Stop Being So Negative!
By Jim Jester
This is one of the most common responses I get from people when I make a comment like, “God is a God of judgment” or, “Jesus Christ did not die for everybody” or, “God says He hates certain things or certain people.” Many times someone will come back with a Bible verse taken out of its context, and say, “Don’t be so negative!” or, “You’re being divisive” or, “We are not to be judgmental.” This was the case recently with a Sunday school teacher, so I wrote back:
Electricity doesn’t flow unless there is a negative and a positive. It is now time to be positive. All my life I was an Arminian; I rejected all 5 points of Calvin (T.U.L.I.P.). But now I am more of a Calvinist than an Arminian because God is sovereign, it is He who chooses, not us. We only choose to serve him. We can’t have it both ways; as I once believed, that God was for me and I chose to accept Christ therefore His vote and my vote made a majority.
I had always wanted unity in the church but this conflict in doctrine has been struggled with by greater minds than mine. Since Luther posted his Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg the debate has gone on for centuries. Why can’t the Christian world unite? Men like Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Arminius were not able to reconcile and unify the church. I knew that because of Genesis 3:15 there would always be conflict in the world but why not unity in the church? That is the only place where true togetherness can be. The church is the source of truth because of the Bible. How can we reconcile? I now realize that there is a way, a third option other than Calvin’s 5 assertions or Arminius’s 5 answers to Calvin. Finally, after some 500 years, the church can unite! It can happen by discovering the Covenant God made with His People.
The biggest error of the Reformers was that they had no covenant in their theology. They all came from the former church of Rome. The word Catholic means “universal.” The Bible never taught universalism; look what happened at Babel when men tried to unite. We can only unite under God’s banner because we are His. The Catholic Church had no covenant and neither do churches today. This was what the Reformers missed because of their lifetime background of teaching from this pagan church. Protestantism, as good as it was, is still catholic!
When the Pilgrims arrived in America there were only a few Christian denominations; now there are thousands of them. Why? Because there is no anchor (the Covenant/God’s Law) to hold them together. It is only by re-discovering the covenant and who it was made with that we can unite as the true Christian church. The result would be drastic and many will not like the message. It would cause the biggest rift since the Protestant Reformation, but when the dust settles it will be for the better of humankind, mankind, and Christians everywhere. I say let it come, and the result will be the kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven” just as our Lord has taught us to pray.
The thread of Universalism runs deep in every religion of the world: Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, etc. The St. Paul of Buddhism, a king known by more people than Jesus, King Asoka the Great, 304-232 B.C. said, “One shall not condemn another religion or race by word or deed.” This is the philosophy of everyone today and the core belief of all religions. While it became widespread since this king, its origin lies with Satan and ancient Babylon. But is this philosophy that “all are the same and all are brothers” Biblical? We are taught this in church, in school, in college; it’s on TV, radio, print; it’s everywhere. The Bible alone stands out against it. Only our God is exclusively different from all others and He expects us to be exclusive not inclusive.
The third option for Protestants? Of course! Calvin believed the Elect were those who were to be saved out of all races. There was no way to know who these people are. Arminius believed the Elect were those who had been saved out of all races and there was no way to identify them other than they brought forth the fruits of a sanctified life. You see, they both were wrong because they both were universal: they had no covenant. Both are Catholic! The Protestants did not go far enough. The Covenantal option is the third alternative to theology. Christendom can now stop squabbling over the issues of Calvinism v. Arminianism. The Elect is Israel as the scripture plainly says, Isa. 45:4, “For Jacob my servant's sake and Israel mine elect….” We know who they are even though they do not always live up to the standards of God’s Law and haven’t over the many centuries. But God is still working with them today and always has. The New Covenant is actually an extension of the Old Covenant with the same people! It is a renewal of the everlasting Covenant in Christ’s blood. It was made exclusively for the People of God, no one else. Why was this necessary? Because they had broken the Law (which was their Covenant) and God divorced them. Jeremiah 3:8 “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.”
It is they, Israel, who were lost and without hope as the prophet said, Ezekiel 37:11 “Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.” In the words of Paul, Ephesians 2:12 “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” No hope and without God? Why? Because they were divorced and scattered. In the words of the prophet, Hosea 1:9, “Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” What a tragic condition to be in; no longer God’s people? Divorced? He continues in verse 10, “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.” Amazing: this is fulfilled in the New Covenant.
One side issue is that many who see that the Elect is Israel in the Bible think it is talking about today’s country of Israel, which is the “Jews.” This is a common mistake made because of our conditioning. One should erase the word “jew” from their mind when reading the Bible. It causes much confusion because it is a slang word which has multiple meanings and is an improper translation of the Biblical text. The original word should be translated “Judean” which is a person from the country of Judea. Or it should be translated “Judahite” if the person is a descendant of Judah. Point is, the Bible is not talking about Israel as a country; it is very clearly talking about Israel being Jacob and his descendants. Israel is not a country (established in 1948) it is a race!
One must remember the basis of Christianity is from Abraham, Moses, the prophets and the Law. The word “jew” does not appear in the Pentateuch. Abram was not a jew, neither was Moses. The Law was not given to jews. It was given to Israel. Jews did not exist at the time but their forerunners, the Amalekites did. According to the Biblical genealogical records, Amalek was the grandson of Esau. It was the Amalekites who were the first to attack Israel after they left Egypt. The word “jews” does not appear in the Bible until the 2 book of Kings. This alone should raise a red flag for Bible students. Something is wrong about what we are being taught in this age.
Back to the third option in theology: This truth of the Covenant made by God with his chosen family, nation, race (these are synonymous in the Bible, although not always used that way today) will sound very offensive to most of today’s Christians, having been programmed as if in a cult. It was offensive to me too. But as I thought about it, it made sense. Who am I to question God? Didn’t He create genetics? And, if He chose to work out salvation in a particular race, why should I say it’s not fair? We know that not everyone is saved in the end anyway, so what’s so offensive about it if that’s how God works? Arminius was so arrogant as to say we choose; Calvin said God chose already; but didn’t know on what basis. This made God look like a tyrant, saving some but condemning others, based on what? Nothing! But, with a Covenant there is a perfectly justified basis for His actions. Yes, this is offensive in this day in which we live. It may cause us to lose friends and it may cause the government to label us as “racists” but do I care? No, I serve and trust Yahweh, not the other gods of universal salvation for all. Is not the following statement from the Bible a “racist” (I have used quotes because this word has not been defined) statement?
Deuteronomy 14:2, “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.”
This will imply many things and stir many questions and it takes time to sort out the mind; but there are many resources available. Covenant theology is really nothing new, it just sounds new to most people. Yes, I think we should be positive, but positively in line with what the Bible teaches! There can only be unity in a Biblical context. If this means the exclusion of other doctrines, races and other sacred cows, then that’s what it will take to establish the kingdom of God. So, modern Christian, you don’t think that the Laws under the covenant can establish God’s Kingdom on Earth? Stop being so negative.