Rock Of Offence - Introduction
By William Handschumacher
Return To 'Message For First-Time Visitors'
"Then Jesus said unto them...Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you...Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day...
From that time many of his disciples
went back, and walked no more with him."
(Paraphrased from John 6:53-69)
The Scripture from John 6:53-69 above reveals a crisis that occurs in the life of anyone who seeks to discover the root meaning of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Some Christians refer to it as, "the offense of the cross". Many of Jesus' disciples stopped following Him because of the words he used to describe the principles relating to eternal life. He used the terms "eat my flesh and drink my blood" which were highly offensive to the average Jewish person living at that time. Jesus did not use these words by accident. He knew they would offend. I've learned that God uses offense as a method to filter out those who put their own beliefs above His ways. While many of Jesus' disciples refused to follow him any longer - the original twelve disciples choose to stay because they knew that Jesus; "had the words of eternal life." These twelve men were also offended by Christ's words. However, they didn't allow the offense to dominate their life. They made the right decision. If you are a believer in Christ, or thinking about becoming one, offense will be an obstacle to overcome.
In John chapter 6, Jesus was not suggesting that his followers actually eat his flesh and drink his blood. He was using "blood covenant terminology" that is often associated with 'The Lord's Table'. Jesus used some of the strongest covenant language found in the Bible. Just as this language offended many of his followers, we will discover that the role of the blood covenant in the Christian faith will offend religious people today. One major objective of this website is to introduce the New Covenant (often understood as the New Testament) of Jesus Christ. The covenant of Jesus Christ is the most powerful truth in the Bible. Christ's covenant is the foundation for faith and salvation. Yet, it is rarely taught because ... it destroys the lies on which religion is based. Religious thinking dominates the modern church world. When I discovered this subject as a young Christian, I didn't have much information. However, you will find enough instruction on this website to begin your journey into the Bible's concept of the blood covenant. Once you understand some basics, many teachings in the Bible that seemed confusing will become clear. You will be astounded with the depth of God's love, the price He paid and the rich blessings He purchased for us ... and why Jesus had to spill His blood at the cross.
"Likewise He also took the
cup after supper, saying,
'This cup is the new covenant
in My blood, which is shed
for you.'"(Luke 22:20)
Jesus...The Only Doorway Into
If you've never considered Jesus Christ - He offers the greatest message of life, hope, purpose and joy that mankind has ever seen. Here's the good news: Through His Son, God has given 'whosoever will' the opportunity to receive eternal life as a free gift. Obviously, there is more to Christianity than just receiving the promise of everlasting life, which is the first doorway we must walk through. It's the first of many blessings we receive.
However, many fail to realize that
receiving eternal life not only makes
someone a member of God's family
and allows them to inherit all of
Christ's blessings ... but they also
inherit a war with God's enemy.
Ignoring this war and failing to
learn about our enemy's tactics is
spiritually disastrous. Many
professing Christians are POW's
and don't know it.
If you have questions about how to receive
Christ's salvation - information is provided
on this website that will get you started.
You can start HERE
Some readers may find certain subjects on this site difficult to understand. Don't allow these studies to discourage you from seeking Christ's salvation. When you begin to discover the facts, Jesus Christ is really the only choice. He's the only source of eternal life ... and you won't find it in anyone else. My primary goal is to discuss topics directed at those who already profess to be Christian. Yet, anyone - both new and prospective Christians - can benefit from the information found here.
We have structured this website as a ministry resource. However, I'm not under any illusions about visitor interest. Maybe, only a few people will take the time to read this material. Why? We are bombarded with voices from every side about God and about the nature of spiritual truth. Most of us are on 'information over-load'. It's easy to consider the information found here as just one more voice among many. For this reason, I decided to have an alternate purpose for this website ... to provide a "testimony". The purpose of a Godly testimony is to "overcome the devil and his works". Our testimony is to speak God's Word ... allowing His thoughts and words to become our own. A person's testimony reflects the truths God has placed in them and the unique way He has changed their life. Faith in the blood of Jesus Christ and our testimony are characteristics of the end time "overcoming Christian".
"And they overcame him by the
blood of the Lamb, and by the
word of their testimony, and
they loved not their lives
unto the death."
Offense Is Unavoidable
Some may wonder why Bible subjects are discussed that offend certain religious beliefs. They may feel this invites unnecessary criticism. Frankly, I'm frightened at what I see in the modern church when I compare it to the teachings of Jesus ... Who makes the final decision about our place in eternity. Biblical truth is always offensive to religion, which is why religious people crucified Christ. You can't be afraid to teach what the Bible says for fear that someone will be offended. Many times people are offended because they need to be. I'm frightened for millions of people who genuinely want to live for God, but are ensnared by "another gospel". Many will never be free from this trap. I carry a burden for those people who have never discovered God's salvation through Christ. Yet, I am more concerned for those fooled by "the way that seems right" - which is, in reality, the "way of death" (Proverbs 16:25, Matthew 7:13-14). Some of the spiritual hardship I've experienced brought me to a place where I started to see the world through God's eyes. As a young inexperienced Christian, I prayed to have this privilege. If I had known the religious traditions that God would uproot in my life in order to bring me into this place ... I might have asked for something else. Today, this prayer continues to be answered ... and it's not the experience I thought it would be. It is something that He will gladly give to any of His children willing to make the sacrifice. It depends on how willing we are to give up cherished religious preconceptions and replace them with the truth of His Word. Our heavenly Father wants all His children to see the world the way He sees it. It's normal for anyone in God's family - Where He says...
"Call to Me, and I will answer you,
and show you great and mighty things,
which you do not know."
At a high school eye examination I tested as mildly color-blind. However, my type of color-blindness allowed me to see things that were camouflaged and hidden, which is an interesting characteristic. I was told that the military looks for people with this condition. Certain kinds of color-blindness allows a person to see hidden enemy positions from surveillance aircraft. Imagine my surprise. Several summers ago a friend and I were hiking near the Potomac river. Suddenly, I saw a copperhead snake coiled on the path ahead ... and my friend was about to step on it! Copperheads are among the most poisonous vipers on the east coast. The snake's color allowed it to blend into the surrounding brush on the path, making it difficult to see - but somehow I could see it and my friend couldn't. I stopped him before he took another step and pointed at the snake. He was amazed at how well the snake was hidden - in plain sight - and how close he came to a disastrous situation.
This experience illustrates a
In the modern church there are spiritual traps and snares everywhere. Some of God's people see the danger, avoid it and continue on to enjoy God's prosperity and success (Joshua 1:8-9). This is often possible because they've been diligent to learn the truths of Christ's blood covenant ... which is similar to what God commanded Joshua (there are some important differences under New Testament Christianity). Most Christians believe they're following God's way when they're actually following a false religious way. When you live with a covenant mentality - you see the spiritual path ahead totally different than others around you ... because you're "seeing" through God's eyes. Others who don't have this mentality will step right in the middle of a counterfeit gospel and receive its religious tenants as spiritual truth. As a result, the remainder of their life is spent experiencing "the curse of the law" believing that it's God's discipline. They believe they're "suffering for Christ", but they're actually suffering because they received a spiritual counterfeit. If anyone tries to teach that the blessings of Christ is God's will for the Christian today (Galatians 3:13-14) they're offended. I'm always amazed at a religious person's ability to take something the Bible calls a curse - like sickness, disease or poverty - and transform it into a blessing from God. This kind of belief is common in the modern church. It's one of the warning signs that you're hearing about "another Jesus", who is different than the Jesus of the Bible. People with this mindset have good intentions - but they often allow themselves to accept a religious belief that the Bible condemns.
"Woe unto them that call evil good,
and good evil; that put darkness for
light, and light for darkness; that
put bitter for sweet, and sweet for
bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)
When I consider my own experience in
being fooled by spiritual counterfeits,
it's not hard to understand how
Christians get trapped - and how
difficult it is to get free.
The Bible--God's Standard
For Judging Truth
Unfortunately, Christians have thousands of different theological viewpoints. Diversity of opinion and lack of agreement is rampant, which is one of the major problems facing the church today. Therefore, putting together a website that satisfies everyone is not one of our goals ... simply because it's not possible. I have always tried to follow the example of the Berean Christians in Acts 17:10-11 who ...
"Received the word with all readiness
of mind, and searched the scriptures
daily, whether those things were so."
We encourage all visitors to this website to adopt the same attitude. My intention is not to reach everyone - only those who the Holy Spirit may lead here. Many Christians choose to adopt popular "systems" of Bible interpretation. This ministry allows the Bible to interpret itself with the Holy Spirit as teacher, which is a Scriptural method. Major truths in the Bible are supported with two or more references given from different prospectives. Every visitor to this site is at a different spiritual level. Some know little about Christianity, while others are more knowledgeable. Many may visit out of curiosity. Yet, our ultimate goal is to offer you the opportunity to become a member of God's family. There is sufficient instruction on this site to bring you to this place. Becoming a believer in Jesus is the most important decision a person can make in life.
It's a challenge to give information that meets the needs of everyone. On almost every Christian website there is a lot of information to read. Our website is no different. One reason for these "lengthy" discussions is to backup everything with supporting evidence from the Bible. The Bible is God's Word and without His authority all discussion is personal opinion, which can be wrong. Decisions about eternal life and your spiritual destiny are far too important to trust them to someone's opinion. What God says is the only thing that matters in the end. If you encounter something that's hard to understand, please don't throw everything out. Keep it for future reference. Years from now, it could be of great value.
I became a Christian at the age of 17. One week before Christmas in 1969 I prayed and asked God to make me part of his family. I had no understanding of the course being set for my life. No one warned me about the spiritual dangers I would face. I received some of my early Bible instruction from a young man who worked with the Navigator's - a Christian youth ministry that met on my college campus. Between 1969 and 1979, I found myself in a revival that was sweeping the United States. My experience during that revival would forever affect my life. As I was growing up, my family attended the Methodist church. About the time I was first learning about my new life in Christ, my dad decided to change his denominational affiliation and join the Baptist church. Yet, my salvation did not come from Baptist doctrine or influence. It was a unique and sovereign act of God apart from the influence of any church at that time. While I did attend church during my early Christian life, I never viewed God as identifying Himself with any particular one. He always remained separate and distinct from anything we attribute Him to on earth. And, I've never really understood the importance of that truth until later on. Around 1973 I met Linda Sue, my wife, and we were married four years later. Since the marriage covenant is similar to the relationship believers have with Jesus; God has used my wife to broaden my understanding of the New Covenant.
God's Grace And The
This ministry is committed to the message of Grace found in the Gospel. I believe it is one of the most important salvation topics in the New Testament. Early in my Christian life, I witnessed the misuse of spiritual authority in my church. The abuse was justified by twisting scripture (removing it from its context). As a result, God's authority was usurped and redirected to manipulate the congregation with devastating results. This experience dramatically affected my Christian worldview. I meet people today whose lives have been damaged by these same practices occurring in many other churches. The misuse of authority is at an epidemic stage in today's institutional Christian Church. Most Christians don't know when authority is misused. The majority receive it as part of God's program because that's what they're told by those who exercise the authority. These experiences forced me to lay hold on God's grace in order to survive - and it forced me to re-evaluate things that are commonly labeled as "Christian".
God's Grace is an oasis of comfort
in troubled times because it imparts
encouragement, forgiveness and
acceptance to the oppressed. Grace
is defined as "God's unmerited favor".
Grace declares you righteous when
you deserve condemnation. Grace
declares you loved and forgiven when
you deserve God's anger. Grace makes
you a child of God when you deserve
to be rejected. Grace is desperately
needed in the modern church.
However, we need to see those things that are blocking God's Grace before we can experience its blessings. I prayed about the name for this website and felt the Lord wanted it named "Rock of Offence". My nature is to be non-confrontational in my relationships. Yet, the very title "Rock of Offence" carries the idea of confrontation. The initial reason for setting up this site was to support my book "Mystery of the Faith". However, the Lord seemed to want it to be more than just a book review.
A friend once told me, "God teaches you what His kingdom is ... by first letting you experience what it ain't". He also told me that most people never make it out of the "what it ain't" stage. So much of our experience in spiritual matters prepares us to help people who go through the same things later. While writing this introduction, I am reminded about how good Jesus has been to me all these years. He's always been there, even when things were dark and hopeless. My needs have always been met and I have been protected from many destructive influences. I have found that Jesus has been a faithful friend to me even when my faith was the weakest.
We live in a world where the Gospel has been distorted in countless ways. This causes honest people to ask, "What is truth and where do I find it?" As we see Christendom losing its power and influence, a lot of Christians and non-Christians alike are starting to ask these questions. In today's culture, intellectualism and relativism has taught us that only open minded people are truly enlightened. When evaluating this philosophy we find that the intellectual's definition of an "open mind" is the rejection of absolutes such as right and wrong. To a modern day intellectual absolute right and wrong doesn't exist. The movies coming out of Hollywood are replete with this demonic philosophy. Our public school system has decayed into nothing more than government reprogramming centers that educate our children on a constant diet of godless humanism. A recent Supreme Court ruling just decided that prayer does not belong in public school. Relativism destroys the idea of personal responsibility for one's own life and validates any belief or lifestyle no matter how twisted or evil. Anyone, including God, who declares that there is a standard of 'right' which society should follow is branded as a bigot or a narrow-minded fool. Yet, Jesus said the way into life is a 'narrow way' that few people find. At the judgement when we all stand before God ... only His way will count.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ addresses the subject of freedom from spiritual bondage. Yet, offense is one of freedom's doorways. Most Christians tend to believe that forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven one day is the sum total of what salvation provides. However, these benefits are only the beginning. The authentic Gospel rarely gets taught. I cannot go into a detailed description of all the benefits provided to the Christian in this article. This is not your average Christian website. Anyone can benefit from the information found here because the truths presented are eternal.
Return To 'Message For First-Time Visitors'
Go To Basics of Salvation Page
Go To Home Page