Archive

Archive for May, 2011

Concerning our Insignificance

Hence that dread and amazement with which as Scripture uniformly relates holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.

John Calvin (1509-1564)

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Calvinism is the Gospel

I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified unless we preach what is nowadays called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the Gospel and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the Gospel…unless we preach the sovereignty of God in his dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah. Nor do I think we can preach the Gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of his elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend the Gospel which allows saints to fall away after they are called.

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

If God be for Us

When I look into the perfect law of liberty and see how dirty I am, I am reminded of the scripture in Romans that speaks of God being for us, of God not sparing his own Son for us, and of God not laying anything to our charge. Let us read these scriptures:

 

Rom8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Rom8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Rom8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

 

Here we find the semi-Pelagian’s views discredited. He would just assume that these scriptures were not in the Bible. He gnashes his teeth against God’s electing forever a certain people for his own. The semi-Pelagian’s belief that one can lose ones salvation because it all depends upon the sinners doing or not doing, striving or not striving is plainly refuted in these scriptures. Thank God these scriptures refute the semi-Pelagian. Thank God these scriptures offer us consolation and hope.

We tremble when we think of how holy we ought to be and then look at ourselves through God’s word and see clearly how filthy our lives are. We mourn and wonder at times how a Christian such as us could have such vain thoughts? How can we even call ourselves a Christian? Who are we to be counted and numbered among the elect? When our minds get clouded with these thoughts we are to remember what Paul wrote in this blessed book of Romans. We ought to let it echo through our minds and hearts that God is for us. God is not against us. God stepped out of glory, in the person of his Son, laying his royal garments to the side, in order to save us.

What a mighty blessed God we have. One that cares so much that he would spare no expense for us. Look at verse 32. God spared not his own Son. He gave his Son on our behalf. O what glorious raptures of joy ought to fill our souls when we think on these things. We ought to be overwhelmed. We ought not to shake these things off as if they were common events of everyday life. How many times have you ever heard of some event so spectacular that it ought to make one leap for joy? There are not many events in this world of despair, troubles, trials, tribulations, heartaches, sicknesses, and even death that make us leap for joy. Yet there has been one event. There is one event in history that has surpassed all others. This event is when God himself spared not his own Son to save a sinner like us. What a Saviour. What a blessed God who doesn’t lie anything to the charge of his elect, but justifies them through the death, burial, and resurrection of his Son.

What can be said more concerning these things than this: Be gone doubt, be gone despair, be gone distress, and be gone clouded mind. It might be true that I am not what I hope to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I should be, but thank God through the death of his Son Jesus Christ, I am not what I used to be.

Praise God.

 

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

Concerning Affliction

God sweetens outward pain with inward peace

Thomas Watson

Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2

Last week I began a post discussing two Charismatic Pastors, of which I know personally. The first Charismatic I called ‘The Teacher’ and the second Pastor’s name is Otis Graves. Before I begin my post concerning these two individuals I want to lay down a few things concerning examining other ministers.

I realize that what I proclaim from this blog is not popular in today’s church world. Many think that it is condescending or critical to examine a Charismatic’s doctrines. They think that you are being unloving because you examine what Charismatics have preached from the pulpit. The reason that I know that these things are unpopular is because I can get almost a hundred views on these post and not one person will comment. If I were spreading the doctrines that the Charismatics do, then my comment section would fill up.

I want to say from the beginning that it is not unloving to examine what another minister states from the pulpit, over the radio, or through the television screen. I happen to believe that it is unloving to stay silent if you hear something that is unscriptural and do not speak out against it. Paul told the elders atEphesusin Acts 20:28-30 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed thechurchofGod, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves.

The reason men like Harold Camping can gather disciples around him are because people have remained silent. They fear persecution and do not want to live a life of being shunned or spoken evil against. I am not going to be unloving when I examine other ministers’ doctrines, but I also will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I will not shun being persecuted by remaining silent concerning the truth of God’s word. Therefore I will not be silent concerning the doctrines of the ‘Teacher’ nor Otis Graves.

One thing I will commend Otis Graves for is that he is not like the ‘Teacher’; he has refrained from putting his sermons on audio. This is because he contradicts himself so much that if someone went back and listened to his sermon from last week, then they would catch him saying something entirely different this week. Though he doesn’t record his sermons on to audio, nevertheless when I was under his ministry I wrote down some of the stuff he stated from the pulpit.

For instance, onAugust 31, 2008Otis Graves made the statement, “that whosoever Jesus sets free is free indeed, but not entirely. Once Jesus sets us free, then we must go on and set ourselves free from things that Jesus did not free us from.” Otis was actually saying that Jesus is not enough and we need something more. This teaching denies the Reformation principle of ‘soli Christo’ or Christ Alone. This teaching also is a distorted interpretation of John 8.  A more fitting interpretation would be: The Jews believed that they were not in bondage, but Jesus goes on to explain to them that if they commit sin (and we all do) then they are the servants of sin. In other words they are slaves to sin. Jesus tells them that if he makes them free, they shall be free. In other words if they become his disciples, then they will no longer be a slave to sin.

This leads me to my next point and that is that we have no right to twist or distort the scriptures to fit our doctrines. I am not going to defend the Roman Catholic Church, but to its credit I will say that they warned Luther against putting the scriptures into the hands of ignorant and unlearned men. They told Luther that if the scriptures were translated into the common language of the people that a flood gate of sin would come out of it. They told him that the church would begin to split and splinter into all kinds of different denominations. This is because that unlearned men will not take and interpret scripture according to the tradition of the Church. Luther responded by saying that he knew that if he put the scriptures in the hands of ignorant and unlearned men, that it would open a flood gate of iniquity, but nevertheless every person ought to have the scriptures to read for themselves.

So the Reformation opened the door for private interpretation. But just because we have the right to interpret scripture privately does not mean that we have the right to distort scripture. The Reformers taught what is known as the perspicuity of scripture or that the scriptures are so plain that even a child could understand it. This doctrine does not teach that scripture is plain in every place, but it teaches that the doctrines that are essential to salvation are so clear that even a child could find his was to Christ by reading them.

The main point I want to focus on today is the principles of a proper methodology. In other words, Mr. ‘Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves, it is unreasonable to expect that everyone will agree on the exact interpretation of every scripture, but we should agree on the fundamental approach to biblical interpretation. In other words we ought to be using the same methods on how to interpret scripture. There is a difference between an occasional misinterpretation and unacceptable methods of biblical interpretation. The former is common to us all and the latter no one should be guilty of holding to.

Had you two studied you would have realized that the church has developed a method of interpretation that makes everyone approach the scriptures the same way. The church developed a science of interpretation known as ‘hermeneutics.’ Hermeneutics is the science and art of interpretation. Holding to a proper hermeneutic will keep us from falling into much error when we interpret scripture. (I challenge both of you to go to my web site and click my Hermeneutics page link and study up on this principle.)

Many today claim to hold to a literal interpretation of scripture, but what they are talking about has nothing to do with proper interpretation. In other words they believe that if the Bible plainly says something, then we can take that something and use it anyway we want to. This is not literal interpretation. The word literal comes from the Latin word ‘literalis’ and means the literature in which it was written. In other words, to use the literal interpretation method means that we are to interpret scripture according to the literature in which it was written.

Scripture is written in many forms of literature, some of which are: poetry, proverbs, narrative, didactic, apocalyptic and so forth. We are never to take narrative scriptures and make doctrines out of them because they are giving us a story of what happened and not trying to teach us what we should or should not do. For instance Charismatics are big on using the book of Acts to build their doctrines on, but the book of Acts is recording events that happened within history and not trying to teach us doctrines. There may be doctrine within the book, but it is still a history record. We are to only use the didactic or the instructional material of scripture to build our doctrines on.

While the Bible is filled with many types of literature it also uses many forms of speech within that literature. The Bible uses hyperbole, simile, symbolic, irony, sarcasm, metaphor, parallelism, synonymous parallelism, metonymy, personification, anthropomorphisms, anthropopathisms, and many more. The Bible also uses types and shadows to convey its message. So without a properly working hermeneutic we all would misinterpret scripture all the time.

I want to say one more thing before I close this post. I want to tell the ‘Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves that there is only one interpretation to every scripture in the Bible. In other words the writer was writing to a specific audience of his day and meant a specific thing when he wrote what he did. Therefore we should try to understand the Bible in its grammatical-historical-redemptive setting. In other words we are to interpret a scripture according to the grammar it was written in, according to the historical setting of which it was written, and according to the redemptive plan of God in history.

No one reads a newspaper, magazine, book, or any other piece of literature any different than what I have described. If we ripped a sentence out of a newspaper article, then we could make it say whatever we wanted it to. We must understand it within the author’s original intent and within the context of what has been said around it. We are then to take it and apply it to today. Though there is only one true interpretation of every scripture, nevertheless there may be many applications to that scripture. In other words we may be able to apply that scripture to many of today’s problems and so forth, but we should only do that after we have understood that scripture within the author’s original meaning.

So I am calling on both of you to study the science of hermeneutics. We may misinterpret a scripture from time to time, but your methods of approaching scripture are unacceptable and lead to distortion.

I will close for now and come back later and finish some more on this article.

 

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

Harold Camping’s False Prophecy

Well one more false prediction has fell from the lips of Harold Camping. He has surely made himself a name in this world and will be remembered for his false distortions of the word of God. Harold Camping can now be truly numbered among the other false prophets of which are: Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Jr., Paul Crouch, T. D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Robert Tilton, Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen, Jimmy Swaggert, Pat Robertson, and a host of others.

Many think that I am unloving for calling them out by name, but this is not the case. God gives specific criterion when it comes to identifying a true prophet. We find this in Deuteronomy 18. Let’s read what God says:

 

Deu 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

Deu18:21And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?

Deu 18:22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

 

God’s test concerning a prophet was that if they speak and what they say come to pass then they have spoken from or by the Lord. But if what they say does not come to pass, then they have not spoken by the Lord or in other words God did not send them. Therefore I am not to be afraid of them.

We know that there were false prophets in the Old Testament, but also that there will be false prophets in the church. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 2:1 “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.”

But Peter does not end there. He goes on to say that many will follow these false prophets. 2 Peter 2:2-3 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Peter said that there would be heresies among these false prophets in the last days and that many will follow them. This is what truly saddens me. I know people who get up on Sunday morning and instead of reading scripture, they turn on the television and watch Joyce Meyers or Joel Osteen. Matter fact I know ministers who do the same. This is because they have no discernment of what is or is not the truth. They have neglected the word of God to their own destruction.

There is a lack of study in these last days and therefore many have just a surface level knowledge of scripture. They have not dug down and gotten to the meat of the word. Even if they are saved, they do not grow to maturity because they lack the knowledge of God. Peter said in his second epistle that we are to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ 2 Peter 3:18.

Notice also that Peter said in 2 Peter 2:2 that the truth would be evil spoken of because of false prophets. Many today are partying and mocking Christianity because of Harold Camping’s false predictions. Many atheists are partying and mocking by saying where is the promise of his coming? Since the Fathers fell asleep, all things continue on as they always have. This is what Peter predicted that people would say in the last days (read 2 Peter 3).

Before I close I want to state that Christ is coming one day, but it will be in an hour when the world is not looking for him. He will come on this world as a thief in the night and all the false prophets will be destroyed.  The mocking atheist will also be destroyed.

I want to reach out to them who were duped by Harold Camping. We love you all and are not going to put you down or ridicule you, but call upon you to make your way to a local church and repent. After you repent join the church and sit under the word of God and be taught the truth of God’s Holy Word.

If any of Camping’s followers are in despair and need prayer or have a question, then email me at reformedontheweb@yahoo.com

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

 

Weekend Pause

I want to say that I appreciate your following this blog. I hope that you are blessed by it.

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.