Monday, January 16, 2017

One Faith




One Faith

We are living in the age of Social Engineering being practiced from cradle to the grave; i.e., at every age level imaginable.  Almost every aspect of global existence is being propagandized and impacted by Liberalism, Marxism, and Antichristism.  The ultimate goal of this Social Engineering is Globalism – a one-world government, one-world religion, and one-world economic system.  The central characteristic of Globalism is Antichristism.  God foretold this thousands of years ago, in the book of Revelation. 
         
Antichristism and Liberalism are essentially the same thing.  Antichristism and Liberalism do not oppose false religion, just Bible believing Christianity.  What we know as Social Engineering is the satanic methodology of Antichristism as it seeks to manipulate the world into the complete abandonment of Bible believing Christianity – true faith.  God refers to this influence and manipulation of people in the world towards unbelief as “worldliness.”  Worldly people, those who have succumbed to some level of satanic influence through Social Engineering, become partners in the Social Engineering of others influencing others at infinitely numbers of different levels.  This happens through every aspect of a society within thousands of cultures and ethnic groups.

The three central vehicles of satanic Social Engineering are:

1. education/propaganda
2.politics/propaganda
3. religious/propaganda. 

The goal of Social Engineering is to change acceptable social norms/values to fit a new social construct.  The new term coined for the advancement of the liberalizing agenda of Social Engineering was the word progressive.  The people involved in the liberalizing agenda of Social Engineering are called Progressives.  The main vehicle of the propaganda machine of the liberalizing agenda of Social Engineering has been through the entertainment industry – music, movies, television, radio, internet, cell phones, etc.  

The entertainment industry has been captured by Progressives and is almost exclusively used to advance a Socialistic, Antichrist agenda.  Most Christians spend thousands of dollars a year, often more than they give to the Lord, to invite the propagandists of Antichristism into their homes through the internet, music, radio, television, and DVD movies.  Often there is minimal censoring or restriction upon what comes into their ears, or before their eyes. 

There is even less discernment regarding the agenda of the propaganda of Progressives or consideration of the subtle influences upon young, undeveloped minds and consciences.  The human conscience only works the way it was designed by God when the human mind partners with the Spirit of God in the knowledge of the Word of God to control the heart and desires of the flesh.  The first agenda of Liberalism is to undermine faith in the Word of God and to capture the lives of individuals, taking away from them the time necessary to study and know the Word of God. 

God’s inspired Scriptures are redundant with warnings against the satanic influences of the “world.”  God’s solution against worldly influence is to study and know God’s Word (II Timothy 2:15). God refers to the knowledge and practice of His Word to in His Word as “wisdom.”  A person who does not understand the thousands of subtle levels of satanic worldly influence upon his life does not possess wisdom.  Such a person can be deemed an undiscerning fool.  This is the substance of God’s instruction in the beginning Psalm of the Book of Psalms. 

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:1-3).

There are three blessings of protection found in Psalm 1:1.  The word “blessed” in the Hebrew text is a plural and signifies an existence of blessednesses within a life of fidelity, or faithfulness in obedience, to the Word of God.  Therefore, genuine faith in God’s Word manifests itself through faithfulness to God’s Word, which keeps the faithful believer within the boundaries where God’s blessednesses exist.  People of true faith learns to separate themselves from the influences of ungodly people without separating their own godly influence upon those people. 

1. He is protected from foolish advice because he does not live by the “counsel of the ungodly.”  The “blessed” man gets all his directions for life from the Word of God and from people who know and believe the Word of God.  The “blessed” man is discerning about from whom he gets advice. 
2. He is protected from the consequences of association with the disobedient because he does not stand “in the way of sinners.”  The wise man understands he is influenced by his associations and the friends he chooses.  To choose wisely is to choose godly friends and associates.  However, life often forces us into associations with ungodly people.  When this happens, the wise man learns to put himself on guard against their ungodly influences seeking more to influence than be influenced to ungodliness. 
3. He is protected from his own destructive influence upon others because he refuses to take the “seat of the scornful.”  The word “seat” means habitation or dwelling/environment.  The man who wants to live within the existence of God’s blessednesses does not cohabitate with those who mock God, mock at God’s definitions of sin and holiness, or ridicule the things of God in blatant, blasphemous unbelief.  To be a loving friend to sinners is different from being a loving friend of sinners.  The man who wants to live within the existence of God’s blessednesses does not saturate his life with worldly influences (I John 2:15).

People of faith understand that there is only one reality of existence and that reality is the reality defined, explained, and revealed by God’s inspired Words.  Everything that disagrees with God’s reality is a corruption of God’s reality and is intended to lead people astray.  God’s reality is a concrete, dogmatic construct that never changes because God never changes.  The only reason God’s reality can be attacked with attempted subterfuges is because knowledge of God’s reality can only be known through faith in God’s Word.  God’s reality can never be touched or changed by Satan’s subterfuges, but God’s Kingdom can be attacked.  God’s Kingdom is the hearts and minds of those that believe in Him and have learned to love Him.  This is what Psalm 1:2 addresses.  “But his {the man who desires to live within God’s reality of blessednesses} delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
         
“Delight” in Psalm 1:2 is from the Hebrew word chephets (khay’-fets).  The central meaning is what pleases, or what you consider a treasure.  It might be compared to the man who has gathered a treasure chest of gold, silver, precious jewels, and expensive jewelry.  Such a man regularly comes to his treasure chest to admire and find pleasure and security in his treasures.  The man of faith, who desires to live within God’s reality of blessednesses, finds his “delight” in the Treasure Chest of God’s Word.  Such a man “meditates” in God’s Word “day and night.”  We read God’s Word when we are in the light in order to know and understand.  We meditate upon what we have read when we are in darkness so as to apply God’s Truths to situations of life thereby bringing light into our moments of darkness.  The whole point of meditating on what God’s Word says is to discern HOW we are going to live what God says to do amid a world intent upon destroying us and everything we believe.  HOW are we going to reach those people bent upon our destruction? 
         
When the forces of evil cannot defeat the faith of the faithful, those forces will do all they can to discourage the faith of the faithful.  When the forces of evil cannot discourage the faith of the faithful, they will try to marginalize and radicalize the faithful in public opinion and prejudices. 

We find few allies in the constantly weakening forces of Conservatism against the onslaught of attacks against true Bible believing faith that seeks to live within the one definitive reality of God’s Kingdom influence.  This fact is equally true in the devolution of values within Conservative Christianity and Conservative Politics.  The lines of demarcation have been moved so far away from the one reality of God’s righteousness that most of the world of Conservatism has no point of reference for restoration, let alone reformation.  The best we can possibly do is return individuals back to a living faith that is defined by the absolutes of the inspired Words of God. 

The grand difficulty in that worldly influences have created a vacuum that sucks away the time of even Christians in the pursuits of Materialism (toys and stuff), Neo-Hedonism (pleasure seeking), and Neo-Paganism (pornographic lifestyles of fornication).  We can barely get Christians to read the Bible these days let alone being consumed with living its Truths.

Oneism

As already said, people of faith understand that there is only one reality of existence and that reality is the reality defined, explained, and revealed by God’s inspired Words.  In the Bible, this one reality is referred to as the Kingdom of God.  This is biblical Oneism – one divine and eternal reality over which God sovereignly reigns.  No forms of this biblical Oneism exist on Earth today in religion, politics, or economies.  In other words, no church is God’s Kingdom and cannot build God’s Kingdom on Earth (Theonomy or Kingdom Constructionism).  The only Sovereign over God’s Kingdom is God Himself, therefore no world leader can fulfill this role but Jesus when He returns. 
         
Satan’s counterfeit of Oneism is a kingdom on earth governed by his corrupted emissaries of evil.  Satan’s counterfeit of Oneism is known as Globalism.  Another term is Trilateralism.  A one-world government, one-world religion, and one-world economic system is what defines Trilateralism
         
On two previous occasions, Satan came close to achieving a universal Oneism in the world.  The first is recorded in Genesis chapter six preceded by God’s destruction of this universal Oneism by a universal flood.

5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Genesis 6:5-7).

The second-time humanity approach a satanic Oneism, is recorded in Genesis 11:1-9.  To stop this from happening, God confounded the languages of all the people on the Earth creating untold numbers of language groups resulting in untold numbers of divided nations and ethnicities.  Notice in Genesis 11:4 that there is no mention of God.  The goal of the described cooperative was to “make us a name.”  This verbiage is merely an expression of defiance and rebellion against God.  By such a goal as described, God was being defied and while humanity sought to be deified. 

1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:1-9).

Genesis 11:1-9 gives us a faith perspective of God’s view of the frailty of humanity against the manipulation and “wiles of the devil” through Social Engineering to advance Satan’s antichrist agenda of Secular Humanism and Atheism.  Satan’s goal is that humanity will commit the ultimate blaspheme against God by self-deification (Theosis) and the exaltation of their own wills as the only measurement of right and wrong. 

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:19-23).

These few verses define the evolution of the corruption of faith and the development of the progressive digression to human reprobation (Romans 1:28).  Secular Humanism’s Theosis is an evolutionary view that encourages individuals to find the god within themselves.  In the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, the world was filled with people searching for themselves.  This view believes that humanity will eventually achieve perfection in health in becoming eternal through the regeneration of organs, intelligence (what the mind can believe the mind can achieve), and social acceptance of every nuance of alternative lifestyles to the place of an all-inclusive Norm.  Such a belief demands the eradication in all cultures of the need for what are considered mythological deities and the imposition of various absolute religious norms

The silly and false notion of self-deification through evolution and knowledge goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden in Satan’s temptation of Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit.  “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).  Satan was essentially saying that God was selfishly holding out on Adam and Eve.  Satan’s temptation and deception was that if Adam and Eve would eat the forbidden fruit then they would know everything that God knows and they could live eternally independent of anything God did.  In other words, they would not need God any longer.  Satan’s lie was that God was just trying to keep them in fear so that they would not become gods.  This satanic lie has become a contaminating world-view held by most people living on planet earth on at least two occasions where God needed to intervene and stop its continued spread.  This present world is almost there once again. 

God says “fear of the LORD” is a healthy world view.  In Psalm 111:10, God’s Word says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom . . .”  In Proverbs 1:7, God says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning {a priori truth} of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  Biblical faith begins with “the fear of the LORD.”

The ease by which Satan accomplished this advancement of a world-view that seeks self-deification at the time of Genesis chapter eleven was through the ease of communication of a universally common language.  The ability to communicate universally within most cultures, ethnicities, and language groups has once again been accomplished through the medium of digital communication through the internet.  Although this vehicle of communication is used to communicate the Gospel and Bible doctrine, it is predominantly being used to advance a Secular Humanistic agenda that is antichrist. 

Biblical Absolutism in the world is like a mountain of granite.  A mountain of granite may appear to be immense, but if you have enough people chiseling away at it and carrying off its pieces to cast them away like rubbish over centuries of time, the mountain is eventually reduced to rubble.  This defines the philosophy of liberal Leftist Social Progressives.  Generations living at the time of the final demise of Biblical Absolutism will have no knowledge of the original mountain unless they are returned to faith in the Bible. 

In order for Jacob to steal the birthright from Esau, his mother Rebekah put Esau’s clothes upon Jacob and put some hairy goat skin upon Jacob’s hands and neck to deceive Isaac, her almost blind husband.  Isaac’s words, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau” must never be forgotten by believers.  The hands of Esau” are the hands of pretense and deception always intent upon stealing our birthright.  Satan is the “god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4) and “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). 

Satan’s “hands are the hands of Esau.”  Satan is the deceiver and he is good at what he does.  If this understanding is not foundational to your faith and your world view, you will soon be warming yourself at the enemies’ campfire.  

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

Think for just a moment how easily people are corrupted.  Put a piece of candy and a brussels sprout before a child.  He may try both momentarily, but after the first taste he will ALWAYS choose the candy.  He will always choose the candy because he LIKES the taste of the candy and does not like the taste of the brussels sprout.  He will give no consideration to the reasoning that the candy is harmful to his body and the brussels sprout is good for his body.  He does not care.  He LIKES the candy.  The point is that Satan knows what we like and simply offers us a taste of what we like.  Once we get a TASTE for something, we want that regardless of how much destruction it does to us and others.  This is the philosophy of “the hands of Esau.” 

Life choices are governed by corruption of the will through lust unless those choices are controlled and sterilized by knowledge and faith.

Corrupted choices are made primarily because they provide some degree of pleasure.  Satan is a real fallen angel intent upon destruction of humanity and doing as much harm as possible.  Just as we should not treat God as a persona, we should not treat Satan as a persona.  God hates being treated as a persona, while Satan loves being treated as a persona.  In fact, if Satan can get people to just think of him as some mythological boogieman, he would be delighted. 

The “wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11) are Satan’s well thought out schemes of deception.  His kingdom is a kingdom of darkness, deception, obfuscation, pretentious half-truths, manipulation, corruption, and destruction.  The Bible word for Satan’s kingdom is the word “world.”  The kingdom of darkness constantly tries to overcome the Kingdom of Light, but as long as light shines somewhere in the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of darkness is doomed to fail. 

These kingdoms of light and darkness define two realms of influence You are either part of one or the other.  This is what Jesus said in Matthew 12:30 – “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”  There is no middle ground or even neutral ground when it comes to light and darkness.  You are either part of one or the other. 

22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the Pharisees heard it {because they were determined unbelievers and hardened in that unbelief}, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:22-30).

Biblical Oneism equals One Faith equals “the Faith”

On forty-three different occasions in forty-two verses of Scripture, God refers to the definitive and dogmatic Truths established by the inspired, inerrant Words of God as “the faith.”  The intent of the definite article before the word faith is that there is but one true faith, not many variations.  “The faith” is a singular systematic theology established through a literal, historical, and grammatical hermeneutic. 

Every single believer is commanded to pursue and preserve this singular systematic theology established through a literal, historical, and grammatical hermeneutic referred to in the Bible as “the faith.”  This singular faith is the “unity of the Spirit” spoken of in Ephesians 4:3, which defines biblical Oneism sourced in the Oneness of the Godhead. 

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called {priesthood of all believers}, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace {which is in the ‘one faith’}. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Ephesians 4:1-7).

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (I Peter 5:8-9).

3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:3-4).

“The good die young that they may not degenerate; the wicked live on that they may have a chance to repent, or to produce a virtuous progeny” (Zohar, Genesis, 56b).

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
 Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Just Shall Live by Faith




FAITH
The Just Shall Live by Faith

II Timothy 3:16-17 is a foundational biblical statement for both faith and Epistemology.  Faith is not a gift.  Faith is a choice.  If a person cannot accept by faith what the Bible says, he has no foundation upon which to rest his eternal hope.  It is from out of the darkness of spiritual ignorance and blindness that God speaks to us. 
         
In Exodus chapter three, God reveals Himself to Moses in a burning bush that is not consumed by the apparent flames.  God’s voice speaks to Moses out of that burning bush.  Moses had grown up in the household of the Pharaoh of Egypt with numerous pagan idols of their many pagan gods.  It is most likely that it is out of this hodgepodge of Moses’ knowledge of the multiplicity of Egypt’s gods that Moses’ inquiry comes regarding the Name of the God Who spoke with him.  God’s response to Moses’ inquiry is very illuminating.  God said to Moses, “I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14).  By using the words “I AM THAT I AM,” God is essentially explaining, or defining, the Name Jehovah that He first used of Himself in Genesis 2:4 and later to Abraham in Genesis 15:7.  The phrase reveals God as the eternal self-existing One and only God Who is the source of all life and existenceThis truth is foundational to faith!

In Exodus 6:3, when Moses was focusing upon going up against the most powerful man on earth at that time, God redirected Moses’ focus upon a much greater power – “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty {El Shadday}, but by my name JEHOVAH {eternal self-existent One} was I not known to them” (Exodus 6:3).  Although Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew God as the Almighty, and heard Him refer to Himself as JEHOVAH, they were ignorant of the significance of His Name JEHOVAH meaning the eternal self-existing One and the only One Who is the source of all life and existenceThis truth is foundational to faith!
         
The Bible is the ultimate source of absolute Truth.  Apart from faith in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible and what it says, all religions must be considered equally viable.  In other words, no one can be sure which religion is correct.  This is the satanic goal of Liberalism as it attacks the very foundation of absolute Truth in the trustworthiness of God’s Word.  When Satan and his emissaries within Liberalism attack the trustworthiness of God’s Word, they are attacking the Church, the family, justice, and righteousness on hundreds of different fronts of attack.  Denying the Bible as God’s source of revelatory Truth is the foundation of Theological Liberalism.  Denying that the Bible is God’s main source of revelatory Truth is also the foundation Ecumenicism, which is an offspring of Theological Liberalism.  Accepting the Bible by faith as God’s inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word is known as Autopisticism. 

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17).

Autopisticism begins with faith and means a person chooses to accept what God reveals in the Bible as perfectly accurate and absolute Truth.  God will eventually prove His Word to be true, but faith accepts the Bible as true before it is proven true.  Autopisticism has been the norm of Judaism and biblical Christianity until the beginnings of Theological Liberalism, which began to be introduced into true Christianity through German Rationalism in the forms of Higher Criticism and Lower Criticism.  Christians need to understand these two forms of attack against the trustworthiness of God’s Word because the outcomes of Higher Criticism and Lower Criticism have infected and corrupted the faith of most professing Postmodern Christians.

Postmodernism is simply an attitude of skepticism and distrust toward organized religion often denying the existence of fact-based realities and absolute Truth, especially the trustworthiness of the Bible as absolute Truth.  The effects of Postmodernism result in skeptically questioning the values and moral ethic of almost everything preceding generations have believed and practiced. 

The Baby Boomer Generation (1946-1964) was essentially cautious and silent conformists with a strong potential for passive rebellion against biblical mores.  The Baby Buster Generation X (1965-1979) became open Amoral nonconformists.  The Millennials (Generation Y; 1980-2000) are the radicalized generation who are obvious Postmodernists.  Generation Z (also known as the iGeneration; 2001 to present) are known for their extreme Narcissism (II Timothy 3:1-9).  The Millennial Generation predominantly rejected biblical absolutism while the iGeneration predominantly mocks faith in the Bible.  The predominant characteristic of this present generation is that it is an almost completely faithless generation.  All this digression can be directly connected to the Liberalism conceived from the corrupting influences of Higher and Lower Criticism (developed during the 19th and 20th Centuries; also now known as Historical Criticism and Textual Criticism respectively). 

  • Higher Criticism (what lies above the text)

Higher Criticism (also known as Historical Criticism) seeks to put the Bible text into the historical context in which it is derived.  Fundamentalists would have no objection to this if this is all Higher Criticism did.  Very early in the development of Higher Criticism, the methodology was captured by the liberals of German Rationalism.  These individuals began by questioning the inspiration of the Scriptures.  Such questioning always begins with doubt and ends with unbelief.  They questioned the authorship of each book of the Bible, the historical accuracy of the Bible, and anything that seemed miraculous.  Their conclusions, which began with doubt and unbelief, were that much of the Bible was simply myths and exaggerations. 

Beginning with unbelief in inspiration of the Bible, the critics involved in Higher Criticism began to attempt to destroy faith in the accuracy of history recorded in the Bible and the accuracy of the science recorded in the Bible.  These corruptions of Higher Criticism have become the acceptable views of most of professing Christianity in the twenty-first century – or LIBERALISM!

  • Lower Criticism (what lies below the text)

In most part, Higher Criticism was completely rejected by Bible believing Christianity (Fundamentalism).  However, Lower Criticism was not equally cast aside.  Thus, many within the more conservative of Evangelicals and even many Fundamentalists gave ear to the arguments of Lower Criticism.  Many began to accept Textual Reconstructionism and resultantly new translations that flowed from the never-ending changes within the reconstructed Greek texts.  Lower Criticism quickly morphed itself into Eclectic Textual Criticism, which is another animal altogether. 

Lower Criticism originally looked at the extant manuscript copies of the Bible available at a point of time in history and sought to establish the accuracy of those apographs (copies) based upon certain principles of evaluation.  The most basic premise of Lower Criticism is that because there are copyist errors in the apographs (copies), therefore they assumed God has not preserved His Words in any manuscript. 

Axiopisticism means faith grows only through proving every statement of the Bible to be true and accurate often using the Scientific MethodAxiopisticism begins with doubt regarding the inspiration of the Bible, the preservation of the Bible, the inerrancy of the Bible, the historical accuracy of the Bible, and the supernatural events recorded in the Bible.  Axiopisticism normally seeks to explain the supernatural events of the Bible initiated by God as mere naturally occurring events and then saying that those events are merely interpreted by men as having come from God. 

Axiopisticism seeks to prove the Bible to be the Word of God through Apologetics.  The goal of Apologetics is to confirm a person in faith that the Bible is God’s inspired Words.  The strength of a person’s faith developed through Axiopisticism and Apologetics is only as strong as the ability of the teacher/evangelist to prove the Bible to be true.  The ultimate goal of both biblical Axiopisticism and biblical Apologetics is to bring a person to accept that the whole Bible is authored by God (Autopisticism). 

Apologetics - a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity”

Theological Liberalism is a satanic attack against faith in the trustworthiness of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible as the ultimate source of all Truth.  Theological Liberalism has morphed into Political Liberalism.  The attack against the trustworthiness of the Bible as a source of Truth is fought on hundreds of different fronts, or levels of attack.  The major front of attack is the complete denial of the Bible as being authored by God.  Hundreds of other fronts of attack are intent upon merely undermining faith in various degrees in the Bible’s trustworthiness. 

Every form of the historical and satanic corruption of faith has begun with the question, “Hath God said” (Genesis 3:1)?  From that question evolves every bend, distortion, doubtful disputation, and degree of unbelief that a person can possibly imagine.  Pilate ridiculed Jesus’ statement that Jesus came into the world to “bear witness unto the truth” with the mocking question “what is truth” (John 18:37).  When the Bible is rejected as the infallible proof that God exists and is the Author of all infallible Truth, the outcome is endless debate that is destined to end with this mocking question, “what is truth”?  The Baby Boomer Generation (1946-1964) have witnessed this devolution to the mockery of the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Words of God by the majority of the iGeneration (2001 to present) just in our own short lifespans. 

God’s interaction with His children is directly connected to the reality of our faith in Him and in His inspired Word.  This is especially important when people of faith understand that the primary way God communicates with His children is through the reading, teaching, and preaching of His Word.  This is especially important when people of faith understand that God only honors and blesses communication with Him coming through the medium of our faith. 

In James 1:7-8, God reveals to believers just how important to Him pure/true faith is in our communication with Him.  In James 1:5, God addresses the issue of the need of “wisdom” to deal with the onslaught of satanic influence towards worldliness and the obfuscation of all the good that God seeks to do in our lives through His inspired Word.  Wisdom is the heart and mind of God operating through the life of the believer as the believer by faith yields his will to God’s will.  God’s will is revealed through the Word of God.  This spiritual dynamic will never happen in a believer’s life if that believer does not understand the necessity of maintaining his faith relationship with God. 

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).

Godly wisdom is defined as understanding resulting in discernment regarding the spiritual dangers posed to people living within the realm of God’s curse upon Satan and this world.  Those that possess this gift of wisdom, that comes through faith, understand that most of life’s worldly temptations exist within a satanic mine field that we explode because we are not discerning and because we do not heed God’s warnings and commandments.  This is like the foolish man who is amazed that the swing set he just put together for his children falls apart after a few minutes because he refused to read the directions. 

The issue of “wavering” is simply the individual that lives in the middle between believing what God says and the momentary pleasures that the satanic temptations of this world so bountifully offer.  The Waverer is “double minded” because he cannot faithfully surrender to what God reveals to him in the Bible.  Thereby the Waverer really is not a person who lives by faith.  Worldly temptations will be a constant source of a multitude of small and large explosions in such a person’s life.  Such a person’s life, and those around him, will bear the pock-marked scars of continual failures just because he cannot decide to fully surrender and separate himself from worldliness. 
         
Humanities’ fall into sin plunged this creation into spiritual “darkness” and “blindness.”  Humanity lost its ability to see God or see purely spiritual beings like angels except by them manifesting themselves in some physical form.  This is equally true of the many temptations that come mainly because we are not able to understand the dangers that worldliness poses to people.  Most of the trials and difficulties in life are self-inflicted wounds.  These wounds could have been avoided if we would have heeded the numerous warning signs given us in the Word of God.  Wisdom reads and heeds the warning signs and gives a wide birth to the temptations. 
         
The second generation of human-kind was born without any experiential/empirical knowledge of God.  Their only knowledge of God was through the instruction of their parents, Adam and Eve.  The necessity of faith for knowledge and understanding of Who and What God is began with the first child of Adam and Eve.  Like most people who know the dangers that accompany flirting with worldliness, such people try to put up fences and boundaries so the unsuspecting will not wander into Satan’s minefields of destruction.  Adam and Eve surely did this with their children.  Putting up fences and boundaries does not mean that people will heed them, especially if they do not understand the dangers.  The spiritual weakling does not have the understanding or discernment to even think of the dangers that are laid out to destroy him.  Like an infant that loves his rattle, the ignorant and undiscerning child sees the rattlesnake as just another plaything. 
         
A serious and ongoing problem in the life of faith is the tendency to drift into treating God as merely a persona (a character in a play or a book) rather than a Person.  When this happens, the believer begins to live in such a way where God is not a Person Who sees, hears, feels, and understands all that we are and do as individuals.  In such a drift, the believer simply acts within the scenario of life without seeing himself as really interacting with the Person of God.  The Christian then takes on a life of a Christian persona (play-acts being a Christian).  When this happens, the Christian life is reduced to nothing more than cause and effect

A real life of faith sees God interacting within our lives in real and tangible ways in answer to prayer, illumination of His Word, conviction of sin, chastisement for failures, and giving us leadership and direction for life choices through His Word. 

In fact, it is very easy for the Christian life to drift into treating God as merely a persona rather than a Person Who interacts with us and is involved in the details of our lives.  Every Christian will regularly drift into treating God as merely a persona if he does not maintain a deep devotional life and maintain a conscious awareness of the continual presence of the Person of God even though God cannot be seen, touched, or felt.  Without this, a person’s faith with rapidly degenerate into practical unbelief. 
         
God refers to His “born again” children in the Bible as “the just.”  The term relates specifically to those who have been gifted God-kind righteousness as part of the gift of their salvation.  The point of the phrase “the just” is that such people received God’s grace gift of salvation “through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).  The point is that the door through which they entered into the New Genesis (“new creation; II Corinthians 5:17) was through faith in the finished sacrifice of Jesus Christ, those same people must learn to live “by faith.”  In other words, these people need to learn to live within the eternal, spiritual reality of which they have been made part, known only “by faith.”  Romans 1:17 refers to the transition from saving faith to living faith with the words “from faith to faith.”  The spiritual depth of the significance of the statement “from faith to faith” as it relates to the believer’s understanding of a life lived within the realm of faith is really crucial truth. 

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:16-21).

God’s righteousness is revealed in the Gospel “from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17).  It was by the faithfulness (“faith”) of Jesus Christ in obedience to the will of God that reveals to us a God so righteous He would send His Own Son to the Cross of Calvary to pay the wages of sin rather than compromise His righteousness in any way.  “From faith to faith” deals with the impartation of God’s righteous to the person who trusts in Christ.  This is the first “faith” in the phrase “from faith to faith.”  The second “faith” in the phrase “from faith to faith” is living according to the teaching of Jesus “by faith” in the operations of the enabling of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.  This is expanded upon in Romans 3:22.

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Romans 3:22).

“By faith of Jesus Christ” means by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.  Jesus was faithful in doing what He was sent to do.  Therefore, God was propitiated and the believing sinner can be justified and freed from the condemnation of sin.  The believing sinner is also declared righteous in Jesus Christ.  Through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to the will of God and the substitutionary death of the Cross, He made available “unto all and upon all them that believe” the righteousness of God which justifies the believing sinner. 

“From {saving} faith to {living} faith” is a summary statement of the gift of salvation in the gift of God-kind righteousness to the believing sinner to the enabling of the yielded “born again” believer to live a life of righteousness produced by the filling of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.  It is upon the statement of “from {saving} faith to {living} faith” in Romans 1:17 that every truth of the rest of the epistle to the Romans builds.  Almost every statement Paul makes in this epistle from this point forward relates back to the statement of “from {saving} faith to {living} faith” in Romans 1:17. This statement is foundational to living by faith
         
“The just {justified} shall live by faith {in the supernatural enabling of the indwelling Spirit of Christ}” (Romans 1:17).  This statement is quoted from Habakkuk 2:4. We need to understand its meaning from that context.

“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).

The word translated “just” used in Habakkuk 2:4 is from the Hebrew word tsaddiyq (tsad-deek’) referring to a righteous person because he has been justified and vindicated by God.  The word translated “faith” in Habakkuk 2:4 is from the Hebrew word 'emuwnah (em-oo-naw’) and refers to a person’s fidelity to truth and steadfastness in it.  We would have no knowledge of the potential available to the believer if it was not for the teaching of the Word of God in such texts as Romans chapters six and twelve, Ephesians chapters four, five, and six, and Galatians chapters three through five.  Therefore, the only way we can know of this potential for the Christ-life being produced through our lives by the indwelling Spirit of Christ is through the belief, study, and knowledge of the Word of God. 
         
The intent of the statement “the just shall live by faith” is that a person saved and justified by faith in Messiah and His propitiatory work is obligated to live a life of faithfulness.  A person is not saved by living righteously, but if he is saved he is obligated to live according to the principles and precepts of the Word of God.  The “just” are obligated to live righteously in that they are declared righteous in Jesus Christ.  This is the same context in which the phrase “the just shall live by faith” is used in Galatians 3:11.

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:10-13). 

This spiritual potential of producing the Christ-life by grace through faith through our lives is also detailed in II Peter 2:1-4.

1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers {koinonos; sharer, associate, or partner} of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Peter 2:1-4).

          Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  This means faith is the foundation stone of all knowledge of existence beyond this life and human senses.  The word “substance” is from the Greek word hupostasis (hoop-os’-tas-is), referring to a foundational substructure.  It refers to that which is steadfast and gives confidence to the stability of the structure.  Therefore, faith in the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of the Bible is the epistemological foundation for the discovery and confidence in all that is certain and absolute Truth. 
         
The word “evidence” in Hebrews 11:1 is from the Greek word elegchos (el’-eng-khos) and refers to a proof of the reality of something that results in the conviction of the existence of that reality to the degree that the person with that conviction (faith) acts upon that reality.  This means, in simple terms, if we really believe that God is, we will live in this physical reality knowing that this physical existence is nothing but a tiny bubble that is enveloped within the gargantuan infinite existence in which God dwells and controls through both His omnipotence, omniscience, and His omnipresence.  Understanding and believing this Truth is foundational to a life of faith. 

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologetics, 1/4/2017.

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Biblical Epistemology: The Search for Truth




Biblical Epistemology:
The Search for Truth

Faith is an integral part of any person’s understanding of existence, reality, and Truth.  Without faith, no one can grasp that there is a spiritual dimension of existence that cannot be comprehended with the human senses.  The existence of this spiritual dimension can only be known and understood through the instrumentality of faith.  Simply because we cannot see, touch, hear, or feel the spiritual dimension of existence in no way diminishes the reality of that existence.  What we do know about the spiritual dimension of existence, we know by faith in the revelations of God through His Inspired Words.  This is what Hebrews 11:1-3 tells us. 

1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Anchor2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. Anchor3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:1–3).

Faith allows people to understand that our little world is but a tiny part of an existence far beyond our senses.  Faith gives us a perspective of life that cannot be had without it.  Hebrews chapter eleven continues the emphasis of Hebrews chapter ten regarding continuation in New Covenant practices.  However, the emphasis takes a little different direction in the emphasis of positive examples of individuals throughout history who have continued living “by faith.”  In other words, real faith gives the believer another perspective through which he sees the world and lives a different life than those without the vision of faith. 
         
Practicing our beliefs, regarding living in the eternal promises for which we yet hope, is the way we practically testify to the reality of those yet unrealized promises. 

Hebrews chapter eleven encompasses the record of history regarding God’s definition of a true and living faith and how believers have historically manifested the reality of their faith.  Men have halls of fame.  Here is God’s Hall of Faith.  God’s Hall of Faith signifies what it is in His eyes that makes men and women great before Him.  The list of Hebrews chapter eleven includes several people who lived in ways that manifested a reality that they knew only by faith, yet they lived according to that unseen reality.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain” (Hebrews 11:4a).  Abel understood the universal law of Redemption; “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).  Abel knew this universal Law by faith.  In other words, Adam told him what God had done when Adam and Eve realized they were naked; “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).  Abel was told that God clothed his naked parents with the skins of animals.  He was not born yet, so Abel did not see this happen.  Therefore, the only source of his knowledge was faith in what Adam and Eve told him.  Thus, “by faith” Abel became “a keeper of sheep” (Genesis 4:2). 

Why would Abel keep and raise sheep when God forbade them eating meat (Genesis 1:29)?  God did not give permission to kill animals and eat meat until after the flood (Genesis 9:3).  Therefore, we must conclude that Abel kept sheep to offer the blood.  “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11).  The offering of the blood of the slain animal pictured their understanding “by faith” of the death of the coming One of Genesis 3:15 as an offering for sin.  They would use the skins of the sacrificed animals to cloth themselves, picturing their understanding of the imputation of righteousness through faith (the putting on by faith of God-kind righteousness) in the coming One.  In other words, the faith descendants of Adam and Eve would continue “by faith” what God had revealed to Adam and Eve.  Cain rejected this “by faith” continuum as did the vast majority of the world that then was (II Peter 3:6).  Abel’s testimony of faith continues to live and speak to us even now, although Abel is now long dead (Hebrews 11:4).  Abel never saw the birth of the Promised One, yet he continued to offer the appropriate sacrifice that manifested his faith in God’s promise. 

The people listed in God’s Hall of Faith are not great believers because they never failed or were never disobedient.  The fact is, almost every one of the people listed had very significant failures in their histories.  These people are listed in God’s Hall of Faith because the recognized their faith failures, acknowledged those failures before God, repented, and began again to live within the reality of their faith vision of existence.  Every believer of great renown in history was at one point in time brought to a situation of life where he/she had to risk everything in this life to be faithful to the reality of God’s existence.  Real faith will always choose God’s ordained pathway of obedience regardless of personal sacrifices. 

Real faith lives within the reality in which redemption rests. 

This is the substance of the exhortation of Hebrews 10:19-27.  The text deals with one of the central purposes of attending the local church assembly and the necessary encouragement from other believers for each of us to be consistent in living within the reality in which our redemption rests.  God ordained the assembly of believers for the purposes of edification, exhortation, rebuke, reproof because we are weak and frail beings who are constantly tempted to being drawn back into the sight world, where we are but fallen sinners, rather than live in the faith world where we are priests before our heavenly Father.  Hebrews 10:19 addresses the bold access the believer-priest has before God’s throne of grace. 

Living within the corruptions of this world naturally draws believers out of the reality of living faith within the reality in which redemption rests.  God’s solution to this problem is the continual reassurance and reaffirmation of the truths we know only by faith.  Faith truths will constantly be challenged.  The corrupted world will constantly whittle away, chip away, and erode faith truths taking from us smalls bits that eventually become big pieces.  This erosion weakens our faith resolve and each small part of the erosion needs to be constantly and continually restored. 

19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 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” (Hebrews10:19-27).

The summarizing statement of God about those included in the Hall of Faith is found in Hebrews 11:13; “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” 

Continuation is the testimony of genuine faith.  Continually pursuing the reality in which faith rests is the ultimate test of the reality of one’s profession of faith. 

Hebrews chapter eleven is the only real definitive explanation of faith in the Bible.  The “faith” described in Hebrews 11:1 sees certainty in the promises of God for which we hope.  We know of these promises only through knowing and believing the Word of God.  The “faith” described in Hebrews 11:1 is the faith that accepts God’s promises.  This is the faith that accepts those promises because of certainty in knowing that God cannot lie or deceive.  If we believe in the God of the Bible, and that what He says about Himself is true, true faith accepts these inspired Truths as absolute facts (“substance” – reality) producing a surety of hope


          Faith grows only through accepting as fact the revelations that come through God’s inspired Words.  Romans chapter ten connects faith in the inspiration of the Words of God to the faithful proclamation of the Word of God by the professing believer.  Connecting faith to faithfulness is a constant throughout the Word of God.  Real faith always seeks to be faithful to the reality in which it rests. 

A major aspect of that faithfulness is learning the Word of God in order to proclaim and explain the Word of God to others.  This reality of faithfulness cannot be separated from practically defining genuine faith.  Failure to faithfully proclaim the faith by which one lived was considered the great failure of the children of Israel.  They proclaimed their faith in God with the words of their mouths, but failed to live the Words of God from their hearts thereby creating contradicting hypocrisy. 

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:12-17).

Hope, in its relationship to other people, always carries with it a certain amount of doubt.  However, hope in its relationship to God, always sees what we hope for as a future reality. 

13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:13-20).

Genuine faith sees certainties in the promises of God (Hebrews 11:1) and faith rests in the hope of those certainties. 

Therefore, the first element of genuine faith is its substance of certainty.  The unbelieving world lives as if there is no spiritual and eternal dimension of existence.  They do not even consider the possibility of having to answer to God for the decisions of their lives.  They live by the Humanistic model – “eat, drink, and party for tomorrow we die.”  Faith sees the reality of the eternal God-existence as the ultimate destiny of every soul that believes and trusts in the finished work of redemption in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  Faith also sees the reality of the eternal separation from the God-existence for all those that refuse to believe, or never hear, of the redemption offered through Jesus Christ.  In the latter case, faith in the eternality of Hell motivates the believer to both evangelism of the lost and their discipleship to make them followers of Jesus.  Evangelism of the lost and their discipleship is always a reality within the scope of real belief in a real Hell.

The second element is that faith becomes evidence or proof of the reality of things that do not appear as real in this world.  How does this element of faith manifest itself?  Faith sees things as so real that it begins to act upon what it believes, it rests upon what it believes as fact, and is uplifted by what it believes.  This is true even in a world that seems to contradict everything that a believer believes.  Faith perceives as fact what cannot be proven by the senses.  Then faith moves the believer to act.

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:9-16).

Humanity is blind to the mysterious things of an invisible God and His unfolding New Genesis “in Christ,” but the Holy Spirit takes us by the hand of faith, leads us about, and teaches us about the things of the spiritual world of God.  By faith we see it and by faith we accept it.  By faith it becomes reality and by faith man knows the unknowable.


Faith is like the experience of a blind person as you take his hand and guide it over your face explaining everything he touches; these are my eyes, this is my nose, this is my mouth and, these are my ears.  He understands these things as he accepts by faith what you say.  This is how faith and the Word of God come together to know God.  Faith is the hand, the Word of God is the explanation, and the Spirit of God gives the understanding.  In this process, what was once unknown becomes known.  Faith takes the place of empirical knowledge and becomes the reality (“substance”) of that knowledge (evidence or proof).  

The word used to describe this process of discovery of Truth is the word Epistemology.  Epistemology is basically defined as the study of how we discover knowledge or truth.  There are three basic avenues of how we determine something to be truth.  As believers, the FIRST source of Truth is ALWAYS the inspired Words of God – THE BIBLE!

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17).

          The believer automatically accepts the Bible as inerrant and infallible if he believes that every Word is breathed out from God.  The believer looks for the answers to all the questions of life and existence in the inspired Words of God.  This fact is foundational to a faith epistemology.  A faith epistemology for an unbeliever begins with an invitation to the unbeliever to make a choice to believe the Bible. 

Most people in the world are searching for truth through other pathways using other methods.  If the believer wants to help such a person, the believer must bring faith in the Word of God into the process of the unbeliever’s epistemology.  This is evangelism and discipleship.  However, “born again” Christians should not presume that others, even other professing Christians, share their belief in the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture.  There are many false views of inspiration.  Believers should not presume that all people, even other professing believers, believe the Bible to be inerrant and infallible.  Most professing Christians have been convinced by liberals that the Bible is full of errors and is merely a book written by men.  Many others have been convinced that the Bible is just one of many religious books all of which are equal sources to find the truth.  Patiently helping people wade through these slime pits of confusion is often the pathway the evangelist must take.  Such a process is often slow and tedious requiring a great deal of patience with those that often “oppose themselves” (II Timothy 2:25).  Contending for the faith without being contentious can be one of the most difficult aspects of the adventure of bringing a soul to a biblical/faith epistemology. 

23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:23-26).

When helping someone come to understand biblical/faith truth, it is important to understand other epistemologies being used in the world.  There are three basic epistemologies that every believer should understand , recognize, and help people. 

1. There is Epistemology derived from what is known as the Scientific Method, which is always empirical.  Empirical means truth can only be determined by observing through the human senses, forming logical theories, and then testing to observe the data to determine if the theory can be proven true.  Once something is proven true, it moves from theory to law, which is another word for truth.  In this Epistemology, if something cannot be observed, it cannot be proven to be true and therefore cannot be considered truth.  In this type of Epistemology, issues resolved by faith are almost always excluded and often are even ridiculed. 
2. There is the Epistemology derived from what is known as the Philosophical Method, which is birthed in logic and reason as developed by ancient philosophers throughout ancient times intermingling numerous religious mythological and traditional beliefs about the gods as sources of truth.  Philosophy first asks a question and then seeks to answer that question with logical and apologetical reason often providing numerous sides of the argument whereby it is said, Philosophy is an argument with one’s self.  Although truth is often presented as absolute by the answers offered by the strawman arguments of the philosopher, the degree to which any truth can be said to be absolute is solely based upon the strength of the arguments.  Truth by this method is always axiomatic.  “An axiom is a principle widely accepted on the basis of its intrinsic merit or one regarded as self-evidently true. A statement that is axiomatic therefore, is one against which few people would argue.” [1]

From these first two methods of Epistemology evolve hundreds of intermingled variations.  Religious Pluralism for instance accepts ALL religious paths, or faiths, as equally valid and equally acceptable even when the truths or values of varying faiths are completely contradictory to one another.  This philosophy leads to Relativism, which simply means no absolute truth exists (which of course is an oxymoron in that the statement is presented as an absolute). 

The third method of Epistemology is the destination to where the evangelist tries to guide the seeker of Truth.  Whenever the seeker drifts off onto one of the other pathways of Epistemology, the Bible believer patiently tries to bring him back to the Bible. 

3. There is the Epistemology derived from what is known as the Revelatory Method which accepts by faith the religious writings/traditions of whatever faith you accept as true.  Orthodox Jews and fundamental Christians believe by faith that the Bible is given to us by verbal and plenary inspiration of God and is preserved inerrant in the original languages of inspiration.  This belief is a choice and defines where faith begins. 
 
[1] Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/axiomatic, 12/20/2016.

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.