Friday, October 23, 2020

Mandatory Vaccination: Stop it Only One Way

 Mandatory / Compulsory Vaccination?

With COVID-19, there is a renewed call for compulsory or mandatory vaccination. Should vaccines be compelled?

I do not believe that the government should force parents to vaccinate their children against their will.  In the Bible, parental authority over children is so vast that parents could even bring rebellious children to trial and, if found guilty of consistent, persistent, and willful rebellion and wickedness, have their children executed (Deuteronomy 21:18-21; note that there is no record of parents actually following through on this with their children, as very, very few parents would want to do it, but it still shows the Biblical position on parental authority in relationship to the State). Similarly, children who cursed their parents or hit their parents would "surely be put to death" (Exodus 21:15-17) if there were multiple witnesses who were willing to testify to the fact (no Biblical indication specifies that the parents were required to testify against their children or, for that matter, that anyone at any time was compelled to testify against anyone else).

When Romans 13 outlines the role of the government, Biblically speaking, it is a "night watchman" sort of system with very limited authority.  The government is to punish evil but is not even supposed to actively do good--that is the realm of individuals and groups in society such as churches--but only to "praise" the good without financial support (Romans 13:3-4).  Biblical government is, in many ways, very libertarian on the spectrum of political ideology (learn more about the role of the government according to God's Word here).  Therefore, based on God's revelation, a strong support for parental authority and a strong view on a very limited role for government leads me to oppose mandatory / compulsory vaccination.  Furthermore, requiring parents who have religious objections to vaccinate is a very dangerous restriction of religious freedom.

Furthermore, in American history compulsory vaccination has led to many other restrictions on civil liberties.  A 1902 mandatory vaccination law passed in Massachusetts in response to a smallpox epidemic was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which concluded that compulsory vaccination was constitutional in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905) by a 7 to 2 margin. For the benefit of the collective or group, individual liberty could be repressed.  The precedent set by this decision allowed for the promotion of eugenics; for example, in 1927 the case Buck v. Bell upheld the mandatory sterilization of a person considered "feeble-minded," arguing that “The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.”  The only precedent cited in case law was Jacobson v. Massachusetts.  The (alleged) collective good from forcibly sterilizing undesirable people overrode the individual liberty not to be--to describe it Biblically--eunuchized.  The expanded state powers that justified compulsory vaccination were used to uphold eugenic sterilization (learn more in the article here).  The power given to the State over parents that is involved in allowing compulsory vaccination also justifies the elimination of many other civil liberties.

Thus, I am against compulsory vaccination, and I believe you should be against it as well.

What is not a reason I oppose compulsory vaccination

I am against mandatory vaccination because of parental rights.  I am not against mandatory vaccination because vaccines do not work, are dangerous, or are ineffective.  Vaccines are safe, are effective, and are a great blessing to mankind in this fallen world that God has allowed scientists to discover utilizing the Biblically-based scientific method. Thanks to vaccines, diseases such as polio, typhoid, smallpox, yellow fever, and rabies no longer kill, cripple, and cause terrible suffering to millions and millions of people.  Anti-vax propaganda simply does not reflect scientific reality in the world God has made. Common ideas, such as the lie that vaccines cause autism, was spread in order to make its author a lot of money.  If you do not vaccinate your children, you are increasing the likelihood that they will die or suffer because you believed scientifically inaccurate propaganda.  You are also not loving your neighbor as yourself, for you are increasing the likelihood that other children or adults will get sick or die.  Furthermore, you endanger the children of responsible parents who vaccinate their children, as their children, when too young to get vaccinated, may still be infected and get sick or die because you have refused to protect your own children from disease.  (Learn more about vaccine safety here.)  You may say that you don't need to vaccinate because others do, and so there is herd immunity--but you had better keep your kids away from the airport, then, and had better not teach them to evangelize in an area that has a lot of immigrants.  You definitely would want to keep them away from the mission field.

In other words, I believe that the government should allow parents to make foolish decisions, because allowing them to make foolish decisions--like not getting vaccinated themselves or having their children vaccinated, which is very foolish--is not as bad as the consequences are of the increased governmental power involved in compulsory vaccination.  In Israel drunkenness was a sin, but it was not illegal.  Failing to help the poor was wicked, but it was not illegal.  God hated divorce, but it was legal.  Failure to love one's neighbor as oneself was a horrible crime, but it was legal.  It should be legal for people to make all kinds of bad, foolish decisions, because increased government power is even worse than the bad, foolish decisions.

The only way to stop mandatory vaccination

While I believe that the position above is Biblically and practically correct, it is also one that is a loser politically.  If enough people believe anti-vax propaganda and stop vaccinating, it is certain that there will be more outbreaks in the United States of easily preventable diseases, and children will die for no good reason.  Enough angry parents showing pictures of happy babies and healthy children that are now dead or handicapped from diseases because of anti-vaccination lies will create an unstoppable wave of public support for mandatory vaccination.

Without mandatory vaccination, more children will get sick, suffer life-long hurt, and die.  I believe that the less-easy-to-see consequences of mandatory vaccination are worse than this awful and very visible consequence of not mandating vaccines. But is that going to win in a room full of angry parents holding pictures of their now dead children and demanding their congressman support mandatory vaccination?  Nope.  Not a chance.  Vaccines will become compulsory if enough people stop vaccinating.

So how can mandatory vaccination be stopped?  The only way to stop it is by vaccinating voluntarily.  If only a small enough percentage of the population doesn't vaccinate, the people who are putting their children's lives and the lives of other children at risk can fly under the radar, believe their misinformation, and not cause too much damage.  But as their number grows big enough to compromise or eliminate herd immunity, public pressure from the death, disease, and carnage caused by their irresponsible actions will lead to mandatory vaccination.

So do you want to stop mandatory vaccination?  Have your children vaccinated, encourage others to vaccinate, and fight inaccurate and unscientific anti-vaccination propaganda.

There is no other long-term way to stop mandatory vaccination.

-TDR

Monday, October 19, 2020

Disinformation Is the Present Norm In American Culture: Hunter Biden Laptop as a Case Study

The Hunter Biden laptop story from the New York Post manifests the mainstream reality of misinformation and disinformation.  I would call it micro-disinformation within the greater macro-disinformation.  We live in a world of lies, represented by 2 Corinthians 4:4, "the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not."  Satan is the "prince of this world" (John 12:31) and in that role "there is no truth in him, . . . he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44).  The lies are foisted upon easily deceived minds in many various ways.

Macro-disinformation underlies the true view of the world, what the world really is.  I call these the "big lies," and these are the more important lies, like the naturalism lie, that everything got here by accident and not by design.  The big lies allow someone to go through his entire life and not deal with God.  They mask the immense and deep trouble for every person because of sin.  They send people in the direction of false solutions to the problems of the world, giving men the lie that they are solved through assorted human means:  education, philosophy, psychology, government, or economics.  Another big lie is the goodness of men, convincing them that they are good, that they are or will be fine like they are.

The Biden laptop story is simple.  For whatever reason, Hunter Biden left his laptop at a Delaware computer repair shop, which had an abundance of incriminating evidence on it against his dad, who's running for president of the United States.  In a way, I hate writing this, because it so patently obvious. No one should have to write on it, but numerous counter stories have been written with masses of lies and deceptions to cloak or deflect from the truth. There have been many of these types of true revelations in the last four years, or even many more years, blockbuster types, that are lost in the fog of macro-disinformation.  They are micro-disinformation.

Within the universe of macro-disinformation falls postmodern thought that so blurs both the foreground and the background to leave people, especially younger ones completely befuddled.  They don't believe they can judge the nose on their face.  Even the truth cannot be judged to be the truth, because what appears to be the truth is an operation of power and oppression.  A party leader could come out and say, it's Russian disinformation, and people will now believe it.  A news source can show the very emails and the chain of evidence for the laptop, and a majority will doubt the story.  There is no proof of Russian involvement.  It's very straightforward.

The laptop undoes the Trump impeachment, giving credibility to the question Trump asked the Ukrainian president.  He should have asked the question of him, but the email evidence says that Trump was right.  The laptop says that the Biden family enriched itself through the influence of Joe Biden's office.  It was quid pro quo upon quid pro quo.  Many countries, including China, got access to the executive branch of the United States by giving Joe Biden and his family money.  That's what it shows.  It is easy to see.  Will it matter in the race?  It might not, because the truth really isn't the truth.  No truth is the truth, because the truth isn't determined by the plain means.  Every person can take the regular means, the right means of discerning truth, and be justified in ignoring it with the new paradigm, related even to critical theory.

Everyone looks out at the world and knows it's not an accident.  An accident though is till a feasible explanation.  It counts.  It's demonstrably false, but it still counts as truth.  It is what is taught in the public school.  Out of that macro-distinformation proceeds micro-distinformation.  This is the world of lies over which Satan rules and deceives.

I often say that the world isn't credible, but it is alluring.  This is what Jonah called, "lying vanities."  Someone isn't an American Indian, but she is to get a scholarship or a tenured professor position.  The truth then is whatever furthers one's lust (cf. 2 Peter 2).  The conscience may still warn against the lie according to a true standard that remains in the heart, but personal desire extinguishes or deadens the warning.  The truth becomes the most convenient story, the most useful one.  In that sense, some might call it "authentic," which has also changed in meaning.

The laptop of Biden was authentic.  It could be traced to Biden.  It had Biden's material on it.  It came with Biden's signature.  Biden tried to retrieve it later.  That's the real or true meaning of authentic, but now authentic is whatever is most authentic to the subject.  What's authentic is that it isn't his laptop, because that doesn't fit what I want to happen.  What is authentic is that a Russian dropped it off and forged the name of Biden.  This sounds like tradecraft out of spy fiction.  Why not have that be your truth?

Someone may have zero skill at drawing or painting, but he is authentic.  What went on to the canvas was true to him.  Someone's music is true to him.  It might be alternative.  It isn't Southern.  It isn't gospel.  It is something original, something that no one has heard before, but it is authentic to a particular person.  Maybe others will like it too.  You see this today with fashion, art, and music.  Anyone can say it's true, because it's true to the subject, which is the meaning of subjective.

You know this.  There might be a truth.  Trump calls Fauci an idiot.  That's true.  He actually said:

People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They're tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots.

It's not exactly, "Fauci is an idiot."  No, but by making it the headline and misquoting it, it is a kind of disinformation.  The disinformation comes also with an unappealing picture of the president, mouth wide open and veins protruding from his neck.  Someone can turn a story with how he portrays it, turning it into a bit of micro-disinformation in a world of lies.  So a lyric of Hillsong and Bethel is the truth, but does that make it true if the music is worldly and fleshly?  It's like an angry photo next to even an innocent statement.  It changes the meaning.

The ultimate macro-disinformation is the elimination of God and His Word in whatever fashion necessary.  There is no standard.  Jesus said, Thy Word is truth.  Jesus said, the greatest in His kingdom will keep the least of His commandments.  When that doesn't fit the will of the hearer, he shapes that into something that accommodates what he does want.  The Bible is still there, like Hunter Biden's laptop, but it means whatever you want it to mean, so it means nothing.  This is the present norm in American culture.

I know some people are suspect of disinformation and would say they want the truth.  I know of very little of it.  Even for those who accept truth, it's a percentage.  They aren't taking it all. They are negotiating a percentage. This itself is an adjustment to the present norm in American culture.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

"Proselytizing Should Be Illegal!"

This week going door to door evangelizing, I was talking to an about thirty year old young man, and he wasn't interested, he said, because of "science," something I've written about here a few times.  I wanted him to understand the Bible was science, history, and a true story.  I related fulfilled prophecy and mathematical probability, because God does that in Isaiah 40-48, and that no other book does that, containing thirty percent prophecy, because the Bible is the Word of God.  He needed the gospel and he was in trouble if he didn't receive it.  While I had that brief conversation, someone behind me was shouting at me, another about thirty year old young man with what are called "stretched earlobes."

The man yelled, "Proselytizing should be illegal!  You should be arrested for proselytizing!"  I felt right at home.  This might be something I got in the San Francisco Bay Area, although it was also something new to hear.  He kept coming at me, and the first man ended that talk, so I stepped back and asked the second man, the one yelling, if he was against the first amendment, that he didn't think I should have freedom of speech or freedom of religion?

The man went off on a long jeremiad of how that Christians were coming with certainty when there was no proof and then taking advantage of people, especially mentioning that Billy Graham -- he said his name -- was stealing money from suffering elderly women.  He also said that Christianity had been disproved numerous times, vociferating that there were numerous claims of virgin births in Egypt and many other places.  He was most troubled, he said, by the certainty of proselytizing Christians.  Then he finally let me talk.  The man stood there about thirty feet away, stopping on his way to his car.

I knew that I didn't have much time to defend all of Christianity with the man, but I thought the best approach was to ask him, "Are you sure, are you certain, that I'm wrong?  Do you know that I'm wrong?"  He wouldn't say.  He looked confused.  I said, "You have a problem with certainty, you're extolling doubt, so do you know that you're right and that I'm wrong?  Aren't you being certain yourself?"  He still couldn't answer.  "So," I asked, "why not just say that you don't like what I'm doing?  Or, it's just your opinion?  Then it wouldn't be illegal, since it's just an opinion."

I was working from presuppositionalism with the man. He wasn't neutral.  He was presupposing his own knowledge, his own certainty.  He just didn't like what I was saying.  I said, "You should admit that you're wrong too, because even though you speak like you have certainty about how wrong I am, you don't know that Billy Graham has already been dead for a few years."  He also was confusing Billy Graham with Charismatic televangelists.  Billy Graham may have had his problems, but his work didn't take advantage of elderly women to get into their savings accounts.  Billy Graham didn't promote prosperity theology.

The young man told me he had to go to give a ride to his girlfriend, but he liked the way that I had come back at him.  He stated that he liked that I didn't attempt to run away from him.  He began to tell me his story, how that his life was messed up, that he grew up Roman Catholic, but he had to go.  He wanted me to leave a paper on his door.  I left my email address.  He hasn't written me, but I also didn't get to his door, so I'm probably going back anyway.

I can't speak with authority if I'm not telling the truth.  There is no authority if there is no truth.  I am not out in the world to bring uncertainty or doubt.  I am there to tell people what I know is the truth.  Biblical Christianity is the truth.  God's Word is Truth.

The young man didn't want elderly women to be taken advantage of.  I told him I didn't want to see that happen either, that I was right with him on that.  He was confused, perhaps because no one has ever given him the gospel.  I think it is likely that he has never heard a true gospel presentation.  Even though this area where we live has a lot of Calvary Chapel style evangelicals, a large majority do not know or understand the gospel.

Let's get out there.

Friday, October 16, 2020

"Come as you are" or "sanctify yourselves"?

Today we hear a great deal about how we should come to church just as we are.  I recall a life-size ad that was posted for many weeks at a local mall in Wisconsin.  It had a picture of a guy in a T-shirt holding a Bible, a big tattoo visible on his arm, wearing jeans.  The ad asked, "Would Jesus wear jeans to church?" There was no gospel on the ad anywhere, although the religious organization claims to be evangelical.  Even if someone were to (wrongly) think that the answer to that question is, "Yes," unless wearing the jeans and the tattoo were an idol, one could answer "Yes, but who cares? Why aren't you giving these lost people the gospel instead of asking them a silly question about clothing?" On the other hand, if the casual clothes are an idol that one is not willing to forsake to take up the cross and follow Christ, then the ad makes sense; we can "put down the cross and serve ourselves," can keep everything in the world that the jeans and tattoo represent, instead of taking up the cross and following Christ.  

But is the answer really "yes"?  Are we supposed to come to church as we are?

Scripture regularly contains the following phrase when people were entering the presence of the infinitely holy Jehovah (in each case the Hithpael of the verb qds, "holy"):

Ex. 19:22 And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.

Lev. 11:44 For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Lev. 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.

Num. 11:18 And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat.

Josh. 3:5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

Josh. 7:13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.

1Sam. 16:5 And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the LORD: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.

1Chr. 15:12 And said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it.

1Chr. 15:14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.

2Chr. 29:5 And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.

2Chr. 29:15 And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king, by the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD.

2Chr. 29:34 But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the other priests had sanctified themselves: for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests.

2Chr. 30:3 For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem.

2Chr. 30:15 Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD.

2Chr. 30:24 For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves.

2Chr. 31:18 And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness:

2Chr. 35:6 So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

So the world, and most of evangelicalism, says to come to church just as you are, the same way you come to any worldly event.  Indeed, making no difference between the common or profane and the holy temple of God in this age is important enough to many evangelicals that they will refrain from giving people the gospel to instead focus upon the importance of coming to church in your T-shirt and jeans sporting your tattoo with your modern Bible version.  Come as you are, sing to God the tunes of the world, and add a little religion to your life--your life which is all about you.  By contrast, Scripture affirms, over and over again, that one is to sanctify himself before coming into the presence of the holy, holy, holy God.

So, in a true church, where the special presence of God is found in a manner comparable to the holy of holies in the Old Testament tabernacle (Gk. naos), you should not come just as you are.  You should sanctify yourself--you should come in a way that is distinctly different, that is not common, not profane, but set apart to the righteous Lord and God who dwells in a special way in His true church.  Jesus Christ walks in the midst of His churches, and He still hates any profanation of God's worship the way He did when he took a whip and drove out the moneychangers and merchants from the Temple (John 2) and when He sent fire from heaven to burn up those who failed to sanctify Him in their worship (Leviticus 10).

Nor should true churches set up special meetings where the people of God specifically fail to sanctify themselves in their appearance and come into the presence of God in an informal, casual, common way so that lost people who visit feel more comfortable.  There is no model for this in Scripture, and when in the New Testament a lost person comes under conviction after visiting church, it is because of the truth of the Word he has heard from the godly example and speech of the church members, not because they decided not to sanctify themselves. That is not the way to get the lost to confess "God is in you of a truth" (1 Corinthians 14:25), but to get them to confess:  "There is nothing special here."  Much less should church services be turned into carnivals with give-aways to attract children who would not come for Christ but will come for candy.

On the other hand, if you are going to a religious organization that does not fit the Biblical criteria for one of Christ's true churches, you might as well come as you are and make no difference between the holy and the common, since Christ is not there anyway.  Go for it!  But don't deceive yourself and think that you are doing anything that is for the glory and honor of God when you are there.  It's about you.  Be honest.

So, considered Biblically, a religious organization with a "seeker-sensitive, come as you are" philosophy of ministry is saying "God is not here.  This is about us and what we want. No to Immanuel, yes to ourselves.  The Bible says 'sanctify yourselves' before coming into God's presence--but we say exactly the opposite."

On a side note, the Keswick / Higher Life idea that "You cannot sanctify yourself" is the opposite of what the passages of Scripture above teach.  The sons of God, enabled by grace, do indeed sanctify themselves; that is one of the ways that God sanctifies them.

Please do not draw the conclusion from this article that the lost need to make themselves worthy before they can come to Christ. This post is about God's people and how they should come into the presence of God in His church, not about how the lost should come to Christ as empty-handed sinners with nothing but their sin.  Please also do not conclude that we should discourage lost people who know nothing about God's Word from hearing preaching or attending services if they do not dress nicely enough.  That is not what the post is about either.  Nor did the post say anything to the effect that the outside is more important than the inside; that is not the case. God does care about sanctifying all of who we are, inside and outside.  Do not take the post for what it does not say, but what it does say.

Let's just be honest with these passages of Scripture and recognize that the saints should sanctify themselves in their hearts, minds, and appearance before they come into the special presence of the God who commanded, "Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:44).  Not soli mihi gloria, but soli Deo gloria.

-TDR

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Is "If Something Is True" the Only Criteria for Using Hillsong and Bethel Music? Critique of a John MacArthur Answer

Like many others, I have a cell phone and when I pull up youtube, it feeds me what I might want to see and it showed me the above video, so I watched (by the way, three days after I published this, the original video was taken down, so I put this up in its place, because it is still at youtube).  I must comment.  To deal with it in a proper manner, here is a transcript, so you can look at it for reference.  I shared the video so you'll see that it happened and can also hear the intonation in the question and answer.
DARRIUS:  Hello, my name is Darrius, and my question is, “Should we listen to songs that have like good Christian lyrics but are ran by false Christians, maybe such as Hillsong or Bethel or those kinds of stuff?”

JOHN: I mean, the bottom line would be that if something is true, then it’s true. You can appreciate the truth of a song if it’s true. There are a lot of songs written by real Christians that are bad theology, really bad theology. There are some songs written by non-Christians that are good theology. But I do think it’s important not to get sucked into those movements. Hillsong is an aberrant movement with really aberrant theology. Bethel is the same, or worse. But it doesn’t mean that there isn’t now and then something they produce that is true and you can sing it as true. So just be discerning. But they are powerful movements, both of them – Bethel because of the Jesus culture music group, Hillsong because of Hillsong music. If they didn’t have that music, they wouldn’t have a movement, either of them probably. But the theology of both, particularly Bethel, is taking the Holy Spirit’s name in vain constantly, constantly. So you don’t want to be a part of that movement. But again, a clock that doesn’t run is right twice a day. So every once in a while people will come across the truth. Okay?
John MacArthur most often gives good answers to questions.  I remember in recent days in answer to a question MacArthur criticized Drew Brees, the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, because he didn't have a spine or wouldn't "man-up" in apologizing for his national anthem stand.  MacArthur himself is weak in answer to these types of questions.  I wish he would "man-up" and give a strong answer to this question.  He equivocates and vacillates on something that is very important, related to the worship of God.

The right answer would be this:
No, Darrius, Hillsong and Bethel are false worship, and no one should listen to what they produce.  They not only do not please God, but they offend God.  It's not right to offend God.  No one should listen to what offends God or give any support to it.  He should separate from it.  Even if you were to find a few true statements in their songs, they are a counterfeit, attempting to look like the real thing, when they are false.  They are strange fire and we should separate from strange fire.  God isn't pleased.  They require separation not only to please God, but also for the sake of others.  The association, like associating with the idol worship in Corinth, has much more severe ramifications for yourself, but also for others.  We need to take a public stand against them, but we also can easily be deceived ourselves.

Furthermore, Darrius, we don't just judge the music by the words or the lyrics.  The medium itself is corrupt.  It's like worshiping the true God in the high places.  The form is wrong.  It changes the meaning.  It corrupts the meaning.  We understand God not just by what is true, but also what is good and beautiful.  We worship God in the beauty of his holiness.  Their music is sensual, fleshly, carnal, and worldly.  Paul commanded in Romans 13 not to make provision for the flesh.  Their music attracts or allures so many because of its fleshliness.  God isn't worshiped by fleshliness.  1 Peter 2 commands, abstain from fleshly lust.  Titus 2 says deny worldly lust.  You can't obey those verses, obey God, and listen to Hillsong and Bethel.

I've said before Darrius, that the Hillsong and Bethel movements wouldn't have anyone without the music.  What do you think that means?  It's not because they have true lyrics, but because the music itself is deceiving.  It is like the allure of the apostate teachers of 2 Peter 2.  They use the music to lure you in and it makes merchandise of its hearers.  The music is the vomit that the dog returns to.  God does not receive worship that accords with the spirit of this age.  That is not acceptable unto Him, and it also gives people a false imagination about God, an idol in the mind.  There may be true words, but the meaning of those words is shaped according to the lust.  This is how apostasy takes places and scripture says, come out from among them and be separate.  That's what we need to do Darrius.
If the Hillsong and Bethel music is strange fire, which is what MacArthur has said, why doesn't he say something like what I wrote?  Why?  MacArthur is wrong in his answer.  It is a dangerous answer, much like when MacArthur answered on another occasion that it was fine for a saved person to date an unsaved person, not marry, but to date that person.  He is compromising.  He is being pragmatic.  He doesn't want to offend those young people, lose them.  As a result of what he said, they'll still be listening to Hillsong and Bethel.  These young people will not have the same God in their imagination as the God of the Bible, even if they listen to only the "true" lyrics of the songs.

The bottom line really isn't, are the lyrics true?  The bottom line is, is the apparent worship pleasing to God?  Is God pleased by the music, both lyrics and music?  The music is not meaningless.  The music is not amoral.  MacArthur knows this, but he has not stood on this through the years, because he takes a reckless position in his application of scripture.  He will comment on cultural issues, even though they are not given clear or plain statements in scripture.  We must acknowledge that we can understand truth in the real world.  We know what a corrupt word is.  We know what the attire of a harlot is.  We know that it is wrong to gamble, to smoke crack pipes, to hip thrust in our worship, and to abort babies in the womb, because we apply a second term, a minor premise, in our application.  God expects this.  This comes out of the truth of natural law or self-evident truth.  We know if our children are giving us a rebellious look.  It doesn't have to be defined by a verse.  We know when a woman is flirting with a man, even if the Bible doesn't explain this.

MacArthur says things that are true, but he does not explain them, perhaps to try to scare the young man away from Bethel and Hillsong without giving a real answer.  He says, these movements are "powerful."  Really?  How?  What is the power?  It's not the power of the lyrics, except that they are so simple and so emotional that they are attractive to non-thinking people.  The power is in the music, the meewwwzic, Dr. MacArthur.  The music sucks people in because it is addictive, it is drug-like, it titillates the flesh.  Say that.  But no, can't say that because it would empty out a big chunk of the group.  What about the casual, ratty clothes, the stage, the lights, the dancing, the waving arms?  Can we not judge this?  Nope, not in MacArthur's world.

He also says that Hillsong and Bethel "blaspheme the Holy Spirit."  That's a strong statement.  How do they blaspheme the Holy Spirit?  How?  Isn't it because the Holy Spirit is Holy?  The music isn't Holy.  It brings down the Holy Spirit to something common and profane.  It isn't sacred.  Is anything sacred anymore?  Almost nothing is to evangelicals.  They have scorched the earth so that nothing is holy.  We as leaders are required to differentiate between the holy and profane.  Do that.  Please.  I beg you.

MacArthur's vacillation on these sorts of issues will result in the apostasy of his church and others very quickly after he is gone.  He has left his people with nothing to equip them to deal with what Satan and the world system are doing in the world.  He talks about being discerning.  In other words, sort through Bethel and Hillsong and pull out what is good.  Nothing is good there.  He's not being discerning himself.  He's not applying scripture himself.

Grace Community supporters should take seriously what I'm writing.  Don't set up straw man arguments, like you often do to these types of criticisms.  Don't approach this issue with, Brandenburg is a flame thrower, he's not with the doctrines of grace, or he is KJV only.  Those are red herrings.  They are also not giving an accurate representation of me.  Doing that will not stop the slide that will occur with you and your people in the future, because you will not stand for pure worship of God and give biblical instruction on these cultural issues.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Analyzing the Values Yard or Window Sign


I don't know if you see this above sign in your area, but it's everywhere in coastal cities of the Western United States.  In Berkeley and adjacent cities, it's been at about every house or yard for a few years.  Here in Oregon, I saw one on our street in our neighborhood too.  I picked this version as an example, because the one I saw started with "Science Is Real."  They're called "Values Signs," to promote so-called leftist "values."

The list is a mixed bag of bromides that read like a religious creed, starting with "we believe."  Leftists treat it like a creed, including a punishment or shunning of those who violate the precepts.   An irony of "we believe science is real" is how science has anything to do with belief.  If it is real, you know it, not believe it, don't you?  So, in essence the values sign is a doctrinal statement like a church would produce.

The consequences for breaking these decrees are severe in present society.  They say,  to them kindness is everything.  No way.   These are some of the most bitter, angry, unkind people I've ever met, and it's been very consistent.  I've never met people who are so unfriendly, distant, and irritated.  Rarely do people with this sign in their yard show kindness.  They are plain mean in almost every instance.  They are "kind" only if you accept all their list with their definitions with exuberance. What I'm saying is that these are ultimate hypocrites with their standards like the Pharisees of Jesus' day.  

Through the sign, its proponents proclaim their own kindness, their own righteousness in essence, that they "believe" all these things, and I've never seen the righteousness lived or the beliefs followed.  The sign acts as "virtue signaling," a modern way to stand on the street corner and beat on their chest to be seen of others.  It also functions at accosting the people reading it, their chosen targets of these epithets.  It warns away those who disagree that they are not welcome.  Stay away.  Don't talk to me.

I can't cover every point in one post, but they say, science is real.  The postmodernism that buttresses the left doesn't rely on science.  According to postmodernism, which includes critical theory, science arrives at its conclusions through the social forces of power and oppression.  The left doesn't care about science.  It disregards biological sex, except when it's convenient.  It ignores the evidence of life in the mother's womb, seen through the ultrasound and surgery on the unborn baby in the uterus.  It avoids the fossil record with its evidence of kinds and no transitional forms.  It promotes psychological theories like they are science, which are overturned multiple times in a matter of years.  If the scientific definition of a pandemic is 1-3 percent deaths in the country, Covid-19 isn't a pandemic with its .06% deaths, even counting every death with the virus, not because of the virus alone.  According to the CDC, only 6% of Covid-19 deaths don't involve comorbidities, that is, other causes besides Covid-19.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to an atheist at his stamp shop, who said he was scientific, so he couldn't believe the Bible.  Among other points in that conversation, I advocated Adam Smith and his Wealth of Nations as science, and he scoffed that economics wasn't a science, even though economics uses the scientific method to explain economic behavior.  The Bible makes economic statements as fact, such as "the borrower is servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).  This is economic and this is science.  Sure, science is real, but not the so-called science of the virtue signaler.  When he says "science is real," he means that God and the Bible are not.

Do black lives matter?  Yes.  I haven't heard of a poll that asked Americans if black lives mattered to them, but I'm guessing that if that poll were done, it would be something close to 99% plus of white Americans would say, "Yes, black lives matter."  All black lives matter, not just the ones killed by white police officers.  Don't be fooled into thinking that the three words, black lives matter, mean that black lives matter.  BLM is just a political tool.  It's not saving black lives.  It's killing black lives faster than if it did not exist.  And that is scientific, if science were real.  But again, they're not interested in actual science.

They say, no human is illegal, because that is their stand in support of illegal aliens, the legal terminology to refer to a person in the United States who is breaking federal immigration laws.  "Illegal" means "unlawful" or "criminal."  The non-United States citizen is a criminal or an illegal.  The leftist platitude advocates open borders, the elimination of nations, and general lawlessness.  It stands for the destruction of the United States.

Do women possess human rights?  Yes.  Rights apply to every human being.  They come from God.  A purpose of government is to protect the rights of human beings.  Rights are liberties.  Every human being is born with certain rights, that among these are life, liberty, and property.  The point of saying that women's rights are human rights is to eliminate distinctions between men and women. Rather than giving women equal opportunity, the goal of this feminist ideal is equal outcome.  It promotes women in positions of authority against natural law.  If rights come from God and God requires men in authority, then it isn't a right for women to be in authority.  The leftist adage especially emphasizes a woman's "reproductive rights," where she is given the choice to end an unwanted pregnancy with abortion.  The man has no say in the life or death of his child.

If sex is a social construct, then isn't a woman's right also a violation of human rights?  This was the point that J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter author, was attempting to make according to classic feminism, when she was canceled for her insensitivity to transgenders.  She made the controversial following statement earlier this year:  "If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased."  I'm just saying that women's rights can't be human rights if there is no way to distinguish between men and women.

"Love is love" relates obviously to same-sex marriage.  However, again how can there be same sex if sex is a social construct?  Love can't even be love, because love must mean whatever someone wants it to mean.  This is the latest iteration of the world for the left's value sign owner.  Can he/she/it even claim the sign as his/her/its property?  Sign person didn't build it.  Sign person doesn't own it.  And if it causes me psychological harm, then I'm entitled to destroy it, or at least sue for psychological damages, as a means of saving my life.

A world so lacking in certainty is left to proclaim inane statements like "love is love," defining a word with the same word.  Jerry Seinfeld makes light of this inanity in a comedic bit, when he says:

People like to say those things. “It is what it is.” You see, if you repeat a word twice in a sentence, you can say that with a lot of confidence. “Business is business.” “Rules are rules.” “Deal’s a deal.” “When we go in there, as long as we know what’s what and who’s who, whatever happens, happens, and it is what it is.”

People laugh, but they're now laughing at themselves.  If it's funny though, then it's funny, even if it's you that's you who's a joke.

"Kindness is everything" comes from the most intolerant generation in the history of human kind.  They invented ghosting their parents.  They don't want to be challenged for anything they say or do.  They want total tolerance.  This is the "kindness" of which they speak.  They don't mean, be kind to you.  They mean being kind to them, tolerating them, is everything.

The Apostle Paul writes that love "is kind," but he also writes that love "rejoiceth not in iniquity."  John writes in 2 John 1:6, "This is love, that we walk after his commandments."  When 1 Corinthians 13 says, "love is kind," the Greek word for "kind" is chretos, which occurs seven times in the New Testament.  The word pertains to moral goodness and in Romans 2:4, it is translated "goodness," as in "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance."  True kindness is doing what is absolute best for another person, like God does for us.  That would mean rejecting the values of the leftist value sign, which contradicts the goodness of God, the holy, moral nature of the Good God.

Friday, October 09, 2020

The "harvest is plenteous": A Promise People Will Always be Saved in Matthew 9:35-38?

 "The harvest truly is plenteous," Matthew 9:37.  Is this a promise that there will always be people who will be converted when the gospel is preached? Such a view is common among advocates of Keswick theology.  For example, John VanGelderen on the Revival Focus blog wrote:

Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous.” The harvest is plentiful. Not will be, but is—right now. Since this is so, Jesus continued, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” The sending is not just into His fields, but into His harvest! If words have meaning and if language has integrity, then within the sphere of your life and mine, there are people ready to be harvested right now. The Lord of the harvest—the Holy Spirit—has already done His preparatory work to help people become aware of their need. Now they just need the answer—Jesus. They just need to hear the message of the Gospel in power. ... The harvest truly is plentiful. This is more than a promised environment that someday “will be.” This is a present fact. It “is.” Amazing! When you embrace the fact of a ready harvest, it changes everything. ... One of my favorite stories of living according to the ready harvest comes from the life of a good friend of mine ... [a] missionary[.] ... When he began deputation he attended a Netcasters seminar, a course on the Spirit-filled life applied to evangelizing. God brought two truths home to [this person's]  heart: the power of the Holy Spirit though faith and the fact of a ready harvest—a particularly explosive combination. Quickly, he went from ineffective duty-witnessing to effective delight-witnessing.

This particular person who caught the Keswick doctrine now sees huge numbers of people pray the "sinner's prayer" all over the mission field.  While only a small percentage of them manifest a changed life comparable to the people in Acts 2:41-47--as is overwhelmingly the case when the Netcasters techniques are used instead of more careful methods of evangelism that plainly explain repentance--the fact that such large numbers of people can be led to repeat the sinner's prayer is proof that Matthew 9:35-38 is a guarantee that people will always be saved.  Other testimonials from various places similarly validate the Keswick explanation of the "harvest" being "plenteous."  Don't worry about the fact that this view of Matthew 10 would mean that the Lord Jesus Himself and His Apostles lacked the Keswick power since Christ was crucified with the consent of the large majority, while only a small number were truly converted.

Clearly, then, as is regularly preached in Keswick circles taking this view of the passage, if you are not "regularly" seeing people pray the sinner's prayer there is something wrong with you. You can't be right with God if there are not enough people making professions. Even if you search your conscience, ask God to show you your secret faults, and as far as you can tell, you have an upright heart before Him, you must really not be pleasing God because there are not enough people making professions. You clearly don't have enough faith, or you have not received the special Keswick power that you have read about others receiving in easy-to-read and interesting but too often historically inaccurate books on those who got the secret and obtained the special power.  There must be something wrong with you, because the phrase "the harvest truly is plenteous" guarantees lots of professions.

Or does it?

The "white harvest" in context

Matthew 10 is what Christ does and teaches based on Matthew 9:35-38. Christ teaches His disciples Matthew 10, and then He sends them forth to preach in Matthew 11:1.  Matthew 10:1-11:1 records the following (please read the chapter carefully):

10:1   And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. 5   These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. 16   Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. 32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 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. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.


11:1   And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.

So what does the Lord Jesus Himself indicate in Matthew 10 about Matthew 9:35-38's teaching concerning a white harvest?  He sends people out to preach--so we should go out and preach (10:1ff.). He teaches that God takes care of His people (10:8-10), so we should trust in His care.  He tells the Apostles to find a single place to stay for as long as one is in a location instead of floating from house to house (10:11), a good pattern. He commands the Apostles to greet people when they approach a house, and share the peaceful truth with them if they are open, but to shake off the dust from their feet as a sign of horrible coming judgment if they do not listen (10:12-14). Not only individual houses, but whole cities will be full of people who do not listen (10:14), and their judgment will be worse than that of Sodom (10:15).  He teaches His people to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves because they will receive severe persecution (10:16ff.).  In fact, all men will hate them and even family members will deliver them up to death; however, if they persevere in faithfulness to Christ they will be saved (10:21-22).  When persecution arises in one city, flee and go to another one because the work will not be done before the return of Christ (10:22-23). Since Christ Himself is slandered and persecuted, they should expect slander and persecution (10:24-25), but they should not be afraid because in the coming day of judgment all will be made right (10:26), so boldly preach the truth, and do not be afraid, for the Father cares for them (10:27-31). Fearlessly confess Christ before men and He will confess them instead of denying them (10:32-33). The gospel will divide families, but do not forget that at conversion they took up the cross and must continue to follow Christ despite opposition (10:34-39). If people receive them or help them, God will reward those people (10:40-41). Now go out and preach (11:1)!

Notice Christ never states, hints, or implies in Matthew 10 that the fact that He had spoken of a "white harvest" in chapter 9:35-38 means that there will always be people who will be converted.  On the contrary, Christ's explanation includes the warning that in entire cities everyone will reject them and they will need to flee.  He does not tell them, or breathe the slightest hint, that if every single person in a city does not listen it was their fault for not entering into the Higher Life or for not having the special power that makes people listen, or that it was their fault for not believing His (alleged) promise of a "white harvest" that means many people will always believe.  Rather than explaining the Higher Life secret, Christ just tells the Apostles to run away and go to the next city; it was the fault of the people who did not listen, not their fault, that they did receive the gospel. The Lord Jesus tells them over and over again, not "lots of people will always listen," but "persecution, persecution, persecution, persecution."  He tells them to keep going because the Father cares for them and because He will reward them in the last day, but never tells them to keep going because there are always people who are going to listen.

In the parallel passage in Luke 10 Christ also speaks of a "great ... harvest," and then immediately afterwards speaks of entire cities where nobody will listen.  Nobody who read the entire passage honestly would conclude that lots of people will always be saved based on the "white/great harvest" language of Matthew 10 and Luke 10.

So should we tell people what Christ told them is involved in going into a "white harvest," or should we tell them what Keswick theology teaches about the "white harvest," even if that means ignoring the immediate context of the passage?

What about the Old Testament harvest imagery that Christ was alluding to when He spoke of a great or white harvest?  The strong emphasis of the Old Testament harvest imagery in passages such as Micah 4:11-13 is coming judgment.  "The harvest is white/great" means "the harvest is ready to be reaped--judgment is coming!" according to the Old Testament, and according to Matthew's gospel just a few chapters later:  "the harvest is the end of the world" (Matthew 13:39). The judgment of the last days involves both the destruction of the wicked and the deliverance of the righteous, but the nearness of judgment justifying urgency in preaching is the point in Matthew 9:35-38, not that a large number will always respond to the gospel positively.  To ignore the Old Testament imagery of the harvest, and the use of the image elsewhere in Matthew, is to rip the harvest metaphor from its broader context, just as to ignore the verses immediately surrounding the passage rip the metaphor from its immediate context.

The book context of Matthew is also ignored in order to make the "white harvest" language into a promise that people will always listen to the gospel in large numbers:

9:35 and 4:23 mark an inclusion which underlines the importance of reading chaps. 5–7 and 8–9 together and, when linked with the emphasis on the mission of the disciples in what precedes 4:23 (vv. 18–22) and what follows 9:35 (9:36–11:1), provide a chiasmic structure which enhances the significance of the mission perspective for the whole body of the encompassed materials. 9:35–37 function as an introductory piece for the section that runs to 10:42 (11:1), which consists mainly of the second major discourse by Jesus in Matthew, in a set of five marked by a shared concluding formula (here in 11:1[)] ... Mt. 9:35 closely echoes 4:23 ... this time Jesus is explicitly named; ‘all the towns and the villages’ replaces ‘in the whole of Galilee’ (probably with the intention of being more general) ... Jesus’ ministry is freshly summarised/characterised after the expansiveness that has marked chaps. 5–9.


 John Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 2005), 406–407.

In chapter 4:23ff. Christ never says that many people will always repent and believe.  He did have large crowds that wanted to be healed, but He never said that the number who were spiritually saved would always be large--on the contrary, He said: "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14).

So what?

So why does this all matter?  First, it matters because taking out of context Christ's language about a "white harvest" and telling others that many people will always believe the gospel is telling them a lie.  It is telling them what God did not say and claiming His authority for it.  Even if done in sincerity, whenever God's Word is distorted a great evil is perpetrated. Don't lie to people. Tell them God's truth.

Second, it is important because whether someone expects what Keswick theology tells him to expect, or what Christ told him to expect, has a huge impact on how he does ministry.  If an evangelist or church-planter believes the Keswick wresting of Scripture instead of Christ's actual promises he will become very discouraged if he finds out that what Christ said is actually true instead of what he wrongly thought Christ promised in Keswick theology.  He will conclude that something must be wrong with him and he is not pleasing God if there are not lots of people who are born again.  Instead of confiding in the Father's care in the face of virulent opposition, like Christ commanded in Matthew 10, he will pour over his Higher Life literature and try to find out how he is missing the secret power that will finally make many people listen all the time. He may quit the ministry altogether, concluding that he is a failure when he sees the persecution Christ promised instead of the big crowds Christ never promised.  He will probably water down the gospel message and start practicing man-made promotion and marketing techniques in order to get the crowds and numbers of professions he wrongly thinks are promised in Matthew 9:35-38.  He will not evaluate other churches based on whether they are trusting in the Father and boldly preaching the way Christ commanded in Matthew 10, but on whether they are seeing the numbers of professions promised by the Higher Life.  A church that is obeying Matthew 10 but seeing fewer professions will be rejected as a model for ministry or for fellowship in favor of one that is using marketing techniques and seeing more professions, or has "secrets to success" which cannot be discovered by careful exegesis of Scripture.  In short, he will displease God.  Whenever Scripture is twisted lots of problems come about.

So you need to believe what Christ taught about the white harvest--it means judgment is coming.  It means you need to boldly preach what He said from the housetops even when persecution comes--and it will come.  When it comes, trust in the Father's care, and remember that if you confess Christ before men He will confess you before your heavenly Father.  If you are not trusting in the Lord and are not consequently boldly preaching, and as a result you experience no persecution, there is something wrong with you. If lots of people are not listening, that does not prove that something is wrong with you.

Now certainly it is possible that if you are evangelizing to see a church established but people are not listening to you it may be that you are a bad example--if you are soon angry, or are not ruling your family well, or are a drunkard, or are not apt to teach, etc. (1 Timothy 3) then it is true that you are the problem.  But if you have an upright heart before God and are qualified, if you can say "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24), then don't worry about missing out on a secret Higher Life power that supposedly guarantees lots of visible results.  Keep boldly preaching, expect opposition, and trust in the Father's care. Do not change your practices one iota from what you can prove from Scripture based on anything invented by mere men.  Do not model your ministry after people who claim to have special powers but who distort Scripture to teach Keswick and are really just good at man-made marketing.  Fellowship with churches that derive their beliefs and practices from the Bible alone, and get the sweet encouragement that is truly offered in the Word instead of the false expectations and hopes offered by distorted theological errors.

It could please God in His grace to allow much of the seed of the Word to land on good soil, and you could have a big church like the one in Jerusalem shortly after Christ's ascension (Acts 2, 5). Alternatively, you could have a small church like the one in Philadelphia that highly pleased Christ (Revelation 3:7ff.) with not the slightest hint that they were doing something wrong because they were small. Reject the Keswick distortion of the "white harvest" and instead keep boldly preaching and obeying all Scripture in faith and love, in light of the fact that the harvest--judgment--is coming:  "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Revelation 3:11).

-TDR

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Protests and Preaching / Prayer Unequal in California: You Can't Go to Church, But You Can Violate the Law in Leftist Protests

 Yesterday I took the following short video in downtown San Francisco of radical leftist protesters blocking a street--it is slightly over a minute long, and can be seen on YouTube, or you can watch the embedded version below:

People illegally blocking the street for a long time in their cars is fine; there were no fines, no tickets, no penalties of any kind.  The "Poor People's Campaign," a radical left-wing organization whose platform "demands" crazy things like "establish[ing] 100% debt forgiveness for all borrowers earning less than $50,000; up to $50,000 of debt forgiveness for borrowers earning less than $100,000 ... waiv[ing] all interest payments," enabling illegal immigrants to "work and live without fear of arrest, deportation, or detention," "ban[ning] the use of force" by police "against people who are unarmed," so that if a policeman is getting punched in the face by a thug over and over again he just needs to deal with it, and if somehow the criminal is arrested, to "end cash bail" so that he can get back out again and never show up to court, and gobs of other nutty nonsense.

Were there any fines issued for blocking the street and tying up traffic for a substantial period of time? 

No.

Were there any tickets issued? No.

Were the vehicles towed away? No.

Blocking the street to bash Mitch McConnell, to demand a leftist and activist Supreme Court, to demand trillions of dollars in spending, to destroy the free market, to scream leftist slogans, to support socialism, radical Democrats, oppose Republicans, limited government, and the U. S. Constitution, and so on, is perfectly acceptable in the California.  Certainly if the protestors are not wearing masks or are not socially distanced it is also not a problem.

What about going to church in California? Fines--punishment--threats of jail time--the whole force of the law bearing down on law-abiding, peaceful Christians, who do not block streets, scream at people, cause traffic jams, or demand the confiscation of the property of others in the name of socialism--all they want is to be left alone to worship God and obey the Bible. Is that acceptable in California? Nope. No way! Just ask North Valley Baptist Church pastor Jack Trieber; Grace Community Church pastor John MacArthur; and the many other churches suffering persecution in California.

No double standard here.  Just move on.

Oh wait--you can't move on--the leftist crazies are blocking the busy street in downtown, demanding the end of the American republic.

-TDR