Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Faith Versus the World

Monday, January 30, 2017

Faith Versus the World

Faith Versus the World

Reverence for the Word of God is a quality of faith that often slips from our thought life like butter on a warm knife.  Because the Bible is so readily available to most believers, they tend to forget that the Words upon its pages are holy Words that have come from the very heart and mind of God.  In other words, God has taken the time to communicate with humanity in a manner that transcends generations in the written Word of God. 

The word bible just means book.  However, the adjective holy has been used for millennia to describe God’s Book.  The adjective holy distinguishes God’s Book as something unique and uncommon.  It is not like common books written by men. 

God’s Book should be reverenced and treated with the utmost respect.  The utmost expression of disrespect towards God’s Book is to ignore it and not read it, or not study it.  Such disrespect is the epitome of hypocrisy when it comes to defining “the faith.”  The outward manifestation of reverencing the Word of God is the devoted veneration (respect or awe) of God Who has so meticulously sought to communicate His will to humanity since the beginning of creation.  All true worship of God begins with reverencing His Word extending into the priority of our lives and time with knowing what He has said and why He has said it and living those truths (James 1:22). 

The words “the faith” in the Bible refers to a singular dogmatic systematic theology established through a literal, historical, and grammatical hermeneutic.  Therefore, when a person understands the Bible and believes the Bible, “the faith” generated by that knowledge and belief also creates a very specific world view.  A Bible based world view exposes Satan’s agenda in the world.  Satan’s corrupted worldview is any degree of deception regarding “the faith.”  

The ultimate goal of Satan’s agenda is the destruction of all humanity through the corruption of “the faith.”  “The faith” is God’s rescue vehicle for those deceived by Satan and who are brought under God’s curse upon this world by Satan’s corruption of “the faith.”  The words “the world” in the Bible refer to the corrupting satanic influences intent upon the corruption of “the faith” and ultimately the destruction of all humanity. 

1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly {distinctly and with surety}, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils {sources of departure}; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (I Timothy 4:1-5).

The phrase “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1) refers to the constant barrage and influence of false doctrines by false teachers that threaten every local church.  False doctrine always comes connected to a false teacher and almost always enters a local church covertly (“unawares”; Galatians 2:4 and Jude 1:4). 

This Epistle was written to Timothy at Ephesus.  Paul left Timothy at Ephesus to combat the constant onslaught of false teachers seeking to influence this very large community of believers as these false teachers sought to gather followers for themselves out of the local churches.  Paul had personally discipled Timothy for this purpose.  Timothy was a true shepherd trained to guard and protect the sheep from the wolves.  There is not greater sorrow for a pastor than to see a young lamb carried off by a ravenous, self-serving wolf

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; 2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do” (I Timothy 1:1-4).

Although Colosse and Ephesus were about one-hundred and twenty miles apart, all the false doctrines mentioned in the Epistle to the Colossians were the same false doctrines Timothy had to guard against at Ephesus (Legalism, Asceticism, Mysticism, and Gnosticism).  These, and every derivation imaginable, were enemies of “the faith” needing complete eradication from the local churches.  These false doctrines have morphed themselves into thousands of variations over the last two millennia. 

Pastors and congregations MUST become aware of these false doctrines and the many new high-bred variations that come every few years like “waves of the sea” (Jude 1:13).  This is the constant watching and warning (Acts 20:31) ministry of the pastors and church leaders in every local church.  Without this watching and warning ministry of church leadership people (those having been discipled), the simple (the undiscipled) will easily be led astray from “the faith” and take captive by false doctrines.  Every individual believer must understand the danger that exists to him in his own ignorance of the Word of God and in his apathy towards being discipled. 

Notice that the method of seduction is falsehoods, or teaching that has no foundation in the inspired Scriptures.  “Lies” are distortions, twists, corruptions, and slight alterations of the truth so that the “lies” seem like they come from the Word of God.  However, God’s Word says they speak these “lies in hypocrisy.”  The meaning of the word “hypocrisy” is pretense, deceit, and dissimulation.  In other words, these false teachers put forth a false persona presenting themselves as authorities on Scripture when they were really charlatans; wolves in sheep’s clothing

The whole Church Age is part of the “latter times” (I Timothy 4:1).  The “latter times” is the historical period preceding the coming of Messiah Jesus to establish His Kingdom on Earth.  These “latter times” are the last days of Satan’s onslaught against “the faith” before he is bound for a thousand years to be released only for “a little season” (Revelation 20:3) at the end of the Kingdom Age.  Therefore, the danger of influence of “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (II Timothy 4:1) was immediate to every Christian even during the Apostolic period of Church history.  In fact, most of the epistles were written to correct the corruptions of false doctrines entering the churches within the first thirty to forty years of the Church Age. 

The proliferation of false doctrine through the centuries has been a constant barrage of diversification and division (heresy) reducing true Christianity (“the faith”) to an ever-decreasing remnant minority.  If there is one historical constant seen throughout the Bible, it is the failure of future generations to learn from the failures of their preceding generations.  This is certainly true of Church history.

Professing Christians at the end of the Twentieth Century and beginning of the Twenty-first Century are almost completely ignorant of Church history.  Christians are not only ignorant of Church history, they are completely apathetic towards reading or learning Church history.  Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  Churchill was rephrasing what the Italian philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Generation after generation have repeated the failures of their ancestors. 

This fact is emphasized by the pastor who asked one of his deacons why church members seemed so apathetic towards church services and the outreach ministries of the church, to which the deacon replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”  The point is that modern day believers, who understand the struggle in contending for the faith, must see the many examples of this “earnestly contending for the faith” in epistles of the Bible and become a continuum in the battle. 

Faithful believers understand that the battle for “the faith” is constant and losses are measured by degrees of compromise of doctrine and values.  Doctrines are life governing beliefs established by understanding God’s Word.  Values are practices defining holiness determined by the applications of believed doctrines upon every detail of our lives.  Faithful believers understand they fight to maintain “the faith” for their own generation to ensure that “the faith” is passed onto to the next generation.  The next generation must also know that they must fight to maintain “the faith.” 

Passing on the trait of militancy regarding being on guard against compromising doctrines and values is as important as establishing the doctrines and values.  Learning to fight for “the faith” is as important as establishing “the faith,” because if the responsibility to fight for “the faith” is not part of the passing from generation to generation, the next generation will lose doctrine and values in huge ways.  The history of the failure of Christianity is the constant failure of various generations of Christians to produce another generation because that present generation failed to pass on doctrine, values, and militancy. 

True Christians believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible as God’s holy Word and that God’s Word is the dictates of His will for humanity.  However, there are many in the wide chasm of corruption known by various categories of Evangelicalism who give lip service to the inspiration of the Bible.  The reason it is mere lip service is because they do not see the preaching/teaching of “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), beginning with corruptions of the Gospel and the five biblically defined responses necessary to salvation (repent, believe, confess, call, and receive).
     Historically, there have been three governing principles regarding what should be allowed as worship in the Church, by which is meant collective local churches.  These three governing principles are determined by various views of Sola Scriptura – meaning the Bible Alone.  The ultimate view of Sola Scriptura is that the Bible alone is the ultimate, final authority, and defining factor for life and practice. 

1. The Inventive Principle, which allows for the episcopal hierarchy of Church denominations (Conventions, Synods, denominational hierarchies; biblically there are no such things) to evolve, develop, and invent various worship practices, music styles, or use items such as statues, pictures, or building structures to aid in worship.  In the Inventive Principle, the Bible (Sola Scriptura) is not the final authority for life and practice. 
2. The Normative Principle, which is simply an extension of a weak position on Sola Scripturawhatever the Bible does not disallow, we allow.  Simply stated, what is not forbidden is permitted.  Therefore, if the Bible is silent on certain practices, these practices should be permitted.  This is the argument used to justify various worldly music styles in worship music as well as making worship as casual as a trip to the beach; flip flops and shorts.
3. The Regulative Principle, which is a much stricter view of Sola Scriptura – is whatever is not commanded is forbidden.  In other words, if the Bible does not give clear instructions on something, do not do it (Romans 14:23). 

At the time of the writing of the New Testament books of the Bible, most of the world worshiped pagan idols with very worldly and licentious practices.  Part of the worship of these pagan idols was bringing animals to the pagan priests to offer before the idols.  The pagan priests would offer a portion of the animal as a burnt sacrifice and then sell the rest of the meat at their own butcher-shops to support themselves.  Most people in the cities would purchase this sacrificial meat from these priests believing the meat had a special blessing from the gods upon it.  The discussion among the Christians, now converted from paganism, was whether it was righteous to eat meat sacrificed to idols. 

The Regulative Principle even extends itself into questionable areas of Christian liberty as detailed in Romans chapter fourteen.  In Romans14:14-23, God defines moral responsibility regarding consideration of the convictions of others.  Romans chapter fourteen is actually addressing the Normative Principle and correcting its fallacious premises.  Simply because the Bible does not give us a dogmatic yes or no regarding an issue of life does not mean we should automatically take liberty in that issue. 

The Regulative Principle takes into consideration the convictions of others regarding things to which the Bible does not necessarily give a dogmatically yes or no.  The reason we have this chapter in the Bible is simple.  Paul could just as easily have given a yes or no regarding eating meat sacrificed to idols and settled the matter for everyone forever.  He does not!  The reason he does not is because there will always be these kinds of questionable things that will arise over the centuries, hundreds and thousands in fact.  Instead, a governing Regulative Principle is given regarding any such questions – the first consideration in questionable things is that if you cannot do something with a clear conscience based upon a foundation of faith in knowledge of Bible doctrine, do not do it (Romans 14:23).  The second consideration is that if another believer holds to a contrary conviction regarding something being wrong before God, if possible, do not take liberty and offend his convictions. 

14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth {estimates or concludes} any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat {because you eat meat sacrificed to idols because you know it is still just meat}, now walkest thou not charitably {it is unloving not to consider his convictions}. Destroy not him {his desire for strong convictions and values} with thy meat {because you eat meat sacrificed to idols}, for whom Christ died. 16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of {by eating the meat before those who condemn such practices, you bring criticism upon yourself and your testimony will be marred}: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink {the purposes of God are much more important than your selfish liberties in what you can eat or drink}; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost {these are the important things}. 18 For he that in these things {‘righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost’} serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 19 Let us therefore follow after the things {‘righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost’} which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. 20 For {liberty to eat} meat {sacrificed to idols} destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. 22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God {privately rather than publicly}. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin {whatever you cannot do with a perfectly clear conscience knowing it to be right before God based upon Bible knowledge}” (Romans 14:14-23).

      The dogma of the Regulative Principle for worship is to eliminate the anything goes argument simply because the Bible may be silent on something.  Chapter I of the 1689 London Baptist Confession[1], although a Reformed Baptist Confession, makes two clear statements regarding the Regulative Principle of which most Bible believers would affirm and agree.

“Paragraph 1: The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in diversified manners to reveal Himself, and to declare (that) His will unto His church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now completed. (2 Tim. 3:15-17; Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29,31; Eph. 2:20; Rom. 1:19-21, 2:14, 15; Psalm 19:1-3; Heb. 1:1; Prov. 22:19-21; Rom. 15:4; 2 Pet. 1:19, 20)”
“Paragraph 6: The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.  Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed. (2 Tim. 3:15-17; Gal. 1:8, 9; John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:9-12; 1 Cor. 11:13,14; 1 Cor. 14:26, 40)”

          The “whole counsel of God” is essentially the Regulative Principle for preaching and worship.  Without the people knowing the “whole counsel of God,” it would be very easy to manipulate their ignorance into worship practices abhorrent to God.  The cultural foundations for what is described in II Timothy 3:1-9 began to move away from the Regulative Principle within Evangelical Christianity in 1965.  This corruption of the Regulative Principle has come to be known as PositivismPositivism is a radical philosophy integrating rationalistic psychology into the presentation of Bible truth. 

The approach of Positivism understands that people psychologically resist negative statements and even statements that they view as being critical.  In other words, people tend to avoid discussions that make them uncomfortable.  Therefore, this psychological approach to Church Growth philosophies taught preachers to simply avoid or deemphasize any Scriptures or teaching that might carry a negative or critical connotation.  It was not long before people were mentally (psychologically) conditioned to view any negative comments or critical teaching as offensive and judgmental.  Because of this psychological conditioning, people immediately closed their spirits to anything that is being said in that their mindset categorized that preacher as a radical who did not deserve to be heard or considered.  This is from where the word preachy evolved. 

The history of the world cannot really be understood apart from the history of the Church and the devolution of corruption in false doctrines and persecution of true Christians.  Up to 70 A.D. and the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by Titus and the Roman Empire, the unbelieving Jews and the pagan Romans unmercilessly persecuted Christians wherever they were found.  After 70 A.D. both Jews and Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire. 


In the early part of the 4th century (312 A.D.), Roman Emperor Diocletian died, leaving succession to his throne in dispute.  Two forces rose.  One led by Constantine of the West (Britain and Gaul) and the other by Maxentius in the East.  Maxentius marched his forces toward Constantine’s and they met at a little river in Italy at a place called the Milvian Bridge.
     Constantine made a vow the night before the battle that if he won, he would become a Christian.  He claimed to see a Cross in the sky (probably the Baal tear drop cross of the occult) with the Latin inscription: 'hoc signo vinces', meaning “In this sign conquer.”
     Constantine was a Baalist.  His means of being deceived was his own greed for power.  This is like what Satan’s attempted in his temptation of Christ in Luke 4:5-8.  Although Constantine may not have been aware of what he did, he made a pack with Satan to make the world Christian when all he really did was paganize Christianity.  

     Constantine made his paganized Christianity the state religion.  Constantine’s Christianity would become a new kind of Christianity, not Christ’s kind.  Many Christians accepted this escape from persecution and traded their purity and faithfulness to Christ for it.  They traded PURITY for PEACE!
     Constantine took all the pagan Temple Priest (Pontifexs) and declared them Christian.  He then declared himself Pontifex Maximus.  The priest craft was born and the “deeds of the Nicolaitanes” now became the dogma of a perverted church.  Pagan Temples became Christian Basilicas (a name which really means heathen temples).  Armies were marched into rivers and baptized by the Emperor’s edict.
    Eusebius, a church historian (about 239-339 A. D.), became a close friend of Emperor Constantine and composed many flattering speeches for him.  Eusebius is probably the one most directly responsible for the writings that formulated the dogma of heresy establishing the Nicolaitan hierarchy of the clergy\laity, which had developed out the Council of Bishops.
    One subject Eusebius dealt with extensively was the succession of Christian bishops.  He was a close follower of the teachings of Origen, and therefore leaned toward Arianism (denying the Deity of Christ).  His political ideas helped create the Christian Empire of Byzantium. 

      Eusebius is a historical example of the Syncretism (blending and merging of pagan and philosophical ideals in with Christianity) and Nicolaitanism (the clergy/laity division in the church) of this period that Christ pictures in the marriage of the Church and state by the name Pergammos.  It was at this time of history that this new State Church of this new Christianity began to persecute the ever-decreasing remnant of true Christians staying true to the Word of God and refusing this Syncretism
    Up to this time of Syncretism, every Christian was involved in evangelism and discipleship.  These people “earnestly contended for the faith once for deliver to the saints” every day in every way.  Most of them did not expect to live long lives due to persecution and most of them died martyr’s deaths.  This was real Christianity!
    Upon the development of the Council of Bishops and the division of the church into clergymen and laity, the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers began to slip into the darkness of ignorance.  Constantine’s marriage of the Roman Empire to the Church created the Roman Catholic (universal) church.  False doctrines and the merging of paganism into Christianity dominated the Church and generations of people were led astray to become the servants of the clergy.  The few faithful Christians were forced to flee into exile in obscure places hidden from the world that they were commanded to reach with the Gospel. 
     Two main characters laid the heretical foundations that would corrupt Biblical Christianity throughout the centuries that followed; Origen and Augustine.  Origen (184-254 A.D.) was a Neo-Platonist scholar practicing Asceticism who did not believe the Bible was to be interpreted literally.  Ascetics taught celibacy as high spirituality and often fasted to the point of starvation and death (I Timothy 4:3).  He believed the Bible was full of mysteries that required specially enlightened people to understand the allegories hidden within its pages.  This would lead to the strange idea that only the clergy could understand the Bible and therefore, they were the only people that should read it.  This Allegorical Method of Bible interpretation began to dominate corrupted Christianity, especially regarding the doctrines of the Church (Ecclesiology), the end-times (Eschatology), and salvation (Soteriology).  Origen can be credited with extreme integration of pagan ideas into Christianity (Syncretism) and the corruption of belief in the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture.
    Augustine (354-430 A.D.) became a celibate priest of Roman Catholicism at the age of thirty-one after living with His mistress for fifteen years.  Augustine taught that human sexual desires were product of the fall and therefore should be restricted except for the purpose of reproduction.  This of course was a direct contradiction against the Word of God which said, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).  Augustine can be credited with developing Aristotelian Syllogism as a method for Bible interpretation. 

     This is more commonly referenced as the Deductive Methodology using logic – major premise + minor premise = deduction.  The frailty of this faulty methodology is exemplified in the logical argument against the deity of Jesus; God is eternal (major premise) + Jesus has a beginning (minor premise) = therefore Jesus cannot be God.  The major premise and minor premise are correct but the minor premise fails to consider that Jesus is a human and deity merged into a theanthropic union. 

Augustine can also be credited with systematizing most of what would become Roman Catholic dogma from which even the leaders of the Reformation never really escaped.  This corrupted Christianity in extreme ways for the next one-thousand years leading to the Roman Catholic Inquisition where anyone contradicting Roman Catholic doctrine was tortured until he recanted or died.  Most died.  “Contending for the faith” was expensive and the price was tears, blood, and millions of lives. 


The Dark Ages began about 450 A.D.  The Roman Empire had fallen and hordes of raiding barbarians attacked every city pillaging property and ravishing the citizens.  This resulted in social chaos as the order established by the terroristic Roman rule began to degenerate. 

The Roman Catholic Church stifled any type of true evangelism and did all within its power to keep the Word of God from the masses.  Even the local Roman Catholic parish priests were often forbidden to read or possess the Bible.  The Roman Catholic Inquisition began in 1233 A.D. and continued well into the late 18th century.  Although Roman Catholic historians seek to minimize the horrendous numbers of those killed, unprejudiced historians record the numbers to be over fifty million.  Millions of others were maimed and crippled in Rome’s torture chambers. 

“Contending for the faith” has been expensive.  The United States of America was founded by people wanting to escape the persecutions of European Catholicism and Protestantism.  Many wanted nothing to do with Christianity at all because of the counterfeit of it that they had seen in their homelands.  Most came wanting to worship God and believe the Bible simply as they interpreted it. 

The Baptists brought their Bible doctrines of Individual Soul Liberty and the priesthood of all believers and fought for religious liberty for all.  Many of them were persecuted by Denominationalists pushing for state sanctioned denominations and were publicly beaten, fined, imprisoned, and refused the right to preach without a license from public magistrates.  Modern day believers have no historical definition of what it means to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).  We can be assured that those same faithful warriors awaiting us in glory must look down at our lukewarm Christianity with amazement. 

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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