The StarPhoenix – Saskatoon, Thursday, October 30, 2008 on page A3 – an article entitled “Author at odds with church over book debunking Satan”.
Main point of the article: Jim Brayshaw – a firefighter in Saskatoon and deacon in Elim Tabernacle of Saskatoon (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada / Asemblies of God if it were in the United States to help the reader with Church context) – has written a book (500 pages) that douses the existence of Satan. He states that the idea of a fallen angel who rules an after-world in Hell is a man-made construct.
The book: “Satan – Christianity’s Other God, Volume 1 – Legend, Myth, Lore or Lie.”
As a result of the book and discussiions with the leadership of his church – He has been removed from eldership at Elim and removed from the congregational roles.
“His arguments have academic support”, said Mary Ann Bevis, head of the department of religion and culture at the University of Saskatchewan. She states (in conclusion) “…there is some scholarly support (to Brayshaw’s claims). There is evidence to back it up.”
My commentary on the issue without having read the book – I would rather not waste my time and money purchasing and reading a book by someone who calls themselves a Christian and yet denies that God’s Word is true and accurate and the basis of all beliefs in the Christian faith.
First let me say – been there and done that. I was ordained in a denomination back in the 1970’s that went the way that this author is now heading. That denomination is, in my mind, in serious trouble today and has lost it’s biblical foundation and thus the Bible truths that would allow it to be called “Christian”. It is not just a matter of interpretation – it is a matter of denying biblical truths long established in the Christian faith (and in some cases established thousands of years before in the Jewish faith).
Here is how the decline goes:
1> Adam and Eve are not real people – it is simply a myth made up to help ignornant and superstitutious people understand where man originally came from. Now that we know we evolved from “goo to you by way of the zoo” we no longer need to believe this myth.
2> If Adam and Eve did not exist then we no longer believe that man’s heart is, by nature, Inherently evil (the Prophet Jeremiah) and we no longer have a basis upon which to build the doctrine of original sin.
3> This is good because as soon as you toss any one part of the Bible out and it becomes acceptable to do so – you have opened the barn door and no section of scriptures is safe – you can now toss out anything you want.
4> The next thing to go was the understanding that Mary was a sexual virgin. The word virgin got redefined somehow into meaning “a young teenager”. So, Mary was not a virgin and thus Jesus is not divine – fully God and wholly man at the the same time.
That’s okay because we really no longer need a Savior because we are no longer born with a heart that deceives and we are no longer born into a world that is fallen and thus in spiritual darkness.
5> Thus Hell (and by implication the Devil) is no longer needed because without a Saviour from sin (which no longer exists) God will welcome everyone into His Heaven (Universalism) and He does this because He is love and would never comdemn anyone to Hell (punishment).
6> Along the way – somewhere in the journey – actual sin gets removed because we adopt the theology that “every man does what is right in his own eyes” as was adopted by people in the days of the book of Judges (Old Testament). Then it was wrong – now it becomes right … it is called “situation ethics”.
So now we have removed the Devil, sin, Saviour, Hell, punishment, and judgment and demoted Jesus to simply being a “teacher” and a good man living by a tremendously powerful philosophy (which other Greek and Roman, Babylonian and Persian philosophers had also lived by before Him).
I watched the denomination that I grew up in, their seminaries (in one of which I earned a Master’s degree), and churches move from belief to unbelief…
Then over the years I took a second Master’s degree from another (different) denominational seminary. This seminary belonged to and trained leaders for a born again denomination. Over the ten years or so of taking classes here and there to fulfill the requirements of the degree I watched this seminary and its academic staff take the same journey that my original denomination had taken – only they went through the stages in a slightly different order and a lot faster … all in the name of solid academic pursuits.
And now – here is an elder in another supposed born again (and Spirit-filled) denomination stating the same proposition I heard 30+ years ago … do we hear the sound of the toilet flushing once again as another group of believers heads down the toilet and into the sewer of unbelief.
I go on record as supporting the senior pastor of Elim Tabernacle and would go so far as to question this former deacon’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came to rescue us from the pit of Hell and set us upon the Rock. It is time to “earnestly content for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
And, before you jump down my throat, let me say that this kind of thing does not threaten me or my faith and this blog is not a knee jerk reaction of some doo-doo bird who has not looked long and hard (and in an academic way) at the facts backing up the basic beliefs of the faith I preach and proclaim daily on the streets and in the pulpits from which I teach and preach.
I am well informed and well read and have researched all the basic beliefs of the Christian faith for many years reading all sides of the argument. And, I have personally met (and physically seen and touched) the Risen Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Lord of lords and King of kings, and the soon coming Judge of the living and the dead. He is alive and is sovereign God in conrol of my life, this world and the entire universe that He alone created. I am not threatened by this type of supposed academic honesty and “pursuit of truth”.
I do simply wonder why the man did not keep his personal journey into unbelief private instead of apparently trying to correct or rescue the rest of us from what he thinks is intentional deception on the part of the Church.