No Tears In Heaven?

Eric Clapton sang a song about there being no tears in heaven. As great as Mr. Clapton is at playing the guitar, he’s no theologian.

Just as Christianity has a very wrong view of happiness on earth, they also have a wrong view of tears in heaven.

According to the standard Christian view: Christians don’t want tears on earth or in heaven. Meanwhile, the Bible puts plenty of tears in both places.

I’ll focus on the book of Revelation, one of the few books that gives us glimpses of heaven.

John is in heaven and sees a scroll that no one can open. John immediately bursts out crying. Tears in heaven.

Revelation 7 says the Lamb will wipe away tears from the eyes of people in heaven. In order to wipe tears away, tears must be there to begin with. Tears in heaven.

In both cases, people in heaven are hurting for the scenes of violence and corruption on the earth. John is bummed because no one can open the scroll that will judge all the unrighteous deeds on earth. Heavenly people are mourning, how much longer will God let evil prevail?

People in heaven seem to have a notion of what’s going on down here. Since they have now seen and experienced what full righteousness is like, the wickedness of this place causes them tears.

It’s not until later when God sets things right that no one cries anymore. Watch what happens in Revelation

Revelation 11:10—world rejoices over torment of God’s witnesses–people on earth think unrighteousness is happy.
Revelation 12:12—Satan is cast out of heaven to cause havoc on earth. God says because of this, heaven should rejoice and the earth will mourn over this.

It isn’t until God begins to drop judgment on the earth that people in heaven begin to rejoice. Until then, all earth’s sufferings are a cause of pain to those in heaven. They want righteousness to prevail.

God wipes out Babylon, the great city of earth’s luxury. When those on earth see Babylon fall they are crushed. Now the earth mourns when their pretty little city gets destroyed.

Meanwhile, back in heaven, God’s people are rejoicing! The Great Babylon is fallen shows the downfall of earth’s power, rebellion, and false kingdom.

Revelation 18:11-19—the world will weep when judgment drops.
Revelation 18:20—heaven rejoices over this judgment!

It’s not until the new heaven and the new earth where all pain and tears are taken away, Revelation 21:4.

Christianity has a very poor doctrine of crying. It’s enough to make a guy cry. I believe we should get it right or else we may find ourselves on the wrong side.

The Joy of the Lord Is Thy Strength

I read an article on “The Joy of the Lord” recently.

The biblical phrase, “the joy of the Lord is thy strength” is oft quoted and it is “so often repeated whenever there was any hint of sadness or frustration or boredom at our house: “The joy of the Lord is your strength!” It was a defeater statement, a kind of Jesus-juke meant to stifle any real emotions we might be feeling. Stop being sad/mad/bored/whatever and be JOYFUL! After all, you have a relationship with Jesus!”

I hear the author’s complaint and would agree.

Too many Christians believe that faith = happy. It’s the Joel Osteenization of Christianity. Unfortunately, it’s not just in whacky Osteenesque churches any more, it’s pretty much everywhere.

We believe that since we go to church God will give us the happiest marriage ever, the happiest kids, the happiest job, the happiest everything! Happiness is even used as a lure to believe the Gospel “God has a wonderful plan for your life!”

Happy, happy. Joy, joy. If you aint happy; you aint believin’!

“The joy of the Lord is thy strength” comes from the little book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah and a remnant of Jews went back to rebuild Jerusalem during the Babylonian captivity. The nation was gone, the walls were gone, and most devastatingly, the temple was gone.

Nehemiah determines to rebuild while Ezra the priest determines to hold a revival. Nehemiah 8, the passage with the above phrase, shows Ezra reading the law to them in the street. I believe elsewhere it points out that it was raining as well.

After a half day of bludgeoning by the law, the people are crushed. They hang their heads, bow to the ground and weep. Nehemiah 8:9 says,

And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

The people were weeping and Nehemiah tells them to stop, and then and only then does he go on to say verse 10:

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

The only time the Bible tells people specifically to cheer up is when they are rolling in the dust in anguish. This is no plea to live in happiness day by day. This is a command to rejoice that though the law just crushed you, you still have the Lord and His promises. Rejoice in Him.

There is no way this verse can broadly be applied to American Christianity. The verse that fits better with American Christianity is “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

As I’ve said before, Christianity is way too happy.

Laughter and Christlikeness don’t really go together. Although I can show you several verses where Jesus cried, I can’t find one that said He laughed. I imagine that means something.

Granted, the Bible does praise laughter from time to time. We are to have joy. But the joy and laughter the Bible speaks of is not a distraction with worldly funny and worldly pleasure.

Biblical joy and laughter are centered in Christ, yet outwardly the believer should feel and show pain, tears, sorrow, and mourning. At least sometimes! Once?!

This world is falling apart, yet we laugh our way through, amusing ourselves to Armageddon. Our laughter may be one of the biggest things held against us at Judgment Day.

This post is one-sided, I mean it to be that way. We could all use a little sobering up.

Here’s Who You Blame When You Find Out You’re A Moron

When I was in college, I assumed I was smart. I assumed I knew nearly everything there was to know.

Then I heard some stuff I’d never heard before. Hmm, what to do with this? I could conclude:

1) My teachers in my younger years must have been morons, or
2) This must be new information

Certainly it couldn’t be that I didn’t know something!

Many college age kids are like this. They swallow the party line they were taught, which may or may not be good depending on what party you were born into, then once they leave the house they are introduced to new stuff they’ve never heard before.

Since they know everything, yet they didn’t know this, they assume no one else must have heard of it either. Foundations shake.

They go back to their home pastor, “What’s up with this Calvinism stuff? Didn’t you know God created people to go to hell for His glory?”

Yup, the pastor knew, probably even taught on it 4,000 times. You just weren’t paying attention. You had no idea you needed to, you thought you already knew everything.

It’s funny to me how many people assume that since some doctrine is new to them, it must be new to everyone. It’s amusing how many people have informed me of “new doctrines” that have been around for 1,000 years or so. There’s nothing new under the sun.

Just because you’re clueless doesn’t mean everyone is.

Yet everyone goes through a clueless stage. It’s best to teach people that they are clueless. It’s best to inform people that learning requires work.

Too often we lead people to think that God zaps you with knowledge, that you just let go and let God fill in the details.

Nope. Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Study means zeal, energy. Workman means you need to work. The Bible is a large book. The fact that we think we know everything in it only proves our stupidity.

It’s a lifetime of learning, and even then you won’t get it all.

The most frightening people in all the world are those who figured it all out long ago. They don’t teach that learning is hard and takes forever, because for them, it didn’t.

And there’s a reason why it didn’t.

Why Did Christ Redeem You?

Why did Christ die for you?

Usually “love” is part of the answer. “Because He loves us.” Certainly He does. God demonstrated His love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ died for us because He loved us. This explains His character, His motivation for dying for us. He loves us.

True enough. But let’s answer the question from a different angle. Love explains why Christ did what He did, but for us, what is the takeaway for us that Christ died for us?

In other words, what is the purpose desired in those whom He died for? Yes, love is why He did it, but further, what was He hoping it would do for us?

Here is where it gets interesting. A couple verses:

Titus 2:14–Christ gave Himself for us in order to redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

2 Corinthians 5:15–Christ died for us in order that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Ephesians 2:8-10–Christ died for us to create us new in Christ to do good works.

Christ grants salvation to whomever believes in His Gospel. You don’t earn this. You don’t clean yourself up enough until God lets you in. There’s nothing you can do to deserve salvation.

We are told to believe in Christ and His gracious Gospel. Once faith has taken root, the believer is regenerated, reborn, created new, and passes from death unto life.

This new life is the life of Christ–no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.

This new life is granted so that we would do righteousness, good works, and flee sin.

The reason Christ died for you, the purpose it is to produce in the Believer, is good works. Plain and simple. Good works are good. God is good. Do the works that line up with the God you allegedly believe.

A life of good works that flows out of faith is the only way a person can have true security and assurance of salvation.

You were saved to do good works. Don’t confuse the issue.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Sproul’s Ridiculous Answer to “Does God Desire All Men to be Saved?”

R C Sproul was asked on film if he believed God desired all men to be saved. The clip is below.

Although I could make a longer statement about Calvinist Mark Driscoll, recently fired pastor of Mars Hill Church for bullying people, I shall refrain. Feeling nice right now.

Anyhoo, the other day I was looking for a clip on the internet about something and came across this. My kids were sitting in the room with me.

After Driscoll asks whether God desires all men to be saved, I stopped the clip and said to my children. “The answer is yes.” I then alluded to the following clear statements of Scripture:

2 Peter 3:9–that the Lord is not willing that any should perish but should come to repentance.
Acts 17:30–that God now commands all men everywhere to repent.
1 Timothy 2:3,4–God will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

“The answer is yes,” I repeated. “He only needs three letters to answer this question. Want to bet he’s not going to say ‘yes?'”

The video was stopped at the :54 second mark. All he has to do is say “yes,” but Sproul, being a backed into the corner Calvinist from way back, he can’t possibly say yes to this question, because he doesn’t believe God wants all men to be saved.

According to Calvinism, if God wanted all men to be saved, God would make all men saved. God doesn’t do that, therefore, according to Calvinism, God does not want all men to be saved.

I also knew Sproul wouldn’t answer “yes” because the video is 3:15 long! It only takes one second to say “yes.”

Sproul did not say yes. Sproul, as most false teachers do, went into defining words. A thing Paul warned against.

Calvinism is only true if the Bible’s uses of words are not standard. Calvinism needs new dictionaries. This is just one example of many.

Calvinism is false. I shall now stop. I have gotten the anti-Calvinist bug out of my system for another year or so. Thanks for listening.

An Example of Grace Gone Bad

Last week I read a “theology” book that drove me crazy. I did this on purpose. It’s fun to voluntarily be driven crazy. It’s why people own cats. I knew by deciding to read this book, I would go nuts at some point.

Boy howdy, did I.

This book was talking about grace and salvation. As many do when talking about grace, they go overboard. They take a fine idea and drive it into the ground until they begin teaching heresy.

Here is the quote I read word for word. Enjoy.

“For grace requires nothing of man but an acknowledgment of his undone condition and complete dependence on God. If an intellectual understanding were necessary to receive the gift of God, then there would be that in man which is meritorious in the sight of God.”

Oh my. Catch this sentence: “If an intellectual understanding were necessary to receive the gift of God, then there would be that in man which is meritorious in the sight of God.”

Did you get that? What he is saying is, “If you are intellectually able to understand the Gospel and respond to it, you have done a meritorious work and thus are not saved by grace.”

I mean, I’ve read some dumb things in my day, but wow.

Therefore, the only way a person can be saved is if they have absolutely no clue, no intellectual understanding, no mental assent to the Gospel. Otherwise, when they get saved they would glory in their superior intellect.

This is Calvinism gone way bad. This is hyper-grace gone way bad.

This means, the only people who can be saved are those who don’t understand the Gospel and thus never come to it knowingly.

I mean, come on. I can see how a person’s theological bias might drive them into this corner to say such a thing, but there’s no way a person can read the Bible and come away with such nonsense.

I am not saying we are saved by our intellect, I’m not saying a person has to understand it all before they can be saved, but I am definitely saying you kind of have to know what’s going on.

Paul told Timothy, “that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Is Timothy not saved because he knew? Was his knowing the Scriptures a meritorious work forcing God to have to save him? Give me a break.

I paced up and down the hall for about half an hour preaching to no one, since I was home alone, til I got that one out of my system. Wow. Not only did the book this quote came from go in the garbage, every book by this author followed.

Although the author of this quote wants you to be stupid, I don’t. I want you to use your brain.