Saturday, August 27, 2005
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Martin Luther before the Diet of Worms
Then Luther said these words: "Since your Majesty and your Lordships ask for a plain answer, I will give you one without either horns or teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture or by right reason (for I trust neither in popes nor in councils), since they have often erred and contradicted themselves) - unless I am thus convinced, I am bound by the texts of the Bible, my conscience is captive to the Word of God, I neither can nor will recant anything, since it is neither right nor safe to act against conscience. God help me. Amen."
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Interesting Wikipedia Links
- Apostolic-Prophetic Movement
- Benny Hinn
- Bill Gothard
- British Israelism
- Chinese Rites controversy
- Christian Identity
- Christian televangelist scandals
- Christian Reconstructionism
- Christian theological controversy
- Claims by Chick Publications
- Criticisms of Charismatic and Pentecostal belief
- Dominion Theology
- Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus
- Five-Fold Ministry
- Golden Sword Prophecy
- Great Apostasy
- Hallelujah diet
- Heavenly Mother
- Hell house
- Hillsong Church
- History of Christianity and homosexuality
- Homosexuality and Christianity
- Index Librorum Prohibitorum
- Jerusalem syndrome
- Jesus Seminar
- Jesus-Only doctrine
- Kenneth E. Hagin
- King-James-Only Movement
- Kingdom Now theology
- Latter Rain Movement
- Liberation theology
- Lost Ten Tribes
- Mortification of the flesh
- New Apostolic Reformation
- New Perspective on Paul
- Oneness Pentecostal
- Open Theism
- Oral Roberts
- Process theology
- Queer Theology
- Quinquarticular Controversy
- Rhema Bible Church
- Rod Parsley
- Running the aisles
- Signs and Wonders
- Slain in the Spirit
- St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre
- Territorial Spirit
- Third Wave of the Holy Spirit
- Timeline of unfulfilled Christian Prophecy
- Toronto blessing
- Trinity Broadcasting Network
- Welcoming Congregation
- When God Was a Woman
The Martyrdom of Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley
As the flames curled around their bodies, Latimer spoke these well-known words to his fellow martyr: "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."
Friday, August 19, 2005
Marketing and the Great Commission
A year ago, the Rev. Scott Schlotfelt was weighing job offers from three churches smitten by what he had to offer.I have noticed this article "Churches seeking marketing-savvy breed of pastor" that is published in the Christian Science Monitor today. Frankly speaking, this sort of news does not surprise me anymore. Given the popularity of megachurches and the humanistic seeker-sensitive philosophy that is prevalent in many churches, it is no wonder that many churches does not trust in the sovereign will of God, but depend on men's efforts to convert the lost.
But they weren't talking about his preaching or counseling skills. What they were seeking, like a number of churches across the United States, was some savvy marketing. And like a growing number of pastors, consultants, and volunteers, Mr. Schlotfelt was eager to do some branding for the Lord.- Christian Science Monitor
Others, however, see marketing as a necessary part of Christ Jesus' great commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19, New Revised Standard Version).Marketing can be defined as "the process or act of bringing together buyers and sellers." People who studied marketing would know the term marketing mix, which consists of the four Ps: product, pricing, promotion, and placement. The marketing mix must reflect the wants and desires of the consumers in the target market.
"Marketing and the church, they go hand in hand [because] we're called to bring our message to a community," says Kristal Dove, operations manager at Church Marketing Solutions. But she says not all church leaders should be involved.- Christian Science Monitor
Is this what the Great Commission is all about? To cater to the wants and desires of the lost? The Bible explicitly tells us that "no one who seeks God." (Romans 3:11) Did the Apostle Paul market the one version of the gospel to the Thessalonians and another version of the gospel to the Bereans?
Nearly every pastor is a salesman or a marketer of one kind or another because ... we have a philosophy to sell," he says. "The best marketers and best salesmen will have more converts, will have more people, will take in more money.... Evangelicals are marketers because they're really passionate about their product."I would not be surprised if churches who embraced this marketing approach experience large growth in numbers. It is already evident from the megachurches that we find all around us. But does this mean that it is God's will for His Church to grow in this manner? How do we know what is God's will then? It is from reading His Word and "correctly handles the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) For it is written: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)- Christian Science Monitor
The root problem of this marketing approach is that it falsely places the responsibility for conversion into the hands of men instead of the power of the Holy Spirit. It reduces the God-driven evangelism of the gospel into a man-driven cheap sales gimmick. Do people believe because of good marketing techniques or because of the work of the Holy Spirit in regenerating hardened hearts? Thus, marketing takes the glory of salvation away from God.
Let me end this article with the following words of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians: "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power." (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)
Click here to download the article in Adobe Acrobat format (42 KB).
C. H. Spurgeon on Calvinism
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Album: Steven Curtis Chapman's The Live Adventure
I love this album and never grow weary of listening to it. When I started serving in the youth music ministry as a pianist somewhere in 1993 (after my "O" levels), this album inspired me to lot. It continued to minister to me throughout my teenage years and even during National Service.
One time, during a particular youth service held a long time ago, we turned off all the lights in the service hall and screened the video recording of this live concert. Just thinking about it makes me feel nostalgic and long after the "good old days."
Every single song in the album is fantastic. However, if I were to pick a favorite track, it would be track #7, where Steven Curtis Chapman played an acoustic medley of some "quiet" songs (My Redeemer Is Faithful and True, His Eyes, Waiting For Lightning, When You Are A Soldier, Heart's Cry, His Strength Is Perfect).
Even though this is not strictly a praise and worship album but a live concert performance, Chapman managed to deliver across a worshipful experience for his audience. You kind of feel like you are right inside the concert, worshipping together with the rest of the people. Thus, I will always be touched by Chapman's intense worship whenever I listened to this album.
- Great Adventure
- That's Paradise
- Go There With You
- Busy Man
- Great Adventure "Stuff"
- Acoustic Medley
- More to This Life
- For the Sake of the Call
- I Will Be Here
- My Turn Now
- No Better Place
- My Turn Now
- No Better Place
Ten Effects of Believing in the Five Points of Calvinism
- These truths make me stand in awe of God and lead me into the depth of true God-centered worship.
- These truths help protect me from trifling with divine things.
- These truths make me marvel at my own salvation.
- These truths make me alert to man-centered substitutes that pose as good news.
- These truths make me groan over the indescribable disease of our secular, God-belittling culture.
- These truths make me confident that the work which God planned and began, he will finish – both globally and personally.
- These truths make me see everything in the light of God's sovereign purposes – that from him and through him and to him are all things, to him be glory forever and ever.
- These truths make me hopeful that God has the will, the right, and the power to answer prayer that people be changed.
- These truths reminds me that evangelism is absolutely essential for people to come to Christ and be saved, and that there is great hope for success in leading people to faith, but that conversion is not finally dependent on me or limited by the hardness of the unbeliever.
- These truths make me sure that God will triumph in the end.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
My Collection of Books by Lion Publishing
I thought I should start introducing some of my Christian books in my personal library. There are a few reference books by Lion Publishing sitting on my bookshelf. When I became much more interested in reading about Christianity as a subject, I started to buy these books one by one.
The books by Lion Publishing are not dry at all. They are quite easy to understand and contains plenty of illustrations that makes my reading quite enjoyable. One thing to note though, some of these books are a little expensive.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The Seed of Abraham
One, we must differentiate between the natural/physical children and spiritual children. It is the spiritual children of God who are to be saved. As the Apostle Paul put it quite clearly in Romans 9:6-8,
"For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, 'It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.' In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring."Therefore, when viewed in a Biblical sense, God does save all of His children, that is His spiritual children.
Two, we do not know why some of us are elected to be God's spiritual children while others are not. The Bible does not tell us the reasons, and we should not speculate any further as we might create the wrong doctrines.
If the Apostle Paul ended his epistle at Romans 9:6-8, we might think that the children of the promise are only found within physical Israel. However, he did not do so. The Apostle Paul later elaborated in Romans 11 on exactly who are the children of the promise.
In verse 13, the Apostle Paul identified who he was writing to, "I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles..." In verses 17 and 18, the Apostle Paul used a grafting branches analogy:
"If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you."The "broken branches" that the Apostle Paul wrote about refers to the unelected physical children of Israel. The "wild olive shoot" refers to the elected Gentiles. The "olive root" is a reference to Abraham. And note the word "grafted." It means that the elected Gentiles are adopted into the line of Abraham, making them Abraham's spiritual children.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:6-9,
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. Therefore know that those of faith, these are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations through faith, preached the gospel before to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all nations be blessed." So then those of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.Why are all the nations blessed? Initially, God's covenant of grace only applied to the physical children of Israel. By "grafting" the elected Gentiles into the "olive root" that is Abraham, God has extended His covenant of grace to all nations. God's spiritual children are no longer restricted to physical Israel, but can be found among the Gentiles. Because the elected Gentiles are now considered sons of Abraham, the divine promise "In you shall all nations be blessed" is fulfilled.
Song: No Greater Love
You loved me, when I was so unlovely,Another great song that speaks about the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. The phrases "You loved me, when I was so unlovely" and "You chose me, when I was so unworthy" emphasizes on the doctrine of unconditional election, where we are chosen by God not on the basis of our human efforts, but on the account of His mercy.
You sought me when I was lost;
You showed me how much You really loved me,
When You bought me at the highest cost.
There’s no greater love than this,
There’s no greater love than this,
That a man would give his life for a friend;
There’s no higher sacrifice than a man would give his life,
You have paid a precious price for me.
You chose me, when I was so unworthy,
You cleansed me with Your own blood;
You clothed me with righteousness and mercy,
And You crowned me with Your steadfast love.
"When You bought me at the highest cost" hints at the Covenant of Redemption where God the Son, Jesus Christ, bought us from God the Father by dying on the cross.
The doctrine of total depravity is shown at the phrase "You sought me when I was lost." We were utterly lost in sin and were unable to choose God by our own unregenerate wills. God sought us out and made us alive in Christ.
"You clothed me with righteousness and mercy" is based upon the Protestant doctrine of imputed righteousness. We are reckoned to be righteous because of Christ's righteousness, not because of our own righteousness.
This song can be found in the Integrity Music's album, Firm Foundation, which features John Chisum as the worship leader.
Listen to a 30 sec. MP3 sample of "No Greater Love" by John Chisum. File size: 120 KB.
e-Sword Bible Software
- Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions
- Easton's Bible Dictionary
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- King James Concordance
- Thayer's Greek Definitions
- Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary
- John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
- Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
- Marvin Vincent's Word Studies
- Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible
- Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
- Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
- English Standard Version
- Good News Bible
- Greek New Testament (Majority Text)
- Holman Christian Standard Bible
- King James Version (Red Letter)
- Modern King James Version
- Textus Receptus Greek New Testament (w/ Strong's Numbers)
Monday, August 15, 2005
A Response to Yaevlejunce Concerning the G12 Model
May I clarify that while your point of view puts it to you that FCBC has quoted the Abrahamic Covenant out of context (i.e. that the promise to father the nations is for Abraham alone and no one else), the truth isn’t as such.
So maybe you would like to prove the “truth” by reasoning from the Bible.
You know the Great Commission too – to make disciples of all nations. But what does that mean? Does it not mean we should go convert the world? But is conversion enough?
We are asked to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to convert the world (Matthew 28:19-20). The dictionary definition of “convert” must be used in this sense: “To change (something) into another form, substance, state, or product; transform: convert water into ice.” No unregenerate person can seek after God (Romans 3:11). Only the Holy Spirit can convert those who are spiritually dead to become spiritually alive in Jesus Christ.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:1-5)
Is God’s idea of the Great Commission mere conversion profusely? No, I believe not. As a strong Christian I believe you are, you should know that God’s idea of the Body of Christ (the Church, that is) is one that’s like a community – a family. And FCBC has recognized that. And since every family needs a head – just like the body of Christ has Jesus as its head – the G12 movement is shaped with a “head” leading 12 sons/daughters. It may sound awkward at first, but once you understand the responsibility that this brings about to the ‘head’, you’ll get the picture – this is a responsibility that lasts for a lifetime – there will be responsibility and excellent coverage. That is why the word “Father” (head, like you have shown) have been incorporated into the movement and hence, the Abrahamic Covenant to reinforce the idea and show the Bibilicality of this movement – for what God gave to Abraham, He gives to us too – I mean, would you deny the fact that FCBC “fathering” the nations is pleasing to God?
I have already shown in this article that the Abrahamic Covenant is distorted out of context. Even the Devil used the Scriptures to justify certain actions (Luke 4:1-13). Manipulating the Word of God out of context does not make a movement Biblical. Therefore, it is important that you render a Scriptural passage according to its actual context. For it is written: “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)
There is no indication from the Bible that we are to create many “heads” or create many different layers of authority. In fact, the opposite is true. For it is written: “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3)
The Christians in Corinth made the mistake of following men by creating artificial divisions within the church. 1 Corinthians 1:12-13 states: “"What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?"” As the Apostle Paul shown quite clearly, we are not to follow men, but to follow Christ.
The Apostle Peter also have this to say, “Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:2-3)
The Greek word for “lording it over” is katakurieuo, which means: “1) to bring under one’s power, to subject one’s self, to subdue, master 2) to hold in subjection, to be master of, exercise lordship over.” Certainly the doctrine of fathering/mothering spiritual sons/daughters runs contrary to 1 Peter 5:2-3.
You accused the FCBC G12 movement as “false teaching”. Do you know what this is tantamount to? Blasphemy! I mean, think about this for a moment – is the G12 movement in any way “moving left or right” from the Bible? Is not the G12 movement FULFILING the Great Commission (Albeit in ways that many conservatives may find a little too aggressive? But hello? It’s the Devil whom we’re against!)? “False teaching”? I beg your pardon.
As I have shown from the above and my previous article, “A Theological Response to FCBC and its G12 Model,” the teachings of the G12 model run contrary to the teachings of the Bible. And blasphemy is an act committed against God, not against men. The Bible does contain many warnings against false teachers and prophets. We are to discern false teachings from the truth. Please refer to this article, “Biblical Warnings against False Teachings.”
You are so contradicting. You said we are told to “preach” but NOT “convert”. What, then, do you preach for? NOT to convert? If we are, like you said, to “leave the supernatural work of "winning souls" to the Holy Spirit”, then WHY did Jesus send the disciples to go cnonvert? Then why did Paul travel everywhere around the then known world risking his life in order to convert? Are they all “leaving” the job to the Holy Spirit? Now, do not get me wrong – the Holy Spirirt is indispensible when it comes to conversion, but hey, it’s a 100% man’s effort and 100% God’s. We are, by no means, told to sit back and merely “preach” and leave everything else to the Holy Spirirt. We are told to PLUNDER HELL TO POPULATE HEAVEN! Plunder, if you know, is vigorous and violent.
There is a fundamental difference between the words preaching and converting. We are God’s instruments in the Holy Spirit’s work of salvation. As instruments of the Holy Spirit, we are called to preach the gospel to the lost. We are called to be active in the mission field (Romans 10:14-15). However, the ability for the lost to believe in the gospel solely rests in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The act of conversion is by the Holy Spirit. For it is written: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) Grace is gift of God. Our faith is also a gift of God. You cannot claim that your faith is a result of your effort. All glory in the work of salvation must belong to God alone.
And God never tells us to “plunder hell to populate Heaven.” Maybe Lawrence Khong says so, but certainly not God through the Bible. As Acts 5:29 states: “We must obey God rather than men!”
The number 12 is not a die-die-must-have thing, if you know the G12 movement truly. It’s a TRADITION. There’s a distinct difference between a tradition and a ritual – one’s for the mere number simply for the sake of the number (puns intended but by no means a devine order) while the other’s something that’s a MUST. The number 12 in the G12 movement is the former.
The G12 movement is not merely tradition. FCBC intentionally used Bible verses to justify the G12 “tradition.” Unfortunately, these Bible verses are distorted out of context. In this regard, FCBC is no different from the Roman Catholic Church, who distorted the Bible to justify the Apostle Peter as the pope.
By no means is FCBC taking the number 12 as a “magic” number – it is merely serving as a goal for the “heads” to achieve (afterall, we all want to convert more for God and be fruitful for Him) and a number for us to “know when to stop”. Like I said, not a must but as a guide. I mean, if there’s not 12, people may choose to stop at 3 or NOT stop at 50. Not that that is wrong, but it’s for the standardisation and neatness. Note that not every “head” has 12 yet. They are just taking the step of faith to believe that God will give them 12 people to “father” and 12 being the number they’ve chosen to believe in God for.
And which part of the Bible tells us to “take the step of faith” that God will give each one of us “12 people to father”? It is clearly unscriptural to suggest that. Please recognize that evangelism and conversion of the lost are dependent on the sovereign will of God. Therefore, it is not up to us to decide on any number as a guide. By defining conversions as human “achievements,” you take the glory of the work of salvation away from God.
And no, the number 12 is NOT essential (like you lied) for the Holy Spirit to arrive. The Holy Spirit is ALREADY in FCBC. There is no need for the formation of some 12-work to get “more” of the Spirit – just to achieve more.
Please read my article carefully. I have quoted FCBC word for word with regard to Acts 1:20-26. FCBC is the one who brought up the Scriptural passage, not me. Let me quote FCBC’s words again: “Interestingly, after the death of Judas, the 11 disciples filled the position of the 12th disciple in the person of Matthias (see Acts 1:20-26). Only then, did the Holy Spirit descend and empower them.”
“Doctrine of predestination”! Ahah! A Calvinist afterall! May I point out that the Doctrine is still one of the most strongly debated issues in Christian theology and no denomination has ever come up with a fool-proof answer to whether it’s right or wrong yet. It’s still being disputed.
The Reformed doctrine of predestination has already been proven many times. I strongly suggest you widen your scope of reading.
I, personally, do NOT believe in full predestination. Yes, God already knows what’s up for the entire time of our lives, but Salvation is STILL a choice for everyone. God is not an unjust God – he does NOT deny anyone (not a single person) eternal life simply by the idea of “predestination”. It is merely FOOLISH and condemnable a human idea that “who should be saved will be saved anyway”. Selfish and totally detached from the heart of God.
Please read the Bible carefully. Romans 9:16 states: “It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.” We choose God because God chose us first. God has already determined His elect. Our choices are the results of God’s choices. For it is written: “For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)
There are some whom God predestined to be saved, while the rest gets passed over. It is written: "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory." (Romans 9:21-23)
Biblical Warnings against False Teachings
- "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." (Matthew 7:15)
- "and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people." (Matthew 24:11)
- "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible." (Matthew 24:24)
- "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
- "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." (2 Timothy 4:3)
- "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves." (2 Peter 2:1)
- "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)
Friday, August 12, 2005
The Doctrinal Heresy of Healing through the Holy Communion
In this article, Joseph Prince tries to show his readers that the Holy Communion has the ability to grant divine health to its partakers. Prince wrote in the article:
As long as we are here on earth, our bodies are subject to the ageing process, which is part of the divine sentence. All our bodies are decaying every day. Our brain cells are dying daily.Throughout the entire article, Prince mainly used 1 Corinthians 11:20-22,27-30 as his main Biblical reference. As I read and reread through the entire article a couple of times, I have discovered to my astonishment that Prince absolutely failed to highlight 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, which explains the real purpose of the Holy Communion:
The Holy Communion is God’s solution for us to stop the decay. And even your friends will see the results. They will begin to ask you, “Hey, why do you seem to look younger and younger? You never seem to age!”
One day, when we get to heaven, we will have brand new bodies that never grow old, never tire and never look bad. Meanwhile, the Lord’s Supper is how God helps us offset this process of ageing and walk in divine health. Every time you partake, you are reversing the effects of the curse or divine judgement in your body…
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.When the Apostle Paul wrote this Scriptural passage, he was making reference to the event at Luke 22:19, where it states: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
The big question to Prince is, if the Holy Communion is intended to provide divine healing, Jesus would have said, “do this to heal your bodies” or “do this in remembrance and it will heal your bodies also.” These alternative phrasings would definitely prove that there is healing in the Holy Communion. Though at the beginning of the article, Prince made clear that he would refer to 1 Corinthians 11, he probably knew that the verses 23-26 will not cast his unscriptural doctrine in a favorable light. Thus he chose to skip these verses entirely altogether.
Even without verses 23-26, Prince has failed to establish a direct relation between healing and the Holy Communion. Prince wrote,
What is it to partake unworthily? Read the rest of verse 29 and you will conclude that if you fail to discern or understand the significance of the Lord’s body, you are eating and drinking in an unworthy manner.The full text of verse 29 is “For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” Prince is implying that the Corinthians failed to recognize the “life-giving effects,” which he took to be “healing, health and wholeness.” However, there is a difference between the phrase “recognizing the body” and “recognizing the benefits of the body.” The former is trying to caution the Christians not to treat the Holy Communion like an ordinary meal by looking towards the atonement of Jesus Christ, while the latter is stressing on the blessings of the atonement.
The Corinthians partook unworthily because they did not recognise that the broken body of the Lord was meant to bring them health and wholeness.
And by treating the Holy Communion as a ritual, they missed out on the blessings. They did not understand the significance of the bread. They did not know why they were partaking. This is what it means to partake unworthily.
The manner in which we partake will determine whether we experience the benefits of the Lord’s body. If our attitude is “it’s just a piece of bread”, then that is what it will be. And we will have robbed ourselves of the life-giving effects of the bread at His Table.
Was the Apostle Paul concerned that the Corinthians were not recognizing the blessings? It seems not. At verses 20-22, the Apostle Paul stated the problem the Corinthians had with the Holy Communion; that they were treating it like an ordinary meal.
When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!The Corinthians were partaking the Holy Communion in a disorderly manner, with some getting drunk while others getting hungry. It is clear that the problem was behavioral. It has nothing to do with recognizing the blessings of the atonement. If the Corinthians had been partaking in an orderly manner, then perhaps Prince’s interpretation might have made more sense.
So, it follows that he was telling the Corinthians that they should examine themselves to see if they were eating and drinking in a worthy manner. Nowhere does it say that he told them to examine themselves to see if there was sin intheir lives.I am in agreement with Prince that verse 28 does not state we should examine ourselves for sin. This verse is referring to the atonement of Jesus Christ and our need for a Savior. But I strongly disagree with Prince that Christ’s body was “broken so that our bodies can be made well.” So far, he has not explicitly proven the Scriptural passage indicates that the Holy Communion brings about physical healing.
Before you partake, just know that God wants you to “prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2)The verse 3 John 1:2 is taken out of context. It states: “Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” The “I” in this verse is the Apostle John, not God. Therefore, it is referring to John’s will, not God’s will. Furthermore, the phrase “I pray that you may prosper” indicates that the Apostle John desires his friend prospers, not actually stating for a fact that his friend will definitely prosper. Otherwise, John would have wrote something like these words: “I know that you will prosper.”
Prince ended the article with the following words,
See the Lord carrying all your sins and diseases. He took your sins in His body on the cross. See Him taking on His body your physical conditions. If you have a tumour, see the tumour on His body. Whatever disease you might have, see it on His body. It is no longer on you. See His health come on you… Hold the bread in your hand and say this:In the above quote, Prince misinterpreted Isaiah 53:5, which he has taken out of context. This verse also partially reappeared in 1 Peter 2:24. The phrases “transgressions,” “iniquities” and “bore our sins” all shows that the healing is spiritual, not physical.
Thank You Jesus for Your broken body. It is for my healing, my spouse’s healing and my children’s healing. Thank You that by Your stripes, by the beatings You bore, by the lashes which fell on Your back, we are completely healed. I believe and I receive. (Take the bread.)
Next, take the cup in your hand and say this: Thank You Jesus for the new covenant cut in Your blood. Your blood has brought me forgiveness and washed me from every sin. I thank You that Your blood has made me righteous. And as I drink, I celebrate and partake of the inheritance of the righteous, which is preservation, healing, wholeness and prosperity. (Drink the wine.)
I would also like to state that this act of visualization takes the sovereign will of God out of the healing process. It mocks God by saying healing is dependant on the Holy Communion, not on His sovereign will to heal at any time He pleases. This doctrine falsely teaches that our visualizations and rituals are the main factors for the physical healing process.
This unscriptural teaching is not too unlike the Roman Catholic doctrine of baptismal regeneration, where water baptism plays a major role in the forgiveness of sins. The false gospel teaches that without water baptism, one cannot be saved. What it fails to consider is that salvation is totally the work of God, not of man-driven rituals. Likewise, the doctrine of healing through the Holy Communion takes away the full glory of healing from God by making Him dependant on rituals. The truth of the matter is, as God can save at any time He pleases, He could also heal at any time He pleases. God does not need man-driven rituals to aid Him in carrying out His will.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
A Theological Response to FCBC and its G12 Model
God made a covenant with Abraham to increase his numbers so that he could be a father of many nations (see Gen 17:2-4). This Abrahamic covenant is still relevant to us as a church of Jesus Christ (see Gal 3:6-9). We are called to “father the nations”.
FCBC has taken the Abrahamic Covenant out of context. While it is true that God made Abraham “the father of many nations” (Genesis 17:4), it does not directly apply to Abraham’s descendants. “You will be the father of many nations” is a divine promise that God specifically gave to Abraham alone; it is not a commandment to be passed down to his descendants. If one reads the Abrahamic Covenant carefully, Abraham’s descendants, whether physical or spiritual, were not called to be “fathers of many nations.”
In Matthew 29:19-20, Jesus gave the Great Commission to "make disciples of all nations." The original Greek word for “make disciples” is "mathēteuō," which is to "to follow his precepts and instructions, or to teach, instruct." In the context of the Abrahamic Covenant, the word "father" does not mean, in the English sense, to disciple. The Hebrew meaning for "father" is "the head or founder of a household, group, family, or clan." Abraham was not asked by God at any time to fulfill the divine promise by preaching to the surrounding nations.
In Galatians 3:6-9, the Word of God talks about the Christians being the "children of Abraham" and that "all nations will be blessed through" Abraham. If we take into account Genesis 26:4, the reason why all nations will be blessed is because of Jesus Christ, who is the "offspring" of Abraham. This Scriptural passage says nothing about the Christians becoming "fathers of many nations."
Therefore, as we can see, the meanings of the Hebrew word for "father" and the Greek word for "make disciples" are completely different. "Father of all nations" does not mean "father the nations."
The Government of 12 (G12) Vision is essentially this – to make each of us in FCBC a father of multitudes. The strategy to achieve this is To Win, To Consolidate, To Disciple and To Send.
There are no promises found in the Bible that indicate each Christian is to be a "father of multitudes." This false teaching totally ignore the sovereignty of God in the work of salvation. Only God knows who are His elect and we could not possibly know how many people would be saved. We are called to preach the gospel, not to convert people (i.e. to "win") who are spiritually dead. Let's leave the supernatural work of "winning souls" to the Holy Spirit.
The basis for the number 12 is the example of Jesus and his 12 disciples. He chose 12 to be his helpers in ministering to the masses (see Matt 9:35-10:1). He stayed with them continually, hence, there is a permanence of relationship. He imparted himself and modelled his life for them to follow so that in turn they were able to lead and disciple others.
Interestingly, after the death of Judas, the 11 disciples filled the position of the 12th disciple in the person of Matthias (see Acts 1:20-26). Only then, did the Holy Spirit descend and empower them.
Does the New Testament instruct the Christians to pattern the government of the church on the number twelve? When the Apostle Paul preached to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:2) and adopted Timothy as his son, did he use the number twelve to guide his actions in his ministry? In fact, there are no instructions from Jesus or the apostles to use the number twelve as a guide to the organizational structure of the church.
Furthermore, the filling of the position of the 12th apostle was a unique event. It was to fulfill the prophecy in the book of Psalms (Acts 1:20). And there is no indication from the Scriptures that the apostolic position has to be filled before the Pentecost. In Acts 1:4, Jesus simply said: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about."
By trying to show a relation between the filling of the 12th position and the Pentecost, FCBC undermines the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit and implies that He can be manipulated by a "magic" number. This false teaching reduces the historic Pentecost into a paganistic ritual where the number of apostles is viewed as essential for the Holy Spirit's arrival.
This is a patriarchal system of lineage, with everyone tracing their roots back to Senior Pastor.
This is clearly unscriptural. Our root is in Christ, not the pastor or the pope. For it is written: "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 3:11) The New Testament warns us against following men. In 1 Corinthians 3:4, it is written: "For when one says, 'I follow Paul,' and another, 'I follow Apollos,' are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task."
This system of church government creates an unnecessary deep level of bureaucracy among Christians. And not only that, it is likely to foster a sense of power and self-importance among the top-level leaders of the church. It seems that the G12 model is a throwback to the Roman Catholic Church's style of government where the popes and cardinals are highly regarded as powerful spiritual men who are inaccessible to the multitudes.
We must recognise the urgency of winning people to Christ, as we discover that the Christian life is not a breeze but a battle. We are all engaged in a war to plunder hell and populate heaven.
FCBC totally ignored the Biblical doctrine of predestination. It is not by our will that the unbelievers will be saved, but it is by God's will. For it is written: "So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." (Romans 9:16) The elect are already chosen. For it is written: "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." (Ephesians 1:4) By saying that we are to "plunder hell and populate heaven," it is attributing the work of salvation to our wills, not God's sovereign will. This false teaching takes the glory away from God that He totally deserves.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Six Reasons Why Jesus Cannot Feed The Five Thousand In Singapore
- Jesus would have been in violation of the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act.
Under section 8 titled "Restraining orders against officials or members of religious group or institution," the Act clearly states: "The Minister may make a restraining order against any priest, monk, pastor, imam, elder, office-bearer or any other person who is in a position of authority in any religious group... causing feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility between different religious groups."
As we can tell from the Bible, Jesus was not exactly popular with the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. For instance, Jesus said these words: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to." (Matthew 23:13) Those publicly spoken words are not something that will be tolerated by the laws of Singapore.
- Jesus would have violated the Sedition Act
Under section 3 titled "Seditious tendency," the Act states: "A seditious tendency is a tendency... to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore." Jesus' words to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law in Matthew 23:13-36 would be illegal.
- Jesus would have violated the Penal Code.
Under section 297 titled "Trespassing on burial places, etc.," the Act states: "Whoever, with the intention of wounding the feelings of any person, or of insulting the religion of any person, or with the knowledge that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded, or that the religion of any person is likely to be insulted thereby, commits any trespass in any place of worship or on any place of sepulture or any place set apart for the performance of funeral rites, or as a depository for the remains of the dead, or offers any indignity to any human corpse, or causes disturbance to any persons assembled for the performance of funeral ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both."
As publicly respected Jewish religious teachers, the Pharisees would be extremely offended by the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:13-36.
- Jesus would have to apply for a license under the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act
Under section 19 titled "Penalties," the Act states: "Any person who provides or assists in providing any public entertainment... without a licence issued under this Act" Therefore, Jesus could not spontaneously hold a public meeting with five thousand people.
- Jesus' miracle would have been in violation of the Copyright Act
If Jesus performed the miracle in Singapore instead of heeding His disciples' suggestions to "send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging" (Luke 9:12) or "go and buy food for all this crowd" (Luke 9:14), Jesus would have deprive eateries, supermarkets, small grocery stores and bakeries of the chance to earn some revenue.
According to the "logic" provided by certain business lobby groups, by making copies of the loaves of bread, Jesus have illegally violated the copyrights of the bakeries. For instance, the RIAS (Recording Industry Association Singapore) equate every download of unauthorized online music as stealing or piracy. If this "logic" is applied to the miracle, then Jesus would have been guilty of "stealing" from the bakeries who are the "victims."
- Jesus would not have been allowed to preach at the Speakers' Corner
One of the ground rules laid out at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park is "the speech should not be religious in nature, and should not have the potential to cause feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility between different racial or religious groups."
Another ground rule is "the speaker must be a Singapore citizen." I guess that immediately rules Jesus out unless he applies for Singapore citizenship.
And lastly, Jesus could not use a microphone to effectively address the five thousand people. The ground rule is "no sound amplification devices will be allowed. This is to reduce noise pollution, and ensure that no one speaker drowns out the other speakers."
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Refutation of City Harvest's "Divine Healing" Article (Part 1)
In the wilderness sojourn, when the children of Israel came to the bitter pool of Marah, God gave them a promise of His provision. God said, "I am the LORD who heals you" (Ex. 15:26). By saying that, God was showing another facet of His character and nature by revealing a new name: "I am Jehovah Rapha." The word rapha is Hebrew for physician, doctor or healer. God, in effect, was saying, "I am God your Healer. I am the cure of your diseases, the mender of your injuries, the repairer of your physical body." And that is the first reason why we should believe in divine healing—it is in God's nature to heal the sick.
The verse Exodus 15:26 must be viewed in context. The full verse is as follows: “He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.’”
First of all, this is a conditional statement from God. God did not say that there will be no diseases no matter what, and therefore we cannot treat this verse as an absolute statement. God simply promised not to inflict the Israelites with any of the diseases that He brought on the Egyptians if the Israelites “keep all His decrees.” However, as we can see from the Old Testament, the Israelites failed to do so.
Secondly, God reinforced the warning to take away His blessings of health in Deuteronomy 28:22, if the people of Israel fail to obey the laws of the Mosaic Covenant. Deuteronomy 28:15,22 states: “However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you… The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish.”
Thirdly, this divine promise of health is only meant for those who were under the Mosaic Covenant, not for the Christians under the New Covenant. It falls under the blessings of the Mosaic Covenant, which include Deuteronomy 28:7 that states: “The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.” As we can see from the New Testament, the early Christians were persecuted by their enemies. We do know from history that most of the apostles were martyred. If the Old Testament promises of blessings are true, it would seem strange that the Christians in the New Testament did not experience them.
Consistency is a part of God's character. And God is so consistent and emphatic about divine healing that He repeats Himself on this again and again through the Scriptures. In Deuteronomy 7:15, Moses told the Israelites that diseases do not belong to God's people. He said, "And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known."
Like Exodus 15:26, the verse Deuteronomy 7:15 is quoted out of context. The verse is totally dependent on the conditions set by God in the Mosaic Covenant. The blessings of health are only meant for those under the Mosaic Covenant, not for members of the New Covenant.
This truth was again repeated in Psalm 105:37, "He also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes." It is worth pondering the fact that the people of God left the bondage of Egypt with silver and gold—wealth and abundance. And none of three million ex-slaves were sickly, frail or weak.
It is astonishing how Kong Hee tries to force the doctrines of the prosperity gospel into Psalm 105:37. While it is true that the people of Israel came out of Egypt “with silver and gold” and were not “feeble,” it bears no relation to the Christians who are under the New Covenant. This verse merely states a historical fact and we should leave it as that.
Too often, Charismatic churches are unfairly slammed for being shallow in embracing a "health and wealth" gospel. While unfortunate excesses and abuses have been propagated by a small minority, it doesn't negate the truth that God promises health and wealth to those who walk with Him. Without financial freedom and abundance, how are we going to finance missions and evangelism all over the world? And without good health, how are we going to become effective workers in His harvest field?
What truth? So far, Kong Hee has not conclusively proven that the blessings of health and wealth in the Old Testament apply to the members of the New Covenant.
In the New Testament, the gospel was preached to everyone, regardless of their status in society. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) If the prosperity gospel is true, does it mean that the Christian slaves were promised blessings of wealth? Were the apostles living as rich landowners? I do think so. 2 Corinthians 6:3-5 shows the Apostle Paul’s hardships: “We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger.”
Furthermore, Kong Hee is also approaching dangerously close to heresy with regard to the sovereignty of God in evangelism. Does one trust in “financial freedom and abundance” and “good health” for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be preached to the elect? Since when is health and wealth the criteria for preaching the gospel? Even the Apostle Paul was afflicted by an illness (Galatians 4:13). And it was “because of an illness” (not “despite an illness”) that Paul preached the gospel to the Galatians.
One must not neglect the fact that we as Christians are merely ordained instruments in the work of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is totally a work of God. For it is written: “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30) Those whom God predestined in the beginning will be saved, with or without our help. Even the faith that we have is a gift from God. It is written: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. He dwells within you. To the world, your hands are effectively Jesus' hands. Your feet are Jesus' feet. Your mouth is Jesus' mouth. If you are sick all the time, how are you going to provide for your family, excel in life, help the poor and needy, and be a powerful witness for Jesus Christ?
Being a “powerful witness for Jesus Christ” should be dependant on our knowledge of the Word of God, not on our health and wealth. As shown earlier, the Apostle Paul was neither healthy nor wealthy. Take for example, Apollos the Jew, who was “a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scripture” (Acts 18:24-25). He showed us evangelism is also about defending the gospel. In the book of Acts, Apollos was a “great help to those who by grace had believed” and “vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” (Acts 18:27-28) It is also written in 2 Timothy 3:15 that the knowledge of the Word of God is crucial “to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Ps. 103:2-5)
There are God-ordained benefits that we must never forget: (1) God is our Savior, (2) our Healer, (3) our Deliverer, and (4) our Provider. He "heals all your diseases" (103:3)! This doesn't mean we will never die. But it does mean that we can age gracefully, staying as strong and as healthy as humanly possible way into our old age.
One must note that the Psalms are not a list of divine promises that God have to deliver, but a list of reasons to praise God. While it is true that God “forgives all your iniquities,” does it also follow that God heals every Christian of all diseases? As we can see from the Bible and the history of Christianity, He does not.
We can also look at Psalm 103:2-5 as referring in part to the eternal life of the elect in Heaven. In verse 4, it is written: “Who redeems your life from destruction.” The word “destruction” in Hebrew is shachath. According to the Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions, the word is defined as “1) pit, destruction, grave 1a) pit (for catching lions) 1b) pit (of Hell).” All of us deserved to go to Hell, but God gave some of us eternal life in Heaven. Since the elect would have their resurrection bodies in Heaven, the resurrection bodies would fulfill the phrase “Who heals all your diseases.” It is written: “who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:21)
Let’s think about it for a moment. Assuming that the healing of all diseases is true, if the gospel requires faith in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, which grants us the immediate forgiveness of sins, we should be immediately healed of all diseases. If the forgiveness of all sins by God is instantaneous upon faith, the healing of all diseases by God should also be instantaneous. We should not need to wait for physical healing to occur in stages.
Critics of divine healing or proponents of the cessation theory would claim that supernatural healing and health were confined only to the Old Testament or Gospel era. Now that we have doctors, hospitals and advanced medical technology, God doesn't find it necessary to heal people supernaturally anymore. To that, my rebuttal is: "If the people of God in the Old Testament, under the old covenant, could have healing, good health and prosperity, how much more we believers of the new covenant. We now have Jesus in our hearts, the Holy Spirit in our lives. We should enjoy healing and good health even more!" Otherwise, how could we qualify the new covenant to be a better covenant than the old (Heb. 8:6)?
Up till now, Kong Hee neglects to mention that health and wealth in the Mosaic Covenant are conditional upon the people of Israel obeying the covenantal laws.
Furthermore, Hebrews 8:6 is quoted out of context. The verse does not imply anything about health and wealth. The question is: why is the New Covenant a better covenant? Hebrews 8:8-12 quoted Jeremiah 31:31-34, which gives us the answer: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts… For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
When we look at the next chapter of Hebrews, the author shows us that it is the blood of Christ that makes the New Covenant a better covenant. It is written: “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:12) Health and wealth are not mentioned at all
Healing is definitely in the atonement. Isaiah 53 is a prophecy foretelling the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, and the great exchange that would take place through the cross.
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Is. 53:4)
In the original Hebrew text, the word "griefs" literally means sicknesses and diseases, while "sorrows" literally means physical pain. Isaiah goes on to say in the next verse that "by His stripes we are healed" (53:5). And in keeping with the context, the word "healed" means to be made well physically in our body.
If one has a Hebrew dictionary, it is apparent that Kong Hee is not showing his readers the whole picture. The Hebrew word for “sorrows” is “mak'ôb / mak'ôbâh.” According to the Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions, the word could denote pain in a physical or spiritual sense.
Anyway, Matthew 8:16-17 shows that the first half of Isaiah 53:4 was not referring to the substitutionary atonement at all. It is written: “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 'He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.'" It is clear that Isaiah 53:4 was only prophesizing about Jesus Christ’s healing ministry. Therefore, it is important that we should not confuse Jesus’ healing ministry with the substitutionary atonement. When we move on to Isaiah 53:5, that is where the issue of the substitutionary atonement is dealt with.
A Star Wars Guide to Biblical Interpretations
With regard to the prophecy of Anakin Skywalker who would bring balance to the Force, there are two fulfillments. One is a physical fulfillment that would take place in the present, while the other is a spiritual fulfillment that would take place in the future. At the end of Episode III, most of the Jedis were killed, leaving two Jedis and two Siths. Thus, in a physical sense, Anakin did bring balance to the Force.
Unfortunately, this physical fulfillment of the prophecy is not perfect. When one thinks of the Force, one should not think of the Light and Dark sides as good and evil respectively. A true Jedi needs to balance both Light and Dark sides and use them wisely. That's what happened with Luke Skywalker. Unlike the classical Jedi, Luke used a lot of raw emotions in his final confrontation with Anakin. However, Luke knows how to hold back, unlike Anakin who killed Count Dooku.
Therefore, the prophecy of bringing balance to the Force was spiritually fulfilled through Anakin's son, Luke Skywalker, who learned how to use both sides of the Force in Return of the Jedi. And to make the prophecy complete, the old guards of the Force were all dead i.e. Yoda, Kenobi, Palpatine and Anakin.
In the same way, when we read and interpret the Bible, we will notice that there is a physical fulfillment and a spiritual fulfillment in some of God's promises. For example, in the Davidic Covenant, God promises the physical people of Israel peace, land and blessings as long as they obey the covenantal commands. Unfortunately, as we can see from the Bible, the blessings did not last long after King Solomon's reign. The people of Israel were soon conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians.
It is only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ where God's promises are realized spiritually, resulting in the Christians who become part of the spiritual people of Israel. However, we must look at this spiritual fulfillment today as an ongoing process. In a sense, the divine promises are fulfilled and in another sense, it is not. Take for instance, peace and land are still not realized yet. It is only when the Christians are glorified in Heaven, that's when the spiritual fulfillment is finally done.
You can also compare the Star Wars example of Anakin and Luke Skywalker to Adam and Jesus Christ. While Adam fell into sin and Anakin embraced the Dark Side, Jesus Christ conquered sin and Luke Skywalker was not tempted by the Emperor Palpatine. While Anakin betrayed his friends for selfish reasons, Luke was willing to forsake everything for his friends. While Adam brings death and condemnation to all men, Jesus Christ brings eternal life and forgiveness of sins to the elect.
Should We Christians Judge?
In many parts of the Bible, Christians are called to judge and to discern between right and wrong teachings, as well as to discern between true and false prophets. In Luke 7:43, Jesus said: "You have judged correctly." And in 1 Corinthians 10:15, "I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say." The original Greek word krinō, which means to judge, is used in Matthew 7:1-2, Luke 7:43 and 1 Corinthians 10:15.
In 1 John 4:1, it is written: "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." Ephesians 5:11 says, "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." In 1 Thessalonians 5:21, it is written: "Test everything. Hold on to the good."
If we Christians are to obey these Biblical teachings, then we are to judge. It would be impossible to do so without judging.
Thoughts On Homosexuality
I am of the opinion that the secular laws should not discriminate against homosexuals. If I were to decide between a competent homosexual political candidate whose political views are impartial to all Singaporeans and a political candidate who leans his political views to favor a particular religion or business lobby groups, I would choose the political candidate who is homosexual.
However, as much as I would like to side with the homosexuals, I am apprehensive of them because of the Gay Rights movement that is happening in the United States. These homosexuals feel that their rights extend to churches and they feel that these churches should accomodate them in conducting gay marriages. I'm afraid that once we open the can of worms and start recognizing homosexuals more broadly, they might take advantage of our generosity and demand more privileges.
How would you like if there is a gay church/mosque/temple? In the case of Christianity, homosexuality is a sin. However, it must be noted that we Christians recognize that we are all sinners and should not just single out homosexuality. If gay marriages are allowed, then are homosexuals allowed to adopt children? This is one area that I totally disagree with. Other than appealing to religious reasons, if homosexuals biologically cannot procreate with each other, then I believe they should not be allowed to adopt as it goes against the natural order of things. Probably I might compromise if civil unions instead of marriages are allowed to homosexuals for the purpose of sharing and distribution of assets, hospitalization in cases of accidents etc.
I also believe that homosexuality can be cured. In my opinion, it is not conclusively proven that homosexuality is a genetic disorder. And there are many cases where homosexuals are cured of their mental disorder. Therefore, it is totally up to the homosexuals whether they want to submit to professional and spiritual treatments. If Singapore recognizes homosexuality as a mental disorder, then perhaps we can set up treatment centres in the same way we set up drug rehabilitation centres.
In conclusion, homosexuals should view their place in society as a privilege, not a right. The homosexuals must recognize that they have a problem within themselves. Just as we do not allow someone with HIV to have sex with anyone, I see society as reaching out to them to accomodate their mental illness in the best way possible, not to give them equal rights in all areas. Like us trying to help the disabled and the unfortunate members of our society.
Take for instance, a blind man should not complain of unfair discrimination just because he is not legally allowed to take a driving test to drive a car. Or a deaf person who is obviously not capable of doing a telemarketing job that requires telephone conversations with potential customers. However in the case of the homosexual politician, as long as his mental illness does not affect his ability to do his job, I would not discriminate against him.