Grace & Peace to You: Early Christian Views on War & Peace


• “I serve Jesus Christ the eternal King. I will no longer serve your emperors. It is not right for a Christian to serve the armies of this world.” ~ Marcellus the Centurion, 298AD, spoken as he gave up his post in the army of Emperor Diocletian because of his faith.

• “We ourselves were well conversant with war, murder and everything evil, but all of us throughout the whole wide earth have traded in our weapons of war. We have exchanged our swords for plowshares, our spears for farm tools…now we cultivate the fear of God, justice, kindness, faith, and the expectation of the future given us through the Crucified One….The more we are persecuted and martyred, the more do others in ever increasing numbers become believers.”  ~ Justin the Martyr (100AD – 165AD)

• “Murder, considered a crime when people commit it singly, is transformed into a virtue when they do it en masse.”
~ St. Cyprian (200AD – 258AD)

• “We who formerly hated and murdered one another now live together and share the same table. We pray for our enemies and try to win those who hate us.”
~ Justin the Martyr (100AD – 165AD)

• “It is absolutely forbidden to repay evil with evil.”~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD

• “To those who ask us whence we have come or whom we have for a leader, we say that we have come in accordance with the counsels of Jesus to cut down our warlike and arrogant swords of argument into ploughshares, and we convert into sickles the spears we formerly used in fighting. For we no longer take ‘sword against a nation,’ nor do we learn ‘any more to make war,’ having become sons of peace for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader, instead of following the ancestral customs in which we were strangers to the covenants.”
~ Origen (185AD – 254AD)

• “Hitherto I have served you as a soldier; allow me now to become a soldier to God. Let the man who is to serve you receive your donative. I am a soldier of Christ; it is not permissible for me to fight.” ~ Martin of Tours (315AD – 397AD)

• “Christians, instead of arming themselves with swords, extend their hands in prayer.”
~ Athanasius of Alexandria (293AD – 373AD)

• The Christian poor are “an army without weapons, without war, without bloodshed, without anger, without defilement.” ~ Clement of Alexandria (150AD – 214AD)

• “I do not wish to be a ruler. I do not strive for wealth. I refuse offices connected with military command.” ~ Tatian of Assyria (died around 185AD)

plowshares2

• “Above all Christians are not allowed to correct by violence sinful wrongdoings.”
~ Clement of Alexandria (150AD – 214AD)

• “The Christian does not hurt even his enemy.”~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “None of us offers resistance when he is seized, or avenges himself for your unjust violence, although our people are numerous and plentiful…it is not lawful for us to hate, and so we please God more when we render no requital for injury…we repay your hatred with kindness.”
~ St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage (died 258AD)

• “We Christians are a peaceful race…for it is not in war, but in peace, that we are trained.”
~ Clement of Alexandria (150AD – 214AD)

• “Only without the sword can the Christian wage war: the Lord has abolished the sword.” ~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “You cannot demand military service of Christians any more than you can of priests. We do not go forth as soldiers with the Emperor even if he demands this.”
~ Origen (185AD – 254AD)

• “We who formerly treasured money and possessions more than anything else now hand over everything we have to a treasury for all and share it with everyone who needs it. We who formerly hated and murdered one another now live together and share the same table. We pray for our enemies and try to win those who hate us.”
~ Justin the Martyr (100AD – 165AD)

• “For what war should we not be fit and eager, even though unequal in numbers, we who are so willing to be slaughtered—if, according to that discipline of ours, it was not more lawful to be slain than to slay?”~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “The professions and trades of those who are going to be accepted into the community must be examined. The nature and type of each must be established… brothel, sculptors of idols, charioteer, athlete, gladiator…give it up or be rejected. A military constable must be forbidden to kill, neither may he swear; if he is not willing to follow these instructions, he must be rejected. A proconsul or magistrate who wears the purple and governs by the sword shall give it up or be rejected. Anyone taking or already baptized who wants to become a soldier shall be sent away, for he has despised God.”
~ Hippolytus (170AD – 236AD)

• “Christ, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier.” ~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• Christians “love all people, and are persecuted by all;…they are reviled, and they bless; they are insulted, and are respectful.”~ Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (late 2nd Century)

• “Say to those that hate and curse you, You are our brothers!” ~ Theophilus of Antioch (died around 185AD)

• “For the Gentiles, hearing from our mouth the words of God, are impressed by their beauty and greatness: then, learning that our works are not worthy of the things we say, they turn to railing, saying that it is some deceitful tale. For when they hear from us that God says: ‘No thanks will be due to you, if ye love only those who love you; but thanks will be due to you, if ye love your enemies and those that hate you’—when they hear this, they are impressed by the overplus of goodness: but when they see that we do not love, not only those who hate us, but even those who love us, they laugh at us, and the Name is blasphemed.”
~ The 2nd Epistle of Clement (140-160AD)

• “Shall it be held lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that he who uses the sword shall perish by the sword? And shall the son of peace take part in the battle when it does not become him even to sue at law?”
~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God…. They show love to their neighbors. They do not do to another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends. It has become their passion to do good to their enemies…. This, O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life.”
~ Aristides (written around 137AD)

• “We Christians cannot endure to see a man being put to death, even justly.”~ Athenagoras (133AD – 190AD)

• “Learn about the incorruptible King, and know his heroes who never inflict slaughter on the peoples.” ~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “Christians appeal to those who wrong them and make them friendly to themselves; they are eager to do good to their enemies; they are mild and conciliatory.”
~ Aristides of Athens (2nd Century)

• “I recognize no empire of this present age.” ~ Speratus (martyred 180AD)

• “For when God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but he warns us against the commission of those beings which are esteemed lawful among men….Therefore, with regard to this precept of God, there ought to be no exception at all, but that it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred animal.” ~ Lactantius, instructor of Constantine’s son (240AD – 320AD)

• “Shall we carry a flag? It is a rival to Christ.” ~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “I am a Christian. He who answers thus has declared everything at once—his country, profession, family; the believer belongs to no city on earth but to the heavenly Jerusalem.” ~ St. John Chrysostom (347AD – 407AD)

• “If anyone be a soldier or in authority, let him be taught not to oppress or to kill or to rob, or to be angry or to rage and afflict anyone. But let those rations suffice him which are given to him. But if they wish to be baptized in the Lord, let them cease from military service or from the [post of] authority, and if not let them not be received. Let a catechumen or a believer of the people, if he desire to be a soldier, either cease from his intention, or if not let him be rejected. For he hath despised God by his thought, and leaving the things of the Spirit, he hath perfected himself in the flesh and hath treated the faith with contempt.” ~ The Testament of Our Lord (4th or 5th Century AD document)

• “We have become sons of peace for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader.” ~ Origen (185AD – 254AD)

• “If you enroll as one of God’s people, then heaven is your country and God your lawgiver.” ~ Clement of Alexandria (150AD – 214AD)

• “God called Abraham and commanded him to go out from the country where he was living. With this call God has roused us all, and now we have left the state. We have renounced all the things the world offers…. The gods of the nations are demons.”
~ Justin the Martyr (100AD – 165AD)

• “But now inquiry is being made concerning these issues. First, can any believer enlist in the military? Second, can any soldier, even those of the rank and file or lesser grades who neither engage in pagan sacrifices nor capital punishment, be admitted into the church? No on both counts—for there is no agreement between the divine sacrament and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot serve two masters—God and Caesar…But how will a Christian engage in war (indeed, how will a Christian even engage in military service during peacetime) without the sword, which the Lord has taken away?”
~ Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

• “This is the way of life: first, thou shalt love the God who made thee, secondly, thy neighbor as thyself: and all things whatsoever thou wouldest not should happen to thee, do not thou to another. The teaching of these words is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast on behalf of those who persecute you: for what thanks will be due to you, if ye love only those who love you? Do not the Gentiles also do the same? But love ye those who hate you, and ye shall not have an enemy.”
~ The Didache, also known as The Teachings of the 12 Apostles, is an early Christian document written between 80AD – 90AD.

 

Sources:
40 Early Church Quotes

Quotes: The Early Church on War and Violence

Research on Pacifism in the Ancient Church

Outliers

outliers

We have all been hit by OUTLIERS.  In school, when the teacher grades on a curve, outliers are the death of our grade. Everyone bombs a test, but because one kid gets a 90 it knocks down everyone else’s grade.

The phenomenon of OUTLIERS is an important topic to discuss in life. Is it so bad to be different?

My question crept up last April when I reread a very interesting report with a theory built on reasonable evidence, about Roswell and the Operation Paperclip connection.

Why is it that people who make connections like this are called wackos,

but people who say that the world created itself out of nothing are called deep thinkers?

–To find the problem with something out of nothing, you need to spend time thinking about what you mean by Nothing. If your Nothing is really nothing, how can anything happen at all, and if it’s not nothing, you’ve contradicted yourself and have to create a new theory.–

1. Why are there outliers?
2. How important is it to NOT be an outlier?
3. Why do people try to make us conform? or call us quacks if we do not?

Case One: Astroturf

Case Two: Aliens and Poltergeists

Is it so wrong to ask questions about aliens and poltergeists? It is a common dividing line to say that those who TALK ABOUT aliens are wackos and those who DON’T are normal. But why do we not ask? Who is it making the rule that says asking makes you an outlier. It is important to know. NOT asking should be suspect.

As an historian, I must ask about the testimonies. All the people who have spoken about alien-contact saw something. Even if a few hallucinated or made up their stories, the changed lives testify that SOMETHING happened.

I happen to know what actually occurred. Without a doubt.  I have done my historical and sociological research. My reasons are defended by common sense, intelligence, reason and loads of facts. But my problem is not what IS going on. I know the truth.

My problem is that PEOPLE WANT US TO NOT ASK.  Why is the topic taboo?

Case Three: Christian Clubs on Campus

When I was in high school, I was in a start-up Christian Club. We called it Agape Club. I found peace and meaning in my relationship with Christ, in my knowledge of God. But I was an OUTLIER.  Classmates usually do not want to associate with outliers. Outliers certainly do not pick up the guys, and being associated with them taints your reputation.

But what if the status quo is part of a great big conspiracy? Like the conspiracy of the drug companies and their use of the media and Wikipedia? What if I am the whistle-blower? What if I am the one without the blindfold? The one ‘unplugged’ from the Matrix?

Who is it claiming us unreasonable if we determine the world has clear evidence of design? I say denying that is not using common sense.

Who is it claiming us unreasonable if we determine that people have seen something on those dark roads? I say denying it is plugging your ears to a very loud message.

Who is it claiming us unreasonable if we go against the Status Quo? If you depend on reason, and pursue it to the very end without compromise, there is only one conclusion you can come to and be honest. Bending to the status quo can cost your very life.

I know who it is claiming these things and I know why.

What is truth? Do you really care?

I appeal to John Gerstner, and his Lecture Series on Handout Apologetics. He shows why it is normal and reasonable to be the way I am, and how the lemmings and the outliers are those who deny the Reasonableness of the evidence.

ANY COMMENTS?

Aliens

http://worldufophotosandnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/DISC-8375.jpg

ALIENS

An interesting thing these aliens…

I do believe in aliens.  “How can you believe in aliens if you are a Reformed Christian?” you may ask.  (Reformed Christians find themselves in the conservative-logical camp, and alien-believers tend to be “wackos.”)  Here’s why:  From accounts of contact victims, the “aliens” themselves admit that people in ages past used to call them devils, goblins, trolls, and demons.  This kind of contact is something that has gone on for centuries.  And it is as real as pigs on a hillside.

A pastor friend of ours, Mark Hitchcock, wrote a book called Extraterrestrials.  It’s a fascinating book. He researched the “phenomenon” from a Christian perspective.  And that opened my understanding into something I used to excuse away as “hallucinations” or “attention-mongering.”  But what I came away with, from the book, are some simple conclusions about aliens, and about alien-abductee/sighters.


Alien Sighters/Abductees

1.  Abductees are never Bible-believing, born again Christians.  Abductees may be part of the visible church, but once you investigate their deeper belief systems, it cancels out their Bible-believing, born again moniker.  (It seems that Christians can be bystanders to UFO sighting.)

2.  Abductees often have dabbled in the occult or have a preexisting fascination with aliens or occultic matters.

3.  Abductees are ‘chosen’ usually following family-line ties to alien sightings or abductions.

Aliens and Alien Technology

1.   Aliens are generally seen at night in lonely places.  The time when darkness and fear reigns.

2.  Aliens seek to demean mankind.  The ‘message’ that people are given is that mankind is backward, mankind is inept, mankind is doomed to failure.  The ‘experiments’ on mankind accentuate this view.  Here are some secular records.

3.  Aliens seek to instruct mankind, their most common message being, “There is no God, and Jesus Christ is not His son. Worship creation instead.”  Here is a “released top-secret message” proported to be from space.  (Here is someone trying to decode it).  What does it say?  If it is from aliens*, it will directly deny the importance of Christ.  No, nothing against Muhammed or Buddha.  Ever.  What does this mean?

4.  Alien technology is never ahead of “cutting-edge” human technology.  In the 50s, abductees were shown banks and banks of “magnetic tape drives,” while modern abductees see things they consider top-line: lasers, 3D images, flatscreens.  Aliens are not creative, but can only draw upon the creative nature of man.

The Process

1. On a lonely road, or alone in the room (usually no witnesses)

2. Reaching-out hand, a calling

3. Agreement

4. Experience

5. Epiphany (new message learned, well, the “OLD LIE

6. Aftermath, another ‘convert’ to the anti-Christian message


What Does this Mean?

Again,  From accounts of contact victims, the “aliens” themselves admit that people in ages past used to call them devils, goblins, trolls, and demons.  Aliens are what the Bible calls “demons” and “false gods.”

The methodolgy of alien-human connection coordinates with demon-human connection of long ago, pigs on a hillside encounters as testified in the Bible, and of today.

One-third of the angels fell with Satan, and as their prince is ever-seeking for prey, so are they: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Pet 5:8)  http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QMkhuy0dWbQ/UcGji4LIyQI/AAAAAAAAEK0/DKBdrIC5Dsc/s1600/q.jpg

The picture of an alien etched into our corporate subconscious is one of an alien reaching out and summoning. What is interesting about this is that all people (secular accounts/pre-Christian accounts) who experienced abduction had to AGREE to the abduction, or to the first experience:  “Come.”  Aliens (demons) seem to be limited by human volition. (I will not call it “free will” since only Adam and Eve’s will was that free to not be swayed by inherent rebellion against God or desire for sin.)

That these “visions” are connected with the occult, and the pursuit of magic and alchemy, can be seen in a close-encounter that Zosimos of Panoplis had in 300 AD. Again, during sleep.  Again, a lesson to be learned: distract the man to worship and seek the power-in-the-natural world.

The Message

1. Evangelism

Just like the Explorers of the New World, who invaded with the message of Christianity, the MO of these “distant-traveling” aliens seems to be Evangelism.  But the message is defensive:  anti-Jesus.  (By the way, isn’t it interesting that this is also the message of “Hollywood”?)

2. How Can We Know?

Hollywood promotes the idea of a super-race of aliens “helping” or “ruining” our world.  Scientists without Christian insight have only their own senses to use to judge this invisible realm. Without insight, the fears of ghouls, goblins, trolls and aliens can make even intellectuals “panic.”

For a deeper and very articulate explanation of the motives of aliens, see UFOs and the Christian Worldview.

Chuck Missler, in his book, Alien Encounters, poses the riddle this way: “Why would all these hordes of E.T.s cross time and space simply to teach New Age philosophy, deny Christianity, and support the occult?”

The answer is that they have not traveled all that far, and their purpose is to pull people from Truth in Christ and Obedience to God.  Rebellion and worship of the Created rather than the Creator.  This is what Baal and Asherah and Moloch encouraged in the Israelites.  Question for us all: “Are you worshipping (serving, sacrificing for, living by principles of, obeying, preaching about) the Creator, or are you worshipping something in this world?” Another way to avoid aliens is to not be a threat to their message.

3. Proof From Freedom

An organization called Alien Resistance has sought to help free those stuck in alien-contact.  They claim that there is only one thing that can stop for sure an “alien abduction attempt.”

Abductions can be permanently halted by one thing and one thing only: the name of Jesus.

They say this is not a ‘magic formula’ but it is the act of faith, of one calling out to the ONE who has power over heaven and hell, who is our shepherd-protector.  And of course, the story of the “cleaned out house” warns us that if you are having this trouble, and are wanting to be freed, you had better be darn certain your house has a new owner.

Here are some records of people who have been freed from the cycle of alien abduction.

Soli Deo Gloria

And what does this have to do with Soli Deo Gloria?

The dark world with its SYSTEM– the kingdom of this world– attempts to blot out Christ, as one might attempt to blot out the sun on a bright day.  “Sunglasses” and “sunshades” include ideas such as relativism, alien-fascination, and earth-worship.  But this world was created foremost for the glory of God.  Surely you have seen it in the daily miracle of a sunrise, or the pattern of the stars on the dark summer skies.  “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls.”  Our soul hears the voice of Creation praising its maker.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the power of the name of Jesus in combatting such a scary force, I get goosebumps.  Even these “aliens” bring glory to God, because their loss of power testifies to Christ being the WORD by which everything in the universe was made.  The created must bow to its CREATOR.

Everything, even “aliens,” exist for the Glory of God.  Soli Deo Gloria!

——-

* Note: as I was reading this “received alien message” page online, Google Translate offered to translate the document into Hungarian.  It begs the point that a message like this is considered to have the letter-sound-meaning connection of an ABC alphabet.  If you consider Egyptian hieroglyphs and the amazing Chinese script, you have to laugh at the presumption that aliens have an ABC based language.  Unless of course, they could not “create” their own alphabet.

Athiest Claims to See Hell

Can a changed life provide evidence that
a proported event has happened?

In the case below, this college professor on his death-bed experiences some of the pains of what he says was hell.  The change in his life shows that SOMETHING happened. What would a scientist say to these claims? How would the scientist explain this experience?

Part One

Part Two

It’s science week. How do we approach this from a scientific perspective? A scientist sets up the observation. Looks at the evidence. Considers the laws at work, and looks for the best explanation. Then the scientist tests their theory.

Looking at the Evidence

We have watched the videos. The man says he was an athiest. He got sick and died/almost died. During this time he had a horrifying experience which he called hell. His experience in “hell” changed when he called out,

“Jesus, please help me!”  

Then positive things happened, resulting in his coming back to this life and being healed by the doctors.

Considering the Laws at Work
& Looking for the Best Explanation

This is an issue in the mental-psychological realm

Either he saw something. (Truth-teller)

Or thought he saw something. (Self-deceived/delusional)

Or did not see anything, but said he saw something. (Liar)

From the change in his life we can probably rule out the Liar option, since many years passed between the experience and the recording, yet he did not change his story. It appears he obviously believes in his own story. So either he is delusional or telling the truth.

How can science help us know if he is telling the truth or not? Do we need to determine our boundaries?

Reductive Naturalism

…would say that the answer has to lie in the physical world. It could not be true that he experienced something in the supernatural. It was in his mind, and something he saw flipped his view of reality. So he would be delusional, somehow. They would run a battery of tests to find out what kind of psychological problems he has. Simple.

A Theistic Explanation

…would not automatically reduce the possibilities to physical world, so the option of super-nature is still on the table. He might have seen something, and that something might be supernatural.

Testing the Theory

How can we test if he is telling the truth about what he said?

We could test for delusional psychology. Test how he interacts outside of this recording. Is his lifestyle consistent with his profession of faith in God? (Or does he speak on contrary topics elsewhere, for example). We’d need to check his life. To see if he is a habitual liar, or if his actions reflect someone who is not in touch with reality.

If his lifestyle is consistent with his profession of faith in God, we could test if he speaks in accordance with theistic laws.

When I listened to him, I was keenly aware of each point he said, and compared it with what the Bible says. Why the Bible? Because through other reasoning I have come to the confidence in the reliability of the Bible in matters of supernature.

I measured his words against the Bible. It didn’t seem to contradict…

It seems simplistic, because by the same measure we would also have to say that those who see aliens could possibly be telling the truth. And those who are in non-Christian religions who have similar experiences have to be taken at face-value.

I am prepared to consider their cases in the same way. And in the same way, I would measure their words against the Bible’s presentation of the supernatural/natural world connection.

Case in point–

 “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven”

This best seller about a boy who “saw heaven” had a lot of rubbish, inaccurate according to the Bible. It came out later that the boy and his father were lying. The boy fessed up, but the father keeps reaping the royalties.

Afterlife Travelogues

Unfortunately, the “afterlife travelogue” presented above is firstly questionable because it has dangerous implications. If we believe he went to actual hell, he would be disproving the existence of hell.

What I mean is, we understand hell, and the power of the name of Jesus, from Scripture.

The Bible says,“man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment.” Heb 9:27

If his experience was actually hell,
one man’s experience would be disproving the book of Hebrews.

And if he disproves Hebrews, all of Scripture is suspect. And if Scripture is suspect, his being saved by the name of Jesus is suspect. Meaning that if he were actually in the hell Christ spoke of, he was not where he thought he was, and he could not have been rescued by the one he thought rescued him. It’s self-contradicting.

Experience must bow to Scripture. If your experience tells you something contrary to the Bible, your INTERPRETATION of your experience is wrong.

It [the afterlife-story phenomena] is not harmless. It denigrates the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. It confounds faith with superstition. It subtly elevates human experience to a higher level than the Word of God. It purports to reveal things about God and the heavenly realm that are not taught in Scripture. And it repeatedly insinuates that the testimony of someone who has been mystically enlightened can be a more effective stimulant to faith than Scripture alone…

Thus says John MacArthur. He continues…

This is just one example of a large and growing subgenre of afterlife travelogues popular today—a genre that includes at least two mega-best-selling titles from evangelical publishers. The authors of these stories—and evi­dently millions of readers as well—regard these testimonies as authori­tative, reliable, and full of superior insights that can take readers to a higher level of understanding and enlightenment beyond what we can get from the Bible.

In other words, all of these books take a similarly protognostic stance on heaven and the afterlife. All of them are dan­gerous and misleading. That includes the ones that seem fairly benign as well as the ones that are clearly steeped in occult superstition. All of them stand as reminders to us that Scripture and Scripture alone is the only safe place for Christians to learn anything about the immortality of human souls, what happens to a person after death, what heaven is like, what awaits the unrighteous in hell, and what we can expect in the judgment to come.

Conclusions

So my final conclusion (after testing his life/mental state) might be that he saw something. Maybe a dream or something dream-like. But he did see something.

But he did not go to hell.

Because his life changed drastically, 180*, I know a frightening experience happened to him. He had a supernatural, near-death experience that shook his foundations. But according to Scripture, he did not die and he did not go to hell. He got a chance to make things right. Good for him.

Comments: What do you think?

Review of The Facade by Michael Heiser

Missing “Crucial” Detail: the Cross of Christ

I looked at The Facade on two levels. The first is the storyline and craft. I am glad to have read this book. It presents a fictional scenario for the alien/demon connection in end-time events. I was engaged completely in the storyline. The plots and subplots worked well, and I especially liked how the documentation of the Roswell/Paperclip/experimentation theories worked into the plot but also informed the readers. The final scene persuaded me to not buy the sequel.

The second level I want to address is the message. The book presented the view of demons supported by church fathers in the early years, namely that demons were unholy offspring of angels with women. This is unsupported in Scripture. John Calvin addressed this idea in his Genesis commentary: “That ancient figment, concerning the intercourse of angels with women, is abundantly refuted by its own absurdity; and it is surprising that learned men should formerly have been fascinated by ravings so gross and prodigious.” When you start to bring into the dialogue extra-biblical sources, you compromise the principle of Sola Scriptura and open yourself up to misunderstanding and heresy.

Another and stronger objection I have to the message has to do with a premise that is unfounded: demons killing Christians, directly. Men can kill Christians. Demons no doubt have given rise to all the persecutions of Christians since Stephen. Demons can stir in men the desire and malice to kill. But to give a freedom to demons in fiction that they do not have in life undermines the victory that Christ wrought on our behalf (and undermines the integrity of the book’s premise). Christians are immune from them. And Christians are safe under the hand of a God through whom every demon must get permission for any act, i.e. the Book of Job.

The reason Scripture is void of any but a cursory explanation of the hierarchy or inner-workings of the demon world, is that it is God’s business. How he uses angels or manipulates demons in the answer of our prayers is a mystery the Bible clearly leaves unanswered. It is not really important, in the big scheme of things. We may wonder. But the obvious silence on the matter means that there are more important things to be thinking about. Our business.

Not, is a demon on my shoulder whispering for me to commit adultery, but rather, “God, give me help to overcome this temptation!” Not, what demon is blocking our church’s evangelism efforts, but rather, “God, bring salvation to our town. Give the believers strength and wisdom in their evangelism.” We should not give undue attention to the demonic realm. We should know it’s there, and remember “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” So even if we come across someone that is demon/alien-possessed, we address Christ in the matter, “Jesus, I ask you to free this man from his chains.”

The most important point to remember is “undue attention” is what the prince of demons wanted in the first place, why he fell. My biggest problem with The Facade is that there is no Jesus Christ whose death brought victory and safety to his bride. The cross did nothing, in this scenario.

I recommend reading The Facade, and then following it up with this book, Chuck Lowe’s Territorial Spirits and World Evangelisation.

A quote from the above book says regarding Paul, in his epistles of Ephesians and Colossians, “First, he insists, the power of Satan has already been decisively broken …. We need not fear Satan’s power: Christ has much greater power and far higher authority …. Nor need we fear Satan’s vengeance …. Nor need we fear Satan’s dominion over the world …. Secondly, all this was done without our help or involvement …. The war has been won, and it has been won without us” (p57).

The main character of The Facade, Brian, is supposed to be a Presbyterian. He would have known this if he were a catechized Presbyterian. I agree that aliens are demons in modern garb. It’s great that this has been tackled in a religious scenario. However, the fiction it is preaching alongside the real facts of the alien “problem” creates a heresy. It declares that the author does not fully understand the implications for Christians in this field.

The testimonies of former victims on the Alienresistance website, praised in his acknowledgements, should have been enough to teach the author that the only way to rid oneself of alien influence is the name of Jesus.

Soli Deo Gloria

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WHAT*S IT ABOUT?

Sola Deo Gloria means “All For the Glory of God.” It’s an attitude about life.

1) It’s not all about me.

2) It’s not all about mankind.

3) It’s not all about nature.

4) It’s not all about aliens, or something ‘out there’ that eludes us.

I exist for one purpose.  That is, “I” exist for a purpose that God determined.  As His creature, I am subservient to Him. So whatever He wants for me I can either DO or NOT DO.  If I figure it out, and DO it, I’m sure it will go well for me. If I decide to NOT DO.  Well, I would guess that if a creator makes something that “doesn’t work right” he’s going to decide to not use it.

What is my purpose?  Oh, the eternal question.  “WHY AM I HERE?”

Back to the Catechism questions:

Q1-What is the chief end of Man?

A1-Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

The purpose of mankind is to glorify God.  More than that, there’s a bonus. We get to benefit from that as well.  We get to enjoy Him, and that eternally!  Pretty good deal, if I figure it out, and if I DO it.

But of course, we can only start down that road if God Himself calls us, so it’s up to Him in the first place.

BUT IF IT*S ALL ABOUT GOD

Then the reason I live today…the way I work…the way I talk to my family…the choices I make…need to fall in line with what honors God, with what brings Him that GLORY that is due Him.

If it’s all about God, we are required to look at the world through the perspective of God.  And so it’s essential that we read the Bible.  It’s essential that we live according to it.

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS

Marcellus and Byziana soon find out just how powerful God is, and how weak they are.  What can they do to get out from under–what seems to be–the wrath of God?  If all is for the glory of God, if it is all about God, then what role to the small insignificant people have on this earth?  How can we know?  These are some BIG QUESTIONS rattling the faith of our main characters in Trunk of Scrolls.