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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Losing Connection.

Saul of Tarsus was a religious fanatic.  Thinking that he did God service, he harassed the early Christians
with the greatest of zeal.  He confessed to the greatest animosity and energy against Christians when he was
on trial before King Agrippa:

I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of 
Nazareth.   Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, 
having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my 
voice against them.  And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to 
blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange 
cities.  –Acts 26:9-11

Saul was a convinced representative of a false religious opinion, which he described as the “Jew’s religion” in 
Galatians 1.  [It is important to note that Paul did not understand the faith of Abraham nor the meaning of 
circumcision, as did few of the religious leaders of that day]  In order to carry out the cruelty that he thought 
God required of him, it was necessary that he suppress the most basic human instincts.  These instincts go to 
the very core of man’s being and represent the image of God.  Paul described these instincts in Romans 

(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.  
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, 
these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:  Which show the work of the law written 
in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while 
accusing or else excusing one another;)

Saul was a young man, with the deepest religious convictions—wrong though he was.  He had kept the 
garments of those who had stoned Stephen, one of the first deacons.  His system of faith was clearly worked 
out, and it seemed just to him that those who worshipped Jesus Christ should be put to death.  They were 
apostates from the “Jew’s religion” as he saw it.  It was wrong for them to worship a man.  As he would put 
it later, “[I] was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I 
did it ignorantly in unbelief.” 1 Timothy 1:13 

To Saul, it seemed most reasonable and rational and many Bible verses seemed to support the idea of 
persecution and terror.  Yet he had a conflict in his own soul.  In order to justify the fanaticism of his 
commitment to the Jew’s religion, he had to suppress common decency, a common humanity.  He came to 
understand this later, when the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ had taught him the truth of the Old 
Testament and he was converted to Christ.

When Saul of Tarsus [Later called Paul] had his famous vision of Christ on the Damascus Road, the Lord 
Jesus referred to this conflict in Paul’s soul:

“I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”  –Acts 

There is something wrong with a man’s religion if he must suppress common decency in order to be faithful
to it.  All religions are not the same, and do not become equal because we declare them equal.  Some are
more wicked than others, and some even call their devotees to act toward men in a way that is cruel and
wicked.  In order to war against men who are in the image of God, they must first of all suppress the
remnants of God’s image in themselves.

Jesus spoke against this mindset when he said to the Pharisees:

And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if 
it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?  How much then is 
a man better than a sheep?  Matthew 12:11,12

What kind of religion would require a person to treat a human being worse than he would treat an ox?  If 
strict ceremonial observance of the Sabbath did not prohibit merciful acts toward animals, why could the law 
possibly be construed to forbid mercy toward men?  One of the glories of the faith of Israel was their 
observance of the Sabbath.  It had been given by God, and was one of the greatest humanitarian benefits in 
the history of the world, for men, women, children, flocks and herds, and even the land itself were given 
regular times of rest and rejuvenation.  But it was made for man.  Man was not created for the Sabbath, and 
a man is worth more than an ox.

A false religion that believes that God is pleased with ceremonies will put more emphasis on ceremonies and 
things than they do on the man created in the image of God.  The Apostle John put into perspective the 
importance of man when he wrote,  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for 
he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” --1 
John 4:20    A pretended love for God is only an abstraction if it does not included a real love for man, who 
is in the image of God. 

This is the moral knowledge that is written in the very nature of all men.  According to the passage from 
Romans 2, quoted above, even those who do not have the revealed religion have this very knowledge 
written their very being.  Those who live in cruelty and murder, must not only suppress the knowledge of 
God described in Romans 1, but they must also suppress the moral truth that man must love his neighbor. 
Even those who have not received the Scriptures may be called to account on the basis of the principles of 
common humanity.  These were the goads that Saul kicked against.

Recently America has been subjected to terrorism by Islamic fundamentalists.  What is the offense of
America?  Our bases in Saudi Arabia “defile” their holy land.  In other words, the sand of Saudi Arabia is
holier than the image of God in man.  In their wickedness, this is the justification for the murder of innocent
men, women, and children.

This was the spirit that drove the Crusades—the land of Palestine was the “holy land” and infidels should be 
driven from it.  The land was more important than the people.  After all, they were infidels and deserving of 
nothing.  There is no question that there were fanatical religious justifications for the crusades, but it is also 
true that they were misguided, wicked, and ungodly.  The wisdom that justified the slaughter of thousands of 
men, women, and children was the wisdom described by James, “This wisdom descendeth not from 
above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.”

Covetousness is the driving force of idolatry.  [Col. 3:5]  The love of the world is deceitful indeed, and it was 
this very sin that empowered the cruelty of Saul of Tarsus, and by which he was convinced of his depravity 
[Romans 7].  This is the sin of worshiping the creature rather than the Creator, the visible rather than He who 
is not seen.

This innate knowledge of God’s basic law--than man love his neighbor--is the foundation of what used to be 
called “natural law.”  Karl Barth, reacting against the Nazi’s evil application of natural law, denied its very 
existence, and his teaching has had wide influence.  In denying man’s own basic moral nature, theologians 
have helped to loose the restraint that God has placed upon men in their own conscience, and have helped 
advance the idea that we are all the product of our religious conditioning and that “it is all a matter of 

One of the results of the denial of man’s innate moral nature has been to remove from the church an effective 
tool to restrain the evil that is in man’s nature.  If there is no moral governor in man, the image of God, then 
the only effective restraint comes from the decrees of governments, civil and ecclesiastical, and there is no 
common standard to which all men, believers and non-believers, can be held.

To many Christians the effect of the denial of natural law has meant that they have lost contact with the non-
Christian world.  There is nothing that the Christian has in common with the unbeliever, not even a common
moral nature.  We thereby talk past each other, for a man that has not been “conditioned” to our religious
point of view will never be able to understand what we say.  This is exactly what he wants us to think—that
our views are every bit as conditioned as his.  This gives him a free pass, “That’s just your view.”  The Ten
Commandments do not apply to him because they are not “his” commandments.  Jehovah is not “his god.”  
The more consistent he is in his “faith” the more he must suppress the image of God in himself.

The offense of the cross then ceases for the Christian.  No longer does he have to call men away from their 
rebellion and strife.  This makes it easier for many Christians to pretend that all faiths have some equal 

But God cannot deny Himself, and neither can Satan, however much he may try to disguise himself.  Satan 
may seek to transform himself into an angel of light or a minister of righteousness, but he cannot transform his 
nature.  His name is Apollyon, which means destroyer, and his ways are destruction and misery, even if they 
are offered up in the name of religion [Rev. 9:11].  The home of his followers is the bottomless pit.

Men who have suppressed their consciences are very evil men, especially if it is done in the name of religion. 
Their consciences are seared as with a hot iron [I Tim. 4:2] It was for this reason that Paul called himself the
“chiefest of sinners.” [I Timothy 1:15]   It is a frightful sin to make God an accomplice to murder and terror. 
But God showed mercy to Saul, for where sin abounded, there did grace much more abound.  God is able
to awaken conscience and save the worst of sinners by His free grace.

When the common grace of sensitive conscience is suppressed in a nation [It is distressing that conscience is
disparaged even among some in the Reformed community], it will not be long until a society completely
disintegrates.  The third use of the Law to suppress sin is effective because of conscience, not because the
unbeliever is willing to accept the Law of God.  We can connect with man, not only because of the innate
knowledge of God described in Romans 1, but also in terms of man’s moral sense described in Romans 2. 
Man has these by virtue of his creation by God, and they are necessary revelation for the reception of the
Gospel of Christ.  No man can come to Jesus unless he is drawn by the Father, according to Jesus Himself.

Is there a man among those desperate Islamic men who has been appointed by God to take the Gospel to 
his fellows, as Saul was?  Is there one who is kicking against the pricks?  Let us pray that it be so.  Not so 
we can have prosperity and peace of mind, but for the honor and glory of His grace in Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Obama, the Great Uniter.  Hope and Change, Hope and Change.....

How is that stuff working for you?  Why can't we all just get along?  How can you get along with someone who wants you to pay them for work they don't do to your satisfaction, and tells you to stuff it if you complain?  People who think they have a right to plush jobs that the taxpayer must pay for?  People who think you have no right to work unless they get a chunk of what you earn?  People who lower the amount of work available because employers are forced to pay more than the work is worth?  People who, after they have inflated the cost of labor, then demand that the taxpayer be forced to pay them for doing nothing?  Go figure.

In actual fact, unions are the enemy of liberty.  That's why they must resort to thuggery and intimidation, because they never win when their ideas are tested in the public forum of fair elections.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Don't Waste a Good Crisis; Especially if You Can Keep Your Bought Capitalists.  See link

In the good old days, the capitalists bought the politicians with their own money.  Nowadays, the politicians buy the capitalists with taxpayer money.   The difference between the Nazis and the Communists is a small one.  Under National Socialism, the government let you keep your company, they just told you how to run it for the good of the ruling class who knew better than anyone else.
American Jailed in Cuba 
 Woe, Woe, Woe to him who sins against the all knowing, all powerful, all benevolent state.

"I am deeply sorry for being a trusting fool. I was duped. I was used. And my family and I have paid dearly for this," he said. The court was apparently unmoved and sentenced Gross to 15 years for crimes against the state. His conviction was upheld last month by the island's Supreme Court."

Socialism = Statist Humanism.  It is a religious order, which has its own set of morality in opposition to the Ten Commandments.  It has its priests who decide who will be saved and who will be punished, and there is no appeal to God, for it recognizes no god but itself.  There are people in America who, except for the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and the tattered remnants of our Constitution, who long for the same kind of government in America that is found in Cuba and other such ungodly nations.  They would love to put patriots in hell and hang them from trees.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Have YOU No Decency, Mr. Krugman?
An Open Letter

I know you are the attack dog for the New York Times and the Democratic National Committee, but this column is preposterous:

Yes, Mr. Cantor popped off his mouth, but Republicans distanced themselves from him and he has cooled his jets.  Where were you when one of your buddies said that tea partiers could go to hell, or when another one of them said that tea partiers wanted to hang blacks from trees?  Neither of them has backed off from their statements, but have defended them.

I also know that columns like this are an admission of utter weakness and helplessness; your guy is going down the drain, your paper has no respect, ridden with scandal, and experiencing declining readership.  It calls for louder and more intemperate rhetoric, like when a preacher pounds the pulpit when his argument is weak.

Mr. Kantor was impolitic in saying it, but how WILL government giveaways be paid for?  Are you prepared to make stones into bread, or do you live in a world where mathematics and physics operate on different principles than the one most Americans live in?  It is YOU who are playing politics with Irene and American tragedy, just as your guy in the White House is.  Shame, shame, shame, shame.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

This Sword Has Another Edge to It    Link to Article in Washington Examiner

Hey!!! Why wasn't Obama's membership in a church that wanted to damn America fair game last election?  Oh, yes, I know.  Liberals have no principles.

"Surveying those articles, the executive editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, concludes that "an unusually large number" of Republican candidates "belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans." Perry and Bachmann, in particular, are connected to "fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity," which Keller says "has raised concerns about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact and fiction." Fearing that Perry or Bachmann could be a "Trojan horse" for a religious takeover of the government, Keller advocates strict questioning of candidates on doctrinal issues."

If You Live by Partisanship, you will die by Partisanship!

"First, Obama ambushed the GOP by upstaging the party’s presidential debate with a major address. Then Republicans returned fire by trying to push it back to the 8th. Then the name-calling started. Finally, late Wednesday, Obama agreed to change the day — even if it means backtracking and bumping against the NFL’s Thursday night opener."

Read more:

Of course, the hacks over at Politico have to admit that Obama "ambushed" the GOP, but do not admit that Obama had no choice.  Boehner held the trump card of security for the President on such short notice.  It shows the disarray of the Obama administration.  There was no urgency in the jobs program when O took his vacation while the employment numbers were going south, the urgency only became great after the golfing was out of the way.  Why not use the "urgency" as an opportunity to push the Republican debate aside.  Who wants to hear those teapartiers, anyway, had to be what passes for strategy in the White House.

This has been the most partisan administration in my lifetime, since I became aware of national events after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when I was seven.  But, Mr. President, Speaker Boehner can read the polls.  Where was the urgency when your party held both houses of Congress and the economy was tanking?  At that time, all you were interested in was running up the national debt to pay off your cronies and looting the national treasure.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Are You Ready to Die for Christ?

Two views of man and morality are at war in the United States. There are many nuances and varieties, but the crux is this: Is man to be free to live under the law of His Creator [the Ten Commandments], or is he to be coerced to live under the law of the collective wisdom of man [human law arising out of the experience of the human race, as interpreted by "scientific" experts.] The social, civil, economic, legal, educational decisions will be guided by a person's idea of morality. The front of the conflict now involves abortion, homosexuality, educational theory, but it will soon involve every decision of life. Are you ready to die for Christ?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

There is only One Church and Eternal Covenant!

"And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Hebrews 11:39,40

Chapter eleven of Hebrews lists the prominent saints of the Old Testament. It begins by defining faith as the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Then, starting with Abel, who offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, and ending with the martyrs of the Old Testament, the chapter includes brief bios of the heroes of faith in the Old Testament. People like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jephthah, Rahab, Samuel, Gideon and others are mentioned by name, but other very great saints like Job, Ruth, Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah and Daniel are not mentioned except indirectly.

But all of these gain a "good report" through faith
: They were accepted of God on account of their faith and were perfected, obtained eternal life and enjoy eternal bliss in the presence of God forever, for He is not God of the dead but of the living, as Jesus said [Matt. 22:32]. There has never been any other way to please God than by faith, for "without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

But none of these glorious saints, now in heaven, received the promise. What is the "promise" that they did not receive, that better thing that "we" have that these Old Testament saints did not have? Many of them had the joy of salvation [Ps. 51:8-12], the promise of the world to come, great earthly blessings [Abraham and Job, for instance], and all of them had trials and testings. They suffered the reproach of Christ and drank of living water and living bread [1Cor 10]. They even had the blessings of the Holy Spirit in a measure [Is. 63:10,11; Neh. 9:10].

The difference is Jesus Christ. They did not have the full knowledge of the Lord Jesus, but only saw Him "afar off" by faith as Abraham did [John 8:56]. Their lack of knowledge and hearing and seeing the ministry of the Lord Jesus did not mean they were not perfected, for it is by faith in Christ that we find the perfection and all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. They had the gospel preached to them [Gal. 3:8, ], but it only profited those who believed [Heb. 4:2; Rom. 9:31,32]. Isaiah prophesied that the Spirit of God would be on Messiah to preach the gospel [Is. 61:1,2 with Luke 4:18]; Daniel also knew that Messiah would make an end of sins, reconcile for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, and fulfill the prophecies [Daniel 9:24]. In fact, the first promise of the Bible concerning the Lord Jesus is in Genesis 3:15, when God told Eve that her seed would bruise the head of the serpent [mortally wound his power and authority over man because of sin and guilt [Heb. 2:14,15], and would himself be bruised in his heel by the serpent [Christ's kingdom, suffered a small set back, but triumphed over the devil by Christ's resurrection].

Moses saw only the hinder parts of God and could only reveal the backside of the Gospel, if you will. [Exodus 33:20-23]. Jesus, as the S0n of God, could see God face to face [2Cor 4:6] and we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. This was withheld from the saints in the Old Testament, reserved until the coming of Christ and His manifestation to the world. But this did not prevent the believer in the Old Testament from having genuine faith and obtaining the perfection of faith that is found in Christ alone. Their faith was not inferior to ours, but their knowledge was.

The Church stands by faith, and falls by unbelief, just as Israel [Romans 11L20-18-23]. In fact, the church has a greater responsibility because she has been given greater knowledge. "If the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.... [Heb. 2:2,3]" To whom much is given, much is required. those in Israel, because of her blessings, will receive greater judgment than Sodom, or Tyre, or Sidon who did not have such mighty works done of God.

Even more so, those of the Church who reject faith and repentance can expect greater wrath than Israel: "26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace [Heb. 10:26-29]?"

But those who do believe are one people in the Lord, perfected in Jesus Christ. It was God's plan, though hidden in mystery before the coming of the Lord Jesus to join those who believe in Christ, both Jew and Gentile to the perfected ones of the Old Testament, a holy people unto the Lord forever. Hence, the cross broke down the middle wall of partition between us, making us one in Christ. [Eph. 1:12ff] Those without hope, strangers from the promises, and "far off" from the covenants, are made nigh by the blood of Jesus, becoming one people and one family of God. [Eph. 1:19]. There is one redeemed people in the book of Revelation, redeemed from every kindred, tongue, people, and nation, by the "everlasting gospel." [Rev. 5:9]

It was revealed by the preaching of the Gospel in the book of Acts and in the Epistles, that what had been only known very dimly in the Old Testament was now being made clear: "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.... [Ephesians 3:5,6].

There is, therefore, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all, but unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ [Eph 4:4-7]. Christ is all, in the Old Testament and in the New. In Christ we have "put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all [Col. 3:10, 11]."

Amen and Amen. [Note: Scripture references are not designed to be "proof texts" but are pointers to passages and epistles that must be studied in their own context and the context of all of Scripture.]


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