engaged in the fight should be doing. I began to examine my work (past-present-future) in these regards. Here are some thoughts that were discussed and/or were in my head throughout the meeting.

My current focal points:

  • My ministerial work and presence at The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org) has allowed for a continued “making known the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10)” in an effort to demolish strongholds (including but surely not limited to drug-abuse). As a responsible pastor, I have continued to engage the church and secular community about the need to bring healing to the devastating disease of addiction and those who suffer from and because of it.  Also, we allow to building to be used for the hosting of Heroin Anonymous.
  •  As a member of the Blue Point Community Civic Association (www.facebook.com/BluePointCommunityCivic/) I have worked with and assisted our civic president and board in engaging county officials, school district administration, and community members about the need for rezoning to be analyzed regarding the need for rehabilitation facilities on Long Island. The BPCCA continues to work for the advancement of proper consideration in these regards.
  •  I have worked with LI-CAN (Long Island – Congregations, Associations, and Neighborhoods) to continue to foster awareness and healing by collaborative community efforts including every person possible.

Other efforts and plans:

#ProjectRESTORE & The XD Movement – Both of these efforts aim to exemplify the beauty of restored and extremely different lives. Through various efforts such as weekly self-examination and mentoring, planning clean up, and other fun activities, we seek to see the answers to our prayers.

Dorothy Johnson, through her effort Maxxed Out Prevention continues to plan and participate in events. One was mentioned for September 25th (more information to  be provided soon).

Therese Bertsch mentioned Taizé prayer as an opportunity to bless and heal others. Consideration of church and secular opportunities to host should be considered.

Also, discussion was had about a possible activity/effort such as a bonfire, boating trip, hiking, or something of the like to be hosted on August 31st – International Overdose Awareness Day.

 

Kind Regards,
Michael Miano, pastor
The Blue Point Bible Church

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