This Week

Truths We Believe about God 5

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for False Teaching, Spiritual Discernment

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A Biblical & Theological Rejection of Wm. Paul Young’s
 book, “Lies We Believe About God” (Fifth in a series.)

“Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
—The Apostle Paul (Emphasis added, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)

A Review of the Book’s Chapters (continued) 

Chapters 20-28

Chapter 20
“God is a divine Santa Claus.”
• Young: “I think there are two basic ways we tend to see God as Santa Claus: as the Nice Santa God and as the Nasty Santa God. . . . The Nice Santa God is wondrous . . . The Nasty Santa God is our imagination of the darkness behind Jesus—God the Father. It is God the Father who requires perfect performance and moral behavior.” (LWBAG, 174, 175-176) [Question: In imagining the darkness of the Father behind Jesus, when might imagination become accusation? Ed.]
• James the Brother of Jesus: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
Comments: Young is right. In the imagination of the mind, Christian civilization has corrupted the meaning of Christmas. Thus in the understanding of God has suffered from which Young constructs his nice-Santa or nasty-Santa God. From their childhood people’s imaginations have conditioned them to think that the holiday (i.e., Holy Day) is about Santa’s gift-gigs and not about the remembrance of Jesus’ coming to die for our sins and be our Savior. “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife” the Angel of the Lord told Joseph, “she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Emphasis added, Matthew 1:20-21). The author cites anecdotal evidence (he’s met many people who have had trouble forgetting their childhood imaginations of the Santa-god) for people creating “incoherent views of God,” the false impression that if we’re good He’ll be nice, and if we’re bad He’ll be nasty. (LWBAG, 175-176) Unfortunately Christians, perhaps brainwashed by the substitution of a materialistic nice or nasty Santa for our good and gracious Heavenly Father and Savior, misunderstand God. It seems engrained in people, irrespective of Christmas, to come to God for what they can get out of Him anyway (e.g., the wealth gospel which is prevalent all over Christianized Africa). But remember: God gives gifts not for reason of our performance but for reason of His promise and providence, not for reason of our goodness but for reason of His grace. “But my God” wrote the Apostle Paul, “shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). To those who have placed their faith in the Gospel, the good God gives, “no strings attached”! (John 3:16) All God requires for us to please Him is faith in His Son, that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead on account of our justification (Hebrews 11:6; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 4:25). On the basis of faith God gives eternal life to those who believe on “His only begotten Son” (Greek monogenes) to be their Savior. They will be given eternal life and they shall not/no never perish (John 1:27-30). And for reason of common grace, the Father “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). To one extent or another all people share in God’s immediate goodness.

In Jesus’ statement by the way, do you see how He did not lump humanity in one group? To Him all people did not reside in one Cosmic box; “the just” (dikaios) were categorized to be in one box while “the unjust” (adikaios) in another. There are people whose outward obedience to the Law indicates they are right (just) with the Father and those whose behavior indicates they are not (unjust). Lest any might think that God’s common grace eventuates in universal justification, remember Jesus’ real-life illustration where the Pharisee bathed himself in his own self-justification while the tax collector cried out, “God be merciful to me the sinner!” (Luke 18:9-14) Of the two, the tax collector “went to his house justified,” or right with God (Greek dikaioo, Luke 18:14). The Pharisee just went home. As the New Testament does not teach universal-reconciliation, neither does it teach universal-justification. [48]
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Truths We Believe about God 4

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for False Teaching, Spiritual Discernment

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A Biblical & Theological Refutation of Wm. Paul Young’s
 book, “Lies We Believe About God” (Fourth in a series.)

“My people know not the judgment of the Lord. How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? . . . the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men . . . have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them? . . . from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.”
—Emphasis added, Jeremiah 8:7-11

A Review of the Book’s Chapters (continued) 

Chapters 15-19

Chapter 15
“Hell is separation from God.”
• Young: “Anyone who speaks of separation from God assumes that a person can exist while separated—as if our life is not contingent upon the presence of God, who is Life. . . . I propose the possibility that hell is not separation from Jesus . . .” (Emphasis added, LWBAG, 136-137)
• Jesus Christ: “And then will I [Jesus] profess unto them [professing Christians who prophesied and worked miracles in Jesus’ name], I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Emphasis added, Matthew 7:23) [Reader, do you think Jesus’ judgment “depart from me” means separate from Me? Ed.]
• Jesus Christ: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels . . . Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:41, 45-46) [The immediate interpretation involves how Gentiles treat the Jews, Jesus’ brethren. But this interpretation does not mean Jesus’ words do not possess wider social applications, ed.]
• Jesus Christ: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:22-23) [In difference to those who want to reduce Jesus’ insight about the afterlife to be metaphorical, His story does introduce readers to the reality of the afterlife as He understood it, ed.]
• The Apostle Paul: “[Those] that know not God . . . shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” (Emphasis added, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)
Comments: To many, the sense of the word hell is confusing. I shall try to unpack the meanings of the word hell in the Bible. Translating three different Greek words (gehenna, 12 times; hades, 10 times; and tartaros, 1 time) the English word “hell” occurs twenty-three times in the New Testament. Exclusively Jesus uses the first Greek word hell-gehenna to picture after-death judgment to be like ancient Jerusalem’s city dump, as a place of defilement for castaways “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44, 46, 48); as a sphere of darkness (“outer darkness,” Matthew 22:13; 25:30); and as a state of depression in which human souls experience emotional extremes of sorrow and anger (“weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Luke 13:28). The second Greek word, hell-hades (the equivalent to the Old Testament hell-sheol, which can refer to the ground-grave) describes the after-life reality temporally inhabited by the living dead who exist in separation from God and Paradise (Luke 16:23). The third Greek word used by Peter, hell-tartaros or “chains of darkness,” describes the place where disobedient angels are currently confined as they await their future and final judgment (Compare 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; and Revelation 20:10). In the span of history, all of the above spheres of judgment, hell-gehenna-hades-tartaros, are temporary, and as such, might be compared to the confinement of convicted criminals in a city jail until they are transported to serve out their life sentences in a state or federal prison.

The final destination-prison for which unrepentant God–defying humans and spirit beings are headed is the place the Apostle John calls the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10, 14). At the end of the age, Jesus (John 5:27) will cast the following into the Lake of Fire: 1. “the beast and the false prophet” (Revelation 20:10); 2. “the devil” along with his rebel angels (Revelation 20:10; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6); 3. anyone whose “name was not found written in the book of life” (Revelation 20:15); and 4. the temporary holding cells of “death and Hades” (Revelation 20:14).

Many, even Christians, reject the teaching of the Lord Jesus and His Apostles regarding the eternal punishment of the wicked. They point out that no biblical word expresses the concept of “eternity,” but only “a long period”or “remotest time” (Hebrew ‘olam) or “age” (Greek aion). They argue that because of these words’ multifaceted meanings there is no word in Scripture expressing a forever category of time. Therefore it is presumptuous for anyone to think hell will never end. But the Apostle John describes the state of being consigned to the Lake of Fire as one of being “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). The time frame expressed is in multiples of forever-s, one of ages of ages. These multiples of ages is the longest concept of time the Greek language, or perhaps any language, can express (Greek plurals, eis tous aionas ton aionon, Revelation 20:10). Combined with “day and night” (Greek, hemeras kai nyktos), “for ever and ever” nuances a timeless existence in which 24/7, for ages of ages, the unholy trinity—the beast, the false prophet, the devil—and others will be confined. Together, the clauses express the “the unbroken continuity of their torment” in perpetuity. [33]

Yet Young’s imaginary worldview, where in relationship to the Trinity everyone’s a “beloved insider” (LWBAG, 55), does not allow for the existence of two separate after-life realities (heaven and hell). To him there’s only one reality, that would be in the heaven of being inside an eternal Jesus-Trinity in a loving and dancing relationship. So there’s no way for anyone, no matter what they do, to become separated from God. Young’s worldview will not tolerate belief of any separation from God either immediate in this life or ultimate in the next life, and this contradicts what Jesus Christ and His Apostles taught. Rather Young might join John Lennon (1940-1980) and sing,

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Imagine . . .
And no religion too

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one [34]

We should observe that such an imaginary cosmic reality postulated by the human mind, where in oneness everyone and everything’s inside God, is idolatrous. “Because that, when they knew God,” wrote the Apostle Paul, “they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations (Greek dialogismois, “the reasoning process within the human mind), and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21). The text teaches four stages to developing a pagan mindset: First, humans do not glorify or honor God as God. They reduce Him from who He is into who/what they willfully want or emotionally need him, her, or it to be; Second, they become unthankful. Life and all that it consists of is ours as much or more than His. It’s all about us, about me . . . I want . . . I want . . . I need . . . I need; Third, in their own minds they speculate about who God is and in the process of trying to comprehend Him let their imaginings (dialogismois) run wild; and Fourth, amidst their intellectual sophistry their hearts do not become enlightened as they arrogantly claim, but darkened. The God they design becomes ordinary and tame and eclipses any fear they might have of Him. (See Psalm 36:1; Compare Romans 1:18.)

The universalism that reduces the Lake of Fire into non-existence destroys ultimate moral accountability in the universe. Perhaps that’s why Paul Young proposes that it’s only possible that hell is “separation from Jesus.” Maybe he doesn’t know what to do with Muslim jihadists who in their depravity (Young does not like this word, LWBAG, 29-36.) believe that killing infidels in the name of Allah will land them in Paradise where seventy virgins await their arrival. But terrorism is an obnoxious affront to belief in universal salvation. There just something about the belief that everybody’s saved . . . it offends the human conscience and therefore doesn’t seem right (Romans 2:15). Better the biblical perspective of Franklin Graham who remarked after the terror attack in Manchester by Salman Abedi and fellow terrorist conspirators, “I’ve got news for them: Hell awaits, with real flames and real fire.” [35] All of which begs the question: How does one explain evil’s existence in the world? In a veiled way, Young touches upon the issue in the next chapter.
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Truths We Believe about God 3

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for False Teaching, Spiritual Discernment

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A Biblical & Theological Rejection of Wm. Paul Young’s
 book, “Lies We Believe About God” (Third in a series.)

“Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.”
—Emphasis added, Jeremiah 23:16-17

A Review of the Book’s Chapters

The Book’s Foreword, Introduction and Chapters 1-14

We turn now to review each chapter of Lies We Believe About God. The reviews will include a summary of Young’s belief, citation(s) of Scripture which contradict or confirm the author’s beliefs, and my personal comments for purpose of clarification. Based upon what you read, you can decide who is telling the truth. Note: I do not necessarily disagree with all the points Young makes in his arguments about what God would not say, but my agreements are sparse. We begin with the Foreword written by Wm. Paul Young’s friend, Dr. C. Baxter Kruger.

Foreword
• Kruger: “Who is Jesus, really? What does His existence mean? There are many answers.” (LWBAG, 7)
• The Apostle Peter: (Addressing Jesus from a perspective of many answers) “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Emphasis added, Matthew 16:16)
Comments: Kruger answers the “who is Jesus question” in his Foreword. He explains that speaking the name of Jesus is confessing that there is no separation between the Trinity and humans, only relationship. “Jesus is Himself the relationship;” says Kruger, “He is the union between the Triune God and the human race.” (LWBAG, 11) To Kruger, Jesus’ identity involves being the great unifier of the Tri-Personal God with all humanity which union brings the Jesus-Trinity’s new covenant kingdom to earth. To Kruger the kingdom is totally now and involves no future millennial and messianic reign of Christ on earth (Isaiah 9:6-7; Revelation 20:4, 6; ). Observation: If the kingdom is already present (this is called realized eschatology), then the Jesus-Trinity’s kingdom is a mess!

Kruger states that Young’s teachings stand “in the mainstream of historic Christian confession . . .” (LWBAG, 12) A consultation with one dictionary of theology informs that apokatastasis (another word for universalism or restitution of creation to its original pristine condition; see Acts 3:21, “Jesus Christ . . . Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [apokatastasis] of all things”) was taught by Clement of Alexandria (c. 150- c. 215), Origen (c. 185-c. 254) who was influenced by Clement and Gnostics and declared a heretic by the early church, Gregory of Nyssa (c. 330-c. 394), John Scotus Erigena (c. 810-c. 877), Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), Karl Rahner (1904-1984) and some others. The Council at Constantinople (AD 543) declared the universal salvation-restoration of humanity, as held by those early church fathers, to be heretical. [23] One scholar informs that, “Jerome, Augustine, and most evangelicals, while insisting on an eschatological restoration by Christ [Acts 3:21], deny the corollary assertion of the ultimate salvation of all men.” [24]

Though in Kruger’s opinion Young stands in Christendom’s “mainstream,” universalism belongs to a heretical minority and not the orthodox majority. Universalism-apokatastasis might be compared to an upstream tributary that flows into Indiana’s Wabash river which then connects to the Ohio and the Mississippi. As the waters of the Mississippi totally engulf the waters from the Wabash’s tributary, so the teaching of mainstream Christianity overwhelms belief in universal salvation. Further, just because the polluted waters of universalism flow within the “mainstream” does not mean they’re fit to drink or the fish safe to eat!

Introduction
• Young: “‘Words you will never hear God say.’ . . . I keep a record of wrongs.” (LWBAG, 15)
• The Apostle John: “The dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20:12; Compare Daniel 7:10.)
Comments: On this point, Young raises a half truth which he turns into a whole truth, and as such becomes a lie of a different sort, but a lie nonetheless. True. For those who are forgiven, God does not remember sins. Of Israel’s disobedience, Micah predicted that after judging the nation, Yahweh “will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19). For the nation’s disobedience Yahweh stated, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” (Isaiah 43:25) But, as the Scripture from Revelation 20 tells us, God remembers the sins of rebels and will, as any good prosecutor, “throw the book at them.”

Chapter 1
“God loves us, but doesn’t like us.”
• Young: “In the religious subculture in which I was raised, we all knew that God is love.  . . . But saying ‘God is love’ does not capture our question [Does God like us?]. . . .” (LWBAG, 27)
• Jesus Christ: “The Father himself loveth (Greek, phileo) you [the disciples], because ye have loved (phileo) me, and have believed that I came out from God.” (John 16:27)
• Jesus Christ: “Greater love (agape) hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (philon). Ye are my friends (philon), if ye do whatsoever I command you. (John 15:3-4)
• James the Brother of Jesus: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend (philos) of God.” (James 2:23)
Comments: This verb and noun for love (phileo/philos) means “to love . . . approve of . . . like . . . treat affectionately . . . kindly . . . [and] befriend.” [25] Yes, God engulfs in the arms of His love those who by faith come to Jesus to be forgiven of their sins and thereby become His sons and daughters. But God also likes us!   
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Truths We Believe about God 2

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for False Teaching, Spiritual Discernment

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A Biblical & Theological Rejection of Wm. Paul Young’s
 book, “Lies We Believe About God” (Second in a series.)

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation [“a matter of one’s own interpretation,” NASB]. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
—The Apostle Peter, 2 Peter 1:20-21

The Book’s Audience

Note the book’s title, Lies we believe about God. Though he may previously have believed “truths” he now labels “lies,” the book’s contents indicate Young no longer believes the lies he claims to expose. The use of the personal pronoun “we” in the title is therefore disingenuous, but designed to get readers to identify with his faith-struggle and reject what he believes are lies about God (Twenty-eight of them!). In other words, he might not be as “one” with all his readers as the use of “we” in the title implies, unless they too believe the lies. The book’s title might have been like, “Lies you believe about God,” or “Lies I used to believe about God.” But that would have sounded too preachy and judgmental in an evangelical culture addicted to feeling good about everything and believing nothing. No author or publisher wants to alienate potential buyers and readers. Better that he, his editor and publisher adopt a strategy of first connecting with a reading audience and then seducing them to reject truths the author calls lies, which the pronoun “we” attempts to do. Even though they might not understand the Christian faith as he does, with the title the author wants to lure readers into a “conversation” he hopes will change what they believe about God.

The Book’s Assertion

Young’s Big Lie: Everyone’s a child of God.
By stating one lie that “not everyone is a child of God” (LWBAG, Chapter 24), the author thereby infers the opposite to be true—that because they’re inside with the Tri-Personal God, “everyone’s a child of God.” In a previous chapter the author confronts a corolary lie, “You need to get saved.” (LWBAG, Chapter 13) Evidently, he views the word “saved” as archaic and inappropriate for his template. Point blank Young states:

Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal reconciliation?
That is exactly what I am saying!
This is real good news! (LWBAG, 118)

Perverting the Gospel
To him this gospel of universalism is “real good news”! (Contra 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.) Without exception, Young believes all people are children of God, even an atheist friend who he thinks is a child of God not because he believes in God, but because he’s a loyal family man and lives according to virtues like “Love . . . Life . . . Truth” (LWBAG, 204-205). Oh, by the way, it’s okay to have atheist friends. Admittedly, atheists can live moral lives, and that’s good. But like many nominal Christians, not all do. We can only wonder why Young employed a moral atheist as an example of universal reconciliation and not one of the grossly immoral atheists who deceived and murdered millions of people, villains who did not live according to “Love . . . Life . . . Truth.” Yet according to Young’s paradigm, these villains can be considered, even if they weren’t in this life, to have become or are becoming God’s friends (e.g., Marx, Stalin, Freud, Nietzsche, Shelley, etc.). But such negative examples would obviously insult the consciences of readers (they know these individuals were grossly wrong and beyond the pale of decency). But using a bad atheist as an illustration would contradict the point the author strives to make: that a good atheist is a child of God based upon the quality of life he/she lives despite in spite of not believing in God and Christ. What about atheists who in this life exhibited no standards of goodness, are they in heaven? If “everyone’s saved” as Young believes, then the answer must be, “Yes!” But such a scenario is biblically, morally and theologically repugnant, an affront to the righteousness in and by which God rules the universe. As the Psalmist declared, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee” (Emphasis added, Psalm 5:4; see 34:16; Habakkuk 1:13, etc.).
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Truths We Believe about God 1

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for False Teaching, Spiritual Discernment

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A Biblical & Theological Rejection of Wm. Paul Young’s
book, “Lies We Believe About God”
(First in a series.)

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
—The Apostle Peter, 2 Peter 2:1, KJV

Introduction
As promoted by the best-selling religious allegory The Shack, a non-Christian worldview is playing around with the mind and soul of evangelicalism even to questioning of salvation’s meaning. With the release of the movie by the same name, The Shack’s verbal images are now being visualized. Contemporaneously and capitalizing upon the publicity generated by the movie, yet another book by Wm. Paul Young has hit the market, Lies We Believe About God. [1] What Young covertly taught by allegory and metaphor in The Shack he now overtly teaches in Lies—teachings among others, regarding God, humanity, love, and salvation. Though Young considers The Shack to be fiction and story, he says, “Please don’t misunderstand me; The Shack is theology. But it is theology wrapped in story, the Word becoming flesh and living inside the blood and bones of common human experience.” [2] Now in Lies We Believe About God, the shrouded “story” plays a more minor role as Wm. Paul Young openly states his theology. Young continues to exert a compelling presence among mainstream evangelicals through his interviews, books and release of the movie, The Shack. Leaders Pat Robertson and James Robison have praised the movie. [3] Featuring the book’s author, the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) has recently aired a weekly program Restoring The Shack. [4]

Why Be a Christian?
But despite their popularity, Young’s teachings contradict what Scripture teaches about God, humanity, love and salvation (his contention being that all people are reconciled to God, are friends with God; i.e., universalism), and this conflict needs to be addressed. His revisionist thinking about “Christian beliefs” does not derive from seeing the faith through the lens of Holy Scripture, though he might pretend it to be otherwise, but rather through a prism of his life experiences and emotions. His devastating life experiences while growing up in New Guinea as an MK (Missionary Kid) may explain his journey as to why he has come to believe what he believes. But while the negative emotions aroused by his experiences, and similarly those of others, may explain why Young feels the way he does about some of the evangelical culture’s expressions of belief, they do not excuse his departure from biblical Christianity; that is, if biblical Christianity is to remain the true way of understanding and approaching God. The purpose of this writing is not to deal with all the issues Young raises in Lies We Believe About God. While he raises a few legitimate concerns which I might share, most of them are illegitimate. What I find irreconcilable with the authority of Scripture is the template he forces on the Christian faith and how wedded to his life experiences, he tries to fit the Bible and its teachings into the psychological and philosophical way he views the world.

For example, if as he states, all people are universally reconciled to God (Young: Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? . . . That is exactly what I am saying! LWBAG, 118), then why believe Christianity? (John 14:6) Isn’t that Young’s point by using an atheist as an example of being a child of God to disprove the lie, “Not Everyone is a child of God.”? (LWBAG, Chapter 24, 203-208) [5] If early Christians had not believed in the exclusivity of the Gospel, the Christian church’s genius would have been lost and Christianity would have reduced itself to the status of a sect in the first century. If I thought universalism to be true, I would possess no compulsion to believe Christianity or encourage others to place their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. If in the Trinity I along with every other soul on this planet already have an eternal and loving relationship with God, then no matter what I believe or how I behave I am going to be God’s friend and go to heaven anyway, right? It may take time to work out the friendship between God and me, but we’ll get there.
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The Physics of Heaven #12

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Quantum Spirituality, Spiritual Discernment

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Quantum Charismatics and “Popping Qwiffs” [1]

A Serial Book Review & Theological Interaction: Part 12 [2]

Review of Chapter 11, Strange Things Are Afoot by Ellyn Davis, [3] and Chapter 12, Quantum Mysticism by Ellyn Davis [4]

Quantum Leap—Mystic Manipulators
Because of the great deal of “strangeness afoot” in quantum physics, it has inevitably attracted metaphysical interpretation. Most of that interpretation has leaned towards using quantum physics to reinforce Eastern mystical beliefs about the nature of the oneness of all reality and the power of human consciousness to create and manipulate that reality. (TPOH, 113)
—Ellyn Davis

Jesus Power—“Popping Qwiffs”
It shouldn’t be a stretch for us to believe that, as “observers” to whom Jesus gave all power in heaven and earth, we can, through faith, intent, prayer and declaration, call things into existence. Jesus has given us the power, through our faith and intent, to “pop a qwiff” and bring things from the unseen world into the visible. (TPOH, 128)
—Ellyn Davis

Introduction
During the last century and one half, science has changed its view of reality; that is, how everything that comprises the universe is understood. The old scientific paradigm advocated by Sir Isaac Newton expected the universe to behave predictably like a clock. But in contrast to this mechanistic understanding of the cosmos, the new science understands the universe to be more of a mystery—that what constitutes the universe’s micro-reality behaves unpredictably. So according to the old scientific paradigm, scientists observed the universe for its obvious and predictable behavior, our solar system being an example. In contrast, quantum science looks at the universe according to its not-so-obvious and unpredictable behavior at the atomic and sub-atomic levels of reality. Physicists have discovered that though the macro universe appears to behave mechanically, the micro universe seems to behave mysteriously. Hence, Ellyn Davis remarks of this observable mystery that, “Quantum physics theories seem more like science fiction than science fact” (TPOH, 111). All of this, and more, raises the question, what is the essence of the cosmos in which “we live, and move, and have our being”? (See Acts 17:28.).

The “Enlightenment” of Physics
Until the beginning of the 20th century, science viewed the observable universe as a combination of matter and energy. This however changed when physicists began to surmise that the essence of the universe was light or energy that could at times appear as matter. The emerging physics proposed that the universe was made up of, as Davis states, “packets of energy” which at times acted like matter while at other times like light waves. The “energy packets” were called “quanta.” So physics “discovered” that as the author puts it, “at the most basic level of existence, everything is constantly vibrating energy and that every particle also possesses a wave character and every wave possesses a particle character.” (TPOH, 110) Hence the science of quantum physics was born.

A Science Shrouded in Mystery
According to the New Physics the essence of everything in the universe, animate or inanimate, consists of vibrating energy which can appear mysteriously as either waves or particles, depending upon how or when the phenomena is observed and who is doing the observing. Hence Davis titles her chapter, Strange Things are Afoot. She notes the baffling nature of the universe caused one physicist to remark, “If you are not completely confused by quantum mechanics, you do not understand it.” (TPOH, 111) Such is the mystery. However, all is not lost. To solve the mystery, some quantum physicists, New Age believers and Charismatics advocate that there’s a “consciousness connection” by which the human mind can find meaning in the universe as it explores and combines mystical spirituality with a scientific worldview.

Science Shrouded in Mysticism
In, of and by itself modern science can provide no ultimate meaning or significance for life. Paul Kalanithi (1977-2015), the brilliant brain surgeon who died of cancer at an early age, returned to the Christian faith of his family upbringing. He explained that, “to believe that science provides no basis for God, you are almost obligated to conclude that science provides no basis for meaning and, therefore, life itself doesn’t have any.” [5] The ability of science (immediate knowing about earth or what’s “down here”) is limited in providing meaning for the soul (ultimate knowing about heaven or what’s “up there”). So to try and make sense of a universe described as “shocking,” “absurd” and “confusing,” some physicists are turning to mysticism to experience the supernatural. In their quest Davis notes that “mystical ideas” inspired several of them. (TPOH, 114) As the German physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) has been quoted:

The great scientific contribution in theoretical physics that has come from Japan since the last war may be an indication of a certain relationship between philosophical ideas in the tradition of the Far East and the philosophical substance of quantum theory. [6]

Given the growing rapprochement between the science of the west and the spirituality of the east, New Age Religion has incorporated quantum theory to help define and embellish the spirituality it embraces and promotes. Assuming that “many quantum concepts appropriated by the New Age are actually distortions of Christian spiritual truths,” Ellyn Davis and other contributing writers to The Physics of Heaven also seek to find compatibilities between their Charismatic faith with modern science and New Age Spirituality. And to do so, Davis sets forth certain assumptions wherein agreement might be found between Charismatic Christianity and the mysterious-mystical spirituality of quantum physics and New Age spirituality.
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Christ or Allah

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment

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Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
—Jesus, John 17:3, NASB

For demonstrating solidarity with Muslims by wearing a head scarf and stating that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, a Wheaton College professor was recently placed on administrative leave by that evangelical Christian institution. This incident again raises issues about the compatibility of Christianity and Islam. With Pope Francis, Christians are stating both religions worship the same God, and that between the deities the Bible and Koran reveal there’s no essential difference (Or for that matter, with the God of Judaism either.). The reasoning promoting sameness might go something like this:

Judaism is monotheistic;
Christianity is monotheistic;
Islam is monotheistic;
Therefore, all three religions worship the same God.

But before dealing with the question as to whether Muslims and Christians worship the “same” God, some preliminary points need to be made regarding the issue.

Love
Both Jesus and Paul ordered that Christians are to love, pray for and do good to all people, neighbors and enemies (Luke 10:27). Counteracting the established attitude of His day—“You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy”—Jesus said, “But I say unto you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44). The Apostle Paul added that Christian believers are to “do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:10; Compare Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14.). So the Christian faith gives no warrant for its believers to hate and do violence toward those people whose religions do not agree with theirs.
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The Physics of Heaven #11

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Quantum Spirituality, Spiritual Discernment

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A Serial Book Review & Theological Interaction: Part 11
Review of Chapter 10: Spiritual Synesthesia by Larry Randolph [1]

God’s New Sound
I believe we are on the verge of experiencing Pentecost on a new level and in a new measure. Time and time again the prophets have declared that “something is coming,” and our hearts are filled with the expectation to receive all that God has for us. Even so, we still await the “fullness” of what we know is possible in God—a “fullness of Pentecost” for which the original Pentecost provided the down payment. (TPOH, 95)
—Larry Randolph

Introduction
The authors of The Physics of Heaven (TPOH), along with their New Apostolic Reformation associates, believe there’s a more powerful Pentecost coming, the experience of which will both engage and conflate all the human senses—sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. The sound of this Pentecost will stimulate a synesthesia of supernatural experiences. Human consciousness will be so overwhelmed by the powers of heaven that what will be heard will be simultaneously smelled, what will be touched will be simultaneously tasted, and so on. Previously weighted down by religious dogmas, the synesthesia of the second Pentecost will enable Christian souls to soar in heavenly places. Charismatic Christians will begin to experience “all the different ways Heaven expresses itself.” (TPOH, 106) “Speak to us God!” is the cry of those anticipating the visitation of the second Pentecost.

“Synesthesia” Spirituality
As indicated by the chapter’s title, the term Larry Randolph employs to describe experiencing this anticipated second Pentecost is synesthesia. In his book Alternative Realities, Leonard George states that, “Synesthesia occurs when . . . ‘cross-talk’ between the senses is so vivid that stimulating one sense triggers actual perceptual experiences in the other.” [2] To illustrate: “one’s visual field may be invaded by sparks of light in response to a sudden noise.” [3] According to George, synesthetic experiences can be induced by taking psychedelic drugs, listening to beating rhythms (i.e., drumming), meditating (Among the mystics, St. John of the Cross, St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa of Avila described their contemplative states in “synesthetic terms.” [4]), or be the result of “sensory leakage” caused by schizophrenia [5] or a developing brain tumor. [6]

So according to The Physics of Heaven, the anticipated second Pentecost will overwhelm human souls with cacophonies of sounds, kaleidoscopic visions of colors and conflations of numbers which alter recipients perceptions of and powers over reality. With this “cross-wiring of . . . spiritual senses, . . . the neural pathways of the spirit realm” will create “a myriad of spiritual encounters.” (TPOH, 98) As Randolph states, synesthesia spirituality will allow Charismatics to “interact with God in many more ways than . . . ever imagined.” (TPOH, 95) “This is the kind of heavenly sound” adds the author, “for which I’ve been longing.” (TPOH, 98) Welcome to the hallucinatory Pentecost!
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Was Paul a Mystic?

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Mysticism, The New Spirituality

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“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
—The Apostle Paul, Colossians 2:8

Introduction
Although defying exact definition because the practices and experiences of mystics are so various and mysterious, one dictionary defines mysticism as, “the doctrine of an immediate spiritual intuition of truths believed to transcend ordinary understanding, or of a direct, intimate union of the soul with God through contemplation and love.” [1] Note that in contrast to God revealing Himself in Scripture, mystical truth is individually, intimately, and immediately intuited through spiritual experiences.

In his book The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James identified four main characteristics of mystical experience: first, ineffability; second, noetic quality; third, transiency; and fourth, passivity. [2] James also notes that absorption, fusion, or union of the individual into the Absolute, or deity, is “the great mystic achievement.” He adds, “In mystic states we both become one with the Absolute and we become aware of our oneness.” [3] On this point, James apparently suggested a fifth characteristic of mysticism—absorption.

There are those who speak of “Christian mysticism” and assert that the apostle Paul was a mystic. [4] From his epistles, they cite his experience, that of going to Paradise, and his condition, that of being “in Christ,” as evidences of his mysticism. For this reason, it is incumbent upon Bible believers to understand what Paul was saying about his experiences.

To determine if Paul was a mystic, analysis shall be offered regarding the incident of his being carried to “the third heaven,” and his state of being “in Christ.” The apostle’s experience and spiritual state shall be evaluated according to William James’ five characteristics of mystical experiences to determine whether or not Paul was a mystic. We note first the two primary New Testament references causing some to deduce that the apostle was a mystic.
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Israel’s Last Battle in the Last Days

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Israel and Prophecy

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Gog against God: an Exposition and Study of Ezekiel 38-39

For, lo, thine enemies [O God] make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people [Israel], and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
Emphasis added, Psalm 83:2-4, KJV.

Introduction
The planet is in crises—political, military, economical, ecological, societal, spiritual, and more. According to news reports, crises seem to be popping-up all over the planet, especially in the volatile Middle East where, despite multiple attempts of western governments to bring peace to that region, the conflict between Israel, the Palestinian State and militant Islam defies solution. ISIS (Islamic State of Iran and Syria) now wages war to establish an Islamic Caliphate, and Iraq continues its quest, with the approval of western nations, to develop nuclear weaponry. If successful, Iran’s possession of this weaponry will further destabilize that volatile region of the world. [1]

Russia and Iran
With Iran closing in on becoming a nuclear power, the question becomes whether for the sake of national survival Israel will tolerate an enemy nation like Iran possessing a weapon to blast Jerusalem and its environs into extinction. If Israel decides to attack Iran’s developing nuclear installations, there is no telling how interested and surrounding  nations or Islamic terrorist groups will react (i.e., Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, ISIS, etc.). In an attempt to protect its economic interests in that area of the world, will Russia in alliance with Shiite Arab nations it supports, lead an invasion of the Holy Land?

Based upon Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea, his continuing agitation in eastern Ukraine, and the Kremlin’s support of the militant Islamic Shiite Resistance Alliance (i.e., Assad’s Syria, Iran and Hezbollah in Palestine), one observer thinks Russia’s real geo-political agenda is southward and involves establishing its hegemony in the Middle East. [2] With its economy in shambles for reason of western economic sanctions against her, Russia has her eye upon the Middle East’s wealth. To get cash for his strapped economy, Putin recently sold Iran sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles that could make Iran invulnerable to an air attack by Israel or other nations. [3] Despite the U.S. State Department’s  lame protest, and B.B. Netanyahu’s warning that the sale “could further undermine the stability of the Middle East,” the deal between Russia and Iran was signed. [4] So as Iran develops a nuclear bomb, it awaits delivery of a defensive weapons system that will make its nuclear development facilities invulnerable to attack by air.

Crazy Diplomacy
For many years economic sanctions have been levied against Iran by western nations. Though suffering from these sanctions, Iran continued to export and support terrorism in the Middle East. In 2010, Putin withdrew his offer to sell Iran the S-300 missiles. Now five years later, western nations, following the lead of the Obama administration and Secretary of State John Kerry, have brokered a treaty with Iran, an agreement which lifts economic sanctions and pours billions of dollars into Iran’s economy. Because of Iran’s sudden new found wealth, Russia, economic woes outstanding, seized the opportunity to reinitiate the deal with Iran to purchase the sophisticated air-defense missile system by which to defend itself against any air attack Israel might launch. The treaty also allows Iran to obtain nuclear weaponry in the future. And for all this, there’s talk of giving John Kerry a Nobel Peace Prize! Is this not crazy diplomacy? Yet all of this appears to be coming down as the biblical prophets predicted 1000s of years ago.

Millennia ago, ancient Hebrew prophets predicted the geo-political alignment of nations that can be observed today. In the “later days” Ezekiel saw that to Israel’s north, east and south, perennial enemies would unite to invade the Jewish state, plunder her wealth and attempt to drive her re-gathered people from the land.
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