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Dreams and Dogma
Globalism - Ecumenism
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Wendy Wippel

The God of Psalm 7:11: (the righteous judge “angry with the wicked every day “), preached in the fire and brimstone of yesteryear) is today replaced by a milquetoast God who excludes nobody, an ill tide that has carried even evangelical pastors into taking man’s word above God’s.  Apparently, because they don’t know what God’s says.

Exhibit A: that old standby: What about those who never heard? The heart of the matter, obviously, is that we who are saved know God personally as a God of infinite mercy and a God that does not want anyone to perish.  But even that verse (II Peter 3:9) says that God is “longsuffering”, delaying His judgment because some, in fact, will spurn His mercy and will perish outside of it. 

And scripture is clear:

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) NKJV

For those in western society, however, (those progressive ones who have thrown off Biblical Christianity to embrace humanism in a Christian disguise) that tenet of Christianity is now offensive:

It’s judgmental. It’s not inclusive. It’s outdated!

It has to go.

And that chorus has grown louder and louder, till even champions of the faith (who should definitely “know better"), have softened their stance until the truth is compromised.  Even Billy Graham:

What God is doing today is calling people out of the world for His name. Whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts they need something that they don’t have and they turn to the only light they have and I think they’re saved and they’re going to be with us in heaven.” (Transcript of interview with Robert Schuller)

Dr. Schuller made sure it was clear what Graham was saying:

“What I hear you saying is that it’s possible for Jesus Christ to come into a human heart, even if they’ve never had exposure to the Bible.  Is that a correct interpretation of what you’re saying?” 

“Yes”, Billy Graham answered”.

And he has lots and lots of company.

In the global culture developing, it’s an issue we are going to have to address. How do we reconcile the God of mercy with all those who may have never had a chance to actually hear the Gospel enunciated in their own language?

What does God’s word really say?

First of all, we know (since He lives outside of our time/space universe) that God knows who will respond to revelation and who will not, and in that sense those people who respond were chosen before the creation of the world:

“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." (Ephesians 1:4)

At the same time, we are still personally responsible for responding to the Gospel message:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

The name of that son Is Jesus, the Christ, and there is Biblical knowledge about Jesus being the Christ that has to be transferred from one individual to another:

"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” 

We know that God put a knowledge of a creator in every heart because of what they see in creation. (Romans 1)

Further, we know that He put a knowledge of a savior in every heart as well.  Jesus reveals Himself to every man;  John calls Him,

“the true Light which gives light to every man."

Jesus also said,

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32)

We have to respond, but God gives each man revelation.  And we also know that God picks both the time and the place where people will live:

“He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” (Acts 17:26)

And that’s important. Why would God choose each person’s time and place for living their life?  Perhaps the answer is in Samuel 14: 14:

For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him.

God devised the means by which each man will have the best chance to respond. God puts them in the time and place which will offer that person the ideal circumstances to seek and respond to God’s holy nudges.

And with those things in mind (God, Jesus, and nature all provide revelation, and God is actively orchestrating each person’s life to encourage them to seek Him), it makes sense that we have a host of promises that those who seek God, who respond to the revelation given them, will indeed, find Him:

"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

John summarizes the paradox for us nicely:

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13)

We have to respond. We have to receive Him. But salvation stems, ultimately, from the will of God.

That’s important too. Ultimately, it’s a God thing. Paul explained that in Ephesians:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8)

How does that happen? A few more verses fill us in on the actual process:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7)

"Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses…The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant." Psalm 25

"For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, But His secret counsel is with the upright." (Proverbs 3:32)

"Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully." (Proverbs 28:5)

"Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand." (Daniel 12:10)

"If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. (John 7:17)

Bottom line?

"For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." (Matthew 7:8)

Even those who seemingly could never hear. God promises that if you ask for further revelation, He will get it to you.

We have examples from missionaries, whose memoirs are replete with stories of meeting an unreached people and finding that one particular member of the group had been praying that the real God would send someone to tell them about how they can be saved.  

We have examples in Scripture: Cornelius, a God-fearing Jew, was told to send for Peter, and the Ethiopian Eunuch was sent for Philip.

And for those of a perspective or a place in which they somehow need it straight from the horse’s mouth, we have the apostle Paul, to whom Jesus Himself appeared in a vision:

“As he journeyed … suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” The Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." (Acts 9:4-5)

And maybe under similar kinds of restraints, we have Arab Muslims in our own time.

Largely under our radar, Jesus seems to be revealing himself, through visions, to Muslims held captive by that ideology today. Three stories: 

Leah, who describes herself as a very devoted Muslim, began to feel that there was something missing... I started praying to God to show me if the Muslim faith was true. She began having dreams, one of which in which she saw Christians standing in line to get into Heaven; when she tried to get in line, but “a very tall being blocked my path and I started to cry because the side I was on was really horrible but the side they were on was a beautiful place, so beautiful, so blue.” She couldn’t get the dream out of her mind, and in a following dream eventually seeking out a Christian to talk to, who led her to the Lord. .

D, a young Indonesian Muslim, during Ramadan, dreamt that he was sitting with his arms tied to a chair; then Jesus approached and touched the ropes, whereupon they fell away. Jesus then told him to “Look for the pole". D didn’t understand, Jesus appeared again in a dream and told him to look for the pole, and pointed towards a hill far away. D ran endless towards the hill through woods and thorns and finally reached an open field, in which was a cross. He knew this was the pole Jesus had told him to look for, but still didn’t act.  Next he had a dream in which he saw a Christian cemetery, with crosses on all the graves. Suddenly, all the graves opened and the people rose into the sky where Jesus was waiting for them. D. realized he didn't have his cross yet.  He went to a Christian church where the pastor led him to the Lord.

Younathan, a young man in Quaran school, wondered why God was so harsh and so distant. He watched a movie about Jesus at a Malaysian friend’s house; Jesus subsequently appeared to him in a dream and told him to come to Him and read the Bible and He would show him the way, the truth and the life. A few days later a friend invited him to church; he went, and began asking question and reading the Bible, and the more he read, the more he wanted to know. He went to church again the next week, and when the minister said that the cup was the blood of Jesus, shed on his behalf, he surrendered. Younathan also now knows the Lord.

Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd, and said that “His sheep hear His voice” (John 10:27), and that He’ll find that hundredth sheep that is lost.  Even if that sheep takes some creative communication.

Our God is too big to put in a box!  Especially when it’s one of mortal making.

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: American Idols

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