Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Five Marks of Established Religion:
- Reliance on Human Power (v1) - The religious leaders utilyzed a military guard with which to maintain their religious dominance. Dissent is easily suppressed when you have military might at your disposal.
- The Need to Control (v2) - The leaders were angry that Peter and John were teaching the people. They weren't authorized. They didn't have permission. They hadn't been to the right schools.
- Insistance on Doctrinal Compliance (v2) - Peter and John were proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ which contradicted the dearly held view of the Sadducees that there was no resurrection of the dead for anybody--especially Jesus.
- Ineffective Opposition (v3-4) - Peter and John are jailed (and silenced). The result is that thousands who have already heard the message are converted.
- Positional Authority (v5-6) - A "who's who" of religious and political leaders are assembled to determine the fate of Peter and John. Those with the authority, of course, must be right (smell the sarcasm). Peter and John are outnumbered and outclassed in almost every way.
Five Marks of True Spirituality:
- Reliance on Holy Spirit Power (v7-8) - What does an uneducated fisherman have that can silence the powerful elites? The Holy Spirit is enough!
- Miraculous Life-change (v9) - It's hard to argue when the recently healed are standing nearby. Peter and John may not have been to the right schools--but they have a stronger argument--miracles!
- Resurrection Power (v10) - Doctrinal conformity leads to legalism and death. Jesus rose again--what else matters?
- Biblical Confirmation (v11) - God was revealing His plans daily to the disciples through the inspired Scriptures. Nothing gives you more confidence than to know that God is working through you.
- Kingdom Authority (v12) - Jesus saves--not Caiaphas, not Annas, not the priests, not Peter, not John, not the Baptists, etc.
I am teaching through the book of Revelation on Tuesday nights at our church. I am not a big prophecy buff and I am quite sceptical of the definitive systems that appear to explain everything. I have found Revelation to be a very practical symbolic book of encouragement to the persecuted church. I read Revelation like I would read any other book of the Bible--it's a book about God that reveals a great deal about Him and His unique ways. I was strolling through a Christian bookstore a few weeks ago when I came upon Hank Hanegraaff's book, The Apocalypse Code. I picked it up because I was interested in what "The Bible Answer Man" might have to say about the subject of biblical prophecy. What I found was a primer on properly interpreting Biblical prophecy in light of proper hermeneutical principles. Hanegraaff takes aim at Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series of books and lands a crippling blow.
Paul Maier of Western Michigan University writes in the front flap, "Hank Hanegraaff argues that the book of Revelation is obscure to us because 'we have not sufficiently learned to read the Bible for all it's worth. When our interpretations are tethered to the hottest sensation rather than to the Holy Scripture, we are apt to grab at anything--and usually miss.' The Apocalypse Code is a guide to holding on to what is true in the book of Revelation as in the rest of Scripture. Throughout the history of the church, wrongheaded teachings have appeared that temporarily attracted a large following, only to become fading fads once the light of proper biblical interpretation illuminated their error. A current example is dispensational pretribulational rapture theology promoted by such prophecy pundits as Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, John Hagee and others. For years now, I've been wondering what might convince such prophecy specialists to recognize that the eschatology they are foisting on the world is simply embarrassing to the church, and so prompt them to back out of their dispensational cul-de-sac."
Check out Hank Hanegraaff's website at the Christian Research Institute here.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
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