Monday, December 30, 2019

Adjective Love: Transactional or Unconditional

The addition of "social" to "justice" negates justice.  Justice is equal treatment of everyone.  Social justice chooses groups for unequal treatment.  Justice originates in scripture, almost as old as the earth.  Social justice arose in the 19th century.  I'm saying that according to a leftist viewpoint the addition of this adjective corrupts justice.  It's not justice anymore.

I turn your attention to love.  Love also doesn't need an adjective, but leftists also add to love, unconditional and now transactional.  Love is a stand alone.  It stands alone in the Bible.  It doesn't need an adjective to clarify or specify.

The word "love" as originated in the English language proceeded from the Bible.  People know the word "love" because of the Word of God.  Scripture defines love.  We can know what it is from the Bible and then just use it and understand it that way.

I've never been comfortable with "unconditional love," as if love is unconditional as a defining quality. I've found that the one most interested in "unconditional love" is the one who doesn't want any conditions himself.  I see conditions for love in scripture.  That's why the adjective doesn't work.  Consider Deuteronomy 7:6:
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
That is self-explanatory.  We would not be loved by God if conditions were required for Him to love us.  We love Him because He first loved us.  However, despite his love arriving to us without conditions, much like we love an enemy, it doesn't mean that love itself is unconditional.  Consider John 16:27:
For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
"Because ye have loved me" is a condition.  Also consider Psalm 139:21-22:
Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?  I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
A condition exists for God's hatred.  Neither is His love unconditional.  Jesus said in Luke 16:13:
No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Based on conditions, someone is loved and someone is hated.  The explanation behind "transactional love" is that someone has applied a condition and that's bad.  If the recipient of the love doesn't behave, he should be treated the same as if he did behave.  This twists the biblical truth of love again.

A father chastens a child, because he loves the child, not because he doesn't.  Hebrews 12:6 says:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 
The child should be afraid of chastening.  That is a motivating factor for obedience.  A loving parent won't allow a disobedient child.  He will chasten.  Actual love is called "transactional."  It is a term intended to diminish biblical love as unloving, merely transactional.

I've read the adjective "narcissistic" applied to "transactional love."  A narcissist apparently sets terms, selfish ones, and expects the recipient to fulfill those to receive the desired treatment.  This transaction must be selfish, so it isn't loving.  This parent wants an obedient child, and the idea here is that he withholds his love in order to get that.  No.  The parent wants an obedient child, so he chastens, because he loves the child.  God wants obedience.  Success is obedience.  He is caring for his child by providing discipline.

Because of phony adjectives like unconditional and transactional, another adjective is now added, "tough."  A parent, a boss, a teacher, a pastor use "tough love."  Reach into your love tool box for whatever brand of love it is, and in this case, "tough" is the tool needed.  I get it, but it's still just love.

"Transactional"  is a negotiating ploy by a narcissist.  He wants to get away with sin, and actually keep receiving good treatment for sinning.  When he doesn't, he claims he isn't being loved.  Wrong.  He isn't loving.  He is using a manipulative, rebellious behavior to browbeat and coerce.  He's a hateful person, who wants good treatment in a transaction himself.  He provides actual bad behavior and wants acceptance and approval for it.  Some might call this coddling.  He's coddled, so he always feels like the victim when he's treated badly for bad behavior.

Love is resplendent.  Love shines through a prism into various colors and hues, a veritable kaleidoscope.  It is of God.  God is one.  Love is one.  Love.  No adjectives.

Saturday, December 28, 2019


Today people who do not like Christianity, actual Christianity, biblical Christianity, explain Christianity to actual Christians and in a condescending and patronizing way.  Like leftists invented and use the term "mansplaining," this is Christianitysplaining.  From my perspective, which is a biblical one, that takes a grammatical-historical interpretation of scripture, these are unbelievers explaining to Christians their own corrupted version of Christianity.  There are two very public examples of this in recent days, but I believe these represent something happening as a culture.

Of the two examples, one came in a tweet from Democrat presidential candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (former mayor of South Bend, IN):

Joseph and Mary were going to Bethlehem to pay taxes when Jesus was born.  They weren't fleeing anyone.  Jesus grew up in Nazareth, where both his parents were from.  Buttigieg wraps himself in the mantle of Christianity to pick off other Christianitysplainers.

The next example, days before the Buttigieg tweet, was the editorial in Christianity Today, where the editor, Mark Galli, took a shot at evangelical Trump voters by informing them that "Trump Should Be Removed From Office."  In his first sentence, he Christianitysplains:
In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith.
Apparently the call to the new Ukrainian president was a tipping point for Galli, and then also a sentence in the last paragraph:  "Some have criticized us for our reserve."  I'm open to scriptural explanations.  Galli says that you're not being Christian if you oppose impeachment.  This is akin, according to him, to brushing off the president's immoral behavior.  A constitutional scholar, Galli is not (since the original writing of this post, Wayne Grudem has published an excellent rebuttal of the Galli editorial, worth a read).

Since those two, Buttigieg and Galli, Christianitysplained, a tidal wave of media followed with further Christianitysplaining.  The world knows the Christianity it wants and it expects Christians to live it.  It's a kind of feeding frenzy because of what the world sees in the Southern Baptist Convention with its pandering to a new, woke generation of Conventioneers.  They smell blood in the water.

The Atlantic Christianitysplains with its article, "Leith Anderson and the Silent Majority," attempting to shame who they think is an influential evangelical leader.   Several dozen articles pummeling evangelicals have followed.  I believe the leftist media rightly assess weakness in professing Christianity, especially among millennials.  This is the most telling culture change.  Very few millennials agree with the preceding generation.

Millennial evangelicals and now fundamentalists, which aren't even mostly faithful to church, sympathize with all things relevant in the culture.  They're friends with same sex married, who seem just like normal people to them -- and who are we to question "love"?  They like the idea of admitting to white privilege, the feel of a pseudo-humility that pays personal dividends.  They're cleared of racism.  They support egalitarian marriages after years of girl and boy friends.   They like suggestive, very emotive music in touch with their feelings, which they interpret as spiritual.  Their art is gritty, urban, modern or postmodern, and apocalyptic, what they think is authentic.  Most of them have trouble with their parents, several of which like Trump, which embarrasses them. Mothers of millennials often Christianitysplain to the fathers of millennials, hoping dad takes it easy on junior.  This is all very fertile ground for the seeds of a woke journalist.

Millennials and their fawning servant leaders have entered a kind of negotiated surrender.  Leaders should serve, no doubt, and Jesus served, but this isn't what "servant leadership" is or at least has become.  I believe Douglas Wilson represents it correctly when he writes:
The emphasis placed on servant leadership in recent decades has produced a soft complementarianism, one which adopts egalitarian assumptions for most of human existence, but which tolerates a modified pretend hierarchy in the two places where our trained exegetes have not yet hammered out a plausible workaround for us. In this pretend hierarchy, the leaders are allowed to be leaders so long as they do exactly what they’re told.
Bnonn Tennant writes:
Servant leadership is a dirty little phrase that has slipped into evangelical culture like a silk pillow over the face. 
It tastes sweet in the mouth, like honey, because who doesn’t agree that men should imitate the Lord Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28)?  But it is bitter in the stomach, because it makes men subservient to those they are supposed to be leading.
These millennials Christianitysplain to their elders on a regular basis, telling them how it should be done, in addition to saying, you've got a flawed gospel.  What do you mean?  I want to know.  They Christianitysplain something about freedom.  It's not really new.  It is antinomianism, that is very old and described in 2 Peter and Jude among other places, turning the grace of God into lascisviousness.

Christianitysplainers want to splain.  They know, they splain, and somehow their Christianity looks less like biblical Christianity and more like the spirit of the age.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Who was Muhammad? David Wood debates Ali Ataie

Since I recently posted my debate with Shabir Ally over the topic "The New Testament Picture of Jesus: Is it Accurate?" (watch the debate here) I thought it would be worthwhile mentioning another debate that is well worth seeing for those who wish to evangelize the over 1,000,000,000 Muslims in the world, namely, David Wood's debate with Ali Ataie over the topic "Who was Muhammad?"  Few Muslims are willing to debate what Muhammad was like, and Dr. Wood does a great job exposing the truth on this matter.  Dr. Ataie, who teaches in Berkeley, California, is an intelligent man, but he has his hands full defending the indefensible.  While Dr. Wood is not a Baptist separatist and I do not endorse all his theological positions, the discussion between the two is still very valuable to watch.

I would encourage Muslims reading this post to read The Testimony of the Quran to the Bible here and also consider Dr. Wood's tract "Has the Quran Been Perfectly Preserved?"  Dr. Wood's tract would be worthy additions to a Biblical church's tract rack.

Part 1 of the Wood-Ataie debate, "Who Was Muhammad?" (Dr. Wood's opening remarks)--very powerful.

Part 2 of the Wood-Ataie debate, "Who Was Muhammad?" (Dr. Atai's opening remarks)--he kept going off topic and making ridiculous misrepresentations of the Bible, but he had a very difficult job.

Part 3 of the Wood-Ataie debate, "Who Was Muhammad"?  In the cross-examination it becomes even more apparent how indefensible Dr. Atai's position is.

Part 4 of the Wood-Ataie debate, "Who Was Muhammad?" Overall, a clear victory for Dr. Wood and for God's truth.


Saturday, December 21, 2019

Isaiah 53 and the False Definition of Freedom as Individual

This is actually part six as well of a series I've been doing on Ghosting:  part one   part two   part three   part four   part five

Isaiah 53 prophesies the future conversion of the nation Israel and chronicles the account of her future repentance.  I want to focus on the middle triad of this confession, the apex of the five triads (52:13-15, 53:1-3, 53:4-6, 53:7-9, 53:10-12), in verses four through six and give a miniature exposition before getting to the point of the post, which proceeds from the truth of the last verse of that majestic text.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Some Exposition of Isaiah 53:4-6, the Apex of Isaiah 52:13-53:12, the Middle Triad

When Israel is saved, those to be saved will confess in lament that the servant of Jehovah (52:13), their Messiah, bore their griefs and carried their sorrows.  He was bearing theirs, not His own.  He had none.  They confess that they esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, that He was being punished for His own sins.  This was the very wrong estimation of what was occurring.  What a woeful assessment!  No, not so!  He was wounded for their transgressions, and so forth in verse 5.  He wasn't paying for His own sinning.  He was righteous.  Just the opposite, He was paying for theirs.

Their repentance includes confession of their attitude (v. 4), the wrong disposition about their Messiah, their deeds (v. 5) -- transgressions, iniquities, etc. -- and their nature (v. 6).  They will confess that they are sinners by attitude, deed, and by nature.  Sheep by nature go astray.  They were doing what was in their nature to do.

Going astray is wandering.  The wandering that is going astray is communicated by the following Christmas hymn:
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus my Saviour did come for to die
For poor on'ry people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander out under the sky 
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
That Jesus my Saviour did come for to die
For poor on'ry people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
Sheep wander, like "poor on'ry people like you and like I."  Consider these two lines from "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman":
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.
Instead of staying with the shepherd and with the rest of the flock, sheep wander out and away.  This is how sheep are.  They are helpless and weak, but they are also stupid, so they get away from the shepherd and the rest of the sheep, following their own curiosity.  They want to go astray.  Instead of going the way, the Lord's way, with the rest of the flock, they go their own way.

The Hebrew word for "iniquity" in verse 6 is a word that can be translated "punishment." It is part of the lexiconal listing and has this in its definition.  When the sheep goes astray, punishment comes.  Instead of the sheep facing the rod that Jehovah lays, that punishment fell upon the Servant of the Lord.  The sheep would die if it received the punishment it deserved.  It could not survive the blow of the Shepherd.

The Shepherd watches over a flock of sheep, which are together in His way, not their own. A sheep wanders from His way, a place of unity among the sheep.  The sheep doesn't find the way on His own, but by following the Shepherd.  The sheep doesn't receive protection outside of the fold.  That is going astray.  That is going a different way than the Shepherd.

The Lord Jesus Christ didn't die so that the sheep could go their way.  He died because they went their way.  They should have been punished for going their way, but instead the Lord Jesus Christ took that punishment.  The freedom that comes from the deliverance of Jesus isn't the freedom of the sheep to wander on his own, but the freedom that is the ability to continue in the flock and enjoy the protection and feeding and leading of the Shepherd.

"Going your own way," outside the fold, and away from authority is individual.  This was Rousseau's idea of freedom (see this post).

The Parallel or Contrast to a False Definition of Freedom as Individual

Going astray sounds bad.  What was that though?  It was leaving the confines and safety of the flock with the presence of the Shepherd.  It was wandering.  It was being a free agent instead of under authority.  The authority seems confining, conflicting with freedom.  The sheep that could not wander away from the flock doesn't have freedom.

Wandering doesn't sound bad.  It sounds like someone curious, who wants to venture out further on his own without the restriction of a boundary.  To give it a noble significance, it's like those in the original colonies pushing out into the frontier.  This is a trailblazer.  But no, it's a wandering sheep that seizes or snatches individual sovereignty for himself.  He doesn't even have to give an explanation, except that he wants his own freedom to explore.  He might also elevate his wandering, which is actually going astray, to "developing his own conviction," with an emphasis on "his own."  Without the ability to wander and leave the fold, he argues, he doesn't have the freedom to have his own beliefs.

No beliefs that anyone possesses are "his own."  They are God's, and there is only one set of beliefs that God gives, not various options.  There isn't a unique set of beliefs, free floating outside of the flock, that someone can reach out and grasp.  The church is the pillar and ground of the truth.  This is where someone gets the truth and the understanding of it.  Those moving outside of the flock are following after their own lusts, such as described in 1 John 2:19:
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us:: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
"Went out from us" and "they went out" parallel with "gone astray."  Is a sheep "free" that cannot wander?  Is someone not free unless he can go astray?  Or is this assumed or even arbitrary freedom really bondage?  The limitation of the flock protects the sheep.  It can live.  Going astray is death for the sheep.  The shepherd and sheep is used as an analogy, but the application itself is real.

Rousseau said that in man's original "state of nature" he was free, essentially wandering around alone outside of the confines of society.  Society is the source of evil.  Many like this idea of freedom.  The flock confines.

Ghosting is an extreme, unscriptural form of separation, which has been defined as "the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication."  One variety of the ghoster is a wandering sheep.  He walks away from his fold without announcement or explanation.  He disappears.  It doesn't mean he won't find another flock, just that the flock he joins functions according to his own way.

The free sheep in the portrayal of Isaiah 53 is the one still in the fold, not the wanderer, the ghoster.  This contradicts the conception of lost mankind.  He sees freedom outside the fold, where he finds his own way according to his own will.  Man's state of nature confined itself to male and female, husband and wife, dad and mom, and finally church, so within spheres of sovereignty.  The wandering is the bondage to one's own will, which is depraved.  This is the same state of nature as sheep, which by nature go astray.  This is against the best interest of the sheep, the blessing of the sheep, the thriving of the sheep.

Freedom is not individual.  I'm not saying there isn't individual freedom.  There is.  However, the individual freedom is preserved within spheres:  family, church, and even state -- institutions ordained by God.  Those seeking freedom outside of these folds are wanderers.  They are going astray.  They are candidates for punishment by God.  The Lord Jesus Christ bore their punishment, not so they would have the freedom to wander, but so that they would stay within the flock in unity with the one will of the Shepherd.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Jessie Penn-Lewis: Inspired "Truth" on Demon Possession (part 17 of 22)

The content of this post is now available in the study of:

1.) Evan Roberts

2.) The Welsh Revival of 1904-1905

3.) Jessie Penn-Lewis

on the website. Please click on the people above to view the study.  On the FaithSaves website the PDF files may be easiest to read.


You are also encouraged to learn more about Keswick theology and its errors, as well as the Biblical doctrine of salvation, at the soteriology page at Faithsaves.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A Negative Critique of an Actual Good Statement by Paul Washer

I've never met Paul Washer or heard him in person.  He has become well known among conservative evangelicals.  He has preached at Grace Community Church, Masters College, and the G3 Conference.  Often, Todd Friel refers to him on his Wretched program.  He is the founder and director of Heart Cry Missionary Society.  He was a missionary to Peru for ten years.  I'm using him for this post because of good things I hear from and have heard from him.

Paul Washer entitles this presentation:  "Churches Using Carnal Means to Attract Carnal People."  I agree with a very large percentage of it. He starts out with this:
Because we have dumbed down the gospel, because we're not preaching the true gospel, and we are using carnal means to attract people.  If you use carnal means to attract men, you're going to attract carnal men.  And you're going to have to keep using greater carnal means to keep them in the church.
I'm right with him on that.  I agree that those could be the two biggest problems going, if not the first and third biggest problems with the second the corruption of the biblical doctrine of sanctification.  However, Washer is very concerned about that too, as seen in recent tweets by him (his last three):

Washer repudiates using carnal means in the church to attract men to church, because it will result in attracting carnal men.  I also agree that it will necessitate greater carnal means to keep those carnal men.  However, does Paul Washer fellowship with churches that use carnal means?  Conservative evangelicalism is full of them.  They still use plenty of carnal means in their youth groups (Washer mentions "youth groups"), including the rock music and rock concerts, which are carnal music.

He continues:
We have these large churches fill with unconverted, carnal people.  But in those churches we have this small group of people that honestly want Christ, and they honestly want His Word and they honestly want to be transformed.  They don't need anything else.  All they need is true worship of the true God and scripture being preached to them and lived out before them.  That's what they want. 
Now I want to tell you the great sin of the American pastor.  And this has got me in a lot of trouble, but it's true.  This small group of converted people in that local church, all they want is Jesus and all they want to do is the right thing.  They want purity, they want truth, they want Christ, but the pastor, in order to keep this larger group of unconverted people, he caters to them.  So while he's feeding these carnal men and women with carnal things, he's letting the sheep of God starve to death and he's going to stand before God one day in judgment.
Then Washer gives an illustration to try to motivate people to do something about this, to stand for these people in these churches.  This was the essence of everything that he said.  You can listen to the rest of it, but I want to comment on the two paragraphs coming from him.

I agree that there are these large churches full of unconverted people.  Their pastors have told me themselves that they have mainly unconverted people attending their churches.  They know it.  They are doing exactly what Washer says.  There really are a smaller group of people in these churches in many cases, just like he described.  It's sad but true, what he's saying.  But what's missing?

Washer calls on people to do something about what he's describing as very bad, but I have found something else about these people in these churches.  These "good people" very often have a church to which they could join that isn't using carnal methods and is doing all the good things that he describes about a good church.  I've talked to them many times.  I've told them about the difference.  I've been doing this for over thirty years.  What do the "good people" do?  They stay in their carnal churches using carnal methods.

The "good people" in the churches according to Washer's description, I've met.  They don't want this church described.  They want, as I've seen it, some fictional church that is halfway between the carnal method church and the one Washer describes.  They also don't want to give up their carnality as much as he describes.  What would someone do who wanted it?  He would separate from the carnal church, which is a practice of biblical separation.

As well, what should anyone do to rescue these people?  Washer says the people who do nothing about it are as guilty as the people doing it.  What do they do though?  The small group needs to be taught by people like Washer to join another smaller group, one that isn't using carnal methods.  The small group that loves the Lord as Washer describes can leave in a biblical manner.  If a Roman Catholic is converted, truly so with a true gospel, he should leave the Catholic church.

I ask, can you worship God in your church?  We have a tract with that title.  A person who can't worship God in his church, because it uses carnal worship and doesn't preach a true gospel or have a true God, should leave that church and go to one that does.  Carnal churches are hard to leave.  They have friends, sometimes family, carnal music, carnal methods, and the size to provide certain comforts and conveniences.  The truth, separation from worldliness, and transformation aren't as important as these things to most of these "good people."

The kind of church that stays pure is a shock to the system of the person who has stayed for a long time at a "carnal church."  A church doesn't stay pure by accident.  It requires discipline.  It doesn't draw in the visitors like the carnal church.  It's easier to get people to come and feel that rush of success.  What might go along with the purity is a personal separation that the "good people" are not accustomed to.

To wrap this up, Washer doesn't mention separation.  Separation is all over the Bible and in nearly every New Testament book.  There is an actual section on separation in most of the epistles, and yet evangelicals rarely make a peep about separation, including the conservative ones.  Washer himself hobnobs with evangelicals.  Those are his people.  I don't see him with separatists.

On Washer's website, I saw him preaching to a large crowd of evangelicals filling up a gigantic cathedral in Paris.  How did they draw that big crowd in Paris?  To get a large group of people together, doctrinal or practical barriers are diminished or removed.  That alone is a method.  Is it a godly method to decide to devalue doctrine and practice for the purpose of a larger group, finding commonality by moving doctrines and practices into non-essential categories?

If the good people separated from carnal churches, those churches would get the message that they are losing their good people because of their ungodly beliefs and practices.  That's what they should do.  Then the smaller, godly, pure churches would get bigger.  This doesn't happen because these good people are not so good as Paul Washer thinks and says.  They are not walking by faith, but walking by sight.  They won't "go outside the camp" to identify and suffer with the people of God.  Paul Washer himself stays within the confines of the fellowship of that crowd.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Wellness That Isn't Well

Wellness in the Bible is wellness.  Unbiblical "wellness" isn't wellness.  Without biblical wellness, it won't be well with you.  You will be unwell.  Don't think otherwise.  You do so at your own risk.

Wellness is a major theme in scripture, beginning with the Old Testament.  God wants people to be well (Hebrew, yawtab).  God gives the prescription for wellness in the following verses, and scripture is consistent in the usage.

Very often tied into wellness is the prolonging of life, which also conforms to what people might think with "wellness," even today.  Here are the verses and some contain both concepts, wellness and prolonged days or quite simply, you may live.
Deuteronomy 4:40, "Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever."
Deuteronomy 5:29, "O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!"
Deuteronomy 5:33, "Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess."
Deuteronomy 6:1-3, "1 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: 2 That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee,, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
Deuteronomy 6:18, "And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers."
Deuteronomy 12:28, "Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God."
Psalm 128:1-2, "1 Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. 2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee."
Ecclesiastes 8:12-13, "12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: 13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
Jeremiah 7:23, "But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you."
Jeremiah 38:20, "But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live."
Jeremiah 42:6, "Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God."
Ephesians 6:1-3, "1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."
I've noticed most often wellness among modern wellness experts does not include the scriptural prerequisites.  I would challenge the so-called wellness of those who do not include what scripture says.  They might prolong years in a temporal sense, but the prolonging of days go further than this life, and unto the next.  Someone doesn't really live until he has eternal life, but that is not the emphasis of wellness today.  Wellness instead focuses on the short lives that are lived only on earth in these short 70 to 100 years.

Many of those who focus on wellness do not include faith in Christ and obedience of God and His Word.  This is where the concept of wellness proceeds from philosophy and vain deceit (Colossians 2:8). It is a part of an overall lie that fools people into fixating on this life, what Jesus said was gaining the world, but losing one's soul (Matthew 16:26, read also James 4).

Some might complain that the concept is Old Testament, but the Apostle Paul includes this teaching in Ephesians 6 above, and it is found in other words in other places in the New Testament.  The prerequisite is related to obedience to God-given authority:  scripture and parents.  It is the life that proceeds from faith in the Lord.  Many of those today who claim and push wellness promote something that excludes what God says about it.  It will not be well with them and their adherents.

From What or Where Does the Wrong View or Concept of "Wellness" Come From?

The wellness of scripture, true wellness, originates from God and scripture.  Someone is well if someone is aligning with God's Word.  It relates to the pleasure of God, but also the end of someone.  How will it go in the end for someone?  In what will his life culminate through all eternity?  That is of greatest importance.

The wellness of the wellness crowd follows philosophy and vain deceit.  It is "bodily exercise profits a lot, a whole lot," instead of "profits little."  Meats, eats, and whatever diet one takes is of greatest importance in contradiction to the Bible.

More than anything, it's about how someone feels, so it originates from the subject (subjectivity).  His well-being is affected by someone preaching against his sinful lifestyle -- that makes him feel bad.  If he feels bad because he's confronted over sin, he separates himself from the one who confronts it, and places himself or herself around only affirming, liking, positive, thumbs up people.  God isn't pleased, and he or she blocks that off by not exposing himself or herself to biblical exegesis.  Everything is siphoned through the grid of his or her feelings, which gives him wellness....for 50 years or so, until he or she faces God, where he finds out he wasn't ever well.

The peace of fake wellness, a major kind of wellness across the world today, comes from lying to one's self, covering or masking the truth.  The decision is made to focus on the short life at the exclusion of the eternal one, and block out the consequences of that.  This is part of the wellness, separating one's self from the criticism of the fake wellness.

It isn't well with the wellness people, if they are not well with God.  God is the author of all true wellness.

Friday, December 13, 2019

"The New Testament Picture of Jesus: Is It Accurate?," Shabir Ally & Thomas Ross, is now live!

I had the privilege of debating Dr. Shabir Ally, possibly the Western world's leading defender of Islam, a while ago at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.  The University newspaper covered the debate as a front page news item (entitled "The New Testament, Fact or Fiction,"), getting our campus organization a lot of free publicity, for which I am thankful, even if it did not represent the content of the discussion especially accurately.  The debate video is now live, and can be viewed on the What is Truth blog here:

or on the page on my website with the debate video, or on YouTube at the link "The New Testament Picture of Jesus: Is it Accurate?" or at the Christian Debates playlist, where the debates with Dan Barker can also be located and where future debates, Lord willing, will also be updated.  If you believe it is worth watching, please feel free to "like" the video on YouTube, post a comment, and share it on social media or on other platforms.

I have recorded some material reviewing the content of the debate which will also go live, Lord willing, in the relatively near future.  I thought the debate went very well, and that it was clear that the Muslim position had no ancient evidence at all in its favor, but required a rejection of all the ancient evidence.  I am also thankful that I had the ability to defend the New Testament from the historic Christian position of the independence of the synoptic Gospels rather than from compromised and unbiblical positions of too many of those whom Shabir has debated.  When those representing Christianity affirm Markan priority and the dependence of Matthew and Luke on Mark and "Q" they are giving away to theological liberalism far too much and make Islam and atheism's case against the Bible easier, in addition to simply accepting what cannot by any means be historically substantiated.  I am also thankful that Shabir Ally argued against the Bible the way standard theological liberalism would argue against it, rather than arguing for, say, wild-eyed mythicism the way Dan Barker did when I debated him.  I am very thankful for those who prayed for me and for the debate and those who worked hard on every aspect of what took place, and give glory to the one true God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the good that can come out of the debate.


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Biblical Alternative to Ghosting

Part One     Part Two     Part Three     Part Four

Ghosting is an extreme, unscriptural form of separation, which has been defined as "the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication."  It has become an increasingly more common occurrence among professing Christians in various institutions.  I know that the most regular usage of the term relates to the realm of dating in the world, but in its technical meaning it applies to any personal relationship.  It's happening in Christian homes today all over the country with their adult children.  Statistics and my own observation show me that.  An article entitled, "Ghosting Needs to Die," reads:
[W]ith increasing frequency, adult children are ghosting their parents. Dr. Joshua Coleman, author of When Parents Hurt, calls it “a silent epidemic.” Sixty percent of parents surveyed on the Estranged Stories site said their children had never “concretely shared” their reason for severing contact. In “Hidden Voices: Family Estrangement in Adulthood,” researchers at the University of Cambridge reported that more than 70 percent of adult children held out no hope for a relationship in the future. They also noted that the adult children were ten times more likely than their parents to initiate the break.
What are the situations for or in which someone could ghost?  I've read a lot about ghosting and the situations for and in which the world says it occurs.  When people ghost, they might either have a good reason or not.  As I've written in other posts, ghosting is an extreme form of separation.  Separation itself isn't bad in the Bible.  It very often is good to separate.  It is not always good to separate and sometimes, even when it is good to separate, it can be done in a wrong way.

Is there ever a situation where someone should separate "suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication"?  Scripture doesn't give one example of this.  The Bible teaches against the components of the behavior in no uncertain terms.  Ghosting doesn't originate from scripture, so where does it come from?  From all that I've read, even secular psychologists call it a form of cruel narcissism.  I couldn't find anyone who said it was good.  I read one place that said that it would be permissible in instances where the ghosted person is a "toxic" or "narcissistic" person.

Even ghosting implies an already established relationship.  I'm not going to address whether it's okay for a girl to ghost a boyfriend that she finds out is a mafia member.  I'm assuming this is a person who will disobey scripture and will not be guided by the Word of God anyway.  The right approach would start with preaching the gospel to this person.

Would an actual Christian ghost?  Only a disobedient one, and I'm saying a very disobedient one.  I wouldn't keep calling this a Christian, a true believer, without some soon coming repentance of this hideous practice.  It really is a person who is rebellious against God's design.  It's treating the world like it isn't God's.  This is someone making up his own rules about relationship against God.

In a comment to an earlier post, someone mounted a sort of argument for ghosting of some kind.  I could even sympathize with the situations he brought up.  There are still no grounds for a Christian to ghost anyone.  The Bible contains a wealth of material to deal with perceived situations to ghost.

From my reading on the toxic parent, a concept arising from secular psychology, in most cases a normal Christian parent would fall under toxic parent.  He's just got to want his way of life to be kept by his children, and that's toxic, even and perhaps especially if it is scriptural.  The word toxic turns the behavior of the parent into something criminal, so a child would be justified in protecting himself from criminal behavior.   Ghosting is the way out. This is the underlying idea today against most counseling against sinful behavior -- that counsel is abusive.

The biblical alternative to ghosting are the scriptural steps to reconciliation.  This assumes two parties that want to obey scripture.  A biblical alternative doesn't mean anything to someone who doesn't recognize the Bible as the final authority for faith and practice.  If two parties are at loggerheads in reconciliation, they are submitted to mediation, ultimately the church.  All of these steps are in the Bible multiple times.

Not following biblical instruction on relationship, according to the Bible is hateful or unloving.  In Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus compares it to committing murder.  Murder connotes a strike at the image of God.  God created relationship, wants the love of neighbor as one's self, and so here is a person that is murdering the relationship.

Part of an agreement or will to reconcile would be a will to change based upon scriptural terms.  Someone must know what or how to change.  Ghosting doesn't afford that.  The one ghosted doesn't even know what the problem is, so he can't change until he finds out what could reconcile.

In my observation, ghosting applies to someone who does not care or want to be ruled by what the Bible teaches on relationship.  He wants to do what he wants to do almost without judgment.  He doesn't want to face scrutiny on his decision making.  He won't risk the rejection of his lust with even one attempt at justifying it.  Ghosting is the invention of a self-willed, lust dominated person.  A continuation of ghosting is the practice of a non-Christian.  He may say he knows God, but living in this chosen state of perpetual disobedience, he is a liar.

Jesus said, he who has the ears to hear, let him hear.  The rejection of ghosting has to start with consideration of how despicable the practice.  Someone who is saved will understand this sin sent Jesus to the cross, if he believes Jesus died for his sins.  Understanding that salvation is being presented before God as pure and spotless, he will want to obey in practice what he has already obeyed in position, or what the Apostle Paul described in Philippians 3:12, "apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus."

Monday, December 09, 2019

The Seriousness and Divinity of the Doctrine of Separation in Zechariah 5: A Lid Out of a Talent of Lead

The Old Testament book of Zechariah calls for the repentance and faithfulness of the remnant of God's people based on the promises of God and prophecies of the future.  One part of the communication to and through the prophet Zechariah is a series of eight visions.  Zechariah motivates his Jewish audience with the record of a series of visions which portray God’s plans for Israel’s future.  I'm focusing on of them, what has been called "The Woman in the Basket" (Zechariah 5:5-11):
5 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. 6 And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. 7 And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. 8 And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. 9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. 10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? 11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.
This is a very, very simple story.  It's not even much of a story.  An "ephah" (v. 6) is a basket, technically the size of a basket, which is today 6.1 American gallons.  You can't make everything in this story mean something, but to stick with the basic, so let's follow along.

The woman in the basket is the wickedness of the nation, which is obvious for all to see.  A lid is put on the basket made of a talent of lead.  That's 75 to 100 pounds of lead sealing the top of that basket.  This lead lid means something, and it is an obvious expression of God's separation of the wickedness, actual wicked people, from the nation.  A very heavy lead lid covering a woman in a basket is a serious separation.

Two women take this woman in this basket with a lead lid and with wind in their stork-like wings, they fly all to Shinar and set her on a base or pedestal in a house or temple.  The simplicity of it is that God separates the wickedness, the actual wicked people, from the nation of God's people unto where it belongs, Shinar.  Shinar is Babylon, where the wickedness of this present world originated and will also end.  It is being disposed of, like taking out the trash.

God wants sin separated.  This is discipline.  This is personal separation.  This is ecclesiastical separation.  The sin and sinners are removed.  The bad influences are eradicated.  When all that offends God is sin, this takes preeminence for a people who want to please God.

The separation will occur.  Just like Noah and his family were separated from the world by the waters of the flood, while they were saved in the ark, the nation of Israel is saved by its separation.  At the very end of the Bible, the wicked are separated even from the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem.  God wants separation.  Paul wrote, come out from among them and be ye separate.

What belongs to Shinar must stay in Shinar or be removed to Shinar.  Keeping it where we are -- the world, the world system, wordliness, the spirit of this age -- is not the will of God.  The people who do it, John says, the love of God does not abide in them.  They will be the woman in the basket.  The ultimate removal is being left behind to be judged by God and then cast into the lake fire forever.  These do not belong with God's people, because God's people are holy.

The motivation of the story is to repent.  The separation is not salvation for those in the basket.  These are not repentant people.  It is judgment.  However, the declaration of this message by God to Zechariah and from Zechariah to the people would give them their means of deliverance.  Separation would occur one way or another, in the basket or outside of it.

Not only is the vision of separation a call for separation.  If they repented of their sin, they would separate.  If they wanted deliverance, they would separate.  It is also a prophecy of separation.  Two-thirds of the nation is separated from the nation and destroyed in the ultimate separation.  Israel is saved, which amounts to the one-third of the nation that is saved.  Those people are saved, because they turn to Jesus as the Messiah.

If Jesus is the Messiah to you, the Christ to you, you believe in the Christ, the Son of God, and have life through His name, you are separating yourself by following Him.  Jesus leads a person to a new life.  Israel looks upon Him, whom they have pierced.  They repent, the repentance recorded in the confession that is Isaiah 52 and 53.  He was wounded for their iniquities.  They esteemed Him stricken for His own sins, but He was bruised for theirs.  They understand that they were sheep that had gone astray.  They were wicked in their nature and they were in need of conversion.

Salvation is separation.  It separates in the end the sheep from the goats and the tares from the wheat.  It separates the proud Israelite, who will not acquiesce to His Messiah, from the one who is poor in spirit, mourns over his sin, and in meekness hungers and thirsts after imputed righteousness.  Instead of building his house on the sand, he builds his house on the rock, Who Is Jesus Christ.  In the end, you'll either be in the basket with the lead lid on it, or you'll be free through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

The Climate of Ghosting: Individual Identity and Its Attack on Divine Institutions (Marriage, Family, and Church)

Part One     Part Two     Part Three

One of the primary sources for the ideas of Karl Marx was the writings of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau of France.  The latter inspired the French Revolution and thereby then the bloody devastation of two World Wars in the twentieth century and a consequential Cold War.  The essence of Rousseau imagined the elimination of social relationships, traditions, customs, morals, and laws with the goal of a remaining lone existence of autonomous individuals.  Rousseau called it amour de soi, which means "self love" or what he labeled, "state of nature."

Rousseau argued true nature was autonomous individuals, predating society, so that institutions of marriage, family, and church were contrary to nature.  I'm focusing on those three, ordained by God and in God's Word.  Edward W. Younkins writes:
Rousseau's view is that society corrupts the pure individual. Arguing that men are not inherently constrained by human nature, Rousseau claims that men are limited and corrupted by social arrangements. Conceiving of freedom as an absolute, independent of any natural limitations, Rousseau disavows the world of nature and its inherent laws, constraints, and regulations.
This is the meaning of the famous line that Rousseau began his book, The Social Contract:  "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains."  He meant the oppression of personal relationships like marriage, family, and church.

Rousseau has influenced the United States much, much more than people even know.  Many understand that liberalism says that the core of personhood is one's ability to choose his own identity.  Essential identity is free from family and even responsibility.  To find true self, the individual finds the need to break free from divine institution with self-autonomy.  In the application of law, the rights bearer is the self-determining individual, who connects to others only by his own choice.  State universities push this idea on students to great acceptance.

The idea of "social contract" with Rousseau is individual choice.  Each individual authors his own obligation.  To accomplish this, concepts of the family are broken down.  Parents have been removed from marriage as a part of radical individualism, resulting in less and later marriage, because the youth see it as a social contract wrought with potential personal harm.

Rousseau clashes with scripture.  God's Word describes the original state of man as male and female (Genesis 1:26-27) and family (Genesis 1:28), and God Himself instituted the church (Matthew 16:18-19).  In scripture, freedom is not interrupted by God's institutions, but provided by them (John 8:32-36).  The moral requirements of the divine institutions do not impose on freedom, but express the nature God designed.

Although contradictory, Rousseau declared the state to release the individual:  "Each citizen would then be completely independent of all his fellow men, and absolutely dependent on the state."  Rousseau was joined by others such as philosopher John Locke, his views arising from 17th century mechanistic physics.  "State of nature" replaced creation as the underlying premise.  Rousseau took the concept to the extent that freedom meant human opportunity to create one's self without interference.

According to Rousseau, the ability for the individual to create himself necessitates the elimination of the aforementioned institutions, so that the individual can choose for himself what he wants to be and do.  In Rousseau's view, the state is the liberator, which seems like a contradiction, because in the real world, the state controls and coerces individuals.  Radical individualism led to radical statism or totalitarianism.  Many political scientists and sociologists show how that isolated individuals are most vulnerable to totalitarian control.

I have seen firsthand in many different ways the state interfering with God ordained institutions with a grounds of individual freedom.  You the reader probably have plenty of your own examples.  When my first child entered California State University East Bay, and we went to the financial desk to make a payment, the school would not allow it.  Only the student could do business, even if the student wasn't making the payment.  The student received the report card and not the parent.  Everyone knows that a teenage girl doesn't require permission from parents to get an abortion.

The clearest practical notion of the attack on divine institutions is the arbitrary adult age of 18 that the state continues to attempt to lower to 16.  Eighteen-year-olds think they are separate from their parents, free agents to make a decision with the authority of the state. They see their parents as an intrusion on their freedom, on their ability to choose their own identity.  They see the parents even as an imposition on their ability to develop their own beliefs.  None of this is true and is in direct violation of the teaching of the Word of God.  It is pure Rousseau and a lie of Satan.

Patriarchy, the authority of a dad, even a godly one with best interests for his family, has been effectively eliminated by radical statism due to radical individualism.  Church authority from the pastor to congregational to elder has been nullified.  People are doing what they want to do and feel entitled in doing so.  Anything or anyone who steps in the way of that might be "ghosted."  This is the climate of ghosting today, ghosting being "the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication."

According to Rousseau, the terms of relationship are set by the individual like a social contract, disconnected from the God ordained terms of God, church, and even the Bible.  If a young person doesn't like what the church teaches, he can easily find a church "woke" to his desires and with all the necessary minimization of authority.  Real authenticity is someone who is being true to his self without the compunctions of preset family responsibility.  He can't really know unless it is his choice, completely separated from divine institutions.

What is ironic to the thoughts or position of the ghoster is that while he pursues individual autonomy, he is bound to the disposition of the flesh.  Everyone is a slave to something or someone.  True freedom isn't the absence of subjugation, according to God.  The truth sets someone free, but true freedom is from the bondage to sin.  The ghoster sees true freedom as freedom from the bondage of divinely instituted spheres of authority.  In fact, those are ordained by God to provide freedom.  This is a person, who is truly a slave now to his own desires, yet fooled into thinking he is free.  The original nature of the republic was the freedom to live within the confines of moral responsibility, which is tied to divinely instituted spheres of sovereignty.

One of the next door neighbors to our church property has a huge yard and in it, he raises chickens, who got loose yesterday.  Chickens were running across our church grounds here in this urban area.  It was funny to watch, but I had a dim expectancy for the future of those chickens.  They were free all right, just like the ghoster is free, when he separates himself from the sovereignty of the sphere of family, marriage, or a father.  Freedom is not the freedom of self-destruction, which God says occurs when a child doesn't obey or honor his father and his mother.  It will not be well with him on the earth -- will not be.

Individual freedom is the climate of ghosting.  It is a lie about freedom.  It rests on an "atomistic viewpoint," a naturalistic assumption that human atoms function prior to social arrangements.  This is a mere material world functioning according to mechanistic physics.  It is the position of uniformitarianism that speaks evil of divine intervention.  Someone is free from divine intervention in his own mind, which is represented by God ordained authority.  He doesn't have to fit in with divine purpose.

A "woke" church today from often to always portrays God in varied degrees of coherence with individual autonomy.  A ghoster might not enjoy the relationship within a divine sphere authority, so he chooses instead a relationship with his own self-perception of God.  His God now has his back, and he's comfortable with that.  He is bathing in the love of an ethereal father without the intrusion of the regulations of which he disapproves, his chosen divine father approving of all his social and moral predilections.  However, that's not how God works.

God doesn't work through mankind like he is a free agent.  God Himself works through these spheres of divine sovereignty.  Someone is not free to fit into them or not fit into them as he would, even if a "woke" church gives its ironic imprimatur on the "ghoster."  God orders the world for His creation and the freedom still operates within that creation order.  A husband is the head of the wife, for instance.  Is the Christian wife not free just because she doesn't like how her husband heads?

The protection of true freedom is the protection of the spheres created and ordered by God.  The state itself ordained by God protects freedom by protecting those spheres.  When a father can't lead his family because of individual autonomy, freedom is lost.  Individuals don't have the right to choose their own identity.  Identity proceeds from created order.  A society isn't free when a boy uses the girl's bathroom.  That violates the actual freedom of the girls.

Ghosters aren't free.  What they perceive as individual autonomy is bondage.  They think they are forming their own identities, but it's actually their slavery to their own lust.  Neither is what they think is freedom, the grace of God.  It isn't grace, and it isn't God.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Jessie Penn-Lewis: "My Demon Possession Key to My Keswick Teaching" (part 16 of 22)

The content of this post is now available in the study of:

1.) Evan Roberts

2.) The Welsh Revival of 1904-1905

3.) Jessie Penn-Lewis

on the website. Please click on the people above to view the study.  On the FaithSaves website the PDF files may be easiest to read.


You are also encouraged to learn more about Keswick theology and its errors, as well as the Biblical doctrine of salvation, at the soteriology page at Faithsaves.

Monday, December 02, 2019

My Dad: 80

Tomorrow my Dad turns 80.  He was born December 3, 1939 during World War 2 in Danville, IL, and grew up on a farm in Foster, Indiana along the Wabash River without running water, electricity, or indoor plumbing.  My Dad has been the most important person in my life.  He and my mom moved in with us and have lived with us now about a year and half.  He is type 2 diabetic and more notably, he has alzheimers.  He's not going to get better and he will only get worse.  We're glad to be taking care of him.  I'm glad he's made it this far.
His name is Terence Carlton Brandenburg.  He got up every morning of his childhood to milk cows before he went to school.  He bailed hay and also ran from a bull and jumped a six foot fence to get away.  He has a brother, who lives in Texas, and a sister, who now lives in Misourri.  His mom, Nila, was sociable and talkative, a story teller.  His father, Charles, was quiet, taciturn, and hard working.  They were a church going family, Plymouth Brethren, a country church where he made a profession of faith in Christ under the preaching of an itinerant revivalist.

My dad was never a good student in school.  His parents put him in special education class in junior high.  He was a good athlete, but because of work on the farm, he could play only two sports, so he chose track and field and football at Covington High School in Covington, Indiana.  In the former, he went to the Indiana state final in the 100 yard dash, second place.  For decades he held his high school record in the 100 and the long jump, running on cinders in 9.9 seconds.  His football team won the Indiana state championship his senior year.

My mom grew up in Clinton, Iowa.  Her mom died when she was 8 from a malignant brain tumor.  Her dad's work sent her family from Iowa to North Carolina for a year and then to Covington, Indiana for employment at a factory for the Olin Corporation just out of town, which made cellophane.  My dad met her and they married just out of high school.

My father worked a short period as a fireman on the railroad and then when he was only eighteen he started work himself at Olin's, and stayed there for 17 years.  A bigger event was that my dad and mom started also attending First Baptist Church of Covington, and the pastor came to visit and she received Jesus Christ.  My dad and mom were both baptized by immersion into the church.  My sister was born their first year, I came along three years later, and my brother three years after that.  We grew up in the church.

Dad became very involved in the church, as a deacon and door-to-door evangelism.  Some were saved through his work.  We attended every service and it influenced me greatly.  I heard Bible teaching in Sunday School and jr. church and preaching in church services.  We invited others to church.  I evangelized my classmates, this greatly influenced by my dad's example.

When dad was in his early thirties, he started attending a Bible institute at a Baptist church in Danville, Illinois.  He desired to go into full time service for the Lord, so our family went on a Bible college trip to several places.  We met B. Myron Cedarholm at Maranatha Baptist Bible College, and when he was thirty-five, our family moved to Watertown, Wisconsin.  We sold our house and most of our belongings.  My dad worked two jobs, went to college full time, and sent us three children to Christian school.  That sacrifice had the biggest influence on my life.

Our family was never rich, but we became even more poor in Watertown.  Our whole family of five large adult sized people rode first in a 1967 volkswagon station wagon with no heat.  We scraped the inside of the windshield in the winter, while my dad drove.  Our 1972 Vega rusted out in the bottom and we could see the road through the large jagged rust hole in the floor.  The shower in the basement of the house, no bathtub, was a pipe out of a crumbling brick wall with a deteriorating concrete floor.  However, we were always rich, because we had the Lord Jesus Christ and He had us.

My dad was a strict disciplinarian, what some might call old school, and he required obedience of his children.  My fear of my father kept me from wrong activities.  Today people would say he went over the line.  I don't think so.  I have a lot of stories to tell, but I have not one ounce of resentment.  He was loving me.  It was exactly what I needed.  We also played sports together, sat in church together, and talked about the Word of God.  School was difficult for him, but he studied very hard and made the honor roll.  He majored in secondary education and Greek, and minored in physical education.  When he graduated, he won the award as the top Greek student in the college.  He stayed on to teach in the Academy and I had him as a second year Greek teacher my senior year in high school.

Seven years later, my wife and I married and moved to California.  My dad and mom had gone to teach at a Christian school in Arizona.  A year and half after we started our church, my dad came to become principal of our Christian school.  With my mom, he served faithfully first as principal and teacher, then just teacher.  He weekly evangelized and taught a men's Sunday School class.  My parents lived in the same small, old two bedroom apartment their entire time in California.  They were on time and helpful to every meeting and event, an encouragement to the church.

I could say a lot more, but on his 80th birthday, I want to thank the Lord for my dad and what he has meant to my life.  It has been great serving with him and my mom for thirty years in the Lord's church.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

More On Ghosting

Part One      Part Two

The Irish Independent is the most prominent newspaper in Ireland, and yesterday, November 29, 2019, in that paper, Larissa Nolan writes about ghosting in an article entitled, "Into thin air: How 'ghosting' became the new normal":
We've all heard about ghosting: the spineless trend of severing a relationship by disappearing from contact. No calls, no texts, no emails - and no warning, explanation or chance to discuss. It's a particular kind of narcissism, a form of emotional cruelty, according to psychology. It's a mixture of cowardice, immaturity and modern technology.
I think anyone with an ounce of common sense would recognize this as the truth about this odious, heinous practice, primarily by young people, who very often justify it as a means to "wellness."  Dropping out, they justify, preserves themselves, keeps them well or improves them.  In my last post, I spoke about how that psychiatry is notoriously untrustworthy and a pseudo-science.  Nevertheless, a major mark psychiatrists give the narcissist is "the silent treatment":
The silent treatment is probably one of the most common forms of emotional abuse used by narcissists . . . .   Narcissists use the silent treatment as a form of punishment for not acquiescing to their point of view or as the way to gain the upper hand and control in their relationships. It’s also a way to avoid discussing important issues in the relationship and avoid taking accountability for their wrong-doings. When a narcissist uses the silent treatment, they will do it in a way that is so out of proportion to the situation. Narcissists will also tend to demand a perfectly delivered apology. If the apology is not said correctly or in the right way, the narcissists will extend the length of the silent treatment. By demanding a perfectly delivered apology, narcissists confirm their dominance and support their exaggerated importance.
If someone reads the entire above article from which this paragraph comes, to possess narcissistic personality disorder, one must check off several markers.  Even if ghosting or the silent treatment are narcissistic, this isn't a biblical means of analysis of human problems.  It's way too subjective and seems as though it is invented to weaponize against a chosen target. The truth about someone is not a matter of an arbitrary culling from studies or articles to conform to an already settled conclusion.  This isn't how the Lord Jesus Christ or any of God's men in scripture function in service to God and men.

The Bible is sufficient as it speaks to behavior, and ghosting is in no way scriptural.  It is a form of extreme separation, but not biblical separation.  Separation in and of itself is fine, required even by God in His Word.  However, certain forms of separation are evil.

Evangelicals do not practice biblical separation, but I have observed they still practice separation, and an unbiblical version more like ghosting.  They are not attempting reconciliation, which is a requirement in biblical separation.  Real reconciliation centers on the truth, the basis of reconciliation, bringing two entities back together.  The point on which they come together is the truth, aligning with the historic, biblical teaching of the church.

Ghosting is not about reconciliation.  It's many different variations of selfishness.  At it's best, if even possible, someone who desires to avoid the pollution of sin separates in an extreme manner to preserve personal purity.  Out of sheer desperation about sinning, a person turns monastic without any warning to those around him.  I've never seen it.  People truly concerned for sin want to help sinners.  They know the truth and want others to know it too, because they care.

Someone really can judge belief and behavior based upon scripture.  The goal is to get to the right position and practice for God.  A person can know that.  Some people don't want that.  They want what they want and they don't want to be challenged -- at all.  This is the new generation Z and millennials. They have picked upon this new standard of human relations, even with the encouragement of evangelical leaders.

A kind of ghosting behavior actually is not new.  It is an extreme form of self-centeredness.  I understand it, because I've done it.  I can't imagine that any human being hasn't at least given the "silent treatment" to someone at some point.  I remember two instances.  It's a form of throwing a fit, a childish type of tantrum behavior.  Instead of reconciling along the lines of Matthew 5:21-26, someone sulks, ignores those around him, and goes silent.

An antidote for ghosting or the silent treatment for a true believer is Ephesians 4:26, let not the sun go down upon thy wrath.  It's a command.  It's not, let not a week, a month, or a year go down upon thy wrath, but the sun.  A dispute or division has got to be settled between believers out of love.  It's not right to hold a grudge, hold onto resentment, none of that.  It's self-destructive and dishonoring to God.  Much of this goes on between children and their parents today, but also between siblings, and childhood friends. It's not acceptable, but it is still happening and at an alarmingly increasing rate.

Again, scripture requires initiation of reconciliation, including possible mediation.  At the foundation is the love of the neighbor, the love of the brethren, according to the Word and will of God and as fruit of the Spirit.  It is also endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit.  Ghosting and the silent treatment don't please God and sin against God in their hateful treatment of others.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Miracle Moss Cures Cancer--watch the video!

The cure for cancer has been discovered--on YouTube!  Watch the short video below to find out about the miracle moss that cures cancer, although the cure has been suppressed by Big Pharma. (Note: I am not endorsing the music on the video.)

Learn about Dr. Johan R. Tarjany, who discovered the Miracle Moss in the 1800s, and how in the early 1800s he found out that the moss could alter the double helix structure of DNA.  He added the moss to his diet and he never developed cancer!  After watching the video, I have done what it suggested and I also have never developed cancer!!! The active ingredient in the moss has been banned by the FDA, but you can find it online--buy now!

Comments are welcome below, but please only comment after watching the entire (two minute) video.

If you wish to buy the moss from me, please note that I also do real estate deals.  The bridge below is one that has a huge amount of traffic in the San Francisco area, and I can sell it you for a very low price.  I can sell it because, as you can see below, I have a picture with the bridge in it:

Both for the moss and the bridge, just so you know, I do not take credit or debit cards, only prepaid gift cards, money orders, and cash wrapped in plain brown wrappers mailed to my international address.

May the video above encourage us to obey Isaiah 1:18's command to "reason."


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Hearing or Listening the First Rightful Response as Thanksgiving

Deuteronomy 5:7 begins the ten commandments in Deuteronomy:  "Thou shalt have none other gods before me."  There are at least two and maybe three stages before one arrives at that first command from God.  One, God does a lot of good stuff for people.  That first one could be divided into more than that one stage.  He gave them mercy, He delivered them, and He blessed them physically in numerous ways.  These are seen in the first four chapters of Deuteronomy, and in several other places in the Bible.  A representation of these are seen, in essence a summation, in chapter 5 and verses 2 to 6:
2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3 The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. 4 The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, 5 (I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying, 6 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Reading those there, one can see at least:
  1. Our God -- He possesses them and they Him.
  2. God made a covenant -- He made promises to them that He always kept and would keep.
  3. With us, even us -- He chose them out among many other people, and it could have been other people but it wasn't.
  4. Alive this day -- The very fact that they were alive was a testimony of multiple deliverances by God.
  5. The LORD talked with you face to face -- God kept it personal with the people.
  6. I am the LORD thy God -- He is the LORD their God; enough said.
  7. Brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage -- He saved them from a very difficult situation, Egypt and bondage.
As an example of the repetition of these terms, read all of Psalm 136, and especially these verses (vv. 10-16):
10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever: 11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever: 12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever. 13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever: 14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever: 15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever. 16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.
This is a review of a lot of good stuff from God for the same people.  The assumption here is thanksgiving.  Someone recognizes and acknowledges, has affection for, who God is and what He has done in comparison to as bad as it could have been.  The reason these things keep getting mentioned in other places like Psalm 136 is spoken in the first few verses of Psalm 136:
1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. 3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Thanksgiving could be stage two, if we wanted to give it a separate stage to make three stages.  Some don't get to thanksgiving after all that God has done.  Unbelievers don't (Romans 1:21).

Stage two is Hear or listen, which is in the first verse of chapter 5:
And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day.
Last, I'm saying is obeying God's commands, which is the second half of verse one:  "that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them."  Other stages, important ones, could be inserted, namely learn and keep.  I don't want to devalue learning, but to keep it simple, the end is obey.  However, for the purpose of this post, I'm parking on stage two, hear or listen, saying that stage one is thanksgiving for God's provision.

"Hear" or "listen" is found at least 34 times in Deuteronomy.  It's a vital component of the overall message of the book.  Proverbs 1:5 says, "A wise man will hear."  Then in Proverbs 1:8, "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother."  Children, and in particular sons, hear the instruction of their father.

There is a relationship between hearing or listening and thanksgiving.  Those saved on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 gladly received the Word of God.  A justification for church attendance, besides praise and prayer, is listening to the preaching of the Word of God out of thanksgiving to God.

If children are thankful for their parents, they will listen to them.  If they don't listen, they aren't thankful for them.  The term, ingrate, comes to mind.  Most likely they felt entitled for all the things they were given, a pride that leads to another pride of a stubborn refusal to listen to wisdom.

A humble Israel would with thanksgiving listen to the commands of God with the disposition to do them.  The same God that gave them all these things had blessing embedded in the obedience to the commands.  They were a better life with blessing built in and cursing with the disobedience.  The same comes with godly parents who give and give and give to their children and then beg them to listen to and then obey godly instruction. In the obedience to that instruction is blessing, as a microcosm of the giving and giving and giving of God that deserves thanksgiving, hearing, and then obedience.

Those thankful to God listen to God.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Faithless Music? The Belief in a Transcendent God Requires Objective Beauty

Part One

A material universe exists.  Modern science shows that it is not eternal.  It had a beginning a finite time ago out of nothing.   It is absurd to to say that the universe just popped into existence out of nothing.  The existence of the universe requires a transcendent cause that must be spiritual, because it can't already be a part of the material universe.  That cause also must be a lot of other qualities that fit a description of God.  Based on the complexity of the universe, the cause must have been the personal choice of an intelligent designer.   Vast evidence shows the existence of the universe requires elaborate initial conditions to sustain intelligent life.  This has been called the fine-tuning of the universe.

In this complex, personal, and intelligent universe, there are also values.  Like the natural laws bind the universe, so do the values, indicating that they too proceed from God.  Everyone for instance knows that certain objective, moral laws exist that are wrong to break.  The same cause of the universe is the cause of the moral values -- God.

The process I'm traversing here fits what Psalm 19 says in the Old Testament and Romans 1 in the New.  Psalm 19:1 says:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Romans 1:19-20 say:
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
Nature reveals not only the existence of God but also various attributes of God.  Sir Isaac Newton at the end of his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy wrote:
[T]hough these bodies may, indeed, continue in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular position of the orbits themselves from those laws. . . .  This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.
The founders of science called science "the wisdom of God."  The Royal Society began in 1660 and in 1667 John Ray became a fellow of the society, writing The Wisdom of God manifested in the Works of the Creation.  David said "their words," the words of the handiwork of God through His creation, go out "to the end of the world" (Psalm 19:2-3).

The words of creation, providence, and conscience match the Words of God in scripture.  Values are transcendent and the scripture, which reflects natural law, manifests those in categories of truth, goodness, and beauty.  Since God originated everything, so truth, goodness, and beauty spring from and, therefore, mirror Him.  Believing in the existence of God is believing in objective beauty.  Rather than state that argument myself, I use the statement of Augustine in his City of God:
Beauty. . . can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this `idea' of beauty were not found in the mind in a more perfect form. . . But even here, if this `idea' of beauty were not subject to change, one person would not be a better judge of sensible beauty than another. . . nor the experienced and skilled than the novice and the untrained; and the same person could not make progress towards better judgement than before. And it is obvious that anything which admits of increase or decrease is changeable. 
This consideration has readily persuaded men of ability and learning. . . that the original `idea' is not to be found in this sphere, where it is shown to be subject to change. . . And so they saw that there must be some being in which the original form resides, unchangeable, and therefore incomparable. And they rightly believed that it is there that the origin of things is to be found, in the uncreated, which is the source of all creation.
Furthermore, Augustine writes in his Confessions:
[M]y sin was this, that I looked for pleasure, beauty, and truth not in him but in myself and his other creatures, and the search led me instead to pain, confusion, and error.
If something can be beautiful, then something can be ugly.  Scripture backs up the logic, the natural law of which I and many others through history speak.  I provide three verses, two from the Old and one from the New, first 1 Chronicles 16:29 and Psalm 27:4:
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
From the New Testament, I quote Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Paul commanded, "[T]hink on. . . whatsoever things are lovely."  God defines the lovely.  There is ugly music and it is music that does not reflect the nature of God.  It cannot be lustful, sexy, and many other negative traits that can be communicated by the language of music, including and even without the words.  I'm talking about music.  People listening to this music are not thinking on the lovely and they are moving away from the nature of God.  It's worse than that, but it's at least that bad.  I'm saying that it is faithless, because someone cannot both believe in God and not believe in objective beauty.  The latter follows the former.  It isn't in the eye of the beholder or a person's taste.  That is subjective or relativistic.

The church above all needs to talk and show the lovely, the beauty of God.  "Holiness" is in accordance with the attributes of God, separated unto His characteristics. Someone will not change into His image, be holy as He is holy, when they are channeling or guzzling godless music.  In the spirit of this Thanksgiving season, this isn't thankful.  This is not thanking God.  It is not wanting God.  It is feeding the flesh and wanting what self wants.

I apply this truth about God and beauty to you professing pastor, who has his play list filled with vile music.  I apply this to you professing Christian, listening to your worldly tunes on your road trip or on your way into work in your car or when you work out.  I write this to you, who when you hear the ugly, do not turn it off, when you can.

Believing in God is also believing in objective truth, objective goodness, and objective beauty.  I've focused on the last of these.  One isn't believing in God and turning beauty relative or subjective, shaping it according to his own lust.  Beauty proceeds from God, what characterizes Him.  That's what He wants us to value and we should value highest.  Someone is not seeking the kingdom of God and is not setting his affections on things above, when he subjects his passions to what is incongruent with either.