Response to PLAIN THINGS Nov/Dec 2014 Vol. 2; No 6
My RESPONSE is in BLUE
I am thankful for this interaction, even though I perceive that I am dealing with men whose presuppositions are insurmountable, because they are loyal to them and are thus un-teachable. They even claim to be “unwilling to be persuaded” in their paper. I want to think these men are sincere and only saying what they do because they firmly believe they are right; but none of us dare assume we are right without being able to prove it from God’s Word, which they cannot. Listen to their words:
”...All of us involved would like to say that we are, above all else, seeking for truth, God's will for His people today. But how open are we to arguments that attack our foundational perspective of the Gospel? In a recent newsletter of his, Bullen describes the many changes he has already made in his life - leaving the Baptists for the Mennonites, but at the last minute turning aside from the Mennonites to become who he is now. Bullen issues his version of the Moral Landscape Challenge:
I have a challenge for you, which in a real and most sobering way will help you determine whether you are a true disciple of Jesus or just an Ism-ite like the Scribes and Pharisees who held their pet dogmas higher than the Scripture. We have recently published a book and mailed one to many of you, called The Alien Exposed. Have you read it? I am offering $1,000 to any person who can disprove the book's message from the Scriptures. Why am I doing this? If I am wrong, I want to know why and where. I see a grave need in our day: People claiming to be disciples of Christ yet closing their minds and hearts to the clear Word of God because it is correcting some dear dogmas they have held for generations. Are you a true disciple of Jesus Christ or just an Ism-ite? I am challenging you to face this issue squarely and let the inspired Word of God have its proper place in your life.
To be fair to Bullen, I believe he has made more fundamental changes to his world-view than I have to mine, and those Changes have been sincere. But to expect him to change his opinions on this subject is like expecting me to change my views on some things — it is not likely. I am not offering to match his $1,000 offer, but if I were, I believe my money would be safe. What I see is not a man who is so diligent in search for truth that he is even offering money to help in attaining that goal, but a man who is so confident that he is already in possession of truth that he is proclaiming his sureness. That's okay. I'm not criticizing Bullen's closed -mindedness. In that way, I am like him. My own views of how the exact details of nonresis-tance should look in our daily lives are open to be influenced, but the basic principles are not. For me to accept the belief in Just War would require such a huge leap in logic that I would basically need to embrace a different Jesus, an altogether different gospel. I have no interest in that and am willing to engage in the discussion only as an attempt to help others better understand. On subjects like these, I make no claims to open- mindedness. Because of that, we need to be careful to limit our discussions of this nature and not allow them to become emotionally charged. We need to see these as opportunities to contend for the faith, but not imagine that we ourselves should be coming into the discussion with a willingness to be persuaded. I am not.
I am thankful that this discussion is written for all to read, so that men of unprejudiced minds and some Bible knowledge will be able to clearly discern who is making biblical sense, and who is grasping at straws to support the dogmas of their ism. Even if it is preserved only for my own children and grandchildren it will have been worth my patient toil in striving to clear the rubbish off the plain meaning of God’s Holy Word. I thank God I discarded my presuppositions many years ago when I left the indoctrination of my youth and college training to seek the clear sense of Scripture alone. I guess this has led me into “Biblicism” as has been alleged against me in Plain Things periodical. Some from the liberal faction would say I am “Bible bound”, which is the same basic accusation; and it thrills my heart that I will be able to face God with “holding fast the form of sound words” that was passed to me by His providential care, and striving to teach others also — As Jesus said we should in Mt 5:17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
I am astounded how quickly men will cast the clear words of God away and hold instead to some man’s opinion 100+ years removed from the inspired apostles. True Romanists they are that put church tradition and man’s opinion above the clear Word of God. Listen to this quote from a Bill Lee, a pacifist, whose article they put in their paper:
“The church in Rome was typically the center of early Christian doctrine. Here we see that military officials were not allowed to remain in the church and take a life (even lawfully), nor could they be civil magistrates where an execution is under his authority. This fact plainly contradicts Mark's statement about Peter and Paul supporting warfare when their early disciples required that the military soldiers and officials desist from any position that would cause them to kill someone.”
This is a laugh...and maybe a cry. I gave them Scripture where Peter and Paul baptized centurions, jailors, governors, etc. with no mention of them stepping down from their positions; and then referred to Romans 13 to show that Peter and Paul supported warfare in its proper place, “for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” All just and righteous warfare is simply this principle being exercised. But they find a document discovered in the 19th century most likely from the Alexandrian heretical school, but some think it is from Hippolytus in the 3rd century — they find this document that says what they want it to say, and what?? “This FACT plainly contradicts Mark’s statement about Peter and Paul supporting warfare????” My statement is based on the Word of God! My statements are FACT; but they choose a document full of perversion and superstition from who knows when and where it came from; but suddenly it is FACT enough to overcome what I present from GOD’S WORD?? This is what we are dealing with folks. Their churches would never baptize a soldier, centurion, tax collector, governor, jailor, etc. without first making them step down. The apostles baptized them without even mentioning it! By the way, WHO would think that ROME was the center of early Christian doctrine?? That was not very early. Tell me when the apostolic or pilgrim church had it doctrinal center at Rome.
When they see their argument cannot be “won with words”, because the Scriptures do not support their falsehood, they claim then to “win by the cross of Christ”, and label me with “Biblicism”. I would tremble to think of standing before God with such arrogant confidence in my own head against the very words of Scripture. Though hand join in hand, they shall not be unpunished.
The inspired apostles told us to follow them as they followed Christ, and use their example as a ruler to measure other men’s writing and teaching. Paul went on to say that if other men’s writings and teachings didn’t line up with the apostle’s examples, then they WERE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST.
Php 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Since these men admit they cannot win this argument with words, but say they must win it with the cross of Christ; they must not realize that they are actually enemies of that cross when they do not follow the apostles’ examples. They would never baptize those whom the apostles baptized without first preaching their pacifism and demanding the applicant step down from their government position before baptism. Sure, they can find other enemies of the cross in history; but they are still not lining up with the example of the apostles. What is further alarming is how they prefer the men in history who agree with them against the example of the apostles.
Someone once said, “When you find yourself in a hole, the best thing to do is stop digging”. I’m sure they don’t realize how they are digging their hole deeper every time they come back with illogical and unscriptural responses. Later generations will wish they had stopped sooner for their own sake. Sure, they will receive a pat on the back from those whose loyalties are to the same presuppositions as theirs are; but judicious and unprejudiced minds who love the Scripture above all other words and opinions will clearly discern. With this confidence, I will continue to instruct those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.
Mr. Lee who responded said, “One major thing I found missing in this interesting debate was a clear discussion of the advent of the Kingdom of God in the last days. “This gospel of the kingdom” was the central focus of both Jesus and the apostles, and it is in that context that I believe we will best understand their teachings.” The apostle’s preaching was that of preparing for and waiting for a coming kingdom; but not that they were then living in it. Naturally the church is ordered according to the coming kingdom, for that is how we show our willingness to live under God’s laws. Naturally the servants “occupying until Jesus comes” are still under his rule and authority; but the Scripture clearly state they too were waiting for the kingdom their lord went to obtain. Let me insert a chapter from my new book, “Resist Not Evil, What Does The Bible Say?”
IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE A PACIFIST?
The Google definition of “pacifism” is: “The belief that any violence, including war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances, and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means”. Obviously if the enemy is not a pacifist, then “peaceful” means YOU SURRENDER. In disputing with pacifists it is quite clear that they don’t believe it is ever right to resort to violence of any kind to defend yourself, the weak, or to uphold law and order. Is this what Jesus taught? Will Christ’s Kingdom be a pacifist kingdom?
Lu 19:11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. 15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities...
...27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
No serious student of the Bible would try to say that Jesus will reign as a pacifist. I try not to be too dogmatic on my interpretations or conclusions concerning “end-time” prophecies; but it seems that many Scriptures cannot be fulfilled without Jesus reigning with His saints on planet earth over mortal unregenerate nations (Rev 20, Zech 14). How will we who are saved reign with Christ (Rev 5:10)? Over whom will we reign? Why would Jesus rule the nations with a rod of iron, if they were all converted people (Ps 2:9; Re 2:27; Re 12:5; Re 19:15)?
We don’t know how this Kingdom will occur exactly; but we do know a few things about it. Just looking at this parable we can see that the Kingdom of God was not to immediately appear; that Jesus would be gone for a long time (Mt 25:19) to receive for himself a kingdom and return; that his servants were to be occupied doing his business while he was gone; and that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he would both reward his faithful servants and judge those who opposed him or were unfaithful. We, the Christian Church, are in the category of “occupying” till he comes. He is coming to reign; and his faithful servants will reign with Him over “cities” of people. Who exactly will they be? Will it be on this earth? Will believers be immortal, while those over whom they reign are still mortal? We can be confident on some points; but cannot be dogmatic on all the details. Below are some observations about Christ’s Kingdom that are quite certain:
#1 It is not here now in the sense that we are to expect it in the future. Were those servants who were commanded to “occupy” already in the kingdom? Yes and No. They were already under their king and serving him; but not yet in the kingdom that was coming. The disciples were with Jesus when he told the Pharisees, “The Kingdom of God is within you” and they knew what that meant; but they still asked Jesus in Acts 1:6, “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” We are now to be waiting for a coming kingdom, striving to be worthy to inherit it, and being tested to see if we are faithful in little so we can then be trusted with much (five or ten cities, etc.). Notice in the following Scriptures the difference between NOW and LATER when Jesus returns. I will insert and N for NOW, and a L for LATER.
Mt 5:5 Blessed are the meek (N): for they shall inherit the earth. (L)
Mt 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake (N): for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (L)
Mt 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so (N), he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven (L): but whosoever shall do and teach them (N), the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (L)
Mt 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (N), ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.(L)
Mt 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Mt 7:21 ¶Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, (N) shall enter into the kingdom of heaven (L); but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (N)
Mt 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Ac 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Ac 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
--- This time of restitution relates to “the regeneration” spoken of in Mt 19:27 below in #2
Ac 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation (N) enter into the kingdom of God. (L)
1Co 6:9 ¶ Know ye not that the unrighteous (N) shall not inherit the kingdom of God?(L)
2Th 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God,(L) for which ye also suffer (N)
2Ti 4:1 ¶ I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2Ti 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Heb 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved,(L) let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: (N)
Jas 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
2Pe 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
#2 We who have suffered with Christ here and faithfully finished our course will reign with Him over other people. Zechariah 14 seems to say it will be those left after Christ conquers the world.
Zech 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
Mt 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Lu 22:28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
2 Tim 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Re 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (compare Zech 14:16)
#3 Christ’s Throne is called the Throne of his father David. Christ is called the “Son of David”. This Kingdom is future.
Mt 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory;
Lu 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Ac 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
#4 We are now to spread the glad tidings of this coming kingdom and call men to the hope and preparation for it. We are now in the highways and hedges compelling people to come to the wedding.
Mt 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Lu 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
Ac 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Ac 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Ac 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Ac 20:25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
Ac 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
Ac 28:31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
Now, with these definite principles in mind, let us consider a few things. If there is coming a kingdom where the “Just One” will reign with a Rod of Iron; will enforce righteousness on the earth; will reign on the throne of his father David; will have His saints reigning with him; etc....And, If we are now to be proclaiming the glories and hopes of this King and Kingdom, so men will repent and prepare their hearts for the coming King....And, If we are seen now as ambassadors for this coming kingdom of righteousness....where does pacifism come in??? It simply doesn’t fit; and the church of Jesus Christ on earth now is not THE kingdom; but is waiting and preparing for and preaching the coming kingdom. The church is betrothed as the King’s Bride; but the marriage has not taken place. We are therefore in some degree in His realm, His “kingdom”; but not in the fullest sense. IF what we have now is a taste and foreshadowing of the coming kingdom, THEN THERE SHOULD BE NO MATERIAL DIFFERENCE IN THE FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES.
We will not be pacifists in the kingdom - that is sure. The peace that comes on the earth will not be due to pacifism, but a rod of iron (Ps 2:9; Re 2:27; Re 12:5; Re 19:15). It is prophesied that the peace Jesus brings on the earth with His sword and rod will cause the nations to cease fearing the threat of danger, so they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and will learn war no more — but not because they are pacifists, but because they are SAFE under Christ’s reign.
Isa 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Mic 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
We know this is not speaking of the church age, because Jesus said the following concerning the church age, which we are presently in:
Mt. 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
We are in this age of turmoil waiting for the coming Kingdom of Christ. We are to be preaching the glad tidings of this kingdom, not some pacifist kingdom. We are ambassadors for the coming kingdom.
In Revelation we see this scenario laid out for us:
The “Israel of God” brings forth the Messiah, who is caught up to heaven: (Acts 3:21)
12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
The “Church” flees to the wilderness and Christians are persecuted by Satan who knows he has a short time left.
12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
The gospel is preached around the world:
14:6 ¶ And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Jesus (the child brought forth by the woman) returns to judge, conquer, and reign with the rod of iron (see also Zech 14)
19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Believers who have died or were caught up come with Him will judge and reign (Jude 14,15; 1Th 4:17)
19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
In Revelation 20 we see Satan bound for 1000 years while Jesus and His saints reign on the earth over mortals. We see that these people are mortals who can still be deceived and rebel against Christ when Satan is loosed.
20: 1 ¶ And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
After the 1000 year reign we see the final judgment:
11 ¶ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
So, we are supposed to be representing this coming King and Kingdom by proclaiming the glories and virtues of both. We are to proclaim the justice and righteousness of this coming kingdom as a standard and pattern for present men and governments. We are to represent to men the rightness of or King’s ways, and His claim upon men and the earth. We are to call men to now repent and accept Him as their King, or face His wrath for their rebellion. This opportunity to repent and reconcile is the Gospel message we are to preach along with the glad tidings of the coming Kingdom of righteousness.
HOW CAN MEN DO THIS AND PREACH PACIFISM? They cannot! Pacifism is not the answer, and is not used or promoted to set up or maintain Christ’s Kingdom. We need to now preach what the Bible says about righteousness in all of life including government, so men know what Jesus’ reign will be like. We need to preach all the realms of holiness that will be active and operating in Christ’s future kingdom while we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Would pacifism be appropriate to teach if we were now reigning on the earth with Christ in a millennial type reign that the Bible seems to predict? Would pacifism fit anywhere? No, we would have to then teach the type of non-resistance that we present in this book, which is consistent with righteous government action, and not some pacifism that Jesus never intended, and will not be promoting in His future kingdom.
Would a pacifist speak in the manner Jesus does in the parables about himself or His Father coming back to slay those who refuse to submit to him? We’ve already seen what He said in Luke 19 about Himself when He returns. In Mt 21 after Jesus cleanses the temple, the next day he is confronted by the religious leaders asking Him by what authority He is claiming to act as He is. Jesus gives a parable about a husbandman seeking to receive the fruit of his vineyard. He sends servants (prophets) to these people (Jewish leaders); but they kill and mistreat them; but then he sends his son (Christ).
Mt 21:37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
Is Jesus teaching pacifism? The definition of pacifism is: “The belief that any violence, including war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances, and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means.” One pacifist who has corresponded much with us said, “Nonresistant people never find themselves involved in violence at any level.” So, is Jesus teaching pacifism? The prophets Jesus speaks of were martyrs, but they were not pacifists. Why would Jesus line Himself up with these other non-pacifist martyrs as though they all were of the same stripe? Here is another example of His teaching.
Mt 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
His servants were slain (martyrs); but does that mean they were non-resistant? They were the servants of a king who was certainly not. We know the Old Testament prophets were not pacifist. Jesus is telling what is going to happen to Jerusalem because they rejected Him. Is He teaching pacifism? If He meant to, He needed to convince His Father.
The Non-Resistance taught in this book is consistent with our coming King and His Kingdom; and will still be relevant in that kingdom; but pacifism does not fit!
The Pilgrims who founded Plymouth seem to have had a decent handle on this principle. They honored and obeyed their authorities in England and Holland to the best of their ability without denying the faith. Some of their persuasion were burned at the stake and died as noble martyrs. They didn’t take up arms against their rightful lords; but they did believe in defending themselves against criminals. When they set up Plymouth, they established government with military to protect the colony; but at the same time they made friends with all the neighboring Indians. They didn’t make friends by being pacifists or they would have been killed. There was mutual respect developed because the Pilgrims could defend themselves and would. They were not war-mongers; but peace-lovers. They knew, however, that peace comes from proper government and putting down evil, not from being pacifists. As much as possible, they lived peaceably with all men in England, Holland, and America; but they didn’t do this to the point of not protecting those under their care.
How can we preach pacifism and at the same time preach the glories of the coming kingdom of Christ? They are not the same! They are built on completely different principles. We would actually be making Christ act the hypocrite by presenting Him as sending ambassadors to proclaim that saints cannot partake in government; that all use of force is unholy and unchristian; that self-defense and protecting the weak is not righteous; and that pacifism is Christ’s way — WHEN THESE ARE NOT PRINCIPLES OF HIS OWN KINGDOM! That would be hypocritical of Christ’s kingdom, would it not?
You say, “Well, we are not supposed to participate in earthly kingdoms, but only Christ’s”. So, you believe it is OK for Jesus to be violent, but not man? Is this because He has authority and Jurisdiction? And what if Jesus delegates that authority to earthly government (“ministers of God” Rom. 13)? And how is this any different than when we reign with Jesus? Why then is it wrong for Christians to serve in government now? Do you not know that God has ordained earthly positions of government and labels earthly governors as His ministers and commands us to obey, honor, and pay them to do their work? If an earthly governor is also a Christian, can he not then serve Christ’s Kingdom from that position by doing basically the same things he will do when he reigns with Christ? Is this not Christ’s will for earthly governments? Would it not be better if all government officials were Christians? Pacifists are not just against “earthly governments”, but are against “violence”, which they define, not as the abuse of power, but as the use of force in any way. If the use of force to uphold law and order is wrong, then Jesus will be doing wrong. If the use of force to subdue the wicked and protect the innocent is bad, then Jesus and His saints will be bad. Should we not, as ambassadors for Christ’s Kingdom, be preaching the very righteous and holy principles that actually operate in Christ’s Kingdom, and will be the rule when His Kingdom comes, and His Will is done in earth as it is in Heaven?? How can we claim to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” if we preach a different righteousness based on a feminine aversion to “violence” even when it is necessary to put down evil and protect the weak and innocent? There is no doubt in my mind which course makes Scriptural sense, and which one doesn’t; but rather misrepresents Christ and His Kingdom.
END OF CHAPTER
I doubt any of you would say that pacifism will be the rule in Christ’s coming kingdom, where He will rule with a rod of iron, and we will rule with Him. He will slay all those who resist His reign, and true law and order will be the rule of the kingdom. This will result in the nations beating their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, because NO MAN SHALL MAKE THEM AFRAID. It is clear that Christ’s coming kingdom will use capital punishment and force to subdue the nations. So, if pacifism is not the rule of Christ’s coming kingdom, then why is it now the rule of those preaching and waiting for His kingdom? If we are to be preaching the Kingdom of Christ, then we should be preaching the principles upon which it operates. His Kingdom will operate on true loving justice and equity, not pacifism. It will operate on the love of God, not the love of a pacifist.
While Mr. Lee is trying to establish his pacifist beliefs about the Kingdom of God he makes this statement: “The coming Kingdom of God, represented by the stone not cut with hands that destroyed the world empires, growing into a mountain that covered the whole earth (Dan 2:35), was the focus of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels, and it dovetails nicely into the doctrine of the two kingdoms.” Did you hear what this man said? Compare that with Mr. Geiser’s statement: “Nonresistant people never find themselves involved in violence at some level. Call it by other names if you will, such as "discipline," "peacekeeping," or "justice," but the fact remains that using force against someone else with the intent to hurt or destroy their lives is violence, and unless we are willing to see violence as an ideal, then surely we must acknowledge that this is "resorting to violence". Be not deceived; God is not mocked. Away with the idea that you can love someone and take his life at the same time! What part of "love your enemies... do good to those who hate you" can be interpreted to mean "go to war against them and utterly destroy them?" Now, we have a problem here. How is it, Mr. Lee, that the Kingdom of God can be pacifist, and yet destroy the world empires?? Is it a non-resistant, enemy loving kingdom or not? Our concepts of Non-resistance fit; but yours do nothing but contradict. Your doctrine is a miss-fit. Will you say that Jesus destroys the world empires with pacifism? I know what your Bible says. Have you ever read in the New Testament that LOVE, as defined by the apostles, FULFILLS THE LAW OF MOSES? This can only mean that New Testament LOVE would defend the weak against their enemies! This can only mean that the God given morals of the O.T. are the same as the N.T.! Love in the N.T. could NEVER fulfill the LAW OF THE O.T. unless the moral requirements were the same. OF COURSE THEY ARE, the N.T. is based on God writing His laws in our hearts and minds (He 8:10)! The Holy Ghost is given so we can fulfill the righteousness of the law (Ro 8:4)!
It matters not what paradigm you come to the Scriptures with, Mr. Lee, they still say what they say, and your paradigm cannot change the context, the meaning, or the application; but only your willingness to be persuaded. I AM WILLING TO BE PERSUADED BY THE SCRIPTURES and have been many times as proof of my sincerity. I ponder whether I should spend any more time seeking to show you all the Scriptures when you admit you are not willing to be persuaded; but rather prefer uninspired human writers to the very examples and inspired writings of the apostles. Do you not feel the need to repent? Don’t lump me together with your unwillingness to change, for all who know me, know that what the Scriptures say is preeminent, and I will gladly change when corrected by the Word of God interpreted with proper context.
You wish to label me a “true child of the reformers”; but which reformers would that be? If you wish to be accurate, you’d find that the closest reformers to my doctrine and church life are Menno Simons, those who agreed with him, and Hubmaier. Which do you line up with? Actually none of us line up perfect with any of them, so why bother the comparison, except to mislead your readers.
Now for a specific answer to Joshua Geiser’s reply in Plain Things.
My responses will be in BLUE. Here begins Joshua’s response in PLAIN THINGS:
We are not the ones who put you in the "violent" camp. You placed yourself there. You openly say in your books that Jesus does not always oppose warfare, that we must use whatever means we have to defend the innocent and helpless even if that means killing the attackers, and that Christians can indeed be a part of a government that maintains law and order by use of the sword. Why do you recoil when we call those things "resorting to violence"? War is not pretty. It always involves violent action on a large scale. Defending your family or loved ones by the use of physical force intended to hurt or kill the aggressor is also violence. Governments must use forms of violence to maintain law and order in society.
Is God violent? Is Jesus violent? If you call God’s use of force and Jesus’ use of force violence, then I accept that; but the Bible’s use of violence is typically the “abuse” of force and power, not the lawful “use” of force and power. Was Jesus violent when he cleansed the temple? Will he be using violence when he returns to judge? If so, then count me in on just and righteous use of violence. I am to be an ambassador proclaiming the glad tidings of a coming violent King and Kingdom. However, when John the Baptist told the soldiers to do no violence, it is clearly speaking of the abuse of power, and a study of the word in the Bible will reveal that it is generally used of abuse.
Nonresistant people never find themselves involved in violence at some level. Call it by other names if you will, such as "discipline," "peacekeeping," or "justice," but the fact remains that using force against someone else with the intent to hurt or destroy their lives is violence, and unless we are willing to see violence as an ideal, then surely we must acknowledge that this is "resorting to violence". Be not deceived; God is not mocked. Away with the idea that you can love someone and take his life at the same time! What part of "love your enemies... do good to those who hate you" can be interpreted to mean "go to war against them and utterly destroy them?"
Is God love? Does Jesus love all men? Did He love the men in the temple? Did Peter love Ananias and Sapphira? If you vilify all use of force, then you cannot be proclaiming the glories of your coming King, as He is not a pacifist as you are. I believe Aaron is right in that you all need to consider that you have the wrong Jesus, and need to get the one out of the Scriptures to follow. My Bible says New Testament LOVE fulfills the Old Testament Law of Moses! Chew on that for a while. The O.T. law demanded you defend and deliver the damsel in distress, etc.
Do you not misinterpret the passage in Proverbs 24 to suit your own philosophy? He is not speaking of defending those who are being physically attacked. Rather, he is speaking of delivering souls who are being drawn to destruction by the enemy. He is speaking of "pull- ing them out of the fire" of sin, as Jude says. Listen to what the Septuagint says: "Death happens to the uninstructed, and a man with- out discernment will die in his sins; and uncleanness will pollute a pestilent man in an evil day and a day of tribulation until he dies. Rescue those being led into death, and saw off the bonds of those being cast out; do not spare them help; if you say, 'I do not know this man,' know that the Lord knows the hearts of all; and He who formed every breath knows all things, who will render to each man according to his works" (Proverbs 24:8-12).
Joshua, the Septuagint says the same basic thing as the Hebrew translated in our KJV; and NO I’m not the one misinterpreting it. Have you forgotten who wrote it?? Hey, it is in the Old Testament, remember? No Bible scholar has ever argued that it ONLY means preaching the gospel to men and “pulling them out of sin” as you have proposed. This is a perfect illustration of your willingness to wrest the Scriptures to maintain your presuppositions. How many different translations did you look at trying to find one that said what you wanted it to say?
Perhaps the Nickle Mines example was not the best illustration I could have chosen. However, it does seem as if you are confused about what would be the right course of action in this case. First, you say that the Amish could not forgive the man's family, because they didn't do anything; next, you say that they were correct in returning good for evil. What good for what evil? Why did they need to return good to the man's family when they had done no evil? Furthermore, I did not say they forgave the man's family. I said they forgave the man and reached out in love to his family.
Now, perhaps it was a great injustice to mention your name after saying what I did about the Nickle Mines tragedy. However, I think not. You have stated repeatedly that we need to defend the defenseless. I, therefore, take that to mean that if you had a gun and had been present at that tragedy, your duty would have been to open fire on him before he harmed anyone. That places you outside the camp of nonresistant followers of Jesus Christ and inside the camp of those who "resort to violence" to solve issues such as these.
The people at Nickel Mines called the police, hoping they would stop the man with force to protect the girls (to this I say AMEN); but sadly they couldn’t shoot the man before he shot the girls. God’s will, as revealed in His Law and in Romans 13, was for that wicked man to be killed. He killed himself, and so God sent him to hell. The Amish sent help to the poor family of the deluded man; and that was a returning of good for the evil that was done; but they cannot claim to have forgiven the man’s family, as they are innocent. It would not even be proper to forgive the man unless he repented — God didn’t forgive him, but sent him straight to Hell. They say they forgave the man, but that is convenient since he is dead and in hell. What if he were alive and well, would he be forgiven? Do we fancy that we are more holy than God? We ought rather to agree with God. Read Matt. 18, and you will learn that we are not to forgive until there is repentance. There is a big difference between a “willingness and desire to forgive” and the propriety of actually forgiving someone. You can return good for evil without forgiveness; but simply for God’s glory. God is willing and desirous to forgive, but cannot until there is repentance; and we are to follow His holiness, not our own holiness out of our own misled heads. Forgiveness is also sometimes appropriate if we know the person is acting in ignorance, thinking he is doing right. In Matt. 18 it is clear that if a man doesn’t repent when he knows his error, he cannot be forgiven; but must be put out. This doesn’t mean you cannot do good deeds to the man; but “forgiveness” means that the relationship is reconciled. People today say they “have forgiven the man, but don’t want to see him again” — this is not forgiveness.
Further more, in your book you go into great detail to explain why justice must be served in order to maintain law and order. You explain the difference between retributive justice and public justice as the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law: retributive justice being a demand for punishment without exception, and public justice allowing mercy or pardon on the condition that something else be done that upholds the law as effectively as strict execution of the law.
Joshua, this is not my opinion or desire, these are laws of the universe that existed before us. These principles were given in my book, DID JESUS CORRECT MOSES, to explain why Jesus had to make atonement, and why we must meet conditions to be benefited by His atonement. You should agree 100% with what I said there; but perhaps you don’t understand what I was saying, and are just looking for stones to through in defense of pacifism?
I do not know exactly what legal recourse may have been open to them, but the Amish of Nickle Mines responded with neither the letter nor the spirit of the civil law. That fact is obvious to all, as evidenced —by the impact it has left on society.
What do you think they expected the police to do? Did they forget the police are not pacifist?
Bear in mind that we have no evidence that those Amish schoolgirls were targeted for religious reasons other than the possibility that they were an easy target because of the Amish being nonresistant. To violent attacks that are neither personal confrontations nor religious persecution, your position does not prepare people to respond by offering the other cheek and forgiveness.
The Amish were in no place to exercise what we speak of as principles of government in public or retributive justice, they are not government. You have taken something and tried to apply it where it doesn’t fit. The Amish called the police and asked them to execute the law. They didn’t just turn the other cheek! It would not be right for the Amish to turn the other cheek in this situation, as that would have meant not calling the police, but just letting the man do his wicked deeds. What would the “other cheek” even mean in this case Joshua? Jesus didn’t tell people to turn the other cheek to “violent attacks” against their life. Paul didn’t do this, but reported his would-be attackers to the military who employed hundreds of armed men to escort him safely. When before the magistrates, Paul sued for protection against those who sought his life. In court, Jesus and Paul both rebuked the ones who smote them on the face, because it was a breech of the law. Your pacifism has clouded your mind to the clear teaching and example of the Scriptures. If the Amish were not pacifist, how would that have changed the outcome of Nickle Mines? What difference would it have made, except that possibly the teacher may have had a gun in the building — wouldn’t that have been a better ending, if the teacher could have delivered those girls? There is really no difference between the teacher shooting the man and the police shooting the man — they are both in positions of authority with the responsibility to protect those under their care. This would have lined up with Proverbs 24 for the glory of God.
And as for the idea of going after a murderer's family while he is fleeing to the city of refuge - of course not! The man has not even been tried and found guilty. I'm speaking here of legal recourse - not blind revenge.
Joshua, the revenger of blood did not have to wait until the man was tried and found guilty. If he caught him before he got to the city of refuge, he would kill him; but he still couldn’t go after his family, for they were innocent blood with no possibility of guilt. Read Numbers 35. The revenger of blood principle was Jesus’ plan for legal recourse when someone was killed in Israel. Remember: N.T. love fulfills the Law! Figure it out. Jesus said all the law hung from an appropriate love for God and our neighbor. Jesus said the Law and the Prophets were simply: “whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them”. How does that fit with Numbers 35? It fits. God is love even in Genesis during the flood and when fire was raining on Sodom. Think it through.
You then go on to make one of the most profound statements in your entire response: "I wonder if I'd get better teatment robbing your house than trying to correct your understanding of God's Word?" I like that, Mark! We are not always wise in knowing how to respond to either circumstance, but I'd like to believe we would be more quick to overlook an attack on our personal property than an attack on our view of God's Word. May He give us grace to respond rightly in either circumstance.
Now you are getting Cocky; but that’s Ok, because everyone who reads these discourses know what I was saying and why. You were putting me in the camp of those who would sue the poor family of the man who shot the girls at Nickel Mines. May God help you to respond more Biblical next time.
Of course, you do not advocate overthrowing rightful governments. Nobody does. We only want to overthrow corrupt and ungodly governments. By embracing the concept of Just War, you are now saddled with the necessity to judge between which governments are rightful and which are not. If China would come against America, should we join the military to resist? Who gets to decide whether the Kingdom of God can not grow under communism just as well as under a materialistic Western democracy? By supporting Just War, you have opened a can of worms that is not easily shut.
You accused me of declaring that the martyrs, “should have rallied together to overthrow the ungodly state church, establishing a better, more righteous one in its place”. What you sadly miss is that there are solid principles of right and wrong concerning when to fight, and when not to. You obviously are unaware of these because you just believe in pacifism — one simple answer for every situation. I am not saddled with whether to overthrow my government or not; but am taught by the Bible to honor and obey my governor or king until they tell me to sin against God. You see all war as though two brats are trying to destroy one another, and many times that is the case; but as an ambassador of the great King who will come and make war, conquer, and reign with a rod of iron, I have principles of that kingdom which current earthly rulers and kings should rule and reign according to. The principles of Christ’s kingdom are not pacifism; but are just laws and rules for keeping law and order with force. Paul and Jesus rebuked wrong proceedings in their own trials. John rebuked Herod. Paul corrected and testified against government abuse; and when he spoke to Felix and made him tremble it wasn’t about pacifism, but proper judgment, which was coming in Christ’s kingdom. Paul, in Romans 13 is indirectly preaching to governments and kings who would undoubtedly read Romans 13 sooner or later. You speak of that which you don’t understand. Jesus supports just war — Read Romans 13.
You spend a lot of time trying to prove that Moses' words were God's words, but to what point? We agree with you on that. The thing you fail to comprehend is that Moses' words were not intended to be God's eternal standard by which all His people would be judged. The coming of a New Kingdom exists beyond the bounds of earthly nations. When God replaced the earthly kingdom with a more glorious, heavenly Kingdom, the words of Moses that spoke of law and order in an earthly kingdom became obsolete!
Oh my, I fear you will eat those words someday, Joshua. The “words of Moses that spoke of law and order in an earthly kingdom became obsolete!”??? You are speaking of the Laws of God that He said He would write on our hearts as the basis of the New Covenant. Jesus said man must live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Jesus said it was easier for Heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.
Heb. 8: 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Isa 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. — Today in the New Covenant!
Ac 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
Romans 8:4 tells us that the righteousness of the law being fulfilled in believers who walk in the Spirit is the goal and aim of “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,” You can keep running, but you cannot hide. The Berean’s searched the Scriptures to see if Paul’s preaching was true; and Paul preached the kingdom of God from the Law of Moses — ACTS 28:23. Jesus’ kingdom is the fulfillment of all the Scriptures; and no moral precept is obsolete.
Ps 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
You say you agree with me that Moses’ words were Jesus’ words? So now you think when Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “ye have heard it said by them of old time” that He was speaking of Himself?? He was correcting something! Was He correcting the misconceptions about Moses’ Law or correcting Moses’ Law? Do you even understand what agreeing with me means? You are backing yourself into a corner from which you cannot escape.
When you say it is impossible that something is adultery in one covenant but not in another, you reveal your inability to understand the difference between covenants. Many things God allowed in the Old Covenant are now forbidden us today.
Different covenants with the same God cannot change moral judgments, because they do not change God, his opinion, or his moral judgments. What God allows or demands from one covenant to another cannot change His moral judgments for a particular situation — for when that situation comes up again, the same judgment must be made, or God has changed His moral judgments, which means He is not immutable. You shouldn’t speak so confidently when you are simply mistaken. Can God make lying, cheating, stealing, murder, rape, fornication, or adultery righteous just because we are in a new covenant? When the same circumstances exist, the law of God is the best and most righteous thing to do in that circumstance. The New Testament clearly declares that the exercise of godly love is the fulfilling of the Law. That can only be if the moral precepts have not changed from one covenant to another! Will you tell a divorced and remarried person to divorce and go back to the first? Think about it. If the same circumstances exist today as in Moses’ day, the same moral judgment would be given as was given in the O.T. If you can’t understand this, then you need to just quit arguing. These are self-evident truths.
In fact, you are stepping on your own toes, because you do not allow polygamy. God did allow men to have multiple wives simultaneously. You now allow men to only have them consecutively. God not only allowed polygamous relationships, He even gave laws concerning them. He never condemned it in the Old Covenant, yet in the New He makes it clear that it was not God's perfect will when He says, "In the beginning it was not so."
Wooee, did you just hear youself? “He never condemned it in the Old Covenant, yet in the New He makes it clear that it was not God's perfect will when He says, "In the beginning it was not so." When Jesus said that it was not so in the beginning, what was He referring to??? Was He referring to the LAW of MOSES? Genesis is the first book of Moses, and it is part of the Law of Moses — the Pentateuch. OK, think: The fact that the law of Moses recorded God’s original intention for marriage IS CONDEMNATION of all innovations in itself. THIS IS THE ONLY CONDEMNATION JESUS GAVE. He based what He said on the Law, because they were in a discussion of the law, not something else. God never commanded polygamy as a solution to a problem, except in the Levirate marriage situation; but God did declare divorce as the solution to a problem. Jesus’ exception clause was also “not in the beginning”; but there was now a need for such laws, since man fell, and sin was happening. Jesus’ exception is due to the hardness of men’s hearts as much as Jesus’ words in Deut 24 were. All mankind are of a fallen race with hard hearts, not just the Jews in the O.T. “In the beginning” there was no sin or fallen man; so you could say about many many things today that , “in the beginning, it was not so” — take for instance head covering, modesty, clothes at all, children, excommunication, church standards, funerals, etc. Jesus was simply stating that the laws concerning divorce and remarriage were like a tire patch — it is only appropriate when your tire has a whole in it, not on new tires. Thus, divorce and remarriage is not a righteous and good thing to do, unless the conditions exist which made it so in God’s law. It is not God’s will, unless as a remedy for a sinful situation, which is due to the hardness of men’s hearts. It is not God’s will for man to kill man — “it was not so in the beginning”; but due to the hardness of men’s hearts in committing crime, it became God’s will under the circumstances --- AND IT IS STILL GOD’S WILL, BUT ONLY WHEN THE PROPER CIRCUMSTANCES EXIST, not whenever we desire to. This is what Jesus was preaching — telling them not to abuse God’s Laws for their own ends. God is the master of appropriateness, and His law is the art of appropriateness; and when the same moral issue comes up, the same thing is appropriate as the solution; because God cannot improve on God.
I’m not stepping on my own toes, because I have clearly stated in my book what I believe on this subject and stand by it. God allowed polygamy, not Moses. Jesus allowed polygamy, not Moses. Moses was just the messenger boy. It wasn’t God’s first desire for marriage, but it was his desire to allow it under those circumstances as it was the most appropriate thing for God to do; and He probably desired to reveal the problems with it. The Bible never declares polygamy adultery; but BASED ON GOD’S LAW, Jesus preached that God’s original intent was to be the goal and Deut 24 only the recourse when the proper circumstances existed. Most likely those in polygamy were grandfathered in, since the decisions of the apostles were based on God’s Law, just as Jesus’ preaching was. Jesus wasn’t preaching radical new kingdom doctrines contrary to the Scriptures already written; but proclaiming the truth of God’s Word against abuses.
Today, for a New Covenant believer, polygamy would be sin; yet He had allowed it before. The same is true of divorce and remarriage. Jesus makes it clear that the reason Moses gave the Israelites permission to divorce their wives and marry another was simply a concession to their hard nature. "But, from the beginning it was not so." No, God's morality is not arbitrary, but He has not always required the same standard of morality for those who are in covenant with Him.
Today if a chieftain on the mission field had two wives in a society where this was common and acceptable and we brought to him the gospel, we should do as the apostles did and grandfather him in, but not allow him to be an elder as the N.T. says. For us who know better, it would be sin against better knowledge and light, because to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin. However, it is not sin in the same way homosexuality is sin, as this could not be grandfathered in. God has given his moral judgments on all these issues in His Eternal Word. When we find ourselves in the same circumstances as when God’s moral precepts were stated, it is still the best thing to do. God has not changed his mind on moral judgments. When the same circumstances exist, the Law of God is still the wisest and most appropriate thing to do. The same is true with marriage and divorce — just ask the Anabaptists.
Mt 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. JESUS IS QUOTING THE O.T. about the O.T.
Speaking of great injustices, you do one to the story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus did not say, "Let those who are the true and righteous witnesses cast the first stones." You then go on to say, "They knew that is what the law said..." The law, to my knowledge, says nothing about the need for a witness to be without sin. All that is required is that there be more than one witness, and that their testimony concerning the incident must be true.
“Thou shalt not bear false witness” — ever seen that before? That means they must be the true and righteous witnesses if they are to cast the first stone. This is what I said. You are the one that said men must be “without sin” to make such judgments; but this is absurd, and Jesus never taught that one must be sinlessly perfect in order to be a spanking parent, an arresting police officer; a true witness; or an executing magistrate. Even if their witness was accurate, if they are the ones who framed her, then they still are guilty before God in the matter. We are not denying they caught her in adultery; but we are saying they set her up or something, and were not upright in this situation. After all here they are trying to frame Jesus as well.
Ex 23:1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.
Le 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.
Jesus was clearly saying that if they were without sin in this matter of accusing and stoning the woman, then they should cast the first stones. Jesus was upholding a part of the law they had obviously forgotten about, and this is also what He did with the divorce and remarriage issue — and many other issues. God will be the judge of who did the great injustice to the passage. The Law commanded them to love their neighbor as themselves; not to rise up against their neighbor; and not be a false witness against their neighbor.
As for your summary that "the whole thing was a scam, and Jesus knew it" we have no proof of that. We are told she was caught in the very act. Jesus never questioned that! He never asked them for proof nor to bring forth the man.
So, did Jesus’ disciples just figure this out later, but Jesus didn’t know it? It clearly says “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.” You think Jesus thought they were sincere seekers of truth?
All He said is, "Okay, you who are without sin, stone the woman!" And they all tucked their tails between their legs and slunk away. They had not anticipated His appeal to their own consciences. They thought it was a simple matter of, "Will He uphold the law or no?" They did not expect His appeal to a higher law.
What higher law did Jesus appeal to? The one that says no man can witness against or condemn another unless they themselves are totally sinless???? This sounds like what the heathen say when we preach repentance to them — ever done that yourself? Have you ever heard the ungodly squeal “judge not” or “you think you’re sinless?” when you warn them of their need to repent? Well, I guess they must be following this higher law. The only reason these wicked men tried this method of framing Jesus is because He had such a reputation of careful adherence to God’s Law. You honestly think these Scribes and Pharisees who were maliciously trying to trap Jesus and get him in trouble so they could accuse him were suddenly struck with the fact that they were not sinless and so couldn’t obey God’s Law and stone the woman?? HA! SO WE MUST BE SINLESS TO OBEY GOD’S LAW?...but if we don’t obey, it is another sin! WOW, what a mess! Jesus knew it was a scam because we know his apostles who wrote about the incident knew it and told us they were just trying to trap Jesus so they could accuse him. Where was the angry husband? Where was the adulterous man? Do you really think a woman caught in adultery — in the very act (wow -what timing that was!) did not have a husband? Would it be adultery if there were no husband? Jesus put it back in their lap, by bringing up the requirements of the law they had forgotten about, and when they realized that only they would be getting in trouble with the Romans, they exited. “Convicted by their own conscience” doesn’t necessarily mean they were contrite; but most likely felt their plan had been foiled; and they were now being exposed as the culprits they were, so they left. Remember there were many people standing around watching and these men were “religious leaders”, so they didn’t like being made to look bad. If they were sincere, they wouldn’t have been trying to frame Jesus.
As for what they got out of the experience, I do not know; but it must have made an impression on them. It may have shaken their worldview to the core. And as for the woman, I am convinced her life was never the same from then on. She had narrowly escaped death and was given a second chance because of one Man's righteousness that went far deeper than the letter of the law. Another point that makes it seem as if Jesus believed the story of her being caught in the very act is the fact that He told her to "go and sin no more." He did not say, "Oh, those horrid men! How dare they treat you like this?" Instead, He looked her in the eyes and said, "Has no one condemned you? Neither do I. Go and sin no more." No, God did not allow the same judgement call in this circumstance. He intervened because He had a deeper lesson to teach. To miss this is to miss a foundational part of the gospel.
You are sadly trapped in false piety. Jesus didn’t do anything deeper than God’s Law, but upheld the Law perfectly. Any true student of the Bible can see that Jesus was not presenting some crazy idea that it is wrong to uphold the law or witness against crime unless we ourselves are totally sinless — talk about anarchy! I hope you can see your error and give it up; or you cannot with a clear conscience spank your child; but will just look them in the eyes and say, “go and sin no more”. If your wife brings a child to you for discipline, you will just tell her that if she is sinless, she can give the first swat. Of course those spanking verses are in the OT, so they must be obsolete too? According to your doctrine, your disobedient child can look you in the eye and say, “Unless you are without sin, you cannot spank me”.
Who among us would not help a soldier carry his luggage onto the Greyhound bus if he asked us? Who among us would not help him carry it all across town if it were in our means to do so and he asked us? That is in no way supporting his vocation. It is simply offering him a hand in neighborly love.
When our ex-Mennonite deacon read this he looked up and asked the brothers sitting around the table, “If I carried a prostitute’s baggage all around town for her, would anyone think I was supporting her vocation?” If the soldier’s activity is wicked like the prostitute’s, we would feel the same about it; but inside we all know it is not. What if the soldier asked you to carry his sword, gun, or armor, and the war was not overseas, but on this soil? It is a lot easier to just send him off on the Greyhound to a far away place; but Jesus was speaking of an occupied territory, and the enemy soldiers who occupied Judaea. I’ve read your pacifist books where young men wouldn’t even cut the grass on the military base for their own country; much less carry the occupying enemy soldier’s armor, weapon, or luggage for two miles.
I do not quote Justin Martyr as an authority on church teaching. It's called history, not moral authority. The things he says are powerful because they reveal to us what was happening in the church of his day, and how the early Christians understood Jesus' words. Of course, there could be things we may disagree on.
Joshua, do you see the problem in trying to present one man’s opinion; declare that the things he says are powerful because it was the position of the church and how early Christians understood Jesus’ words; and then admit there are some things you may disagree on??? So the other things which you don’t like are not powerful and don’t reveal the position of the church and early Christian’s understanding of Jesus’ words? Or maybe we are smarter than they? Or maybe we can judge where they where smart and where they were not? You said they should know better than we what Jesus meant. How could we determine this? Maybe by comparing what they say to the Word of God? Why don’t we just study the Word of God, and not put so much weight on some uninspired man. How can you show that all the early Christians agreed with him? Do you realize how many false opinions were floating around at any given time in church history — even while the apostles were living?
Php 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
AFTER I have documented my doctrine from the Scriptures I have also quoted early church writings to show that what I believe was also believed before I came along; but I DO NOT believe that we interpret the apostles or Jesus by early church writers — NO, NO, NEVER! We establish doctrine sorely on God’s inspired Word, and then we can see other’s opinions on the subject and maybe gain some insight; but even this is worthless compared to the importance of what the Apostles actually DID and SAID. The more you read from “early church” writers, the more you realize how unreliable they are. People typically quote only a few of the better ones. There were many, many thousands of Christians in the Roman Empire with thousands of would-be preachers and teachers. Stick to God’s Word.
Are you sure, Mark, you want to say that Paul and Peter were in support of warfare? If you mean warfare as in spiritual warfare against evil forces of darkness then I'm with you. But remember that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal." Your last paragraph attempts to erase any testimony of truth we might glean from Christians throughout the ages by arguing that they were all wrong in some points. Certainly they were. So am I. I hope that the humanity of my brothers and forefathers does not keep me from learning from them. The witness of the early church within the first centuries after Christ is so compelling that, if it were not extremely serious, it would be laughable to try to refute it. We have not uncharitably placed you anywhere. You chose your path, and we are truly sorry.
- Joshua Geiser
I have already thoroughly refuted your evaluation of this “compelling witness”. I hope you have the sense not to build doctrine on your Christian brothers and forefathers contrary to the clear example of the apostles. I said that Peter and Paul support warfare in its proper place and quoted Romans 13, which speaks of God ordained warfare. I know this is hard for you to see, because your ideas of warfare are allows “unjust and wicked oppression due to greed and lust”; but the God ordained position of protecting the good and executing vengeance on the evil is the basis of JUST WAR. God ordained authorities are in disobedience if they do not fulfill their God ordained use of lethal force — “for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” This is God ordained warfare, and Peter and Paul are in support of it. You are too, because God has commanded you to pay them, and I hope you do. You should also support them with your prayers, honor, and should also stop teaching that their use of force is ungodly and wicked. Jesus will come back and make war, and set you and all other pacifists straight.
A few words of reproof to Bill Lee concerning some of his statements:
Bill Lee: “Mark missed the paradigm shift of the progressively revealed Kingdom of God as Joshua noted Jesus’ glorification by the Father above Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. I thought that Mark glossed over that strong point of progressive revelation when he again concluded his defense with the phrase, “Moses’ words were God’s words.”
Of course Moses’ words were God’s words, but that does not mean that Jesus’ words were not new words. I don’t think that God’s progressive revelations through Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and then Jesus means that God was contradicting Himself. Jeremiah spoke plainly about the New Covenant and that it was different than the Old Covenant: “31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jer. 31:1-3
Dear Sir, it is truly unfortunate that you and those publishing your words cannot see your lack of logic here. As to what happened on the mount of transfiguration that you say I “glossed” over: what I showed you was that what Peter learned on that mountain was not that the Old Testament Scriptures were now “obsolete” as you all believe; but that they were actually “more sure” a foundation to build doctrine on than Peter’s own personal experience (2 Peter 1). Jesus was glorified above Moses and Elijah, BUT NOT ABOVE GOD’S INSPIRED WORDS DELIVERED BY THEM! Consider the theme of Hebrews 1-2 - that Jesus is above Moses and the Angels as the Son of God; but that doesn’t elevate Jesus above the Word of God through even the weakest man. Jesus IS the WORD OF GOD — the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever!
Heb. 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
You say, “of course Moses’ words were God’s words”; but you don’t even understand what you are saying. This only means that in the Sermon on The Mount, Jesus was not correcting His own Words! Why can’t you see this? Even if Jesus spoke NEW words, they could not change moral judgments He had already established, or He is not immutable. New covenants cannot make righteousness into sin or sin into righteousness. Besides, This NEW COVENANT that you speak of proves you wrong in the Scriptures you quote. You quote Jeremiah, but did you listen to him? God says to a Jew for the Jews, “I will make a new covenant with the house of ISRAEL....I will put MY LAW in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts...” There was no paradigm shift that made God’s laws obsolete! God’s laws would actually be more glorified under the New Covenant, because Jesus would present them properly without all the misconceptions. He did not come to change the morality God had commanded. New Covenant LOVE still fulfills the law of the Old Covenant. The Righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in those who walk in the Spirit (Ro 8). I wish you guys would think a little deeper.
Bill Lee: Let us consider some of Jesus' Kingdom of God teachings that were discussed in Mark's and Joshua's debate Relative to divorce and remarriage, which Jesus explained was allowed by Moses, not according to the will of God, but because of "the hardness of (their) hearts", and then He contrasted it to "the beginning" when divorce and remarriage "was not so" (Mt 19:8): Here we find the unchanging God allowing Moses to issue divorce decrees CONTRARY TO HIS WILL for mankind because of the sinful hearts of the Jews during the Mosaic period.
Obviously you cannot see your incredible Mennonite assumptions. To say it was not God’s will for Moses to write what he wrote is blasphemy. It was not God’s will in the Garden of Eden for the same reason clothes, head coverings, baptism, church membership, etc. were not God’s will in the garden — Man had not fallen, and therefore it was not appropriate to have such concerns in the garden. God’s Law is the art of appropriateness and God’s laws are always the most appropriate things to do under the circumstances. God’s will changes for the changing situations; but that doesn’t change God’s morals and moral judgments! There was no sin in the Garden. Deut. 24:1-4 is God’s remedy for a certain problem; and when that problem comes up again, it is still the most appropriate thing to do. This cannot change from one covenant to another, especially when the new covenant is God writing His laws on our heart and mind. Men’s sinful hearts didn’t only exist during the “Mosaic Period”. That statement is sheer ignorance of the facts. The men you quote from the “early church” are not on your side, as they would never make people separate who came to their church with remarriage in their past. I’ve already answered all this elsewhere.
Bill Lee: “We have no doctrine or warning in the Old Testament about wealth; in fact, the Old Testament speaks of riches as being a blessing”
Have you ever even read the whole Old Testament?
Deut. 6:10 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; 12 Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Deut. 8: 10 ¶ When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
Why don’t you go read Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the prophets, which are loaded with such teachings and warnings. Jesus was warning against those who trusted in riches consistent with the Old Testament concerns. Have you read Hebrews 11?? All those people are from the O.T. Read how Moses left the riches of Egypt, etc. God’s will is still that we should have lack of nothing; but that we should not trust in riches and lust after them. I explain these concepts in my books; and would encourage you to read them for yourself.
Bill Lee: “It seems to me that in this case Joshua was not misunderstanding Jesus to be teaching that swearing by God’s name would inherently make God evil; rather, that Jesus was explaining to His disciples that using anything more than “yes” or “no” comes from evil in that one has begun to qualify his word to men beyond the simple truth of the matter.”
It is quite clear that you missed the whole point as did Joshua. If Jesus says, as you say, “that using anything more than “yes” or “no” comes from evil”; and He is correcting Moses’ Law, as you teach, which commands men to swear by God’s name, then Jesus is pointing His “comes from evil” at Moses’ Law, which was inspired by God/Jesus. If your law taught people to swear by God’s name, and my law said that anything more than “yes” and “no” comes from evil — who am I pointing at?? Who am I calling the source of evil? If you include lawful swearing in Jesus’ reproof against swearing, then you have Jesus calling God’s law “evil” as the source of “more than Yes and No”. I hope you can see it now.
Bill Lee: “In regarding Mark’s mention of resistance in defense of the innocent, we certainly could rationalize that Peter was faithful in trying to defend innocent Jesus with his sword against a hostile mob of temple soldiers and others sent out to arrest him.”
From your own words you should be able to see your fallacy. Jesus told Peter to have a sword, and never told him to get rid of it; but just to put it back in the sheath. We all agree with Jesus that we are not supposed to lift up our swords against our God ordained authorities. These men as you say were not criminals; but temple soldiers with religious rulers coming to arrest Jesus for trial. Jesus did not want to be accused of insurrection.
The Pilgrims never raised their swords against King James or their rulers; but did protect themselves against criminals. Prov. 24:11,12 does not command us to interfere with a government arrest; but with criminal action. You all just want the one answer for every issue — simple “surrender” approach; but God’s ways are appropriate to every situation; and you need to study God’s Complete Word to learn what is and what is not appropriate.
Your other misconceptions have already been answered if you’d read the whole discussion. Your quotes from early Christian writings only prove that there were some pacifists during that time, IF we are understanding them properly and have all the facts. Being that the Roman Army was filled by volunteers, rather than by draft; and being that Christian young men would not be the type to volunteer for such things having more to live for otherwise; it is easy to see how some could be confused and take this to an unbiblical extreme thinking it was sinful to be a soldier. The undeniable fact that Tertullian wrote to the authorities and declared that Christians filled their senate, forum, military camp, and fought in their armies with them, proves a couple things:
#1 The majority of Christians did not see government and military action as sinful or wicked in principle, though they understood the potential for wickedness and probably didn’t want their sons to volunteer. I agree.
#2 The Authorities knew that the majority of Christians were not pacifists, or Tertullian could have never said such things without being exposed as a deceiver.
#3 Regardless of what writers declared as to their personal belief of what Christians should do or not do, Tertullian’s words prove that the majority were not pacifists and that pacifism was not the official stance of most Churches.
Thanks for the opportunity to contend for the Faith Once Delivered To The Saints.