The Righter Report

Addressing the Problem of Evil

Renowned Christian theologian Ravi Zacharias addresses the issue of, “If a good God exists, why then is there evil?”

“Whenever a person raises the problem of evil, they are also positing the existence of good. When you say something is evil you assume something is good. If you assume there’s such a thing as good, you also assume there’s such a thing as a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. If you assume there’s such a thing as a moral law, you must posit a moral law giver, because if there’s not a moral law giver, there’s no moral law. If there’s no moral law, there’s no good. If there’s no good, there’s no evil. So what is their question?” – Ravi Zacharias

Righter Report Opinion: Free will. That’s another answer to the ‘why’ of evil. God created men and angels with free will, to do good or evil, so they can be free moral agents. This is for a limited time, until the final Judgment, or until God levies judgment on men or nations. God gave this free will because there is no true love without freedom to choose either God of Satan. He did this to allow men and angels to operate on their own accords – to test God’s ways, and see if their ways are better, so that in the end there can be a final comparison and determination about whose way was better. We actually see an illustration of this in the 1st and 2nd chapters of the Book of Job – God allowing Satan to challenge his ways.

In the end, God’s righteousness, along with his grace, love and mercy, will prevail, and evil will ultimately be extinguished – not by politically correct men, but by the hand of Almighty God.

– The Righter Report

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October 14, 2015 Posted by | Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , | Leave a comment

“THE” Angel of the Lord

In the Old Testament there is a very special ‘angel,’ although when you study this particular individual you will find that this really isn’t an angel at all, but none other than the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ – the God of Israel.

An important thing to note in studing this issue is to understand what the Hebrew word ‘malak’ means. In some passages it means angel. In another passage it is translated ‘messenger’ (Malachi 3:1). But in CONTEXT, when you see this particular angel (“THE” Angel of the Lord) in scripture, he is either speaking or acting as God.

As the linked article below notes, “Angel” in both Hebrew (malak) and Greek (aggelos or angelos) means a messenger, and Jesus as the Word of God (Jn 1:1; Re 19:13-note) is the ultimate Messenger sent from the Father with a message of the good news of God’s covenant love for sinful mankind…”

As you will see in the study, it is none other than Jesus Christ as God in the Burning Bush (Exodus chapter 3).

“At the burning bush, it was THE “Angel of the Lord” Who appeared and Who called to Moses from the midst of the bush; Moses “hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God”.

Exodus 3:2, 3, 4, 5, 6 – And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed…4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush & said, “Moses, Moses !” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then He (the Angel of the LORD) said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. 6 He said also, “I Am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (an allusion to God’s covenant first with Abram and passed on to and through Isaac and Jacob – see Abrahamic Covenant) Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (the Angel of the LORD)

TESTIMONIES FROM THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS

Justin Martyr – “Our Christ conversed with Moses out of the bush, in the appearance of fire. And Moses received great strength from Christ, who spake to him…”

Irenaeus – “The Scripture is full of the Son of God’s appearing: sometimes to talk and eat with Abraham, at other times to instruct Noah about the measures of the ark; at another time to seek Adam; at another time to bring down judgment upon Sodom; then again, to direct Jacob in the way; and again, to converse with Moses out of the (burning) bush.”

If you will spend a little time on this study – click the link below – you will understand anew who Moses was speaking with in the burning bush, and who this “Angel of the Lord” really is – the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ.

Special recognition and thanks to Precept Austin for making this study available.

THE Angel of the Lord

Jewish Rabbis Confirm the Messiah Would be God

– The Righter Report

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , | Leave a comment

God’s Warning to America

“On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, Messianic Jewish Rabbi, Jonathan Cahn, spoke at the fourth annual Washington—A Man of Prayer event held at the U.S. Capitol, delivered on the 226th anniversary of the inauguration of President George Washington. Cahn’s sermon in Washington was the most anointed prophetic utterance he has ever given, and many members of the Congress were in attendance.” – Freedom Outpost

A Powerful message by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jewish Rabbi. There’s no question in my mind that this was a God-given, Spirit-filled message, and a warning to our nation.

Excerpt: “Supreme Court Justices, can you judge the ways of God? Can you, with manmade verdicts, overrule the eternal laws of God? There is another court, and there is another Judge. And before Him, all men and all judges will give account. If a nation’s high court should pass judgment on the Almighty, should you then be surprised if the Almighty should pass judgment on that court and that nation?”

A transcript of the speech can be found at: http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/05/rabbi-jonathan-cahn-gives-america-a-final-warning/

– The Righter Report

May 7, 2015 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Government, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rabbi Reveals Messiah’s Name

The Prophecy of Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri and the Messiah’s Return

– The Righter Report

April 8, 2015 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , | Leave a comment

The Immanuel Prophecy

by Pete Righter

Overview: The date: 735 BC.

Israel, aka “Ephraim” (consisting of the northern ten tribes of Israel, i.e. the “Northern Kingdom”) and Judah – aka “The House of David,” or the “Southern Kingdom” – consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin – were at war with each other. Pekah, king of Israel, was allied with Syria in an effort to resist the more powerful forces of the Assyrian empire. Pekah and Syria also sought to overwhelm Judah, sack Jerusalem, take its spoils, and install a pro-Syrian regime, at which time the “now unified” forces of Israel, Syria, and Judah would be in a better position to stand against Assyrian aggression.

In the midst of this menacing scenario we find King Ahaz of Judah, a weak and wicked king who had taken over the throne the year before. In 2 Kings chapter 16 we read,

“Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.”

Ahaz and the people of Judah were beleaguered and frightened at the prospect of Jerusalem being sacked by the Northern forces.

It was at this time that the Lord God took notice of these events and called on the prophet Isaiah to visit with Ahaz and promise him undeserved deliverance. Isaiah and his son Shear-Jashub, subsequently met with Ahaz at the “end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field” and relayed God’s promise of deliverance. The Lord even told Ahaz to ask for a sign to confirm the promise. Amazingly, Ahaz rebuffed the Lord, saying, “I will not ask (for a sign), neither will I tempt the LORD” (7:12).

The Immanuel Prophecy:

Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you House of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

In other words, in less than a handful of years, the threats of Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Syria would be removed.

And thus, deliverance from the Lord for the House of David was provided. What’s more, the Bible records that seven centuries later, Isaiah’s prophecy and the Lord’s divine deliverance would came to full fulfillment not only in Israel and Judah, but to the entire world as well.

The Fulfillment (from Matthew chapter 1):

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Key objections concerning the Immanuel prophecy:

Objection 1 – The prophecy was not fulfilled because Jesus was never called Immanuel.

It is often common in the Bible for Biblical personalities to have more than one name, and/or one descriptor. For instance, King Solomon was also called Jedidiah (2 Samuel 12:24-25). And the Lord God himself was called El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty); El Elyon (The Most High God); Adonai (Lord, Master); Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah); Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner); Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), and Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness), just to name a few.

And even though Immanuel was not the everyday name of Jesus in the 1st century, the prophecy is open-ended and has no specific timeframe attached to it. In matter of fact, Jesus is called Immanuel today in any number of churches around the world, and many churches are aptly named, “The Church of Immanuel”.

It should also be noted that history records no other fulfillment to the name / person of Immanuel. And certainly not in the Old Testament. The name Immanuel is found only three times in the Jewish Tanakh: His birth prophesied (7:14); Immanuel’s “land” would eventually be invaded by the Assyrians (8:8); and Immanuel would thereafter shatter the future attacks on Israel / Judah, for “God is with us” (8:10).

Objection 2 – “Virgin” is not the correct translation for the Hebrew word almah in 7:14.

According to various critics, the Hebrew word for “virgin” in 7:14 that should have been used instead of almah is “betulah.” However, betulah comes with a lot of baggage. For instance, a betulah can be an older woman, rather than a young maiden, since the betulah in Joel 1:8 is a married woman “grieving for the husband of her youth”.

Additionally, the King’s concubines were referred to as betulahs even after they had spent the night with the king in Esther chapter 2.

What’s more, when betulah is used in reference to Rebekah as a virgin (Genesis chapter 24) it came with the qualifier, “nor had any man known her.” The qualifier wasn’t necessary when almah was used.

It should also be noted that an almah in ancient Judaism was always considered a virgin unless there was compelling evidence against her virginity.

The only word in Hebrew that can really signify a young maiden virgin is almah. Also, nowhere in Scripture is an almah seen as one who has lost her virginity.

Finally, when the Jewish rabbis translated the Jewish Tanakh into the Greek (Greek Septuagint) they used the Greek word for virgin “parthenos” – in Isaiah 7:14. That’s the same Greek word from which we get Parthenon- i.e. the Temple of the Virgin Athena!

Objection 3 – Jesus was born 700 years too late to fulfill the sign God have to Ahaz.

Even though the prophecy uses the definite article for the virgin, it nevertheless says nothing about the timing for the fulfillment of the prophecy. It is a future fulfillment, to be sure. In addition, the prophecy centered on, and was given to, the House of David as a whole (7:14) – to the Jewish people.

Some contend the “virgin” (almah, young maiden) was the wife of Isaiah. However, Isaiah’s wife was not a virgin, and the birth of their second son could hardly be considered a “sign” (an unusual occurrence given by the Lord), as the son was born in the usual way. Moreover, the second son – Maher-shalal-hash-baz – was never called or known as Immanuel.

Conclusion –

“In conclusion,” as Dr. Michael L. Brown (distinguished Messianic scholar and author of the 5-volume work, “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus”) notes, “there is no substance to the argument that Matthew misinterpreted Isaiah 7:14 when he claimed that the prophecy was fulfilled in Yeshua’s (Jesus’) virgin birth. To the contrary, his interpretation reflects genuine insight into a difficult passage of scripture that bears the mark of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”

Editor’s note: Re. the Star of Bethlehem, which was recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, and accompanied the birth of Christ.

The following quote is from the book “Killing Jesus,” by Bill O’Reilly, page 15 note:

“In 1991, The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society (volume 32, pages 389-407) noted that Chinese astronomers had observed a long-tailed, slow-moving comet in their skies during March of 5 B.C. This sui-hsing, or “star,” hung in the Capricorn region for more than seventy days. This same comet would have been visible in the skies over Persia, home of the Magi, in the hours just before dawn. Due to the earth’s orbital motion, the comet’s light would have been directly in front of the Magi during their journey – hence, they would have followed the star.”

God bless,

– The Righter Report

March 1, 2015 Posted by | Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Three Little Trees – A Christmas Story

Intently studying the new Christmas tree that her mother and father had just erected in their foyer, little Christina slowly walked up to it and was immediately taken with the wonderful aroma of pine cones and winter frost that still lingered on its branches.

“Mommy, why do people have Christmas trees,” Christina asked? “Oh, I suppose that the Christmas tree means different things to different people, honey,” the mother cheerfully replied, as she worked the string of Christmas lights through the branches of the tree. “But mommy, what does it mean for us – for you and me and for daddy?” The child-like innocence of Christina’s question made her mother hesitate and stop what she was doing. She turned around and sat down on the floor, crossed her legs and gently lifted little Christina into her lap.

“Christina, honey, I don’t know what the Christmas tree means to other people, but I can tell you about all the wonderful things I think about when I see one.” Let me tell you a little story. And starting with the birth of Jesus, she told Christina all the wonderful news about his birth, his life, his death, and his resurrection, and what it all meant. And then to put it into a child’s perspective the mother smiled and said, “You see, long ago on a mountain top, far, far away, there were three other little trees. And as they started to sprout their branches and reach for the sky, they each dreamed about what they wanted to become when they grew up.

The first tree looked up to the stars and said, ‘I want to be a treasure chest. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I want to be the most beautiful treasure chest the world has ever seen.’

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean and said, ‘I like the water. I want to be a mighty sailing ship carrying kings on their journeys across the seas. Why, I’ll be the strongest ship in the whole world!’

The third little tree looked down into the valley below and saw the hustle and bustle in the streets and the hectic pace of the people in the village and said, ‘I don’t want to leave the mountain top. I really like it here. I want to grow up and be so tall that when people look at me, they’ll raise their eyes and look up to heaven and think of God. Why, I’ll be the tallest tree in the whole world!’

Years passed. The rains came and the winds blew, the sun shone bright, and the little trees grew tall and strong. And then one day three woodcutters climbed up the mountain .

The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, ‘This tree is beautiful. I have something special I want to make from it, and it’ll be perfect for me.’ And with one mighty swoop of his woodcutter’s axe, the first tree fell.

‘Now, the time has come for my dream to come true,’ the first tree thought. ‘Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, and surely I shall hold wonderful treasures!’

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, ‘This tree is strong. It will be perfect for me.’ And with a swing of his powerful axe, the second tree fell to earth.

‘Now my dreams also will come true,’ thought the second tree. ‘I will be hewn into a mighty ship to sail the seas, and great kings will ride my bow!’

But then the third tree felt her heart sink when the third woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to the heavens. ‘Remember, I want to stay on the mountain top, she cried.’

But the woodcutter never looked up. ‘Any tree will do for me,’ he muttered. And with a powerful swing of his shining axe, the third tree thundered to the earth.

The first tree continued to rejoice when the woodcutter brought him into the carpenter’s shop. But his joy was turned to sorrow when the carpenter fashioned him into a simple feed trough for animals. Instead of being covered with precious gold and jewels, he was now covered with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals to eat.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her into the shipyard. ‘Now, my dreams will also come true!’ she thought.

But no mighty sailing ship was christened that day. Instead the once mighty oak was whittled, hammered, and sawn into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and frail to sail the mighty oceans, or navigate the raging rivers. Instead, crestfallen, she was taken to an inland sea, and there she would spend her days.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut into her strong and weathered timbers, and left her in a cluttered woodpile in the lumberyard. ‘What happened?’ asked the tree that once pointed to the heavens. ‘All I ever wanted was to grace the top of the mountain and point to God.’

Again, the years passed by. The dreams the little trees once had were nearly forgotten. But then, something wonderful happened. In the distance, the angels were heard singing to the shepherds. A bright and shining star began its transit across the heavens, and came to its place of rest above the hewn out timbers of the first tree, where a beautiful young mother placed her newborn son into the feedbox.

‘I wish I had time to make a cradle for him,’ the father whispered. The mother gently squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight glistened off the smooth and sturdy wood.

‘Why this manger is beautiful,’ she said. ‘There is no need for another.’

And suddenly, the first tree knew that God had honored his dream, and that he was now holding the greatest and most precious treasure in the whole world.

‘God sure works in mysterious ways,’ he thought, ‘but this is better than anything I could have ever imagined.’

Some years later, a kindly stranger and his friends crowded into an old fishing boat. The weary traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out upon the moonlit sea. But soon, a terrible storm arose. The rains came, the winds grew fierce, and time after time the waves crashed into the little boat, sending it reeling from side to side. The little tree shuddered and grew afraid. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers through such a raging storm. Then, the kind but tired traveler awoke. He took hold of the mastline and stood up on the bow of the little vessel, stretched out his hand, and said, ‘Peace, be still.’ The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly, the second tree knew that she was carrying the greatest King who had ever lived, and that in some mysterious way, God had also made her dreams come true.

Shortly thereafter, early on a Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched when she was carried through an angry, jeering crowd. She shuddered when the soldiers nailed the arms and feet of a weary and bleeding man to her cross timbers. She felt ugly, cruel, and harsh. In the middle of the day, the sky turned dark. And when it was over, a terrible earthquake shook the ground, and made the third little tree long for the peace and serenity of its favorite mountain top, and the now-forgotten dreams that seemed so real, not so long ago.

But early on a Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third little tree looked upon the risen Savior, and rejoiced that God’s mysterious love had now changed everything. The third tree remembered her dream – ‘I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God.’ It made the tree glad. Now, whenever people think of that third little tree, they think of God. And surely that was better than being the tallest tree in the whole world.’

“So you see, Christina, God really does make dreams come true, though not always in the ways we expect. When I look at a Christmas tree, I remember the birth of Christ. I see the first little tree that was made into a manger. I remember the second little tree that our Savior rode in and calmed the great storm that rose up. And I remember that last little tree upon which our Lord was crucified, and how precious it also was. These are the things I think about when I see a Christmas tree.”

Glory be to God. And Merry Christmas to all.

– The Righter Report

December 3, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , | Leave a comment

We Need God in America Again

November 13, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Opinion, Politics, Theology, Theology Articles | , , | Leave a comment

God’s Little Troublemakers

By Pete Righter

Some years back if you’d been watching any sports events on TV, you probably saw this one commercial for Lite beer. And there was this one guy – I think his name was Bob Eucker – who always liked to go up into the stands at baseball and football games and stir up trouble. He’d sit down between two guys who were drinking Lite beer and nudge one of them in the ribs and say something like, “That guy sitting on the other side of me says that Lite Beer tastes great.” Well that would get the first guys attention and he’d say, “Oh yeah?” Then he’d turn to the other guy and tell him the first guy said that Lite beer is less filling. And that guy would then get up and look at the first guy and yell, “Tastes great!” And the other guy would yell back, “Less filling!” And the war would be on. The whole stadium would be in an uproar. Then the camera would pan back at Bob Eucker and he would just be sitting back there yucking it up at all the trouble he’d caused.

Well, I’m here today to tell you that God has his own little troublemakers. Wherever the full gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached, God’s little troublemakers are at work. But their mission is to save lives, not stir up unnecessary trouble. Keep that story about Bob Euker in mind as we read from the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Acts:

“Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin (the members of the Jewish ruling council who were trying to sentence Paul to death) and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this, the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to Ananias, “God will strike you – you white-washed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourselves violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees (who didn’t believe in the resurrection and afterlife), and the others Pharisees (who did believe in it), called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, and I stand on trial today because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he had said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. And there was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who spoke out who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously…..The dispute became so violent that the Roman commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and rescue him by force, and take him back to the barracks. The council was in an uproar.”

One of God’s little troublemakers had struck! Less filling! Tastes great! That’s the kind of thing you sometimes run into when you’re preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some years ago, an old English preacher by the name of Smith Wigglesworth remarked, “If you leave people as you found them, God is not speaking through you. If you are not making people either mad or glad, there is something wrong with your ministry. If there’s not a (spiritual) war going on, you’re not doing your job.”

Another commentator, a gentleman by the name of Arthur Wallis, speaking on the apostolic style of preaching that we see in the Book of Acts, said, “Such preaching makes indifference to the word of God impossible – it sets the hearers into one of two camps. It’s calculated to either produce a revival or a riot.”

Whether we like it or not, God’s people are sometimes called on to “rock the boat,” and to preach a confrontational gospel. And just what is a confrontational gospel? It’s any message that preaches the entire gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a message that not only tells the world that Christ is the only way to salvation and eternal life, but it’s also a message that confronts unrighteousness, exposes ambivalence, and challenges people to reexamine their lives to see if they have made Christ not only their Savior, but also the Lord of their lives. The Bible doesn’t say that Jesus is our Lord or Savior. It says he is our Lord and Savior! And when you acknowledge that and advance his gospel with all the dedication, vigor and passion that you can possibly muster, then you too will have become one of God’s “little troublemakers.”

America today is at a crossroads. We have traded in the “tastes great” gospel of Jesus Christ for one that is “less filling.” We have sought to make ungodly people godly without converting them from their sin. We have taught grace without godliness, salvation without repentance, and tolerance in lieu of moral outrage. And as a nation, we have strayed far from the commandments of God.

As Carl Henry so eloquently noted, “America has turned its back on God. It mocks God. Instead it worships a twentieth century Baal, incarnated in sensuality, materialism, and immorality of every kind.”

We see this even in some of our mainline churches today. Over one hundred years ago, Catherine Booth remarked, “It is a bad sign for the Christianity of this day when it provokes so little opposition from the world. When the Church and the world can jog along together side by side comfortably, you may be sure there is something wrong.”

America has gone from a righteous, Christian nation to a predominately pagan, “anything goes” moral sewer of a society, where in the name of tolerance and appeasement we ordain practicing homosexual ministers, engage in the genocide of millions of unborn children, and then we go home and quietly lay down on our couches because we don’t want to give anyone the appearance of being judgmental or intolerant. Do we hate God so much that we will let these outrageous deeds pass without so much as even raising our voices for what’s right in his eyes? Are we so fearful of mortal man and public opinion that we no longer fear the wrath of the Almighty and Invincible King of Kings and Lord of the universe? Are we so gutless and timid about speaking out that we can ignore the righteous blood of Christ and his apostles, who cry out to us from heaven to take a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God? Is this what our faith has come to?

God’s “Little Troublemakers” are a peculiar breed of individuals. They exemplify the notion that once a person is “born from above” and regenerated with the burning fire of God’s Holy Spirit, they then become the instruments of God’s divine plan. God’s word is indelibly inscribed on their hearts and souls. They are incensed when people twist and distort the scriptures in an effort to justify their worldly passions. They start loving the things that God loves and hating the things God hates. Issues of legality and morality are seldom shaded in gray. Matters of conscience become crystal-clear, black and white, good or evil. They have a burning and unquenchable desire to win souls for Christ. The Spirit of Christ compels them. Christianity ceases to become some warm and fuzzy once-a-week Sunday side-show. Instead, it is now a 24 hour-a-day, God-wrought crusade against evil and deception for the salvation of souls. They know that heaven and hell are real, and that we are daily involved in eternal life-and-death struggles for the redemption of mankind. They see worldliness, materialism, and self-gratification as Satan’s time-consuming distractions that only result in more and more people arriving in hell each day. They marvel that the rest of the world is so caught up in it that it hasn’t figured this out yet.

Once anointed with the Holy Spirit, “God’s Little Troublemakers” no longer have a fear of mortal man. They would just as soon walk up to the antichrist and read him the riot act as look at him. They are God’s little spiritually-impassioned wrecking-balls of evangelism and conviction. Though imperfect in the flesh, they are emboldened by the Spirit. Though looked upon as so much self-righteous, despicable rubbish by unregenerate men, they are seen as precious in the eyes of the Lord.

And the paradox of the Old and New Testament prophets and disciples is this: Ultimately, they gave their lives so that others might have the words of eternal life. Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for another.

Now there’s absolutely no doubt that when a confrontational message is preached, there will come those from the pews of our churches and from society at large who will say, “Judge not and you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). In reality, their sole intent is to stifle the messenger so they won’t be convicted of their iniquity.

People today are so afraid to speak out on an issue and be labeled as judgmental and intolerant that they’re not speaking out at all. They’re allowing our nation to be utterly destroyed by all manner of iniquity. People who are starting to feel the heat of the conviction of the Holy Spirit for their sins, and who are uncomfortably squirming in their seats, love to quote that verse about not judging just to try to shut you up. They can’t stand the heat. Jesus is not saying that we cannot make judgments about sin – he is saying that we should not be hypocrites if we do. In Matthew 7:5 he says, “You hypocrite, FIRST take the plank out of your own eye, AND THEN you can see clearly TO REMOVE the speck that is in your brothers eye.” Note that it’s okay to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Just make sure that first there’s not a plank in your own eye.

Now I want to remind you that the world generally despised and rejected Jesus Christ. He was looked upon as a radical extremist and a troublemaker of the first order. Today, the unregenerate world looks upon him simply as either a myth or a minister of love, peace and tolerance. But love is often confrontational. It speaks the truth even when the truth is unpopular. Regarding peace, Jesus said (Matthew 10:34-36), “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (the sword of the Spirit – the word of God – note Hebrews 4:12). For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s own enemies will be members of his own household.” Preaching the entire word of God will do just that. And as for tolerance, Jesus was anything but tolerant. Not once did he compromise God’s word for man’s. He rebuked hypocrisy, exposed sin, and regularly confronted the scurrilous and demonic doctrines of the corrupt religious leaders of his day.

You may remember another one of God’s little troublemakers, Stephen. You see him in Acts chapters six and seven. Stephen was “a man full of God’s grace and power, and he did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” But the Bible says that opposition arose against him. Why? Because his message was a threat to the religious establishment of his day – an establishment that rejected Jesus Christ and those who proclaimed his message. Here again was a man who would not compromise God’s word for the doctrines of the world. He was wholly and totally committed to God. He was on fire for the Lord. And he was brought into the council of the Sanhedrin to account for his testimony. And here’s what happened next: After a long litany of historic review about the nation of Israel, Stephen looked at the members of the Sanhedrin and cried out,

“You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears!
You always resist the Holy Spirit. Was there ever a prophet
your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who
predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you
have betrayed and murdered him – you who have received the
law that was put into effect through angels, but have not
obeyed it!’ When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this
they were furious, and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen,
full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory
of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’
he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at
the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears, and
yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed him….and
they dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death.”
(Acts 7:51-58)

They were furious! They gnashed their teeth and screamed at the top of their lungs! The council was in an uproar.

One of God’s little troublemakers had struck again! So much for “tolerance.” And look at what happened when Stephen rebuked those obstinate people for their sins – the Glory of God appeared! Imagine, if Stephen were standing here today and spoke out against the backslidden and the unregenerate, and he said:

“You stiff-necked and rebellious people – you, who continue to resist the Holy Spirit, reject Jesus Christ, and live for yourselves. What hope can there possibly be for you? When, if ever, are you going to get yourselves right with the Lord?”

How popular would that be?

Why was John the Baptist beheaded? Was he a reed swayed by the breeze of political correctness? Was John one of those guys who wanted everyone to be his buddy? Was he someone who sought after his own well-being and personal indulgences? John the Baptist spoke out strongly against the corrupt religious leaders of his day. He went after King Herod and reminded him of his adultery. He called the Sadducees and Pharisees a “Brood of Vipers!” He wasn’t playing the world’s game and looking out for his own welfare and popularity. He wasn’t practicing “tolerance” and preaching a watered-down gospel that sends people to hell. He was preaching the word of God, trying to turn someone to repentance and salvation, and for that he was labeled a troublemaker and eventually put to death.

Why was Paul beaten and persecuted? Why was James put to death with the sword? Why were the prophets and the apostles martyred? They didn’t go after these guys for preaching love and tolerance. They went after them because they exposed sin, corruption, and idolatry, and took a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God. They were God’s little troublemakers, and the world couldn’t handle it. The world stood convicted of its sin, and in order to justify its own worldliness and unrighteousness it chose instead to kill the messengers. Sound familiar?

And herein lies the crux of this message: Exposing sin and confronting apathy and unrighteousness are critically essential to salvation. Without conviction there is no need for a savior. And if the world has no need for a savior, then Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection has absolutely no relevance or significance.

Now for those in the church who say we shouldn’t “rock the boat,” I ask: “What kind of baptism and faith do we have that calls for almost no separation from the world, produces no personal sacrifice, and breeds practically no animosity towards sin? What kind of born-again experience is it that makes Christ our Savior, but fails to make Him Lord of our lives? And what kind of faith is it that permits us to follow the dictates of this world, and pursue our own pleasures, wants, and feelings, rather than the commandments of God?” What kind of faith is that? James calls it “dead faith.” Where is the evidence of our salvation and new birth if we’re not trying to follow God’s word? We say, “Just confess Jesus and you’re saved.” Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter into heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father.” We say, “Just say this simple prayer and you’re in.” He says, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

A man by the name of Thomas Kempis once wrote, “Many follow Jesus unto the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of His passion.”

Now would you like some sound, scriptural proof that the compromised Church of Jesus Christ has been inundated by the worldly doctrines of tolerance and appeasement? Simply put, there is little or no persecution of Christians in America. Persecution arises when the Gospel of Christ becomes a threat to a perverse and degenerate society. Persecution is evidence that Satan’s demonic empire is being threatened – that sin and corruption are being exposed, and that Satan and his people are starting to feel the heat. Persecution is evidence that one of God’s little troublemakers has smashed the foundations of a self-righteous society, and by God’s righteous Spirit, has brought conviction to the masses. Yet today, the confrontational gospel has yet to shake the foundations of the church, much less the world.

Contrast that with the confrontational message of the early prophets and apostles. King Herod and his “wife” were so incensed by the impassioned discourse of John the Baptist that they had him imprisoned and beheaded. Paul’s teachings so enraged the idol makers of Ephesus that the silversmiths and craftsmen stirred up an enormous riot that almost resulted in Paul’s death. And Stephen’s message before the Sanhedrin so infuriated the Pharisees that they gnashed their teeth and turned into a raging mob. Time after time, from the Old Testament to the New, God’s little troublemakers spoke out against the scourges of political correctness and condemned evil and iniquity. Time after time, they were alienated, branded as troublemakers, and were beaten and put to death for exposing lies, greed, and deception. The world was not worthy of them. They were the ancient gladiators of truth and justice, and they served God with humility and honor. Great are their rewards in heaven. I, for one, am grateful and envious of their passion, courage, and perseverance.

So let this lesson serve you well. Come out of the world and into the faith. Dare to recognize that your eternal rewards are far more encompassing than your earthly desires. Realize that you cannot be a friend of this world and serve Christ too. You will only love the one and hate the other. And understand that in serving your earthly passions you will not only fail to bring the word of salvation to those who tomorrow may pass from this earth into hell, but you will also ultimately antagonize your Creator, to whom you must someday give a full and honest accounting for all you’ve done, or failed to do in this life.

Acknowledgments to Dr. Michael L. Brown and his book, “It’s Time to Rock the Boat,” which formed the backbone of this message.

– The Righter Report

September 27, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Were the Founding Fathers Deists?

Were the Founding Fathers Deists, and why does it matter?

by Pete Righter

One might be surprised at how many people today believe the mantra that the founding fathers were deists, in spite of the historical evidence to the contrary.   What’s not surprising in our culture today is that very few people have done their due-diligence on the subject to the point where (1) they understand what deism is, and (2) why it’s important that we understand its influence – or lack thereof – in the founding of our nation.

First, what is Deism?

Deism, the religious attitude typical of the Enlightenment, especially in France and England, holds that the existence of God can be only proved based on the application of reason and the world can be discovered through observation experience and reasoning. A Deist is defined as “One who believes in the existence of a God or Supreme Being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.” Deism was often synonymous with so-called natural religion because its principles are drawn from nature and human reasoning. In contrast to Deism there are many cultural or revealed religions, such as Judaism, Trinitarian Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and others, which believe in supernatural intervention of God in the world; while Deism denies any supernatural intervention and emphasizes that the world is operated by natural laws of the Supreme Being. – Wikipedia, “Deism in England and France in the 18th century.”

“Deism has come to denote the theological belief that God created the universe according to scientific laws, but does not interfere in its daily operation.”  – The New World Encyclopedia

 Deism: “[From Latin Deus, God Deity] The doctrine or creed of a Deist.” “One who believes in the existence of a God or supreme being, but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.” – Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1941.

Deism is not a religion, but a religious philosophy. It advances the theory that God exists, that He created the universe, but does not intervene in the affairs of humankind. – ushistory.com.

Deism, as it came to be known in Colonial America, was largely advanced by the French philosopher and historian Voltaire, who believed during the “Enlightenment” that God was little more than a watchmaker who wound up the universe and then sat back and did not further involve himself in the affairs of men and nations.  This movement, if you will, was part and parcel of an effort to de-Christianize French society and replace Christianity with rationalism and pagan philosophies.  The movement was critical of traditional institutions and essentially sought to discard long-revered moral principles and beliefs.

 Based on the definitions above and elsewhere, the two principle beliefs of Deism were:

 1. Although God created the universe, he did not intervene in the affairs of men and nations.  He did not guide men into the founding of nations, or do miracles, or answer prayer, or provide providential protection to his followers.

2. God did not give divine / revealed revelation to man (i.e. the Bible, prophecy, etc.)

 I think one would be hard pressed to find many our founding fathers who fit those descriptions.

Why is all this important?

Today we have a “progressive” movement in America which seeks to expunge or minimize any mention of God, along with his moral values and teachings, from the public square and from American’s traditional Godly heritage.  Their thinking is if they can eliminate the Judeo-Christian God and his influence from America’s historical writings and from the public square, it will be easier to promote their godless agenda into American life.  And if there has to be a god, then it will be one who has no moral agenda and one who will not interfere in the affairs of men and nations – i.e. the god of deism.

The dangers in that kind of thinking are obvious:  First, it’s historical revisionism.  And second, it negates the providence and moral foundations of God in our American culture and historical foundations.

How widespread was deism among America’s Founding Fathers?

Dr. M. E. Bradford of the University of Dallas conducted a study of the Founding Founders to look at this question (whether the Founding Fathers were deists or Christians). He discovered the Founders were members of denominations as follows: twenty-eight Episcopalians, eight Presbyterians, seven Congregationalists, two Lutherans, two Dutch Reformed, two Methodists, two Roman Catholics, and three deists. – Reference: M. E. Bradford, A Worthy Company: Brief Lives of the Framers of the United States Constitution (Marlborough, NH: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1982), iv–v.

 That’s correct – only three deists.

I think if one is skeptical of what was just presented then all one needs to do is perform a comprehensive study of quotations from the founders, keeping in mind the two main principles of deism:  no divine revelation to man and no influence or interaction in the affairs of men and nations.  A good reference source for study is the book in the photograph at the top of this article – “America’s God and Country” – Encyclopedia of Quotations, by William J. Federer. All quotations are referenced.

With this in mind let’s take a look at four of the Founding Fathers most often claimed to be deists by the progressive movement.

 Benjamin Franklin

In his younger years, Franklin was influenced by the writings of Robert Boyle, a 17th Century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor.  As a defender of the Christian faith, Boyle made a series of arguments against deism, but it was the arguments of deists in Boyle’s writings which appeared to have made a more lasting impression with Franklin, and for a time Franklin embraced deism.  These influences did not have a lasting effect on Franklin, though, and by the time of the American Revolution, Franklin had done a “180” and was a firm believer in the divine revelation and providence of the Biblical God.

On June 28, 1787, after much gridlock in the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin spoke the following:

“In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. — Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.

I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that “except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.”

It’s pretty obvious that Franklin believed in a God who did involve himself in the affairs of men and nations, and Franklin also alludes to the New Testament as “Sacred Writings,” which also reveal God’s revelation to man.   Franklin was no deist.

George Washington

He (Washington) was an open promoter of Christianity. For example, in his speech on May 12, 1779, he claimed that what children needed to learn “above all” was the “religion of Jesus Christ,” and that to learn this would make them “greater and happier than they already are”; on May 2, 1778, he charged his soldiers at Valley Forge that “To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian”; and when he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the military on June 8, 1783, he reminded the nation that “without a humble imitation” of “the Divine Author of our blessed religion” we “can never hope to be a happy nation.” Washington’s own adopted daughter declared of Washington that you might as well question his patriotism as to question his Christianity. (David Barton, Wallbuilders.com)

In addition, the inscription on Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon is this:

WITHIN THIS ENCLOSURE REST THE REMAINS OF GENL. GEORGE WASHINGTON.” Over the door of the inner tomb is inscribed: “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.”

Thomas Jefferson

 Thomas Jefferson was hardly speaking from a strict deist standpoint when he said:

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?  Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”  (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781)

Now, why should Jefferson tremble for his country if God does not involve himself in the affairs of men and nations?

And then there’s this:

“I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all  the necessities and comforts of life.” (Monday, March 4, 1805, in his 2nd Inaugural Address)

Another oblique reference to the Bible.  Remember, a strict deist was one who believed God was like a watchmaker, who wound up the universe and thereafter did not involve himself in the affairs of men and nations.  Jefferson obviously believed otherwise.

James Madison

James Madison trained for ministry with the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon, and Madison’s writings are replete with declarations of his faith in God and in Christ. In fact, for proof of this, one only need read his letter to Attorney General Bradford wherein Madison laments that public officials are not bold enough about their Christian faith in public and that public officials should be “fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.” And while Madison did allude to a “wall of separation,” contemporary writers frequently refuse to allow Madison to provide his own definition of that “wall.” According to Madison, the purpose of that “wall” was only to prevent Congress from passing a national law to establish a national religion.  (David Barton, Wallbuilders.com)

Miscellaneous Quotations

Concerning the outcome of the American Revolution, John Quincy Adams noted, “The highest glory won from the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

In a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated June 28, 1813, John Adams wrote: “The general principles on which the (founding) fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity.”

Founding father Noah Webster proclaimed much the same message when he said, “The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles…This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.”

Time after time, the founding fathers declared similar beliefs. From the archives of Patrick Henry’s personal notes (handwritten on the back of his copy of the “Stamp Act Resolutions,” made public after his death) we read:

“Whether this (new government) will prove a blessing or a curse will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation.”

https://righterreport.com/2011/07/16/the-moral-foundations-of-america-2/

Concluding Remarks:  And so it goes, from one Founding Father to the next.  The most frequent and most  dominate influence among the founders was the Bible (divine revelation to man) which was referenced in some 34% of the founding father’s quotations.  The vast majority of the founders believed in an active God who not only gave divine revelation to man, but who was also providential in the affairs of men and nations.

References: 

America’s God and Country” – Encyclopedia of Quotations, by William J. Federer.  All quotations are referenced.

“The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible. David Barton. May 2008. http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=8755

– The Righter Report

 

June 15, 2014 Posted by | America, Human Interest, Opinion, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paul Harvey’s Warning to America

“If I were the Devil I would…”

May 26, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Opinion, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , | Leave a comment