Your Berean Battle Plan: Remember

In this series Cameron Buettel of Grace to You lays out a detailed biblical battle plan to help the serious Christian emerge victorious in the war for truth.  In part 2 he reminds us that “when it comes to biblical role models for discerning truth from error, the Bereans are the benchmark. The Jews in Berea needed to be able to distinguish the truth of apostolic preaching from the pseudo-spiritual lies competing for their attention. God’s Word was their measuring stick for truth because they carefully examined it on a daily basis (Acts 17:11). ”  He goes on to say:

Not only should we not be surprised when false teachers appear in the church; we ought to have anticipated and prepared for the reality of it. When an absolutely reliable source tells us terrorists are coming, it then behooves us to find out who they are and expose them before they do their damage.

The question readers need to ask themselves is: Are you a modern-day Berean?

Now to part 2 of Buettel’s series…

WolvesChristianity was never meant to be a haven for theological pacifists. Christ’s pure gospel is not only worthy of a vigorous defense, His chosen people have been enlisted for that very purpose (Jude 3). Doctrinal peacetime has been rare during 2,000 years of church history, as spiritual terrorists relentlessly attack and infiltrate the body of Christ. Precious truths have been tested and proven on the battlefield of worldviews. That is why the lives of men like Athanasius, Augustine, and Luther are largely defined by the doctrines they fought for.

As we lay out the battle plan for biblical discernment, the first step is to remember and heed the warnings of Scripture regarding the reality of the war on truth. The history of the church is marked by fields where epic doctrinal battles took place. And the war still rages. The enemies of Christ have continue their feverish operations to this present day.

Tragically, the church’s resolve to fight has rapidly diminished as it yields to the niceties of twenty-first century civility. Too many churches prize diplomacy over doctrinal purity—they’re content to dialogue with damnable error. As John MacArthur explains, when it comes to attacks on the truth, the church is following the dangerous example of the world:

Western society, by and large, does not have the will or the inclination to construct boundaries for its own self-defense. Years after the terror war supposedly got serious, America’s borders are still basically open to all comers. Much of European society still opposes the idea of any military response to the terrorist threat. Postmodern values and political correctness rule out profiling, monitoring the conversations of suspicious people, targeting illegal residents, and other means that would help identify who the terrorists are. . . .

The evangelical movement has been similarly naive. Spiritual terrorists are plotting the destruction of the church. Scripture expressly warns us about this. Yet evangelicals in recent decades have done very little to restrain apostates or expose them. False teachers are not stopped at the border anymore. The rankest apostates now have almost complete freedom in the evangelical movement. Unhindered, they have infiltrated evangelical churches, denominations, and Christian colleges and seminaries.

When it comes to lessons from church history, Christians have become dangerously forgetful. Too many shepherds are ill-equipped and unprepared to respond to the modern attacks, and as a result, church history is repeating itself. New perspectives are old errors, fresh revelations are ancient regurgitations, and modern innovations have merely been salvaged from the scrapheap of historical heresy. The constant threat from wolves and snake oil salesmen is nothing new.

As we saw previously, when it comes to biblical role models for discerning truth from error, the Bereans are the benchmark. The Jews in Berea needed to be able to distinguish the truth of apostolic preaching from the pseudo-spiritual lies competing for their attention. God’s Word was their measuring stick for truth because they carefully examined it on a daily basis (Acts 17:11).

In his short epistle, Jude stressed the need for God’s people to cultivate the same kind of discernment as the faithful Bereans. He warned his readers to avoid the folly of ignoring the past, and called to memory the words of Jesus and His apostles:

But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “in the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly minded, devoid of the Spirit. (Jude 17–19)

MacArthur explains…   Continue reading

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11 Responses to Your Berean Battle Plan: Remember

  1. Manny1962 August 20, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    “God’s Word was their measuring stick for truth because they carefully examined it on a daily basis (Acts 17:11).”

    Wasn’t it John McArthur who said we can take the mark of the beast and still make it to heaven? I know Mr.McArthur has openly spoken against homosexuality, Rome, false teachers, false movements and the malaise that’s befallen christiandom, but because someone says many truths, do we allow for a pass when an utter false statement is uttered. I’m not trying to be mean spirited, but if I’m really going to behave like a Berean I must call this out. I have tried on several occasions for clarification, none has ever been forthcoming.

    Let’s be Bereans, read Revelation 14:9 “9And a third angel followed them, calling in loud a voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives its mark on his forehead or hand, 10he too will drink the wine of God’s anger, poured undiluted into the cup of His wrath. And he will be tormented in fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.”

    John McArthur says: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iU3tjRq6tX4

    McArthur associate Phil Johnson says “Revelation 19:20 indicates that multitudes will take the mark of the Beast because they are deceived. Scripture does not say that they are thereby automatically hardened forever against repentance. That is not the point of the strong warnings.”

    https://www.gty.org/blog/B131030

    Really? Anyone who takes the mark will be tormented forever as per Revelation, but they’re not hardened forever against repentance? Am I missing something here? Would anyone here please set me straight on this issue?

    • Manny1962 August 21, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

      Why is my comment awaiting moderation?

      • David August 22, 2016 at 11:05 am #

        Manny – No, you are not missing anything. Marsha is! I am in complete agreement with you concerning this matter on John MacArthur’s comment regarding the “mark,” in addition to other issues that are in question, i.e., his youth camp. He is a very dangerous pastor and teacher (wolf in sheep’s clothing). I too question this blog sites lack of discernment concerning JM. Marsha, with all due respect, you have a blindness regarding this matter. I also find it rather interesting how you keep posting your commentaries with references to him. I sense that you are being somewhat antagonistic and deliberate. I pray that is not he case.

        • Manny1962 August 22, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

          Thanks David, for a while I searched the net for comments, I never read any clarification or even an retraction. Mr. Johnson gave a half hearted, completely erroneous explanation as I showed above. I’ll be frank, I use to hold JMA in great esteem when I was a very young Christian, I read his books, received his CDs and listened intently on the radio during his Grace To You program, he was the first pastor on the radio I ever heard call out homosexuality, Rome, seeker friendly movement and Rick Warren by name, I thought that was incredible, here for the first time I’m hearing someone contending for the truth! The last thing I would have imagined is that JMA was so below my discernment radar. Later on I had my eyes open to so many errors being espoused under an erudite and sophisticated background. What really put the last nail in the coffin was the mark of the beast statement. I still find it incredulous! How can this man say that?!

      • Amy Spreeman August 22, 2016 at 11:53 am #

        Multiple links. Sorry I couldn’t get to it this weekend. 🙂 Amy

        • Manny1962 August 22, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

          Hi Amy! I hope you and your family are doing well! Thanks for the heads up!

          • Amy Spreeman August 22, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

            Indeed we are, Manny! It’s been one of the busiest summers in I can’t remember when.
            I am glad for the diverse commentary on our site.

          • Manny1962 August 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

            I think it’s good to question our leaders, and when something is not correct point it out. JMA has surprised so many people, and broken the hearts of many. Maybe it’s good thing, we are to follow Christ not man.

            Amy, I’m glad you guys are well. We began school today, so it’s been crazy. I still make time for this site, one of the few left that are doing something good.

  2. Maggie August 22, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    Manny and David,
    Regarding MacArthur’s comment about taking the mark of the beast, did you see Berlorac’s comment from Aug. 16 under:
    http://bereanresearch.org/whatever-happened-fear-lord/

    • Manny1962 August 22, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

      Hi Maggie,

      Yes I read it just now. I see his point. But, there is another possibility, I posted it over there. Oh, and thank you for link. This is an important issue.

  3. berlorac September 6, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    Maggie and Manny, sorry for the delay!

    Phil Johnson’s argument (thanks for the link, Manny) is flawed and dangerous, and he has only muddied the water. He seems to be saying that one can knowingly give allegiance to the Beast and take his Mark, and then repent later. No way. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 makes it clear that those who worship the Beast are under delusion and will be condemned. I think the only way to find the Grace that JMac wants to give to those who take the Mark is that the verb for the receiving of the Mark is to willingly take, to desire; therefore, if someone receives the Mark unwittingly, there may be a chance. The other thing to see in Revelation is that it is the one who worships the Beast and takes the Mark who will be condemned; therefore, worship, and not just the Mark, is the indication of one being deceived.

    The 144,000 may be evangelists, we don’t know, but there will be two witnesses who minister to Jews, at least, and then there will be, after the implementation of the Mark system, an angel who preaches the everlasting Gospel. There are three possible groups of people regarding this:

    1) Some people refuse the Mark and are martyred due to their public testimony and their refusal to worship the Beast or take his Mark. This is not just a possibility, but a known fact.

    2) Some people refuse the Mark and will somehow survive for the remaining 3 years all while helping the Jews. This is implied in Matthew 25; there must be those who survive the Trib and enter into the Kingdom other than the Jewish remnant.

    3) Some people take the Mark unwittingly and then repent at the message of the various preachers. These would also be those sheep of Matthew 25.

    If all those who refuse the Mark are martyred, while all those who take the Mark are goats, then there won’t be any Gentiles to enter into the Kingdom. If some of those who refuse the Mark survive the Trib (and it is implied that they will), they will be sheep, presumably in response to the various Gospel messengers during the Trib. How they will manage to not only survive but help the Jews is not explained in Scripture. If someone unwittingly takes the Mark and then repents, he will be a sheep, but this is also not explained in Scripture.

    We notice that the angel preaching the everlasting Gospel appears only after the implementation of the Mark system; therefore, it begs the question: who would respond to this Gospel? It must be only those who have yet to take the Mark up until this point in the Trib and who then must either be martyred or survive to the end; or, it must be those who have unwittingly taken the Mark; or, this Gospel proclamation is only sent by God to those who are already hardened (as evidenced by worshipping the Beast and taking his Mark), further hardening their hearts, and no one will respond.

    Again, we have to come up with scenarios to account for the possibility that someone who takes the Mark may do so unwittingly and then repent before the Second Coming. I will not dogmatically assert this teaching. JMac put himself in a precarious position, although, I will say, I’m all for Grace and I can see why JMac wants to allow for that.

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