The Present Church Age with LBGT Appreciation

What are we to Think of the LBGT Community in Terms of Bible?

First, a little bit of discussion is needed for context on this perspective. This needs to be sensitive to all who read because the main point made here is first not one of the writer’s making.  Second, anyone who reads the scriptures will see this is a critical and deciding difference between what human culture sees today and what God has determined ages ago.

The book of Revelation starts with seven letters to seven churches.  Each letter is a message to a church in the First Century, but also a message to all seven types of church ages to come.  The last church age is the present age we live in today. To see this illustrated, we refer your to WindowView’s Timelines (First Church Age here at 30 CE, the Second thought Fifth Church Age here, and the Sixth and final Seventh Church Age here). The final letter is to the church at Laodicea.  Further down is text from the web page describing characteristics of the age of apostasy that is now upon us. To be fair, representative congregations of believers from all seven types exist today, but a look at the rapidly changing social norms and it is easy to see why society and even the church is striving for something outside of Scripture and beyond God’s will for all humanity. But for Laodicea the church is labeled apostate (unbelieving, neither hot nor cold, and God ‘spits this church out’).

The Corporate Body of Believing Persons

We might add, the word ‘church’ appears nowhere in the Bible. The Greek term ‘ekklesia‘ (translated from the Greek into the English word church) appears and this essentially recognizes groups of or all of the believing body of persons (believing in Messiah and God). As such, the term could apply to Gentile and Jewish groups (or all persons corporately) who embrace the Jewish Messiah (Yeshua, Jesus). We use the term church here, but ‘ekklesia’ and even include synagogue as a reference point would be appropraite.

Laodicea (1900 to present day) – Apostasy

Apostasy comes in many forms.  From how people avoid, turn away, or disregard the will of God, engage in sin knowingly and wantonly, or turn faith into something that is lukewarm or an academic non-biblical exercise (etc.).

Regarding the churches (and denominations) today that embrace the LBGT community, we want to be clear.  This web post is not anti-anyone. The writer has family who falls into this category. But regarding life style choices, there is a focus here.  For transgender persons we leave open that issues of heredity and biological considerations may prevail. But overall, regarding life style issues, Jesus would have sat down to eat at our table and He did so with all types of persons.  But He, while speaking, would have made a distinction at every opportunity (about sin, gospel, and salvation).

To better understand where we fall on the issue of Christianity (and even for those who embrace the Jewish faith … and thus all within the Judeo-Christian, Jew and Gentile sphere of God fearing persons), we refer you to the book unChristian.

unChristian

unChristian

Not only are relevant statistics cited, an underlying difference between loving all persons and understanding where to stand in the presence of God is a key part of the book’s chapter on the topic of sexuality. The authors draw a line where you must embrace a specific reality to be a believer … and the Bible sets the standard—that is, God draws the line for all humanity, it is not something this post has established.  We all need to heed the difference.

Messiah’s Table and Celebrating Commitment in Light of Salvation

We have stated all of the above to set the stage to make a very specific point about the LBGT persons who join in worship of Messiah, Yeshua, Jesus, the Son of Man and Son of God … and God Himself, in unity with the Spirit (Adonai Echad).

Recently, while visiting and attending a worship service at a Christ Congregational Church we encountered the following statement spoken by the pastor as he invited the congregation to the communion table:

“When we approach our communion table and say, “No matter what … no matter who you are, no matter where you came from, no matter what you’ve done or where you’re going, no matter what, you are welcome here,” when we do that, we are rising with Christ.”

These words were spoken on Easter Sunday, most appropriately called Resurrection Sunday, when Messiah conquered both sin and death. Coming to the table is to agree with His act of giving His blood as the Lamb of God that we may have grace and life eternal. That agreement is implied by sharing in the bread and wine at the ‘Table of the Lord.’ You have to be a believing and a confessing person who has repented, to really be one who is sharing the unleavened bread (of sinlessness) and the cup (of wine representing the blood of sacrifice).

 But reread the pastor’s words. These imply you may come sinning and once you leave the table you may continue on (sinning). The rationalization here avoids Scripture or more importantly evidence Messiah provided in His words, spoken before a sinner, while He was present with us on earth.

The gay pastor clearly is mis-teaching his congregation. He rationalized that anyone can share in communion, no matter how they come or to where they will go. The Bible however tells us if someone were to approach the table, then they cannot depart the same way … or lose eternal life.

Do you think that gay persons are off the hook?

Our MAIN  POINT here Follows …

Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery

The object lesson here is simple and clearly makes the point.  In John 8:4-5 we read: “and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?”

In verse 7: “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

And as the story goes, everyone present with a stone, dropped their stones, turned, and left that place.

10-11 “Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Take heed, a real believer in Messiah should not and will not condemn a person in sin … for all who live in the flesh have sinned. Anyone engaged in discrimination of anyone, be they LBGT, of any race, religion, or otherwise, cannot be a believer in Messiah. But if Messiah points a way toward leaving sin behind, then any believer should and must point in that same direction. 

The American Standard Version puts it this way: “Go. From now on sin no more.”

This is a simple but powerful illustration of what needs to be acknowledged as the real difference. No congregation can tolerate false teaching. No pastor should turn a blind eye to sin, including his or her own! Worse still, turning a blind eye to Scripture is to lead a congregation to following false docterine. Doing so jeopardizes the salvation of other people … what an awful act in the name of the Lord.

The real point is we may find ourselves in error. So stop. Acknowledge what is going wrong and leave that sin behind to the past. And move forward as an example of a changed person, be born again, be renewed, be assured that Messiah has forgiven and not condemned you.

To the congregations like the one visited and reported here, we say that false doctrine leads to death … beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing … beware of false teachers …

——————– From Scripture and TimeLine —————————-

The Bible on Homosexuality

Leviticus 20:13 ‘If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (NewKJV)

Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (KJV)

What The Bible Says of False Teachers:

Romans Chapter 16

17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (NIV)

Jude 1:4 – For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)

From the Timeline Page at WindowView, the following concerns the ‘church age’ we are now in:

Many of the leading critics possessed, at best, a lukewarm relationship with Messiah, and this was reflected in their hazy views of Scripture. The more open skeptics began to deny outright the supernatural aspects of the Biblical faith—all in the name of scholarship—and before long they has ”demythologized” Jesus into a mere man.

This … infection spread like wildfire through the seminaries in Europe and the US, and by the 1920s it was echoing from the pulpits of American churches. The Western world was caught up in scientific and philosophical rationalism and the church got sucked into the vortex because so many of its leaders had never experienced a deep faith in Jesus.

The sad truth is that thousands of churches around the world today call themselves Christian but Messiah is nowhere to be found in them. Tragically, most of the unbelieving world look at them—and want no part of their sham. And I don’t either!
Although this Laodicean lukewarmness is the predominant characteristic of he church age today, there are signs that the Philadelphian evangelistic fervor is reviving in these closing days of human history. That’s consistent with God’s pattern of always showering down grace before hurling blasts of judgment.
The unbelievers of this era will find themselves enmeshed in the judgments of God during the Great Tribulation which is soon coming upon the earth. But everyone within this church age who is a true believer in Jesus will be taken out of the world before the judgment, and will be rewarded for his faith by spending eternity with Jesus.” (Quotation from Lindsey)

WindowView.org

War Machines and the Middle East – April 20, 2015

From Watch.org

  • To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood.

    As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more.

  •  AFTER THE Soviet Union collapsed, Richard Nixon observed that the United States had won the Cold War, but had not yet won the peace. Since then, three American presidents—representing both political parties—have not yet accomplished that task. On the contrary, peace seems increasingly out of reach as threats to U.S. security and prosperity multiply both at the systemic level, where dissatisfied major powers are increasingly challenging the international order, and at the state and substate level, where dissatisfied ethnic, tribal, religious and other groups are destabilizing key countries and even entire regions.
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel views with utmost gravity the supply of S-300 missiles from Russia to Iran • Russian President Vladimir Putin warns Israel not to sell weapons to Ukraine, saying this would increase strife in eastern Ukraine.

    “Israel views with utmost gravity the supply of S-300 missiles from Russia to Iran, especially at a time when Iran is stepping up its aggression in the region and around the borders of the State of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

    “Israel also views with utmost gravity the fact that there is no reference to this aggression in the agreement being made between the major powers and Iran. There is no stipulation that this aggression be halted, whether at the start of the agreement or as a condition for the lifting of sanctions.

News: A World Inching Its Way Toward War

From Watch.org

 April 19, 2015
  • Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the country’s armed forces Sunday to increase their “defensive preparedness,” hitting out at a US warning of possible military action.

    He told commanders and troops in a speech that Iran “will never accept such stupid remarks,” a jab at General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, though he did not name him.

    Dempsey said Thursday that should ongoing diplomacy with Iran fail, “the military option… to ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon is intact.”

    “All bodies from the ministry of defense to the army and the Sepah (Revolutionary Guards) should increase their military and defensive preparedness. This should be regarded as an official directive,” Khamenei said.

  • Israel slams Russia’s sale of advanced missile defense system S-300 to Iran; Russian president warns Israel not to arm Ukraine in retribution: ‘It will be counterproductive.’

    Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Israel against selling arms to the Ukraine in response to Russia’s decision to green-light the sale of an advanced missile defense system to Iran. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the deal, saying it would only bolster Iran’s regional aggressions.

    “It’s the Israeli leadership’s choice. It’s their right to do what they think is appropriate. If (the arms they choose to sell) are lethal weapons, I think it will be counterproductive. It will only lead to another round of conflicts, to a rise in the number of victims, and the outcome will be the same,” Putin reportedly told state-run media Saturday.

  • Israeli analysts expressed shock and amazement Friday night at US President Barack Obama’s stated openness to Iran’s demand for the immediate lifting of all economic sanctions, and his defense of Russia’s agreement to supply a sophisticated air defense system to Iran.

    “Jaws dropped” around the studio, said the Channel 10 News diplomatic commentator Ben Caspit, as news broke of Obama’s declared empathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to supply Tehran with the S-300 missile defense system.

    “Obama is something else,” Caspit added. “He’s decided to take America out of the wars…”

    The station’s news anchor, Alon Ben David, chipped in, “He’s amazed that the Russians honored an agreement with him [for this long]? That’s what is astonishing.”

    Responded Caspit, “This is the new America. We had better get used to it.”

  • US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has warned that the European and global economies could face uncertainty if European Union negotiations on more financing for Greece fail.

    In a meeting with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Netherlands finance minister and president of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, Mr Lew “emphasized that time is of the essence for Greece to agree to a comprehensive set of reforms”, the US Treasury said in a statement.

    Mr Lew encouraged Mr Dijsselbloem to “continue engagement toward a constructive outcome”, and “underscored that not reaching agreement would create immediate hardship for Greece, and uncertainties for Europe and the global economy more broadly”, it added.

  • The commander of the US army in Europe has warned that Nato must remain united in the face of a “real threat” from Russia.

    “It’s not an assumption. There is a Russian threat,” Lt-Gen Frederick “Ben” Hodges said.

    “You’ve got the Russian ambassador threatening that Denmark will be a nuclear target if it participates in any missile defence programme. And when you look at the unsafe way Russian aircraft are flying without transponders in proximity to civilian aircraft, that’s not professional conduct.”

    Gen Hodges spoke to the Telegraph on the sidelines of a military debriefing after an exercise to move live Patriot missiles 750 miles across Europe by road and deploy them on the outskirts of Warsaw.

  • The foreign ministers of 16 of the European Union’s 28 member states recently sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini asking her to promote the labeling of settlement-made products in store chains throughout Europe.

    Liberman called the plan “hypocritical, sanctimonious and cynical,” noting that the murder and expulsion of Palestinians by Islamic State in Syria was “going by quietly” in Europe.

  • European stocks slid, posting the biggest retreat since they began rallying in January, as concern over Greek debt was exacerbated by declines in the U.S. and Asia.

    The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 1.8 percent to 403.69 at the close of trading, completing the worst week of the year. The Greek ASE Index slid 3 percent, with the National Bank of Greece SA and Alpha Bank AE tumbling more than 7 percent, as the country struggles to win more aid to avoid a default. Germany’s DAX Index plunged 5.5 percent this week, the most since 2011.

    European stocks fell for a second day after reaching a fresh peak Wednesday, taking weekly losses to 2.2 percent. The Stoxx 600’s still up 18 percent this year amid European Central Bank stimulus, and trades near the highest level relative to projected profits of its members in at least a decade.

Remembrance of Holocaust: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Information released by the “Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel”:

1. 46% of Israelis believe that a second Holocaust can happen. This is 5% higher than last year.

2. 47% of Israel’s 189,000 Holocaust survivors agree.

3. 46% of survivors believe that future generations will not remember the Holocaust after they are gone. This is 9% higher than last year. 31% of the general public feels that this is the case.

4. About 40 of the 189,000 survivors still alive in Israel die each day. Nearly 25% live in poverty. 27% said that they live without heat in their apartments during the winter and 65% said that they needed help to pay for their groceries and medications.

5. Almost half – 45% – report feeling lonely most of the time. Over one-third, or 36%, live alone and half are widowed.

Thursday, April 16, is a day to remember the Holocaust and also be a day to remember the plight of those who survived the Holocaust and are still alive today.  While many millions beyond the Jewish people died in the world war … one third of the Hebrew people died at the hand of a wretched and twisted mind.  That mind was not just one man, but a mindset that infected humanity.  That was yesterday.

Today we see the seeds of that same mindset infecting peoples around the globe, it is happening again! You should ask why and think about how hatred infests the masses and that you have a choice not to do so. Ask why Israel?  What if that nation were just left alone to its own life and customs?

Those who read the Bible anticipate what comes tomorrow.  The seeds of hate bring persecution.  This is what we see blossoming in the tomorrow.  We also know that a Remnant will emerge with foresight of what the LORD intends … The Remnant embrace the Way … the way forward.

67a698b8-ce30-4447-90b1-cc502ec337cb Visit the current posting for the March of Remembrance.

This week there will be marches in cities around the world in remembrance of the Holocaust past. Perhaps you will be so gripped by the reality of yesterday to join in the march.  In so doing, you may also acknowledge that the persecutions of today and tomorrow will not succeed. The Light has come. The Light of Messiah will cause every knee to bend … even those who think that persecution earns hem paradise … when in fact it does no such thing.

Remember to be sober. Remember to think clearly. Remember to see the Way forward.

Director, WindowView.org

Billy Graham … A few words for you

Dr. Graham has spoken for 60 years. Did you ever hear him.

You probably think you can get along missing this … but Really?

You sure?

Sadly, the Middle East is coming apart at the seams. Franklin Graham has publicly asked why the Muslim and Arab nations have not done more to repress the religious extremism, the bombing, the unrest, the beheadings, the loss of life.  Yet clearly the days of end time appear to approach quicker than ever before. No better time to listen closely to Billy Graham say once more what has always been his message, for truth, for life, and forever.

For the real meaning of Peach (Passover) and Easter,

Director, WindowView.org

A Bible Verse Out of Context is a Pre-text and Misrepresentation

SORTING OUT CONFUSION

We were sent an article by a friend via email.  The topic was the events in the Middle East and End Times.

With so many changes over the entire globe in what seems like a blink of an eye, should we be concerned for what might well be biblical truth unfolding before our very eyes?

AN ARTICLE ON THE INTERNET

We refer you to the original article HERE.  (title: MAHDI TO RETURN BY 2016, FOLLOWED BY JESUS?)

The article includes a street view in Iran with an image of Jesus walking behind the Islamic Mahdi. This may be unsettling to Christians and perhaps even to many Jewish citizens inside and outside of Israel. What is the Mahdi and what impact does this figure have on the news coming tomorrow? The article says the Mahdi comes soon. How can we put this in context with the present events of today?

A VIDEO ON END TIMES

To bring the entire topic into context, the article refers to a video you can obtain on DVD. But in the age of the Internet the video is also on YouTube in sections (1 to 7). The first section is linked here, but you can visit YouTube to access all seven sections if you are interested.

The article noted above also contains a link to a web site promoting Islam. In taking a look there we see a comprehensive presentation on Islam. Interesting as a source, but what might a discerning mind discover there?

DIGGING DEEPER ON HOW SCRIPTURE IS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT

Many in congregations across the globe, those that make an effort to study the Bible, know that word play and taking Scripture verses out of context leads to misrepresntation. What is worse, few actually go back to the original Greek or Hebrew words to glean the original meaning that sometimes is muddled by translation to another language, including English.

When we went to a section of the web site on Islam that claimed that the Bible has references that reveal the true nature to Christianity, and thus the implication is a faith something less than the beliefs and tenants of Islam, we were curious to see if anything is out of context.

A real study of Scripture comes by reading what comes before and after a verse. That puts meaning in context. Taking a verse alone first risks being a pre-text that leads to prejudice, but worse, if word order is reversed or convoluted, the entire meaning can be shifted.

Let’s look at just one example the Islamic web page cites to apparently represent the true nature to Christianity (the bold and text format are copied from the original page):

6. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

Notice how the wording suggests you need to (actively “does”) hate your family in order to be a Christian! But move the word not to after the word hate (and remove the ‘does’ from ‘does not’) and the whole meaning shifts.  Looking at the original Greek the wording comes like so:

“…And to him crowds many; and turning He said them, If anyone comes to Me and not hates the father of him and the mother, an wife, and the children, and the brothers, and the sisters, besides and even the of himself soul, not he is able of Me disciple to be …”

The word ‘does’ is not in the Greek.

Many English translations state: “If anyone comes to me and hates not his father …”

What is the real intent of the Scripture verse?

The problem is the Islamic web page wants you to believe Christianity is a religion of hate—even to the point of hating your own family in order to follow Jesus.  But the entire context of the Gospel speaks to loving your neighbor, your enemy, even Muslims (!) and understanding that our lives are a time of sojourning on earth to something eternal. And Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, is the way, the truth, and essentially the only door to a relationship with the Father in heaven (John 14:6). Jesus also claims and demonstrates He is God (proof in that only He fulfills the Hebrew Bible’s prophecies, by performing miracles, by teaching in ways that are universally understood through parables, and yes, He came in a man-suit to walk amongst us, to be the ultimate mediator for sin and a way to salvation), which places Him above the status of being a prophet only (which is indeed one of his array of characteristics, but not sole role).

Let’s put the single verse back into context.  The requires reading the broader text all around the one verse. We will defer to someone who has long commented on the biblical text to a wide radio audience … J. Vernon McGee comments on Luke 14:25-27 by saying: “These verses are simply saying that we should put God first. A believer’s devotedness to Jesus Christ should be such that, by comparison, it looks as if everything else is hated. All terms which define affections are comparative.”  (see: “Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee,” 1983)

This point is further affirmed by a following verse 33: “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” And so it is not hate, but to dislike all by comparison to placing all behind us as we join in relationship with Messiah.

As John Lennox puts it: “They must be ready to “hate” -— that is, give second place to and, if need be, let go — all else …” (‘Against the Flow,’ page 150)

Examined in yet another way, as Lennox puts it: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to make up their own minds as to whether they were going to put God first.” (‘Against the Flow,’ page 147) And after putting God above all, even their own lives, they were thrown into a furnace. But unlike burning for martyrdom’s sake, faith brings life not death or a false promise of paradise. The God of Israel and Messiah are all about life, not hate, not death, or persecution … because life is an opportunity to choose Him. Anyone who removes that opportunity from you is not of God.

The real rub with missing the context and meaning of the biblical text is a misrepresentation. If you follow the links on this page you may well go on to study other Bible verses that at first appear to make one point, but upon further study tells us something more consistent with the message in the entire Bible. hatred of family is hardly the message of the text. In fact, the entire Hebrew and Greek body of Scripture are designed to point to Yeshua and His role as the Jewish Messiah. To disagree is to take something out of the context of the entire Bible! The entire text points to the God of Israel and what He will do through the nation Israel. Is that any surprise? Might that take us back to the article, video, and topic of the end time referenced above.

Please think. Discern before jumping to conclusions.

Director, WindowView.org