Friday, May 31, 2019

When is Bad Preaching a Separating Issue?

Independent Baptist Churches are--well--independent.  Just as a significant variety of belief and practice may be found in the IFB movement, so one can find a great variety in the quality of independent Baptist preaching.  On one end of the spectrum, one can find careful expository preaching with strong application that leads to both a stronger church and stronger pastoral leadership through the years, such as the large majority of the preaching at Bethel Baptist Church in El Sobrante, CA, both in the regular services and during the Word of Truth conferences.  A Biblical basis for this kind of preaching includes the fact that in the command to "preach the Word" (2 Timothy 4:2), the noun "Word" has an anaphoric article in Greek referring back to the "all Scripture" of 2 Timothy 3:16 (as noted, e. g., in the study here).  That is, the Apostle Paul's inspired command in 2 Timothy 3:15-4:2 includes the heaven-given directive that Timothy preach all the inspired Scripture in the church of God--something that will only take place if expositional preaching through books of the Bible is a key aspect of the regular preaching ministry.

This is not to say that every single message in a sound church must be a verse-by-verse exposition.  The book of Acts contains sound--indeed, inspired--topical sermons, and it is reasonable to conclude that the model in Acts indicates that evangelistic preaching should generally be topical, while Biblically-based topical preaching is indubitably also lawful for the saints in the church of God.

However, not all independent Baptist churches are careful in the preaching and teaching of the Word.  Sadly, many of them too often commit the wicked sin (2 Peter 3:16) of wresting the Scriptures, taking them out of context in their sermons, and in this manner being like the devil in their use of Scripture rather than being like Christ (Matthew 4:1-11; Genesis 3:1-6).

The question of this post involves the following. I would like to hear comments based on Biblical wisdom in the comment section to this post that help to answer these questions.

1.) Not all the Apostles had an equal level of education--Paul, for example, had more "theological" training than Peter did, and his epistles reflect greater complexity than Peter's writings, yet both are part of the invaluable inspired deposit of the New Testament.  When, however, does a lack of ability to understand and interpret Scripture become a disqualifying lack of being "apt to teach" (1 Timothy 3:2)?  How does aptitude in teaching differ for a bishop/overseer and for, say, a children's Sunday School teacher?

2.) Everyone can commit the wicked sin of misinterpreting Scripture on occasion.  When, however, does this rise to the level where a church should separate from another one that is guilty of this sin too often?

3.) How does one distinguish the fact that some qualified preachers may more easily commit this sin, while others are more liable to different sins of a different type (e. g., prayerlessness, unbiblical anger, etc.), with the unrepentant practice of Scripture-twisting?  Nobody, or just about nobody, will boldly say "Yes, I don't care if I am taking God's Word of context."  How can the kind of regular lack of watchfulness and care against this sin indicate a separation-worthy situation?

4.) How does one confront another brother, or even a spiritual leader, who is guilty of this sin?  How does one church and its leadership deal with another church and its leadership about this sin?  What should a church member do if he is in a church where the pastor or pastors are too often guilty of this sin?  How does one seek to show reverence for whatever parts of God's truth are in a message that contains exegetical fallacies, receiving that truth with reverence and godly fear, while also hating the sin of Scripture-twisting, as one must hate all sin?

5.) How can the principle of 1 Corinthians 14:29 be applied to preaching, and how can a man instruct his family to not receive and believe exegetical fallacies in a sermon or sermons he has heard without turning the situation into one of "roast preacher" after a message?

6.) How does one treat a church-run Bible college or institute that is producing men who believe the right doctrine but do not know how to preach what a text actually says and do not know how to interpret Scripture, or are seriously deficient in this area?

7.) What role can other pastors in a church and/or deacons or other spiritual leaders play in helping a head pastor to take Scripture-twisting seriously if it seems he does not do so as much as he should, without these other men becoming people who are unsupportive or critical instead of helpfully supportive of their shepherds?

8.) What kind of accountability can the pastor of a church, perhaps a smaller church with spiritually immature Christians who would not know if the pastor is taking the Word of context, institute for himself to guard against this sin?  How can he make sure Scripture-twisting is not happening if he does not have as much time as he would like to study because he has to work one, or maybe even two or three secular jobs because the church cannot yet support him financially?

9.) How can a church distinguish between a man training for the ministry who is not yet "apt to teach" to the point where hands should be laid on him and one who still has (as do we all) room to continue to grow in this area, but one who is qualified and whom a church could ordain and/or send out to evangelize for the purpose of seeing churches established elsewhere?

I certainly do not think that I have the definitive answer to these questions, and I would like to hear thoughtful, Biblically-based ideas in the comment section.  One thing that I do believe can be definitively stated, however, is that the answer is not "we cannot do anything about Scripture-twisting." Furthermore, the too-common practice among independent Baptists to (commendably and rightfully) warn carefully about many sins, but never to warn about this one, is a great evil.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Fallacy of Critical Text Apologetics with Islam: James White and Pooyan Mehrshahi

Robert Truelove interviews Pooyan Mehrshahi with a focus on the superiority or necessity of the received or ecclesiastical text position related to Muslim apologetics.

Evangelical apologist and critical text advocate, James White, very often warns that apologetics with Moslems is ruined by a received text position.  He states this with absolute dogmatism, while giving zero proof or evidence for his contention.  Instead of speaking with a tone of incredulity and rolling his eyes, he should explain the preeminence of his position.  The only evidence is that he says it, so it must be true -- he's the authority.

On the other hand, we listen to Pooyan Mehrshahi explaining his position and giving actual evidence for it.  I've written the same thing related to my evangelism of Moslems (here).  Listen to Mehrshahi here on the preservation of scripture.   He is a pastor of a Baptist church in Cheltenham, UK and has an amazing personal testimony, having grown up with Shia Islam, learning Arabic and memorizing the Quran in Iran.  The biggest attack on Christianity by Islam is the corruption of the text of scripture.  They, as Mehrshahi asserts, use and quote evangelicals to support their position.  The right position and powerful position against Islam is the doctrine of preservation, which is the truth.  I don't imagine White's (and those like him) position on the text of scripture doing anything but providing ammunition for Islam against Christianity.  He hurts the cause.

Please watch the interview of Mehrshahi and then listen to Mehrshahi's sermon.  They will square you away against the deceit of the position of White, whose position is just false.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Jessie Penn-Lewis: Conversion (?) and Higher Life (part 2 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, May 21, 2019

The Most Common Paradigm for Apostasy As Also Related to Making Decisions and Having Discernment

"Apostate" and "apostasy" are technical terms not found in the Bible, but they are in common use through church history to describe turning from the faith to various degrees.  In general, it is viewed as complete turning from the faith, as done by an unsaved person and proving that he is not saved (1 John 2:19).  Jesus said that those who are His disciples will continue in His Word (John 8:31) and that His sheep will hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27).

Turning away completely is apostasy, which means someone isn't saved, never was saved in the first place, so didn't continue in the faith.  When I say "various degrees" of apostasy, I mean that someone can turn from something he once believed for whatever reason, but is still saved.  This is a more difficult concept, because the question arises, "Does an actual true, genuine Christian turn away from anything that God says?"  And perhaps another, "Isn't a person who lives in perpetual sin unsaved?"  Any unrepentant sin merits church discipline in the New Testament, where someone is regarded as a heathen man and a publican (Matthew 18:17).

A lot is changing in professing Christianity today in whatever realm someone might want to characterize genuine Christianity, evangelicalism or fundamentalism.  Do these changes represent the changes of saved people, where now they aren't obeying scripture as they once were, or these are just unbelievers?  This is a tough call, but also a common question.  We're not saved by doing good works, but by grace, and yet on the other hand, grace isn't a means of disobeying what God said.

For the sake of this post, I'm going to say that there are saved people, who are just not practicing like they once did.  The biggest crowd of these are millennials or perhaps we could call them younger people.  They still believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.  They would still say they want to live for the Lord.  They still believe the Bible is the Word of God. However, they don't practice the same way as the previous generation and this is happening all over the place.  To put this into the above discussion, are these saved people?  I'm going to say, yes, for the sake of this post, but I wouldn't want to be in their shoes.  The Bible doesn't change, God doesn't change, so the change could be apostasy.  Perhaps someone just needs to wait and see.

I'm making room for a partial apostasy still being saved, because of the churches in the New Testament, where they were not practicing like Paul wanted according to his epistles and Jesus expected according to His letters delivered to seven churches in Asia.  Did the changes at Corinth, ones of which Paul did not approve, constitute not being saved?  Did the changes at Ephesus or Pergamos or Thyatira mean a departure from the faith totally?  It did at Laodicea, we know (Revelation 3:14-22), but it's tough to know to what extent the people were unsaved in the other six, where Jesus disapproved.

Again, salvation is not something to mess around with, so we shouldn't give people a false sense of security about salvation, if they have departed from some orthodox belief and practice, while holding on to a profession of faith.  Today, I think, that millennials are banking on the notion that they still have reached the low bar, a minimal threshold, to count as salvation without having to live all the stuff that they don't like.  They are changing Christianity very often to the degree that it isn't even Christianity any more, and they don't care, as long as they're happy with it.  Does that sound like saved people?  It's difficult for me to say, yes, that sounds like Christianity to me.

This has all been introduction so far, but the way I believe the apostasy is occurring, saved or not saved, has taken on the following steps, which I'm calling the most common paradigm for apostasy.  I'm going to write them in the second person for someone reading to apply to himself.
  1. You want to live like you want.
  2. You want acceptance of that lifestyle.
  3. You recruit validation from like-minded people.
  4. You destroy or scorched-earth the source of the former belief and practice to justify your leaving for the new.
This paradigm fits 2 Peter, an epistle with apostasy as its theme, as Peter describes lust as the impetus for the apostasy (2:10, 18; 3:3).  You can't say "no" to what you want, so you look for those who will accept the lifestyle.  Those churches and people are available.  They have already conformed Christianity to their lusts, just like Darwinism conformed science to lust, eliminating a Creator.  You can find people will approve of what you are doing, but it doesn't stop there.  If you can't get acceptance from your former church or authority, you destroy it.  You might find enough to discredit it with the approval of your new belief and practice.

You should notice that the paradigm doesn't start with God's Word.  It doesn't begin with revealed truth.  It doesn't look to historical faith and practice, already established among the saints.  Jesus said, "Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17).  Scripture is the basis for truth, not feelings or lust.  Feelings or lust should be doubted in favor of scripture.  Any legitimate, biblical change, what is sanctification, will start with the preaching or study of the Word of God.  This doesn't happen with the most common paradigm of apostasy.

Since scripture isn't the authority, decisions are made based upon lust.  Scripture conforms to the lust.  If you read 2 Peter 2, you can see this as the pattern.  I'd ask you to read that whole chapter.  Feelings and lust take the preeminence, not God or His Word.  Paul describes this as "the course of this world" (Eph 2:2).  Since decisions and lifestyle are not proven based upon scripture, you lack discernment or wisdom.  You make regular decisions that look no different than an unsaved person, so you are making decisions like unsaved people make them.

The reason you think decision-making based on lust is fine is because you have gathered around you a group (a community) of people who validate you and that way of making decisions.  You've joined a group like that and then recruited others.  Many professing Christians are prey to usefulness toward apostasy.  They don't want to hurt someone's feelings and their silence reads like acceptance.  They might think they are helping because they themselves get approval for their acceptance.  This is a form of lust itself or related pride.

A common advocate for lust perverts the grace of God, what Peter and Jude call turning grace into lasciviousness.  You think that's the grace of God.  It isn't.  It's the apostatizing of biblical doctrine or practice or just the general apostasy of an unsaved person.

I've written recently how that uncertainty and doubt are crucial in the most common paradigm of apostasy (here).  The critics of your lust are classified as proud because of their total certainty, which means they don't allow liberty to practice Christianity in the preferred areas of doubt.  What was once certain in Christianity has been shifted to uncertain to make room for lust.

The lust shapes one's view of God.  He conforms to lust.  The lust can't but help do that.  God becomes like a goody-meister, there to fulfill your wishes.  He requires very little but fills your stocking with what you desire.  That's who he is.  This is a kind of blasphemy of God, but acceptable to both give you what you want and also give you eternal salvation.  You've got a new "god" in your mind who allows you to live like you want, but he isn't really "God," but "god."  It is the apostasy of the truth of genuine Christianity.  At what point has this dipped below a threshold of salvation?  I'm not sure, but I don't want it.  Even if it doesn't damn someone, it results in regular bad decision making and diminishing discernment.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Former Pharisee, the Apostle Paul, the Theologian of Separation

"Pharisee" means "separatist."  BDAG, the foremost lexicon of the Greek New Testament, says right at the beginning of the definition:
The Semitic words mean ‘the separated ones, separatists'.
The Pharisees were separatists.  Paul had been a Pharisee.  Upon conversion, Paul was no longer a Pharisee.  He left Pharisaism.  So does that mean he wasn't a separatist?  Wrong.  After he was saved, Paul still taught separation.  He could rightly be called the theologian of separation, the face of scriptural separation.

The modern evangelical calls separation Pharisaism and separatists, Pharisees.  When Paul gave up Pharisaism, he didn't give up separation.  One could say he doubled down on actual separation, godly separation, because no one represents it more in the New Testament than the Apostle Paul.

Separation isn't Pharisaical. No, separation is scriptural.  Pharisaism is what is unscriptural.  "Pharisee" means "separation" and the lineage or legacy that led to Pharisees was legitimate.  If we went back into the history, there was good reason to participate in separation.

The legitimate forefathers of the Pharisees were the separatists from Greek culture, when Antiochus Epiphanes offered the pig on the altar of the temple.  They led the Maccabean revolt, which is was a legitimate expression of disgust with impurity.  Daniel represents this by separating himself from the sinful aspects of Babylonian culture, despite living in the midst of it.  By the time, we get to Christ, the Pharisees were a mere caricature of that group of separatists.

The Apostle Paul didn't give up separation.  He gave up the self-righteous separation of the Pharisees.  They separated to show others how much better they were than others, comparing themselves with men (see this post).  What set the Pharisees apart was not biblical practice, but traditions that were not required by scripture.  They were showy traditions that emphasized the easiest ways to manifest a faux righteous behavior.  They weren't even obeying scripture.

In recent days, and this isn't unusual, I was called a Pharisee by someone, and it included the label, whitened sepulcher, a designation Jesus used for the Pharisees.  From what I could gather, I was being called these things for three main reasons:  one, the standards I hold, two, the practice of separation to which I adhere, and three, my lack of sinless perfection.  None of those three made a Pharisee to be a Pharisee in the pejorative use of the term.

No one is a Pharisee for interpreting, believing, and applying scripture.  The Pharisees weren't doing that, which is why Jesus asked them continually in the gospels, "Have ye not read?" (Matthew 12:3, 5, etc.).  Because it seemed like they hadn't even read the book, they were so far off in their understanding of it.  When He corrected their perversion of the Old Testament in the Sermon on the Mount, He started by saying, "It hath been said."  What was said in scripture was true; it was their corruptions that were not true.

In general, the Pharisees conformed God's Word to their own attempts on keeping all of the law.  That was impossible, so they turned it into mere ritual that they thought they could keep.  They wouldn't even do that, but it was an attempt to minimize the Old Testament to what was possible for them, which is salvation by works.  The people attempting to be saved by works don't respect the scripture, because they are impossible to keep by one's self.

The idea of separation itself, subsisting within the carcass of Pharisaism, was correct and the Apostle Paul taught it in nearly every one of his epistles and implied it in all.  In Romans he said, mark and avoid (Rom 16:17-18).  In 1 Corinthians he said, not to keep company with someone who calls himself a brother, but is still continuing in sin (1 Cor 5:11).  In 2 Corinthians 6:17, he said, come out from among them and be ye separate.  In Galatians he said, if any many preach any other gospel, let him be accursed (Gal 1:6-9).  In Ephesians, he said, have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them (Eph 5:11).  He implied separation in Philippians 3:18-19:
(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose] glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
In 2 Thessalonians 3:14, the theologian of separation said:
And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him,, that he may be ashamed.
In 1 Timothy 6, he said to withdraw your self from those who do certain things.  In 2 Timothy 2, he said to purge yourself from vessels of dishonor.

God will separate every unbeliever from Himself into the lake of fire along with the devil and His angels.  He had separated Noah and his family by water and the ark from every other soul on the entire planet.

Just because you believe something and separate over it doesn't mean that you will live it with sinless perfection.  You're not a hypocrite or deceive just because you don't keep it one hundred percent.  No one keeps the standards with perfection.  I'm not saying I'm better than someone else.  I do break the laws that I believe are right.  I don't separate from anyone else for breaking them.  That isn't biblical separation.  A Pharisee might separate after one violation, but a biblical separatist will first get the beam out of his own eye, so he can remove the mote out of his brother's eye.  He still tries to help his brother, and if his brother, after three tries, won't repent, then he separates from him.   He doesn't want to, but God tells him to, so he does.  That's not Pharisaism.

Pharisaism proclaims what he is not willing himself to keep.  He acts like he believes it, when he really doesn't.   He just wants others to think he does.  He judges other people harshly to make himself look better in front of them.  That would fit with what Jesus said about the Pharisees in Matthew 23 with His woes to the Pharisees.

Paul was a former Pharisee, and He knew and taught Christians to separate.  Separation isn't Pharisaical.  If you are saying that, please stop.  If you are not separating, then you are disobeying scripture.  If you disobey scripture, and then act like you do obey it, you're being a Pharisee.  Don't say you're obeying scripture, when you won't practice biblical separation.

Saturday, May 18, 2019


Mainly because I said I was preparing to do something, and I'm not going to do it, I want to give some information here.  I would think I'm going to finish in my lifetime a couple series I've started, if the Lord tarries and I live, but for now I'm discontinuing them.  Those series are, one, the adult children series, and, two, the relationship series.  I've put a lot into them, and I think you get my drift.  I'm done for now.  I think they are scriptural and practical, so helpful and good, but they're enough for now.  I'm announcing that because I said I was going to finish them, and I'm not now.  Everything else I said I'd keep doing, I'm planning on continuing.  Thanks.

Friday, May 17, 2019


A while ago, the website was updated to a new format.  While the new format had a variety of advantages, including being mobile friendly, some people thought that the old format was easier to navigate.  It is now possible to look for articles in both the old and new formats.  To find something the new way, you can:

1.) Use the "topics" menu at the top to search for topics

2.) Use the search feature on the top of the home page

If you liked the old way better, it is now easier to find.  In the old way, articles were (and they still are) divided into a variety of topics.  If you:

1.) Click on the new "Theological Compositions" button on the right side of the page, you will be taken to a page where the articles are divided into the following topics:

Apologetics and False Religions


Theology Proper, Christology, and Pneumatology




The Christian Family

Historical Studies



Biblical Financial Stewardship


Literary Compositions

You can then pick the topic you would like to look at.

2.) There is a new "All Content" button on the homepage as well. Here you can search for the titles of pretty much all articles that are out there on the site. The All Content page also has links where Microsoft Word files of various gospel tracts and pamphlets can be downloaded. 

3.) For unconverted people reaching the site, the "God's Gift to You" and "Bible Studies" buttons provide information on the gospel, with links to other pages useful for the unconverted, including the "Different Religions" page, and, for those that doubt the truthfulness of Scripture, the "Is the Bible God's Word?" page and "Science and the God of the Bible" pages.  These might be useful links for separated Baptist churches to include on their church websites, unless they already have resources available on Christian evidences in a Bible-believing, historic Baptist perspective.

4.) Another way to find material is to search in Google for "faithsaves" as one word and then whatever topic you want; the search engine should search specifically for that topic at  

5.) For college classes, the large college classes button at the bottom of the homepage is an easy way to gain access.

I rejoice that there have been over 300,000 page views at from visitors in the large majority of countries in the world. If you find bad links or pages with other problems, please let me know so they can be fixed--pointing out these problems is much appreciated. You can also employ material on the website provided that you comply with the terms of use policy, and if you want your car to be evangelistic, you can get bumper stickers as well.  Adding links and sharing articles by email, social media, etc. is also appreciated.


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Apostatizing of Humility for Proud Reasons

Before I get to this post, I want to give some updates.  A few of you wrote me about my hint at going to Israel.  I'm sorry, but I've postponed that at this time because of some personal reasons.  It might still happen in the future and I'll keep you informed.  I've got a few series going on here, and I'm going to keep all of them going hopefully.  I will, Lord-willing come back with the second part of the review of Van Bruggen's booklet.  I am continuing the adult children series, relationship series, the weekend Europe trip travelogue, the Frank Turk debate, and anything else.  I plan on putting everything onto the index that isn't there yet, what has been written since I completed it.  I want to write a post on the Jordan Peterson speech I heard in San Francisco, as well as a bit of take on his book, which I've read.  Thanks for sticking with it.


Any one of us need to be open to the reality of personal pride.  Are we proud people?  How could a humble person say, "No"?  The meaning of humility has changed though.  Being humble no longer means what it once did.  Neither does love and other biblical words, but humility has now morphed into something that doesn't mean humility.  The word "humility" is used as a weapon by unbelievers and by those who call themselves Christians, but it's not actual humility, and I'm going to explain.

First though, humility itself is good.  Scripture teaches humility.  We should encourage it.  In the King James Version, "humble" is used 25 times, "humbled," 28, "humility," 7, and all the other forms of the word in English combined, 11.  The Greek word translated "humble" is also translated "lowly," so there are all those instances as well.   The concept is described also in different other ways, like "poor in spirit" in Matthew 5:3 and then what Paul writes in Philippians 2:3, esteeming others better than ourselves.

Humility is required for salvation.  God gives grace to the humble, not the proud.  Someone must humble himself before God to be saved.  This is the idea of 'humble yourself and you'll be exalted and exalt yourself and you'll be abased.'  You can't come to God on your own terms.  You've got to subject yourself to Him in humility.  This is the thought behind Jesus saying that if you are to come to Him, you've got to deny yourself.  Self-denial is humility.

So how is humility being perverted?  A common idea today -- it isn't true -- about humility is that it is some degree of doubt, uncertainty, capitulation, or tolerance.  This has become the new humility.  What is ironic about the perversion of humility is how certain the new humble are that you are proud if you are not their new kind of humble.  They were never more sure that you are proud.  Why?  Because you are so certain that someone is wrong.

Doubt becomes a necessity for someone who wants to live like he wants to live.  He can't be judged as wrong anymore, so he's at liberty to do what he wants to do.  He doesn't want the one judging him to be sure.  If that person is sure, it's because that person is unreasonable, not open, or he is proud.  He isn't being humble or gracious, that is, to see it in more than one way.  Any one who doesn't allow for more than one way is being proud, and this is how humility takes on a new definition.

In reality, humility is submitting to what God says, living by faith.  God says He is clear, so He is.  What He says is plain, because He says it is plain.  Doubt is actually a proud excuse.  This confidence isn't focusing inward, but upward.  God says it, so I'm going to do it.  If someone else isn't doing it, I'm going to say what God wants me to say.

What I've read about this apostatizing of humility has been called "espistemological humility."  It is another form of calling good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20).  Epistemology is basically how one knows what he knows.  How do we know what we know?  Faith is attacked.  Certainty is opposed.  This is bad, but it is called good in a kind of counterfeit fashion.  The real humility is replaced by this faux humility, which is actually pride.

God resists the proud, gives grace to the humble.  He doesn't give grace to the counterfeit humble or the faux humble.  That's actually pride.  It's somebody who doesn't want to do what God wants him to do and he doesn't want to hear about it.  That's pride.

In Ephesians 5:11, God says through the Apostle Paul, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."  Reprove what?  How can anyone know with certainty what is an unfruitful work of darkness?  That sounds too ambiguous.  Who would be so proud to reprove someone?  Humility would leave it alone -- too much doubt.  Don't be fooled by this.  This is apostatizing humility.

Somebody wants to do what he wants to do.  The person who tells him to change -- that is the proud person.  Why?  He can't know it's wrong.  He's got to be more humble about not knowing what's wrong.  He's got to have doubt, because that would be humble.  The pride is someone not wanting to change, not humbling himself under the teaching of scripture, but that is absolutely switched around.

Earlier in Ephesians 5, Paul mentions stuff that he wants reproved:  fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting.  What are those?  Can we be sure?  If Paul wants those to be reproved, of course we can be certain what they are.  I know that people behave like they don't know and they want their critics not to know either.  It makes it easier for them.  And then they get angry if someone comes at them with certainty.  They call it pride.  It's actually humility.  The pride is calling it pride.  It is humility to obey God when he says something.

Epistemological humility is not humility.  It is unbelief.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.  God is not being pleased by this faithlessness.  It should not be expected from either party -- the one criticizing or the one being criticized.  God wants us living like we know and can apply what He said -- because we can.

Monday, May 13, 2019

An Attempted Shell Game with God: Classifying Scriptural Issues of Practice as Non-Scriptural

God has given mankind a lot of liberty.  A list of non-scriptural issues is a much longer one than a list of scriptural ones.  Given enough time, I might be able to write a list in length past the distance to the moon of non-scriptural activities.

What kind of furniture polish do you use?  Do you hang landscape art instead of portrait?  What fruit variety do you add to your oatmeal?  What is the thread count of your sheets?  What type of allergy medication do you use?  Where do you take a walk?  What variety of pet do you own? What brand of car do you drive?  Is your yard grass or turf?  Do you like Target or Walmart more?  You get what I’m talking about.  However, when we either on purpose or incidentally veer into a scriptural issue, it must be what and how God says.  We don’t have options there.  We’ve got to do what God says.  We don't have liberty on scriptural issues.

What has happened today is that scriptural issues have been shoved over into the non-scriptural category to give liberty to do what people want in scriptural issues.  This is actually sinning.  People are sinning, but they aren’t calling it sinning because they have shifted scriptural issues into non-scriptural ones.  This is the shell game being played with God.

A shell game is a lie.  It says something is there that is not.  It's a con.  A shell game can fool people, but it can't fool God.  It doesn't and it won't.  When I say it won't, I mean at the final judgment.  God will announce in essence that it didn't work, and there won't be anything to say.  Living by faith requires projecting one's self to that moment and understanding that God already makes that judgment.  The scriptural issue stays a scriptural issue, even when the shell game is being played.  God knows.

What's the point of this shell game?  Someone doesn't like Christianity, the one and only Christianity -- in other words, what's taught in scripture and so the practice of historical Christianity.   He's got to move the shells around and replace the real thing with something different.  Scriptural issues are turned into non-scriptural issues.  To do this, you've also got to pervert the meaning of scripture.  You get a new Christianity, but not really, because it's just playing a shell game.

Why not leave Christianity, rather than invent a new one, that's just an empty shell?  I understand how that someone could try to bridge Christianity to something incompatible with it.  They know Christianity is true, that it is the right explanation for the world, but they also want fleshly lust and the world system.

Fleshly Lust

When someone is saved, he still possesses the flesh, an aspect of human fallenness that will be eliminated in the future when he is glorified.  Paul refers to this as the presence of sin or the law of sin in his members or body parts.  The Apostle Peter refers to "fleshly lusts" in 1 Peter 2:11, when he writes:
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
"Fleshly lusts" war against the soul.  They contradict the soul of a person.  They are desires of someone that war against what God ordains.  These include all forms of rock music, lewd entertainment, immodest dress, alcohol, and foul language.  These are what are shifted like a shell game to the non-scriptural to form an acceptable Christianity to conform to the fleshly lust.  It's not true, but it is the goal of this game.

The World

John says, whoever loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him.  There is not a Christianity that conforms to the world, but the shell game Christianity does.  It's a pop Christianity that accepts worldliness.  Unscriptural issues are classified as non-scriptural ones to keep the world -- worldly entertainment, worldly music, worldly activities, worldly friends, an essentially worldly life.

A new Christianity that corresponds to fleshly lust and conforms to the world isn't Christianity.  It's just a shell.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Jessie Penn-Lewis: Keswick & Welsh Revivalist, Quaker and Freemason (part 1 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.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Adult Children, pt. 5

Part OnePart TwoPart Three, Part Four

According to God, relationship on earth is hierarchical, which is why all the teaching in Ephesians 5 and 6 on relationship corresponds to submitting to the Holy Spirit.  Peter said, obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).  If submission in a relationship means disobedience to God, then we shouldn't do it.  That severs relationships.  The relationship with God is the one that must be maintained.  Every other relationship is subservient to that one, which is where enters the following teaching of the Lord Jesus in the gospels:
Matthew 10:34-37, "34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." 
Luke 14:26, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
Scripture doesn't mean nothing.  It is God's Word.  These preceding verses mean something.  What is this "variance against" someone's own family members?  What sets parents in variance against one or more of his children?

When the above verses of scripture say son and daughter, those are not sons and daughters that are still in the home.  While a parent's children are still in the home, the tools exist to bring them into line, at least in appearance or on the outside.  This is variance with adult children.

What is the variance with the adult children?  Jesus wouldn't be saying that the variance is a non-scriptural issue or a personal preference.  It isn't, a child missed a birthday card, so there is variance.  No.  A child decides he wants to go completely plant based with his food.  That's not a scriptural basis of separation.  What sets variance is a violation of God's Word.  It is Jesus saying that He, Jesus, is or has come to set variance between adult family members, including parents and their children.  Variance doesn't have to exist, but Jesus came to cause some of it to happen, even a lot if it is what Jesus has come to do.

What is variance caused by?  The Greek word for "variance" in Matthew 10:34 is dichazo, which means, "to divide in two."  BDAG says, "to cause someone to turn against someone else."  Would Jesus turn two adult family members against each other for just arbitrary reasons, or is it scriptural reason?

Notice that Jesus doesn't turn to friendships or acquaintances or members of some organization, but goes straight for the most intimate relationships between people on earth that He came with His sword to divide.  These are the most painful divisions on earth, when adult family members turn against the other.  Jesus came to cause this, to do this.  People are going to have to be ready to comply to what is most difficult, making anything less than these more feasible to accomplish.

Sin separates from God, either doctrinal or moral sin.  If a family member sins and then won't repent, that causes the division.  An adult child won't repent and the parent warns, pleads, begs, and uses every scriptural tool in his toolbox, including mediation if it is available, and the adult child goes on his way, that is what causes variance between parents and an adult child.  The separation according to the verses is the will of God.  Jesus came to see this done.

The overarching message is that no human relationship surpasses the relationship with God.  The lack of division or separation from the adult child affects the relationship with God.  God doesn't permit acquiescence to some unscriptural belief or practice, just to keep the relationship going, what might be considered a faux relationship.  It's just a relationship of appearances, playing a game, one of which God doesn't approve.

During the colonial period, parents of congregational or Puritan churches in New England overlooked the unbelief and false practice of children to include them in the church with what was called a "halfway covenant."  The practice was designed to keep unconverted children in the church.  Conservatives see this as the decline of those churches.  They had other problems, but the decline of those churches proceeding from the halfway covenant created the need for a great awakening.

The sentimentalism of parents toward adult children doesn't help their children.  It will also result in more apostasy among other children.  Jesus called for separation.  He came to bring it.  Parents must be willing to take what might seem to be a harsh action out of love for God.  Children must anticipate that this will occur.

Any counsel or advice I hear in contradiction to the teaching of scripture very often I will call psychobabble.  I have other names, such as seat-of-the-pants theology or conventional wisdom.  I hear a lot of psychobabble regarding the relationship of parents to disobedient adult children.  It's not based on what scripture says, but based on the longing for an adult child to turn it around.  What God says in His Word is the best opportunity for the best outcome.  Part of trusting God is also trusting the process God expects to see it occur.  If it doesn't happen, the obedience to God's methods is not the reason.

As you are reading this, you might be thinking, I love my children too much to do what I'm reading here.  This is a common corrupt viewpoint of love.  It isn't even love.  I call it sentimentalism.  God is love.  If something is love, it must correspond to God.  The separation itself is an act of love.  It is a more difficult act than just getting along.  Getting along is easy to do, but that can't be love, because it clashes with God.

Today the social justice warriors see "love your neighbor" very often as an acceptance of sins of various kinds.  They really do think that they love more than others or that the others aren't even loving, because they are willing to ignore what God said to treat sin with favor.  This is the outcome of the kind of deceit that accepts the sinful behavior of adult children.  It isn't love.  It is love to do what God says, at least love for God, which isn't contradictory to love for an adult child.  The one not loving, and I repeat not loving, is the adult child.

If someone divides the ten commandments into two parts, the two tables of the law, he gets love God and love neighbor.  The second table of the law starts with "honor thy father and thy mother."  Someone doesn't love his neighbor if he is dishonoring his parents and violating the very second table of the law that the second great commandment represents.

More to Come

Monday, May 06, 2019

The Pharisaical Practice of Comparing People, Especially Yourself, to Other People

In the Sermon on the Mount, in part as an antidote for a heinous, diseased practice of the Pharisees to compare themselves with others, Jesus said (Matthew 5:48):
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
The Apostle Paul later wrote (2 Corinthians 10:12):
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
People aren't the standard, so what is it, that people want to compare themselves with people?  It's never good to compare one's self or someone else with another person, whether it is someone apparently either worse or better.  Both ways, there are pitfalls.  I want to focus one direction, because the Pharisees thought they were better than other people.  There is a common tendency to compare to people "worse."

One of the ways of comparison to "worse people" related to suffering.  Someone suffered because he was worse than me, and whatever blessings I'm getting are because I'm better than that other person.  In Luke 13, Jesus said, no, everyone is going to suffer if they don't repent.  Job wasn't suffering because he was worse.  The message of the rich man and Lazarus was, look, the worse one is in heaven and the better one opens his eyes in Hell.  We could keep going.

As a whole, the Jews developed the idea that they were better than other people, so they were entitled to some special blessing.  The Gentiles were uncircumcised, unlike them.  They were chosen people and the others were not.  Dietary restrictions didn't make Israel better than other nations, but they acted like it did.  Peter didn't want to be seen eating what Gentiles ate, even though it was permitted by God.

"Legalism" comes up as a subject against others by evangelicals all the time.  Legalism is salvation by works.  Evangelicals use the term legalism in a broader sense, where if someone practices in a different or more strict way than them, they claim the standard or scruple is being added to scripture.  Usually it relates to application of scripture.  The Pharisees, however, were the prototypical legalists.  Their face should be next to legalism in the dictionary, and what did the Pharisees do?

The Pharisees would add to the law their own traditions, it's true.  They also would rank laws and keep only the ones that they ranked the highest.  Usually the harder things were eliminated.  They did this because they couldn't keep the law on their own.  Okay.  What I'm focusing on with this post is that the Pharisees compared themselves with others.  A classic explanation of a Pharisee comes from Luke 18:11:
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
This is why Jesus said what He did in the Sermon on the Mount, to be perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect.  The comparison should be with God.  God and His Word are the standard.

No one is good because he is better than someone else.  No one else is the standard.  You can say that you know this, but it is still used on a regular basis by professing Christians, just like the Pharisees.  This is a chief Pharisee behavior.  It is Pharisaical.  In that sense, it is legalistic.  The Pharisees were legalists.  It is another form of left-winged legalism.

People who want to do what they want to do will compare themselves with others.  People who want to justify themselves will do it by saying that they aren't as bad as someone else.  Twice in the last month, separate conversations with two different evangelicals, and I was talking to each about the disobedience of someone I love.  They weren't so concerned, because this person was not as bad as each of them were when they were his age.  Someone can be good if he's not as bad as someone else.

God is good.  We judge goodness by God.  He's the standard.  We can't reach that standard, but that doesn't change the standard.  The standard is enabled by the gospel.  The new covenant is that God changes a person so that he can keep the standard.  Even when he doesn't keep it, he's justified by faith, but he's also sanctified, saved from the power of sin.

Someone can't find out if he has the power to live the Christian life if the standards for the Christian life are lowered to the standard of someone else's example.  You can always be better than someone else, even if you're not better than someone else.

With the two men with whom I spoke, they were accepting bad behavior because it was better than their bad behavior.  Instead of keeping the standard under the grace of God with the power of God, the standard is changed, conformed to comparison with someone else.  This isn't the power of God.  This isn't grace.  This isn't the gospel.  This is man's ability.  Man gets the glory.  God isn't honored.

A lot of long term damage occurs through the Pharisaical comparison that I'm describing.  A new wrong practice is established as the new standard with the elevation of a comparison.  Something that isn't God's will is accepted.  With it being accepted, even though it isn't scriptural, it is then compared to another even worse example, to lower the standard even further.

This path is the trajectory of apostasy.  Rather than the Bible being the authority, it becomes conventional thinking or a societal norm.  None of it pleases God, because His standard didn't change.  And it isn't the grace of God.  God isn't empowering or enabling any of this.  It is a false system set up for the pleasure of man, and yet it is called Christian and "of God."  Scripture is rejected in this system.  If it is offered, it is rejected for "I'm better than this other guy."  He continues in his disobedience, but getting the credit of the "righteousness that is better than someone else."  Christianity is shaped into this monstrosity.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Adult Children, pt. 4

Part OnePart Two, Part Three

Some parents, after having poured heart and soul into children for eighteen to twenty-two years, especially now see them falter as adults.  They are told by many, if not most, close to all, that nothing can be done about it.  They should negotiate a surrender where maybe they can split differences and straddle the huge gap that exists.  These are after all, adults.  Furthermore, part of good negotiation with adults is to allow them to make their own choices, because if you do, the consequential good will might entitle you to some select bouts of instruction to nudge both sides closer.   Problem:  this strategy isn't in the Bible.

Parents of adult children can let the non-scriptural belief and practice go.  That's okay.  It's something Christians can and should do with anyone.  Adult children can be released from the non-scriptural requirements of their childhood.  However, unscriptural positions and behavior can't be tolerated, shouldn't be.

Scripture does guide toward "letting things go". . . . for unbelievers.  Jesus talked about the dusting of one's feet of an unbelieving village.  He said not to sow pearls before swine.  Swine are not believers in that picture.  Jesus began speaking in parables so that unbelievers would not be further hardened.  That is a method of letting an unbeliever go.  I agree in a stopping point of preaching to an unbeliever.  In most instances, I give an unbeliever one shot and then I move on.  The unbeliever makes this clear.  "Stop talking to me."  If he could put it another way:  "I don't want to hear the truth anymore, because I'm settled in my lifestyle or life's path."  At that point in time a parent would be judging himself to have an unsaved adult child.

When I let go of an unbeliever, that's not a good moment for the unbeliever.  At the moment he's being let go, that might be finality for him.  He's done for.  His next stop might be hell, likely is.  People who want to be let go probably don't know what they're asking for, and I wish they knew.

God calls the letting people go, "turning them over."  At the time to the unbeliever, it feels like a privilege, something to rationalize as a good thing.  Adult children may think things have gotten better for them with their parents, because they don't feel their parents looking over their shoulder and the relationship has improved, when in fact it's just that the parents have put adult children into the unbeliever category, and turned them over.  Their delight unfettered in fleshly lust is actually a parent who has given up on them like God does with unbelievers.  Friends and sometimes relatives celebrate with and for this child.  It's a hellish, nightmarish moment, viewed as splendid.

I was talking to a sibling of the adult child of a very prominent, godly pastor.  His church is well known.  His son is an atheist.  I understand not confronting that child any more on a regular basis.  I wouldn't give up, but attempts at reconciliation would be diminished exponentially.

As long as there is the indication that one is dealing with a believing adult child, the truth should be told.  Believers respond favorably to the truth.  They don't say, stop telling me that.  Even if they don't want it at the moment, the truth will work to a desired end.  Telling the truth is what Jesus did.  It is what all the epistles teach, the position of the apostles.  If one stops telling someone the truth, he is admitting that he's probably got an unbeliever now on his hands.  It isn't loving to stop telling someone the truth if he is a believer.  Jesus said the truth is the basis for sanctification (John 17:17) and it is what sets someone free from what is nasty in his life (John 8:32).

The conflict in the short term with an adult child is worth it.  I'm saying that based upon scripture.  The battle, the clash, and the tension are painful.  "Endure hardness as a good soldier," Paul reminded.  Spiritual warfare is warfare.  No one says war is pretty.  The northern general, William Tecumseh Sherman, said, "War is hell."

Noah's Adult Children

When Noah and his family exited the ark, they met complete devastation, billions of deaths and a world physically torn to bits.  As life started in the aftermath of that, God points out what was significant to Him.  Not much material is included from the beginning of the post-flood era in which we still live today, but all of what God could address, He accosted an adult sons' treatment of his father.

In Genesis 9, Noah got drunk and naked in a shameful way.  The passage focuses on two disparate reactions from one son and then the other two in verses 22-23:
22  Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
"Saw," the original use of that term, implies that Ham gazed on his father without his modesty or without dignity, without the covering that provides a boundary for fallen human relationships, with some measure of delight.  He found some pleasure, some delight in his father's shame and in his father's dishonor.  This is the attitude of a rebellious son, something of glee and satisfaction because somebody respected and revered and honored falls.

The passage doesn't explain Ham's problem with his dad, but as one works one's way through scripture, backed then also by personal experience, Bible students would know that sons can develop resentment toward fathers for varied reasons.  A father restricts his son, says "no," doesn't allow him to have his way.   Ham was cooped up with his dad in a small space.  For years, he had been overseen in building the ark in the first place, hard labor with parental scrutiny.  Noah was a righteous man, not sinlessly perfect, but righteous.  Ham would have been about 100 years old at the time of this post-flood event.

When Noah got drunk and then took his clothes off in an uninhibited way in fitting with the influence of alcohol, Genesis doesn't record his having taken responsibility for the deed.  It doesn't mean that he didn't.  The emphasis of the passage is the deed of Ham, his disrespect, and then the punishment skipping to the unbelieving grandson, which would have been harsh chastisement for Ham, to see what he lost and to live with that regret.

Noah's example didn't take away responsibility from Ham.  Children aren't going to see perfection from their parents and this doesn't excuse their own negative emotions.  They don't inherit the victim card and embrace entitlement, whether real or imagined.  I would assess most to be imagined.  It's easy for anyone to feel sorry for his first world problems, essentially his feelings hurt because he was confronted for a wrong doing.  He slouched in his chair and dad told him to sit up in front of his friends.  He can't let it go, and now he justifies continued childish or boorish behavior because of his experience.  Children often take a myopic view of their lives, shrinking the world down to the inside of a barrel, so that everything looks like the barrel.

As a further insult, Ham went outside and told his two brothers, which is the ugly sin of ridicule or the further sin of disrespect. He should have covered his father, protecting him, but instead, he recruited his other brothers to join in the ridicule. This was an attitude of disdain, an unloving attitude in contrast to love covering.  Disdain or bitterness or animosity exposes it.  Love doesn't want to think evil or bear evil tales. Resentment does. Ham had resentment for his father, which is a serious breach of the later fifth commandment, honor your father and your mother.

One commentator says that Ham desecrated a natural and sacred barrier. His going out to tell his brothers about it and without covering his dad aggravated the act, because of this breach of propriety.  Men care about honoring their father.  Ham dishonored his father, and God then brought shame into his family.

This is placed in sharp contrast to the other sons, as seen in verse 23.  They had an appropriate sense of shame. They would find no pleasure in their father's indiscretion. This shows what kind of sons they were.  They loved their father and they showed respect for him. They put a garment over their shoulders and they backed in, covered him, and refused to be a part of Ham's disrespect.  They rebuke Ham by their behavior.

How serious was the disrespect of Ham to God?  God cursed his son, Canaan, and we know what that meant?  The Canaanites were annihilated from the earth.  The people reading Genesis first were preparing to enter the land and they would obey God by killing the Canaanites.  The Old Testament traces the demise and destruction of Canaan.  Hid descendants were obliterated and it is tied into this event.  This provides a requirement for an adult son toward his father and offers a loving warning from God.

The story reminds me of the Old Testament proverb (Proverbs 30:17):
The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
God prohibits mockery of parents by a child and as we see in the case of Ham, this includes especially adult children.  Ham was a saved son.  The implication was, and many commentators agree, that Canaan was not a believer.  The demise of Ham's descendants, their annihilation related to his disrespect of his dad, even when his dad wasn't behaving in one of his better moments.  A responsibility lies on the son.  He's held responsible.  Whatever Noah did at the moment wasn't an excuse for Ham.

The interaction in the story in Genesis 9 is between an adult son with his father.  Hear the next few verses:
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Noah takes charge with his adult sons.  He doesn't "let it go."  There isn't a pattern of letting things go, especially with a believing son like Ham.  Noah could have just blamed himself and did nothing.  He did wrong, but that didn't excuse his son from wrong.  Noah still stepped in.  Parents have to do that with their adult children.  That is the pattern through all of scripture.

Noah punishes one child and deals in a blessed way with the others.  The comparison is stark.  He made it known that not everyone would get the same treatment.  He wasn't concerned that Ham could become jealous.  This was a just judgment by Noah.  Just judgment is the way of God.  If Ham couldn't accept it, then he wasn't repentant and a far worse outcome awaited him.  This is akin, although not identical, to Paul teaching the Corinthians church to turning someone over to the devil that he might be saved.  Being saved, the long term result, is far better than short term niceties for the sake of getting along.

The story in Genesis 9 is pivotal.  It is monumental.  This event was cherry picked from hundreds of years.  This is what God wanted us to know.  It is ignored at our own peril.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Late (post AD 70) dates for the Gospels: The Evidence Examined

College students at secular universities are frequently informed that the accounts of Jesus Christ in the Gospels are late compositions that are a result of a significant period of evolutionary development.  This is the standard anti-supernaturalist attempt to explain away the portrait of Christ as the Divine Son of God.  The synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are said to originate between A. D. 70-100 (the position, for example, taken by Shabir Ally in my debate with him, as he was following standard theological liberal argumentation).

I have provided below every known ancient historical source from the first 1,000 years after the death and resurrection of Christ that provide these sorts of late dates for the Gospels:

In case you missed them, I will provide the comprehensive list of all the extant ancient historical sources that provide post A. D. 70 dates for the synoptic Gospels one more time:

So if there are no ancient historical sources at all that affirm these late dates--a fact kept hidden from impressionable students at secular universities--why do advocates of theological liberalism affirm them?  They do so because of their bias against the supernatural.  Matthew, Mark and Luke all record Christ's plain prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, a prediction which was fulfilled in A. D. 70:

And when [Christ] was come near, he beheld the city [Jerusalem, Luke 19:28], and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. . . . And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? . . .  But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom . . . And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 19:41-44; 21:1-24; cf. Matthew 24; Mark 13; Daniel 9:24-27)

Anti-supernaturalists assume predictive prophecy is impossible, so Christ's statements could (allegedly) not really have been spoken by Him, much less written down in the Gospels, prior to A. D. 70.  Such an assumption among anti-supernaturalists is widespread enough that “Adolf von Harnack . . . the leading liberal scholar of his day” (Stanley E. Porter and Jason C. Robinson, Hermeneutics: An Introduction to Interpretive Theory [Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2011] 216) could write:  “The critics of our days . . . are practically unanimous in assigning . . . [the] gospel, to the time after the destruction of Jerusalem. The majority of them do not even think that they are in these days called upon to take any special trouble to prove this point” (Adolf von Harnack, New Testament Studies: The Date of the Acts and of the Synoptic Gospels, trans. J. R. Wilkinson, vol. 4, Crown Theological Library [New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1911] 117).  Indeed, “there are no other reasons for a later [post A. D. 70] date . . . [than] a vatinicium post eventum” (ibid, 121, 124); nothing but the assumption that predictive prophecy is impossible impels a late date.   No evidence is allegedly needed, and all contrary evidence can be ignored—predictive prophecy must be impossible, so the Gospels must post-date A. D. 70.

The actual extant ancient historical evidence, as I demonstrate in my study on archaeological and historical evidence for the New Testament, indicates that Matthew was written c. A. D. 40, Mark c. A. D. 42, Luke c. A. D. 48, and John c. A. D. 50-65.  No evidence at all exists for dating the synoptic Gospels after A. D. 70--nothing favors a late date other than anti-supernaturalist presuppositions that predictive prophecy is impossible.  Late dates are held despite the ancient evidence, not because of it.


Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Adult Children, pt. 3

Part One, Part Two

Even those with a casual knowledge of scripture very often know Romans 1.  Beginning in verse 18 to the end of that chapter, the content follows that men sin as a lifestyle, not because they lack in knowledge, but because of rebellion against that knowledge of God.  They know God, but they choose their lust.  God judges them by turning them over to their own desires, and they are in the end worthy of His wrath.  They choose not to retain God in their knowledge and God turns them over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28).  Paul lists the characteristic things that they do, things which are not proper, not fitting with God's expectations for the world and for the humanity that He created.

Get this.  The end of the description of the lifestyle of those who do not retain God in their knowledge, who are turned over to a reprobate mind, says (Romans 1:32):  "they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."  Please pay attention.  "They which commit" is present tense, committing as a lifestyle or commit as a habit.  However, those who choose to keep committing these things "are worthy of death."  It is not just those who do these things as a lifestyle, but those who have pleasure in those who do them.  Someone doesn't even have to do them, just have pleasure in others who do them.

Since this series is about "adult children," I will talk about just one of the characteristics, but this is one of them, and in verse 30, "disobedient to parents."  This isn't talking about children disobeying their parents.  These are people who choose not retain God in their knowledge.  That isn't describing children.  These are people who have settled in this.

The Greek word "disobedient" in Romans 1:30 is apeithes, which means literally, "not be persuaded by."  The portrayal here is an adult child, who has been taught scripture by his parents, and willfully rejects what they are teaching.  Some adult children act, and with the agreement of other adults, like this is part of what it means to be an adult, to depart from what your parents taught you as a child.

The same Greek word is used in John 3:36 and translated in the King James Version, "believeth not," as in "believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."  The Greek work conveys obstinate rejection of the will of God.  Disobedience is equated with unbelief.  Haldane in his Exposition on Romans on this particular characteristic writes:
Obedience to parents is here considered as a duty taught by the light of nature, the breach of which condemns the heathens, who had not the fifth commandment written in words. It is a part of the law originally inscribed on the heart, the traces of which are still to be found in the natural love of children to their parents. When the heathens, then, disregarded this duty, they departed from the original constitution of their nature, and disregarded the voice of God in their hearts. 
Barclay in His commentary on Romans writes:
Both Jews and Romans set obedience to parents very high in the scale of virtues. It was one of the Ten Commandments that parents should be honored. In the early days of the Roman Republic, the patria potestas, the father’s power, was so absolute that he had the power of life and death over his family. The reason for including this sin here is that, once the bonds of the family are loosened, wholesale degeneracy must necessarily follow.
Albert Barnes in his commentary on Romans writes:
This expresses the idea that they did not show to parents that honor, respect, and attention which was due. This has been a crime of paganism in every age; and though among the Romans the duty of honoring parents was enjoined by the laws, yet it is not improbable that the duty was often violated, and that parents were treated with great neglect and even contempt. “Disobedience to parents was punished by the Jewish Law with death, and with the Hindus it is attended with the loss of the child‘s inheritance. The ancient Greeks considered the neglect of it to be extremely impious, and attended with the most certain effects of divine vengeance. Solon ordered all persons who refused to make due provision for their parents to be punished with infamy, and the same penalty was incurred for personal violence toward them.” Kent‘s Commentaries on American Law, vol. ii. p. 207; compare Virg. AEniad, ix. 283. The feelings of pride and haughtiness would lead to disregard of parents. It might also be felt that to provide for them when aged and infirm was a burden; and hence, there would arise disregard for their wants, and probably open opposition to their wishes, as being the demands of petulance and age. It has been one characteristic of paganism every where, that it leaves children to treat their parents with neglect. Among the Sandwich islanders it was customary, when a parent was old, infirm, and sick beyond the hope of recovery, for his own children to bury him alive; and it has been the common custom in India for children to leave their aged parents to perish on the banks of the Ganges.
"Disobedience to parents" is no incidental thing.  Paul writes that the person who chooses this deserves death.  Later Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:2 the exact same expression to describe apostates in last days, "disobedient to parents."  It is the same Greek words.  Concerning these in 2 Timothy 3:4, Paul writes:
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Whatever godliness they have is just a form of godliness, and the right thing to do with this person or these people is to turn away from them.

For a moment, take the teaching about "disobedience to parents" into consideration.  While an adult child disobeys his parents, that is, he rejects the scriptural teaching of His parents, turns away from their instruction from the Bible, he is accepting something else.  What is it?  What is so attractive in the world that would have him do this?  2 Timothy 3:6 says they are "led away with divers lusts."  This is not worshiping the Creator, but worshiping the creature (Romans 1:25).

The God, the one and only true God, Who created the world, designed and created parents, and in the natural order of God is for a child to follow in his parents' teachings.  In this, I'm not proposing that children disobey scripture, but to follow in the scriptural instruction of his parents.  It must be some clear, plain actual disobedience to scripture that would contradict the instruction of the parents.  When children have been taught the way they should go, when they are adult children, they should not depart from it, that is, they should not be "disobedient to parents."

More to Come