Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Forgotten Doctrine of Today

I've been studying a lot about the Reformation lately, and I’m seeing some correlations between the time of the Protestants and our time period of Apostasy today. 

As most of you know, Martin Luther saw much corruption and abuse in those who were supposed to be “spiritual leaders,” who were using their positions for financial gain.  He willingly chose to stand up against them and their practices in courageously exposing the entire apostate church full of corruption and false doctrine, knowing full well his opposition would bring him conflict, bodily harm, and possibly even death (being burned at the stake as a heretic).  Yet he did it anyway, knowing he was right. 

Today, we remember him for starting the Protestant Reformation, and for the sound, Biblical teaching that he resurrected from the scriptures, that of JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH.  That is, that a Sinner is saved by grace through faith alone, without any mixture of works (Eph. 2:8,9).

But how on earth could something like that have been forgotten?  How could a church that claims to be the one that Christ founded (the Roman church makes this claim) have forgotten the most important doctrine of all time, that of salvation?  How could it take 1500 years to pass from the time of Jesus and the apostles, until someone rediscovered this sound, doctrinal truth, and began preaching it again?

The proof that it is true is the fact that it spread like wild-fire, and revival quickly ensued, with countless millions of souls coming to Jesus through faith alone.  But it did not come without a price, as many were mercilessly captured and brutally tortured and burned at the stake by the Roman church, for their belief in this doctrine.  What a cost, sound doctrine.  What a cost, salvation.

As I pondered this, I thought about our age today.  Here we are some 500 years later, and it appears the church of today has also forgotten the most important doctrine of all, that of salvation.  There are still millions of people in the world today in countless religious organizations and denominations that teach faith alone is not sufficient to obtain salvation.  For them it is through works, or a mixture of faith and works.  But, why do they preach this, when the Bible is so clear that it's only through faith alone?

I believe the answer is because we are in a time of which the Scriptures speak of great apostasy in the world, and there are many scoffers, which are following fables instead of the word of God.  History has repeated itself, and gone full circle, and just as the world was in the Dark Ages before the Reformation, so too, is our world in an age of spiritual darkness, in which many have turned from the truth. 

Could it be that the world today needs another Martin Luther?  Someone who will stand up against the corruption, apostasy, liberalization, and apathy of modern Christianity and preach against it, while defending the sound doctrine of salvation?

As I look at my own denomination, I can't help but see much darkness and a political system of corruption that leads to certain groups wanting to attack and ridicule others within their ranks.  I also see the issue of control as many ministers have set up their own little kingdoms in which they Lord over their people and make them subservient to them.  It's almost like it's become another Rome, in which little Popes rule with rods of iron. (Not all churches are like this, but there are many which are).
And as the Roman church of old, many ministers are no longer preaching the doctrine of salvation like their forefathers (through faith in the blood alone), rather they are guilty of turning salvation into a ritualistic program in which Sinners are instructed to DO something, rather than simply BELIEVE in what Jesus Christ DID for them for the salvation of their souls.

Martin Luther stood up against the corruption of his day in his church.  Where are those who are standing up against the apostasy and corruption in our churches today? 

We remember Luther for his teaching of justification by faith.  But faith in what? 

According to the Bible, it is FAITH IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST.  Romans 3:25-28 states this clearly:

"25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

 Verse 26 says God justifies the Sinner, not by works, but by faith (vs27), without the deeds of the law (vs 28).  But faith in what exactly?  Verse 25 says our faith should be in HIS BLOOD!

This is a simple, but important doctrine!  Yet it seems forgotten by the modern church of today, which preaches many different BLOODLESS GOSPELS, such as:

Make your commitment to Christ
Turn over a new leaf and simply follow Jesus
Confess your Sins and beg God to forgive you
Ask Jesus into your heart
Ask God to forgive you your sins and forgive you 
Repeat the Sinner’s Prayer

All of these have one thing in common, THEY ALL LEAVE OUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST!  For all of these can be done without faith!  And all of these are usually done without faith in the blood.

So where is the new Martin Luther who will stand up courageously and preach the truth amid a world of apostasy?  Sadly, he is not here.  Instead, most ministers choose to simply go along with the crowd in order not to suffer persecution or ridicule.  They choose not to rock the boat, so they simply continue doing what everyone else does, and they seem to forget the fact that SALVATION by FAITH IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST is the most important doctrine of all time!  For without it, souls are destined to an eternal lake of fire!  

I don’t know about you, but I’m determined to preach the BLOOD even though others will not.  Will you join me?  Will you be another Martin Luther?  Or will you let apostasy abound, cowering down to silence like most others, in order not to make waves?  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What ever Became of the Blood?

I'm in the process of writing yet another book about the History of the Spanish Bible.  In this one, I'm mentioning the men behind the translation of the Spanish Bible, and the atmosphere of papal persecution during the time in which they lived.  Sadly, many believers in Christ were cruely tortured and exterminated under the senseless holocaust of the Spanish Inquisition, for no crime at all other then wishing only to follow their conscience in their own religious beliefs.  Their blood ran like rivers, as their bodies were turned to ashes in the blazing Inquisitorial fires of the religious assassains. 
But the more they were ridiculed, tortured, slaughtered, burned at the stake, disemboweled, and drowned, the more their numbers grew.  I believe it was the church father Chrysotom who said, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Gospel."   That is to say, the more bloodshed there is, the more the Gospel is preached.
During the great revival in Spain in 1553-1557, in which the doctrine of salvation by faith alone spread like wildfire, throughout Seville and the countryside, Cipriano de Valera tells us the following:

...There was no city, village, or place in Spain in which there had not been some to whom God by his infinite wisdom had not illuminated the light of the Gospel; and though the adversaries had done everything possible to put out that light, dishonoring with loss of goods, of life, and of honor to many, they did not achieve anything, because, it is said, the more they tried to stop it, the more they whipped them...the more they cast them into stocks and perpetual prisons or burned them, the more they multiplied.”

Even a Catholic historian of the time named Gonzales de Illescas in his work, Historia Pontifical, confessed:
In those days the jails, the stocks, and the bonfires were populated by many illustrious people unsurpassed in letters and virtue, [well learned] and there were so many as such that it was believed that if [the Inquisitors] had waited two or three months more in remedying the damage done [by the reformation doctrines] all of Spain would have embraced it.

The bloody Papal persecution did not squelch the spreading of the Gospel, but gave rise to even more revival.  That is to say, the more blood was shed the more people asked, "Why are these people dying for what they believe in?"  And, a deep-rooted curiosity led them to seek that doctrine with which others thought so important that it was worth giving their life to defend.

Yes, true revival has always come in times of persecution.  And it seems bloodshed is what draws men to the Gospel.  Why is this?

Certainly in Jesus' time, we remember he was persecuted by the Jews.  But still, he had his followers.  And after his death, persecution ensued towards them and their followers, eventually even coming from the Romans themselves, who slaughtered countless Christians by the thousands, even throwing them to the lions to be ripped in pieces.  Stories abound in works like "Foxe's Book of Martyrs" of the cruel persecutions against Bible Believers, and their courageous last words as they suffered, bled, and died, for what they knew to be true, leaving the bystanders scratching their heads and questioning within themselves, "What is it that makes these people willing to die for what they believe in?"

So what is the answer to that blaring question?  What on earth could have made them do this?  How could anyone willingly submit to death and allow themselves to be brutaly tortured, slaughtered, and savagely murdered? 

The only way to understand the state of mind of those martyrs is to look to him whom they all looked up to as their Saviour--the Lord Jesus Christ.  For it was he who first willingly suffered, bled, and died amidst the mass religious persecution and hatred from his fellow countrymen in his day.  

Jesus did not die an easy death.  He was tortured, whipped, beaten, and stabbed.  To look upon him, the scriptures say you would not have recognized him, for his visage (or appearance) was marred more than any man's. Jesus died a bloody mess, completely covered in his own blood.  And, if you were to stand there and look upon him in his agony, you would not have seen a clean, muscular, handsome Jesus, which the world tries to portray today.  You would have seen a bloody pulp of a man, beaten, broken, weak, and sore.
It is to this man that the martyrs of old saw as their inspiration in the time of their demise under the hand of their cruel executioners.  For they felt no matter what happened to thim, it could not have been as bad as what Jesus went through.  And what made it even sweeter for them was to know that He did it for them, as he died for their sins to give them eternal life, and it was the least they could do to give their lives for him. 

But what ever became of the blood?  Where is it today?  We in our day don't see much blood shed.  There is no religious persecution in our country.  And we don't see anyone dying for their faith like those faithful martyrs of old.  Could this be the reason we've forgotten about the blood?

It used to be Christianity was called "That old Slaughter House Religion" by it's critics, who squeamishly ran from its teaching about blood atonement.  But today you hardly ever hear a so-called minister of the Gospel even mention the blood of Jesus Christ.  Why is this?

Not only is it gone from the sermons and the pulpits, but the blood of Jesus Christ has even been taken out of countless verses in modern versions of the Bible.  And even removed from the sacred songs in our hymnbooks.  Why is this?  Who would do such a thing?  Who would remove the blood of Jesus which was so precious to saints and martyrs of old, so much so they willingly shed their own blood for him he shed his for them.

And where is the blood today in the modern Gospel being preaching in most churches, which instead of pointing sinners to Christ crucified and a founded faith on his bloody atonement for them in their place, simply compels sinners to just, "Repeat a Prayer" or "Turn their hearts and lives over to Jesus" and they "Ask or invite him to take control and forgive them their sins."  

But what about the Blood?  That oh, so precious shed blood?  Was is it not mentioned?  Why is it forgotten?  Could it be this is why there are so few converts in our day, so few Christians like those of old who loved God enough to die for him?

So many ministers today want revival.  They even sincerely and earnestly pray for it, seeking to see the mighty hand of God move yet again in a mighty way.  But they forget, in all of the History of the Church Age, no true revival has come without first contrition, then conversion, and finally persecution.

Where is the bloodshed of our day, to really get the Gospel spreading and souls saved?  It's gone, because ministers have stopped preaching the blood of Jesus Christ. 

Of all the questions that have ever been asked in the history of the world, truly this one is the most important for Christians to answer today: 

"What ever became of the Blood?