Friday, February 28, 2020

Jessie Penn-Lewis & Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, III (part 22 of 22)

            Rejoice in true worship in the house of God—the holy angels rejoice in it (1 Corinthians 11:10).  Recognize the glorious promise that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18).  Christ exercises a special care over the members of His assemblies and over His congregations, protecting them from enemies as a man cares for and protects his bride.  The church is Christ’s holy temple, but being removed from His house is being delivered to Satan (1 Corinthians 5:4-5).  Special protection from the powers of the wicked one is therefore found in the assemblies of the saints that Christ started in the first century, and which have existed to this present time under many names, but are now found among historic Baptist churches.  Godly worship and praise brings the special presence of Jehovah (cf. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14), and godly music makes evil spirits depart (1 Samuel 16:23).  Let such worship, and such music, be found in your church and in your home.  God’s saints should sing His inspired psalms, and uninspired hymns should be patterned after the Biblical content found in the psalter, as they regularly were in the age of hymnists from Faucett to Doddridge to Toplady.  They should hold fast to the Regulative Principle of worship as the sole solid defense against the introduction of humanly or demonically designed corruptions in worship.  On the other hand, false religious organizations are Satan’s hunting-ground (Revelation 18:2).  God is not the source of all religious experience.  The worship of all pagan and non-Christian religions is the realm of the devil (1 Corinthians 10:20).  The gatherings of the church of Rome are filled with demons, demons that work through the idols, demons that work supernaturally to bring the unregenerate into ever greater darkness as bread is allegedly transubstantiated over altars that have occult relics of “saints” in them, demons that rejoice in their extrabiblical festival days, demons that are attracted to their unholy and Spirit-quenching liturgy, and all sorts of other demons.  Assemblies of Protestant religious organizations that preach a corrupt gospel are likewise places where demons and demonic influence abounds.  When charismatics turn off their minds and engage in ecstatic religious phenomena, they are often having a genuinely supernatural experience, but one that shares its source with that of the ecstatic worship of demonized idolaters in first century Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:2).[1]  When neo-evangelicals bring rock music or the rock beat into their assemblies, they are bringing in music that attracts demons, rather than leading them to leave.[2]  Do you, then, wish to avoid the presence of devils?  Unite yourself to and worship faithfully in a historic Baptist church that cleaves to and contends for Biblical worship, including an uncompromised stand for traditional, classical-styled music that follows Biblical principles.  Such a church can assault the gates of hell in the strength of Jesus Christ.  Flee all other religious organizations—unholy angels, rather than holy ones, gather in them.
            Remember that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15)—the church, the local, visible, Baptist congregation, is the place of God’s special presence, His special protection from Satan and his kingdom, and His promises of perpetuity and blessing until the return of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18).  No promises of Christ’s special presence or protection are made to the mythical universal, invisible church, Para church institutions, human denominations, or inter-denominational movements such as evangelicalism.  Do you claim to be a fundamentalist?  If, by this term, you mean that you seek to militantly defend all the truths of the Christian faith, and militantly stand against and separate from all error, well and good—you will then, if your confession is true, be a servant of Christ in a historic Baptist church.  Do you think that such a line is too strict, for “historic fundamentalism” was a parachurch movement that only recognized a handful of “fundamentals” that were worthy of separation?  If that is truly “historic fundamentalism,” then you should reject such fundamentalism for the God-honoring true separatism only possible within a Biblical Baptist church that is unaffiliated with denominationalism, associationism, and all other humanly devised denominational structures.  However, you should also consider that there never was a unified “historic fundamentalism.”  The Fundamentals, for example, printed an essay by George Sales Bishop, who believed in the dictation of the autographa and its perfect preservation—including the perfect preservation of not the Hebrew consonants alone, but also the vowels that were originally given by inspiration—in the Textus Receptus.[3]  Yet The Fundamentals also reprinted articles by Edwin J. Orr, who “was unconcerned to defend a literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, and [who] took the view that an insistence on biblical inerrancy was actually ‘suicidal.’”[4]  So who represents “historic fundamentalism”—Bishop or Orr?  Does “historic fundamentalism” defend an inerrant autographa, an inerrant autographa that is perfectly preserved in the Received Texts of Scripture, or errant autographs and apographs?  Indeed, while cessationists are amply represented in early fundamentalism, the writings of Jessie Penn-Lewis appear also in The Fundamentals[5]—so does “historic fundamentalism” follow Scriptural cessationism and the sole authority of Scripture, or Mrs. Penn-Lewis’s fanaticism, radical demonology, Quakerism, date-setting for Christ’s return, and allegedly “inspired” extra-Biblical writings—one of which is condensed in The Fundamentals?  A unified “historic fundamentalism” is a chimera, and even if it had existed, it would possess no independent authority—the Christian’s sole authority is the Bible alone, and the Bible teaches that every religious organization on earth in this dispensation, if it wants to have the special presence of Jesus Christ, must be under the authority of one of His churches.  Fundamentalist parachurch institutions are not churches.  Do you value the Lord’s church in the way that One does who bought her with His blood (Ephesians 5:25)?[6]  If you do not, but are following some movement, whether evangelical, fundamental, or by any other name, your organization does not possess the promises Christ makes to His church alone.  Beware lest Christ say to you, and to your organization, “cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?” (Luke 13:7).
            Furthermore, beware other settings that are naturally the haunts of Satan.  If Paul warns about the places where idol worship takes place as the haunt of devils and a setting to avoid (1 Corinthians 10:14, 20), places that are haunts of devils today should be avoided also.  Since idols are attractive to demons, do not bring any idols into your house, whether as symbols of foreign “culture,” or mementos of past tourism, or for any other reason.  If you have such objects in your house, whether of an openly pagan god or an allegedly Christian semi-deity such as the allegedly perpetual Virgin Mary, destroy such idols immediately.  Destroy other demonic objects, such as Ouija boards, and abhor the symbols of idolatry, such as crucifixes.   Avoid the places where the medium and the psychic ply their trade.  Do not seek to contact the dead.  Do not let the practitioners of demonic and New Age alternative “medicine” deceive you, whether through the occult water of homeopathy, the traditional chiropractic of D. D. Palmer, or some other form of pagan energy medicine.  Expect the modernist theological seminary, as a place of blasphemy against Jehovah, to be infested with demons.  Assume that demons will delight themselves and congregate in the movie theater as its wide screens vomit forth violence, filthiness, occultism, and all kinds of ungodliness, just as they would at the rock concert or the bar.  What concord is there between Christ and Belial?
            Maintain a Biblical balance in recognizing the power of Satan.  First, while recognizing the real power of the devil and the unquestionable spiritual danger he poses to you, do not deify him or treat him as if he were God—do not displease and dishonor the only God by treating his creature and angel, Lucifer, as if he truly were like the Most High.  Satan is not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent.  His power is not equal to that of God—indeed, it is infinitely inferior to that of El Shaddai.  While a very powerful creature, he is nonetheless a defeated and doomed foe.  Remember that he is so.  Second, do not react against the fanaticism of works such as War on the Saints by turning to a rationalism that denies or denigrates the reality of the demonic.  Doubtless many pagan marvels are simple impostures with as much reality to them as the body of Mary Baker Eddy’s Mind Cures or the fake healings of a Word of Faith wonder-peddler.  However, in our Bibles we can hold infallible evidence in our hands that, although they cannot equal the miraculous power of the Almighty (Exodus 8:18-19; 9:11; Daniel 2:27-28), demons can perform real miracles (Revelation 16:14).  Neither fear the devil as if he were God—reserve that reverential awe for your Creator and Redeemer alone—nor diminish the power of that roaring lion, who ferociously roams about seeking whom he may devour, as if he were a de-fanged and de-clawed pussycat.


The following are the parts of this series:

Jessie Penn-Lewis: Keswick and Welsh Revivalist, Quaker and Freemason (part 1 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Conversion (?) and Higher Life (part 2 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Spirit-Baptized Woman Preacher (part 3 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Keswick Faith Healer (part 4 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: the Christ-Life and Quietism (part 5 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Her Inspired Writings (part 6 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Inspired Woman Preacher (part 7 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: her mystical false god (part 8 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Worldwide Keswick Impact  (part 9 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Welsh Revival and Pentecostal Preparation (part 10 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: War on the Saints (part 11 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Christians Demon Possessed (part 12 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Warfare Prayer and the 1914 partial Rapture (part 13 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Binding Satan (part 14 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Binding and Loosing (part 15 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: “My Demon Possession Key to My Keswick Teaching” (part 16 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Inspired “Truth” on Demon Possession (part 17 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Throne Life / Power and the Higher Life (part 18 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Soul Force, Only the Human Spirit Regenerated, And Other Bizarre Foolishness (part 19)
Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, I (part 20 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, II (part 21 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, III (part 22 of 22)

[1]           Commenting on the cessation of miraculous gifts, the fact that the Biblical sign gift of tongues was an ability to speak in real, known, earthly languages, and on the contrast between mindless and out-of-control pagan and demonic ecstasy and the use of the mind and in-control state involved in Biblical prophecy, the patristic writer Chrysostom noted:
This whole place [1 Corinthians 12-14 and its discussion of the sign gifts] is very obscure: but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place. . . . [F]or the present let us state what things were occurring then. . . . [People] spake with tongues and not with tongues only, but many also prophesied, and some also performed many other wonderful works. . . . And one straightway spake in the Persian, another in the Roman, another in the Indian, another in some other such tongue: and this made manifest to them that were without that it is the Spirit in the very person speaking. Wherefore also he so calls it, saying, “But to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given to profit withal;” (v. 7) calling the gifts “a manifestation of the Spirit.” For as the Apostles themselves had received this sign first, so also the faithful went on receiving it, I mean, the gift of tongues; yet not this only but also many others: inasmuch as many used even to raise the dead and to cast out devils and to perform many other such wonders: and they had gifts too, some less, and some more. But more abundant than all was the gift of tongues among them: and this became to them a cause of division; not from its own nature but from the perverseness of them that had received it: in that on the one hand the possessors of the greater gifts were lifted up against them that had the lesser: and these again were grieved, and envied the owners of the greater. . . . And this was not the only thing to disturb them, but there were also in the place many soothsayers, inasmuch as the city was more than usually addicted to Grecian customs, and this with the rest was tending to offence and disturbance among them. This is the reason why he begins by first stating the difference between soothsaying and prophecy. For this cause also they received discerning of spirits, so as to discern and know which is he that speaketh by a pure spirit, and which by an impure.
For because it was not possible to supply the evidence of the things uttered from within themselves at the moment; (for prophecy supplies the proof of its own truth not at the time when it is spoken, but at the time of the event;) and it was not easy to distinguish the true prophesier from the pretender; (for the devil himself, accursed as he is, had entered into them that prophesied, [See 1 Kings 22:23.] bringing in false prophets, as if forsooth they also could foretell things to come;) and further, men were easily deceived, because the things spoken could not for the present be brought to trial, ere yet the events had come to pass concerning which the prophecy was; (for it was the end that proved the false prophet and the true:)—in order that the hearers might not be deceived before the end, he gives them a sign which even before the event served to indicate the one and the other. And hence taking his order and beginning, he thus goes on also to the discourse concerning the gifts and corrects the contentiousness that arose from hence likewise. For the present however he begins the discourse concerning the soothsayers, thus saying,
[2.] “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant;” calling the signs “spiritual,” because they are the works of the Spirit alone, human effort contributing nothing to the working such wonders. And intending to discourse concerning them, first, as I said, he lays down the difference between soothsaying and prophecy, thus saying,
“Ye know that when ye were Gentiles, ye were led away [aÓpago/menoi, properly “dragged to prison or execution.”] unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might be led.” Now what he means is this: “In the idol-temples,” saith he, “if any were at any time possessed by an unclean spirit and began to divine, even as one dragged away, so was he drawn by that spirit in chains: knowing nothing of the things which he utters. For this is peculiar to the soothsayer, to be beside himself, to be under compulsion, to be pushed, to be dragged, to be haled as a madman. But the prophet not so, but with sober mind and composed temper and knowing what he is saying, he uttereth all things. Therefore even before the event do thou from this distinguish the soothsayer and the prophet. And consider how he frees his discourse of all suspicion; calling themselves to witness who had made trial of the matter. As if he had said, “that I lie not nor rashly traduce the religion of the Gentiles, feigning like an enemy, do ye yourselves bear me witness: knowing as ye do, when ye were Gentiles, how ye were pulled and dragged away then.”
But if any should say that these too are suspected as believers, come, even from them that are without will I make this manifest to you. Hear, for example, Plato saying thus: (Apol. Soc. c. 7.) “Even as they who deliver oracles and the soothsayers say many and excellent things, but know nothing of what they utter.” Hear again another, a poet, giving the same intimation. For whereas by certain mystical rites and witchcrafts a certain person had imprisoned a demon in a man, and the man divined, and in his divination was thrown down and torn, and was unable to endure the violence of the demon, but was on the point of perishing in that convulsion; he saith to the persons who were practicing such mystical arts [These verses are taken from an old Oracle, quoted among others by Porphyry in a Treatise of the Philosophy of Oracles, and from him again by Theodoret, on the Remedies for Gentile Errors, Disp. x. t. iv. p. 957.],
Loose me, I pray you:
The mighty God no longer mortal flesh
Can hold.
And again,
Unbind my wreaths, and bathe my feet in drops
From the pure stream; erase these mystic lines,
And let me go. [Porphyry’s note on this verse, as quoted by Hales from Eusebius (Evang. Præp. v.) in Savile’s Chrysostom, viii. pt. ii. p. 278, is as follows: “You see, he bids them erase the lines that he may depart: as though these detained him, and not only these, but the other things too about their apparel: because they wore certain portraitures of the deities who were invoked.”]
For these and such like things, (for one might mention many more,) point out to us both of these facts which follow; the compulsion which holds down the demons and makes them slaves; and the violence to which they submit who have once given themselves up to them, so as to swerve even from their natural reason. And the Pythoness too [See Strabo, ix. 5.]: (for I am compelled now to bring forward and expose another disgraceful custom of theirs, which it were well to pass by, because it is unseemly for us to mention such things; but that you may more clearly know their shame it is necessary to mention it, that hence at least ye may come to know the madness and exceeding mockery of those that make use of the soothsayers:) this same Pythoness then is said, being a female, to sit at times upon the tripod of Apollo astride, and thus the evil spirit ascending from beneath and entering the lower part of her body, fills the woman with madness, and she with disheveled hair begins to play the bacchanal and to foam at the mouth, and thus being in a frenzy to utter the words of her madness. I know that you are ashamed and blush when you hear these things: but they glory both in the disgrace and in the madness which I have described. These then and all such things Paul was bringing forward when he said, “Ye know that when ye were Gentiles, ye were led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might be led.”
And because he was discoursing with those who knew well, he states not all things with exact care, not wishing to be troublesome to them, but having reminded them only and brought all into their recollection, he soon quits the point, hastening to the subject before him.
But what is, “unto those dumb idols?” These soothsayers used to be led and dragged unto them.
But if they be themselves dumb, how did they give responses to others? And wherefore did the demon lead them to the images? As men taken in war, and in chains, and rendering at the same time his deceit plausible. Thus, to keep men from the notion that it was just a dumb stone, they were earnest to rivet the people to the idols that their own style and title might be inscribed upon them. But our rites are not such. He did not however state ours, I mean the prophesyings. For it was well known to them all, and prophecy was exercised among them, as was meet for their condition, with understanding and with entire freedom. Therefore, you see, they had power either to speak or to refrain from speaking. For they were not bound by necessity, but were honored with a privilege. For this cause Jonah fled; (Jonah. 1:3) for this cause Ezekiel delayed; (Ezek. 3:15) for this cause Jeremiah excused himself. (Jer. 1:6) And God thrusts them not on by compulsion, but advising, exhorting, threatening; not darkening their mind; for to cause distraction and madness and great darkness, is the proper work of a demon: but it is God’s work to illuminate and with consideration to teach things needful. . . . This then is the first difference between a soothsayer and a prophet[.] (John Chrysostom, Homily 29, on 1 Corinthians 12:1-2, pgs. 168-170 in Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians John Chrysostom, trans. H. K. Cornish, J. Medley & T. B. Chambers, in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series, Volume XII: Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians, ed. Philip Schaff.  Reproducing this quotation is by no means an endorsement of Chrysostom’s doctrine of baptismal regeneration or his other errors.)
[2]           This fact is recognized by the rock performers themselves; e. g.:  “Rock ‘n’ Roll . . . is . . . demonic. . . . A lot of the beats in music today are taken from voodoo, from the voodoo drums. If you study music in rhythms, like I have, you’ll see that is true . . . I believe that kind of music is driving people from Christ. It is contagious” (Little Richard). “[T]he sudden mingling of so many different tribes produced new variations [of music] like candomble, santeria, and vodun [demonic religion] . . . and out of this severing came jazz, the blues, the backbeat, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll—some of the most powerful rhythms on the planet. . . . It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment when I awoke to the fact that my tradition—rock and roll—did have a spirit side, that there was a branch of the family that had maintained the ancient connection between the drum and the gods [demons]” (Mickey Hart, drummer for The Grateful Dead).  See “The Character of Rock and Roll Music,” “Is There a Connection Between Rock Music and Voodoo or African Paganism?” and related articles on music in the Fundamental Baptist CD-ROM Library, ed. David Cloud.  London, Ontario: Bethel Baptist Church/Way of Life Literature, 2003.
[3]           See the “Inspiration of the Hebrew Letters and Vowel Points,” pgs. 43-59 of The Doctrines of Grace and Kindred Themes, George Sayles Bishop (New York, NY:  Gospel Publishing House, 1919; note as well his “Relative Value of the Old Testament” (pgs. 88-100) and “The Testimony of Scripture To Itself,” pgs. 19-42).  The KJV-only, Landmark Baptist periodical The Plains Baptist Challenger, a ministry of Tabernacle Baptist Church of Lubbock, TX, on pgs. 3-8 of its July 1991 edition, reprinted George Sayles Bishop’s defense, based on Matthew 5:18, of the coevality of the vowel points and the consonants.  Bishop was a contributor to the epoch-making volumes The Fundamentals (“The Testimony of the Scriptures to Themselves,” pgs. 80-97, Vol. 2, The Fundamentals, eds. R. A. Torrey, A. C. Dixon, etc., Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Books, 1970, reprint of the original 1917 ed. of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles), writing:  “We take the ground that on the original parchment . . . every sentence, word, line, mark, point, pen-stroke, jot, tittle was put there by God” (pg. 92, The Fundamentals, Vol. 2.).
[4]            Pg. 492, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, “Orr, James,” ed. Timothy Larsen, referencing Orr’s Revelation and Inspiration [1910], p. 198.  See, e. g.,  “The Holy Scriptures and Modern Negations,” “The Early Narratives of Genesis” (Chapters 5 & 11 The Fundamentals, ed. Torrey, Vol. 1; Orr wrote other articles also).
[5]           Pgs. 183-199, Chapter 13, “Satan and his Kingdom,” The Fundamentals, ed. Torrey, Vol. 4.  Her chapter is condensed from The Warfare with Satan and the Way of Victory.
[6]           Ephesians 5, and the rest of the book of Ephesians and the New Testament, refers to the church as a local, visible institution, not something universal and invisible. For example, consider Ephesians 5:23:  “the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (o¢ti oJ aÓnh/r e˙sti kefalh\ thvß gunaiko/ß, wJß kai« oJ Cristo\ß kefalh\ thvß e˙kklhsi÷aß, kai« aujto/ß e˙sti swth\r touv sw¿matoß).  In this verse, “the husband,” “the wife,” and “the church” are generic nouns.  There is no universal husband or universal, invisible wife, and there is no universal, invisible church specified either.  Each husband is the head of his own wife, and Christ is the head of each church (cf. pgs. 253-254, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Wallace).  Ephesians 5:23, and related texts such as Colossians 1:18, do not teach the doctrine of a universal, invisible church.  They simply state that Christ is the head of the church generically, that is, of every particular local, visible church.  Each particular church is identified as the body of Christ in Ephesians 5 (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:27, where the particular church at Corinth is called the body of Christ).  The body metaphor emphasizes that each member of the assembly, as a different and important body part, needs to minister to the other members of his particular congregation in accordance with his God-given gifting, while each church has Christ as her head.  “The husband is the head of the wife” hardly means that all the husbands in the world are one universal, invisible husband who is the head of one universal, invisible wife.  “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20, pouv sofo/ß; pouv grammateu/ß; pouv suzhthth\ß touv ai˙w◊noß tou/tou;) hardly means that all the wise men in the world are one universal, invisible wise man, nor that there is one universal, invisible scribe or disputer.  No more does “Christ is the head of the church” affirm that Christ is the head of a universal, invisible church; the text teaches that Christ is the head of each particular church, just as the particular husband is the head of his particular wife.
A comparison of Ephesians 5:23 and 1 Corinthians 11:3 is instructive:
Ephesians 5:23: o¢ti oJ aÓnh/r e˙sti kefalh\ thvß gunaiko/ß, wJß kai« oJ Cristo\ß kefalh\ thvß e˙kklhsi÷aß, kai« aujto/ß e˙sti swth\r touv sw¿matoß. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body,
1Corinthians 11:3: qe÷lw de« uJma◊ß ei˙de÷nai, o¢ti panto\ß aÓndro\ß hJ kefalh\ oJ Cristo/ß e˙sti: kefalh\ de« gunaiko/ß, oJ aÓnh/r: kefalh\ de« Cristouv, oJ Qeo/ß. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
The singular nouns “the husband” “the wife” “the woman” “the man” imply nothing about a universal, invisible husband, wife, woman, or man.  Absolutely nothing affirms the existence of a universal church in the phrase “Christ is the head of the church.”  The Lord Jesus is the head of every particular local, visible congregation.
            Compare also the evidence in the LXX:
kai« e¶grayen pro\ß aujtou\ß bibli÷on deu/teron le÷gwn ei˙ e˙moi« uJmei√ß kai« thvß fwnhvß mou uJmei√ß ei˙sakou/ete la¿bete th\n kefalh\n aÓndrw◊n tw◊n ui˚w◊n touv kuri÷ou uJmw◊n kai« e˙ne÷gkate pro/ß me wJß hJ w‚ra au¡rion ei˙ß Iezrael kai« oi˚ ui˚oi« touv basile÷wß h™san e˚bdomh/konta a‡ndreß ou∞toi aJdroi« thvß po/lewß e˙xe÷trefon aujtou/ß And Ju wrote them a second letter, saying, If ye are for me, and hearken to my voice, take the heads [Gk. singular, “head”] of the men your master’s sons, and bring them to me at this time to-morrow in Jezrael. Now the sons of the king were seventy men; these great men of the city brought them up. (2 Kings 10:6; Brenton’s LXX translation—also below).

Nothing at all is implied about anything universal or invisible with the singular.  Each son had his own particular head (until he lost it!). “The head of the sons” is teaches nothing other than that each son had his own head.  So “Christ is the head of the church” teaches that Christ is the head of each particular church. Compare 2 Kings 10: 8, where the plural is used:

kai« h™lqen oJ a‡ggeloß kai« aÓph/ggeilen le÷gwn h¡negkan ta»ß kefala»ß tw◊n ui˚w◊n touv basile÷wß kai« ei•pen qe÷te aujta»ß bounou\ß du/o para» th\n qu/ran thvß pu/lhß ei˙ß prwi÷. And a messenger came and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king’s sons. And he said, Lay them in two heaps by the door of the gate until the morning.

Note also Psalm 139:10, LXX (Eng. 140:9):

hJ kefalh\ touv kuklw¿matoß aujtw◊n ko/poß tw◊n ceile÷wn aujtw◊n kalu/yei aujtou/ß. As for the head of them that compass me, the mischief of their lips shall cover them.

Both the Greek translated “them that compass” and “the head” contain singular nouns, just as in “Christ is the head of the church.” Each particular head of each particular enemy surrounding David would be judged.

Lamentations 2:15, LXX:

e˙kro/thsan e˙pi« se« cei√raß pa¿nteß oi˚ paraporeuo/menoi oJdo/n e˙su/risan kai« e˙ki÷nhsan th\n kefalh\n aujtw◊n e˙pi« th\n qugate÷ra Ierousalhm h™ au¢th hJ po/liß h§n e˙rouvsin ste÷fanoß do/xhß eujfrosu/nh pa¿shß thvß ghvß. All that go by the way have clapped their hands at thee; they have hissed and shaken their head at the daughter of Jerusalem. Is this the city, they say, the crown of joy of all the earth?

Note that the plurality, the “all” shake the singular “head.” There was no universal, invisible head or universal, invisible person opposing Jerusalem.  Each person shook his own particular head at Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 1:22, LXX:

kai« oJmoi÷wma uJpe«r kefalhvß aujtoi√ß tw◊n zw¿ˆwn wJsei« stere÷wma wJß o¢rasiß krusta¿llou e˙ktetame÷non e˙pi« tw◊n pteru/gwn aujtw◊n e˙pa¿nwqen. And the likeness over the heads [Gk. singular] of the living creatures was as a firmament, as the appearance of crystal, spread out over their wings above.

“The head of the living creatures” meant that each particular living creature had its own particular head.

Ezekiel 10:1, LXX:

kai« ei•don kai« i˙dou\ e˙pa¿nw touv sterew¿matoß touv uJpe«r kefalhvß tw◊n ceroubin wJß li÷qoß sapfei÷rou oJmoi÷wma qro/nou e˙p∆ aujtw◊n. And the likeness over the heads [Gk. singular] of the living creatures was as a firmament, as the appearance of crystal, spread out over their wings above.

“The head of the living creatures,” again, means each living creature had its own particular head.
This usage of the generic noun also finds clear support in extra-biblical literature.  Consider the following examples:
Kai« oJ me«n tauvta touv qeouv keleu/santoß h¢kei pro\ß Ba¿lakon dexame÷nou de« aujto\n touv basile÷wß e˙kprepw◊ß hjxi÷ou proacqei«ß e˙pi÷ ti tw◊n ojrw◊n ske÷yasqai pw◊ß to\ tw◊n ÔEbrai÷wn e¶coi strato/pedon Ba¿lakoß d∆ aujto\ß aÓfiknei√tai to\n ma¿ntin su\n basilikhØv qerapei÷aˆ filoti÷mwß aÓgo/menoß ei˙ß o¡roß o¢per uJpe«r kefalhvß aujtw◊n e¶keito touv stratope÷dou stadi÷ouß aÓpe÷con e˚xh/konta. When God had given him this charge, he came to Balak; and when the king had entertained him in a magnificent manner, he desired him to go to one of the mountains to take a view of the state of the camp of the Hebrews. Balak himself also came to the mountain, and brought the prophet along with him, with a royal attendance. This mountain lay over their heads [Gk. singular], and was distant sixty furlongs from the camp (Josephus, Antiquities 4:112  (

The singular mountain was over each person, each of whom had his own particular head.

kai« tw◊n me«n du/o th\n kefalh\n cwrouvsan me÷cri touv oujranouv, touv de« ceiragwgoume÷nou uJp∆ aujtw◊n uJperbai÷nousan tou\ß oujranou/ß. [A]nd the heads [Gk. singular] of the two reaching to heaven, but that of him who was led by them by the hand overpassing the heavens. (Gospel of Peter 10:40)

Each particular individual here had his own particular head.

 w‚sper ou™n kefalh\ me«n prw◊ton touv zwˆ¿ou kai« aÓnwta¿tw me÷roß e˙sti÷, For as the head is the principle and uppermost part of the animal, (Philo, Allegorical Interpretation 1:71)

Each singular animal had its own singular head.  There was no universal head of a universal, invisible animal.

 qauma¿sia me«n ou™n tauvta: qaumasiw¿taton de« kai« to\ te÷loß tw◊n i˚erw◊n gramma¿twn, o§ kaqa¿per e˙n twˆ◊ zwˆ¿wˆ kefalh\ thvß o¢lhß nomoqesi÷aß e˙sti÷n. These things, therefore, are wonderful; and most wonderful of all is the end of his sacred writings, which is to the whole book of the law what the head is to an animal. (Philo, On The Life of Moses 2:290)

Likewise here, each animal had its own head.

tauvta d∆ aÓllhgorei√tai tropikw◊ß e˙xenecqe÷nta: kaqa¿per ga»r e˙n zwˆ¿wˆ kefalh\ me«n prw◊ton kai« a‡riston, oujra» d∆ u¢staton kai« faulo/taton, ouj me÷roß sunekplhrouvn to\n tw◊n melw◊n aÓriqmo/n, aÓlla» so/bhsiß tw◊n e˙pipotwme÷nwn, to\n aujto\n tro/pon kefalh\n me«n touv aÓnqrwpei÷ou ge÷nouß e¶sesqai÷ fhsi to\n spoudai√on ei¶te a‡ndra ei¶te lao/n, tou\ß de« a‡llouß a‚pantaß oi–on me÷rh sw¿matoß yucou/mena tai√ß e˙n kefalhØv kai« uJpera¿nw duna¿mesin. But all these statements are uttered in a metaphorical form, and contain an allegorical meaning. For as in an animal the head is the first and best part, and the tail the last and worst part, or rather no part at all, inasmuch as it does not complete the number of the limbs, being only a broom to sweep away what flies against it; so in the same manner what is said here is that the virtuous man shall be the head of the human race whether he be a single man or a whole people. And that all others, being as it were parts of the body, are only vivified by the powers existing in the head and superior portions of the body. (Philo, On Rewards and Punishments 125)

This very interesting reference by Philo shows that, as in a single animal there is a single head, so “the virtuous man,” a generic noun, not one particular man named X, is “the head of the human race,” and this is whether he “be a single man or the whole people.”  The others are as “parts of the body,” are only “vivified” because of “the head” that is “the virtuous man.” The parallel to Christ as the head of the church is very clear.  Nobody would think of saying that there is literally one universal, invisible virtuous man, nor that there is one universal, invisible body of people, since Philo’s point is that whether one speaks of a single man, or a group of any size, in both situations the [generic] virtuous man is the [generic] head.
Ephesians 5:23 is the capstone of the very small number of New Testament texts that advocates of a universal church believe provide support for their doctrine.  However, the verse teaches nothing of the kind.  It simply affirms that Christ is the head of every particular church, just as each particular husband is the head of his particular wife.  There are no verses in the Bible where the noun ekklesia, church/assembly/congregation, refers to all believers as an already existing group.
            Advocates of the universal, invisible church must find one or more indisputably clear references where ekklesia does not specify a particular congregation and is not employed as a generic noun, or they cannot affirm that their doctrine is Biblical.  Since they are the ones who are affirming that ekklesia assumes a sense it does not have in any pre-Christian literature, they bear the burden of proof in demonstrating that their doctrine is clearly in the New Testament.  The attempt fails in Ephesians 5:23, and in every other text in the Scripture—consequently the New Testament does not teach the existence of a universal, invisible church.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Thorough Biblical Argument and the Emasculation of the Male Head

I don't know how serious the coronavirus is.  I hear both super serious and I also hear that it's being exaggerated as a conspiracy.  I don't want to get it or anyone else to get it.  It can kill.  We know.  There is so much emphasis on it right now, including with the most radical national quarantine I've seen in my lifetime.  It is portrayed as so horrible, that it seems justified.  To stop from spreading the disease, some are forced to stay for a long time in uncomfortable situations.  They don't have a choice.  The government has the authority to tell people to stay in their room for weeks without leaving.  I don't hear anyone complaining that the authorities are being mean or extreme or untrustworthy because of their severe requirements.

The male headship of scripture, which is the male headship, functions under the authority of scripture, which means also that it functions with authority from God.  God designed male headship in all human institutions. The male head can and should act with authority.  What I see today is that if someone differs with the male head in whatever position he may be, the one differing doesn't need biblical authority.  He just challenges and just because he has a challenge, it is a legitimate, worthy challenge to be treated with a kind of gentle, docile respect, perhaps even a giddy smile.

I am a male head in several different capacities:  husband, father, pastor, and teacher.  I operate with scriptural authority, and that means essentially two things to me.  First, God gives me various positions of authority.  God put me in these positions.  As long as I'm not requiring something unscriptural in those positions of authority from God, what I'm requiring should be done, just because I have authority.  Second, even though I have authority, I focus on what scripture says.  I don't major on non-scriptural areas.  In those I attempt to give liberty.  I give attention to what the Bible says and prioritize scriptural belief and practice.

You could say that I have two layers of authority in my positions of authority.  Someone under my authority should do what I say, just because I say it.  Yet, I'm not telling people to do non-scriptural things.  I'm telling them to do scriptural teaching.  It goes even further than that though.

I explain scripture to those under me.  I study scripture.  I don't take it out of context.  I understand the meaning of the words and the syntax of the passages to which I refer or on which I rely.  I'm saying that I'm careful with scripture.  I don't just quote the passage.  I expound it.  I want the adherents to know why they are doing what they are doing, so that they will believe it's coming from God.

Here's what I see happen today.  I work at explaining scriptural authority.  I have authority already.  I could just tell people.  I don't stop there though.  I quote the Bible and explain it.  What happens?  Today I see apathy, attitude, anger, contentiousness, and even defiance.  Why?  I have heard a number of reasons.

Not necessarily in any order, but I hear that I didn't say it nice enough. I wasn't nice.  The niceness is a kind of femininity.  Style is elevated above authority.  Something like "gentleness" can be used as an instrument of insubordination.  Everything said is true, but it doesn't have to be done because the style was sinful according to the hearer.  It wasn't said nicely, so it was abusive.  Command voice cannot be used.  Another idea I've heard here is that authority must be earned, and it's earned through a soft approach that allows for rejection.  The authority shifts from the one in authority to the one under authority.

It's good to be nice.  It's commendable to treat people in a nice way, to be as nice as they want.  It is not a requirement for the hearer to comply.  The authority says.  Add to that, the authority brings a scriptural explanation.

Also, requirements brought by authority apparently violate boundaries that restrain or inhibit freedom.  The one under authority wants freedom emphasized.  He requires free will.  Ironic, I know. Requirement means coercion.  The one in authority must respect a boundary placed by the one under his authority.  The hearer needs to be able to choose to do it or he doesn't have to do it.  You might be in authority, but you can't force him to do it.  He doesn't want to do it, so he doesn't have to.  His acquiescence must be earned.  This is where millennials today ghost authority.  They don't want a setting where they'll be told what to do.  This emasculates male headship, where the authority must accommodate and accede.

No boundary dictates to authority, or else it isn't authority.  Authority isn't earned.  It is given by God.  Sure, others might listen better if the style of communication is preferred by the hearer.  However, that style doesn't change the authority one bit.  Then if someone explains scripture, that doubles the authority.  This response to authority is just rebellion against God at the peril of the hearers.  The boundary is a capricious one.  It is fiction, an ethereal boundary that doesn't even really exist, like a pink pony.

A further kind of emasculation of male headship is when the one under his authority "disagrees."  Disagreement has some kind of magical property to it in the realm of authority.  The one in authority will just have to agree to disagree -- in other words, be nice again, when the person not only doesn't have authority, but he doesn't have a scriptural explanation.  He hasn't even worked at it.

A corollary to the previous paragraph is calling upon the existence of scriptural disagreement.  "Not everyone agrees."  You can find someone who will disagree with about anything, but disagreement is not authority.  This fits in with the boundaries argument.  Someone wants a safe space to develop his own arguments, but he isn't developing his own arguments.  It's not safe, because it's a place of ugly, destructive corruption.  But authority is required to wait and wait and wait....and wait....until he comes up with his argument.  Until then, he does what he wants.  This requires the male head to be a sissy.   Not only must he wait, but he must wait with a smile.  Verrryy patiently.  Send flowers while waiting.  Sit still and wait, letting cobwebs form while his authority is being defied.  See who is in authority?  Not the male head.

It is worse than all of what I've described.  Today if the male head wants to, well, head, then he's hurting mental health.  The one under authority hears the footsteps of the authority that he defies and feels scared.  He might be confronted.  He has some heart palpitations.  Let's just call it PTSD.  Clinical psychiatrists, most with their own serious problems, call it PTSD.  The imposition of authority is a form of abuse in the emasculated society I'm detailing.

Someone in authority, the male head, should be obeyed, and with a good attitude.  Someone then who gives thorough biblical argument should be obeyed, and with joy.  He's put that effort in.  He should get a thanks.  This is manhood.  It should be respected, but it is an endangered species.  People want male headship to disappear, and as a part of the apostasy in which we live, it could.