The deaths of God at the hands of sinners.

The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable”


Romans 11:29



Not so long ago a man wrote a book with the title “Honest to God”. The erstwhile Bishop John A T Robinson wrote a book in which he threw out ‘The God out there’ and made God the ground of being in man alone. The only God there is, he maintained, is the god within. There was great uproar among many bible believing Christians at the very idea of a God being capable of dying, since God was previously seen the only source of life there ever was. So whereas the Christian life is a gift of God to mankind according to the Bible, the Bishop saw the life within man apart from that gift as being the only true God. The idea of “a death of God “ became the core of the liberal theology prevalent to this day. A loud and prominent movement arose in the United States and in the UK and basically stated what the Encyclopedia Britannica states: Though thinkers of many varied viewpoints have been grouped in this school, basic to practically all of them is the idea that belief in a God (out there’) is impossible or meaningless in the modern world and that fulfilment is to be found in secular life.God, so it is claimed, is equally present in all of mankind. As man is apart from the new birth!


The origin of the actual phrase came from a German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, who termed the phrase “Gott ist tot” back over one hundred and forty years ago. What he meant was not that a really existing God had actually died, but that all the ideas about God which had ruled mankind in the past were no longer relevant to modern man. By every definition possible Nietzsche was an atheist. But he saw something very important that would happen if you did remove God from society, and from the consciousness of the people: The death of God didn’t strike Nietzsche as an entirely good thing. Without a God, the basic belief system of Western Europe was in jeopardy, as he put it in Twilight of the Idols: “When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one's feet. This morality is by no means self-evident… Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole.”
("God Is Dead": What Nietzsche Really Meant - Big Think )

Nietzsche saw that removing God from the scheme by which we understand our world would ultimately lead to what is called nihilism. The destruction of all values and the need to reconstruct the entire human society. He foresaw the development of the next 200 years and his dystopic view of human society is our reality in the entire western world today. Let go of God and you need to say goodbye to man as made in the image of God. Far from arriving at a superior human being, his concept of the Uebermensch, (the antithesis to God in the world, thus an Anti Christ,) we have arrived at the opposite end of mankind, a kind that lives below every standard of the standards imposed on mankind by the Creator, and made possible by law and grace. Mankind without God is no longer true mankind. That is the understanding of the entire bible. It is encapsulated in the succinct words of Jesus Christ: “Without me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5 And echoed by Paul the apostle: “In me, in my flesh, there is not a single good thing.” Romans 7:17-18.

The ‘death of God theology’ flatly denies the need for being born again, for receiving the life of Christ and for surrendering the self to the Maker of individuality and personality. The self centred man must die according to the Bible, it can not represent God in it’s fallen condition. The evidence for regeneration is the divine element that is only available through the death to the self. The life of faith is by definition miraculous and cannot be achieved by the natural man. Becoming a Child of God is not an achievement of the ‘flesh’. It is available by a transaction involving the death to myself in order to receive the life of Christ. It is the refusal to die to this self that leads theologians to invent the death of God.

Unless we understand the utter impossibility of the natural man to have any concept of spiritual reality then nothing in the NT makes any sense at all. The new life within responds to the words that are Spirit and Truth. The mere natural man does not have the ability to do so. All attempts and all striving to elevate the natural to the spiritual stumbles and falls at the clear and unequivocal command: “you must be born again”.
Nothing holy can be understood by the unholy. Nothing divine is understood by those who only seek gratification in the things offered in the world.
Without faith in the God who is, there is no pleasing of God at all. However glorious a human career is as seen by the world,
it is glorious only on the terms of a world in enmity to God. God is more than justly suspicious of human endeavour.  “But the Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind had become great on the earth. Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made humankind on the earth, and he was highly offended.Genesis 6:5-6.

But how do you connect “the God is dead” idea to the quotation from Romans 11?
What did it say? “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable”. If the God who gives gifts and makes choices in time is so unreliable so as to have the ability to die, in any sense of the word, then He is plainly not God by any definition, and most certainly not the God of the Bible. And then all his gifts and callings are equally uncertain and cannot be relied on. Far from reflecting His eternal being, his gifts and callings are then as fickle and unreliable as He is himself. Does God evolve?
Is God different in one aeon of time from how He is in another aeon?

What does the scripture say about this chameleon God?


Numbers 23:19
“God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a human being, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not make it happen?”


Psalm 33:11
The Lord’s decisions stand forever;
his plans abide throughout the ages.


Psalm 119:89-91
“O Lord, your instructions endure;
they stand secure in heaven.
You demonstrate your faithfulness to all generations.
You established the earth and it stood firm.
Today they stand firm by your decrees,
for all things are your servants.”

Ecclesiastes 3:14
“I also know that whatever God
does will endure forever;
nothing can be added to it,
and nothing can be taken from it.
God has made it this way,
so that men will fear Him.”



Hebrews 6:17-18

“ In the same way God wanted to demonstrate more clearly to the heirs of the promise that his purpose was unchangeable, and so he intervened with an oath, so that we who have found refuge in him may find strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us through two unchangeable things, since it is impossible for God to lie.

James 1:17
“All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.”


1 Timothy 1:17
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the Only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever..”

1 Timothy 6:14-16
“..obey this command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose appearing the blessed Sovereign, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will reveal at the right time. He alone possesses immortality and lives in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or is able to see. To him be honour and eternal power! Amen.”

Against this backdrop then, let me ask a question based on the phrase from Romans 11:29. Is it likely that the living God will equip His son, and the Son His own body, the Church, with gifts that suddenly, but totally without for
ewarning and supported by not one single word of Scripture, would disappear for ever?

Because you see, here is another, but very well disguised death of God. A death defended by some evangelical theologies to the utmost. If God can be separated from His gifts, all or just some, then obviously there must be a horrendous silence, the silence of a muted and dead God, in the Churches.
The secularized and demythologizing liberal theologians did not mince about the issue. They proclaimed boldly that “God is dead”. Whatever we mean by using the word “God” now, must be redefined along the lines of natural man’s refusal to let God be the God of the Bible. And those churches are dying as a result, or they are filled with those to whom a dead God eases their conscience as it also means that nobody will be called to account by this “God”.

But what shall we say of those who whilst maintaining the principle of “Scripture alone”, have gagged God from saying anything but what the carefully selected scriptures are still allowed to say, that seem to support this deafening silence? Not that there is a single one. On the contrary, you have just read about a totally immutable God, a God who does not revoke His gifts and callings. Not if reasonable exegesis is applied. In order for a church to say that this or that ‘gift’ of God is no longer available to the church in our age,
they would need the gift of spiritual discernment to identify which gift is no more! So without the gift of discernment and the gift of identifying what spirit is active in what ever gift is exercised, there cannot be any rejection of any gift. But logic tells you that if you need a spiritual gift to deny the existence of a specific spiritual Gift, then you no longer submit to God, but you have now become His taskmaster and His Instructor.

Romans 11:29-35
“For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you were formerly disobedient to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how unfathomable his ways!

For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counsellor?
Or who has first given to God,
that God needs to repay him?

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.”

As the father has sent me, so send I you.” Jesus Christ is the giver of the gifts to the Church, gifts called Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers and Shepherds. Those are servants of Christ sent to serve the Church and give the Church structure and impetus as long as the Church shall stand in the World. But the gifts of the Spirit are for the membership of the church since they are the workforce of the Church in the world. As long as there are unresearched nations, unsaved people, hidden sins and satanic bole-works raised up against Christ, the Church needs the equipment of the eternal Spirit. If the gifts are silenced then all that is left is a Church that makes no noise which would disturb one sinner from their sleep.

After his resurrection Jesus equipped the Church with the Spirit. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.”And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit which they received, has never had his brief changed: to equip the saints for their work. But this same Spirit is quenched, grieved and extinguished and even blasphemed by churches who prefer the long-winded preaching of human beings and mistake it for being all that is left to them, and therefore never notice the silence of God. A silent God is not much different than a dead God. With hearing ears they hear not. Anything God says falls on deaf ears. It is not the lack of ears that is the problem, it is the refusal to obey the meaning of the words. Neither is there an absence of words extracted and purloined from the Bible, but the presence of effective filters screening out what God has said in those scriptures which upsets the natural man.

Everything of the Holy Spirit upsets the carnal believer. He or she is unable to discern Spirit from Flesh, because of a theology that allows them to deny the very gifts that are needed to do so.

One way or the other, God is dead, and the Churches’ lack of vibrant life confirm it.

Let me finish this consideration by reflecting on what would be left if the Charismata, the Gifts of Grace as such were removed from the Church.
1. God is not consistent and his promises are not “Yea and Amen” at all, they are subservient to the church and the understandings of unregenerate men and women, who by denying the Gifts of God also deny their own ability to discern spiritual from merely natural.

2. The scriptures are only understood on a social, intellectual and linguistic level. They may be stored in the minds of men but have no means of effecting the needed change, the new Birth in men.


3. Everything an assembly of such people decides to do is purely the result of accumulated ignorance of the things of the Spirit. No amount of natural knowledge ever arrives at Spiritual truth. Spirit and Flesh, I e the life of God and the ordinary life of unregenerate man are never in agreement on anything. There is enmity between them. To understand the Messiah demands revelation from God the Father Himself. The mere reading of the scriptures may convince the brain, but only direct revelation convicts the heart of man. The work of the Spirit cannot be exchanged for any other work.

4. Nothing that happens in the assembly is only explicable in terms of a God consistent with His self revelation in the Scriptures. The content of scriptures is bent to fit into the activities of mere man but clothed in religious jargon.


5. It has a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. You could be a member of the church all your life and never suspect that God exists apart from the words spoken about God. The major evidence for the “virtual death of God” is the palpable and tangible absence of the presence of His Glory in the midst of the assembly.


6.The ultimate fulcrum on which the issue hangs is this: “When the Holy Spirit has come over you, you will receive power to be my witnesses.” If God is dead then no such power will be in evidence. If the world in which the church exists has not the slightest notion of the Church as a true and powerful witness, I e executively pushing back the darkness in the world, then the claim to be alive in Christ is not creditable. And unless it is the Life of Christ in the Church that keeps it at work, then it is naked, blind and dead cold.

If God could die, what would be left is what is here now, a form of religion saying the right things but doing nothing that is sufficiently “other” to show God at all. And yet it calls itself “this or that church”. The evidence of the death of God is readily found in the dismemberment of the body of Christ on doctrinal and denominational lines. Thereby denying the highest and definitive reality of the presence of God: “That you love one another, the way the Father has loved me.”

You can only dissect a dead body.


*******


Teddy Donobauer Doncaster 28.6.21

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