Category Archives: Christianity

Predestination of Purpose

[Christ] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (Ephesians 1:11)

The debate of predestination or election vs. free will continues through the ages of Christendom without apparent resolution, except in the mind of the one who dogmatically holds one view or the other. I believe the answer is somewhere in the middle,[1] but for now I want to look at the idea of predestination.

I find that when the term predestined (or “predestinated” as rendered in the KJV) appears in the New Testament, it seems to be associated with the Christian’s “conversation” or manner of life. Our beginning verse is a good example: “[Christ] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11, emphasis mine). Note that the Christian has already obtained an inheritance, i.e., eternal life in accordance with the purpose of the One who works everything according to His will. What is that purpose? “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:12, emphasis mine).

Again, God has “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:5, emphasis mine). The “predestination” is that those who are saved will be adopted as “children” of God. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4, emphasis mine). God planned from the “foundation of the world” that His adopted children would be blameless before Him through Jesus. The predestination is the plan that God had from beginning for those who would be saved. God does not predestine some to hell and some to heaven. That would contradict the “whosoever will” found in John 3:16 et. al.

Salvation is by grace through faith, as Paul explains. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, emphasis mine).  Even the faith that it takes to believe is a gift of God that He gives to everyone. We all have the ability to believe. Jesus said, “… If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you” (Luke 17:6, emphasis mine). A mustard seed is a small thing, yet with that small amount, a mountain can move. Believing in Jesus can be a huge mountain for some people, but by exercising the little faith God gives by His grace, it can be moved.

When we exercise that faith, we are transformed – remade. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, emphasis mine). The new creation crafted by Christ becomes a tool for His purpose. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, emphasis mine). Those good works for which we are created were preordained or predestined from the beginning.

Our post-salvation life is predestined, not our salvation. Our salvation is “foreknown” not predestined. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29, emphasis mine). We are predestined to be conformed, i.e., “molded.” into the image of Christ, but God foreknows those who will be saved; He does not predestine them for salvation nor damnation.

If you are not sure about your status before God, please visit my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  “Somewhere in the Middle: – https://erniecarrasco.com/2013/10/20/somewhere-in-the-middle/

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Stop the Nonsense!

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  (Hebrews 10:24-25)

When Jesus asked His disciples who people said He was, Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Of Peter’s confession, Jesus answered, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The purpose of gates is to keep out invaders. Therefore, by implication, Jesus portrayed the Church charging the Gates of Hell.

However, that is not the image of the Church we see today. Instead, the Church is fragmented into its individual pieces all cowering in their private shelters fearful of a virus that infects a very low percentage of the population and kills even fewer. The “bread of life” is broken up into crumbs and scattered in hidden places. For now, the Gates of Hell are safe!

I have written on this topic before,[1] [2] so rehashing past articles serves little purpose. However, the Word bears repeating. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29, emphasis mine). “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Churches that have shut their doors, mine included, are operating in the “spirit of fear”[3] regardless of the “reasons” given for their capitulation to unlawful edicts and decrees. It is time for the pastors of these cowering churches to grow a backbone, stand up against these unlawful authorities, and reopen the doors of the churches, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, emphasis mine).

Watch and listen to this preacher, ex-Muslim, and fugitive from Iran. He says it better than I can. You may want to start viewing the YouTube video at minute 32:40.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDpVUCOmXjk

Notes:


[1]  “The Right to Assemble” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/06/14/the-right-to-assemble/

[2]  “Higher Powers” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/07/19/higher-powers/

[3]  “Living in Fear” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/06/28/living-in-fear/

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So Ready!

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

With everything taking place in our nation and across the world, I yearn with an aching heart for Jesus to call His children home. The event known as the Rapture captured my imagination almost 50 years when Hal Lindsey came out with his book, The Late, Great Planet Earth. Ever since, I have waited expectantly wondering if this could be the year.

Not long after reading Hal Lindsey’s book, I got married, started a family, and became very preoccupied with making a living and all that goes along with that. Thoughts of the Rapture came infrequently, but they never left my thoughts altogether.

Things back then did not seem as bad as they appear today. Roe v. Wade was a terrible decision by the Supreme Court, but as bad as that was then, it does not compare to the butchery taking place now and all that goes along with that. Homosexuals coming out of the closet disgusted us, but as long as they were not “hitting on” us, we could tolerate them. That sprouted into all kinds of perversion we see today that even involve young children. Today the “alphabet movement” demands that we accept their perversion as “normal.” They have even infiltrated elementary schools to indoctrinate our children into their deviance by teaching little ones that their gender is their choice, not a biological fact. What did Jesus say about those who harm little children? “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2).

Add to all of that the violence in the streets of our cities – as in the days of Noah.[1] Then we have the Wuhan pandemic plaguing the world, and recently I heard from an unverified source that Russia plans to release COVID-20 which is supposedly worse. On top of that, we have a rapid degeneration of relations with China, and with Russia that some fear could lead to war. Meanwhile, in the Middle East where end-times prophecy focuses, the stage continues to be set for the end-times wars outlined in the book of Ezekiel.

It is not so much that all these things are taking place, but that they are accelerating at a rapid pace. What we see is what Jesus described in Mathew 24. However, what Jesus described was the Tribulation,[2] “the time of Jacob’s trouble,”[3] prophesied by Daniel.[4] Jesus referred to the time of His return to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The prophet Jeremiah called it “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” God changed Jacob’s name to Israel,[5] and he was the father of the twelve tribes that composed the nation of Israel. Furthermore, the angel instructed Daniel that “Seventy weeks [or 70 x 7 or 490 years] are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city…” (Daniel 9:24, emphasis mine). The first 483 years ended when Jesus was crucified. One final seven (years) remains to be fulfilled; that is the time of the Tribulation. The book of Revelation outlines in horrific detail the events that will transpire during those seven years. However, the point here is that the time of Tribulation is for the sake of Israel (Jacob). More could be said about this, but that is not my intent here.

The Church is not Israel. The Church has not replaced Israel as some wool-clad wolves are saying. The time of Tribulation is not for the Church. The purpose of the Tribulation is for the saving of Israel and for God to keep His promises to Israel. The Church will be removed before the Tribulation begins at the Rapture!

Many argue that “Rapture” is found nowhere in the Bible. That is true. The English word “rapture” is not in the Bible, but the source of the word is. The Greek word Paul uses to describe this event is harpazō.[6] It means “to seize, carry off by force,” or “to snatch out or away.” The KJV translates to “be caught up.” The Latin Vulgate Bible translates the word as “rapturo,” from which we get our English word Rapture.

There are several examples of people being “caught up” in the Bible: Enoch[7] and Elijah[8] in the Old Testament, and Philip[9] in the New Testament. In fact, harpazō is the word used for Philips catching away. Paul tells us that we will not all die, which seems to contradict what is said in the Letter to the Hebrews. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, emphasis mine). That is generally true; however, there have been and will be some exceptions. Remember, Enoch and Elijah did not die, and we who are alive at the time of the rapture will not experience physical death.

We cannot enter the presence of God in our sinful bodies. Paul reminds us that we will not all sleep, i.e., die, “but we shall all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51). “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53). We need uncorrupted, i.e., “sinless” bodies to stand in God’s presence. Paul says that the time is coming when the trumpet will sound and Christians who have died will come up out of their graves, then those of us who are alive at that time will be changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (that’s really fast).[10] Then he says, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17, emphasis mine). Note that we go “to meet the Lord in the air;” He does not come down to earth. The Rapture is NOT the Second Coming.” That event happens at the end of the Tribulation.[11] This is the Rapture of the Church.

I believe the Bible teaches that the Rapture of the Church takes place before the seven-year Tribulation. The Tribulation is for the salvation of Israel. The Church is saved through the blood Christ shed on the cross. There are no signs for the Rapture. All the signs we see are for the Second Coming of Christ, which is preceded by the seven-year Tribulation. That we are seeing the beginning signs for the Tribulation should alert us to the proximity of the Rapture. The signs we see now are just “the beginning of sorrows,”[12] i.e. birth pains. Just as birth pains begin infrequently and sporadically and gradually increase in frequency and intensity, in the same way, the signs of Jesus’ Second Coming will grow in frequency and intensity until He returns. However, the Rapture comes first, and it could happen at any time.

I am so ready! I often wonder what it will feel like for my body to change instantly into a sinless, flawless, immortal body with a full head of hair and the body of a 30-year-old! Then to zoom through the roof of my house or car leaving my old rags behind and clothed in a sparkling white suit of clothes to meet Jesus somewhere out in space. Can you imagine that! I am so ready!

How about you? Are you ready to meet Jesus in the air? You do not want to go through the Tribulation. If you think this world is bad now, you ain’t seen nothing yet! If you are not sure, you need to settle that right now. Please visit my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Matthew 24:37-39; Genesis 6:5, 11-12,

[2]  Matthew 24:21, 29

[3]  Jeremiah 30:7

[4]  Daniel 9:24-27

[5]  Genesis 32:28

[6]  1 Thessalonians 4:14

[7]  Genesis 5:24

[8]  2 Kings 2:11

[9]  Acts 8:39

[10]  1 Corinthians 15:50-53

[11]  Revelation 19

[12]  Matthew 24:8

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Higher Powers

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)

The Wuhan Pandemic proves the willingness of Americans to voluntarily subject themselves to the “higher powers” without question or objection. At least that holds true for those of the population who generally comply with mandates issued by the powers that be.  Compliance comes without challenge to the legitimacy or legality of the edict.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the Christian community. Ever since the government issued the “shelter-in-place” rules to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus, churches have shut the doors to their facilities, ignoring the biblical mandate not to forsake the assembling together.[1] In so doing, they also ignore another biblical principle that we, the Church, are to obey God rather than men.[2]

In defense of these biblical infractions, church leaders cite Romans 13:1-7.  Writing from Corinth, Paul pens a letter to the young church in Rome expressing his desire to visit them on his way to Spain.[3] Paul’s “meaty” letter to the Romans contains much “heavy” doctrine as well as practical application of that doctrine to the Christian life. In this section, Paul gives instructions on how Christians should relate to governing authorities.

Paul wrote his letter to the Roman Church sometime around 57-58 A.D. Nero reigned as emperor of the Roman Empire.[4] History records that Nero initiated the “Great Fire of Rome” in 64 A.D.[5] in order to make room for one of his public works projects. In order to deflect the liability from himself, he cast the blame on Christians subjecting them to harsh persecution. It is said that he raised Christians on stakes and set them on fire to light the streets of Rome. It is this emperor to whom Paul exhorted the Roman Church to submit “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 13:4). “He is a minister of God to thee for good”? He is “a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil”? Was Paul really talking about Nero? Indeed he was.

Christians should submit to the governing authorities because, according to God’s Word through Paul, “the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1).  The Greek word translated “ordained” is tassō and it carries the idea of putting things in order; to station in place; to arrange; to appoint. I picture it as God arranging chess pieces on a chessboard. The Bible clearly affirms that it is God who sets up or takes down earthly kings. He does it to accomplish His higher purpose. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Proverbs 21:1).

Even though Nero used Christians as human torches, this was an isolated case. Systemic persecution of Christians did not exist at the time of Paul’s writing to the church at Rome. Isolated cases of persecution cropped up from time to time, but it was far from rampant. The primitive church in Jerusalem suffered the brunt of early persecution at the hands of the Jews, but except for Stephan[6] and James,[7] there is no biblical record of Christians being killed for their faith. The Jews beat Peter and threw him in prison, but an angelic jailbreaker let him out.[8] Early Christians did suffer individual and isolated cases of persecution, but it was mostly in the form of ostracism. In fact, the Bible records that “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). The moniker, Christian, was given as a term of derision, not as a compliment. That was mostly the extent of persecution in the early church. We, in America, suffer that kind of persecution today and it appears to be growing worse.

The kind of persecution portrayed in epic movies – Christians fed to lions, burned at the stake, dragged to death behind chariots, etc. – did not take place until much later. “Officially sanctioned Roman persecution was most intense during the reigns of Marcus Aurelius (161–180), Decius (249–251), Diocletian (284–305) and Galerius (305–311).”[9] For the most part, the Romans practiced “freedom of religion,” as long as people gave verbal assent to Caesar as lord. Declaring “Jesus is Lord” could get Christians into trouble, if such a declaration fell on the wrong ears; but I am sure Christians were safe as long as they watched their words.

My point in all of this is to show that Paul gave the church at Rome good advice in keeping the law and submitting to the authorities. Indeed, Paul took advantage of Roman law on more than one occasion.[10] Likewise, as Americans, while America remains, we must submit to our authorities and make use of the system of laws provided by the United States Constitution.

The greatest difference existing between the Roman Empire and the United States of America is the rule of man versus the rule of law. Our framers understood that fallen man cannot rule righteously and must be constrained by something (or someone) greater. Our founders understood that our freedoms come from God alone, and not from human government. We are free because God made us individually free, not because some benevolent human government bestows freedom upon us. Government only takes away freedom. Therefore, the framers of the Constitution, our Law of the Land, very simply designed a form of government of laws, gleaned mostly from the Bible and divided amongst three co-equal branches of government – the Legislative to write laws, the Executive to enforce the laws, and the Judicial to ensure that the laws written by the Legislative branch and approved by the Executive branch were in keeping with the Constitution. Further, the original Constitution included only ten amendments called the Bill of Rights that protected individual citizens from governmental abuses. The design of the Constitution purposefully complicated the process of legislation to prevent our “fallen” leaders from creating abusive laws willy-nilly.  The main intent of government was to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”[11]

Our authority is the Constitution of the United States, not our President, not Congress, nor the Supreme Court, and certainly not the unelected officials which pass thousands of laws and regulations unbeknownst to the rest of us. The first of the Bill of Rights ensures for us the freedom of (not from) religion, the freedom of speech and of the press, and the freedom to peaceably assemble. Specifically, freedom of religion guarantees that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion[12] [i.e., we cannot have a “national” religion, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc.] or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [i.e. we are free to practice our faith in any way or in any place we want to].”[13] The freedom to peaceably assemble[14] also applies to our freedom of religion because that is what we, as Christians, do on the Lord’s Day, assemble peaceably.

Now, the Wuhan Bug[15] invaded our borders, and our governmental leaders locked down our nation effectively imprisoning all Americans in their homes “for their own protection,”[16] of course. If they intended to “insure domestic tranquility” they failed miserably. If they intended to “provide for the common defense” they failed at that too. Consider all the rioting and the calls to defund the police. Law-abiding citizens are left defenseless.[17] If they intended to “promote the general welfare,” they failed again. Consider all the jobs lost, businesses closed, and lives disrupted. We are “encouraged” to stay home and not to come out unless it is absolutely necessary, and then we must wear masks to cover our mouths and noses and keep away from other people. I could go on, but I will not belabor the point.

These draconian measures have effectively neutered the First Amendment. We are not allowed to peaceably assemble in our houses of worship, and we are, therefore, prohibited from freely exercising our religion. It was not many years ago that Christians were being discouraged from practicing their religion in public, as in school, at work, or on government property. We were encouraged to confine the exercise of our religion to our houses of worship. Now we cannot even go there.

I do not believe Paul would encourage us to obey unlawful orders. As noted above, Paul lived under the law of man, Nero. We, supposedly, live under the rule of LAW, not of man. Paul without hesitation exercised his legal rights as a Roman citizen under Roman law when his freedoms were violated. Comparing Roman law and American Constitutional law is comparing apples and oranges. We are not obligated to obey edicts prescribed by unelected officials, CDC, HHS, NIH, WHO, etc. They are not legitimate lawgivers, so any edicts put out by these organizations are unsupported by our Constitution – unless We the People voluntarily subject ourselves to them.

No intelligent person denies that COVID-19 poses a potentially fatal threat. However, the infection to death ratio is extremely small. Furthermore, those at high risk of death from this virus are those who are physically compromised – the elderly, the immunocompromised, those with respiratory illnesses, etc. Healthy individuals who are infected either exhibit no symptoms, or they experience symptoms akin to a severe case of flu.

The Wuhan Bug does not warrant the measures taken to combat it. What these measures do accomplish is to provide a large-scale test platform for population control. After all, these measures are “for our own good.” Our government is only trying to protect its citizens. Do not be deceived! The higher powers are testing the waters for greater restrictions to come. These are just the first fruits of tyranny. Sadly, our churches are unwittingly paving the way.

I am one lonely voice. If I could influence anyone, I would encourage church leaders to engage in civil disobedience.  “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). I know pastors are concerned about their congregations and do not want to be responsible for anyone getting infected or dying from the bug. I get that. However, we can meet together without masks, without social distancing, and without prohibitions against personal contact – shaking hands, hugging, etc. First of all, trust God that He will place His protective hand on the congregation. Second, encourage and trust people to exercise common sense. If someone suspects they have been infected they should stay home. If anyone has traveled out of the country or to a “hot spot” they should stay at home. If anyone feels a little “under the weather” they should stay at home. Third, provide plenty of hand sanitizing stations. Fourth, make an extra effort to keep the building clean and disinfected. If the higher powers protest, they do not have a Constitutional leg to stand on. You may have to fight it, but Paul gave us the example.

In the battle for American independence, it was the churches and the pastors that led the charge. It is high time the modern church exhibited the same kind of courage!

 Notes:


[1]  Hebrews 10:25

[2]  Acts 5:29

[3]  Romans 1:13; 15:22-24

[4]  “Nero” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nero

[5]  “Great Fire of Rome” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fire_of_Rome

[6]  Acts 7:54-60

[7]  Acts 12:2

[8]  Acts 12:3-19

[9]  “Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Roman_Empire

[10]  Acts16:35-40; 22:25;25:11

[11]  Preamble to The Constitution of the United States of America

[12]  By “religion” the founders had in mind Western religions which at that time included all Christian denominations and the Jewish religion. Eastern or pagan religions did not even occur to them.

[13]  The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

[14]  “The Right to Assemble” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/06/14/the-right-to-assemble/

[15]  “Wuhan Bug” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/03/15/wuhan-bug/

[16]  “Unprecedented” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/04/19/unprecedented/

[17]  “Living in Fear” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/06/28/living-in-fear/

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Prejudice

Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1)

Growing up in the ’60s, racism did not exist. We had “prejudice.” While prejudice can morph into racism, prejudice is not necessarily racism. Prejudice is neither bad nor good. It is neither right nor wrong. Prejudice can have bad outcomes, or it can have good outcomes.

Dictionary.com defines prejudice[1] as (1) an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason; (2) any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable; (3) unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group. I disagree that prejudice is an unfavorable opinion or unreasonable feelings or opinions. Certainly, several examples could be given to the contrary.

I find the definition in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary[2] more agreeable. It defines prejudice as “Prejudgment; an opinion or decision of mind, formed without due examination of the facts or arguments which are necessary to a just and impartial determination. It is used in a good or bad sense. Innumerable are the prejudices of education; we are accustomed to believe what we are taught, and to receive opinions from others without examining the grounds by which they can be supported. A man has strong prejudices in favor of his country or his party, or the church in which he has been educated; and often our prejudices are unreasonable. A judge should disabuse himself of prejudice in favor of either party in a suit.”

Racism casts prejudice in a negative light. In the ’60s, the prejudice that existed against black people resulted in racism and injustices leveled against them. However, not all prejudice was unreasonable or unjustifiable. For example, I remember, as a freshman in college, having to traverse a gauntlet of black athletes stationed in front of the main entrance to my dormitory. As I passed through, they taunted me with accusations of being prejudiced (today they would have said “racist”). Judging that they were only looking for an excuse to beat me up, I just walked past them without a word. My prejudice was not unfounded or irrational. I knew of others that opened their mouths and paid the price.

Racism, as I explained in my last article,[3] works both ways. These young men were prejudiced against me because I did not share their skin color, and I was prejudiced against them because experience taught me that black guys in groups liked to intimidate and beat up on non-blacks. It had something to do with “black power.” I experienced the same thing while I was stationed onboard the USS Sperry AS-12 when I was in the Navy. However, I was not racist. I had nothing against black people. I would have been happy to have joined their groups if I had been approached as an equal on a friendly basis, but that never happened.

Today, I have several black friends, and I get along well with all races. I am not racist. However, I am still prejudiced. For example, if I see a group of young men, regardless of color, and they look like “gangsters” – dressed in hoodies, droopy pants, and all tatted up – I will avoid contact with them. My prejudice may be wrong about them. They may just be a bunch of good Christian boys from a local church youth group having a public Bible study. On the other hand, my prejudice could be right, and if I ignore my instincts, I may end up robbed and in the hospital.

My point is that prejudice can be right or wrong, but in all cases, it should be cautiously tested until proven one way or the other. If I avoid getting to know someone based on the color of their skin, I may lose the opportunity to have the friend of a lifetime.

Here is another example. I am a Southern Baptist and I believe the basic doctrines of the Baptist Faith and Message.[4] I could, therefore, be prejudiced in favor of all Southern Baptist preachers, and because of my prejudice, I might accept everything a Southern Baptist preacher says without question.  I can be reasonably sure that they teach the Bible accurately because my prejudice says they believe the same way I do. Friends, that is a recipe for spiritual deception.  Paul told his young protégé, Timothy to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The Holy Spirit intended that not only for young Timothy but for each one of us today. We should be as Luke described the Bereans who “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Do not allow your prejudice to lull you into false teaching.

Oh, and by the way, pastors are not immune from this kind of prejudice. They train in seminaries where they learn to trust the professors and the books their professors assign for reading. When they come out of seminary, they continue teaching what they were taught by their trusted professors without doing the hard work of examining what the Bible actually says. This can be proven simply by observing the number of churches and denominations that are going “liberal” – even Southern Baptist churches. So, this admonition applies to the laity as well as pastors.

Jesus taught us to be careful with our prejudice. Our starting verse above is the object of much abuse because it is frequently taken out of context especially by those who are prejudiced against Christians. Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). I explain this in greater depth in my article “Beware of False Prophets,” but Jesus basically explained that we need not allow our prejudices for our preferred teachers to keep us from identifying false teaching. We have to judge rightly and without prejudice. That goes for the way we read our Bible. We should approach Scripture without prejudice and allow it to speak unrestrictedly by our preconceptions. Jesus teaches us to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). That requires effort.

We all have prejudices, but we need to be careful about how we exercise prejudice. One prejudice that is always valid is the prejudice that instructs us that every word in Scripture comes directly from God, and it is therefore consistently true. You can always rely on that prejudice to be true. As Paul instructed the Romans, “let God be true, but every man a liar.” By keeping that prejudice, you will never go wrong.

Notes:


[1]  Prejudice – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/prejudice?s=t

[2]  Prejudice – http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/Prejudice

[3]  “Racism” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/07/05/racism/

[4]  “Baptist Faith and Message” – http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.asp

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