Archive for the ‘Christian Conduct’ Category

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An Open Letter to Matthew Vines

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Please note that all Scripture references are King James Version, 1769 Edition

Mr. Vines,

It quite plainly appears that you think you have a case for seriously contending that Scripturally there is nothing wrong with sodomy and “long-term” same gender physical relations. You also believe you have proved that someone can be a sodomite and be a genuine, Bible-believing Christian as well. I would like to address those issues with you, and point out to you that you have been less that honest in your interpretation of what the Scripture states.

But before addressing those issues, I would posit to you that perhaps attempting to overthrow 4000+ years of Scriptural teaching is likely not a good idea. Perhaps the arrogance and ignorance of youth is at play here, but that really doesn’t matter. You are an “adult” and you should know better. I read the transcript of your presentation, and it amounts to a screed (that is all I can properly call it). I state that about this presentation where you spoke at a Methodist church in Kansas, as the transcript is full of illogic and supposition, half-truth and some outright lies. What was presented contains such understanding as the following:

“The second problem that has already presented itself with the traditional interpretation comes from the opening chapters of Genesis, from the account of the creation of Adam and Eve. This story is often cited to argue against the blessing of same-sex unions: in the beginning, God created a man and a woman, and two men or two women would be a deviation from that design. But this biblical story deserves closer attention. In the first two chapters of Genesis, God creates the heavens and the earth, plants, animals, man, and everything in the earth. And He declares everything in creation to be either good or very good – except for one thing. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” And yes, the suitable helper or partner that God makes for Adam is Eve, a woman. And a woman is a suitable partner for the vast majority of men – for straight men. But for gay men, that isn’t the case. For them, a woman is not a suitable partner. And in all of the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men—for gay men, it’s another gay man who is a suitable partner. And the same is true for lesbian women. For them, it is another lesbian woman who is a suitable partner. But the necessary consequence of the traditional teaching on homosexuality is that, even though gay people have suitable partners, they must reject them, and they must live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own. We are now declaring good the very first thing in Scripture that God declared not good: for the man to be forced to be alone. And the fruit that this teaching has borne has been deeply wounding and destructive.”

“This is a major problem. By holding to the traditional interpretation, we are now contradicting the Bible’s own teachings: the Bible teaches that it is not good for the man to be forced to be alone, and yet now, we are teaching that it is.”

So you believe that when it teaches in Genesis, chapter 2, verses 18-24 that it is “not good for man to be alone,” it is actually the teaching of ‘not having someone to share a life with?’ Moreover, you assert that the “traditional interpretation” creates a conflict in Scripture because “gay people” are forced to be alone contrary to what the LORD stated when He made man.

The Creation of Man
While you focus on the aspect of woman being an help meet, (proper) for man, and then argue that this is not true for sodomites – you do so totally and willfully ignoring actual issues in the passage. While the traditional interpretation of the passage is correct, and that is what you are arguing against, traditional teaching about the passage never really gets to the “why” of it all.

It comes across that your thinking is as follows: After the LORD God made man, He suddenly realized that man really shouldn’t be alone. After all, that is tantamount to what you argue. Consider the following passages and the bearing they have on the situation on earth, after Adam is created, but before Eve is brought out of Adam:

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)

And again:

…(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.(Romans 4:17)

So when did the Lord Jesus Christ die on the cross? In the minds of men it was 2000 years ago. But not in the heart and mind of the LORD God. In the heart and mind of the LORD God, Christ died on the cross in eternity past. Just as Abraham has always been the father of many nations – even before Abram was ever conceived. You should notice that “be not” is future tense, and “as though they were.” is past tense. By this, the LORD God made plain that His view is not the same as ours, and there are no surprises for Him.

So, what does this have to do with “an help meet” for Adam? Perhaps the following will enlighten the situation somewhat:

Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.(Matthew 22:28-30)

So, what is the great distinction between man and angels other than angels are soul and spirit, and man is soul, spirit and body? Perhaps you should consider that all the angels were created all at the same time? Should you not also consider that the angels do not procreate – that they do not produce offspring? It is quite plain in Scripture that there are no successive generations of angels. Hence, marriage is neither necessary nor appropriate for angels – they are genderless.

But it is not so with man. Rather, man is unique. Whereas animals are spirit and body (as everything is spiritually driven), [Hebrews 1:1-3; Luke 19:38-40; Ecclesiastes 3:21 – KJV, please] and angels are soul and spirit, man is made in the similitude of God and is a tri-unity of parts to make a whole (The LORD God is a tri-unity of Persons, yet one God – which is far beyond what man is or can be.) Howsoever, not to get off point, man has a component that is like the animals in that he is physical and hence, like the animals, must reproduce in successive generations.

Of course, you should now realize that the LORD God knew all this in eternity past.

Since it is patently obvious that angels are strictly spiritual and cannot manifest physically unless the LORD God commands them and enables them to do so, it is impossible for angels to be an “help meet” for man. Hence, that leaves the animals, which are physical. But, is any animal really a suitable companion and help proper for man? After all, man is made in the image and likeness of God in five identifiable aspects:

  1. Man is a tri-unity of parts: Soul, spirit and body. The LORD God is a tri-unity of Persons: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost (Though there are orders of magnitude difference here, the pattern is the same.)
  2. Man has Free-will.
  3. Man has the innate ability to Judge.
  4. Man is Creative. Man creates out of that which already exists (ex-aliquid (which is out of something or pro-creation)) (the LORD God does it ex-nihlo (out of nothing) – again orders of magnitude difference, but the same pattern – a shadow of the power of the LORD)
  5. Man has the moral imperatives: Grace, Mercy, Compassion, Forgiveness and Love

This gives rise to several questions about why an animal was not chosen as an help proper for man:

1. Which of the animals have any of these readily identifiable aspects?

  • a. Which animal has free-will? (this is best illustrated by the animal’s ability to defy its instinct and act differently from the expected, normal response.) (I do know you will point to the rare cases of supposed “same gender” behavior among animals to justify your behavior and say it is “normal” while ignoring the fact that animals are driven expressly by hormones and instinct.)
  • b. Which animal has the ability to discern what something is, not just what it appears to be?
  • c. Which animal is creative? Where are the inventions of animals?
  • d. Which animal has and expresses the moral imperatives?

2. Hence, what species of animal would prove a suitable and proper help for Adam?

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18-20)

It is apparent that no animal was created on the same order as man. Though physically, man shares some common traits with all other living things, the order in which those things are arranged makes all the difference. After all, helium and lead share all the same particles in their respective atoms, but I don’t think you want to have trace amounts of lead in your lungs, whereas you breathe in trace amounts of helium daily with no discernable harm. Moreover, in its normal state lead is a very heavy metal, while helium is a very light gas. They are radically different in physical characteristics, but made of the very same particles, just differently arranged.

That understanding comprehended, we must consider that for man to exist beyond the person of Adam himself, two things must happen:

  1. There must be a means of reproduction, of successive generations.
  2. That help must be proper for Adam, that is, complementary to him.

Hence, no animal was or is, suitable. Now, it is manifest that Adam, of himself, cannot produce successive generations. Moreover, the law of procreation is to bring forth “after their kind,” meaning only of the same species:

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:24-25)

This ‘order of things’ is ordained of the LORD God for the reproduction of the species, originally to populate the earth, and after the fall, to have successive generations. Physically, this is the only way it can be. Hence, by this design, there exists a male and female of each higher order of species. This is amply illustrated when the LORD commanded Noah to build the ark for the preservation of life during the Deluge.

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. (Genesis 6:19-20)

Thus, it is quite apparent that only another of the race of man, yet able to produce offspring with Adam, is necessary, as it is part of our physical design. Moreover, this “help meet” (help ‘proper’) must be complementary to Adam. This the LORD God knew in eternity past. Yet, the LORD did this exercise with Adam for two distinct and clear purposes:

  1. To demonstrate to all, that though man shares a basic commonality with the animals, man is not an animal, but is far beyond the animals, being made in the image of God.1
  2. Adam has dominion over the earth. It is his. Hence, his first act of dominion is to name all creatures under his dominion. This is a basic right and prerogative of kingship.

Nonetheless, man is also subject to the limitations of the physical, and must fill the earth with his kind, and like the animals, produce successive generations. After the Fall, this becomes critical to the survival of the species of man, as Adam’s generation will pass (death being introduced by the transgression of Adam), as will all successive generations. If no offspring are produced for only one generation, the species ceases to exist. Thus, the LORD God performs an act of procreation, that is, producing out of an existing kind. The following passage provides the detail of the event for our understanding of the order of things, that is, how they are to be.

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:21-24)

Here we plainly see that the woman was formed out of the man, and thus shares all characteristics of being made in the image of God, being made out of a portion of the man. Genetically, this difference is expressed in that males have a Y chromosome, and females do not. Moreover, the woman being made out of the man, is not the dominant individual, though she shares many characteristics which would allow her to become dominant. To this, the Scriptures speak expressly:

For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. (I Corinthians 11:8-10)

And again:

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (I Timothy 2:12-14)

Hence, the woman fulfills several vital and important roles in the order of things, being formed expressly for the purpose of assisting Adam in the administration of the earth. Hence, this basic understanding also grasped, we should then understand the import of the command given to Adam by the LORD God:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:27-28)

Now, I have to ask, seeing the LORD God repeated this same command to Noah and his family:

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Genesis 9:1)

How precisely do sodomites (same-gender intimate relations) fulfill the command of the LORD God to “be fruitful and multiply?”

Moreover, though the LORD God could have brought another male out of Adam, He didn’t. Why is that, seeing He knew that man would fall into iniquity and sin?

Doesn’t this give rise to questions about turning over the order of things the LORD God set in place? Yes, I have read what you claim – that the Fall changed everything:

“But not only are they all negative, from the traditional viewpoint, they gain broader meaning and coherence from the opening chapters of Genesis, in which God creates Adam and Eve, male and female. That was the original creation – before the fall, before sin entered the world. That was the way that things were supposed to be. And so according to this view, if someone is gay, then their sexual orientation is a sign of the fall, a sign of human fallenness and brokenness.

While you do not expressly state this in the above quote, you clarify what you mean later on in your presentation:

“But that is not what we are talking about. Gay people have a natural, permanent orientation toward those of the same sex; it’s not something that they choose, and it’s not something that they can change. They aren’t abandoning or rejecting heterosexuality—that’s never an option for them to begin with.”

Strange you should make that argument, seeing that it is manifestly impossible for procreation between those of the same gender to take place, either pre- or post-Fall. Even among the animals it does not happen that an entire species turns to same gender procreation. Since the LORD God reiterated the command to Noah and his sons after the Deluge, it is very apparent this command and decided order of things did not change with the Fall, but remained consistent and constant. Therefore, I will submit to you that what you claim as “natural” is actually an elective. There are an number of individuals who abandoned “same-sex orientation” when they were actually born-again in Christ, the testimony of one of which can be found here:

TESTIMONY FROM AN EX-GAY[1]

This counters your argument in its entirety. Howsoever, what you interpret as ‘natural and normal’ is manifestly impossible for fulfilling the continuing command of the LORD God to “be fruitful and multiply.” But I will remind you that “the natural man receiveth not the things of God…” (I Corinthians 2:14) and that the normal, default end of man is an eternity of suffering in Hell.

Nevertheless, when you argue that the LORD God is okay with you and others like you being engaged in sodomy, and that this ‘way you are’ is fine with Him, you are inasmuch as claiming that what you and others like you engage in is righteous:

“Being different is no crime. Being gay is not a sin. And for a gay person to desire and pursue love and marriage and family is no more selfish or sinful than when a straight person desires and pursues the very same things.”

Hence, due to your argument, we need to look to the Scripture where the LORD God makes plain that He loves righteousness:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Righteousness is defined in Scripture as the quality of being equal in all one’s ways, as we find in Ezekiel 18:

Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:25-30)

And again in Ezekiel 33:

Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways. (Ezekiel 33:17-20)

Note that the LORD God was accused of being unequal in His ways, and He countered that the people of Israel were indeed unequal in their ways. Moreover, the LORD would judge the people of Israel according to their ways (hence judging Israel itself), and He set forth that iniquity would be their ruin. By the close and immediate association of terms, it is clear that the quality of iniquity consists of being unequal in one’s ways. Note here that the LORD does not state “doings” but “ways” which is the driver of “doing.” In sum, the LORD is examining the motivation of the heart, not what someone does outwardly:

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.(I Samuel 16:7)

These things being the case, it is proper to ask you:

If everyone did what you are doing, what would be the result for the race of man?

If what you are doing is righteous, and springs from a righteous heart, then everyone ought to be able to do what you are doing with no ill effects to any individual, or the race of man as a whole.

Consider: If everyone engaged in same gender relationships, and this is equally valid as relations between a man and a woman, then men and men, and women and women exclusively ought to bring no harm to the race of man. After all, if it is righteous and equal, then everyone ought to be able to do it – and the next generation would come into being just like the current generation has.

But that won’t happen, will it?

No, you choose rather to focus on the “suitable partner” aspect of the passage, ignoring what criteria might make up that “suitable partner” for Adam:

“And a woman is a suitable partner for the vast majority of men – for straight men. But for gay men, that isn’t the case. For them, a woman is not a suitable partner. And in all of the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men—for gay men, it’s another gay man who is a suitable partner. And the same is true for lesbian women. For them, it is another lesbian woman who is a suitable partner.”

You also ignore a whole lot of other teaching contained in the passage as well. This is what makes what you have done fraudulent. There is much more teaching in the passage, particularly concerning the issue of a man and woman becoming “one flesh” in the eyes of the LORD, which is the integration of what was separated before the fall (Why did the LORD not make another man out of Adam – though He could have easily done so?). I will not get into in those other teachings this letter, but suffice to say, they will not support your supposition either.

Leviticus 18:22
You practiced intellectual dishonesty throughout your presentation, with one of the clearest examples being your interpretation of Leviticus 18:22:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)

You explained the application of the verse with the following:

“In the Gospels, Jesus describes himself as the fulfillment of the Law, and in Romans 10:4, Paul writes “Christ is the end of the law.” Hebrews 8:13 states that the old covenant is now “obsolete,” because Christ is the basis of the new covenant, freeing Christians from the system of the Old Law, most of which was specific to the ancient Israelites, to their community and their unique worship practices. Christians have always regarded the Book of Leviticus, in particular, as being inapplicable to them in light of Christ’s fulfillment of the law. So while it is true that Leviticus prohibits male same-sex relations, it also prohibits a vast array of other behaviors, activities, and foods that Christians have never regarded as being prohibited for them. For example, chapter 11 of Leviticus forbids the eating of pork, shrimp, and lobster, which the church does not consider to be a sin. Chapter 19 forbids planting two kinds of seed in the same field; wearing clothing woven of two types of material; and cutting the hair at the sides of one’s head. Christians have never regarded any of these things to be sinful behaviors, because Christ’s death on the cross liberated Christians from what Paul called the “yoke of slavery.” We are not subject to the Old Law.”

And you continue in the following paragraph further justifying your interpretation:

“There are three main arguments that are made for this position. The first is the verses’ immediate context: Leviticus 18 and 20 also prohibit adultery, incest, and bestiality, all of which continue to be regarded as sinful, and so homosexuality should be as well. But just 3 verses away from the prohibition of male same-sex relations, in 18:19, sexual relations during a woman’s menstrual period are also prohibited, and this, too, is called an “abomination” at the chapter’s close. But this is not regarded as sinful behavior by Christians; rather, it’s seen as a limited matter of ceremonial cleanliness for the ancient Israelites.”

Allow me to address the first thing you mention, which is the fact that the book of Leviticus is a book largely dedicated to the ceremonial law. However, the scope of Leviticus is not limited to only the ceremonial law, but does address issues outside the covenant in places. One of those places is indeed chapter 18. For the sake of clarity, we need to examine the issue of what is an abomination with one passage immediately following another:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)

These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you(Leviticus 11:9-20)

If you will note, in 18:22 the phrase ‘it is abomination.” is used. But distinctively, in chapter 11 of Leviticus, the phrases “an abomination unto you” and “ye shall have in abomination” are used, with one time “are an abomination” being used clearly in the context of the children of Israel. What this plainly demonstrates is a difference in the scope of the commandment. While the words “unto you” clearly restrict the scope of the commandment, they are reinforced by the phrase “ye shall have in.” which limits applicability to the children of Israel. Conversely, verse 22 of chapter 18 has no such restricting or qualifying language attached to the statement “it is abomination.”

Hence, Leviticus 18:22, properly interpreted, is open-ended and unrestricted in its application. It applies to everyone, whether Jew or Gentile, regardless of time in history. We can find confirmation of this being the proper interpretation just a couple of verses further on in the chapter where it is plainly stated:

Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. (Leviticus 18:24-28)

If it is, as you argue, that this proscription on behavior applies only to the children of Israel in the covenant, then please explain who the people were that the LORD God was casting out of the land so Israel could possess it? Please explain how the Canaanites defiled the land, if it is as you say, that these proscriptions only apply in the covenant, when the Canaanites are clearly Gentiles and not in covenant with the LORD?

I will submit to you that the LORD God held then, and still holds today, that sodomy is abomination. The reason for that assertion lies the previous evidence given and in the following two verses:

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6)

And:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)

Moreover, you also claim the following as justification for your reasoning:

“in 18:19, sexual relations during a woman’s menstrual period are also prohibited, and this, too, is called an “abomination” at the chapter’s close. But this is not regarded as sinful behavior by Christians;”

I will remind you of the following passage from Acts, which is extracted from a letter the Apostles wrote to the churches addressing the issue of the Law and its relationship to salvation:

For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. (Acts 15:28-29)

Which came from their understanding of the covenant the LORD God made with Noah, which is still in force and effect:

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.(Genesis 9:1-4)

In your “interpretation” of things, you apparently have forgotten that what “other Christians” think is meaningless. Rather, what matters is what the LORD God states. He has plainly stated that profaning the blood is an offense to Him. Whether one eats blood, or lies with a woman in menses, the blood is being profaned and it is sin. Remember, that command fell under the auspices of “For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;” in Leviticus, chapter 18.

Conclusion
It occurs to me that you have fallen for the lies of both the Devil and your own deceitful heart. You would do well to heed the implicit message of the following passage of Scripture:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

It is implicit in the above passage that our hearts lie to us. This is reinforced by the following from Proverbs:

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. (Proverb 28:26)

You would also do well to understand that Satan is very good at putting thoughts into the minds of men, even those who truly belong to the Lord Jesus Christ:

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16:21-23)

And again:

And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. (Luke 9:52-55)

Now, if Satan can adversely affect the minds of the apostles, and it is written that he takes the lost at his will:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (II Timothy 2:24-26)

Perhaps you should consider why it is that you think the way you do, and “feel” the way you do. How do you know what thoughts are yours? How do you know that what you feel is truly the way that it is?

I find it interesting that you have expended much effort to justify your position “biblically” and think you really need to do this. It reminds me of the following incident from Acts:

And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. (Acts 16:16-18)

Being a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies, Satan does not have a problem using someone to promote a false Christianity, and getting people to believe the LORD approves of those things which are an abomination to Him.

So I must ask: Where precisely do you stand? I really think you had better seriously consider where you are, because you are not standing in a good place.

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

  1. There is a curiosity here. It pertains to the whole issue of using animals to justify human behavior, seeing that animals are not made in the image of God, but man is. Why is it that those promoting same-gender relationships cannot use reason to understand that man’s iniquity and sin have adversely affected the animals as well? Just as man cannot reproduce using same-gender relations, neither can the animals. The instances of such in nature are not endemic to any species and are prejudicial to the continuance of the species, just as it is with man.
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The Hour is Late

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

In case you haven’t noticed, the hour grows very late. Whatever ministry things the LORD God has laid on your heart to accomplish, get them done.

Even if the hour weren’t late, consider your age and how much time you have left to fulfill your ministry. For me, I have many things to write and document before that time is shut off. I would like to be able to stand before my Lord and know that they were accomplished.

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Thank You for Your Service? – An Open Letter to Laurence Vance

Monday, July 18th, 2011

The following is in response to a column by Laurence Vance, dated 19 July 2011, and titled “Thank You for Your Service?” in which Mr. Vance excoriates the U.S. Military and those who support them and thank them for their service to America. This response is written and published publicly because of one outstanding feature of the column: overt and blatant bitterness.

And four, what is a Vietnamese man – who most certainly has relatives, or friends or neighbors of relatives, that were killed or injured by U.S. bombs and bullets during the Vietnam War – doing joining the U.S. military where he can be sent to shoot and bomb foreigners like the U.S. military did to his people?

And aside from these four things, I’m afraid I must also say: Sorry, soldiers, I don’t thank you for your service.

  • I don’t thank you for your service in fighting foreign wars.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in fighting without a congressional declaration of war.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in bombing and destroying Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in expanding the war on terror to Pakistan and Yemen.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in occupying over 150 countries around the world.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in garrisoning the planet with over 1,000 military bases.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in defending our freedoms when you do nothing of the kind.
  • I don’t thank you for your service as part of the president’s personal attack force to bomb, invade, occupy, and otherwise bring death and destruction to any country he deems necessary.

Thank you for your service? I don’t think so.1

Everyone needs to know: This is not a Christian spirit and attitude. It is not a Scriptural spirit and attitude.


Mr. Vance,

Have we just a bit of bitterness? I see NO justification for your attitude and spirit anywhere in the New Testament.

I don’t find it in John the Baptist:

And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. (Luke 3:14)

I don’t find it in the Lord Jesus Christ:

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion,2 beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. (Matthew 8:5-13)

I don’t find it in the apostle Peter:

And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius3 met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. (Acts 10:25-48)

I don’t find it in the apostle Paul:

But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island. But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. (Acts 27:21-36)

In fact, I do not find your attitude and spirit among any of the apostles, or in Christ, or in John the Baptist. Your spirit is bitter and hateful and not conducive to ministry or presenting the gospel to anyone, let alone a member of the military. What? Are members of the military not worthy to be presented the gospel? Instead of trying to reach them, you preach hate. Are you kin to Fred Phelps? You must be spiritually, because you share a common spirit.4

Wouldn’t it be so much better to have the spirit and attitude presented in the following passage?

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (I Timothy 2:1-6)

Next time you see a member of the military, present them with the gospel. I guarantee you — they need it. Unless of course, you hate them so much that you want to keep them on the road to Hell. But what kind of person would that make you?

In Christ,
Paul W. Davis
  1. http://lewrockwell.com/vance/vance250.html
  2. An officer in the Roman military.
  3. Cornelius was a Centurion in the Roman Army.
  4. Note: Phelps use of the passage is out of context. However much he would like it to be so, America is not ancient Babylon.
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Maintaining the Truth

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

This message is located at Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Lessons and Messages page, or by the direct link: Maintaining the Truth

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Leaving the Amish

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

If you at all viewed the BBC documentary “Trouble in Amish Paradise” then you know that the “simple, pastoral lifestyle” of the Amish masks an egregious doctrine and the active suppression of the truth of the Scripture to maintain the doctrine the Amish hold. The BBC also produced a follow-up documentary that traces the journey of the families who were cast out of the Amish community and church for daring to read the Bible in English and witness to those around them of the grace that is in Christ.

The follow-up documentary also highlights the dangers of learning that you are involved in a system that teaches and promotes a lie, and upon leaving that system, having no one to actually teach you the whole counsel of God and explain the Scripture to you. It is frequently the case that individuals who leave such systems, end up being snared by other belief systems that are also wrong, just in a different way. Though there is a church in that community which ministers to those leaving the Amish doctrine, it also has errors which lead astray those involved in it.

If the Devil can’t get you one way, he will surely have another way to prevent you from having the truth.


There is something of note here: Believing in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior is not, as the commentator states that born-again Christian’s teach, a way to avoid going to Hell nor should any true child of God teach that.1 Rather, if that is the reason why you have believed in Christ for your “salvation,” then I will submit to you that you have believed out of an improper motivation. Salvation IS NOT “fire insurance.” Neither should it be viewed as such.

If you have not come to know the Lord Jesus Christ personally to the point that you have learned of Him enough to TOTALLY trust Him with your life, then you have not reached salvation. Contrary to popular belief, salvation is not “letting Christ into your heart.” Rather, it is placing your life, your destiny into Christ’s hands without reservation. One does not do this out of a base desire to avoid suffering in Hell, but does so because they have come to know the LORD and have found that He is “altogether lovely” as the Scripture states. Hence, belief and trust in Christ for salvation comes from a overwhelming desire to spend the rest of your existence with Him. To reach this point, repentance (and it must be the repentance the LORD God grants) is utterly necessary.


There is simply no way to address every error presented here. However, things like tearing a house down because the Old Testament law states that is what must be done for a “fretting leprosy” indicates a lack of understanding about the reason for the Old Testament law given to ancient Israel. This problem is not limited to Charity Church or any particular denomination, but is found throughout every group that claims to be “Bible-believing.” I have had Independent Baptist brethren try to tell me the Ten Commandments are still in effect as commandments we, as Christians, must abide by today, when the reality is that the Ten Commandments were the covenant the LORD God made with ancient Israel.2

 

  1. It is unfortunate that most all “evangelical” Christians believe and teach this as it is egregious error.
  2. The following are the passages from the Old Testament that state plainly that the Ten Commandments are the Covenant the Lord had with Israel. This does not change the fact that the Ten Commandments are a reflection of the nature and character of God, and thus are always in effect. Nonetheless, they are not part of anyone’s covenant today, but are fully encompassed by the first two commandments of the law.

    And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink
    water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. (Exodus 34:27-28)

    And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten  commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. (Deuteronomy 4:13)

    Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you. When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water: And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant. And the LORD said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image. Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they. So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands. (Deuteronomy 9:8-15)

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What’s Wrong With the Amish

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

The following story illustrates plainly what is wrong with the Amish religion. Please, watch it all.

You will find that they will persecute their own for STUDYING THE BIBLE IN ENGLISH AND PREACHING THE GOSPEL.

 

 

 

 

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Rebellion and Authority

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

A Wednesday night lesson on what constitutes rebellion and what is authority and what is the extent of it. This is the first lesson in a series on the Christian’s relationship to government.

This lesson is now located on Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Messages and Lessons page. It can also be reached at the direct link: Rebellion and Authority.

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

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Whatever Happened to Simply Believing the Bible?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Copyright 2007. All scripture is Authorized King James Version, 1769 edition. This article may be copied and used without permission of the author, provided it is copied and used in its entirety

I read the news, not generally from the newspapers, though that occasionally does happen, but on the internet. Most every link in my Bookmarks is to some news source, technical or religious site. The problem with reading the news is that the bias of the reporters must be accounted for, and the truth of the matter has to be carefully discerned. I wish it were the case with the following.

On Thursday, August 23, 2007, MSNBC ran a story of a megachurch in Tampa, Florida that is having some trouble. Specifically, the church’s pastors are divorcing. Now, I know this is not something new to modern day America. But it does highlight a very real problem — one of claiming to follow God, all the while being totally disobedient to His word. It does not take the proverbial “rocket scientist” to see the very clear differences between what the pastors of this church were doing, and what the Bible plainly states.

In looking at the problem, let’s begin at the obvious: the fact that the church’s pastors are divorcing. In Scripture there are specific instructions given for pastors, including the requirements to be a pastor. Since there are requirements, it really is important to heed them since God gave them to be followed, not to be ignored or set aside as drivel.

First, the position of pastor is one of calling. What this means is that the LORD God calls a specific person to a specific task (a calling) and gifts (or enables and empowers) them to perform that task. This calling is always consistent with everything that the Lord has stated and performed elsewhere. Moreover, it is fully consistent with what He has recorded in His word. As such, we should find an example of callings the Lord has done in Scripture. There are two (among many) that are clear and prominent in Scripture — one Old Testament, and one New Testament, that I will use.

In I Samuel, chapter 3, the calling of Samuel is detailed for all history. There are some things that are done differently in our time as opposed to the time of ancient Israel, particularly the working of signs (no longer done) and such like. But, the essence of the calling remains the same — the LORD plainly communicated to Samuel’s heart what He wanted from Samuel, what He was displeased with in Eli and his house, and Samuel’s response to the calling, which is encapsulated in the following verse:

And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. (I Samuel 3:19)

In the New Testament there are examples of several callings that we can to choose from, but the one most like the calling of a pastor today is found in the life of Timothy, who was discipled by the apostle Paul and called of God to be a pastor.

Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. (Acts 16:1-4)

in the above passage we should take note that Timotheus (Timothy ) already had a good testimony before the brethren, and had plain and clear evidence of true faith in the Lord. This was evident enough that the apostle Paul took Timothy with him to be discipled and to assist in the work of preaching the gospel and establishing churches. In the following passages, the work of Timothy in assisting the apostle Paul is demonstrated, and Timothy’s calling is validated. As an aside, please note the total lack of Bible college or seminary in the training of Timothy.

For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. (I Corinthians 4:17)

After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season. (Acts 19:21-22)

Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren. (I Corinthians 16:10-11)

But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. (II Corinthians 1:18)

But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. (Philippians 2:19-23)

Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. (I Thessalonians 3:1-3)

Thus, when the apostle Paul wrote unto Timothy, as Timothy was pastor of the church at Ephesus, it was to remind and exhort Timothy to calling that the LORD had laid upon him. In writing, Paul reminded Timothy of his beginning and gifting for the work of the LORD. But he also reminded him of something else that the pastor’s of modern America’s churches seem to have utterly forgotten — the afflictions of the gospel.

. . . When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, . . .(II Timothy 1:5-9a)

Thus, Timothy’s calling and proof of the ministry, though not identical to Samuel’s, had some common features:

First, the service and discipleship under an established and proven man of God. In short, Samuel and Timothy both served others for long periods of time prior to being established as the man of God. (As an aside, we should not take Eli’s failure in service as proof that he was not a man of God, rather it demonstrates the ever present pressure to depart from the LORD’s established criteria for service, particularly from a man’s family.)

Second, and extremely important, is the fact that neither Samuel nor Timothy ever departed from the express, literal word of God. If ever there were an imperative, this is it. The man of God, called unto a work, must not ever depart from the solid foundation of Jesus Christ and His teaching. To do so is to preach and teach another gospel. It does not matter how subtle the change or changes may be, any change at all will not accurately represent the truth of the Word of God. I am convinced by the testimonies of both men that, by the LORD, they knew and understood this.

Thus, we come to the point of examining what the Scripture states plainly about the requirements for a pastor or bishop. In the following passage from Ephesians, chapter 4, instruction is given to the church at Ephesus, and recorded for us all, how that God, through Christ, gifts everyone in the church for some work, and for the express purpose of the believer’s growth in Christ

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:7-16)

Now, it should be plain that it is the LORD who does the calling, as was clearly seen in the case of Samuel and by testimony of Paul concerning Timothy. It should also be clear that it is the LORD who gives the gift to perform the calling as evidenced in the foregoing passage. It is more succinctly put in another place:

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (I Thessalonians 5:24)

So then, it is the LORD’s calling, and the LORD’s equipping for the ministry. Will the LORD then call someone contrary to a criteria He has plainly laid out? As part of his admonition and instruction to Timothy, the apostle Paul set forth the criteria for a pastor in the following passage. Plainly, this was not to establish to Timothy that he was called of God to pastor, rather it was to give a brief listing of criteria that could and would quickly establish whether or not a man was qualified for the calling he claimed to have. We can see this in the very first sentence of the passage, wherein it is stated “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” indicating clearly that there were individuals who desired to be pastors then even as now. And, that some of those individuals were not and could not be qualified for the office of pastorate. Thus, the list:

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (I Timothy 3:1-7)

Now, we can order this as a list, because that is what it is. As such, to quickly determine whether a man is qualified or not, we can simply check off the list to eliminate the would-be pretenders:

  • A bishop then must be blameless
  • the husband of one wife
  • vigilant
  • sober
  • of good behaviour
  • given to hospitality
  • apt to teach
  • not given to wine
  • no striker
  • not greedy of filthy lucre
  • patient
  • not a brawler
  • not covetous
  • one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity
  • he must have a good report of them which are without

Beyond doubt, the second item and last items on the list eliminate the “ministry” of Paula White as a pastor of anything relating to God. Quite clearly, the first word of the last item is “he”, in addressing this particular qualification of the pastoral candidate. However, if we carefully note in the reading of the article, it eliminates Randy White as well as it is quite clear in the article that this was his second marriage, and thus he is not “the husband of one wife”.

Worse yet, the article is very plain that they (the pastors) preached a prosperity theology that is condemned both in the above passage and in other passages of Scripture as well. Suffice to say that both Randy and Paula White have let the word of God fall to the ground, if indeed they ever held it in the first place. In this, there is a fundamental difference between the Whites and their testimony, and Samuel and Timothy and theirs. From what I perceive, that difference is expressed in the LORD’s statement in John 14:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

Which raises the question posed by Christ:

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)

This is the problem in America, but it is by no means unique to America, nor to this period of time. There have always been those who claim a calling from God — so that they could use the influence and power they gain for their own ends. However, there is a relatively easy way to thwart the efforts of such individuals — by strict adherence to the word of God. If someone had made it plain to the Whites that they were engaging in something that obviously could not be of God, and hindered their efforts, they themselves might have repented and not led so many people astray.

Nonetheless, what does this state about so many in this nation, particularly those who attend churches such as the “Without Walls International Church,” claim to know the LORD, yet will not be obedient to His express and plain word? I think the LORD stated it precisely when He had Isaiah pen the following words about Israel:

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. (Isaiah 29:13-14)

Is it any wonder that America has totally lost her way? America’s churches, like Israel, have forsaken the true way of God in favor of having the label, but no substance behind it.

Finis

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Ye Cannot Serve the LORD…

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

This message has been moved to the Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Messages and Lessons section, with the direct link here: Ye Cannot Serve the LORD…

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To What Country…?

Monday, January 24th, 2011

One of the greatest battles any child of the LORD fights is the battle for their allegiance. The pull to allow allegiance to the nation one was born in to take precedence over the kingdom of God is quite strong. After all, it is natural to hold an allegiance to the land of one’s nativity. However, we are called to further the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ and place our service to Christ above ALL else.

This lesson examines that. May it be profitable for you.

[audio:http://www.reproachofmen.org/preaching/mp3/to_what_country.mp3]

For those who cannot use the embedded player, wish to use a different player, or want to save the file, the following link is provided:

To What Country…?

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

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