False Profits and False Prophets

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for False Teaching

Greed: the opportunity for spiritual deception.

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. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness [in their greed, NASB] shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Peter 2:1-3a, KJV

First came WorldCom, and then came Enron. By creating fraudulent reports of illusory earnings, both corporations bilked thousands of naïve investors out of their hard earned life savings. Then came Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federal lending agencies that doled out billions of dollars in mortgage loans to borrowers who had little chance of repaying them. “Fannie and Freddie” proceeded to sell the bad loans to banks that in turn pawned them off to other banks that yet again, resold the bad loans other banks. Banks were bankrupted, the Dow was halved, people’s retirement funds were pilfered, and the whole nation looked to the federal government to bail the nation out of the financial crisis, a mess which in essence, was the result of human greed. So to refill the coffers of the bankrupt banks, the President and Congress created a federal “stimulus package” of trillions of dollars that further mortgaged America’s future. We’re paying off one credit card by borrowing on another. With such a monetary policy, the American dream may well turn into an American nightmare. It’s craziness to think that anyone, including the federal government, can borrow itself out of debt. But there’s more . . . Greed’s also rampant in our economy’s private sector.
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On Theosis, or Divinization

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemplative Spirituality, Mysticism

What does it mean to be “partakers of the divine nature”?

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (emphasis added) – 2 Peter 1:4, NASB.

Introduction

As defined by the Orthodox Church, deification (theosis) postulates that a Christian can become subjected to

God’s full and perfect penetration . . . in which [state of being] the operations and energies of human nature cease, having been replaced by the Divine Operations and Energies. [1]

Though it has been part of “the spirituality” of the Orthodox Church for centuries, belief in divinization or theosis is emerging amongst today’s evangelicals.

Over two decades ago, Al Dager noted a trend among some Charismatics:

But we are now hearing from prominent teachers in the Christian media that man was created with a divine nature which was lost due to the introduction of sin. By being born again by the Spirit of God we lose our sin nature and regain our divine nature. [2]

Greg Boyd, who advocates both open theism and contemplative spirituality, forthrightly states:

We no longer have a “sinful nature”. [3]

To this point (though personally I do not believe he believes in deification), John MacArthur has written that early believers “were little Christs,” because they were first called Christiani at Antioch (i.e., “belonging to the party of,” Acts 11:26). [4] Though Jesus warned of “false Christs,” neither He nor His apostles called believers “little Christs” (Matthew 24:24; cf. 1 John 2:18).

Again, MacArthur’s inference that God “was right inside” the pagan philosophers at Mars Hill is troubling. [5] God is right inside believers only! The Apostle Paul wrote: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9; cf. John 3:3, 7).

Yet if scriptural precedent exists for the Christian to attain unto divinity,

The only biblical text which seems to bear directly on deification is II Peter 1:4, where the destiny of Christian believers is described as becoming “partakers of the divine nature”. [6]

Dager too noted that the man-becomes-god teaching “is based upon a theosophical interpretation of II Peter 1:4 . . .” [7]

So the question becomes, does Peter’s reference to partaking of the divine nature support the teaching that in this life a Christian can become deified? On the face of it, Peter might appear to be teaching that possibility. But upon a deeper investigation of the text, he does not.
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