Not everyone is a revolutionary at heart. Comfortable traditions suit the majority of people.

Our guess is that you are not typical of the majority; otherwise you would not still be reading and exploring. So, we’ll make the assumption that you have the open heart and mind that characterizes a revolutionary in the truest sense of the word. And, as such, you are on the verge of a discovery that will change everything.

Ponder this question for a moment: What do you know about the ultimate revolutionary, Jesus? What do you truly know about his character and nature? What do you know about His main misson and purpose?

Traditionally, the church has provided answers that few have questioned or explored. Most people have found those answers confusing, but few have seriously questioned or explored what they have been taught.

Have you ever wondered how God and Jesus could somehow be the same being? Does the idea that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are “co-equal and co-eternal” seem confusing?

And what about afterlife: does going to heaven at death to play a harp on a pink cloud truly appeal to you? Does the idea of deceased loved ones looking down from heaven at the trials and tragedies of their families and friends in this life seem like a perfect existence to you?

And what about the main purpose of Jesus: was it really all about His death, burial, and resurrection? What was He doing the other three and a half years of His adult work? How many people understand what He meant when He spoke of the kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God?

If you’ve ever read the Book of Acts in the New Testament of the Bible, have you wondered why the church seems to have “lost its steam” two thousand years later? Is it possible that erroneous teachings have affected individual lifestyles and the collective relationships of church members?

Many people find these questions threatening. Answers are best left to Bible scholars and theologians. But, there are rare individuals who yearn for solid answers, regardless of the implications for their traditionally-held beliefs.

You are still reading, so we believe you are one of those rare individuals.

Welcome to The Revolution.

The haunting final words, just seconds before a major airline crash, were: “Hey—what’s happening here?” Preoccupation with a burned-out light bulb had resulted in an entire flight crew being unaware that the autopilot had been bumped, causing an almost imperceptible slow glide downward to a perilously low altitude. The problem was discovered too late; at the moment they began a presumed descent from a higher altitude.

 

Christianity has followed a similar trajectory. The “flight”, shall we say, began with the authentic message of Jesus in the first century. From all we see in the Book of Acts, the fledgling movement took flight with authenticity and energy. But, near the end of the first century, the sole surviving apostle, John, sounded an alarm over the beginning of a flight path deviation: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (1 John 4.1-3)  Even more emphatic was the appeal of Jude to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 3

Initially in the form of gnosticism, deviations from the true nature of Jesus began to surface and infiltrate. The autopilot, so to speak, had been bumped, and the Christian movement traveled along another trajectory. This course would lead to the disaster of the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, and the Council decisions that would follow in the ensuing years.  It is a disaster from which Christianity has never recovered. Greek and Roman mythology have been almost inseparably bound to the original faith, resulting in a amalgam that bears little resemblance to that which existed at the start.

As with any disaster, the tragedy of Christianity is lamentable. If only course deviations hadn’t occurred! If only believers had more diligently guarded the faith and truth down through the ages! But, as the saying goes, it is what it is. Amidst the wreckage of the original faith, pieces can be gathered and reassembled. An accurate truth concerning the nature of Jesus can be re-formed. As it can for the oneness of Creator Father, Yahweh. And for the nature and destiny of man. And for the coming kingdom on earth. And an annihilating hell for the wicked.

The lot of truth revolutionists is to comb through the wreckage of contemporary Christianity, and reassemble the pieces of the original faith. In so doing, we will serve this generation well in helping it to get back on course; in every sense of the word.

Few things are as threatening as truth. Truth is inconvenient to those who exploit it for their own benefit and gain, and those with the most to gain will battle truth vehemently.

“As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” (Acts 4.1-2)

The Jewish religious leaders, during the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of the church age, enjoyed power, prestige and wealth. The powerful revolution launched by Jesus threatened their cozy status. Confident that this movement had been squelched with the death of Jesus, they became “greatly disturbed” when the teaching of resurrection was resurrected through the teaching and actions of His apostles. Worse, they were now proclaiming “in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.”

Perhaps the religious leaders have succeeded today where they failed during the first century. The movement today places little priority on resurrection, having largely replaced it with the Greek and Roman philosophical belief of the immortality of the soul. In essence, if death is no longer death, why the need for resurrection, or its teaching?

A full-on focus of “proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” will certainly get us in hot water today, as it did the apostles then. “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2.32) The nature of Jesus has long been controversial. The first revolutionary message proclaimed that God had raised Jesus from the dead, clearly identifying Jesus as a distinct person from Creator Father. If the immortal One cannot die, then a dead Jesus who needed to be raised from the dead could not be one and the same as the Father.

Beyond this controversial truth, “proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” presupposed that the dead are really dead, a teaching that is at odds with the typical statement of faith adhered to by most churches. If anything is taught about resurrection, it is that the disembodied spirits of the dead, now alive in heaven, will be returned to earth to be mated with a resurrection body. Rather than being the only hope from death, resurrection in this sense is an anti-climatic and ultimately unnecessary step.

Proclaiming the clear biblical teaching of the sleep of the dead and resurrection only in Christ will make us the subjects of ridicule and opposition as it did the apostle Paul (“Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, ‘We shall hear you again concerning this.’ ” – Acts 17.32) But, against the backdrop of church tradition steeped in the Greek philosophical belief of the immortality of the soul, this is the revolutionary call to all who will stand up and boldly proclaim truth.

May each of us be counted among those willing to stand for the revolution of truth.

What image does the church want to present of itself to its community? The question arises in light of a comment heard. Placing the phrase on the local church’s outdoor electronic marquee – “join the truth revolution here” – was presumed to be intriguing to passersby. At least one church member, however, thought otherwise; stating that the dictionary definition of “revolution” was, a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.” 

 Perhaps this definition of a revolution conjures images of radical Middle Eastern uprisings, but is this not essentially what the kingdom of God is destined to do? The image of a militant returning Christ is forcefully presented in Revelation nineteen, and especially in this verse: From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.” (Revelation 19.15) Uncomfortable as it may make us, followers of Christ are aligned with a revolutionary leader who is destined to forcibly overthrow the present world system at His return.

 A local church propagating a message of revolution and uprising doubtfully will have found a formula for growth. But, at its core, the message of the kingdom of God – so central and vital – is fundamentally radical and revolutionary. Perhaps the state of church stagnation, so prevalent today, can be largely attributed to distancing itself from the revolutionary nature of the kingdom message. The cautious confession of this casual cynic is that the revolutionary “wine” (Matthew 9.17) of the kingdom just may not fit in to today’s church “wineskins”. Another movement or direction may be necessary to accommodate the kingdom revolution. 

 Intentionally provoking the wrath of society and government is both reckless and irresponsible, but the historic record of persecution indicates that the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this age have often clashed – largely initiated by a threatened world system. Inevitably, the more closely aligned the people of God are with the revolutionary nature of the kingdom message, the greater the risk of persecution. 

 Is the current state of church stagnation and decline to be attributed to distance from the revolutionary nature of the kingdom message? It is a question worth consideration by those passionate for the cause of Christ and the kingdom.

Genealogy research is big business these days. A popular research website has grown drastically in recent years. It seems everyone wants to know if there are skeletons, or celebrities, in their lineage closets.

Wanting to know the past helps frame the present, and project toward the future. In many ways, we are who we are because of whom and where we came from. And that applies to personal identity as well as spiritual identity.

People of faith ought to carefully evaluate today’s practices in light of yesterday’s history. Is there solid basis for what we do and believe, or did corrupting influence infiltrate somewhere in the past?

Cancer, we are told, occurs in the body when certain cells get the “code” wrong and begin to replicate. This faulty programming, if left unchecked, continues to multiply; eventually with disastrous and deadly results.

It is language not too strong to use in stating that a certain “cancer code” has corrupted the original faith and truth. A careful comparison of creeds and beliefs today reveal a sharp contrast to the original message found in the Book of Acts. For example, is there even the slightest hint of today’s doctrine of the trinity in the first message delivered by the apostle Peter, in Acts 2.22-36? The immortality of the soul is almost universally embraced by churches and professing christians, but can even the slightest support for it be found by looking again at Peter’s original message? “Pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die” is the commonly-held hope of most most christians and churches. Again, is there even the least bit of evidence to be found in the original message? A different “code” has been introduced somewhere in the past two thousand years!

This much is worth strongly suggesting: every believer needs to do a careful “genealogy research” of his/her faith. Place the book of Acts beside a typical church statement of faith, and carefully compare and contrast. Does the statement of faith square with the original message? And, if not, why not? The inconsistencies are well worth investigating, because no one should want something as vital as their faith to rest on something unproven and inconsistent. If a straight line cannot be traced back to the origins, extreme skepticism is in order!

It’s been stated that there are two options before each of us: truth, or tradition. Granted, there can be a tradition of truth, but tradition can easily override truth. Sorting one from the other can be tricky business! Whatever we fail to challenge and question easily becomes tradition – whether a tenet of faith, or a particular personal or church practice.

Researching our faith and truth “roots” is one of the most vital ventures we can ever undertake. While its been said that “the unexamined life isn’t worth living”, it can equally be said that unexamined beliefs and practices aren’t worth adhering to. Using Acts 17.11 as your guide, may you take up the challenge to research your beliefs and spiritual practices.

 

The Essential Six

Posted: June 11, 2013 in The Truth Revolution Book

A wise sage once summarized his faith: God is One, and number one; Jesus is the Son of God, not God the Son, heaven will be on earth, and not the other way around; the dead are really dead; therefore, resurrection is the key; and, lifestyle is the issue. Basic as these may sound, they are the basis for a truth revolution. These revolutionary six are well supported biblically, yet strangely ignored and obscured throughout the ages. 

The older I get, the more I see the wisdom of a wise man’s faith summary. Seeing through the tradition of a trinitarian view of God and Jesus, the immortality of the soul, and the heaven escapism of Platonic Greek philosophy, these truths are truly liberating (John 8.32). No better foundation for life and living can be found than these essential six.

The challenge before you, dear reader, is to apply the “Acts 17.11 mentality” to these things – carefully check them out for biblical veracity. Is there biblical support for the oneness of God? For Jesus as the Son of God, not God the Son? For the importance of the kingdom of God message? The sleep of the dead? The day of resurrection? A holy lifestyle? I believe these essential six will stand up to the test of scripture, and will ignite a revolution among those who passionately embrace and proclaim them.

Are you willing to be a truth revolutionary? Are you willing to examine the evidence? Will you stand, empowered in Holy Spirit, amidst opposition to these truths? Will you join forces with like-minded believers who have verified these essential six? 

Revolutions are big news these days. Well-ensconsed Middle Eastern and African dictatorships are toppling like dominoes.Social unrest has ignited into full-fledged anarchy and revolt, reminding us of these words:

“Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed” (Psalm 2:1-2)

These contemporary revolutions – the latest in a continuum of human revolution – are really counter-revolutions. The kingdom of God is the ultimate revolution to take back what was lost through rebellion – contemporary revolutions included.

In Jesus’ foremost kingdom revolution message – the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) – He begins with a pronouncement of blessing upon brokenness. The Beatitudes promise kingdom wholeness for all human brokenness, ultimately to be experienced in fullness in the age to come, but partially in the present age. And this revolution of restoration – destined to overthrow the present-day counter-revolution of brokenness – has powerful implications and applications for us today. As His disciples, we are the present-day administrations of the restoration revolution. So much as we are used to bring the word of God and power of God to bear on human brokenness, the restoration revolution begins to break through the current human counter-revolution. This side of the new earth, the restoration revolution will not arrive in fullness. But, as agents of the King and the Kingdom, the restoration revolution will be demonstrated through powerful and compassionate deeds performed through our lives.

If the truth revolution is ultimately a restoration revolution, doesn’t it behoove us to fully participate in it today? Is this not what we are asking when we pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”? Do we not seek, through this prayer, to be agents of kingdom revolution in a broken world? Do we not make ourselves available to be used with gospel truth to transform lost lives into kingdom citizens?

The truth revolution is ultimately a restoration revolution. The restoring revolution comes to bear on our lives, bringing wholeness and healing as we submit to kingdom power and principles. And we then become administrations of restoration through the sharing of scripture, heartfelt prayer for human brokness, and loving touch.

Revolution Background

Posted: February 3, 2011 in The Truth Revolution Book

     History is largely a record of revolutions. The storming of the Bastille in France, the American War of Independence, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, to name just a few. Revolutions are about change; usually big change. Oppression and injustice stir unrest, and a movement is launched to bring about shifts in power and/or organizational structure. Like seismic upheavals, revolutions crumble the status quo, and usher in reform, either benevolent and malevolent. Little is left in its wake that resembles that which existed pre-revolution.

     The English word, “revolution”, comes from a Latin word meaning, “to turn around”. Revolutions surround us innocently in the form of moving clock hands, and turning wheels and mechanisms, which we measure in revolutions per minute. On a far grander scale, the universe we live in is also measured in revolutions. The moon revolves around the earth at the rate of approximately one revolution per thirty days, while the earth revolves around the sun every three hundred sixty-five days. The planets revolve around the sun at varying rates and distances, the solar system within the Milky Way galaxy, and the countless galaxies all are in orbit within the vast universe. We literally live in a universe of revolution.

     There have been revolutions of thought concerning revolutions. The earth was once considered the center of the universe, with everything revolving around it. Science has proven otherwise. And yet, there is an earthly revolution that the entire universe does revolve around. It is a revolution as far-reaching as the vast universe itself; all-encompassing in its scope. It is a revolution destined to completely restructure and reshape the very fabric of the universe that we now know; and along with it, every human life. This inescapable, all-encompassing revolution is worth knowing something about; indeed, it is worth knowing EVERYTHING about. Such a revolution of cosmic proportions demands the ultimate in knowledge and preparation, yet strangely it has been largely ignored and misunderstood.

     While this ultimate revolution has been announced and echoed often throughout history, it found fresh voice in a rugged survivalist named John, over two thousand years ago. With a ring of authority that generated an electrifying response, this wilderness man boldly declared, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”. (Matthew 3:2). As clarified through his own words, John appeared on the scene as the advance man for the true revolutionary who would similarly declare, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

     But, wait; how did we go from the ultimate revolution to words about kingdom of God and “gospel”? The dynamic element of revolution seems lost in these words, more the language of churches than revolutions. Until we truly grasp the pregnant meaning of this innocent-sounding phrase, kingdom of God, then we have lost the sense of revolution. If we relegate “kingdom” to the realm of medieval castles and modern monarchies, then we have robbed it of the electrifying revolutionary energy that it carried when spoken two thousand years ago. There was little doubt then that “kingdom” meant “revolution”.

     The Roman ruler, Herod, knew full well the implications of a kingdom. “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ’Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Matthew 2:1-3) The birth of a Jewish king meant but one thing to this egotistical Roman ruler: a power play was in the offing, and his job was on the line. Seeking to pre-empt a revolution before it ever started, Herod ordered genocide of all Jewish male babies two-years old and younger.

     The idea of revolution was ever-present during the activities and teachings of Jesus during His three and one-half years of public work. This was the expectation of the Jewish Messiah – that he would be the ultimate revolutionary, overthrowing all earthly governments and rule, and establishing a perfect world-wide government. And this socio-political expectation reached fever-pitch when Jesus ultimately chose that which He previously avoided: to enter the capital city of Jerusalem. Fully aware of expectations, as well as events about to unfold before Him, “Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.” (Luke 19:11) There was no doubt in the expectation of the crowds, or in the mind of Jesus, that Messiah implied political action.

     That which the Roman ruler, Herod, had feared over thirty years before became full-blown threat to another Roman ruler, Pontius Pilate. Face to face with the Jewish Messiah, the din of the fomenting crowds rising from below, Pilate directs a point-blank question: Are You the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33) The response of Jesus has puzzled students of the Bible for centuries, and left many with a mistaken notion about the real nature of his dominion: My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm …”You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:35, 37). A kingdom of truth; a revolution of truth. Yet, have we truly heard His voice – the voice of truth – when we remove the realm of His authority from political and worldly systems and relegate it to the realm of a kingdom of the heart? To do so is to ignore the many politically-charged statements that Jesus personally made, and that were made thousands of years about Him prior to His earthly appearance. Such statements demand careful further study.

     Picture yourself in the open door of a light prop airplane flying three miles high, about to make a jump. Conspicuously absent is a bulging pack on your back containing a life-saving parachute.  But then a parachute isn’t necessary; you’re headed down to the safety of a large, billowing cloud several hundred feet below.

     So, out you go through the open door, pummeled immediately by a blast of frigid air at the height and speed you are traveling. Free falling at nearly one hundred fifty miles per hour, the large cloud below is now only minutes away. Appearing to rise up to you rapidly as you descend, the soft deceleration it will bring to your rapid descent will be welcome relief.    

     The moment of contact is quickly approaching, but as you brace for the initial deceleration, you suddenly realize that the well-defined border of the giant cumulus is merely wispy vapor. Terror-stricken at the awful realization of truth, you now know – much too late – that your knowledge of clouds was fatally flawed.

     Absurd as this skydiving tale might sound, it well illustrates a far more perilous “leap of faith” great numbers of people are willing to take in the area of truth and tradition. Rather than carefully researching all they hear taught in the name of truth, they choose instead to jump in blind faith. Far too often, their truth assumption is as flawed as our skydiving example of faulty cloud facts.

     The adage, “look before you leap”, pertains well to both truth and skydiving. The perils of misinformation are all too obvious in our skydiving example, but perhaps less so in the realm of biblical truth. The example of a school classroom test takes precedent over our skydiving analogy, as the assumption is made that, come judgment day, God will somehow “grade of the curve”. Sincerity, no matter how misguided, must certainly factor in to God’s kingdom entrance requirements. But, our skydiving example serves us especially well in this area – no matter how sincere our skydiver is in his/her belief about the nature of clouds, the truth is destined to be tragically evident.

     Are you willing to risk the prospects of life in the age to come on assumptions that you have never tested or researched? Are you truly willing to gamble eternal life on the presumed truth others teach and proclaim? Sadly and tragically, a majority of people – as exhibited by their attitudes and actions – are clearly declaring, “Yes”, to these questions. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Jesus – Matthew 7:13-14).  

     A truth revolutionist assumes nothing about truth and questions everything. Like someone meticulously examining all the details of a legal contract before signing, truth revolutionaries operate on this basic assumption: deception lurks everywhere, and truth must be diligently ferreted out. Paul’s admonition to Timothy is the mantra of a truth revolutionary: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

     Are you a truth revolutionary?

“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42)

    The Israeli excavation site near Jerusalem was abuzz with speculation. Although it had thus far yielded few artifacts of interest, there was optimism that a monumental discovery was imminent. The recently-discovered parchments pointed to this site as the location of the ancient stone vault. Evidence indicated that within the vault was a solitary document that could solve one of history’s greatest mysteries. Centuries of dispute and controversy would be resolved, and long-held beliefs and creeds would either be validated or discredited. The schisms that had characterized Christianity for over 2,000 years would potentially end. The discovery of the Apostles’ Scroll would have far-reaching implications.

     The Apostles’ Scroll began as oral tradition. The remaining eleven of the original Twelve recounted the essential teachings they received firsthand from Jesus the Nazarene. The private instruction they received following his public teaching comprised the core fundamental beliefs that became the essential tenets of the Christian faith. As they recounted what they had been taught the priorities of his distinctive teachings became evident. A body of teaching that would serve the fledgling first-century movement began to take shape.

     The astounding growth of the freshly-birthed Church necessitated careful instruction of new converts in the essential teachings of Jesus. Orally relaying the Apostles’ teachings was inherently unreliable, with potential for misinterpretation as well as personal bias and commentary. Something more was needed – an accurate, reliable written instruction document. And thus came to be the Apostles’ Scroll – the irrefutable and comprehensive instruction manual of the teachings of Jesus as penned and recorded by his most reliable witnesses.

     The discovery of the Apostles’ Scroll makes for exciting drama, but finds little basis in concrete truth … or does it? Are the teachings of Jesus, as carefully taught to new converts by the original apostles, preserved in some form? Is there a “scroll” to be located that unravels centuries-old mysteries and resolves ancient conflicts and controversies? There is, and it is much closer than most people realize. It is as near as the New Testament writings of the Bible. But, discovering and extracting these fundamental teachings from the New Testament requires careful diligence. The task must be approached with an open mind; a willingness to let the body of teachings become self-evident, rather than squeezing teachings to fit predetermined suppositions. They will be discovered only through an objective fact-finding mission, and that is the doorway to The Truth Revolution – a rediscovery of the life-changing teachings of Jesus that has potential for dynamic impact and change such as the world has not seen since the first century.