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Sins of the Parents

A major flaw in some modern Pentecostal circles is the belief in generational curses on born again believers that need to be exorcised, this is nothing but superstition and a misunderstanding of scripture.

from Worldview Weekend:

Scripture (NASB)

Exodus 20:4-7

20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

20:5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

20:6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

Exodus 34:6-7

34:6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The   Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;

34:7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations. ”

Numbers 14:17-19

14:17 “But now, I pray, let the power of the Lord be great, just as Thou hast declared,

14:18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.’

14:19 “Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Thy lovingkindness, just as Thou also hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”

Deuteronomy 5:7-10

5:7 ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.

5:8 ‘You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

5:9 ‘You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

5:10 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Issue—Principle of Ancestral Transferal of Occult Bondage to Children

C. Fred Dickason, a proponent of the ancestral inheritance principle, states the view as follows:

By ancestral involvement we refer to occult or demonic practices of the client’s ancestors.  This has been found to be one of the most common reasons for demonic affliction or demonization.  This follows the principle enunciated in the second commandment forbidding idolatry:

You shall not make for yourself an idol. . . .  You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord you God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me. (Ex. 20:4-5)

It is quite clear that the worship of idols is fostered and compelled by demons (Ps. 106:36-38; 1 Cor. 10:20).  It actually involves the worship of demons.  Demons, therefore, assume the rule of a god over their devotees and may invade them.  This is in keeping with the principle presented in Romans 1:21-28 that God recompenses sin with the evil it involves; that is, God gave idolaters over to their sin.  Their sin was the worship of and submission to demons.  They reaped what they sowed; they became dominated by demons.  This domination may involve demonization, as attested in the past and current times.  The second commandment shows that God considers idolatry to be hatred of the true and living God.  He judges it in a fashion commensurate with its abominable character.  Both the idolaters and their descendants to the third and fourth generations are judged for this heinous crime, and this judgment may include actual demonization.  [Demon Possession and the Christian:  A New Perspective (Moody Press, 1987):162-3]

I might add that this “principle” is also popular within the so-called “Christian Psychology” movement, usually put forth from within a Freudian framework of the past impacting behavior in the present.  I first recall hearing this “principle” by Bill Gothard in 1972 when I first attended his Basic Institute Training.

Interaction

Ancestral involvement may be a principle, but it is not one that can be applied to the New Testament Believers.  Instead it should be seen as a principle of blessing and cursing which was related to the Mosaic economy which has now passed away (Rom. 7:1-6; 10:4; Gal. 3:19; 3:24-4:7; Heb. 7:11-12, 18; 2 Cor. 3:2-11; Eph. 2:11-16, etc.).  New “principles,” or better a new theology that is consistent with New Testament Christianity explains a Believer’s behavior.

Dickason’s suggestion that Romans 1:21-28 is parallel to the ancestral principle of Exodus does not fit for the following reasons.  Those being described in Romans are unbelievers, while in Exodus the believing community is in mind.  Also, Paul is arguing in Romans 1 that God is justified in condemning those who have not heard the gospel because of their personal sins, not because of ancestral sins.  Also, Romans indicates that once one becomes a Believer, then they are in a position to escape the wrath of God (Rom. 5:8), both present wrath (Rom. 1) and future or eschatological wrath.

Jack Deere says of Deuteronomy 5:9 that children enter into the sins their parents and thus evoke God’s punishment.

At first glance 5:9b may seem to contradict Ezekiel 18:20.  However, the phrase those who hate Me must certainly refer to the children, not to the fathers.  Children who hate the Lord will be punished.  Rebellious God-hating parents often produce children to the third and fourth generation who also hate God (cf. Ex 20:5; 34:6-7).  [The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament (1985):272]

Deere’s interpretation denies that “principle” that someone is punished because of the sin of someone else (the fathers), without their participation in that sin (the children).

Walter Kaiser concurs with Deere’s interpretation:

Children who repeat the sins of their fathers evidence it in personally hating God; hence they too are punished like their fathers.  Moses made it plain in Deuteronomy 24:16:  “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.”  The effects of disobedience last for some time, but the effects of loving God are far more extensive:  “to a thousand [generations]” (v.6). [The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 2 (1990):423]

Earl Kalland, in a similar but fuller vein, echoes the comments of those above in commenting on Deuteronomy 5:9.

The people either hate the Lord or love and obey him, and they receive form him punishment or love commensurate with their hate or love and obedience.  Those who adhere to the covenant-treaty stipulations get its promised benefits; those who do not adhere to them get its punishments.  The effect of one generation on succeeding generations is noted often in the OT.  Here, however, the children are not punished for the sins that their father committed; the children who sin as their fathers sinned are punished for their own sins (cf. 24:16). The punishment goes on “to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,” just as his love continues toward “a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.”  The distinction between punishment unto the third and fourth generation of those who hate the Lord and love extended to thousands who love him and keep his commandments suggests that God’s love far surpasses his retribution. [The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 3 (1992):54]

Jewish expositor, Umberto Cassuto, speaks strongly against the possibility of the “ancestral principle” interpretation.

In regard to the fearful threat of punishment that will be inflicted upon the children and children’s children, various apologetic interpretations have been advanced, which it is not possible to accept.  It has been suggested, for example, that we should see here an allusion to the transmission of parental qualities to the character of the children and children’s children, but this is merely a modernization of the verse; . . . The difficulty exists, however, only for those who overlook the fact that the verse, in its simple signification, is directed to the entire nation as a single entity in time throughout its generations.  Since a man, and particularly an Israelite, grieves over the tribulation of his children and grandchildren not less–nay, even more–than over his own affliction, the Bible issues a warning, so as to keep man far from sin, that in the course of the nation’s life it is possible that the children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences of the iniquities of their father and grandfather. (emphasis added) [A Commentary on the Book of Exodus(1967):243]

The Keil-Delitzsch Commentary joins the chorus in showing that sin is the responsibility of each individual who commits it.

In this instance l] signifies “at” or “in relation to;” from its very position, cannot refer to the fathers alone, but to the fathers and children to the third and fourth generation.  If it referred to the fathers alone, it would necessarily stand after the children is to be taken in the same way.  God punishes the sin of the fathers in the children to the third and fourth generation in relation to those who hate Him, and shows mercy to the thousandth generation in relation to those who love Him. . . . The words neither affirm that sinning fathers remain unpunished, nor that the sins of fathers are punished in the children and grandchildren without any fault of their own. [Vol. II (1875):116-7]

I could go on and on quoting the leading commentaries and how they deny the “ancestral principle” interpretation.  But let me conclude with John J. Davis, who says,

This verse does not teach that sinning fathers are not punished, nor does it state that the sins of the father are punished in the children and grandchildren without any fault of their own.  It is hardly possible that the children of wicked men could become innocent, therefore, “the children fill up the sins of their fathers” so that the sinner then suffers punishment for both his own and the sins of his forefathers (cf. Lev. 26:39; Amos 7:17; Jer. 16:11ff.; Dan. 9:16). [Moses and the Gods of Egypt:  Studies in Exodus (1986):213]

George Bush, in his commentary, says that the “sense of the passage is distinctly recognized in the Chal. version.”  That version says,

I the Lord thy God am a jealous God visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the transgressing children, unto the third and fourth generation, of those who hate me, when the children follow the iniquities of the fathers.  [Notes on Exodus (1852):264-5]

The statement of Exodus 20:5-6 (see also Deut. 5:9-10) is within the context of the Lord’s treaty-covenant with Israel which promised specific blessings and curses for obedience and disobedience.  Therefore, the scope of this passage is limited to Israel and cannot be applied in a universal sense to humanity in general as a timeless principle.  Were it to be a universal principle, then it would have been stated in Genesis and given to mankind in general.  Also, if this were universal, then it would probably be repeated throughout Scripture.  Since, it is restricted to Israel, it only occurs in relation to them.

The specific blessings and curses to which this passage speaks are found in Deuteronomy 28.  In this chapter, Israel is promised specific blessings if they obey the commandments of their covenant with the Lord.  Israel is promised specific curses if they disobey.  That these specific blessings and curses were for Israel is further seen by tracing the development of this theme throughout Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 7:9-11 notes that those Israelites who “keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness” (7:9) the Lord will bless them, but those who disobey God will repay them “to their faces, to destroy them” (7:10).  Thus, the Israelites were admonished to “keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them” (7:11).

Deuteronomy 29:22-28 explains to those Gentiles who would ask why the Lord has cursed Israel and cast her out of her land, that it is because of disobedience to the commandments given by Him earlier in the treaty.  So we see that Exodus 20:5-6 and Deuteronomy 5:9-10 tell the Israelites that God would hold them responsible to obey His law and that there would be consequences to their actions.

A further evidence that passages like Exodus 20:5-6 are simply stating the sanctions accompanying the responsibilities of service to the Lord for the people of Israel can be seen in the similar pattern found in Exodus 20:7.  “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”  As in 20:5-6, when compared with 20:7, we observe the commandment as follows:

20:4  You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness . . .

20:5  You shall not worship them or serve them . . .

20:7  You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain . . .

Then each commandment is followed by the stipulations or what God will do, by way of blessing and cursing, if they obey/disobey.

20:5-6  . . . visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

20:7  . . . for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

Thus it is clear that the phrase “. . . visiting the iniquity of the fathers . . .” is a specific example of one of the many ways within the Covenant/Treaty language of the Mosaic Law that God expresses the consequences of obeying or disobeying His Law.

Conclusion

Those who teach the ancestral inheritance principle quite naturally and logically also teach that a post-salvation deliverance is necessary in order for the Believer to really be free from the impact of one’s ancestral past.  Fred Dickason declares in his exorcism approach that “[a]ny possible ancestral involvement must be renounced” (336).  However, the idea that a Christian might have to be delivered specifically from a curse or occult power which salvation in Christ would not have taken care of is not found or implied in Scripture.  This is even more far-fetched when one considers the fact that the individual did not even commit the sin.  In fact, there is not one example in the entire Bible of a saved person being under a satanic curse, which had to be “broken” by Christian exorcism or distinct confession.  On the other hand, one example of demonic deliverance by Christ in the New Testament seems to imply that the ancestral inheritance principle is totally off base.

John 9 records the incident of Jesus healing a man born blind from birth.  Apparently Christ’s disciples believed falsely that this was a result of the sin of his parents, just as many falsely do today.  Perhaps these Jews 2,000 years ago misinterpreted the same passages being cited in our own day to come to their false conclusion.  Notice the dialogue in John 9:2-3:

And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?”  Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.

I hope that this paper has stimulated your study to search the Scriptures creating a greater realization of the greatness of the work of Christ on behalf of His children and the sufficiency of His Holy Scriptures.  It is so easy to adopt various superstitions that circulate within the evangelical community without first checking them out through the light of Scripture.  Inherited curses is an example of just such an evangelical superstition that does not hold up under the light of scripture.

from The Daily Caller:

According to a Defense Department-approved “sexism course,” the Bible, the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence all contribute to modern sexism.

Those three cherished texts all count as “historical influences that allow sexism to continue,” according to a presentation prepared by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, whose mission is to give a ”world-class human relations education.”

According to the course, the Bible has “quotes” which can be interpreted as sexist by readers.

The Declaration of Independence is also an historical cause of sexism, as the document refers only to ”all men” — not “men and women.”

And the Constitution, the Pentagon argues, is an historical source of sexism because “slaves and women were not included until later in history.”

Of course, members of the Armed Forces take an oath to defend the Constitution — which is, according to the DEOMI course, an “historical influence that allows sexism to continue.”

“The content of the lesson is provided to generate academic discussion concerning how these historical documents have been included in discussions about the topic of sexism,” Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman, told The Daily Caller.

But following TheDC’s request for comment, the sexism course — as well as two other courses listed on DEOMI’s website, entitled “Prejudice & Discrimination” and “Racism” — were taken offline.

“This course is currently offline and under revision,” a notice says under all three courses.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-10-at-11.21.53-AM

Asked about the sudden update, Christensen replied, “DEOMI online materials are periodically pulled to review to ensure accuracy and relevance. The racism, sexism and Prejudice & Discrimination are currently undergoing that review process.”

read the full article here

 

From Got Questions:

As Christians, the two things we can do to stand up for Christ are to live according to His Word and grow our own knowledge of Him. Christ said, “Let your light shine before men…” (Matthew 5:16). This means that we should live and act in a way that supports the gospel. We should also arm ourselves with knowledge, both of the gospel (Ephesians 6:10-17) and of the world around us. First Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” All we can do is live and teach as Christ would and let Him take care of the rest.

Critics of Christianity have become more vocal recently. This is partly because there are many people who do not believe in God or understand the truth about Him at all. Yet the apparent increase of anti-Christians is also due to perception. As with many topics, those who truly despise Christianity are the loudest and most vocal of the non-believers. The vast majority of those who do not believe don’t care enough to bother believers. The few angry, vocal, bitter unbelievers make enough noise to seem more numerous than they are.

The typical insult from the non-religious crowd is to refer to believers as “ignorant,” “stupid,” “brainwashed,” or to otherwise suggest that those who have faith are less intelligent than those who do not. When a Christian stands up intelligently for his faith, the terms change to “bigot,” “extremist,” or “zealot.” When people who know that the believer is kind and loving hear this, the atheist starts to look like the fool that he or she is (Psalm 53:1). Most non-believers have no personal reason to see Christians negatively, but they sometimes hear so much from the loud anti-Christians that they just assume it is so. They need examples of Christ-like living to see the truth.

Of course, when someone claiming to be a Christian says or does something that is not Christ-like, the angry, loud crowd is there to identify him as a typical religious hypocrite. This is something we have been warned to expect (Romans 1:28-30; Matthew 5:11). The best thing to do is to cite a passage of the Bible that speaks against what the person did. And remind the atheists that just because a person says he is a Christian, and even if he thinks he is a Christian, that does not mean that he is. Matthew 7:16,20 tell us that true Christians will be known by their actions, not merely by their profession. And remind critics that absolutely no one lives without sinning at all (Romans 3:23).

An important thing to remember is that no one, no matter how persuasive, can force anyone to believe anything he doesn’t want to believe. No matter what the evidence, no matter what the argument, people will believe what they want to believe (Luke 12:54-56). Conviction is not a Christian’s job. The Holy Spirit convicts people (John 14:16-17), and they choose whether or not to believe. What we can do is present ourselves in a way that is as Christ-like as possible. It is sad that there are many atheists who have read the entire Bible looking for ammunition against Christians, and that there are many Christians who have hardly read the Bible at all.

It’s hard for the angry crowd to accuse a Christian of being a hateful, cruel bigot when that person demonstrates a life of kindness, humility, and compassion. When a Christian can discuss, debate or debunk secular arguments accurately, the label of “ignorant” no longer fits. A Christian who has read the secular arguments and can politely expose their flaws helps to deflate the stereotypes advanced by atheists. Knowledge is the weapon, and it is invincible when we let Christ direct us in how to use it.

from Got Questions:

The resurrection of Jesus is important for several reasons. First, it witnesses to the immense power of God Himself. To believe in the resurrection is to believe in God. If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, He has power to raise the dead. If He does not have such power, He is not a God worthy of our faith and worship. Only He who created life can resurrect it after death, only He can reverse the hideousness that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting that is death and the victory that is the grave’s (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death.

Second, the resurrection of Jesus is a testimony to the resurrection of human beings, which is a basic tenet of the Christian faith. Unlike all other religions, Christianity alone possesses a founder who transcends death and who promises that His followers will do the same. All other religions were founded by men and prophets whose end was the grave. As Christians, we take comfort in the fact that our God became man, died for our sins, and was resurrected the third day. The grave could not hold Him. He lives, and He sits today at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.

In1 Corinthians 15, Paul explains in detail the importance of the resurrection of Christ. Some in Corinth did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, and in this chapter Paul gives six disastrous consequences if there were no resurrection: 1) preaching Christ would be senseless (v. 14); 2) faith in Christ would be useless (v. 14); 3) all the witnesses and preachers of the resurrection would be liars (v. 15); 4) no one would be redeemed from sin (v. 17); 5) all former believers would have perished (v.18); and 6) Christians would be the most pitiable people on the earth (v. 19). But Christ indeed has risen from the dead and “has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20), assuring that we will follow Him in resurrection.

The inspired Word of God guarantees the believer’s resurrection at the coming of Jesus Christ for His Body (the Church) at the Rapture. Such hope and assurance results in a great song of triumph as Paul writes in1 Corinthians 15:55, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

How do these concluding verses relate to the importance of the resurrection? Paul answers, “…you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (v. 58). He reminds us that because we know we will be resurrected to new life, we can suffer persecution and danger for Christ’s sake (vv. 29-31), just as He did. We can follow the example of the thousands of martyrs through history who gladly traded their earthly lives for everlasting life via the resurrection.

The resurrection is the triumphant and glorious victory for every believer. Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose the third day according to the Scripture. And, He is coming again! The dead in Christ will be raised up, and those who remain and are alive at His coming will be changed and receive new, glorified bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ important to salvation? It demonstrated that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It proves that God has the power to raise us from the dead. It guarantees that those who believe in Christ will not remain dead, but will be resurrected unto eternal life. That is our blessed hope!

Thank goodness that Faith in Jesus Christ is not a religion!

from USA Today:

Muslims will outnumber Christians by 2070, ending two millenniums of Christian dominance going back to the birth of Jesus Christ, projections released Thursday by the Pew Research Center show.

Islam is projected to grow more than twice as fast as any other major religion over the next half century because of a higher fertility rate. While Christianity will remain a dominant global religion, it will lose majority religious status in countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

Such a dramatic change raises questions about whether global conflicts between radical Muslim groups and Western nations with Christian majorities will become more inflamed in the decades ahead.

A slight shift by one major world religion to numerical dominance may not, by itself, create problems, but underlying factors of rapid population growth in poor countries can drive economic hardship, migration and political unrest, says David Voas, professor of population studies at England’s Institute for Social and Economic Research. Such conditions can give rise to extremist violence, he says.

“The very rapid growth of population, combined with limited opportunities even for the educated young people, but particularly for less educated ones, has created social and therefore political tensions and that has fueled things like immigration to Western countries, political upheaval,” Voas say.

The world’s two largest religions will be near parity by 2050. Christians are predicted to be 31.4% of the planet’s population vs. 29.7% who follow Islam, researchers say. Christians made up the same 31.4% in 2010; Muslims 23.2%.

“We can be quite confident that Muslims are going to grow rapidly in the decades ahead,” said Conrad Hackett, demographer and lead author of the report.

The engine of growth for both Christianity and Islam will be sub-Saharan Africa where high fertility and large Muslim and Christian populations will increase global numbers for both religions, Pew demographers say.

Christianity will remain the dominant religion for the United States but lose some of its share to the unaffiliated — those who claim no particular religion or who are atheists or agnostic. By 2050, one in four Americans will fall into this non-religious category, up from 16.4% in 2010, the analysis shows.

While the populations of nearly all the world’s religions will grow, youth and high fertility among Muslims will fuel a dramatic 73% jump in numbers in just over a generation. The number of Christians during that same period will increase by 35%, the study shows.

By midcentury, global population will swell by a third from 6.9 billion in 2010 to 9.3 billion.

From Got Questions:

The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event in history, providing irrefutable evidence that Jesus is who He claimed to be – the Son of God. The resurrection was not only the supreme validation of His deity; it also validated the Scriptures, which foretold His coming and resurrection. Moreover, it authenticated Christ’s claims that He would be raised on the third day (John 2:19-21; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34). If Christ’s body was not resurrected, we have no hope that ours will be (1 Corinthians 15:13, 16). In fact, apart from Christ’s bodily resurrection, we have no Savior, no salvation, and no hope of eternal life. As the apostle Paul said, our faith would be “useless” and the life-giving power of the gospel would be altogether eliminated.

Because our eternal destinies ride on the truth of this historical event, the resurrection has been the target of Satan’s greatest attacks against the church. Accordingly, the historicity of Christ’s bodily resurrection has been examined and investigated from every angle and studied endlessly by countless scholars, theologians, professors, and others over the centuries. And even though a number of theories have been postulated that attempt to disprove this momentous event, no credible historical evidence exists which would validate anything other than His literal bodily resurrection. On the other hand, the clear and convincing evidence of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is overwhelming.

Nonetheless, from the Christians in ancient Corinth to many today, misunderstandings persist relative to certain aspects of our Savior’s resurrection. Why, some ask, is it important that Christ’s body was resurrected? Couldn’t His resurrection have just been spiritual? Why and how does the resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantee the bodily resurrection of believers? Will our resurrected bodies be the same as our earthly bodies? If not, what will they be like? The answers to these questions are found in the fifteenth chapter of Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, a church that he established several years earlier during his second missionary journey.

In addition to growing factions in the young Corinthian church, there was rampant misunderstanding of some key Christian doctrines, including the resurrection. Although many of the Corinthians accepted that Christ has been resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:1, 11), they had difficulty believing others could or would be resurrected. The continuing influence of Gnostic philosophy, which held that everything spiritual was good whereas everything physical, such as our bodies, was intrinsically evil, was essentially responsible for their confusion regarding their own resurrection. The idea of a detestable corpse being eternally resurrected was, therefore, strongly opposed by some and certainly by the Greek philosophers of the day (Acts 17:32).

Yet, most of the Corinthians understood that Christ’s resurrection was bodily and not spiritual. After all, resurrection means “a rising from the dead”; something comes back to life. They understood that all souls were immortal and at death immediately went to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Thus, a “spiritual” resurrection would make no sense, as the spirit doesn’t die and therefore cannot be resurrected. Additionally, they were aware that the Scriptures, as well as Christ Himself, stated that His body would rise again on the third day. Scripture also made it clear that Christ’s body would see no decay (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27), a charge that would make no sense if His body was not resurrected. Lastly, Christ emphatically told His disciples it was His body that was resurrected: “A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).

Again, however, the Corinthians’ concern was regarding their personal resurrection. Accordingly, Paul tried to convince the Corinthians that because Christ rose from the dead, they also would rise from the dead some day, and that the two resurrections – Christ’s and ours – must stand or fall together, for “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised” (v.13).

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (vv. 20-22).

When Jesus Christ was resurrected, He became the “first fruits” of all who would be raised (see also Colossians 1:18). The Israelites could not fully harvest their crops until they brought a representative sampling (first fruits) to the priests as an offering to the Lord (Leviticus 23:10). This is what Paul is saying in verses 20-22; Christ’s own resurrection was the “first fruits” of the resurrection “harvest” of the believing dead. The “first fruits” language Paul uses indicates something to follow, and that something would be His followers – the rest of the “crop.” This is how Christ’s resurrection guarantees ours. Indeed, His resurrection requires our resurrection.

And to allay their concerns regarding connecting the spirit to what was deemed an undesirable body, Paul explained to them the nature of our resurrected bodies and how they would differ from our earthly bodies. Paul likened our deceased earthly bodies to a “seed,” and God would ultimately provide another body (vv. 37-38) that would be like Christ’s glorious resurrected body (1 Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 4:21). Indeed, just as with our Lord, our bodies which are now perishable, dishonored, weak, and natural will one day be raised into bodies that are imperishable, glorious, powerful, and spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). Our spiritual bodies will be perfectly equipped for heavenly, supernatural living.

Matthew 19:4-6:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

So according to the words of Jesus Christ, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is no longer a Christian Church as it places itself in opposition to the words of God!

From The New York Times:

After three decades of debate over its stance on homosexuality, members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Tuesday to change the definition of marriage in the church’s constitution to include same-sex marriage. The final approval by a majority of the church’s 171 regional bodies, known as presbyteries, enshrines a change recommended last year by the church’s General Assembly.

The vote amends the church’s constitution to broaden marriage from being between “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.” The Presbytery of the Palisades, meeting in Fair Lawn, N.J., put the ratification count over the top on Tuesday on a voice vote. With many presbyteries still left to vote, the tally late Tuesday stood at 87 presbyteries in favor, 41 against and one tied.

“Finally, the church in its constitutional documents fully recognizes that the love of gays and lesbian couples is worth celebrating in the faith community,” said the Rev. Brian D. Ellison, executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, which advocates gay inclusion in the church.

“There is still disagreement, and I don’t mean to minimize that, but I think we are learning that we can disagree and still be church together.” The church, with about 1.8 million members, is the largest of the nation’s Presbyterian denominations, but it has been losing congregations and individual members as it has moved to the left theologically over the past several years.

There was a wave of departures in and after 2011, when the presbyteries ratified a decision to ordain gays and lesbians as pastors, elders and deacons, and that may have cleared the way for Tuesday’s vote. With many conservative Presbyterians who were active in the church now gone, as well as the larger cultural shift toward acceptance of same-sex marriage, the decisive vote moved quickly toward approval, according to those on both sides of the divide.

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