Monday, April 30, 2018

Darkness Hating Light Practices a Kind of Separation Different Than What God Requires

Separation occurs for many reasons. Thirteen men pick up ten players to run full court basketball with three left on the sidelines.  Susie is socially awkward so she isn't invited to the party.  No one asks Dan to sign their yearbook.  Forty seven play, but only five finalists are chosen for the concerto competition.  Less than one percent of applicants are accepted at Stanford.  Jesus said darkness hates light because its deeds are evil.  On the other hand, Paul wrote, have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  One of these is the doctrine of biblical separation.

Very often today hating light serves as separation within evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  It's a different kind of separation, but it is separation.  Darkness that hates light, I've found, separates too, but it's different than the doctrine of biblical separation.  Darkness is repelled by light, the movement being away from light.  Light must be scripture.

Biblical separation starts with pointing something out, attempting to change or reconcile, before separation occurs.  It's pursuing something productive.  It might not end well, but it's a process required in scripture.

Hating light has no obligation to light.  Darkness is self indulgent.  Light is a problem for it.  It has no productive interest for the light.  At worst, it wishes light to disappear and at best it retreats.

Even though hating light separates darkness from light, it doesn't take the same biblical proceeding.  It takes a course antithetical to biblical separation.  I've witnessed one of several directions in its flight from light.

It ignores -- the equivalent of turning to avoid painful squinting.  Light doesn't do this.  Darkness does.  I've called it the cold shoulder treatment.  No form of biblical separation jumps to ignorance.  Darkness doesn't want anything to do with light, so it ignores light.

The hating of light also manifests in some kind of destruction of light. It's not welcoming light.  It wants light to disappear or become part of darkness.

You can know light by what it does to darkness.  When light shines on light, it's accepted.  When it shines on darkness, it's not. 

My experience with evangelicalism completely and most of fundamentalism has been something in the realm of darkness as it relates to separation.  I confront with light and the reaction is like that of darkness, not light.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Evan Roberts & the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905: Visions, Voices, and Hysteria, Part 5 of 22

In 1906, the same year he went to the Keswick Convention and was invited to give a special address,[1] Roberts moved into the Penn-Lewis household after Jessie Penn-Lewis had visions about him,[2] leaving behind “the confusion of South Wales where there were disorderly meetings at Carmarthen, dancing and barking at Llannon, a prophesying curate at Llanelly, [and] a persuasive woman healer in Swansea.”[3]  By 1907 there were “many instances . . . [of] prostrations and trance visions and such manifestations as guiding lights and angelic helps.”[4]  Indeed, Roberts experienced almost innumerable visitations from the spirit world and made “many statements about special guidance by vision and voices”[5] both before, during, and after the Welsh holiness revival.  “[H]e claims as his guide . . . the inner voice . . . the Spirit tells him when to speak and when to be silent, to whom he may grant an audience and whom he must refuse, what places to visit and the places he must avoid.”[6]  Thus, Roberts was directed by visions of Satan and sundry other spiritual beings concerning where he should go to hold meetings.[7]  In one often-mentioned vision[8] he claimed he “was taken up into a great expanse without time or space—it was communion with God. Before this it was a far-off God that I had. . . . I was frightened that night . . . [s]o great was my shivering that I rocked the bed and my brother awakened [and] took hold of me, thinking I was ill.  After that I was awakened every night a little after one” to experience similar communion, although without the same fear, “for about four hours. . . . About five I was allowed to sleep[.]”[9]   Frequently his visions “caused his body to shake.”[10]  He had a “vision . . . [of] a kind of arm stretching out from the moon in the direction of earth,”[11] “many visions about the sufferings of Jesus,”[12] a “terrifying vision of hell,”[13] a “vision . . . [of] a great conflict between Satan and the Archangel of God,”[14] a “vision of a white horse and of a key which opened the Gate of Life,”[15] a vision of “a person dressed in white, with a glittering sword in his hand, striking the devil until he fled and vanished,”[16] various “visions of the devil and of the blessed Saviour,”[17] and “dreams . . . such as that of Satan’s face sneering at him in the midst of some garden shrubs”[18]—although Satan not only sneered at Roberts in gardens in dreams, but also appeared while Roberts was walking in a garden hedge, until a glorious figure in white—the Church—struck Satan and made him disappear.[19]  Thus, “Evan Roberts . . . speaks of God and the devil with the assurance not only of one who has had communication with them, but who has actually seen them.  The devil grins at him in his garden, he goes back into the house, and when he returns Jesus Christ is there smiling at him.”[20]
After seeing a book called The Gospel in Art, he “experienced a new series of visions, each of which was centered upon biblical scenes,” although the pictures in the book “bore a striking resemblance to his visions” of the actual events.[21]  Because of “visions and voices,” in his revival meetings he said, “I have to say strange things;”[22] and services, the large majority of the time, had the scripture readings and sermon omitted for people getting up to sing or speak without any order.[23]  In his meetings, “the din was tremendous . . . constant interruptions [of] the speakers [took place as] excited men and women [rose] to pray, testify, sing, ask questions, recite verses, etc. . . . formal preaching [was] an impossibility.”[24]  “Pentecostal enthusiasm” required that there was no preaching for months in various congregations.[25]  Some ministers stated that they had not preached for almost a year.[26]  Those parts of Wales under Roberts’s influence “almost completely ousted preaching,” for “to cease preaching . . . seemed to many the natural and right thing to do.”[27]  Ministers who ascended pulpits to proclaim God’s Word were forbidden to do so by the confused disorder of their congregations.  This de-emphasis upon preaching was accounted for by the conclusion that “Evan Roberts had a ‘ministry of gifts’ rather than a ‘ministry of the Word.’”[28]  While there was not much preaching of God’s Word, at least there were plenty of alleged miraculous gifts, as Roberts believed that all the spiritual gifts of the Apostolic age were to be present and active in his day.  On those instances where Roberts did attempt to preach, he might be “interrupted about thirty times by pleas and excited comments,” as his meetings “sounded chaotic.”[29]  “He made no preparation beforehand concerning what he should say” even when he did preach; “all was spontaneous response” to what was supposed to be the Holy Spirit.[30]  “Well-structured expository preaching . . . was just unworkable . . . [since] each service was dominated by testimonies, prayers, pleadings, and songs.”[31]  Indeed, his meetings had a veritable “Babel of voices . . . breaking forth simultaneously in prayer and song . . . [and] people . . . praying in several languages simultaneously.”[32]  At times people would sing “again and again” a handful of lines from a song “twenty times,”[33] or even hear a “chorus . . . sung, perhaps, a hundred times”[34] in a meeting.  It “was a new experience” to many churchgoers “to hear a large crowd sing over and over again for 15 or 20 minutes, without a moment’s pause,” a one-line “refrain” from a song.[35]  Such practices prepared the way for the “Pentecostal movements . . . [that] put their own seal on such worship”[36] soon after the end of Roberts’s ministry.  Roberts also encouraged people to pray the same words “over and over together, or every one separately, as [they were] inspired by the Holy Spirit.”[37]
It even came to pass in southern Wales that “Mr. Roberts gradually ceased to speak at his own meetings.  He [rather would] . . . sit silently in the pulpit and take no part—a spectacle rather than a prophet.”[38]  “Evan Roberts accepted everything,” all the people who “acted strangely,” with the sole exception of “loud shrieking and wild gestures.”[39]  “[E]ven in the most orderly meetings confusion reigns . . . Roberts generally preaches but little, sometimes not at all.”[40]  “[H]ysteria [was] . . . a sign and proof of the apprehension of spiritual truths . . . [e]verything was in confusion, without order, without purpose, and often without decency,” despite the fact that “[w]e have no record that such physical results followed the preaching of our Lord or the ministry of the apostles.”[41]  No one must “reduce the interruption[s]”—Roberts forbade his helpers from trying to do so—because “the Spirit’s prompting . . . must never be ignored or questioned.”[42]  In fact, “[s]ometimes he threatened to leave a meeting if anyone tried to interfere in any shape or form.”[43]  “One day he was in a chapel where ninety percent were English speaking, yet he refused to speak in English, not because he was unused to this but because ‘the Spirit has forbidden me,’”[44] the spirit world leading Roberts to speak in what was an unknown tongue to the overwhelming majority of his hearers, despite the Pauline prohibition on such action in 1 Corinthians 12-14.  Answering criticism for downplaying preaching and the reading of the Word, Roberts answered:  “Why should I teach when the Spirit is teaching?”[45]  After all, “the wonderful eloquence displayed by unlettered persons in prayer and speaking” was “proof of direct Divine inspiration,”[46] was it not? 

[1]              Pg. 129, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.
[2]              Pgs. 159-160, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Brynmor P. Jones.  North Brunswick, NJ:  Bridge-Logos, 1997.
[3]              Pg. 160, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Brynmor P. Jones.  North Brunswick, NJ:  Bridge-Logos, 1997.
[4]              Pg. 170, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Brynmor P. Jones.  North Brunswick, NJ:  Bridge-Logos, 1997.
[5]              Pg. 60, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.  For further visions not listed below, see, e. g., pgs. 47ff., The Revival in the West, Stead.
[6]           Pg. 89, Psychological Aspects of the Welsh Revival, A. T. Fryer.   Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 19 (December 1905).
[7]              As Roberts recounted to the local newspaper:
He [Roberts] said . . . It was . . . at Newcastle Emlyn.  For days he had been brooding over the apparent failure of modern Christian agencies; and he felt wounded in the spirit that the Church of God should so often be attacked.  It was about four p. m.  Suddenly, in the hedge on his left, he saw a face full of scorn, hatred, and derision, and heard a laugh as of defiance.  It was the Prince of this World, who exulted in his despondency.  Then there suddenly appeared another figure, gloriously arrayed in white, bearing in hand a flaming sword borne aloft.  The sword fell athwart the first figure, and it instantly disappeared.  He could not see the face of the swordbearer.  “Do you not see the moral?”  queried [Roberts], with face beaming with delight.  “Is it not that the Church of Christ is to be triumphant? . . . “I know what I saw.  It was a distinct vision.  There was no mistake.  And, full of the promise which that vision conveyed, I went to Loughor, and from Loughor to Aberdare, and from Aberdare to Pontycymmer.  And what do I see?  The promise literally fulfilled.  The sword descending on all hands, and Satan is put to flight. Amen.”  (pgs. 47-48, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead, reproducing an article from the South Wales Daily News, November 19).
[8]              Roberts’ experience paralleled that of Madame Guyon, who testified:  “It seemed to me that God came at the precise time and woke me from sleep in order that I might enjoy Him” (pg. 43, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead).
[9]           Pg. 86, Psychological Aspects of the Welsh Revival, A. T. Fryer.   Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 19 (December 1905); cf. pgs. 14-15, An Instrument of Revival, Jones, pgs. 60-62, The Great Revival in Wales:  Also an Account of the Great Revival in Ireland in 1859, S. B. Shaw.  Chicago, IL:  S. B. Shaw, 1905.
[10]            Pg. 104, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[11]            Pgs. 25-26, An Instrument of Revival, Jones;                 Pgs. 79, 136, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
[12]            Pg. 97, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.  See pg. 138 for one example, where the figure that appeared to Roberts and was identified as “Jesus” was “looking smiling and pleasant,” and so Roberts was sure that the particular “mission” he was then on “would succeed.”
[13]            Pg. 521, “Demythologizing the Evan Roberts Revival,” Pope.
[14]            Pg. 104, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[15]            Pg. 104, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[16]            Pg. 79, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
[17]            Pg. 136, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
[18]            Pg. 18, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[19]            See pgs. 47-48, The Revival in the West, Stead.
[20]            Pg. 188, The Great Revival in Wales:  Also an Account of the Great Revival in Ireland in 1859, S. B. Shaw.  Chicago, IL:  S. B. Shaw, 1905.  Roberts said:  “When I go out to the garden I see the devil grinning at me, but I am not afraid of him; I go into the house, and when I go out again to the back I see Jesus Christ smiling at me.  Then I know all is well” (pg. 54, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead).
[21]            Pg. 105, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[22]            Pg. 40, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[23]            Pgs. 48-49, An Instrument of Revival, Jones; cf. pg. 99.
[24]            Pg. 48, Voices from the Welsh Revival, 1904-1905, Jones. Compare the account of women and young girls leading Andrew Murray’s congregation in prayer, and the entire congregation in confusion, on pgs. 194-198, The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.  Although allowing women to lead the congregation in prayer, Murray commendably did not actively encourage such confusion as Evan Roberts did. where, however, Murray did not actively encourage such confusion as Evan Roberts did.
[25]            Pg. 79, Voices from the Welsh Revival, 1904-1905, Jones.  In the particular congregation discussed on pg. 79, preaching was eliminated for two months.
[26]            Pg. 54, Rent Heavens:  The Welsh Revival of 1904, R. B. Jones, 3rd. ed.  (Asheville, NC:  Revival Publications, 1950)
[27]             Pg. 53, Rent Heavens:  The Welsh Revival of 1904, R. B. Jones, 3rd. ed.  (Asheville, NC:  Revival Publications, 1950).
[28]            Pg. 522, “Demythologizing the Evan Roberts Revival,” Pope.
[29]            Pg. 57, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.  Cf. pg. 125 for a description of some representative chaos.
[30]            Pg. 522, “Demythologizing the Evan Roberts Revival,” Pope.
[31]            Pg. 57, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[32]            Pgs. 72-73, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.  Cf. pg. 79, 86; pgs. 40-43, Voices from the Welsh Revival, 1904-1905, Jones.
[33]            Pg. 86, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.  Cf. pgs. 44-45, Voices from the Welsh Revival, 1904-1905, Jones.
[34]            Pg. 173, Voices From the Welsh Revival, 1904-1905, Jones.  Cf. pg. 14, The Great Revival in Wales:  Also an Account of the Great Revival in Ireland in 1859, S. B. Shaw.  Chicago, IL:  S. B. Shaw, 1905.
[35]            Pgs. 87-88, “Psychological Aspects of the Welsh Revival,” A. T. Fryer.   Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 19 (December 1905).  In the particular instance mentioned, the crowd was repeating “Diolch iddo, diolch iddo, Byth am gofio llwch y llawr [Thanks to Him:  always for remembering the dust of the earth]” the entire time.  Compare pg. 31, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead. Contrast Matthew 6:7 and the type of worship found in the inspired songs of the Psalter.
[36]            Pg. 177, Voices From the Welsh Revival, 1904-1905, Jones.
[37]            Pg. 521, “Demythologizing the Evan Roberts Revival,” Pope.  Roberts instructed those who had been encouraged to stand up in his meetings, and were counted as converts for that reason, to “repeat th[e] [following] prayer in his or her turn:
                Send the Spirit now, for Jesus Christ’s sake.
                Send the Spirit powerfully now, for Jesus Christ’s sake.
                Send the Spirit more powerfully now, for Jesus Christ’s sake.
                Send the Spirit yet more powerfully now for Jesus Christ’s sake.
[Professed converts were to] [p]ray No. 1 over and over . . . Then No. 2 in the same way.  Then No. 3. No. 4 after that” (pg. 521, Ibid).  Thus, the eight words that constituted the body of this prayer were to be repeated over and over and over, with the addition of the words “more,” “powerfully,” and “yet” at certain times, in direct contradiction to the command of Christ:   “when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7; note also the tremendous contrast between the model for prayer set forth by the Lord in the following verses with the model set forth by Roberts).  Roberts would also have whole congregations repeat this prayer over and over again, and then “would-be convert[s] would suddenly rise and declare . . . ‘I have now received salvation.’ . . . [T]his occurred scores of times” (pg. 36, Voices from the Welsh Revival, 1904-1905, Jones; cf. pgs. 31-33).  The vain repetitions were consequently responsible for the production of many professions in Roberts’s meetings.
It is noteworthy that the rote prayer Roberts taught people to repeat fits in with the apparent confusion in his life between his alleged Spirit baptism and his alleged conversion.
[38]            Pg. 141, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.  Jones affirms that, in contrast, preaching did actually take place in various of Roberts’s meetings in northern Wales later on.
[39]            Pg. 50, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[40]            Pg. 88, “Psychological Aspects of the Welsh Revival,” A. T. Fryer.   Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 19 (December 1905).
[41]            Pg. 235, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
[42]            Pg. 57, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[43]            Pg. 59, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[44]            Pg. 106, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[45]            Pg. 49, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[46]          Pg. 91, Psychological Aspects of the Welsh Revival, A. T. Fryer.   Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 19 (December 1905).

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

2 John 7-11: Case Study or Comprehensive?

Between truth and hospitality, truth is the priority.  Hospitality is essentially unity.  You are welcoming.  Come on in.  Be with us.  Stay with us.  Cooperate with us.  Associate with us.

You can't have love without the truth.  Love is the truth.  Love is walking in the truth toward God and other people.  It is fulfilling God's law toward God and other people.  God couldn't love us if He was contaminated by falsehood or error.  You can't bear someone else's burden before you bear your own.  Before you restore, you consider yourself.  When you consider yourself, you aren't comparing yourself to others, but to the truth.

Since love wasn't happening without the truth, the truth was priority.  That meant you couldn't show acceptance to whom?  As people look at John's example in 2 John, I've noticed that they get very specific at where the lines are drawn.  Is that what John meant for us to do, when we look at all of 2 John and 2 John in the context of Johanine writings?

When you read the first six verses of 2 John, it's about the truth.  We should assume all the truth, especially when we read what Jesus taught John in John 14-17.  Jesus said all His words, commandments, and sayings.  When Jesus said we were sanctified by the truth, was it just the truth about His nature, that He was God come in the flesh?  No.  That's also contradictory to many other passages on separation and unity.

Is it only very specific truths that form a boundary line for the limitations John bring in 2 John 7-11?  Here are those verses:
7  For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
John rejoiced that the household to which he wrote was walking in the truth, which was walking in the Lord's commandments.  That was love.  He didn't want that to change because of the influence of teachers they would welcome without limitation.  John wanted limitation.

The world of the apostle John, the Hellenized and Roman world, affected by Babylonian mysticism, denied certain teachings that clashed with its views, positions that contradicted the truth.   Docetism was a unique problem that the elder lady and her children were facing.  John gives this specific example.  Is it a case study or comprehensive?  Is it only docetists or a little broader, people proclaiming a wrong Christology, that would set in motion the actions that John prescribes in 2 John 10-11?  Do churches receive not only and bid not Godspeed only those who are messed up in a very narrow category of false doctrine, or is it those who deny any biblical truth, this one just the one he highlighted as a contemporary concern?

John wanted those children walking in the truth.  Anyone who comes along and tells lies he didn't want to abide.  I'm saying he's giving a specific example of false teaching, not limiting to that.  If we were being limited only to shunning docetism, we have many other New Testament texts that mention many other falsehoods from which to separate.

It's clear false doctrine about Christ should set in motion the shunning of 2 John 10-11.  However, anyone who allows for any error becomes a partaker in that error when he will not separate over it.  The principle works the same.  Read verse 11.  It's axiomatic.  You are a partaker of the false teaching, whatever it is, when it is false, not just false doctrine about Christ.

Almost all evangelicals don't even practice the specific case study of 2 John 7-11, let alone the overall teaching about treatment of doctrinal and practical errors or lies.  Fundamentalists are being very narrow now too about what they might separate over, if anything.  I don't believe that was John's point though. He wanted all the truth protected and the people protected, whom error would harm. 

All lies, all falsehoods harm.  They are contradictory to God, Who is Truth.  John was providing a case study for what to do when lies came along.  Truth trumped hospitality.  When Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:3 to "teach no other doctrine," he wasn't being selective and ranking doctrines.  He said "no other doctrine."  No false doctrine should be allowed in a church.  Specific false doctrine about Christ was merely a case study, not comprehensive, that is, the only doctrine to merit the treatment that John prescribes.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ann Taylor, Wear the Pants Campaign: The World Gets It, Just Like It Gets Rock Music

I don't know women's clothing brands, but a friend texted this ad.  The world knows what pants mean, just like Dockers in its "Wear the Pants" campaign in 2009.  The only people who deny that pants mean anything are professing Christians.  Pants are the male symbol, just like the skirt or dress is female.

The ad says, pants are power.  Will we hear evangelicals and fundamentalists attacking the ad?  They should, to be consistent.  They should go after these morons at Ann Taylor.   Pants mean nothing.  Unfortunately, evangelicals and fundamentalists can't tell us what anything means anymore.  They've been neutered on the subject of meaning.  They don't wear the pants on what anything means. But that would mean that pants mean something, so I take that back.

About the same time as evangelicals (and now fundamentalists) stopped saying they knew what pants meant, they couldn't tell you what music meant.  All music was amoral.  That they knew.  Only the words mattered.  The world doesn't care that its music is sexy, so the world says it's sexy.   The world doesn't care.

Who is supposed to understand meaning?  Christians.  Not only did Christians in general stop contributing to anything helpful in the world, but they stopped comprehending the meaning of anything, which includes music and dress.  Why should anyone listen to them?  They don't know anything.  They decided pandering was more important, excusing it as an evangelistic tool, which is worse, but worth it to them to perceive relevance.  Whenever a celebrity comes along and hints at something close to the truth, they spasm and seize into a muscle contraction -- second best, a near-to-not-Christian becomes a fourth tier celebrity, the same burning in the bosom experience.

Evangelicals and fundamentalists both know.  They also know that their capitulation is same sex relations and "marriage" today.  They know.  They prefer what they think they have in their churches to representing the truth.  Rather than believe and practice the truth, they reduce it to the least common denominator for fake unity.   Their unity isn't unity and their love isn't love.  They offend the God, the only God, the God of truth, who created the sexes.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Modest & Gender Distinct Swimwear

Not that long ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Jamaica, where we enjoyed the beauty of God's creation and were refreshed in the middle of our long Wisconsin winter. We recognize that there is no basis whatsoever for saying that God's standards of modesty change when one is near a body of water. What resources are available for modest and gender-distinct swimwear?

We were very happy to find some good quality sources for modest and gender-distinct swimwear. A company in Israel, Modli, sells modest swimwear, and we got my wife a four-piece extra-long swimset with full-length tights. They state that their "swimsuit reaches the knee of a very tall woman (over 5' 11''), and will cover the knee of an average woman," and it has tights beneath it that cover the entire leg.  It is modest and stylish, and we are glad we got it.  (The picture below is from the Modli website; it is not my wife wearing the product.)

Our only negative about it was that, while it had free shipping, it took a long time to get to Wisconsin from Israel.  If you are planning an event where you would want something like this, order early. (The company refunded us some of the price because of the shipping delay, so they actually had good customer service with the longer shipping time.)  I recommend this product for people who care about Biblical modesty.

I also got my wife a long black swim skirt with a zipper, as well as full-length tights from a company called Undercover Waterwear.

(Again, the picture is from the website; it is not my wife.)  This product also was very good for swimming in Jamaica. It dried fast, the zipper on the side was useful for certain types of swim strokes, and the long tights underneath the long skirt kept everything very modest.

I purchased for myself a skinsuit from LesiurePro that covered the entire body (and did not cost very much).  It was on the tight side so I wore normal swim trunks over it, and in this way could swim very well and be totally modest.  Men should be modest when they are in or near water, just like women should be modest.

We rejoiced that we were able to dress in such a way that we could honor the Lord Jesus Christ and be a good testimony to the world while enjoying God's beautiful creation in Jamaica (and also not get sunburned, bitten by insects, etc. because there just wasn't a lot of skin to burn or bite).  If you are looking for modest swimwear, perhaps these resources will be a blessing to you as well.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

God-Given Rights: A Crucial Denial of a Foundation of Conservatism at National Review

At National Review, a self-professing bastion of conservatism, Jonah Goldberg, one of its most well known, talented, and prominent contributors, writes of the Suicide of the West, beginning with these two paragraphs:
Let’s begin with some somewhat unusual assertions for these pages. 
Capitalism is unnatural. Democracy is unnatural. Human rights are unnatural. God didn’t give us these things, or anything else. We stumbled into modernity accidentally, not by any divine plan.
Goldberg offers suicide as an antidote for suicide.  One of the six canons of conservatism in Russell Kirk's, The Conservative Mind, a sort of manual or authority for conservatism is the
belief that a divine intent rules society as well as conscience, forging an eternal chain of duty and right, which links great and obscure, living and dead. Political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral problems.
Goldberg says, no, it's an accident.  Thank our lucky stars.  He says further, apparently warding away the suicide of the West:
Humans are animals. We evolved from other animals, who evolved from ever more embarrassing animals, and before that from a humiliating sea of primitive critters in the primordial stew. Almost everything we take for granted today — technology, prosperity, medicine, human rights, the rule of law — is a novel, unnatural environment for humans, created by humans.
At the top of the Supreme Court building is Moses, who received the law from God.  The rights we possess are not unnatural, but natural proceeding from revelation, general or natural and the special, the tablets in Moses's hands.

It's nice to find out what some people really think, what drives their commentary and their analysis, in this case, Goldberg.  His bedrock views don't make any sense at all.  You can choose between his lying eyes or a roll of the dice.

America arose as a consequence of scripture.  The Bible, God's Word, delivered men from darkness.  States united by consent of free men, who understood that they did not receive their rights from government, but from God.  The Declaration of Independence dissolved the bond between crown and colonists according to natural rights, self-evident ones.


I didn't write a lot here, but wrote all that I wanted for this.  Much more could be said, but I decided to see if there were other criticisms of Goldberg.  What he wrote is enough for me not to trust him.  He's clever, but this kind of "conservatism" borrows from a Christian worldview without believing it.  It will mess up everything he says.

Here are some other criticisms though:  American Greatness, hangtogetherblog

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Separation Is An Indispensable Message You Should Pick Up from the Whole Bible, But Let's Start with Genesis

After the curse, you've got two chapters in Genesis chronicling about 1700 years, chapters 4 and 5.  An explanation for the flood is the godly line adjoining with the ungodly line (6:2), producing an ungodly one.  God preserved a godly line by separating it, Noah and his family, from the ungodly one.  That's the message later in 1 Peter 3, when Peter says Noah and his family were saved by water.  Water separated Noah and his family from the world, saving them from the world by destroying the world.

Abraham was told to leave Mesopotamia in stark fashion, not knowing where he was going.   Just leave.  Go.  Separate.  Not stay and believe.  Go, separate, since you believe.  In the very next chapter, Lot got in trouble because he didn't separate, while Abraham was preserved because he did.  Not many chapters later, family members of Lot are incinerated before they find their way into Hell.

In Genesis 21 God told Abraham to separate his family from Hagar and Ishmael.  After Sarah died, Abraham kept his son Isaac home, while his servant separated himself to get a wife for him all the way back to his family back in Mesopotamia, and a straight shot from Jerusalem to Baghdad is 678 miles.  He wouldn't have taken a straight shot.  Rebekah went back to live with Isaac away from Mesopotamia, separated from her family.

Of the two sons of Rebekah, Esau and Jacob, Esau married two Hittite women.  The last verse of Genesis 26 says this was a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah.  When it came to Jacob (Gen 27:46), "Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?"  The daughters of Heth were Canaanites, going back to Genesis 10:15.  Jacob listened to his parents and went back to the same place and people that Isaac had gotten Rebekah.  Those people had changed, Jacob went about it in a very contrasting way than Abraham and Isaac, and then he stayed where it would have been better that he had not stayed.

There is a basis to say that if God had not separated Joseph and then his dad, Jacob (Israel), and the rest of the family, down to Egypt in Goshen, they would have become Canaanites and totally apostate in a very short time.  In Egypt, God kept His people separate for 400 years.  They could become a separate nation, a separate people with separate ways.  Then God separated them from Egypt.  He gave Moses a law that distinguished them as separate.  The laws were separating laws, both civil, ceremonial, and moral.  They wouldn't be like other people.

I could write much more, but the lack of teaching on separation, writing on separation, and then practice of separation in evangelicalism is destroying evangelicalism. Evangelicalism hates separation, and in that way, it hates the ways of God.  Evangelicalism mocks separation.  It mocks fundamentalism.  Fundamentalism doesn't separate as it should, but at least it does practice some form of separation.

In the end, God will separate the sheep from the goats and the tares from the wheat.  The Bible ends with separation, because the heavenly city will be minus all sorts of different people or people types, because God has separated them into the lake of fire.  Evangelicalism talks inclusion.  The world talks inclusion.  God talks separation.  The unity of the Bible is not the unity of evangelicalism, because it does not include separation.

Here's an example of tell-tale type of signs that I see in so-called fundamentalism.  There are many, but this is one of them that will explain the demise and then destruction of both evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  Mark Ward, a professing fundamentalist, writes a book about the vernacular of the King James.  Lets say that he has good motives.  He wants people to understand scripture.  Let's give him that.  Who does he look to for endorsements?  Look at the amazon page. Non separatists.  In order:  D. A. Carson, John Frame, Tom Schreiner, Andrew Naselli.  Yes, you have Kevin Bauder mixed in, one who identifies with fundamentalists.  I haven't heard a peep from fundamentalists on this.  They get their endorsements from evangelicals, the greater to their lesser.

Put aside the King James Version issue itself.  Fundamentalists don't care anymore if they have an association with evangelicals, non-separatists.  D. A. Carson was also an endorser of Mark Driscoll.  Carson is one of the founders of TGC.   TGC are indifferentists, to use Bauder terminology, borrowing from Machen.  The lack of distinction is a problem.  I have heard nothing.  Separation is going by the wayside.  Fundamentalists and evangelicals find common ground in replacing the King James Version, evangelicals and fundamentalists together.

Separation is indispensable.  It is the most distinguishing attribute of God, according to God Himself.  Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Evan Roberts & the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905: "Inspired Preaching" and Visions, Part 4 of 22

Consequently, instead of rightly dividing the Word, Roberts gave allegedly inspired “prophetic message[s]”[1] to others.  It was not necessary to preach the inspired Bible when Roberts’s own words and marvels were termed “inspiration.”[2]  After all, Roberts testified:  “We now, like the prophets of old, have . . . . transmitt[ed] . . . ‘The Word of the Lord’ . . . to the Church.”[3]  Thus, “[o]ne of the most striking things about the Revival of 1904-5 was the comparative absence of teaching,” for it employed “little theology of a definite and systematic kind,” preferring “visionary and ecstatic” experiences.[4]  Observers noted:
[A meeting would] practically resolv[e] itself into a singing festival[.] . . . At times, while one section is singing a hymn, another section in the chapel starts off a wholly different one.  This is interspersed with short, spasmodic addresses by Mr. Roberts, relating to visions he has witnessed.  Singing is kept up hour after hour—the same tunes and words being interminably repeated—far into the early hours of the morning . . . young girls and women, fatigued with exertion, are strung up to a pitch of feverish excitement.  Their emotions overpower them and they break out into wild cries and gesticulations . . . [which] are put down as a manifestation of the Spirit.  Some participants have since been confined to their homes with nervous prostration.[5]
In the sharpest contrast to the revivals found in the book of Acts, in the work of Evan Roberts, singing was employed “rather than . . . the Gospel message . . . being . . . preached. . . . The sermon is a poor thing compared with the . . . song.”[6]  While sermons in Acts and other portions of Scripture brought supernatural conviction and conversion (Acts 2:37-42), Evan Roberts claimed that the Welsh were “taught to death, preached to insensibility.”[7]  One historian noted:  “Evan Roberts . . . makes no sermons . . . [and] is . . . no[t] a preacher. . . . [P]reaching is emphatically not the note of this Revival[.] . . . If it has been by the foolishness of preaching men have been saved heretofore, that agency seems as if it were destined to take a back seat in the present movement.”[8]  At least such was the case for the preaching of the Bible—but Roberts’s “inspired preaching,”[9] his “inspiration of the exalted and supernatural kind,”[10] was considered a sufficient replacement for the exposition of the Word.  He asked, “Why should I teach [the Bible] when the Spirit is teaching?”[11]  However, in places in Wales where “greater emphasis on preaching and teaching” was made, there were “more lasting and beneficial results” than there were from Roberts’s “lack of clear biblical teaching” and emphasis upon “what he claimed to be the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit,”[12] at least among traditional denominational groups such as the Baptists and Calvinistic Methodists.  On the other hand, Roberts’s method of neglecting the Word for other alleged revelations was central to the rise of Pentecostalism.
Evan Roberts “claimed to have received over twenty ecstatic visions during the earlier part of 1904, which left him elated but strangely perplexed.”  He placed an “emphasis on direct and unmediated divine inspiration,” so that his “near clairvoyant tendency . . . bec[ame] such a marked feature of his ministry [and] was given full rein.  He would claim regularly . . . that he knew by divine intuition of particular individuals’ specific sins and of their need to repent openly in order for his meetings to continue. These claims caused some consternation.”[13]  Indeed, Roberts began his own ministry after he claimed to have a vision[14] authorizing the beginning of his revival work and “hear[ing] a voice bidding him go . . . and speak.”[15]  He felt “his whole body shaking and his sight also wavering,” after which he seemed to see the people of a certain city and men sitting in rows in a schoolroom, heard a voice telling him to go to them, and then saw the room where he was “filled with light [as] dazzling [as] . . . the glory as of the light of the sun in heaven.”  Although he wondered if “this was a deceiving vision from Satan,” he concluded it was not, and left school to work for holiness revival because of “the vision and the voice calling him” with “support” from “the God of visions.”[16]  During the few weeks[17] of his training for the ministry, Roberts “claim[ed] he was under the Spirit’s command when he missed a class or forgot a study period or failed to finish an essay.”[18]  He “would open a book, only to find it flaming in his hands . . . [t]his experience increased daily until the awe that possessed him made it impossible to battle on . . . [and] Dr. Hughes, an American specialist . . . [affirmed] that Evan was suffering from religious mania,”[19] so that Evan “came under personal attack as a lunatic at worst and eccentric at best.”[20]  Concerning one vision, Evan testified:  “For the space of four hours I was privileged to speak face to face with [God] as a man speaks face to face with a friend,”[21] a privilege Moses alone had among the Old Testament prophets (Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:8).
However, Evan’s visions went beyond even what Moses experienced.  The Bible states that no one has seen God the Father at any time, but only God the Son has been seen (John 1:18).  And yet, Roberts claimed to regularly see “God the Father Almighty . . . and the Holy Spirit,” rather than only “Jesus Christ” as did the prophets of the Bible;[22]  his experiences were comparable to those of Teresa of Avila, who likewise claimed she conversed with God the Father rather than Jesus Christ.[23]  Indeed, Roberts testified:  “I . . . sp[oke] face to face with Him [the Father] as a man speaks face to face with a friend” for “hours” every night “for three or four months,” and then “again retur[ned] to earth.”[24]  Unless Evan Roberts was a false prophet and under Satanic delusion, a greater than Moses was here, and so the possibility that “Roberts [was] . . .  intending to set” a “notebook” with his writings “beside the writings of the New Testament” as a record of inspired revelations is explicable.[25]  Through the power of the supernatural manifestations he experienced, at times “a tremor ran through him, and his face and neck were observed to quiver in a remarkable way.”[26]  Thus, his work in the Welsh holiness revival teemed with “experiences of visions, voices, and ecstasies.”[27]  His “bodily agitations were awful to behold.  They filled the hearts of children with fear, bewildered and astounded men of mature years, and caused hysterical women to faint.”[28]  On at least one occasion he records in his diary:  “I was commanded not to read my Bible”[29] for an entire day by a voice.[30]  It was not necessary, however, for Roberts to get guidance by searching the Scriptures, for he “adopted the practice of writing down a problem, placing the paper on to an open Bible and leaving the room for the Holy Spirit to write down an answer,”[31] and in this way he could get solutions to his problems.

[1]              Pg. 121, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.  Jones records part of one particular message Roberts received to give to his former tutor, John Phillips, on pg. 121.
[2]              Pg. 66, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.  “According to the teaching of the ‘New Theology’ . . . Evan Roberts was inspired . . . undoubtedly.  But if we fall back upon the old theology for our interpretation of inspiration, Evan Roberts was not inspired” (Ibid, pgs. 67-68).
[3]              Pg. 180, The Overcomer, December 1914.
[4]              Pg. 82, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.  “[T]here . . . is . . . precious little . . . teaching[.] . . . Do you think that teaching is what people want in a revival?” (pg. 35, The Great Revival in Wales:  Also an Account of the Great Revival in Ireland in 1859, S. B. Shaw.  Chicago, IL:  S. B. Shaw, 1905).  Also pgs. 24-25, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead.
[5]              Pgs. 263-264, Voices From the Welsh Revival, 1904-1905, Jones.
[6]              Pg. 31, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead.  Comparison was also made to the liturgy of Eastern Orthodoxy, where preaching is most certainly set to the side (pg. 38, Ibid).  The “Singing Sisters,” who included “a professional singer . . . are as conspicuous figures in the movement as Evan Roberts himself”—they are “as indispensable as Mr. Sankey was to Mr. Moody.” (pgs. 49, 32, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead)  Roberts testified:  “[T]he Singing Sisters . . . [are] [m]ost useful.  They go with me wherever I go.  I never part from them without feeling that something is absent if they are not there”  (pg. 49, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead).
[7]              Pg. 26, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead.
[8]              Pg. 38, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead.
[9]             Pg. 163, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[10]            Pg. 73, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
[11]            Pg. 49, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead.
[12]            Pg. 101, A Light in the Land:  Christianity in Wales, 200-2000, Gwyn Davies.
[13]            “Roberts, Evan,” A Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. Timothy Larsen.
[14]            Pg. 230, The Making of the Modern Church: Christianity in England since 1800 (New ed.), B. G. Worrall.  London: SPCK, 1993.
[15]          Pg. 86, 112, Psychological Aspects of the Welsh Revival, A. T. Fryer.   Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 19 (December 1905).
[16]            Pgs. 17-19, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.  See also pgs. 21, 25, Voices from the Welsh Revival, 1904-1905, Jones; pg. 45, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead.  Stead gives the account in Roberts’s own words, including Roberts’s asking a confidant if his vision was “of the devil.”
[17]          Pg. 85, Psychological Aspects of the Welsh Revival, A. T. Fryer.   Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 19 (December 1905).
[18]            Pg. 18, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.  It is noteworthy that, in his revival meetings, “[a]rriving late [was] usual” for Roberts (pg. 71, Ibid.).
[19]            Pgs. 18-19, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[20]            Pg. 28, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[21]          Pg. 44, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead. 
[22]            Pg. 44, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead.
[23]            Pgs. 44-45, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead.  One recalls Hannah W. Smith’s satisfaction with the “bare God” who could be approached apart from Christ.
[24]            Pg. 43, The Revival in the West, W. T. Stead.
[25]            Pg. 181, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger; cf. Henri Bois, Le Reveil dans le pays de Galles, pgs. 460-461.
[26]          Pg. 86, Psychological Aspects of the Welsh Revival, A. T. Fryer.   Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 19 (December 1905).
[27]            Pg. 165, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Brynmor P. Jones.  North Brunswick, NJ:  Bridge-Logos, 1997.
[28]            Pg. 234, The Welsh Religious Revival, Morgan.
[29]            Pg. 116, Psychological Aspects of the Welsh Revival, A. T. Fryer.   Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 19 (December 1905).
[30]            Roberts also taught that it was acceptable to read only one verse of the Bible a day (pg. 52, Revival in the West, W. T. Stead), although reading more of the Bible was commendable.
[31]            Pg. 523, “Demythologizing the Evan Roberts Revival,” Pope.