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RedneckOne

Gospel of Batholomew and Apocrypha

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Then I am inclined to believe that you think even the Anti-Christ is saved

Did you not know that the name of the anti-Christ is in the new testament? God bless you also.

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Did you not know that the name of the anti-Christ is in the new testament?
Ralph
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No, it wasn't Ralph. Blessings to you.
Gertrude

 

 

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Is the name Gertrude in the NT?
Tubal-Cain

 

 

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Tubal-Cain

 

 

You can find it by reading the Gospel of Bartholomew and then reading 2 Corinthians. Study to show thyself approved, brother.

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RedneckOne said:
You can find it by reading the Gospel of Bartholomew and then reading 2 Corinthians.

The Gospel of Bartholomew, that is where you got it. lol A pseudepigraphal and apocryphal work that was never part of the canon, nor recognized by the early church, and is filled with heretical teachings, no thanks. I prefer the Scriptures not some false gospel.

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The Gospel of Bartholomew, that is were you got it. lol A pseudepigraphal and apocryphal work that was never part of the canon, nor recognized by the early church, and is filled with heretical teachings, no thanks. I prefer the Scriptures not some false gospel.

 

Okay, remain ignorant. That still does not change the fact that the name of the anti-Christ is in the NT, now does it?

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Okay, remain ignorant. That still does not change the fact that the name of the anti-Christ is in the NT, now does it?

 

Where, oh pray tell, is this name of which you speak? I do not recall any specific name mention in conjunction with The anti-Christ.

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Okay, remain ignorant.
Brilliant rebuttal. No doubt that is your very best. If that is all you have, and I am sure it is, then you have nothing. You have given no evidence to prove your claim nor any reason why anyone should accept\trust the Gospel of Bartholomew as authentic.

 

That still does not change the fact that the name of the anti-Christ is in the NT, now does it?
lol What fact? You have not supported your claim in any way. Edited by Origen

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Before RNO posts one of his cryptic and uninformative answers let's get some background that will prove helpful to all (maybe even to RNO).

 

There are at least two documents that content for the title the Gospel of Bartholomew.

 

The first is Questions of Bartholomew. The text is found in 2 Greek, 2 Latin, and 5 Slavonic manuscripts. Each manuscript varies considerably from the others and none are complete. Thus scholars have to cobble together all three (i.e. the Greek, Latin, and Slavonic) together in order to come up with a somewhat complete text. In certain cases the differences are so great it is necessary to indicate which manuscript is being followed.

 

The second is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ supposedly by Bartholomew. This text is in Coptic and has no relationship with the above Questions of Bartholomew. There are three partial manuscripts and a few fragments.

 

Jerome in his commentary on Matthew refers to a Gospel of Bartholomew (and rejected it as not authentic) but there is no way to link either of the above to Jerome's reference. In fact no early church father quotes or refers to a Gospel of Bartholomew.

 

So what is the evidence that either of these documents written by Bartholomew or even date to the 1st century? NONE!

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The next point has to do with the name of the antichrist. However before we start some background information is necessary . The word Belial (or Beliar) comes from a Hebrew word meaning "worthlessness" (i.e. בְּלִיַּעַל). During the Second Temple period the word comes to refer to the Devil\Satan. In the Pseudepigrapha literature it is some what of a mixed bag. More often than not it is a name for the Devil\Satan, sometimes it refers to a fallen angel who followed Satan, and in a few cases the antichrist.

 

Questions of Bartholomew 4:17:

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And Barthololmew feared, and raised his voice and said: Blessed be the name of thine immortal kingdom from henceforth even for ever. And when he had spoken, Jesus permitted him, saying: Go and tread upon the neck of Beliar: and Bartholomew ran quickly upon him and trode upon his neck: and Beliar trembled. (For this verse the Vienna MS. has: And Bartholomew raised his voice and said thus: O womb more spacious than a city, wider than the spreading of the heavens, that contained him whom the seven heavens contain not, but thou without pain didst contain sanctified in thy bosom, &c.: evidently out of place. Latin 1 has only: Then did Antichrist tremble and was filled with fury.)

Here Beliar is identified with the antichrist. But also note that identification is only in the Latin 1 manuscript.

 

Questions of Bartholomew 4:37-42:

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37 Bartholomew saith unto him: Flow chastisest thou the souls of men?

 

38 Beliar saith unto him: Wilt thou that I declare unto thee the punishment of the hypocrites, of the back-biters, of the jesters, of the idolaters, and the covetous, and the adulterers, and the wizards, and the diviners, and of them that believe in us, and of all whom I look upon (deceive?)?

 

(38 Lat. 2: When I will show any illusion by them. But they that do these things, and they that consent unto them or follow them, do perish with me.

 

39 Bartholomew said unto him: Declare quickly how thou persuadest men not to follow God and thine evil arts, that are slippery and dark, that they should leave the straight and shining paths of the Lord.)

 

39 Bartholomew saith unto him: I will that thou declare it in few words.

 

40 And he smote his teeth together, gnashing them, and there came up out of the bottomless pit a wheel having a sword flashing with fire, and in the sword were pipes.

 

41 And I (he) asked him, saying: What is this sword?

 

42 And he said: This sword is the sword of the gluttonous: for into this pipe are sent they that through their gluttony devise all manner of sin; into the second pipe are sent the backbiters which backbite their neighbour secretly; into the third pipe are sent the hypocrites and the rest whom I overthrow by my contrivance.

 

(Lat. 2:40 And Antichrist said: I will tell thee. And a wheel came up out of the abyss, having seven fiery knives. The first knife hath twelve pipes (canales) . . .

 

42 Antichrist answered: The pipe of fire in the first knife, in it are put the casters of lots and diviners and enchanters, and they that believe in them or have sought them, because in the iniquity of their heart they have invented false divinations. In the second pipe of fire are first the blasphemers ... suicides ... idolaters.... In the rest are first perjurers . . . (long enumeration).)

As anyone can see there is some confusion as to the correct reading in many of these verse. Nevertheless Beliar does appear to be identified as the antichrist.

 

However that is not the end of the matter. In the Questions of Bartholomew Beliar is also identified as Satan\Devil.

Quote
Beliar answered and said: If thou wilt know my name, at the first I was called Satanael, which is interpreted a messenger of God, but when I rejected the image of God my name was called Satanas, that is, an angel that keepeth hell (Tartarus) (4:25).

 

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And Satan said: If I were able to go forth by myself, I would have destroyed the whole world in three days: but neither I nor any of the six hundred go forth. (4:44)

 

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And Bartholomew raised up Satan and said unto him: Go unto thy place, with thine angels, but the Lord hath mercy upon all his world. (4:51)

 

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But the devil answered and said: Submit not thyself, O Hades, but be strong: for God himself hath not descended upon the earth. (1:14)

 

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Slavonic text: And the devil said unto Hades: Why affrightest thou me, Hades? it is a prophet, and he hath made himself like unto God: this prophet will we take and bring him hither unto those that think to ascend into heaven. (1:16)

 

Greek text: And Beliar said unto Hades: Look carefully who it is that , for it is Elias, or Enoch, or one of the prophets that this man seemeth to me to be. (1:16)

 

Quote
But the devil said: Suffer me, and I will tell thee how I was cast down into this place and how the Lord did make man. (4:52)

Beliar is identified as the devil\Satan and as the antichrist. Yet the N.T. does not identified the antichrist as the devil\Satan himself. Moreover referring to Satan\Beliar as antichrist does not in and of itself identify him as THE antichrist. There is also the problem of why should anyone accept this document and not some other Pseudepigraphal text. There are other texts with a much better pedigree. The manuscripts evidence for this text is extremely lacking making it difficult to even come up with a coherent text.

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Ok, I must have missed something as this thread developed. What in the world does the "Gospel of Bartholomew" have to do with the OP being accused of being a pedophile?

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Ok, I must have missed something as this thread developed. What in the world does the "Gospel of Bartholomew" have to do with the OP being accused of being a pedophile?
Nothing but I was not about to let RNO's claim go unchallenged.

 

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Nothing but I was not about to let RNO's claim go unchallenged.

 

I see your point, though it might have been better to start a new topic.

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Where, oh pray tell, is this name of which you speak? I do not recall any specific name mention in conjunction with The anti-Christ.

 

Study for yourself. Read the Gospel of Bartholomew and second Corinthians.

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RedneckOne said:
Study for yourself. Read the Gospel of Bartholomew and second Corinthians.

Yes @Knotical by all means that is what you should do. But just don't read the so-called Gospel of Bartholomew study the history and theology of the text and ask yourself some key questions.

 

Is there any evidence this work was written by Bartholomew?

 

Is there any evidence this work was written in the 1st century?

 

Is there any evidence this work was known and accepted by the early church?

 

Does the theology found in this work contradict the teachings found in the N.T.?

 

Given the very limited manuscript evidence, and the fact there is no complete text of this work, and the fact that all three version often differ from one another substantially, which one (if any) is the correct text?

 

Also ask yourself why, for what reason, should anyone accept this work over all the other pseudepigraphal texts?

 

And lastly, ask yourself why RNO did not address my posts and what that means?

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Brilliant rebuttal. No doubt that is your very best. If that is all you have, and I am sure it is, then you have nothing. You have given no evidence to prove your claim nor any reason why anyone should accept\trust the Gospel of Bartholomew as authentic.

 

lol What fact? You have not supported your claim in any way.

Just because a book is not in the canon, does not mean that it is not scriptural, or the information therein is not useful to further your understanding of God. "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." John 21:25 KJV. How many books were in the King James Version of the Bible prior to the 1880's (83), how many there today(66). Do you think they were taken out to keep us ignorant? Here is a list of the books that were taken out of the canon in the 1880's; Tobit; Judith; 1/2/3/4 Maccabees; Additions to Ester; 1/2 Esdras(Ezra); Letter of Jeremiah; Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the three Jews; Susanna; Bel and the Dragon; Prayer of Manasseh; Psalm 151; Wisdom of Solomon; Sirach(Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch. Don't worry I have a 1854 King James Version of the Bible with these now so called Apocrypha books in it. Yes, Beliar/Belial is the name of the anti-Christ, you may find the name in 2 Corinthians 6:15 (or Christ with anti-Christ, or a believer with an unbeliever), and Moses is the man of sin. If you want an example of an pseudepigraphal book in the canon look to Romans. Still, the name of the anti-Christ is in the NT, so is: "now that the dead are raised", "the gospel which ye have heard and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven", "In the last day", "the graves where opened"; "and he died for ALL"; Yeah, I have nothing, but the inspired word of God to back up my claims. "For he is before all things and by him all things consist". Have a blessed day, brother.

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Just because a book is not in the canon, does not mean that it is not scriptural
Even if that were the case (which it is not), nothing you have said proves it is and all the evidence thus far proves it is not.

 

or the information therein is not useful to further your understanding of God. "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." John 21:25 KJV.
Now all you have to do is prove the events in Bartholomew are some of those events.

 

How many books were in the King James Version of the Bible prior to the 1880's (83), how many there today(66).
I do not care what was in the KJV prior to 1880. The KJV is a translation and nothing more. But for your information the translators of the KJV never believed the Apocrypha to be Scripture. Moreover, no matter what the KJV translators believed or did not believe, that does nothing to prove that Bartholomew is.

 

Yes, Beliar/Belial is the name of the anti-Christ, you may find the name in 2 Corinthians 6:15, and Moses is the man of sin.
So say you and Bartholomew. The problem is the N.T. says no such thing and I will take the Word of God over you and Bartholomew any day.

 

If you want an example of an pseudepigraphal book in the canon look to Romans.
Why should I? It is your claim prove it.

 

Yeah, I have nothing, but the inspired word of God to back up my claims.
You mean Bartholomew? Don't make me laugh. Edited by Origen

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Even if that were the case, nothing you have said proves it is and all the evidence thus far proves it is not.

 

Now all you have to do is prove the events in Bartholomew are some of those events.

 

I do not care what was in the KJV prior to 1880. The KJV is a translation and nothing more. But for your information the translators of the KJV never believed the Apocrypha were Scripture. Moreover that does nothing to prove that Bartholomew is.

 

So say you and Bartholomew. The problem is the N.T. says no such thing and I will take the word of God over you and Bartholomew any day.

 

Why should I? It is your claim prove it.

 

You mean Bartholomew? Don't make me laugh.

 

Brother, are you a sinner? If you are then that will answer why you have such a hard time understanding God's word.

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Brother, are you a sinner? If you are then that will answer why you have such a hard time understanding God's word.

 

RedNeckOne,

 

Keep your responses on topic with the OP in mind, and do not resort to personal attacks.

 

You already stated that you believe everyone is saved, so it really shouldn't matter to you as to whether Origen is a sinner, believes, or understands God's word. But that conversation can be continued in the heretical sub-forum: https://www.christforums.org/forum/c...l/universalism

 

This thread is in the Bible inspiration and translation sub-forum. Each response should have something to do with that and should pertain to this thread's topic.

 

God bless,

William

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RedNeckOne,

 

Keep your responses on topic according to the OP, and do not resort to personal attacks.

 

You already stated that you believe everyone is saved, so it really doesn't matter whether Origen is a sinner. But that conversation can be continued in the heretical sub-forum: https://www.christforums.org/forum/c...l/universalism

 

This thread is in the Bible inspiration and translation sub-forum. Each response should have something to do with that pertaining to this thread's topic.

 

God bless,

William

 

That was not a personal attack, just a question that one should ask their self. For if one is a sinner they have never seen nor known Christ- 1 John 3:6 that they are of the devil- 1 John 3:8. Sinners are self condemned- Titus 3:11.

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That was not a personal attack, just a question that one should ask their self. For if one is a sinner they have never seen nor known Christ- 1 John 3:6 that they are of the devil- 1 John 3:8. Sinners are self condemned- Titus 3:11.

 

By your admission, you having suggested that everyone is saved, it really doesn't matter whether he is of the devil, understands scripture, knows Christ, or is a sinner etc. It is not your place to ask that question as you just stated, and really he shouldn't have to care because he is saved. If you cannot address his points in your response then do not respond to Origen.

 

I already split the previous thread and closed it because it has been derailed into three threads. If you want me to split that thread further and continue your points in the Universalism sub-forum I'll be more than happy to.

 

God bless,

William

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Brother, are you a sinner? If you are then that will answer why you have such a hard time understanding God's word.
lol No, it tells me that you cannot defend your claims and you must resort to such tactics because you have no answers.

 

Now if you are done with that. Answer this question. What is the evidence this work was written by Bartholomew?

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He reminds them about how he rescued the people of Israel out of Egypt, with the promise that he would then bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey. But on the way, as we all do, they started tripping. They, in more ways than one, disobeyed God. And as judgment, God relegated them to a 40-year stay in the wilderness until the entire generation that left Egypt was dead. But while in the wilderness, the disobedience didn’t cease. They continued to walk in unbelief toward God with their idolatrous ways. But eventually, as God said would happen, each one of them perished until the younger generation was the only generation left. And Ezekiel 20:18, God tells the elders about what he told the children that were left and he says: And I said to their children in the wilderness, do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor keep their rules, nor defile yourselves with their idols.I am the Lord your God, so walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you.That you may know that I am the Lord your God. But the children rebelled against me. They did not walk in my statutes, and were not careful to obey my rules by which if a person does them he shall live. Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations, and disperse them through the countries because they have not obeyed my rules, but have rejected my statutes, and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. During the 40 years in the wilderness, these children had learned some things. They’d seen some of their parents worship the gods of Egypt. They remembered when their mothers removed the gold earrings out of their ears and watched them turn them into golden calves. They were there when their father slept with the women of Moab and when their family sacrificed to a god named Baal, a god they knew was not the God of Israel, but a god that they thought was more worthy of their worship than the one who took them out of slavery. These children grew up in an environment where the people of God had an allegiance to all sorts of idols and lived by all kinds of statutes that they’ve created for themselves. So, when it was their turn to obey God, when they heard the command of God to walk in his statutes and to obey his rules, the only footsteps they chose to follow were the idolatrous feet of their fathers. And for all we know, they probably thought that generation knew best. Because clearly seeing each and every person in the generation prior to them drop dead in the wilderness wasn’t enough proof that God was not to be played with. The children of Israel had learned some things. Don’t you find it troubling that the letter, a letter from a Birmingham jail, a letter Dr. King wrote in 1963 to Christians, white Christians to be specific, contains in it the same frustrations being voiced to our white brothers and sisters today in 2018? The letter is 55 years old and yet this generation has not fully improved upon the beliefs and the behavior of the prior. The urgency of justice is still being questioned. The hearts of many brown and black believers are still disheartened as their brothers and sisters, the brothers and sisters that they share pews with, who seem to be so unwilling to pursue authentic peace, authentic peace that includes the presence of justice and not the peace that prefers the absence of tension. How could it be that one generation can progress so much and yet be so similar to the generation before them? And all of us, we can see it is because the generations are always teaching in all of us and one way or another have followed in somebody’s footsteps. If we want to equip the next generation for gospel diversity, we have to start here. Our methods have to be modeled if we expect for them to be followed. But we cannot and will not model what we don’t believe. And guess what? Your children, your mentees, your disciples, the people in your children’s group, your youth group, they are learning from you even if you don’t know yet. They’ve seen who you invite over for dinner. They’ve heard how you pray for your country. And some have never heard one plea for the peace of a black mother whose son was killed in a backyard. Or a petition to a God on behalf of a Hispanic teen who was terrified that she would be deported from the one home that she has always known. They are watching who you watch. They are listening to who you are learning from. If there is any indifference in your heart toward gospel diversity, you better know that your indifference will be to them a norm to which their world views will be shaped. But just as the next generation can learn some negative things from us all, because God is in us, with his help we can do what some of our fathers didn’t do. Why? Because we are a chosen race. We are a royal priesthood. We are a holy nation. We are a people for his own possession that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We must show the next generation what it’s like to be a part of a chosen race. A chosen generation. A generation made up of people that are white, and brown, and black, and every other color that God has made for his glory. A generation of folk that God has brought to himself. A generation of people that may have some bad blood inside of their bodies because of sin and their different upbringings, but a generation that will fight for the oppressed in America and beyond, just like the God of Israel fought for the oppressed in Egypt. Let the next generation see what a royal priesthood looks like. How a people who’ve been anointed by the Spirit, sanctified by God, and brought near to his throne through the Son, show them how they move about the world. Show them what a living sacrifice looks like and how it’s not a lamb or a goat, but a body, and bias, and comfort, and fear, and lovelessness, and pride, and privilege, and how this priesthood lays it all down on the altar to be burned before God, so that we can show the new generation what real worship looks like. Show them a holy nation. Show them a nation among many, but a nation under one God and with liberty and justice for all. And don’t get it twisted. This holy nation ain’t America, it’s the church of God. It’s the bride of Christ. It’s a nation whose king was a Jewish man killed by an unjust government as ordained by a sovereign God. This nation looks different than the rest because it’s governed by a God that is good, and holy, and wise, and just, and merciful, and empathetic, and dignifying. And as this holy nation lives among others, the generations will see what it looks like when your ultimate allegiance is King Jesus. Show them what it looks like to be a peculiar people that belong to God. We don’t really belong to this country. We don’t really belong to a political party. We don’t belong even to our economic status. Heck, we don’t belong to this world. We are a people for his own possession. And when we believe that, when we believe that we belong to God, we will live completely free from the statutes and the rules that these identities impose on us. That way, we will love not according to what makes us similar, but we will love in accordance to our Savior if only we would just be who we are. The next generation would learn some things. They would learn something glorious. They would learn about God in us. They would know that the people of God love differently than the world. That the people of God embrace diversity because that’s what God would do. And that’s what God has done. The next generation would follow in our footsteps and then they would come to realize that as they did, they were actually following Jesus, and not a God made in America’s image. They would come to see that as you set your mind on things above where Christ, he is seated at the right hand of God, the place he went after he did what was just and right, the seat he sat down on after dying and raising on behalf of people, that he died [to purchase] for himself [a people] from every tribe, tongue and nation. They would see that because you set your mind up there where he is, that they can, too. When we set our eyes on Christ instead of setting our eyes on our fathers’ idols and everything else that keeps us from gospel diversity, you can be sure that is when we begin equipping the next generation for gospel diversity. You can listen to the episode here or watch a video. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • The Gospel Does Not ‘Float Downstream’ from Big Cities

      Small towns and rural areas across the world need churches; they won’t be reached with the gospel by default. And many such places in the United States are growing increasingly secular—churches are dying faster than new ones are being planted. While it’s right to highlight the need to plant churches in large, growing urban centers, we would be mistaken to assume that the gospel will automatically “float downstream” from big cities. If we don’t intentionally give ourselves to seeing churches planted in rural communities, then it won’t happen. But this is not an easy task. Many aspects of rural life go against the grain of our glory-hungry dispositions. Life and ministry in small towns probably won’t win you a large following. You probably won’t grow a big church. You probably won’t receive much recognition. And it will probably be hard. But if you choose to plant a church in a small, forgotten part of the world, you will have the life-giving opportunity to say, with John the Baptist: “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). What small towns need is men and women willing to count the cost and plant churches that faithfully proclaim the gospel in their communities. We need leaders who have a concern for the glory of Christ in the forgotten corners of the earth. One such brother is Will Basham, who I’m excited to welcome to the podcast today. You can listen to this podcast episode here. Related: The Left Behind of Rural America (Collin Hansen and Stephen Witmer) Move Slowly in Small-Town Ministry (Dayton Hartman) The (False) Promise of Small-Town Community (Brett Moser) View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • ‘American Gospel’ Blows a Hole in the Prosperity Gospel

      After years of watching the prosperity “gospel” advance in America, Africa, and beyond, a backlash is coming—one grounded in the Word of God and the gospel of grace. It’s thrilling to see. The new documentary American Gospel: Christ Alone, directed by Brandon Kimber, takes aim at this scourge. America has always been a pragmatic, can-do kind of country, and the film argues that the material focus of the prosperity “gospel” suits American culture. In offering this searing critique, which applies not merely to “them” out there but to us (for many of us love money and ease more than we might be comfortable admitting), Kimber first establishes what the true gospel is: good news centered in the finished work of Christ. Standing in the place of sinners like us, Jesus has absorbed the perfect wrath of the Father and made a way out of hell and into heaven. When we trust Christ as our Lord and Savior by God-given faith, we are instantly justified and counted righteous in God’s sight, the very merit of Christ’s now being our own (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 5:1–2; Eph. 2:8–9). Numerous evangelical theologians and pastors comment on this truth in the film, together building a clear and potent case for faith in Christ. True Stories of True Faith American Gospel traces the stories of real Christians whose lives have intersected with prosperity teaching in some way. One woman sobs as she recounts how health-and-wealth teaching ripped her life apart, piece by piece, until she had nothing. The film also introduces us to Katherine Berger, a woman suffering from numerous dreaded illnesses—one after another, it seems—who nonetheless radiates bright faith in God. Also prominent in the film is Costi Hinn, nephew of faith-healer Benny Hinn. Costi served on his uncle’s team as a “catcher” who witnessed apparent miracles around the clock. His testimony—soon to release as a book—takes us into the seamy experience of the faith-healer, an enterprise that preys on the poor and suffering to enrich the flush and covetous. The moment that crystallizes the shameful nature of faith-healing comes when Costi discusses how Benny Hinn would (and does) “heal” people with minor ailments. When it came to terminally ill children and other sufferers facing profound challenges, the “healer” refused. This was the first jarring note in Costi’s young life that eventually led him out of prosperity religion (and that’s what it is—a different religion than biblical Christianity). American Gospel does not hold back; the camera pans back to the outer boundaries of auditoriums at Hinn crusades, where desperate parents cradle diseased children, ignored, unwanted, and unhealed. We watch this, and we hear Justin Peters testify to this experience personally, and we cannot help but feel both sadness and righteous anger—Christ’s own anger. The money-changers are still in the temple, still making God’s name a mockery. This is an exact parallel of what Jesus did not do. He did not enter the ministry to make money. He did not work in the name of God to be popular and liked. He did not heal those who could do anything for him. Rather, he came to the physically and spiritually poor and made eucatastrophes of them all—not only addressing their bodies but, in many cases, saving their souls. He was not in it for himself; he was in it for the Father’s greater glory and the sinner’s true salvation. “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Sadly, Christ’s name is invoked by “faith healers” like Hinn and others whose ministries don’t reflect him. Call Your Skeptical Friends American Gospel succeeds in its mission. It shows the spiritual and even eternal stakes of prosperity religion. It reveals the danger of allowing any endeavor, however virtuous on the surface, to seep into the preaching and application of the biblical gospel. The movie champions the true, saving gospel, and it unpacks this message with clarity and conviction. Here’s hoping many viewers will come across American Gospel on various streaming platforms (iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo), and that Christians will find opportunities to watch the film with unbelieving neighbors and friends. The prosperity “gospel” is a great foil by which to evangelize, for it is patently a sham to many outside of the church. A film like this could be a great apologetic for those with a skeptical bent, for example. Though nicely shot and edited, the film could be a bit tighter, and the summation of the gospel message takes some time to unfold. So many voices speaking to different issues can begin to send the brain whirling, though I did appreciate how Kimber mixes in Christian leaders both well known and also lesser known. As is not uncommon today, American Gospel presents the gospel message primarily in terms of justification, which is the heart of the euangelion but not the doctrinal sum. The film references the local church but could say more about its importance. Similarly, the moral implications of the gospel are somewhat muted in American Gospel. If we must not make the moral dimension of Scripture the point of every passage, neither should we lose sight of it. But these are small critiques, not major ones. High Stakes The prosperity gospel comes with a terrific cost, as all false teaching does; it does not merely ruin intellectual systems, it ruins individual lives. We see this firsthand in the film. American Gospel does not merely “destroy arguments” of the prosperity kind in keeping with apostolic aims (2 Cor. 10:4–5). It also shows us that the natural man craves miracles: healing, wealth, favor, better “benefits” and sales “commissions” (this is literally what a Bethel pastor leads a congregation to ask God for), a life stripped free of suffering and challenge. But the miracles God brings in most of our lives are often quite different: quieter, less showy, but powered by the saving gospel. Instead of immediate healing, Christians may well be called to persevere in suffering. Instead of wealth, we may be called to learn contentment in our situation. Instead of coming back from the dead as in “heaven tourism” books, we must all face death and square with mortality. Instead of the cessation of trials upon the exercise of faith, we may be called to endure trials over the long haul. Instead of undimmed favor with power-brokers, we may be called to anonymity and unappreciated toil. Instead of a life of globe-hopping circuit-riding, we may be called to tuck in with our families (especially our children) and love them well, normal day by normal day. Instead of experiencing an unbroken string of personal triumphs, we may take many hits as we await the ultimate cosmic triumph of our warrior-savior, Christ Jesus. These are “ordinary miracles,” the very work of God in us. God will do as he wishes with each one of us. True believers may prosper in earthly terms (this is not uncommon, and our God is a very, very generous and wonder-working God)—or they may not. The point is this: Let us be careful about which gospel we follow. Let us follow the true gospel, not the American one. Let us not believe in secular Christianity, which is what prosperity religion really offers. To this and every other counterfeit we offer not faith, but truth spoken in love—truth calibrated to destroy the lies of the Devil and to rescue the ones who are perishing. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

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