|A Christian Guide to Peter, James, & Jude||by R. David Pogge|
The Christian Guide series of books can be read in any order, but the suggested order is:
Acts was written by Luke as a continuation of the letter Luke wrote to Theophilus, so Luke should be read before Acts. The Gospel of Luke tells you what Jesus did during His ministry on Earth. The Book of Acts tells you what the apostles did after His resurrection. Acts tells about the churches Paul established on his missionary journeys, so it makes sense to follow that up by reading what Paul wrote to those churches. His letters to those specific churches are similar to what Peter, James, Jude, and John wrote in their letters to all believers in general. John’s Gospel fills in some gaps in Luke’s Gospel. Revelation tells what was revealed to John concerning the historical events that would take place after John’s death, many of which have already happened, and some of the rest (perhaps all of the rest) are likely to occur in our lifetimes.
This book covers every verse in 1 Peter, 2 Peter, James, and Jude, organized by subject. Some passages are quoted multiple times because they address multiple subjects. The Verse Index near the end of the book allows you to find commentary on specific verses.
You might not have ever heard many of the verses addressed in this volume. Many of the verses in the letters of Peter, James, and Jude are rarely quoted in modern Protestant churches because they contradict the smooth sayings that itching ears want to hear. Many Protestant churches have strayed from the Gospel of Christ and preach Cotton Candy Christianity instead—just like John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude predicted they would.
Many Christians honestly believe they are worshipping Jesus of Nazareth; but they have been deceived and are actually worshipping antichrists. They worship protective Plastic Jesus, sweet Chocolate Jesus, non-judgmental Woke Jesus, generous Santa Jesus, or fun-loving Joyful Jesus. All the modern antichrists are loosely based on one or more of Jesus’ attributes. Jesus of Nazareth will protect you—but He isn’t just a plastic good luck charm on the dashboard of your car. Jesus of Nazareth can give you comfort and satisfaction—but it is a different kind of satisfaction than the sugar-high that Chocolate Jesus gives. Jesus of Nazareth is inclusive, offering salvation to Gentiles as well as Jews—but He isn’t the Woke Jesus who ordains lesbians to positions of leadership. Jesus of Nazareth does bless His followers in this life and the next—but he isn’t the Santa Jesus who showers gifts on anyone who donates to a prosperity preacher. Singing joyful praises to God is a part of worship—but it is only a part.
I’m not the only one who has recognized this.
In their theological beliefs Protestants vary widely, but may be arranged into four broad groups, i.e., orthodox, liberal, fundamentalist and Pentecostal with distinctions sometimes being fuzzy. Under this grouping the orthodox are represented by “main line” churches that, in general, have found an accommodation between science and Christianity, although some elements of these churches may more properly belong in the latter groups. The most liberal of the liberal groups emphasize morality and social programs over Biblical instructions and some of the members of ultra-liberal groups say they might well address their prayers “To whom it may concern.” Fundamentalists believe in a strict literal interpretation of the scriptures and do not accept the findings of science that are in conflict with their interpretations, e.g., the Genesis account of creation. Pentecostals share many beliefs with the Fundamentalists, but also believe that some of their adherents have the gift of “speaking in tongues” as described in Biblical passages. [Frederich H. Weals, Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert, A History of the Churches of Indian Wells Valley and Vicinity, page 7.]
What bothers me most about this characterization of Protestants is the statement that “the orthodox are represented by ‘main line’ churches, that in general, have found an accommodation between science and Christianity.” Weals believes (and he is probably correct) that to be a main line (that is, normal) Christian, you have to place science above scripture, e.g. you must believe in evolution rather than the Genesis account of creation. As the author of more than 700 articles over the past 25 years,1 I believe I have shown that the theory of evolution is not scientific, and is incorrect. To be considered a main line Protestant church, you must accept a false worldly explanation for the origin and diversity of life rather than the clear word of scripture. That’s tragic.
I’m also concerned that, “The most liberal of the liberal groups emphasize morality and social programs over Biblical instructions.” There’s nothing wrong with morality or social programs. In fact, churches should be encouraging morality (which they often don’t) and carrying out social programs (which many churches fail to do). That’s not the problem. The problem is that they don’t teach biblical instructions, so they are no different from secular service clubs. They have become secular humanists who do good deeds (which they should do) but neglect to preach the Good News.
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.” 2 [Luke 11:42]
Churches should not choose between social programs and biblical instruction. Churches should do both. Sadly, many churches are nothing more than social clubs, where "good people" meet with their friends.
Peter, James, and Jude predicted that God’s people would stray from biblical doctrines. That’s why they wrote these letters of warning and encouragement.
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