Monday, March 30, 2020

Why Do People Have Such A Low View of the Law?

The Internal Revenue Code alone has 3.4 million words and 7,500 pages.  There are 20,000 laws governing just the use and ownership of guns.  I can keep going.  Now, that is intrusive.  That is onerous.  That is prohibitive.  That is repressive.  That is burdensome.  That is overwhelming.  I should hate the laws of the United States.  I can't learn all those laws.  And who wrote them anyway?  Who are the authors?

I don't hear the kind of hatred for United States law, and I stopped above with only two categories, as I hear of the hatred of God's law. There are 51 titles in multiple volumes of the U. S. law code.  By the 1980s -- and now there are many more -- there were 23,000 pages of just federal law.  There were in the 1980s 3,000 only federal and only criminal offenses.

I know that people take city, state, and federal law seriously.  They don't want the short-term penalties, fines, courts, lawsuits, imprisonment, and other punishments.  They don't think about how restrictive that all is.

So let's turn to the law of God.  Yes, God.  Why is the law of God viewed in such a negative fashion?  It is.  Many, if not most Christians, don't think we have to keep God's law anymore, and when you suggest it, you are viewed in a bad way.  Compare that to, say, being a law-abiding United States citizen.  The latter doesn't carry with it the same kind of dubiousness, suspicion, or hostility, as saying that you've got to follow Old Testament law or even just biblical law.

Who wrote the Old Testament law?  God.  Through the laws of the Old Testament, God would control people's lives.  Who wouldn't want that?  I'm not talking about human government, but divine government, not being controlled by congress, but by God.  Who wouldn't want to know what God wanted so that what He wanted could be done?  And that is exactly how God wanted His people to see His law -- wanting to do what God wanted

Compared to U.S. law, the Old Testament is easy.  It's not hard to keep up with what God said in His Word.  God doesn't over legislate.  He doesn't pass a law so that He could find out what was in it, for instance, like Nancy Pelosi said the United States Congress needed to do with the Affordable Care Act in 2010.  There are 613 commandments in the Old Testament.  That's a drop in the bucket compared to how the United States legislates your life, and God's law is easy to understand compared to the U. S. code.  On top of that, those laws in the Old Testament come from God, not a collection of flawed, sinful human beings.  The law of the Lord is perfect (Psalm 19:7).

In the history of Christianity, many different efforts have arisen from teachers to void the Old Testament.  From the teaching of the New Testament, one can see that this was happening right when the New Testament was being written, and those attempts were denounced.  Outside of scripture, early in the second century just after the completion of the twenty-seven New Testament books, a teacher from Sinope, Turkey, Marcion, went so far as to teach that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament were really two separate gods, the former a god of wrath and the latter a god of love.

A version of this two-different-god theory of Marcionism, though not embraced in a formal or technical sense, has become a very popular modern understanding of God.  People often today separate the God of the Old Testament from the one of the New Testament.  It's a common view.  They see the teaching of the the two testaments as diametrically different.  They've got a problem with Old Testament law.  They even think, albeit in a kind amateurish way, that the teachers of the New Testament and even Jesus themselves have a problem with the Old Testament, inclining them toward depreciation of the law. That division results in even laughing at some of what the Old Testament teaches.

Church leaders and Christian teachers today, although in most cases not wanting association with Marcion, feel the shame of affiliation with the teachings of the Old Testament and through their hermeneutic have essentially nullified the law of the Old Testament.  Very often they don't like some of the stories that are hard to explain either, so they use various systems of interpretation to accommodate a suppression of the Old Testament.  Even though they claim the same God wrote both testaments, in a more sophisticated and contemporary manner than Marcion, they treat the Old Testament like it's written by a different one.

The mothballing of the law of God doesn't proceed from the teachings of Jesus.  A fair reading of Jesus doesn't see Him as distancing Himself from the law of the Old Testament.  He not only embraces it, but takes the strictest possible interpretation of the actual laws.  He says famously in Matthew 5:17-19:
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
There is no place in the New Testament where Jesus didn't follow the actual Old Testament law, not to be confused with His insubordination to faulty interpretations of religious teachers.  On top of not committing murder, He said, don't even hate a brother.  Further than not committing adultery, He said, don't even think about it.  The best way to look at this was not His adding to what had already been written, but giving the Divine spirit of the law.  It was intended to be supported, to be kept inside and out.

Shelving the law of God didn't come from the Apostle Paul either, even though Marcion said he was a follower of Paul.  Paul wrote, "we know that the law is good" (1 Timothy 1:8).  He said that "the law was holy" (Romans 7:12).  In addition, the Apostle John wrote, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).

The Old Testament saints, like David, whom the New Testament really admires (Acts 2:25, 4:25, 13:22, Romans 4:6, etc.), loved the law of God.
Psalm 40:8, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Psalm 119:77, Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.
Psalm 119:97, O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 119:113, thy law do I love.
Psalm 119:163, thy law do I love.
Psalm 119:165, Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
God wrote the law.  God wanted His people to live the law.  If you loved God, then you loved His law.  It was the way your life was regulated by the God you loved.  God made you.  God sustained you.  So what's the problem with the law?  Why is there a low view of the law?

The underlying problem for people with God's law starts with God Himself.  If they loved and trusted God, they wouldn't have a problem with His law, so their actual problem is with Him.  It relates to something I posted last about the two sons of the Father in that parable of Jesus in Luke 15.  The problem with the regulations of the Father is a problem with the Father.  They don't want to be controlled by Him.  He clashes with their lust.

Even when someone wants to continue doing what he wants, the threat of promised bad consequences might and should check those desires.  However, he's got to believe in the reality of the consequences, which is a matter of faith.  Does He believe the Bible?  Does He believe God?  People don't take the Bible seriously, which is not taking what God said seriously.  If God says He will kill you for something, then you should expect to die for it, even if He might withhold that punishment in the short term.

Today the Bible is too embarrassing for people, who even call themselves Christians, to say something like, homosexuality is an abomination.   A test comes when the law runs up against conventional thinking.  I read someone I know quite well recently use the terminology, "core human sensibility."  Those three words are a rorschach ink blot that someone could pour about anything.  What are "core human sensibilities"?  People trust "core human sensibilities" more than they do God.  What are called "core human sensibilities" most often -- verging on one hundred percent of the time -- contradict the laws of God that are the most difficult or clash the most with the culture.

"Core human sensibilities" do not clash with the particular  laws of God that society still favors.  That's the sweet spot where their invented perversion of Christianity lies.  Those with a low view of the law of God, yet still want to be a Christian for whatever benefits they try to convince themselves they'll still receive, land all of their Christianity exactly where the world says it is permissible.  God controls through laws, so God isn't really in control, the world is.

The low view of God's law that voids laws of God that clash with "core human sensibilities" is actually a low view of God Himself.  It is a view of God that doesn't fear God, doesn't even want to be afraid of anything, resents that.  It is a view of God that doesn't trust God.  "God can't be right about all this," which is finally a view that doesn't love God or truly think that God loves us.  Loving conventional thinking is loving the world.  You don't trust God when you don't trust the "hard parts," which are the "clashing parts," really what it means to be a Christian, a lover of God.  The low view of the law proceeds from this.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Parable of the Prodigal Son Could Be Titled "Two Sons Who Both Hated Their Father"

Jesus tells three parables in Luke 15, all of which reveal the love of God the Father for the lost, unlike the religious leaders in Israel.  He searches for them like a lost coin, first parable, lost sheep, second, and lost son, third.  That states the correct view of God the Father and, therefore, also the view of every true believer toward the lost.

The third parable (Luke 15:11-32) has three characters:  the Father, the older son, and the younger son.  Many have focused almost exclusively on the younger son, whom is called "the prodigal."  In light of the historical context and the larger textual context of the flow of the gospel, attention should be given to both sons with an emphasis on the difference between the attitude of the Father versus the older son.  The parable itself starts with these words in verse 11:
A certain man had two sons.
What everyone needs to understand is that both sons hated their Father, not just the younger son, which means that the two sons both did not love their Father.  The Father in the story is God the Father.

To start, let's be clear that this is about the relationship of God to human beings.  In one sense, God is Father of all (1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 4:6), not in a saving sense, but in the sense that God cares for all humanity and provides for every man.  This is not the "universal Fatherhood of man and brotherhood of men," but it is God as the source of all blessing for both the evil and the good.  The goodness of God leads to repentance (Romans 2:4).

With the Father in the story being God the Father, someone might rightly ask, who could hate God the Father?  What did God the Father do or not do in order to deserve this hate?  Exposed to a psychiatrist, there would be something to blame God the Father.  The son hates the Father because of something the Father did, the son being a victim of some sort of abuse to justify his hatred.  No one should think that.  It really is all on either of the two sons.  The Father lays down His law and it could be thought to be controlling.  God wanted Israel in the land after Egypt and after Babylon and both times, His children wanted to stay, thinking their Father was toxic.

The profligate lifestyle of the younger son should be taken as a metaphor for spiritual prodigality.  He's turned away from his Father to his own sinful ways.  Even though it is about God's relationship to men, there is other truth to apply about the nature of the relationship of fathers and sons.  This parallel is seen repeated again and again throughout scripture, and it can tell us something about the relationship between sons and fathers.

The Father

Let us do a brief character study on the three members of the story.  Jesus shows the Father cares for both his sons in how he has treated them.  He had an inheritance set apart for both of them, working to support them both (v. 12).  He treated his sons much better than servants (v. 17).  He wanted to give his sons great things, even though they didn't deserve what he gave them (vv. 22-23).  He wanted to be with his sons (vv. 20, 24).  He was very concerned about the well-being of his sons (v. 24).  He intreated his sons when they confronted him and treated him in an angry way (v. 28).  He was willing to give all he had to his sons (v. 31).  He was glad for his sons' well being (v. 32).

The emphasis on the Father is provision and support.  He provides what his sons need to give them the best opportunity to succeed.  He is good in that way.  This is not the sentimental Fatherhood of high fives and "yo, dude."  When the younger son thought back to the goodness of his Father, he thought about the provision of his Father, all that His Father provided.  Did your father provide?  Was there food on the table, the security of a place to live, and loving restrictions like there are over 600 in the Old Testament and 1000 in the New?  It's obvious both sons wanted more from their Father, that he was falling short in each of their evaluation.  It is also to clear that reconciliation to the Father fell on the son recognizing the goodness of his Father, which was found in the provision and supply given.

The Younger Son

The younger son wanted to get out from under the authority of his Father (vv. 12-13).  He was especially tempted by the apparent freedom he would have by running away.  He wanted more than what he was getting.  He was discontent and covetous.  He immediately turns to riotous living, which is the idea of "prodigal."  "Riotous" corresponds to "prodigal."  The root word is found in only three other places.
Titus 1:6, If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
1 Peter 4:4, Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
Ephesians 5:18, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
With the latter of this, the actual riot is found in the physical item, the wine.  Wine with which someone can become drunk, alcoholic wine, has in it in the way of alcohol, the actual riot, translated "excess" in the King James Version.  

The son wanted more because he perceived the Father to be too controlling.  He's not allowing enough freedom.  One psychologist writes:
Many fathers are genuinely surprised to discover their children hate them.  They worked hard to pay the bills, bought the essentials, provided gifts, and paid tuition, and yet, after all their effort and willing contributions, their young adult hates them.
Many sons want more than support, provision, and loving guidance and restriction.  They are looking for a kind of approval that won't be given by a righteous Father.  He rejects unscriptural attitudes and actions.

God the Father has standards found in His law.  If a son sees those laws as good, like scripture says about God's law, then he will see them as helpful.  He won't see them as imposing freedom, but protection.  Closely related to the impeding standards in the home is the discipline to enforce the standards.  Biblical spanking, which is called chastisement when God the Father does it (Hebrews 12:3-12), is often called abuse by the one who chafes under authority and refuses to see the goodness he is and was receiving.

The younger son turns back to the Father and returns home when he understands how good he had it.  The Father does nothing in the story, except in the nature of conviction that the younger son experiences, which could be seen as the work of the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of the Father.  It could be the conscience.  This is not on the Father but on the son to come to his senses.  The Father has been and done good and it takes true acknowledgement of that.  The rebellion will remain as long as the son keep thinking he was ripped off.  That's a lie he will embrace to justify his lifestyle.  This is what is seen in 1 Peter 4:4.

In the text of 1 Peter 4:4, the prodigal speaks of evil of the ones that run not with them.  Those who will not approve of their lifestyle even by mere participation are treated in an evil way.  The next verse says they "shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead."  They speak evil of you, but they won't be giving an account to you, but unto God.  A psychologist writes about children who hate their fathers:
Sooner or later, they will demand the freedom to be themselves. If they resent the restrictions you placed on them year after year—refusing to allow them to make their own decisions, pursue their interests, and have the power to reject the sports or school subjects they had no interest in but you insisted they pursue—don't be surprised if they hate you.
The implication of Luke 15 is that the father restricted his son.  His son wanted his way and so with disrespect of his Father, he took off.  An indication of repentance was that he came back to the Father, volunteering to be one of the slaves.  He put the relationship to the Father ahead of his own self-interest.  Sometimes the self-interest is the acceptance of the world, where the son puts that acceptance ahead of the approval of the Father.  This is loving the world and not having the love of the Father in you (1 John 2:15-17).

The Older Son

The Father is obviously the central character of Jesus' story, but the spotlight is on the older son.  He's the audience of the story, representing the Pharisees.  He not only hates the Father, but also his younger brother.  Love is not envious (1 Corinthians 13:4) and he is envious of the Father's treatment of his younger brother after he repents and returns (Luke 15:29).   The older son not only wants something he doesn't think he's getting from his Father, but he doesn't want the younger son to receive approval.  Those who receive his approval because of their right belief and practice, they also do not love.  He can't be happy about the approval others receive, because it represents the approval he perceives he does not receive (verses 29-32).

The older son stays home in body, but in spirit he's on the road like his brother was.  He wonders why he couldn't have a fatted calf to slaughter and barbecue with his friends (v. 29).  He reminds me of Cain when God disrespected his offering in Genesis 4.  He became angry and killed his brother Abel.  He also reminds me of Saul when the people of Israel cried out that Saul had slain his thousands but David his ten thousands (1 Samuel 18:7).  Saul tried then to kill David out of that jealousy.  Jesus said that when someone won't reconcile, he's as good as committed murder against that person in his heart and that he hates that person (Matthew 5:21-26).

A pivotal problem of the older son is his false view of himself.  He doesn't see himself as a sinner.  Like the rich young ruler, he hasn't "transgressed. . . anytime thy commandment" (v. 29).  Surely he broke some of his Father's commandments.  Even if not, he was betraying his violation of the spirit of the command, because he wasn't keeping the commandments with the right attitude.  Some have called this "keeping your head down."  They keep the commandments, but they don't like keeping them.  Surely the younger son didn't like keeping them either because of his own previous wrong view of his Father, before repentance.

1 John 5:3 talks about the attitude of the true believer, and the keeping of God's commandments are not grievous or burdensome, because he loves God.  Why should anyone love God, when God hasn't given them everything that they want?  They should love God because God commands it.  They should love God because it is the truth.  They should love God out of recognition for the thousands of things that God has done.  Not recognizing those good things is being unthankful, like unbelievers are characterized in Romans 1:21.

Instead of staying and keeping his head down, the older son should have concentrated on all the good things.  Colossians 3:1 calls this setting one's affections on things above.  This keeps someone from turning to his own ways.  It's not on the Father to do more things, but for the son to recognize what He has done.

The older son doesn't feel loved by his Father, because his Father isn't giving him what he thinks he warrants.  This is worshiping the creature rather than the Creator.  He isn't denying self.  Society today portrays Fatherhood itself as a social construct.

Sons and Fathers

To the world, Fathers have that authority based only on the domination of men.  Modern sons buy into this idea.  Fathers don't have authority.  They must earn it.  This is role reversal, because the father earns his authority, rather than divinely possessing it, by submitting to the son.  The father exists like a goodymeister to accede to the wishes of those he "serves" through "servant leadership," which is most often an obvious cover today for role reversal.  I call this "renting the jumper."

Churches have also bought into the expectations of modern sons.  They pander to their modern sensibilities with the stress on "unconditional love."  They agree the son has been abused.

When the younger son left, he was separate from the father.  The love of the father was at the most found in his turning his own son over to Satan, like 1 Corinthians 5:5, that "his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."  The Father doesn't want that, but that's the best choice in the circumstance.  That is actually the Father continuing to love.  He's not accepting the son's behavior, like these churches, who welcome it in, not delivering these sons to Satan, but rewarding them as recipients of faux abounding grace.

Luke 15 tells the story of a good Father and two bad sons, who both did not love their Father.  The two sons mirror each other.  Both blame it on their Father.  One son returned and loved his Father, providing the example of a way back for a son.  The Father of the story gives the model for a father.  He awaits with love the repentant son's return.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Life's Spontaneous Origin: How Likely Is It?

Evolutionists claim that the universe is billions of years old, and that supplies plenty of time for life itself, and all living beings afterwards, to evolve.  How likely is the spontaneous origin of life from non-life?  It is approximately one in 10112,500(source).  That means that it is incomprehensibly more likely that you will win the jackpot on every single ticket if you buy a billion lottery tickets every single second of your entire life than it is that life will spontaneously evolve:

While there are great Biblical and scientific reasons to believe in a young earth, as resources from scientists associated with the Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis demonstrate, billions of years do not even come anywhere close to solving the problem of the origin of life for evolutionists.  Only infinite time would do--but even evolutionary scientists now admit that the universe is expanding and consequently had a beginning, and so there is no infinite time for evolution to do its work.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

What Does This Mean? "He That Feareth Is Not Made Perfect in Love" (1 John 4:18b)

Part One

Today many millennial professing Christians have made themselves prey to superficial and self-help style preaching in postmodern evangelical churches.  They are not set in these churches by God, but they've searched them for agreement with a world of their own imagination. The look or imagery is the pastor on a dark stage in his "dress" t-shirt with a neon lettered "JESUS" in the background.  He's using the Bible, actually in the casual, disarming verbiage of a vulgarized modern version.  It's hard to tell where the text of scripture ends and the speaker's commentary begin.  He's not preaching the text, but pawning popular psychology under the subterfuge of scripture.  He lightly seasons his talk with sprinkles of biblical phrases, giving the impression of divine harmoniousness.

As an example of the type of sprinkle of biblical phrase, I return to 1 John 4:18 and the second half of that verse:  "He that feareth is not made perfect in love."  If you read that out of its context, it sounds like the fear of someone is holding him back from love that would perfect him.  Fear is then an actual enemy.  "Made perfect" is what happens to him if he operates in the sphere of love.  The love is God's unconditional love for him, that doesn't require keeping any standards.  Since salvation is free, not based on performance, God keeps loving him when he's drunk, fornicating, using foul language, dishonoring his parents, and watching naked sex on television.  The threat of punishment for violating standards is the real adversary, because it contradicts allowed freedom of unconditional love.  Jesus already paid for that sin, so there's nothing to be afraid of.

Everything in the previous paragraph is wrong.  It's in direct contradiction of the second half of 1 John 4:18.  It is the opposite of what God tells us in the verse.  Someone is afraid.  Who is it?  "He that feareth" is the person who is afraid of God's future judgment.   He should be.  It is appropriate to be fearful of God's future judgment.  What possible believer could or should be afraid of God's judgment?  One who is not sure of His salvation.  The professing believer, one who says he is saved, is afraid because he is not living as a believer.  How is he not living as a believer?  He is not loving like a believer.  Love is a test of true salvation.  Without the evidence of biblical love, he has appropriate fear of future judgment from God, that is, eternal punishment in Hell.

The previous three words in 1 John 4:18 are "fear hath torment."  "Torment" describes the fear.  "Torment" is punishment.  It is the befitting condition of a true believer, who is not obedient to God.  The disobedience to God is in not loving God and in not loving the brethren.  Not loving God or loving the brethren is not obeying the Word of God as it relates to God and the brethren (1 John 5:1-2).

The fear of future judgment of God, its effect of torment on the professing believer, is a helpful instrument from God to denote or detect the lack of conversion.  Here is a person who should take advantage of this absence of assurance of salvation in order to examine himself.  It is like physical pain to someone with an internal injury.  Something is wrong and the pain communicates that, so that he can do something about it.

A professing believer possesses fear because he "is not made perfect in love," that is, he is not maturing in love for God and for brethren like a genuine believer necessarily will mature.  He is not conforming to the image of the love of Jesus Christ.  He is not growing in the love that Jesus had for the Father and for others.  The fear is the helpful result of the lack of a mandatory evidence of conversion:  the transforming love for God and others found only in a genuine Christian.  A professing believer with this pain of torment should make good use of this amazing, benevolent tool of God.

Someone might wonder if he's got the coronavirus.  Testing positive to an accurate Covid-19 test will help him to take suitable action.  He can know what to do next.  The test is a gift of helpful information.  He won't die from the sniffles of a cold, but he could die from the sniffles of Covid-19.  He can go about to take the necessary remedy.

The self-help fraud preacher gives out a placebo test.  It tells the millennial he's fine like he is.  The people with fear actually have the problem.  It's a counterfeit message conformable to the spirit of this age.  Fear is the enemy.  Bathe in unconditional love.  Stop being afraid of the nasty transactional love that requires change. You're fine eating, drinking, and being merry.  You have nothing to be afraid of.  All of that present, ongoing lust is not just permissible, but it's the freedom that Christ died for.  He was suffering on that cross so you could live like you are in worldly lust.  That is a person made perfect in love.  Your fear is now gone because you are thinking about what Jesus did so that you could binge watch every season of Handmaid's Tale and bar hop from one den of live entertainment to the next.

The millennial is testing false negative.  He thinks he's fine and that's what his "preacher" wants him to think.  The "preacher" wants a congregation with this false sense of security, not feeling at all the torment of possible damning unbelief.  That's what his congregation needs, but he gives them instead a remedy for their pain.  They're dying and they don't know it, because they've been anesthetized to the necessary pangs of their lack of conversion.  Right now evangelicalism is teeming with these dulled from awful danger.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

What Is Perfect Love and the Fear That It Casts Out in 1 John 4:18?

You can find a pretty horrific description of the pain and suffering of the coronavirus.  You can read the mounting deaths and see the graph of the steep upward curve of infections.  You can hear about the precipitous drop in employment and your retirement investment.  You could be afraid because of such information.  The Apostle John writes in 1 John 4:18:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
You can apply 1 John 4:18 to the coronavirus, but not like most are doing it, who are using it right now.

Your parents hate your rock music, your alcohol, your immodest dress, your carnal or worldly entertainment, your love for the world system, your foul language, and your disobedience to scripture.  You might be afraid of that reality.  You read 1 John 4:18 and it takes away your fear of that.  You think you are relying on scripture to go ahead with your music, alcohol, immodest dress, carnal or worldly entertainment, love for the world system, your foul language, and your disobedience to scripture with fear of your parents's judgment.  That is a terrible perversion of 1 John 4:18 and just the opposite of what it means.  You are twisting it or listening to others twist it.  Just because you can plug in "love" and "fear" into a statement doesn't mean 1 John 4:18 applies to it.

"Perfect" is something that is "perfected."  This relates to the doctrine of sanctification.  "Perfect" translates teleios, an adjective modifying "love," and "made perfect" translates the verb teleiao, both related words.  The verb means "to bring to an end."  The "end" is the purpose for God, which is represented by the actual end of your life, when you see God.  The previous verse (v. 17) says:
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
When a true believer's love is made perfect, it is made like Jesus' love -- His love for whom?  This is Jesus' love for the Father, God, and for men.  This is loving God and your neighbor.  This is not God's love for you.  This is your love for Him and others.  A true believer's love will reach the purpose God has, which is a love conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

True believers are as Jesus is in the world, loving like Jesus loves, so that they can have confidence or boldness as they look forward to the day of judgment.  Love made perfect is love that continues to abound through sanctification, which occurs to all saved people.  They have peace as they see this love growing in their lives.  This is obviously holy love.  It contradicts rock music, alcohol, immodest dress, carnal or worldly entertainment, love for the world system, foul language, and disobedience to scripture.  These are unsaved people.

The way 1 John 4:18 is being used by those corrupting scripture is that they're covered by God, His "perfect" love for them, so that even though their love for God and others isn't being perfected by God, they have their anxieties removed by just thinking about this unconditional love of God for them or just preaching the gospel to themselves.  They are becoming more and more worldly by thinking about how that God just covers for everything they are doing.  Jesus died for them and now they have His righteousness and are all set for the day of judgment. This is just the opposite of what John is writing.  The righteousness Jesus imputes to a believer results in the believer living a righteous life.  He doesn't impute practical righteousness.  The believer has to live that.

The fear is taken away from a believer by his love being perfected.  God's love doesn't need to be perfected.  He's already perfect.  A person without his love being perfected should be afraid.  He should have massive anxiety.  He should be very very afraid.  He's going to Hell.

Love that is perfected is what casts out fear.  Why?  People who are loving God and loving others actually are saved.  They are saved people.  People who love the world (1 John 2:15-17), the love of the Father is not in them, so they do not possess perfected love.  They have every reason to be afraid.  If they are not afraid, it's because they are telling themselves this lie that everything is covered for them because of Jesus' perfect love for them.  They are not covered by Jesus love, because they are not saved.  People who are saved will have their love perfected by God.

What about the fear of the coronavirus?

Lauren Daigle, a "CCM pop star" thinks of the perfect love of Jesus and that takes away her anxiety.  The "perfect love" isn't Jesus' love for her.  The "perfect love" of 1 John 4:18 should be her love that is perfected by her keeping the Word of God.  She is not perfecting her love by giving out a twisted interpretation of scripture.  Others are not perfecting their love by retweeting her post to encourage others to get the same false interpretation.  It doesn't mean what she says it means.  Look at a few verses later in 1 John 5:1-2:
1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
Whoever loves God also loves "him that is begotten of him," that is, believers (this would include believing parents).  How do you know that you love children of God, that is, have love that is being perfected?  It is when you love God and keep his commandments.  Binge watching Game of Thrones, drinking alcohol, listening to rock music with foul language, and using foul language are actually all breaking God's commandments and, therefore, not loving the children of God.  This is a person who does not love God and should fear the day of judgment.  He should fear the coronavirus.  If he dies in this state, he will be sent to Hell. He is an unbeliever.  The twisting of scripture is like 2 Peter 3:16:
[The] unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
He twists scripture to justify his sin, and he does that to his own destruction.  Some of these same young people will say that they are growing close to God, feel the love of God more, and have grown more than ever in their life, which results in the actual massacring of the Word of God and perverting the love of God.  Does that sound like Christian growth?  This is not growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (two verses later, 2 Peter 3:18).

Daigle's wresting of 1 John 4:18 gives faux peace.  It doesn't help people to give them the wrong meaning of a passage, to take a little phrase out of context.  Maybe someone fed it to her.  It shows you how untrustworthy it is to rely on a "singer" to get your theology.  People who are not saved shouldn't be given a counterfeit peace.  They need the pain of conviction.  They need fear of judgment.  This works toward obtaining real peace, not an impostor or placebo peace.

A right view of 1 John 4:18 could give you peace about the coronavirus.  You could see the sanctifying work of God in your life, as your love is perfected, and that would give you peace about your final judgment.  That's not how Daigle uses it and many other millennials.  In fact, that usage creates a great danger of future judgment for these people.  They have a false sense of security.  It's not a perfected love for God and others, but actually a love for themselves, where they feel good personally even though they are in dire danger.  They confuse this feeling of well being with the love of God for them.  It isn't.  It's the opposite.

The wrong view of 1 John 4:18 anesthetizes counterfeit believers against true belief.  They think they're all set for judgment.  They can live in their sin and not have a feeling of conviction because they have embraced an impostor sanctification that wards away the real thing.  They think they're saved, when they really are not.  As Jesus said, they are twice the children of Hell that they once were.  Their continued lack of repentance and lack of actual perfected love is tell-tale in this.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Come to Israel! Join a Bible-Lands Tour in Early 2021

Unless the Rapture happens first, there should be relatively normal life on earth once the COVID-19 scare has passed (and you are tired of sitting at home wondering if you are going to get sick.)  As has been mentioned earlier on this blog, we are planning to move to the Bay Area to assist Bethel Baptist in the early part of 2021.  We may be able to lead a Bible lands trip to Israel (and possibly Jordan) in late January 2021 or possibly in February or March.  It is an incredible experience to visit Israel and see where so many of the might acts of God took place, and the land where the incarnate Son of God preached, healed, died to redeem mankind and rose from the dead.  When you come to Israel, you can see things in person such as:


The place where the Apostle Paul was imprisoned, as recorded in the book of Acts;


The place where the Lord Jesus was likely born in Bethlehem; 


Inscriptions such as the one above, which mentions Pontius Pilate by name, validating the accuracy of Scripture (as thousands of other archaeological evidences one can see in Israel do);


Visit the site where fire came down from heaven, validating that Jehovah God of Israel and God of Elijah was the true God, and Baal was not god, 1 Kings 18;


Visit the Garden of Gethsemane, where the Lord Jesus "being in an agony . . . prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44)


Visit Masada, where the Jews made their last stand against the Romans after the fall of Jerusalem in A. D. 70, in fulfillment of the prediction of Christ (Luke 21:20ff.) and of Daniel 9:24-27;


See inscriptions such as the Tel Dan stele, which validate the existence of King David and his kingly house, mentioning the "house of David" by name;

and much, much more, from seeing Peter's house by the Sea of Galilee, to swimming in the Dead Sea, to seeing the place where Christ conquered death and rose from the grave!

Visiting Israel really opens up your eyes to the evidence for the Bible and can make Bible places come alive.  If you are interested in coming, please let me know and supply your contact information and I will plan to get details to you if there is enough interest.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Rejection of the Man of Sorrows

Philip Paul Bliss was a revivalist hymn writer in the mid 19th century, who in 1875 penned among others the well-known, "Hallelujah, What a Savior!", the first line of which reads:
Man of Sorrows! what a name for the Son of God, who came ruined sinners to reclaim.
"Man of sorrows" originates from Isaiah 53:3 in the King James Version, which says:
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
I wouldn't argue against those who say Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is the greatest passage in the entire Bible.  That text is the account of the future saving confession of a repentant Israel.  Six hundred years before Christ, Isaiah prophesies of an event at least two thousands years after Christ.  In Romans 11:26, Paul predicts, "All Israel shall be saved."  Zechariah 12:10 makes the the same prophecy:
I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son.
This moment we know is during the time of tribulation on earth, a period described in the book of Revelation (6-16), when large numbers of the twelve tribes of Israel will be saved (Revelation 7).  Before all of that is said, Isaiah 53 prophesies it.  Isaiah 52-53 is a prophecy of a people repenting for something they had done, which itself would not occur for another 600 years.

What we see described in Isaiah 52-53 is a mournful confession of Israel, where they finally, disconsolately, and fully admit they had not received their Messiah.  It should serve as the pattern henceforth for any saving confession.  An important part of it is the Jews' explanation of why they did not acknowledge Jesus Christ.  They are not saying there were legitimate reasons.  They are saying their "reasons" were monumentally faulty.  They bewail them. They agonized over their sinful pride, their fatuousness, and their thick incomprehension.  Isaiah 53:3 is part of that admission and a model of poverty of spirit and true mourning after sin.  They are really, truly sorry for what they did and repentant over it.

One of Israel's future admissions was that they rejected their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, because he was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief."  Their imagined Messiah was not "a man of sorrows," hence their rejection of the real One.  They didn't want a sorrowful Messiah.  Instead, they would anticipate and desire an upbeat, victorious, and supremely confident Messiah.  He would have a skip to his step and look as though he owned the world and was on the very top of it with everyone else beneath Him.  Israel saw herself in that same category, their Messiah mirroring what they thought of themselves.  In their minds, this was the one they deserved.

I see society today the same in their envisioning of the person to follow, their leader, and their Jesus.  He is nice.  He is positive.  He offers admiring glances.  He gives only thumbs up.

Israel thought of herself as to be appreciated. Their Messiah would come and approve of them.  They were looking for a Messiah, who would be glad about them, not be sad when He saw them close up.  They were not looking for a doleful Messiah.  They wanted One Who came to endorse them and fight the Romans.  He wouldn't be angry with his enemies long, because He would do away with them so quickly.

What I'm writing relates to feelings.  I'm saying having the right feelings are important.  When Jesus first entered the temple as an adult in John 2, the disciples saw his zeal in cleansing it in a violent act against Israel, and they were reminded of the Psalm 69 prophecy of the future Messiah.  The feeling of Jesus cued Andrew toward his reception of Him, reinforcing that this was Jesus.  Others ascertained these as inappropriate.  Those feelings meant they did not want Him as theirs.

The Jesus people want to accept is a party style Jesus, who smiles and smiles, emoji-like, with likes and hearts and kisses, acceptance and approval.  Why was Jesus sorrowful?  He was someplace in complete contradiction to His nature.  Nowhere in scripture does Jesus laugh.  The sins all around weighed on Him, not just their hostility to His righteousness, but His compassion for those bound in them and His knowledge of their future consequence.   The sin brought present ruination and eternal damnation.  The Lord Jesus knew this to the furthest extent.

Israel confessed they rejected their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, because He was the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.   They would have none of Him.  When they make this confession, they understand.  He didn't die for sins He committed.  He died for theirs.  He was sorrowful over theirs.  He grieved over theirs.

Still today no one wants any sorrow over a sinful condition, no grieving over any wrong attitude or anything they've done.  Only celebration.  Only fun.  Only approval of the drunkenness, fornication, disobedience to parents, worldliness, and despicable dead apathy.   The man of sorrows continues to be rejected.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Proportion: Not Celebrating Superficial, Trivial Things Like They Are High Value

When Jesus said, repeating Old Testament law (Ex 21:24), eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth (Matt 5:48), some might call that overdoing or extreme.  They mock scripture.  In fact, God was modifying the typical overreaction to personal wrong.  If someone takes an eye, you don't get to take a head. The response must be just, equal.  Taking the head instead of the eye might be what you want to do when you look in the mirror and see with your remaining eye that the other one is gone.  This speaks of proportion that is built into the perfection of God's law.

Some hate the law of God unless it benefits themselves.  They don't want it as it applies to their keeping it.  It serves as their own Gumby® toy to twist into what they want God's law to be.  Millennials don't often walk about quoting with warm embrace, honor thy father and thy mother.  Many of them hate that law and refuse to keep it.

Proportion is a scriptural principle.  God's law brings proportion.  With proportion, what's important, what's of greatest value, is what gets the most accolades, mentions, time, energy, and love.  Giving in the Bible is proportional.  God wants the firstfruits, the first ten percent, of what we earn.

A reason that God does not want to be represented by images, either drawn, painted, or sculpted, is their lack of proportion to His majesty.  God can't be contained in human devices.  God is greater than any of these things, so He designates the only means of revealing Himself:  Jesus Christ Himself in the flesh, symbols His has ordained like the Old Testament system of worship, and the Word of God.

99% plus of social media elevates the superficial to important and what or who is the greatest in value to almost nothing.  It is the worst kind of lie, as it fools people in a more effective manner than someone just saying that God or His Word are insignificant.  In the latter, at least God gets a mention.

The Lord Jesus communicates proportion in Matthew 12:41-42:
The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.  The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
There is Jonah, Solomon, and then Jesus.  Nineveh repents at Jonah's preaching.  The queen of Sheba repents at Solomon's preaching.  First century Jews in Israel reject the greater, Jesus.  The judgment is proportional to the greatness of the Spokesman and His Message.

When someone talks about himself, herself, entertainment, television, sports, a house, a car, hobbies, music, recreation, trips, or just jokes with rare to no mention of Jesus Christ, that isn't someone who loves Jesus Christ.  Proportion communicates this reality, loud and clear.  The Lord Jesus brings this truth in His warning to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:17, 19:
Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? . . . . Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
The gold and the animal brought to the temple and altar became greater than the temple and altar itself.  The temporal worldly things take on an unproportional significance in relations to God.  Proportion says the church is no longer about worship of God, but about self-help, about good feelings, about success, and about looking good and fitting into the world.  Proportion communicates through the sheer number of mentions, enthusiasm, excitement, and superlatives for what is meaningless, banal, and even profane in comparison to the paucity, near silence, and dullness of expression for the greatness, goodness, wonder, beauty of the holiness of God.

To expose missing or lack of right proportion, sometimes extreme forms of exposure of this wrong are required.  Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal for them to see that there was nothing beautiful or reverent about the religion of Baal.  When a friend or loved one loves something that is not lovely, sometimes the most helpful thing to do for him or her is to expose his or her beloved or revered thing to ridicule. God does this to and for Israel in Isaiah 44:9-20 (click to read).

The psalmist writes in Psalm 48:1:
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
God is great.  He is to be praised in proportion of what He is.  Professing Christians miss that proportion in a number of different ways.

One, they don't talk about God with a biblical, accurate representation of God, partly because they lack in knowledge of God.  The Psalms give us a credible expression of God that should be reviewed so that God will get the proportionality He deserves.

Two, they don't talk about God enough.  If He is Who He is, which He is, then He deserves the greatest percentage of a true believer's conversation.  

Three, God isn't praised with commonness or profanity.  The world's music does not give Him the solemnity or reverence He deserves.  Much Christian music is trite and banal and with poetry on a level that is unproportional to God.  Some of it is after the nature of the world, which falls far below God, even contradicts God.  This isn't great.

Four, they pray to God in a different way than the model prayer.  Their prayers don't befit God.  The ones I hear in churches are not majestic in their nature.  Some might criticize and say that God wants to hear something less.  God wants to hear what He says He wants to hear and the model prayer gives it.

"The mountain of his holiness" above gives imagery to the monumental nature of God.  The heavens declare the glory of God.  I'm not saying that we can reach the level of that, but we should be looking to what God expects by using the psalms as a model.  The history of Christian hymnody and music (think 16th to early 19th century) points to that which exalts God and is proportionate as an expression of His nature.

The biggest reason professing believers can't give God proportion is because they have their faces, their noses, their lips, their fingers, and their minds in the gutter of this world.  They can't find the greatness of God.  They can't give God what He deserves, because they aren't reading, studying, and meditating on His greatness. Instead they are admiring celebrities, trash, sin, and other ways that disallow them from proportion.  Sometimes they are actually tipsy or drunk with alcohol (cf. Eph 5:18), but even greater, they are drunk with the wine of this world, like John writes in Revelation 18:3:  "drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."  This is spiritual fornication, where the individual is intimate with Babylon, Rome, Las Vegas, Nashville, or Hollywood, whatever they're pouring.

Trivializing God and the things of God, that is, missing or lacking proportion in relation to God, is idolatry.  It is covetousness.  This describes most professing Christians today.  These covetous and idolaters will not enter the kingdom of God.  Why would they want to?

Friday, March 13, 2020

Bible Contradictions? Christ's Line, Resurrection, Ascension & Paul's Conversion; Shabir Ally's Arguments in the Shabir Ally-Thomas Ross debate

During my debate with Shabir Ally over the topic "The New Testament Picture of Jesus: Is it Accurate?" Dr. Ally made a number of claims about the Bible being irreconcilably contradictory and, therefore, not being God's Word. He argued that the genealogy in Matthew 1 was inaccurate because it left out three names and had the wrong number of names listed; that the accounts of Christ's resurrection in Matthew 28 and John 20 were hopelessly confused; that Luke's Gospel taught that Christ ascended to heaven the same day He rose, whole Acts taught that Christ only ascended forty days later; and that the accounts of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9, 22, and 26 disagreed with each other. 

As part of the three-part series of review videos on the debate, I examined these claims by Dr. Ally and found them wanting. You can watch the review video below:

or view Bible Contradictions? Christ's Line, Resurrection, Ascension & Paul's Conversion; Shabir Ally's Case on YouTube by clicking here. You can also view it on my website here.  If you think the video is valuable, please feel free to share it with others, "like" it on YouTube, and post comments on it both on the blog here and on the page where the video is uploaded.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Tests for the Practice of the Doctrine of Separation for Fundamentalism

Sam Horn, Executive Vice President for Enrollment and Ministerial Advancement, Dean of the School of Religion and the Seminary at Bob Jones University, moves to head John MacArthur's Master's Seminary.  Steve Pettit, president of BJU, makes a positive public statement about it.  He meets with John MacArthur and speaks well of it.  Maybe Bob Jones has a new constituency in conservative evangelicalism and John MacArthur has a new possibility better than the Southern Baptists with their deep problems right now.

The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International, closely aligned with Bob Jones University through the years, and full of Bob Jones grads in its leadership, had made statements of separation from MacArthur in the past, that had not been rescinded.  They decide to remain mute now.  At the same time, BJU brings Cary Schmidt to its Bible Conference, many years on staff at Lancaster Baptist Church with Paul Chappell, and further contemporary and pragmatic even than West Coast and Chappell.

Before I move on from the various situations, I can go further.  Matt Redman is a longtime partner of Hillsong United, Bethel Music, and a Joyce Meyer Ministries worship leader.  He just led the chapel worship of Master's College.  He's the strange fire John MacArthur and others would preach against, the gateway to Charismatic false worship.

John Wilkerson, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN, still unrepentant of what Jack Hyles taught, leaves the statues of Hyles, sells his books in their bookstore, and preached with the president of the FBFI, Kevin Schaal, at the Van Gelderen's Victory Conference in Menominee Falls March 2-5, 2020.  I'm not sure that the FBFI every said anything was wrong with Hyles's doctrine.  I read tests for the practice of separation for fundamentalists.  What does all of the above mean for fundamentalists?

As a disclaimer, I claim not to be a fundamentalist.  In order to obey what scripture teaches on the doctrine of separation, which is all over the Bible, it can't be practiced like a fundamentalist.  What is occurring today with fundamentalism in the examples above relates to the weakness or unscriptural nature of fundamentalism.  We're going to give an account for obedience to God and His Word, not whether we've been a fundamentalist or not.  The emphasis of fundamentalism has been parachurch organizations, like Bob Jones University, which brings confusion to the belief and practice of biblical separation.

Movements even by definition have what we might call a "shelf life."  Movements come and go.  The church isn't a movement.  The question then remains, were the underlying principles of the movement true or right?  Fundamentalism started as a response to and stand against pervading institutional liberalism.  The attack on scripture and its authority first met by biblical defense led to a necessary practice of separation.  Thus began regular controversies over the grounds of separation.  Sermons were preached, conferences were held, new associations were organized, and books were written that attempted to draw lines and set boundaries for the protection and the propagation of the truth.  The ones constituted by fundamentalism were not scriptural.  They chose arbitrary lines that constantly shifted one way or another, so that when someone did separate, it often seemed just political.

Fundmentalism is known for separation.  It marks fundamentalism.  Scriptural separation is not so difficult to understand.  The Bible lays out what, why, and how in and for separation.  Fundamentalism separates, but never practiced biblical separation.  For that reason, the history of fundamentalism is one of confused and distorted separation.  When I have defended fundamentalism, it is because it does separate over right doctrine and practice.  Separation preserved fundamentalism and its erosion will also end it.

Was the separation of fundamentalism ever right?  Fundamentalism taught it.  They punished those who didn't comply.  Should fundamentalists have separated from John MacArthur as they once did?  Some are saying, No.  What is the juxtaposition of Carey Schmidt and John MacArthur?  That doesn't make any sense, and probably more for MacArthur than BJU.  I'm not going to keep asking questions.  First Baptist in Hammond has never repented over the theology of Jack Hyles.  When it keeps up his statue, it accepts the non repentance over the other well-documented things.  There are just too many issues and situations here to either unwind, wind back up, put back in the bottle, or whatever metaphor works.

I actually see a circle in my mind.  It goes like this.  You tell me if I'm wrong.  I'm going to start with Jack Hyles.  Jack Hyles - John Wilkerson - Kevin Schaal - Wayne Van Gelderen - Paul Chappell - Carey Schmidt - Bob Jones - Steve Pettit - Sam Horn - John MacArthur - Matt Redman - Hillsong and Bethel Music.

I'm not talking about degrees of separation:  first, second, third degree.  I'm talking about how any of this could fit together.  It shouldn't.  For the sake of biblical doctrine of practice, for the sake of God Himself, someone should say, No.  At some point, someone can't cast a blind eye.  There's actually more than what I've written here, but this is all bad for quality control.  Someone needs to do some explaining.  Let me explain just a little.

Bob Jones separates from John MacArthur and now it doesn't.  A step needs to be taken.  If you don't believe in separation from MacArthur, then explain that from the Bible.  If you  are Bob Jones and you still believe in separation, then explain why the change.  Explain why you were wrong before and you are right now.  If not, then it looks like your feeder churches aren't feeding enough, and you are just making a pragmatic move to increase the potential feed.  I could say the same thing for why the girls are now wearing tight blue jeans on campus.  That was wrong too at one time, but now isn't.  People can remember these things.

There are a lot of differences between these various groups of people.  Is anyone right in all this?  I don't believe any of them are right.  Some are better than others, but all of them are wrong.  Bob Jones and all of these others are being tested for the practice of the doctrine of separation.  I would be interested in their explanation for how they are obeying the Bible in doing what they are doing.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Self Medicating and Managing "Pressures and Disappointments, Terrors, Fears of Whatever"

Who feels sorry for former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, for what he did with Monica Lewinsky?  Not feel sorry for her, but for him?  I think all of you know he was actually a victim.  Did you know that?  In a recent interview, Bill Clinton was asked "why he took such a risk with his family, his marriage and his country."  Clinton answered:
Because there, whatever life - not just me. Everybody's life has pressures and disappointments, terrors, fears of whatever. . . . Things I did to manage my anxieties for years.
The real culprits, you can see, for the ruination of Monica Lewsinky, the devastation of her person, were those putting pressure on Bill Clinton.  He says he has a different way of managing it now, twenty years later.  It also might be that his physical desires have diminished with age.  That happens, as many know.  In other words, he hasn't learned new management skills, even as he isn't taking responsibility for all that he did.

People should understand that according to him Monica was a kind of therapy.  She was medicinal.  She was the tonic Clinton needed.  He was self-medicating.  He couldn't get a doctor's prescription.  If there is no doctor who will write one, then someone, like Clinton, must self. medicate.  Write out your own prescription.  One Monica Lewinsky, please.  One this girl or that girl and the next girl.  This was his cure for his mental health.

What about Monica Lewinsky?  What prescription does she need for what she caught from President Clinton?  And what will they need, those who provide her a prescription as a form of self-medication, for what complications they received?

Harry Truman said the buck stopped at his desk.  What is the buck?  The buck is poker term.  A buckhorn knife was used in American frontier days to mark the man whose turn it was to deal the cards.  If he didn't want to deal, he could pass the buckhorn knife to someone else, which meant the person where the buck stopped would deal the cards.  Committing adultery isn't self-medicating.  Saying it's self-medication is a form of passing the buck, one that today receives sympathy from other millennials.  They "like" it.  They legitimize the so-called cause.  Like the excuse that the prophet Ezekiel wrote, 'my parents ate grapes, so my teeth are crooked.'

Jeffrey Epstein could claim he was self-medicating with little girls he human trafficked.  Do you think he should get sympathy?  Why are we selective?  This is science, right?  I understand, Monica Lewinsky was a consenting adult, a young adult woman, albeit several decades younger than the President.  I contend she was the victim.  Young men prey on young women, feeling desperate for male attention, and those young men both defraud the young women and their parents.  Scripture says this.  However, she too should be ashamed of herself for being with a man who defrauds her and her parents.

A young man, who commits fornication, defrauds his future wife, if he ever does marry.  The woman may settle for being the twentieth special person or "crush" in his life, one in which he has developed for himself and these women he's used, a pattern of divorce.  He says its just managing his anxieties.  No licensed doctor would or should allow this prescription.  This young man is not a doctor either, but he still self-medicates.  Actually, he uses women to gratify his lust.  Self-medication is an excuse to pass the buck.

In the dictionary, self-medication means:
the act or process of medicating oneself especially without the advice of a physician
Actual self-medication is with the advice of a physician, or using over-the-counter analgesics or allergy products.  That, is truly self-medicating.  The other is an excuse, unrepentant blame-shifting.

Self-medicators very often gravitate to other ones, like Lot moving himself and his family near Sodom.  Today it might be like moving to Las Vegas, Nashville, Hollywood, or New York City, near a lot of other "self-medicators."  That's the attraction.   Godly people, like Abraham, are not attracted to those places, not to live.  A missionary might go there, like Paul, because he sees it in need of saving. Self-medicators see one big pharmacy though.

No one manages his pressures and disappointments, terrors, fears of whatever -- trauma, love apparently not received from parents, very often a lie.  Love from whomever though is a black hole to self pour medication.  It's not even love.  It's approval they want.  They want to continue as a drop dead drunk and keep getting acceptance.  No human being can provide enough love to fulfill another human being, shaped by expectation of acceptance and approval.  Fornication, drugs, and alcohol separate someone from the experience of God's blessing.  They don't provide any medication for the sin-sick soul.  It's only Jesus Christ.  As Paul wrote, "Ye are complete in Him."  Jesus Christ, however, is not good enough for the self-medicator, hence his continued prescriptions.

If you are self-medicating, stop.  Stop making excuses.  Leave other self-medicators.  Stay away from centers of self-medication:  whole cities, bars, clubs, churches that tolerate self-medication.  Stop trying to manage your anxieties.  If you have an advocate with the Father, sin not.  Your fornication and drunkenness is sin.

Above all, reject self-medication as a terminology.  It's a lie.  You aren't self-medicating.  You aren't managing your anxieties.  You are sinning and it's your fault.  You aren't being hindered by dark memories of childhood trauma.  You are sinning against God, which sends you into a dark abyss from which there is no relief without repentance.  The excuse of self-medication is just more sinning, because it's a lie.  It's no way back to God the Father.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Shabir Ally / Thomas Ross Debate Review: "The New Testament Picture of Jesus: Is it Accurate?"

As blog readers may recall, I had the privilege of debating Dr. Shabir Ally over the topic "The New Testament Picture of Jesus: Is it Accurate?" some time ago.  I composed a review of the arguments made in that debate not that long after the video became available and I now have the written and video versions of the review live.  In the video and written discussion I examine the key arguments made by Shabir Ally against the accuracy of the New Testament's picture of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Divine-human crucified and resurrected Redeemer.  The review below deals with his key contention--namely, that the Gospels contain an evolutionary development of the Lord Jesus Christ from a merely human Muslim prophet into the Christian figure--as well as examining the miscellaneous arguments he made against the Christian position.  It also discusses the incredible censorship of arguments in favor of Scripture present at liberal and secular universities which were revealed by the ignorance of evidence that appeared at numbers of places in Dr. Ally's argument.  I believe that the discussion will be very helpful for those that watched the debate and for anyone that engages in apologetics or evangelism at universities or other places where liberal arguments against the Bible are promulgated and received, since Dr. Ally does not just argue the way Muslims might against Scripture, but employs the same sorts of arguments atheists, agnostics, and other Biblical skeptics use; the case he makes is the one students hear against the Bible in university classrooms day in and day out all across the United States and in the rest of the world.

Watch the Shabir Ally / Thomas Ross Debate Review video at by clicking here, watch  the embedded video below:

or view the debate review video on YouTube by clicking here.

If you believe the video content is useful, please "like" it on YouTube, share it on social media, and post a comment, as well as sharing comments on this blog post below.

If you are interested in hosting another debate between Shabir Ally and me, please contact me.  I would be honored to debate Dr. Ally again.


Tuesday, March 03, 2020

The Blame Game Versus Real Repentance, Saul or David

When someone repents, he doesn't blame his sin on someone else.  I'm not saying that he can't consider what he thinks helped move things the wrong way, but in the end, it was his fault.  When someone stops sinning, which is part of repentance, he isn't going to talk about stopping because it helped himself.  He talks about God, how he offended God, well, like David does in Psalm 51 and 32.  When he sins, he's not a victim.  No one made him do it.  He did it because he wanted to do it, and especially if he is a believer, he has power not to sin, so when he sins, he chose to sin and he sinned.

If you are a drunk, practice regular drunkenness, it wasn't "trauma" from childhood, which itself could be a lie, and it wasn't because you had a harder life due to circumstances.  It wasn't because you were stressed by school or work and alcohol could help you block it out.  No, you chose to drink and then you got drunk, when God commands in Proverbs 23, don't even look at alcohol, reinforced by many other passages.  1 Corinthians 6:9-10 say that the drunkard will not inherit the kingdom of God.

If you fornicated, you did that, not because you were looking for acceptance or approval you didn't get from your parents.  That kind of Freudian psychobabble rebels against biblical teaching.  The cause looks instead like evil concupiscence, inordinate affections, defrauding your parents, not abstaining from fleshly lust in the way of music, entertainment, and naked pictures.  If you are going to watch all of Game of Thrones with rapt attention, it's no wonder you objectify women and treat them like orifices to satisfy your lust.  If you are going to listen to music that celebrates fornication and treats it like a permissible alternative, it's no wonder you would both drink and fornicate.  Saying it was those things, instead of not making a covenant with your eyes (Job 31:1), then you are not taking responsibility and you are not on your way to repentance.  You will not find fulfillment or completeness in Christ.

What I'm writing about is the difference between the faux or no repentance of King Saul and the true repentance of King David.  Both sinned.  Saul blamed other people.  Adam blamed Eve.  Eve blamed the serpent.  Cain blamed his brother Abel.

The blame doesn't stop there.  Especially today, the sinner blames theology.  He didn't receive unconditional love.  He did, but love is not cheap.  It isn't grace that is an occasion for the flesh.  It isn't grace that sins so that grace will abound.  It doesn't say, I have an advocate with the Father, so I can keep sinning and that's actually walking in the light.  No, it is walking in the darkness.

A slew of new books bring artificial comfort, faux comfort, to the sinner.  It's the Jesus Plus Nothing, Scandalous Grace group, the antinomians.  I wrote this is a few months ago.
Someone "sleeps with someone."  [He] didn't use either the word fornication or adultery.  The next morning that person who just slept with someone needs to be thinking that he is exactly the same before God as he was before he fornicated (my word).  That's how this fornicator, according to [him], needs to look at the grace of God.  This is why it is "scandalous."  Instead, someone should ask if this is a person who has never been converted, and if he professes faith, how this even squares with the grace of God, rather than giving credit to "scandalous grace."  With that illustration, I understood the attraction of this particular view of grace, which again, isn't new.  This is also what Peter describes in 2 Peter 2 (v. 19):
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
He promises liberty to those who are servants of corruption and they are brought into bondage with this teaching.  In Peter's description, it is the way to apostasy.
This is rampant in the Southern Baptist Convention and varied related forms of new evangelicalism.  It violates or contradicts so many different passages of scripture and doesn't have a single verse to stand upon.  It conflicts with true repentance that Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11:
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
What's missing?  To start, the excuses and blame and even self-pity doesn't even say, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry for getting drunk.  I'm sorry for using women and sometimes against the will of either set of parents, acting like a free agent.  I'm sorry for dishonoring and disobeying my parents in an ungrateful, rebellious way, and blaming it on them.  God warned against this in Ezekiel 18:20:
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Most often, "I'm sorry" isn't even heard, even if it is sorrow that isn't even repentance.  However, there is a godly sorrow that works "repentance to salvation."  What is it like?  It isn't crying over not receiving the necessary love or an environment without stress.  What about the unconditional love of Jesus Christ?  Isn't that enough?  Unrepentant sin doesn't get comfort from Jesus Christ.  Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:3, 5).

The sorrow from the unrepentant often is self-pity, feeling sorry for himself.  He's not sorry for sinning.  He doesn't show remorse for offending God.  He feels sorry that his circumstances weren't more to his favor.  He didn't like how he was treated.  When he sinned, his correction was too harsh.  He was loved greatly, but it still didn't go far enough, because it didn't accept or approve of his sin.  It expected obedience, which means it was "transactional."  He would still have sinned, because he's not sorry over sin, just sorry for himself.

There is not a way forward to the person who keeps making excuses for his sin.  He needs sorrow after a godly sort, which looks first like "carefulness."  He's careful, which means he doesn't hang out at bars with his "friends" and make constant mentions of alcohol.  He is careful to remove himself from all of the ways he is sinning. This is Paul's instruction in 1 Corinthians 10, that he that thinks he stands, he needs to take heed lest he fall.  He stays away from it, because it dishonors God, it causes others to stumble, it is a bad testimony for Jesus Christ, and it will cause him to sin.

Godly sorrow, actual sorrow, wants to be "clear."  It wants space between the last time he sinned in this manner, and you know someone has repented, when he stops the activity.

Godly sorrow, actual sorrow, is indignant about sin.  That's a no-go for the one, who still wants to sin.  He isn't angry about sin.  He's angry about the judgment of sin.  He's angry if he is judged as a sinner.  He is sorry that others don't accept his sin, which he think isn't unconditional love.  No, true love rejoices not in iniquity.  Be angry and sin not.  This is not angry with preaching, which works not the righteousness of God, but angry at yourself because you've displeased God.

Paul uses other terms to indicate true repentance, true godly sorrow, but these are a start for someone who is serious.  David was God's choice, not because he was sinlessly perfect, but because, when he sinned, he didn't blame it on other people.  He turned back to God in a way after God's own heart.  Saul, on the other hand, expounded his own wisdom, really a vain philosophy or psychology in the realm of science falsely so-called.  When David sinned, he repented and God welcomed Him, so that David could say, that when he awoke, he would be satisfied in God's presence (Psalm 17:15).  He wrote in Psalm 32:1:
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
The blessing of forgiveness far outweighs the cheap imitation of excuses and blame.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Love Wars

Audio 2014 Session at Word of Truth Conference, Love Versus Sentimentalism

Earlier Posts One and Two

"Childish" is an adjective.  It's not usually applied to children, but adults.  What is it when an adult is childish?  It's when the adult is selfish.  The adult is behaving in a selfish manner.  He's being self-centered, self-interested, or self-obsessed.  On the other hand, when someone behaves in a mature manner, being unselfish is most characteristic of that person.  He's not focused on his own needs, but on the needs of others.  A mature person puts others ahead of himself, or even better, God ahead of himself.

As a child matures, he becomes more loving.  A common word in the nursery is "mine" and children fighting or crying over not getting their way.   Discipline, as seen in Proverbs, is required to drive selfishness or self-will out of a child.  If a child is coddled and given too much, he won't mature as he ought, and so he'll still be living for himself, deciding for himself, and talking about himself.  When he doesn't get his way, he'll still be complaining, whining, pouting, or becoming angry in some fashion over himself.  Selfish anger is sinful anger.  It's seen in childish adults, who want their way, but are either not getting their way or their own way isn't being accepted.

Selfish children and adults don't recognize or acknowledge when something good is done for them.  They mainly focus on what they don't get or what they didn't get.  They aren't talking about how they can help other people or how thankful they are for what others have done for them, but about what they want, what they're going to do for themselves, how someone didn't treat them like they wanted, or blaming their own problems or sin on others.

Children don't love their parents.  They can't love.  They are too immature to love their parents.  1 John 4:16 says,
God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Until God dwells in them, love doesn't dwell in them.  Parents, who have God dwelling in them, love their children.  How do they love their children?  John writes in 1 John 5:2,
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
They love their children, when they love God and keep His commandments.  In other words, they are not loving their children when they are not loving God or keeping His commandments.

Most of you reading this probably know this already, but many times children, even as they reach college age, don't recognize or acknowledge what their parents have done for them.  They still focus on what they want, what they didn't get, or what they got that they didn't like.  They aren't thankful.  I did tens of thousands of things for my children as they grew up.  Many of you parents reading this understand that.  Very rarely did they do anything for my wife and me unless we told them to do it, and on many of those occasions they didn't want to do it.  

As children mature, they don't do things for their parents because they are told to do it.  They do it because they want to.  They express love and thanksgiving for what their parents did and do, unless they are immature or selfish and self-centered.  If they have God dwelling in them, it's easy for them to do.  They volunteer to do it.  They don't complain about doing it.  This is a maturing young person.  He regularly calls and tells his parents how much he loves them and thanks them again and again for their sacrifice.

The incessant sacrifices of a believing parent for his children is unconditional love.  Their children are doing nothing for them, worse than nothing.  They are a regular burden and distraction and hassle.  Parents, however, absorb all that and keep giving and giving and giving to their children.  I'm saying that I believe in unconditional love.

I titled this post (part one), Love Wars.  There is war about love today even among professing Christians.  Especially millennials see love essentially as acceptance.  They want to do what they want with acceptance or approval.  The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:9 said that he labored to be accepted of God.  Of course, he was already saved, so why was he still laboring for God's acceptance?  Because no one is conformed to the image of Jesus Christ until he reaches a glorified state, which is when he sees God.

Believing parents unconditionally love their children.  They don't accept a lot of what they do.  I teach junior highers in our school.  There isn't much that I accept among and about junior highers.  I want to accept what they do, but a lot of how they act, I reject.  Why?  Because I love them.  This is what Paul talked about in Hebrews 12 when he wrote (vv. 5-7):
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
The word that I have read to describe this love of God by unscriptural and unloving, yet professing Christians is "trauma."  They call chastisement, trauma.  Later in verse 11, same chapter, Paul continues:
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 
Chastening doesn't seem joyous, but grievous.  Chastening goes against what they consider "core human sensibilities" or what they "may feel is the Holy Spirit's leading."  Lamentations is the story of God bringing Jerusalem through a horrific siege that He required them to accept, if they were repentant.  The apex of that book is "great is thy faithfulness" in chapter 3, where they see the goodness of God in the chastisement God brought upon them.

Some reading here might think that scripture justifies abuse, another loaded word, from abusive parents.  Biblical discipline is love.  Abuse is something different done by many different parents in every "community" in the entire nation.  It's not acceptable.  I don't know a parent who likes disciplining his children. It is one of the hardest parts of parenting.  Children hate it.  However, you do it even without the thanks of the children.  Your children are not loving you, but you keep loving them.

Even the prodigal son continued being loved by his Father, who happens to be a portrayal of God by Jesus in that parable.  The love of the Father was in the hog lot, where the son realized how good he had it at home.  This is the sinning soul returning to the Father in repentance.

As a part of the love war, a young man, who was in our church ten plus years ago now, wrote among other things the following for the public to see:
[M]any children in particular communities were made to believe that Jesus' love, or just love in general, comes at the cost of having to earn an ever elusive reception or acceptance of their abusers. The beauty of Christianity is that someone can't earn Jesus' love -- it's unconditional.
It is true according to the Bible that we don't earn Jesus' love.  We love Him because He first loved us.  This is related to the doctrine of salvation.  The truth that nothing can separate believers from the love of God (Rom 8:31-36) means that God will never forsake one of His children.  He will always do what Jesus did to the churches of Asia in Revelation 2 and 3, and confront them for their disobedience.  That is love.  They don't earn that love of Jesus Christ.  He just gives it to them.

The paragraph above refers to a situation in another church ("community"), that he said was a sister church, that he knows is not a sister church.  In methodology it would be a church much closer to churches that pander to unbelievers to lure them into church and then give a false assurance to unrepentant sinners, what the adherents would even call "unconditional love."  I think of a church like that of Andy Stanley down in Georgia, who abuses his people with false teaching and a false sense of security with counterfeit, placebo grace offered to merely intellectual assent to facts.  They often become twice the children of Hell they once were.  These are the churches of both Jack Hyles and Bill Hybels.

"Abusers" I'm assuming are parents and church leaders in his statements.  At least as it applies to our church, it is slanderous.  I understand the anger.  When he did wrong, he didn't find acceptance, which he now confuses with not finding love.  Cain, the prototypical defector, was displeased that God did not accept his offering, and became angry and killed his brother Abel.  He wanted acceptance from God and he didn't get it.  Did God love Cain?  Yes.  Since God loved Cain, God didn't accept Cain's offering.  God doesn't accept false worship.  He doesn't accept sin.  He can't.  He won't.  He shouldn't.  And God is love.

I've seen the anger of many over the years, who have wanted acceptance or approval.  The Apostle Paul didn't get the approval of the false teachers at Corinth, which is the circumstance for his  laboring for acceptance from Christ.  Christ though still wouldn't accept his sin.  Paul had to do something to get Christ's acceptance in Paul's sanctification.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

Hunger and thirst are a condition.  God will provide the righteousness, but someone must hunger and thirst for it.  That isn't elusive.  Sanctification doesn't come by faith alone.  It requires works.  That isn't to earn it, but it is labor.  You don't get the fruit of the Spirit without being filled with the Spirit.  He who humbles himself shall be exalted.  That isn't elusive, but humility is a condition for exaltation.  Jesus humbled Himself and God the Father gave Him a name which is above every name.  These children, selfish ones, want the name without the self-denial.  They want respect without giving respect to their elders.  If they don't get it, they're angry.

There is an irony to the desire for unconditional love.  The ones who want it will never give it without conditions being met.  They call these conditions "boundaries."  They set up boundaries that will only be lowered when conditions are met.  The conditions, however, are unscriptural conditions.  Unless their rock music, immodest dress, and even foul language is accepted, the ever elusive boundary won't be lifted.  The rejection of the behavior is trauma.  And the acceptance of the behavior is healing.  They are looking for healing, which means acceptance of ungodly behavior, that they apparently believe is acceptable to a holy God.

Most children, yes, adult ones, don't understand at all the sacrifice of their parents.  I remember going to help my son find his first car when he was at West Point. The mid point of the third year, cadets can drive a car off campus.  They are also given a low interest loan by the government that they are not required to take in order to buy the car.  I didn't like the car purchase.  I didn't like the loan.  He had the liberty to do both and I didn't forbid either, like I have never prohibited anything that he had the scriptural liberty to do.  In other words, I accepted non-scriptural behavior.  That's unconditional love, accepting actions as long as they don't violate scripture.  Jesus' yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Why?  His love in our hearts motivates us to please Him first, so that His commandments are not burdensome to us.

I flew out, rented a car, picked him up, and we drove all over looking for a car.  He drove most of the trip.  He drove at or just below the speed limit in the fast lane.  A long line of cars were behind him.  Some of them honked.  I gently suggested that he drive in the right lane and then use the left lane to pass.  He heard what I said, and apparently that meant stay in the left lane while cars passed him on the right.  Have you ever found yourself behind one of these drivers?   I think this is unconditional love.  Could I have done more to stop him?  Yes, but some lessons are best learned on their own.  I would think he's learned that one by now.

Does love require the acceptance of everything a child does?  No.  Love requires the rejection of unbiblical actions and beliefs, like drunk driving.  It's not an accident if a young man gets drunk, drives his car over a hundred miles an hour, and then runs it into a tree.  He might kill himself and he could kill many others, as so many have.  Love rejects drunkenness and drunk driving.  Love rejoices not in iniquity, as Paul wrote.  When someone doesn't repent over his sin, that won't get acceptance either.  When he won't accept reconciliation or mediation based upon scriptural terms, acceptance will still be elusive in that situation as well.  Everything I'm describing is love.  

I believe in unconditional love, it's just what is unconditional love.  If it is of God, then it is just love.  Leave off unconditional.  Love is of God.