Friday, December 15, 2017

Abiding in Christ: What Does it Mean? part 5 of 9, Old Testament Background to the Vine Image of John 15

The Old Testament repeatedly presents the nation of Israel as Jehovah’s vine, as well as comparing the nation to a vineyard (Isaiah 5). The vine is to bring forth fruit—although Israel failed to do so, and thus was burned up, in contrast to those who abide in Christ as the vine in John 15. Israel’s failure brought the nation into judgment. If all Israel was “in the vine,” part of the metaphor, the metaphor was not limited to the genuinely converted. Consider:
Isaiah 5:1ff, then:
6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. (Isaiah 5:6-7)
21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? (Jeremiah 2:21)
10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. (Jeremiah 12:10)
16 Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. 17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations. 1 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. (Hosea 9:16-10:1)
1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. 2 In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. 3 I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. 4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 5 Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. 6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. 7 Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? 8 In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. 9 By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up. 10 Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof. 11 When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour. 12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. (Isaiah 27:1-13)
21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21)
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? 3 Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? 4 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work? 5 Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned? 6 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 7 And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them. 8 And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 15:1-8)
Note in Ezekiel 15 that the vine that is good for nothing is cast into the fire and burned up, so that it will be useful in some way. The vine here represents the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who are associated with the people of God, naturally. They are burned up, in the sense that they are given over to various awful judgments for their sins. While this writer believes these judgments fall upon unconverted Israelites who are given over to judgment, thus, with those who are not genuinely part of the people of God, although they are such in name, one could also argue that this passage deals with converted individuals who were disobedient.
1  Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. 2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. 3 Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. 4 O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? 5 Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. 6 Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves. 7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. 8 Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
It would appear that this deliverance of the vine from Egypt is a physical deliverance, but the spiritual is tied in with the physical for the nation of Israel.
9 Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. 10 The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.
This speaks of the physical spread of the “vine” through the land in the conquest of Canaan. Of course, this was also a time of spiritual revival and blessing for Israel.
11 She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. 12 Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? 13 The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.
Here, of course, the Psalmist describes the contraction of the nation at the hand of her enemies. Although Jehovah is the Shepherd of Israel, now the wild beasts are Israel’s “shepherd” (devour is from the same verb as to shepherd/feed). This is a physical contraction, but it is a result of a spiritual affliction, as one can see from v. 18ff.
14 Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; 15 And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.
God is to view the children of Israel with mercy; yet the nation is still Jehovah’s ben, His son (this is the word here rendered branch.). The unconverted are cut off out of the true Israel of God, and Judas, to whom the passage in John 15 seems to allude in the branch that is cast off, was certainly unconverted. Consider as well that here the branch is Israel, but it also alludes to the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus, as the vine, for Israel was in the Lord (Isaiah 45:172425) in the OT, as the saints are in Christ in the NT; so a comparison to John 15 is the more apt, for there the Lord is explicitly said to be the vine, yet the text bears reference to the saints, or the company of professed saints, as the members of the vine. So in Psalm 80 we can consider Israel as the vine, yet the Lord, the Divine Messiah, is not out of view.
16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.
This is physical judgment upon the nation, metaphorically represented as a vine. There is no specific mention here of a remnant in the nation who is faithful and a portion that is unfaithful; the nation is viewed as a whole. Nevertheless, such an idea is not excluded; it is simply not mentioned.
17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.
Through the Messiah, who was certain to become incarnate, the nation of Israel would find complete and ultimate deliverance, as they would in part through the human types of the Christ who sat on the throne of David.
18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.
The nation would find physical and spiritual deliverance when Jehovah would bless them for the sake of the Anointed One. Being quickened, they would receive spiritual blessing.
19 Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Spiritual blessing and physical deliverance are intimately united here.
These many Old Testament chapters and verses employing the vine metaphor are very important general background information to the metaphor in John 15. The verse-by-verse exposition of John 15 will begin in the next part.
See the complete study on meno or "abiding," which includes the passages not only in the KJV but also in the Greek NT (not present in this series of blog posts), by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Attraction and the Lie of Not Separating

Josh Teis, a pastor in Las Vegas, has just published a post, "Six Degrees of Separation," where he mocks biblical separation, a teaching by Almighty God in His Word, and then is joined by many others, doing the same.  I've noticed two categories of people who dislike separation and ridicule it:  one, people who've been separated from, and, two, people who don't want to separate and are criticized for their lack of separation.  The mockery is to make space for them not to separate or to justify themselves for why someone has separated from them. They want approval in their lack of separation or for whatever reason they've been separated from.  Teis communicates both categories in his hit piece.

The Teis article is a horrific caricature of the doctrine of separation, Salvador Dali like.  It's basically a rant against stuff that ticks him off about separation, and so he sets up a goofy strawman in the likeness of a clown. It won't help you learn what the bible teaches about it or even the history of it.

I keep up with what's happening in revivalist fundamentalism, the mainly southern independent Baptist fundamentalism.  It is in a stage of apostasy.  It will be seen as a blip in history, due to its perverted foundation, and Teis is a manifestation of it.  He is of the new hipster branch, that is a spin off of Paul Chappell and those like him, their pragmatism run amok.

No doubt fundamentalism does not equal biblical separation, which I've written about a lot here.  Fundamentalism does not get separation right, but it at least attempts to practice separation, a teaching in the Bible, including in every New Testament epistle.  Separation in fundamentalism can and should be criticized, applying scripture to its presentation.  Teis mentions one prominent book on separation by Ernest Pickering, Biblical Separation:  The Struggle for a Pure Church.  He offers very little analysis of the book except to say that Pickering taught, what has been termed, "secondary separation."  The main point of the Teis article is to scoff at outlandish examples of this and morph this into what fundamentalists, including Pickering, have said and taught about separation.  Teis exaggerates to the extent that his article is a total lie.

From his article, I don't know what Teis thinks about unity or separation.  What problems does separation create for someone, that it is such a concern for him?  Teis tries a new method and someone out there calls it worldly.  He'll never have Teis preach for him. Maybe the separatist says, in addition I won't have anyone preach for me, who preaches with or for Teis.  Less people are encouraged to have Teis preach.  I believe that's the kind of separation Teis is talking about.  It has zero effect on his church.  No one is stopping Teis from using his new method.  If what Teis were doing was scriptural, it's not going to stop his fundamental Baptists from bowling everyone over with the great power that he wants there to be.  He will miss some conferences of the losers who don't like his method.  Who cares?  Teis exaggerates the effects of this separation that he decries.  He'll pick up people from the left who use even more worldly things than Teis can stomach.  Obviously Teis has found more "friends" in the Southern Baptists and even the Charismatics.

I think the biggest concern here is hurt feelings. Teis had in David Ring, whoever David is, and people complained about it, and Josh had his feelings hurt.  He wants approval.  It stung enough that he writes a whole blog post about how horrible are the secondary separationers.  David had been hurt too.  He spoke at the Crystal Cathedral and every single IFB except for Josh Teis bailed on him -- what a bunch of schmucks.  What would be attractive about David Ring to Robert Schuller to have him in the first place?  What kind of man does Robert Schuller want to preach with and for him?  How did David Ring get past Robert Schuller?  You already have major problems if Schuller wants you to preach, if you're not clear enough in your belief and practice to be attractive to Robert Schuller.  It doesn't take very much curiosity to wonder this, so there is more to this than "secondary separation."  David Ring wanted to do what he wanted to do and resents all the people who rejected it.  David Ring is right (to himself) and now since he was a childhood hero of Teis, everyone has to tolerate Teis too.  If not, his feelings are hurt.

Teis himself is anchored in the revivalistic success of church growth methodology.  To expose all the error in his article would require an answer at least five times its size.  He gives credit to men who popularized a false gospel, such as Jack Hyles.  He glorifies an era when a large amount of the mess of revivalist fundamentalism began in the 1960s and 1970s.  He leaves out especially one important event in the history, the downfall of Hyles by means of the Robert Sumner, Biblical Evangelist article in 1989, and the factions that spun off of that one occurrence.  Disunity prevailed.  Many had to rethink their associations and what they believed and practiced.

Despite everything wrong with the Teis article, he is writing or speaking a popular message for this age, due to the attraction and the lie of not separating.  Not separating is attractive.  The more you tolerate, the bigger your tent and the more people who will associate.  This was the issue for Billy Graham back in his era.  He started including Roman Catholics and other liberals in his crusades until he reached a point where he approved of universalism, asserting that someone could be an unrepentant Buddhist and be saved.  In the end, the doctrine of a literal hell was too unpopular for Billy Graham to include in his doctrine or message.

I've known for a long time that its easier to let false doctrine and practice go.  The more open you are about it, the more popular and bigger you will be.  This is the spirit of the age, a type of reductionism, which shrinks the important doctrines to just a very few.  Does God approve of this?  We don't see anything in scripture that says He would.  We see a lot, everything actually, that says He would not.  Sure, men have liberty in non-scriptural matters, but not scriptural ones.  If you don't tell people they are wrong and just stay mostly positive, you'll have more and more followers.  It will be easy.

For instance, someone brings up same-sex marriage, and asks your opinion about it.  Everyone knows you'll do better in most places if you agree, just stay silent, or say something that comes down right in the middle, where whatever someone thinks or believes on it is acceptable.  I would say that's an extreme example, except that it isn't.

When you separate, many might call you unloving.  You aren't loving when you separate.  This isn't love, actual love, biblical love, that they speak of.  It is sentimentalism.  It is a feeling.  They feel rejected, that is, unloved.  The new love, which isn't love, you won't have if you separate.  To be in the fake love club, you've got to tolerate.  It makes people feel good, and that feeling, they say, is love.  Start loving, meaning, don't separate.  The fake love club is attractive, because it puts you in the category of a loving person, which is important, even if it isn't love.  This is the lie of not separating.  You are loving when you don't separate, but you aren't really loving, just fake loving.  It's a lie that you are loving.  It's not the only lie -- it's one of many -- but it is a crucial lie.

People think they are fine not separating.  That is also a lie.  They think God approves.  He doesn't.  That is a lie.  They think they should only separate over major doctrines.  That too is a lie.  That is not how the Bible, the truth, reads.  There are a lot of lies that must be accepted to continue not separating.

Josh Teis wants to continue on his merry way without rebuke or censure.  He wants to keep trying new and more things, and be accepted when he does.  He and his ilk keep trying more and more.  They have distorted what church is.   He'll probably succeed for a period of time, but he'll have to keep moving left to do that.  The old methods get old and he'll need new ones, which will get old, and so newer ones will be needed.  He wants to do them all without criticism, without separation in any way.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Noticeable Increase in Effeminate Sounding Men

More than ever men use an effeminate cadence, style,  mannerisms, and vocabulary.  I didn't grow up hearing it.  In my adult life, I remember starting to hear it.  Now it's everywhere.  It's not just tolerated in evangelicalism, and even in fundamentalism, but accepted.  I see an even larger percentage among professing Christians than I do in the world.  I don't like it.  Should it be accepted?

To understand the seriousness of effeminate behavior for men, we should consider what the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, . . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Certain appearance and behavior in scripture are said to be either like a man or like a woman.  God's Word assumes that we can judge the differences between these.  Differences between the genders are to be kept.  A man sounding like a woman is against nature, that is, against the natural laws that God creates and sustains (cf. Rom 1:26, 1 Cor 11:4).  Women also shouldn't talk like men.  That is happening too, but it is even more grotesque for men to take on female characteristics.

I know that society says there is nothing wrong with a man sounding like a woman.  It is even preferred.  The public schools like effeminate behavior in their boys and are encouraging it.  In part, they see effeminate boys a lesser discipline problem.  Effeminate men pose less a threat to women or are less likely to be violent with all people.

This post is not intended to diagnose what went wrong in order to have so many effeminate sounding men.  The underlying cause should be understood and addressed.  However, this is just to admit that it exists and that it is a problem.  Men need to know that they are sounding this way.  They need counsel to stop it, but they aren't going to get it if we don't inform them that it's happening and it's a problem.

A certain effeminate way of talking is so prominent and so well understood, even in secular society, that people have other terminology for it, such as "gay lisp."  Since people know what it sounds like, technical terms have arisen, such as "linguistic profiling."  Studies have shown distinctive patterns of phonetic variation that allow listeners to detect sexual orientation from audio-only samples of read speech.  Those listening in the studies recognized homosexual men to sound less masculine than heterosexual men.

Most of you reading, I think, know what I'm talking about.  You know when a man sounds effeminate.  He takes on certain qualities.  I recognize that just because a man sounds effeminate doesn't mean that he is a homosexual.  Even if he isn't, it also isn't right, according to scripture, for a man to behave effeminate.

At one time, society as a whole policed itself against effeminate qualities in men.  A boy would grow up with effeminate qualities and other boys would make fun of him.  I'm not saying this is the best way for a boy to stop acting like a girl.  However, it often had that effect.  It was the right instinct and reaction to reject it.  Rejecting effeminate sounding boys or men was normal.  Now what we hear is that instead of being a normal rejection, an effeminate sounding boy is being bullied by his classmates.  It is now called misogyny and sexism by the homosexual lobby.  Toleration alone is now acceptable.  You're in trouble if you were to tell someone that he sounds effeminate and needs to work on and change the way he talks.

Should effeminate sounding men be allowed to lead in churches?  Should they be held up as positive examples?  Can it be judged?  Is it even wrong?  If scripture prohibits it, then why is it being accepted?

Many articles have been written and research has been done on what makes effeminate sounding speech for men.  It has to do with the way the consonants are pronounced along with a kind of both pitch and rhythmic pattern.  Depending on the degree, one could add the way the eyes, lips, head, and hands work.  A man can move his eyes and gesture in an effeminate manner.  Each could be described.   Also, certain word usage is associated with girls.  One such that equals an effeminate hesitation and lack of certainty is the extreme overuse of the word "like."

The renowned, contemporary linguist, Jame McWhorter, lists three modern popular usages of the word, "like."  Frequent use  of "like" is effeminate.  He offers three sample sentences with the three uses:
This is, like, the only way to make it work.
There were like grandkids in there.
And she was like, "I didn’t even invite him."
The first communicates unwelcome news or discomfort.  The second of these means actually.  It indicates surprise.  The last is used to initiate a less than exact quote.  It is used instead of the words, saying or said.  I contend there is a weakness in each of these uses that do not characterize manhood in its strength.  I don't think women should use "like" such as this either, but when men do, it is effeminate.  Women popularized the popular usage of "like," and men should not take on what started as female speech or even very girly speech.  Now we hear it from forty year old men.

I bring the use of the word "like" as one example of certain effeminate vocabulary, separate from the mannerisms, style, patterns, and cadence.  Masculine verbiage is strong, confident, assertive, and commanding.  It isn't disrespectful, but it also isn't overly sensitive and with a strong emphasis on feelings.

When someone says "effeminate," can anything be effeminate anymore?  Can a man look or sound effeminate?  He can, but we have to recognize this is true.  It is bad for a man to look or sound effeminate.   If he does, he needs to stop.  If he wants to stop and he doesn't think he can stop, he needs help.  He won't get help if no one will admit it.  We need to admit it.  We need to point it out.  We need to do something about it.  If we don't, then plan on the growth and spread of effeminate sounding men.  It's going to get worse if we won't do anything about it.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Archaeological Evidence for the Old Testament

I am completing a book that provides an introductory level analysis of the evidence for the Old Testament and New Testament from archaeology and history.  Lord willing, the book will be complete in a number of months.  Its intended uses include:

1.) Providing an overview of this important subject for lost people who have intellectual objections to the Bible.

2.) Strengthening the faith of believers through a presentation of the historical evidence for the Bible, that they might in a greater way love God with their minds.

3.) Equipping believers to be able to deal with objections to the historical accuracy for the Bible that they encounter in evangelism.

My intention is to get the book in print after it is completed.  At this time, however, I have posted online the section on the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible and archaeology.  I have sought to write at a level the average believer and the interested unconverted person can understand, and have included many interesting pictures of historical finds that validate the holy Scriptures.  If you want to know the answers to questions such as:

1.) Does archaeology support the Biblical record about the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.)?

2.) Is there historical evidence for Israel's exodus from Egypt?

3.) What are the earliest references to Israel in the land of Canaan in extrabiblical documents?

4.) Are there references outside the Bible to figures such as King David by name?

5.) What evidence exists for the Biblical period of the divided monarchy and the exile?

6.) Do the accounts of the Biblical prophets, like Isaiah and Ezekiel, receive validation from archaeology and history?

7.) Does archaeology demonstrate that Biblical prophecies are genuine supernatural predictions, so that the Bible is necessarily true?

I would encourage you to check it out.  If you watched my debate with the Freedom From Religion Foundation President Dan Barker, "Archaeology and Prophecy Validate the Bible as the Word of God," I would also encourage you to check my new work out, as it covers a great deal more than what could be examined in the debate.

I have also included some very recent information that, as it receives continuing validation, could revolutionize debate on the historical character of the Old Testament, including the 15th century B. C. reference in early Hebrew or the proto-consonantal script to "Moses" by name.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The Apostle Paul and Ethics in Evangelism: Exposing the Corruption of Modern Methods

What method is required to "preach the gospel to every creature"?  One, go to every creature.  Two, preach the gospel.  Done.  Of course though, we've messed this up for various reasons that are worth exploring more in other posts.  People haven't received the gospel because the church won't do either one or two or both.  Some would say, "It doesn't work to do one and two."

Christian leaders have discovered that Christians don't like one and two.  They want something else.  Jesus left heaven's throne, but they might have to leave their living room.  Since they won't like those two and they won't work, new methods are concocted, one of which I encountered again recently.  I say "again" because I remember seeing this as a teenager, the survey method.

You go to a door and you say, "We're taking a survey in the neighborhood on religion in America."  Genius, huh?  Is it really a survey?  You've got to get past that point, I think, to continue.  Is it right, is it ethical, to call something a survey, when you know it isn't one, no matter how you try to spin it?

Many of Paul's epistles contain a defense of his ministry.  False teachers attacked Paul's teaching and methods every where he went.  His opponents tried to hurt his reputation so his audience wouldn't listen to him or turn away from what he had already taught.  He had to defend himself to stop that from occurring, for the sake of the glory of God and eternal souls.  An ancillary benefit to Paul's defense of his ministry is an explanation of how Paul did ministry, providing authoritative guidelines for what to do and how to do it.  Since these defenses are God's Word, they are to regulate what believers are to continue to do.

The first part of Paul's first epistle to the Thessalonians provides one such defense of his ministry.  In 1 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul writes:
For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile.
These three words communicate three categories of attack from the false teachers.  They had said his exhortation was deceit, uncleanness, and guile.  He says they weren't and then he goes into a more detailed explanation of how not on each of them.  They relate to his content, his motive, and his methods.  He could be preaching the wrong thing for the wrong reason and in the wrong way.  He defends himself in all of these.  As a preacher, Paul himself believed it wasn't just what he preached, by why and how as well.

What I'm writing about relates to ethics and ethical systems, such as utilitarianism, pragmatism, relativism, etc.  I was reading something over at 9Marks on this in the last few days with an exposure of the ethics for firing or releasing a particular pastor in the late 19th century because he wasn't filling the balcony with people.  Motive relates then to methods, because if the motivation is wrong, the method most often is then wrong too.

Paul wrote the following about his method later in 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12:
Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:  As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
I want to give credit to Jared Stager, one of our adult Sunday School teachers, for bringing this to my attention, while sitting in his class.  Besides managing two plants as an engineer, he's also doing an MBA and writing a paper on ethics, so they have dovetailed, this passage and his class.  Paul judges what he does, so he uses three adverbs:  holily, justly, and unblameably.  People like to judge motives, but Paul judges actions, which is a good lesson to learn.  He asks them to judge how he did what he did, something they could see.

I'm not going to go into depth on the meaning of the three adverbs that characterized the ethics of Paul in his work.  That is a worth endeavor, but I'm going to leave this at a simpler point, that is, he was concerned how he did what he did and could defend his methods.  Paul's methods were above board, transparent, sacred, and true, themselves honoring to God.  They mattered to him.  They should to you too.

Someone might say, "At least people are going door to door and preaching.  Why do you have to be so critical of how they do it?" Perhaps even further, someone might say, "There are far worse methods than giving a survey that really isn't a survey, so why not start by criticizing those methods?"  If you've been reading here for awhile, I do criticize worse ones.  To answer the first concern though, believers have to accomplish their preaching in the right way, an ethical way too.

Paul didn't say, "Stop judging methods; they don't matter!"  Preachers today might just say, "Stop being critical."  Paul didn't say that.  He could defend what he did.  If methods didn't matter, Paul could have said, "Go ahead and judge my methods; they don't matter."  He defended his methods.  He obviously implied that if he actually had the methods they said he did, they would have been right.  He didn't.  We should be able to defend what and how we do too.  When you are out preaching the gospel, you are not taking a survey on religion in America.

You should be happy to say, "I'm out talking to people about Jesus," or "I'm out preaching the gospel."  If people don't want to hear that, then you find out and move to the next person, just like Jesus did.  That is holy, just, and unblameable ministry, which matters, as Paul taught.

Monday, December 04, 2017

The Dishonesty over the Version or Preservation of Scripture Issue

In my experience, someone like myself, who believes what scripture says about its own preservation, must answer every possible gotcha question about textual variants in the handwritten copies of the New Testament.  I have to give an honest answer, knowing that these are gotcha questions.  Among these are, "Which printed edition of the TR (textus receptus) is the perfectly preserved text?" and "What about the few words in the King James that translate no known original language manuscript?"

At the same time, I don't hear honesty about the doctrine of preservation coming from the other side.  I see and hear tactics in an attempt to win.  What does the Bible say about its own preservation, regardless of what you think about manuscript evidence?  What have Christians believed, said they believed, about the scriptural teaching of preservation?  Are you guiding your position on the teaching of the Bible on its own preservation by your interpretation of manuscript evidence?  Where does our faith lie and where do our doctrines come from?

There is no developed doctrine of scripture, no historic doctrine of preservation of scripture, that precedes the critical text, modern textual criticism, and the modern versions.  Those who support the critical text and modern versions don't start with biblical presuppositions.  Can't they just be honest and admit that they conform the biblical teaching to what they see as the reality or the science of manuscript evidence?

There is other dishonesty, but the above is the start and the crux of it.  Can't men just admit that Warfield set up an all new concept of inerrancy in the late 19th century to conform the understanding of biblical inerrancy to manuscript evidence?  Can't they be honest that textual variants do change doctrine?  Not only are doctrines changed in individual passages, but doctrines change overall.  An example is the textual variant in Matthew 18:15.  You can't find that exact teaching anywhere else in the Bible, so the variant changes the doctrine of the whole Bible.  The biblical and historical doctrine of preservation doesn't clash with the "translators to the readers" in the original King James Version.  They were advocating for future translation improvements, not a continued tweaking of the underlying text.  Those are not the same.  There are many, many more examples.

James White complains about how bad he has been treated by King James Onlyists.  You will have a difficult time finding anyone who will treat you worse than James White.  Bad treatment of him is an argument for him.  His bad treatment of others is not.  The assumption seems to be that how he treats others is always deserved and to the extent that he regularly lectures his opponents on their poor style.  Let's be honest:  no one has a corner on bad style and poor treatment.  I go door-to-door evangelism almost every week of the year and James White treats his foes worse than 95% of the bad treatment I get from unbelievers at the door.  The same goes for many other critical text proponents.  Everyone needs to be honest about poor style.

Daniel Wallace wrote one article about the doctrine of preservation.  It only deals with what he says that others believe on the doctrine.  He will point you to that article if you want to know his thoughts on preservation.  He has made no attempt to improve upon it.  There are numerous problems with the article.  He doesn't deal honestly with legitimate criticism.  He calls it cherry-picking or the like.  He's not honest about it.

Many fundamentalists say they believe scripture is preserved in the preponderance of the manuscripts.  They are saying every Word is found among all the manuscript evidence -- we just don't know what those Words are.  They don't even believe that.  Can't they just be honest about it?  They believe that in certain incidences, there is presently no extant manuscript that contains particular words in the original manuscripts. So they don't even believe in the preservation of every Word of God in the preponderance of the manuscripts, even though they haven't showed from the Bible how that is even a scriptural position.  They've just made up that belief or teaching.

When someone has the truth, they don't have to make things up and be dishonest about what it is.  They let the truth speak.  They want the truth.  I don't find that with the version or preservation of scripture issue.  The norm is dishonesty in fitting with an age of political correctness.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Abiding in Christ: What Does it Mean? part 4 of 9, the Lexica

The significance of abide as a synonym of remaincontinueendure, or persevere appears clear from an examination of the texts. While continuing with a person may often be connected with fellowship, the word itself does not signify any necessary personal communion. This fact is confirmed by an examination of the lexica.
The standard classical Greek lexicon provides the following definitions for various constructions of meno:
I. stand fast, in battle . . . of soldiers . . . 2. Stay at home, stay where one is . . . b. lodge, stay . . . c. stay away, be absent from . . . and so abs., to be a shirker, . . . 3. stay, tarry . . . loiter, be idle . . . 4. of things, to be lasting, remain, stand . . . having no proper motion . . . b. remain in one’s possession . . . 5. of condition, remain as one was, of a maiden . . . generally, stand, hold good . . . of circumstances . . . of prosperity . . . remain contented with . . . be content with . . . of wine, keep good . . . 6. abide by an opinion, conviction, etc. . . . the party which observes an engagement . . . 7. Impers. c. inf., it remains for one to do . . . II. Trans., of persons, await, expect . . . esp. await an attack without blenching . . . of a rock, bide the storm . . . reversely of things, awaits him . . . 2. c. acc. et inf., wait for, . . . [as in] wait ye for the Trojans to come nigh? . . . they waited for evening’s coming on . . . why wait to go? . . . I wait, i. e., long, to hear (Liddell, H. G. & Scott, R. Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed., New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1996).
One notices that there is no definition for meno as “hold communion with” or the equivalent out of the many significations listed.
BDAG reads:
me÷nw(Hom.+) impf. e¶menon; fut. menw◊; 1 aor. e¶meina, impv. mei√non (Hv 3, 1, 9); pf. ptc. pl. memenhko/taß 2 Macc 8:1; plpf. memenh/kein 1J 2:19 (on the lack of augment s. B-D-F §66, 1; W-S. §12, 4; Mlt-H. 190).
      1. remain, stay, intr.
a. a pers. or thing remains where he, she, or it is.
a. of a location stay, oft. in the special sense live, dwell, lodge . . .
b. in transf. sense, of someone who does not leave a certain realm or sphere: remain, continue, abide . . . a pers. or thing continues in the same state
      2. to continue to exist, remain, last, persist, continue to live, intr.
      3. wait for, await, trans.
BDAG gives many objective definitions and analyses of the word, along with the interpretive statement that the word “is a favorite of J[ohn] to denote an inward, enduring personal communion.” While meno is unquestionably associated with communion, personal relationship is not an inherent part of the word itself. For example, when the disciples abode in a house on their evangelistic journeys (Luke 9:4) or the Lord Jesus abode in Zaccheus’ house (Luke 19:5), there doubtless was fellowship with the owners of the respective places of abode. Nonetheless, the word itself does not directly require the fellowship.
One thus notes that other lexica, such as The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains by Johannes P. Louw & Eugene A. Nida, define meno as “to continue to exist — ‘to remain, to continue, to continue to exist, to still be in existence. . . . to continue in an activity or state — ‘to continue, to remain in, to keep on.’ . . . to remain in the same place over a period of time — ‘to remain, to stay. . . . to remain in a place and/or state, with expectancy concerning a future event — ‘to await, to wait for.’” (13:89; 68:11; 85:55; 85:60). No definition of the word as fellowship or communion is listed. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon[3] defines the word as “1. to remain, abide . . .1a) in reference to place . . . 1a1) to sojourn, tarry . . . 1a2) not to depart . . . 1a2a) to continue to be present . . . 1a2b) to be held, kept, continually . . . 1b) in reference to time . . . 1b1) to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure . . . 1b1a) of persons, to survive, live . . . 1c) in reference to state or condition . . . 1c1) to remain as one, not to become another or different . . . 2) to wait for, await one.” Here again, no definition of the word as a synonym for fellowship is listed.
See the complete study on meno or "abiding," which includes the passages not only in the KJV but also in the Greek NT (not present in this series of blog posts), by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Everyone Justified by Faith Has the Unction and the Anointing

When you receive Jesus Christ, you have "an unction from the Holy One" (1 John 2:20).  Every truly saved person also has "the anointing" mentioned in 1 John 2:27.  These are not blessings received of God some time after justification by faith, that is, second blessings, that might bring someone to greater spiritual power.

"Unction" and "anointing" translate the Greek word chrisma, which is found only three times in the New Testament, all three in 1 John 2:20 and 27, the above two verses.  A word that is related is christos, translated "Christ," which is "the anointed one."  True followers of the Christ are christianous, Christians.

The point of 1 John is that someone who has received the Holy Spirit, and that is the unction or the anointing, will continue to abide in Christ. He won't depart into damning doctrine.  He won't deny that Jesus is the Christ, won't deny the Son, and won't be deceived by an antichrist.  True believers will pass a doctrinal test.

The indwelling Holy Spirit manifests Himself in the life of a believer by the believer holding to true doctrine concerning Jesus Christ.  He won't leave that.  He doesn't need a second blessing to get up to speed on the doctrine foundational to his salvation.  He is already there.  He already knows those things.  He has already been taught those things.  He doesn't need someone to teach them to him.

Unction and anointing are not higher planes of spiritual existence.  They are not special kinds of dedication and unique empowerment or enabling by God.  They are the normal existence of every genuine Christian.  This is why someone will not eject from the Christian faith, because he will be kept by the Spirit of God, who indwells him.  Someone who does not believe the true doctrine distinguishes himself as having never been saved in the first place and as someone who does not have the unction or the anointing.

Recently here, Thomas Ross suggested some materials on sanctification and asked for other good writing on that subject.  Someone said that John R. Rice had written well on sanctification.  John R. Rice did not take a biblical view of sanctification.  He preached second blessing or keswick theology.  That came to mind immediately when the individual commented about Rice and sanctification.  I remembered a long time ago reading The Fulness of the Spirit by Rice, a book he had written about sanctification that clashes with what Thomas Ross had suggested.

I was reminded of the Rice view of sanctification when I saw the latest edition of The Sword of the Lord (November 3, 2017) and the article published by Rice, entitled, "Anointed with Fresh Oil."  He said, "'Anointing' is a sign of the gift of the Holy Ghost or special anointing with Holy Spirit power.  He wrote that the "anointing" was "an obvious picture of an enduement of power."  Rice said "that would be a good thing for a Christian to claim and pray for."

Rice teaches in his article that the apostles had received the Holy Spirit in John 20, when Jesus said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," but that they were anointed with fresh oil on the Day of Pentecost, "a new anointing."  He ends the article by writing, "Will you pray for a fresh anointing for yourself and for me?  Will you pray for a fresh anointing for yourself and for the rest of us?"

Someone who receives Jesus Christ also receives the Holy Spirit, who indwells him the rest of his life and can never be lost for the believer.  The anointing or the unction manifests itself in continuing in the right doctrine.  The Holy Spirit keeps believers in the truth, so that they cannot apostatize, no matter what false doctrine a false teacher brings.  If someone does turn from the faith, 1 John 2:19 and 3:6 say he was never saved in the first place.  No one needs to pray for that anointing.  He cannot lose it.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Gospel Doesn't Change What God Expects

Paul in his letter to the Galatians dealt with a serious problem, the perversion of the gospel in the churches of Galatia.  In confronting the main corruption, Paul exposes other defilement too.  No doubt the big problem was adding works to grace, essentially expecting Gentiles to become Jews before they could become Christians, as seen in two practices:  circumcision and dietary restrictions.

Circumcision and dietary restrictions were both unique, ceremonial laws to the nation Israel.  God wasn't requiring circumcision or dietary restrictions for the whole world.  Circumcision had to do with God's covenant with Abraham, which applied specifically to him and his physical descendants (Gen 15 and 17).  Keeping ceremonial laws kept you in good standing in Israel, but it didn't mean you were saved, as seen in multiple places in the Old and New Testaments.  Dietary restrictions had been lifted by God's communication to Peter in Acts 10.

Peter also got in trouble with the James gang for eating with Gentiles (Galatians 2:12). They weren't eating right, so even if he was eating right, he shouldn't eat with them when they were eating wrong.  Peter knew the dietary restrictions were lifted and that Gentiles were not unclean, but this had not been fully accepted by all the professing Jewish Christians, so he stopped eating with Gentiles, confusing the gospel.  Did you have to keep ceremonial laws to be saved or not?  Paul confronted him to his face over this (Galatians 2:11).

According to Galatians 2:3, Paul brought Titus to Jerusalem because he was not circumcised, so he was a good example of the requirements of the gospel.  Titus was not expected to be circumcised, because Christ had fulfilled the ceremonial laws on the cross.  So did the gospel change God's expectations for how one of His were supposed to live?

Later in Galatians 2:17, Paul writes:
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.
This is very similar to Romans 6:1-2, also by Paul:
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?
The argument of the Judaizers or the Galatianists, leading to Galatians 2:17, was that the rejection of circumcision and dietary restrictions meant that justification by Christ made Christ a minister of sin.  If that were the case, then in Galatians 2:18, Paul said that he would also make himself a transgressor, if what they were saying were true.  In the next verse, 2:19, Paul writes:
For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Gill writes concerning this:
The apostle further replies to the objection against the doctrine of justification, being a licentious one, from the end of his, and other believers, being dead to the law: he owns he was dead unto it, not in such sense as not to regard it as a rule of walk and conversation, but so as not to seek for life and righteousness by it, nor to fear its accusations, charges, menaces, curses, and condemnation: he was dead to the moral law as in the hands of Moses, but not as in the hands of Christ . . . .  the apostle by the doctrine of grace was taught not to seek for pardon, righteousness, acceptance, life, and salvation, by the works of the law, but in Christ; by the doctrine of the Gospel, which says, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved; he became dead to the law, which says, do this and live: or through the books of the law, and the prophets, the writings of the Old Testament, which are sometimes called the law, he learnt that righteousness and forgiveness of sins were only to be expected from Christ, and not the works of the law; things, though manifested without the law, yet are witnessed to by the law and prophets: or through the law of his mind, the principle of grace formed in his soul, he became dead to the power and influence of the law of works, he being no longer under the bondage of that, but under grace, as a governing principle in his soul.
As is most often the case with Gill, that's a long paragraph.  I've drawn your attention to a few points with underlining.

Paul would not become a transgressor and Christ would not be a minister of sin through justification by grace through faith.  Paul would still obey God's moral law, but through Christ who lived in him, as Galatians 2:20 reads:
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.
The gospel does not change what God expects.  God still expects morality.  He still expects righteousness.  It is not the change in expectations, but a change in capability.  It wasn't Paul living it, but Christ in Him.  The expectations stayed and the means by which he lived those expectations changed.  He could do it now by the grace of God.

Later in Galatians, Paul reminds of this in Galatians 5:13:
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
The liberty Paul found in the grace of God was not for an occasion to the flesh.  The expectations didn't change, but the empowerment and motivation changed through conversion and the indwelling presence of the Lord.

Legalism is both left and right winged.  You can act like the Judaizers from Jerusalem, who added to the expectations and nullified God's grace with works.  That's right winged legalism.  You can shorten the list of expectations so that you can live them on your own.  Both are human effort and rejected by God.  The gospel doesn't diminish God's standards, but it enables them.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Samaritan Ministries Election: My Vote

Readers of this blog are likely aware of my posts Dangers in Samaritan Ministries part 1, part 2, and part 3, as well as Health Threats from Samaritan Ministries part 1 and part 2.  Samaritan Ministries ought to cease promoting quack nonsense that is dangerous to the health of Christians and, if followed, will lead to the early death of many of the precious saints of God and their inability to work to advance His kingdom because only their grieving spouses and children are left alive.  I was wondering whether people who were seeking to be on the governing board of the organization were in favor of the quackery being promoted in the newsletter, against it, or neutral towards it, that I might vote accordingly.

Looking at the testimonies given with the Samaritan Ministries voting information, I was able to locate the ministries where the people running for the board are serving and contact them. I have not received permission from them to post their responses to me, but based on what they told me I will vote, Lord willing, as follows:

1.) Robert (Bob) Douglas:  Yes

Lord willing, I will definitely vote for Bob Douglas.

2.) Daniel Michael: No

Lord willing, I will definitely not vote for Daniel Michael.

3.) Joseph Musser: Undecided

I am not sure yet whether or not to vote for Mr. Musser.

If you are a member of Samaritan Ministries, I would encourage you to read (or re-read) the posts above, and then contact the candidates for the board yourself.  If you share the concerns that I express in my posts above, I would also encourage you to vote in a similar manner to the way that I am planning to vote, even if you do not take the time to personally contact the candidates.  However, personal contact and your also sharing your concerns with them would, I believe, also be very appropriate.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

All Audio and Video Up for 2017 WORD OF TRUTH CONFERENCE

The 2017 Word of Truth Conference, which was again on the theme of The Gospel and November 8-12, has all the audio (here) and video (here) available.  Please watch and listen.  Enjoy.  Next year's conference, Lord-willing, is November 7-11, Wed-Sun, and will again be the theme of The Gospel, probably the fourth and final installment of this theme.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Do Women Bring It On or Ask for It?

As more and more men have lost their careers through accusations of sexual harassment, molestation, or assault, I wanted to enter the danger, high voltage area of whether women bring it on or ask for it.  Before I do though, I should declare my standard on these matters, whether I've kept that standard perfectly or not through my life.  I see it as a scriptural standard, however, and it differs from what is expected of men.  What I'm saying is that the contemporary standard that women expect and that men violate is still below the scriptural standard for men.  Men should be fine at least keeping the standard they've been currently violating.  At the same time, I express that I understand why men seem confused as to the standard, which I'd also like to explore.

Men are required in scripture not even to look at a woman in a sexual way, unless they are married to that woman.  If men would not even look at women this way, I think they can keep the lower standard related to touching women.  The touching of women is also laid out in the Bible.  I'll briefly deal with both.  In the teaching of Jesus in what is called the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus laid out God's standard in Matthew 5:28:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
It seems like He may have been mirroring what you can read in Proverbs 6:25 in instructions to young men to stay morally, sexually pure:
Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
When Job explained how he had stayed a righteous man, he wrote as a start in Job 31:1:
I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
In the realm of touching, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:1:
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
I know that commentators have said that "touch" is a euphemism, but I take the position that touch is touch, which is why Paul says, "It is good for a man not to."  He would prohibit what it is said to be euphemistic of, and he does prohibit it elsewhere.  Men might come into contact with a woman not his wife, but it would be good for him not to do that, not even to touch.

A couple of other good arguments can be made, first, from Colossians 3:5:
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Paul says mortify, put to death, starting with the worst, fornication, but everything leading up to it too, starting with covetousness, which is idolatry.  The other is Paul's command in 1 Corinthians 6:18, "Flee fornication."  Furthermore, outside of marriage, someone or many, God says, have been defrauded (cf. 1 Thess 4:6).

I don't think I need to break down all of the above.  There's enough there to say what needs to be said.  If men had obeyed those verses, they would not be in trouble right now.  I think the women screaming the most about the violations would be against what the Bible teaches in those verses.  They want a certain amount of violation of those verses.  They don't want to be judged by the Bible in most cases and hate it.

Again, I start by saying the above scriptural teaching is my standard.  It's what I believe in, so I think what almost all of these men have been accused of is wrong.  They have transgressed scripture and without repentance and faith in Christ, they are in trouble with God, which is their worst trouble, not their ruined careers.  However, I think we should go to the area of whether women have responsibility too, and also the fathers and brothers and husbands, who should be leading and protecting them.

Are women asking for it?  I think most people in the secular world would at least frown on, or worse than frown, any censure of Beyonce, the female pop singer, when she proclaims the following in her piece, called Check On It:
Ohh, boy you looking like you like what you see
Won’t you come over and check up on it
I’m gone let you work up on it
Ladies let em check up on it
Watch it while he check up on it…
If you got it, flaunt it, boy I know you want it
While I turn around you watch me check up on it
Ooh, you watchin’ me shake it, I see it in ya face
Ya can’t take it, it’s blazin, you watch me in amazement. 
I picked these lyrics because they were more tame compared to others.  There are numerous similar or worse lyrics from the most famous and respected female pop singers in the world.  These are the people, let alone women, with the most twitter and instagram followers on the planet.  They are "asking for it," quite literally.  Do women invite the supposedly forbidden attention they receive.

Women want outstanding men.  I read that from them in certain places in complete contradiction to Beyonce's lyrics.  They often bemoan the lack of good men.  However, in many cases they don't act like it themselves.  We see in scripture numerous examples of women, who are bringing it on or asking for it.  I can take you through all the examples, that include Jezebel, the strange woman of Proverbs, and Delilah, among many others.  The idea here is that women can dress and act almost any way they want, and men are supposed to do nothing.  What's the point of wearing what they do (or not wearing) and acting as they do, if they don't want what they say they don't?

I've explained to young ladies that the allurement is like fly paper.  They can attempt to lure or seduce the one they want, but it's only going to attract all of the other flies with it.  You also keep what you've attracted just how you got it.  The ante will keep being upped until nothing can satisfy.  Whatever way you got the man is the kind of man he is.  We live in a society that rewards this in women, and women oblige the reward.  They don't have to, but they do, and then they say, you can't do that.  Almost everything about them says someone can do that, except for later, when they say they didn't really want it.

What are men supposed to do?  Once they've seen it the first time, they aren't supposed to look one more time. They are supposed to look away.  Don't look at these women who want men to look at you.  Don't reward them.  They are not good ladies.  They are not.  These women though are saying one of the following:  'look at me, but don't lust,' 'look at me, lust away, but don't touch,' or 'look, lust, touch, but not too much, just the amount of touching I want from you.'  This is where the confusion lies for men, who really don't have a standard, very often until the deed is done.

The women today also say they are in a quandary.  They can't get a man unless they seduce, but if they seduce, they usually don't get a good man.  It's a tough balancing act, when the culture has abandoned the Bible and God's way.

"Seduce" comes from the Latin, seductio, which means to lead. The sexual appearance of women relates to seduction and to a modern form of feminism.  It might seem contradictory.  Men allow women to lead when they follow a woman's seduction.  On the other hand, a woman wants a man then who isn't leading.  She finds he is either not much of a man or not a man at all.

I wrote recently that men don't know how to act.  If women are going to be the instructors, which there isn't grounds for them to be that, then men should know what the standard is.  This, however, is where is the most major trouble on all this, as Al Gore once said, "There is no controlling legal authority."  Or as Judges 17:6 says, "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes."  Or maybe like before God wiped out all of mankind except for eight people, in Genesis 6:5-7:
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.
We either have a standard or we don't.  We judge and condemn on what we accept, not ex post facto on what we wish would have happened.  The rules need to be laid out and some kind of authoritative explanation needs to be made for them.  Can we do that in an age when there is no acceptable authority?  This is what happens when a nation turns away from God.