Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What Are Your Views on Baptism?

Dr. Couch, what are your views on Baptism, its mode, formula, and relation to soteriology?

Answer: In your email you asked a bunch of questions about baptism, about issues on the subject. I am doing a very special series for the Gathering Storm monthly CD subscription list. I plan to do an in-depth theological treatment on the issues of mode, formula, etc. Only those who are members will be able to get it.

Thanks for asking, and I hope you are receiving the monthly Gathering Storm.
Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How Long Before Everything Collapses?

Dr. Couch, I've heard you say we're moving into the apostasy. How long do we have before everything collapses?

Answer: I am not a date-setter and really do not know God's timetables, but it is clear, even to the world, that things are becoming extremely tenuous everywhere on this sinful globe.

There is no doubt the West is being judged, including the United States. The Gentile nations have had their chance to turn from their evil ways and accept Christ as the only Savior, but that opportunity is quickly passing and there is coming a "close down" of acceptance of the gospel. Here are some statistics that one cannot hide or deny:

Things are getting so bad in England that half of the men say they would rather live abroad than in that country. Because they repudiated their Anglo-Saxon roots and their Christianity, Britain is now on the brink of judgment from the Muslim invasion. A poll shows that the greatest concerns (coming too late) are: immigration, high Muslim birthrates, and conversions to Islam. Seventeen percent of London is Muslim (1.3 million) out of 7.5 million people. Luton has 14.6 percent with 14.3 percent in Birmingham.

Cal Thomas notes that multiculturalism, globalism, and an emphasis on "interfaith" are destroying England. Interfaith-ism means truth does not exist! These things "contribute to the decline of the West just as paganism, hedonism and greed undermined past empires. Rather than learn from their mistakes, the West thinks it can engage in such practices without consequences."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has expressed concern about the loss of "Britishness" and the failure to learn English and embrace the national heritage. Islam will remake Britain in its own image.

Orthodox Jewish Rabbis also get the picture. Many Rabbis who see the way the world is going, and who still cling to the truths of the Old Testament give warnings to the West and to the failing Christianity of the West. After observing the wild charismatics in the U.S., writing in the Jerusalem Post Rabbi Shmuley Boteach says in an article entitled "God is not about us":

Ours ought never to be a religion of superstition catering to human frailty and weakness. Religion dare never take advantage of people's vulnerabilities and fears. Rather our purpose is to inspire people to righteous action. … The essential symbol of Judaism is Abraham being prepared to sacrifice his son to God, thereby establishing God at the epicenter of human endeavor to which all action must be directed. Man must be prepared to give up his life for God, not the reverse.

Selfism will not rescue the West nor will "religious" expressions without the Bible at the center. The Times of the Gentiles are over, or are about over!

Things in the U.S. are also getting worse with the Muslim invasion and the invasion of the "Illegal Foreigners" (not "Illegal Immigrants. They are law breakers and they are not immigrating!). It has been reported in one nearby large school system by one teacher that she has probably seventy-five percent illegals. They get free meals. And the children (for whom I have sympathy) born here get automatic citizenship which includes of course the right for their illegal parents to stay. These law-breaking parents will not come to the Parent/Teacher meetings so they are enticed with free suppers. You got it, they bring all the cousins, aunts and uncles to the FREE dinner that you and I pay for!

The kids often determine not to pass, say, a given course. Then they can go to summer school where they get FREE two meals a day and receive an automatic pass just for showing up! We are a sick society for allowing this unrighteousness and injustice to continue! It is the fault of the citizens who closed the eyes to the invasion of twelve million or more law-breakers!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, January 25, 2008

What is the Roman Catholic Doctrine of Limbo About?

Dr. Couch, what is the Roman Catholic doctrine of limbo about and is there any biblical support? Secondly, what is the Catholic doctrine of praying for the dead?

Answer: Before answering it must be remembered that Catholic doctrine coming out of Rome has not changed. What they teach on this and other offensive subjects remain in their doctrinal books. However, the average little American Catholic may have other views. He has become more "protestant-ized" and rejects some of the outlandish teachings of the Church. I have over twenty volumes by Catholic theologians on doctrine. So I know for certain what they are teaching! Interestingly however, some of their theologians in the U.S. are trying to distance themselves from the belief in limbo.

Catholic Church theologian Ott writes: "Souls who depart this life in the state of original sin are excluded from the Beatific Vision of God," i.e. from His very presence in heaven. Children (infants) then who are not given a Catholic baptism are consigned in a "holding" place away from the Lord's presence. Ott further writes: "Theologians usually assume that there is a special place or state for children dying without baptisms which they call limbus puerorum (children's Limbo)."

One Catholic theological writer is trying to clean up this obnoxious doctrine. Dietzen writes: "Limbo was an older doctrine which the church is trying to correct today." He adds that some teachers have reversed their view about Limbo. "A Limbo of natural happiness for infants is, therefore, something Catholics may believe. It is not a necessary part of our faith." Can you believe it! Catholics have an option as to whether they want to believe it or not!

In another cop out statement, the Catholic Handbook says:

In contemporary [Catholic] theology the doctrine of limbo is controversial. Some theologians regard it as binding because it appears in ecclesial tradition, especially in various catechisms. Most theologians of our time, however, reject the idea of limbo because, on the one hand, it is difficult to reconcile with the universal salvific will of God.

And no, there is no biblical evidence for the doctrine!

And no, there is no biblical evidence for prayer for the dead! The Catholic view is that by offering prayers one can pray the soul of a loved one out of purgatory. Catholics believe that faith in Christ STARTS their justification. And if they are not completely justified by the time of death (which none are) they must offer prayers accompanied by financial remunerations that will slowly work a loved one out of the pit of suffering for their sins. To arrive at this they misapply Paul's statement about works in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, concerning works being burned up.

The older Catholic view was that purgatory was painful. In the book The Catholic Essential it is said, "Since the purgation by fire is painful, just as it is often painful when God breaks us from patterns of sin in this life, Christians must and can pray for the dead." Ott adds, "The saints in heaven also can come to the help of the souls in purgatory by their intercession." Too, "The souls in purgatory can intercede for other members of the mystical body" by their prayers.

It almost sounds as if the Catholic theologians MAKE IT UP AS THEY GO ALONG!

To the rescue comes the Catholic Scapular! The scapular is a piece of cloth hung around the shoulder that automatically helps a Catholic bypass purgatory and go straight into heaven! Mary was said to give a large scapular to Saint Simon Stock, an English Carmelite monk. It was said,

She promised that whoever died in it would not suffer everlasting punishment and would quickly be released from purgatory. This is known as the Sabbatine Privilege. The scapular can be worn by anyone, and it has become one of the most widely practiced Marian devotions.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Click here to view all

What is Going on in Matthew 16:17-20

Dr. Couch, what is going on in Matthew 16:17-20 concerning the kingdom of heaven and the church?

Answer: This is one of the most important sections of Scripture that actually tells us the church is not the kingdom, though it can be an usual passage to try to understand at first glance. Unfortunately, many of the amillennial guys, and allegorists, do not grasp the meaning of the passage. Too, the Catholics use this to claim the supremacy of Peter and, as the head of the church, he holds the keys to the kingdom, i.e. the church. This is not what the passage is teaching!

I have one of the most exhaustive studies on this passage ever written. Many scholars say it is the best explanation ever researched out. What I wrote is published in two books. It is too complicated for answering in a Question Column such as this but you can read my complete discourse in Chapter 16 of my book Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel). I draw from the grammar of the passage, Catholic interpretation, and church history to show what is really going on in these verses.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Why Do Progressive Dispensationalists Want To Remove Heaven From The Idea of Glory?

Dr. Couch, I have heard from Progressive Dispensationalists (PDs) that "glory" (doxa) is not heaven but simply describing glory that belongs to God and/or Christ. For some reason they want to remove heaven from the idea of glory. How do you answer?

Answer: I answer biblically which they do not, on this and other issues! Glory certainly can refer to that which is attributed to God and Christ ("the glory of God," "the glory of Christ") but the word is used to describe many things that are "glorious" in the Scriptures, including heaven. I have been through this discussion before with PDs and found them very unbiblical and stubborn on this issue. They are pushing some kind of agenda and are not being textual.

Here are a few verses that clearly would be saying glory is a place—heaven. "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). "You shall appear with Him in glory" (3:4). "Called you into His kingdom and glory" (1 Thess. 2:12). Christ was in the "world, received up INTO glory!" (3:16). "Bringing many sons unto glory" (Heb. 2:10). The unto in Greek is actually into (eis). And finally, Peter writes, "God has called us unto (into, eis) His eternal glory" (1 Pet. 5:10).

The argument is over! Be careful who you listen to!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Could You Repeat How A US President Wept Over The Founding of Israel?

Dr. Couch, I heard you speak the other day about a U.S. President who wept over the founding of Israel and the Jewish people. Could you repeat that?

Answer: In 1947 thousands of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust of World War II were struggling back to the Holy Land making way for the creation of the state of Israel. The issue was urgent because of the opposition of the Arabs and the British who were the 'keepers' of the Holy Land by an international mandate.

The future President of the state of Israel, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, came to the White House and pleaded with President Harry Truman to help the Jews establish the new state. Dr. Weizmann was a Jewish chemist who previously taught at the University of Manchester in England. He had greatly aided Britain in developing better explosive ammunitions during World War I. When the state of Israel was formed in June 1948, Weizmann became that country's first President.

In speaking to President Truman, Weizmann said dramatically: "God put you into your mother's womb so that you could be the instrument to bring about the rebirth of Israel after two thousand years [of exile]."

A former Sunday school teacher, and a deeply emotional man (who had read the Bible through at least twice in his life), Truman could see all that he knew of Scripture coming together in what was happening with Israel in their return to their ancient homeland. He realized instantly that prophecy was being fulfilled!

With his biblical imagination running, Truman suddenly burst into uncontrollable tears! One might say at that very moment he became a believing dispensational/premillennialist! Only an amillennial "fool" could miss the fact of what God was doing at that dramatic moment in history!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, January 14, 2008

What Is Happening with Russia and Iran?

Dr. Couch, what is happening with Russia and Iran?

Answer: Several weeks ago, the media, our government, and almost all Evangelical Christians missed it! Russia's Vladimir Putin made a friendship pact with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that would draw the two countries closer together. Russia promised to help Iran with its nuclear program and to help find a solution to the problems of Afghanistan and Palestine.

Only premillennialists and dispensationalists understand the biblical and prophetic implications of this. We are the only ones reading the prophecies of the OT literally and seeing the fact that this all fits perfectly with the predicted invasion of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39. Interestingly, all scholars, even liberals, know that this prophecy has never been fulfilled in the past. It waits to come about!

By the way, this is the first such pact ever made with the two countries. Anyone thinking clearly can see that this makes Russia a buffer between Iran and America. We can now do nothing punitive with Iran with Russia in the middle. Putin was never a friend of America. I remember when he came to the President's ranch at Crawford, TX and received a cowboy hat. I said then, "Putin is uncomfortable. He does not want to be Bush's big buddy!"

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch