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

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Nature of Authority

The Nature of Authority.

Christians in America have a real need to study and understand the nature of authority.  To many of us,
reared in the dominant culture of religious Independencey, authority is something that is of no consequence. 
Nobody has any right to tell any of us what to do, think, or believe.  We listen to our our own will which we
pretend is free.  "It is better to obey God rather than man," is the second most relevant proof text [second to
"Judge not, that ye be not judged."], but by both citations we mean, "I will do as I please, so get out of my

This rebelliousness has found its way into the public arena, as religious ideas always do, so that government
simply becomes more and more a stalemate.  Whatever authority remains is derived from elections, but
accusations of fraud dilute much of that, so that the losers of elections can justify their continuing non-
cooperation by labeling their opposition crooks and scalawags.

Christians, however, ought to be better than than, and have a clear understanding of authority and the biblical
requirement to submit to that which is legitimate.

Friday, February 15, 2013

What Does Excitement Have to Do with Worship?

I want to worship. I don’t need to get excited. Children need to get excited.

The “exciting” movements come and they go, and I am a bit bored with them. It seems that every few
years there is a new and “exciting” movement of “renewal” in the church. Well, let me tell you a
renewal that would please me. First of all I will tell you what I would look for if I went for the first
time to a new church. Then I will tell you what I would NOT want to see if I visited a new church.  

Maybe later I will write what I would hope to see if I visited that church five years later. But not now.

I would look for five things in my “new” church.
1. Is there Scripture reading and not just passing references?
2. Is there preaching and exposition of Scripture that reproves sin, calls to repentance and faith in
3. Is there prayer: at the beginning, somewhere in the order of worship, and at the end.  Is it a prayer
matching the dignity of God who is in Heaven, and not in our universe, but Who has created and
Who sustains all things. I do not expect to voice my prayers in church, but I want to be able to say
amen in my heart to what the man who leads worship prays. It’s not all about me, anyway.
4. Is there an opportunity to worship God by the giving of tithes and offerings.
5.  Is there singing of hymns that match the dignity of God…..etc [see No. 3] The singing doesn’t
have to be at the top of the voice, or augmented by bells, drums, amplifiers, or other stuff.  

There are other things such as a confession of faith, the sacraments, constitutions and bylaws that
would interest me if I decided to continue to worship at my “new” church, but these five things would
constitute the “face” of the church, and I would probably not return if any of them is missing.

If I want excitement, I will go to a Air Force game. If I want a crowd, I will go to a rally for world
peace. If I want myths and pretense, I will rally against global warming. If I want childishness, I will
watch cartoons on Saturday morning. If I want loud music I will go to Red Rocks in Denver. What
does excitement have to do with taking up my cross and following Jesus?

There are several things I would NOT look for and would reject if I encountered them. I do not want
people to come up to me a gush about how they love Jesus. I have been on a long journey and know
these people. If your works reveal your good heart, you should shut up about it. I don’t want the
leader to look at me and tell me to raise my hands when they do what they call “worship.” Joy and
excitement are not the same thing. The joy of a Christian is “unspeakable” so we should generally
shut up about it or we will cheapen it, reducing it to the level of cotton candy and cheap perfume. If
you “heart” Jesus with the same “heart” that you “heart” your dog, some might be induced to think
that they are of the same value to you. I am not certain that Christian theology lends itself to bumper
stickers, which are better for political slogans, for promoting guns and guts.

You may have joy, joy, joy, down in your heart, but if you talk too much you will be like the man of
Pr 27:14 “He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted
a curse to him.” Jesus did his devotions in a solitary place, not to be seen of men. [Mark 1:35]

 I want to understand every word that is spoken, so I will walk out if people are so rude as to speak or
pray aloud while others are doing so. [1Cor. 14:31] The Holy Spirit brings order, not chaos [Gen. 1],
in both the old and the new creation. Gibberish in prayer or conversation is for madmen [1Cor 14:23]
or for those God has abandoned. [1Cor 14:21-22] When Israel refused to hear their prophets in their
own tongues, God sent Babylon to talk to them. Israel didn’t like it, and you shouldn’t either.

I don’t want to find people chattering on and on about nothing, promoting themselves, their books,
their cd’s or anything else for sale. Children should be sitting with their parents, learning to be still,
behave, and taking part in the servicc—not shuttled off to “Junior Church.” Even children small can
sing the praises of Jehovah. {Psalm 148:12) Your children are cute, but not when they are running

Some will say about now, but don’t you want a “user friendly church”? “Don’t you care about the

My reply, “I don’t go to church to worship the ungodly. I do not care what the ungodly think about
my church, for if they do not know the Lord they will know nothing about worship. I try to spread the
gospel; I try to witness as I have opportunity, but the church is the ‘house of God, the pillar and the
ground of the truth.’ [1tim. 3:15] 

I will choose [and have done so] to worship with ten people, if I can offer prayers and praise to God
Almighty who dwells in clouds and darkness [Ps. 97:2; 1Kings 8:12], but who sends out His light and
truth to lead us to His holy hill [Ps. 43:3] where we worship Him with reverence and Godly fear
[Hebrews 12:28,29], than in the modern entertainment center where thousands gather to enjoy their
latte and popcorn to watch the religious show..

Because the ungodly worship gods that cannot speak, the people must chatter away all the time so
that people do not find out that their gods are phonies. I have heard the voice of the Spirit and He was
not yelling at me.

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a
teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? 19 Woe unto him that
saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it [is] laid over with gold
and silver, and [there is] no breath at all in the midst of it. 20 But the LORD [is] in his holy temple:
let all the earth keep silence before him.” (Hab 2:18-20 AV)

In the temple of the Lord, we should be silent. He has something to say through His appointed
ministers. We should listen.  

Ro 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they
believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meditation and Prayer on Psalm 135

Psalm 135:1-6  Meditation and Prayer

Heavenly Father, our Lord and our King.  It is pleasant indeed to sing praises unto 
Your Name.  We look forward every week to the Sabbath Day, where we remember 
that You are good and have remembered the promises that You made to Your people.

You have chosen us to be Christians, to be Your people.  We glory in being Your 
special treasure in the earth.  We are not ashamed to declare it, because You are not 
ashamed to acknowledge us as Your people.  

This is very great and wonderful news for us, Dear Lord, for it is of Your great pleasure 
that You have done this.  You have done whatever You have pleased in heaven and in 
earth, in the seas, and in all deep places.  You chose us for Your pleasure and not that 
there were good things in us that You  saw attractive.  Indeed, it was when we were in 
our sins, alienated from You that Christ died for us.

You are very great, O Lord God.  You are far above all that we call gods, all that have a 
name among the great of the earth.  You are so great that their evil cannot touch You, 
for You are above All and do as You please, and nothing binds Your hands. You will 
fulfill all Your purposes and grace for the people of Your choice.

So we stand in the house of the Lord every Sunday, dear Lord, and we sing praises 
unto Your Name.  It is pleasant for us to do so.  We are proud to be Your servants, 
and nothing fits our tongues and our lips and our voices and our hearts better than to 
praise the name of the Lord.  

We will speak of the glorious honor of Your majesty, and of Your wondrous works. 
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, 
fearful in praises, doing wonders?


1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of 
the LORD.
2  Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God,
3  Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is 
4  For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.
5  For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
6  Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and 
all deep places.  Psalm 135:1-6

Definition of Legitimate Government

The Lord gives a definition of legitimate civil government:

Romans 13:3 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.

When civil government becomes distructive to the ends appointed

by God, then they may be lawfully resisted, just as fathers, mothers,
pastors, and judges may be resisted because those who promote evil
and punish the good are ministers of the devil and not of God. They
are not to be honored any more than Haman. Esther 3:1-5

Pietists will purse their lips and say "tut, tut," but I have written the


Samesex marriage; abortion on demand, even for babies born;

ignoring the covenant of the government with the states and people,
violating the 3rd commandment; Disarming the people; forcing
Christians to deny their consciences; confiscation of property to
reward ignorant voters; Corruption of the educational system to
promote materialistic agnosticism in defiance of God; Fanning of
racial hatred; Refusal to protect citizens by opening the border to
criminals; Supplying weapons to drug lords; need I go on? What
would a government have to do to become wicked? and I don't
mean just one party.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Restraining Behavior: Eli's Sons.

1Sa 3:13 "For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because
his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not."

1Timothy 5:21-22  "I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou
observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly
on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure."

Eli had two very foul sons that committed fornication at the tabernacle where Israel went to worship the
Lord. they also strong-armed the worshipers, taking from them the chief of the sacrifices for their own use.
The word "vile" means to curse or to make disgusting or foul.

Because of this, people despised the worship of the Lord. Being high priest, it was the duty of Eli not to
tolerate the evil of his sons. He could do nothing about their moral character  but he did have authority to
keep the worship of the Lord free from their rottenness. His whole house came to ruin because he honored
his sons above the Lord. God sent the lad Samuel to tell Eli: 1Sa 2:29 "Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice
and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honorest thy sons above me, to make
yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?"

Paul tells Timothy how to minister to the elders in the church. He was not to become partakers of their sins,
but only to ordain qualified men [to lay hands on no man suddenly], and to rebuke openly those who sinned. 
But he was to treat them fairly and not even to receive accusations against them except in the presence of
two or three witnesses.

The lesson is clear: Those in authority are responsible for the actions of those under their rule. Fathers are
responsible for the sins of their wives and their children, especially as it relates to the worship of the Lord. 
Those who close their eyes and connive at sins will be held responsible for those sins that corrupt the church.
To connive at the sins of those under your rule is to be partakers of them.

I have been a minister of the Gospel for more than 50 years. I took the above seriously. I was and am proud
of my six sons, but they did not always behave as angels. None of them ever did anything that compares to
the behavior of Eli's sons, for they did have respect for the worship of the Lord. They still do, and three of
them are gospel ministers. But it was necessary for me to restrain them in ways that the children of others in
the congregation did not experience. It comes with the territory, and I accepted it. I am not sure that they
always did understand.

A man who connives at the wickedness of his family, his wife, or those in his employ is responsible if they
behave abominably. They cannot turn their eye aside and pretend nothing is wrong. They become partakers
of their evil actions.


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