Posts Tagged ‘religion’

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Jonah and Christ

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Copyright 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. Certain words and phrases of Scripture have been emphasized by the use of underlining.

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:39-40)

We have already seen that the Lord Jesus Christ went to heaven (paradise) the moment He died on the cross, and that the thief who believed Him would join Him shortly. So then, what is the meaning of the above verses since the word of God cannot contradict itself?

If we look at the context of the statement, we find that the Jews were seeking a sign. Now, we should understand that signs are physical manifestations that are supposedly used to confirm or deny the truth of something we cannot see. However, as the Scripture makes plain in many other places, signs can be duplicated and mimicked. Signs are not a legitimate means of determining whether or not that God is doing something. Rather, the appropriate means is by use of the instrument of faith.

This explains why the Lord Jesus Christ told them they were an “evil and adulterous generation.” However, in keeping with their desire for some physical sign, the Lord did tell them that they would receive the sign of Jonas, or Jonah, which consisted of the Son of man being three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Now, in keeping with the context of the statement, of which signs are physical, and Jonah’s being swallowed by the whale is physical, we should understand that physically, the body of the Lord Jesus would be in the earth three days and three nights.

This is confirmed by many Scriptures which I will not quote as it should not be necessary. Thus, the context of this is strictly physical and contains no spiritual implication, other than declaring that the scribes and Pharisees had no faith.

Now, why is the word “heart” used? Since I do not have access to an unabridged Koine Greek Dictionary, I cannot say for certain. However, I can state that the “definitions” given in both Young’s and Strong’s (both of whom opposed the Authorized King James Version) are neither complete nor adequate for determining the reason why this particular word was used at this point. I do know that in each and every language the vast majority of words have more than one meaning and it is entirely probable that this is the case with this word as well.

One additional note: It is unreasonable to assume that the Lord Jesus Christ’s body somehow sank into the heart of the earth to preach in some physical “holding tank” since the Scriptures do not contain any such fanciful notions. This notion is more like mysticism or fantasy than Scripture.

Finis

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An Answer to the “Free-Thinker’s” Non-tract – Part I

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Copyright 2005; updated 2010. 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. Underlining is used in Scripture passages for emphasis.

As with any answer, it is best to begin at the beginning. It is not often that I do this, but this is somewhat irresistible as the introduction contains contradictions in itself. Therefore, the introduction to this tract is where we will begin. After addressing the introduction, the “contradictions” will be addressed and explained.

The introduction of non-tract No. 5 states:

“Paul said, “God is not the author of confusion,” (I Cor. 14:33), yet never has a book produced more confusion than the bible! There are hundreds of denominations and sects, all using the “inspired Scriptures” to prove their conflicting doctrines.
Why do trained theologians differ? Why do educated translators disagree over Greek and Hebrew meanings? Why all the confusion? Shouldn’t a “divinely inspired” document be as clear as possible?
The problem is not with human limitations, as some claim. The problem is the bible itself. People who are free of theological bias notice that the bible contains hundreds of discrepancies. Should it surprise us when such a literary and moral mishmash, taken seriously, causes so much discord? Here is a brief sampling of biblical contradictions.”

The very beginning sentence begs the question: If there is a God (and there is), isn’t there also a Devil? If you are going to argue against the existence of God, shouldn’t you also argue against the existence of the Devil as well? How is it that the Atheist always argues against the existence of God, but NEVER argues against the existence of the Devil (or Satan)?

Perhaps it is because the Devil, who is the author of confusion, is heavily influencing their thinking. After all, the Scripture (the Bible) plainly states:

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)

If we notice, the above passage states that those that oppose themselves (the lost) are taken captive by the devil at the devil’s will. The fact that Satan uses snares to do this makes it impossible for the individual to know that Satan is influencing his or her thinking. As a testament to the Scripture’s honesty, the Bible is plain that even born-again believers can be unknowingly influenced by the Devil. There are three prominent instances in Scripture. The first is the incident with Peter in Matthew 16:

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)

What makes this all the more amazing is that shortly before this incident, Peter was the one that declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17)

By the way, it should be noticed that in the last statement by the Lord Jesus Christ, that He stated that discerning who He is, cannot be accomplished by men’s methods. Rather, the discerning of who the Lord Jesus Christ is, both then and now, strictly by revelation from God. For one to know with certainty that the Lord Jesus Christ is God in the flesh cannot be accomplished except through the operation of faith. Which leads us to a short rabbit trail that will be examined more fully later, that is: How does one obtain faith?

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

It is not a matter of how much you hear, rather, are you willing to hear and consider what God has to say about man (and thus you) and man’s condition and what God has done about it, as it is written:

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)

Now, let’s return to the subject of being influenced by the Devil. The second incident is with James and John, the sons of thunder. We should ask the question of just where their attitude came from as we consider this passage.

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 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. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. (Luke 9:51-56)

It should be obvious, the manner of spirit they were of was demonic. They, without realizing it, were being influenced by the Devil.

The third incident is also with Peter just before the Lord’s crucifixion.

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. (Luke 22:31-34)

Of course, we should all know what Peter ended up doing: He denied the Lord Jesus Christ just as the Lord had told him he would.

Now, this being the case with those who are born of God, just what chance do those who are not the Lord’s stand against Satan and his wiles. Again the Scripture states:

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)

By the way, the god of this world is Satan, by right of conquest. However, in returning to the issue at hand we find that the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of the Devil when He rebuked the Pharisees:

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)

Now, I have a couple of questions:

  • Have you ever been lied to?
  • And believed the lie?

The most accomplished liar in all of creation, both physical and spiritual, is Satan, the Devil.

How is it that the Atheist never attempts to disprove the existence of Satan?

By the way, did you know that the Supreme Court of the United States has declared Atheism to be a religion? However, as you will see by the following quote from a Atheist reviewing the video America’s Godly Heritage that the reviewer is not honest about Atheism being a religion. Please notice the last line of the quotation.

Claim 1: “The Supreme Court ruled that Secular Humanism is a viable First Amendment Religion.
Cases cited: Torcaso v. Watkins (367 U.S. 488), 1961, and an unnamed 1985 decision.
Torcaso v. Watkins ruled nothing of the sort; a footnote mentioned “Secular Humanism” as a “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God [sic].” This did not refer to what “secular humanism” generally refers to today, but to a church in California, the Fellowship of Humanity. The footnote cited Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda, 153 Cal. App. 2d 673, 315 P. 2d 394. I checked the second cite, which is the _Pacific Reporter_, and found that the Fellowship of Humanity formed in 1952 and was suing the County of Alameda to recover property taxes and penalties paid under protest. The California Appeals Court ruled that this was a legitimate religion and therefore tax exempt (2-1 decision). (This case was filed September 11, 1957.) The members of the Fellowship of Humanity referred to themselves simply as “humanists,” not as “secular humanists.” (PDF capture of the Skeptic Files page1)

However, the Fellowship of Humanity still exists, and it has a website. On its website the following statement is quite visible:

“Humanism is about what humans ARE and DO at their Best for each other and all Life Forms without supernatural interventions.” (http://www.humanisthall.net/)

Thus to claim that the humanists at Fellowship of Humanity are not secular humanists is patently absurd. After all, they plainly state they do not believe in the supernatural (http://humanisthall.net/BYLAWS.htm) which plainly eliminates a belief in God. Thus, they are secular humanists as well, and secular humanism is a religion.

This makes one of the primary claims of Atheists a patent lie. They are influenced by their religion, and their religion influences their view of the Scriptures.

Contrary to the claim in the introduction to this “non-tract” where it is stated “People who are free of theological bias notice that the bible contains hundreds of discrepancies.” the Atheist has a theology. It just so happens that the theology the Atheist has is one of self. They are their own gods. And they worship and serve themselves. Quite obviously, there is a head-on collision with the Bible.

Again, this is not new. In the Bible the Lord Jesus Christ addressed this very issue with the Jews in John, chapter 10:

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (John 10:31-36)

Here, He quoted the Psalms to show them that they acted like they were gods that could control their destiny and the destiny of those around them.

I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. (Psalm 82:6-7)

Again this is stated in Isaiah as the LORD God challenged men concerning their refusal to obey Him and hear His word. In fact, this particular challenge sounds very much like the LORD is speaking directly to the Atheist.

Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together. (Isaiah 40:21-23)

Finally, twice in Psalms and once in Romans, the word of God declares that Atheism is nothing new.

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalm 14:1-3)

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalm 53:1-3)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 1:18-25)

So it is that the Atheist is not honest when he declares that he has no theological bias. Moreover, the Atheist cannot honestly declare that there is no spiritual realm in which powers beyond our control influence what we think and sometimes how we act — even without our knowledge and understanding that that is what is going on. In short, until someone on this earth knows everything, and knows and can prove that they know everything, anyone that declares that a spiritual world does not exist is lying. Moreover, we would have to ask what is influencing them to declare such things.

To be continued . . .

  1. It was necessary to capture the page from the Wayback Machine as the site (and page) disappeared.
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Were the Pharisees Fundamentalists?

Sunday, March 6th, 2011
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All Scripture is Authorized King James Version, 1769 Edition of the 1611 King James Version.
Were the Pharisees Fundamentalists? by Paul W. Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.reproachofmen.org/blog/subscribe-to-this-blog/.

In popular, or mainstream “Christianity” there are some people who are simply unwelcome. This is primarily due to what they believe. The attitude of the leaders of mainstream Christianity toward those individuals is certainly not Christian, and borders on outright persecution. It is understandable that those such as the Atheists would refer to Bible-believing fundamentalists as “fundies,” but it’s not at all understandable for someone who claims Christ and professes to be a Baptist to refer to another, far more conservative Baptist as a “funny-dementalist.” When this occurs, it is evident that the individual using the pejorative holds in disdain those who desire to abide strictly by the Scripture. Somehow, I find it hard to believe this is an attitude the Lord Jesus Christ approves of in any of His children. However, this kind of attitude is not at all uncommon; rather it is a very prevalent attitude among those in mainstream Christianity. The following excerpt from a “Christian” forum illustrates the point quite well. Please note that all emphasis in the excerpt below is mine, and is made by the use of underlining.

cowboyinaf
7/24/2005 5:44 AM 36 out of 39
(http://jesus.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.asp?pageID=9&discussionID=426833&messages_per_page=4)
Whilst we are defining terms, I would submit that some are posting here under the quise(sic) of conservatism, when they are more closely allied with fundamentalism. Conservative thought and theology is careful, rarely malleable, but not intolerant.

Fundamentalism brooks no deviation, nor dissent. The Pharisees were fundamentalists. And we all know, or should know, what Jesus thought of their self rightouesness(sic) approach to worship. As has been stated above, Jesus taught on many occasions we must be humble in thought and in deed. You may not agree with someones(sic) approach to thier(sic) relationship with God, but the best way to show that your path is superior is through the way you life your life. When you reach the point of being judgmental, you have poisoned your own well, and it becomes difficult to be of service to God or yourself. Much harm has been done in the world through fundamentalist thought and action, within all of the major religions.

Now, I find it amazing that this person and others have taken it upon themselves to determine what a fundamentalist is, what fundamentalists believe and practice, and that they are identical to the Pharisees of the Lord Jesus Christ’s day and time. It is an interesting, but not uncommon claim that the Pharisees were fundamental in their doctrine and practice, when the Scripture in no place describes what a fundamentalist is, or even uses the word “fundamental” or “fundamentalist.” However, since it is a common assumption that the Pharisees were “fundamentalists,” it is fair game and scripturally proper to challenge that assumption to see if it is actually valid and true.

Before even beginning to discuss whether fundamentalists are as some claim they are, it is appropriate to actually define the term. The term fundamentalist is not in the 1971 Oxford Dictionary of the English Language on a Historical Basis. However, the word “fundamental” does appear, and we can use it as a basis for the word “fundamentalist.” In contrast, the word “fundamentalism” does appear in the Random House Collegiate Dictionary, along with the word “fundamental.” If we hold that fundamentalists practice fundamentalism, it is possible to derive a definition from the word “fundamental,” as defined in the dictionary. Although, if the definition is inaccurate in any degree, we are going to arrive at an inaccurate determination of what a fundamentalist actually is. Thus, to cover all the bases, both dictionaries, along with all the pertinent words, will be used in defining the term. That way, we don’t depend upon someone’s subjective and possibly pejorative definition.

Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, Compact Edition

Fundamental adjective and subjective
1. Of or pertaining to the foundation or base of a building. Obsolete
1b. Having a foundation, fixed, not temporary. Rare
2. Of, or pertaining to the foundation or groundwork, going to the root of the matter.
3. Serving as the foundation or base on which something is built. Chiefly and now exclusively in immaterial applications. Hence, forming an essential or indispensable part of a system, institution, etc.
3b. Primary, original; from which others are derived.
4. Of strata: Lying at the bottom.
The rest of the definitions (5 through 7) apply to science, music and humor (British) and thus do not apply here.

Fundamentalness
1. A leading or primary principle, rule, law, or article, which serves as the ground work of a system; an essential part.
1b. Fundamental requisites
Definition 2 applies to music, and thus is not applicable here.

Random House College Dictionary, Revised Edition, Abridged, copyright 1983.

Fundamental adjective
1. Serving as, or being an essential part of, a foundation or basis; basic; underlying: fundamental principles.
2. Of, pertaining to, or affecting the foundation or basis: a fundamental revision.
3. Being an original or primary source: a fundamental idea.
Definitions 4 through 7 apply to music and physics, and thus do not apply here.

Fundamentalism noun
1. A movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century and that stresses the infallibility of the Bible in all matters of faith and doctrine, accepting it as a literal historical record.
2. The beliefs held by those in this movement.

Now, judging from the words used by cowboyinaf, who posted to the Beliefnet forum above, there are some questions that he ought to answer as to what basis he used to define fundamentalism, and precisely what standard was used in his determination of what fundamentalists believe. It is rather clear what he thinks they think and behave like, and it is also abundantly clear that he doesn’t like them.

However, regardless of how cowboyinaf arrived at what he believes defines fundamentalism, the dictionaries plainly demonstrate that there is nothing inherently dangerous or destructive about being fundamental, or a fundamentalist. In fact, if we examine the following passages of Scripture in light of the above definitions, we will arrive at some startling conclusions concerning fundamentalism and just who was actually fundamental in their doctrine.

In examining the following passages, please note carefully the setting and the individuals involved.

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:1-9)

In the above passage, the parties involved in this exchange are the Lord Jesus Christ and the scribes and Pharisees. Plainly, the incident involved an accusation by the Pharisees and the response of the Lord Jesus Christ to that accusation. In the second passage below, this incident is covered in greater detail.

Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. (Mark 7:1-13)

In both accounts of this incident, there is something that is readily apparent in the way that Christ responds to the scribes and Pharisees. It is plain that the Lord Jesus refers to Scripture and depends upon nothing else for His answer to the Pharisees. It is notable that the scribes and Pharisees lay blame or find fault, and that their finding of fault is determined by the standard of tradition. It is equally notable that the Lord Jesus Christ answers them with something far more fundamental than tradition – the commandment of God. In fact, by the above dictionary definitions, it is not the scribes and Pharisees who are the fundamentalists here. Rather, they appear to be what one could easily define as “progressives” or “traditionalists” rather than fundamentalists, in that they have the charge laid against them by the Lord Jesus Christ of changing the commandment of God, and thus setting it aside in favor of a tradition they developed. Given the charge laid by Christ, and the record of the Scriptures, it is evident that the scribes and Pharisees accepted this tradition handed down to them, in plain opposition to the Scriptures they outwardly revered. If the scribes and Pharisees were true fundamentalists, as some claim, they would have overthrown the tradition and followed Scripture. Then the Lord Jesus Christ could not and would not have laid this particular charge against them.

The commandment the Lord Jesus Christ referred to is and was far more fundamental than the tradition the scribes and Pharisees were depending upon to prove themselves righteous. Why? Because the commandment was given even before Israel entered into covenant with the Lord to be the House of Witness. In fact, this commandment was one of the strictures laid before the children of Israel as a condition of their acceptance of the covenant. Please note that the expectations of the covenant are given in Exodus, chapters 20 through 23, and the covenant is accepted and agreed to in chapter 24.

And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. (Exodus 21:17)

Thus, Israel had no prior tradition of how a child was to respect and deal with his parents. If they had, it certainly would have been set aside in the acceptance of the covenant at Mount Sinai. Hence, the real fundamentalist in the above exchange recorded in both Matthew and Mark is the Lord Jesus Christ, not the scribes and Pharisees.

However, this is not the only incident in which the Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the religious leaders of Israel for their “progressive” attitude and behavior. In the following passage, the Lord Jesus Christ contrasts his absolute obedience to the Father with the Jews’ failure to keep the Law of Moses as it was delivered to them.

Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? (John 7:14-19)

if we understand the import of the above exchange, we cannot help but understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is plainly accusing the Jews of having a progressive and modernist mindset. In contrast, the Lord Jesus makes it very plain that he will not depart from the express commandment of God the Father.

Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. (John 12:44-50)

The Lord Jesus Christ held this same mind toward the Scripture, in that he quoted the Old Testament extensively and never raised question as to its authenticity, or whether what it stated was to be taken literally. In the following passages the dependence the Lord Jesus Christ placed upon the Scriptures it is clearly evident. It is also quite evident that the Lord Jesus took the Scriptures literally and applied them in that way.

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27)

And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:40-44)

In the following passage, the Lord Jesus references the event that happened to Jonah the prophet for his disobedience to the plain commandment of God. Immediately after that, He references the queen of Sheba’s visit to Solomon. In so doing, He draws an equality between these events, and thus places both events on the same level of authenticity. Moreover, this also declares that these events were clearly and accurately recorded in Scripture, and are both to be taken literally.

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (Matthew 12:38-42)

Thus, from all evidence that can be gathered from the Scripture, and judging by the definitions given in the dictionaries above, the scribes and Pharisees were not fundamentalists in any sense of the word. Rather, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the fundamentalist, and rightly so, as he is Almighty God manifest in the flesh, and the Creator of all, and the foundation of all.

So then, what are we to make of cowboyinaf’s definition of fundamentalism and fundamentalists, which is very much the popular, albeit wrong, definition of fundamentalism?

Plainly, such statements as:

“Fundamentalism brooks no deviation, nor dissent.”

“The Pharisees were fundamentalists.”

“Much harm has been done in the world through fundamentalist thought and action,”

evince an attitude of nothing more than ill-informed “judgementalism,” which is the very thing that the poster to the Beliefnet forum accused those he perceived as fundamentalists of practicing. The sad part of this whole affair is that those who label themselves “Christian” and do not hold to the Scripture are quick to use the label of “fundamentalist” as a pejorative against those who do hold to Scripture, not realizing that the Scripture is express in demonstrating that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the Fundamentalist. The Lord Jesus Christ is Almighty God, and He has never changed and never will change. Moreover, He is the only Foundation upon which to build one’s life. In all things, God is fundamental, and He takes a very fundamental view of His word.

The Catholic View

What then does this mean with regard to the Catholic view of fundamentalism? If we note the writings of Catholic apologists, we find that they brand “fundamentalism” a heretical view, and condemn it roundly as being opposed to Catholicism. In looking at this we will examine two authors, as they state the Catholic Church’s opposition to fundamentalism rather well, and put forth their reasons for not being fundamental about as lucidly as can be done.

One of the primary tenets of fundamentalism holds that the Scripture forbids the making of images for worship, and that the LORD God is not pleased with such, as it is rank idolatry, or leads to idolatry, which is to be avoided at all costs. Simply put, the position on idolatry in the New Testament is summed up in the apostle Paul’s commandment to the church at Corinth:

Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (I Corinthians 10:14)

This is about as succinct as it can get for how the Christian ought to view anything that tends to, or flavors of idolatry. However, this is not the Catholic position as outlined in their Catechism. In the following quotation, the author of the article summarizes how he understands the use of images, and then gives the reference from the Catechism for support. I have underlined certain points for emphasis.

The Catholic position is simple: If Jesus really is true God and true man, and if he has existed physically in this world, then he can be represented in visual arts. The Old Testament decrees against images were made when mankind was just beginning to understand who Yahweh was and how he related to humanity. The “fullness of time” had not yet been realized-humanity had much to learn before God would come as man and dwell among us. But with the Incarnation came big changes. The Catechism explains this beautifully:

“The sacred image, the liturgical icon, principally represents Christ. It cannot represent the invisible and incomprehensible God, but the Incarnation of the Son of God has ushered in a new ‘economy’ of images: Previously God, who has neither a body nor a face, absolutely could not be represented by an image. But now that he has made himself visible in the flesh and has lived with men, I can make an image of what I have seen of God . . . and contemplate the glory of the Lord, his face unveiled. . . . The veneration of sacred images is based on the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God. It is not contrary to the first commandment” (CCC 1159, 2141; see 1160).1

Now, in the first paragraph, I emphasized two points that fly in the face of what the Scripture declares plainly – that man has known and understood what the LORD God has required of him from very shortly after the Fall, when the LORD God walked in the Garden and called to Adam, condemned his sin, and then presented the Gospel to him. It is plainly testified in Hebrews that Abel knew the gospel, and that his faith was expressed in the acceptable sacrifice to God. It is also testified throughout the Old Testament that many knew the very same Gospel that is preached in the New Testament, and were saved in the very same manner as someone is today: by grace through faith, not by works. The following passage of Scripture is clear evidence of this very fact:

Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. (Job 19:23-27)

Since Job was a contemporary of Abraham, and he expresses plainly and clearly that he knows, not guesses, that his redeemer lives, and that He will come in the flesh, and that at some point he (Job) will see his Lord and Redeemer in his (Job’s) flesh. This is as much to say that Job understood fully that Christ was to come at some point, and that, at some point, Job would be resurrected with a body similar to the body he was in at that moment.

However, Job is not the only witness of the fact that men during Old Testament times understood every bit as much about God as we do today. It is interesting to note what both the Old and New Testaments declare about Abraham’s knowledge of God, and of Christ to come.

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (Galatians 3:6-8)

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. (Genesis 14:18-20)

In the three preceding passages addressing Abraham, we find that Abraham had the very same gospel preached to him that is preached in the New Testament. Moreover, Abraham had absolute confidence when asked of the LORD God to sacrifice Isaac, that when he did so God would raise Isaac from the dead, as Christ was promised to come through Isaac’s lineage. Finally, in Genesis, chapter 14, we find that Abraham was not the only one that knew and understood what God required of man. Rather, what is clearly testified to is that Melchizedek, king of Salem, which would become Jerusalem, was an anointed priest of the LORD God.

Now, since Abraham knew all that he knew and understood about the LORD God, which was considerable, as he was called the “Friend of God,”2 what can we then make of Melchizedek’s understanding of the LORD God, seeing that he is a priest of the Most High God (the LORD God)? Certainly, it was no less than Abimelech’s understanding of God and what God required of him, as is testified to in Genesis, chapter 20:

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.
Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. (Genesis 20:3-9)

What then are we to make of the statements recorded in Scripture as to Abimelech’s understanding of God, seeing that he states that the Philistines are a righteous nation, and he is a righteous king, and the LORD God does not disagree, but confirms this very fact? Plainly, the fact that Abimelech tells Abraham that Abraham caused him to sin and that is not to be done, means that Abimelech understood something that many Christians today don’t seem to grasp at all.

The above examples are not the only ones in the Old Testament that expressly demonstrate and prove that they knew just as much about the LORD God and Christ to come as the most knowledgeable of Christians today. In fact, I would hazard that the Old Testament saints knew and understood more about the LORD than the vast majority of believers today. Indeed, it is in the Old Testament that the guidelines for what one may glory about are given:

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)

Thus, we are forced to ask the question: If, as Carl Olson claims, men in Old Testament time did not really know and understand the LORD God, what is the above passage doing in Scripture? How is it that Carl Olson is more authoritative on what men during the time of the Old Testament knew than the Scripture, whose Author is the LORD God Himself?

Plainly, the LORD God would never give such a guideline if it were not possible, both then and now, to know and understand the LORD in a very personal way. Just as it is today, so it was all during the time of the Old Testament: we can know and understand the LORD, who He is, and what He likes and does not like. In short, it is, and has always been, possible to know the LORD God personally.

There is one final example before moving to the second paragraph of the Catholic author’s quote. This example is best understood in light of the question: Is it possible to please someone when you do not have a good understanding of their personality and nature, and what they like and dislike? While you consider the question, carefully read the following passage of Scripture from Hebrews that addresses Enoch and Noah:

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:5-7)

The short answer to the question is: No. It is impossible to please anyone when you understand little to nothing about their character and nature. Thus, it is plain both Enoch and Noah knew the LORD God personally, and they ordered their lives in accordance with what faith showed them.

The second paragraph of the Catholic author’s quotation consists of an excerpt from the Catechism and it states the following:

“Previously God, who has neither a body nor a face, absolutely could not be represented by an image. But now that he has made himself visible in the flesh and has lived with men, I can make an image of what I have seen of God . . .”

“Previously,” in the context of the quote, means that before the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, no man had seen God so that an image could be made. This logic is used to justify the following:

“But now that he has made himself visible in the flesh and has lived with men, I can make an image of what I have seen of God . . .”

To the above logic, I must respond with the testimony of Old Testament Scripture:

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. (Isaiah 6:1-5)

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15)

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:9-14)

And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. (Genesis 18:1-8)

I have only quoted four passages of Scripture, but there are many more, both before and after the giving of the Law at Mount Horeb when the Old Covenant was entered into by the Jews. Thus, I take great exception to the statement that God (the Word) had not manifest Himself in the flesh prior to His birth in Bethlehem. Now then, if the LORD manifested Himself in the flesh to both Abraham and Joshua, which He did, and one is prior to the giving of the commandment, and the other is after, why did neither one ever make an image of the LORD God that they saw? Moreover, why is the physical appearance of the LORD God never described in anything other than general terms? Plainly, Daniel and Isaiah both saw the LORD God upon His throne, and knew and understood that it was the LORD God that they were looking at. In fact, Daniel describes the appearance of the Son of man, which is the exact term used for the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the Gospel of Luke, and yet nowhere is it ever recorded that Daniel made an image of Christ to come. The very plain reason that no images where authorized or produced to represent God in the Old Testament holds true today – and the reason is expressly given in the following passage addressing the brasen serpent:

Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses. (II Kings 18:1-6)

Now, Moses made the brasen serpent at the express commandment of God as a representation of the work of Christ to come. However, the LORD did it knowing that there were some in Israel who would follow after it to worship it as an idol, thinking that their salvation would come from it. That is an unavoidable consequence anytime that any image is made of anything that can be construed to represent God or thought to have the power of God, as the brasen serpent did. In the following passage from Numbers, chapter 21, the incident that involved the brasen serpent is detailed:

And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Numbers 21:4-9)

And so it was that there were some in Israel who worshipped the brasen serpent, despite the fact that they were commanded to worship and serve the LORD God only. This is the snare of images that are used to represent God and the power of God. Thus, the commandment is given in the New Testament to “flee from idolatry,” which is to say that we ought to flee from any hint of idolatry. This, taken with the totality of witness from the Old Testament concerning those who saw God in the flesh, means that we are to have no images at all of what is supposed to represent Christ. To do otherwise is to fall into the trap and snare of idolatry, which the Catholic Church has done and seeks to justify, even though the Scripture plainly testifies against them.

Thus, one of the most obvious reasons that fundamentalism is condemned by the Catholic Church is the fact that the practice of fundamentalism, which includes extensive study of the Bible and taking the Scriptures literally, roundly condemns significant elements of the Catechism.3

The second Catholic author’s view is also consistent with the Catholic Church’s attempt to discredit fundamentalism as a movement by claiming it to be of recent origin, and by mislabeling it as a Protestant oddity.

“Fundamentalism is a relatively new brand of Protestantism started in America that has attracted a tremendous following, including many fallen away Catholics.”4

“While the origin of the term “Fundamentalist” has a fairly simple history, the movement itself has a more confused origin. There was no individual founder, nor was there a single event that precipitated its advent. Of course, Fundamentalist writers insist that Fundamentalism is nothing but a continuation of Christian orthodoxy. According to this theory, Fundamentalism flourished for three centuries after Christ, went underground for twelve hundred years, surfaced again with the Reformation, took its knocks from various sources, and was alternately prominent or diminished in its influence and visibility. In short, according to its partisans, Fundamentalism always has been the Christian remnant, the faithful who remain after the rest of Christianity (if it can even be granted the title) has fallen into apostasy.”5

Now, it is plain in the Scriptures what constitutes “orthodoxy,” if we can even use such a term, and those things of “orthodoxy” are quite provable by the Scripture. However, the Scripture is not the only witness to contradict the above author. Books such as Martyrs Mirror and Fox’s Book of Martyrs detail the persecution and suffering of persons, who can only be labeled as fundamentalists, at the hands of the Catholic Church. In fact, at least one Catholic Cardinal was honest enough to admit that they actively persecuted those who held strictly to Scripture.

“Were it not that the baptists have been grievously tormented and cut off with the knife during the past twelve hundred years, they would swarm in greater number than all the Reformers.”6

Thus, by several witnesses, including one of their own, they hold (or held) fundamentalists to be such heretics that they must be put to death. The plain and clear reason for this is not that fundamentalists and fundamentalism is dangerous. Rather, fundamentalism exposes the deficiencies in Catholic doctrine and practice, and undermines the power of the Church to control what people think, who they worship, and how they worship Him.

Traditionalism and Modernism

Earlier in this article, I referenced the Pharisees as traditionalists when I noted that they held to tradition instead of setting it aside when it plainly contradicted the Scripture. Thus it is expressly true that they were traditionalists. However, at some point in the past, some number of the Jewish leadership decided to innovate and arrived at a very interesting interpretation of the commandment regarding children cursing their parents, and what ought to be done about that. In fact, the interpretation they arrived at was entirely contradictory to the commandment itself. We are not told how this was accomplished. What we are told by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is that it happened, and that it was and is wrong.

Nonetheless, we need to examine an aspect of this for the lesson contained in it. That is, how the traditionalists of the Lord Jesus’ day were at one time modernists and progressives. After all, this doctrine that is and was entirely contradictory to the commandment of God had not always been there, and it certainly was not there prior to the commandment being given at Mount Horeb. Thus, one or more persons sometime in the past were progressive and modern in their thinking, and arrived at an interpretation that can only be described as “twisted.” The problem is not that someone in Jewish antiquity arrived at such a twisted determination of what the Scripture plainly stated, though that is a serious problem for that individual and all who believed him over the Scripture; rather, the greater problem is that successive generations of Jewish leaders and priests did nothing to change that abominable interpretation. Instead, what they did was the ancient equivalent of the modern legal theory of stare decisis.

Stare Decisis is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary as “To abide by, or adhere to, decided cases.7” which is given as “Policy of courts to stand by precedent and not to disturb settled point.” This raises the question: Since when is the original not a settled point? It would seem to be a pretty settled point that children are to always honor their father and mother. How is it then that this clear point was moved away from – to the extent of being interpreted as meaning the exact opposite of the express words given?

Moreover, herein lies an interesting phenomena: How is it that the original (which was still readily accessible) was set aside in favor of the “interpretation” of the original? This is especially intriguing when the interpretation is exactly like the Lord Jesus described to the Pharisees – directly contradictory to the original. We could say that this phenomenon is strictly limited to the Scripture, but that would be to deny what we observe every day. The practice of stare decisis seems to occur in just about every endeavor of man. However, it’s effect is particularly evident when constitutional issues are examined, especially concerning individual rights. Without going into detail, the “Commerce Clause” is one such area of constitutional law that has been subject to stare decisis, much to the detriment of individual liberty.

In much the same way, I suppose we ought not be shocked when someone utterly misinterprets the Scripture to his or her own advantage. However, it is disturbing when they do so and then have the audacity to claim that they are expressly not doing so. This tends to be one of the most distressing tendencies of man – to look right at and plainly read a text, and then claim that “so and so said that this passage means this, or that, and thus we will follow what so and so said,” despite the fact that the passage read is simple and easily understood. The problem lies in the basic nature of man – we do not want to follow the plain, literal, simple teaching, but would rather have the most convoluted and hard-to-understand “interpretations” of the Scripture given. That way we can say that we are something special and have a unique and highly-educated understanding that is just not available to the “common man.”

Conclusion

Were the Pharisees fundamentalists? By the Scripture and the dictionaries, clearly they were not. By the standard of those who choose to utilize their own definitions to suit their purposes, they most certainly were. However, if we understand what the Scripture has to say about creating private definitions and using our own standard to judge things by, we will understand who is in error here. In this matter, the Scripture is express:

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (II Corinthians 10:12)

The principle is consistent here: for a person to create their own definition when established meanings exist is to become an authority unto themselves, and to measure things by the standard of their own understanding. For those who say it does not matter, I would suggest to them that they develop their own system of measurement and define their own length for a foot, yard, pound, ton, etc. and see how well-received it is – particularly when they want to use it in trade for goods. Of course, the LORD has very much to say about this subject:

Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. (Leviticus 19:36)

Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. (Deuteronomy 25:13)

Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD. (Proverbs 20:10)

Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good. (Proverbs 20:23)

Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights? (Micah 6:11)

The principle here is one that bears directly upon this issue: when there exists an established standard or definition of measure, departing from it is an abomination to the LORD, and is inherently deceitful. By the same principle, so is creating a new definition of an established word to fit your own purposes.

Plainly, we are not free to use unequal weights and measures, and we are not free to redefine the foot, yard, pound, etc. In short, we are not to use unorthodox, proprietary definitions in place of provable, established meanings for various weights and measures. In like manner, we are not free to redefine words so that they mean something other than what the dictionary says they mean – and then use them for a pejorative.

The most sad part of this is that those who claim to be fundamentalists allow themselves to be defined by their detractors. Moreover, they never attempt to defend why it is necessary to hold strictly to the literal (physical and spiritual) meaning of Scripture. Instead, they seem to openly embrace and choose the definitions created by those who would discredit them. I have on more than one occasion heard fundamental, unaffiliated Baptist preachers expressly state that the Pharisees were indeed fundamentalists. However, by the established definitions, and by the express declaration of Scripture, the Pharisees and scribes were traditionalists and modernists, not fundamentalists.

Though this lack of discernment on the part of those claiming to be fundamentalists may call into question fundamentalism as a movement, it can never set aside the plain testimony of Scripture and the open fundamentalism of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those things are forever settled in heaven and men will be required to answer for their lack of acceptance of the clear, literal testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:48)

Finis

  1. The Heretical Roots of Fundamentalism, Carl E. Olson, This Rock, 1999, Catholic Answers, http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9910fea4.asp
  2. James 2:23, Authorized King James Version,1611, 1769 Edition.
  3. The use of images is by no means the only place the Catechism violates Scripture. There are numerous places in the Catechism that cannot be reconciled with Scripture, it just so happens that the use of images is one of the most prominent.
  4. Fundamentalism, Catholic Answers, http://www.catholic.com/library/fundamentalism.asp
  5. Ibid.
  6. Cardinal Hosius, 1524, President of the Council of Trent: Hosius, Letters; Apud Opera, pp. 112, 113.
  7. Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, The West Group, 1990.
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Shall we keep the sabbath?

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Copyright 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. Underlining is used in Scripture passages for emphasis.

In the Freethinker’s “non-tract” (No. 5) the atheists claim that the following is a contradiction in the Bible:

Shall we keep the sabbath?

Ex. 20:8
Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. (Ex. 31:15; Num. 15:32.36)
Is. 1:13
The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity. (John 5:16; Matt. 12:1-5)

The following are the full texts of the verses supposedly in contradiction.

Verses supporting the keeping of the Sabbath

Exodus 20:8

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Exodus 31:15

Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Numbers 15:32-36

And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

Verses that supposedly say to not keep the Sabbath.

Isaiah 1:13

Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.

John 5:16

And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

Matthew 12:1-5

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

The key to understanding how this is not a contradiction rests upon two things:

First: Knowing and understanding the difference in dispensations of witness.

Second: Knowing and understanding what the Sabbath is actually for.

To begin, please note that all the verses in support of the keeping of the Sabbath are in the Pentateuch, or the Books of the Law. These first five books of the Scripture are held by Judaism to be the Law that one must keep to be righteous before God. To understand how the Jews got this idea, we must look at Exodus and what happened a Mount Sinai. Beginning at Chapter 20 and ending in Chapter 23, we find the giving of what seem to be commandments from God. However, if we look further on in Chapter 24, we find this passage in the beginning of the chapter:

And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. (Exodus 24:1-8)

In addition, we find in Deuteronomy, chapter 9, the following statement concerning the Ten Commandments, at the time the LORD spoke to Israel at Mount Horeb (Sinai).

Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD. 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. (Deuteronomy 9:7-11)

Again, this is reinforced in Deuteronomy, chapter 10, in relating how the replacement for the first tables of stone came to be. In this it is plainly stated that the Ten Commandments are the covenant the LORD God had with Israel.

At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me. (Deuteronomy 10:1-4)

Thus, it is clear and plain that the Children of Israel (the Jews) voluntarily agreed to be bound by the aforesaid requirements (Chap. 20 through 23) of the covenant the Lord offered to them. Now if we understand what a covenant is, we will understand that a covenant is a contract between two or more parties to accomplish a specific end. Thus, the keeping of the Sabbath belongs to Israel and anyone else the Scripture records as having made such a contract with the LORD God.

However, since the Scripture records no one else as having made that kind of a contract, or covenant with the LORD God, we must understand that the express keeping of the Sabbath belongs only to Israel so long as the covenant between the LORD and Israel is not broken by both parties.1

Now, we do find that ultimately this covenant was dissolved by both parties. First, by Israel through their failure to abide in the covenant. And second, by the Lord Jesus Christ during the final days prior to His crucifixion.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 23:37-39)

Thus, we find that the keeping of the Sabbath, as expressed in the Ten Commandments belongs only to Israel. If and only if we find in the Gospels, or the rest of the New Testament that we are commanded to keep the Sabbath, must we keep the Sabbath. However, what we find in the New Testament is typified by the following passages.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)

And again.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. (Romans 14:5-6)

Now then, with regard to the “contradictory” passages, they must be dealt with individually as one is from the Old Testament, and two are from the New Testament during the time of the Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry.

Beginning with the verse from Isaiah, which states:

Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. (Isaiah 1:13)

We find that this is part of a larger condemnation of Judah for their abandonment of the covenant the Lord made with them at Mount Sinai centuries earlier.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. (Isaiah 1:2-15)

Now, it should be evident why the LORD God did not desire for Israel to “keep the Sabbath” at this point in time. The above passage is one of the most damning passages of Scripture in the Bible. The LORD’s condemnation of Judah is extensive and a precursor of the judgement to come. Why? For the express failure to keep the covenant they said they would not only keep, but teach their children from generation to generation. Thus, this condemnation of Judah is justified.

Moreover, not that many decades before the time of Isaiah, the prophet Samuel recorded an incident that was for all Israel to learn from. The Children of Israel should have learned from the failure of Saul, their first king. The following passages is the LORD’s rebuke of Saul following his disobedience to the LORD’s commandment.

And Samuel said,Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (I Samuel 15:22-23)

If we look back at the agreement the Children of Israel made at Mount Sinai, we find the following statement:

And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. (Exodus 24:7)

Thus, Saul, having Samuel as a faithful priest of God, would have known that he was to obey, and then sacrifice, rather that sacrificing without obedience. Yet moreover, Saul should have known the following seeing that the LORD appointed him king when he was humble in heart.

And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. 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 16:6-7)

Therefore, we find that the LORD God’s refusal of the Children of Israel’s observance of the Sabbath was based upon the higher standard of having a right, humble and obedient heart before God. Because they did not, the LORD informs them that their observances avail nothing (in fact they are an abomination to Him) as they are done as religious formalities, and not as true worship, or true observance of the covenant they had with the LORD.

So then, what of the other two ‘contradictions’ from the New Testament? As has been shown before, so it is with these: They are lifted out of context with no understanding of the surrounding issues.

And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. (John 5:16)

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? (Matthew 12:1-5)

In the case of the first verse, the entire passage is from John, chapter 5, verses 1 through 18. However, it teaches very much the same thing as the passage from Matthew, chapter 12. The passage from Matthew spans verses 1 through 13. In the passage from Matthew 12, one of the most pertinent statements made consists of a question and answer the Lord Jesus Christ makes to those in the synagogue before He healed another man on the Sabbath:

And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. (Matthew 12:9-12)

So it is that the LORD God never intended for man to do absolutely nothing on the Sabbath day as the Jews were declaring. Rather, even in the covenant (which was still in force and effect) it was always lawful to that which was right and needful on the Sabbath. What was forbidden was the performing of any servile work, or work for profit. Thus, for a man to gather sticks on the Sabbath, during the time Israel was in the wilderness, would have been profaning the Sabbath as there was expressly no need in that the LORD was already providing manna for everyone in Israel. Manna did not require cooking to be eaten and thus there was no need for a fire. Besides that, the man had six other days in which to gather sticks. It is not like the Sabbath just snuck up on him and suddenly was there.

In the case of David, who “profaned the tabernacle” by eating the shewbread, if we examine that whole situation, we find that David was fleeing from Saul, and had no means of support and no food. It has never been the case that the LORD God would deny a man the sustenance to live when it was available. Even so, it was the case with the disciples eating corn on the Sabbath. The Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples had no certain place to lay their head, and no certain meal. Therefore, it was lawful for them to do what they were doing on the Sabbath.

Incidentally, verses 6 through 8 of Matthew 12 confirm this fact.

But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. (Matthew 12:6-8)

And again, in the Gospel of Mark it is recorded that the Lord Jesus Christ made an additional statement, thus making it expressly clear who the Sabbath is for.

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. (Mark 2:27-28)

So then, what are we to make of what is recorded in Genesis, chapter 2, verses 1 through 3? After all, this is before Israel and the giving of the law and the covenant.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:1-3)

As the Lord Jesus Christ stated in Mark, chapter 2, verses 27 and 28, this is for man, that a pattern of rest should be established so that men do not toil their lives away without rest. Moreover, it demonstrates plainly that the LORD God does not desire that a man work continually without a day for rest and consideration of his life upon this earth, and just Who it is that has granted him life.

A final thought

There are those who claim that men must keep the Sabbath for justification before God. However, nowhere in the Scripture is that taught — even in Israel during the time of the covenant. Yes, the proper keeping of the Sabbath would allow the LORD God to bless the nation of Israel as a whole. But it had nothing to do with an individual’s justification before God.

Why? Because it is impossible to be justified before God by keeping the law. Yes, the Sabbath is part of the law and keeping it is a requirement under the law. However, the first commandment is this:

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question. (Mark 12:28-34)

What then does it matter if one keeps the Sabbath, and yet violates the first commandment under the law? After all, the Scripture is express about the keeping of the law and how much of it one is required to keep.

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. (James 2:8-11)

So then, of what value is it to ‘keep the Sabbath’ and violate the very first of all commandments? Rather, this is the very reason why the LORD, from the beginning gave the following commandment which the apostle Peter preached to the Jews at Jerusalem:

But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:18-21)

So it is that there exists no contradiction in Scripture concerning the keeping of the Sabbath. Rather, the giving of the Sabbath to Israel was for the specific purpose of witness to the nations around Israel, and to demonstrate that man cannot keep the law and be justified before God. The real purpose of the Sabbath is so that man can rest from his labors and consider his life and his eternal destiny.

Finis

  1. Please note: Just because one party to a covenant violates the bounds of the covenant, it does not mean the covenant is dissolved. Both parties must agree to dissolving the covenant before it is no longer in force and effect.
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Of Angels and Men

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Copyright 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

Introduction
This article addresses the issue of angelic interaction with man. More specifically, it addresses the doctrine some believe to be found in Genesis, chapter 6, verses 1 through 4.

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:1-4)

That doctrine is expressed as follows:

That the “sons of God” mentioned in verses 2 and 4 were angels that came to earth and had relations with women, and their offspring were giants (in Hebrew nephilim).

There are some variations of this doctrine that state the angels were fallen. Others hold that the angels were not fallen angels. In short, there exists no real settled doctrine among those who believe that angels or demons (fallen angels) had relations with women.

This in itself would not be disturbing, as there exists no agreement among men on any particular Bible doctrine. What is disturbing about this doctrine is that there is no other place in Scripture, either verse or passage, that confirms this doctrine. This would seem to violate the instruction of II Peter, chapter one, which states:

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (II Peter 1:19-20)

The fact that no prophecy or teaching of Scripture is ever based upon a single verse or passage has been a bulwark to both prevent and reveal false doctrines. Thus, this doctrine must also be tried by the standard of the rest of Scripture.

So then, what does the whole of Scripture teach about this? In studying the Scripture we must be mindful that we are to pursue this without the convenience of an out by saying that this word, or that word was not translated properly by the translators of the Authorized King James Version. Additionally, if the Scripture defines a term, we must not allow the supposed definitions of Strong’s or Young’s concordance to overthrow the defined term in Scripture.1

As with anything, we must begin somewhere. Logically, since the whole issue centers on whether men and angels are compatible enough in the way they are made to have relations, we must begin with the creation of both men and angels. In addition, we must ask the question: Would God allow such a thing?

The creation of men and angels

To begin studying this issue we must examine the basics of men and angels. Who are they, and how did God create them?

The creation of man

Since it is the first thing we find in Scripture, it is reasonable to address the creation of man first.

In Genesis, chapter 2, we are told of the creation of man.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)

This definitely tells us that man is at least soul and body. However in I Thessalonians, the apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, goes further and explains that the whole man is soul, spirit, and body.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

Returning again to Genesis, we find that man is instructed to fill the earth with offspring.

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)

We find additional information when Eve is told expressly how it is that she will bear children and thus man will fill the earth. This event takes place after the fall of man from his originally created state.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (Genesis 3:16)

There is one additional piece of information that is required to understand the uniqueness of man’s state. It is part of our nature, and it is inherited. It is the nature to sin – which is why we choose to sin. We find this in the testimony of David in Psalm 51.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:5)

In sum, we find that man is bound in a certain unique state so that he is different from the rest of physical creation. Yet, man shares certain characteristics with the animals the LORD made. This is the case as the physical world is bound by certain limitations that cannot be exceeded. However, man also shares certain things with the angels. Who we are is defined by our soul. Our physical aspect (the body, or flesh) allows us to interact with the physical world so that we actually are part of the processes of this world. Our spiritual aspect (the spirit) allows us to interact with the spiritual world. This enables us to know the reality of the spiritual world, and allows us to communicate with the LORD God, angels, and demons.

Nevertheless, we must remember that it is significant that physical relations must occur for man to have offspring. In other words, man cannot interact with just anything physical and offspring come about. This may seem trite, but it is a very significant point that must be acknowledged.

Part of the point of highlighting the necessity of physical relations for the bearing of children has to do with a principle the LORD established at the beginning. The LORD God states very specifically in Genesis, chapter 1 that a species is only to bring forth after its kind.

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)

With this particular principle of God clearly established, and knowing the creation of man, we must ask the question: Are angels of the same kind, or species, as man?

The creation of angels

What do we know about angels, and how they came about? We can suppose many things, and there are many ideas put forth concerning angels. However, only the Scripture gives us an accurate record. In the Scripture, we are informed that angels are spirit, and have no physical body. In the Psalms we are given a record of some of the things the LORD God has done. Among them is the creation of angels.

Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. (Psalm 104:1-5)

In Hebrews, the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, quotes Psalm 104, verse 4 with reference to the Lord’s testimony of angels in comparison to the Lord Jesus Christ.

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. (Hebrews 1:7)

Thus we are told that angels are spiritual creatures. To further demonstrate this fact the Scripture tells us of the significant distinction that exists between men and angels by the fact that the Word, which is the Lord Jesus Christ, became flesh as opposed to remaining strictly spiritual.

For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (Hebrews 2:16)

And we are told that man and angels are different in order of authority.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (Psalm 8:3-5)

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)

Again, in the Scriptures we are told that men and angels are different by the Lord Jesus Himself when He replied to the Sadducees concerning the resurrection – which the Sadducees denied. In replying, the Lord demonstrates plainly that angels were not created to produce offspring at all.

The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. 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.2 (Matthew 22:23-30) see also Mark 12:18-25, Luke 20:27-36

We also find that all angels were created directly. This is different from the creation of man as only Adam was created directly, and all others of the race of man come from Adam – including Eve.3

Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (Ezekiel 28:14-15)

The above passage speaks of Lucifer, and specifically states that there was a time when he was created. Thus, as it was with Lucifer, so it was with all other angels. All angels were created at the same time.

The following passages also indicate that the creation of angels was performed all at one time. They also show that the angelic rebellion was a one time event occurred long before the physical world was created.

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; (II Peter 2:4)

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation,4 he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude 6)

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:3-4)

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)

Thus, we find that angels were not created with any ability to interact with man in a way that would produce offspring. In fact, angels were made so that they cannot interact with each other in this way.

By the Scripture we can now see that angels are a different kind, or species, from man. The Scripture is express that man is soul, spirit, and body (or flesh), and that angels are only soul and spirit. The Scripture is also express that angels hold higher authority than man, and that they were all created by direct creation as opposed to man, in which only Adam (the first man) was created by direct creation and all other men by pro-creation.

Therefore, by the very principle of God, creatures are only to produce after their kind. Hence, interactions between angels (or devils) and women (or men) that could produce offspring are strictly impossible. Moreover, it is clear by the statement of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, that angels were created genderless.

So then, what is meant by the phrase “sons of God” in Genesis, chapter 6?

A word about the sons of God

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which> were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:1-4)

As was discussed above, this particular passage causes much trouble and speculation. However, by the scriptural evidence presented above, it should by evident that the term “sons of God” as it is used in Genesis 6, cannot mean angels. But, to shed further light on the use of the term “sons of God” it is helpful is show the scriptural use of the term.

Scripture usage of the term “sons of God”

Referring to angels

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6)

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1)

Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:6-7)

Referring to men

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:14-15)

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:1-2)

By the above passages of Scripture we can plainly see that the term “sons of God” does not always refer to angels, but more often refers to those of the race of man that have been born-again in Christ Jesus.

One final thought: we should note that when angels are allowed to appear to men, they always appear as a male, if their form is indicated in any way. The Scripture never speaks of, or indicates, that any type of female or child angel exists in any way. The reason for this ought to be plain – angels were not created like man, and were not created to bear offspring, but were all created directly by God.

Flesh and blood versus physical manifestation

There are many instances in Scripture where men saw an angel, or angels. Yet, the angels they saw were not flesh and blood. Much like seeing a rainbow, they saw the angel, or angels, but could do nothing more than speak with and observe them. Just as it is impossible to interact with a rainbow, it was equally impossible for those seeing the angel to interact with it, other than by speech.

However, there have been instances where certain angels were granted the ability to be (as far as we can tell) flesh and blood for a time. Such an instance occurred on the plains of Mamre when two angels came with the Lord to judge Sodom and Gomorrah. However, as the Scripture demonstrates, this was the exception, and not the rule. Rather the rule is that, although angels could (or can) be seen, it is much like seeing a rainbow, mirage, or other optical effect. The Lord Jesus Christ testifies to this after His resurrection. It is noteworthy that the Lord Jesus Christ had to inform His disciples that he was not a spirit, as they supposed, when after His resurrection He appeared to them in the closed room.

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24:36-39)

Thus, we have the word of the Lord that the primary physical manifestation of angels is not flesh and blood. Unless we have totally forgotten biology, we do know that it does require flesh and blood for a woman to become pregnant. The only exception to this rule is the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26)

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. (Luke 2:8-15)

Now, for those who will argue that speech requires flesh and blood, which is utterly necessary for procreation, it would be well for them to remember simple physical science. A thundercloud has no flesh and blood, yet the stroke of lightening it produces, also produces a very loud noise. All that is required to produce speech is the expending of energy in a particular manner, which would be organized sound patterns. This is a far cry from flesh and blood. After all, an electronic circuit can produce understandable speech through a metal and paper speaker, which is obviously not flesh and blood.

What about angels and demons becoming flesh and blood?

While there are numerous instances of angels taking physical form in the Scriptures, there are very few instances where they took physical form as flesh and blood so that they could actually be touched. We also find that it was only for a specific purpose and for a very limited time. We are also told of the conditions in which they took physical form as flesh and blood and their purpose in so doing.

In addition, we are given revelation of how Satan and the fallen angels are allowed to work.

In the books of Job and I Kings we are told of how the Lord uses Satan and the demons for His purposes on the earth. However, we should note the limitations placed upon the evil angels by the Lord.

And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:12)

And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. (Job 2:6)

And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. (I Kings 22:19-23)

This applies to the angels that kept their first estate as well. The Lord only permits them to take physical form for the accomplishment of express purposes.

And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. (Daniel 9:20-22)

Therefore, it should be reasonable to conclude by the Scripture that no angel, or devil, is allowed to do anything except by express permission of God. In short, the LORD God retains complete sovereignty and control over angels and devils.

This now returns us to the question: Would God allow angels to interact with women to produce offspring? The answer should be clear at this point, if we remember the principle of producing only after their kind and that the Lord retains complete sovereignty over all spiritual creatures. In short, the LORD God would not allow this type of interaction between angels and man as the LORD would be violating His very own principle. After all, the LORD God would have to give direct permission for such a thing to occur. That He will not do.

“sons of God” and “daughters of men”

So then, what does Genesis, chapter 6 mean in telling us that born-again men took the “daughters of men” to wife?

There is a lesson for born-again believers generally, and the New Testament Church specifically, in relating of the involvement of the sons of God with the daughters of men. The following passages of Scripture provide a more that adequate explanation of the problem of being unequally yoked.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (II Corinthians 6:14-18)

But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. (I Kings 11:1-4)

But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (I Corinthians 7:32-34)

If it is understood that the term “sons of God” refers to born-again believers, the above passages of Scripture give an answer to a question that should arise pertaining to the LORD’s judgment on the pre-flood world:

How is it that the number of born-again believers finally came down to Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives only – which constitute Noah’s immediate family?

We ought to understand that when children are born into a mixed household (the parents hold diverging beliefs on issues) the children frequently choose not to believe anything they are told. In short, they see the conflict between the parents, and choose not to believe anything in particular. If they do decide to believe something, it is frequently wrong. Moreover, when the father is a believer, and the mother is not, it is apparent to the children just who the one that compromised in the family is.

In the particular instance of Genesis, chapter 6, it is obvious that those “sons of God” placed a higher value on physical appearance, than on godliness. When they saw that the daughters of men “were fair” they were looking strictly upon the outward appearance, without regard to what the woman believed. It is a safe bet to say that those households were not spiritually-minded. Ultimately, the focusing on the flesh killed the propagation and maintenance of the Gospel.

The Giants

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)

The issue of the giants should actually never become an issue in the first place, let alone a basis for developing false doctrine. The reason for this blunt statement lies in the fact that most “Christians” do not know basic English grammar and usage rules.

The verse begins thus: There were giants in the earth in those days;

Please note that the beginning phrase of the verse ends with a semi-colon. This is significant in that a semi-colon joins two independent clauses. In this case the transitional word “and” is used to indicate an entirely separate event, or point after the semi-colon, than the point made before the semi-colon. In other words, we could rewrite the verse this way:

There were giants in the earth in those days. Also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)

Now, no reasonable English-speaking person would even attempt to tie the two sentences together. Moreover, it is plain to see that tying the two sentences together would be presumptuous since it cannot be supported in English grammar at all.

We must also remember that “mighty men” and “men of renown” do not necessarily mean that these same men are also giants. David was not a giant, but he was a mighty man, and he became a man of renown. In addition, we should remember that one of the first effects of sin would be on man’s genetic code. Gigantism, along with dwarfism, are aberrations of the genetic code.

To say that gigantism is a result of the union of angels and women raises several questions. I am compelled to ask the following:

1. Where do dwarves come from?

2. Since all the giants of that time died in the Flood, how did Goliath, his father, and his brother come about?

3. What are we to make of Andre the Giant, who died several years ago: Was his father an angel?

Conclusion

As with any passage of Scripture, care must be taken to not fall into the many traps the Devil has set for the believer. In this case, erroneous doctrine can be easily avoided by applying simple grammar rules. Additionally, the Scripture does not have any other reference that supports the erroneous interpretation. Finally, the very nature of God would be compromised as He would have to break a principle that He set forth for the purposes of governing the entire physical universe.

Therefore, I find several scriptural reasons that the passage from Genesis, chapter 6 cannot refer to angels having relations with women and producing offspring. However, I do find scriptural admonition about the practice of being unequally yoked with unbelievers and its attendant dangers.

Finis

  1. The Scripture is very good at defining unfamiliar terms for us. For instance, in I Samuel, the word ″seer″ is defined and we find that it means ″prophet.″ In addition, the word ″sealed″ is defined for us in the book of Daniel. These are but two of the many times that Scripture defines words for us.
    It is apparent in the works of James Strong and Robert Young that they did not hold to the Authorized King James Version as the word of God for the English-speaking people. This raises the question of their understanding of the word of God, their doctrines, and who was actually influencing them to write what they did.
  2. An objection may be raised here that this only applies to angels in heaven. To which I must answer:
    Just where else do angels dwell? I am not speaking of demons, or fallen angels, here. Rather, I speak of all the angels before a third of them rebelled.
    The answer ought to be clear and plain: Angels dwell in heaven. They do not dwell anywhere else. Now, the Lord Jesus is express that the angels in heaven (then and now) do not marry, nor are given in marriage. Thus, logically, they were not made with the ability to procreate.
    This being the case, I must make a further point with the question: When a third of the angels rebelled and fell, did it change their nature? I am not refer to their moral nature here, rather, I refer to the way they were created: Did they suddenly change from being without gender, to some becoming male, and others female? Were the fallen angels suddenly given the ability to produce offspring? If so, where is the scriptural evidence of it?
    The truth is, there is no scriptural evidence of angels, or demons possessing the ability to produce offspring. There is scriptural evidence that they cannot.
  3. 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. (Genesis 2:21-23)

    This is called pro-creation and is an indirect form of creation. Direct creation would be creating something out of nothing (ex nihlo) or something out of a completely different thing.

  4. The word ″habitation″ as used here does not refer to an abode, or place to live. Rather, it refers to ″minding one′s place″ or maintaining the station to which one is assigned. In the case of the angels, it meant being in obedience to God and performing the specific task for which they were created. In the case of Lucifer, he was to direct worship to God as a covering cherub. As Ezekiel plainly states, the LORD God created him with certain attributes and characteristics to perform this function for all eternity. Lucifer left his habitation, or first estate when he decided that he could take the throne of God.
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Whatever Happened to Simply Believing the Bible?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which raises the question posed by Christ:

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

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

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

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

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

Finis

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XVIII. Of the Preservation of the Saints

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

I believe the born-again believer is eternally secure in Christ, and reject the false doctrines of Calvinism and Arminianism. The Scripture is plain that the believer’s security is not based upon any works of righteousness the believer does, or could do, nor is it based upon being preselected or predestined for salvation. Rather, it is based solely upon the work of the Lord Jesus Christ within the covenant established between the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost. The Lord God, through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, established the means whereby the believer is sealed for all eternity in Christ Jesus.

I believe the born-again believer is indeed born-again in the soul, which is changed from having the nature of Adam to having a new nature, which is of Christ. This new nature is brought about by the death of the old nature and a rebirth with a totally new nature, having the righteousness of Christ which cannot fail. In this new man, the seed of Christ remains and cannot sin, even as Christ cannot sin. Moreover, the born-again believer is purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ shed on Calvary. The provision for the purchase of the believer occurred when the Lord Jesus Christ paid the debt that everyone owes the LORD God for the transgression of the commandment of God. This purchase of the sinner is effected when the sinner, in faith and repentance, places full trust and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross. When this purchase is effected, the believer is adopted by the LORD God and is predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, which will be accomplished at the resurrection of the just.

Scripture References

Hebrews 1:1-4; Isaiah 48:16; John 5:22-23; John 5:36-38; I Timothy 2:3-6; II Peter 3:8-9; Daniel 6:16-17; II Corinthians 1:20-22; Ephesians 4:30; Galatians 3:6-14; Galatians 2:14-21; Titus 3:3-7; Romans 3:21-26; John 3:1-7; John 5:24-25; Ephesians 2:1-10; Romans 6:1-11; Ephesians 1:3-14; I Corinthians 6:19-20; Ezekiel 18:4; I John 3:9; I John 5:1-5; Romans 8:29-39.

Scriptures:

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Hebrews 1:1-4)

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 48:16)

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. (John 5:22-23)

But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. (John 5:36-38)

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (I Timothy 2:3-6)

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:8-9)

Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. (Daniel 6:16-17)

For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. (II Corinthians 1:20-22)

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:6-14)

But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 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. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Galatians 2:14-21)

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:1-7)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:24-25)

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10)

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? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:1-11)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:3-14)

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:20-22)

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (I John 3:9)

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (I John 5:1-5)

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:29-39)

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Sickening

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Some things are just utterly sickening to find out about. The story in Bangladesh’s The Daily Star, dated Thursday, Feb. 3rd, 2011 is one of those sickening stories you pray you never hear about, let alone have happen anywhere near you.

What happened? Well, the gist is that a terrible crime was committed against a fourteen (14) year old girl – and then horribly compounded by the followers of a sick, twisted, demented religious system.

In brief, the fourteen year old was raped by a 40 year old cousin. This was bad enough. However, lest we forget, or are ignorant, in Islam, if a woman is raped – it is automatically her fault – and rape carries the same penalty as adultery – death (or 100 lashes if you are not married). Now, you can argue that 100 lashes does not constitute a death sentence, but let’s see you take the 100 lashes given by a strong man using a cane. If you are not dead when he is done, it will be a miracle.

So, the local religious leader promptly issued a fatwa calling for 100 lashes for the 14 year old (and nothing of note for the 40 year old), which was then carried out by persons in the village. The young girl died after 80 lashes.

Now precisely what did the young girl do wrong? We can ask lots of questions as to why the LORD allowed this. But perhaps we would be better served asking the question as to why such a religious system is allowed to continue unchecked and unhindered? Regardless of where it is in the world, Islam is Islam, meaning that Islam remains the same, no matter where or when we find it.

Hence, understand these things about Islam, as they are indisputable tenets of that religion:

  • The woman is always to blame.
  • Women are little better than property.
  • If you do not agree with Islam, you are a blasphemer subject to be put to death.
  • Living peacefully with Islam means being converted to Islam.
  • Pedophilia is okay. Rape is okay. Having a mistress is okay. Having more than one wife is okay… just DO NOT blaspheme Muhammad.

Now, there are those who will rush to the defense of Islam and swear up and down that these things are not true. . .

However. . .

Tell that to those who have been (and are still) being forced to convert to Islam under pain of death.

Tell that to the little girls who are subject to forced circumcision.

Tell that to the women and girls who have died in innumerable “honor” killings.

Tell that to the innumerable Christians, Jews and other “infidels”1 who have been subject to systematic persecution, up to and including being put to death.

Tell that to the “dancing boys” of Afghanistan.

Tell that to the countless girls and women who have been raped by Muslim men who yell “Allah Akbar” while raping them.

And all of this sanctioned by the religious leaders of Islam.

You know, ordinarily we would call all the above criminal behavior, worthy of severe penalty, up to and including death.

Only, when it is done under the cover of Islam, we just shrug our shoulders and go on as if nothing happened.

At what point will we realize that a religion as destructive as Islam cannot be allowed the liberty to exist and flourish? You know, religions which require human sacrifice are illegal in America. Why can we not see that a 14 year old was sacrificed to satisfy a religious tenet?

And we are told that fundamental, Biblical Christianity is a religion of hate and meanness.

  1. Some are truly infidels, and some are perhaps not, but is that a reason to deprive them of life, liberty and property?
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Ye Cannot Serve the LORD…

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

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

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What Kind of War

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

An Outline on Spiritual Warfare

Creative Commons License What Kind of War by Paul W. Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.reproachofmen.org/blog/subscribe-to-this-blog/. Original publication date: 2002. Revised 2011. All scripture is Authorized King James Version, 1769 edition.

NOTE: This is an outline of a study. It is not intended to guide the reader “every step of the way” so to speak. Rather, it is deliberately done this way to allow the individual “leeway” to perceive what the LORD is showing them in the study. If this study were much more detailed it would leave little to no room for the LORD to work as the reader’s mind would be led to believe that everything is adequately covered and the major lessons thoroughly covered, and thus go no further. By leaving it “open” the reader must go to the LORD and ask what is intended.

The structure of the lesson is to make a point, give the verses which apply, then make brief commentary concerning the most significant aspect(s) of the point. This leaves the one doing the study considerable room to adapt the study to their needs.

I pray it is profitable for you.

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis


Do the names: Sendero Luminoso; Polisario; M19; FMLN; Basque Separatist; UNITA; Mau Mau; Irish Republican Army; Red Army Faction; Che Guevara; Front Sandinista Liberation National; Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), mean anything to you? And what do they have to do with us?

How many of you got up this morning and set your mind that you were at war?

  • The wars of this world are a reflection of the spiritual war that is on-going.
  • Of all types of warfare, the spiritual war we fight most resembles Guerrilla Warfare.

The Guerrilla war is fought from a “Total War” concept. (By the way, Sept. 11th was simply a guerrilla attack by a far flung, guerrilla organization fighting a war based upon a religious view.)

  • There is no “Front line.”
  • One can never really be sure of who is assisting the enemy at any given time.
  • You may even find yourself assisting the enemy in your own/or a friend’s destruction
  • Constant vigilance is required — one must have a warfare mindset.
  • One is subject to attack at any time. There are no “sacred” days.
  • There are no immune, or off-limits targets.
  • One cannot “opt out” of a Guerilla War. The enemy will not allow it.
  • No one in a Guerilla war is neutral.
  • Critical victories and defeats are not easily discernable.
  • One can find that they have lost long after the particular battle that precipitated the defeat.
  • No matter how many “victories” one has, defeat is always a mere battle away — due to the targets involved.
  • Our war is not about defeating Satan. (Hebrews 2:14-15) The Lord Jesus Christ already did that.

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

  • Our war is about being effective witnesses.
  • As in any war, accurate, timely information acted upon continuously is the key to success.

Opposition tactics in this war.

1. The magnification of the faults of the brethren. Especially of the ordained men.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

This is not to say that we should not exhort one another to far better than what we do. Rather, it is say that we should consider the frailties of our own flesh before outright condemnation of someone, and thus exhort in love for them.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)

Neither is it to say that we should not rebuke a brother for the sin they engage in. The criteria for rebuke is the spirit in which it is done. It is imperative that it be done in love for the erring brother.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverb 27:6)

Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities. (Psalm 141:5)

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. (Proverb 9:8)

He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. (Proverb 28:23)

And of the elders, it is written that they are to be entreated as a father. (I Timothy 5:1)

2. The perception that God’s word and God stand or fall based upon the performance of His people.

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (II Timothy 2:13)

3. The magnification of our own faults — that they are hopelessly irresolvable.

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:22)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

4. That the pastor, deacons, elders and/or brethren are the standard for holiness, separation, personal conduct, etc., etc.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

5. The idea that persons (brethren) are of such authority that they are not answerable for their interpretation and application of the word of God. (Well, if so and so said it, it must be right.)

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (I Peter 5:5)

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. (Psalm:118:8)

6. The perception that everyone that names Christ, or claims to be Christian and/or Baptist, is.

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 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 11:12-15)

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (II John:7-11)

What I am referring to here is not to be hateful and difficult to these people. Rather, it is to realize that these people do not hold a right gospel, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. They need a proper witness placed in from of them as well. This is so that they will come to the knowledge of the Lord, or they will not be able to abide the witness and depart. In any case they require prayer.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude:3-4)

Of these it is written:

These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. (Jude:12-13)

We must maintain the mindset that the LORD has on those that do not preach the exact Gospel He has delivered.

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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 1:6-9)

The focus here is witness and testimony. If we don’t perceive that someone is lost, we won’t witness to them.

Ecumenism is one of the greatest dangers we face today. The pull and pressure to accept anyone and everyone that names Christ without question is very strong. When anyone questions the validity of the doctrine of another they are called hateful, divisive, difficult, etc., etc.

Ecumenism (or unity for the sake of unity) is condemned of God.

REMEMBER, SATAN DOES NOT HAVE A PROBLEM LYING! – JOHN 8:44

7. That our clothing, music, associations, what we watch, and partake of, doesn’t matter.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (I John 2:15)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

Some of our weapons and tactics.

Weapons:

1. Prayer

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:44)

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:36)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)

2. The word of God

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: . . . (Ephesians 6:17)

How we wield this particular weapon is dependent upon the same things that wielding any weapon of war is dependent upon. We must:

  • Have implicit trust in the weapon we use.
  • Be intimately familiar with the weapon.
  • Be continually exercised with the weapon. (I am reminded of the United States Marine Corps creed “My Rifle”)

Do you know absolutely that the Bible you hold is the word of God without error.

Do you know that the Holy Ghost dictated every word of it to the men that wrote it down. (King James did, William Tyndale did, so have innumerable Baptist brethren over the centuries.)

I am not talking about: “I’m pretty sure,” here.

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalm 12:6-7)

LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. (Psalm 119:160)

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. (Proverb 30:5)

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)

Our Tactics

1. A constant situational awareness (SA).

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

2. A prepared, sober mind.

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2:1-8)

This is not to say that we have no joy. Joy and soberness are not mutually exclusive. Our joy is not dependent upon external circumstance, but rather upon our position in Christ and our cognizance of that position.

Joy is NOT frivolousness, or silliness, or fun.

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13)

Consider the following situations wherein joy is expressed, and why joy is expressed. Please note that these all are sober situations.

Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. (II Corinthians 7:4)

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. (II Corinthians 8:2)

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (I Peter 4:13)

3. A remembrance that the Lord Jesus Christ has already defeated the devil, death and hell. Our war is one that determines whether or not we effectively carry the Gospel.

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: . . . (I Timothy 1:19)

Why do I bring up the body? Because that is the most frequent ally Satan has in his war against us.

This will do two things for us:

  • We maintain a right perspective thus avoiding silly notions about what we are doing. (i.e. Frank Peretti)
  • It gives us an achievable end.

4. To flee. (Discretion is the better part of valor.)

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. (I Corinthians 6:18)

Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (I Corinthians 10:14)

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (Flee the love of money, and the lusts of the flesh) (I Timothy 6:11)

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (II Timothy 2:22)

The example is Joseph, who fled Potipher’s wife, thus maintaining his witness and testimony.

If however, the view we have is that all this got Joseph was jail-time: Then we have a short-sighted view. Joseph persevered in the things he saw. Joseph’s vision was the kingdom of God and God’s promises. Therefore he fled to maintain a proper witness and testimony. Joseph believed the LORD implicitly.

5. Perseverance.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; . . . (Ephesians 6:18)

The issue is not whether our course is long, or short. Rather, it is whether or not we finish our course, and how we finish.

The Medal of Honor — meaningful to men; meaningless to God.1

What is expected of us.

Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:9-10)


SMEDLEY, LARRY E.

(Citation to accompany the award of the Congressional Medal of Honor)

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company D, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, 21 December 1967. Entered service at: Orlando, Fla. Born: 4 March 1949, Front Royal, Va. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a squad leader with company D, in connection with operations against the enemy. On the evenings of 20-21 December 1967, Cpl. Smedley led his 6-man squad to an ambush site at the mouth of Happy Valley, near Phouc Ninh (2) in Quang Nam Province. Later that night an estimated 100 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army regulars, carrying 122mm rocket launchers and mortars, were observed moving toward Hill 41. Realizing this was a significant enemy move to launch an attack on the vital DaNang complex, Cpl. Smedley immediately took sound and courageous action to stop the enemy threat. After he radioed for a reaction force, he skillfully maneuvered his men to a more advantageous position and led an attack on the numerically superior enemy force. A heavy volume of fire from an enemy machinegun positioned on the left flank of the squad inflicted several casualties on Cpl. Smedley’s unit. Simultaneously, an enemy rifle grenade exploded nearby, wounding him in the right foot and knocking him to the ground. Cpl. Smedley disregarded this serious injury and valiantly struggled to his feet, shouting words of encouragement to his men. He fearlessly led a charge against the enemy machinegun emplacement, firing his rifle and throwing grenades, until he was again struck by enemy fire and knocked to the ground. Gravely wounded and weak from loss of blood, he rose and commenced a l-man assault against the enemy position. Although his aggressive and singlehanded attack resulted in the destruction of the machinegun, he was struck in the chest by enemy fire and fell mortally wounded. Cpl. Smedley’s inspiring and courageous actions, bold initiative, and selfless devotion to duty in the face of certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


What did this man die for?

Was it corruptible, or incorruptible?

Which “country” will continue — America: Or the country spoken of in Hebrews 11, of which it is written:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

Therefore, the admonition for us is as follows:

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Hebrews 12:3-4)

We should understand what this war is all about. We should also understand that our Lord and Saviour paid the highest price of all for us — while we were yet His enemies. Thus, no matter how much we do, it will never equal the sacrifice the Lord made for us. Ultimately, we are unprofitable servants. We should at least try to do far better than what we do. We owe it to the Lord out of love for Him.

Finis

  1. This is not to denigrate the Medal of Honor. Rather, it is to render it in its proper place. We MUST understand that any honor bestowed by any nation will perish along with that nation, regardless of how honorable it may appear. In this, the Word of God is express:

    The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:6-8)

    And again:

    And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:34-35) See also Daniel 2:31-45 and Acts 17:24-28.

    We should also understand that no nation holds the place the LORD reserved for Israel because of Abraham:

    He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 147:19-20)

    And even Israel did not, and does not escape the judgment of the LORD, nor does the LORD honor them when they choose to honor man as the Scripture states:

    The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. (Psalm 147:6-11)

    And again:

    Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)

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