Etikettarkiv | church

Jesus was not against organized religion according to the Bible

church 4”Organized religion” could be a church gathering with certain basic rules

Sometimes believers try to justify their separation from other Christians, as well as church meetings, with the idea that Jesus was against organized religion. The Bible says no such thing.

During the time of the apostles Christians often met in their homes, which makes sense since they could not always take over Jewish synagogues and start having assemblies there (but sometimes they did). The climate is usually very warm in the Middle East and this means that people often could gather outside, like on top of their buildings to make room for more people. Where I live (Sweden) it is a totally different matter, and it is a huge advantage if Christians have access to a large building in order to assemble several families who can worship together in a practical way. Hence, the idea of a large building with the very suitable name ”church” – since the building is supposed to be a place where Christian believers assemble. ἐκκλησία (ekklesia, Strong’s 1577) is often translated church and could mean an ”assembly of believers”. (An assembly of Christian believers or a church building are not necessarily Babylon ….)

Naturally a certain amount of rules must be implemented in order for everyone to have a pleasant time together in their worship. The Bible (particularly the book of Acts), gives us some details how such meetings could work out and why they are even needed. A church meeting (an assembly with Christians) provides a chance for everyone to hear sermons (from a pastor), to sing worship songs together, to hear prophesies, to get healed, to edify each other, etc. These things must logically be made in a certain order to avoid total chaos.

It is true that Christ is in our midst if 2-3 persons gather in his name, but 1) let us at least do that, and 2) this does not diminish the importance of having Christian assemblies with even more believers.

Matt. 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them

1 Cor. 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Some Bible verses about gathering with Christians under structured conditions

It may not be a salvational matter to assemble with other Christians (and sometimes it is not even possible or preferable for various reasons), but it can be very edifying both for you and others. Maybe you believe that you know best anyway so why let some pastors speak and hold sermons you might disagree with? In that case, maybe you can enlighten fellow lost believers (like after the sermon in order to not disturb the peace). Or perhaps you are the one who needs to be enlightened after all. If you are only willing to attend a church meeting where you agree with the pastor about everything, then you will have to continue spending your Sundays alone. A church meeting is not solely there due to the sermons, but in order to have fellowship with other Christians, to sing worship songs together, etc.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching  

Below we get advice for church meetings:

Ja. 2:2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool

Ja. 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The ”laying on of hands” means to officially confirm a qualified person as an elder, which is an important task done by another elder. This is indeed ”organized religion”, and if everyone had obeyed Paul’s advice in selecting elders all would be well. Unfortunately Paul himself knew that there would be believers who would deviate from his teaching rather soon.

Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:—7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;—9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 

1 Tim. 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Below we can read about ”organized religion” in the book of Acts. 

Acts 2:41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and FELLOWSHIP, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles44And all that believed WERE TOGETHER, and had all things COMMON; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the TEMPLE, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

We can see above that Christians had fellowship with each other in the same place. Notice that 3000 people were saved and added to them the day in question. Baptism and breaking bread with others could not be possible unless Christians assembled together. Neither would signs and wonders have a large impact on people unless they were seen by others. Christians did not abandon the temple, even though they could of course assemble also in their homes.

When Paul was out travelling, he knew there were Christian assemblies that he could meet up with. We can see below that believers met together during a certain day and time, were taught in the temple and in homes, we can read about structured purifications and offerings,

Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the TEMPLE at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

Acts 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the TEMPLE, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Acts 4:19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20Go, stand and speak in the TEMPLE to the people all the words of this life.

Acts 4:42 And daily in the TEMPLE, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Acts 9:19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20And straightway he preached Christ in the SYNAGOGES, that he is the Son of God.— 26And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 

Acts 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the SYNAGOGES of the Jews: and they had also JOHN TO THEIR MINISTER.-–14But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the SYNAGOGUE on the sabbath day, and sat down. 15And after the reading of the law and the prophets the RULERS of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and BRETHREN, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.–

Acts 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the SYNAGOGUE, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

Acts 14:1 And it came to pass in Iconium that together they both went into the SYNAGOGUE of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude of both the Jews and also of the GREEKS believed.

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the SYNAGOGUE every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the GREEKS.— 7And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God,whose house joined hard to the synagogue.8And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Acts 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a SYNAGOGUE of the Jews:2And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,—10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.—-17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Acts 18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the SYNAGOGUE, and reasoned with the Jews. —22And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.— 26And he began to speak boldly in the SYNAGOGUE: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.27And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: 28For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,—8And he went into the SYNAGOGUE, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.— 

Acts 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the TEMPLE, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. 27And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the TEMPLE, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,

Acts 22:17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the TEMPLE, I was in a trance;18And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every SYNAGOGUE them that believed on thee:

Acts 24:11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. 12And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:—18Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the TEMPLE, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.

church9Church (ekklesia) is sometimes used in CONTRAST to a group of individual believers!

1 Tim. 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed. 4But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. — 9Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. 10Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. 11But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;—16If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church (ekklesia) be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed. 17Let the ELDERS (presbyteroi) that rule well be counted worthy of DOUBLE HONOUR, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.—19Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses20Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Above, Paul gives instructions to the assembly of christians (the church) concerning the treatment of widows, and he advised them to preferably take care of their own family members (like widows) rather than having the church providing for them. In that way the church could focus on those with the most urgent needs. Apparently taking care of widows was one of many functions that the church had during this time. Paul also provided regulations concerning treatments of church elders, again indicating that christian meetings were ”organized”.

3 John 1:6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: — 9I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

The man Diotrephes refused to receive the brethren and he even cast them out of the CHURCH. So the true brethren are mentioned in contrast with the Church. The wicked person (in the church) cast them out of the church.

Acts 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church (ekklesian), and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.—

If we can never say ”I’m going to church” because we as christians are always the church wherever we go, then neither does the above verse make any sense. Here we can read that Paul, Barnabas etc were ”received” by the church. It is better to receive godly men into church, instead of casting them out as Diotrephes did.

1 Cor. 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.2Now I praise you, brethren,that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. —4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.—16But if any man seem to be contentious, WE have no such custom, NEITHER the churches of God. 17Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18For first of all, when ye come together in the churchI hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifestamong you20When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.—30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.—33Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34And if any man hunger, let him eat at homethat ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

Above Paul contrasts (differentiates) ”we” with ”the church”. He is also talking about ”when ye come together in the Church”, which sounds like a physical place. Paul takes for granted that we are going away when we ”come together in the church” because he complains about people who take the chance to eat a lot of food while being in the church. Paul asks ”have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” and ”if any man hunger, let him eat AT HOME”.

1 Cor. 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands AT HOME: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

Paul says above women should be silent in a teaching situation in church (not when it comes to singing, making prophesies, translating tongues, etc) and in this instance he is speaking of a certain place (away from home) and not a metaphor for believing people because he then gives permission for them to speak at home.

1 Cor.16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.— 15I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) 16That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. 17I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. 18For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.19The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 

2 Cor 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.—  19And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:— 

We are supposed to be the body of Christ, which means many members with many gifts and talents. God has set some in the church (the body of Christian members) to be apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. Paul speaks about the importance to use the spiritual gifts in a certain order – in an organized way.

1 Cor. 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.— 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Cor. 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.5 I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.— So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.— 11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. —16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.—  23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 

Here is a similar article about the same topic.

Spiritual gifts are in use today, but watch out for false spirits

Misunderstanding of the spiritual gifts

The evangelist Torben Søndergaard explains that the spiritual gifts are still valid today and very much in use by born again Christians. Unfortunately, he must also warn against false spirits among us in our churches, like those involved in new age and eastern religions with yoga practices such as kundalini.

The fact that someone gets healed does not necessarily mean that the person who heals him (i.e. someone with the gift of healing) can automatically be assumed to be right with God and someone who always lives a holy life. God is the perfect one who is the great Healer, and he gives authority to all Christians to receive the gift of healing (as well as other gifts). All Christians are not necessarily perfect even though they have the opportunity to be so. A person with the gift of healing can therefore not automatically be assumed to live a more righteous life than others, and might choose to go different paths in life – like into a much closer relationship with God or become consumed with the powerful gifts and subsequent fame (if we are perhaps talking about a TV evangelist) that he/she becomes worldly. You never know, but we should test all spirits and also judge people by their fruit.

Christians sometimes fall into one of two ditches:

  • Those who believe that NO spiritual gifts are still valid today (unless God would decide to zap a unknowing person on the street and make him/her possess one or more gifts) due to the possibility that fake instances of the gifts can be detected and due to their misunderstanding of the Bible text. Since they are basically cessationists (believing the spiritual gifts have ceased), they therefore assume that people claiming to speak in tongues (or with other types of spiritual gifts) are either lying (a sin), or are demonic (a sin) and are therefore not real Christians. For these people speaking in tongues is a sign that the speaker is NOT a Christian. (Compare with Mark. 16:17 where tongues are said to follow those who believe.)
  • Those who believe that a person with one or more of the gifts – particularly with the gift of healing – must be particularly loved by God and have a particularly advanced Bible knowledge. An authoritative Christian closer to God than others and who should be obeyed over others due to having such fantastic gifts.

We should have a more balanced view. Evidence of fake money is no evidence that all money is fake. Nowhere does the Bible tell us that the gifts of the holy Spirit were old news and should be forgotten even shortly after the New Testament was written. There are unfortunately Christians who totally misunderstand the spiritual gifts and believe such manifestations were only a sign for the unbelieving Jews (see here why this is not Scriptural).

It is not always the case that a healed person will automatically become close to God and interested in living a righteous life. In one occasion, Jesus healed ten lepers and only one of them returned to give glory to God (Luke 17:18). However, there is a great chance that people will indeed seek the true Healer after having been wonderfully healed themselves. It is wise to seek the one responsible for the miracles and find out what he requires from us (a holy life with love to Him and to others).

Maybe you have watched youtube videos showing people who have been healed, and who are so surprised over what just happened to them that they burst out in a curse word – probably because this is the language they normally use. If the evangelist team (or the person with the gift of healing) takes the chance to share the gospel with the healed person and welcome him/her into a Christian gathering there is a great chance that he/she will choose the right way. Those who produce such films might not include the entire communication because it is time-consuming, so do not be too quick to assume that the issue of repentance is not being taught.

Some healers might not be interested in sharing the gospel or explain the urgent call for repentance and if that is the case there is a problem. People do not get saved by getting healed (although it might sometimes be the first step that makes a person interested in finding out more about God), but by repenting for past sins and walking with the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not possible to assume that the healing must be fake because the Healer has shown to not always live a righteous life. Again, God is the Healer and according to the Bible faith often has a lot to do with the success of getting healed. Nevertheless, a person with the gift of healing is naturally expected to live a holy life, just like those he/she heals. If you do not see an eagerness for repentance, but just a lot of empty manifestations which might even be disorderly done, there is a good chance that there are false spirits involved.

Be careful about those preachers who claim that the gifts of the holy Spirit have ceased (which is just what the devil wants you to believe), and be careful about those preachers who focus on the gifts, fame, money and worldly living.

Mark. 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues

1 Cor. 14:1 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for NO MAN understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

The Bible about SHUNNING sinners / heretics who cause division in church – excommunication

2 cor 2But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called A BROTHER be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. (1 Cor. 5:11)

There are sadly pastors and entire congregations who have completely misunderstood what the Bible says about brothers and sisters who have wandered off from the truth, resulting in a treatment which will not aid the lost persons at all.

There is one Biblical case which stands out in the Bible when it comes to ”shunning” someone, and that is when Paul criticizes the Corinthian church for not reacting despite one of their members living in a deep sin.

One sin makes you a sinner, but all sins are not of the same degree. Some sins are for example an ”abomination” before God, and we can also read about a sin ”not unto death”. Surely there is a difference between murdering an innocent person in cold blood vs being in an unexpected situation where a white lie is used in order to not reveal a nice birthday surprise? In the case of the Corinthian church, the sin in question concerned a man engaged in sexual immorality together with his father’s wife, which Paul considered was so detestable that it was ”not even named among the gentiles”. 

1 Cor. 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person. (NKJV)

Paul refers to a previous letter, and he clarifies that he did not advise the Corinthians to not keep company with all sinners in the whole world because then they could no longer live in the world. What he meant was that they should not keep company with anyone called a brother (which means a Christian brother or sister) who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Those listed sins are rather serious, and Paul tells the Corinthians to not even eat with such a person (other people might get the idea that we are supporting them in their sins or that we are just the same). Jesus of course ate with sinners, but not all his company would be regarded as his ”brothers”.

We should not try to add to Paul’s words – or withdraw. For instance, he does not say we must not talk to such people or not even say hello. Surely it would be awesome if such sinners returned to the Lord, and what better means do we have to our disposal than talking to them and try to persuade them to repent?:

Ja 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

It is hard to convert someone from his sins if we are not even allowed to have a dialogue with him. The man in 1 Cor. 5 was engaged in a serious sin (an ongoing sin not repented of), so clearly he should not have been allowed to stay in that church gathering considering that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  It is quite possible that the man in 1 Cor. 5 is again mentioned in Paul’s subsequent letter. In this letter Paul says that the punishment was sufficient for the man, and: you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.” (NASB). 

2 Cor. 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. 6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. (NKJV)

So on the one hand Paul makes no room for a person engaged in sexual immorality (or other severe sins which he gives examples of), but on the other hand he provides a way back also for an ardent sinner provided that the person repents and leaves all sins behind. One can easily imagine that a man might be totally swallowed up with sorrow, if friends and family suddenly cease talking to him and pretend that he is nothing more than air. After a period with such a treatment, maybe the person claims to be sorry and openly repents, but can the church really trust that he has truly repented and that it is not rather a case of someone feeling lonely and wanting to return to his family and friends? God cannot be fooled.

Paul never tells us to cease having conversations with Christians even if they live in sin (it is possible to have conversations outside of a church gathering) and particularly not if they are family members. We are also told to not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father. So we should react when people sin, but think about how we phrase ourselves and how we treat them. The goal is to see them return to the truth, so a condescending and patronizing attitude might not work.

1 Tim. 5:1 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers,—8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

More verses about shunning and influencing a person to repent (KJV)2 Pet

Matt. 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

If a man goes astray God would certainly like to see him back on track, so we too should seek out the lost person and try to influence him to repent for his sins and return to the fold. The prodigal son did just that – he confessed his sins, repented and returned to his Father. If a brother sins against us (or perhaps sins against a whole church gathering), then Jesus tells us to first speak to him alone. It is of course essential that the person understands in what way he has sinned so that he also understands the point we are trying to make. Just saying ”I hereby rebuke you, you evil heretic!” is not enough if the person does not understand exactly what he did wrong, plus it is questionable if it is the smartest way to express oneself.

It is of course a possibility that a church leader reacts to something that is no sin at all (but rather a case of misunderstanding or twisting someone’s speech), and then it is hard to repent for something that the accused person does not see as a sin. If the case is that it was truly a sin and if the accused person refuses to listen or repent, then two or three witnesses are needed to establish the case. If the accused person is still unwilling to listen or repent, then the whole church should be told. If the accused person is still unwilling to turn around, then he must be regarded as a heathen – but note that it is still possible to have friendly and polite conversations with heathens! We are not told to ignore heathens and treat them as they do not exist, and note that it does not say that we should treat them WORSE than heathens. Surely it is possible to treat also heathens with kindness and love?

Where in the Bible can we read that also all the children (small children and teenagers) of an excommunicated person must be excommunicated as well, and no longer have any contact with the church members? (Nowhere.) The children might have been really good friends with other youngsters in a church for many years, and does God really suggest that they are no longer allowed to play or socialize with each other any more?

We should also add the risk for that the witnesses blindly obey the church leader (especially in a cult environment) who in his turn might not be entirely obedient to the Scriptures. The opposite is also true, that the church leader might blindly believe the witnesses’ description of a case. The instructions from Paul of course only work if the whole chain is unbroken – and not if the church leader is in error and makes unfair judgments. That is also why Paul told both Timothy and Titus to not be too quick with the ”laying on of hands” (selecting a person to become a church leader), because then the whole church gathering will risk to be off course.

A charged person certainly has the right to defend himself (this is true even in a secular court room), particularly in a church gathering that is not in all circumstances based on the word of God (like in a cult). If the pastor requests that a person must repent, and does not even give him a chance to defend himself or correct misunderstandings, then something is utterly wrong.

Rom. 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE which ye have learned; and avoid them.18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

Above we can read Paul saying that the brethren should ”mark them… and avoid them” if it concerns people who cause divisions contrary to God’s words. He does not clarify to what extent they should be avoided (avoiding does not necessarily mean that we cannot even walk on the same street as the person in question), but it evidently concerns people who continuously cause division in church contrary to God’s words. If such a person repents and ceases to cause division there is always a way back, but if he refuses to cease sinning Paul’s advice should be followed.

To ”mark” them does not mean that this marking must be repeated, and that the person can be verbally attacked as soon as you meet him. It is enough to do the marking once. However, if we continue to spend time with a trouble maker, eat with him and socialize with him (as in not avoiding him), then there is a risk that other people will interpret our undisturbed friendship as though we condone his actions. That is why Paul requests to see a change in our attitude towards a clear trouble maker. Paul does not necessarily tell us to stir up a huge drama scene as soon as there are minor differences of opinions about insignificant matters. I believe Paul is talking about clear cases of sin where a person is a trouble maker and/or causes a division in church over rather essential matters while refusing to back off.

Rom. 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.—8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;—16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Above we can see how important it is to be of one body, but also how important it is to show love and respect.

Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Paul gives instructions for a church leader, and if the church leader is subject to the word of God then it is a lot easier for the members to be subject to the church leader. However, we must always do as the Bereans (Acts 17:11) – to compare what we hear with Scriptures in order to know if what we hear is true. A church leader should speak evil of no man, be gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men, etc.  Since we too have been guilty of many sins, we could choose a wise way to influence people to repent. God has shown kindness and love to us, so we too should show the same to others. Not as in accepting their sin, but by consider the way we treat them and try to make them turn around.

Paul goes on to say a man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject. This advice must also be understood correctly and with caution. It takes some serious sins in order to qualify as an heretic (someone who clearly rejects the word of God and refuses to repent), so we should not cause an inflation of the word by spreading out admonitions left and right as soon as someone has some minor disagreements and asks valid questions. Neither should we fall into the other ditch and be so ”generous” that we choose not to react even if people in our congregation are proud of their sins.

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Someone who refuses to accept the deity of Jesus, that he has come in the flesh, is labelled as a deceiver and even an antichrist. To accept Jesus as God is very central for the Christian faith. It is not certain that we should not allow anyone into our homes unless he/she shares our precise faith (particularly not if they are family members or relatives), but if someone wants to ”bring” an ”antichrist message” into our homes – like a former brother who would like to convert you and your family – then we should not accept him. I believe it is another matter if we invite lost people with the aim to convert them. Remember again that Jesus ate with sinners who did not view him as the Messiah.

Gal. 1:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

Paul tells us to ”restore” a person who is overtaken in a fault ”in the spirit of meekness” . Once again love and respect are taught here.

2 Thess. 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

We are told to ”withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us”, and the context here is about working and to not be a burden to others. ”For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies”. In such cases we are told ”them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread”. We are also told if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed” but also Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother”. If we are to admonish him as a brother, we think about how we phrase ourselves and we do not ridicule him, repeatedly call him an heretic (once is often enough) etc.

There are certain rules about elders:

1 Tim. 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Christianity in Sweden and the fear of Christian Sweden Democrats (SD)

nazi-2Naive Swedes who live in a pretend world

Criminals are dangerous, but so are people who are way too naive for their own good and live in a pretend world. The small Christian community in secular Sweden needs a lot of prayers these days. Churches in Sweden are more or less victims of political correctness and you will even see ”the Swedish state church” making a 2016 Christmas call for us all to get back to the generous immigration laws which applied 2015 and earlier (when Sweden was overwhelmed by about 165,000 asylum seekers – even more than the record numbers previous years). Never mind if we have the means to accommodate that large amount of people or not. When it comes to the serious reality it is not ”the heart that counts”, because God never told us to jump off a cliff and count on him to save us from the problems that we ourselves have caused. The Bible even advises us to not place ourselves in debt if we can avoid it because then we are not really free. A good advice for a household as well as for a whole country, is to not live beyond our means. If we have to borrow money in order to afford our new inhabitants, and raise the world’s highest taxes to an even higher level, then something is wrong. This has nothing to do with skin color.

We will not be able to help anyone if the whole country go bankrupt, and of course it does not make sense to decrease our financial aid to the third world (where people are in desperate need of help and have no chance to collect enough money to pay smugglers who can assist them in getting to Sweden) in order to spend the money mostly on young men who seek asylum in Sweden for economical reasons. We must face the fact that we cannot be a welfare contributor to the entire world and its needs. So far we have pretended as though we can, but what we get in return is a country collapsing under its own burden – and the deterioration is getting increasingly worse. It is truly dangerous to go out at nights in many areas in Sweden, and Malmö might already be a lost city due to the crime statistics and the large amount of people living on welfare (the most common name for newly born boys in Malmö is Mohammed, and Arabic is now the second most common language in Sweden before Finnish.)

We should not blame immigrants for wanting to come to Sweden since we promise milk and honey for them and their families for as long as they live (particularly if they are minors which they are therefore encouraged to be). It is our politicians we should blame – those who have decided to ruin our country by promising more stuff than we can deliver.

We hardly have any national defense left (hence the interest to join NATO and promote globalism), people are fleeing from service jobs in hospitals, schools, the police force, etc due to the heavy work loads and in some cases also a hostile environment. More and more public areas must be protected by guards, like shopping malls, libraries and indoor swimming pools. Every single week you will read about cars set on fire, thefts, shootings, rape/gang rapes and murder. Statistics (and court accounts) show that people from the middle east and northern Africa are over-represented in the crime statistics, and particularly when it comes to the more serious types of crimes. Sweden has about 55 no-go zones (some feel that we should not use these terms because they might be offending to those who live there), and about half of them are too dangerous for the Police and emergency vehicles to enter due to the risk of being stoned or attacked in other ways. Lawlessness has taken over. Policemen are also frustrated to see criminals getting away with crimes in court (if they even get to court), and if they do get a sentence they are soon out on the streets again in a few weeks/months to continue with their crimes. Immigrants are rarely expelled to their home countries. There are examples where immigrants have gang raped a minor and still not been expelled, due to the ”poor treatment” they might expect to get in their home countries.

If you dare questioning multiculturalism and mass immigration, you will most likely be labelled a racist which means that there are people who must keep their deep concern for our country to themselves.

The famous article which caused a lot of division among Christians

There is a certain famous article published in the Christian newspaper DAGEN (and also elsewhere) December 2014, and has been shared and talked about in the Christian community ever since (together with articles and even a book from the same author in the same subject). It’s authored by Stefan Swärd and Sven-Gunnar Hultman, and signed by a large number of pastors and church employees (exactly who can be seen here). What is it about? It is about a warning concerning the political party ”Swedish Democrats” (SD) and consequently also the views by those who vote for this party. The authors point out that it is not possible to be a Sweden Democrat and a Christian at the same time (albeit not in those exact words). They claim SD is all about racism and that the view of man that SD holds is far from Christian as well as extremely distant from the word of Jesus.

I vote for this party together with about 25% (probably more) of the Swedish voters according to polls. Have 1/4th of the Swedish voters suddenly turned racist? Anyone can read what SD stands for on their website and you will not find anything remotely tied to racism, unless you purposely misrepresent the text. SD rightly points out that we are all different depending on our genes, culture, traditions, environment, upbringing, social level, etc, and yet people go ballistic when they read this, being totally convinced that SD promotes racism simply by stating the obvious.

It is quite noteworthy that Stefan Swärd and Micael Grenholm (the authors of a book published 2016 where they lash out against SD and frequently use SD:s opponents as a source) do not write books and articles warning about the Swedish communist party but focus on SD alone. (They must accept that Sweden Democrats might want to defend themselves against their attacks.) They might tell you about scandals made by SD politicians (some are misrepresentations but some scandals are sadly valid) but I could tell them about scandals from politicians from every single Swedish political party. Some of those who hate SD might claim that politicians from SD win the race when it comes to scandals, but when I ask for the statistics they can provide nothing more than examples. Are Norwegians dumber than Swedes if I provide one example of a dumb Norwegian? How about 10 examples, or 20, 40? Come on! Let us not make generalizations if we cannot prove they are actually accurate. What does the Bible say about spreading rumors and falsehood? And about judging others with different weights?

Prov. 6:16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Prov. 3:30 Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

Prov. 11:9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

Prov. 20:10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord.

Prov. 20:23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord; and a false balance is not good.

Lev. 19:35 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.

Ex. 23:1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

Nowhere in the Bible will you read that Israel (or whoever) are obligated to support strangers (and their families and relatives) for the rest of their lives if strangers cross the border and would like to live with you. From the parable of the the good Samaritan we can extract that he helped one person who was almost dying, who he happened to find on his way. The good Samaritan financed this help with his own money which he probably did not have to borrow. He did not promise to finance the other person’s and his family’s living conditions for the rest of their lives – and particularly not with other people’s money.

As a Christian I believe we all derive from the same couple: Adam and Eve, and later on Noah and his wife. I believe this to be the literal truth. We all have the same blood and God doesn’t want anyone to perish. Hence, there is no skin color which is superior than the other.

The article has caused much division in the Swedish Christian communitydivision-2

My point is that this article which spread throughout the Swedish Christian community has done a lot of harm, and it has caused a great division among Christians in Sweden. Christians are separated into the 1) the good Christians who are FOR mass immigration and 2) the bad heartless ”Christians” (the racists) who are against it. So which side are you on?

I have become church less due to this split, and I know of other Christian Sweden Democrats who feel there is a great division in Church. Only one view is allowed, or else you are among ”them” and not ”us”. Three of the pastors in my church signed this document, and it is also quite possible that the Head Pastor might be of the same view (he feels that he should not take side due to his position). Why would I like to continue being a member of a church where so many pastors feel the need to warn other members for people like me? Maybe people will take large circles around me, when they realize that I am a person who vote for the ”prohibited” party which their pastors have officially red flagged. Why would I attend a Church when there is a risk that members and pastors might feel uncomfortable around me, thinking that I am perhaps just as awful as the picture painted in the article? If they have placed me among ”them”, I of course feel I am not included.

If the pastors would like to be consistent, they should not allow SD-voters to be members in their congregations considering that SD-voters are not saved in their view. If they protest and say that they have said no such thing, I must ask them if they truly believe a person is saved if he/she is a racist, has a world view (a view about fellow-man) which is far from Christian and very distant from the word of God (statements from the article which they have signed)? If they suggest that I have misunderstood them, then I can only say that a) why did they sign the document with those clear statements, and b) is it not rather ironic that also SD suffers from being misunderstood – possibly because those who interpret them prefer to go to their enemies to check their views rather than SD themselves. Why going to the source?

In Sweden it seems like only one opinion is allowed at a time, so it is a totally different story compared to our neighboring countries where various views are allowed concerning immigration volumes and consequences. The truth is that SD has similar political views as in all of our Nordic neighbors, so if SD must be labelled a racist party why not the parties that rule in our neighboring countries? Why do not Swärd and Grenholm write books where they warn about Christians in Denmark because of their support for their political systems?

Why the urgent need to judge SD based on the actions of a few members in the beginning of SD existence during a time when most of today’s SD politicians were still teenagers or even children? Who would like to be judged based on predecessors from a long time ago? What if there was a new pastor employed in a church who managed to improve the church greatly by getting it on the right track? What if outsiders still preferred to judge the pastor and the congregation based on previous pastors? Year after year? How much time must elapse before the pastor can be judged based on his own merits and actions? There are still some mishaps in the new church? OK, but what if there are mishaps in ALL churches? It still boils down to the same faulty argument:

”There are scandals made by SD politicians so you can’t vote for SD, because then you’re a racist! OK, there are scandals made also by politicians from all other parties but you’re still fine if you vote for them.”

This is double standard.

It was a HUGE mistake to sign that document, but I pray ”Father, please forgive them, they do not know what they are doing”. This does not change the fact that many christian Sweden Democrats do not feel welcome in Church.

sweden-3Why it makes perfect sense to vote for SD for a Christian

SD critics might believe that voting for SD or not is about helping or not helping people in despair. However, it is rather about different ways of helping. SD prefers to help more people (who need it the most) for less money, but the politics from the other parties are based on helping fewer people in a more expensive way (even if they are not aware of it). No one likes to be ascribed views to him/her that might not be true, and I know better than anyone else why I vote for SD. I vote for SD for a number of reasons, and not one of them is ”because a few of the pioneers in the late 1980’s and beginning of 1990’s were racists”. No, I vote for SD based on what they stand for today. Here are some of my reasons:

  • I prefer to help as many people in need as possible – and particularly those with the most urgent needs with no chance at all to pay smugglers who can bring them to Sweden. By helping people in their own countries more people can be helped for less money. Resulting in that Sweden will not deteriorate as a country and can continue to help people year after year.
  • SD often promotes Christian values in all areas, but particularly in schools where they feel it is beneficial for children to be affected by Biblical values from an early age.
  • SD considers children raised in a traditional nuclear family (one father and one mother) as the most ideal option. SD opposes sanctioned adoption and insemination to single people, same-sex couples and polyamorous relationships unless the adopting party are close relatives or already have a close relationship with the child. 
  • It is the only party that would like to see the right for abortion heavily reduced (as a start until pregnancy week 11 instead of current week 18).
  • It is the only party that criticizes the ”homosex lobby”, and SD is the only party that has no representation in any ”Pride parades”. SD feels that Pride parades promote promiscuity. Pride parades are particularly not safe or beneficial for children.
  • It is a nationalistic and social conservative political party and against globalist movement (not ”far right” as their opponents claim), and I feel it is good to be proud of our own country and to maintain our culture and traditions. Instead we are tiptoeing around new citizens due to the fear that we might offend them with our culture and traditions.
  • It is one of only two parties against a membership of EU (and a world government).
  • It is against a Swedish membership of NATO.
  • It seems to be the only party (except for maybe one more) FOR Israel and for the Jews which can be testified in their governmental legislation work on the behalf of Israel and Israel’s right to protect itself. When Sweden officially declared ”Palestine” as a state, only SD protested heavily and gave the idea absolutely no support.
  • SD is also vocal about the danger of some Islamic traditions, halal food in schools, child weddings, etc.
  • It is the only party that has rightly understood the danger of mass immigration, and Sweden does not have 55 no go zones and a ruined welfare state for no reason at all.
  • They have adopted a policy where they have zero acceptance for racism, and has clearly shown in practice that they do not hesitate to disfellowship members who do not live up to this rule.
  • It is the only political party in the true opposition. Sweden presently has a government to the left and so far it seems like every single decision they have made has been the contrary to what should be done. The other ”opposing” political parties (apart from SD) have united and they enable the left to be in power even though they could arrange a government to the right with the support from SD. It is unfortunate that they prefer to neglect their own voters and see the whole country going down in flames, rather than having something to do with SD which they stigmatize.
  • etc, etc

A christian person outside of Sweden might agree with all of the above and be heartily welcomed into a Church as a brother/sister – because he is not a Swedish Democrat and does not vote for them. So two people might share the very same views, and yet one is called a racist and one is a brother/sister. Again, double standard.

Swedish mainstream media (famous for being so critical against Israel) has decided to treat SD as a party tied to racism/nazism/fascism, and they are constantly on the hunt to find some dirt they can throw on SD. I know numerous people who have lost their jobs, positions in for instance a union or other group associations due to their SD commitments. Those who are responsible for this rejection often justify their actions by claiming that SD does not share the same humanistic view of man as other people. With other words they ascribe views to SD and people who they might not have and use it against them (i.e. a straw man). If the individual explains what his real views are he/she is not believed because of the SD commitment. Sadly many Christians have joined the bullies, and as a Sweden Democrats you must expect to be unfriended both on social media and in real life.

The same value for all! If you’re against it, you’re a racist!

There is a mantra that has been in rule in Sweden for quite some time now which goes   ”Allas lika värde” (the same value for all). Many have already decided that SD opposes this and therefore use it against them (whether it is true or not). It is of course questionable if all people truly have the same value. Does Stalin have the same value as Mother Teresa? If my children had the same value as other children, would I not save money in order to provide more children with a driver’s education and not just my own? And give food, birthday gifts, etc to other children rather than year after year always focusing on my own? No, I have a responsibility to feed my own children and to help them out as much as I can because I set them into this world. I am never exempted from this responsibility as long as they are underage and in my care. I simply cannot help all who are in financial need, so in this aspect my children have a greater value to me than others. This of course does not stop me from also giving aid to others, but it cannot compare to the time and the sums of money that I have spent on my own children over the years.

It is rather ironic that those who shout the most for ”the same value for all” place such a low value on Sweden Democrats who are often treated as third class citizens. Did you know that all political parties are given an invitation to the Nobel prize ceremony every year, apart from SD? It is again due to ”the view of man” that SD supposedly holds, but how come dictators from all over the world are invited? Did you know that owners of hotels, restaurants, etc, either often decline to take any bookings from SD representatives, or cancel the bookings later on when pressured by journalists?

One would think that a pastor would like to see people repenting from their sins and getting saved? So if they declare in a document that Sweden Democrats are distant from the word of God, why do they not take the chance and explain in which way? Please? What is the sin that I should repent from? Due to siding with the views in our neighboring countries and my stance against a harmful mass immigration?

Naturally all human beings are valuable, and naturally God does not want anyone to perish but to come to the knowledge of the truth. There is much joy in heaven for each person who repents.

Contacted by ”Evangelist so-and-so” from India or Pakistan?

 

church 4India and Pakistan replete with evangelists and orphanages?

If you are a Christian who is sometimes engaged in social networks such as Christian forums, chat rooms, blogs, Facebook groups, etc, then you might have been contacted by individuals from India or Pakistan who commonly, but not always, have user names starting with ”Evangelist” or ”Pastor” and who claim to be involved with Christian missions and/or running an orphanage. Considering the amount of times I have been contacted in this way throughout the years, you would think there is a church or orphanage in every street corner in India/Pakistan.

I am not suggesting that all such contacts are fake, but I would advise people to not give financial aid to strangers they meet online (particularly if they are from India/Pakistan – where soliciting seems to be a common problem), and I would advise people from India and Pakistan to not contact strangers in this way since it might give all Christians from India and Pakistan an unwarranted bad name. There are of course sincere Christians from India and Pakistan who are engaged in the very work they claim to be, but since you cannot expect people to know this with certainty it is much better for them to give money to charities that they know and can trust. The best way to help financially is to do so through people who you know personally, or through churches or organizations that you really have confidence in.

The conversations with such Indians/Pakistanis that contact you online always tend to be the same, and they go through the same phases. (I am not suggesting all such individuals have the same interior motives as I describe here below.)

  1. First they make sure I am a Christian – something they probably know in advance since they chose to be contact me in the first place. Christians are supposed to be kind and giving…They might ask you what church you attend, to make sure you are an active Christian.
  2. After the first greetings, they usually start off asking ”What do you do”? This gives me the feeling they want to know if I work, and if there is a chance I even earn a lot of money which I perhaps could spare. If there is such a possibility, it might be worth while chatting with me and becoming friends with me.
  3. They explain they are involved with missionary work and/or run an orphanage. They sometimes ask you if you want to see some photos which they are happy to send to you.
  4. They ask for prayers for their Christian work, due to the many needs.
  5. They express themselves with Christian phrases, they praise God, they repeatedly call you sister (or brother where applicable).
  6. They show an overwhelming interest in your country and in your Church.
  7. They proceed to invite you to India/Pakistan to evangelize, without even knowing anything about you – apart from your claim that you are a Christian. I wonder to myself how they know I am a good preacher and how they can be certain of that I do not teach heresies? When I tell them that I am sure they can spread the gospel in India/Pakistan just as well as I can, they still insist I should come. I explain that I would love to visit their country, but if the idea is that I should pay for costly travels to India/Pakistan surely the money could be spent more wisely on more important things? If I go to India/Pakistan to preach, then someone must translate to their language, so why not preach in the correct language to start with without my participation?
  8. They might even suggest they need evangelists from abroad due to the difficulties they have in their area to arrange Christian meetings considering much persecution, etc. But do they think a random Christian Swedish woman they meet online will sort it out much better? They might have heard about large Christian organizations that have arranged large meetings also in their countries, but what are the chances that I am involved in such ministries? Would it not be better to use google and contact such ministries directly?
  9. If the conversation lasts long enough, they might even more openly ask for money. You might suggest sending them Bibles, but remember that they would prefer money so that they can buy Bibles in their own languages. (With other words – it is more safe to not send any money.)

Again, I know there are well-meaning Christians from India and Pakistan who are not fake at all (some I have spoken with even know the names of some Swedish evangelists) but I still wish they would use another approach online. Each time I get contacted by someone from India/Pakistan, I get a red warning sign from the very first Hello.

My advice is: Please do not ask for financial aid online, and please do not give financial aid online. There are better and safer ways to support Christian projects.

Do not encourage anyone to ask for financial help from people they meet online. If you give money to people who contact you online, this will encourage even more people to do so and naturally also people who are not engaged in any Christian activities at all.

There are apostles in the church today, and we are warned about false apostles

 

apostle 3”Apostle” comes from the greek word ”apostolos” (Strong’s 652) and means one that is sent forth (with orders or a mission), like a messenger.

The very first apostles were the same as Jesus first disciples.

Matt. 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

When Judas Iscariot fell away, Matthias was appointed in his stead.

Acts 2:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Also Paul was called by God to be an apostle.

Corinthians 1:1 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother (Rom. 1:1, 11:13, 1 Cor. 1:1, 9:1-2, 1 Cor. 15:9, 2 Cor. 1:1, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:1, Col. 1:1, 1 Tim. 1:1, 1 Tim. 2:7, 2 Tim. 1:1, 1:11, Titus 1:1)

Barnabas was called an apostle according to Luke, and it’s possible that also Timothy, Judas Barsabas and Silvanus (probably the same as Silas) were considered apostles as well. They were certainly called, and sent forth by Paul to spread the gospel and to perform miracles.

Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me BARNBABAS and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Acts 14:13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.14 Which when the apostles, BARNABAS and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out

Act 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed BARSABAS and SILAS, chief men among the brethren

70 other individuals sent out to spread the gospel and to heal the sick

Apart from the first 12, and apart from Paul and Barnabas, we can read from Luke that 70 other individuals were sent forth to spread the gospel and to perform miracles.

Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.—9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.—13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.—16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

In the above verses it’s clear that these 70 individuals were given much divine power. Not only does Jesus separate people between those who listen to these 70 and those who despite them, but the 70 are also given power to do mighty work like healing the sick. They were more powerful than the enemy – including the spirits from the enemy. With other words, there were no one else who had greater power apart from God and the other 12 apostles, and Jesus told these 70 individuals to pray that the Lord would send forth laborers into his harvest. This seems to be exactly what Jesus had done to these 70 at one point, because he had sent them forth to do mighty work.

The commands for the initial 12 apostles were similar as for the 70:

Matt. 28:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.—7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

In order to not confuse the first 12 apostles with the above 70 individuals (all of them called to spread the gospel by Jesus Christ), it makes sense that ”the apostles” refers only to the original apostles, including either Judas Iscariot or later on Matthias. Also Jesus Christ could actually be called an apostle, because he was also sent forth by his Father to share the gospel with the people on earth. Neither Jesus would be included whenever the Bible uses the term ”the apostles”.

Hebr. 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

John 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Even if the 70 individuals mentioned in Luke 10 had similar tasks as the 12 apostles, it’s only the 12 apostles that will be given one foundation each in the new Jerusalem. The 12 are likely viewed in highest regard because they were the first disciples who remained with him (unlike other disciples as those mentioned in John 6:66), who were taught by him, dined with him, were his close friends, etc. It’s difficult to have 12 + 70 very close and intimate friends, but it’s possible to select 12 individuals and be both a close friend as well as being their master. They in turn could do the same – gather a few people and making them into disciples.

Rev. 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Eph. 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Acts 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

2 Peter 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.—17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Luke 11:47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation

Jesus is naturally the one with all the wisdom in the world, but since the first apostles were sent out from him they are also very trustworthy. Jude is therefore in Jude 1:3 exhorting christians ”to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. The saints were the first christians, and the very first christians were the apostles. If the apostles make sure to adhere to Jesus teaching, and if these apostles make sure to only appoint qualified men to be apostles and pastors, then all would be well in church. Unfortunately Paul (and Peter, John, Jude, etc) also knew that wolves in sheep’s clothing would be entering the church soon after their own departure. In 1 Tim. 5:22 we can read Paul’s warning to Timothy Do not lay hands on anyone hastily” (which is the way one officially appoints a presbytery/pastor), because he knew the order of events. 

Junia is a female name, but rather than being named an apostle it’s more likely that the below verse should be read as though the apostles viewed both Andronicus and Junia as godly individuals of highest regard.

Rom. 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Apostles are supposed to be in the church, along with prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachersapostle 2

If teachers, evangelists and pastors are still active in church today, then so are apostles and prophets since they are all listed together in the below verses. Paul is explaining the church order for the Corinthians and the Ephesians (and for all of us), and it would be strange if he asked ”are all apostles, are all teachers, are all workers of miracles?”, if these functions would soon cease and lose their significance. If apostles would soon be irrelevant in church within one generation, it would be better for Paul to end all confusion by explaining that only the twelve could be considered apostles and that therefore false apostles could easily be detected.

1 Cor. 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Based on the above, the order of authority seems to be: God almighty, Jesus Christ his son (Jesus is of course also God, but he is also the son who is sent out), the 12 apostles, other apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, helps, governments and diversities of tongues.

We are warned about false apostles

If the case would be that only the initial 12 disciples could ever be considered true apostles, it would be a breeze to figure out which ones the false apostles are. Anyone claiming to be an apostle and not being among the first dozen or more, would by definition be a false prophet. Yet, the Bible doesn’t make this particular distinction between true apostles and false apostles, but it’s rather about being qualified and showing good fruit. We are warned about both false apostles and false prophets – and supposed to look out.

2 Cor. 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Rev. 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

2 Cor. 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

A true Biblical apostle would also be able to show signs, perform wonders and mighty deeds. Both Philip and Stephen did great miracles (Acts 8:6 and 6:8).

The holy Spirit and the ability to speak in tongues can be received by laying on of hands

Some christians suggest that the holy Spirit and miracles can only come from the hands of the apostles, but the Bible doesn’t narrow it down in that way. The first christians (normally the apostles) had this power, but the amount of christians increased and the holy Spirit could also be received in other ways (by listening to the gospel and having a repentant heart).

Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money

Acts. 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

John MacArthur causes a division in Church on false grounds – Strange Fire?

john macarthur

John MacArthur and his Strange Fire Conference, where he attacks christian charismatics

John MacArthur is a professed calvinist, and calvinists believe in TULIP which means (IF they want to be consistent with their own teachings) that they don’t believe that Jesus died for everyone (Limited Atonement), that God doesn’t want everyone to be saved, that people are born elect/non elect (saved/doomed), that nothing comes to pass against the will of God, that even sin is according to God’s will, etc. So not only does MacArthur preach false doctrines and insults our holy God, but as can be seen below it also looks like he is awfully close to committing the unpardonable sin by publicly ascribing the power of the holy Spirit – when it comes to casting out demons and healing people – to SATAN. It’s obviously not an unpardonable sin to simply doubt the truthfulness of a person’s supposed healing – not even if you express your doubt out loud, because you certainly might be right in your observation – HOWEVER if a person truly has cast out demons and healed someone and you as a believer of God publicly claim that this is not from the holy Spirit at all but of Satan, then it appears that you fit the description of blaspheming the holy Spirit. Being unsure is not a sin, and expressing your doubt is not a sin, but to publicly ascribe ALL modern cases of healing to Satan will lead to sin because not all of those cases are of Satan but of the holy Spirit. MacArthur seems to suggest that 100% of all claimed cases of casting out demons and/or healing are either fake or of Satan (unless it’s by the hands of Jesus or his apostles). If he is wrong in some of those cases – which he is – then this results in that he is guilty of suggesting that people have unclean spirits despite that they do NOT. The holy Spirit should rather be praised for what just happened instead of being attacked and compared with darkness. Only God can be the judge here, but MacArthur should reevaluate his mission – if it isn’t too late.

Matt. 12:22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.—24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.—27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.—31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Mark. 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.—28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.30 BECAUSE THEY SAID, HE HATH AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT.

A transcript from MacArthur from his ”Strange fire” conference 2013, sponsored by Grace To You:

“Why don’t evangelical leaders speak against this movement?  Why is their such silence? Look When somebody attacks the person of Christ the Evangelical world rises up and says “no, no, no!”  . . . the Holy Spirit has been under massive assault for decades and decades, and I’ve been asking the question ‘where are the people rising up in protest against the abuse and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?‘ The only thing I can suggest is that they have been literally backed up into a corner by intimidation that they need to be loving and accepting and tolerant and not divisive in the body of Christ, that’s been the mantra. . .”

He also says:

“people caught up in any kind of error are cut off from God’s blessing.”

”Why are evangelicals silent about charismatic error?”

”The Lord calls His people to honor Him, to treat Him as holy. Leviticus 10 pictures the consequences of not doing so—of offering to Him strange fire. For the last hundred years, the charismatic movement has been offering a strange fire of sorts to the third Person of the Godhead—the Holy Spirit. And evangelical churches have chosen to be silent or indifferent on the matter. This hasn’t served the church or the Spirit of the church with honor.”

Where did he get the term ”strange fire” from, which is the title of his conference, and which he ascribes to the entire charismatic movement? This Biblical incident:

Leviticus 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.

Numbers 3:4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered strange fire before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father.

Numbers 26:61 And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the Lord.

Clearly the strange fire offered to God in Leviticus was sinful and against his will, because he had forbidden that kind of unlawful fire. Nadab and Abihu were immediately devoured before the Lord when they transgressed his law. Since MacArthur equals the entire charismatic movement (Assembly of God, the Pentecostal church, etc) with this type of unlawful strange fire, then he couldn’t possibly regard any of the members as saved – but rather as gangsters who oppose the holy Spirit and side with Satan. How could anyone be saved who purposely present strange fire (which is nothing but demonic) before the Lord?

On his website MacArthur favors the idea that speaking in tongues is DEMONIC/SATANIC/HERETICAL and HAVE CEASED. Can anyone be saved who are demonic/satanic/heretical and who engages in spiritual matters that are no longer in use? Of course not, because then you’re engaging in Satanic matters instead of godly matters! So if you belong to Assembly of God or a Pentecostal church, you’re not saved according to MacArthur. Moreover, the gifts of the holy Spirit are not only in use in those type of churches, but they can also be found in various other churches even if they are more common in the charismatic ones. If you happen to be a person who belong to a charismatic church and don’t use any the spiritual gifts, how could you be saved if you choose to remain in the midst of demonic/satanic/heretical/false christians who present strange fire before the Lord? What does light have to do with darkness? Nothing! So the only conclusion is that MacArthur doesn’t believe that any of the members of the charismatic churches are saved, and that’s about 450.000 – 500.000 christians according to the statistics – and even more if you add all others (in other types of churches) who use the spiritual gifts. MacArthur says on his website:

”No, it is significant to note that Pentecostals and Charismatics can’t substantiate their claim that what they are doing is the Biblical gift. There’s really no evidence to prove it. There is no evidence that it’s language. You say then, ”What is it?” Could be demonic. Could be satanic. I think it was in Corinth, in some cases. Could be that. Ecstatic speech is a part of many pagan religions in Africa, East Africa. Tonga people of Africa, when a demon is exorcised, sing in Zulu even though they say they don’t know the Zulu language. Ecstatic speech is found today among Muslims, Eskimos, Tibetan monks. It is involved in parapsychological occult groups. Did you know that the Mormons, even Joseph Smith himself advocates speaking in tongues? It could be demonic.

Now all of these supposed manifestations of tongues were always identified as heretical, fanatical, unorthodox, outside the Church; and we conclude that when they ceased they ceased, and there have been continual off and on fabrications of counterfeit tongues. Since these gifts did cease, the burden of proof is on the Charismatics to prove that what is happening today is valid. Why do we always have to get backed in the corner and prove our case? Why don’t they take the Bible and prove theirs and look at history as well and do the same?

Wherever in the Bible does it say that you are to speak in a private tongue? Never! A private ecstatic, angelic speech–never! It’s hard for me to argue against those who say that tongues is a private prayer language because I can’t go to some text and correct them because there isn’t any text!

Suffice it to say that this unique gift given for the Apostolic time is irreproducible today, and whatever purports to be that is not that; it is something counterfeit. A myriad of studies, which I’ll deal with in the book [Charismatic Chaos], and when you get a copy you can read them in detail, give evidence of the fact that motor-autonomism (sp.), ecstasy, hypnosis, psychic-catharsis, collective psyche, memory excitation, and all other kind of terms are used to describe people who go into these kinds of trance like experiences.  

So there are no verses which say that we can speak in tongues privately? What’s wrong with these?

4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF; AND TO GOD

I don’t feel those who speak in tongues need to prove anything to Mr MacArthur and he can continue to believe that speaking in tongues is ”trance like” even though they aren’t. If pentecostals today don’t do anything else but speaking in counterfeit demonic tongues, then only cessationists could be saved – unless he believes demon possessed people can enter the kingdom of God. This means that MacArthur concludes that a person is definitely NOT a christian as soon as he hears him speaking in tongues or making use of any other spiritual gifts. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of what the Bible says, because Peter and other believing jews realized that the gentiles around them had received the holy Ghost precisely because they spoke in tongues and magnified God (speaking in tongues in combination with good fruit). MacArthur, however, understands speaking in tongues totally different from the apostle Peter does, because when he hears someone speaking in tongues he (MacArthur) believes that person is not saved because of the tongues.

Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 FOR THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, WHICH HAVE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST as well as we?

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

1 Thess. 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.20 Despise not prophesyings.21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

MacArthur doesn’t do anything else than causing a huge DIVISION in church, but I admire his ability to twist the Scripture to make it say what he wants at the same time as he suggests that other preachers (but not himself) are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Maybe he who shouts ”beware of the wolf” the loudest is one of the biggest wolves himself? He would do well to consider the following verses which he either avoids or butchers in his ”charismatic chaos series” and in the Strange fire conference:

1 Cor. 12:Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.—10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.—30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Paul tells us to covet earnestly the best gift. Does MacArthur obey Paul in doing so? Does he realize that speaking in tongues might not be understood (since the Bible says that NO MAN UNDERSTANDS) and that there wouldn’t even be a need of the gift of interpretation of tongues IF tongues were always understood? Paul doesn’t say ”if you don’t have the gift of interpreting, then don’t use the gift of speaking in tongues at all”.duva

1 Cor. 14:1Follow after charity, and DESIRE spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.  2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh NOT UNTO MEN, but unto God: for NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM; howbeit in the spirit HE SPEAKETH MYSTERIES.  3But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.  4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.  5I WOULD THAT YE ALL SPAKE IN TONGUES but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.”— 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are ZEALOUS of spiritual gifts, SEEK that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue PRAY that he may interpret.14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.—18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all19 Yet IN THE CHURCH I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.—28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF; AND TO GOD.—39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

Does MacArthur understand that we are not even speaking to men but unto GOD when we speak in tongues (and no man understands), UNLESS the tongues are interpreted? Does he realize that Paul recommends us to speak in tongues privately at home? Does he realize that Paul NOWHERE says that the speaking in tongues shall cease before the coming of Christ, when we shall see him as he really is? If speaking in tongues has ceased, as MacArthur claims, how come it hasn’t? How come millions of true born again christians still speak in tongues? If they are all Satanic, why didn’t Paul bother to warn us about this? Wouldn’t it have been better for Paul to say somewhere that ”the true speaking of tongues shall cease close after my own death, but there will be millions and millions of so-called christians (who show good fruit) who will speak in FALSE tongues, so be aware of them and don’t fall into the same trap”, etc?

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

If Paul spent a few months in a certain church and noticed that none of the spiritual gifts were present, wouldn’t he have been disappointed and reproved the leaders of this church for neglecting to encourage these gifts – which could have been to much edification both for individuals and/or for crowds of people? I fear that people are so afraid of the misuse of the gifts of the holy spirit that they don’t seek them at all, and this ends up being a victory for the devil.

Unfortunately, John MacArthur has made a study Bible, and you would do well to disregard it. He gets a lot of things right, but he also gets lots of things wrong and there is a risk you will fall for gnosticism/calvinism (and that God is the author of sin) if you start to believe MacArthur’s claims in his book. I can also say that quoting MacArthur where it sounds like he believes that man has free will, that we all have a chance to be saved, etc, only proves that he is not consistent with his own teaching (TULIP) and that he contradicts himself.

”Yes, someone says, but can’t Christians put themselves outside God’s grace? What about those who commit ABOMINABLE SINS? Don’t they nullify the work of redemption in themselves? Don’t they forfeit the love of God? CERTAINLY NOT …. it’s preposterous to think that we can forfeit it [salvation] BY ANYTHING WE DO” (John MacArthur, Jr., The Love of God, Word Publishing, 1996, p. 159.)

”Secondly, you asked about occasional SEXUAL SIN or getting drunk. Again, THESE SINS CANNOT CAUSE A TRUE BELIEVER TO LOSE HIS SALVATION” (Personal letter dated 1/10/94 sent by Bryan Johnson, a counselor from John MacArthur’s ministry.)

The Bible says:

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

2 Peter 2:2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

1 Tim. 4: 1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Jude 1:For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have no other desire than seeing also John MacArthur receiving the gift of speaking in tongues (and other gifts), but if puts so much energy in fighting against the holy Spirit and His gifts, the chances are slim that it will happen.

John MacArthur teaches that it’s possible to be saved even after having taken the mark of the beast (he starts with the incorrect premise of pre-tribulation). The Bible says the opposite. What if people in the future trust MacArthur’s assurance and take the mark of the beast? It’s of course no valid excuse to blame others (false teachers) for our choices, but teachers who present damnable doctrines have blood on their hands. Let’s pray for their repentance, and that people won’t trust MacArthur’s false assurances.

See below how MacArthur makes it known, that if you’re in the charismatic movement you’re NOT saved and you’re NOT part of the body of Christ. I get chills down my spine listening to his war against charismatic christians, and how he gets applauds from the other leaders (and the audience), and how people laugh when he makes jokes about the whole matter. I also don’t trust his concern for lost souls, because if he is right about his own gospel, then his God doesn’t even want all people saved, but only the elect – and of course all calvinists belong to the elect.