Definition and Purpose
[Lamb’s Harbinger is not associated with, nor in agreement with Jonathan Cahn’s Harbinger]
An harbinger is one who seeks proper lodging for royalty when the crown travels. Of course, that means the harbinger goes ahead of the royal figure in order to prepare the way, so that when the King arrives, all is ready. Consequently, the harbinger is also responsible for everyone’s knowing royalty will soon grace the city or town. “Lamb’s Harbinger,” indicates Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, as the Royal Person who wishes to reside in every heart.
Lambs Harbinger exists to confess the sins of Christianity to the masses in a way that describes how things might have been better said or done. Many people either have been hurt or put off by Christian “religion,” by people who call themselves Christian, or by things done in the name of Church or Christ or God. Furthermore, the Bible, which is apparently meant to be a revelation of God to mankind, often has been misinterpreted, misunderstood or misrepresented, to the abuse and dismay of many. Traditions are commonly placed (knowingly or unknowingly) on the Bible like a bad wood veneer on solid gold. Only when apology is made for such atrocities and lies, can the Light and the Truth begin His freeing work. Only then is the heart opened to receive the Lord Jesus.
Lamb’s Harbinger is, at the same time, an exercise in preparing room in the reader’s beliefs for Jesus Christ by presenting accurate descriptions of reality. That is, Lamb’s Harbinger is about thinking from a biblically-informed worldview (seeing from God’s perspective). Its end is not Christianity; its end is the Lamb. It is not about denominationalism, movements, trendy theology, or popular leaders; though posts may coincidentally expose their blindness, weaknesses or oversights. It is not about pet doctrines. Rather, it is about being honest with already-relevant Scriptures, about normally interpreting the Bible’s books and passages in their varying genres, as one would interpret any other piece of literature–according to kind, in all of its context, with an eye to historic setting and original audience, and with special attention to the grammar… all in an effort to discover the Author’s intent–in this case, to know what God has had written about this or that. When one thinks with a biblically-informed worldview, then one will ultimately find out Jesus is the focal point of all existence, past, present, and future. The rest is detail.
Chances are, despite my sincerity, I will get some things wrong at one point or another. But, I am still learning, and my desire is to be biblically accurate above all else. All I desire for the reader is to know and love Christ as He can and should be known and loved. In that effort, I beg the critic’s indulgence.
Testimony, Doctrine and Affiliation
Sam Kean obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Bible (2005) and a Master of Biblical Studies (2008) from the independent, fundamental Baptist College of Ministry and Theological Seminary, which he now rejects as cultish, under Wayne Van Gelderen, Jr. and family. Since this departure (2010), Kean seeks to “relearn the Bible,” particularly finding agreement with the works of Michael S. Heiser, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Gustaf Aulén, Mako Nagasawa, Greg Boyd, L.S. Chafer, Marcus Warner, Jim Wilder, Nancy Pearcey, Francis Schaeffer, Charles Ryrie, George E. Ladd, Dallas Willard, Norman Geisler, and Ray Stedman. [see LinkedIn profile for Sam Kean’s professional history; here for his interview with TBN and here for his interview with Almost Heretical]
Thus, Sam Kean is a survivor and critic of an Independent Fundamental Baptist cult, as well as a transparent self-critic. Kean is #Exvangelical, a former pastor & foreign missionary, having resigned fundamentalist evangelical professional ministry, due to his conscience regarding the corrupt, ecclesiastical paradigm of professional ministers and the movement’s stodgy and harmful pastoral, ecclesiastical and systematic theologies. Examples of these poor theologies include:
- Augustine’s “Original Sin” inherited through biological semen, instead of a reasonable, federal view and actionable attribution. [This effects one’s view of infant innocence, paedobaptism, etc.]
- An erroneous assertion that the Imago Dei (image of God) is some subset descriptor of humanity, instead of being a conferral & pronouncement upon human beings themselves by God. [This effects one’s definition of “human” and relates to racial ethics, abortion topics, robotics and bioethics?]
- An oversimplified “avoiding Hell and going to Heaven” Gospel, which promotes immortality vs. eternal life and selfish escapism, instead of necessary discussions on topics like the Christian worldview, reconciliation and regeneration through Jesus for reunion with an once-estranged but gracious Creator, …and according descriptions of new identity (“the flesh, old self” vs. new creation in the Spirit).
- Either oversimplification or overestimation of the value of Baptism, due to not interpreting Baptism according to canonical biblical theology (see Heiser); and how it symbolizes A., death to / renunciation of the influence of fallen angels (under Satan) and the subsequent corruption of mankind; B., Christ’s descent into the Grave/Sheol to preach deliverance; C. Identity with Christ’s Resurrection and ascension in victory (See Didache).
- A view of conversion that is an event, instead of a process (discipleship) leading to an event (repentance/faith and subsequent baptism) that begins another process (sanctification)
- Sanctification presented as either inevitable or crises-based/“second blessing,” instead of simply “participating in Christ.” Spiritual formation relegated to either meritorious will-worship or passivity, instead of intentionally participating with God to receive the gift of transformation.
- Insistence on 6 literal, 24 hr days of creation, instead of interpreting Genesis 1-2 according to good biblical theological methods.
- An incomplete yet overwrought view of God’s Sovereignty in combination with a stricture of God’s Immutability
- Denial of the Divine Council and a resultant anemic cosmology (See Heiser’s Unseen Realm)
- Rejection of any atonement purpose other than God’s supposed appeasement of his own wrath via the punitive/judicial (retributive) view of the Cross; being disparaging of a forgiveness/reconciliation or reunion view, of a restorative or medical view, of a Cruciform Aikido warrior/victor view, or of a liberation view theology (See Christus Victor and other resources HERE)
- Pet denominational and peripheral doctrines, which only serve to divide the true Church, seeing they are not of 1st importance (1 Corinthians 15); and, a subsequent redefinition of the Church as something other than the collective of all regenerate souls everywhere across time—the Body of Christ (the Family of God, named by His name) into which the Holy Spirit places every genuine believer, regardless of denomination (i.e. despite denomination-specific doctrines, erroneous theologies or brand of Christianity). These genuine believers, scattered about and peppering every sect of Christianity, are the Church universal.
- Hierarchical, institutional view of the Church and professional ministry vs. an authentic, relational spiritual organism (See Ray Stedman, Authentic Christianity: Body Life & Marcus Warner’s Fixing the Broken Discipleship Factory)
- Service of the Other Master (i.e. money and the influence it gives) among evangelical leaders
- Tithing (mandated, theocratic covenant giving) in exchange for promises of God’s blessings or restraint of God’s correction
- Familial curses apply to 3rd & 4th generation (even if you are a believer in that succession), instead of God’s promise to remember them no more upon repentance of them and faith in Jesus’ grace.
- Practical rejection of soul liberty & priesthood of believers by practicing Lording via emperor-style leadership or organizational hierarchy and church growth / missions models
- Cessationism (see at bottom of this page, under Spiritual Gifts)
- Traditional conservative stance on alcohol, instead of showing all of the pertinent biblical data
- No case for divorce and condescension toward single parents
- A less than egalitarian view of Marriage, combined with reverence for civil marriage & cookie cutter complementarian roles for both the family and church, instead of viewing marriage as a purely religious act shared between those who are both inheritors of God’s grace.
- A warped view of forgiveness and justice, which leads to shaming/blaming or dismissing sexual & domestic abuse/assault victims and forced reunification with the offender / criminal
- Shunning in church discipline & the emphasis of congregational purity and behavioral conformity above a relationally-mature approach to discipleship and restoration of the faltering Christian
- Focus on behavioral and academic discipleship methods, which address only guilt and shame and remain at the attitudes and actions level, instead of heart focused discipleship and mental health treatment (toward which conservative Evangelicals are also skeptical/shaming)
- Replacement Theology & Covenantal Theonomy, Christian Reconstructionism, Kingdom Now & Dominion Theology, which produce power seeking, political entanglements & hypocrisy, ostracism, violence and war and encourage or preserve white supremacy racism.
- Hypocritical disconnection between principles of stewardship of the earth’s species/resources and exploitative and destructive consumption and/or unsustainable usage of the same.
- A resultant fixation with winning culture wars in order to “bring in the kingdom” via an American Christian Eutopia… instead of realizing Christians should not rebuke culture, because truth must be handled with care and “inside” the Church is our domain to purify.
- Shaming/guilting and shunning LGBTQ within reparative and conversion therapies, instead of focusing on the identity exchange, spiritual health and commonality of sin struggle in every believer.
- Poor or little use of robust biblical theology in interpretative approaches to the Bible
Worldview and Doctrine
Without question, the writer of Lamb’s Harbinger is a supernaturalist in worldview and theologically a Trinitarian Christian, who seeks to preserve the matters of 1st importance (as found in 1 Corinthians 15) due to their being essential (see written works by J. Gresham Machen, R. A. Torrey, B. B. Warfield). Kean affirms the Apostles Creed as the historical standard for orthodoxy and is non-denominational. By ‘non-denominational,’ he means: “a refusal to acknowledge those denominations which deny the Divine Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, Lord Jesus Christ’s hypostatic union and supremacy, the essentials of the Christian Good News (1 Corinthians 15), and/or create carnal divisions based on extra-biblical, man-made teachings (1 Corinthians 3; ex. required denomination-specific tenets and “Church membership covenants”).
Concerning the Atonement of Christ & God’s Justice, Kean holds to a classical Christian view, such as are found in the writings of Gregory of Nanzianzus. Sam Kean particularly finds agreement with Mako Nagasawa’s expression of a Medical Substitution View and Restorative Justice View. One’s eternal soul can be healed from sin and delivered from the destiny of a Godless eternity, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. All of this is based on the completed and final standard—the Holy Scriptures (Christian Bible) alone. The Substitution Penal (Judicial) view of the Atonement can be in harmony with the Reconciliation and Victor (and Liberation) views, so long as PSA concedes an Aikido aspect of God’s using evil spirits and humanity as agents in satisfying God’s just wrath against sin, death & Satan (see Gustaf Aulén and Greg Boyd).
Sam Kean has survived and now rejects fundamentalist evangelicalism as a movement, due to its national (USA) & global connotations and trivial, cultish perversions by late 20th century. Despite this rejection of the movement, he holds to the Chicago Statement regarding his view of the Bible and agrees with the Nashville Statement as touching definitions of Christian personal morality (strong exceptions taken with dogma regarding a distorted and stereotypical, cookie-cutter view of complementarianism within marriage and church roles; the statement’s inherent political activism due to replacement/covenant theology; and a misplaced reverence for “civil marriage”). Being categorically non-denominational, Sam Kean further describes his faith as historic Anabaptist in theology and Pietist in practice. While not ordained or commissioned under any faith group, and before identifying with the Exvangelical movement, Kean would say the following church traditions would have best expressed his faith: the Brethren Church & Charis Fellowship, the Calvary Chapel and Harvest Christian Fellowship association network, the Church of God (Anderson), the Christian and Missionary Alliance (PDF Handbook), the Bible Church movement, and the Missionary Church —see also Wikipedia). He upholds the supreme Authority of the Bible for informing one’s faith life, the Soul Liberty (of each believing Conscience), the priesthood of the believer, and freedom of religion that includes the Church being independent of the State.
Manifest Destiny doctrine is from the pit of Hell. American Civil Religion is both aberrant to and abhorrent of genuine Christianity, and when the Church gets involved in politics, then politics corrupt and drive the Church. Kean is non-partisan, politically. He supports all veterans, but he does not support the USA’s war culture, especially use of toxins and WMDs, in the name of spreading “freedom,” democracy and/or “greatness.” There is a difference between the War and the warrior. Kean is a pacifist in the face of religious persecution but is proactive in averting the suffering of others, especially the oppressed & defenseless. Christians like to think their love for weapons is warranted by the Bible and the Christian “kingdom.” It is not. Defense of the innocent and defenseless is something indeed warranted and expected of Christians. Weapons love and a militant, “Church victorious“ are not taught by Jesus or the Apostles! In fact, what Jesus teaches goes both against Christian love for weapons and against the professional ministry paradigm so prevalent in the hierarchical institutions that masquerades as the Church. And, if someone wishes to kill you for your faith, and you cannot otherwise escape, the pattern which Jesus and all the Apostles give is surrender to your martyrdom and forgiveness of your attackers.
Furthermore, as Francis Schaeffer and George E. Ladd understood Christ’s Kingdom is nothing institutionally physical/political until the return of Christ Himself, Kean affirms the same understanding. So, neither the democracy of the enlightenment nor the historic state churches of Europe are the rule of Christ. Thus, there is no legitimate claim to theonomy, or reconstructionism, let alone a perverted ecumenism, which seeks to engineer society religiously through sociopolitical or governmental lobbying. These ills are rooted in erroneous Covenant Replacement Theology and its offshoots. Therefore, Kean is not a religious sociopolitical (governmental) activist but seeks to aid the plights of mankind and animals and ecosystems as much as possible through individual relationships and Christian (non-government) organizations. When governmental lobbying, activism or advocacy must be done, it should be done as a citizen and should not be done in the name of God or to advance a Christian quasi-theocracy.
Kean asserts the following about the “Kingdom of God/Heaven” and the Church: every believer is both the space (temples) and the subjects of God’s kingdom at present. And, the law of God at present is Christ’s Law, being the laws of faith in Christ (Phil. 3:9; Rom. 3:27; Gal. 3:11) and agape love (Matthew 5-7; John 14-17). The collective Body (as baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ) of all true believers is the universal Church. The Church is designed by God to be and function as a living organism rather than an hierarchical organization or institution (ref. Ray Stedman). Authentic, non-abusive church leadership is R.A.R.E. these days and rarely taught. The professional ministry paradigm must be reformed, along with our broken discipleship factories.
Kean opposes Reformed theology (a.k.a. Calvinism) taking strong exceptions with irresistible grace & limited atonement (as opposed to unlimited provision of atonement – see C. Ryrie, L. S. Chafer). Kean rejects the faulty notions of preterition and reprobation, since they each are built on a faulty premise. Predestination is toward the benefits of salvation, not to salvation itself (see The Faith of God’s Elect). Only those who are elect (have already received salvation) can and do say that God chose them “in Christ” (Eph. 1:4). As Christ is the elect (Is. 42:1), even so those who place faith in Christ, at Divine invitation (Gospel call) by the Spirit, step into the sphere of that election; and so, receive the title, elect. [please see Jesus Christ, the Elect of God]. God’s foreknowledge does not equate His determinate will (i.e. force). All in all, there is a balance between Divine Initiation (grace) and human responsibility (faith): Ephesians 2:8-9. This is Traditional Theology’s statement regarding God’s plan for mankind’s eternal salvation. [See also this article on Ravi Zacharias’ view]. Touching ordinances, Baptism and Communion (and foot washing) are not sacramental means by which saving grace is conferred on a soul, but they are symbolic acts of personal testimony, done by those who have already received eternal pardon and new spiritual birth by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
In his views on Bible prophecy, Kean is partial-futurist (“already-but-not-yet”) in eschatological interpretation and pre-millennial in his view of the return of Christ, finding these the result of a normal, literary, historical, grammatical and Analogia Scriptura approach to Bible interpretation. There are clear foundations in Bible prophecy for a future, physical kingdom of Jesus on earth. [please see Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus The Old, The Hermeneutical Spiral and Dominion and Dynasty, ch. 1] For an example of this approach applied, please see HERE.
Kean is moderately dispensational (as opposed to classic, progressive, hyper, ultra) in his view of biblical covenants and distinctions between Israel and the Church. The Church does not replace national/ethnic Israel. The Church is spiritual Israel but not to the elimination of ethnic (national) Israel from God’s Plan for the ages. Messianic Jew and believing Non-Jew enjoy all the spiritual blessings promised in the New Covenant to ancient Israel (the Wife of YHWH) through the Lord Jesus Christ. Currently, those of Abraham’s faith (as distinct from physical lineage) are the children of promise (Romans 4; 9:4-8; Eph. 2:11-19; 3:4-6; Gal. 3:29). Non-ethnic-Jew believers (gentiles) have been made one new Mankind with believing Israel (Messianic Jews of Hebrew ethnicity) through Christ Jesus, and now they are together the branches of the “Olive Tree” (Romans 11), until the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in… also the time that national/ethnic Israel is redeemed—in all of its northern tribes (“all Israel”)—to rule the gentile nations during the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus. This view is categorically distinct from and spiritually reticent to political/secular (disbelieving) Zionism; but it is supportive of YHWH’s revealed plan—in every stage—to bring about the redemption of the Hebrew nation (again, the 10 tribes from ancient northern Israel with the 2 southern tribes). [For examination of the errors of replacement theology, see Covenant & Controversy, Part 1 and Part 2.]
A genuine dispensationalist will not see contemporary, national Israel as anything other than a secular nation, gathered in disbelief; and therefore, it is needy of YHWH’s correction—Jacob’s Trouble (per Jeremiah 30). Yet, according to a proper interpretation of Romans 11 & 12, the Church (redeemed gentiles + redeemed ethnic Jews) should be mindful that it is not better than the ethnic Hebrew people (particularly the ancient, northern 10 tribes). Modern, national Israel does not deserve carte blanche treatment from the USA or any other nation. But the modern nation of Israel does deserve the same rights and privileges due any other (sovereign) nation, and those who bless the Hebrew people will be blessed!
Regarding sanctification, Sam Kean holds to the Antiochian Orthodox articulation of Theosis, which begs the believer to fully “participate in Christ.” There are four aspects to the Gospel: “Christ our Savior/Redeemer, Christ our Healer/Deliverer, Christ our Sanctifier, Christ our Coming Lord.” While Kean sees the definite biblical prescription for repentance of the sin nature (the “fallen self”) and false gods/religion in order to turn toward God by placing faith in Christ, he does not hold to extreme Lordship Salvation (whereby one must somehow completely do away with sins before he can be saved), but he agrees with scholars like John Walvoord and Zane Hodges… and the Apostle Paul… that salvation is by grace and no works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4). That being said, after someone is redeemed by God’s grace, the life will certainly show fruits of repentance and a submissive, thankful love for the Lord Jesus. A believer desires to become like Jesus. Also, if salvation comes by grace and no works, then it is kept by grace and no works (Galatians 3:3). Yet, unfrustrated grace leads to true holiness and a correct definition of the world / worldly. One’s view on eternal security affects both one’s sanctification and reveals whether one truly understands the Good News. For lasting transformational growth, heart focused discipleship must happen alongside discipleship of the mind; and a believer cannot successfully run the Christian marathon of life until he is freed up of spiritual hindrances (see Deeper Walk International).
Regarding spiritual gifts in sanctification, Sam Kean does not teach a direct line of Apostolic Succession but does reject “cessation” of sign/spiritual gifts. Even today, signs and wonders are performed “as God wills,” particularly in situations and communities which require a supernatural affirmation of the spoken Good News, and especially when other spiritual powers are at play or when the written Word is inaccessibile or restricted. The Spirit has not yet been removed from the earth, and the Bible describes ways and rules to function in (as well as verify) the exercise of spiritual gifts, which are bestowed, directed and empowered by the Person of the Spirit (see Romans 12, 1 Cor. 12-14, Eph. 4 & Spiritual Gifts by CMAlliance.org, Exploring Spiritual Gifts by Brethren.org, Strange Fire: A Calvary Chapel Response and Spiritual Gifts Chart via Precept Austin).
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