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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Much To Talk About- 111

When I post, I will try to do so in this format but I cannot promise each and every time will be done with this method.

#1. Food For Thought https://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/discourse-today-would-please-hitler-very-much/

The way in which opponents of gay marriage are all lumped together and the way all Muslims are all lumped together and the way all liberals are all lumped together and the way Blacks are all lumped together and the way that women are all lumped together are all signs of the fact that the advice of Hitler is being followed almost to the letter. The foes of these groups- those of a different or differing ideological mindset- are more than happy to lump even very divergent forms of thought into one giant pot so that, rather than discussing actual issues they can simply presume that their ‘one size fits all’ ‘responses’ are fitting.

I really do not agree with West but from time to time he does post some real gems and this is one of them. To see the development of the world from Hitler’s time to today tells us that Hitler and the Nazis actually won WW2 because people are implementing their ways faster than any other. We see it in the actions of the government’s child protective services, to the ruination of those who do not want to participate in sin to the elite taking it all.

It’s a sign of our times that the methodology of the world’s most evil man has been adopted by scores and scores of millions of people.

I would disagree with him in the idea that Hitler was the world’s most evil man as I have seen and read about other dictators do/ who did far worse than he. Stalin comes to mind right away. Then Mao and on it goes. The only difference between Hitler and the other dictators is that they did not involve the world in a war.

Christians are set apart from the world which makes us easy targets because we do not follow the world and its ways. We are lumped together with all the fake Christians who truly hurt people and that is sad.  But Jesus said, ‘pick up your cross and follow me’ so that means if we practice our faith correctly we will suffer, just make sure you are persecuted for the right reasons.

#2. Some People Will Never Get Ithttp://rachelheldevans.com/blog/cnn-belief-culture-war-casulties

This is the tragic irony of the culture wars: The casualties tend to be the very people Jesus went out of his way to serve: the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the outcasts, the people ostracized and deemed “sinners” by the religious elite. And when the world sees Christians hurting rather than helping such people, in the name of political gain, our testimony is profoundly diminished”…

First, we need to ask, ‘why does Ms. Evans have such a hard time with the concept of sin?’ Yes Jesus went out of his way to help others BUT he did not tell them to continue in their sin. He told them that they had to be born again, and give up their sin. He also did not advocate for the definition of marriage to be changed nor for laws to be changed where those who do not support sin are sent to prison or are ruined for the rest of their lives.

Standing up for what is right and trying to stop sin to protect civilization is not hurting people. Plus her over-generalization or ‘lumping everyone into one category’ puts her in with Hitler not Christ. Christ did not lump the Pharisees, etc., in with the common people nor falsely accused people of sin, sadly Ms. Evans does.

So to the culture warriors, I plead: Before you wage the next campaign, assess the potential collateral damage and ask yourself if it’s worth it. Remember that the fruit of the Spirit is not power or might, influence or entitlement. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, and “against such things, there is no law” (Galatians 5:23).”

She really doesn’t get it does she as the fruits of the Spirit do not include–disobeying God, calling sin or evil good, or supporting sin and have it brought into the church.  Nor do the fruits of the Spirit stop us from warning people about their sinful situation or stopping sin from spreading throughout a nation. Clearly, she does more cherry picking to support her heretical behavior than Christians are accused of in their defense of god’s way and word. She really doesn’t understand what she is quoting and misuses those words to support her own errant way of life.

And to the wounded, I offer only this: You are not alone. Please know there are field medics — pastors and priests, artists and activists, poets and parents and healers and dreamers — ready to welcome you back to faith and to church whenever you’re ready. We can walk the long road to healing together, even if it’s with a limp.”

I hope someone stops this person soon as she is trying to defy God and get others to defy him as well.

#3. Indiana’s Law http://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/columnists/tim-swarens/2015/03/28/swarens-gov-mike-pence-push-clarification-religious-freedom-law/70611906/

Gov. Mike Pence, scorched by a fast-spreading political firestorm, told The Star on Saturday that he will support the introduction of legislation to “clarify” that Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not promote discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“I support religious liberty, and I support this law,” Pence said in an exclusive interview. “But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there’s a way to clarify the intent of the law.”

The governor, although not ready to provide details on what the new bill will say, said he expects the legislation to be introduced into the General Assembly this coming week.

Asked if that legislation might include making gay and lesbian Hoosiers a protected legal class, Pence said, “That’s not on my agenda.”

The law doesn’t change any biblical doctrine nor tell Christians how to behave towards homosexuals. All it is supposed to do is protect them if they decide they cannot fulfill a request by a homosexual that would have the vendor participate or sanction sinful behavior. I think these type of laws are needed as we have seen far too often that the homosexual community instead of following Jesus, and turn the other cheek then go down the road to a homosexual friendly vendor to get their request filled, go after the person who rejected their request with all the fury of an insulted dictator.

The homosexual community, for the most part, does not show restraint thus people need protection from the sinful vendettas brought against the vendor. If God is with the Homosexual community as they claim, we certainly do not see it in their vicious attacks upon those who stand with God and refuse to support sin. Name calling- calling opponents to same-sex or the homosexual lifestyle homophobes is not a godly act. Legal action– again not a biblical action especially when it ruins the person being sued.

Everything that has been done by the homosexual community provides evidence for why this law is needed. But remember, Christians are to treat others as they would want to be treated so be wise in your dissent and rejection of same-sex requests and remember, we please God not man.

The question to ask the opponents of this law is: Why are they supporting a group of people who have only shown that they will be bullies and attack anyone who stands in their way of getting their selfish and sinful desires met? Nobody likes a bully yet these protestors seem to have turned a blind eye to such tactics when committed by the homosexual community.

#4. Being Absurdhttp://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/10-situations-where-christian-bakers-should-refuse-to-bake-wedding-cakes/

I really want to quote from this and the next couple of examples but i can’t. As you saw in an earlier post this past week, patheos just messes up my spacing and no matter what I do, I cannot adjust for the problem. Suffice it to say that there are 10 examples of going to the absurd to force people to follow the ways of the owner of formerly fundie instead of God.

A career minded woman can also keep the home, She just may not do it in the way the owner of formerly fundie desires. But that is just one example of the ridiculous thinking that goes on in that person’s brain. He goes on with the example of someone working at a bank. Well it is not that person’s money but the bank and the employee is not setting the interest charge, the bank is. The stupidity of those examples is par for the course for those who support sin and then lump everyone into one category.

They do not see God destroying cities and giving such people over to their sins for those supposed offenses. God’s actions demonstrate the severity of his feelings on the homosexual issue. Why offend God and get him angry when he alone has the power. That is not a very intelligent thing to do.

#5. Distortionhttp://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2015/03/does-iu-have-the-legal-right-to-prohibit-discimination.html

As I have viewed the arguments against this law, I find that the opponents to it are not being honest in their attempts to change it.  They have distorted the issue by using the ‘what if’ terms– ‘may’, ‘possibly’, ‘could happen’ and so on. They distort the issue because they do not like it when their flavor of the month fad is being told ‘no.’

They do not bring out the fact that 19 other states have the same law and NO discrimination has taken place in those states.  Then they ignore the fact that people do not need a law to discriminate against others. They just go ahead and do so  regardless of what laws are in effect at the time. From what I gather from reading about this law, it is merely offering protection to those people who do not want to participate in activities that God has deemed sinful.

They should have that right to turn down business, after all, they own the company and should be allowed to make their own rules of operation, within reason of course. Plus many business post signs stating that they reserve the right to refuse service to certain individuals. This law is simply allowing the business owner to run their businesses as they see fit and not as some evil support wants.

Yet many people are just not content in letting others run their own businesses and continue to try to force their views upon others. I have seen it done for years in this country as too many westerners have tried to force their employers to operate as they see fit instead of as the employer wants.  It never ends well for the employee and I call such people cowards as they refuse to open their own institution and implement their own theories because that would mean they would have to foot the bills, do the recruiting, hire employees and so on. It is just easier to force others to do what they do not want to do.

This law is also not stopping Christians from selling to the homosexual on a normal basis so why the opponents are getting their knickers tied into a knot is surprising. Their hatred for Christians is far greater than their desire to use some common sense.

 

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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in Bible, church, controversial issues, faith, homosexuality, Justice, leadership, politics, theology

 

I Am Cutting Back

on my schedule as I am just too tired and exhausted to keep up the pace.

I do this for free and receive no income for my any of my Christian work. I understand that some bloggers make money off their websites but I do not. I do not know how to obtain that financial return or where to look to apply to get it. But I do not care about that. I had hoped that people would have found and followed the links to the website where my books are for sale and purchase a copy or three.

I was hoping to have my income come from book sales but that ha snot materialized yet and when I mentioned my two new books were available for purchase in a post, I lost most of my regular readers. How sad.

Well I am tired and will only post part time, if that. I can’t even get Biblical Archaeology Society to respond to my e-mails as the products I ordered from them  have never shown up. It seems that they need that pittance or they will go broke and leave the business.

I also take a lot of flack and that criticism has taken its toll. I need to regroup, re-energize and refocus. I am alone in doing this and do not get the support others enjoy. That lack overwhelms the odd ‘like’ this board receives from time to time.

 

So do not expect a daily or even a thrice weekly posting. it will come when it comes.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

A Statement of Faith

The following is being used as an example and in no way does this post try to attack, criticize or injure World Vision. Someone has to be an example and since I have been reading their president’s book, they are it.

We acknowledge one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ, the love, mercy, and grace of God are made known to us and all people. From this overflowing abundance of God’s love, we find our call to ministry.

We proclaim together, “Jesus lived, died, and rose again. Jesus is Lord.” We desire Him to be central in our individual and corporate life.

We seek to follow Him — in His identification with the poor, the afflicted, the oppressed, the marginalized; in His special concern for children; in His respect for the dignity bestowed by God on women equally with men; in His challenge to unjust attitudes and systems; in His call to share resources with each other; in His love for all people without discrimination or conditions; in His offer of new life through faith in Him. From Him we derive our holistic understanding of the gospel of the Kingdom of God, which forms the basis of our response to human need.

We hear His call to servanthood and see the example of His life. We commit ourselves to a servant spirit permeating the organization. We know this means facing honestly our own pride, sin, and failure.

We bear witness to the redemption offered only through faith in Jesus Christ. The staff we engage are equipped by belief and practice to bear this witness. We will maintain our identity as Christian while being sensitive to the diverse contexts in which we express that identity.

– See more at: http://www.worldvision.org/about-us/who-we-are#sthash.oTI7k9ak.dpuf

You may think it sounds good but once you start looking past the surface then the problems begin to show themselves. Let’s go through this point by point shall we:
#1. We acknowledge one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ, the love, mercy, and grace of God are made known to us and all people. From this overflowing abundance of God’s love, we find our call to ministry.
Yet, what about creation? Do they accept God as the creator or do they go for alternative beliefs or allow for a mixture of ideas concerning our origins? Then they focus on love, mercy and grace but what about discipline and punishment for sin? And how do they define the word ‘love’? Is it the feel good emotion everyone talks about these days because they do not want to be reminded that they may be wrong and in error? Or is it the love that warns/talks about there being a right, wrong, and morality which if disobeyed there will be consequences including being sent to hell?
#2. We proclaim together, “Jesus lived, died, and rose again. Jesus is Lord.” We desire Him to be central in our individual and corporate life.
What about his being a Savior, who came to save people from their sins? Does not that fact get some air time? How does that desire go? Is it that they will do what they want when they want or are they being humble servants who obey God’s instructions and guidance? The words, ‘we desire’ do not bring any real confidence that they really want God to be central in their personal and professional lives. it sounds like lip service to appease a group of contributors who want to see something Christiany in World Vision’s structure.
#3. We seek to follow Him — in His identification with the poor, the afflicted, the oppressed, the marginalized; in His special concern for children; in His respect for the dignity bestowed by God on women equally with men; in His challenge to unjust attitudes and systems; in His call to share resources with each other; in His love for all people without discrimination or conditions; in His offer of new life through faith in Him. From Him we derive our holistic understanding of the gospel of the Kingdom of God, which forms the basis of our response to human need.
Uhm, Jesus did not ‘identify’ with anyone nor did he have special concern for children. Everyone was treated the same, there were no special privileges, treatment or alterations to his message for anyone. All people children on up to the oldest adult needs to be born again. The only people he treated with any real disdain were those called to lead the flock and they abused that call by instituting their own laws and requirements. He was called a friend to sinners not a friend to just the poor and the children. Sinners are found in every age group, gender and social status level.
Jesus did discriminate and have conditions. To follow him they had to give up their sin, their love for the world and so on. Those unable to do that were not part of his initial group nor of his church.
#4. We hear His call to servanthood and see the example of His life. We commit ourselves to a servant spirit permeating the organization. We know this means facing honestly our own pride, sin, and failure.
Actually Jesus’ call was to obedience to his word, being holy and keeping God’s house pure as well as many other things.
#5. We bear witness to the redemption offered only through faith in Jesus Christ. The staff we engage are equipped by belief and practice to bear this witness. We will maintain our identity as Christian while being sensitive to the diverse contexts in which we express that identity.
Again, ‘identity’ is the wrong word to use here. Anyone can ‘identify as a believer, even say the correct words at the correct time without really believing those words.  I am not sure what they mean by ‘being sensitive to diverse contexts’  but if it means watering down the Christian faith and its teachings then it is not a good thing. We are to be a light unto a dark world including those diverse contexts and we do not alter that light because someone doesn’t like being shown that they are sinning and in need of a savior.
This statement of ‘faith’ is far too general and opens the door for alternative believers, false teachers, out right unbelievers and others to join up and spread their lies to unsuspecting people made vulnerable because of the offer to meet their needs. Christian organizations need to tighten up their statements of faith in order to eliminate this problem from taking place.
We cannot tolerate  appeasing those who want to be christian yet cannot bring themselves to believe God, his word or the message he brings to us. This particular statement of faith sounds more like new age or politically correct speech than it does a true Christian statement of faith. It seems to be grounded in a spirit of compromise not the word of God. It certainly does not illustrate who the Trinity really is but seems to reflect the desires of those in the organization, which is to look Christian to get the money and to look secular to be accepted.
Then, the owner of Formerly Fundie is whining about the many people who left supporting World Vision
because of the latter’s failure to exclude sin from their midst.  What his article is saying is that bringing sin into God’s area is okay and does not matter; yet when we search scriptures we see how God views that attitude and action– he gets rid of it in a very harsh manner. We can point to the rebellion against Moses’ leadership, the Sin at Jericho where one man cost others their lives at Ai and if you want a NT example, then look no further than Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) and see how God sees sin in the church.
Believers have the right and permission to hold supposedly Christian organizations to the correct biblical teachings and principles.  We cannot turn a blind eye when one of them starts to ignore God’s word and starts siding with secular culture and ideologies. If they want to be called Christian and have Christian support then they need to obey God’s rules.
Here’s reality: there have been between 15,000 – 19,000 children like the one you see here– children who viewed their sponsors as part of the family and a lifeline– who abruptly stopped receiving letters. The relationships were broken and dismissed. No more encouraging notes. No more special gifts on birthdays or holidays. No more funds for emergency clothing or food rations. It just stopped.
So what? We should be working to restore the family and get the father working so he can take care of his own children. This guilt trip is useless because it is not being ordered by God. It is also a very dishonest presentation as it ignores how other similar organizations support rose during the same time period. Children were not being abandoned but the homosexual supporters do not care about that, they are upset that the homosexual is deprived from church activities and excluded from being called Christian.
They are upset because they cannot bring sin into Christianity. We need to stop these organizations from rejecting God’s way before their decisions become major problems for the church.
 
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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in church, controversial issues, faith, leadership, theology

 

Why Is There Suffering In The World?

Bart Ehrman is well-known for stating that his main reason for leaving the faith is because of the amount of suffering in the world. In fact he joined the blogging world using suffering as his excuse and decided to charge people to view his thoughts with the money going to charities of his choice.

http://ehrmanblog.org/

Bart has started this site as way of raising money to combat hunger and homelessness. ALL proceeds from the site go to charity! (Bart doesn’t keep one thin dime).

Why he would blame God and make him pay by deconverting over an issue that God had already provided an escape doesn’t make sense. Ehrman forgets that God gave man free choice and it is not God who is responsible for the suffering we see take place each day and at all levels of civilization. The Bible tells us

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. (Jn. 3:19 NASB)

And keep in mind I am not talking about the suffering we endure via natural causes that no man can cure. I am talking about the suffering that comes when man does evil. We all know the stories, the newspaper accounts, the investigative reports and so on, which record the evil taking place even by the very people and systems put in place to stop such corruption and evil.

Man can stop suffering but he needs to give up his love of evil and repent of his sinful ways. Sadly, they prefer worldly riches and comforts to God’s eternal ones. If Ehrman should blame anyone it is his fellow humans who have inflicted needless suffering on the rest of humanity, yet he fails to do so preferring to take his anger out on God instead of humbling himself and seeking God’s solution to the problem.

Why people blame God is beyond reason and very foolish. As said earlier, God provided a way out for people who do not want to see suffering in the world yet they ignore that option so they should not blame God for their refusal to accept the correct answer. In fact, they need to stop blaming God for things he has not done. God has not twisted man’s arm and forced him to make the sinful decision to hurt others.

They should blame the being they declare does not exist–Satan. He is the one who gets man to do evil not God. But for some reason, man refuses to place the blame where it belongs and that failure is a result of deception.  An act sinful man refuses to accept being influenced by. If people like Ehrman do not target the real source for suffering, they will never see the end of that problem.

You do not stop an ailment by addressing the symptoms and you cannot stop suffering by donating constantly to charity. You need to get to the source and destroy it root and all. Sinful people, like Ehrman, cannot achieve that result for they are part of the problem and do not serve the One who is the real source for ending suffering. They do not hold the key to end suffering for they do not believe in repenting of their sins nor calling other sinful men to repentance.

All this means is that no matter what Ehrman does, suffering will continue because he lets the one who brings suffering to operate untouched and unseen.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2015 in academics, Bible, church, controversial issues, faith, Justice, leadership, politics, theology

 

BUT if you were born…

…a Hindu, a Muslim, or in an atheistic family or if you were born in India, Saudi Arabia, or Indonesia it is most likely you would not be a Christian or think that the Bible was true.

This was an argument presented to me a little while ago as I posted comments on another website by a person who had deconverted from Christianity. She wanted me to see that if I was not born in the family I was I would have a different view of the gospel and the Bible.  It is a ‘what if’ scenario that means nothing because it did not happen and even if it were probable, she still did not see the bigger picture of God and what he can do with people’s lives.

Here is another quote from Richard Stearns book, The Hole In The Gospel, found on pages 70-71:

After a while I asked him, ‘pastor, living in a country  that is more than 90 percent Buddhist, how did you come to be a Christian?’ The story he told me was a confirmation of the power of the whole gospel in action.

‘Five years ago,’ he said, ‘ World Vision came to our community and began to work. i was suspicious of those outsiders to our community and was convinced that they had their own hidden agenda. You see, in Cambodia, since the genocide by the Khmer Rouge, we are always distrustful of strangers. But these from World Vision (also Cambodians) set up a TB clinic to care for those suffering from TB. They improved the schools our children attended, and they taught better agricultural methods to the farmers to improve our yields. But I was still suspicious and even angry , convinced that they were up to no good. Why would these strangers help us? I thought.

‘One day I confronted them, and I went to the World Vision leader and demanded to know why they were here. His answer took me by surprise. He said, We are followers of Jesus Christ and we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are here to show you that God loves you.”

What the person I was discussing with missed was two things. First, she was under the assumption that just because someone was born into a Christian family, or ‘nation’ and was raised in the church, that they were automatically  Christian. She did not realize that no one is born a believer and that every child born into a Christian family must make that decision to accept Christ as their savior and be born again.

She thought that being taught the Bible by parents or Sunday school teachers, made one accept the Bible as inerrant, God’s word, and that the Christian church was the only church that held the truth. The reality of this is that is just not so.  Again,l having such instruction does not make the child accept such truths about God, the Bible and the truth. Again they must realize these teachings are right and accept them as such.

Being born in a Christian environment doe snot remove the necessity of needing a savior like those who live in those countries whose national religion is vastly different from Christianity.

The second thing she missed was the work of missionaries, the HS and the power of God’s word. Being born into a non-Christian environment doe snot mean that God cannot reach a person and save them from their sins. Being born into a different family does not negate the reality of that person becoming a believer in Christ and accept the Bible as the truth.

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.(Ps 139:13 NASB)

You see God already knew whom he wanted to save even before they were born thus where one is born does not play a real part in their coming to salvation.  God will send someone to them, while preparing their hearts to accept the gospel message and repent of their sins. Even though I am not a fan of World Vision right now, God uses different organizations and gets them to go where he wants them to be thus even if a believing westerner was born into a different culture, God would still ensure their salvation.

The argument presented to me become merely an excuse to for the presenter to not believe.  They try to convince themselves that God cannot work in people’s lives and that our beliefs are due to our human situation and NOT the power of the gospel and the working of the Jesus and the HS. It is an erroneous argument because it holds no validity and denies God sovereignty over the world. It tries to make situations greater than God.

Then to change topics a bit here, as I was writing that quote, it struck as odd how so many westerners move into 3rd world and other less fortunate countries and set up hospitals, clinics, work to improve schools and farming, plus feel that that is normal and not odd yet refuse to do the same thing in their own countries for their own less fortunate people.

We do not hear of many organizations, if there are any, moving into ghettos and working to improve the health situation there or the scholastic environment. Most of the time I hear of people complaining about how bad things are and demand that the government do something. But such people are naive as the government is secular and not working with God thus any ‘reform’ they might bring will be more of the same instead of truly life changing.

I remember seeing in the streets of LA where churches go in once a week, serve some food, preach a message then disappear and leave those people in their dire straits thinking they will find their own way out again. We do not do that on the international mission field so why are we doing it at home? Why are we abandoning our own country man while doing everything we can to ‘save’ those who do not have the amenities found in western society?

I am not knocking or criticizing those who do the international work and really roll up their sleeves remaining to help those people overcome their troubles, I am questioning why we do not apply the same attitude and work ethic to our poor and oppressed. A quick search tells me that approx. ‘40% of Americans are functionally illiterate’ and ‘1 in 6 people struggle with hunger’ I hate to see what those figures are for the rest of the western world.

We have a serious problem and the governments have proven that they cannot fix them. Time for the church to put God’s word into action and start following ‘love they neighbor’ at home first before heading overseas. The church does not need the government to work in solving problems, they need to remove sin from their lives and partner with God., just like they do for the international mission field. There is nothing stopping a believer from signing up to fill educational voids and actually teach their subjects so the students get the best material to learn from.

We do not need teachers preaching the gospel to their classrooms, we need them living it by following God’s lead to educate them correctly and live their lives in a manner that reflects Christ. Too many school shave problems with secular teachers who are ‘off’ in some way. We do not need to add to those problems but help relieve them.

There are ways to make a difference.

 

It Is Not WWJD but…

…WDJTUTD or WIJTUTD.  or in long form– What did Jesus teach us to do or What is Jesus telling us to do. here is a quote from The Hole In The Gospel by Richard Stearns

As followers of Christ, we’re supposed to do the very same thing: at every point of decision, every fork in the road, we’re supposed to ask WWJD or What would Jesus do?  (pg. 27)

I think there is a vast difference as WWJD allows us to ignore what Jesus and the disciples taught, or cherry pick our responses or actions plus it helps us ignore the leading of the Spirit for a given situation. In the Bible we are missing so specific situations from Jesus’ life that all we can do is conclude that he would not choose to sin.

But how is that conclusion applied when we are faced with so many situations with multiple ways of responding to them? How about when on a date? The Bible does not say that Jesus dated at all so how can we do what Jesus did when we have no recorded actions on his dating life? Or how about when buying a car or sofa? We do not know if Jesus would have paid retail or wholesale, take it home himself or have it delivered? Or how about when eating at a restaurant, did Jesus tip or make the restaurant owner pay a living wage to his workers?

You may think I am going to the absurd but I wanted you to see how pointless that quoted statement is. The Bible does not command that point of view contained in the quote. It teaches us to obey ALL scriptures and gives us confidence that we can avoid temptation because Jesus avoided temptation

For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (Heb. 2:18 NASB)

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15 NASB)

We are not called or told to be absurd, for example: do we question if we can date or not, asking ourselves– Should I date  but Jesus didn’t so I guess I shouldn’t? That is the mental anguish we push ourselves to when we go off and follow fads instead of the HS to the truth. It should be, “when i date, I will act like the Bible teaches and make Jesus proud of me.   The Bible says to treat others better than myself, so I better treat my date better than I would have.’

We have guidelines for daily life in the Bible telling us how to act in normal situations so it is not WWJD but what does the Bible teach us to do:

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”(Jn. 3:36 NASB)

And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts 5:32)

We have so many verses telling us what we are to do that we do not need to stop and do what the quote suggests. We already know what to do. But for those who are unsure or are new believers here is a list of things that Jesus did in his lifetime on earth:

#1. Jesus obey/respected both his earthly parents and his divine Father

#2. Jesus took care of his mother

#3. Jesus wanted his father’s (God) house to remain holy.

#4. Jesus did not lie, steal, manipulate, murder, rape, molest and many other crimes; even the insignificant ones.

#5. Jesus loved

#6. Jesus did not condone/support sin or accept it into the church

#7. Jesus taught, encouraged, warned, guided correctly and did not just give a generic, anything you want to do I will support attitude\

#8. Jesus was involved and worked with those less fortunate than himself.

#9. Jesus did not do pre-marital sex nor commit adultery.

#10 Jesus was not arrogant, selfish, proud, a hog, a show-off nor did he ruin other people’s chances at promotion, love, achievement. He was a good sport.

I think you get the idea of what Jesus would do but again, we find these in biblical teachings as well as his personal life:

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, (Rom. 6:12 NASB)

You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? (Gal. 5:7 NASB)

We are to obey and follow the truth which tells you that we cannot let alternative beliefs into the church. Jesus obeyed scripture which is what we need to do, especially when it comes down to life altering decisions.  Jesus was not given the option to work for a Fortune 500 company then after employment and promotion he was offered a job in a different corporation. We do not have his example to follow and we can only guess at what he would do.

Guessing will lead us into trouble if we are not careful. We need to follow what scriptures says to do and that is to obey the leading of God, even when we do not feel qualified to move on to the position he is leading us to take. When you know what the truth is, when you can recognize the leading of the HS then you will have an easier time of making the right decision even in an emergency.

When you feel pressure to take secular science over God’s word, we can be reassured that Jesus didn’t do that and gain courage from that knowledge allowing us to stand with the HS and rebuke those who claim to be Christian yet advocate that the church compromise and accept sinful secular ideologies.  We are taught

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29 NASB)

Thus Jesus would rely upon scripture, God’s commands and teachings; so must we. We do not have an example for every moment in life to look to see what Jesus did but we have scriptures and the HS directing us to the correct action that will be in obedience to God’s will. And that is what Jesus taught us to do– rely upon scripture

Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. (Ps. 119:11 NASB)

It is not ‘WWJD is hid in my heart…’ but God’s word.  God’s word gives us the guidance, the encouragement, the words of wisdom we need to ensure that our lives are better than they are and they help us withstand evil when the devil throws obstacles in our direction. What does the Bible teach us to do, that is what we should be proclaiming to our fellow believers and then we follow that instruction.

 

Understanding Scripture

That is the title of the book edited by Wayne Grudem, C. John Collins, & Thomas R. Schreiner. I have read Wayne Grudem before so I had an idea of what to expect from this work. For the most part this work is not for those who do deep study of the scriptures or other topics. It is only an overview and not a great one at that. I am going to address the most important issue first, taking it out of chronological order as it sends a bad message to the world if left unaddressed.

#1. When it comes to the New Testament, the original twenty-seven books disappeared long ago, probably within decades of their composition. (pg. 111)

When believers say something like this, the message they are presenting to the unchurched world is that we no longer have God’s word and we are in a constant search for what he said. This kind of erroneous yet naive comment undermines the Bible and the work believers do when using scriptures. Now I am sure Daniel Wallace did not mean to send that message nor do I think that he believes we do not have God’s word, it is just the terminology he uses that can confuse and mislead those who are either unaware of the truth about the Bible or looking for anything to dismiss the words of God.

We really need to be careful when we use words to describe the situation surrounding the Bible for the wrong words also undercut God’s promise to preserve what he wrote. We have God’s original words and he has preserved them so that we are made fully aware of his will and actions. We do not need the original autographs to have God’s original words, we just have to have faith and trust God that he has done as he promised. Nor do we need to keep searching for the original content for we have that already as well.

#2. The historical context includes knowledge of the culture, economy, geography, climate, agriculture, family life, morals and social structure of the Bible’s actors, authors and readers. (pg. 13)

As you know I am not a fan of interpretation nor the historical textual criticism field of research and this just adds to my opposing view. The first thing I saw wrong with that quote were the words, ‘Bible’s actors’. Again, as I said, terminology is important and calling the Biblical people ‘actors’ removes their historicity, their sincerity, their emotions, their real situations and solutions and much more.

The people that God wrote about were not actors playing a game or putting on a stage play for everyone else to be entertained by. They were real people, with real feelings and real life problems detailing God’s real life intervention.  The second thing that popped out at me were the words ‘and readers’. The author of that chapter fails to consider that everyone who picks up a Bible and reads its pages is a biblical reader and their historical context is now included in the mix.

The real context of the Bible is that it comes from the divine culture and its purpose is to direct us away from sinful, secular, earthly culture.  We need to read the Bible from its heavenly source, not from the earthly writer’s context for the Bible is not limited to an era 5,000 years ago but its words apply to today as well.

#3. The reader should enter the story as if he or she were there, especially at the dramatic climax… (pg. 15)

No that would be just wrong. We are not Abraham sacrificing his son or David killing Goliath but people who need to learn the lessons that God wants us to learn without having to experience such moments in reality.

#4. While not perfect, the long history of interpretation by those who read the Bible as God’s word in previous centuries is still a storehouse of great riches for modern readers. (pg. 26)

While this is good advice it must be remembered by the modern reader that the ancient writers may not have been totally correct and that there is no biblical instruction to follow interpretation, whether it be ancient or modern. When we read ancient writers we need to do so with the help of the HS so that we get the truth that God wants us to know.

We do not blindly accept all of Augustine because he has been hyped as the most outstanding of all church fathers. Even his words are not totally correct and we must be careful that we do not make the same mistakes that he did. To read and understand the Bible, we follow Jesus’ instructions and follow the HS to the truth.

#5. Any piece of writing needs to be interpreted in terms of the kind of writing that it is. (pg. 42)

Again, I would disagree not only because the word ‘interpretation’ opens the door for the reader to import his or her thoughts on to the author’s words but that the genre may also mislead the reader and they may miss what the author is actually saying. We need to search for and consider the author’s INTENT before we take anything out of the passage we are studying.

The biblical human writers were not writing down their own cultural thoughts and experiences thus we need to search for God’s intent for including a particular passage in scripture. We do not water down his words because the genre he used to communicate was in the form of a poem, song or historical situation. We need to be careful and not become too human in our applications to  reading divine words.

#6. There is no communion with God without salvation from our sin and God’s wrath. The Bible is the only book with final authority that tells us what God did through Christ and how we must respond through faith to be saved and to enjoy communion with God. (pg. 47)

I agree.

#7. Because knowledge of Hebrew was uncommon in the church…Where there was no knowledge of Hebrew and little acquaintance with Jewish tradition it became harder to distinguish between the biblical books and other popular religious reading matter circulating in the Greek or Latin language. (pg.72)

And I get annoyed again. I guess the author of that chapter thought that the disciples and their missionary trips did nothing or that there were not those who learned second languages in the church in order to understand what God was saying tho them. I really get tired at reading these type of statements because they are arrogant for one and two, made from an argument from silence.

It annoys me as well as those words tell me that the author would rather insult the intelligence of the ancient people instead of learning the true situation. Didn’t the early church have the HS helping them discern between what was real scripture and what was just religious writings? This attitude by scholars just distorts the reality of God, his working in the church and his followers making them all like stupid little children in need of modern scholars to set them straight.

#8. While some divine revelation may originally have been handed down from generation to generation orally, at some point it was committed to writing to ensure its accuracy. (pg. 102)

Again, scholars distort the reality of what would have taken place as the ‘oral transmission’ may have been done by parents to their children, or grandparents to their grandchildren, much like it has taken place throughout history, yet that transmission does not mean there was nothing written down at the time this oral event took place.

Scholars just annoy me as they do not have the right idea about the past and they ignore God’s commands to Moses to write things down. Here is a link to the passages where God is telling Moses to write:

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=write&qs_version=NASB

It seems to me that God had everything written down in order to stop any errors oral transmission may bring into the passages he wants preserved as is. This also gives us confidence that we are not reading altered texts which recorded oral errors.

#9. But even though the original wording of the New Testament cannot be known, that fact is not necessarily cause for alarm…It is also true that a few favorite passages are of dubious authenticity. (pg. 112)

We return to Daniel Wallace’s position and it is a dangerous one for the first question that comes to mind is, ‘then where are God’s words?’  If we cannot know the original wording of the NT then why are we bothering with the ones we have now? How can we stop false teaching and erroneous practices from entering the church if we do not have God’s original words?

We have God’s original words or we would not be able to conduct one church service or know how to please God. As for the ‘dubious authenticity’ aspect, that is an argument that has cropped up over the years because a couple of passages were not included in ‘the best extant mss.’ BUT the criteria for inclusion in God’s word was not restricted to having inclusion in ‘the best mss.’

You can read each passage with peace of mind, knowing we have all of God’s word and none are of ‘dubious authenticity.’ Unless you pick up a cultic translation or some other altered version of the Bible. Sometimes I think that when scholars do another translation, they are actually putting mistakes back into the Bible instead of taking them out. I say this because we do not know the context or purpose of the mss. we use to review earlier English versions.

We just have word son a piece of writing material and know nothing of the person, their beliefs, their intent, and so on, who wrote that particular ms.  For all we know some of them could have been copied by Gnostics who purposefully altered the text to fit their views. We take a lot of what was copied by faith.

#10. Yet if all of these were destroyed, the New Testament text could be reproduced almost in its entirety by quotations of it in sermons, tracts, and commentaries written by ancient teachers of the church…To date, over a million quotations from the New Testament by the church fathers have been cataloged. (pg. 113)

I include this quote to provide some reassurance. Dr. Wallace is talking about if all the ancient manuscripts we possess were destroyed by some tragic mishap, we would not be without the ancient NT. We will always have God’s word.

#11. In sum, although scholars may not be certain of the New Testament wording in a number of verses… (pg. 117)

It really doesn’t matter if scholars are certain or not. They are not the authority God has appointed to govern or preserve his word. Nor are they the authority on what the Bible says. Scholars, for the most part, are a waste of time and if you want to grow in Christ, look for a biblical author who stands with God and brings you the truth. That is more important than the wishy-washy attitudes of scholars, most of whom do not believe God.

In conclusion, the thing that bothered me the most about this book was that in the chapters on interpretation and historical criticism not one author pointed their readers to the leading of the HS. They all sought to promote their ‘scientific’ methods, their human ideas and their human efforts in reading God’s word. To me that is a tragedy. if the scholar is a Christian then they should be putting their readers eyes upon God and instructing them on how to follow the HS to the truth instead of what we actually read in the pages of that book.

This is the great failure of ‘biblical scholars.’ They are leaving their readers without proper instruction and guidance in godly matters.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2015 in academics, Bible, church, education, faith, history, leadership, theology

 
 
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