The Constantinian Theorem

The Constantinian Theorem
Robert Wurtz II

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:11-12)

Sometimes when we read verses such as these, we view them through the lens of the type of Christianity we have come to know in our own personal experience. If this is true, we have no idea of what Peter is talking about. Peter was writing to people who had had a profound New Birth experience. Men like himself, Simon the Zealot, Paul the Apostle and Stephen. Peter, Simon and Paul were either killers or potential killers — turned compassionate men of God. Peter once tried to take off the High Priest’s servants head with a sword; Simon the Zealot was a murderous freedom fighter; and Paul the Apostle had sanctioned the death of countless men and women. However, when they were truly (and I mean absolutely truly) born again, the love of God was poured out into their heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) and they beat their swords into plowshares. Selah. 


There is something very violent in the heart of fallen man. Abel experienced it. In fact, within the first six chapters of Genesis the entire world had become filled with violence. God had to annihilate it. The hateful, murderous spirit of Satan entered the human race — and the earth has drank in an ocean of human blood ever since. Many measures have been taken by God to restrain this violent spirit in man. The time would fail to discuss all of them. In fact, even Sigmund Freud discovered this. He knew man was an aggressive and violent creature deep down inside. Man has also tried his hand at restraining these forces. The whole of our Western economy began as an attempt to “control the dangerous crowd.” Consumptionism served to forestall an eventual total breakdown of society. The world has been drifting towards Genesis 6 once again; threatening to melt-down into a merciless, mindless, violent expression of diabolic chaos.

The Only Hope


However, there has always been a hope. A hope that shames all other attempts to correct the consequences of the fall of man. That hope, is the New Birth. The Saints, having been born from above, made into the likeness of Jesus Christ, traverse this present evil world. It is The Church (emphasis on The) that heralds the message of Hope; that is, The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Fallen man can be transformed by the Holy Spirit into a new race of men — after the image of God. This is God’s will. He created us in His image and He is determined for us to have it. But the choice is ours.

The Church was born in this reality. Their world was filled with violence just like everyone else’s. In fact, the Jews were hoping to crush Rome and exalt Jesus as the Messiah that would rule from Jerusalem with a rod of iron. However, many who followed Him were confused and disillusioned when they found out He was not going to war with Rome after a carnal warfare. Their faith was sifted. They wavered. They denied Him. In fact, I submit that while they were following Him during His earthly ministry, nearly half the teachings He taught them went in one ear and out the other. He said so many things that were contrary to the aims of The Jewish Freedom Movement, that it is impossible that they could have rightly understood Him. They believed He was going to overthrow Rome by violence; and He taught a message of love, compassion and peace. The only way we could comprehend this is to imagine Osama Bin Ladin teaching his armies to put up their guns, stop killing and dismembering folks — and start loving them from a pure heart. Could you imagine the strange looks he would have received from his fanatical Jihadist followers? I’m sure Jesus got some similar ones.

Peter writes his first epistle in around 63 AD. This is seven years before the First Jewish Revolt. The storm was gathering. The Christians could hear the chatter. The Zealots were preaching a message of rebellion — the opposite of what Jesus preached. The Zealots radical arm known as the Sacarii were assassinating people. In fact, Rome was getting fed up. War was about to break out. The drums were beating (as it were). In the midst of this Peter states, Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:11-12) 

What is he talking about? He is referring to men who lived and died like Stephen in Acts 7. He refused to get in the flesh, even though they were mercilessly stoning him to death. Jesus Christ was set forth evidently among those who stoned him. Paul was one who observed this event. Having beheld such an awesome example of Jesus — he glorified God on the day of his visitation. This was how the Church was founded. This is what turned the world upside down. From Domition in the first century Rome to Diocletion in the late third century Rome, countless Christians loved not their lives unto the death. Their blood was spilled as if it were water. 


The Rise of Constantinianism


It is impossible to express how radically the visible church changed after Constantine came to power, ended the persecutions, and made Christianity the official religion of Rome. Therefore, Constantinianism has been defined as “the shift of ecclesial identity that occurred in the fourth century church when it became an imperial power, instead of a church identified with the martyrdom of Jesus and his followers. The result was to place the locus of the church’s action in the political and military realm rather than in the kingdom of God.” (Wiki) This marked the beginning of what we commonly call “Christendom” and witnessed the joining of church and state. From this time, Christian ethics no longer centered in Church worship or Jesus’ example and teachings. Dissenters and rivals became civil threats (Arians, Donatists, Copts, etc.) and missions were performed by conquest. 



A cursory read of history will show that the visible church failed miserably at representing Jesus Christ once book of Acts style evangelism ended. People were “born a Christian”; as opposed to “born again Christians.” When a person professes Christ and has not been born again, they still have their carnal mind and their sinful nature. I have said it before and I say it again now, this makes the person the most dangerous people on earth. They believe they are saved and are still in the carnal mind. What could be more dangerous? They profess Christ and are devoid of His Spirit, His compassion, love, peace, etc. They believe they are God’s people and that their beliefs are God-pleasing. I suggest this is how multitudes have fought in bloody battles under the banner of Christianity during the Middle Ages. This is also how Christian on Christian violence was perpetrated during the Reformation years. Could a person be full of the Holy Spirit as was Stephen and turn around and drown a fellow believer or behead them? I trow not.  


Violence = Christianity – New Birth (V=C-NB) 

 The basis of my “Constantinian Theorum” is that “violence increases proportionally to a deemphasis on New Birth.” Proving this theorem is not an exercise carried out on a chalk board or laboratory; but by examining a constant in history that where New Birth is not preached, violence became an accepted means of dealing with people who were considered a threat to the accepted definition of Christianity. In fact, it is shocking how many people today, after over 100 years of decisional regeneration (sinners prayer, sawdust trail, pledge card), name the name of Christ and are little different in disposition than was Peter before his change came. 

It’s almost like we are back in Matthew 5 and the Disciples are looking at Jesus all crazy as He says things like:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 

If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 

And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 

Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5)

Jesus was the express image of the person of God and these teachings in Matthew 5 and elsewhere are fundamental to understanding a true Christian’s disposition. Decisional regeneration will not yield a person that walks in the reality of those things written above. They are foolishness to them and they will seek to explain them away. Only a saint or an aspiring saint will agree with what Jesus has said here. Only New Birth can take us there. Otherwise, the world races as fast as the unlocked wheels of time will take her towards Armageddon. 

Overcoming This Post Modern World

Overcoming This Post Modern World
Introduction
By Robert Wurtz II

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3:1 KJV)
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5)

Notice our passage states clearly that the world does not ‘know’ the sons of God just like it did not know the Son of God. Why? Because the world is moving in a totally different paradigm than God. It cannot relate to Jesus Christ and if we are of Him it will not be able to relate to us. The ways of the sons of God are foolishness to this present evil world. They are totally incompatible. Keep this in mind as we progress in our thoughts.

The first revelation we have concerning God’s will for man is when He stated, “…let us make man in our image and in our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26b Latin Imago Dei) God’s will is that man would be like Him; not in His deity, but in His personality. From the beginning in Genesis to the end in Revelation, God never changes course in setting about to fulfill this desire. For it is said that in Him there is no shadow of turning. (James 1:17) He has determined to make man in His image and He will do it. Another way of stating these things is simply to say that God desires sons

This is the pattern He has always demonstrated as we read of in Job, one of the oldest books in the Bible, when the sons of God are mentioned. Though they are a higher form of creation, God asked Job in the 38th chapter where he was, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? These creations of God are the same sons that came to present themselves to God and Satan came along with them in Job 1:6 and 2:1. These sons are what we know as varying orders of the elect angels. Nonetheless, the sons of God (elect angels) are by choice after the very nature and character of God. They long to do God’s will. Such is their level of obedience to God and willingness to please Him that Jesus prayed that the will of God would be carried out on earth as it is in Heaven. That is a staggering thought. How is the will of God carried out in Heaven? Instantly; like a flash of lightening (Ezekiel 1:14). On the other hand, Satan and his angels rebelled against God and are by choice the antithesis of God. They obey God I suggest, but not willingly. Instead of doing the Father’s will willingly at the speed of lightening, He desired to set his throne above the stars of God and was as lightening falling from Heaven. (Luke 10:18) Satan’s is the spirit (diabolic pneuma) that now works in the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:1ff)** 

He that overcomes 

In Revelation 21:7 we have this promise; He that overcomethshall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. This is what God purposed before the world began; He wanted sons. Male and female are in view. In 2 Corinthians we read; Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:17, 18) This is true enough, but the ‘sons’ motif dominates the New Testament revelation. Perhaps this is because in eternity we will live in our glorified bodies as the angels and will neither marry or be given in marriage. Our reproductive faculties will be no more. So there is a sense in which, There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28); but we must still observe our place as male and female until our change comes. I am a male, but I am part of the Bride of Christ. That would seem to be a contradiction, but not from the view God is revealing. In like fashion females that are born again in Christ are also the sons of God. 

After His Kind  

God wanted to reproduce Himself after His own kind; again, not in deity, but in personality. Jesus expressed this reality when He confronted the religious leaders of His time; “Is it not written in your law, “I said, ‘You are gods” ’? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:34-36 NKJV) The priests in the Old Testament were representatives of God and were expected to be right representations of His person. This is why they are called ‘gods’; not that they were little idols or deities; but because they were called to reflect the personality of God. Jesus Christ the Son of God was an exact representation of His person as He is the Son of God. (Hebrews 1:3) He said in one place, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9) This is very important. God wanted Israel and her leaders to be a reflection of Himself. They failed miserably in fulfilling this destiny. We will need to examine some of the reasons for this later in this series. Jesus Christ, who was the express image of the person of God, asserts Himself in John 10:34-36 as being the exact representation of what God desires; sons. He wants sons that will love Him and obey Him under all circumstances and against all odds. He wants sons that could exist in the world, with Satan as its head, without loving it or the things that are in it; but rather will overcome it. He wants sons that love Him more than life itself. To be a disciple of Christ (the Son of God) is to set ones self on a course to be one of the sons of God that God desires. This is why Jesus gives a list of things that if they are true one cannot be His disciple (Luke 14:26-33, etc.).

The Son and sons.  

Indeed, Jesus Christ is the uniquely begotten Son of God (upper case ‘S’), and as the Son He overcame the world; but God desires many more sons that share His personality and character- that He might enjoy with them the fellowship of love. They will also overcome the world. He wanted fellowship with creatures with whom He could walk together in agreement. (Amos 3:3) Not automatons (preprogrammed robots), but free moral agents. This is a great mystery. We have additional insight in regards to God’s desire for sons in Hebrews 2:10; For it was fitting for Him, for whom [are] all things and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Notice the purpose of the creation and its subsequent redemption is in “bringing many sons to glory.” This is what God is doing. He wants sons and He will have them. 
The Master Potter
And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. (Genesis 2;7, 8 NKJV)
Our Hebrew word for formed is yatsar and it is translated some 17 times in the Old Testament as ‘potter’. God formed Adam (male) from the dust as would a potter form the clay into His image (1 Cor. 11:7). Needless to say it was a light thing for God to form dust; for He had given it no free choice. The inward part of man; His character and disposition would not be so easy. God sets before a person a proposition that essentially asks, “will you be my son?” This is effectively what Adam was intended to be. Since there can be no virtue without testing, the Serpent was allowed in to the Garden to try the faith of both Adam and Eve. As we know, Adam followed the direction of the Serpent (Satan) and rebelled against God after his wife was deceived. He became at that moment in time a child of the Devil (Satan) and the lusts of his father he and the whole human race would be bent towards doing. 

We have a partial description of Satan’s personality manifest in man in John 8:44; Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. This is why all human beings must be born again. (John 3:3) How can one overcome a world that they love and feel at home in it? The unregenerate walk together with the world in agreement. (Amos 3:3) The image of God was marred in the Garden and from that time man has fallen short of the glory of God. They have a carnal mind at enmity with God. God banished Adam from from the Garden and set up Cheribim with flaming swords signifying that the way back into God’s presence was blocked. It is useful to point out here that this picture is taken up later in the Wilderness Tabernacle where the Cherubim were embroidered into the Vail. Hebrews comments on this, Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. (Hebrews 9: 6-8) Without the inward dwelling presence of God it is impossible to walk out the nature of Christ or overcome the world. This is an essential truth. 

God still on task
Yet, God did not give up when Adam fell and he was thrust from the Garden. He eventually called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees to begin a process of making sons out of fallen man in a fallen world. He gave birth to Isaac and then Isaac gave birth to Jacob and then Jacob the 12 Tribes of Israel. These went down into Egypt for 400 years to be in bondage under Pharaoh. This was a figure of this present evil world (Egypt) with its evil head (Satan). Notice how God refers to Israel; And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.  (Exodus 4:22, 23) The process would be simple; if the children of Israel believed, obeyed, and loved God they would be His unique possession: His sons (‘son’) upon the face of the earth. Yet after hundreds of years of rebellion we hear the lamentation of the prophet; Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. (Hosea 1:9)  “The third child, a son, was named Lo-Ammi, which means not My people. In the ancient covenant formula God declared, “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people” (Lev. 26:12; cf. Ex. 6:7; Deut. 26:17-18). But now that relationship was to be severed. The last clause of Hosea 1:9 (I am not your God) is literally, “and I [am] not I AM (‏אֶהְיֶה‎) to you.” (BK Commentary) 

Although Israel had failed, these events set the stage for the coming of Jesus Christ who would set back in order God’s design for man to be made sons of God. He will open the possibility of regeneration through the born again experience (John 3:3). These will go on from glory to glory being fashioned into His likeness. We will need to believe and obey God. Disbelieve God and the whole process stops. As John reveals to us; For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5)


____________________________

** . H.A Meyer observes, ‘This is the spirit that mankind has. This spirit is the diabolic pneuma, that is, the spirit proceeding forth from the Devil, under whose power the world lies, and whose sphere of action it is (2 Cor. 4:4, Eph. 2:2, 6:11f)

Keeping a Good Spirit

Keeping a Good Spirit
Robert Wurtz II

I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 MKJV)

As we look around we see this present evil world growing darker by the day. Not that darkness has not always been here because it has. But over time the measures that God has put in place to slow the progress of evil have been circumvented and it seems we are on a fast track to Genesis 6. Jesus has told us plainly; In the world you shall have tribulation. When we think of this passage it is easy to think that He is referring to beatings, stonings, imprisonment, etc., but have you ever stopped to consider that any situation that has the potential of challenging our Christian witness is a tribulation. The Greek word simply means ‘pressure’ and comes from a root meaning ‘to crowd’. 

Challenges to Our Witness 


I have said in the past that no matter how deep the nails went into our Lord’s hands or how deep the tears from the lashings, there was never a point when the probing did not find love. When He was challenged with the silly hypocrisies of men, He responded in a measured way. Even under the most intense challenges, you could still find an undercurrent of love. This is what Jesus meant in part when He said, “I have overcome the world.” Our word here for overcome is the perfect active indicative of nikaō, meaning to be victorious, to conquer. It is always used of spiritual victory in the New Testament. This is what God’s Son does and it is what His ‘sons’ do as well. This is what we are told in 1 John 5:4, For everything that has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. We are not overcome of evil, but we overcome evil with good. e are not brawlers, but gentle. We do not render evil for evil or railing for railing, but contrarywise blessing. In other words, we keep a good spirit in all things.

Keep Smiling
I must say that we all go through difficult and trying circumstances, but we must maintain our love in those times. Paul was thrown into prison but yet could write to the people to rejoice! How? He always burned for God and never allowed circumstances to put down that flame. People are watching us. They want to see our reaction in circumstances. If we act like any other person that has not the Spirit, what does it profit? What is our witness. When things go wrong or we don’t get our way, how do we respond. What does our disposition, tone of voice and facial expression reveal? People won’t always remember why we got upset and acted ugly, but they we generally remember the ugly part. We must always remember this. The enemy wants to prod us into these type of memorable events. We have to be careful.
 Peace in Christ

I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 MKJV)

Our Lord wants us to have His peace. He wants us and has called and equipped us to overcome the world, just as He overcame. This is a daily thing. If we wait around for some great tribulation to come we risk missing the daily victories that God has designed for us. How will we ever stand before a Nero or a Pilate if we can’t keep the victory in the workplace or on the internet? What about when we are driving the highways and roads? Do we somehow feel an exemption then? There is never a time for ‘ugly’. The election is coming up as well. How will we act? Can we take a stand for righteousness in the person of Christ or will we make excuses for our so-called righteous indignations? The wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. (James 1) We have to keep a good spirit. It is our witness and the light we shed on this ever increasingly evil world that makes the difference.  

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