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Category Archives: theology

Stories to Think About

Archaeology:  All stories taken from- https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/biblehistorydaily/

#1. August 2017: An Eclipse of Biblical Proportions

A total solar eclipse (when the moon completely blocks the sun, casting the earth in temporary darkness) will be visible across the United States on August 21, 2017 (see map for visibility). When the solar eclipse works its eerie wonders, shadows will behave strangely. Pin-hole openings in tree leaf cover will project tiny eclipses on the ground. Some people will see shadow waves—bands of shade moving across the ground. Viewers in the path of the eclipse will experience about 2 minutes of total darkness.

#2. First Person: Should These Looters Go to Jail?

Imagine a young Bedouin looter exploring one of the hundreds of complicated and dangerous caves in the Judean Desert by the Dead Sea. He discovers an extraordinary ancient gold artifact with a Hebrew inscription referring to King Solomon.

One of the Israeli antiquities dealers who sees it reports it to the authorities, who quickly trace it to the young Bedouin and seize it from him. It is displayed in the Israel Museum, which has to remain open until midnight to accommodate the crowds. It is an international sensation. The New York Timessends two of its most knowledgeable reporters to write the story.

#3. Biblical History at What Cost?

On July 5, 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York issued a press release stating that a civil complaint was filed to forfeit thousands of cuneiform tablets and clay bullae originating from modern Iraq and smuggled into the United States through the United Arab Emirates and Israel. As explained in the complaint available online, these artifacts (over 3,500 items) were purchased in the context of amassing what is known as the Green collection—around 40,000 objects of various kinds, from ancient papyri to modern prints of the Bible, assembled by the Green family, owners of the Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. This collection was meant to form the core of what is nowadays known as the Museum of the Bible, which opens in Washington, D.C. in November.

#4. Huqoq 2017: Mosaics of Jonah and the Whale, the Tower of Babel and More

Archaeologist Jodi Magness and her team have discovered more stunning mosaics during the seventh season of excavations at a Late Roman synagogue at Huqoq, Israel. This new mosaic pavement, which depicts Greco-Roman and Biblical scenes, joins several other mosaics unearthed at Huqoq since 2012, including scenes fromthe Samson cycle, Exodus, the Noah’s ark story and what may be a meeting between Alexander the Great and a Jewish high priest. The Huqoq excavations are led by Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Assistant Director Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

#5. 5,000-Year-Old Egyptian Billboard Discovered

What do you call a team of Yale Egyptologists who just discovered the oldest known monumental Egyptian hieroglyphs? “Absolutely flabbergasted,” according to Professor John Coleman Darnell, codirector of the Elkab Desert Survey Project.As reported by YaleNews, Darnell and his team came across the hieroglyphs during their study of road networks around the ancient Egyptian city of Nekheb (modern Elkab) on the east bank of the Nile. At the site of El-Khawy, about four miles north of Elkab, they discovered two sets of ancient carvings: a section of rock art portraying a herd of elephants (dated c. 4000–3500 B.C.E.) and a large hieroglyphic panel containing four signs (c. 3250 B.C.E.). These inscriptions excited Darnell and his team because of their monumental size, their symbolism and their impact on our knowledge of ancient Egyptian writing and culture.

Theology: all stories taken from- http://www.christianpost.com/

#1. Perry Noble Registered New Church Week Before NewSpring Leaders Called Him Biblically Unfit to Be Pastor

Exactly one week after Perry Noble filed paperwork with the South Carolina Secretary of State to register a new spiritual venture called the Second Chance Church last month, former colleagues of the ousted NewSpring Church founder declared him biblically unfit to be a pastor.

It is unclear if this was a coincidence or a strategic move on the part of NewSpring leadership to stop Noble’s controversial comeback to ministry, which began earlier this year just months after he was removed as lead pastor of NewSpring for alcohol addiction and other issues.

#2. Multisite Churches Are a ‘Uniquely Better Approach,’ Says Andy Stanley

North Point Community Church founder and Lead Pastor Andy Stanley has stated that congregations with multiple campuses have a “uniquely better approach” to church growth.

Speaking at Willow Creek Community Church’s annual Global Leadership Summit on Thursday afternoon, Stanley talked about the success of his church since its founding over 20 years ago.

His speech was one of many shown to approximately 600 sites in the United States alone, among them West End Assembly of God in Richmond, Virginia.

#3. 12-Y-O Boy Allegedly Told to ‘Turn the Other Cheek’ After Reporting Rape at Elite Christian School

Brentwood Academy, an elite private Christian school in Tennessee where annual tuition is nearly $25,000 is now facing a $30 million lawsuit alleging that school officials failed to report the repeated rape of a 12-year-old boy by older male students. Headmaster Curtis G. Masters is also accused of telling the victim to “turn the other cheek” when he reported the abuse.

#4. Can Volunteering Replace Tithing? Pastors and Church Members Disagree: Barna

Can a church member substitute volunteering for financial giving? Pastor and church members disagree whether these two forms of generosity are interchangeable, according to a Barna study.

More than 80 percent of pastors disagree strongly or somewhat that “it is okay for a member who volunteers extensively not to give financially,” says the report, “The Generosity Gap,” produced by Barna in partnership with Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 500 not-for-profit financial services organization headquartered in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

However, only about 20 percent of Christians are on the same page with pastors on this question, the study shows.

#5. Transgender High School Grads Awarded $20K Each After Suing District Over Bathroom Policy

Three transgender teenagers have been awarded $20,000 each from their Pennsylvania school district as part of a legal settlement to a lawsuit challenging the school district over its bathroom and locker room policies.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Elissa Ridenour, Juliet Evancho and a third unidentified transgender student, all of whom have since graduated from Pine-Richland High School in Allegheny County, each received $20,000 from the Pine-Richland School District as a result of a lawsuit they filed last year

 

The Christian Witness

http://www.christianpost.com/news/sc-supreme-court-rules-that-breakaway-dioceses-properties-belong-to-episcopal-church-194127/

South Carolina’s highest court has ruled that at least 29 of the 36 properties of a diocese that left The Episcopal Church belong to the national denomination

In a concurring opinion, Justice Kaye G. Hearn wrote that The Episcopal Church’s hierarchical structure meant that the diocesan properties were theirs.

It sounds more like a money grab than a Christian act. Most denominations have similar clauses in their operating procedures and it is a provision that does not belong n the church in general. The denomination is not usually paying the bills of the church nor the building costs thus according to common sense they have no right to own the church buildings.Sometimes denominations make loans to local congregations but that money is paid back. This act does not entitled the denomination title to the property if the congregation decides to leave the fold.

Denominations certainly need to be more Christian in these issues. They should not be seen as grabbing for money and these type of decisions do exactly that. They give the world the wrong impression about the Christian church.  The Christian witness extends beyond giving a gospel message or reciting your testimony to an individual. The Christian witness is in everything believers and the church in general does including these lawsuits over church property.  If the church wants to make an impact for Christ then they need to review, honestly, what the biblical instructions say and how they apply to specific situations. Being honest is important if the believer wants to produce a great Christian Witness.

The Christian Witness is not about using the Bible to justify one’s actions or defend questionable activities like suing each other.

 

Controversial Issues

#1.  Tattoos

There are many people in the church today who think that many of the laws God gave to Moses for the Israelite people do not apply to today’s New Testament World and church. They consider themselves under a new covenant which releases them from many of the laws recorded in the Old Testament.

This attitude allows them to pursue different sinful activities and not feel like they have sinned or in need of repentance. One of these activities is the act of getting a tattoo to mark a special occasion, person or to simply adorn some sort of ‘art’ on their bodies. They think that since the word tattoo is not mentioned in the NT and only in the Old that the law governing tattoos is now null and void.

But these people error in their assessment of scripture as they fail to grasp the fact that while God does not use the same word more than once in scriptures he still talks about the topic and has not changed his mind about it.

For example in Leviticus 19:28 we read the following:

28 You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD. (The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Le 19:28). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

I placed the bold and underlining to emphasize the words being examined and which are very clear about the issue of having tattoos on your body. God’s words are very clear there and there is no mistaking what is meant by them.

The people of Israel were not to place any tattoos on themselves and the reason given is simple—God is the Lord. He said it thus it needs to be obeyed. Does this mean that the tattoos placed upon the Jewish people by the Nazis made them sinners or disobedient of this law? No. The Jews were not the ones seeking the tattoos nor were wanting them placed upon their bodies.

They did not sin in receiving those marks. But if they willingly got those marks then they would have sinned and been disobedient. Now many people today would look at that verse and conclude that since the law was found in the Torah it no longer applies to them and they are free to get as many tattoos as they desire.
#2. Owning Weapons

This is another issue that can bring out the emotions in people as many are for owning weapons and just as many people are against gun ownership.  For some in the latter category owning guns leads to mass shootings like the many school massacres that have taken place across America in recent years.

They blame guns when in reality they should be blaming the sin nature found in every person and the ability to choose freely what one wants to do. This issue is also vulnerable to the distortion of scripture as each side wishes to make their viewpoint the biblical one. They misuse scriptures in hopes of convincing others of the legitimacy of their position.

A look at these different scriptures is warranted so that we get a clear view of what the Bible is actually saying on this issue.

1. Many people, Christians included, assume that Christ taught pacifism. They cite Matthew 5:38-39 for their proof. In this verse Christ said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” ( All the scripture references will be taken from the article “What Does The Bible Say about Gun Control” by Larry Pratthttp://www.gunowners.org/fs9902.htm)

While Jesus was teaching a non-violent response in support of ‘a soft answer turns away wrath’ this passage does not indicate that a believer cannot own weapons. It is telling us to not use our weapons or fists to respond to certain actions carried out by other people.

2. The reference to “an eye for an eye” was taken from Exodus 21:24-25 which deals with how the magistrate must deal with a crime. Namely, the punishment must fit the crime (Ibid) This passage reads: 23But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (NKJV)

Again we see a list of punishments corresponding to a list of crimes but this passage does not support gun ownership or gun collecting nor does it mean that pacifism is to be practiced or denied. Mercy doesn’t mean that we exact a pound of flesh for every crime committed but that we have leniency when it is warranted.

3. Exodus 22:2-3 tells us “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” (Ibid)

Again we see nothing about supporting owning any type of weapons here nor does this passage indicate that we should let people harm our loved ones when they force their way into our homes.

4. King David wrote in Psalm 46:1 that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. This did not conflict with praising the God “Who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle” (Psalm 144:1). (Ibid)

Training for war and to learn how to fight just simply means one gets to defend their own country from invaders and to do that a person needs to know the art of war and how to combat the strategies used by their enemies.

This passage, like the rest, makes no implications on owning weapons nor is it saying that it is or it is not okay to own weapons. The weapons for war can be stored by the government in a central or strategic location ready for use when the time comes.

5. This has been delegated to the civil magistrate, who, as we read in Romans 13:4, “is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” (Ibid)

The word ‘sword’ here most likely does not imply a weapon but the authority to punish lawbreakers. I would have to double-check that but in any case, the fact that the government is allowed to punish and wield weapons does not grant anyone permission to collect or own weapons.

The permission for a country’s citizen’s to own and collect guns, or other types of weapons, is up to the discretion of the government of that nation.  They have been granted authority to govern by God and that authority extends to all areas of life. Governments get to say of their citizens get to own and collect weapons or not.

Such ownership is not a right unless the government makes it a right.
#

#3. Against Homosexuality

It is hard to know exactly where to start when talking about this issue as there is so much ground to cover. This article will not discuss the definition of homosexuality for everyone already knows what the word means and how it is practiced. Nor will it discuss whether homosexuality is right or wrong, it is a given that we all know that it is wrong and sin and that is the position of this magazine.

What will be discussed here will be key points made by Matthew Vine in a discussion on the legitimacy of homosexual relations made in a series of discussions on Rachel Held Evans website (rachelheldevans.com). There is no particular order to the points and we will start with what is probably the main point of Matthew Vine’s argument

1. Our question is not whether the Bible addresses the modern concepts of sexual orientation and same-sex marriage,” he writes. “We know it doesn’t. Instead, our question is: can we translate basic biblical principles about marriage to this new situation without losing something essential in the process?” (http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-and-the-gay-christian-discussion-week-6-conclusion )

This is a very good question and all we have to do is take a close look at the passage of scripture in question to find the answer. The verse most often quoted in this issue is found in Leviticus and it is the one verse which provides us with a definitive description of homosexuality.

If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death (20;13 NASB)

The key words are in bold and if we examine those words we will see how a man lies with a woman. First, men lie with a woman in one night stands, casual sex, affairs, and other pre-marital and adulteress instances.

Second, men lie with woman in long term relationships, common law situations and they lie with a woman in a monogamous committed relationships, which include being married to the woman.

So yes, the Bible does address all forms of homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage in those few words. The homosexual preference is prohibited in all circumstances and there is no leeway or escape clause making any exceptions

2. In marriage,” writes Matthew, “we are called to reflect God’s love for us through our self-giving love for our spouse.” This is something same-sex couples can do just as well as heterosexual couples, he says (Ibid)

Same-sex couples may express a ‘love’ for their partner but they are not expressing God’s love because God has called us to repent and give up our sinful practices. Same-sex couples are not expressing God’s love because they are participating in sin and accepting sin as normal, healthy and wonderful. God hates sin

The main problem with same-sex unions is that they ignore what the Bible says about this love–30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. (Eph. 5 NASB)

It is impossible for same-sex couples to become one flesh and even though one of the members of those couples calls themselves ‘a wife’ they are not truly a wife in any definition of the word. The only way for a homosexual couple to meet the standard laid out by this verse is if they give up their same-sex partner and marry an opposite sex mate.

3. Matthew points out that the two terms consider here are malakoi [sometimes translated “effeminate”] and arsenokoitai [sometimes translated “abusers of themselves with mankind” or, more recently, “homosexuals” or “men who practice homosexuality”]…New Testament scholar David Frederickson has argued that, given the context, malakoi in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is best translated, “those who lack self-control.” (http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-and-the-gay-christian-discussion-part-5-i-corinthians-6 )

This point illustrates the extent that homosexuals and alternative believers go to  in order to get their non-biblical ideas and practices accepted by the church and to be considered normal. It doesn’t matter if the topic is same-sex marriage, women in ministry or church leadership or some other alternative the action of those alternative supporters is always the same—they seek to change the Bible in order to legitimize their false teaching and preferences.

They cannot produce alternative ancient texts with a legitimate textual record to support their point so they try to retranslate key words in order to make the Bible say something it has never said. Their work never succeeds because they have no historical foundation to build upon, only their modern sinful desires.

4. But here’s the key point to remember,” writes Matthew. “Even if Paul had intended his words to be a condemnation of all forms of same sex relations, the context in which he would have been making that statement would still differ significantly from our context today.” (Ibid)

We know this is not true because as Solomon wrote in Ecc. ‘nothing is new under the sun’ ancient homosexual preferences were the same as they are today. Yes some ancient authors wrote about experimentation, sexual excess and other forms of homosexuality that did not include same-sex unions or orientation but those writers did not write about all of the ancient world or its practices.

They simply documented only one part of the same-sex activities that was occurring at the time. To take a minute amount of written record and extrapolate that to the whole of the ancient civilization that those authors wrote about is dishonest and making an argument from silence.

Paul’s context came from God, who, as we saw earlier, addressed all forms of homosexual activity not just bits and pieces of that unnatural desire. We may not have ancient writings about all forms of homosexual practice in Paul’s time because, unfortunately for us, they did not survive the ravages of time.

Needless to say, even if experimentation and sexual excess alone were practiced in Paul’s time, it is still homosexual activity, it is still prohibited by God and it does not mean that Matthew Vine’s idea of committed, monogamous same-sex relations is permitted. Silence on the issue does not mean a prior prohibition has been lifted.

5. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about a threatened gang rape, not an intimate companionship. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 were grounded in cultural concerns about patriarchal gender roles and religious ritual purity. Romans 1:26-27 refers to excessive sexual desire and lust and uses “natural” and “unnatural” to refer to customary gender roles, just as those words are used to describe men with long hair and women who cover their heads (Ibid)

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah was not about one single, solitary episode of gang rape and we know this because that action of the citizens of Sodom came after God had come with his angels to destroy the cities.

The citizens of S & G, and the other cities included in the destruction, had long practiced homosexuality and other sins. They had worn out the patience of God by this time and one act of gang rape would not have done this.  There was a long history of homosexuality taking place in these cities and most likely a multitude of gang rapes had taken place.

We know from modern examples that homosexuality breeds the practice of other sins, not godly behavior thus other passages of scripture do not need to specifically mention homosexuality, although Ezekiel does say ‘other abominations’ which would include that preference.

As for Mr. Vine’s reference to culture and patriarchal influences, those are weak excuses to justify modern practice of what God says is an abomination to him.

#4. Divorce: It Is NOT the Unforgiveable Sin

When you mention the word divorce, certain bias and attitudes invade the conversation. Believers tend to look upon divorce and divorcees with a certain degree of hatred, dislike, or look upon the people who are suffering through a divorce proceeding or have endured one as abnormal or that they are carrying some sort of disease like leprosy.

Divorced people are often deprived of Christian fellowship because they have broken their marriage vows for whatever reason they may have had. This prejudice against divorce and divorced people often comes from read Malachi 2:16 where God states he hates divorce.

Or it comes from reading Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:3ff where he says whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Or these attitudes about divorce simply come from the personal perspectives taught by the pastors or church leaders of the church.

The source doesn’t really matter here as the problem lies in not trying to be biblical about a difficult subject and in trying to obey and honor the wishes of God but in the failure to read these passages correctly and apply their whole meaning to the divorced person and their situation.

If you read the passages in Malachi or Matthew you will see both God’s and Jesus’ attitude concerning divorce but if you stop at the printed words then you will miss out on the complete picture being painted by them.

Yes God hates divorce and yes Jesus made getting one very strict and difficult but there are things they did not say that believers add into their views and words. When people stop the words ‘ God hates divorce’ or Jesus’ words in Matthew they are missing out on the whole divine point of view.

At no time do either God or Jesus state that divorce is the unforgiveable sin, that divorcees should be excluded from Christian fellowship that divorce is a sin in perpetuality or that the  verses talking about loving thy neighbor as thyself, or treat others better than yourself, (and similar passages), exclude divorced people.

Neither God nor Jesus say to make divorced people second class citizens, inferior to others, or lepers where they are to be separated from church fellowship and need to walk around stating that they are unclean. Divorce may be hated and banned in all but one instance but that does not make divorcees unbelievers or people trying to import sin into the church and get the members to adopt and accept sin.

Divorce happens for a number of reasons and we need to be discerning of those reasons in order to know how we are to act towards those who have to go through this painful procedure Bob Mayo in his book Divorce: A Challenge to the Church asks,

“The question I am asking is how the church might best be able to provide a consistent, well-informed, and pastorally sensitive response to those of us who have been divorced (pg. 17)

and

Is it possible for the church to be accepting of those who are dealing with the consequences while still being clear about the inherent wrongness of divorce? (pg. 17)

The answer to the second question is a simple yes and we can answer both questions with the following words. It is possible to be accepting of those going through divorce or have been divorced and the church can provide a sensitive response because we look at the reasons surrounding the divorce, the response of the parties involved, their perspective of divorce and so on.

If the people are using divorce in order to pursue sinful desires then we know that we need to respond with the message of repenting of their sinful actions and try to turn people away from committing sin. If the divorce has one innocent party then we know from biblical instruction how to provide compassion, comfort and so on.

Divorced people are not excluded from those passages which tell believers how to treat each other. For example, the Bible states that we ‘do unto others as we want to be treated’, it does not say ‘do unto others as you want to be treated except in the case of divorced people.’

or ‘treat others better than yourselves except in the case of divorced people.’  God does say he hates divorce but he does not say exclude divorced people from love, forgiveness, wise counsel, understanding and so on. As Jesus said:

12When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ £ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, £to repentance.”

The church is full of people who are spiritually sick and in need of a physician and divorced people fall into that category.  If we look at how Jesus treated the woman at the well, a person who have been married 5 times and living in sin with a 6th man then we get an idea of how we should be treating a divorced person.

#5. Abortion: It Is Not Just the Woman’s Body

Just the mention of the word abortion can spark the most extreme emotions from normally kind and peaceful people. It drives them to acts of protest ranging from walking picket lines to lying to people to actual murder. It is also one of the most distorted issues we face today.

The anti-abortion groups would have everyone believe that they are defending the innocent and while they are defending innocent babies, the term innocent is not restricted to just the unborn child. There are many other innocent people involved in this issue.

For example, many of the fathers of those aborted children do not want the procedure done yet are given no say in what happens to their child. Yet we see none of these groups defending the rights of these men.

Then there are many women who are forced to have an abortion, not only by the fathers of the unborn baby but also by their parents. These women want no part of abortion yet their wills are over-ruled by others more powerful than they. Yet again we see no defending of these women, just a blanket hatred by these groups towards all who are led to the abortion clinic.

Then the pro-abortion groups would have people believe that the decision to have an abortion is solely up to the woman because it is her body and hers alone. That is very unbiblical teaching as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7 that the bodies of the man and women belong to their mates once they have been joined together.

No Christian, man or woman, should be accepting the secular argument that it is the woman’s body thus it is her choice. The unborn baby is not the sole product of the woman but also the man’s and since her body now belongs to her mate’s it is his choice as well and not just the expectant mother’s.

Yet in all of this debate there is one forgotten fact that no one dwells upon nor mentions which upends the pro-abortion groups’ argument that abortion is up to the mother because it is her body that is affected.

What people do not realize or they simply ignore is that the unborn baby’s body does not belong to the mother and the mother has no authority to harm it. It is not hers to dispose of as she sees fit. That body belongs to the baby and not one scripture gives ownership of that body to anyone else.

There is no permission granted in the Bible to any parent to harm that unborn child thus the mother, or others, cannot decide to end that baby’s life. God has not granted them that right. While secular governments have made the decision to allow that choice to be made, secular governments do not trump God and his rules.

If you need another scripture to help you decide which side of the abortion issue you should be on, then we turn to the commandment, ‘thou shalt not kill’. No matter how you describe the unborn child, whether it is called a fetus, a virus, germ or whatever hate-filled term you want to or is used, one is violating that commandment because abortion is killing another human being.

We can label the unborn baby a human because humans do not produce any other type of baby and the unborn child is not magically transformed from a blob into a child seconds before birth. The born child is a human being from conception to birth and till it dies. No matter how the secular world addresses this issue, abortion is still a violation of God’s word.

The woman’s body is not the only body that is affected by this act. A part of the father dies along with the baby when the decision to abort is fulfilled. The woman does not have permission or the right to destroy part of the man either.

One of the biggest problems in solving this issue, on the church’s part, is the fact that people let their emotions distort their implementation of biblical verses. Many seem to stop at those passages which tell believers to protect the innocent and fail to include other passages of scripture which guide the believer to a better course of action.

We read in Matthew 5 the following:

44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (NKJV)

or

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be 2courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing (The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Pe 3:8–9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)

Many anti-abortion groups, those that claim to be Christian, do much damage to the cause of Christ by ignoring these passages of scripture and only letting their emotions restrict their biblical adherence to those passages which direct one to protect the innocent. They also only apply those verses to the abortion issue and not the rest of life, which is included in each verse charging us to protect those who are unable to protect themselves.

#6. Racism

In my work I use a little book called Where To Find It In The Bible by Ken Anderson and for the most part it is a handy little tool to use as it speeds up the process of finding specific verses for each topic. But when it came to this topic, not one of the verses listed actually dealt with racism.

One label said ‘racial marriage forbidden’ but when one got to Genesis 28 all it talked about was Isaac giving instructions to Jacob on where he needs to go to find a wife. Another label reads ‘request to marry heathen’ but the passage in 1 Kings is only talking about Solomon’s half-brother making a request to marry a certain woman and we do not even know if she was a heathen or not. She was just of a different nationality.

These little errors and a host of articles reporting how Pastors talk about race tells me that the church really doesn’t know much about the Bible and how it speaks about race or how race applies. They tend to use modern secular ideas like ‘anti-semitic’ when such ideas were not present in the ancient or biblical world.

The Bible does not really talk about race as the idea of different races was a human invention due to the difference of color of skin and the difference in the features of many humans. Darwin opined that there were about 4-5 different human races yet he made this observation without any scientific aid or historical foundation.

Though science now demonstrates that there is no such thing as race

“Race is a social concept, not a scientific one,” said Dr. J. Craig Venter, head of the Celera Genomics Corp. in Rockville, Md.” {http://www.augsburg.edu/education/edc210/race-myth.html}

“It’s an old-fashioned, even Victorian, sentiment. Who speaks of “racial stocks” anymore? After all, to do so would be to speak of something that many scientists and scholars say does not exist.”  {http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Leroi/}

and

“The billions of pieces of human genetic code sequenced thus far are most notable for what they do not appear to contain—a genetic test to tell one race of people from another. All scientific finds point to the conclusion that race doesn’t exist” {http://www.africanbynature.com/newsletters/raceissocial.html}

this fact doesn’t stop evolutionists from saying that Darwin was correct or keep scientists from claiming that there were different human species in previous eras:

Earlier this month, scientists working in South Africa made an exciting announcement: They had discovered a new species of human ancestor. The species, which they named Homo naledi, may be among the first of the genus Homo, what the project’s lead scientist, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, described as a “bridge” between more primitive species and humans. National Geographic called it “one of the greatest fossil discoveries of the past half century.” (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/do-neanderthals-have-souls/406246/?utm_source=yahoo&ref=yfp )

In spite of the secular world’s best efforts to ignore the truth and the facts about race, the church cannot. It must speak the truth and declare to the world that there is only one race of humans, and that there has only been one race of humans in all of time.

When the Bible speaks about race it only talks about there being one race of people and that the human race descended only from Adam and Eve.

#7.  Criminals & Their Records

When I first went to Korea to teach all that was required of the applicants was a university degree, a valid passport and a pulse. It was great as the situation gave people a chance to see if they were cut out to be teachers or not.

Then a few years later, due to the antics of many of those who came to teach, more regulations were added, one of which was the criminal record check. You now had to have a clean criminal record if you wanted to be in the Korean classroom.

I fought against the implementation of that regulation because I thought it was unfair and unjust as the criminal record only gave evidence of past deeds that could not be changed. The criminal record spoke nothing of the person’s desire or changed attitude in the present and for the future.

It also could not provide any guarantee that the person with the clean criminal record would not offend sometime in the future (which did take place many times in subsequent years after the implementation of the regulation).

Many people lose out on good opportunities to rehabilitate their lives and live as good citizens after learning the lessons that come from making criminal mistakes. This is because of the current attitude concerning those who offend and break the law. It is not fair, it is not just, it is not right to categorize people because of one or a few errors in judgment nor is it fair, just or right to remove opportunities or their rights simply because they committed a crime.

I am old enough to remember the days when the prevailing attitude was that once the person had did their time, they had paid their debt to society and were free to pursue a good life free from prejudice and discrimination. That attitude has mostly disappeared now as it is considered to be the right thing to hold a person’s unchangeable actions over their heads for the rest of their lives and deprive them of the chance to change and live like a good citizen.

This means that this magazine even considers the sexual offenders’ lists that governments employ these days are unjust and unfair as they make the person pay for their crime long after their sentence is over and their debt paid.

Forgiveness is no longer part of the equation nor is a second chance and for the believer we need to ask ourselves, ‘Where would we be if God did not give us second, or third or even fourth or more chances?’ or, ‘How would we feel if God held our sins over our heads throughout our lives?’

I am going to leave you with those questions to answer for yourselves and let you ask God to help you apply the answers to those who have committed crimes. The Bible tells us, as you have freely received, freely give’ and that verse (Mt. 10:8) does not exclude those with criminal pasts.

We are guilty of many crimes yet God says that when we repent, he will not remember our sins thus we cannot make ourselves greater than God by holding the sins of others over their heads when they repent of their crimes.

We need to emulate God’s attitude and make a better impact for God in this area of life by bestowing upon our repentant criminal element dignity, rights and another chance or three to get it right.

 

Issues of the Day

#1. https://www.mail.com/int/news/world/5388504-lgbt-outrage-trump-ban-transgender-military-servic.html#.1272-stage-set2-6

Leaders of major advocacy groups depicted Trump’s Twitter pronouncement as an appeal to the portion of his conservative base that opposes the recent civil-rights gains by the LGBT community. “His administration will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology within our government — even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the LGBT-rights group GLAAD.

The only thing stopping LGBTQ community members from serving in the military are their own demands and desire to force their preferences upon others. There are many believers serving in the military who accept the rules and adjust their behavior according. They do not usually make outrageous demands nor force other servicemen to adhere to their rules or even accept them s they are. They simply obey the rules set out by the military. This is the major problem with the LGBTQ community. They cannot accept the rules demanding that everyone one bow to their perversion or else.

The LGBTQ community is not going to make friends under their current modus operandi. In fact they should expect a backlash as their chosen preference is not accepted as good, normal, etc. by a vast majority of the people. We agree with Trump’s decision here as it is high time the LGBTQ community be told ‘no’ and it is about time they realize that they are not normal, but sinful and violating God’s rules.

#2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ken-ham-sells-ark-encounter-land-to-himself-for-10_us_596e9e95e4b05561da5a5ba9

Creationist Ken Ham, the notorious owner of The Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum, has once again found a new way to swindle the good people of Kentucky out of their money.

Knowing HuffPost’s great dislike for and bias against Christians so here is another link to the same story

http://www.christianpost.com/news/kentucky-suspends-ark-encounter-18-million-tax-break-deal-192930/

While there is a lot we agree with that Ken Ham does and says there are a lot of public statements and actions we do not agree with and this is one of them. There is nothing wrong with a church or Christian theme park in investing in the community they reside. They should be setting the example how to be involved correctly with the community they are trying to reach not setting the example of how to screw the community out of much-needed revenue. The latter sets up stumbling blocks to Jesus while the former would knock those stumbling blocks down before they got started. The church is to reach the community not to make it more difficult to reach that objective. Paying property tax is not a big deal if the church or theme parks etc., are assessed correctly.

We disagree with Ham’s move here and feel that he is taking advantage of the community’s good graces. His actions are not Christian and we could point to the lack of biblical instruction that says avoid paying taxes to bolster our argument but  Ham and others already know that those do not exist. Being Christian does not mean escaping one civil responsibilities even when they are a church or christian organization

#3. http://www.morethancake.org/archives/29412

Does history prove science and Christianity are incompatible?

We have written long on this in other articles so we won’t delve into a long discussion here. Suffice it to say that the only way for science and Christianity to be compatible is for the former to repent of its sins and get to the truth. Since most of the scientific world does not believe God nor in God it is not God who is in error and lacking the truth. You can’t have the truth if you kick the only one who possesses it out the door and ban him from entry.

#4. http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/8304/is-the-bible-fake-news

The point here is actually not that God has changed or that there really was a flood or that we have to figure out how Noah’s family repopulated the world without committing incest. The compilers of Genesis included the flood story to change our minds about God.

What is fake about the Bible are all those people who forget when different rules were implemented.Incest was not banned by God till long after the flood. What is also not fake news are the different historical accounts starting with creation, moving on to the flood, then Sodom and Gomorrah and so on. You cannot have fake news if you are holy

#5. http://www.christianpost.com/news/christians-wont-be-punished-as-long-as-they-do-what-we-say-rolling-stone-reporter-responds-lgbt-193200/

Kroll’s attitude seems to be, “if those conservative Christians just become like those liberal Christians, they have nothing to worry about; so what’s the problem?”

In other words “do as i say or else’. It seems absolute power has corrupted this guy absolutely, absolute power over his money that is.  He needs prayer.  But this is the way it is with the LGBTQ community. They have spent decades whining and complaining about abuse, intolerance, hate crimes and many more negative things BUT when they get an opportunity to be different, to set the example of how they want to be treated, they opt to do to others as has been done to them. They will abuse others, they will be intolerant, they will commit hate crimes and on it goes.

The LGBTQ has no sympathy nor argument because they cannot do unto others as they would like to be treated. You cannot win friends and influence people when you are sinning to achieve your demands. Nor can you expect people to accept you when you act like the bully or be hypocritical. We all know that this guy attacks Christians but he does not attack any other religious group who defy his agenda. His actions and words undermine everything he says and does and makes him a laughing-stock. So he has money, whoopee, all he demonstrates is hatred, intolerance, and acts like a bully. He is just one more rich guy in a long line of rich guys who do the exact same thing for their individual agendas. He isn’t new, unique or even smart.

When will the LGBTQ community grow up and realize that there are more people in the world than them, all of who have rights and freedoms along with free choice to exercise those rights and freedoms as they see fit.

 

Governments Going Too Far

You have probably heard about this story already– Oregon Seizes Children From Parents Who Have Low IQ– and you may already taken sides on this issue. You can read about it here:

http://www.christianpost.com/news/oregon-seizes-children-from-parents-who-have-low-iq-192929/

While governments have a certain amount of rights guiding them concerning this issue there is a point where they can go too far.  I am not going to make this a Liberal thing for conservatives have been known to do the exact same thing here. They all think they get to decide for other people on different issues. That is not right. No laws were being broken here, the children were not in danger and no matter what opinion to the contrary any one holds, these people have the right to have and raise their own children.

We feel strongly that Christians should stand up for these parents because they are innocent people. Being mentally slow is not a biblical criteria to deprive anyone of having and raising their own family.  It i snot what the government thinks, it is not what some people think it is what God thinks that matters most and there are a host of verses that tell the believer how they should respond in this situation and those verses do not tell them to side with the government.  Obeying the government does not mean we ignore God’s words , commands or instructions. The government has to be held in account for their actions. If they are not then there is no telling how far they will go. One bad example is found in Ontario, Canada where the ruling administration has decided that it can pull children out of a home simply because the parents will not support the child’s misguided gender feelings.

That is evil at work not God’s government and we are to oppose evil not support it. The government does not have a divine right to go too far, even though they do. It was once said evil abounds if good men do nothing or something like that. Good people do need to stand up and oppose the government follow God’s leading when they do so. Not like the do in the emotional issues like abortion where they do picket lines and violent acts but with God leading the way. People like that couple need intelligent Christians to stand up for those parents’ rights and fight for them.

Christians have to lead the way to what is right not to blindly supporting the secular government who does not care about God, his people or his ways.

 

Declaration of Faith of English People Remaining at Amsterdam in Holland

Printed, 1611.

{This information is taken from the AGES Electronic Library and placed here for educational and edification purposes only}

A DECLARATION, ETC.
 
WE believe and confess: —

1. That there are three which bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and

the Spirit; and these three are one God, in all equality: by whom all things are

created and preserved, in heaven and in earth. <620507>1 John 5:7; <501405>Philippians

2:5, 6; Genesis 1.

2. That this God in the beginning created all things of nothing, and made man

of the dust of the earth, in his own image, in righteousness and true holiness;

yet being tempted, fell by disobedience. Through whose disobedience, all men

sinned: his sin being imputed unto all; and so death went over all men.

<010101>Genesis 1:1; 2:7; 1:27; <490424>Ephesians 4:24; 3:1, 7; <450512>Romans 5:12, 19.

3. That by the promised seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, [and by] his

obedience, all are made righteous, all are made alive: his righteousness being

imputed unto all. <450519>Romans 5:19; <461522>1 Corinthians 15:22.

4. That notwithstanding this, men are by nature the children of wrath, born in

iniquity, and in sin conceived; wise to all evil, but to good they have no

knowledge. <490203>Ephesians 2:3; <195105>Psalm 51:5; <240422>Jeremiah 4:22. The natural

man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. <460214>1 Corinthians 2:14. And

therefore man is not restored unto his former estate. But that as man, in his

estate of innocency, having in himself all disposition unto good, and no

disposition unto evil, yet being tempted might yield, or might resist; even so

now being fallen, and having all disposition unto evil, and no disposition or

will unto any good, yet God giving grace, man may receive grace, or may

reject grace, according to that saying; I call heaven and earth to record this

day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and

cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.

<053019>Deuteronomy 30:19.

5. That God before the foundation of the world hath predestinated that all that

believe in him shall be saved, and all that believe not shall be damned; all

which he knew before. And this is the election and reprobation spoken of in

the scriptures, concerning salvation, and condemnation; and not that God hath

predestinated men to be wicked, and so to be damned, but that men being

wicked shall be damned. <490104>Ephesians 1:4, 12; <411616>Mark 16:16; <450820>Romans

8:20. For God would have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the

truth, and would have no man to perish, but would have all men come to

repentance, and willeth not the death of him dieth. <540201>1 Timothy 2:1, 2. <610309>2

Peter 3:9; <261832>Ezekiel 18:32. And therefore God is the author of no man’s s

condemnation according to the saying of the prophet; Thy destruction, O

Israel, is of thyself; but thy help is of me. <281309>Hosea 13:9.

6. That man is justified only by the righteousness of Christ, apprehended by

faith; yet faith without works is dead. <450328>Romans 3:28; <480216>Galatians 2:16;

<590217>James 2:17.

7. That men may fall away from the grace of God, and from the truth, which

they have received and acknowledged, after they have tasted of the heavenly

gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted of the good

word of God, and of the powers of the world to come; and after they have

escaped from the filthiness of the world, may be entangled again therein, and

overcome. <581215>Hebrews 12:15; 10:26; 6:4, 5; <610220>2 Peter 2:20. That a righteous

man may forsake his righteousness, and perish. Ezekiel 24, 26. And therefore

let no man presume to think, that because he hath, or had once grace, therefore

he shall always have grace. But let all men have assurance, that if they

continue unto the end, they shall be saved. Let no man then presume; but let all

work out their salvation with fear and trembling.

8. That. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second Person or subsistence in the

Trinity, in the fulness of time was manifested in the flesh, being the seed of

David, and of the Israelites, according to the flesh, the Son of Mary the Virgin,

made of her substance, by the power of the Holy Ghost overshadowing her;

and being thus true man, was like unto us in all things, sin only excepted,

being one person in two distinct natures, true God, and true Man. <450103>Romans

1:3; Isaiah 5; <480404>Galatians 4:4; <420135>Luke 1:35; <580415>Hebrews 4:15.

9. That Jesus Christ is mediator of the new testament between God and man,

having all power in heaven and in earth given unto him, being the only King,

Priest, and Prophet of his church. He also being the only Lawgiver, hath in his

Testament set down an absolute and perfect rule of direction, for all persons, at

all times, to be observed; which no prince, nor any whosoever, may add to, or

diminish from, as they will avoid the fearful judgments denounced against

them that shall so do. <540205>1 Timothy 2:5; <402818>Matthew 28:18; <420133>Luke 1:33;

<580724>Hebrews 7:24; <440322>Acts 3:22; <662218>Revelation 22:18, 19.

10. That the church of Christ is a company of faithful people, separated from

the world by the word and Spirit of God, being knit unto the Lord, and one

unto another, by baptism, upon their own confession of the faith, and sins.

<460102>1 Corinthians 1:2; <490101>Ephesians 1:1; <470617>2 Corinthians 6:17; <461213>1

Corinthians 12:13; <440837>Acts 8:37; <400306>Matthew 3:6.

11. That though in respect of Christ the church be one, yet it consisteth of

divers particular congregations, even so many as there shall be in the world;

every of which congregation, though they be but two or three, have Christ

given them, with all the means of their salvation; are the body of Christ, and a

whole church; and therefore may, and ought, when they are come together, to

pray, prophesy, break bread, and administer in all the holy ordinances,

although as yet they have no officers, or that their officers should be in prison,

sick, or by any other means hindered from the church. <490404>Ephesians 4:4;

<401820>Matthew 18:20; <450832>Romans 8:32; <460322>1 Corinthians 3:22; 12:27; 14:23;

<600410>1 Peter 4:10; 2:5.

12. That as one congregation hath Christ, so hath all. And that the word of God

cometh not out from any one, neither to any one congregation in particular, but

unto every particular church, as it doth unto all the world. And therefore no

church ought to challenge any prerogative over any other. <471007>2 Corinthians

10:7; <461436>1 Corinthians 14:36; <510105>Colossians 1:5, 6.

13. That every church is to receive in all their members by baptism, upon the

confession of their faith and sins, wrought by the preaching of the gospel,

according to the primitive institution and practice. And therefore churches

constituted after any other manner, or of any other persons, are not according

to Christ’s testament. <402819>Matthew 28:19; <440241>Acts 2:41.

14. That baptism, or washing with water, is the outward manifestation of dying

unto sin, and walking in newness of life; and therefore in nowise appertaineth

to infants. <450602>Romans 6:2, 3, 4.

15. That the Lord’s supper is the outward manifestation of the spiritual

communion between Christ and the faithful, mutually to declare his death until

he come. <461016>1 Corinthians 10:16, 17; 11:26.

16. That the members of every church or congregation ought to know one

another, that so they may perform all the duties of love one towards another,

both to soul and body. <401815>Matthew 18:15; <520514>1 Thessalonians 5:14; <461225>1

Corinthians 12:25. And especially the elders ought to know the whole flock,

whereof the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers. And therefore a church

ought not to consist of such a multitude, as cannot have particular knowledge

one of another. <442028>Acts 20:28; <600502>1 Peter 5:2, 3.

17. That brethren impenitent in any one sin, after the admonition of the church,

are to be excluded the communion of the saints. And therefore not the

committing of sin doth cut off any from the church, but refusing to hear the

church to reformation. <401817>Matthew 18:17; <460504>1 Corinthians 5:4, 13.

18. That excommunicants, in respect of civil society, are not to be avoided.

<530315>2 Thessalonians 3:15; <401817>Matthew 18:17.

19. That every church ought, according to the example of Christ’s disciples

and primitive churches, upon every first day of the week, being the Lord’s day,

to assemble together, to pray, prophesy, praise God, and break bread, and

perform all other parts of spiritual communion for the worship of God, their

own mutual edification, and the preservation of true religion and piety in the

church. <432019>John 20:19; <440242>Acts 2:42; 20:7; <461602>1 Corinthians 16:2. And they

ought not to labour in their callings, according to the equity of the moral law;

which Christ came not to abolish, but to fulfil. <022008>Exodus 20:8, &c.

20. That the officers of every church or congregation are either elders, who by

their office do especially feed the flock concerning their souls; or deacons,

men and women, who by their office relieve the necessities of the poor and

impotent brethren, concerning their bodies. <442028>Acts 20:28; <600502>1 Peter 5:2, 3;

<440601>Acts 6:1, 4.

21. That these officers are to be chosen when there are persons qualified

according to the rules in Christ’s testament, by election and approbation of that

church or congregation whereof they are members, with fasting, prayer, and

laying on of hands; and there being but one rule for elders, there-fore but one

sort of elders. <540302>1 Timothy 3:2, 7; <560106>Titus 1:6, 9; <440603>Acts 6:3, 4; 13:3;

14:23.

22. That the officers of every church or congregation, are tied by office only to

that particular congregation whereof they are chosen. And therefore they

cannot challenge by office any authority in any other congregation whatsoever,

except they would have an apostleship. <441423>Acts 14:23; 20:17; <560105>Titus 1:5.

23. That the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are written for our

instruction; and that we ought to search them, for they testify of Christ; and

therefore to be used with all reverence, as containing the holy word of God,

which only is our direction in all things whatsoever. <550316>2 Timothy 3:16;

<430539>John 5:39.

24. That magistracy is a holy ordinance of God; that every soul ought to be

subject to it, not for fear only, but for conscience’ sake. Magistrates are the

ministers of God for our wealth, they bear not the sword for nought. They are

the ministers of God, to take vengeance on them that do evil. That it is a fearful

sin to speak evil of them that are in dignity, and to despise government. We

ought to pay tribute, custom, and all other duties. Romans 13.; <610210>2 Peter 2:10.

That we are to pray for them; for God would have them saved, and come to the

knowledge of his truth. <540201>1 Timothy 2:1, 4. And therefore they may be

members of the church of Christ, retaining their magistracy; for no ordinance

of God debarreth any from being a member of Christ’s church. They bear the

sword of God; which sword, in all lawful administrations, is to be defended

and supported by the servants of God that are under their government, with

their lives, and all that they have, according as in the first institution of that

holy ordinance. And whosoever holds otherwise, must hold, if they understand

themselves, that they are the ministers of the devil, and therefore not to be

prayed for, nor approved, in any of their administrations; seeing all things they

do, as punishing offenders, and defending their countries, state, and persons by

the sword, is unlawful. That it is lawful in a just cause, for the deciding of

strife, to take an oath by the name of the Lord. <580616>Hebrews 6:16; <470123>2

Corinthians 1:23; <500108>Philippians 1:8.

25. That the dead shall rise again, and the living be changed in a moment;

having the same bodies in substance, though diverse in qualities. <461552>1

Corinthians 15:52; <183819>Job 38:19; 15:28; <422430>Luke 24:30.

26. That after the resurrection, all men shall appear before the judgment scat of

Christ, to be judged according to their works. That the godly shall enjoy life

eternal; the wicked, being condemned, shall be tormented everlastingly in hell.

<402546>Matthew 25:46.

 

Basic Bible Information

Introduction:

On this page we have included three articles from the Ages Electronic Library, the last two are taken from CLAVIS BIBLICA by Adam Clarke and the first one from The Heart of the Old Testament

by John R. Sampey, D.D., LL.D.

They are placed here for educational and instructional purposes to help you grow in your faith

I. A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW OF THE BIBLE

THE Bible is a history of Redemption. It is not a history of the world, nor even a

history of the Hebrew people. Whatever bears on the redemption of sinful man finds

a place in the Bible. All else, however interesting and valuable for other purposes, is

passed by in silence.

1. THE BEGINNINGS

The first eleven chapters of Genesis lie at the foundation of the Bible. They tell us that

God created the universe; that man, the crowning work of the creation, at first

enjoyed fellowship with God; that the old serpent tempted our first parents and led

them into sin, that God announced final victory to the seed of the woman in the long

struggle with the serpent; that sin grew among men until God felt impelled to destroy

all the race except one righteous family; that sin continued among the descendants of

Noah, the progenitor of all the families and nations of earth. This foundation section

of the Bible leads up to the birth of Abram, whom Jehovah elects to be a blessing to

all the world. It covers far more time than all the remainder of the Bible; perhaps far

more than the common chronology would suggest.

2. THE PATRIARCHAL PERIOD

God makes a new era to begin with Abraham, the father of believers. Rich

revelations of the character and purposes of Jehovah are made to Abraham and his

descendants. The inspired writer portrays the patriarch’s life and character vividly

and fully. In the history of redemption Abraham holds a large place. The lives of

Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are also exceedingly instructive. God waited a long time

while His plans were maturing, and then advanced His redemptive purpose rapidly

through the great patriarchs. Genesis is truly one of the world’s great books.

3. THE ERA OF MOSES AND JOSHUA

The family of Jacob had grown into a nation in Egypt. They are enslaved by the

Egyptians and sorely oppressed. Jehovah calls Moses to be the deliverer, leader,

and lawgiver of Israel. The character of Jehovah is revealed in much of its glory

through Moses. The chosen nation is placed under the dominion of righteous statutes

and ordinances. The ethical character of Jehovah becomes the model after which His

people are to shape their lives. Much redemptive teaching is wrapped up in the

symbols and types of the Mosaic Law.

Moses led Israel to the borders of the Promised Land. It was reserved for Joshua to

conquer Canaan and to assign to the various tribes their inheritance. The era began

with Israel in bondage in a foreign land; it closed with Israel in possession of a land

flowing with milk and honey. Israel is called to be a holy nation, and this chosen

nation are intrusted the oracles of God. Jehovah redeemed Israel by a mighty arm

from the bondage of Egypt. He claims Israel as His own personal property. He is

Israel’s king. Through Israel He wishes to reveal His character and purposes to all

mankind.

The life and work of Moses are described in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and

Deuteronomy. Joshua gives an account of the conquest of Canaan and of the

allotment of the land among the tribes of Israel. During this period the Pentateuch

was written.

4. THE PERIOD OF THE JUDGES

After the death of Joshua, heathenism repeatedly attacked and threatened to engulf

the religion of Abraham and Moses. Here we come to the Dark Ages of Israel’s

history. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Even the best men of the

time were on a plane far below that on which Moses and Joshua and their associates

had lived. It looked as if the knowledge of Jehovah’s character might fade from the

minds of men. But there were a few faithful souls who kept alive the knowledge of

the holy and merciful God, Samuel, the last of the Judges, became the first of a long

line of prophets. Under the guiding hand of Samuel a great revival breaks out, and

Israel comes into an era of political power and of moral and spiritual energy.

The story of the period is told in Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel 1-7. The Book of

Joshua was probably composed in this period.

5. THE UNITED KINGDOM

Under Samuel the transition from a pure Theocracy to a Constitutional Monarchy is

made. An earthly king is seated on Jehovah’s throne over Israel. When Saul proves

a failure, Jehovah chooses a man after His own heart and places David on the

throne. David as king becomes significant in the revelation of Jehovah’s redemptive

purpose. The promise of God attaches itself to David’s house. The Ideal King of the

future will be a second David.

Perhaps David’s harp was more important to the plan of Redemption than his

scepter. Through the many psalms which he composed he has brought men of all

succeeding ages into a closer fellowship with God.

Solomon contributed out of his stores of worldly wisdom many proverbs to guide the

young to success and honor.

The period of the United Kingdom was one in which real advance was made in the

redemptive plan of Jehovah. Prophets and psalmists and sages united in promoting

faith and morality and spirituality in Israel, Times of reaction and moral declension

may be traced in the later history of Israel, but never any long period in which Israel

is without prophets or other leaders to keep alive the knowledge of Jehovah.

The account of the events of this period is found in 1 Samuel 8 to 1 Kings 11; also in

1 Chronicles 10 to 2 Chronicles 9. Judges, Ruth, and 1 and 2 Samuel were probably

composed in this period; also many psalms and proverbs and the Song of Solomon.

6. THE DIVIDED KINGDOM

The taxes were heavy under Solomon. His foolish son refused to make them lighter,

and the northern tribes revolted. This brings us to the period of the Divided Kingdom

(931-587 B.C.). In 722 B.C., Samaria was captured by the Assyrians, and the

kingdom of Israel (or Ephraim) ceased to be. The kingdom of Judah was destroyed

by Nebuchadrezzar in 587 B.C. and the people carried captive to Babylonia. As

early as 605 B.C., captives were taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. Daniel and

others were carried into exile in that year. In 598 B.C. Jehoiachin and many of his

people were transported to Babylon.

The ministry of Elijah and Elisha in the Northern Kingdom made memorable the

period from 870 B.C. to 800 B.C. In Judah, Obadiah and Joel were probably

contemporary with Elisha. Jonah, shortly after 800 B.C., prophesied first to his own

people and then to heathen Nineveh. Amos (about 760 B.C.) thundered at Bethel

against the sins of Israel, and Hosea (about 750-725 B.C.) pleaded with Israel to

return to Jehovah. In Judah, Isaiah and Micah filled the period from 740 to 695 B.C.

with brilliant ministries. Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah made prophecy a mighty

power in the eighth century B.C. To Isaiah it was given to picture the Messianic King

in His glory and to describe the character and achievements of the Suffering Servant

of Jehovah. Hezekiah, one of Judah’s best kings, led his people to turn from idols to

the worship of Jehovah. Isaiah and Micah found in him a sympathetic hearer.

With the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C., the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes passed away.

No doubt pious individuals of these tribes later united with their brethren of Judah, so

that the Ten Tribes were not wholly lost to history.

After the death of Hezekiah and Isaiah, Judah lapsed into gross idolatry under

Manasseh. There was a notable reformation under Josiah about 623 B.C. Jehovah

raised up a group of faithful prophets at this crisis. Nahum (about 640-630 B.C.)

announced the approaching downfall of cruel Nineveh. Zephaniah (about 630-625

B.C.) described the terrible day of Jehovah’s wrath against sin, but predicted that a

remnant both of Jews and Gentiles would be saved. Habakkuk (about 609-600

B.C.) gave voice to the longing for justice in a time of oppression. Jeremiah

commenced about 628 B.C. a faithful ministry that was continued in the face of

multiplied discouragements and dangers until after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.

He announced the transition to a new era in which Jehovah would write His law, not

on tables of stone, but on the hearts of His people. He preached the doctrine of

individualism. God will deal with each person as a separate entity. The Kingdom of

God as represented by the people of Judah as a nation was about to go to pieces,

but only as a preparation for a higher stage in the history of Redemption. The

spirituality of the Kingdom of God received new and helpful interpretation from

Jeremiah. Long before the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C., Jeremiah had

committed to writing the substance of Jehovah’s messages through him. The roll of

his prophecies was completed in the early years of the Babylonian Exile. During the

discouraging experiences of the Exile devout men were heartened by his earnest

words, and the spiritual element kept alive the hope of ultimate victory for the people

of Jehovah.

During this long period the singers of Israel made additions to the Psalter, and the

sages continued to put forth proverbs embodying worldly wisdom. It is possible that

the author of the Book of Job lived in this period. Of the writing prophets, Amos,

Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Jeremiah certainly belong in this

period; and it seems to the writer that Obadiah, Joel, and Jonah should be placed in

the early part of this period.

7. THE BABYLONIAN EXILE

As already stated, the Exile was a process beginning in 605 B.C. with the captivity

of Daniel and others, continuing with the captivity of Jehoiachin in 598 B.C., and

leading up to the great captivity at the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.

Ezekiel, a priest carried off with Jehoiachin in 598 B.C., was called to prophesy in

593 B.C. among the captives by the river Chebar in lower Babylonia. He continued

his ministry until 571 B.C. Through Ezekiel Jehovah emphasized the doctrine of

individual responsibility. Every man is treated justly, and every man is a separate’

entity before God. He may even break away from his own past life, and will be

judged as he is, and not as he was before he changed his course. Ezekiel is a

prophet of hope, picturing the growth of the kingdom of God in his image of the

stream of life-giving waters that issued from under the altar of God.

Daniel as a statesman and wise man gave his testimony before kings and courts. God

also made through him wonderful disclosures of the future struggles of Jehovah’s

people. Daniel teaches the doctrine of the resurrection of individuals to everlasting

life or everlasting shame, and gives a great promise to soul-winners.

During the Exile were composed the Books of 1 and 2 Kings; Jeremiah (completed),

Lamentations, and Ezekiel.

8. FROM THE RESTORATION TO THE MACCABEAN REVOLT

The return from captivity had been foretold by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. When

Cyrus conquered Babylon, he gave permission to the Jews to return to their own

land and to rebuild their temple. In 535 B.C. Zerubbabel led a company of about

fifty thousand exiles back to Palestine. The worship of Jehovah through sacrifice was

resumed, and plans were laid for rebuilding the temple; but, owing to opposition

from their heathen neighbors, the work was discontinued for fourteen years. Then

Jehovah sent Haggai and Zechariah, in 520 B.C., to stir up the spirits of the rulers of

the people to undertake the task of building the temple. The work was completed in

516 B.C., and the temple was dedicated with joy.

Many Jews remained in Babylon and Persia. The Book of Esther relates how, in the

reign of Xerxes (about 478 B.C.), the Jews of the world were threatened with

extermination, and how they were saved by the intercession of Esther.

In 458 B.C., Artaxerxes gave Ezra permission to lead a caravan of Jews from Persia

to Jerusalem. Ezra came to Jerusalem and wrought important reforms among the

people.

In 445 B.C., Nehemiah, the cupbearer of Artaxerxes, asked permission to return to

Jerusalem and to rebuild the walls of the city. He accomplished his difficult task

speedily, in spite of many serious dangers. On his return from Persia, about 432

B.C., he wrought several important reforms in Jerusalem. He was a wise and

efficient governor. Ezra and Nehemiah coöperated to keep the Jews separate from

the heathen world, which threatened to assimilate them to its low religious and moral

life. Ezra and Nehemiah paved the way for the development of Judaism.

The prophet Malachi was probably contemporary with Nehemiah, as he attacks the

abuses which Nehemiah overthrew in Judah.

The Jews continued under the comparatively mild Persian rule until 331 B.C., when

they passed under the yoke of Alexander the Great. From 320 to 198 B.C. the Jews

were subject to the Ptolemies of Egypt. Then they became subject to Antiochus the

Great of Syria, and continued tributary to Syria until the revolt against Antiochus

Epiphanes in 167 B.C. Mattathias and his brave sons led their countrymen in a

desperate struggle for the right to worship God according to the laws of Moses.

They refused to become hellenized and heathenized.

During the period from 535 B.C. to 166 B.C. were composed the prophetic Books

of Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi; the historical Books, 1 and 2 Chronicles,

Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther; also some Psalms, and probably Ecclesiastes, which

describes the lessons to be learned from Solomon’s experiences, Several of the

Apocryphal Books, such as Tobit and Ecclesiasticus, were also composed in this

period.

9. FROM THE MACCABEAN REVOLT TO THE BIRTH OF JESUS

For this period we are dependent upon sources other than the Bible. From 1

Maccabees and Josephus we learn that the Maccabees, after many battles, won

independence for the Jews. Native kings arid queens once more ruled over the

Jewish people. But in 63 B.C, Pompey captured Jerusalem, and in 37 B.C. Herod

the Great became king, and held the office until after the birth of our Lord. The

chronology computed in later times seems clearly to have put the birth of Jesus about

five years too late. Hence modern chronologers usually assign that event to 5 B.C.

During this period the Jewish sects developed, so that in the New Testament we

hear of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Judaism hardened into Pharisaic legalism.

10. THE LIFE OF OUR LORD JESUS

Here we come to the heart of the Bible. Fortunately the story is so familiar that we

do not need to repeat it. Our Lord’s public ministry probably lasted a little over three

years. After the early Judean ministry He passed through Samaria to enter upon the

great Galilean ministry, which took Him three times over that populous district. Then

He withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon and other districts around Galilee.

During the last six months He seems to have visited all parts of the land on both sides

of the Jordan. Then came the discourses of the last week, the crucifixion, the

resurrection, and after forty days the ascension.

Jesus wrote no books, but He promised the Twelve the gift of the Holy Spirit that

He might bring to their remembrance the words they had heard from His lips. Never

man spake like this man. Jesus Christ made atonement for sin on the cross. In Him

were fulfilled the Scriptures of the Old Testament. All the New Testament sets forth

His life and death and resurrection as the hope of the world. Whatever in the Bible

has no relation to Him may be safely ignored but take care lest the relation be missed

through inattention.

11. LABORS OF PETER AND OF HIS ASSOCIATES

(CHIEFLY AMONG THE JEWS.)

The most probable date for the ascension of our Lord is the late spring of 30 A.D.

Ten days later the Holy Spirit fell with mighty power on the disciples in the upper

room. In one day three thousand souls were converted to personal acceptance of

Jesus as Christ and Saviour. The progress of the revival thus begun is sketched in the

early chapters of the Acts. Of course, the adversary stirred up opposition and

persecution, but the church grew wonderfully. The believer found the gospel

sufficient for all his needs. Years passed by, The apostles seem to have forgotten the

command to make disciples of all the nations. Suddenly persecution becomes more

violent, and the believers are scattered abroad, preaching, however, as they journey.

God calls Peter to receive into the church the first Gentile converts. Presently others

are won at Antioch through the labors of other men. Meantime Saul of Tarsus has

been converted to the new faith. He is busy preaching and teaching in Cilicia, the

province in which he was born. Fourteen or fifteen years have passed away since

our Lord left the earth, and the time is ripe for a great ingathering of the Gentiles. The

gospel of Christ has been tested by many, and it has stood the test.

12. MISSIONARY LABORS OF PAUL AND OF HIS ASSOCIATES

(GENTILES AND JEWS.)

Barnabas, seeing that there was a great door opened in Antioch, went forth to

Tarsus to seek Saul. He found his man and brought him face to face with a great

opportunity. These were busy days in Antioch. Presently the Holy Spirit designated

Barnabas and Saul for work on a wider field. Then follows the great missionary

journey to Cyprus, Pisidia, and Lycaonia. Many converts are won from among the

Gentiles. Now the question is raised whether Gentiles becoming Christians should

not also become Jews and keep the law of Moses. At the Council in Jerusalem in

A.D. 50, Gentile freedom was won, largely through the efforts of Paul and Barnabas.

About 48 or 50 A.D., it is supposed, James wrote his Epistle.

In A.D. 51-54 followed the second missionary journey. Paul and Silas were called

into Macedonia, and thence into Greece. From Corinth, in A.D. 52 or 53, Paul

wrote the two letters to the Thessalonians.

During the period from A.D. 54 to A.D. 58, Paul was engaged in the third

missionary journey, spending much time at Ephesus. Toward the close of this

campaign he wrote a group of great letters, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and

Romans. This group belongs to the years 57 and 58 A.D.

Finally Paul falls into the hands of his enemies, and lies in prison at Cæsarea for two

long years. Then he goes to Rome as a prisoner. During his confinement in Rome he

probably wrote Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians, another group of

great letters.

It seems that Paul finally was released, and had opportunity to resume his missionary

labors. But once more he was arrested, about A.D. 67, and is said to have suffered

martyrdom in A.D. 68. During his last imprisonment he wrote 1 Timothy, Titus, and

2 Timothy. Hebrews is probably not directly from the hand of Paul, although

reminding one a good deal of the great Apostle. It was probably composed between

60 and 70 A.D.

1 Peter, Jude, and 2 Peter probably date from 65 to 67 A.D.

Mark, Matthew, and Luke probably wrote the Gospels bearing their names before

A.D. 70, though some good scholars think them later.

13. CLOSING LABORS OF JOHN AND OF HIS ASSOCIATES

When Peter and Paul passed away, John, the beloved disciple, became easily the

foremost Christian in the world. He was great and influential while these mighty men

lived, but he seems to have been willing to yield to Peter as spokesman. John is said

to have lived to a ripe old age in Ephesus. For a while he was exiled to Patmos.

Between A.D. 80 and A.D. 95 he probably wrote the Gospel of John, the three

Epistles of John, and the Revelation. The heart of God is revealed in these writings.

They form a fitting close and climax to the revelation contained in the Bible. The

ultimate triumph of Christ over all foes is predicted in the Revelation. God’s plan of

redemption will not fail. The Son of God shall reign forever. Satan shall be locked up

in the bottomless pit, no more to tempt the saints.

The Bible is a unity. The style and manner of each book contain elements that give it

a right to a place in God’s great Book. Every part of the Book contains the red

blood of Redemption. The Bible is an organism. Cut it and it will bleed. It contains

the progressive revelation of God’s will. Holy men wrote it as they were borne along

by the Spirit of God.

II. PRINCIPLES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION

1. There Is One God, who is self-existing, uncreated, infinitely wise,

powerful, and good: who is present in every place; and fills the heavens,

and earth, and all things. Now, as THIS ONE God is eternal, that is, without

beginning or end, and is present everywhere, and fills all space, <234406>Isaiah

44:6-8, there can be only ONE such Being; for there cannot be two or more

eternals, or two or more who are everywhere and fill all things. To suppose

more than one supreme Source of infinite wisdom, power, and all

perfections, is to assert that there is no supreme Being in existence. A

plurality of eternal beings would resemble a plurality of universes,

eternities, and infinite spaces; all which would be contradictory and absurd.

<234406>Isaiah 44:6, 7, 8.

2. This one infinite and eternal Being is a Spirit: i.e., he is not compounded,

nor made up of parts; for then he would be nothing different from matter,

which is totally void of intelligence and power. And hence he must be

invisible; for a spirit cannot be seen by the eye of man: nor is there any

thing in this principle contradictory to reason or experience. We all know

that there is such a thing as the air we breathe, as the wind that whistles

through the trees, fans and cools our bodies, and sometimes tears up

mighty trees from their roots, overturns the strongest buildings, and agitates

the vast ocean; but no man has ever seen this air or wind, though every one

is sensible of its effects, and knows that it exists. Now it would be as

absurd to deny the existence of God, because we cannot see him, as it

would be to deny the existence of the air or wind, because we cannot see it.

As to reason and sense, the wind is known to exist by the affects which it

produces, though it cannot be seen; so God is known by his works; and a

genuine Christian is as conscious that this divine Spirit works in,

enlightens, and changed his heart, as he is that he breathes the air, and feels

the action of the wind upon his body; and is either chilled, cooled, or

refreshed, by its breezes. <430424>John 4:24; 3:8.

3. In this God there are found three persons, not distinctly or separately

existing; but in one infinite unity; who are termed Father, Son, and Spirit; or

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; all existing in the

one infinite and eternal God; neither being before or after the other, neither

being greater or less than the other. These three divine persons are

frequently termed among Christians, The Trinity. <620507>1 John 5:7; <420322>Luke

3:22.

4. This God is the Creator, Governor, and Preserver of all things: all

creatures, animate and inanimate, owe their being to him; and by him they

are all supported. <430103>John 1:3; <160906>Nehemiah 9:6.

5. The works of creation show God to be infinitely powerful, wise, and

good. His power is seen in the vastness or magnitude of his works; his

Wisdom is seen in the skill and contrivance so evident in each, and in the

whole; and his Goodness is seen in the end for which each has been

formed: for he has made all intelligent and animate beings capable of

happiness; and he has so contrived their bodies, minds, and different parts,

as well as the things by which they are surrounded, that this happiness is, in

general, within their reach. <19A424>Psalm 104:24.

6. Man is one of the chief works of God. His soul was created in the image

of God, i.e., in righteousness and true holiness: and his body was formed

out of the dust of the ground. There was no imperfection in his body, a

machine of the most complicate, curious, and difficult contrivance: and no

sinfulness in his mind; for God, who is all perfection, could make nothing

that is imperfect; and He who is infinitely holy could make nothing that is

impure. <010127>Genesis 1:27.

7. But from this state of perfection and purity man fell, by his disobeying

the commandment of God; and so became liable to sickness, death,

corruption, and dissolution in his body; and became ignorant, sinful, and

vicious in his soul; which imperfections and sinful propensities he

communicated to all his posterity: for as the stream must ever be the same

with the fountain from whence it flows, so all generations of men must

necessarily have the same kind of nature with those from whom they are

descended. Adam, the first man, was made in the image and likeness of

God; but, when he sinned, he lost that divine image; and then, when he

begat children, it is said in the sacred writings that he begat them in his own

image, <010503>Genesis 5:3, i.e., sinful and corrupt like himself. And in this state

all human beings that are born into the world are still found: and their sinful

dispositions lead them unto sinful practices; so that the whole human race

are fallen, and all are sinners against God and their own souls. <191403>Psalm

14:3.

8. God, who is infinitely good, showed his mercy to fallen, sinful man by

promising him a Savior who was to come in that time which God should

see to be the most suitable. <010315>Genesis 3:15.

9. This Saviour was no less a person than the Lord Jesus Christ, who in

that suitable time was to take upon him the nature of man, by assuming a

human body; which he subjected to death, that he might make a sacrifice

and atonement for all those who were partakers of the same nature, i.e., for

the Whole Human Race. <400121>Matthew 1:21, 28; <580209>Hebrews 2:9.

10. Jesus Christ, as man, could suffer and die; as God, he was incapable of

either, but it was necessary that his human nature should suffer in order to

make an atonement; and it was necessary that his Deity should be united

with that humanity, in order to make its suffering of infinite value, that

thereby a suitable atonement might be made for the sins of the world. <600318>1

Peter 3:18.

11. The law which God gave to men was given to human nature. That

nature transgressed this law; on that nature, therefore, divine justice had a

claim; and from it that justice had a right to demand satisfaction. To have

destroyed that human nature existing at the time of the transgression in the

first human pair only, would have been inconsistent with the innumerable

purposes of divine justice, mercy, and providence; therefore God permitted

them to live and propagate a posterity upon the earth: but in his infinite love

he found out a Redeemer for this fallen nature. But this Christ or Redeemer

took not upon him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham, that is,

human nature, that in the nature which sinned he might make the expiation

required. <580216>Hebrews 2:16.

12. It was also necessary that this Redeemer should be infinitely divine and

perfect; as the end of his great undertaking was not only to purchase pardon

for a world of offenders, but to merit eternal happiness for mankind. Now

an infinite happiness cannot be purchased by any price less than that which

is infinite in value; and infinity of merit can only result from a nature that is

infinitely divine or perfect. <510117>Colossians 1:17.

13. Accordingly we find that, about 4000 years after the creation, this Jesus

Christ was born in Judea, of a virgin, whose name was Mary, in whose

womb his human nature was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost;

and about thirty-three years afterward, having wrought multitudes of

miracles, the most astonishing and beneficent, and preached that heavenly

doctrine called the gospel or good news, he gave up his life at Jerusalem as

a sacrificial offering for the lives of all mankind. He was buried; rose again,

by that divine power which could not suffer death, on the third day,

according to his own predictions; and gave commission to his disciples,

(holy men to whom he had taught the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,)

to go into all the world, and preach his gospel to every creature; which they

and their successors have done, and are doing: and by these means

Christianity has been spread and established in the earth; and will finally

prevail in every nation of the world according to his own most positive

declarations. <420211>Luke 2:11; <235309>Isaiah 53:9; <540206>1 Timothy 2:6; <411615>Mark 16:15.

14. God has assured mankind that there is and can be no salvation but

through Jesus Christ: that for the sake, and on the account, of his sacrificial

sufferings and death he can forgive sins; and on no other account will he

show mercy to any soul of man. <490107>Ephesians 1:7.

15. As all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and are

consequently exposed to endless punishment, and no man can make an

atonement for his own soul, God has commanded all who hear the gospel

to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that is, to believe on him as having died

for them, and to believe that his sufferings and death are a sufficient

sacrifice for their sins; and, consequently, to offer this sacrificial death of

the Lord Jesus Christ as a ransom price for their souls, <411616>Mark 16:16.

16. But it is not likely that any person will feel his need of Jesus Christ as

his Savior, unless he feel that he is sinful, guilty, and cannot help himself:

hence the Holy Scriptures require men to repent; that is, to turn from and be

deeply sorry for their transgressions, to mourn and be distressed for having

sinned against God, and to implore his mercy through Christ Jesus, by

fervent and continued prayer. <440319>Acts 3:19; 18:30.

17. Scripture gives no hope to any man, that his sins can be blotted out, or

his soul saved, by anything he can do, or has done, or by any sufferings

through which he can possibly pass: every man, therefore, must come to

God through Christ, to be saved by free grace and mere mercy alone.

<450324>Romans 3:24; <490208>Ephesians 2:8.

18. When a sinner comes thus to God, with a broken and contrite heart,

believing and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation, God

freely pardons him; and he knows and feels that he is pardoned, because his

darkness and distress are all taken away; and the Spirit of God bears

witness with his spirit that he is a child of God: this God has promised;

and, therefore, it is the privilege of every Christian to know that his sins are

forgiven him for Christs sake: and of this fact there are thousands of living

witnesses in the Christian church. Let it ever be remembered that genuine

faith in Christ will ever be productive of good works; for this faith worketh

by love, as the apostle says, and love to God always produces obedience to

his holy laws. <450505>Romans 5:5; 8:16.

19. Pardon or forgiveness of sin implies that the mans guilt is taken away;

and that he is no longer in danger of falling into endless punishment: but it

does not imply that the evil of his nature is wholly removed; for this is a

separate work of Gods mercy. <450501>Romans 5:1; 8:1.

20. Hence God promises his Holy Spirit to sanctify and cleanse the heart,

so as utterly to destroy all pride, anger, self-will, peevishness, hatred,

malice, and every thing contrary to his own holiness. <520523>1 Thessalonians

5:23; <450813>Romans 8:13; <263625>Ezekiel 36:25-27.

21. The work of pardon on the conscience is called Justification; the work

of holiness in the heart is termed Sanctification: these two comprise the

whole salvation of the soul in this world. He who is completely sanctified,

or cleansed from all sin, and dies in this state, is fit for glory. <660305>Revelation

3:5.

22. Let it be therefore remembered, that Repentance must go before

Justification; that Justification must go before Sanctification; and that

Sanctification must go before Glorification. Consequently, he who does not

repent and forsake sin can not be justified; he who is not justified cannot be

sanctified, and he who is not sanctified cannot be glorified.

23. As the grace that produces any of these states may be lost through sin,

or carelessness; hence the necessity that the true penitent should continue to

watch and pray till he is justified that, when justified, he should continue to

watch and pray, and deny himself, and take up his cross, till he is sanctified;

and, when sanctified, he should continue the same course, believing, loving,

and obeying, till he is glorified. As he will be in danger as long as he lives

of falling from grace, so he should continue to watch and pray, believe, and

maintain good works, as long as he breathes; for while thus employed,

humbly trusting in the Lord Jesus, he cannot fall. <460927>1 Corinthians 9:27;

<610218>2 Peter 2:18; <411438>Mark 14:38; 13:37; <610210>2 Peter 2:10.

24. Jesus Christ has ordained only two sacraments, or religions

ceremonies: The first Baptism, by which we enter into his church; and the

second the Lords Supper, often called the Sacrament, by which we continue

members of his church. The former implies being dipped in, or sprinkled

with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy

Ghost. The water is an emblem of the cleansing and purifying influence of

the Holy Spirit; and the whole of the act itself signifies a consecration of the

person to the endless service and glory of the ever blessed Trinity, that is,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in whose name he has been baptized.

The

second or holy sacrament is an emblem of the sacrificial death of Christ; the

Bread which is used signifying his Body that was crucified, and the Wine

his Blood that was shed for the sins of the world. But the bread and wine

are only emblems of this body and blood; not changed into that of our

blessed Lord, as some have erroneously imagined. He, therefore, who

receives the holy sacrament professes thereby that he expects salvation only

through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

<402802>Matthew 28:29; 26:26, 27, 28.

25. The body is mortal, and must die and mingle with the earth, out of

which it was made: but it shall be raised again by the power of Christ, in

what is called the Resurrection from the dead. But the soul is immortal, and

can neither die nor perish; but in the resurrection the body and soul shall be

again united, both of the just and of the unjust. <580927>Hebrews 9:27; <461551>1

Corinthians 15:51, 52; <430528>John 5:28, 29; Ecclesiastes 13:7.

26. After the resurrection comes the general Judgment, in which God shall

render unto every man according as his works have been: those who have

lived and died in sin shall be sent into hell, and be thus for ever banished

from God and the glory of His power: those who have here received the

grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and have been faithful unto death, shall be

brought into the kingdom of glory, and be eternally with the Lord. <430529>John

5:29; <660210>Revelation 2:10.

27. In the interim, from death to the resurrection, all souls shall be in a state

of conscious existence; the wicked having a foretaste of the misery that

awaits them, and the good having a foretaste of the blessedness which is

prepared for them. But neither can be supremely happy or wretched till the

souls are joined to their respective bodies; otherwise a day of judgment

would be rendered unnecessary: for as the works for which they shall be

punished or rewarded were done in the body; so they must be joined to

their bodies before they can be capable of bearing the due degree of

punishment, or enjoying the fulness of eternal glory. <422343>Luke 23:43.

28. Those who, at the day of judgment, are sentenced to punishment shall

never escape from perdition; and those who are taken to glory shall never

fall from it. Both states shall be eternal. <402546>Matthew 25:46.

29. The Bible, from whence the above principles are drawn, is a revelation

from God himself; and declares his will relative to the salvation of men.

The words contained in it were inspired by the Holy Spirit into the minds of

faithful men, called Prophets and Seers in the Old Testament; and

Evangelists and Apostles in the New. These all spoke as the Spirit gave

them utterance. <661201>Revelation 12:19; <610121>2 Peter 1:21.

30. This Bible, or the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, are the

only complete guide to everlasting blessedness: men may err, but the

Scripture cannot; for it is the Word of God himself who can neither

mistake, deceive, nor be deceived. <550316>2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

31. From this Word all doctrines must be derived and proved; and from it

every man must learn his duty to God, to his neighbor, and to himself.

<230820>Isaiah 8:20.

32. We have, therefore, three grand gifts, for which we should incessantly

magnify God: First, His Son, Christ Jesus. Second, The influence of his

Holy Spirit. And, Third, His blessed word <620410>1 John 4:10; <421113>Luke 11:13;

<430539>John 5:39.

33. This word shows us that God is Love: that he hateth nothing that he

hath made; that he is loving to every man, and is not willing that any should

perish, but that all shall come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved.

<620416>1 John 4:16; <19E509>Psalm 145:9.

34. It shows us that Jesus Christ tasted death for every man, and that the

whole human race may believe in him to the saving of their souls.

<580201>Hebrews 2; <540206>1 Timothy 2:6; <261803>Ezekiel 18:33; <263302>33:2; <610301>2 Peter 3:19.

35. It shows us that God sends his Holy Spirit into the hearts and

consciences of all men, to convince them of sin, righteousness, and

judgment; and that his light is to be found, even where his word has not yet

been revealed. <430119>John 1:19; <431608>16:8, 9, 10, <450214>Romans 2:14.

36. On this ground the Bible informs us, God will judge the heathen who

have never been favored with this divine revelation. Those who have acted

conscientiously, according to the dictates of this heavenly light in their

minds, shall not perish eternally; but have that measure of glory and

happiness which is suited to their state; while those who have acted contrary

to it shall be separated from God and happiness for ever. <450212>Romans 2:12;

<421247>Luke 12:47, 48 <441034>Acts 10:34.

37. By this light even the heathens are taught the general principles of right

and wrong; of justice and injustice: not to injure each other: to be honest and

just in their dealings; to abhor murder, cruelty, and oppression; and to be

charitable and merciful according to their power. <430109>John 1:9; <450214>Romans

2:14

38. Those who have been favored with divine revelation shall be judged

according to that revelation. They have received much, and from them

much shall be required; for the Bible assures us that those who have the

gospel, and do not obey it, shall be punished with an everlasting separation

from the presence of God, and the glory of his power, in that place of

misery where their worm, the accusation and self-reproaches of a guilty

conscience, shall never die; and their fire, the instrument of the torment,

shall never be quenched. <530109>2 Thessalonians 1:9; <410944>Mark 9:44.

39. Thus we find that God will judge the heathen by the law which he has

written in their minds; and he will judge the Jews by the law which he has

given them by Moses and the prophets; and he will judge the Christians by

the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he has given them by the evangelists and

apostles; and he will judge the Mohammedans according to the

opportunities they have had of knowing the gospel, and the obstinacy with

which they have rejected it. And this will be an aggravation of the

punishment of the Jews, Mohammedans, and other unbelievers, that the

gospel which would have made them wise unto salvation, has been rejected

by them; and they continue blasphemously to deny the Lord that bought

them.

40. As the sacred Scriptures were mercifully given to man to promote his

present as well as his eternal happiness; hence they contain directions for

every state and condition of life: on husbands and wives, parents and

children, masters and servants, they enjoin mutual love, affection,

obedience, and fidelity. To governors and the governed they prescribe their

respective duties; kings and magistrates, as the representatives of God, they

enjoin to use their authority for the protection and comfort of the people: the

people they command to love, honor, obey, and pray for their secular

rulers;, to submit to those laws which are formed for the peace, good order,

and prosperity of the state; and to hold in abhorrence every thing that might

tend to disturb the peace of the community. In a word, they require all men

to love their neighbor, every human being, as themselves; and in all

circumstances to do unto others as they would that others should do unto

them.

<400712>Matthew 7:12; <421031>Luke 10:31; <450301>Romans 3:1-7; <490521>Ephesians

5:21 -33; 6:1-9; <510318>Colossians 3:18-25; <540201>1 Timothy 2:1-3; <560201>Titus 2:1-6

<560301>3:1, 2; <600301>1 Peter 3:1-7; <600501>5:1-5.

41. From the foregoing principles we see that whatsoever is worthy of the

infinite perfections of the One Eternal Being and whatsoever is calculated to

produce the present and everlasting happiness of mankind, is taught in the

Bible; and that these truths have never been fully nor clearly taught, and

most of them not at all, in any system of religion which has been adopted

by even the wisest of the heathen nations; that where this book of divine

revelation has been received, there is found the greatest portion of wisdom

and true greatness; and the largest share of political, domestic, and personal

happiness; and that none in such nations are wretched, ignorant, or

miserable, but those who do not obey its dictates.

42. As this religion positively commands its professors to love God with

all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and their neighbor, any and

every human being, as themselves, hence it is the duty of all Christian

nations and people to exert themselves in every possible and reasonable

way to send this glorious light of revelation to all the nations of mankind

who have not yet received it; and while they continue to use that prayer

which Jesus Christ has mercifully taught them, in which is contained this

petition, Thy kingdom come, they should keep a constant eye on the

condition of the heathen, and labor to send them that gospel so essential to

their peace, their comfort, and their happiness.

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature: he that

believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall he

damned. <411616>Mark 16:16.

And I saw an angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the Everlasting

Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth; and to every nation, and

kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and

Give Glory to Him. <661406>Revelation 14:6, 7.

III. DIRECTIONS FOR PROFITABLY READING THE

WORD OF GOD

Having thus laid down at large the principles of the Christian religion, and

the reasons on which they are founded, and given a general view of that

divine revelation from which they are extracted, it may be necessary to give

a few directions to those who seriously ask the question, How may we

profit most, and grow wise unto salvation, by reading the sacred writings? I

answer:

1. Deeply consider that it is your duty and interest to read the Holy

Scriptures.

2. When you read, consider that it is Gods Word which you read; and

that his faithfulness is pledged to fulfill both its promises and

threatenings.

3. Read the whole Bible, and read it in order; two chapters in the Old

Testament and one in the New, daily if you can possibly spare the time;

and you will have more time than you are aware of; if you retrench all

needless visits, and save the hours spent in useless or unimportant

conversation.

4. Think that the eye of God is upon you while you are reading his

word: and read and hear it with that reverence with which you would

hear God speak, were he to address you as he did the prophets and

people of old; for, be assured, that he considers it as much his word

now as he did when he first spoke it.

5. Remember that the word of God is not sent to particular persons, as

if by name; and do not think you have no part in it, because you are not

named there. It is not thus sent: it is addressed to particular characters;

to saints, sinners, the worldly minded, the proud, the unclean, the

dishonest, the unfaithful, liars, Sabbath-breakers, the penitent, the

tempted, the persecuted, the afflicted, &.c., &c.

6. Therefore examine your own state, and see to which of these

characters you belong, and then apply the word spoken to the character

in question to yourself; for it is as surely spoken to you as if your name

were found printed in the Bible, and placed there by divine inspiration

itself.

7. When, in the course of such reading, you meet with a threatening,

and know from your own state that this awful word is spoken against

you, stop, and implore God, for the sake of the sufferings and death of

His Son, to pardon the sin that exposes you to the punishment

threatened.

8. In like manner, when you meet with a promise made to the penitent,

tempted, afflicted, &c., having found out your own case, stop, and

implore God to fulfill that promise.

9. Should you find, on self-examination, that the threatening has been

averted by your having turned to God; that the promise has been

fulfilled, through your faith in Christ; stop here also, and return God

thanks for having saved you from such sore evils, and brought you into

such a glorious state of salvation. Thus you will constantly find matter

in reading the book of God to excite to repentance, to exercise faith, to

produce confidence and consolation, and to beget gratitude; and

gratitude will never fail to beget obedience. He who reads the Bible in

this way must infallibly profit by it.

10. It is always useful to read a portion of the Scriptures before prayer,

whether performed in the family or in the closet. In doing this, mark

some particular passages, that they may become a subject for your

petitions; by attending to this, all formality and sameness in this sacred

duty will be prevented; and you will have an abundance of materials for

petitions, supplications, thanksgiving, &c. And thus your prayers will

never be tedious, unsatisfactory, or unedifying, either to yourself or to

others.

11. Remember that in reading, you keep the eye of your mind steadily

fixed upon Him who is the end of the law, and the sum of the gospel;

for even the Holy Scriptures can make you wise unto salvation only

through faith in Christ Jesus. <550315>2 Timothy 3:15.

12. Let the Scriptures, therefore, lead you to that Holy Spirit by which

they were inspired: let that Spirit lead you to Jesus Christ, who has

ransomed you by his death. And let this Christ lead you to the Father,

that he may adopt you into the family of [God. FINIS.]

 
 
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