NOTE: This is a long and crucial post. I have put a notice at the "halfway point" in case you want to save the rest for tomorrow.
Yesterday's post was revelatory. If you haven't read it, please take the time to do so: Four Causes
Summary of Yesterday's Post:
The First Commandment is faith.
The Second Commandment is grace.
All of it is made perfect because of love.
This is an extremely tight model...
"Loving the Lord thy God with all you heart, mind, soul, and strength" is faith because it requires a belief in something you can't see (God) and something that hasn't happened yet (giving BEFORE receiving). Actually, it is more even more than this "minimum faith requirement" because "love" means "giving without expecting to receive back from the one you are giving to".
The effect is that we love our neighbors...the Second Commandment. We've seen the only way to do this is for God to do it through us...which is grace (the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life). The second half of that definition is the focus...it is God doing it through us via the Holy Spirit...it is "reflected" off of us, so it is not OF us and we can't take credit.
The proof and profitability of the Second Commandment is dependent on the second half of the definition of grace.
When a person doesn't understand this second half or doesn't think it needs to be mentioned, they are clearly missing the proof and profitability of being a believer...which is love.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10)
The apostles' doctrine of GRACE can be attained through the definition of the Greek word "charis". With the exception of one verse (James 1:11), every time the word "grace" occurs in the King James version of the New Testament, the word is "charis"...with one exception: James 1:11 which actually comes from "2143 euprepeia".
CHARIS, 5485 "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life" (Strong's Concordance)
Let me be clear...the Greek word "charis" has many meanings depending on usage. In some cases it is translated into English as "thank", "favor", and "gift". Where it has been translated into "grace" (except for James 1:11) by people who are the experts at language, etc., its definition is "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life".
This is the ONLY non-contradictory definition that fits all the verses containing "charis" translated as "grace"!
God works through us and our ONLY responsibility is to humble ourselves and choose to allow God to work through us!
I've had someone explain it like medicine. The medicine cures us. However we are responsible for choosing to take the medicine. When we choose to take the medicine how ridiculous would it sound to claim, "I healed myself!" No, the medicine healed you. We can't take credit for the healing, but we are responsible for it.
However, the current definition of GRACE used by most pastors and teachers is "unmerited favor". This definition was given to the church by Martin Luther roughly 500 years ago. This definition was not a part of the apostles' doctrine. This doctrine of "unmerited favor" is NOT God's doctrine, it is man-made tradition...and therefore contradictory.
(Some people claim that Aristotle defined "charis" as "unmerited favor". However, this is Aristotle's actual definition: "that which is freely bestowed with no expectation of return; an act which finds its only motive in the good heartedness of the giver". Notice anything? This is actually "love". This definition doesn't fit the Apostles' doctrine of "grace", it would lead to contradictions in several other applications of "grace"...but it fits Jesus' and the Apostles' definition of "love". I wrote about this before that people take the definition of "love" and use it for "grace"...then they have a contradictory definition of "love". That's why the previous post was revelatory: it is the only explanation that combines faith, grace, love, and Jesus' First and Second Commandments. How many contradictory answers will it take before people pursue the truth?)
(Let me be clear about this: Aristotle's definition gives the CAUSE of the value as the good heartedness of the giver. Luther gives the CAUSE of the value as "our need". Luther changed the CAUSE of the giving of the value. It is a subtle point that has huge ramifications: I believe God loves everyone...God gives to everyone out of the kindness of His heart...whether we need it or not. I believe God influences everyone's heart and it is our choice to let it reflect in our life or not. Calvinism believes that God's love (can't define) and grace (unmerited favor) are ONLY given to those who will go to heaven BECAUSE they need it...and there is nothing the person going to heaven can do about it...the salvation of the individual is completely out of the control of the individual. THIS leads to "One Way Justice".)
Look at the Ephesians verses that opened this section and answer the following questions:
1. Do you deserve credit for your salvation? If your answer is "yes" then that is WORKS. The verse said salvation is NOT of WORKS, so you don't deserve credit for your salvation...it is a gift from God.
2. Are you responsible for your salvation? If your answer is "no" then this is "unmerited favor" (and sovereignty and predestination...man-made doctrines created by John Calvin!). This unsound doctrine results in God deciding completely against the will of the individual who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. Currently, people who don't like that result are saying everyone has "unmerited favor" and no one can resist it...so no one goes to hell! Do you want to embrace THIS man-made doctrine (tradition) over God's doctrine?
The answer is that we don't get credit for our salvation but we are responsible for it. The only non-contradictory explanation is CHARIS!
ONE WAY JUSTICE
Besides, "unmerited favor" violates justice! It is actually "One Way Justice". God violates justice by giving to people who don't deserve it and there is nothing any of us can do for or against it. This can lead to a "One Way Justice" mentality in the life of the believer...
Why is it that some people are for One Way Justice? If something bad happens that the person didn't cause, everyone believes justice should be upheld...they deserve to be compensated. However when something good happens that the person didn't cause, "One Way Justice" people don't think they ought to pay...like "unmerited favor"...a man-made idea that completely violates justice and results in contradictory (unsound) doctrine.
One Way Justice in the life of the believer occurs when they believe they can sin against you as many times as they want without having to "compensate" you.
There are several rationalizations for this, but in order to believe this one would have to ignore much of what Jesus said. You have to combine the Salvation Model (God and us) with the Reward Model (us and others). One would have to think that Jesus encourages His followers to be less excellent than non-believers and not ACTUALLY show love.
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35)
This verse is brutal. Jesus said that our love for one another proves to ALL men that we are His disciples. Again, love is the ultimate effect.
One Way Justice doesn't result in love. "Unmerited favor" doesn't result in love. "The divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life" (grace) results in love...by definition!
The other effect of One Way Justice is a belief the "ends" justify the "means". People believe they can sin against someone several times (One rationalization: "I'm not perfect, just forgiven.") until they catch the "unbeliever" ONE TIME. Then they don't forgive the ONE SIN...they glory in it thinking it justifies the MANY SINS they committed...and the world watches this and knows this person is not a Christian.
Look at the verse from John again. The world was the first one to call believers "Christians". The world KNOWS what a Christian is...they know the effects. They are the first ones to tell us when we are not being "Christian". One Way Justice drives people away. The "believer" who thinks they are helping the cause of the kingdom is actually hurting it...
Look at the Ephesians verses again...there are two sentences. The first sentence says it is not of works...and the second sentence talks about us doing good works. The first sentence is "salvation"...the second sentence is "reward". Justice is being upheld in these crucial verses. We don't brag about salvation because it is initiated by God to all (not works) and we have the responsibility to choose to respond and it is proven in our love (reflect in the life). The second sentence says God planned works for us to walk in (choose to do) and justice would give us reward. In fact, everything comes down to these verses.
If someone were going to disprove this interpretation, the first thing they would do is disprove that "divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life" doesn't work. Charis was interpreted into "grace"...not favor, not thank, not gift...the first step in interpretation is to write down the definitions of all the words in Ephesians 2:8-9.
The only way one can disprove this interpretation of "charis" in this verse is to go to man-made tradition...to jump steps ahead and declare their doctrine right and project it backwards to these verses. Interpretation of the Bible leads to doctrine...doctrine is not the first step in determining interpretation.
Even if a person could prove this interpretation of "charis" is wrong in this verse, the next step would be to show how they take this verse in the original language and reach the conclusion that "charis" means "unmerited favor" without resorting to man-made doctrine. Nothing in the definition of "charis" says UNMERITED favor. That would be like saying, "favor that violates justice".
The reality is, the person who practices One Way Justice is PROVING they don't believe in God. Guess who they are ACTUALLY worshipping?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote this in "Life Together":
"In confession a man breaks through to certainty. Why is it that it is often easier for us to confess our sins to God than to a brother? God is holy and sinless, He is a just judge of evil and the enemy of all disobedience. But a brother is sinful as we are. He knows from his experience the dark night of secret sin. Why should we not find it easier to go to a brother than to the holy God? But if we do, we must ask ourselves whether we have not often been deceiving ourselves with our confession of sin to God, whether we have not rather been confessing our sins to ourselves and also granting ourselves absolution."
Jonathan Fries wrote this in "The First Chapter of My Life Synopsis":
"If God is an opinion, then we make our own God."
People who believe in "One Way Justice", abuse others and avoid confessing and repenting to the people they abuse. They convince themselves they are confessing and repenting to God, however, if they did, God would tell them to confess and repent to the person they hurt. To bring the sin into the light coming through the believer they abused. Instead, their flesh convinces them they have repented...and the person who believes in "One Way Justice" is ACTUALLY worshipping themselves...as are every person who cannot explain God's Nature.
NOTE: This is the halfway point. Take a break...let your mind digest...you deserve it!
However, I have spent the last fourteen years with this revelation of grace. I have interacted with pastors, teachers, theologians, believers, and atheists...I've learned something revelatory about "experts".
"Experts" are people who have a lot of experience. They have attained their position because of their works...their own ability. Experts know the history of a subject...they know how we got to where we currently are. This was already recognized with the translation of "charis" into grace, favor, thank, gift, etc. When experts do this work, it is profitable. However, why do we think these people will be able to create something revelatory? Why do people discriminate sources of revelation based on experience? This is a denial of God's ability and shows a misunderstanding of theology.
It is God that creates through us. God can't create through a person who is relying on their own ability...their works...their experience.
History actually shows us that revelation DOESN'T come from experts. The majority of time, the "aha moment" comes from someone who is not an "expert". Why is that?
I have discussed this with people for over ten years and the conclusion is: the "aha moment" is a disconnnect...it is not a projection of the past...it is not based on experience.
Take the horse and buggy business...it was replaced by the automobile. What was the natural progression? The revelatory conclusion is that school doesn't teach us how to think...it teaches us what others thought and did. In some ways, our formal education is hindering our ability to make progress...people are "book damaged".
The first test of an idea for whether it is patentable is: Would someone skilled in the art (expert!) be able to arrive at the same conclusion? The answer has to be "no". A patentable idea, by definition, can't come from something that an expert could have created because they were an expert!!!!!!
It is an old joke, but at college commencement ceremonies, the saying goes: Congratulations to those of you who got A's, you will teach people how to design the buildings of tomorrow. Congratulations to those who got B's, you will design the buildings of tomorrow. Congratulations to those of you who got C's, you will build the buildings of tomorrow. And congratulations to those who got D's or failed out...you will own the buildings of tomorrow.
Appealing to experts and endorsements is man's way of replacing faith...it is an attempt to rely on APPEARANCE.
I believe the Bible is sufficient, but not exhaustive. I believe God intentionally held back information from the Bible and the only way we can get it is to go to Him. If the Bible was exhaustive, we wouldn't need to have fellowship with God. God intended for us to let Him flow through us...this is so vital He made sure it was mentioned: grace.
God's metric is profitability. Profitability requires us to exchange with others in their uniqueness. We exchange with God (for salvation) and people (for reward). Both are done in love which is the proof we are profitable and following God.
The enemy's goal is unprofitability...destruction. This is done by isolating people. Isolating us from God. Isolating us from each other. Teaching "unmerited favor" is an active attempt to isolate us from God. Not loving others (judging and abusing) is isolation from people.
My biggest metric for a sermon is "How revelatory was it?". If it was something no one knew before he preached it, this is proof the pastor is hearing from God...because God is the source of revelation. The revelation ought to be supported from the Bible...however, I'm talking about something that isn't specifically mentioned in the Bible. The second level is to take something from the Bible and help people get the greater meaning. This is also from God...but it is not as fresh. It had been available previously...even if we didn't understand it. The third level is to teach from a man's book or doctrine...this is the sign that God is not flowing through this pastor. I have seen pastors progress through these stages and been able to predict when the church was going to fail because the pastor had been spending months teaching from the books of others.
Yesterday, a reader had a revelation! He stated something I had never heard before...and no one had heard before. It isn't stated specifically in the Bible. It was God through him...ask him. He would be the first to state he is not an "expert". (It was "doubly-God" because God told me to write this post over a week ago and I have been asking for a fresh example...God is "just in time"!)
The disciples weren't experts.
CS Lewis wasn't an expert.
That last example is interesting because it points us to "theology" and "seminary"...
CS Lewis was recognized for decades as a theologian. However, in the latest edition of "Mere Christianity", the foreward states he is not a theologian. What is going on here? What did CS Lewis say about theology?
"Everyone has warned me not to tell you what I am going to tell you in this last book. They all say 'the ordinary reader does not want Theology; give him plain practical religion'. I have rejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means 'the science of God', and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available. You are not children; why should you be treated like children?"
"In other words, Theology is practical; especially now. In the old days, when there was less education and discussion, perhaps it was possible to get on with a very few simple ideas about God. But it is not so now. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones - bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today are simply the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected. To believe in the popular religion of modern England is retrogression - like believing the earth is flat."
Theology is the science of God. When you take a theology course, you ought to end it knowing specifically who God is...you ought to know the causes.
However, every theology course that is currently being offered is actually a history course...the history of who other people thought God was. I love to ask people who have taken a theology course if they found out who God is...then tell them they should get their money back because it was false advertising.
Seminary has become a business. One way to keep the business going is to teach something people don't have access to without paying.
CS Lewis said theology is practical and everyone ought to know it. CS Lewis is pushing for a theology everyone can understand...seminary is pushing for a theology few can understand, if any.
When God took me through the four year process of determining the model for God, all of this became obvious.
The Revelation: Christians have contradictory beliefs everywhere they have embraced man-made tradition in place of the Word of God.
I can trace EVERY contradiction we are currently embracing to Calvin and Luther. During the ten years since this revelation, I have watched Calvinism's influence rise and become the central theme in today's seminaries...and it is so subtle some seminaries are unaware of it.
Ten years ago I wanted to take out ads and warn everyone. However, God told me I had to use a contrastive process to prove this was the case. This process has been an education in and of itself that I believe exceeds any degree I could have received from any "institution of higher learning".
I was allowed to present all of this publicly when I could prove that pastors would reject it.
I actively talked to every pastor I could about this. Most wouldn't discuss this. When I did get two pastors to discuss it separately, they both told me that I was right, but they didn't want to share this with their congregation because they didn't want the congregation to ask why they had been wrong for more than 10 years. They told me they didn't have to take me seriously unless I had written a book...so I worked on writing a book.
Realize, I have gone through Ephesians 2:8-9 with some very brilliant people...experts even. None of them can deny this. I have no qualms listening to anyone try the two-fold Ephesians 2:8-9 challenge I presented earlier because I have ten years experience with experts telling me they can't do it.
The first draft of "Modeling God" was aggressive. In fact the first three drafts were confrontational. God quickly let me know I hadn't got His permission to be confrontational. It took three years and over a dozen drafts to get "Modeling God" published. There is nothing in "Modeling God" that is confrontational...however, that didn't stop people from getting defensive.
I asked ten pastors to read drafts of "Modeling God"...none of them would. What was going on here? I started to think there was something spiritual going on. Realize, these are ten pastors that I knew...that I was on speaking terms with! The book came out without any endorsements from pastors.
I asked other pastors to read the book. I even gave the pastors of ten large churches in Green Bay and Appleton a copy with a cover letter. None responded. Two pastors did read it but only as a condition of my wife (Stasia) taking a job at their church. Neither wanted to discuss it at length and once she took the job they were unwilling to discuss it ever again.
During this time I also wrote to many nationally recognized "Christian" authors and leaders. The response was also amazing in their lack of understanding and discussion. I sent the book to dozens of "Christian" magazines and newspapers for review. NONE of them reviewed the book.
My goal with publishing "Modeling God" was not to make money. My goal was to get the information out and wanted to post it on a website. However, I believed pastors had an excuse if the material didn't appear in book form or if the material was confrontational. Two years ago, I started blogging as a way of getting some of the material in the public domain for free. I was hoping there would be one pastor who would hear from God, recognize this material was revelatory, and want to know how to teach it...there were none.
CHANGE IS BRUTAL
People change for two basic reasons: 1)achieve gain and 2)fear of loss.
Achieve gain is "growth". It requires people to willingly choose to be uncomfortable in the short-term so that they can achieve Long Term growth. Very few people respond in this way. The Old Testament documents God always approaches people in this manner first...and that only the great people of the Bible responded.
Fear of loss is like a threat. People have already been made uncomfortable and the only way to get their attention is to make them at least as uncomfortable as they would have been if they had willfully chosen to pursue growth. Look at the Old Testament. God offers people a reason and a value in order to get them to grow. They reject it, so God makes their lives as uncomfortable (or more) as it would have been at first so that they finally choose to grow.
I was prevented by God to go to "fear of loss" with the public. I had to stay at offering people a reason and a value until a pastor stated his will: accepted or rejected the information.
Even when people attacked me and said I was teaching un-biblical and un-Christian principles, I had to take it and move on. A lot of people misread this as they must be right because I didn't attack back...I just forgave them and let God handle it.
Realize "Modeling God" is only about one third of the revelation God gave to me. There is objective proof that church today is a business and the opposite of what God wanted...but this has to wait. Also, I'm still willing to teach all of this to any pastor who wants to learn it. I have to say this because it may begin to look like I am no longer willing to be about achieve gain...
That's right. Finally, a pastor has read "Modeling God" and stated his will...he has rejected it and is encouraging others to reject it. This occurred months ago. I had to give him every chance to change his mind in order to make sure he wants to hold to the position of rejection. Personally, it didn't matter to me that he accepts or rejects, either way I could go forward. And either way, I still would have taken months to interact with him so he could make his decision with all the information. Last week, he made his final decision.
This will now allow me to make the next third of the revelation available. Beginning next week, I will be posting on a separate blog, the next portion of the revelation. It is confrontational.
I realize there are people teaching "unmerited favor" who don't realize it is a man-made doctrine. My first step is to tell people that doctrine is not from God. Then I will leave them to God...their decision to continue teaching it is now conscious. This has serious repercussions:
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin." (John 15:22)
Jesus is saying that people who don't follow the Word of God and don't know it have a cloak for their sin. However, Jesus' speaking removed the cloak for their sin. I am now allowed to remove the cloak for peoples' sins when it comes to "grace" and other doctrine. (Actually, this shouldn't come as a surprise. People who say that I'm teaching un-biblical principles because I disagree with them had to know that if I can show these principles are biblical, then they are the ones teaching un-biblical principles. I wasn't allowed to say this before now.)
This next portion will show with specific examples how we have embraced tradition in place of the Word of God when it comes to four very public doctrines. It will show how each of these man-made doctrines did not exist prior to Luther and Calvin. It will show why those who have left the church and believe God told them to do it could have been hearing from God and were right to leave the church. It will show how our current "Christian" leaders and authors are modern-day Pharisees. It will show how most of the "Bibles" in use today are printed to make money and actually show Jesus is not the Son of God. It will cause people to make the same conscious decision the Pharisees had to make:
Man's tradition or God's Word?
The "cloak" will be removed...
Before we get there, I want to give you more background on my "favorite" pastor. I write "favorite" because God has repeatedly reminded me this pastor is an answer to a prayer I've been praying for over ten years. Without him, I'd be unable to share the next part of this revelation.
I will post background on that part of the story on Saturday along with the pastor's final decision...
Next Post: Tim Snell Gets His Wish