Saturday, January 25, 2020

Psalm 22:22: Jesus' Singing and the Place of Singing in Redemption

A thousand years before the Lord Jesus Christ died, David prophesied it in Psalm 22.  It's an amazing prophecy.  It expounds numerous great and graphic details of the future crucifixion of the suffering Messiah, not yet invented by the Persians or incorporated by the Romans.  Psalm 22 itself is a song, lament, the servant Son crying out to His heavenly Father, David's revealing the portrayal of this future event.  The prayer portion ends in verse 21:
Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
The Lord Jesus' surrounding enemies are characterized by carnivorous animals:  bulls, lions, dogs.  Unicorns aren't necessarily a single species of animal, but one -- a factual, real one -- with a single horn.  The one horn very often comes out as one and then separates into two or more, still though a unicorn.  The figure is a spear, a piercing, which characterized so many of the wounds of Jesus.  Later in a saving confession, the nation Israel mourns while looking upon Him whom they had pierced (Zechariah 12:10).

The salvation of Jesus, His own redemption, in answer to the prayer comes by the same means as all of us:  resurrection.  Even when Abraham would offer Isaac, his willingness proceeded from the "accounting that God was able to raise him up" (Hebrews 11:19).  Jesus would not be tossed with other criminals into the city dump in the Valley of Hinnom, but buried in the tomb of a rich man, as prophesied by Isaiah 53:9.  Three days later, He would rise again.

In Psalm 22, still in the prediction of hanging on the cross, one thousand years in the future, the Savior asserts (verse 22):
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
The prayer is answered.  God had heard, He would deliver Jesus after all the suffering He went through. He knew again the presence of God even on the cross. He would be saved from the lion's mouth and from the horns of the unicorn.  After His resurrection, He would declare the Father's name unto His brethren and praise the Father in the midst of the congregation.  Acts 13:30 says, "God raised him from the dead."

Psalm 22:22 is quoted in Hebrews 2:9-12 (the quote in verse 12) in the context of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross:
9 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. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
The author of Hebrews remembers Psalm 22:22 as he writes about the purpose of the death of Christ.  Through His death and then resurrection, He brings many sons to glory.  He is a Son crying to His Father, who then is not ashamed to call "brethren" these sons He's saved. The sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one through His work.  This is the victory the Father gives Him.

Then "in the midst of the congregation will [Jesus] praise [His Father]" (verse 22b).  David foretold and the Son foreknew that Jesus would sing in the church.  "Will I praise" in Psalm 22:22 by divine interpretation is "will I sing praise" in Hebrews 2:12, which is the Greek word humneso from which we get the word "hymn."  The same verb is used three other places, two of which also apply to Jesus singing (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26):
And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
That occasion predated the cross, but it must have been a more regular occurrence, singing with the assembly of the saints, His church or congregation (ekklesia).  He had sung with the church and He in His post resurrection ministry would sing with them again.  This assumes that the church starts before Pentecost, unless this is fulfilled only spiritually through the Spirit of Christ in the future, which doesn't make any sense.  

Jesus' salvation by the Father through the resurrection from the dead provoked singing -- congregational singing.  This reminds me of Ephesians 5, where being filled with the Spirit brings among the first mentioned priorities, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to the Lord.  This is the new song of the redeemed.  Again and again, the Apostle Paul in his epistles when writing about salvation through Christ, breaks out into a doxology.

Jesus marked His victory over death with singing.  This was a first instinct.  This is what we would expect.  This is not contrived or choreographed.  This is real.  Of course, singing to the Father, which is what scripture also teaches, would be holy and acceptable unto God.  It would not be a fleshly, sensual, worldly worship.  It would characterize the Lord.  This ought also to mark every redeemed person, who loves the Lord.  He sings in the congregation. This is what Jesus anticipated in His victory on the cross.  His fellow sons will follow Him in this practice.  Do you?

Friday, January 24, 2020

Church Growth: The Old and New Baptist Way

There are some pretty remarkable differences between the Baptist evangelism of times past and that of professed Baptists in the circle of influence of Jack Hyles.

A Different Gospel

In the past, Baptists believed things such as the following on repentance:




"Saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things." (2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689; Particular Baptist)

"Unfeigned repentance is an inward and true sorrow of heart for sin, with sincere confession of the same to God, especially that we have offended so gracious a God and so loving a Father, together with a settled purpose of heart and a careful endeavor to leave all our sins, and to live a more holy and sanctified life according to all God’s commands” (The Orthodox Creed, General Baptist, 1679).


Professed Baptists in the Hyles orbit today, such as Bob Gray of Longview "Baptist" Temple in Longview, Texas, think repentance is simply changing from unbelief to belief.  This heresy is also adopted by former Hyles-Anderson student Steven Anderson, among many others. Jack Hyles' book, in which he teaches the heresy that repentance is merely changing from unbelief to belief, and in which he states that calling on the lost to Biblically repent and turn from their sins is an "enemy of soulwinning," is still for sale in the Hyles-Anderson bookstore

Different Results

As in the book of Acts when repentance was preached those who were converted submitted to baptism and continued faithful to the Lord (Acts 2:41-47), so the preaching of the old Baptist gospel led to similar results.  Consider, for example, the work of Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall:


Information about one of the first churches founded by Shubal Stearns.
The Great Awakening that swept through the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s made a significant impact on Baptists in two ways. First, the comparatively few Baptist churches that existed at the time were directly affected by the revival and saw tremendous growth in their memberships. Second, many Congregationalist churches that developed out of the revival eventually became Baptist. One historian has described these “New Light” Congregational churches as “halfway house[s] on the road to becoming Baptists.” Most of these who made the change to believers’ baptism had been converted under George Whitefield. This phenomenon caused the great evangelist to muse, “My chickens are becoming ducks!” Baptists gained over a hundred new churches this way in addition to gaining some of their most outstanding leaders, such as Isaac Backus, Daniel Marshall and Shubal Stearns.
These churches born out of revival became known as “Separate Baptist,” and they saw rapid growth in the South and on the frontier. The most incredible display of such growth came through the ministry of Shubal Stearns and his brother-in-law, Daniel Marshall.
In 1755 Stearns and Marshall moved to Sandy Creek, North Carolina, where they started the first Separate Baptist church in the South. They began with sixteen people and within three years had three fully constituted churches with a combined membership of over 900. In only seventeen years this church gave birth to forty-two churches and sent out 125 ministers.[1]

The American South still feels the impact of the blessing of the Holy Spirit on the old Baptist gospel today.  States like Oklahoma have pages and pages of Baptist churches in the phone book and the "Bible belt" still exists over two hundred years after its formation.

Compare these results with those of Bob Gray at Longview Baptist Temple in Texas.
 Mr. Gray claims to have led 1,116,887 people to Christ, yet he lives in a town with less than 82,000 people and a county of less than 124,000.  Comparing the attendance at his religious organization with the numbers of people he claims to have won to Christ, less than 0.2% of the "converts" attend his church even on Sunday mornings.  The region of Texas with his church is not by anyone's wildest dream changed the way it would be if there had been over a million people who were converted the Bible way to the Biblical God, by means of the Biblical gospel that was preached by the old Baptists.

When the old Baptists and the Hyles-"Baptists" preach such a different message, with such different results, are they the same religion?  Or are they not different the way light is different from darkness, truth from error, and heaven from hell?

-TDR



[1]           Thomas K. Ascol, “From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention: What Hath Geneva to Do with Nashville?,” The Founders Journal: From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention, Fall, no. 70 (2007): 13.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Hate As A Conceptual Weapon

In his book, Strength to Love, in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote (p. 37):
Let us now move from the practical how to the theoretical why:  Why should we love our enemies?  The first reason is fairly obvious.  Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.  Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
The idea for these sentences came from a sermon that King preached in 1957 at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, entitled, Loving Your Enemies, where the same thoughts are expressed with almost the same, but not identical, words.  A millennial on his Instagram story portrayed these words from the social network of a retail store that sells t-shirts with these types of inscriptions, which then reminded me of an article I had read by Gene Veith at his blog, The Psychology of Hate.

From my experience, some of the most hateful people make the most protests about hate, using hate as a conceptual weapon.  Before expressing a message similar to King, Veith explains that in the very first few statements of his essay:
“Hate” has become another all-purpose term of opprobrium, like “Nazi.”  If you oppose someone for any reason, you are a “hater.”  If you disapprove of some idea or practice, you “hate” the people who hold that idea or follow that practice.  If you speak out about it, you may get accused of “hate-speech.”
Someone with "Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate" on his t-shirt or in his Instagram story, means, give full approval to everything I'm doing, even if it is immoral.  If you don't, you're a hater.  Rather than hating me, love me.  These millennials hate those preaching the truth to them, and they are informing their spheres of sovereignty, love me anyway if you hope to get anywhere.  We do love them, however, by disapproving of what they do.  That is love.

If you read King's sermon from which the "Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate" quotation is taken, he uses the example of communism versus the democracy practiced by the United States.  It is in a backdrop of the Cold War and ultimately the Vietnam War, and he advocates a moral equivalence between communism and democracy.  He preaches:
The success of communism in the world today is due to the failure of democracy to live up to the noble ideals and principles inherent in its system.
King furthermore maintains:
So somehow the “isness” of our present nature is out of harmony with the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts us. And this simply means this: That within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it.
The point of King, as a means of contending for love for communist nations, is to see the good in them.  In the most rudimentary way, this contradicts the Word of God for communist nations and people.  The Apostles Paul himself writes that in him there "dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18).

Martin Luther King said, hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  God didn't say that.  God's Word in Psalm 5:5 says about God:  "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity."  In addition Psalm 11:5, "The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth."  Actually, you can't love without hating.  You can't love righteousness without hating wickedness.

Jesus said, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24).  And he said, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26).  He also said (Matthew 10:34-37):
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
A true preacher knows the Word of God and since He knows it, he also needs to preach it all.  If he does, then he will also report that God hates people.  Hate is one of the ways that good things happen.  Some form of the word "hate" is found 190 times in scripture.  God hates the ways of the wicked (Proverbs 15:9).  He hates the thoughts of the wicked (Proverbs 15:26).  He hates the work of them that turn aside (Psalm 101:3).

"Hate" needs to be scripturally understood, and it won't when the word "hate" is used as a conceptual weapon.  It's obvious that today that the left hates.  Ghosters hate.   It's not a matter of hating or not hating.  It is a matter of what someone hates and what someone doesn't hate.  If someone loves his own self, but he hates abominations to the Lord, then he is loving and hating the wrong things.  If he loves the common and the profane and hates the sacred, that is messed up.  This is the same with the woman, who loves immodesty and hates modesty, yet she supports the "metoo" movement.

The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a “hate group” as an organization that “vilifies others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.”  "Hate speech" has become a public health issue according to many, because psychiatric studies show that it causes mental or emotional damage.  They are making it a public mental health issue, and, therefore, criminal.  This means almost any kind of negative judgment of behavior, that vilifies a sinful practice.  This is called "hate," when in fact the sin is the actual problem for the person.  Confronting sin is hating sin, but it is done out of love for an individual.

Ghosting, which I have addressed in an eight part series here, is a kind of censorship that is encouraged today.  Total censorship of an individual in someone's life.  The argument exists that since "hate speech" causes mental trauma, it should be censored.  It isn't that some language shouldn't be censored.  It is that loving speech, speech that rebukes and corrects sin, is censored, and then wicked speech is propagated and encouraged.  Exposition of holy scripture is disallowed and profanity and the Lord's name in vain are supported.

There is power in the world with the claim of hatred.  It isn't ultimate power, because in the end ,that distortion destroys an individual.  The power is in its ability to deceive large numbers of people and then undermine them by giving them a basis for their foolish decisions and sinful behavior.

God says in Isaiah 5:20:
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Another right application of the verse would be, woe unto them that call hate love, and love hate. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Underlying Reasons for Ghosting

Part One    Part Two    Part Three    Part Four    Part Five    Part Six    Part Seven

In my last post on the practice of ghosting, I brought in the example of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  Ghosting is an extreme, unscriptural form of separation, which has been defined as "the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication."  There are varied degrees of the practice, because Harry and Meghan haven't been able to totally eject from their situation.  However, from all reports, since before her marriage, she has ghosted her own father, despite his perpetually seeking a relationship with her.  It brings me to an important related point to ghosting, that is, what are the underlying reasons for it.

The ghoster says he ghosts because he's been harmed.  He had to do it and mostly for his own mental health.  Before they lost their titles the very day I write this, Harry and Meghan used this reason.  Their mental health was affected by negative press.  I've noticed that anymore anyone who claims a mental health issue has one, and that provides a reason to ghost.  He's got to ghost for his mental health.  This is also the explanation for the criminalizing of "hate speech."  Hate speech is a broadening terminology that encompasses anything that can cause psychological damage.

Millennials and their older overseers weaponize mental health as a power over others. It justifies their ghosting, which is a punishment for behavior deemed cause of mental harm.  They must do it for protection and to punish the crime.  It's a lie buttressed by a societal transformation, where lies have fed upon lies to form a new world of lies.  The mental health lie substantiates lust.  It is very similar to a lie a child tells his parents to keep listening to sinful music on his earbuds or to cover for disobedient behavior.  He wants the worldly activity and he forms the lies to exonerate himself.  He is not to blame, because he's been damaged.  People lust, don't want to stop their lust or cease making provision for it, and those who confront it, they have decided, inflict mental impairment.

The ghoster can find a paper or book, written by an expert who will agree, when mendaciously applied.  He'll find plenty of support from others already freed or desirous to be free from the protective constraints of scriptural spheres of authority.  They will gladly concede to the coveted psychiatric diagnosis to have their way, to separate themselves from the sources of disapproval of their lusts.

Since it isn't the safeguarding of mental health, what are the actual underlying reasons for ghosting?  I believe they are similar between unbelievers and the professing believers, but I'm going to address the professing believers.  I can't say believers, because what sure, true believer ghosts anyone?  It doesn't make any sense.  It seems like someone who has abandoned the faith, which is never to have it in the first place.  It's possible though, if it is a short term practice by a vexed believer.  He won't continue this way.

Not necessarily in this order, but he ghosts first, because he can't confront the truth.  He doesn't have a defense of what he's doing, so he can't face an encounter over it.  He's not doing what he does based on biblical conviction.  He didn't start by studying his Bible.  He began with lust.  Then he looked for people who would see things his way, that would help him justify what he did and does, to encourage it.  He can have only approval.  He won't get it and he can't explain from the Bible what he's doing, so he ghosts everyone who loves him and attempts to help him.

Related to number one, he's a coward.  That's two.  Ghosting is cowardice.  It isn't biblical separation,which requires real attempts at reconciliation, including mediation.  It avoids the confrontation out of fear.  Ghosters are weak.  They can't face up to legitimate criticism and then won't.  John wrote, perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).  The love for God and others defeats fear.  That love isn't there.

Third is pride.  To give in to biblical teaching requires humility:  poor in Spirit, mourning, meekness, and then hunger and thirst after righteousness.  The ghoster is a lover of his own self.  He seeketh his own.  He looks on his own things more than the things of others.

Fourth is love for the world.  The ghoster is going out from, because he doesn't belong in a pure church.  Among other things, it is likely the music, dress, entertainment, recreation, lifestyle, and popularity of the world.  He is a friend of the world.  He is a Demas, who loves this present world (2 Timothy 4:10).  He is not looking for the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, because he will not deny worldly lust (Titus 2:8-9).

Fifth is idolatry.  Paul says in Colossians 3:5 that covetousness is idolatry.  He can't give up his own way, which is an idol.  This then looks like inordinate affection and sensual longing, what the KJV calls "evil concupiscence."

Sixth, he doesn't want a boss.  He wants only himself in charge.  He doesn't like to do what he's told.  Ghosting gets him out of distance where he would hear from anything authoritative.  He doesn't want to be told what to do.  In 2 Peter 2:1, this is denying the Lord, who bought him.  Most of the time, he doesn't even want suggestions, let alone commands.

Seventh, he is influenced or overcome by deceit and vain philosophy.  Paul commanded to beware of these two (Colossians 2:8).  Paul writes about evil speeches or communications corrupting good behavior (1 Corinthians 15:33).  The ghoster has bought into the lies of the philosophies of this world, even so-called science, which isn't science (1 Timothy 6:20).

Eighth, he disrespects authority.  God rules according to a divinely ordained hierarchy through the family, the church, and government.  This person thinks he is a free agent, who doesn't need to fit into those anymore.  Paul called this 'thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to think' (Romans 12:3).

I'm sure there are more than eight true underlying reasons for ghosting, but one of them is not to protect mental health.  Neither is it an advanced view of grace and liberty.  Without repentance, the reasons for ghosting are the same qualities and characteristics of an unbeliever or an apostate.