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The Persecuted Church


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Pt.2  Israel’s Importance in mankind’s history and the church’s understanding of the world

Let’s first hear from Richardsons disciple of inclusivism, Daniel Kikawa. “In the book, Eternity In Their Hearts, Don Richardson lists people to whom the One True God left a witness. Starting with the Canaanite, Melchizedek, through the Athenian's unknown god, and on to the experiences of modern day missionaries, he shows that God can, and does speak to peoples other than the Hebrew race” (p. 159- 160 Perpetuated in righteousness)

It was the Hebrew people who kept the "book" intact, and it was the Hebrew people through whom the Messiah, Savior, would come. But Richardson clearly shows that God confirmed to other peoples the Good News of His Son. He lists many incidences of the One True God speaking through a vision or dream to the "holy man" or priest of these peoples” (Ibid)

Israel didn’t just keep the book intact, they were the only recipients of the book and when the New covenant was established it went out to the Gentiles as it was prophesied.

Here is his open agenda, yes, God spoke to others – but always in relation to Israel. Such as Abimelech in a dream (Gen.20) who took Abrahams wife. God never gave the revelation He gave to Israel. When God came to him in a dream "Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife." Because it had to do with God forming Israel, not just because he took another man's wife. Abimelech could not take care of this matter himself. In v. 17-18 “So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; for the LORD had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.”

Richardson claims ‘All of these prior revelations center around (1) the fact of God's existence; (2) creation; (3) the rebellion and fall of man; (4) the need for a sacrifice to appease God and the crafty attempts of devils to make men sacrifice to them; (5) the great Flood; (6) the sudden appearance of many languages and the resulting dispersion of mankind into many peoples; and finally (7) an acknowledgement of man's need of some further revelation that will seal man back into a blessed relationship with God.” (P. 155 Eternity in their Hearts)

Lets look at this Biblically, not culturally. What God existed? How did they describe this sky God. God is holy - His attributes and characteristics. If these nations God’s did not have the very same nature, then they are not the same God. Satan comes as an angel of light, he knows the true God and can offer counterfeit supreme gods. How was creation depicted (in 200 stories from around the world, it was always different than the Bibles). Fragmented stories of creation or the flood scattered throughout the world does not equal scriptures revelation.

How did these nations sacrifice without a tabernacle (Temple) or priesthood? God, even rejected those in Israel who did not bring a sacrifice to the priest who would offer it to God. But according to Richardson’s paradigm of these cultures, God accepted these people from other cultures without it.

The ark was in the tabernacle which had the manna, Aaron’s rod and the 10 commands showing Israel alone had the revelation and the promises. Everything he gave Israel, 603 further commands beyond the first ten; their dress, their ceremonies for cleansing was to separate them from the rest of the nations. Others did not have priests or prophets like Israel did and they certainly did not have any of the books written by the Hebrew prophets. To say otherwise is comic book theology.

The Gentiles were never excluded, they could join Israel. What we learn from history is that you must approach God in the right manner. Worship the way you want was not accepted, in the same way Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted and Abel’s was.

To say other primitive cultures had been given knowledge of God not only in the time of Moses, but after, or during the time the gospel came is to challenge God’s word. Only if one is reading invisible ink between the lines of Scripture can they come to these conclusions. The only way to know the Father is through the Son - by the gospel.

What Richardson may have discovered is knowledge that has gone around the world for nearly 2,000 years or more. Portions of Israel’s monotheistic worship and the gospel message penetrating cultures from travelers who may or may not have been missionaries. But this does not validate these cultures.

Richardson said: “In the late bronze age, in the time of Moses, Joshua, and right up until King David, human societies apparently had not developed to the point that you could separate a spiritual, religious leadership on one hand from a secular, political leadership on the other. It was merged together. They were theocracies.”
(Christianity Today, February 10. The Dick Staub Interview: Why Don Richardson Says There's No 'Peace Child' for Islam posted 02/11/2003)

And that illustrates my point of taking a god from a pagan society and saying their supreme god is the same God as Israel who had the only TRUE theocracy under God in HISTORY. They did not have the same knowledge or practices. Their “false” theocracy had their culture and society interwoven in their religion that their morals and lifestyle reflected their gods teaching. Their god did not teach them the same ways as Israel was taught by the true God (YHWH). Israel was a completely different nation, a theocracy ruled by God himself as king. These nations never saw the glory God.

Sorry, but you can't get away with saying the opposite the Bible says explicitly: “the Gentiles DID NOT KNOW God. The true God specifically revealed himself to Israel unlike any other nation. People may get upset with this, but it is the historical biblical truth.

Paul makes it clear in Rom 2:14-15 “for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness.” In other words, being made in the image of God, they could still know what is basically right and wrong and act accordingly.

God took Abram from a pagan nation and formed from him Israel and gave only her the oracles of God (Acts 7:38; Rom.3:2). The only way one can say they actually worshiped or had accurate or detailed knowledge of the true God is to say a culture is a lost tribe. Yes, there were rare scattered individuals prior to, and during Israel’s formation that had a certain knowledge that was passed on and believed, but to say cultures, or nation’s worshiped or knew God is false.

God did not give these nations the same religious system he gave to Israel. This God did not give gentile cultures the same way to Him He gave Israel. Richardson is presenting incusivism, which is liberalism in Christianity.

Among some tribes and cultures, their polytheism and animism also had shreds of corrupted monotheism. But how does this make them have true knowledge or be worshipers of God in the actual sense as Israel were worshipers of God? Let's think this through! I would use another nation as a comparison, but there is none. Israel's worship was not accepted if it was not done right, but we are to believe these other nations were? What Richardson has done is build a 100 story high rise out of popsicle sticks and everyone believes it. An undiscerning church accepted his premise of hundreds of cultures in the world already knew or were worshiping the supreme God (“Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World” subtitle of his book “Eternity in their Hearts”) Which goes contrary to the whole Bibles message.

God spoke of Israel as his special treasure among the nations. Even the nations around Israel were not influenced by Israel’s God, but we are to believe nations afar off were?

Richardson is saying that hundreds of culture's gods are the true God. How can anyone say there is so much authentic worship in the world? You can’t get more universal or inclusive than this.

What does the true God say about this?
Deut 4:7-8 "For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? "And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?” The answer is NONE of them.

Exod. 19:5-6 'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 'And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'  (Deut.7:6;14:2)

Ps. 135:4-5 For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special treasure. For I know that the LORD is great, and our Lord is above all gods.

The Lord continually distinguished himself from the Gods of the nations.

 Richardson theory starts with culture, he has put cultural beliefs before the word. Richardson's concept was culturally sensitive simply on the basis of a culture, claiming to have a supreme God. The message that your God sent his son is far more acceptable than what missions began with, “you do not know God.” This other message tells them there is nothing wrong with their knowledge, you just add Jesus and you have a winning formula for success.

So he related an application of thousands of years before the gospel to modern times. Going back when even Israel was not formed, or when Abraham began. But these modern cultures exist after the Gospel was given which means his argument of knowledge from the past is worthless.

But let's think this through, Richardson and Kikawa are saying the cultures God sent the Son, but neglected to tell them this, so a missionary had to say this to them. Their God didn’t tell them anything that would correct them or lead them to the truth because they had no book (they lost it). I don’t think this answer is sufficient in the least. This is an appeal to the fallen heart of man to find commonality with the bare minimum belief in a god.
This is a concept that only the naive and biblically illiterate can accept. Seems to me if one accepts this they don’t care for any biblical evidence because it would interfere with their conclusion. There faith is unable to withstand the scrutiny of biblical facts.

"I will give you [Israel] as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth" (Isaiah 49:6). And this light was the gospel in the New Testament, which the apostles and disciples brought to the Gentiles (not without some nudging from the Lord).
Luke 24:47 "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

You had to become part of Israel to know God, since Abraham (had a covenant) and Moses’ covenant was made. There was no other way. Now it was revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets of the New Testament.

Rom. 16:25-27 “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith-- to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.”

The mystery is what was not revealed, that Gentiles would be saved. Not before, but in Paul’s day. This is NOW revealed By the SCRIPTURE to the nations. It is because of Israel's blindness that the Gentiles are grafted into the covenant by the preaching of Christ - the gospel.
Furthermore: we live in New Testament times, Rom.1 0:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So one needs to hear the scriptures message. Since the new covenant was established, one cannot KNOW the Father without knowing the Son. But the Bible is ignored for their “NEW” way to evangelize by going to the culture.

Here’s what the Bible says:

Eph. 2:12-13 (speaking of the Gentiles nearly 2,000 years ago) “that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Eph. 3:3-6 “by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel

Again, the way since Christ came is by the gospel message not by leftover beliefs of monotheism. Saying the people worshiped what they thought was God and actually having revealed knowledge and instruction how to worship are two very different matters. Take into account that Richardson believes there is a general revelation is sufficient. Knowing there is a God and knowing God by having actual facts about Him are two very different matters. For even Satan knows who God is but he cannot worship him.

While the Old or New Testament is being penned and revelation is progressively given Richardson is saying these other nations had knowledge or worshiped the one true God (who cannot be the same as Yahweh). This is disingenuous to say. Even today we have a number of monotheistic religions that are not the same as Judaism, Bahai, Islam who claim they are worshiping the true God, there are other smaller monotheistic religions as well.

When I spoke to Mr. Richardson 20 years he stated something that was a correct conclusion, “similarity is not sameness.” It's unfortunate that he did not apply this observation to his own construct.

Even if the other nations (tribes) made sacrifices, it was meaningless. Sacrifices could not be acceptable without the Jewish temple, priesthood and right animals offered. Paul writes 1 Cor. 10:20 “that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.”

You can’t validate the nations/culture's monotheistic system when it is not identical to Israel’s. They had a piecemeal knowledge from either something long ago abandoned (Rom.1:20), or travelers shared of this religion to them, so there is nowhere to go with this. Their God never spoke to them or corrected them to bring them back to him as God did with Israel time after time.

All this “other cultures knew God’ diminishes the uniqueness and importance of Israel and their calling to the world. In fact, I would propose that it makes these cultures equivalent to Israel as their false worship of God [s] are considered the same. This sounds like Liberal theology. This is like giving someone an A on a test when they failed. Yet those who are pragmatists insist that this message worked, therefore God has approved this method. Does the end justify the means?

Why would people believe what goes so clearly against the Bible? When the main piece of history is excluded ones conclusions will be skewed, that piece is called Israel.

A Christian worldview comes from a Biblical perspective, not a cultural perspective. Their authority for what is truth is the word of God, if something challenges it, we reject it because we want to be keeping the Bibles doctrine and glorify God.

If these nations or cultures are after Christ came, then they cannot know the Father because they must come through the Son. If they are pre Christian they had to be in contact with Israel to know what God required to worship. If they did not have any distinct Jewish customs, then this whole concept is all fantasy on Richardson’s part. Because a tribe or group of people having a piecemeal knowledge of God is not sufficient to say they were monotheistic or worshiped him.

pt3  The Melchizedek priest King factor- Are there other Melchizedek's?

pt.4 A lost book?  All the tribes that once had a book of God

pt5  The Myth making of Don Richardson - transforming myths into history

p.6 The Santal- Thakur Jiu

p.7 The Karen prophets and the god yuah (Y'wa)

pt.8 The conclusion of Myths


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