An Open Letter to Matthew Vines

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. ((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.))
  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




People of the Living God

Citation, lyrics and music are copied from The Cyber Hymnal and are public domain. Midi file is generated with Music Publisher 8, and is modified using Anvil Studio 2013, and is piano only. Lyrics may be modified for doctrinal accuracy. This version is not copyrighted. If you find it a blessing, please feel free to use it. — In Christ, Paul W. Davis

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. (Ruth 1:16-17)

Words: James Mont­gom­e­ry, 1829.
Music:En­ni­us“, from Har­mo­nia Sacra, by Jo­seph Funk (1778-1862).
(midi) (mp3) People of the Living GodPDF Icon
People of the living God,
I have sought the world around;
Paths of sin and sorrow trod,
Peace and comfort nowhere found:
Now to you my spirit turns—
Turns a fugitive unblest;
Brethren, where your altar burns,
Oh, receive me into rest.

Lonely I no longer roam
Like the cloud, the wind, the wave;
Where you dwell shall be my home,
Where you die shall be my grave;
Mine the God whom you adore;
Your Redeemer shall be mine;
Earth can fill my soul no more—
Every idol I resign.

Tell me not of gain and loss,
Ease, enjoyment, pomp, and pow’r;
Welcome poverty and cross,
Shame reproach, affliction’s hour.
“Follow Me”—I know Thy voice;
Jesus, Lord, Thy steps I see;
Now I take Thy yoke by choice,
Light Thy burden now to me.




Come, Let Us Reason – Isaiah 1:18 in the Spanish Versions

When I witness to someone concerning their need for salvation, there is a verse that I like to use as it is very applicable to rational Westerners (which we in America are — like it or not). That verse is Isaiah 1:18, which states:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

The verse contains much in the way of doctrine. Primarily, I like to point out that the LORD God desires to reason with every one of us. I want the person I am witnessing to, to understand that believing in Christ Jesus for one’s salvation is not an issue of superstition or blind belief. Rather, what I emphasize is that the Lord is not pleased by someone coming to Christ for salvation without actually knowing the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that He is real, a real person who you can know through the operation of faith.  Using blind belief to trust in either the Father or the Son is neither sufficient nor acceptable. No, the LORD God desires that we are fully persuaded by knowledge and reason. To be certain, this reasoning is not reasoning with the mind, although that does occur in the process. Instead, it is a reasoning with the soul. The reasoning primarily focuses on the state of that person’s soul as the LORD God sees it and knows that it is. The reasoning is about God’s righteousness versus man’s ability to become righteous by his own effort. And further, this reasoning also brings the person to consider who Christ is, why He died on the cross, and why Christ is qualified to pay the price for that individual’s sin, and conversely, why that individual is not qualified to stand on their own merit. In all the reasoning which the Holy Ghost does with the individual, there is not an agreement between them until that person yields on each particular point. It is rather an adversarial process that can take months or years with the person denying the truth of their state, and/or the truth of who God is, and how and why Christ came, along with who Christ actually is. This last point is a very critical point that must be thoroughly understood and agreed to willingly before the LORD will accept the profession of that person. Why? Because the LORD is not pleased by blind belief, nor is He pleased by superstition as they who engage in such practices have no sure knowledge of who and what they are trusting. Instead, the LORD God desires that everyone come to know, not guess, but know Him personally. And, to know and fully understand that they can indeed trust Him and the provision He has made for us in Christ Jesus. This is what glorifies the LORD God, whereas blind belief doesn’t glorify at all. To persuade an individual, and have them come to the knowledge of their Creator and His love for them, and for that individual to be sure and certain of it, is indeed a glory and honor to God. After all, that soul turned to the truth willingly, and became obedient to the truth willingly; and all because the Holy Ghost persuaded them in their heart. Any fool will believe blindly and without proof, and that is no glory to God. Thus, there is extreme importance attached to the phrase in Isaiah 1:18 which states “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:” However, that phrase suffers when we decide to use the Spanish Bible. Now, for those who are not familiar with this issue, we in the English-speaking world are not the only ones to suffer from a proliferation of Bible versions. However, we at least do have a right Bible that we can turn to as the need arises. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the Spanish world. I wish I could state differently, but based upon dealing with translating English into Spanish over the last several years, I cannot. I work with a translator that is qualified to translate, and normally does medical interpretation and translation. She, along with a brother in my home church, have translated the Reproach of Men site into Spanish. In so doing, the Statement of Faith was also translated, in which each and every supporting verse of each article was checked to see that it properly supported the statement made. The variation of the Spanish verses from the English is simply astounding. Now, to be sure, the Spanish Bible used was not the RV 1960, rather the Bible used was the Reina-Valera 1602, which is supposed to be the most like the KJV. However, considering all that was discussed above about the LORD God reasoning with individuals (through the instrument of faith) and what the LORD God requires of them in the way of belief, what is one to make of the following rendering of Isaiah 1:18:

Venid luego, dirá el SEÑOR, y estemos a cuenta: si vuestros pecados fueren como la grana, como la nieve serán emblanquecidos; si fueren rojos como el carmesí, serán tornados como la lana.

And now, the literal translation of that passage:

The Lord will say come and let’s agree: if your sins are as scarlet, like the snow, they shall be made white; if the are red like crimson they shall be as wool.

I don’t know about you, but I do not like what I read in the translation above. If, . . .? If . . . ? If your sins are as scarlet. . . Uh . . . no, — I don’t think so. Our sins “are,” . . . not “if,” but are, as scarlet. The price of our sin is blood, and the shedding of it to cover them. Moreover, (and I asked specifically about this) since when is the snow, scarlet? No, that cannot be right either. It must mean that some punctuation is incorrect.

The Lord will say come and let’s agree: if your sins are as scarlet; like the snow, they shall be made white;

Which, with the replacing of the comma with a semicolon, is better, but it still does not resolve the first clause and all the attendant problems of using the word “if” rather than the Spanish equivalent of the word “though.” In Spanish, the word for “if” is “si” and the word for “though” is “aun.” Thus it is not a “mistake” in the sense of a typographical error. Rather, the word “si” was deliberately chosen when the word “aun” was a clear and unambiguous rendering of the underlying Hebrew (at least in the Masoretic). Moreover, the word “aun” would give the Spanish reader the plain sense and understanding that they are sinners in need of salvation. As this passage stands, the reader is given to option of questioning the validity of the LORD’s charge laid against them. Of course, the error was repeated in the last phrase as well. Again, the question “if” our sins are red. No. Sorry . . . . . . They ARE red like crimson. Beside the use of the word “if” in place of “though” there is serious concern for the statement “The Lord will say come and let’s agree:” and what it means with its attendant implications for the doctrine of salvation. Now, I am certain that in the minds of many, the question will be raised: ‘What’s wrong with that statement, isn’t the Lord still seeking to call man to agree that man is a sinner?’ Yes, He is. But the problem lies not in the fact that the LORD is seeking to bring man to the understanding that each and every person is a sinner, as that is very much the case. Rather, the problem lies in the fact that this statement is placed in the future. Instead of “saith the LORD, ” which is present perfect tense. What is given in the Spanish is “The Lord will say” which is future tense. Why is this an issue, and what real difference does it make? Well, of you are an ultra-dispensationalist, or are one that holds that salvation is different in the different periods of man’s history, I guess it doesn’t really make that much difference. However, if you believe that God has never changed, and that since the fall, man has never changed, and you understand that the LORD God knew in eternity past that man would need a Savior, then it is a destructive rendering of the underlying Hebrew text, and inconsistent with the rest of the Scripture. How so? Consider the following passages:

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 his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: . . . (Luke 1:67-70)

But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. (Acts 3:18)

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Hebrews 11:4)

Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans. I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous. Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. (Isaiah 48:12-16)

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 12:8)

For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:24-26)

Now, I won’t quote all of Isaiah, chapter 59 as it is lengthy, but well worth reading as it details the condition of man. However, the last part of the chapter states:

Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. (Isaiah 59:15-17)

Just when did the LORD see the condition of man? In Revelation chapter 13, quoted above, it plainly states that “the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world.” Please note this places the sacrifice of Christ to have occurred before the creation of man. Clearly, the Scripture details that the LORD created man on the sixth day, which is after the foundation of the world. So then, the LORD saw the fallen state of man before He made the heavens and the earth, before man was ever created, and already had a resolution to the problem of man being justified in the sight of the LORD God. But, it is argued, how could the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, be slain on the cross before the world was ever made, and long before the Gospels detail His crucifixion? Isn’t that a contradiction, and doesn’t that cause problems in the Scripture? Only if one’s understanding of God is incomplete or flawed. Consider the following passage and its implications as touching what the LORD tells us in Scripture:

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (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 4:16-17)

When God “calleth those things which be not as though they were.” what He is telling us is the following:

The LORD God sees all time all at once and differentiates every point in time from every other point in time.

Hence, in eternity past, when the LORD God made a covenant with Himself for the salvation of man, the outcome of Christ’s earthly ministry was never in doubt. The fact that the Word would become flesh, live perfectly before the Father, and go to the cross to pay for our sins, was a sure and certain thing:

It was impossible for the Lord Jesus Christ to fail.

Hence, the gospel, and means of salvation for man, throughout the entire history of man from the fall has NEVER changed. In Ephesians, chapter 2 it is expressly stated:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8)

And just so men know that grace and works for salvation don’t mix, we are told in Romans:

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (Romans 11:6)

So then, when it states in Hebrews, chapter 11 that “by faith Abel” and in Genesis, chapter 6 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:8) we know that both Abel and Noah believed in Christ to come and were justified in the sight of God based upon that belief and trust in God’s promise of a Savior. (Of course, one could read Job 19:23-27 or Hebrews 3:15-4:2) Hence — the gospel has always been the same. Therefore, it is reasonable to pose the question: Is it “the Lord will say . . .” concerning our sin, or is it far more accurate to understand that it has always been “ . . .saith the LORD” in addressing the wicked and sinful condition of man? Plainly, the LORD God has always stated, and continues to state that we, individually are sinners in need of salvation. He has made it clear that there exists no other means of salvation outside the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, who being the Word, long before the world ever was, chose to take on the form of a man and become our next of kin so that He would pay the price of our sin. The statement and declaration of God is present perfect, not future tense. It is not ‘He will say.’ He has said and continues to say what He knew in eternity past. Thus instead of:

Venid luego, dirá el SEÑOR, y estemos a cuenta: si vuestros pecados fueren como la grana, como la nieve serán emblanquecidos; si fueren rojos como el carmesí, serán tornados como la lana. (Isaías 1:18)

To be accurate it must state:

Venid ahora, y razonamos dice el SEÑOR: aun vuestros pecados son como la grana, como la nieve serán emblanquecidos; aun son rojos como el carmesí, serán como la lana. (Isaías 1:18)

Sadly, this is not the only passage in the Spanish Bible(s) which is flawed in this way. In the Statement of Faith, many verses from the 1602 (and it is worse in the 1960 RV) had to modified to match what is stated in the King James Version. And yes, this verse was rewritten to match the KJV:

Venid ahora, y razonamos dice el SEÑOR: aun vuestros pecados son como la grana, como la nieve serán emblanquecidos; aun son rojos como el carmesí, serán como la lana. (Isaías 1:18)

And there’s not a problem with the Spanish Bibles? Is it any wonder that the Bible seems to have no significant impact upon the Hispanic world?




How Firm A Foundation

Citation, lyrics and music are copied from The Cyber Hymnal and are public domain. Midi file is modified to piano only. Lyrics may be modified for doctrinal accuracy. This version is not copyrighted. If you find it a blessing, please feel free to use it. — In Christ, Paul W. Davis

Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. (Luke 6:47-48)

Words: From A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, by John Rippon, 1787; attributed variously to John Keene, Kirkham, and John Keith.
Music:Protection“, from Genuine Church Music, by Joseph Funk, 1832. (midi, mp3)
Listen to the hymn melody
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled? 

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.




Leaving the Amish

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. ((It is unfortunate that most all “evangelical” Christians believe and teach this as it is egregious error.)) 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. ((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) ))

 




Be Thou My Vision

Citation, lyrics and music are copied from The Cyber Hymnal and are public domain. Midi file is generated with Music Publisher 8, and is modified using Anvil Studio 2013, and is piano only. Lyrics may be modified for doctrinal accuracy. This version is not copyrighted. If you find it a blessing, please feel free to use it. — In Christ, Paul W. Davis

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. (Psalm 16:8-9)

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:11-13)

Words: Attributed to Dallan Forgaill, 8th Century (Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride); translated from ancient Irish to English by Mary E. Byrne, in “Eriú,” Journal of the School of Irish Learning, 1905, and versed by Eleanor H. Hull, 1912.
Music:Slane“, of Irish folk origin.
Listen to the hymn melody
(midi) (mp3) Be Thou My VisionPDF Icon

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.




Christ, the Life of All the Living

Citation, lyrics and music are copied from The Cyber Hymnal and are public domain. Midi file is modified to piano only. Lyrics may be modified for doctrinal accuracy. This version is not copyrighted. If you find it a blessing, please feel free to use it. — In Christ, Paul W. Davis

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Words: Ernst C. Homburg, 1659 (Jesu, Meines Lebens Leben); translated from German to English by Catherine Winkworth, Chorale Book for England, 1863.
Music:Jesu, meines Lebens Leben“, Darmstadt Gesangbuch, 1687.
(midi) (mp3) Christ, the Life of All the LivingPDF Icon

Christ, the Life of all the living,
Christ the Death of death, our foe,
Who Thyself for us once giving
To the darkest depths of woe,
Patiently didst yield Thy breath
But to save my soul from death;
Praise and glory ever be,
Blessèd Jesus, unto Thee.

Thou, O Christ, hast taken on Thee
Bitter strokes, a cruel rod;
Pain and scorn were heaped upon Thee,
O Thou sinless Son of God,
Only thus for me to win
Rescue from the bonds of sin;
Praise and glory ever be,
Blessèd Jesus, unto Thee.

Thou didst bear the smiting only
That it might not fall on me;
Stoodest falsely charged and lonely
That I might be safe and free;
Comfortless that I might know
Comfort from Thy boundless woe.
Praise and glory ever be,
Blessèd Jesus, unto Thee.

Heartless scoffers did surround Thee,
Treating Thee with shameful scorn
And with piercing thorns they crowned Thee,
All disgrace Thou, Lord, hast borne
That as Thine Thou mightest own me
And with heavenly glory crown me.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Thou hast suffered men to bruise Thee
That from pain I might be free;
Falsely did Thy foes accuse Thee,
Thence I gain security;
Comfortless Thy soul did languish
Me to comfort in my anguish.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Thou hast suffered great affliction,
And hast borne it patiently,
Even death by crucifixion,
Fully to atone for me;
Thou didst choose to be tormented
That my doom should be prevented.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Then, for all that wrought our pardon,
For Thy sorrows deep and sore,
For Thine anguish in the garden,
I will thank Thee evermore;
Thank Thee with my latest breath
For Thy sad and cruel death,
For that last and bitter cry
Praise Thee evermore on high.




To What Country…?

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




J.R.R Tolkien’s Middle Earth Series

A Christian work?

Copyright 2001; revised 2005. 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

This article is the second of two letters, and was originally written and published in a church bulletin, much to the chagrin of certain brethren who were either involved in watching the Lord of the Rings movies and rereading the books, or allowing their children to watch the movies and read the books. The sad fact of the whole affair is that the church was a fundamental, unaffiliated Baptist church, and the brethren claimed to be fundamentalists as well. In addition, these individuals were some of the supposedly better taught brethren.

What this does illustrate for certain is the fact that knowledge does not equal obedience. And, just because someone appears to be well taught in one aspect of Bible doctrine, it does not mean that they are understanding of other doctrines taught in the Scriptures.

With these thoughts in mind, please read the following article carefully and thoughtfully, searching out the scriptures honestly. I am certain of what you will find — that is why this article was written.

Due to recent events the question has arisen:

Can you relate, or illustrate the things of God with fantasy and/or fiction?

Now this is a proper question to address in this time in history, as many believe that it is entirely possible to show the principles and truth of the word of God with situations and stories that have no basis in fact. In short, the stories told are not even remotely true.

However, before beginning let’s look at what is already known about the series of books dealing with hobbits, orcs, elves, wizards and the like.

This is what we do know from J.R.R Tolkien himself; that the entire Middle Earth series (The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy) were revised by Tolkien to more effectively present Catholic elements and doctrine without revealing that was what he was doing. Moreover, Tolkien used many elements of Norse religion ((This is politely called “mythology.” Although I suspect the Norse would have taken much umbrage at calling their religion a myth.)) in the setting and storyline of the books.

The above two things we know for certain. There are sufficient quotes from Tolkien himself in his letters to substantiate this. What this means is that one is reading about and being entertained by false religion, and another gospel. ((Though the following may seem bold, it really is not, it is a simple statement of fact: All false religions present another gospel. That is why they exist. The authors of false religion do not like the true Gospel, and thus set about to “create” another “gospel.”)) The question here is: Can this false religion/fantasy/fiction present the truths of God? While we are at it, let’s also ask another question: Why is “mainstream Christianity” so bent on promoting this series, along with other fantasy/fiction works such as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Chronicles of Narnia as “Christian” writing?

In answering the first question, let’s consider another question. This question is of the greatest import, and most germane to the entire issue. Can you tell the truth with an untruth (or a lie)? ((The only difference between an “untruth” or something that is false, and a lie, is the intent of the one delivering the false information. An untruth may, or may not be identifiably used for a deception. A lie is always used in the commission of a deception.
However, the above is only man’s way of looking at it. It is not the LORD God’s way of looking at it. Regardless of the intent, anything that is untrue, is still unrighteous and sin. Moreover, God cannot and will not use it for His purposes. God hates those things that are false.))

Think about it . . .

With the above question in mind, it is imperative to first define some terms with commonly accepted, proper dictionary definitions in the context of this discussion. All definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary of the English Language. Although this will be long, it is essential to one’s understanding of the issue at hand.

Fantasy:
3. Delusive imagination, hallucination; the fact or habit of deluding oneself by imaginary perception or reminiscences (Obs.)
4. Imagination; the process or the faculty of forming mental representations of things not actually present.
Fiction:
3. The action of feigning or inventing imaginary incidents, existences, states of things, etc., whether for the purpose of deception or otherwise.
4. The species of literature which is concerned with the narration of imaginary events and the portraiture of imaginary characters; fictitious composition.
5. A supposition known to be at variance with fact, but conventionally accepted for some reason of practical convenience, conformity with traditional usage, decorum, or the like.
Invention:
1. The action, faculty, or manner of inventing.
2. The action of devising, contriving, or making up; contrivance, fabrication.
4. The faculty of inventing or devising; power of mental creation or construction; inventiveness.
6. Something devised; a method of action, etc., contrived by the mind; a device, contrivance, design , plan, scheme.
7. A work or writing as produced by exercise of the mind or imagination; a literary composition. (Obs)
8. A fictitious statement or story; a fabrication, fiction, figment.
Truth:
1. The quality of being true.
2. One’s faith or loyalty as pledged in a promise or agreement; solemn engagement or promise, a covenant (Obs)
3. Faith, trust, confidence.
4. Disposition to speak or act truly or without deceit; truthfulness, veracity, sincerity; formerly sometimes in a wider sense: Honesty, uprightness, righteousness, virtue, integrity.
5. Conformity with fact; agreement with reality; accuracy, correctness, verity (of statement or thought).
6. Agreement with a standard or rule; accuracy, correctness; spec. accuracy of position or adjustment.
7. Genuineness, reality, actual existence.
8.True statement or account; that which is in accordance with the fact.
9. True religious belief or doctrine; orthodoxy.
9b. Conduct in accordance with the divine standard; spirituality of life and behavior.
10. That which is true, real, or actual; reality.
11. The fact or facts, the actual state of the case; matter or circumstance as it really is.
12. A true statement or proposition; a point of true belief; a true doctrine; a fixed or established principle; a verified fact, a reality.

Now, about that last question: In Romans there are two passages found that deal with whether or not we can present (or illustrate) the truth with a falsehood, and grace with sin. ((The principle here is the same.))

For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. (Romans 3:7-8)

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1-2)

Doesn’t the contrast between the truth of God and a lie become more stark, and more discernible the worse the lie? Certainly it does — but only if you already know the truth. Moreover, you are still committing sin against God, whom you say you serve.

Can I then say that I make the truth of God more glorious the worse I sin, and the more I lie?

No, absolutely not.

How can one carry the name of the Lord, and all the while smear His name in the mud by association because they think they can still engage in the same wickedness they engaged in before they were “saved.”

Why then am I found at fault for my sin? Because sin is still sin. No matter what veneer one attempts to put on it, sin has been, is now, and will always be — sin. Moreover, God hates sin.

Why don’t we just do all manner of wickedness so that the truth and glory of God shines forth to the uttermost? Moreover, why isn’t Satan the greatest preacher of the Gospel?

And, why does He state that my damnation is just for this attitude? Because it is not the same as God’s attitude. For one to avoid condemnation before God, one must have the same attitude towards sin as God, and be every bit as righteous as God. In other words, one must be in total agreement with God in everything they do.

Of course the short answer to all this is that you cannot make a picket fence white by painting it black. Somehow it just doesn’t work. Neither can you brighten a room by turning off all the lights and painting the walls black. And just to beat a dead horse – You cannot arrive at a place by traveling away from it.

The principle is this:

Evil and wickedness will never, never, present the truth of righteousness and the glory of God.

To say that it can, is to call evil good, and good evil. That which is false (a lie) can never present the truth.

Now if one decides to present the truth of God, and proclaim the Gospel by living worldly, enjoying the things of this world and fulfilling our lusts – what are they actually doing? And, what will they be called? The answer is quite plain: They will be perverting the Lord’s gospel, and changing it into their own gospel. Thus, the condemnation given in Galatians 1:8-9 will apply to them (or us) as well.

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)

As for the second question which is “And, what will they be called?” Without doubt, “hypocrite” is probably the word that will be most often used.

What does all this have to do with the book “Finding God in the Lord of the Rings” and the newspaper article “Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” has foundation in Christianity”? Everything actually. You see, the authors of the book and the article have shown their ignorance of biblical principle in their failure to include certain facts, and as a result have drawn mistaken conclusions.

First, they do not understand the biblical principle presented above: That you cannot tell the truth using that which is false.

Second, they declare that J.R.R. Tolkien was a Christian based upon Tolkien’s own perception of what Christianity is.

Third, they obviously do not take the word of God literally.

Lastly, they do not understand that the one true religion, the pure religion, and the original pure doctrine – is Christianity.

1. Beginning at the last point first – The Bible (the right one, the KJV) plainly teaches that the Gospel was preached to Adam after the fall, by Christ Himself as is given in Genesis 3:14-15, 21.

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:14-15)

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)

In the above passages note that the enmity spoken of exists expressly between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman only. This statement excludes the seed of the man (or ‘of Adam’) meaning that the conflict spoken of will be between one born of a virgin and those who are the children of the Devil. Moreover, in the following verse (v. 21) the LORD expressly uses animal skins to cloth Adam and Eve instead of any of the other materials that could have been used. This plainly indicates that the LORD God shed blood to cover (or clothe) Adam of Eve.

Furthermore, it was understood plainly by Abel, as Abel testifies to this day in the word of God.

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4:4-5)

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Hebrews 11:4)

What was it about Abel’s offering that was acceptable to God? And Cain’s offering that was not? Perhaps it is this parallel passage from Leviticus that makes it clear:

When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning things which should not be done, and is guilty; Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish: And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering.
And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering. And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him. (Leviticus 4:22-26)

This is one of many sacrifices that Israel was required to perform. The primary purpose of these sacrifices are explained in Hebrews, chapter nine:

Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:6-12)

All of the above passages of Scripture speak plainly to the fact that Abel’s sacrifice of the blood and fat of a lamb was consistent with the picture the LORD wanted presented concerning His sacrifice on the cross in atonement for our sin. This makes Abel a prophet of the LORD and thus sheds light on another passage from Luke, chapter one:

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: . . . (Luke 1:67-70)

Which also completes the proof from the Scripture that the gospel has always been the same for everyone, and was preached from the beginning. First, we find it preached by the LORD Himself unto Adam and Eve, and then by Abel unto Cain.

However, we are also shown that Cain rejected the gospel and attempted to substitute his own form of sacrifice and have the LORD accept it. Thus, the first perversion of the gospel was by Cain as the passage from Genesis, chapter four stated:

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4:4-5)

In so doing, Cain created the first false religion by illustrating the sacrifice of Christ to come as a sacrifice that did not require blood to be shed. In short, Cain denied a basic truth of the gospel — “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22)

With this plainly understood, we can put two other biblical points with it and understand, that if we look hard enough, we can find God in anything, and all religions have their foundation in Christianity.

The first thing to factor with Christianity being the one true religion — that God created everything. There is no other Creator. Neither man, nor the Devil and his angels, create anything. In the Gospel of John, chapter one, the Scripture is very express about this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3)

All man and the fallen angels can do is pervert that which already exists. Therefore, if we add these elements to one other element then it gives us the complete picture. The last element to add is the fact that all things were made to show the glory of God.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, . . . (Psalm 19:1-4)

These things now made plain, it should be clear that what the authors stated is deceptive. Sure we can “find God in the Lord of the Rings,” just like we can find God in Mormonism, or Catholicism, or Wicca, etc., etc. Yes, we can certainly state that “Lord of the Rings” has a Christian foundation. All false religions do, even Greco-Roman and Norse “mythology.” (Just take a long look a Hinduism, it has some remarkable similarities to Christianity.)

2. The authors and defenders of Tolkein’s works (along with all other “Christian Fiction”) obviously do not take the word of God literally. How do I know this? These are the very same people that state that there is no difference between the Bible versions. Yes, James Dobson and Focus on the Family, Jim Ware, World Magazine, et al., will declare that the NIV, NASB, NKJV, NCV, NJB, etc., etc. are all the same. For this to be true one must make the Scripture into allegory. You know — Lazarus and the rich man — that didn’t really happen. The pool at Bethesda — it never really existed. Literal seven day (24 hour day) creation — not really, etc., etc.

3. The proponents of Tolkien’s works also promote him as a Christian. This is based upon Tolkien’s own claim of being a Christian. J.R.R. Tolkien had a flawed perception of true Christianity. Tolkien himself stated in one of his letters, specifically Letter #142:

“The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like ‘religion’, to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.”

And from Letter #195:

“Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’ – though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory.”

What would cause the apologists for Tolkien to say that Catholicism is Christianity? It is because their own perception of Christianity and what a Christian is, is horribly flawed. James Dobson is a Nazarene, and still holds firmly to Nazarene doctrine — especially the doctrine of “saved by grace, kept by works.” It is not any different for Jim Ware who attended Fuller Theological Seminary. FTS is totally ecumenical, so much so that FTS has no difficulty preparing men and women for positions in the ministry of both Calvinist and Arminist denominations. Jim Ware sees no problem with this. Apparently, Jim Ware sees no problem in “misquoting” either, as he misquoted Tolkien by stating “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Christian work;” instead of the actual “Catholic work;” in a Focus on the Family, Family magazine article supporting the Lord of the Rings.

To be plain – Catholicism is NOT Christianity. There is no part of Catholic doctrine that is Christian.

4. Finally, you cannot tell the truth with a lie. I know many point to that verse in Romans that declares “Yea, let God be true and every man a liar” and yet we are flawed vessels carrying the truth. Seems contradictory doesn’t it? But is it really? What is the difference between the Lost and the Saved? I think the apostle Paul expressed it best (given him by the Holy Ghost) in Galatians 2:20 which states “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” And again in Romans 7:25 “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” The great and fundamental difference that empowers us to carry the truth of the Gospel is that our soul has the righteousness of God; thus we can carry the truth and not be liars. The lost do not have this. Those that depend upon their works for their salvation do not have this. They are altogether liars. So, the principle holds true even here: You cannot tell the truth with a lie.

Should we then listen to those that continue to claim that “God” is presented in such books as The Hobbit, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and the Chronicles of Narnia?

A simple, to the point answer is: No. But the reason for the answer should be well understood. In Galatians 1:8-9 it is stated: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Now these verses are not talking about the newly saved, or recently saved, untaught Christian. Rather, these verses refer to those that have studied the issue and believe that salvation is not secure in Christ, and preach the same. That same person is willing to defend that position based upon scripture. With that understanding, consider the following excerpt from a letter I received from Dr. James Dobson’s personal assistant concerning his view on Eternal Security. The letter is dated February 29, 2000.

“We welcome your inquiry pertaining to Dr. Dobson’s beliefs on eternal security. In response, Dr. Dobson holds to the classic Arminian view–that is, he believes God never violates the free will of the individual. Dr. Dobson feels that the Lord does not force people to accept Him, nor will He lock them into an earlier commitment if they subsequently choose deliberately and willfully to disobey His known will.

Also, while Dr. Dobson does not affirm the doctrine of eternal security, he is at the same time confident that out loving Heavenly Father will not banish us from fellowship with Him for our mistakes, human frailties, faults, and failings. God’s forgiveness for sin is one of the foundation stones of the gospel message. Still, this does not change Dr. Dobson’s conviction that the choice is ultimately ours. He believes it is possible for an individual to remove himself from the grace of God, and exit by the door through which he originally entered–the will. This means that, in Dr. Dobson’s view, it is possible for a born-again Christian to shake his fist in God’s face and say in essence, “I will have my own way!” When that occurs, “There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin.” This scripture, which is quoted below in its larger context, is one of at least fifty references that may be cited in support of the theological perspective to which Dr. Dobson ascribes:”

This then is the crux of the issue as to why we should not listen to such people. They are accursed of God for their perversion of the truth. This is the same problem that exists with J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and many others. Sadly, they do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, but rather have believed “another Jesus” . . .

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (II Corinthians 11:4)

. . . and followed the false light.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (II Corinthians 11:13-15)

Which means they are blinded by Satan concerning the truth, and speak from that blindness.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (II Corinthians 4:3-4)

So what should we do? Interestingly enough, the Lord has covered all the bases, as usual. You know, it is manifestly impossible to stay on task when one’s mind is elsewhere. It is also impossible to be engaged seriously, about serious issues when one’s mind is filled with fantastic junk. Two verses come to mind as good, solid admonitions for one to follow. (and they have everything to do with the definitions above)

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8)

Finis




The Effects of Television

Copyright 2002. 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.

Of all the things that can be said about television, one of the most outstanding things that is apparent is that television is really not necessary. Nice to have, but not necessary. For the child of God this is a very important distinction that needs to be always kept in mind.

Television is much like a drug that one might take for “recreation,” except that it is a mental and spiritual drug that gives no external evidence of its usage. Nevertheless, there are certain cases where the person is easily swayed to “act out” the things seen and heard. Television affects every person’s heart and mind regardless of the outward show. How can I say this? Consider the following evidence from a study on the effects of denying a family television, even for a limited time. The subjects of the study were asked to do without the television for a time. They had not, of their own volition decided to put away the television, rather they were asked to do without for a time.

Nearly 40 years ago Gary A. Steiner of the University of Chicago collected fascinating individual accounts of families whose set had broken–this back in the days when households generally had only one set: “The family walked around like a chicken without a head.” “It was terrible. We did nothing–my husband and I talked.” “Screamed constantly. Children bothered me, and my nerves were on edge. Tried to interest them in games, but impossible. TV is part of them.”

In experiments, families have volunteered or been paid to stop viewing, typically for a week or a month. Many could not complete the period of abstinence. Some fought, verbally and physically. Anecdotal reports from some families that have tried the annual “TV turn-off” week in the U.S. tell a similar story. ((Television Addiction, Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Scientific American, February 2002, http://tv-addiction.blogspot.com/2007/01/television-addiction-is-no-mere.html))

Now, for the born-again believer this ought to be a red flag concerning the potential for destruction of one’s witness, especially if we remember what happened to Lot and his family when they heard and saw the wickedness that was continually around them. ((The Holy Bible, King James Version, Genesis 19:all, II Peter 2:7-8)) This is not to say that all television is like Sodom and Gomorrah, but even a swift glance at it today reveals much ungodliness and a vast amount of “information” that is direct opposition to what the word of God states is true. Thus we are given a choice to make: Are we, if we continue watching, going to continually say “no” to the ideas and concepts that come from the television, or, are we at some point going to quietly concede that particular battleground and not even protest, just so we can keep watching?

Again, I do know this is a bold thing to state. However, it is not said out of ignorance of the power of television. Researchers do know that every one responds to stimuli in a certain way. It is our automatic response to stimuli that causes many to concede this particular battleground.

In 1986 Byron Reeves of Stanford University, Esther Thorson of the University of Missouri and their colleagues began to study whether the simple formal features of television–cuts, edits, zooms, pans, sudden noises–activate the orienting response, thereby keeping attention on the screen.

The orienting response may partly explain common viewer remarks such as: “If a television is on, I just can’t keep my eyes off it,” “I don’t want to watch as much as I do, but I can’t help it,” and “I feel hypnotized when I watch television.” ((Television Addiction, Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Scientific American, February 2002, http://tv-addiction.blogspot.com/2007/01/television-addiction-is-no-mere.html))

Now the researchers do not understand that God put that response mechanism there. However, just because they misidentify the source of the response does not negate the fact that the response is there. What it does mean is that we must learn to rule over our flesh and its desires and not concede this battleground. If we fail in this area, what will ultimately occur (and sooner than we think) is the insidious slide into worldliness and the forsaking of the witness and testimony that we, as members of the Lord’s church, are in covenant with the Lord about.

There are additional effects of television that are documented. These effects also contribute to difficulty in maintaining our witness and testimony. One of them is significant in its contribution to the ultimate downfall of this society as well.

Jerome L. and Dorothy Singer of Yale University, among others, have suggested that more viewing may contribute to a shorter attention span, diminished self-restraint and less patience with the normal delays of daily life. More than 25 years ago psychologist Tannis M. MacBeth Williams of the University of British Columbia studied a mountain community that had no television until cable finally arrived. Over time, both adults and children in the town became less creative in problem solving, less able to persevere at tasks, and less tolerant of unstructured time. ((Ibid))

Of course, we have seen and heard in the news many times in recent years where people have lost patience with one another over the most trivial of things and the result was either grievous bodily harm, or murder. If we say, ‘So what, big deal. That has always happened,’ we ignore a time in United States history when television was not present, and a national economic crisis occurred. The result was not the kind of lawlessness that we see today. During the Great Depression so many people had little to nothing, including food. Yet, the vast majority of individuals willingly worked for what they could get, and were very patient concerning the conditions that they had to endure. Crime, especially assault and murder was rare at that time. I know, as I have spoken with many older people that lived through that time in America’s history, and none of them experienced what we, as a nation, are going through today.

Now, we know the nature of man has not changed. So what has? How about the stimulus to man’s nature? Is it possible that man can be encouraged to do evil by the things continually placed in front of him; especially if they are shown to be acceptable, even approved actions to take? God has much to say about looking upon evil and the effects of it, even on the believer. Think about it.

Finis