Issue #3&4 – Justice, Mercy & the Problem of Faith

BethanySMC - Thursday, 1 October 2015 04:42

Justice, Mercy & the Problem of Faith

– Issue #3&4

Agreeing or disagreeing with Justice and Mercy of God doesn’t prove anything.  However, once the seeds of doubt are already planted in the heart, arguments against God’s justice and mercy will just water the doubts and unbelief. This was true in Vadim’s life that contributed to his fall. It just proves the Bible to be true, that a house with no foundation will fall when the winds blow and different world views press on it. The sad reality of today is that there are many potential preachers, prophets and gifted people that from the outside look like genuine believers but internally have no foundation. I didn’t hear any recent, nor do I remember any sermons that were preached by Vadim, however, the one that I do remember, I remember only because I listened to it from the Times Square Church sermon archive and when Vadim was re-preaching it, it sounded great. That makes me doubt about the source of his other sermons.

Using the argument against Justice and the Mercy of God, to deny God, would be equivalent as to deny the existence of the government because the current laws do not seem to represent the constitution. It looks like the devil didn’t use much of his time to argue against justice and the mercy of God, therefore I will not go into much detail in my response.

The Old and the New Testaments agree that God has no pleasure in torturing people. God didn’t create Hell for people. In Mat 25:41, we read “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;” There are at least 3 different view on hell in the Christian world today that I am aware of, but disagreements in theology concerning hell, spiritual gifts, even predestination, do not prove or disprove the existence of God. God gave people freewill to choose their destiny and while they are alive, they have the ability to make the best out of this choice.

In His mercy, God provided the way of salvation- one door that leads to eternal life. He didn’t hide that door in the bushes, so everyone who believes would be saved. Accusing God for the choices of men is like accusing a lifeguard who is dying himself trying to save someone who is drowning but who is rejecting his help.

Now back to the supernatural and the reasons for the Faith in God.

Our former preacher is majoring in law; but when I look at all the shallow arguments my former brother is bringing up against the true faith. I honestly expected better judgment from him, from a person who studies the law and hopes to become a successful lawyer. If a lawyer will not learn to objectively look at the evidences to support his claims- in a few years we may read a post that goes something like this: “Journey from a potential lawyer to office assistant, or truck driver or ______”- my personal opinion.  

Let’s say a case is argued in a court and someone comes and claims he/she saw something. Let’s say, witnessed verbal abuse –this testimony alone will not be enough to persuade the jury. However, if five people through cross examination say the same thing, fifty people, a hundred, five hundred – would that be enough for the jury to believe that such and such verbal abuse occurred?  This is how faith generates. The testimony witness of trustworthy people who saw, heard, touched and experienced something- are in themselves tangible evidences. That’s why Christianity was spreading despite all the efforts to stop it. Cross examinations of witnesses were proving that supernatural things did happen. So authorities had no other way to stop the testimony but by killing people.  No one from the past has the human ability to present physical evidence for future generations; the things they saw and heard.  If one person claimed that he saw a supernatural sign, I would be skeptical, but if 500 people confirmed that they saw it too and their testimony would not contradict one another, I would not deny or dismiss it.

..what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life–  and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us–  what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 1John1:1-3

For all the skeptics of that time, God calls upon witnesses whom people can question and cross-examine. 1Co.15:6-8 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;  then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;  and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

If I would be covering up a lie, I would not want 500 + people to “help me testify” or at least I would not refer them as witnesses.

In the conversation concerning Vadim’s post, he and his supporters bring the argument of other religions to mock the faith in God. Their logic – if there are so many false religions in the world then Christianity must be false also. People die for other faith beliefs too, why are Christian people any different? To address those questions, we have to look specifically at each religion that is compared to Christianity objectively. In general, it is not surprising that some people are willing to die because of their beliefs. Just to be killed for something doesn’t make the cause right. People die for countries, for ideological and philosophical ideas, people die for religious convictions; some blindly, some not. In case of Christianity – people died for their testimony and the truth that they could not be quiet about.  “But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.””

The God of the Bible challenges all other religions and gods, and no religion or god on earth could match the challenge. Some religions attempt to predict the future, but really there is no comparable authority as Biblical Prophecies that were precisely fulfilled in detail and will continue to fulfill until the end.

“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him?”

“Has {any} people heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you have heard {it,} and survived?”

“To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike? “Those who lavish gold from the purse And weigh silver on the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it {into} a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it. “They lift it upon the shoulder {and} carry it; They set it in its place and it stands {there.} It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress.  “Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; {I am} God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned {it, surely} I will do it. “Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded, Who are far from righteousness. “I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, {And} My glory for Israel.”

To prove so, we have to look at each religion and god specifically. For now, I will focus on addressing the atheistic religion that claims that there is no God. I will attempt to show that atheistic religious views are not as reasonable and logical as they claim to be. Views held by atheists today were included and considered to be religious in many ancient regions up to the year 1859, when such views were shaped to sound scientific.

Reliable testimonies are not the only type of evidence that we base our faith in God. Bible calls us to look at the world that God created. Ro.1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

More and more scientific discoveries support an intelligent design over its alternative view. Modern scientific discoveries of the last century “killed” 90% of the arguments that used to be pillars to argue against creation. Leading non Christian scientists writes books about fiasco current atheistic views. Living organisms clearly show that without intelligent design, they would not appear as they are even if it took a billion of years. The same way as a mouse trap cannot load itself to catch a prey, no matter how many billions of years it will “lay on the shelf” exposed to elements. Such discoveries are highly persecuted and lobbied against because they expose the “holy cow” of modern day atheistic secular religion whose time on earth is coming to an end. The last hope that they have is to indoctrinate children and students by manipulating data and covering it in scientific terms, so people would continue to believe despite the clear evidences against their faith. Talk about blind faith!

I would highly recommend listening and looking into this subject deeper. I recommend the presentations of Steve Gregg (whose theology and Biblical view I am not endorsing or fully supporting) but give him credit for the intense and objective study of this and many other subjects. Steve is a searcher for truth and has done a lot of personal research to form his convictions.

I CHALLENGE you Vadim and those who share your new-found belief and faith. Listen to these presentations … perhaps those who influenced you to deny Christ missed something. Logic and reasoning, research and science is not in favor of Atheistic faith!!

01. Science or Faith?
02. Evidence Against Creation
03. Evidence Against Evolution
04. Evidence of Creation

Another presentation of Steve Gregg –  Why I Am Still a Christian – explains  five reasons why Christian faith is far more reasonable than atheism or other religions out there.

Vadim writes Humans are rational creatures. When we hear someone make a claim, we apply logic and reason to that claim, weigh the evidence for and against, and then decide to believe it only if there is enough evidence to support the claim.” To me, the logic and reasoning the devil uses nowadays to persuade people to believe something else than the Bible, has much less logic, rationality and evidences. Atheist finds it is impossible to believe that a serpent talked to Eve, however, considering the claims of atheists, who by “rational thinking figured out” that if you give millions of years, Nitrogen (tasteless, odorless gas), can become that very same (talking) snake, and develop into, as complex as human beings and many other species of animals and plants. Their hypotheses is equivalent to believing that if I grind my laptop in a Vitamix, then throw everything into the air, it will on its own, over the millions of years of course, become many laptops or may be space shuttles. That’s ironic, but the same logic is justified and is called scientific by many, when it comes to origins of life and everything that is in the world, yet it sounds very reasonable and logical to them.

The Bible explains such “phenomena of reasoning”. “..Because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” 2Th.2:11

Looking into absurd alternatives for truth, they fulfill the scripture. 1Ti.4:1 “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron..”

You see, atheists have no problem believing claims that they have no evidences for, if such claims could support their faith. They will not look for extraordinary evidences to believe that a fish can become a frog then into a crocodile, or a monkey into a man. They will question the integrity of people who would rather die than to lie, but will cheer and accept the testimony of other atheists who have no moral obligations to neither tell the truth, nor care much about the truth themselves.

The philosophies, worldviews, hypothesis and the atheistic faith system wrapped in scientific terms, are the new “fig lives” that atheists have no other option but to believe and use to cover themselves up in an argument against God. For those who do not know what real science is – “educated blabber” may sound educated and persuasive. The definition of science up to date is: knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation. In order to consider and claim scientific phenomena must be observed. Then they have to come up with hypothesis (educated guess), then they have to subject the hypothesis to experimentation, and if experimentations yield universal result – such hypothesis become scientific statements and laws.  Hypothesis definition is an idea or theory that is not proven but that leads to further study or discussion

What would happen if Vadim and his supporters would use same logic and reasoning to evaluate their “new found faith”. I imagine it would go something like this.

(Vadim’s statement and my paraphrases) I found it completely unreasonable for atheism to demand our faith based on really bad evidence, and in most cases, no evidence at all. And then if we don’t believe, atheism labels people as dumb, irrational, unreasonable, and illogical.

..But how can atheism justify its anger towards those of us today who have absolutely no reason to believe the claims of evolution?

Humans are rational creatures. When we hear someone make a claim, we apply logic and reason to that claim, weigh the evidence for and against, and then decide to believe it only if there is enough evidence to support the claim.

Why don’t we do that for the atheistic claims?

Why are we expected to put our logic and reason on hold when it comes to hypothesis that atheism claims and blindly believe?

I can fathom religion demanding blind faith in its historicity. For example, it may be reasonable to blindly believe that a man named Abraham existed thousands of years ago and a man named David was a king of Israel. There’s nothing really unbelievable about religious historical claims.

How about claims made by atheist?

How can anyone blindly believe that a mosquito grew into an elephant? That tasteless, odorless gas though natural selection turned into people, fish turn into frogs and produced birds?

Carl Sagan once said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

That means that the more unbelievable your claim, the better your evidence should be for me to believe it.

Are we really being unreasonable if we require the same kind of evidence from ATHEISTS?

If you objectively pick on the atheistic bubble, it will pop. Despite all “good logic”, atheism is a very weak faith system, perhaps weaker than many other false religions, that works hard to suppress scientific evidences that expose its emptiness. Atheistic philosophy requires much more faith, physical power, effort and finances to persuade people to believe its ideals, than the faith in God.  Talk about delusion! One will say that I make invalid arguments and overstate what atheism believes in. However, real claims of atheism are far more religious and require far more blind faith than any other religion in the world.

 

Issue #2 – Are there any problems with miracles of the Bible

BethanySMC - Thursday, 24 September 2015 06:49

Remarks for previous post – Morality-

I posted a short devotional a while ago, “Cruel Master.” http://alpha.bethanysmc.org/cruel-master/#.VgLV0stViko  Take a look at it. If I would write this devotion today, I would probably be more focused on “morality” of an unbeliever (slaves to the devil). Today aborted babies, broken homes and families, broken relationships, murder, hatred, abuse and suchlike show that only a blind man can find “better morality” in atheism, outside of God’s law or find an immorality problem with God. Those who choose to follow the blind will be both in the ditch or worse.  If the Bible is true, the worst immoral thing a person can do is to help his family and friends get captive by the devil, to be tormented here on earth and then perish in eternal hell. Unfortunately, that is a new “morality” for some people these days.

Are there any problems with miracles of the Bible?

In this section, I will continue to expose the works of the Devil in his attempt to persuade people to unbelief.  By questioning integrity of the Bible concerning supernatural miracles, the Devil uses “placebo effect” arguments to dismiss undeniable supernatural acts of God and miracles.

Let’s see if “Logic and Reasoning” are good friends to defend the “placebo effect” when we deal with the supernatural. But before, let me mention that even in a Court of Law (which my former brother is majoring in) – a party is considered to be innocent until proven guilty. That would help tremendously when we examine Biblical and historical claims of miracles.

Any historical record we have is believed to be true, unless evidences are found to bring arguments against it.  All the great deeds that great people ever did, today are records that are found and believed to be true.

We have no business to doubt miracle records of the Bible; as there is no reason to not believe in other historical records. People who testify of them would only make a joke of themselves to their contemporaries, if they would go against major doctrine of saying the truth (which Christian people sincerely and consciously believed to be essential for salvation), in order to convince somebody.  People, who experienced the power of God, had nothing to gain by making false testimonies; in fact, they were willing to lose everything, including their own life for the testimony that was true.

One prominent Lawyer argues that Biblical testimonies would be universally accepted in any courtroom if they would be put on trial. He wrote a whole book about it. To learn more, check this link: http://www.thenarrowpath.com/mp3s/misc/whystill.mp3

From the point of view that there is God who works supernaturally and there is a real Devil that can also perform some miracles, there is a 100% probability that miracles were, can and still take place. Now let me ask, what probability do you suppose there is of a dead being raised by placebo effect, for someone to walk on water, or for a man born blind to get his sight? Virtually all Biblical miracles that we have historical record of, except maybe a few, could not be written off as “placebo effect”.  We can’t condemn them “false” or “Guilty” without objective evidences against such records.

How about modern day miracles? It is true that my generation didn’t see much genuine miracles in our circles. Our generation is yet to see the revival as our parents have seen! When I was a small boy, living in Belarus, I heard of many remarkable works of God and how God was manifesting his power in the last revival. When I came to USA, I met older people from different parts of the former Soviet Union who personally experienced the power of God during that time and confirmed those testimonies that I heard as a boy. Today, with very little opposition, a lot of Christians are lukewarm and the devil uses this for his advantage.

Nowadays, it is not strange that you can find a lot of counterfeit, considering how the numbers of professed believers have grown over time. Here and there we see weeds that pretend to be wheat, and the Devil truly sometimes gives “placebo” to shadow or dismiss reality.  If a personal testimony of God’s supernatural intervention some skeptic could label “placebo”, there are multitudes of undeniable testimonies that could not be written off by placebo effect and is a mystery to doctors, scientists and our culture in general, that waits for science to one day explain its certain phenomenon.

Those supernatural acts of God that affect people on large distances, or answered prayer that affect somebody other than the praying person – are not “placebo”. I personally met number of people whose testimony was confirmed by the independent sources. The latest I heard of and can remember is the testimony of Tatyana Malinowski form “Vinistka Church”.

Contrary to the Bible, modern day since has no explanation by logic and reasoning, the spiritual realties, such as miracles or even spirit possession phenomenon that is observed and documented all over the world. People write books about it, create documentaries, but still no logical scientific explanation of the supernatural.  No reason or logic can explain demon possession and how certain “mental disorders” can be cast out or be transferred from one person to another like a “virus.” Once at work, as I walked by the cafeteria, I saw a fragment of the study that was conducted in Africa among the tribal people, who through the occult rituals, were “experiencing” as they called “spirit possession;” in our terms, it’s demon possession. It was not surprising that they had no explanation to many supernatural things that people experienced during such occult rituals.

Bible clearly has more answers and explains the supernatural and its sources. Logic and reasoning can only deny all spiritual realities, call supernatural “placebo” or magic but have no scientific explanation for undeniable “phenomenon”.

Issue #1 – Morality…

BethanySMC - Wednesday, 16 September 2015 11:45

Issue #1 – Morality… 

I am profoundly saddened by the fact that one of my brothers has publicly denied the faith and turned his back to God, who once enlightened him, washed him and adopted him into God’s family.  Each of us has our own testing time, and I’m not here to point fingers at anybody. My brother stated that his journey into delusion started about 10 month ago, with the problem of morality and that’s where I want to begin to address all of his questions one by one. But before I do, I would like to mention that the root of the problem is not the “problem of morality,” but the inability to discern the work of the devil, who skillfully approaches his prey to kill, steal and destroy. “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity {of devotion} to Christ.” 2Co.11:3.  

(Follow this link for more.. http://alpha.bethanysmc.org/can-i-trust-god-today/#.VfmC2RFViko )

Citing the story of Joseph and Mary – Satan approached him with a thought: How could Joseph be called “righteous” and “faithful to the law,” when he intended to deliberately disobey the law by letting Mary go quietly? This seems to be a logical question if indeed Mary got pregnant through an adulterous relationship with another man. If that would be the case, I highly doubt that, Joseph, who was faithful to the law would act as he did.  The Bible doesn’t give us details how Joseph found out about Mary’s pregnancy, nor about the talk they had with one another. If I would be in Joseph’s shoes, I would definitely ask for an explanation. Mary’s testimony was not of a loose girl and her character would not suggest that she might be sleeping with someone. When God picked Mary, He picked the best girl – humble and without reproach.  The explanation that Joseph received from Mary about the Angel’s appearance, proclamation about the child that will be born, and pregnancy from the Holy Spirit,  probably left Joseph really puzzled. The Bible doesn’t give us details about their conversation or Joseph’s search for truth.  If what Mary is saying is true, then this case would not fall into the category of adultery that requires punishment and to falsely accuse her publicly of adultery would be against the law also. Having knowledge of the scriptures, Joseph perhaps knew that this could possibly be the case: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isa.7:14” He just was not 100% convinced that he wanted to be a part of this story. That’s why God had to uniquely intervene and assure Joseph that what Mary was saying is really true.

Shocking Reality

BethanySMC - Wednesday, 2 April 2014 11:50


Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall 1 Pet 1:10

Too many people who profess to be a Christian and claim the assurance of salvation have no clue how mistaken they are in their assurance. Due to increased number of false doctrines and compelling messages of many reformed preachers people comfort themselves in false assurance of their salvation. In this message, I will not be able comprehensively cover this subject, rather than give you something to think about and stimulate your heart for self examination of your walk with God! As it is written: Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 2 Cor. 13:5

 God in His faithfulness fulfilled His part in the salvation of mankind and now His Spirit is drawing all men to the cross where Jesus was crucified for your and my sins offering us eternal life in His everlasting Kingdom! And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. Jn.12:32

On the cross, God gave men access to His saving grace! However, this saving grace that leads a person to repentance, new birth, justification, and ultimately salvation, according to the word of God, is very much conditional upon the yielding, obedience and willingness of the one being drawn by the Holy Spirit to cooperate with the Holy Spirit! Our response to the Holy Spirit and the faith that we put in God’s accomplished work sets the stage for our relationship with God and has much to do with biblical assurance of salvation. Genuine faith cooperates with the Holy Spirit allowing God to complete the work of salvation as we live life of obedience, consecration and sanctification.

 Having dead faith and boasting of assurance of salvation doesn’t do any good for the one who possess it. In fact, dead faith brings much offence for Christianity and became a major stumbling block and a reason for blasphemy against God. As it is written: For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you; Rom 2:24.

America and its culture excelled in the practice of dead faith causing whole world to mock the “Christian” nation who gave birth and became main avenue for spreading immorality, perversions, and all manner of evil around the globe alongside of every known false doctrine.

There is one ways to the check the pulse of your faith and assurance of salvation.  True faith will always find itself in conflict with the culture of its day and course of this world. In Eph. 2:2 we read that the course of the society in general set up by the prince of the power of the air. Day in and day out we are on the battlefield where only those of true faith will remain standing!!

Sadly many “Christians” are wounded and spiritually dead while clinging to a false sense of salvation, which is nothing but a dream that is quickly fading. If you consider yourself a child of God, yet you fall in love with passions and pleasures of this world, if you partake and enjoy sensuality, immorality, and perversions of this world – you should be terrified, because you are no longer have any saving faith in you!

The bottom line is, if you enjoy the world and drag yourself to church, if you find more pleasure in sin and entertainment then in serving and fellowship with God and His children, you are not the way to everlasting life and don’t comfort yourself with false assurance of salvation.

It is crucial to examine ourselves regularly, opening our needs before God allowing Holy Spirit to sanctify us and renew our faith! We all get wounded from time to time but genuine faith will heal the wounds and will help solder of Christ get back into the fight and sustain him until the day of Christ. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1Jn.5:4

 If examining your faith, you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to be a Christian which you don’t want to be and don’t enjoy being, yet you coming to church as to save yourself form wrath of God-  it is a sure sign of dead faith and all your works would be of dead religion.

 I counsel you to get back to the cross, meet your Savior there who loves you in a very real way confessing all your sins. Pray that God will give you strong convictions that would lead to true repentance. Yield yourself to the Holy Spirit as an obedient child, renounce the world, embrace the cross with your entire mind, heart and will. Join the fight! Our complete victory and deliverance is not far!! Unite yourself with other fellow Christ’s solders- we need each other. 

Virtues of Faith

BethanySMC - Tuesday, 29 January 2013 04:38

     Virtues of Faith

….Study through the letters of Apostle Peter: Who we ought to be & what we ought to do….

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in {your} moral excellence, knowledge, and in  knowledge, self-control, and in self-control, perseverance, and in perseverance, godliness, and in godliness, brotherly kindness, and in {your} brotherly kindness, love. For if these {qualities} are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these {things} is blind {or} short-sighted, having forgotten {his} purification from his former sins. 2Pet 1:5-9

It is not hard to find people of faith. Even atheists, who would gladly crucify any form of faith in others, are moved by their own confident belief in their own truth.  The fact that all around us are many forms of religion, speaks about the many types of faith that people have. Rather than going after every known form of faith, I want to turn our attention on the faith that was founded by Jesus and delivered to us through the apostles by the Holy Spirit.

Apostle Jude makes it very clear that true faith was delivered one time and for all ages to the church of God, and we are responsible to keep it unaltered and if need be defend. Our faith is not just the assent of the mind or profession of the gospel truth; it is accompanied by unreserved surrender and obedience to the word of God. Alive and vibrant faith leads people to action; confidence and great trust in the Almighty God whom we’ve met and know personally, who has become our Savior, our Father, closest Friend, Counselor, Comforter, Teacher, Defender – moves us to renounce anything that separates us from God, while consecrating our entire life to the one who bought us with His own blood, cleansed our conscience from guilt and gave us a future and hope- Lord Jesus. He gave us the privilege to witness and experience His power, His wisdom, His love and many other precious and magnificent promises. For this reason, Peter writes in his letter to the believers, applying all diligence, in your faith supply virtue (moral excellence). 2Pet 1:5

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