MISCELLANEOUS DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES
Concerning the trinity
God is eternally existent in three Persons, God Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, who, while being one and united, are not to be melted together (as if the three persons were just names for the same god) neither are they to be seen as completely separate, as if they were really three gods. Also, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are not just emanations from the Father, but are two individual Persons of the Trinitarian Godhead.
It is interesting to note that all cults have without exception rejected the Old Church’s creed of the trinity.
Failure to understand Jesus Christ in Trinitarian unison with God the Father and/or God the Holy Spirit leads either to a denying of Christ’s divinity with Jesus being conceived of as merely a political hero; or to a sweet little Jesus who is not the Jesus that is the perfect image of that Father God who is a consuming fire.
Failure to understand the Holy Spirit in Trinitarian unison with Jesus Christ and/or God the Father leads to a gnostic/subjectivistic understanding of a “holy spirit” that is an impersonal force, having ideas independent of the other two Trinitarian Persons and which does not lead the adherent of such a faith to fellowship with Christ and God the Father. Rather the adherent of such a faith will become a believer in his own personal “holy spirit” and separated from the fellowship of all true believers.
Failure to understand God the Father in Trinitarian unison with Jesus Christ and/or the Holy Spirit, which led the apostles, and/or failure to understand the distinctiveness of the three Persons of the Trinitarian Godhead, leads to an abstract god similar to the Muslim Allah concept, of whose whimsies one may never be quite sure. This leads to a god who is not interested in building the Church upon the cornerstone, Jesus Christ, and through His Spirit.
Failure to understand the unison of these three Persons of the Trinitarian Godhead leads to polytheism.
Concerning tithing and giving in general (Digest from “Apostasy-now”-site, see connections page)
While 10 % can be taken as a rough orientation of how much one may give, because of the biblical precedent figure referred to as “tithing”, tithing had not been practiced as literally in the Old Testament as many contemporary preachers would like to make others believe. From Dt. 14, 22 it becomes evident that the Israelite did not give 10 % of everything he got, but only of that which he had as a harvest increase at the end of the year. Also, he was allowed to eat from that increase-tithe himself before the Lord and was even allowed to sell some of it in order to buy wine! (Dt. 14, 23-26). The tithe was not entirely for the temple, but was to be used for the Levites and the poor (Dt. 14, 27-29; see also Nb. 18, 26+28). Tithing was neither commanded nor observed in the early church. The only one who commanded tithing of everything one got, not just the yearly increase, was king Saul (1. Sam. 8, 15+17-18). Literal tithing may serve as an excuse to not let God decide about everything one has. One gives God His “cut” and uses the rest in an irresponsible, egotistical manner.
Instead a Christian has to be prepared to sell everything he has and give to the poor (Lk. 18, 22; see also Lk. 12, 33 and 14, 33). Also tithing is often practiced in a superstitious way that debases God, turning Him into a Deus ex machina, a slot-machine-god and turning the Church into a stock market of financial speculating. But Paul says in Rom. 11, 35: “Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” Whoever wants to settle the money-issue by observing Mal. 3, 10 only, is a debtor to keep the remaining 611 Old Testament laws as well, thus falling from grace (Gal. 3, 19 + 5, 3).
Christians are to give in such a way that their left hands do not know what their right hands do, i.e. without keeping a track record of e.g. a literal 10 % “fee”. Otherwise one could just as well re-introduce the medieval practice of renting pews, which might be even more honest.
Christians are to give out of a cheerful heart (2. Cor. 9, 7) and without speculating about the blessings that may or may not come in return. God meets all our needs and He is the one who possesses the silver and the gold (Hagg. 2,8). Mature Christians do not fear to suffer inconveniences as a consequence of a bigger sacrifice. They have learned to live a simple lifestyle without bragging about this and sounding the trumpet in front of them (Mt. 6, 16-18) and are thankful for small and big blessings alike. They are simply living on a higher plane, not irritated by external circumstances (Phil. 4, 11+12).
It is the responsibility of Christians to not forsake their assemblies (Hebr. 10, 25), which does not entail attending church services only but means to support the church financially and with all one has, talents, time, assets, etc., as well. Also, the oxes who are treading out the grain are not to be muzzled, but have to be paid wages (1. Tim. 5, 18). Wages paid to pastors are not to be measured grudgingly and stingily, but are also an expression of honoring the word of God, which is administered through these men. On the other hand a pastor has to do all he can in order to not lay exceeding burdens onto the church that are really not necessary and will not further the reputation of the church. All expenses, church building maintenance, staff salaries, support for missionaries and para-church services, have to be entertained by the church members including the paid staff members themselves who give their anonymous “tithe” back to the church. Everyone has to be responsible before God as to what he does with his money. In heaven everybody will be rewarded openly and everybody will have to give an account for what he has done, also with his finances.
Integrity is to be defined in accordance with John 8, 31 as the quality whereby one abides in Jesus’ words and continues being His disciple. Integrity in that sense causes one to continually keep ones eyes fixed onto a standard of seeking after truth, while particular insights concerning the truth as to doctrine and church conduct may change from time to time. The truly integer person is willing to alter his or her theological views also in the future, should he or she feel that the standard of seeking after truth couldn’t be met by where he or she is into at a given moment. The truly integer person is trusting God that He will honor that attitude and guide him or her to the right place of ministry after maybe suffering disadvantages for keeping to that truth-seeking integrity. The integer person is always willing to cut down on personal views in order to be able to work with a given team. However, he or she will never be willing to compromise that standard of seeking after the truth and therefore will continue to be led out again of groups or currents where he or she realizes that he or she is about to become led astray.
Truly ministering means working towards the welfare and benefit of those ministered to, not just in theory as a pretense, but also in practice (deed and truth, 1. Jn. 3, 18). There is no true welfare or benefit whenever the truth is shunned as embarrassing, inconvenient, or unpleasant Therefore integrity in ministry means holding to the practice of continually seeking for the truth at any cost.
Worship should be directed to God and not be entertainment or celebration of fellowship. That may be done after the Church service. The texts of the songs should appeal to the head also not just to the heart. They should be in accordance with what is preached. A preacher will find it difficult to preach an orthodox message about the attributes of God, including the awesome and frightful ones, when the congregation is brought up with songs that refer only to the “cuddly” attributes of a god who is not the God of the Bible. Also those romantic songs of 18th century pietism which reflect only the believer’s subjective experiences (“I walk with him and talk with him...”) are to be avoided if possible. Instead songs that lead the worshipper’s attention towards God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and their work of grace, should be used. These are not to be sentimental “love declarations”, but songs that reflect a warm orthodoxy where the worshipper can get a glimpse of the awe and glory of the biblical God.
It is not all the same, which style is used. Styles are not neutral; there are styles, which simply cannot be used for worship. Some melodies simply cannot bear a good worship text. The Salvation Army took songs sung in taverns and put evangelistic texts to these, in order to attract unsaved sinners to open-air meetings. These may be fine to remind one of evangelism and so on. But for true worship heavier calibers have to be used. We are talking about worshipping an awesome God, not a neat little Jesus, so worship should be costly. Excellence in music must be a must and that vision of worship has to be successfully communicated to all those involved in worship without falling into the extreme of making excessive, unrealistic demands. Sometimes a simple song sung by a solo voice without any instrumental accompaniment may lead the whole congregation into an absolutely awesome and unforgettable atmosphere of worshipping in truth and Spirit, while a sophisticated choir sometimes can spoil everything. Liturgical worship is a good, costly worship, but liturgy fetishism is to be avoided as well. Still, a liturgical form has the advantage of giving the worshipper a sense of security. He will not have to fear unpleasant surprises, such as a sudden, overpowering and manipulating multi-sensory stroke or another gimmick of that kind. Liturgy gives consistency and security, but it may also quickly revert into an odious display of religious bigotry, when the spiritual standard in the church goes down. Liturgy is costly also in the sense that it places the liturgist under the responsibility to uphold a personal strong spirituality without falseness and hypocrisy, which quickly would be sensed by the congregation.
The “flesh” is not a part of man, but man as a good creation of God seen and “used” independent from God. “Flesh” means that man takes what should be given to God and places it under his own rule. Sexuality gives man the most thrilling opportunity to dedicate himself to the visible, tangible world, finding momentary fulfillment in his natural existence. Gratitude towards the creator for creation on one side and demonic greed to possess and be possessed on the other side are here not very far from each other.
Sexuality is good within the boundary set by God, namely marriage, and those who regard it as impure per se should question themselves whether they are in fact impure (Titus 1, 15). While the term “sin” in evangelism has to be freed from its popular main connotation with “sex”, it has to be borne in mind that sexuality has the biggest power to draw a believer towards a lifestyle in war with the Spirit (Gal.5, 17), sowing to the flesh (Gal. 6, 8).
The relationship between spouses is compared to that of Christ and His Church. Marital infidelity is therefore comparable to unbelief in and rebellion towards the Christ-Church covenant. While the latter involves rebellion towards God “only”, the former hurts the life of the person betrayed, too. Christ does not reject His Church in spite of its manifold failings. A husband should not fail his wife, allowing as much as his mind to play with infidelity; even if she is unresponding, indifferent and unrepentant; lest his prayers be hindered. The wife should honor her husband as the Church honors Christ, even if he may not reflect very much of Christ according to her opinion.
Marital infidelity is against God’s very nature of a loving and caring sheep-owner (2. Sam. 12, 1-10).
Homosexuality is not a deviation one is born with, but one which is acquired during one’s life (Rom. 1, 27). In today’s occident, which is becoming more and more heathen again, homosexuality increases as the knowledge of God decreases (Rom. 1, 28). Homosexuals are not more sinful than those indulging in heterosexual promiscuity. This has to be borne in mind in order to avoid a hypocritical moralist approach to homosexuality. Just as everybody else who is not saved through faith in Christ, the homosexual is a sinner for whom Christ died, against whom the wrath of God has been revealed and who will be lost eternally. Once a homosexual becomes a Christian, he or she is to repent of all sins, including the practice of homosexuality, and does not have any excuse for not living a sanctified life according to biblical standards. In other words, it is not possible to continue being a homosexual and at the same time claim to be a born-again Christian.
Pornography is for many a “root of bitterness... causing trouble” (Hebr. 12, 15). Pornographic images are engraved in one’s mind once an effort has been made to look at them and are easily recalled once that person becomes “bitter” in his walk with God. The person using pornography is not a neutral spectator, but a fornicator, because he approves of those being photographed, becoming worthy of death thereby himself (Rom. 1, 32 c). Because man in his sinfulness requires ever more perverse things, pornography is also at the root of child molesting and such more “spectacular” sins.
Paul admonishes to “flee from youthful lusts”. This admonition has to be given, especially to young singles in a church. BUT: Many youth pastors then commit the fault to go on talking endlessly about sexuality, ignoring the law-sin mechanism described in Romans 7 (the more one becomes confronted with God’s ways, the more the flesh is provoked to counteract, the more one places his finger on the wound spot, the more it is wounded). Paul does not do so, he instead is quick to continue the verse by enumerating all the good ALTERNATIVES that will prevent one from thinking too much of sex anyway: “Flee from youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.“ (2. Tim. 2, 22). The more young singles are put to work in down-to-earth heavenly things, the less they will be tempted by those torturing “youthful lusts”. Idleness and constant neurotic contemplation of how much one has to keep from impurity will only lead to more narcism (sensual occupation with one’s self) and sinfulness in thoughts and therefore to even more torture.
Those practicing, advising or consenting to abortion are breaking the 5th commandment “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20, 13). Medical analysis often fails, and many geniuses of centuries past would have become aborted, had their mothers gone to a present day doctor. Life is holy, including that of handicapped persons. There are no lives unworthy to be lived, no matter how painful, short-lived, limited they may be. Those setting themselves up in the position of judges to judge which life is worthy and which not, are trying to replace God. The antichristian society wants to replace God by the state. The philosophy standing behind abortion is in fact fascism. Fascism, too, granted itself the right to define which lives are worthy and which are not. The step from seemingly self-chosen abortion towards obligatory abortion in cases defined by the state is very small. The Baal-worship of antiquity is also similar to this kind of international heathen fascism. Contemporary abortion is the first step to the soon-coming revival of the heathen practice of sacrificing humans, which will form an intrinsic element of the near-future world religion imposed onto all mankind.
According to the Bible, it is not the mother who has the right to decide about her womb, but God has formed a human life in her womb which is as such completely independent from her. The mother does not have any right to interfere with what God has planned. Human life is not an outgrowth of family planning biased or not towards the demands of an antichristian society, but a direct creation of God, completely independent upon man’s willing and running. This is also seen in the many cases in the Bible where children were born to infertile parents.
The (un) ethics lying as a foundation for abortion unfailingly leads to other like unethical practices, such as euthanasia, “discarding” of low weight infants, possible future cloning of humans and (if things are not demonic enough yet for the Antichrist to enter the stage and all true Christians to become raptured) possible future organic interdependence with injected microcomputers controlled by external computers, which will lead to a swallowing up of the human life with the machine; the ultimate tower of Babel.
Concerning consumption of alcohol
While it is true that Jesus himself drank wine and the modern health movement with its theories concerning food is condemned as demon-inspired (1. Tim. 4, 1-4; Hebr. 13, 9; Col. 2, 21), alcoholic beverages can hardly be described as “food”. Alcohol may be consumed for medical use (1. Tim. 5, 23). Alcohol consumption should be very moderate (1. Tim. 3, 8; Eph. 5, 18) and none should be judged for having the freedom for such moderate consumption (Rom. 14, but note here is no mention made about alcohol, only of “food” and “drink”) or for “tasting” (Col. 2, 21). Those having the freedom for moderate alcohol consumption should restrain from alcohol for the sake of “weaker” brethren (Rom. 15, 1). The Lord’s Supper may today be held with grape juice (which could not be conserved in Jesus’ days), in order to accommodate ex-alcoholics who might have a problem sipping natural wine. Heavy taxation of alcoholic beverages (such as in countries like Norway) is desirable in order to protect the weak members of society from violence and social distress inflicted by potential drunkards. Total prohibition, however, has led to opposite results.
The original command of dominion over creation given to Adam cannot be fulfilled by fallen Adam, also not by the restored Adam, according to a naive reconstructionist view of Christians doing everything better. Man has now forever lost his capacity of exercising wise dominion over creation. Therefore his interference with creation often leads to catastrophic results.
What is more, even if man now had Adam’s original dominion-capacity; God never told Adam to interfere with creation in such a way as to alter the very origin of it. God saw that everything was good, but the modern Pharisee knows everything better than God and therefore also wants to make creation better. Instead of seeking wisdom from above for the just administration of resources already at hand, he changes the genetic code of plants and animals.
The world hunger problem could be resolved by other means. If for example the heavy import taxation of the rich countries would be decreased, farmers in poor countries could have a chance to sell their crop on the rich countries’ markets and thereby work themselves out of poverty. This present day protectionism is completely against God’s will. Genetic engineering is the snake that the rich countries want to give to the poor countries instead of a bread. Genetic engineering will produce results that cannot be ascertained fully at this point.
Genetic manipulation of human DNA will lead to a new form of racism.