The NAR False Christology Doctrine

RC Sproul mentioned that the early church had to contend against 2 heresies concerning the doctrine of our Lord Jesus.  One is docetism and the other is monophysite heresy.  Here is what he said,

“The great ecumenical council of Chalcedon in AD 451 affirmed that Jesus is truly man and truly God and that the 2 natures are so united as to be without mixture, confusion, separation, or division, each nature retaining its own attributes.  The true humanity of Jesus has been assaulted in 2 ways. The early church had to combat the heresy of docetism, which taught that Jesus did not have a real physical body or a true human nature…The other major heresy the church rejected was the Monophysite heresy. The heresy argued that Jesus did not have 2 natures but one. This single nature was neither truly divine or truly human but a mixture of the two. It was called a “theanthropic” nature. The Monophysite heresy involves either a deified human nature or a humanized divine nature…We must distinguish between the 2 natures without separating them.”

Today we have the NAR leaders proliferating another similar heresy known as kenotic Christology in that Jesus gave up His deity during His earthly sojourn and then gained it back when He resurrected. (The biblical truth that Christ fully possessed both natures is called the hypostatic union.)

If believing in docetism is having the spirit of the Antichrist (1 John 4:2-3), is it not worse to believe in this current kenotic Christology heresy ?  Both will change His Personhood and His work. But one is more denigrating than the other.

I believe it is worse because of 2 reasons:

1. It undermines the monotheistic distinctive of the Christian faith.

The only way to limit the use of attributes of one Person without limiting the attributes of all three members of the Godhead is to divide God into three divine Beings for each of the three Persons. Jesus could then suspend His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, etc., while the Father and Holy Spirit would continue to exercise sovereign dominion over the universe. This view of the Trinity, however, is polytheistic, not Christian. The Christian faith is monotheistic. We believe there is only one God. “Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29). The Creed of Athanasius affirms this truth: “The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, but there are not three gods, but one God…The Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent and the Holy Spirit is omnipotent, but there are not three omnipotent Beings, but one omnipotent Being …We distinguish among the Persons, but we do not divide the Substance.   (This reason is copied from an article on internet with link not found now.)

2. It will undermine the perfect sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ as presented by God.

Jesus said no one is good except God. If Jesus is not God even for a moment, then He is not good. If He is not good, then He is not perfect. If He is not perfect, He cannot atone for our sins.

The NAR leaders based their error on Phil 2:5-8.   I would interpret Phil 2:5-8 as referring to the humility of Christ that He humbled Himself in giving up His heavenly glory and independent authority in submission to the will of God the Father, but not divine characteristics.  Because in the context of this Scriptural passage, St Paul was exhorting believers to have the same humble mindset of our Lord Jesus.

Given the current absurd shamanistic practices taught by these NAR leaders and now this heresy concerning the doctrine of our Lord Jesus, I am inclined to believe they have a different spirit.  Because if they do really have the Holy Spirit, they will not err on this very important doctrine.

Matt 16:15-17
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

I believe this is the sinister motive to want to believe that Jesus our Lord did His miracles as a mere man without having His divine powers  –  for that will justify mere men like the NAR leaders can also perform miracles with the power given by the Holy Spirit.  Matt 24:24 warned us that false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, the elect, in the end times.  So will the Holy Spirit cause even more confusion in this last period of the last days in enabling believers in great numbers to perform signs and wonders ?

The Purpose Of God’s Warning About The End Times

According to David Pawson,  27% of the verses of the Bible contained a prediction about future events.  737 different future events were predicted in detail of which 80% have been fulfilled.   The balance 20% concerned events still in the future yet to be fulfilled.

We cannot come away after reading the Bible without seeing that God knew and planned the future events.  He alone decides the destiny of the world and the nations.  He decides the rise and fall of nations.

What is the purpose of God telling us what is about to happen ?   God wants to help us to meet the future and He aims to strengthen His people.

David Pawson gave us 6 reasons in his commentary on the book of Daniel and I took the liberty to para-phrase them with my own observation :

  1. God’s people will stand firm.   When the world is shaking, God’s people will stand firm.  Such times will differentiate the wheat from the tares, and the sheep from the goats.  The Christians will expect the Return of our Lord eagerly and they also know that hard times will precede His Return.
  2. God’s people will do exploits. God graciously allows His people to be His co-workers.  His people will want to do something to hasten His Return rather than be passive.  They will be up and running to obey God’s exhortation to care for His people as exhorted in the 4 parables in Matt 24 and 25.  They will be the wise servants who expect their Lord to return soon and invest in the talents given, the wise virgins who carry enough oil, and the sheep who care for the least of the brothers.
  3. God’s people will bring understanding. They will have a great ministry of teaching when the disturbances come. When the disturbances come, we can teach people who is in charge, why these events are happening, and where all these events are heading.  (Personally I am surprised how God has called me to galvanize the churches in the region to prepare to care for God’s people when the hard times hit, given the fact that I was not part of any ministry in any church from the start, and I have no seminary or church network to call upon.)
  4. God’s people will endure suffering. In the Book of Daniel, God mentioned about the coming persecution of the Jewish people and the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid monarch, before Judas Maccabee liberated them.
  5. God’s people will be refined. Suffering always bring the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  It will smelt and sift.  Dross will be smelted away and the true will be sifted from the false.  God’s people will be purged and purified.  Though one may find the church congregation halved,  take heart that those who are left will be the strong and faithful.
  6. God’s people will find rest. Knowing that redemption draws near,  God’s people know that their days of suffering will be over soon.  But sadly for those who do not believe or have fallen, their days of suffering will actually begin for all eternity, after all these tribulations have come to an end.

The Last Four Empires In The End Times

The traditional interpretation of Daniel chapter 2 and 7 is that they are dealing with the same empires.  In Chapter 2, we know that the empires were that of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.

But here are the reasons why the four beasts mentioned in Daniel chapter 7 cannot be referring to these same ancient empires :

  1. Daniel 7:12 mentioned that the first 3 empires will survive the destruction of the empire of the Antichrist. Babylon and Medo-Persia no longer existed.
  2. When Daniel received the interpretation of the vision, Daniel 7:17 clearly stated that these 4 beasts are empires which will arise in the future.  So Babylon could not be the first beast as Daniel was already living under the Babylonian empire at her height of glory.
  3. Daniel chapter 8 mentioned that the ram represented the kings of Media and Persia and the goat represented the kingdom of Greece. So the Bible will be terribly mixed up if the bear and leopard are used to represent these 2 same ancient empires.
  4. All these 4 beasts are apparently mentioned in Rev 13 and it is a single vision starting from Rev 12 to 14.   The vision starts from the birth of the Messiah to His defeat of the last beast.  When the Messiah came,  3 of the ancient empires of Babylon, Persia and Greece had already come and gone.

What are the four empires in the end times ?    Were some already here and have lost dominion ?  Do we have enough evidence to make conjecture about the existence of these empires now ?

I have read of some conjectures made by several ministers and theologians.  But this is the conjecture I believe in :

  1. The first beast, lion, was the British Empire.  The modern day symbol of the British Empire is a lion.   It ruled some 23% of the world’s population or 412 million at its height.  It was the largest empire in history.  The eagles’ wings were plucked off the lion and America gained her independence from Great Britain in 1776.  The symbol of America is an eagle.
  2. The second beast, bear, was the former Soviet Union.   The socialist empire, consisting of 15 republics,  existed from 1922 to 1991.  It was governed centrally by one single Communist Party from Moscow, the capital of the largest republic, Russia.    The modern day symbol of Russia is the bear.  The bear has 3 ribs in its mouth which may signify that Russia may try to retake 3 other republics again.   It has ambition to retake Ukraine and possibly another 2 states.
  3. The third beast, leopard, may be Germany. Germany had always tried to unite Europe.   The reign of Hitler from 1923 to 1945 was referred to as the Third Reich.  Hitler imagined his dictatorial regime was the successor to two great German empires.  The First Reich was the Holy Roman Empire ruled by Charlemagne.  And the Second Reich was the German Empire under Otto Van Bismark who ruled from 1870 to 1919.  Though the symbol of Germany is not the leopard but during World War 2,  she fought ferociously like a leopard.  Their most formidable weapon was the leopard tank.   Presently Germany is already dominating the European Union.  Is this the Fourth Reich ?   Or will a political union of 4 European nations arise with Germany as the leading state in the very near future as signified by this leopard beast with 4 heads and wings of a bird ?  The unofficial symbol of France is a rooster.

If the third beast is already here,  then the coming of the final beast, the Antichrist, is very near.  Will the European monetary union break up to cause a global economic collapse, and a new political cum monetary union arise under the Antichrist ?

Fellowship Conference With Church Leaders Of Riau Province Held In Batam

All thanks be to God for the opportunity to fellowship and share a message on the coming economic hard times with the Riau provincial leaders of GBI, a denomination of some 20,000 churches, and pastoral leaders of churches in Batam on 12 April 2019. We were hosted by GBI Tabgha church, Batam.   (GBI Tabgha church is the largest church in Batam with some 20,000 baptized members.)

The night before, I shared with fellow pastors Ramil, Christy, Sirivuth, Sambo, Vibol and Peter Wanyonyi whether an earthquake would happen to give urgency to the message I would give this very morning. As we returned from Batam at about 7 pm and before we took the train back to the hostel, a 6.8 earthquake happened in Sulawesi, Indonesia triggering a tsunami warning at 7.40 pm. Of course I hope and pray for God’s mercy that there will be no casualty, but yet I have to take God’s warning seriously to expect an exponential increase of earthquakes in this beginning of the birth pains.  All glory and praise to our sovereign God that there was little or no casualty.

(I cannot help but to notice the slim odds of such regular occurrence.  When I first shared this message on 10 March 2011 in Batam at Alfa Omega,  the massive 9.0 earthquake triggering the worst tsunami occurred in Japan the next day.  In Nov 2018,  I went to share the same message in General Santos, Philippines and a 6.9 earthquake happened just 120 km from the city two or three weeks later.)

Agricultural Enterprise Ministry Update

By the grace of God, JC’s Manifesto was able to sponsor some egg incubating and roasting oven equipment to scale up the production capability of the farms of her ministry partners and also allow these farms to offer further value added service such as roasted chicken to supply restaurants directly, in case there is market demand.

All thanks be to God for the opportunity to bring the ministry partners together to share of their experiences and to teach each other new productive development.  And also to teach the use of the above equipment.

JC’s Manifesto also took this opportunity to invite potential ministry partners from other regions.  I gave thanks to God for sending Pastor Peter Wanyonyi from Kenya to come for the agricultural enterprise training at Alfa Omega Ministry.   Praying that God will bless his hands when he returns to Kenya, and in turn,  be a blessing to fellow ministers and churches there.

Practising Double Standards

It is sad to note that certain evangelical denominations practise double standards in opposing one issue while approving or condoning another when the reason given in the Scripture for the commands concerning the two issues is the same or is very straightforward and clear.

In this article, I am not arguing for or against the issues per-se but I am saddened by the double standards practised at such respectable evangelical denominations. Such practice of double standards will rubbish their moral authority of upholding truth.  It may also convey the wrong message that their own upheld biblical views on the side of pragmatism take precedence over the obedience of straightforward commands of Scripture.

Here are 2 examples.

1. The reason Scripture gave for opposing homosexuality as sin, and forbidding women to teach or have spiritual authority over men,  is the same –  it is simply God’s designed order.  1 Tim 2:12-14.  Scripture is not implying that one gender or one type of relationship is considered more superior than the other.   All men and women are created equal and all the saved men and women will be like angels in eternity.  And I am sure it can be argued that homosexual relationship can also exercise fidelity and faithfulness in the union.  So there is no necessity to debate the merit of any held position since it is simply God’s designed order.

2. Some of these churches may judge the sin of non Christians in the world by taking up action such as organizing political protest petition or event, but not judge the sin of believers in the church.   And end up violating God’s direct command in 1 Cor 5:9-13.

1 Cor 5:9-13

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

 

The Armor Of God

The Christian life is no longer a bondage to sin, but it is still a constant struggle against sin.  Even after believing in Christ, the Christian will still face 3 enemies till our Lord returns – the world, the flesh and the enemy.  Sadly today with rampant false teaching, we tend to underestimate these enemies of our souls.  It will make no sense for Scripture to warn us incessantly of these dangers and the necessity to ward off such dangers if we cannot fall away.

The Christian is exhorted not to love the world, the outer foe, for loving the world is putting one at enmity with God.  James 4:4.   The principles of the world are power, greed, selfishness, ambition and pleasure and they appeal to 3 vulnerable spots of the old man in us  – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.   1 John 2:15-17.

The lust of the flesh is sensualism.  It is the obsessive craving and gratification of our senses such as gluttony or sex.

The lust of the eyes is materialism.  It is the covetous desire to own what we see, though not necessarily needful.

The pride of life is egotism.  It is desire to be better than others and the vain elevation and display of one’s reputation over another.

The Christian also has to contend against his own flesh, the inner foe, as well.  It is our fallen human nature with the propensity to sin.  We are born with this sinful nature.  The deeds of the flesh are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.  Gal 5:19-21.

Lastly we have to contend against the devil, the cunning enemy, who will tempt us in all possible ways to succumb to our outer and inner foes through moral failure.  And his stratagems also include causing us discouragement, frustration, confusion and doctrinal error.

Scripture exhorts us to put on the WHOLE armor of God so that we can withstand the schemes of the devil.   We need to be disciplined to put on ALL elements of the armor and not be complacent by doing without one or more elements of it.

Eph 6:11-18

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints

The armor of God consists of :

  1. The belt of truth.
  2. The breastplate of righteousness.
  3. The shoes of the gospel of peace.
  4. The shield of faith.
  5. The helmet of salvation.
  6. The sword of the Spirit.

By using the imagery of armor, Scripture wants us to know we are constantly in a war, albeit a spiritual war, and we are actually soldiers fighting every day of our lives for our souls.  We need the whole armor and not just one or two of the elements as we are contending against demonic forces who wield tremendous power.

The first element is the belt of truth.  The belt also carries the sword which is the Word of God.  We must equip ourselves with the truth in the Word of God for the enemy is the father of all lies and we should expect deceptive lies at every turn.  The sword is an offensive weapon unlike all the other defensive elements of the armor.  Each time, we face doubt or deception concerning truth, we must quote Scripture to repulse them.

The breastplate protects our bodies.  We must put on the righteousness of Christ imputed when we believe to ward off the accusations of the enemy that we are not worthy.  We must rest in the finished work of Christ without feeling depressed by the lie of the enemy that we must work for our salvation.  And we have to clothe ourselves with practical righteousness in our lives  through the training by the Spirit of our Lord as well, so that the devil really has nothing to shoot at.

The combat shoes have spikes to help the soldier stand firm in the fighting.  We must be assured by the gospel of peace of our position in Christ that is not based on our worthiness but on the faithfulness of God.  God also expect us to move in the combat shoes and go on the offensive taking the gospel into enemy territory to as many people as possible.

The shield protects the soldier from flaming arrows of doubt from the enemy. The enemy will sow doubt of the faithfulness of God and His promises when the going gets tough.  Let the Lord strengthen and perfect our faith as we follow His example of patient endurance.  Heb 12:1-2.

The helmet protects the head, the seat of our mind.  By holding onto the plain gospel truth for salvation, our minds are protected from false gospels and false Christology.  And knowing our ultimate victory of salvation is sure (Rom 8:28-35),  our minds are prevented from being crushed by trials knowing no suffering can compare to the coming glory.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Early Christian medical tradition owed much to Hippocratic medicine, even though it was based on Greek philosophy. Early Christians saw the physical aspect of Hippocratic medicine as relevant and useful.

The early Christians such as Basil the Great established one of the earliest hospitals.  Together with Augustine, they both acknowledged that medicine benefits the body while instruction benefits the soul, and the underlying source of the physician’s healing power comes from Jesus Christ.  Both presented medicine as symbolic of Christian benevolence.

For years, I have been skeptical of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) due to its underlying spiritual Tao belief.  Yet there are enough testimonies that TCM is effective in treatment.  A notable example is the treatment of eczema.  There is presently no cure at the moment but only relief management of this ailment at the hospital.  But there are so many documented testimonies of people being cured of it going through TCM treatment.  The TCM practice in using herbs and physical therapy like acupuncture might have certain scientific basis that might had been lost in centuries past.  Perhaps during the reign of Shi Huang Ti, the first emperor of China,  such medical knowledge were lost when he ordered the burning of all books.

Properly understood, the secular aspect of TCM is not incompatible with our Christian faith just like Hippocratic medicine.  Since I believe all healing is divine healing so TCM can be part of God’s healing too.   (In my gospel tract written for the Chinese, I mentioned that Dao De Jing,  the Taoist Scripture, contained much amazing knowledge of our Christian faith. http://www.jcmanifesto.org/gospel-tract-for-the-chinese-final-print-in-english-version/)

Presently there is much official opposition to missionary effort in China but at the same time, enterprises are encouraged to help the poor masses to cope with rising cost of living.  I believe TCM can be such a bridge to bringing much needed help and subsequently the gospel to the poor masses in China.

 

Testimony (20)

I usually do not pray to God and ask for help concerning trivial things or inconveniences I face, though I am well aware that God encourages us to bring all our anxieties to Him.

That is because I often share that we should not come to a relationship with our Lord for all the wrong reasons.  And our spirituality should not be reduced to just finding a parking lot.

3 weeks ago,  I misplaced my sunglasses in a hawker centre after coffee fellowship with a brother.  I went back the next day to find out whether the stall-holders and the cleaners would have noticed it and kept it for safekeeping.  The cleaning supervisor said she saw it but did not keep it.

Feeling vexed in my spirit, I prayed quietly for God’s help in recovering this pair of sunglasses.  For it took me much pain to find this suitable pair of sunglasses that finally fit my slightly large head and this particular design is no longer in production.

I made an online police report for the misappropriation of property.  And surprisingly, the case was assigned an investigating officer (IO) the following week and he took the trouble to bring the report to my office for my signature.

Hallelujah !  Bless the Lord !  It took the IO just one week to find my sunglasses. Too grateful to him to return it to my office, I went down to his office instead.  It was excellent police work. The police had gone out of the way above reasonable community service just to help me to find a pair of sunglasses.

All thanks and glory to our Lord Jesus !

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

The idiom refers to an attitude that is very careful and mean with small amount of money but very extravagant or wasteful with large sums.

You will think that one, who is careful and mean with small amount of money, is acting so because of his or her obsession in hoarding his or her money.  So it will not make sense for him or her to waste on large sums.

Yet it is a common fact because many are predictably irrational as I have shown in previous articles.

Here are some examples :

  1. Driving to a fairly remote petrol station to top up the gas because it is the cheapest.  Perhaps saving one or two dollars on the petrol but consuming 2 liters of petrol driving to and fro the station which cost 4 to 5 dollars.
  2. Always worry about spending money on petrol and yet own and hardly drive an expensive high capacity car which will depreciate to little in 10 years and will guzzle a lot of more petrol than a lower capacity car for the same mileage.
  3. Buying a lot of stuff in bulk with near expiry date. Trying to save 20% of the purchases but end up throwing away the excess when expired.
  4. Holidays are usually not planned earlier so as to enjoy very good discounted airfare prices. The savings are so substantial that it can mean enjoying a bit more on better class hotels and eating in better restaurants.

Sometimes it hurt relationship as such a “penny wise pound foolish” person may sting on paying for drinks with friends or relatives in a local coffee shop, but has no qualm in paying high  monthly mortgage interest running in the thousands of dollars.

Believers are not to live such a miserable existence as miserly persons.  Otherwise the miserliness reveals the condition and preoccupation of their heart in worshipping money rather than God.

I have seen many believers shooing away the poor elderly or invalids selling tissue paper in the train stations or local coffee shops but have no problem in paying for exorbitant car parking charges for the sake of a little convenience.  They may be unwittingly shooing away a brother or sister in Christ.  One day, when the Lord separate the sheep and the goats during the judgment of the sheep and goats, will we be flashed such scene of shooing away the least of the brothers ?  Matt 25:31-46.

Is it not wise to save on the pounds so that we can give the pennies to the poor, instead of being foolish to save the pennies and waste the pounds away ?

I have this joy of saving the pounds and giving to the least of the brothers and the poor and needy as well.  Is not the kingdom of God about peace and joy in the Holy Spirit ?   Rom 14:17.