Monday, September 29, 2008

The Death of Hamburg Germany

   Hamburg Germany lies on the Elbe River on a tributary leading into the North Sea. The blue-eyed, blond Germans embraced Lutheran Protestantism early during the Reformation. The people became very spiritual and accepted other peoples, and religious minorities for centuries. They were conservative and moral and a credit to the Germany of that period. The cold and cloudy climate fed the energy of the population. The early Falls brought sleet and snow to the climate. But somehow this energized the population to be extremely industrious. 

   The city was blessed with prosperity and morality above most cities of its size. In the sixteenth century it welcomed Jews from Spain who were expelled from that country, and who were driven from Portugal. Hamburg built one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe. Dutch Calvinists found a haven there from the Catholic armies of Philip II. Later, the conservative and orthodox French Huguenots, along with many French aristocrats settled in Hamburg.

   But in time, Hamburg went the way of German Protestantism. Liberalism and skepticism theologically began to destroy its strong Christianity. By the time of World War I Hamburg had turned against the Bible. The people became extremely secular, thriving with pride in their prosperity and secularism. They paid a price. Some 40,000 young men from Hamburg perished in World War I. But, in my opinion, the judgment from God would grow worse. During the 1930s God was gone and humanism reigned in the universities of the city.

   Because of its industry and location on the North Sea, the city was doomed by the allies during the height of World War II. The British Air Force General Arthur Harris was the man given the assignment. Harris was a strong Bible-believing Christian who led prayer meetings and Bible studies with his fliers. It is said he "had a dry, cutting sense of humor, and would not suffer fools gladly." Harris determined that Hamburg must go, by being bombed into dust by incendiary fire storms. The first strike against the city was ordered on July 22, 1943. 792 Lancaster, Stirling, Halifaxe, and Wellington bombers took off for Hamburg. The young British airmen knew what was coming against the population below. In a little over one hour, some 200,000 to 40,000 people were turned into ashes.

   Fire storms sucked the breath out of the population. Heaps of bodies were piled up in basements. A judgment had come! And, the war was possibly shortened by anywhere between 2-6 months.

   The people of Hamburg knew God but gave Him up for prosperity. It is a terrible thing for a nation to know God and then to give Him up for the material. A warning for all nations of the earth!

   --Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Sufficiency of Scripture

Please join Guest Teacher, Dr. Steve Spurlin, as he teaches the Clifton Bible Church on the subject of The Sufficiency of Scripture.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Marching to the Apostasy

George Barna has collected more frightening data that just confirms that we are moving into the apostasy. In a survey at City University of New York he found that 14% of young Americans have no preference for any religious affiliation—this has doubled from a previous decade. He has found with contemporary churches that with the current pace, soon only 4% of teens will be Bible believers. This is in sharp contrast to 35% of Baby Boomers and 65% of the World War II generation.

And even among so-called "believers" in the younger generation, they consider their church teaching as irrelevant to their daily lives. They added that going to church was a "time waster." The sermons or "homilies" are bland, uninspiring, and not appealing to the highly educated.

This is what we would expect with what is happening in most churches. They either give out bland swill or try to pump up excitement with the hot-rock stuff! It is God Himself who is bringing about the judgment upon this nation, and upon the West.

Dispensationalism has always rightly taught from the Bible that each dispensation ended in failure, and this will be the case with the church dispensation. The Covenant guys are lying when they equate the church with the messianic kingdom! The church age is going to end with the seven-year tribulation before Christ returns to establish His throne of David upon the earth. The believers will be spared the tribulation and will be raptured away from the Day of the Lord! See 1 Thessalonians 4-5.

Get a life! Read your Bible!

Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, September 5, 2008

Did You Know?

It seems as if Sarah Palin attends Wasilla Bible Church in her home town of Wasilla, Alaska.

The Doctrine of Reconcilation

   2 Corinthians 5:18-20 causes a lot of problems for those who hold to certain doctrinal preconceptions. To understand the passage takes meaningful study.

   Good Bible study requires solid OBSERVATION skills. Let the Bible speak and it will make itself clear and understandable! Calvinists and many others fight over the passage because of faulty preconceptions. The passage is not saying, as some Calvinists charge, that God has already "saved" the entire world. Some think that the passage can be interpreted as universalism if one does not believe in the hard-core Calvinistic doctrine of Limited Atonement. That is, that Christ died only for the elect. I have studied thoroughly their faulty view of Limited Atonement, and it won't fly doctrinally! This passage is arguing that Christ died for the sins of the world but the world, that is each individual, must appropriate and believe in His sacrifice. The provision is there but it must be accepted.

   Some years ago I did a major study on this passage and on Limited Atonement. I found that many hard-core Calvinists may be misunderstood because they say what I say: "Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for the world but applied only to the elect." This is so because the doctrine of Total Depravity kicks in. No one by himself will come to Christ without the sovereign drawing of the Spirit and the calling of God. Read John 6:37, 39, 44.

   Before reading the comments below, you need to first read the verses. On these verses, I believe the Scottish Calvinist C. K. Barrett and the great Presbyterian scholar Charles Hodge says it best. Barrett writes:

    On "the world" the absence of the article has the effect of emphasizing the nature rather than the particularity of the object of the verb. … Since  transgressions no longer [are] counted against men the way was open for reconciliation; nothing remained but for men to take it. This however they could not do unless they were informed of the possibility [of salvation] now open to them. This brings Paul back to verse 19b to the theme of his ministry. … We have the ministry, as Paul does, of the message of reconciliation.

   Hodge says:

    "God was in Christ" is a proof of His being engaged, so to speak, in the great work of reconciling the world unto Himself. ... This means God was making atonement for the sins of the world; He set Christ forth as a propitiation.

   "To reconcile unto Himself" does not mean to convert, or [even] to render friendly to Himself. This reconciliation is said to be effected by the death of Christ as a sacrifice; and secondly, because what follows is not a proof of God's converting the world, but it is a proof of His being in Christ (i.e. in His death) is that He does not impute to men their trespasses, and that He has established the ministry of reconciliation. … The evidence that the death of Christ has been accepted as an expiation for sin, of infinite value and efficiency, is the fact that God has commissioned His ministers to announce to all men that God is reconciled and ready to forgive, so that whosoever will my turn unto Him and live.

   Christ made peace possible (Eph. 2:11-19). No longer need people be the objects of God wrath (Rom. 5:9). By trusting themselves to the reconciling work of Christ alone, people pass from God's wrath to God's blessing (Acts 16:30-31; Rom. 8:1).

   I hope this helps. I believe these are good explanations where in the past confusion has reigned!

–Dr. Mal Couch