Monday, September 30, 2019

The New Gratitude without an Object

The new gratitude isn't grateful to or for anyone, including God.  It separates gratitude from an object.  It is a psychological ploy, a game that subjects play in their minds.  It's looking into the mirror and saying, ala Stuart Smalley, "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!"  It is redefining gratitude, actually shaping ingratitude into merely professed, "gratitude."  It revolves around self, a kind of self-congratulation for being grateful, except to no one.

The new gratitude compares good circumstances with conceivable poor circumstances.  The circumstances are at least as good as they are, because they could be worse.  When things seem bad, the subject thinks about how bad they could be.  Upon comparison, he expresses gratitude to no one, which is the recognition that things could be worse.

What or who brought the preferred conditions of the new gratitude?  Was it God?  Was it parents?  Why can't the subject say where the good things came from?  Does he know?

The new gratitude bifurcates truth in contradiction to a Christian worldview into the secular and the sacred, the private and the public.   Here is public gratitude that cannot include God, because God is relegated to the sacred, which is private.  If someone can't mention God or Jesus, then he cannot be grateful to God or Jesus.  He's just grateful.  This is public, secular gratitude for a bifurcated world.

In Romans 1, Paul describes the lost or the apostate as, "neither were they thankful."  They know God though and glorify Him not as God.  Everyone made in the image of God knows He has God for which to be thankful.  He knows this.  Gratitude makes sense to everyone, so why can't God receive gratitude?  This would require mentioning God.  This would require some kind of commitment to God.  If someone says, "Thank God," then it seems that he owes God something.  He would know, of course, that he owes God everything, but he doesn't want to give God everything.  He wants to live for himself, which is why he suppresses the truth in unrighteousness.

An underlying rebellion separates gratitude from God.  Yes, God is the object of gratitude.  He should be.  Parents should be up there, a ways below Him, but next in order.  Children, and I see it in millennials especially, can't thank their parents either, because that reads as a commitment to listen to parents, to communicate the thought that they owe their parents something.  They do.  Scripture is very clear here.  They don't want to feel the guilt of ingratitude toward God or parents, so they separate gratitude from an object.

I wrote above that the new gratitude is a game, maybe better, like a game.  The goal of new gratitude is the feelings, the internal calm of the subject.  The subject could focus on the problems, the loss, the emptiness, failure, or pain, and feel the wave of futility overwhelm him.  Instead, he looks at the good things, and he feels better about it.  He's got it better than he could or might have it.  He should feel good.  It helps him to feel good.  No one, however, gets the credit for it.  In a sense, as I wrote above, he's giving himself the credit for it or good luck, which I like to call, "Thank my lucky stars."  It really isn't gratitude, because it is selfish.

The repulsion with commitment to the source of goodness detaches the subject from an object of gratitude.  He or she "built" a business with no mention of those who paid and sacrificed for almost everything he or she needed.  He or she drove someone else's car to get there, who also paid the insurance and for all the repairs.  He or she got into college.  Sure.  He or she made it.  The subject is grateful -- no object.  Nothing about God.  Nothing about those who did a hundred things for the subject to get in.  The recognition, the acknowledgement, of an object means obligation and commitment.

Selfishness and gratitude sound or seem contradictory.  They are.  They are the opposite.  Someone who is not grateful to God or anyone else, including parents, isn't grateful.  He is lying to himself and everyone else.

Despite the selfishness of the new gratitude, it is still accepted as a legitimate gratitude by those who also do not want commitment to God or any possible authority.  They block out the source of their good things.  It is God.  They block Him out.  They are refusing a relationship with the One who gives them these good things.

Professing believers are some of the main culprits of the new gratitude.  What's happening?  They are afraid of professing faith in Christ.  God hasn't given us the spirit of fear.  Perfect love casts out fear.  They aren't loving Jesus.  They don't want to exclude unbelievers, when they should.  They should boldly let unbelievers know that God deserves their gratefulness.  That is a move toward the gospel and salvation.  They are risking the eternal destiny of others to continue in good relations with unbelievers.  This is a form of love for the world that is incongruous with true Christianity.  They don't want the commitment that accompanies stating or acknowledging an object of their gratitude.  They have their own goals and they don't want their objects of gratitude to get in the way of their own goals.  This is part of their selfishness.

God will be fine without gratitude.  He deserves it, but gratitude can't add to God.  He will always be complete.  Others who deserve it, like parents, could be encouraged by expressions of gratitude.  I get why children won't give it.  They see commitment as a tie to gratitude.  Instead, the children take the credit for their own lives in a very selfish manner.  I don't know what to call this, but sick and pathetic come to mind.  The accurate term is rebellious.  If someone is really thankful, he feels, and rightfully so, an obligation to listen and obey with either God or some other authority, who has given and given to the ungrateful.

The new gratitude isn't gratitude at all.

Saturday, September 28, 2019


The Apostle Paul ends the first chapter of Romans in 1:28-32
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Because those Paul describes "did not like to retain God in their knowledge" and were given over by God to and with "a reprobate mind," they "committed such things" "worthy of death," as a practice.  This is why in the list of "such things," we read adjectives, because it describes a lifestyle, not individual acts.  One in the list in verse 31 is "implacable."  Saved people will not be "implacable."  So what's that?  Who is "implacable"?

BDAG, foremost New Testament lexicon, says the Greek word, aspondos, means:  "of one who is unwilling to negotiate a solution to a problem involving a second party, irreconcilable."  Louw-Nida Lexicon agrees:  "pertaining to being unwilling to be reconciled to others "  John Gill in his commentary writes:  "when once offended there was no reconciling of them."

"Implacable" is an English word I have never used in my vocabulary except when I have read aloud Romans 1:31 and explained the word.  I have used "placate" rarely, but I have heard it more too.  It's a related English word.  Merriam Webster says "placate" means:  "to soothe or mollify especially by concessions."  Someone implacable can't be mollified, will not be placated, has decided to stay resentful, unforgiving, and irreconcilable.  This is unchristian behavior, no matter what the proponent says about himself and his belief in Jesus Christ.  No one, who says he wants to grow as a Christian and is close to Christ, remains implacable.  It relates to a lot of other biblical teaching.

The Lord Jesus preached about "implacability" in His Sermon on the Mount.  He was illustrating a lost condition manifested by irreconcilability.  In Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus says that not reconciling with someone is hateful and as much as being guilty of murdering someone.  The foundational point of this is the second table of the law.  If someone loves God, He loves His neighbor.  Love for God manifests itself in loving the neighbor.  A person is required to attempt reconciliation, even looking for mediation if necessary (cf. Philemon).

Other related truths are forgiveness and then the negative traits that are found in the same verses in Romans 1:  "maliciousness," "despiteful," "without natural affection," and "unmerciful."  If it is children with parents, it is "disobedient to parents."  Other passages list similar traits, such Ephesians 4:31-32:
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
People hang on to bitterness and anger and their implacability is often a form of malice.

When God created man, He created man in His image.  He said, "Let us make man in our image," which shows the relationship within the Godhead -- "let us" and "our image."  The Persons in the Godhead wanted men to be like them.  Jesus brings in this teaching in His prayer in John 17 to the Father.  A fundamental violation of God's purpose of mankind is an unwillingness to reconcile based upon the truth.  It isn't just "getting along," but a surrender to align with God in a relationship with others.

Why does someone remain "implacable," in rebellion against God and His Word?  He loves himself.  He's a lover of his own self (2 Timothy 3:2).  His lust or love for the world supersedes his love for people.  He doesn't want to be hemmed in or pent up or held back from anything that he wants or likes.  He is unthankful.

Implacability should not be allowed in a true church.  It isn't allowed in ours.  People have to reconcile with one another.  It is at the root of Christian behavior, to both get things settled with other people and to want others to get things settled with you.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Jessie Penn-Lewis: War on the Saints (part 11 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, September 24, 2019

Do Pastors Have Any Authority?

I have the youtube app on my phone, which feeds me what it thinks I want to watch.  Toward the top of the offerings today as I ate my lunch was a post by Wretched, entitled, "John MacArthur:  Your pastor has NO authority over you."  Todd Friel played a clip from a Q and A, where a lady asked MacArthur whether pastors have authority in a church:  "To what extent a member of a church is required to obey his pastor, how much authority does a pastor have in the lives of his congregants?"

MacArthur answers:  "Um. None.  No authority.  Um.  I have no authority in this church personally. . . . I have no authority.  My position doesn't give me any authority."  Friel talks about it a little, remarking that it demonstrated humility.  If it isn't true, it isn't humble.  He continued.  "Only the Word of God has authority.  Christ is the Head of the church, and He mediates His rules through His Word.  I have no authority.  I have no authority beyond the scripture.  I cannot exceed what is written."  Anyway, here is the clip.
I thought it would be worth thinking about.  I would be fine having no authority as a pastor, if scripture taught that I have no authority.  I agree with MacArthur that I don't have authority that exceeds scripture, although I believe that MacArthur and others like him often misuse 1 Corinthians 4:6 and also in a convenient manner.  The exact quote follows:  "that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another."  When judging men, we should not hold men to a standard more strict or greater than what scripture says.  Paul warned against that.

Later Friel, as you listen, applied the same teaching of MacArthur, that parents do not have authority either, just from scripture.  What's the problem?  Is there pastoral authority?  Elder rule?  Parental authority?  Related to what MacArthur said about 1 Corinthians 4:6, we are not to add to scripture, but we also are not to take away.  Friel was joking, I think, but he called the teaching of MacArthur "kooky."  It is kooky.  Of course, pastors have authority.  I'm sure some church members are glad to hear that pastors have "no authority," but is that what scripture teaches?  No.  Pastoral authority is taught in the Bible.  Here are some of the places:
Hebrews 13:7, "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation."
Hebrews 13:17, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:12, "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you."
1 Timothy 5:17, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour,, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."
Titus 2:15, "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."
You read, "rule over you," "obey them," "over you," "elders that rule," and "speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority."  Those are some plain places that reveal pastoral authority, but there are others, including those that use the term "bishop" or "overseer" (Acts 20:28, Philip 1:1, 1 Tim 3:2).  Other principles apply that imply pastoral authority.  Women can't rule in the church (1 Corinthians 14:29-35, 1 Timothy 2:11-15), but what difference does that make if no one rules in the church?  Pastors must exert authority.  That is clear.  In 1 Timothy 4:11, Paul told Timothy, "These things command."  In Revelation 2-3, the messengers to the churches are in the Lord's right hand, which is symbolic of authority.  These are men with authority in these churches.  A way that Jesus rules through the churches is through an under shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).

Scripture also teaches congregational authority. The pastor is also under the authority of the church and he must fit into the body like a church member, but he has a separate, God-given authority to use in the church.  Pastors do not have authority to expect something unscriptural.  This fits into Peter's words in Acts 5:29, "We ought to obey God rather than men."  Anything that contradicts scripture cannot be required by a pastor of the members of the church.  However, many ways that a church functions require authority from a pastor in areas that are not in scripture, which belies the "beyond what is written" interpretation of MacArthur.

Scripture does not say when to meet.  It does not say how to take up an offering.  For a wedding, the pastor might give a number of commands.  Someone needs to be in charge.  If he says, stop talking, does he have that authority?  Yes.  Scripture does not say what hymns to sing.  It does not instruct on what teachers are to teach in smaller groups.  It does not tell where to evangelize.  Many of the applications of scripture require pastoral leadership, which is why Paul commanded in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (literally), imitate me.  Do what I do in areas of liberty (1 Corinthians 6-10).   Even though Corinth had liberty to do them, they were still required to imitate Paul.

It's hot on a Sunday morning.  No air conditioning here in California.  Just a ceiling fan and some floor fans.  I say, "Open windows."  What verse do I use?  It's cold outside, a church member opens windows.  I tell him, "Close those, it's too cold."  What verse?  He argues with me, tells me I have no authority.  Is he wrong?  Yes, he's wrong.

Friel relates this to ruling a house, even as Paul taught Timothy to rule his own house well (1 Timothy 3:5).  Ruling a house might require a bed time.  It might mean eating all your vegetables.  Dad could say, go mow the lawn.  Dad has authority in the home and this compared to pastoring or ruling in a church.  Parents have authority, so anything they tell their children to do, except to disobey scripture, they have that authority.  It doesn't have to be something from the Bible.  Why?  Because God gives authority to parents.  He also gives authority to a pastor, a qualified pastor.  That's an important reason why he needs to be qualified, because he is being given that authority, due to those qualifications among other reasons.

I would be surprised if many agreed with MacArthur in his no authority teaching.  Scripture teaches pastoral authority.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Salvation and the Call By Jesus To Be a Fisher of Men

When you read the four gospels, you see several "calls" of the twelve disciples.  There isn't one of them that says, this is when he was saved.  When was John saved?  Well, it was, um, I'm not sure.  He was saved, but I'm not sure when it was.  What about Peter?  The same.  They were all saved, but Judas, but it isn't clear what the moment of their salvation was, like someone would know when the Apostle Paul was saved.  That is clear.

I'm guessing that there are readers that think they do know the exact moment when some of the twelve disciples were saved.  For the sake of argument, let's say that Andrew, John, Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel were saved in John 1, which one might call the first call.  I would be fine with that.  I don't know, but I would be fine with calling those five saved in John 1.  John 1:37 says, "they followed Jesus," confessed that He was the "Messias," "the Christ" (1:41), and "thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel" (1:49).  Jesus said, "Follow me," and they did.

The second calling, however, sounds very similar to the first, just like it was a first calling, and I bring you to Matthew 4, just after Jesus began His ministry (4:17-20):
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
That also sounds like a salvation call, which also reflects what the Lord Jesus taught in Luke 9:23-25:
23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
"If any man will come after me" is salvation language.  Someone who "comes after Jesus" is a saved person.

I direct you though to the Matthew 4 passage.  When someone follows Jesus, He keeps following Him.  That doesn't mean he will never sin again, but he's given up His life.  His life is Christ's, and the language for that is "deny self," "take up cross," "follow me," and "lose life," as in Luke 9.  In Matthew 4, Jesus adds, I will make you fishers of men.

I'm asserting that if Peter really started following in John 1 that he would continue following Jesus in Matthew 4.  Someone following will keep following or else he wasn't saved, and the Lord Jesus Christ will make him a fisher of men.  Following Him meant becoming a fisher of men.  Everyone following Jesus He will make a fisher of men.  One is supposed to assume that genuine believers will be fishers of men.  If they are not fishers of men, this implies that they are not saved.

Most churches have no expectations of their members to evangelize.  Most professing Christians have never won anyone to Christ.  They rarely to never preach the gospel, but their salvation isn't doubted.

The judgment of someone's salvation has moved away from what scripture says is following Christ.  Jesus preached the gospel in Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Caesaria-Philippi, Perea, and Tyre and Sidon.  He preached it everywhere, but His "followers" preach it next to nowhere.

Church members, as I see it, are less concerned about following Christ and really helping people in an eternal way, which is actual help, as they are into sentimentality and feelings.  Their Christianity is about whether the church makes them comfortable and happy, a place to make friends in a mainly non-judgmental fashion.  The idea of following Christ is hardly in their vocabulary.  They don't think they should be expected to be a fisher of men.

Following Christ is not some arbitrary arrangement, based upon a personal whim.  It includes all the Lord and Jesus and Christ activities, what He would be doing that we would be doing if we would be following Him.  Instead, people set up a Christianity that they favor and submit to that.  When real Christianity clashes with the replacement, they treat that like the violation of following Christ.  In fact, it violates them.  They aren't getting their way.

Some would like following Christ to be the music of their choice, not the kind that pleases God, but some kind of worldly rhythm that's fun for them, that makes them feel good.  They turn following Christ into that which will still be popular with the world, solving people's social or societal problems.  Following Christ doesn't have to be much different than not following Christ.

Can leaders expect fishing for men, or do they need to turn following Christ into something else?  They know.  It's got to be something else.  They've designed church around very few to no people being fishers of men.  What's really important is not hurting feelings and being sensitive, especially to felt physical or psychological needs.

As a result, people who don't follow Christ think they follow Christ.  They don't answer the call, because it is a call to be a fisher of men.  It is a salvation issue.  Salvation is not by works.  You don't get saved by being a fisher of men.  No.  You come after Christ, deny self, follow Him, and He makes you a fisher of men.  You know that when you follow Him, that He's called you to be a fisher of men.  You want that, because it's also what Christ Himself does.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Preservation Seminar Audio

I recently had the privilege of teaching a seminar on the perfect preservation of Scripture at Mount Zion Baptist Mission, a church-planting work led by Bro William Hardecker, who is sent out of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Pennsylvania.  Bro Hardecker and his wife are faithful servants of the Lord whom I have known since our time together in the Master's program at Fairhaven Baptist College.

The students present at the seminar. Bro Hardecker is right in front of my wife and I.

A goodly number of Filipino pastors and other church workers were present at the seminar, for which we were thankful. The audio for the seminar can be downloaded by clicking here. If Christians understand the twelve Biblical principles of preservation explained in the seminar, the question of the Textus Receptus and KJV versus the modern versions and the critical text is easily decided. There are also a few sermons I preached and a Sunday School lesson I taught that can be downloaded as well.  The syllabus can be downloaded here.

While in the Philippines I also had the privilege of preaching at Soulwinner's Bible Baptist Church in Tagbileran City, a solid, separated, KJVO, local-only ecclesiology, pro-Lordship Baptist church led by a local man sent out from a Baptist church with its own seminary on a nearby island.

The lady in the very front of the picture is an abortion survivor and a faithful servant of the Lord at the church.  I thought it was a blessing as well that, despite the cultural acceptance of getting to church late, the brethren at Bible Baptist had been trained to value the Lord's church by getting there on time.  The Bible, not culture,  must dictate how a church practices.

Lord willing, Heather and I will be back in the Philippines in the second half of November after the Word of Truth Conference at Bethel Baptist Church with Bro Brandenburg.  We would appreciate your prayers for wisdom about how best to serve the Lord while we are back in that part of the world at that time, and I'm sure that the Hardeckers and other servants of the Lord in the Philippines would likewise appreciate your prayers that "the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified" (2 Thess 3:1).  There are many people in that needy nation who are open to listening to the gospel--I do not believe a single person refused to take a gospel tract the entire time we were there.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Make Not Provision for the Flesh

The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 13:14:
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
He makes two commands:
Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ
Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof
The first one is positive, the second negative.

The first command isn't justification.  It isn't salvation language.  The clear sense is a wardrobe metaphor, so the already believer exercises the righteousness of Christ he has obtained by faith.  He gets up every day and puts on the practicalities of Jesus that He has already received through justification.  He can do this.  Gill says it is "the exercise of grace and discharge of duty; to walk as he walked, and as we have him for an example, in love, meekness, patience, humility, and holiness."

A good way not to do something is by doing something else that isn't that thing not to do.  If someone fills up his life with the ways of Jesus as taught in scripture, he won't be doing what is prohibited in the second half of the verse.  The Lord Jesus Christ clashes with a lot of what people view or treat as if acceptable.  Paul uses the whole name or title of Jesus, bringing in everything about Him.

He's Lord, obey Him.  He's Jesus, so He's saved you from sin, including the practice of it.  He's Christ, so He is all eternity for you, the King Who sits on the throne of David forever.

Putting on is unceasing and close.  You're wearing this, which means you're not taking it off.  It's on you, so it saturates, surrounds, and envelops.  It affects every area of life, whether eating or drinking or whatsoever you do.  This includes all cultural issues.  If you are wearing Him, you can't separate Him from your bar, your live music or concert, and your ungodly friends.

If you put on the Lord Jesus Christ, you won't tolerate the name of His Father in vain.  You will however work His glorious name into conversation, solutions, and testimony.  Out of the abundance of your heart, Jesus being that abundance, your mouth will speak Him.

Living out Christ in the world isn't a matter of avoiding the practice of specific violations in a list of sins.  Those lists are in the New Testament, but they are representative, not all-encompassing.  Paul describes living out Christ in Philippians 3:3 with three commands:  "worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."

The second part is negative, but also reads as it is opposite of the first part.  Someone putting on the Lord Jesus Christ can't at the same time make provision for the flesh.  I see a lot of making provision for the flesh among professing Christians that they see compatible with Jesus.  It's another Jesus.  Jesus is not congruent with the flesh.  You are making up another Jesus so that you can still have Jesus.  He isn't Jesus.

Something has to give, Jesus or the flesh.  If someone concocts a different Jesus, one who likes rock and country music, he's already given up Jesus.  You can't keep flesh and Jesus.  This is to fulfill the lust thereof.  Rock and country were originated around pleasing the flesh.  This also includes sensual dancing, tight and immodest clothing, and entertainment with foul language, sex, and nudity.

You have to choose.  Put on the Lord Jesus Christ or make provision for the flesh.  Paul writes further in Galatians 5:24, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."  If you are Christ's, you have crucified the flesh.  The flesh doesn't have dominion any more.

Making provision for the flesh is something less than flesh.  Flesh is prohibited, but even something short of that, making provision for the flesh, is also barred.  Flesh won't occur when making provision doesn't occur.  A legalistic path is to reduce everything to the rules one isn't breaking, when God stops short of an actual rule to not even making provision.  Making provision is why the fulfilling of lust happens.  This is why Paul issues other commands, such as flee idolatry and flee fornication.  Not fleeing is some of how someone also makes provision for the flesh.

You have to stop saying that you have permission to make provision for the flesh.  You're commanded make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill lust.  You're not putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, so you're disobeying that command as well.  You can say you love Jesus.  You're not loving the Lord Jesus.  You're not putting Him on.  You're ashamed of actual Jesus.  The flesh, your lust, is too important to you, more important than Jesus.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Real, Actual Reason Why the Capitulation on Almost Every (Maybe Every) Doctrinal, Practical, or Cultural Issue Today

Surpassed two million hits for this blog today.


The sinful nature of humanity wants what it wants.  It doesn't want to be hindered from what it wants even on the best of days.  It will do many things to get what it wants.  I see it in scripture and I've watched it.

Everyone is going to do what he wants to do against the will of God.  Everyone.  However, I'm not writing about that in this post.  I've done many wrong, sinful things that I regret.  I'm writing about permanent positions or activities, where someone doesn't turn from the belief or behavior.

All true believers have the same faith, based upon the same book, the Bible, with the same meaning.  God's Word means only one thing.  It hasn't changed.  2 Peter 1:1 says they (all true believers) "have obtained like precious faith."  They obtained the faith, so they didn't invent it or originate it.  True faith is of God.  Because of that it is "like," the Greek esotimon, which means "equal, of the same kind."

Peter begins his book by saying that faith isn't going to be different for anyone as it is obtained from God, so what happens?  What's the problem?  As you follow from the rest of the epistle, the problem is lust (1:4, 2:10, 2:18, 3:3).  Other related words or phrases are "self-willed" (2:10), "as they that count it pleasure" (2:13), "covetous" (2:14), "loved the wages of unrighteousness" (2:15), and "wantonness" (2:19).  In conjunction with the lust is the parallel problem with authority, essentially the same as lust, because if you want to do what you want to do, then you don't want to do what someone else wants you to do.  This is represented by these two phrases or clauses in 2 Peter:
denying the Lord that bought them, 2:1
not afraid to speak evil of dignities, 2:10
They don't like the authority of scripture (2 Peter 1) and they don't like the second coming of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3), when they will give an account for what they've done.

2 Peter mirrors what Paul writes in Romans 1.  They know God, so what's the problem?  It's not a knowledge problem.  Just because they know, doesn't mean they'll believe and then practice what they should.  They "hold the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom 1:18), that is, they suppress the truth.  It's rebellion.  It is a will or a want problem, which is why, when God gives them up, He turns them over to their own lust (1:24).  They don't want God or what He wants, so He gives them what they want, which turns to their own destruction.  It defiles everything in their life, and one tell-tale expression of their lives is "disobedience to parents" (1:30), the most rudimentary rebellion against authority for a person.

What I'm writing can be seen all over scripture, but right from the beginning, the two sides of the same problem manifest themselves.  Eve wanted the fruit from the tree that was forbidden.  She distrusted God against His commandment or authority, and the man, we know from 1 Timothy 2, abdicated his headship for her, which again indicates a problem with authority.  When Eve wanted to do what she wanted to do, her lust, she did it against the command of God and the headship of her husband, which he obtained from God.

John says that every diversion from the right path is lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and then pride (1 John 2:16-17).  Someone wants what he feels, he wants what he sees, and he's putting himself first to get it, pride.  Scripture is what gets in the way of lust and pride.  God says, no, I want you to do what I'm telling you, what I want.  A person either believes and does what God says, or he conforms what God says in some way into his own lust and pride.

I've established from scripture the real, actual reason for capitulation in doctrinal, practical, or cultural issues as stated in the title of this post.  There will always be the temptation to capitulate.  It's also what I've witnessed in my lifetime.  Let's take something doctrinal, like the doctrine of preservation of scripture.

Only two positions exist.  God either preserved all of His Words and they've been available to every generation of believer, or He did not.  In scripture, God says that He did.  The uncertainty of God's Words diminishes authority.  If we don't know what the Words are, then it's also less likely we would know what they mean.  There is also the pride of scholarship, fitting into the academy, which says we can't and don't know because we don't have the evidence to know.  This all describes the lust, very much akin to what we read in 2 Peter.

The false teachers say that we can't call scripture the Words of God.  They are closer to fables, writings that came by the will of man, not holy men of God speaking by the Holy Spirit.  What's real is uniformitarianism, no sign of direct divine intervention, explaining why no fulfillment of the guarantees of the second coming.  Those prophecies can't be trusted, because they aren't being fulfilled.  Real evidence debunks the authority of scripture and a real Jesus, one who would come back as he supposedly promised.  Hence, they can walk after their own lust and ask, where is the promise of his coming?  Eschatology itself is too hard to be understood, nothing to be certain about, so why should we deny ourselves the pleasures we desire to please someone we're not certain exists?

The preservation of scripture is intervention from God, but according to the critics, there isn't evidence of what God said He would do, so those promises are debunked.  If that's the case, why should they change on any number cultural or social issues either?  Maybe they will hold on to the major teachings, but why should they regulate everything in their lives based upon a book that they aren't certain about?

David in Psalm 16:4 writes:
Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.
The truth is that sorrows will multiply for those who go after other gods.  Because of that David will not participate in their worship, nor will he take up their names into his lips.  David is trusting the Lord, so he will associate himself only with the true God.

What would tempt David to associate with other gods, take up their names into his lips?  The other god might be more popular than the true God.  This is where lust and pride have their affect.   Lust and pride motivate association with the world's music, entertainment, celebrity, and causes.  Rather than trust the Lord about their multiplied sorrows, they will take up their names into their lips.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Jessie Penn-Lewis: Welsh Revival and Pentecostal Preparation (part 10 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, September 11, 2019

Matthew 18, Public Sinning or False Teaching, and Gossip Versus Revealing a Matter

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
                                                                      1 Peter 4:8
"Charity" is "love" (agape).  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:7, "Love beareth all things."  I usually say, b-e-a-r and not b-a-r-e.  Of course, something exposed is something that was private.  People didn't know it.  Proverbs 11:13,
A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
Proverbs 20:19,
He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets.
The order of Matthew 18 says, keep it to the least number of people possible, that is, one on one.  If someone has repented already without a confrontation, then one-on-one isn't even needed.  Bringing another person into a secret is to b-a-r-e, not b-e-a-r.  It isn't love.  It can be something someone is ashamed for having done, has repented, has cleared himself, and taken a new and different path (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:9-11).  It is being a talebearer, revealing secrets, not being a faithful spirit.

On the other hand, there is public sinning about which someone is not repentant.  He does it in public.  When confronted, he doesn't change.  Matthew 18 doesn't apply to that person.  Someone can still go to him one-on-one, to take the most charitable approach, but it isn't required.  If someone promotes his sin or behavior or his false teaching in public, it is appropriate to deal with it in public.  It isn't gossip, it isn't talebearing, if it isn't secret.  Secret is kept secret with going one-on-one and not talebearing or gossiping.  Public is already public.  This isn't that difficult, but it seems to be, especially when it is convenient.

If you warn someone about another person's false teaching or repudiate his behavior, that he puts out in public, that isn't gossip.  That is required in scripture out of love.  Calling it gossip is wrong.  It isn't gossip.  Gossip reveals secrets, doesn't expose public and many times, add to that, unrepentant behavior or teaching.

On the other hand, consider the following scenario.  You warn in private to someone about public wrong behavior and erroneous teaching, and the warned person then runs to the one of the wrong behavior and erroneous teaching and says, "He talked about you or he talks about you," that is revealing a secret.  That was said in secret as a warning.  This is someone being unfaithful, not of a faithful or loyal spirit to someone who cared and is caring about someone else by warning him.

What I'm writing is not difficult.  People weaponize the term "gossip," to use it against the biblical practice of warning about ungodly living and false teaching.  When I name names here, I do it only with people who have made something public and most often are unrepentant of their public actions and beliefs.  Some uncharitably call this, "taking potshots."  Merriam Webster defines "potshot":
1 : a shot taken from ambush or at a random or easy target. 2 : a critical remark made in a random or sporadic manner.
Furthermore, "random" means:
made, done, happening, or chosen without method or conscious decision.
A careful exposure, using scripture, of something that is public and unrepentant, which could damage other people, isn't "random" or a "potshot."  The word "potshot" ironically is a potshot.  I would take potshots with my b-b gun at various targets when I lived and worked on a farm when I was a child.  I understand the concept -- random targets almost with no consideration.

On occasion a public sin would be better to treat in a private manner.  It could save embarrassment.  Sometimes someone needs public exposure.  Both the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John deal with people in public even in the church.  It's needed even more now with the growth of apostasy in these days.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Neither Were They Thankful

In the garden, Eve lost track of all the trees.  Her world became the one she could not eat.  I would call this an immature view of the garden, considering immaturity to be a focus on self.  The primary aspect of the immaturity of children is that they are selfish.  Mine!  Going further, Eve might think she deserved more than she got, she was discontent, and, therefore, entitled.  She had an entitlement mentality.

God gave and gave and gave.  Eve had to have more.  This is unthankful, which is a problem.

Did God "coddle" Eve?  Did He give her too much, and that led to a trap for her?  The massive gracious gift giving of God did not cause Eve to sin.  The blessing of God is not the cause of sin.

I move forward in the Old Testament to the book of Judges.  A pattern emerges from Judges:  blessing, entitlement, sin, judgment, crying out in repentance, deliverance by a judge, blessing, entitlement, sin, judgment, crying out in repentance, deliverance by a judge.  Rinse and repeat.  Perhaps God could have withheld the blessing, so that entitlement didn't come.  No.

Again, the problem is unthankfulness, not that God gave a lot.  This is also how Romans 1 diagnoses the problem.  Romans 1:21:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Glorifying God as God recognizes Who He is.  It acknowledges His nature, His position, His character.  Being thankful affirms or confesses what He did.  God is always good.

Briefly I want to take this in our thoughts to parenting.  Like God gives and gives, parents might give and give after the nature of God in that man is made in God's image.  Children should confirm the goodness of God to them, but in the hierarchy of God's authority and will, they start with a concession to the goodness of their parents.  They honor their father and their mother.

When children won't acknowledge the goodness of their parents out of child-like immaturity, selfishness, they have started down a road to perdition.  The problem hasn't been the giving of the parents, but the unthankfulness of the children.  I've witnessed a reversal of this by adult children, who charge the parent with entitlement, because the parent claims he is entitled to his authority and to lead.   "No," the child says, "you've not done enough, so I still don't have to listen.  You've got to do more of my bidding to earn my respect."  A parent might ask, "What about all that I've done already?"  A child resents the parent mentioning anything he's done.

God mentions what He's done again and again.  Much of the Bible is a recounting of what God has done with hopes that the reader will receive it, that is, be thankful for it.  Who does not want to be thankful?  Is there a motivation for not being thankful?  Scripture says there is.

Romans 1 says that unthankfulness proceeds from rebellious suppression of the truth.  Why do people suppress the truth?  They're sinners.  They are sinners not repenting of their sin.  They might say that it's because they're ripped off.  They weren't given enough.  They couldn't eat of the one tree.  Instead of focusing on all of the good things, they look at the bad things.  This is a poison that they can't overcome, and it's on God and in the case of children, their parents.

The suppression of truth relates to lust.  They don't want God commanding.  They don't want Him in charge of their lives.  They want "space."  They want to do what they want to do.  God isn't allowing them. He's some kind of celestial Big Brother, controlling their lives.  Their parents keep telling them what to do, and they want to be done with that.  All disobedience to authority, whether God's or godly authority, arises from unthankfulness.

People submit to God, because He's good.  They can justify disobedience if He's bad.  They do that with the existence of suffering.  A good God couldn't allow suffering. He's allowed suffering or even caused it, so they are justified in their dismissal of Him.  They think they are neutral in their approach to God.  No, they are rebels.  They are ingrates.  They want to do what they want to do and they have chosen a bad reason to vindicate themselves.

All human authority is flawed, but it's still God's authority (Romans 13:1-7).  In Genesis 9, Noah was flawed, but that didn't justify Ham's violation of His father.  Every human leader in human history does wrong.  God, of course, isn't flawed, but He allows suffering.  Problems exist all around that could be attributed to Him.  Again, unthankful.  God is good.  He heaps on goodness.  They glorify Him not as God -- neither were they thankful.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

God's Will of Being a Total Truth-Keeping Person: The Most Obvious Bifurcation of Truth in God's World Today

God's truth doesn't stop anywhere in the world.  It applies at some center point and in every place proceeding from that center, marking the center anywhere you want to put it.  It doesn't matter if there is a center, His truth covers everything.  Some might put a center to it in order to emphasize that center, but the truth still applies everywhere else.  One doesn't help the center where the truth is applied by not applying the truth in those areas further out from that center.  We can argue all we want about what the center is, but the whole world is still His world and integrity requires applying His truth everywhere.  Just because you picked a center and apply it there doesn't justify not applying the truth to all other areas in His world.

Not applying God's truth everywhere challenges the sovereignty of God over His creation.  It can't be justified by emphasis, which by that I mean that one doesn't emphasize the chosen center by disregarding the areas not in the center.  Let's say the gospel is the center.  If I apply the truth to art, I'm not deemphasizing the gospel.  If I apply the truth to music, I'm not deemphasizing the gospel.  If I apply the truth to business or science or education or nutrition or architecture or lawn care, I'm not deemphasizing the gospel.

In fact, just the opposite, every other truth is diminished when another truth is diminished.  God doesn't pick certain truths not to keep.  The gospel changes someone into a total truth keeping person.  Jesus said that in the Great Commission.  Every truth ignored creates a ripple.  All the truth is one.  Every truth fits into all the truth.  Not keeping one has some effect now or in the future on other truths.  This is because God is One.  When we talk about His attributes, we are talking about such perfection of harmony that never does a single attribute ebb at the flow of another.

Breaking truth into truths to emphasize one over another is like breaking God up into parts and emphasizing one part over another.  The truths are like the circulatory system.  Someone might bleed out faster by a violation of a major vessel, but he will bleed out with the violation of any vessel.  I'm just going to let it bleed, because it's just a trickle is still death.

An obvious practice in professing Christianity today is conceding truth, looking for what's important, what's really important, what's only important, and conceding other things, meanwhile perhaps saying no one is conceding anything, when they really are.  The world isn't going to accept everything, so diminishing much of what the world doesn't like and highlighting those parts that the world might like.  What this serves to do is like in ages past, the bifurcation of truth.  A dichotomy forms as occurred with gnosticism and neo-platonism, honing in on the sacred versus the secular realm.  Truth touches only certain spheres, bifurcated from others, because truth doesn't have to touch those -- they're off limits for truth.

The most obvious bifurcation of truth in God's world today is, well, the world today, that is, the culture:  music, dress, entertainment, friends, business, nutrition, art, architecture, etc.  Everything takes on a sameness, where Christians are no different, because there isn't a Christian anything out there.  It's kept only to the church setting.  Christians, true believers in churches, should be bringing the truth to everything in the world.

You are not living the Christian life, which means the gospel isn't even saving you in the sense that it saves you right now on this earth, if it doesn't change your music, dress, entertainment, friends, and every single other thing on the earth.  The prince of this world wants to protect the world like it's his, from whatever God would want to do to it through His people.  And God's people say, no, let's just keep it to the church, among the actual assembly, and blend everywhere else.

The truth is not therapy, that is there to work only in the assembly of believers, to help them get through the world without giving up -- feel good about one's self, give hope, make happy, and learn some biblicalish things.  The Bible deals with everything.  It is to be applied to everything.  Christians have decided to be fine with the separation between secular and sacred.  This is our Father's world, not Satan's.

As an example, I just watched a youtube video, where a professing Christian presented a fun outing on youtube.  I think it's fine, great, for a believer to use youtube as his medium.  Christians should use God honoring music in the background.  That doesn't mean a hymn or a psalm, but what would conform to the nature of God, like Paul commanded (Romans 12:2).  He used a country-western song with a fitting title, Good Times, but here is the chorus:
We just tryna catch a good time
Even if it takes all night
Pass that bottle 'round the campfire
Sippin' apple pie moonshine
For a true believer of Jesus Christ, passing a bottle of moonshine around all night shouldn't be or be thought to be a "good time."  It isn't good.  And that matters.  It is conduct unbecoming of the gospel, conflicting with the truth.  It is however an example of how an avowed Christian separates his life in the world from the truth.  It's a lie accepted especially today by evangelicals, misrepresenting biblical living.  I rarely see an evangelical podcast or other presentation that does not use ungodly music to introduce or in the background.

Engaging or integrating the truth all over, including in the places people might want it kept away because of lust or darkness, relates to the words of Ezekiel 44:23:
And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
God is holy.  He commands, be ye holy as I am holy.  To retain holiness in the world, the truth must engage to differentiate the holy from the profane.  There are profane "good times," which are not good, and holy "good times," and those need the light of truth out in the world to transect God's world for His glory.

Just because professing Christians bifurcate truth doesn't mean that God or the Bible do.   These "Christians" really don't have it both ways now.  They don't.  God is the judge of that, because God owns this world.  It's His world.  He's also judging this world.  But they act like they do.  It isn't Christianity.  Even if they bifurcate the truth, separating from the world where it exists, God doesn't.

A believer is to and will bring the truth to every area of life.  The word "integrity" comes from a Latin root, which means "whole."  A believer's integrity requires integrating the truth into everything.  The truth shouldn't clash with anything in a Christian's life, or in that aspect he is lying to the world or at least to himself or God.  Nothing is out of bounds.  It's all God's.  A believer is going to treat it like it is and not some separate entity outside of divine dominion.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Assurance of Salvation: Repeat the Sinner's Prayer Again?

What should you tell someone who doubts whether he is saved, that is, who lacks assurance? A relatively common piece of advice today is to have him repeat the sinner's prayer again.  Churches that follow this methodology often give assurance initially based on the (alleged) promises that those who sincerely repeat the sinner's prayer will be justified and regenerated at that moment. Then, if a sinner doubts his salvation after that time, he is told to repeat the prayer again.  If it didn't work the first time, then it surely will the second time, at least except when people end up repeating the prayer dozens or even hundreds of times, never knowing which of them is the time when it actually worked, or if it worked any of these times.

Where did the idea come from that assurance is obtained by repeating the sinner's prayer?  One person that certainly made the idea very popular was the anti-repentance president of the Sword of the Lord, Curtis Hutson:

I trusted Jesus when I was eleven years old; but I lacked assurance of salvation, not knowing upon what to base my assurance. One day I would think I was saved, and the next, I would wonder if maybe I was wrong about it and perhaps was lost; until finally I came out of the darkness of doubt into the broad daylight of certainty. . . . When I doubted I was trusting Him, I didn’t argue about it; I just prayed again and told the Lord if I had never trusted Him, I was then trusting Him.

When the Devil would say, “How do you know you are trusting Him?” I would pray out loud, “Dear Lord, if I have never trusted You, I am trusting You now.” Immediately all doubt would leave.[1]

It is doubtful that Mr. Hutson was consistent and submitted to baptism again after each time he repeated the sinner's prayer again to get assurance.  Sadly, in light of his heresies in his pamphlets "Repentance" and "Lordship Salvation," where he attacks the gospel, one would need to question on Biblical grounds whether Mr. Hutson was indeed converted or whether he could not get assurance because he was unregenerate.  In any case, his suggestion that one repeat the sinner's prayer again to get assurance of salvation is something that would not come through a careful study of the Bible, but only through modern evangelistic methodology of dubious value.

1 John is the book about assurance of salvation in the New Testament (1 John 5:13).  The Apostle John, writing under inspiration, never states, hints, or implies in any way that assurance should come initially, or that it should be confirmed later in one's Christian pilgrimage, by repeating the "sinner's prayer."  Such ideas are contrary to sound exegesis of Scripture and are totally absent from the overwhelming majority of church history.  Furthermore, repentance, without which there is no salvation, involves agreeing with God, including agreeing with God about one's lost condition if one is unconverted (see Bible study #5 here for a careful study on repentance). Saying "Lord, if I am not saved, please save me" is not agreeing with God, and will not do any good.  Rather than repeating the sinner's prayer again to get assurance, one should get assurance the way the Bible teaches in 1 John.  To quote from my pamphlet against asking Jesus into one's heart, explaining that instead one needs to repent and believe the gospel:

If you are not sure if you are saved, it will not do you any good to . . . ask Jesus into your heart one more time.  Instead, consider the following.  1.) You must be willing to accept and act on the truth, whatever it is.  The Lord Jesus revealed the truth to those willing to receive it but hid the truth from those who were not willing to receive and act on it (Jn 7:17; 12:38-40).  2.)  The answer will be found in the Word of God, for the Word is what the Holy Spirit uses to create and confirm faith (Rom 10:17; Eph 6:17).  Pray that God will show you the truth in His Word (Ps 25:4; 86:11).  Carefully read and study the Gospel of John, for it was written to show people how to have eternal life (Jn 20:31).  Carefully read and study 1 John, for it was written to show Christians how to have assurance (1 Jn 5:13).  Carefully study the explanation of the gospel in this booklet.  Study carefully what the Bible teaches about sin, about God and His grace, and about the gospel.  Read classic, Biblical presentations of the gospel, the kind that true churches and Christians employed before the modern development of the “sinners prayer” methodology.  Separate from all religious organizations that corrupt the gospel (2 Cor 6:14-7:1; Gal 1:6-9; 2 Jn 7-11);  instead, faithfully attend the services and carefully consider the preaching and teaching at a Bible-believing and practicing church where the gospel is purely and clearly taught (Heb 10:25).  Such a church is a great place to get godly, Biblical counsel from the pastors and other spiritually wise members in the congregation (Pr 11:14);  God can give them spiritual ability and discernment to help you diagnose the needs of your soul (Heb 13:17).  Do not stop seeking (Lu 13:24) until you either get full assurance from the Spirit through the Word that you are indeed a child of God, or the Lord shows you that you are still lost—and if the Lord shows you that you are lost, immediately repent and believe the gospel:  “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2).

In this manner the lost can be brought to true conversion, instead of false assurance, and Christians who lack assurance can be restored to the full joy God wants for them as they get assurance through the solid foundation Scripture sets forth in 1 John.

[1] "As Many As Received Him …” by Curtis Hutson.  Elec. acc.

Monday, September 02, 2019

See What You Made Me Do! So I'm Going To Do Far Worse!

"See what you made me do!"  A manifesto follows that blames bad behavior on someone else.  Old Testament prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel both convey a now millennial anthem:  "my parents ate sour grapes, so now my teeth are set on edge."  Blame empowers bad and then worse behavior.

God said, "No, the soul that sinneth, it shall die," that is, you are completely responsible for your own deeds and attitude.   In contrast, you know today how this pathology works, especially with now regular mass shootings at the center of which is a troubled figure, someone who hasn't had enough "love" as a child.  He's the victim.  Sigmund Freud provided modern justification with his earlier twentieth century psychological theories and terminology.

The effect doesn't follow the cause.  A parent eating sour grapes doesn't cause a child's teeth to be set on edge.  It's a phony excuse that should fool no one.

If it is a parent's fault (or some other authority figure), that assumes the parent did something wrong.  Maybe it wasn't wrong, but let's assume a parent sinned.  If the concern is sin, is concern over sin substantiated by more and worse sinning?  Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel said, the parent's sin isn't the concern.  It's just an excuse.  The cause, like James and Peter teach (James 1 and 2 Peter 2), is lust.  If the parent's sin was a concern, the reaction wouldn't be more and worse sinning.  The child just wants to do what he wants to do and justifies it:  "See what you made me do!  So I'm going to do far worse!"

I've seen this in church through thirty-two years of pastoring.  Most people who leave a church blame the church for doing things wrong and then go to another church that's worse.

What does someone do, who is really concerned about wrong or sin?  Scripture is very clear.  He tries to help.  He attempts reconciliation.  He seeks mediation.  Paul wrote that he tries to restore someone in a spirit of meekness.  He doesn't say or think, "Hey, I know, I'll go out and do more and even worse and justify it with I'm saying was someone else's wrong."

Prominent in Freudian psychology and still used by modern psychologists is the is the idea of defense mechanisms.   According to a Freudian psychologist, one of the mechanisms for a victim to defend himself is "acting out."  He does puzzling things and makes peculiar decisions contrary to his own well-being.  People are afraid that he might "snap" and do something even worse.  His trajectory is in a downward spiral and he is in need of an "intervention."  He also has his "enablers," those who confirm his excuses and blame, because they also dislike authority and standards that clash with their own lust.  They are confused and misguided sympathizers.

According to God, no one is a victim.  If he dies, it's because of his own sin, not his parent's.  He owns what he is doing.  Paul said, someone's body parts are either instruments of righteousness or of unrighteousness.  He should mortify, put to death, his deeds of the flesh.  John says he either loves God or he loves himself and the world.  Jesus said that those who enter not the narrow gate did not agonize or at least seek to get in.  They will have no one to blame but themselves.

When someone does more sinning and far worse, he exposes his excuses for what they really are, blaming his sin on someone else.  There is an axiom here, that to the degree someone blames his own wrongs on what he perceives are the wrongs of others, he will do more and worse.  The good news is that he thinks something is wrong.  He would only blame someone else if he thought something wrong was to be blamed.  In other words, he hasn't totally lost the ability to know and identify what is wrong and what is right.  Now it's just a matter if he is also willing to do something about it.  Does he love his sin so much that he will keep blaming other people for it?

Some of what Freud wrote smacks of some truth if someone places it in the context of truth.  Everyone who sins needs intervention.  Anyone who continues in sin without repentance will get worse, which could be described as a downward spiral.  A person who is not surrendered to God or controlled by the Holy Spirit will act out of the nature of the depravity that characterizes fallen human flesh.

What the world needs today is a message of repentance, like Jesus and John the Baptist preached.  Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Relief is available for someone who will turn to God and like with all those who do in scripture, it will be accompanied by great joy.