Category Archives: Issues

Zionism, the Christian Heresy, part 2

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70 painted by David Roberts (1796-1864).
God used the Roman army to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. Christian Zionists believe that the Temple must be rebuilt. The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70 painted by David Roberts (1796-1864). CC0 1.0 DEED

In part 1 of “Zionism, the Christian Heresy,” we saw that the land promise that is foundational to Christian Zionist thinking was physically fulfilled in Old Testament times and was also a spiritual type. Now, let’s look at the Christian Zionist belief in the continued distinction of the Jews.

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Zionism, the Christian Heresy, part 1

His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
This is the letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild that contains the statement called the Balfour Declaration. When it was published a few days later, it became the first public support of Zionism expressed by a major world power. Both Balfour and his Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, were Christian Zionists. Public Domain.

Zionism is a form of Jewish nationalism that arose in the nineteenth century. This article’s purpose is to examine a form of Zionism known as Christian Zionism. I intend to show that, by focusing on physical Israel, the adherents of Christian Zionism have fallen into a heresy that misses the reality of God’s promises fulfilled in Jesus Christ. This being the case, I believe Christian Zionism opposes the Gospel and deserves exposure as a teaching that spiritually blinds its disciples.

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Violence in the Bible

Peter Ditzel

Violence in the Bible. The battle of Ai in a painting showing Joshua holding a sword and buckler with a skeleton holding a spear and fighting beside him.
This fanciful painting of the battle of Ai depicts death as fighting alongside Joshua. John Trumbull: Joshua at the Battle of Ai – Attended by Death Public Domain

Christians and non-Christians alike have often pondered the question of violence in the Bible. Many see God’s commands to kill the inhabitants of Canaan (e.g. Joshua 6:21; 10:40; 1 Samuel 15:3) as sanctioning Christians fighting in wars. Others view such statements as “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) as prohibiting Christians from acts of violence. Nonbelievers say these Scriptures contradict and use them to ridicule the Christian faith. Some Bible teachers have tried to reconcile these discrepancies by asserting a middle ground in which Christians are to seek peace when possible while understanding that certain circumstances allow for violence. How are we to understand the fact that the Bible appears to condone and even command brutal violence while also calling for peace and nonviolence?

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Do “No King but Jesus,” and “Honor the king” Contradict?

Flowers, a black and white union jack, and a picture of Queen Elizabeth II left outside of Buckingham Palace. Do “no king but Jesus,” and “honor the king” contradict?
Flowers left outside Buckingham Palace by mourners after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Is showing such honor wrong? Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

As Christians, we recognize Jesus Christ as our King. Yet, undeniably, Peter instructed his readers to “honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17), meaning their earthly king. Paul also clearly taught that we should honor and pray for all in authority, including kings (1 Timothy 2:1-2; see also Titus 3:1 and Romans 13:1-8). As citizens of heaven, where Jesus only is our King (Philippians 3:20; Revelation 17:14; 19:16), what are we to make of this? Do “No king but Jesus,” and “Honor the king” contradict?

I’m writing this on 10 September 2022, two days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. I was stirred to this article by reading some of the most appalling verbal attacks by professing Christians against other Christians I have ever seen on social media. Almost invariably, these assaults were launched by Americans who have long identified themselves on social media as Christians. Those on the receiving end of these barrages were usually British Christians who had in any way posted something that showed respect or a sense of loss for their late Queen.

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The Love of Money: A Hallmark of Our Times

A composite of two images. Top: A heap of gold ingots and coins. Bottom: The barefoot legs of a homeless person lying on a concrete bench. Such disparity illustrates that the love of money is a hallmark of our times.
We’re living in a time of vast wealth inequality characterized by economic instability and the decline of democracy. The short-sighted love of money by the super wealthy has created numerous crisis points that could suddenly flare into disaster. What is our place as Christians in this situation? Top: Pexels. Bottom: Tomas Castelazo on Wikimedia Commons, (CC BY-SA 3.0).

In “The Love of Money Is a Root of All Kinds of Evil,” we saw what the Bible says and doesn’t say about the love of money. We also reviewed how the first-century saints avoided this root of evil by loving each other instead. Now, let’s look at the love of money as the hallmark of our times and the driving force of the world’s economy.

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The Bible Reveals the Universe Is Both Young and Old

Peter Ditzel

The question of a young Earth creation and an old universe is illustrated by this composite image of Earth's orbital horizon and another galaxy. Image by Lumina Obscura from Pixabay
The Bible and science have long seemed to be at odds over the age of the Earth and the Universe. Some proposed “solutions” weaken the veracity of either the Bible or science or both. But what if there’s an answer to the dilemma that compromises neither, and it’s been staring at us from the pages of the Bible all along?
Image by Lumina Obscura from Pixabay

Did God create the universe only a few thousand years ago, or is the universe billions of years old? When we couple the Creation account in Genesis with biblical genealogies, we find that God created all things in six days a few thousand years ago. The universe is young. But you might be surprised to learn the Creation account also reveals that the universe is old. Let me explain how the Bible reveals the universe is both young and old.

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2020 in Hindsight: The Apostasy, Part Two

Peter Ditzel

In Part One, we saw that the events of 2020 exposed the immense apostasy of American Conservative Christianity and how easy it was for professing Christians to fall into the apostasy through politics. Now, let’s look at some more ways that God used 2020 to expose the apostasy.

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2020 in Hindsight: The Apostasy, Part One

Peter Ditzel

Looking at 2020 in hindsight reveals apostasy in American Christianity. This picture shows the Adoration of the Golden Calf, oil on canvas by Nicolas Poussin, c. 1634. The worship of the golden calf was an apostasy.
Israel worshipped the golden calf when the people became faithless waiting for Moses. This was apostasy, and it was typological of the apostasy that will occur before the return of Christ. In 2020, God exposed an immense apostasy in American Christianity. It is too soon to say whether it portends the end-time apostasy. Adoration of the Golden Calf, oil on canvas by Nicolas Poussin, c. 1634

We’ve all heard the expression, “Hindsight is 2020.” The past year was unquestionably one of the most alarming and catastrophic years in memory, so it would seem to be a good thing to look back on the year and see what God has been showing us. That’s right, God, who “declare[s] the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10), and, who in the Person of the Son, upholds “all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3), perfectly determined and controlled 2020 to be exactly what it was. And you can be sure that He did it all with purposes in mind. One of those purposes is particularly important for Christians, and that’s what I’m going to focus on in this article.

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What Is God Doing in This Trouble?

Peter Ditzel

What is God doing in this trouble? This painting of Lot Fleeing from Sodom by Benjamin West shows that God causes calamity.
God not only destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, as seen here. He is the ultimate cause of all things, including the recent troubles we’ve been experiencing. He said, “I form the light, and create darkness. I make peace, and create calamity. I am the LORD, who does all these things (Isaiah 45:7). Lot Fleeing from Sodom by Benjamin West, 1810.

There’s no escaping the fact that we’ve entered troubled and troubling times. How should we respond to this year’s salvo of calamities and bad news? Christians rightly turn to God and ask whether He’s causing the trials we’ve had this year. If He has, Why? Why is God bringing calamity upon us? What is God doing in this trouble? I don’t claim to be a prophet, but I believe that the Bible gives us some possible answers to these questions.

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A Brief Rebuttal to Churches that Continue to Meet During the Pandemic

Peter Ditzel

Image by rise-a-mui from Pixabay

I have to admit that I’m surprised. I didn’t expect churches would continue to meet as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. But the issue has even grown and become very divisive. I wrote my opinion on the subject here: “Love Your Neighbor in the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Briefly, my position is that, because of the high risk for spreading a deadly contagion, showing love to our neighbor means that we must not meet. We are also to obey the civil authorities (Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1), and these authorities are telling us to stay home. Yet, some pastors stubbornly refuse to close their churches. So, I want to briefly give a rebuttal to the churches that continue to meet during the pandemic.

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