Author: gospelanalytix

Social Justice and the Gospel: 2 – Ethnic Diversity in the Local Church

To start our examination of Social Justice, I wanted to look at the doctrine of ethnic diversity in the local church. No Biblical Christian, understanding how Christ has broken down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2: 14), would oppose a diverse church congregation. A Biblical Christian would desire it and appreciate it when it can be found. So if you oppose the very idea of ethnic diversity in a local church body, you are without a doubt in sin.

In light of the real sin of opposing ethnic diversity, there are those who have contrived a sin related to this topic. Consider this quote from someone in a high position at a para-church organization:

If a church is not at least as diverse as the community that church is in, then that church is not a part of the solution to the problem, that church is part of the problem.

This brief quote illustrates one of the main concerns of Social Justice: ethnic equality. And regarding the topic at hand, it is not enough to desire an ethnically diverse congregation, a congregation must intentionally strive for diversity or it is part of the problem. In other words, congregations that are not diverse are in sin.

The problem with this viewpoint is that it assumes, but does not prove, that Scripture mandates an ethnically diverse local congregation. So we will do the yeoman’s work and go to the Scripture. The idea of a mandated ethnically diverse congregation is a misunderstanding and misapplication of Revelation 5:9:

Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

Because the eternal kingdom will be a diverse body consisting of all peoples, Social Justice Advocates infer that local church congregations should also consist of every tribe and tongue and people and nation represented in its neighborhood. In other words, if a congregation is 80% white, and the neighborhood it resides in is 50% white, 20% black, 30% Chinese, there is a fundamental problem with that church, because whites are overrepresented and non-whites are underrepresented.

Even though Revelation most definitely says that God will purchase men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and that a multi-ethnic eternity will be a glorious thing, it does not provide demographic data to inform our current milieu. Yes – all tribes and tongues and peoples and nations will be represented, but we have no idea what the representation looks like. Some groups could number in the millions while others in the hundreds or thousands. We don’t even know the list of tribes and tongues and peoples and nations that God goes by. We understand the general categories being referenced but we are not able to peer into the Divine Mind and understand the taxonomy God applies to all the peoples that have ever lived.

With that being said, even though hard data from eternity is lacking to inform our present day, we are nevertheless able to abstractly think about three ways God could populate eternity. One thing to keep in mind is that this present sinful age is not going to be able to do better than what God will have achieved in the perfected eternal age. A misunderstanding about eternity will necessarily result in a misunderstanding about the church today regarding diversity. So here are the three ways:

  • God will save an equal number from every tribe, tongue, people and nation.
  • God will save an equal percentage from every tribe, tongue, people and nation.
  • God will neither save an equal number nor an equal percentage from every tribe, tongue, people and nation

Regardless of the particular ethnic composition of an individual congregation at any given time, the final end-time diversity will be achieved by one of these three means – there are no other options. Now let us look a little bit at each one.


God Saves an Equal Number

Let us suppose that God saves an equal number of people from each tribe and tongue and people and nation. In doing so, the smaller groups have a higher percentage saved and the larger groups have a lower percentage saved. Additionally, the number of people saved per group is limited by the overall population of the smallest group (if God saves an equal number of people, then that number cannot exceed the total population of the smallest group).

Refer to the table below to see how this plays out:

Tribe Total Population People Saved % Saved
1 10 10 100
2 20 10 50
3 30 10 33
4 100 10 10

The implication of this method of salvation is that the local church today would not be expected to match the diversity of the local community. If God is calling people at an equal number, rather than at an equal rate, then there will be under-representation of the majority of people, and over-representation of the minority of people.

Regarding this model, we know from history it is not the one God is using. Other than Uriah, how many Hittites do you think will be represented in the new earth? Is God’s ability to save from the billions alive today limited by the number of Hittites He chose to save thousands of years ago? Certainly not. There is nothing in Scripture that would allow us to assert such a thing.


God Saves an Equal Percentage

Moving on then, if God does not save an equal number of people, let us suppose that He saves an equal percentage of people. This is the position of those who want the local church to mirror its neighborhood. Here is what that would look like:

Tribe Total Population % of Total Population % Saved People Saved % of Total Church Population
1 10 7.69 10 1 7.69
2 20 15.39 10 2 15.39
3 100 76.92 10 10 76.92

Although this method would result in the diversity the Social Justice Advocate desires, it limits God’s ability to save. If a congregation must equal the diversity of its community, then God must save people in accordance with demographic data. In other words, if it is God’s intent that a specific congregation matches the diversity of its community, then God is limited to saving people by the demographic data of the community.

Is this a position someone wanting to stick to the Scripture would hold onto? That the eternal plan of salvation is intimately tied to neighborhood demographic data, as if the demographic held more sway over salvation then God’s own free will? There is nothing in Scripture that would allow one to assert God has self-imposed this limiting factor to His gospel plan.


God Does Not Save An Equal Number or Percentage (He Saves as He Pleases)

We have looked at two models of salvation, each of which limits God’s ability to save: God must either save people at an equal number, to ensure all people groups are equally represented, or God must save people at an equal percentage, to ensure the kingdom of heaven matches the demographic diversity of the kingdom of darkness. Both have been briefly discussed and eliminated from consideration as being a Biblical doctrine. There are no explicit references to such limiting factors and they cannot be inferred from Scripture.

This leaves us with the third possibility, and since it is the only remaining one, we know it is the one consistent with Scripture. This third way supposes that God neither saves people in equal number nor in equal percentage. There are no limiting factors placed on God. God is able to save as He pleases: whoever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants. Per Revelation 5:9 God wants to, and will, save from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. But this course of action is completely untethered from regional demographic data. The demographic data plays no role in deciding who God will choose to save.


Conclusion

We have just undertaken a Biblical examination of ethnic diversity in the local church body. And the summary of it is this: since we have no idea the actual numbers of people populating the eternal categories of tribe, tongue, people, and nation, we are unable to make any pertinent Biblical application of Revelation 5: 9 to a local church body. The caveat is, of course, that any lack of diversity resulting from racism is a sin and needs to be repented of.

If a church body does not match its neighborhood, and if minority groups are not turned away at the door by majority groups simply because they are minorities, then who is going to throw a stone at that church and tell them to repent for being too mono-ethnic? One must be able to correlate a lack of diversity to a particular sin within the church body – otherwise one is railing against God’s providential assembling of that congregation.

I for one drive by an all-Vietnamese church and praise God that the gospel went to Vietnam, that the gospel went to Vietnamese Americans, and I have no reason to think they are intentionally segregating themselves from other ethnicities because of prejudice. It would actually take me going to that church and asking questions to find out if they are in sin. And the same holds true for a black church or a white church.

There is much more that could be said, but I will stop for now. If you disagree with this argument, and think that sitting in a church that does not match a neighborhood demographic is inherently problematic, then I encourage you to post comments and rebut what has been presented. Considering a web search of “church diversity” yields 109,000,000 results, this is no small topic and I imagine much of what has been presented here is disagreeable to many.

Social Justice and the Gospel: 1 – Introduction

Three years ago my daughter was born and I stopped blogging. In that time there has been increased discourse and increased vitriol within the church regarding the movement known as Social Justice. In 2018 The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel was released as a line drawn in the sand. If you sign the statement, you believe that the Social Justice movement is unbiblical but is gaining such an influence within the church that it has to be intentionally and publicly opposed. If you do not sign the statement, you believe that Social Justice is biblical and is to be adopted and implemented by the church.

The fighting over Social Justice has only increased since that statement was released, especially in the last few weeks and months with all that has recently transpired here in America. It seems nowadays that no congregation is untouched by ideas originating within, or being advocated by, the Social Justice movement. In light of all the ideas floating around the church right now, I wanted to begin this new blog series “Social Justice and the Gospel” in order to examine doctrines that exist under the umbrella of Social Justice.

The Biblical Adam: 2 – Was There A Literal First Man?


Regardless of how one interprets the Genesis account of the creation of Adam, one thing is certain: unless there arose multiple human males at exactly the same time, there was a literal first man. If we use a hundred-yard dash as an analogy, there was either one man who won the race or there was a tie for first. Since we have men now, we know that the race was completed – but was there a clear single victor or a tie for first?

If for the sake of argument we accept evolution as being true, the idea that multiple human males evolved from non-human to human at exactly the same time, not even separated by a nanosecond, is highly improbable. So improbable, in fact, that the burden of proof unquestionably falls on the person who should want to oppose a literal first man. Therefore, in the absence of evidence that would cause us to accept the proposition that multiple human males evolved at exactly the same time, what the Bible says about the matter agrees with the soundest conclusion of science – there was a literal first man. And we can apply the same logic to women and conclude there was a literal first woman.

So in this simplest formulation of the argument – if all we mean by Adam and Eve is that there was a man and a woman who were the first of a sequence of men and women – the Bible and evolutionary science agree that there was a literal Adam and a literal Eve. But this is where the agreement ends. For sure, the crux of the debate is not about whether there was a literal first man and a literal first woman. The crux of the debate is about whether the Bible accurately describes the details of the first man and first woman.

The Biblical Adam: 1 – Prologue

If we think of the topic of the Biblical Adam as a boxing match, in one corner of the ring are Christians who believe the Genesis account of Adam is a biography, and in the other corner are secular evolutionists who believe humans evolved and Genesis is rubbish. But in the middle of the ring stands a third contestant – the Christian evolutionist. They don’t find belief in a literal Adam directly created by God necessary, but they don’t believe evolution is a secular endeavor – they propose that God uses evolution for His purposes and glory.

Is belief in an Adam created directly by God, not through evolution, a necessary component of Christian faith? The apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians addressed a different matter crucial to the faith, and it is analogous to our topic.

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. (1 Corinthians 15: 12 – 14)

The Corinthians claimed belief in Jesus, but disbelief in resurrection. Paul called them out, saying their two beliefs were contradictory. Since the Jesus the apostles preached rose from the dead, it was logically impossible to believe in the real Jesus while denying resurrection from the dead. Likewise, we may rightly ask whether one can believe in the apostolic Jesus while disbelieving in an Adam created directly by God. But we must understand what the Bible says about Adam before we can render a judgment as to the importance of direct creation.

The goal then, over the course of this series, is to examine both sides of the argument, in the spirit of Proverbs 18: 17. We will proceed by asking a series of key questions, and then answering the questions from both perspectives (direct creation and evolution). The end result is hopefully a better understanding of the implications of both positions and then proceeding to believe in that which corresponds with the whole of Scripture.

Good Friday Reflection: The Suffering Servant


The Chosen One has died this day
But He, the Son, will rise Sunday
For that is what Amoz’ son did say
And we know that his word is true


Who has believed our message? (John 12: 38, Romans 10: 16)

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,

And like a root out of parched ground;

He has no stately form or majesty

That we should look upon Him,

Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

He was despised and forsaken of men, (Luke 18: 31 – 33)

A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

And like one from whom men hide their face

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Mark 10: 33, 34 and John 1: 10, 11)

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, (Matthew 8: 17)

And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted. (John 19: 7)

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, (Hebrews 9: 28)

He was crushed for our iniquities; (Romans 4: 25, 1 Cor 15: 3)

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, (Hebrews 5: 8)

And by His scourging we are healed. (1 Peter 2: 24, 25)

All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

To fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth; (Matt 26:63; 27:12–14; Mark 14:61; 15:5; Luke 23:9; John 19:9)

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, (Acts 8:32, 33; Rev 5:6)

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.

By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered

That He was cut off out of the land of the living

For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death, (Matthew 27: 57 – 60)

Because He had done no violence, (1 Peter 2: 22)

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

But the LORD was pleased

To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, (John 1: 29)

He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied; (John 10: 14 – 18)

By His knowledge the Righteous One, (Romans 5: 18 – 19)

My Servant, will justify the many,

As He will bear their iniquities.

Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, (Philippians 2: 9 – 11)

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death, (Matt 26: 38, 39, 42)

And was numbered with the transgressors; (Mark 15: 28, Luke 22: 37)

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, (2 Cor 5: 21)

And interceded for the transgressors.

Why Christians Don’t Listen To Moses: 2 – The Torah Is Temporary


Suggested Pre-Reading: Why Christian’s Don’t Listen To Moses 1


The Law of Moses, the Torah, as a single body of law comprising many individual laws, can only be eternal or finite in duration. When a Christian says, “I listen to Jesus, not Moses”, they are saying, “The Torah is temporary, and with the coming of Jesus its time to govern has ended.”

This declaration of a temporary Torah is highly offensive to Orthodox Jews, who believe that the Law of Moses is eternal. But the temporal nature can be easily demonstrated from the Old Testament, and both Christians and Jews agree that the Old Testament is God’s inspired word. The 613 commands identified in the Torah by the rabbis can be categorized into various groups. Three of the groups are sin, death, and disease. Both Orthodox Judaism and Christianity agree that after the resurrection of the dead, sin, death and disease will cease to exist. If those three things cease to exist, by logical necessity, so do the related laws. If the laws cease to exist, then they are finite in duration and cannot be eternal.

Consider these examples:

Type Example
Sin A jealous husband can make his wife take the adultery test per Numbers 5: 11 – 31
Death Ritual uncleanness occurs if entering the tent of a dead man per Numbers 19: 14
Disease Lepers must be easily distinguished in public per Leviticus 13: 45

In the age to come there will be no sin, and therefore no adultery, and therefore no jealous husbands invoking the adultery test. In the age to come there will be no death, and therefore no tents with corpses, and therefore no ritual uncleanness related to a corpse. In the age to come there will be no disease, and therefore no lepers, and therefore no laws instructing lepers how to distinguish themselves in public.

Although we are not yet living in the fully realized kingdom, we can nevertheless demonstrate the temporal nature of the Torah, by going through each and every law dealing with sin, death, and disease, and proving them to be unneeded in the age to come. There can be no doubt about the Torah being a temporary guide, which is just what the New Testament instructs.

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Galatians 3: 24-25)

Why Christians Don’t Listen To Moses: 1 – Introduction


Why don’t Christians listen to Moses?

The simple answer is found in Matthew 17:

Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17: 1 – 5)

This command to listen to Jesus, instead of Moses and Elijah, came from God and is the fulfillment of words God gave to Moses to give to Israel:

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. (Deuteronomy 18: 15)

Peter quoted this very verse in Acts 3 and applied it to Jesus. There is no doubt that the New Testament teaches Christians are to listen to Jesus. This theme is expanded upon by the book of Hebrews, which opens with this:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Hebrews 1: 1 – 2)

In regards to the differences between what Jesus and Moses taught, we are told this:

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant (Hebrews 8: 6 – 9)

The book of Hebrews teaches that if the first covenant of Moses was sufficient, God would have no need of sending Messiah and promising through the prophets a new and better covenant. But since the first covenant was never obeyed by Israel, because of their perpetual sin, something better was needed. This better thing is Jesus and the New Covenant.

And so to summarize our initial examination of this issue, we as Christians do not listen to Moses because the New Testament tells us to listen to Jesus, and instructs us that the New Covenant has replaced the Old Covenant, due to the Old Covenant’s inability to produce the repentance and faith God desired.

New Series On Jesus vs Moses

For the past two years the primary output of this blog has been the Faith Foundations series, which has been focused on essential Christian doctrines listed in Hebrews 5 & 6. This series has gone on longer than expected, and although near the end, I am going to cut it short and move onto other things.

The next series will be called “Why Christians Don’t Listen To Moses”. The goal is to increase our understanding of why we as Christians include the Old Testament in our Bibles but do not follow the Law of Moses.

Advent Reflection: The Prince of Peace


A primary role of government is to maintain peace. One way in which governments attempt to maintain peace is through law enforcement. Every government creates laws for the people to obey. But not all people obey the laws of the land, and therefore peace is disrupted. Governments have two main ways of dealing with law breakers who disrupt the peace of society:

  1. They attempt to change the law breaker’s will, via counseling or fines or threats, etc.
  2. They suppress the law breaker’s will, via prison or death, etc.

What this means is that in order to maintain a peaceful society people either have to die or be physically suppressed or have a change of heart. A government cannot just let everyone be how they naturally are, because every society has law breakers and disrupters of peace. Therefore, because there is evil in every generation, intentional action is always needed to suppress the evil and keep the peace. This brings us, then, to the words of the prophet Isaiah, who spoke of the coming Messiah, also known as the Prince of Peace:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. (Isaiah 9: 6 – 7)

A great question to ask is will this kingdom of the Prince of Peace (the kingdom of God) maintain peace like the governments of the world or will peace be maintained in a new way? To answer, we must understand who is in the kingdom of God, and how they got there. The kingdom is populated by those who have had their hearts supernaturally changed by God’s Spirit.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3: 3)

Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3: 7 – 8)

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1: 13)

For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach…(Colossians 1: 19 – 22)

Since God supernaturally changes the hearts of those who are brought into His kingdom, there are no dissidents to be jailed or killed, for everyone who is born of God wants to be in God’s kingdom. So yes, the kingdom of God operates very differently from the kingdoms of the earth, when it comes to maintaining peace. Everyone in the kingdom desires to be there, desires to obey the laws of the kingdom, and desires peace.

But what about those who say the Biblical teaching on hell proves that God’s kingdom operates just like the kingdoms of the earth, suppressing wills by inflicting violence?

Those people are mistaken.

Hell is not a place for those within the kingdom of God whose wills need to be suppressed. Hell is a place for those who were never part of the kingdom of God, during their life on earth. The final judgment and the sending of people to hell is not a purge of malcontents from the kingdom of God; it is the removal of God’s enemies, who are outside of His kingdom.

The second coming of Christ, which Advent anticipates, will consist of the Prince of Peace ruling over His people, whom He will give new and sinless hearts. Together they will occupy a physical space from which the kingdom of evil has been forcibly removed forever. The result of it all is the Son of David, Son of God, reigning supreme, with His government perpetually ruling a peaceful people on a prosperous plot of land, with no threats ever approaching the border.

Regarding this coming kingdom of the Prince of Peace, John the Revelator summed it up nicely:

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21: 24 – 27)

Faith Toward God: 2 – Faith in Jesus Is Not Enough


Suggested Pre-Reading: Faith Toward God 1


In the same way that faith in a god is not enough, so too faith in a Jesus is not enough. Of course, by “a Jesus” we mean not the real One, but the multitude of fake ones that have existed from the days of Paul until now.

For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. (2 Corinthians 11: 4)

Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for believing in “another Jesus”, rather than believing in the Jesus of Paul’s preaching. From this we learn that saying “I believe in Jesus” does not qualify as a genuine, Biblical faith in Christ. Just as faith in God must be based on the particulars of Scripture, so too must faith in Jesus be based on the particulars of Scripture. Virtually every New Testament book warns of false teachings – if God does not desire accurate faith in Jesus, then what are all the warnings about? Jesus Himself warns us, saying:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7: 21 – 23)

Why would Jesus reject people who in His name prophesied and cast out demons and performed miracles? He tells us – they were lawless. But how were they lawless? Their lawlessness is seen in their response to Jesus – they offered up their works as proof of their righteousness before God. To stand before God on the Day of Judgment, and to offer up your works as proof of your worthiness, is a tell-tale sign that you believe in another Jesus, because the gospel of the real Jesus states that man can never by works justify himself before God. We are righteous because of Christ, not because of our works. Paul reminded the Corinthian church of this great truth:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5: 21)

And Jesus, when asked what the great work of God is, did not say “justify yourself through prophecy and miracles”. Rather, He said

This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. (John 6: 29)

Faith in the real Jesus is not limited to this one doctrine of Christ making us righteous by His blood. But it is a key doctrine and essential to the gospel. If one does not believe it, then one most certainly does not believe in the real Jesus. And if one does not believe in the real Jesus, then their faith is in a Jesus, which will not be enough on the Day of Judgment.