Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Really Nice, Gentle, Loving Open Letter, Because That's What I'm Calling It, to Kevin Bouder (sic)

Dear Kevin,

I like reading you, your (sic) a good writer, and by your own admission, you are well read in so many different philosophers, Hegal (sic) being one.  Don't think that anyone is attempting to embarras (sic) anyone with so many sic erat scriptem (sic).  I'm just trying to be sure to be careful with the original writing of this post, as much as I would with a Joel Tetreu (sic) letter.  It's not a good laugh from anyone's buddies at the expense of Lance Ketcham (sic), I know.  No one could say that.  No one thinks that.

No really, I have enjoyed reading you.  You have been helpful to me in your writing about aesthetics, orthopathy, and minor premise application.  I even have enjoyed your attempts at defending fundamentalism.  I like those defenses far better than evangelicalism, conservative evangelicalism, reformed Charismaticism, militant evangelicalism (in case there is such a thing), and new evangelicalism (wishing not to get the wrong title to label whoever I might be talking about).  Even your own attack on those who believe in perfect preservation of Scripture is the fairest that I have read.  I also recognize, truly, that you and I are together in a group of less than 5% of Americans based on how we see the world.  In other words, we are more alike than we are different.

Do you have available a similar kind of criticism of any evangelicals like you have criticized Lance Ketchum? I could appreciate your wordsmith applied to John Piper, instead of what seems like only glowing praise (here and here).  Piper doesn't believe and practice like you.   Ketchum doesn't believe and practice like you.  It seems that perhaps the deciding difference between Piper and Ketchum is that Piper doesn't criticize you at all.  He's only praised you, that I have read (here).  And your guys would be upset about criticism of Piper, diminishing your legendary status with them.  Piper doesn't feel criticized like I know Ketchum does.  Perhaps Piper has invited you to speak at one of his Desiring God conferences.  Or maybe he hasn't.  If he hasn't, does that bother you?  You couldn't set up a display at an FBFI conference and that bothered you.  That's how fundamentalists behave.  It's a kind of theological triage.   Even when you attempt to criticize conservative evangelicals, it comes across like an endorsement (here).  You are really happy that Piper wants to glorify God, when other Charismatics don't, so you commend him on that.  Don't you think that those Charismatics want to glorify God?  They would say so.  And so Piper goes to Passion 2013 and brings in his rap "artists" for ecstatic experiences, but that gets to be glorifying God?  What kind of discernment are you showing there?  Isn't this just mere sentimentalism on your part?  Come on!  It makes me think you're not really serious about what you say you believe.

You say that no one is ridiculing Ketchum in the MBA, but your open letter then defends anyone who might ridicule him.  You would have a hard time stopping the ridicule because you plainly intimate that Ketchum deserves the ridicule.  You haven't ridiculed him---you just think he deserves the ridicule he does get.  With that no ridicule, who needs ridicule?  And then you read ridicule in the comment section.  No one confronts the ridicule there.  Why would they?  You've said that he deserves it, so open season on ridicule.  Some of the ridicule in the comment section comes from those who have little but ridicule at their disposal, because they can't exegete out of a paper bag.  I've always thought ridicule was easy.  I'm even doing a little here (just that I'm admitting it, unlike you).  Lots of your defenders at SharperIron would be very easy to ridicule, including you, but how valuable is ridicule as a weapon for change?

You are up in amazing detail on Ketchum, but you really do not know about MacArthur's Resolved Conference, the music there?  Just play the samples here, Kevin.   It took me 14 seconds to find.  Is it blasphemous?   Maybe that doesn't bother you.  Wow.  You don't know about the music there.  You don't see the jazz music at the Master's College?  Meet Paul Plew, director of the jazz band there.  Enjoy The Master's College big band.   Kevin, there is worshiping God and then there is "worshiping" God and worshiping "God."  Things do mean things.  God doesn't get to be whatever we make Him to be, like He's some kind of gumby God that is flexible to our taste.  It's up to you to how you will react to such things.  It wasn't hard to find.  Here's what I did. I punched in "jazz" and then I punched in "Master's College."  You can do it, if it matters to you. Maybe these resolved worshipers are just more authentic, which is why they sound so real, i.e., just like night club entertainers.  Is the right God required for a true gospel?  Or can He be a God that enjoys our lust?

You talk sometimes like you are serious about God's holiness, but when you try so hard to be so inclusive of people who would not give holiness the time of day, it makes it difficult for me to take you seriously.  I'm trying though.  By the way, some of your biggest supporters will be very angry with what I'm writing here, because they don't have the discernment to know better.  Will you say anything about that?  Or are these your biggest fanboys, and you can't disappoint them?

Alright, I'm done for now, but there is much more that I could say.  I love you in a non-sentimental way.

Kent Brandenburg

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How Would Jesus or Paul Give Evangelicals Their Opportunity to Change?

We don't have to guess at how Jesus or Paul dealt with people teaching error, because we can read it in the Bible.  They had plenty of opportunities and we are left with lots of examples.  Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  "All things" is in fact all things.  And then in the next sentence, he wrote, "Abstain from all appearance of evil."  All forms of evil---those things which would not pass the test, after having proven them---should be abandoned.  He doesn't say, "The essential things" or, "The violations of the fundamentals."

I've read recent discussion (here, here, here, here---I have a question on this discussion that started with an open letter, that is, why does Lance Ketchum get a thorough smack-down and the conservative evangelicals get what sound like verbal massages?  Smack down Lance if he deserves it, but give at least equal treatment if you are a separatist.  He doesn't fellowship with Charismatics. ) about "conversations" with conservative evangelicals about differences, scriptural ones, in doctrine and practice from fundamentalists.  Fundamentalists have been having more of these official and public conversations with evangelicals (here, here, and here).  Another similar conversation recently occurred in a different realm of evangelicalism (here).  I believe there is a parallel with these conversations.  Is "conversation" the scriptural manner for confronting doctrinal and practical differences?  The word "conversation" carries with it a different kind of meaning than confrontation.  Confrontation could be conversation.  However, if someone is disobeying the Bible, confrontation will occur in that conversation.  The nature of the word "conversation" says that confrontation should be avoided.  The word "conversation" itself is loaded as it relates to fundamentalism and evangelicalism, as one characteristic of new evangelicalism famously was "a willingness of evangelical theologians to converse with liberal theologians."  It was a part of their strategy of infiltration (something you'll hear in this discussion).

Jesus didn't just "converse."  Neither did Paul.  Jesus preached and confronted.  If you don't know someone, so you don't know you have anything to confront, then it might start out as a conversation.   Once you hear something unscriptural, then the essence of the conversation will change.  It won't seem as much like a conversation any more.  This doesn't mean shouting.  It doesn't mean personal attack.  It does mean spiritual warfare, the pulling down of strongholds in people's minds, which occurs by using the sword of the Spirit, the spiritual weapon.

We don't see a strategy of Jesus or Paul fellowshiping with those teaching false doctrine, but rather reproving them.  If the one teaching false doctrine or involved in false practice really does want to learn, he will listen to reproof and correction.  The "new evangelicals" said that Billy Graham wasn't compromising in doctrine when he included Roman Catholics and other apostates in his crusades, but was employing a strategy.  They excused it as a strategy.  The "conversation" is a strategy, but is it a biblical strategy?  It isn't.  It is pragmatism.  It is carnal weaponry.  It is a compromise.

James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll joined T. D. Jakes in the Elephant Room in a conversation.  Jakes rejects orthodox Trinitarianism.  Is a public forum the means of confronting violations of scripture?  Should we invite conservative evangelicals to speak in our conference in order to have a conversation?  Shouldn't the doctrinal or practical violation be forsaken or abandoned before we fellowship?  That's the right order, isn't it?  Fellowship is not a means of getting someone to change anywhere in the Bible.   There is an acceptance of the false doctrine when it is welcomed.  It becomes less serious than what it should be.  The message to those watching is that you don't lose out on fellowship with unrepentant disobedience.

I have conversations with evangelicals.  They aren't public.  They aren't in some joint meeting.  They aren't for the purpose of understanding each other better.  There's plenty to read of evangelicals.  We know what they are thinking.  We can learn from them by listening to them.  When we do interact with them, we should be ready to show them from scripture where they are wrong, and how they can get right.  That is the loving thing to do for them.  It obeys the biblical example.  Joining in fellowship with them, sharing in common ministry, says that the differences do not matter.  It ignores the biblical doctrine and practice of separation.

John MacArthur talks about amillennialism.  He talks about Charismaticism.  He talks about how bad those are.  He says they are really, really bad.  He'll write books against them.  And the books he writes are very good.  And then he fellowships with amillennialists and Charismatics.   I guess I'm scolding him.  That's what someone who "converses" might say.    Someone who calls himself a "competent fundamentalist" writes:

If you scold a child for everything, then she will pay no attention when you scold her for the thing that matters. Something like this has happened with the incessant fundamentalist scolding of conservative evangelicals.

I think there is some deniability here with the word "scold" and then "for everything."  What is scolding and what is "for everything"?  Everything a child does wrong should be pointed out.  What are the wrong things a child does that should be let go?  I heard it:  "But I'm not saying that!"  This seems to be pure psychology, much like "conversation."  "It won't work if you scold them for everything!"  Pragmatism.  It's all over the place in fundamentalism.

Paul withstood Peter to the face.  That's how he dealt with a difference with a brother.  He dealt severely with the folks at Corinth.  Are we more strategic or of a better technique than Jesus or Paul?  Do we think we've progressed on their methodology?

The pragmatism of conversation is the following.  Conservative evangelicals are fine with conversation.  When you converse, they feel accepted.  They don't feel any painful shame of separation.  If you confront and separate from conservative evangelicals, they won't like you.  Some conservative evangelicals are very popular.  Those are the ones we talk about, the big guys:  Al Mohler, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, Phil Johnson.  They have a big audience.  They sell books.  If they separated, their audience would shrink.  They would become what they call fundamentalists (because of even fundamentalist separation):  irrelevant.  To remain relevant, to be in the crowd, to fit in, you've got to converse.  You'll be considered smarter, more competent, if you do.

I had a conversation with Albert Mohler at the ETS meeting.  During the question and answer time, I asked him if he could obey 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 and still be a Southern Baptist.  He did not answer the question and no opportunity was given for follow up.  He filibustered me and excused himself.  No one else asked that kind of question.  The fundamentalist in the session had a long, long period of time to do this kind of work, and did not.  He gave Mohler more in the nature of conversation.  Confrontation, yes, kind confrontation was needed.  Conversation is not a biblical method.  It isn't what Jesus or Paul would do.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Faith Is Not A Work

Before I launch into today's obsession (which I've been told must be myself looking to disabuse everyone else in the world of their errors, as I cloister in a pristine perch, breathing pure spiritual air), I refer you to an amazing article by David Mamet, whom some of you might recognize as an excellent wordsmith.  He is an award winning playwrite, who experienced a massive change in worldview just a few years ago.  Read his thoughts on gun ownership, possession, and protection against violence and crime.  Enjoy.

As well, you should listen to a sermon by Gary Webb on guns (available here), the second amendment and the responsibility of Christians.


During brief moments that I'm not obsessing over what other people are doing wrong and not writing on this blog, I memorize one verse a week.  I lead our whole church in memorizing the same verse.  Actually, if I multitask, I can both obsess and perform other tasks at the same time.  I recently have been singing in our choir, and I'll often work on Bible memory then too, so I obsess plus sing plus memorize.  It's tough, but you've got to do whatever you can to maintain your obsessions.  We are memorizing a chunk of Philippians 3 right now, and this last week we memorized v. 9, which reads:

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Notice that saving righteousness, justification, comes "through the faith of Christ."  "Faith of Christ," not "faith in Christ."  "Of," not "in."  That should stick out to anyone, because "of Christ" reads a little odd to us, because it is obviously making a point.  In the Greek text, "faith of Christ" is two Greek words and "Christ" is in the genitive case, hence, "faith of Christ."  "Christ" is not in the locative case, which would translate, "in Christ."  It is genitive, "of Christ."

When you have a genitive case as such, you do have to make a decision on what the genitive is saying.  There are different types of genitives.  By the way, it is actually tough to think about the use of the genitive and obsess over what other people are doing wrong, but it is a finely tuned craft with me, so both can occur simultaneously with regular practice.  (I happen also to be eating French toast right now for those interested in my status.  I'm wearing sweats and a stocking cap and the thought of mouthwash occurred to me while still obsessing, of course).  Is it a genitive of description, an attributive genitive, genitive of apposition, an objective genitive, a subjective genitive, a partitive genitive, a possessive genitive, or some other genitive?

Some non-Calvinists out there are so anti-Calvinistic that they are against faith not being a work.  They fight against what they see as a Calvinistic idea that faith is not a work.  It is part of the anti-Calvinistic scorched earth defense against Calvinism, and a definite failing defense.  My anti-Calvinist friend, please stop this obsession, and not to point out your error, which is my obsession, but faith is not a work.  If faith were a work, then salvation would be by works.  But even without that bit of logic, Scripture teaches that faith is not a work.  Now back to the genitive in Philippians 3:9.

"Of Christ" is not a genitive of description, because it is not a Christ type of faith or kind of faith.  An example of a genitive of description is the phrase, "day of salvation.'  This isn't that.  It is not attributive, because it is not saying that Christ is faithful, such as "man of peace," which could be restated, "peaceful man."  It is not a genitive apposition, because faith is not Christ, that is, Christ is not a restatement of faith.  It is not a subjective genitive, because it is not the faith that Christ Himself is practicing.  It is not an objective genitive, because that idea would normally be expressed by "believing Christ," that is, seeing Christ as the object of the faith.  It is not a partitive genitive, because it is not faith that is a part of Christ.   It is not a possessive genitive, because it is not strictly Christ's, because it is also yours.  So what genitive is it?  It is simply a genitive of source.  Jesus is the source of saving faith.  The faith of Christ, the faith that comes from Christ, is the faith through which we receive the righteousness of God.

What will make this easier is to parallel, which you should, "of the law" with "of Christ."  Paul's own righteousness was "of the law," that is the source of it was his own lawkeeping.  Expositor's Greek Testament says that it is the faith which Christ "kindles, of which He is the author, which, also, He nourishes and maintains."  This is like Galatians 2:20, where Paul writes, "I live by the faith of the Son of God."  It isn't faith "in the Son of God," but faith "of the Son of God."  It is genitive.  Galatians 3:26 translates "faith in Christ" and it uses the preposition en, "in."  When you want "faith in Christ," you can use the locative case and the Greek preposition en (same in Colossians 1:4, 2:5 uses eis for "faith in Christ" as does Acts 24:24).

Faith is a gift, not a work.  This is also backed up by Philippians 1:29.  Read that verse.  Anti-calvinists, you don't help your case by arguing against faith as a gift.  You come across as people who are willing to twist Scripture to fit your predisposition.  Faith is not a work.  We are saved by faith, which is not a work.  Faith itself is not a work and is not of works.  Salvation is by grace alone.

Friday, January 25, 2013

“The just shall live by faith”— A Study of the Relationship of Faith to Salvation in its Justifying, Sanctifying, and Glorifying Fulness, part 1

The post below is the first, Lord willing, of a series I will do on the relationship of faith and salvation.  The study took me a number of months, is part of my Ph. D. dissertation, and was spiritually refreshing and a definite blessing.  I wanted to first note, however, that Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion in our land and has led to the murder of over 55,000,000 children.  Are you doing anything to oppose this terrible evil?  We pass out thousands of copies of the gospel tract here.  You can get this tract personalized for your church by contacting my church here, and then print as many as you wish on 8.5x11 paper on your copy machine.

One reason such a wretched evil is legal is because churches have become confused on the gospel.  If even 50% of the people independent Baptist churches led to repeat a sinner's prayer were truly converted, we would have a radically different country.  This study will help you be clear on the nature of justifying faith.  It will also bless you as you see the role faith has in your sanctification.  I would encourage you to read all the parts that will follow, meditate upon the truths in them, and put them into practice.

Please note that the Accordance Bible software Greek & Hebrew fonts will be used in the study below.  You can get these fonts by downloading a free trial version of Accordance here.

“The just shall live by faith”— 
A Study of the Relationship of Faith to Salvation in its 
Justifying, Sanctifying, and Glorifying Fulness, part 1

Faith is associated in Scripture with the receipt of salvation in all its aspects—justification, progressive sanctification, and ultimate glorification are connected to faith.  The specific character of the connection between faith and salvific blessings is of tremendous value to the understanding of both the character of Christian conversion and Christian growth in grace.

The first reference to belief in the Old Testament—which is also the first reference to reckoning, crediting, or imputation, and the first reference to the adjective righteousness,[i] is Genesis 15:6, the paradigmatic statement concerning the father of faith, Abraham:  “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”[ii]  Genesis 15 records the gospel preached to Abraham (Galatians 3:8), and Moses records that the patriarch’s exercise of faith in that God[iii] who promised the seed of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 15:2-5), the Christ,[iv] who was the instrumentality through which Abraham, although he failed to perfectly keep the law, as is evident in the rest of Genesis, was nonetheless accounted righteous.  Genesis 15:6 thus sets a pattern that by faith alone in God and His Messiah sinful men are counted righteous by Jehovah, whether at the moment of initial conversion as those without any inward righteousness at all, as Abram was when an ungodly idolator in Ur of the Chaldees,[v] or at the highest point of sanctification possible to the people of God on earth. While Abraham’s earthly pilgrimage evidenced that true faith results in a life characterized by faithfulness and obedience, nonetheless the patriarch was judicially righteous before God only through imputed righteousness received by faith alone.

While I do not agree with important portions of the theology of John Calvin, the following material from his Commentary on Genesis, concerning Genesis 15:6, was very helpful:

[T]he believing of which Moses speaks, is not to be restricted to a single clause of the promise here referred to, but embraces the whole; secondly that Abram did not form his estimate of the promised seed from this oracle alone, but also from others, where a special benediction is added. Whence we infer that he did not expect some common or undefined seed, but that in which the world was to be blessed. . . . [T]his promise was not taken by him separately from others. . . . God does not promise to his servant this or the other thing only, as he sometimes grants special benefits to unbelievers, who are without the taste of his paternal love; but he declares, that He will be propitious to him, and confirms him in the confidence of safety, by relying upon His protection and His grace. For he who has God for his inheritance does not exult in fading joy; but, as one already elevated towards heaven, enjoys the solid happiness of eternal life. It is, indeed, to be maintained as an axiom, that all the promises of God, made to the faithful, flow from the free mercy of God, and are evidences of that paternal love, and of that gratuitous adoption, on which their salvation is founded. Therefore, we do not say that Abram was justified because he laid hold on a single word, respecting the offspring to be brought forth, but because he embraced God as his Father. . . . Abram was justified by faith many years after he had been called by God; after he had left his country a voluntary exile, rendering himself a remarkable example of patience and of continence; after he had entirely dedicated himself to sanctity and after he had, by exercising himself in the spiritual and external service of God, aspired to a life almost angelical. It therefore follows, that even to the end of life, we are led towards the eternal kingdom of God by the righteousness of faith. On which point many are too grossly deceived. For they grant, indeed, that the righteousness which is freely bestowed upon sinners and offered to the unworthy is received by faith alone; but they restrict this to a moment of time, so that he who at the first obtained justification by faith, may afterwards be justified by good works. By this method, faith is nothing else than the beginning of righteousness, whereas righteousness itself consists in a continual course of works. But they who thus trifle must be altogether insane. For if the angelical uprightness of Abram faithfully cultivated through so many years, in one uniform course, did not prevent him from fleeing to faith, for the sake of obtaining righteousness; where upon earth besides will such perfection be found, as may stand in God’s sight? Therefore, by a consideration of the time in which this was said to Abram, we certainly gather, that the righteousness of works is not to be substituted for the righteousness of faith, in any such way, that one should perfect what the other has begun; but that holy men are only justified by faith, as long as they live in the world. If any one object, that Abram previously believed God, when he followed Him at His call, and committed himself to His direction and guardianship, the solution is ready; that we are not here told when Abram first began to be justified, or to believe in God; but that in this one place it is declared, or related, how he had been justified through his whole life. For if Moses had spoken thus immediately on Abram’s first vocation, the cavil of which I have spoken would have been more specious; namely, that the righteousness of faith was only initial (so to speak) and not perpetual. But now since after such great progress, he is still said to be justified by faith, it thence easily appears that the saints are justified freely even unto death. I confess, indeed, that after the faithful are born again by the Spirit of God, the method of justifying differs, in some respect, from the former. For God reconciles to himself those who are born only of the flesh, and who are destitute of all good; and since he finds nothing in them except a dreadful mass of evils, he counts them just, by imputation. But those to whom he has imparted the Spirit of holiness and righteousness, he embraces with his gifts. Nevertheless, in order that their good works may please God, it is necessary that these works themselves should be justified by gratuitous imputation; [since] some evil is always [naturally] inherent in them. Meanwhile, however, this is a settled point, that men are justified before God by believing not by working; while they obtain grace by faith, because they are unable to deserve a reward by works. Paul also, in hence contending, that Abram did not merit by works the righteousness which he had received before his circumcision, does not impugn the above doctrine. The argument of Paul is of this kind: The circumcision of Abram was posterior to his justification in the order of time, and therefore could not be its cause, for of necessity the cause precedes its effect. . . . Both arguments are therefore of force; first, that the righteousness of Abram cannot be ascribed to the covenant of the law, because it preceded his circumcision; and, secondly, that the righteousness even of the most perfect characters perpetually consists in faith; since Abram, with all the excellency of his virtues, after his daily and even remarkable service of God, was, nevertheless, justified by faith. For this also is, in the last place, worthy of observation, that what is here related concerning one man, is applicable to all the sons of God. For since he was called the father of the faithful, not without reason; and since further, there is but one method of obtaining salvation; Paul properly teaches, that a real [imputed] and not personal righteousness is in this place described.

As, throughout life, justification is by faith alone, and Genesis 15:6 is an instance of this continuing faith in the patriarch’s life as the perpetual and sole instrumentality for his receipt of legal righteousness, something present in him by Divine grace from the point of his initial conversion in Ur of the Chaldees (cf. Hebrews 11:8-11), so one notes that the Hebrew structure of Genesis 15:6 validates that Abraham’s faith in Jehovah, as expressed in the verse, was not one that arose afresh at that moment, but had been in exercise in the past, from the moment of his conversion, up to that point in time.  The waw + perfect form that begins the verse, N™ImTaRh◊w, “and he believed,” has an “aspect of . . . repeated or durative action,” as opposed to the simple perfect or qatal form, which has an “aspect . . . of a single and instantaneous action” (pg. 375, 119x, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, Paul Joüon & Takamitsu Muraoka, rev. English ed.  Leiden:  Netherlands Institute of Near Eastern Studies, 2005), so that a “longer or constant continuance in a past state is . . . represented by the perfect with ◊w (as a variety of the frequentative perfect with ◊w), in Gn 15:6, 34:5, Nu 21:20, Jos 9:12; 22:3b, Is 22:14, Jer 3:9” (GKC, 112ss).  Continuing belief, arising out of a moment where belief began in the past, is in view in the “and he believed” of Genesis 15:6, as the same sort of aspectual force is conveyed in the “held his peace” (vñîrTjRh◊w) of Genesis 34:5, the “which looketh” (hDpä∂qVvˆn◊w) of Numbers 21:20, the “is mouldy” (Myáîdü;qˆn h™DyDh◊w) of Joshua 9:12, the “have kept” (M›R;t√rAmVv…w) of Joshua 22:3, the “was revealed” (h¶Dl◊gˆn◊w) of Isaiah 22:14, and the “came to pass” (‹hÎyDh◊w) of Jeremiah 3:9;  compare also the “did eat” (…wôlVk`Da◊w) of Genesis 47:22.  Furthermore, since the and he counted it of Genesis 15:6 (Dh¶RbVvVjÅ¥yÅw) continues with waw consecutive the sequence started by the and he believed (N™ImTaRh◊w), and thus continues the aspectual force of the waw + perfect of and he believed, the continued reckoning of the patriarch as righteous from the past point of his conversion until the time of Genesis 15:6, simply through the instrumentality of faith, is also expressed in the verse (compare the continuing defilement and adultery in the P¶Aa◊nI;tÅw . . . P™AnTjR;tÅw . . . ‹hÎyDh◊w of Jeremiah 3:9).

This post is part of the complete study here.


[i] That is, to há∂q∂dVx; however, in continuity with the example of Abraham, Noah is mentioned as a  “just man” (qyöî;dAx vy¶Ia) because Jehovah could say, “for thee have I seen righteous before me” (y™AnDpVl qyñî;dAx yIty¢Ia∂r ñÔKVtOa) earlier (Genesis 6:9; 7:1) in the first references to the qdx word group in the canon, where Noah was the recipient of undeserved and free grace (Genesis 6:8), was accounted a righteous man on that basis, and therefore became a holy man (Genesis 6:9).

[ii] :há∂q∂dVx wäø;l Dh¶RbVvVjÅ¥yÅw h¡DOwhyèA;b N™ImTaRh◊w
kai« e˙pi÷steusen Abram tw◊ˆ qew◊ˆ kai« e˙logi÷sqh aujtw◊ˆ ei˙ß dikaiosu/nhn “And Abram believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness” (LXX).
Credidit Abram Deo, et reputatum est illi ad justitiam.  “Abram believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice.” (Vulgate)
:…wkÎzVl hyEl hAbvAj◊w ywyåd a∂rVmyEmVb NyEmyEh◊w “Then he believed in the Word of the Lord, and he reckoned it to him for merit.” (Targum Onkelos)
:wkzl hyl tbvjtaw yyyd armm Mvb Mrba Nmyyhw “Then Abram believed in the name of the Word of the Lord, and it was reckoned to him for merit.” (Targum Neofiti)
Nylymb hymql jfa ald wkzl hyl hbvjw yyyd armymb atwnmyh hyl twwhw “Then he had faith in the Word of the Lord, and he reckoned it to him for merit, because he did not speak rebellion before him with words.” (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan)

[iii] Consider that the One communicating with Abraham was Jehovah the Son, for He is the One who revealed the Father (John 1:18) in all the Old Testament theophanies.

[iv] John 8:56.  Galatians 3:16 is very clear that Abraham’s faith had respect to the Christ, who was not only the representative, but the embodiment of the promised race—for this cause the people of Israel typed Christ (cf. Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1).

[v] Romans 4:3-5 (Abram was “ungodly” until his conversion by faith in the land of Ur); Joshua 24:2-4; Genesis 15:7; Hebrews 11:8-10; Acts 7:2-4.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

R.I.P. Separation in Fundamentalism

Attending a fundamentalist college, I heard some teaching about separation.  In hindsight, it wasn't anything clear or systematic.  I was never required to read one book on it.  Now I know that there was little written on it anyway, maybe one book that dealt with it in any serious way, written by Ernest Pickering (since then, perhaps two or three others were written). Nobody understood separation when leaving the institution from which I graduated.  It was assumed, however, that you would be a separatist, whatever that might be.  Now I get why it was so ambiguous.  We weren't being taught biblical separation.

Whatever it was that we were taught on separation in classes or garnered from sermons, fundamentalism is a long ways away from what it once was.  Some would say that's good, that fundamentalists were wrong in their separation anyway, and that now they're moving closer to the truth (you know, along with the nation).  Yet there is still the infrastructure of fundamentalism still standing, but the doctrine of separation is disappearing.  Certain activities were once absolutely separating issues.  You couldn't do them and think that men wouldn't separate from you.  That helped keep churches and men pure, for sure.  It put pressure on men to operate in a certain fashion if they didn't want to be marked and avoided.    Those days are clearly over and I want to talk about that.

Let me start with revivalism, really to get that out of the way, because even though revivalism is worse too, it's not moved as much as conventional fundamentalism.  I'm not so familiar with how the revivalist fundamentalist wing practices separation.  Generally, I've not known the revivalists to practice church discipline, and that parallels with not separating either. At one time, I fiddled with the edges of the revivalists, but was never in it or much with it, and only because I didn't know better. This was while I was studying and teaching the Bible and in so doing, also figuring out how to obey the Bible on separation.  The revivalists would say they practice separation, and by that, they mean that they're not in the Southern Baptist Convention and they fellowship with those who only use the King James Version.   Almost any watered down gospel goes, including the exclusion of repentance.  Their view of preaching allows them to use Scripture to preach ideas not found in the passage to which they refer.  Most of it is filled with rank pragmatism that manifests itself in numerous ways.  It would be hard to diagnose how revivalists have gotten worse on separation than what they already were, but the kind of practice, for instance, of Clarence Sexton has made things worse.  The Baptist Friends are a mess.

One group of revivalists that you would think believe in separation are the Van Gelderens out of Menominee Falls.  They, however, are bringing everybody together with their relationship with Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College.  The doctrinal and practical deviations of Paul Chappell and his church now are in fellowship (here and here) with Falls Baptist Church and Baptist College of Ministry.  The common ground between them, as I see it, is the revivalism itself.  It's a coalition built around a particular view of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and sanctification.  You find a contradictory combination of gimmicks and spiritual power.

The steepest drop in separation, a slide away from previous fundamentalist separation, is seen most in traditional fundamentalism, the Bob Jones branch.  Andy Naselli, a favorite on Sharper Iron and praised by fundamentalists with zero criticism that I have seen, let alone separation, has been the personal assistant to D. A. Carson and now is going to teach with John Piper up in Minnesota.   Joel Tetreau, on the board of a few fundamentalist institutions, comments "Straight foward, Andy."  This is what he and others have wanted to see, probably prayed for.  No questions or criticisms.  If anyone did, he would be attacked roundly there.  Recently, Piper made it clear he is a Charismatic (here and here).  We knew he was a continuationist, but he is of the generation that seeks after signs.  That dovetails with the "worship" at Passion 2013.  Naselli goes to join him.  No problem.   If I went to Passion 2013 when I was a fundamentalist college student, I would have been expelled.  Now you get endorsed.

We can enjoy the dispensational writings and studies of Michael Vlach, but does that mean fellowship with him and The Master's College?  I guess so now at Inter-City Baptist Church and Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.  This follows along the line of Northland's recent direction and activities.  Should Bob Jones University and Chuck Swindoll (The Grace Awakening, Promise Keepers) come together?  They do with Chris Anderson's music (here and here).  Who is on the blogroll at SharperIron?  These are promoted.  It would be one thing if it was indicated to be eclectic with a mixture of fundamentalists and non-fundamentalists, but it skews heavily toward those now in evangelicalism.  One teaches at a Southern Baptist seminary.  Another pastors at a Southern Baptist church.  One is Andy Naselli (mentioned above).  Another is an outright evangelical, non-separatist.  One is Evangelical Free, who attacks separatists.  Yet another recently wrote a long review of Les Miserables, promoting it after his attendance at the movie theater.

What I'm saying is that nothing is the same in fundamentalism anymore.  Nothing.  It can't be.  If you say some things are the same, you're wrong.  There is confusion and essentially elimination of the doctrine of separation as once taught by fundamentalism.   If you are a fundamentalist and you say that you're the same, you can't be, because you're a fundamentalist, and that now puts you together with these people. I'm not saying that fundamentalism and fundamentalists were right on separation.  They weren't.  They should read our book on separation, A Pure Church, which teaches what the Bible says about separation, and the only feasible belief and practice on separation.  But separation is no more in fundamentalism, unless separation is something different than what it was 20 years ago.

The only place where biblical separation exists in practice are in churches that teach and practice the whole counsel of God's Word.  These churches are not fundamentalist.  They are Baptist.  They are unaffiliated.  They have plenty of fellowship, including outside of their churches.  They, however, teach and practice what the Bible says about separation.  Fundamentalism was flawed from the start for many reasons.  Separation is not dead.  Well, it is in fundamentalism, rest in peace.  But it is alive and well, but where it belongs, in New Testament churches.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lance Armstrong, Yawn: Or the Parallel Between Him and Fundagelicals

Before you read this post, since I don't come in usually until Monday, please go to Thomas Ross's new website.  Thomas Ross is a rare scholar.  He's far more written than almost anyone already, except for maybe a very few, in all of fundamentalism.  I would put him up against any young (or even older) scholar on the "left" (he's not competing, this is me talking).  He won't get recognition as such because he recommends the King James Version.  Being a Charismatic or hobnobbing with them won't likely hurt you, but the King James Version will.


Lance Armstrong used unsavory means to win seven Tour De France bike races.  He admitted it this week to Oprah with much fanfare across the world.  My question:  who cares how you got there, as long as you won the race, got the victory, received the accolades in the end?  Armstrong gets hammered again and again for this.  They were races.  On bicycles.  In France.  He was a bad example.  He's terrible for kids.  He went outside of the written guidelines to reach his goal.

Evangelicalism and fundamentalism (fundagelicalism) yawn.  The end justifying the means has become a regular feature of fundagelicalism.  The Bible didn't work.  It wasn't practical.  So new measures were invented, that required some "tweaking" to the accompanying theology.  This is the norm in evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  Yawn.

Lance Armstrong was a bike racer.  Churches are the direct domain of God.  Jesus Heads the church.  Pragmatism is rampant in churches all over.  That's not news almost anywhere.  That's only offensive to God.  It really matters to Him.  Churches go outside of the God-ordained means all the time to reach their goals.  People expect it.  If you aren't cheatin', then you must not be tryin'.  Churches have been fudging the biblical model for awhile to get what they want.  If you're not doing this, you must not be very smart.

The Tour De France has its own followers with its own interest group.  There are some very avid bike race fans.  They really keep track of all of it.  And then there are sports fanatics, who know about almost every sport, including cycling.  Lance Armstrong was so good that he transcended the sport.  Obviously he wasn't so good, but he got good by using the inordinate means to get there.  He'll still be very famous, even if he took dope to do it.  The biggest names in the various circles of evangelicalism and fundamentalism go outside of biblical methods to get their results.  The results are what got them their fame.  They got their results using inordinate means, those not ordained by God.  It's all over the place in fundamentalism and evangelicalism.  They don't follow the example of Jesus and the Apostles to attain success.  Not only will they not be punished for this, but they have been and will likely continue to be rewarded.

Are people going to attack the governors of bike racing for catching Armstrong?  Some might.  Probably not many will.  It feels good now to go after him, to strip him of his awards.  People who expose the extra scriptural methods of churches and their leaders will be more unpopular because of it.  In other words, the wrong people get punished and will be punished.

Very few will be upset at how evangelicals and fundamentalists got to where they are.  They won't care.  It doesn't matter to people like even bike racing does.  People will justify it because it isn't important enough for people to get upset about.  And it's easy to get away with.  There's no "governing board."  Those who might govern it are the biggest names, who would just go along for the ride.  And rules for bike racing mean something.  Whether you follow what God says in His Word exactly doesn't mean much anymore, actually very little.  It's not a game.  But it's treated worse than a game.  That's why how people succeeded in evangelicalism and fundamentalism doesn't matter very much.  It's if you won, not how you won.  And if you didn't use biblical means, not only will you not get in trouble, but you'll be praised for it.  Bike racing doesn't like someone using a wrong means of success.  Churches and church leaders praise you and emulate you if you do.

What am I talking about?  If you don't know, I want to explain.  I can't say everything, because it would be a book.  It's widespread.  It's rampant.  It's the norm.  Not cheating is the exception.  It's so normal to go outside the Bible that the exception is now biblical only methodology.  If you are not using some other means than biblical means to attain success, then you are now someone who doesn't know what he's doing.  You need at least a seminar or two or three to straighten you out.

All through Scripture, operating different than what God said, even though not against what He said, is judged by God in a severe way.  He doesn't always kill people for it, but the examples show how bad it is.  These are major events through the Old Testament, and pivotal.   Cain's offering.  Nadab and Abihu's different recipe of incense.  Carrying the ark on a cart.  David's numbering of the people.  Something all of those have in common is that none of them were forbidden in the Bible, but were different than how God said it.  These are Finney's new measures.  In 1 Corinthians 1-2, Paul said the method needed to be what God said to do.  If not, God wouldn't get the glory, which was the point.  All of this says that we judge these innovations in methodology as actual violations.

Churches and their leaders decided that the Bible doesn't "work."  Churches can't train their own pastors, so parachurch colleges are invented.  Going out to evangelize doesn't work, so inviting them in, luring them in is concocted.  Concerts.  Gimmicks.  Big days.  Pop music.  Games.  Carnivals.  Buildings shaped like theaters.  Fun for the youth culture.  A more convenient doctrine and practice.  A huge range of acceptable beliefs and practices.

Lance Armstrong won.  These churches are winning.  Why should anyone complain if it works?

Almost all, if not all, of your leading churches, most well-known churches, have made some, if not many, of the pragmatic changes to be successful.  They've added dope to the biblical methods, since those don't work any more.  They have nothing on Lance Armstrong.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Miscellaneous Notices

I am delighted to announce that, thanks to the help of a brother at Mukwonago Baptist Church, my two websites, the evangelistic page What Must I Do to be Saved? and the Christian page, Theological Compositions, are going to have their resources available at the more user-friendly page  Most of the evangelistic resources are already available there, as is most of the material from Theological Compositions (in the "Advanced Studies" tab at the top).  There are going to be continuing updates and developments at as time goes on, and I will continue to put new material on the older websites as well, so you can continue to access them if you prefer.  However, the new site has an address that is much easier to remember and will look nicer.

Also, if you to be a good steward of your finances, and don't want to be part-owner of a beer company, or Planned Parenthood, etc., the Timothy Plan will do a free moral audit of your mutual funds.  You can contact them here.  I have their High Yield Bond Fund.  I would like to get their mutual funds, but while they filter out all alcohol makers, they do not filter out all businesses that sell alcohol (they wouldn't buy a bar, but a supermarket that sells some alcohol would still not be filtered out.)  I am not aware of any mutual fund that also gets rid of companies like that, but I would want to, based on Habakkuk 2:15.  Since in the bond fund the same filters apply but one is lending money instead of actually owning the company, I believe the Bond Fund is justifiable.

Finally, you can get free software that sends all the websites you visit to one or two other people here.  The people claim to be Christians, but I don't know if they are or not, but the product is good in any case.  I have both their free accountability software and a filter on our computers.  "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1 Tim 4:16).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ecstasy Rampant in Evangelicalism (and Fundamentalism)

Over a year ago, I did a two part series in which I said that evangelicalism and fundamentalism were teeming with ecstatic and demonic influence (part one, part two).  This was a major issue at Corinth, so it's been around for a long time.  After all, we do wrestle against spiritual wickedness.  Confusing spirituality is a big tool of Satan.  He wants people to think they're doing fine when they're not.  They're the ones who will say "Lord, Lord" on judgment day (Matthew 7:21-23).

John Piper was recently down speaking at Passion 2013 (you can watch the "worship" time here, definite disclaimer for the night club, but it is the worship of Passion 2013).  Piper is a big favorite of evangelicals and  many fundamentalists.  Mark Dever, a real fav of fundamentalists as well, has pushed for men like Lecrae, the rapper here who is leading the "worship").  Does this really seem legitimate to seriously professing believers?  Thousands went and said it was a real spiritual time for them.  The people at Corinth also saw their ecstasy as spiritual.  And it is spiritual in one way.  Demonic.  It isn't the Holy Spirit, that is clear.  You can judge that.  Don't be afraid to judge that.

If there is any doubt about whether Piper is a Charismatic, watch the following.  It will clear it up.  He doesn't understand 1 Corinthians, for sure.

Monday, January 14, 2013

David's Killer Census as a Paradigm for Applying Scripture

You know the passage that says taking a census is wrong.  Remember?  Right.  Nothing in the Bible says taking a census is wrong.  Yet David was wrong for taking a census in 1 Chronicles 21.  God killed 70,000 in Israel with pestilence because of David's census taking.   Other census were taken without such a punishment.  Other passages even allow for a census, and yet David's census was wrong.  How was he supposed to know?  We know it was a sin (vv. 1, 8, 17).  But what passage did he violate?  None.  Again, how was he supposed to know?

David was supposed to apply Scripture.  His census wasn't living by faith.  Chapters 18-20 recount the military victories that God gave David, showing God's protection in fulfillment of the Davidic covenant (1 Chronicles 17).  God defeated the foreign nations as a part of His promise.  And then David numbers the people (chapter 21).   We don't know the particulars of how David wasn't living by faith---it was either that he was taking undeserved credit, fearful for the future, or both.  It is assumed that David was to have known this was wrong.  We are responsible for applying Scripture.  We are to know that certain actions are not acting in faith or are acting in faith, even though the Bible doesn't say one way or another.

Was punishing David for something that the Bible doesn't and didn't forbid "exceeding that which is written"?   Was it adding to Scripture, thereby subtracting from the effectiveness of the Bible in David's life?  Obviously not.  The passage provides a paradigm for applying truth.  God has revealed truth.  He expects us to understand it and apply it.  Would God have killed 70,000 Israelites if it wasn't something that He knew David could apply?  Again, of course not.

One passage used by evangelicals to justify their lack of application is 1 Corinthians 4:6, where they will quote from the New American Standard Version, "learn not to exceed what is written," which the King James translates, "not to think of men above that which is written." The text there gives one particular point about our evaluation of men, making sure not to judge leaders outside of a scriptural evaluation.  There we go.  But that has become a proof text for only judging where the Bible has something specifically to say about it.  What occurs, of course, is that passage is ironically applied only in areas that fit favorably with an evangelical's church growth methods.

You can't judge music, because there is no play button in the Bible to tell us what is right music, so if you judge music you are "exceeding what is written."  If you judge art, you are exceeding what is written.  If you judge dress, you are exceeding what is written.  And so on.  But what was written about NOT numbering the people?  Nothing.  And yet God killed 70,000 people.  Obviously God wanted David to judge in an area about which nothing was written.  He was required to apply Scripture, to apply "living by faith" and "trusting God" to not numbering the people.

God won't usually kill 70,000 for not applying Scripture, but He does expect us to apply it.  We are responsible to do so, and we are not exceeding Scripture to do so.  We will give an account for applying the truths and the principles of Scripture.  We can know what they are.  We do know what they are.  We can play dumb.  We can say that Scripture is silent.  We can say that an application will exceed what is written.  But we really can know and do know and are responsible for the application.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Teaching and Preaching Position

Dear Brethren,

As I am getting to the end of my Ph. D. studies, I am looking for the Lord's direction about a place where I can teach the Word of God at a college and/or seminary level, as well as preach, in a more full-time way than I am currently doing as an adjunct professor.  My main concern, by far, is that I am in a church where I can feel comfortable teaching and preaching all the truth without compromise--that is more important than, say, secondary issues such as whether I can get financially compensated.

I have posted my resume below;  I have removed my home address and listed my church address instead, as I do not really wish to have my personal information everywhere on the Internet.  You can get in touch with me through my church if you wish to discuss anything concerning this matter.

Even if, as a reader of this blog, you have nothing to offer concerning a church or a position, the resume below may give you a somewhat better idea of who it is that is posting on What is Truth every Friday.

I have also posted below the resume a doctrinal and practical position statement.

Thomas D. Ross
Mukwonago Baptist Church
1610 Honeywell Road
Mukwonago, WI 53149
(262) 363-4197


Born into a non-Christian home
Born again in October 1995 during freshman year at college shortly before sixteenth birthday (a detailed testimony of conversion is available on my website), and subsequently baptized into the Faith Baptist Church of Great Barrington, MA.  Expelled from home by non-Christian family because of Christian convictions while a student at U. C. Berkeley.
Called to preach and teach the Word of God in full-time ministry in 1998.
Married in 2007 to Heather (Roberts) Ross


Ph. D. Great Plains Baptist Divinity School (est. 2013—dissertation almost complete)
Th. M. Anchor Baptist Theological Seminary (2009)
M. Div. Great Plains Baptist Divinity School (2007)
M. A. Fairhaven Baptist College (2001)
B. A. University of California, Berkeley (1999)
A. A. Simon’s Rock College of Bard (1997)

     While seeking for theological degrees from institutions run by Baptist churches, since the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15), in connection with my degree programs, courses were also taken and studies pursued at the doctoral and master’s level at the following institutions:  Westminster Seminary, Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary, Baptist Bible Seminary, Emmanuel Baptist Theological Seminary, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and the Institute of Theological Studies.  Courses at an undergraduate level were also taken at Lehigh Valley Baptist Bible Institute, Bethel Baptist Bible Institute, Laerhaus Judaica, Valparasio University, and City College of San Francisco.


September 2007-present:[1]

Professor, Baptist College of Ministry and Theological Seminary, a ministry of Falls Baptist Church, Menomonee Falls, WI.  Adjunct professor teaching post-graduate, graduate, and undergraduate courses in Koiné Greek and classical Hebrew.  Starting in 2012, also a professor at the Mukwonago Baptist Bible Institute, a ministry of Mukwonago Baptist Church, teaching theological studies.

July 2006-present:

Member, Mukwonago Baptist Church, serving the Lord through preaching in church services and church ministries such as the Mukwonago Baptist Academy, teaching in settings including Bible Institute, Sunday School, Junior Church, Vacation Bible School, and Mukwonago Baptist Academy, evangelizing and making disciples through committed and regular house-to-house witnessing, tract distribution, evangelistic Bible studies, street preaching, youth ministry, hospitality in the home, personal contacts, and as many other ways of outreach as possible.  Helping to train new converts to observe “all things whatsoever” Christ has commanded and continuing that ministry with church members.  Engaging in writing ministry, completing the book Heaven Only for the Baptized?  The Gospel of Christ vs. Pardon through Baptism (El Sobrante, CA: Pillar & Ground, 2013; Kindle version, 2011) and a large number of pamphlets and tracts available at  Also serving in vocal and instrumental music ministry and participating in a variety of other church functions, from serving on the membership committee to church work days.

August, 2003-June, 2006:

Teacher, Bethel Christian Academy, El Sobrante, CA.  Taught, in different years, 9th-12th English, 12th Physics, 11th Chemistry, 10th Biology, 7th-9th General Science, 7th-12th Bible, 9th-10th Math, 5th Math, 7th-12th Physical Education.  Also substituted for 3rd-8th grades as needed & provided preparation for standardized testing (S. A. T. & A. C. T.).

December 2001-July 2006:
Member,  Bethel Baptist Church.  Received training for the ministry through close personal work with Pastor Kent Brandenburg and Assistant Pastor David Sutton.  Engaged in preaching, teaching, discipleship, speaking engagements at various locations including public debates with members of the Church of Christ denomination, visitation, camp ministry, nursing home ministry, and music ministry.  Edited the books Thou Shalt Keep Them: A Biblical Theology of the Perfect Preservation of Scripture, Sound Music of Sounding Brass? and Fashion Statement: A Study of Biblical Apparel with Kent Brandenburg.  Licensed as a minister by Bethel Baptist Church.

September 2001-May 2003:

Member, Lehigh Valley Baptist Church, Emmaus, PA, while attending seminary.  Served in various ministry capacities, as also previously at Fairhaven Baptist Church in Chesterton, IN, and before that time at Heritage Baptist Church in Oakland, CA, Calvary Baptist Church in San Francisco, CA, and Faith Baptist Church in Great Barrington, MA.



*The Doctrine of Sanctification:  An Exegetical and Elenctic Examination, with Application, in Historic Baptist Perspective (Ph. D. diss., forthcoming; est. 1,000 pgs)

*Evangelical Modernism: A Comparison of Scriptural or Fundamentalist Analysis of the Synoptic Gospels with that of the Majority of Modern Evangelicalism

*The Longevity of the New Testament Autographs

*The Canonicity of the Received Bible Established From Baptist Confessions

*Are Accurate Copies and Translations of Scripture Inspired? A Study of 2 Timothy 3:16

*The Debate over the Inspiration of the Hebrew Vowel Points

*Evidences for the Inspiration of the Hebrew Vowel Points

*An Analysis of All the Variations Between the Textus Receptus and the Westcott-Hort Greek text in Matthew 1-10, Demonstrating the Theological and Literary Inferiority of the Critical Text to the Textus Receptus

*Thou Shalt Keep Them: A Biblical Theology of the Perfect Preservation of Scripture (ed. Thomas Ross; gen. ed. Kent Brandenburg)

*The Prologue to the Canonical Epistles by Jerome: Ancient Testimony to 1 John 5:7

*“They Pierced My Hands and My Feet”: the KJV reading of Psalm 22:16

*Is “God forbid” a Mistranslation in the KJV?

*The Worship of the Son of God in Scripture and the Earliest Christianity

*Objections to the Trinity Answered

*Did the Trinity come from Paganism?

*Spirit Baptism—The Historic Baptist View Expounded and Defended

*2 Corinthians 13:14, the “Communion of the Holy Ghost,” and the Related Question of the Legitimacy of Prayer Addressed Directly to the Person of the Holy Spirit

*A Study of the Biblical Doctrine of Abiding in Christ

*A Study of Ephesians 5:18: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

*“As ye have received Christ . . . so walk ye in Him”—a proof text for sanctification by faith alone?

*An Exposition Of Romans 9, Including A Demonstration That The Chapter Does Not Teach Calvinism

*A Word Study Demonstrating the Meaning of the Word “Church,” Ekklesia, and consequently the Nature of the Church as a Local Assembly only, not a Universal, Invisible Entity

*The Great Commission in Scripture and History

*Thoughts On the Bride of Christ

*The Biblical Mandate for House to House Evangelism

*Images of the Church in 1 Clement

*What are “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs”?

*A Critique of Rosenthal’s Pre-Wrath Rapture Theory

*Are there Seven Church Ages in Revelation 2-3?

*Were the Reformers Heretics? Their Theology of Baptism and Other Topics Analyzed

*Considerations on Revival in American History

*Psalm-Singing and the English Particular Baptists to 1700

*Cosmetics in Scripture and History

*Children of Obedient Parents Turning Out For God—Certainty or Mere Possibility?

*An Examination of Proverbs 22:6 and Related Texts

*The Bible and Divorce

*Isaiah 47 and the Biblical Length of Apparel

*Deuteronomy 22:5 and Gender Distinct Clothing

*Biblical Considerations on the Length of Clothing

*The Captain of the Hosts of the Lord: Joshua 5:13-6:2

*Syllabus for 2nd Year Greek

*Syntax, Exegetical, and Devotional Questions on Romans

Popular Level and Controversial:

*Heaven Only For the Baptized? The Gospel of Christ vs. Pardon Through Baptism

*Romans 10:9-14: Sinner’s Prayers for Salvation?

*Luke 23:43 and the Comma—Was the Thief in Paradise that Day?

*Do The Lost Really Suffer Torment Forever? A Study of the Greek words “for ever” and “everlasting/eternal.”

*Notes on Anti-Eternal Torment, Pro-Annihilationism “Proof Texts”

*A Declaration of My Own Position on the Inspiration and Preservation of Holy Scripture

*Is the Modern Critical Text of the New Testament Inerrant, like the Textus Receptus is Inerrant? With A Consideration of the Question of Which Edition of the Textus Receptus is Perfect

*Repentance Defended Against Antinomian Heresy: A Brief Defense of the Indubitable Biblical Fact and Historic Baptist Doctrine that Repentance is a Change of Mind that Always Results in a Change of Action

*Psalm 51:11 and Eternal Security

*Ezekiel 18 and Eternal Security

*The Book of Life and Eternal Security

*A Brief Statement on what the Bible Teaches on the Five Points of Calvinism (TULIP)

*A Brief Proof of the Invalidity of all non-Baptist Baptism

*Acts 20:7 and worship on the Lord’s Day

*1 Corinthians 16:2 and Church on the Lord’s Day

*Colossians 2:16-17 and the Sabbath

*Hebrews 4 and the Sabbath

*Why Sing the Psalms?

*Questions for Members of Reformed Denominations

*Notes on the Bible and Politics: An Exposition of 1 Samuel 8

*A Forgotten Abomination?

*A Chronology of the Books of the New Testament

*Light from the Old Testament on the Blood

*A Thematic Division of the Book of Proverbs


*Do You Know You Have Eternal Life?

*My Journey From Unbelief to the Truth: How I Became a Christian

*Evangelistic Bible Study #1: What Is The Bible?

*Evangelistic Bible Study #2: Who is God?

*Evangelistic Bible Study #3: What Does God Want From Me?

*Evangelistic Bible Study #4: How Can God Save Sinners?

*Evangelistic Bible Study #5: How Do I Receive The Gospel?

*Evangelistic Bible Study #6: The Christian: Security in Christ and Assurance of Salvation

*Evangelistic Bible Study #7: The Church of Jesus Christ

*The Book of Daniel: Proof that the Bible is the Word of God

*Prepare for Judgment

*The Passion of the Christ

*Bible Truths For Catholic Friends

*Bible Truths for Lutheran Friends

*The Truth of Salvation for Presbyterian and Reformed Friends

*A Letter to a Jewish Friend

*The Testimony of the Quran to the Bible

*Are You Worshipping Jehovah?

*Truth for Gay Friends

*Do You Want to Worship God? A Study for Evangelicals

*The Role of Government: Has God Spoken?

*God’s View of Abortion


Regularly reads the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament as part of his devotional study; has read through the Greek New Testament, the Hebrew Torah, and the Aramaic portions of Scripture;  can translate at sight large portions of the Greek NT and much of the Hebrew OT.

Entered college at fifteen, and in association with collegiate studies was a National Merit Scholar, Martin Naumann Scholar, and Intercollegiate Studies Institute member and award winner.  Also was a member of the Center for Talented Youth, associated with Johns Hopkins University, after scoring, in seventh grade, higher than the average high school senior on the S. A. T.  Also was a finalist in the Leslie Sander Essay Contest and has published poetry with the National Poetry Competition.  Material has also been published in the community editorials of the Wall Street Journal and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Passionate both for purity of Biblical doctrine and for holy living among the saints.  In preaching, teaching, and other avenues of ministry, recognizes the tremendous importance of not only filling the mind with truth, but filling the heart with burning and passionate love and zeal for the glory of God, love for the brethren, and love for the souls of the lost.  Intellectual knowledge without experiential fellowship with the Triune God through Jesus Christ is in vain.



    Pastor Rhon Roberts/ Mukwonago Baptist Church/ 1610 Honeywell Road/ Mukwonago, WI 53149/ (262) 363-1731

Pastor Kent Brandenburg/ Bethel Baptist Church and Christian Academy/ 4905 Appian Way/ El Sobrante, CA 94803/ (510) 223-9550

Pastor David Sutton/ Bethel Baptist Church and Christian Academy/ 4905 Appian Way/ El Sobrante, CA 94803/ (510) 223-9550

Dr. John Rinehart/Baptist College of Ministry and Theological Seminary/N69 W12703 Appleton Avenue/Menomonee Falls, WI 53051/ (262) 251-7051

Dr. James A. Qurollo/ Central Baptist Church/ 710 James Lee Rd./ Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547/ (850) 862-0615

A Brief Statement of My Views on Various Issues
Controverted Among Independent Baptists

The purpose of this statement is to clarify, with relative brevity, where I stand on a number of issues that are controversial among modern independent Baptists.  I will happily answer any questions, make any clarifications desired, and provide Scriptural support for my positions, upon being questioned personally.  On many of these issues, a more detailed exposition of what I believe is the Scriptural position, with my reasons for my conclusion, may be obtained on my website,

1.) In my Bibliology, I believe that the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words of the Old and New Testament Textus Receptus that underlie the English Authorized Version constitute the perfectly preserved Word of God.  I believe that English speaking churches should only use the King James Bible.  I do not criticize, but uphold, the KJV as a translation and as God’s Word intact in the English language.  I reject all theories of Ruckmanism, advanced revelation in the English language, inspiration of the KJV translators, and the like.  I believe that the study of the original languages of the Bible is valuable and profitable.  I reject all unbelieving higher criticism and textual criticism of the Bible.

2.) In my Theology proper, Trinitarianism, Christology, and Pneumatology, I hold to the classical view of God and of the Trinity as summarized in historic Christian creedal statements such as the Nicene, Chalcedonian, and Athanasian creeds.  God is one in essence, yet in three distinct and eternal Persons, sharing all the Divine attributes, and distinguished ontologically only in that the Son is eternally begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son.  Jesus Christ, in His incarnation, united to Himself a true human nature, so that He is now, and forever will be, one Person with two distinct natures, Divine and human.  I accept the historic Baptist doctrine of Spirit baptism, recognizing that it was a first century phenomenon synonymous with Christ’s sending of the Spirit as Comforter.  The sign gifts ceased in the first century, and the allegedly restored charismatic and Pentecostal “gifts” are not of God.

3.) In my Anthropology, I believe that Adam was the first man, and all men sinned in him and were reckoned sinners by the immediate imputation of his sin and by the mediate receipt of a sinful nature through their parents.  Scripture teaches the recent creation of the human race, and evolution must be rejected.  The earth was created recently, not millions of years ago, the days of creation were literal, 24-hour periods with no gaps between them, there was no death before the Fall, and the Flood in Noah’s day was universal, not local.  I also believe that man is body, soul, and spirit, and soul and spirit are not absolutely synonymous within the spiritual side of human nature, so that I confess a moderate, but not an extreme, trichotomy.  Gender roles such as male headship in family, church, and society, are part of the created order, not a societal construct, so women are not to rule over their husbands at home nor lead the church as pastors or deacons.

4.) In my Hamartiology and Soteriology, I believe that a man is justified by repentant faith alone.  I reject both Calvinism and Arminianism, believing that man is pervasively and terribly depraved as a result of the Fall and unable to save himself, but God gives prevenient grace to enable unconverted men to respond positively to His grace.  Personal election is based upon Divine foreknowledge.  The Atonement is penal, substitutionary, and unlimited.  Christ’s literal blood-shedding was as necessary as His death for man’s salvation.  Irresistible grace is not a Biblical doctrine.  God will preserve His saints to the end, so that they are eternally secure.  Repentance is turning to God from sin, and always results in a change of life.  While believers can backslide, no true believer can ever be eternally lost or live in perpetual sin.  All believers are not progressively sanctified to the same extent, nor is sanctification automatic, but it is nonetheless certain, as is glorification.

5.) In my Ecclesiology, I recognize that the church is a local, visible assembly of immersed believers.  While all believers will one day assemble together in the New Jerusalem, the idea that all believers on earth are a universal, invisible church is false.  The local, visible church is Christ’s body.  Israel had the special closeness of the bride/wife relationship to God in the Old Testament, and the church does in the New Testament, while all in the New Jerusalem—the dwelling of all the redeemed of all dispensations—will enjoy that special closeness in the eternal state.  Both baptism and the Lord’s Supper are church ordinances.  Baptism requires a Scriptural subject, a believer;  a Scriptural purpose, to show forth Christ’s death, burial and resurrection;  a Scriptural mode, immersion;  and a Scriptural authority, a New Testament Baptist church—not a Catholic or Protestant religious organization.  The Lord’s Supper is likewise a church ordinance, and it is consequently a memorial celebrated by each of Christ’s churches for their own members.  Grape juice, not alcoholic wine, should be used at the Lord’s Supper, as total abstinence from alcohol is to be practiced by Christians.  Churches should practice congregational government underneath the leadership of a pastor or pastors, rather than rule by a deacon board or board of ruling and teaching elders.  The idea of a head pastor is Scriptural.  Churches that currently are called “Baptist” have existed in every century since Christ started His church during His earthly ministry and before Pentecost.  While there has been a real succession of Baptist churches from the days of Christ, their Founder, until today, each church is not obligated to trace its own succession link-by-link to prove that it is one of Christ’s true churches.  Since the local, visible church is the pillar and ground of the truth for this age, conventions, associations, boards, and all parachurch institutions are unnecessary.

6.) In my Eschatology, I believe in a pretribulational and premillenial Rapture.  I believe that prophecy is to be interpreted literally, and therefore accept dispensational distinctions and reject covenant theology.  The one-world “church” of Revelation 17 is centered in Rome, and modern Roman Catholicism is a partial fulfillment of the future one-world harlot “church.”  Israel and the church are distinct entities.  The lake of fire is a place where all the lost will suffer literal and conscious torment in fire and brimstone for all eternity.

7.) Concerning various controverted personal and ecclesiastical practices:
I believe that every Christian should be involved in aggressively seeking to reach every single person in his community with the gospel through practices such as house to house evangelism and literature distribution, while also supporting church planters to reach the rest of the world.  People who are saved, baptized, and faithfully serving as members of New Testament Baptist churches should be counted as converts, if one is going to count converts.  Those who merely repeat a sinner’s prayer and never give any evidence of a desire to serve the Lord should not be counted as converts.  God saves sinners who repent and believe in Christ, rather than all who say the sinner’s prayer or ask Jesus to come into their hearts.  Churches should follow the evangelistic methodology of the book of Acts and seek to boldly preach the gospel to everyone, rather than following the evangelistic methodology of the “seeker-sensitive” or “purpose-driven” or “emerging” movements by employing promotion and marketing techniques or worldliness to attract the lost.
I believe that in church and everywhere else Christians should reject all worldly, fleshly, and devilish music and listen only to sacred Christian music or classical music.  All jazz, blues, country-western, easy-listening, rock, and rap music is worldly, fleshly, and devilish.  The very highest standard of sacred music should be tenaciously held to and all of what is called Contemporary Christian Music rejected.  Churches should worship the Lord with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, rather than with songs that contain little Scriptural content.
I believe that Scripture teaches both modesty and gender distinction.  Clothing that does not cover at least to the knee is nakedness.  Modesty is more than simply not being naked.  In the Bible, clothing normally covers the entire body to the foot, although when necessary men were allowed to gird up their loins.  Wearing the clothing that pertains to the other gender is an abomination to God.  Pants are men’s apparel, while skirts and dresses are ladies’ apparel.  Men should have short hair and women should have long hair.  While the heart is more important than the outward appearance, God wants the entire believer, inwardly and outwardly, to be consecrated to Himself.
I believe that God hates all divorce, and that remarriage while one’s spouse is alive is adultery.  Pastors and other church leaders should not be divorced or remarried, nor should they be in the ministry if they cannot rule their own house and have ungodly children.  Courtship under parental authority rather than dating is the Scriptural pattern for obtaining one’s life’s partner.
I believe that part of a faithful and balanced ministry of preaching and teaching the whole Word of God in the church is pointed and specific warnings about false teachers and false teachings.  While providing the flock a steady diet of the exposited Word, the church must at times identify and reprove false teachers by name to protect the saints of God.  Every Baptist church should practice a militant separation from the world and zealous and whole-hearted separation unto God, as well as a consistent and clear separation from all unconverted false teachers, disobedient brethren, and ecclesiastical compromise, so that a separatist stance, rather than a neo-evangelical position, is maintained.

[1] During this entire period secular employment was also engaged in with USA Security Associates and the Securitas Corporation.  Further information will happily be provided upon request.

[2] Many of these works are available at  Publications are listed in the general order in which they may be found on the website.  Weekly contributions are also made at the “What is Truth?” blog (