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commentary: Liberalism and Today's Christianity

Biblical Illiteracy
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 02-Jul-11; Sermon #1055c; 10 minutes

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John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on a recent telephone call from an angry woman who argued vociferously that Colossians 2:14 proved that God's Law had been nailed to the cross, suggested that this woman had been perhaps hopelessly deceived by her church pastor, steeped in Protestant, antinomian theology. The impending economic, religious, and political colossus known as the Beast will similarly deceive countless numbers of people, as can be illustrated by the recent syncretistic admixture of Christianity and Islam known as Chrislam, endorsed by Rick Warren and Robert Schuler. Sadly, the majority of modern Israel demonstrates woeful biblical ignorance. Educator John Blake recently discovered how ignorant American college students are by floating the spurious scripture II Hesitations, "No internal combustion engines will exist in heaven," encountering not even one challenge from these naïve young lambs. As people become more biblically illiterate, it will not be difficult to deceive the majority of modern Israel's citizenry.




The biblical Beast, I strongly believe, is rising in our time, and it has been rising, slowly, revealing its shape, for many decades. Together with the Bible, we are seeing it is a political and an economic and religious colossus that is already affecting some. When it's fully formed, it will dominate those areas of life in many areas of planet Earth, but especially in the Western world, where most of the Israelitish people reside. When it comes to power, it will violently impose its will on the people subject to it. I believe the Bible especially shows the imposing will occur in the matter of religion, when the Bible warns that everybody will be required to worship the Beast. Very simply, it will be a matter of submitting or else, unless God intervenes for certain persons to advance His purposes.

What kind of religion will this universal religion be? Wouldn't we think that Americans, British, Canadians, Aussies, and other Israelites who supposedly have a Christian background would never submit to a departure from Christianity?

This week, Diane received a disturbing phone call from a woman who was displeased with what The Berean that she had just received said regarding a scripture. This woman was fervently ready. She believed to correct us, and she took it out on Diane. The woman was totally wrong regarding her understanding, but she believed she was absolutely right because that was the way she had been taught. So, she spoke to Diane in a non-stop fashion that allowed no conversation.

The verse in question was one that we always receive criticism about. It was Colossians 2:14, which the King James translates as, "blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross."

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God, the overwhelming majority of people immediately conclude that this verse is saying that the laws of God have been blotted out through Jesus' crucifixion. It says nothing of that sort at all. What it says is that the record of our sins, the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, was wiped out. Paul elsewhere says that the law is holy and righteous and good. The law is our friend and guide. It's not something that is against us.

Who taught this woman that that verse means what she attacked Diane with? Maybe she did her own research and came to that understanding. But I think that it's far more likely that she was taught that by a minister. That gives some pause for serious consideration regarding who has been and is teaching people what the Bible says.

This becomes more serious once we understand that much of this nation's political, economic, and religious elite are infected with liberalism, and that some, if not most, of the energy promoting liberalism was triggered in Protestant church movements. If we consider the woman who talked to Diane among the better informed and religiously fervent people in this nation, and she was totally wrong in this case, how much does the average Joe walking the streets in the United States know about Christianity?

I read an article this week by John Blake, who is a writer for CNN. This particular article was entitled, "What About Those Phantom Verses in the Bible?" Among these are:

"God helps those that help themselves."

"Spare the rod and spoil the child."

"God works in mysterious ways."

"Cleanliness is next to godliness."

None of these verses, as this Blake fellow said, appears in the Bible. The principles are certainly there, but not the specific verse, and yet people believe that they are in there.

A Rabbi at a Tennessee college said he had to persuade a student in his Bible class that "that dog won't hunt" is not in the book of Proverbs.

A religion professor at Hunt College in Holland, Michigan, each year quotes "II Hesitations 4:3" as saying, "There are no internal combustion and engines in heaven." In his class of Bible students, he declares that very few catch on.

Mr. Blake says that biblical ignorance in the United States is so pervasive that it even reaches groups of people who should know better. Well, there is room in this problem for many suggestions as to where the blame should go. But God says that His people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge, and that he lays—right in that same context—most of the blame on the ministry.

But now, as the Beast rises, this problem is becoming truly downright and openly dangerous. On June the 26th—that was Sunday that began this week—at the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C., and approximately 50 other churches in 26 states, readings from the Koran were used in their Sunday worship services. The public syncretization of Christianity and Islam has begun.

Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Brian McClaren, Richard Cizik and Billy Hybels—every one of them a big name in evangelical circles—recently signed a letter to the Islamic community entitled "Loving God and Loving Neighbor Together." This letter made it abundantly clear that they believe Allah and the Christian God are the same entity.

Did Jesus ever syncretize His way of life with the Pharisees and Sadducees—religious groups who were exceedingly closer in truth than Islam? He died without budging one inch toward giving up what He believed in order to save His life.

We are seeing evidences of prophecy being fulfilled, so be alert and do not lose heart. Be strong.

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