A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Cathari and Modern Sinless Perfectionism

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:13-15

Because it is necessary that our faith be tested, as James says previously in the first chapter, people might think that God was the cause of the sin that might come from the testing.

James dispels that fiction. The source of sin is in ourselves, and comes from a corrupt nature. This corrupt nature we carry with us until the resurrection, when this corruption puts on incorruption. At that day we will be completely conformed to Jesus Christ, for we shall see Him as He is. Until then, we struggle and labor to live godly lives,purifying ourselves because of the hope that we have received from His promises.

There have always been those in this great movement we call Christianity who drift off into small puddles of theology, corrupting themselves and those who follow them. One example of these are those who profess sinless perfection. They have been known by many names in the history of the Church: Cathari, Paulicians, Bogomils, and perhaps some among Montanism and other things. There were many variations of this heresy, but one thing they had in common was a claim to live without sin.

There is an element of the Cathari in Arminianism and it will surface if you probe for it. The main tenet of Arminianism is that man must add something to faith in order to be saved.

The spirit of condemning other and professing sinlessness must have arisen very early for John deals with the heresy in his first epistle. We would not even be aware the the corruption of our nature, our "flesh" if it were not revealed by the word and Spirit of Christ.

John writes in 1John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Note: We cannot be Christians if we walk in darkness.
If we walking the light, we confess our sins and they are forgiven us and we are cleansed from "unrighteousness" not the corruption of our nature, but defilements of the law of God. We are washed from our guilt by the blood of Christ.

It is true that the Holy Spirit is also given to us to emplant a new nature that seeks obedience, but Adam's nature is not rooted out until the resurrection of the dead. All of our lives the "flesh" of Adam's nature will war against the "spirit" and will be the source of all kinds of sins, if we do not walk in the spirit. [Gal. 5.] If any man think that he stands, he should take heed lest he fall.

The claim of sinlessness is a proof of self-deception and of not walking in the light. [1John 1:10.] John Wesley revived some of the foolishness of the Cathari and is the root of the heresy of "Second Work of Grace Holiness" a fiction and destructive to the souls that labored after it, for it took their focus away from the Spirit and blood of Christ to their own works of holiness.

The followers of the Cathari laugh at faithful Christians and mock them with such phrases as "cheap grace" and "easy believism." They never seem to ask themselves of the horror implied in these labels: that the grace of God does not contain sufficient value in the blood of Christ unless we add something of ourselves into the formula; or that the labor and work of Christ was not difficult enough to earn our salvation unless we contribute our own works to it.

See my article on "easy believism" at:

If you are a real Calvinist you will be accused of antinomianism by those who are experts on sin, or you will be accused of legalism by those who refuse to be bound by any law. If you get shot at from both sides, you probably have it right.

It is often not profitable to argue with these people, for they are blinded by self-deceit and have closed their minds to the corruption that runs amok in their associations.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sinful Peace

In a sinful world, war is not only good at times, but at such times it is sinful to refrain from war.

Re 17:14 "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."

Pacifism is of the devil and plays right into his plan for world domination. Thank God the Lord Jesus is not a pacifist. His garments are dipped in blood and He goes forth conquering and to conquer. His enemies come against Him with lies, hatred, blood, and violence, but he overthrows them all.

Isa 42:13 " The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies." If war is evil, then God is compared to an evil man.

The trouble with effeminate pacifism is emptiness of thought replaced by emotion. Yes, Hitler and Mussolini tried to gain their evil goals by war, but the non-thinkers do not realize or admit that their evil goals were stopped by war and the blood of brave men of the Allies. The blitzkrieg was not stopped by children wearing flowers in their hair.

The Bible pronounces woes upon those who set good for evil and evil for good. Isa 5:20 "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!"

There is a effeminate and blind form of Western Christianity that thinks that if you are nice to bad people, they will become good people. Charles Finney taught that if the person you witnessed to did not believe, then you had failed in your presentation of the Gospel, and you better work on your sales technique. People who bought into this deception and taught it had to get results from their "evangelism" or they were condemned by their own doctrine. So they watered down the proposition, appealed to the selfish desires of unbelievers and milked the mobs for "decisions," proving to themselves and their followers that they were led of the "Spirit." They perfected their sales techniques and recorded their magnificent results. They became so nice that fame and fortune came their way and huge churches were built to accommodate the worldly cravings of their converts.

Whatever hell they accepted was the hell of the machine, that built into the system by an absent First Mover, not the personal God of the Bible, and certainly not the One who is angry with the wicked every day and makes war upon His enemies.

The Holy Spirit says that rulers are the instruments of God:

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. --Romans 13:1-4

If the ruler, however, becomes the instrument of evil and rewards the wicked and punishes the good, then he might be lawfully resisted and overthrown. Thomas Jefferson captured this doctrine in the Declaration of Independence, an expression of the doctrine of the rights of the people developed over many years in conflict between the church and the state from the Middle Ages on.

This American doctrine expressed by Jefferson was the result of the struggle for liberty that was rooted the the theology of John Calvin and the influence of Geneva. From there it passed to France and the struggle of the Huguenots, to Holland and the struggle for liberty from Phillip II. John Knox and the Scots picked up the flag in Scotland and from there the flame burned into England and the Puritan revolution. After the triumph of law over tyranny in the victory of William and Mary over James II and aristocratic totalitarianism, the flame came to America in the War for Independence, led by the sturdy Calvinism of the Scots-Irish and the German Reformed. This Calvinism was always opposed by the effeminate theology of the unitarians that had begun to infiltrate the Congregational churches of New England and the elitist aristocracies of New York, Virginia, and the South. The aristocracy was always drawn to effeminate arminianism because they thought they were a cut above the savages of the Western part of the United States. The struggle for the minds of the West would become a very long drawn-out affair that is being played out even today, evidenced in such political wars as abortion, gun control, pacifism, global warming. Of course, the effete elite want these, for why should savages breed, have guns, and make war? Too many savages will heat everything up and destroy our cocktail parties. The elite are safe if the unwashed don't do this.

European aristocracy and elitism opposed this surge of freedom every step of the way. John Wesley and Methodist sided with the aristocrats and tyranny as did the English bishops. It was the Presbyterian parsons and the Reformed ministry that gave intellectual and moral impetus to the forces of liberty.

Jefferson was not talking about "visualizing world peace" or holding hands, thinking good thoughts, and singing "kumbaya" when he wrote "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

And Patrick Henry, in that other great moment before the Virginia Convention, when he said "Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!" he was referring directly to the doctrine of liberty developed from the scriptures over the years since Calvin.

The last resort of the enslaved was an appeal to the God of hosts, to war and forceful defeat of their oppressors.

It has not come to this yet in the United States. We have the ballot box, but we must be vigilant to see that elections are not stolen by a corrupt process. We must be willing to suffer the contempt of fools and the calumny of the wicked to preserve the hard-won liberty that we have, but which has been greatly eroded over the past century.

The magistrate that puts down evil and rewards the righteous must know the difference between good and evil. He must know the efficacy and the virtue of the sword, both against domestic and against foreign tyrants and abusers of liberty, and be prepared to use it to protect the citizens. He also must know the difference between citizens and non-citizens, and any politician who does not know the difference but would try to have our borders invaded by non-citizens in order to gain electoral advantage must be banished from the halls of government and left to languished in ignominy and disgrace as a traitor to the United States.

1Peter 1:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

Jer 48:10 "Cursed [be] he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed [be] he that keepeth back his sword from blood."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

That Other Knocking.

You have heard that Christ stands at the door and knocks. There is a verse in Revelation 3 that is often misinterpreted as though Christ were standing at the door of a person's heart, knocking, asking, pleading to be allowed to come in and dwell there. Even in art it is sometimes represented as a door without an outside knob, only able to be opened from the inside, for even Christ cannot or will not challenge the sinner's sovereignty, or so they thought.

It is all wrong, of course. The passage in Revelation applies to the door of the church of the Laodiceans, who thought they were rich and wise and needed nothing. Christ was not in the church but did call to people within that apostate church to receive Him and He would dwell with them. This means that even though a church may be worthless, yet Christ may still transform the lives of individuals; the message of Christ might be separate from the church, although the church is the pillar and ground of the truth when it is faithful to Christ.

But there is another passage of Christ standing at the door. It was not nearly as popular with Arminian evangelists as the other one that they twisted to suit their theology.

This other incident is found at James 4:9 "Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door."

Those who refuse to be reconciled to their brothers lie under the wrath of God, Who will not forget. Mr 11:26 "But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."

A grudging, hard, unforgiving heart is a graceless heart. The new birth gives us a new spirit: "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
--1Peter 1:22,23.

The judge is at the door. You won't like it when He enters.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

What Was Moses Thinking?

Ex 20:11 "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."

Ex 31:17 "It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed"

I suspect that Moses' writings are internally consistent, for he was not a foolish man. He had Genesis 1 in mind when he wrote Exodus 20 and Exodus 31.

Of course, Christians are not to keep the Jewish sabbath of the 7th day, which was a sign of God's covenant with Israel by Moses [See Heb. 7:14 and others], but it was a "day" they kept, not an indeterminate age or mental concept. It is a very dangerous thing to use scientific "consensus," which is always changing, to correct the Scriptures, which cannot be broken [John 10:35].

It is not a fatal error to misread a passage of Scripture, for many wise and godly men have been foolish here and there, but error may reveal a faulty hermeneutic or a faulty application of a good hermeneutic. Misunderstanding Scripture is not the same as unbelief, but it is certainly a heavy burden, resting on the shoulders of those who think that "day" mean "age" or "literary device" to prove their point.

A more important point is to ask "What was God thinking?" when He had Moses write those words. God does think, you know. Jesus also warned us of the importance of Moses' writings:

John 5:46 "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"

Friday, September 04, 2009

Great Start for New Geneva

We have completed the first week of classes for the 17 year of New Geneva Theological Seminary in Colorado Springs. Got a bunch of fine students and the first week was really fun.

We have a new registrar, who is also professor of Old Testament, Dr. Mark House. He teaches OT Survey III and Hebrew Exegesis.

I had way too much fun for a 75 year old this week. Tuesday was Survey of Church History I and Doctrine of Revelation and Inspiration. Wednesday was Person and Work of Christ and History of Philosophy and Logic. Great students make an old man look good.

Then Sunday I get to fellowship with God's people and preach a second sermon on why our lives are too much filled with strife.

How much fun and joy is this? eh?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Whose Thoughts?

The problem God had with the prophets of Israel is that they spoke their own thoughts.

"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?" --Jeremiah 23:16-18

How could a mere man who will die and have his brain eaten by worms be so puffed up as to think that his mind was sufficient to explain the universe and his place in it? Pride is a sort of insanity and intoxication that even the strongest liquor cannot produce.

"No evil shall come upon us," they strutted. "God is good and will not do evil," is the way they comforted themselves, not seeing the fallacy of their thought, for if God is good it certainly will not be well with the ungodly. How could a good God approve their blasphemies?

What they really needed to be concerned about was the thoughts of God. For Jeremiah continues:

"Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly." Jeremiah 23:19, 20.

People should not be so drunkenly enamored of their own thoughts and intoxicated with the pleasing words of the false prophets. What they need to be concerned about is the thoughts of God. Even more, they need to be concerned about Him DOING the thoughts of His heart, and that is exactly what He promises to do. They won't like it when it happens, for it will come in His fury, like a grievous whirlwind that scatters everything with utter destruction upon the head of the wicked.

Lesson: God knows, and He knows that He knows. He also knows what He will do and what He will not do. He has said that there will at some day be a terrible destruction of the wicked, against which they will not be able to stand. Drunken stupors brought on by pride will be no comfort in that day.

Ephesians 5:11-14 "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dealing with Contentiousness

Following is part of an exchange with a friend on FaceBook.

--beginnning of FaceBook Transcript--

That is a fact, but what does a church that exercises discipline look like, I wonder. More one on one confrontations with the elders? or elders' wives? More congregational exhortations? More members confronting members? We have great preaching, but discipline lacks greatly.

We lost an elder because one man, a contentious fellow, was allowed to keep on badgering the elder in Sunday School. For whatever reason, he would challenge the elder with this and that "deep" question... Finally, the elder left (for more than one reason). Should not the contentious man have been kicked out rather than us lose a good man!

I want to see the contender gone, but our pastor can't seem to exercise discipline...

---------- it is not the pastor's job to exercise discipline, except where he is a member of the empowered body. In the RCUS, the body is the Spiritual Council, made up of elders and ministers. The judicial procedures of complaint, witnesses, trial, etc. are carefully spelled out in the constitutions.

Yes, the contentious person should not have been allowed to act in such a way. An elder should have reproved him, and if he remained contentious, evidence should have been gathered, charges made, and a decision made according to the government of the church and denomination.

In the RCUS contentiousness is especially marked out in the constitution for discipline, but in practice, to our shame, it is sometimes tolerated beyond godliness.

--end of transcript from FaceBook.

Comments on the above

Earthly discipline is very hard in churches, sometimes. People lie over and over. Relatives protect one another. Other agendas intrude and corrupt the procedures. Ministers often do not believe in the constitutional provisions for discipline and opt for more "compassion" and "empathy," forgetting the damage to the church by self-will, rebellion against authority, and transgression of the law of God. They take the easy way.

But it must be done. Ministers and elders who do will be maligned, bullied, and slandered. But what is new? Jesus and the apostles also experienced these things.

Surprisingly, the church that disciplines, even though it will be criticized and maligned, will also gain the respect of the community and people of good will. Those who have an ax to grind will continue to gripe and complain, but the church and its officers will be respected for being willing practice what they preach.

From the constitution of the RCUS:

"An offense is anything in doctrine, principles, or practice of church member, officer, or judicatory that is contrary to the Word of God and nothing shall be admitted as matter of accusation or considered an offense which cannot be proved contrary to the Scriptures or to the regulations of teh Church founded on them. The following sins especailly merit discipline: heresy, schism, blasphemy, adultery, forniation, lascivious wantonness, theft, fraud, perjury, lying, contentiousness, intemperance, profanation of the Lord's Day, impudent scoffing, cruelty, and other violations of the Ten Commandments."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bridling the Tongue

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” (Jas 1:19-21 AV)

James has been talking about trials that come and the reason they come: to prove and purify our faith, as fire does the gold and silver. Now comes an exhortation and warning: shut up and listen.

In the midst of trial the temptation is to speak first, listen second, think last. Result, a bad thing is made far worse. This is especially true in church. Every church worth its salt has some method for solving problems and working out disputes. None of them include running from house to house, complaining and describing our hurt feelings.

In those circumstances our words take on the character of filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness. The word "naughtiness" used in the King James perfectly describes the meaning of the Greek. "Naughtiness" is derived for the word "naught' which means "nothing" or "of no value." The basket of very naughty figs that Jeremiah saw were so rotten they were worth nothing, or worse than nothing. A naughty child is one whose behavior is worthless and rotten.

The phrase "superfluity of naughtiness" then is paradoxical, "overflowing with nothingness" or possessing a great deal of negative value. A perfect description of the things we say under stress if we do not remember to "be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath."

We will never accomplish the work of God by the wrath of man. The wrath of man is deadly, destructive, deadly to the Christian and the church.

The elders of the church must be sensitive to the destructive character of the wrath of man, and not yield to it. They must be careful not to provoke it, and to teach people how to solve disputes, using the methods described in the bible and church constitutions. By no means must they allow people to bypass the constitutions.

The rule of Christ in the church is through those elders and deacons and ministers appointed by Him and chosen by the consent of the people. When people despise these elders and deacons and ministers and bypass their government and rule, they attack the very structure of the church and the rule of Christ in the church. This must not be allowed, for bullies then usurp the government of the church. In well regulated churches, there are lawful means to removed or suspend officers who misbehave, but no individual has the right to unilaterally resist the authority.

A person who drives through a stop sign, may not have seen the sign, and may be convinced that he is innocent of any wrong. However, if he refuses to stop when pursued by a policeman watching the intersection and tries to flee, he becomes guilty of a greater offense. If he then refuses to obey a summons to come to court and resists the officer who is sent with orders to arrest him, he has become guilty of a great many very serious offenses and be subject to a heavy fine and imprisonment. If he still refuses to submit in prison, his very life may be placed in jeopardy.

If the courts and the officers, however, refuse to enforce the provisions of the law, the very life of the society is placed in danger. The stop sign is there for a reason to protect the life of the innocent. If the rebellious person is allowed to run the sign with impunity, he endangers his own life as well as the lives of others.

Thus it is with the tongue. James is going to write a long essay on the evils of a lawless tongue [Chapter 3], but he sums up this section by saying, James 1:26 "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain."

His religion is as empty and as rotten as the "superfluity of naughtiness" that comes from his mouth. Men speak out of the abundance of the heart, and will give account for ever idle [vain] word that they say.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Utter Ruin of a Man

Proverbs 5:22 "His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray."

A person is certainly able to freely choose to follow the path of unbelief and sin. What he is not able to choose is the consequences of that choice of unbelief and sin.

G. K. Chesterton said that people never break out into a larger space, they always break out into a smaller one.

The cords of sin bind a man more and more to iniquity. This is God's decree and they cannot escape it. Sin is the judgment upon the sinner for his sin. "Because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind," is the way Paul puts it in Romans 1.

A man may think he is master of his own mind and is free to think as he chooses, but nothing could be further from the truth. Waves of near insanity sweep over mankind from time to time, fads and customs of thought come and go; men think old, old, follies and imagine themselves very sophisticated and chic, but they are boringly dull. Solomon said years ago, Ec 1:9 "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."

The truth is, man was created to think God's thoughts after Him, as an image. Ps 36:9 "For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light." When we turn from God's light, we think we see, but we see with darkened minds.

The mind was created to see the distinction between the Creator and the creature, but this is exactly where man goes astray. He worships and serves the creature more [rather, or besides] than the Creator.

God is not idle, however when man does this, Paul says. When man does not use the gift of intelligence to see that God is to be worshipped, God darkens the man's mind. Ro 1:28 "And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient [unfit]."

So the poor man, under the wrath of God, has his mind darkened so that he cannot think straight. Unwilling to make the distinction between the Creator and the creation, serving the creation, He more and more becomes unable to make other distinctions, for his mind is corrupt.

The moral and social wicked stew described at the end of Romans 1 is the result of the darkened mind of the wicked rejection of God. He is held by the cords of his sins and cannot deliver himself. Unless God saves him from the his own folly, he will more and more turn to hatred of God and foolishness, ultimately dying without instruction, hating and despising those who try to help him.

He goes astray in the "greatness of his folly."

The result is described in Romans 1:29-32. The reprobate mind is described as:

"Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant1-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

Faithful pastors and teachers, though warning again and again, can only watch with horror and tears.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Concerning the last post.

Many of the recent translations miss the point of Proverbs 25:23. They usually go something like this "As a north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks." Not only does "sly" miss the point, but also the comparison is off. The comparison is this "As the north wind is to rain, so the backbiting tongue is to anger."

But in Palestine the north wind did never bring rain. Rain never came from the north. The north wind drove away the rain. So then, we must say that backbiting drives away anger, which is stupid, or we must say anger drives away backbiting. It is the only thing that makes sense.

The translators have fits with this passage because of the word "north." I think that some were so afraid of the word anger--the idea that it is godly to be angry with backbiting--that they turned the Scripture upside down. Shall I say they were false witnesses? No, I dasn't say that, should I? Could a milk-toast view of Christianity have influenced this translation? hmmmm.

But, on the other hand [don't you love it] it is possible to get a valid interpretation from the NIV. The lying tongue spread anger everywhere, pits brother against brother, husband against wife, etc. But the value of the traditional KJV is that it directs the anger where it belongs--against the slanderer, so that his slander comes back against him, even though he or she wants people to get mad at each other. It is the backbiter who is the culprit, not all the ones who are backbitten. There is where the anger should go: against the devil-tongued one.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Pr 25:23 "The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue."

Does the Lord really mean that it is not only OK but a positive good to get angry with those who destroy other's reputations by backbiting? Surely not. We must be patient, forgiving, kind, charitable, while our neighbor's reputations go up in flames--or so the message is in many churches. How long has it been since anyone in your church was disciplined by the elders for this unspeakable crime against God, the very sin of the devil himself against the church?

"Angry" means to "abhor," "indignation." In the form used here it means to "show anger" or "indignation." You are not only to be angry, but you are to show it. Your love for your neighbor's reputation requires it, and your love for the sinner requires it.

"Countenance" means the presence or person. It is translated often "before" as in Ex. 20:3 in the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." The slanderer ought to be ashamed and fearful of uttering a slander in our presence. What we think about defamation of ministers, elders, Christians, and people in general ought to be abundantly clear. If we lose friends because of it, so be it. We must not aid and abet the devil's work.

"backbiting" literally means "secret." It is what is said in secret. The slanderer speaks in secret and then lies about saying it. Those who aid and abet the slanderer cover for their lies, lying to cover lies and cover sins. It is the sin of the "whisperer" in Romans 1:29, one of the sins that shows the soul abandoned of God and given over to wickedness and reprobation of mind.

"Tongue" means "tongue." The slanderer speaks abominable things about those he hates and wishes to destory, but then denies that he said them.

Those who cover for slanderers are as bad as those who slander. Solomon showed us the way of righteousness. It is such a shame that there are so few who will bear faithful witness, but will cover for the evil. This evil will continue in our churches until Christians get mad about it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

We Needed the A Team!

It is too bad that William Jennings Bryan did not call for help in the famous "Monkey Trial" with Scopes in 1925. Help was available, specifically in the person of John Greshem Machen, who in 1925 was Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary. Machen was one of the foremost scholars of his day and later would found Westminster Theological Seminary as a Bible-believing alternative to Princeton.

Bryan was a good man, a good politician, and a devout Bible believer, but he was no match for Clarence Darrow. Very often cases in court as well as judicial cases in church judicatories are settled by the cleverness and immorality of the attorneys and the willingness of witnesses and attorneys to lie, instead of the rule of laws and constitutions.

Maybe the case would have turned out the same, but Machen would have given a much better defense of the authority and integrity of the Bible.

Of course, the Bible stands on its own and is witnessed by the Spirit of God and the nature of reality, so Darwinism is dying and the Bible still holds sway over the minds of people. But I suspect that Machen would have given Darrow a whipping. Bryan won the case, but lost the battle.

Too bad, Christianity didn't have its "A-Team."

There is some good material about Machen in the current issue of Leben, published by City Seminary of Sacramento.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Duh Moment

It was last night during one of the basketball playoffs--I forget which one. One of the sports chicks on the sideline had just interviewed one of the basketball players, a young black, talented, articulate, intelligent--the player not the sports chick.

A few minutes later, the feed went back to the main desk in time to hear one of the other empty female heads gushing something like this, "He is such a bright young man. I really think he should do something significant--he should get into government and do something significant."

"SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT" "HOPE" "GOVERNMENT" ?????? Those words have absolutely no relation to each other. I do not know what this player does with his $6 million or so each year, but I suspect he would not have to go into government to do something significant, like taking care of his family, going to church, treating his neighbors and relatives with dignity, and treating his fellow athletes right.

"Going into government" often means getting in the way of those who do significant things. Please don't do it. Stay out of politics if you want to be significant.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Peeping Tom and Peeping Tammy

It was late at night and I was listening through the earphones to some cop show on the TV and cleaning up files on my computer when the words broke through to my consciousness and caused me to take a quick look at the tv.

"But how do I know what you really think, if I don’t get you drunk," one cop was saying to his partner."

It was like bells went off in my head, and I understood a passage of Scripture that I had not understood before.

"Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!"

I got it. It is the sin of Ham, the second son of Noah, who mocked his father’s nakedness when he was drunk in the tent after the Flood. He despised his father, told his brothers, and got the curse of Noah upon his son Canaan, the curse that was fulfilled when Joshua exterminated the Canaanites after the Exodus.

Because of sin, man needs a cover for his nakedness--not just his physical, but his mental and psychological nakedness. The sin was the invasion of privacy and the exposure of loved ones to ridicule and shame.

Love covers sins, but hatred exposes them.

When I was in college there were incidents of peeping through the windows of the ladies dormitories and eventually the "Peeping Tom" was found out and expelled. The girls felt violated and shamed, and rightly so, for a "peeper" is a shameful human being.

It is especially shameful when family members are "peepers" and tell family secrets to shame their brothers or sisters or parents. Rev. Mike McGee, one of the RCUS ministers, effectively spoke on this subject at Heidelberg Camp last summer.

It never happened in my family when I was a kid. My sisters would tease me unmercifully sometimes over my foolishness, but never before outsiders. It was only between me and them. We called it loyalty, and it was a shameful betrayal to expose our faults even to cousins or other relatives.

I noticed something in the later years of my school teaching, however. Children and young people would very often regale their friends in school with stories about the foolish things their parents or their siblings did. I was always uncomfortable about it and thought it shameful, but I didn’t really understand why until the other night. I thought it disloyal, but it is more than that. It is a violation of the Fifth Commandment.

In a larger sense it is a violation of the commandment for us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Backbiting, tale-bearing, rumor-mongering, and such are the very work of the devil who is the accuser of the brethren and would leave us exposed and naked before our enemies.

It is especially vicious when the object of the Peeping Tom or Peeping Tammy’s hatred is a gospel minister. They strip him naked before his congregation and if successful in their campaign of hatred render him ineffectual in his work and ministry. It is even worse when ministers are guilty of it. Ministers have been expelled from their pulpits for visual pornography but have done far more damage by speaking or listening to the pornography that is even worse.

It is a sort of auditory pornography and those who practice it get a depraved thrill out of exposing their neighbors and those who listen receive a like thrill. But it is the thrill of devils. Only mean and vicious people can approve and defend it.

There are wives who shame their husbands, and husbands who shame their wives, children who shame their parents, and parents who shame their children. Those who have secret malice toward their neighbor get a sort of guilty pornographic thrill from hearing dirt about them.

It will not be stopped among the people of God until the church sees it for the wicked and shameful filth that it is, and the church courts deal with it severely in horror.

Just as visual pornography debases and corrupts a people, so does auditory pornography. Those who practice it not only strip bare the objects of their hatred, but they will also seek to strip bare anyone who reproves them or stands in the way of their depraved desires. But this is a world of darkness and secret, for peepers do not operate in the daytime but skulk the neighborhood in the dark. If caught they deny and excuse. So auditory pornographers skulk through the darkness through the streets, plying their filthy art.

Psalm 15
1. Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
2. He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
3. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor,nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor.

Heidelberg Catechism:
Q112: What does the ninth Commandment require?
A112: That I bear false witness against no one, twist no one's words, be no backbiter or slanderer, join in condemning no one unheard and rashly; but that on pain of God's heavy wrath I avoid all lying and deceit as the very works of the devil; and that in matters of judgment and justice and in all other affairs I love, speak honestly and confess the truth; also, insofar as I can, defend and promote my neighbor's good name. [emphasis mine]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

How Do You Smell?
Scroll down to see the post on Externalism

Ec 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death
than the day of one's birth.

Ec 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a
stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom
and honor.

A sweet smell is a figure for a number of related things in the Bible: the
work of the Holy Spirit, godly prayer, worship, a good reputation.

Christ is "Messiah" the anointed one because He exalts the name of God,
and justifies His people against the lies and deceits of the devil whose
stock in trade is accusing the brothers. He is anointed as Prophet, Priest,
and King to exalt the name of God and to clear the name of God's

A man's reputation because of a long and fruitful life is better than his
reputation because of the family that he is born to. Hence, as far as
reputation is concerned, death trumps birth. Who he is when he dies is
far more important that who he is when he is born.

Our praise to God is a sweet odor because we are exalting his name and
lifting up his reputation before men. Bad doctrine, false worship,
deceitful worship are all said in Scripture to be a stink before God.

Slander is vicious because it brings a bad odor upon a man's name and
hinders his work for God in the world.

He who would be wise must watch the ways of his feet, for a little folly
will besmirch his reputation like a few flies foul a sweet ointment. He
must pray for wisdom, for his enemies will use his faults and shoot foul
and wicked arrows to destroy him. There are none truly wise but God so
he must take the whole armor of God, especially the shield of faith to
quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Just as Christ is sweetness and purity before God, so the whisperings,
accusations, and hatred of Apollyon stink up the church, divide between
brothers, and bring the hatred of God. Hence, we are commanded to
resist the devil and he will flee from us.

2Co 2:16 To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the
other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given
himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Curse of Externalism

Does the doctrine of Total Depravity mean that there is nothing good in the Christian? To say that will be to deny the work of the Holy Spirit in the Christian. The Scriptures are very clear about it.

1. If a person is a child of God, then God has begun to work in his heart and mind to transform him, to make something good of him. The evil from Adam is not changed, but placed under condemnation, but a new nature in the image of Christ is implanted. "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" (Php 1:6)

2. This work is known as regeneration, or the creating of new life. "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:" (Eph 2:1-2) Jesus put it this way: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven."

3. Because of this newness in Christ, it is possible for a person to begin to be fruitful in good works, in good thoughts, in good morals. This why Paul prays: "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;" (Col 1:9-10 )

4. This is so critical to the Gospel that it is one side of the seal of God to the very foundation of the Gospel. One side is the hidden knowledge of God concerning the elect; the other side is the necessity of those who are called Christians to depart from iniquity: "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (2Ti 2:19)

5. And so, the Scripture tells us in this same place: "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work." (2Ti 2:21) A man can and must become fit for the master’s use, prepared unto every good work if he is to call himself a Christian.

6. For a person to say that Christians cannot do or think truly good things is to deny the power of God. "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (Tit 1:16) People deny the Lord, not only in their words, but also in their deeds.

7. A good minister will exhort and plead with the people to live holy and godly lives, putting away the deeds of the flesh, the hating, the backbiting, the gossip, and other forms of hatred and evil.

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (Heb 13:20-21)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Economics 101

There are only three ways the United States Government can get money. It can borrow it, tax for it, or print it. In reverse order:

1. Printing is really a tax on all the people that cheapens the money. This can been done a little at a time and prices will gradually increase. But people catch on after a while and they push for cost of living increases and such, so that the inflation does not work. If massive printing takes place financial institutions are destroyed including government banks. People pay off old debts in cheap money which will not buy anything. The open market disappears, black markets proliferate, liberty as lost as the secret police intrude into everything. Modern nations do not inflate primarily by printing but by easy credit and marginal reserve banking. The result is the same, but saves paper and ink.

2. Taxing is not politically valid, for the people will not stand for it, nor can it survive economically. If the rich are taxed, the money goes into hiding, off shore, in foreign investments, in long term investments in gold or silver, etc. The rich have ways. Most taxes on the rich are paid for by the lower classes because the rich just pass the taxes on through in the cost of goods and services. Business men must count them in the cost of doing business and pass them through to their customers. A little wiggle room can be achieved by lying to the people, promising tax relief until after the election and then reneging on the promises. The government has a couple years until the next election. Jobs and industry move overseas, and people blame the "evil" businessmen for taking their jobs overseas, because the people are too ignorant to see that it was government taxation that sent the jobs overseas.

3. Borrowing is even more destructive. The lending market always responds to supply and demand. If the demand for money exceeds the supply, the price of money [interest] goes up. This increases government budgets as the rates go up and up as they did in the Carter administration. This also slows business, because they must stand in line behind the government in order to borrow money and they must pay a higher rate. The economy slows, only helped a little by government money poured into favored businesses and banks to keep the inefficient ones alive and working. These compete with an unfair advantage over those who are not favored, but efficient, so that the quality of goods and services decline. When the inevitable scandal occurs, instead of seeing the villain in government, the government proposes more rules and regulations and government supervisors to see that quality is maintained. Just like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The results are boringly predictable.

Solution. The problem is the people, and the people must provide the solution. As long as the people make government their god and the president their savior, there is no hope. The cycle will continue and Babylon will be overwhelmed in debt, despair, and oppression. The people must cast their gods to the moles and bats and look to the God who created them to provide their daily bread and the necessities of their lives. They way they are to do this is described in Eph 4:28 "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."

The foundation of economic health is not living off the labor of others [as government does] but doing honest work and showing kindness to those around you. Simple, isn't it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

This Is Fair???

Shame on the Congress of the United States. They just voted debt and socialism on the American people for many generations. And not ONE OF THEM read the bill, which was crafted in secret by a few rotten and depraved democrats. The rest followed like sheep. This link will take you to a video detailing the shame that will be cursed by our grandchildren and our great grandchildren.

Link to video

This is the same crowd that wants to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine" so that their opposition will never be heard on the radio again. They have no shame, except that which will be heard in the curses of our posterity. Shame Shame Shame

“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.” (Jer 8:12 AV)

The shame of this black president is worse than the racism that put black Americans in slavery. He would condemn not only the black citizens but all citizens of every race, color, creed, and sex to the moral and financial bondage of totalitarianism. It is not too late, but he must veto the "recovery" bill. Otherwise he will go far down in history as the subverter of the American republic and the enslaver of a free people.

shame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shameshame shame shame

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chambering? and Wantonness?

Moreover, it is to be observed that we cannot desire Jesus Christ without aspiring to the righteousness of God, which consists in renouncing ourselves and obeying his will. For it is preposterous to pretend that we are of the body of Christ, while abandoning ourselves to all licentiousness, and leading a dissolute life. Since in Christ is nought but chastity, benignity, sobriety, truth, humility, and such like virtues, if we would be his members, all uncleanness, intemperance, falsehood, pride, and similar vices must be put from us. For we cannot intermingle these things with him without offering him great dishonor and insult. We ought always to remember that there is no more agreement between him and iniquity than between light and darkness. If we would come then to true repentance, we must endeavor to make our whole life conformable to the example of Jesus Christ. –John Calvin. “A Short Treatise on the Supper of our Lord” Paragraph 24.

Seems that Calvin thought there was more to Christianity that warming the bottom in church and having the ears tickled.

“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” (Ro 13:13)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

For the People, especially the Children! Nope.
Against the Family, the People, especially the Children!

If you think it is "for the people," you are as dumb as a rock, no matter how many degrees you have. Capping the pay of executives, I mean. It is against the people, not for the people. It isn't hard, and I will explain it to you if you will put aside your envy and greed and prejudice against the rich for a moment.

The purpose is to destroy the wealthy class and put all power in the hands of government. It took a long time for kings to destroy the noble class in Europe, but they were ultimately successful beginning with Philip the Fair. Only the powerful nobles could keep the king in check, just as only the powerful rich can hold government in check today. Their power should be balanced against each other, and if the power tips to the great ones, or toward the elected officials, the result is the same, oppression of the people in the name of the people.

If there are no rich, who will fund the opposition? eh??

Get out your old dusty history books, except those written under the misguided influence of Marx and Lenin, and find out for yourself.

Philip destroy the nobles and the rich and powerful, most notibly the Templars [the church follows the rich to the trashheap, for it is a threat to the "people"]. Read--find out for yourself.

Friday, February 06, 2009 - At Least One American Believed Killed by Freed Gitmo Prisoners - International News News of the World Middle East News Europe News: "A New York woman was killed in a terrorist attack at the U.S. Embassy in Sana, Yemen, in September. And U.S. counterterrorism officials have now confirmed that Said Ali al-Shihri, 35, who was released from the Guantanamo Bay prison center in 2007, is the deputy leader of Al Qaeda in that Mideast country and is a suspect in the attack."

Well, there you go. The same thinking that equates the doctrine of hell, spanking children, waterboarding terrorists, extension of constitutional rights to those who reject the constitution, and generally disapprove of making anyone uncomfortable in body, mind, spirit, or emotions, but extending rights to dogs, trees, bugs, and grass, is able to accept the murder of the innocent.

The problem is, they cannot tell the difference between the innocent and the guilty, because they reject natural law and conscience. If some green or pink group doesn't define good and evil for them, they are morally paralyzed. Only collective conscience is accepted. An individual sense of right or wrong is considered arrogant. There are people who claim Reformed persuasion who are also deny the use of reason and conscience and end up in the same kind of moral paralysis. "My reason is depraved," they moan, thereby denying the work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives, thereby denying regeneration, for the Scripture says:

2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

If the saints cannot make moral decisions, then there is no hope for the world. "If the salt hath lost its savor, it is hencefore good for nothing...."
We must pass the stimulus package, or we will never recover, saith the Savior.


Even Roosevelt was not this arrogant. "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." But this self-appointed Messiah thinks to outdo Jesus Himself. He will also attempt to curb the opposition on talk radio. All in the name of saving the people, of course. Saviors can brook no opposition and those who deny their solutions are guilty of treason or blasphemy.

But, oh well. He who sits in the Heavens will laugh.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lying Ain't Peanuts! Especially about People or to Judicatories.

The following is from the Christian Education Report presented to Synod in 2002 and 2003. It was not adopted except the first page in 2003. The whole report may be found at
Christian Education Report

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his
neighbor: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin
not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to
the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor,
working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to
give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out
of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it
may minister grace unto the hearers.

If we are to be a part of the heavenly conversation, we must first quit our lying.
We must not lie about God (false doctrine); we must not lie about ourselves
(hypocrisy and guile); we must not lie about each other (slander and falsehood).

Members of each other. This is true because we are members of the same body.
Christ has no disassociated body parts. To use a physical analogy, the animal
body cannot function unless the nervous system is whole and uncorrupted. Drugs
and alcohol, and certain diseases, disrupt the nervous system and the body
becomes uncontrollable.

In order for the body to work properly, it must be connected to the head and all of
the parts must be connected to each other. Words of love and truth cement our
connection to each other; lies disrupt the connection. The words of the Gospel in
Scripture connect us to Jesus Christ and the words of the Scriptures teach us to
love one another, forbear one another, and forgive one another in Jesus Christ.

Grieve Not the Holy Spirit. Because we have been baptized into Christ, it is
the Holy Spirit who works faith and love in the children of God, and seals us unto
the day of redemption. Evil communications grieve Him:

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the
day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and
clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. --Ephesians 4:30-32

Instead of grieving the Holy Spirit, we are called to confess with our mouth the
Lord Jesus and to believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead.
We are called to confess Him before men, to confess our sins, and no longer
deceive ourselves by walking in the lies of self-righteousness and self-
justification. We are to trust in Christ for forgiveness of sins and so be restored to
fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.

Without the Triune God, how lonely is the life of man! The modern man has no
speaking God, no fellowship and communion with God. The only voice that
modern man hears is the Babel of his own wilderness.

God has provided all things for His church. It is through His promises that we
escape the corruption that is in the world through lust [II Pet. 1:4]. It is also
through the promises that we have fellowship with Him and with one another [I
John 1]. This fellowship begins in the church, for without the church there is no
fellowship with God and no living fellowship with one another. Without the
church we are lost in a communion of death, dancing the dance of death, speaking
the words of death, working the works of death. The stench of death is about all
we do.

Only in Christ, in the living body of Christ, do we find life, and peace, and
service. The church is a living temple made of living stones. His communion is
the communion of life because He endured death for us and rose up from the dead
to bring us life forevermore. Shall we be wiser than God? God has ordained the
means for us to have fellowship with Him: we do not seek some other way, for
our Shepherd comes by the door of the sheep and those who climb up some other
way are thieves and robbers. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the
unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord" [Isaiah 55:7] As
long as a person clings in pride to his own opinions and his own stubborn ways,
there is no hope for fellowship with God, who resists the proud, but give grace to
the humble. The proud talk only to themselves, for God does not hear them.

I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon
them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did
not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I
delighted not. Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his
word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's
sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy,
and they shall be ashamed. Isaiah 66:4,5

The Lord hears those who take His word seriously and tremble.

Speaking the Truth in Love (Ephesians 4:5)
Paul expands on this idea from Ephesians 5:19 to the end of the epistle. Verses
19,20 give the outline.

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks
always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of

We are to speak to one another, and to speak to God in thanksgiving and praise,
echoing Psalm 50, cited above. The Christian life is a joyful conversation with
God and with each other. Involved in this conversation is the necessity of joyful
submission one to another in the fear of God, who has called us out of darkness
into the glorious light of His Son. (I Peter 2:9) In terms of this submission, the
apostle speaks of the relationship between husbands and wives, parents and
children, owners and labor. He ends by speaking of our conflict with the evil
conversation of the world, which can only be overcome by the armor of the Spirit:

Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able
to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand
therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the
breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the
preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of
faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the
wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and
supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all
perseverance and supplication for all saints. --Ephesians 6:13-18

The armor of God is not for protection against bombs and guns and clubs. God
has fashioned those carnal weapons and they cannot do more than His word and
wisdom permits. As we read in Isaiah 54:

Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and
that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the
waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall
prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment
thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Jesus put it this way, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that
proceedeth from the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4) It is not that man should not live
by bread alone, but that man does not live by bread alone. Apart from the decree
and wisdom of God man cannot so much as move. We have no independent
existence, for in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:29). We
cannot even raise our fist in defiance of Him without using the strength, the mind,
the self-consciousness that He gives us. In our sin we turn His gifts against Him,
and it is only His patience and long-suffering that holds back the punishment that
we deserve.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." (Heb 13:17)

1. "Obey" is in the imperative, but middle voice, a passive. It is formed from the word for "persuade" so it means "be persuaded" or simply obey, but not just in form but from the mind. "Allow yourself to be persuaded" is the meaning. Don't be a trouble-maker.

2. The word "rule" simply means to go before, to lead. So the substance is "follow your leaders," because they have a very important task and your job is to make their task a joyful one, not one of grief.

3. The task is to "watch" for souls. The elders, and especially the minister, are to watch for the souls of the people of God. The figure is from the watchmen who were entrusted with surveillance of the area surrounding the city, especially the ravines and passes where enemies might approach unseen. God warned Ezekiel, the prophet, using this very same figure:

"So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. 8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Eze 33:7-9)

This passage was familiar to those who received the letter to the Hebrews, and they would certainly have understood that their pastors served this same function in the church as the prophets did to Israel. Pastors and elders are to watch, be intellectually aware of heretical movements and practices, of sins that would disturb the church, of rebellions and murmurings, and warn the church of them. Not to do so is to be derelict of duty, and conniver with evil men or women. He has no choice about it if he is to serve Christ.

4. This would be so good for the church if they did this. When the leadership of a church is filled with sorrow and pain, the object of gossip and slander, of obstruction and dissension, it is very bad for the church. When leaders are honored it is good for the church, just as it is good for children when they obey their parents, for this is the commandment with promise. As the Heidelberg Catechism says on the Fifth Commandment:

Q104: What does God require in the fifth Commandment?
A104: That I show all honor, love and faithfulness to my father and mother,[1] and to all in authority over me,[2] submit myself with due obedience to all their good instruction and correction, and also bear patiently with their infirmities, since it is God's will to govern us by their hand.[3]

1. Eph. 6:1-6, 22; Col. 3:18, 20-24; Prov. 1:8-9; 4:1; 15:20; 20:20; Exod. 21:17; Gen. 9:24-25
2. Rom. 13:1-7; I Peter 2:18; Matt. 22:21
3. Eph. 6:4, 9; Col. 3:19, 21; Prov. 13:24; 30:17; Deut. 27:16; 32:24; I Tim. 2:1-2; 5:17; Heb. 13:17-18

We will not find perfection in our leaders, just as they will not find perfection in their followers. But God would humble us and place us under human authority and government in order that we might know that we are to be ruled by His decree and goodness. It is an act of great faith for us to consent to live under human government and our flesh recoils against it, especially if we do not like those whom God has appointed. But we certainly have no choice as to our fathers and mothers, and often we do not get our will as far as church and civil authorities are concerned. But no matter their character, the word of the Holy Spirit stands forever:

"And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves." (1Th 5:12-13)

This is the command of Christ.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Grace Doesn't Do Moral Darkness, You Know.

God cannot be the source of disobedience, for that would be to deny Himself. "God is light, and Him is no darkness at all, " is the way James puts it.

Paul puts it this way, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world...." [Titus 2:11,12]

How can you say that you can live in an ungodly way because you believe in grace? Grace teaches something else. In the school of grace you learn to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. In that school you learn to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

So, why would those who talk of grace lie to one another? Why would they lie about their ministers and elders? Why would they thumb their noses at the judicatories of the church? Why would they say, "Lord, Lord," and do not the things that Jesus said?

Must the minister apologize to his congregation for teaching them what the Scriptures say about esteeming highly those who are over them; a text that specifically applies to the officers of the church who are to admonish the unruly? [1Thess. 5:12-14] "Are over" means to have rule, to preside, to administer. The Lord Jesus has prescribed a government and order to His church. Must he be sorry that is written in the Scripture and apologize for it? Must parents apologize to their children because the Scripture says, "Honor your Father and your Mother?" Does the Scripture and grace teach us to hate our parents and spurn them even unto their deaths? To defy and slander those who try to obey this order? Even worse, are we to be abettors of those who live unruly lives?

Of course the rebels always have a ready response. They like the idea that there is truth on both sides of everything and are ready, "You must be Roman Catholic and deny the priesthood of the believer and the freedom of the Christian." Neat, self comforting, and wrong.

This perversion and corruption of grace does not come from heaven, but from somewhere else. It is a wisdom that does not descend from above but arises from somewhere else.

"For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." James 3:16, 17

A good minister will refuse profane old wives fables, but will be nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine and will exercise himself unto godliness. [see 1Tim. 4:6] Godliness means obeying God and not the tizzy fits that silly women have. ["silly women" is to be considered as a single idea, denoting only one class of women. The Bible also speaks of wise, sober, and godly women who do not run from house to house stirring up strife in the church.]

Not only is sin contrary to grace, but the counsel that aids and abets the behavior is also not of grace. That which is contrary to godliness cannot be of grace. Every work of darkness is contrary to grace and is to be reproved, rebuked, and corrected, or what is the ministry for? Jesus was no enabler and comfort for those who rebelled against the truth. Neither must we be.

"They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you." --Jer. 23:17

Monday, January 05, 2009

Making Your Boast in God.

There is nothing new under the sun. In Romans 2:17, Paul speaks of those who "made their boast of God" but by the way they lived they dishonored God.

They boasted that they knew the law and were capable of instructing the ignorant and the blind and children. But it was all vain because they did not do the things they approved. They lied and slandered and resisted the truth. It was all hollow and empty because knowledge and the approval of goodness is useless if we do not DO the good.

Paul asked a penetrating question, "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?” (Ro 2:21-22) Wow!

DailyTech - Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979

DailyTech - Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979: "Earlier this year, predictions were rife that the North Pole could melt entirely in 2008. Instead, the Arctic ice saw a substantial recovery. Bill Chapman, a researcher with the UIUC's Arctic Center, tells DailyTech this was due in part to colder temperatures in the region. Chapman says wind patterns have also been weaker this year. Strong winds can slow ice formation as well as forcing ice into warmer waters where it will melt."


The unbeliever is not only blind with respect to the Scripture, he is also blind to the plain evidence of his senses. This does not mean that he can see and hear and know the voice of nature, but that he will do real science, only when it is in his interest to do so." Just as the devil will quote Scripture for his own purpose, so man can do remarkable scientific work unless his discoveries contradict his basic religious opinions.

In that case, he is as blind as a mole and dumb as a rock. Go figure, it must be a judgment, just as God says. [John 12:40 and Romans 1:28].


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