Monday, August 31, 2020

"The Science," "The History," The Actual Lying

When the world talks about "the science," they are distinguishing that from faith, and true faith doesn't contrast with science.  I pastored in the San Francisco Bay Area, and this was a regular type of person I encountered, that was, you know, more of a scientist, as a reason not to listen to scripture.  If you dig not very deep, you find that these scientists don't want to be challenged.  They don't have science.  We have obvious points on this.

When Darwin looked at a cell, it was at the most a blob to him.  He didn't see what was in a cell.  If he could see that, he would have seen irreducible complexity.   For one cell to survive, all the necessary parts of it needed to exist at one time.  The cell could not have evolved.  Then since Darwin, we know about DNA in a cell, that exceedingly complicated evidence of design exists there in that strings of characters need to be arranged in a very precise way in order to perform a function.  The amount of information is so vast that an accurate sequence could not have happened by chance.

There is no evidence that man evolved.  So called scientists point to microevolution, a bacteria adapting and changing to survive, which in the end is still bacteria.  Then they dishonestly project that occurrence to macroevolution without either seeing it or finding it in the fossil record.  There would be bounteous presence of transitional forms of evolution between such as invertebrates and the vertebrates.  We don't see these links.  They are missing links.

Furthermore, science says life begins before birth in the mother's womb.  Science shows no evidence of the "gay gene."  Science shows distinct differences between men and women.  They are not equal.  Science shows someone has incentive to work harder for something he wants that he knows he is allowed to keep.  All of these are also biblical.

What about "the science" of climate change?  With all the other science denial of the scientists, it's hard to trust their science without obvious proof and without context.  The Bible is science and it provides a different future and ending than the climate scientists give.

I turn to "the history."  The story of Jesus is just as well attested as Julius Caesar.  The difference would be that there are many more ancient copies accounting for Jesus and sources close to when he lived than there is for Caesar.  In other words, Jesus is more greatly witnessed and even by more people than Julius Caesar.  I'm not doubting the existence of Caesar.

The problem with the story of Jesus for historians is not the amount of evidence, but the nature of what it says.  A bias exists against the history of Jesus because of the supernatural.  That is the same with creation origin in science.  They suppress the truth in unrighteousness.  Where is the science?  Where is the history?

Schools can't teach science or history.  The news media doesn't report science or history.  They leave out everything that is in the Bible that is science and history.  They replace it with much that is not science or history.  As a result, it's all a big lie.

Wrong ideas, falsehoods, are held up by lies.  What people call the science and the history are not true.  The same people who tell these lies are also the main sources for news today.  They are the people that require churches not to meet or sing and shut down places of business and schools.  They tell us that the police are brutal and uniquely so to racial minorities.  They say that looters, rioters, and vandals are mere protesters.

When the federal government moves to stop the crime, the liars call for states rights.  As the criminals wreak havoc, the same liars complain about no federal intervention.  The liars are silent during record employment.  The liars are loud in declaring record loss of jobs especially from their own state shelter-in-place and economic shut downs.  A small percentage of the death toll represents those who died only from the virus.  What of any death tolls kept in any place in the world are accurate in telling the true story?  I don't know of any.

I suggest to anyone reading this -- get back to the Word of God.  God's Word is truth.  It is true science in a world of speculation and lies.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Spirit of Christ, the Omnipresence of Christ, and the Trinity

The New Testament uses "the Spirit," "the Holy Spirit," "the Spirit of God," and "the Spirit of Christ."  I want to focus mainly on "the Spirit of Christ."  Is "the Spirit of Christ" Jesus Christ Himself?  What do you think?

I don't believe that the Spirit of Christ is Christ.  The Spirit of Christ is the Holy Spirit, like the Son of God is Jesus Christ.  "Of Christ" can have as one of its meanings, "from Christ." The Holy Spirit proceeds from Jesus Christ, is His deputy, hence that title, just like Jesus Christ proceeds from the Father, hence the title, Son of God.  When Scripture says "the Spirit of God," that too is the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit also proceeds from God the Father.  The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ and God the Father are three distinct Persons though.

"Spirit of Christ" is found in two verses:
Romans 8:9, But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
1 Peter 1:11, Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
"Spirit of Jesus Christ" is found in one verse.
Philippians 1:19, For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
"Spirit of his Son" is found in one verse.
Galatians 4:6, And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
All of these references are to the Holy Spirit with an emphasis on His procession from the Son.  John Owen wrote the following:
I confess that he is called the "Spirit of Christ" because he was promised by him, sent by him, and that was to make effectual and accomplish his work towards the church. But he could not be this, unless he had antecedently been the Spirit of the Son by his proceeding from him also: for the order of the dispensation of the divine persons towards us, arises from the order of their own subsistence in the same divine essence. . . . It will be said, perhaps, that he is called the "Spirit of Christ" because he is promised, given, and poured out by him. . . . On this supposition, I will grant as before, that he may consequently be called the "Spirit of Christ," because he was promised and sent by Christ, doing Christ's work, and communicating Christ's grace, image, and likeness to the elect.
I recognize that Romans 8:10 says that "Christ be in you," but in the context Christ is in a believer through His deputy the Holy Spirit.  They are not the same person, but they are both God.  19th century Scottish theologian, George Smeaton, wrote:
When the apostle subjoins:  'if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His' (ver. 9), it shows that the participation of the Holy Spirit is not universal; and that only they who are given to Christ and redeemed by Him, enjoy the inhabitation in the Biblical acceptation of the term.
He also wrote:
As to the words here used the Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of Jesus Christ," not only because He is from the Son as well as from the Father, according to the eternal procession from both, but because the gift of the Spirit is derived from Christ's merits.  He procured by his obedience and satisfaction not only the restoration of the divine favour but the gift of the Holy Ghost, who is thus rightly called the Spirit of Christ.  The more copious effusion of the Spirit is referred to the action of Christ no less than to the action of the Father who gave to the Son the power of sending the Spirit and of conferring all the benefits which were acquired by His death. 
A question might arise, and a good question, "Is the presence of Christ the presence of the Spirit of Christ?"  The omnipresence of Jesus Christ as a distinct Person in the Godhead is different than the presence of the Spirit of Christ.  Christ does dwell in believers through the Holy Spirit, but not as the same Person.  They are different Persons.  The Holy Spirit mediates the presence of Christ in believers.  As I said before, the Holy Spirit is there as the deputy of Christ.

So what about Ephesians 3:17, that says, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith"?  What is that?  The Greek word dwell is katoikeo and it means "to settle in."  You also read, "by faith."  This is Christ being at home in your life.  When a believer responds with obedience to the indwelling Holy Spirit, by faith Christ is at home in that person's life.  Since the essence of God is indivisible, the Holy Spirit brings the Father and the Son with Him.  Christ again is indwelling by the mediation of the Holy Spirit.  Christ dwells in a believer's life by the Holy Spirit.  John Owen again wrote:
Whatever is worked in believers by the Spirit of Christ, it is in their union to the person of Christ, and by virtue of this union. I have already  sufficiently proved to those to whom anything of this kind will be sufficient, that the Holy Spirit is the immediate and efficient cause of all grace and holiness.
I believe there is the direct presence of the Person of Christ.  In Matthew 28:20, when Jesus promises "I am with you alway," you is plural.  Jesus promises to be with us.  Even though He physically sits at the right hand of the Father as a man, He is God.  As God, He is omnipresent.  Of the three Persons in the Godhead, Jesus has two natures.  His body is not omnipresent.  He, however, is omnipresent in His nature as God.  He is everywhere at one time, so He is in the church still.  He is also in the church in a special way, what He calls in Revelation 1:19-2:1, walking in the midst of His churches.

The special presence of Jesus that He promises is different than His general omnipresence and it is different than His presence mediated by the Holy Spirit.  You may be reading this and it might sound confusing to you.  What I'm wanting to do is be consistent with what Scripture teaches.  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit.  He isn't sending Himself when He sent the Holy Spirit.  He also said that He sent the Holy Spirit so that the Holy Spirit would be in believers.

Friday, August 28, 2020

"The Anabaptists Church Worldwide" & "Street Preacher Fellowship" cult

There is an organization called "The Anabaptists [sic] Church Worldwide" that supports a "Street Preacher Fellowship."   It is a cult, a false religion.

This blog post will not focus upon peripheral problems, such as the poor English grammar evident in the fact that the organization's name does not appear to understand the role of the apostrophe and the many grammatical errors in its statement of faith and other documents.  

Nor will it focus upon the fact that the cult rejects the congregational church polity of Anabaptism for a form of hierarchicalism with a "Biblical presbytery rule [sic]" and "national bishops" and so is not Anabaptist, but would be better called Episcopalian than Anabaptist, although it may not even understand what episcopalian, presbyterian, and congregational church polity are.

Nor will it focus upon the fact that the cult does not understand that the church of the New Testament is not universal or invisible.  Nor will it focus upon affirmations in its doctrinal statement such as that Christians are “at point [sic] of salvation baptized by the Holy Spirit of God into one body . . . and that body being not all [sic] figurative, but altogether real, physically . . . that body is Christ’s . . . each born again child of God is literally made to be . . . members of Jesus Christ’s body, of His flesh and of His bones."  The members of the organization do not, however, literally disappear into the ascended human body of Christ to become part of His literal bone marrow, and, remember, the statement is allegedly literal,  "not at all figurative."

Nor will it focus upon the cult's extreme Ruckmanism, through which it denies Christ's promises to preserve the Greek and Hebrew words which were dictated by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 5:18) and denigrates study of the preserved words of God in the original languages. Nor will it focus upon how the cult undermines confidence in the King James Bible through its extremism.  Nor will it focus upon the bizarre idea in its doctrinal statement that the Bible actually is God in written form, an idea which the pseudo-Baptist cultist Steven Anderson has also adopted.

Nor will it focus upon the cult's tendency to name-calling and careless study of Scripture, nor upon the fact that the section in its doctrinal statement on (the wicked sin of) sodomy adds ideas not present in the Bible; nor on the fact that the cult also follows Steven Anderson and rejects Scripture by teaching that sodomites cannot be saved (with the "Anabaptists Church" cult making certain qualifications to this), nor on the fact that it spends more time on sodomy than it does on the nature of God, and that only its statement on sodomy, but nothing else in its doctrinal statement, ends with the affirmation: "This section of the Articles of Faith of the Anabaptists Church [sic] Worldwide is not subject to revision, and shall never be changed by any presbytery without the dissolvement [sic] of the Church Worldwide."  Apparently even the bad grammar in this section of the cult's articles of faith cannot be changed; but that is not the focus of this blog post.

What is the worst false doctrine of this cult? The worst false teaching is its rejection of the Trinity and of the incarnation of Christ in favor of a bizarre, blasphemous, and ignorant form of modalism.  Its article of faith on the Trinity includes the following:

  1. 2.3  We believe that God is a spirit (John 4:24), and that the Holy Spirit is that very Spirit of the Lord God (Isaiah 61:1, 10.11, 14), and was the very breath of Life in Jesus Christ (Isaiah 11:4/ Job 33:4/ John 20:22).

  2. 2.4  We believe that Jesus Christ is God the Father (John 10:30) manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), and that Jesus Christ was and is the bodily manifestation of God Almighty.

  3. 2.5  As a ghost is the spirit of a dead man (Luke 24:37/ Matthew 14:26), we believe that the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Jesus Christ which He gave up on Calvary when He died for our sins (John 19:30/ Matthew 27:50/ Mark 15:37/ Luke 23:46), and as the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:2-8) is the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9/ Philippians 1:19). These Three being One God, each exists eternally as God, and as the manifestations of themselves in One as distinguished from the Other. God is a spirit, and that spirit is the Holy Spirit, who was the breath of life (Genesis 2:7) of Jesus Christ, who Himself was the bodily manifestation of God the Father with the Holy Spirit breathing within Him as the very Life of God. Though the Eternal God cannot die, God the Father sent His Son into the world to do just that, yielding up the ghost when He had finished His Father’s work; upon which the Holy Ghost of God became the working manifestation of God the Father in baptizing believers into the very body of God, Jesus Christ the Righteous (1 Corinthians 12:11-14/ Acts 1:5). 

The statement that "Jesus Christ is God the Father" is modalist heresy and idolatry. It is a damnable false doctrine.  It proclaims a false God, a denial and rejection of the true God.  Jesus Christ is the Son, not the Father.  By teaching that Jesus Christ is God the Father, this cult shows that they are antichrist, denying the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22).

The affirmations in 2.5 make a crazy confusion of Christ's human spirit with the Holy Spirit. By denying that Christ's human soul and spirit were separated from His body at His death, instead claiming that the Holy Spirit was present instead of Christ's human spirit, the "Anabaptists Church Worldwide" cult denies the true humanity of Christ.  Only if Christ had a true and complete humanity, body, soul, and spirit, could He represent and save sinful mankind.  Section 2.5 denies Christ's true humanity by claiming that the Holy Spirit replaced the Lord Jesus' human spirit, something similar to the ancient heresy of Apollinarianism (although if the cult's members cannot even write in English properly, and think Anabaptists held to presbyterian church polity, it is not likely that they have much understanding of early Trinitarian controversies).  By denying the true and complete humanity of Jesus Christ, the "Anabaptists Church Worldwide" cult shows itself to be of the "spirit of antichrist," and its members to be deceivers and antichrists (1 John 4:3; 2 John 7).

Various parts of their doctrinal statement also teach the idolatrous idea that God is body, soul, and spirit like people are--the Holy Spirit is allegedly God's eternal spirit part, based on a confusion of the use of the word Spirit for the third Person and also for the human spirit. The words for spirit, ruach and pneuma, are also used for the wind in the Bible, but the Holy Spirit is not God's eternal wind.  God's eternal body part is allegedly the Son, denying His true incarnation in time (1 John 4:1-3) and thus evidencing itself as antichrist. God's eternal soul part is allegedly the Father, something for which Scripture gives not a scintilla of evidence. The cult claims Biblical support for its idolatry by assuming that since man is in the image of God, God must be body, soul, and spirit, ignoring the fact that the image of God in man is "righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24) and that the image is being progressively renewed in believers through progressive sanctification (Colossians 3:10), so the image of God in man has absolutely nothing to do with the wicked blasphemy that God is an eternal Son-body, spirit-Holy Ghost, and soul-Father.

There are a number of things that a born-again child of God, and a member of one of Christ's true Baptist churches, could find attractive about the "Anabaptists Church Worldwide" cult.  It claims to stand for the KJV; it believes in modesty and gender distinction; it (pretends) to be part of the Anabaptist/Baptist line of true churches; it takes a strong stand against sins the world is promoting, such as homosexuality; it claims to be fearless and bold in its preaching; it practices street preaching, which is very good, and so on.  One can hope that perhaps some of the members of this cult are too ignorant to realize that their articles of faith deny the Trinity and the true humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ in favor of modalism and a form of Apollinarianism. Regrettably, none of the above nice things justify its wicked rejection of the true God and of the incarnate Christ.  Who cares if you are modestly dressed if you are a blasphemer and idolator?  Those that actually believe its doctrinal statement will find themselves in hell with the Antichrist.  Those that are too ignorant to understand its heresies have no business preaching to anybody (1 Timothy 3:1) until they learn the rudiments of Christianity on the nature of God.

If you are a member of the "Anabaptist Church Worldwide" and "Street Preacher Fellowship" cult, I call on you to repent of your idolatry and other sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved (Mark 1:15), and then separate yourself from this cult and join one of Christ's true churches.  Learn more about Christ's true gospel and His true church here.


Wednesday, August 26, 2020


The word "fear" occurs 400 times in the Bible in 385 verses.  It's obviously a significant subject, it is mentioned so many times.  It's used in a good way and a bad way.  In a good way, it's very good, even to the extent that it could be put in a sentence that gives the very purpose of mankind (Ecclesiastes 12:13):

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

On the other hand, it could be argued easily that fear is the greatest tool of Satan (Hebrews 2:14-15):

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Satan uses in particular the fear of death to keep people in bondage.  Jesus alludes to this in Matthew 10:28:

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

If you walk back the fear of death, you will get to lesser fears that relate to losing out on something in light of future death.  It's still the fear of death.  This might be fearing the loss of popularity.  It treats this life like it's all that there is and since death ends all there is, decisions must be made that elevate this life than the life to come.  People become convinced they will miss something important if they don't get it in this lifetime.  This is all still the fear of death that keeps people in bondage.

The Hebrew word for fear is yaw-ray (self-pronouncing) and a form of it is found first in Genesis 3:10:

And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

That Hebrew word is found 385 times.  "Afraid" is in the KJV 193 times.  Here it is translated, "I was afraid."  This was both good and bad.  Man should have been afraid of God, but he also shouldn't have been afraid of God.  He should have been afraid to displease God or disobey God, but instead he hid from God because he was afraid.  It does show the controlling nature of fear.  The next usage is in Genesis 15:1:

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Here the LORD commands Abraham, "Fear not."  "Fear not" is a common expression coming from God, which especially make sense if fear is an instrument of Satan toward the bad.

I'm writing on fear because it is the true underlying subject of a lot of what we've been discussing here in recent days.  Many different fears of Covid-19 influence people in a wrong way.  We heard from the beginning that Covid-19 was a deadly threat and people are afraid of death.  The word “deadly” is used for coronavirus a lot.  Fear of death makes people slaves and this society may be more afraid of death than any previous one in the history of our country.

The fear of death in a very indulgent culture is greater to the extent that it becomes very compliant to what it is told to preserve its life.  The fear of death is an underlying uncertainty that leads someone to stock pile toilet paper.  It arises from fear of mortality leading to acts of self-preservation. Hebrews 2 says Jesus died to deliver us from that fear.  His death is the solution to that fear.

Satan is in charge of the world system and he knows how to use fear to control and influence people toward how he wants them to think, believe, and behave.  They become willing to pour everything into this life because of uncertainty about the next.  This life is as sure as it gets to them.  They live for it.  Nothing is more than this life because it's all they've got.  Churches aren't helping with it, because they are also making it about this life, knowing that's what this generation also thinks.  In other words, churches aren't bringing deliverance from the actual fear of death, as seen in their adherents' preoccupations.

We live in a world of fear that is controlling us.  Some leaders and the media are taking advantage of it.  For the most part, it's just very natural.  Many of the leaders and the media might be fearful too.  It's hard to interpret where there is purposeful manipulation of the situation and where there isn't.  However, believers shouldn't function according to fear of death and should help the rest of the world to do that too -- through the gospel.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Local Church

 I challenge you to find the one time in scripture that says the two words in the following order, "local church."  Where did the idea of "local church" come from?  In material written and statements made about the church, that language is everywhere today, as if it were in the Bible, and yet it isn't.  God never says, "local church."  Why do people use this terminology not found in God's Word?

Saying "local church" assumes there is some other kind of church than "local."  The word translated "church," a term found only in the New Testament, is the Greek ekklesiaEkklesia means "assembly."  That's how Tyndale translated ekklesia in his first printed New Testament in English.  One would not say, "local assembly."

Okay, you might read, "local assembly," used like the following.  John was a "local assembly member."  The speaker is referring to a political institution that is local and not regional, state, federal, or just somewhere else than in his present locality.  There are other assemblies in other places than just in this town, so this is a "local assembly."

Here's another one.  John worked at a "local assembly plant."  In that case, a factory in town assembles things.  Something is being assembled, but it isn't people in this case, but a product being assembled, that is, put together.  All the pieces will be in one place after they are assembled, however.

Despite the aforesaid mentions of "local assembly," there is no such thing as a "universal assembly," even though those words might be used too.  Here's how.  This grease was a "universal assembly lubricator."  In other words, it was a grease that would work for all manner of assembly of metal parts into whole products anywhere in the world.  But I digress.

Something universal can't assemble.  It wouldn't be universal anymore.  It would be local.  The terms "universal" and "assembly" are mutually exclusive.  Since a church, ekklesia, is an assembly, it can't be universal.  It must be local if it is an assembly.  For that reason, someone shouldn't say, "local church."

"Local church" isn't in the Bible, because the church is only local.  Every church is local.  It wouldn't be a church if it wasn't local.  This is what I call "local only ecclesiology."  When I googled those words, "local only ecclesiology," the first four finds were written by me, the fifth by James Bronsveld, and the sixth by Thomas Ross.  There are only at this date 521 usages on the world wide web.  I would say I may have invented the terminology to refer to a position, and I found that it had spread to a few other people, who don't even take the position, but are referring to the biblical position.

People, who use the terminology "local church," I submit, are making room for some other kind of church than a local one.  There is no other kind of church than a local one.  I contend that starting today, everyone that uses the terminology, "local church," and believes in only the "local church," should stop saying, "local church."  Call "the church," "the church."  It is only local.

Some say, 'it might be confusing to call the local church, "the church," because many people will think of the universal church.'  There is no universal church.  The church is the church.  When I say, "the church through history," I mean only a local one, because there is only a local one.  If I say, "the church is in a downward trajectory," I mean only local church.  I'm using it in a generic fashion, like scripture sometimes does, but it is still local.

If I say, "the phone had modernized," is that a universal phone?  No.  Everyone knows it's local.  If I say, "the car has changed through the years," is it a universal car?  No.  Everyone knows it's local.  Let's assume an assembly is local.  A church is an assembly.

I just read a man, Caleb Greggsen, who had written, an article for 9 Marks, entitled, "A Strict But Clear Definition of the Church Brings Freedom," in which he wrote:

My church’s statement of faith defines a local church in this way:  [Local churches are] congregations of baptized believers covenanted together in faith and fellowship, marked by the right preaching of God’s word and right administration of the ordinances.

Greggsen isn't being strict or clear.  He said it was a definition of "the church."  So say in your definition, "the church is. . . ., " not "local churches are."  What's ironic is someone saying, "local churches are congregations."  That's like saying, congregations are congregations, or like I once heard someone say, "pizza pie."  Pizza is pie in Italian, so someone is saying, pie pie.

His definition is confusing, not clear.  Are the congregations covenanted together?  Or are the baptized believers covenanted together?  His desire to keep alive a "universal church" caused him to be unclear in his definition of a church.

What do you think?  Could we all today stop using the two terms, "local church"?  A local church is the church.  It is the only church.  It isn't and never has been universal.  The two words, "local church," are not found anywhere in the New Testament.  God doesn't use those words, because the church is only local.

When God says, "the church at Corinth," He doesn't say, "the local church at Corinth."  He doesn't need to.  It is the church that is in Corinth, the only one.  It couldn't be universal, unless every believer on earth was in Corinth, which we know isn't true.  The exact wording is "the church of God which is at Corinth" (1 Corinthians 1:2).  It's even using the definite article, "the" (yes, also in the Greek).   The church of God is at Corinth, not "a church of God."  If there was another church than a local one, wouldn't this be "a church" and not "the church"?  You know it would be, but it isn't.  Why?  Because "the church" is a local one only.

Join me in not making room for another church than a local one by not using the word "local" to refer to "church."  Church is only local.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Word of Truth Conference 2020 (Not A Normal One)

This is probably our last Word of Truth (WOT) Conference.  It also will not be normal.  We are ordaining two men from Bethel Baptist Church to the office of the bishop.  They are both qualified.  You are still welcome to come, but it won't be the same.  We will keep you updated about what will be occurring instead of the WOT Conference.  It might be something you're still interested in.

I want to remind you that I am not in California now.  I am in Oregon, as a missionary and starting a church.  For a short transition period, I am still the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, while Pastor Sutton recuperates from his cerebral hemorrhage.  He is recovering, which is good, because that is only about a third of the people who have one of those.  He is in California and getting better, but we are not requiring anything of him until reevaluation in January.  We expect him to be ready to get started in January, and then he will become pastor of Bethel Baptist Church.

In the meantime, Jerad Stager is intern pastor of the church.  He will be ordained in November, but we think he is qualified already, just hasn't had hands laid on him yet.  To do this, he has taken a leave of absence from a high paying job.  David Warner is principal of the school, Bethel Christian Academy.  He was going to train for a year under Pastor Sutton, but that plan was scrapped due to the information of paragraph two.  Both of these men, who are doing a great job, will be the two ordained.

The conference this year will be, as usual, the second week of November (11-15), Wednesday to Sunday.  I will be there.  The first night, I and some other preacher will preach.  Thursday morning, David Warner will present his doctrinal statement and be examined.  Other men will be there to help with the examination and to witness this.  Thursday night first a charge will be made to David Warner by his father-in-law, Jerry Wilhite, followed by a sermon by David.  Friday morning, Jerad Stager will present his doctrinal statement and be examined.  Friday night first a charge will be made to Jerad Stager by his father-in-law, David Costantino, followed by a sermon by Jerad.

Saturday morning, the theme will return to that of the last two years of the WOT conference:  sanctification.  We are still preparing to publish a book on the gospel and then on sanctification.  A lot of work still needs to be done for both of these.   That morning, the 14th, Saturday, Thomas Ross and myself will cover two sessions on sanctification.

Sunday morning, for Sunday School and the morning service, the two above newly ordained men will finish presenting their doctrinal statements.  One of the visiting preachers will preach the afternoon or evening service afterwards.  That's the conference for this year.  You can still come if you'd like, but it's not in general the type of conference we've had, so we understand if you wouldn't come this year.  We wanted you to know though.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Satanic Conspiracy, COVID-19, the Church's Response

Satan is real.  What about COVID-19?  We have seen lockdowns.  We have seen trillions in new debt.  We have seen new drugs created by Big Pharma.  Videos saying it is a "Plandemic," something taught by the great scientist Judy Mikovitsc until she was shut down by the communists who control the government, have gone viral.  
Millions of people think masks do not work and can cause CO2 poisoning.  Maybe COVID is something our government is spreading in conjunction with communist China in order to trick people into getting vaccinated--after all, think about the millions of lives impacted by vaccines.  YouTube videos are everywhere.  (Check this two minute one out on how cures for cancer are being suppressed--note that I do not endorse the music):

At work a few months ago I had to do a report because someone identifying himself as "Freekshow" had put graffiti up stating "There is no coronavirus. The government lies to us every day."  

Maybe that is the truth, no?  Is Freekshow right and the CDC wrong?

Churches need to take a stand!  They need to not wear masks!  They need to stop social distancing!  Hand sanitizer and gloves are actually bad for you!  They need to resist the Red Chinese who are taking over our country using COVID!  Forget PubMed--they need to get everyone to watch Plandemic and get medical information from other reliable sources, like videos random people put on the Internet!  It is only the Demoncrats, like Senate leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence, who believe in any of this mask wearing stuff!  Baptists, fundamentalists, and evangelicals need to show that they are not gullible enough to believe the CDC and Dr. Fauci when there are videos on YouTube and graffiti artists who show that they are wrong.  RESIST!

Satan is real--he has a purpose here to hurt the church of God and take away our liberties and constitutional rights!

The REAL COVID-19 Conspiracy and Satan

So let's say your church goes this route.  They stop preaching and applying the Bible alone and start preaching on conspiracy theories, giving them the imprimatur of "thus saith the LORD" from the pulpit of the Lord's church.  Maybe you are a church member who is pushing for this to happen and are promoting these theories to others in the congregation.  Maybe you are a church leader who wants to do this.  Here are some things you should consider.

What if the conspiracy theories you are having Christ's church promote violate basic laws of science--for example, what if carbon dioxide molecules are simply far too small to not pass through masks, while viruses and water droplets composed of thousands of H20 molecules together are much larger?

What if the people who you are calling out as communist agents, or as who knows what else, are not actually agents of communism, even if you disagree with their political perspective?  Isn't slander still a sin, even if you are slandering someone who takes a different political position?  Should the pulpit be a place for people to hear the Triune Jehovah's truth, or slander?

What if we are commanded to be “afraid to speak evil of dignities” and not to “despise government” (2 Peter; Jude), so we don't actually get to rail against governmental officials, since Michael the Archangel did not even revile Satan?  What if Romans 13 actually means what it says and those magistrates have authority from God, as even the wicked ruler Nero did?  What if you are guilty of the sin of evil-speaking?  What if when Christ exposed the Pharisees in Matthew 23, every single thing He said was 100% accurate, but your accusations are not?  What if, unintentionally perhaps, you are spreading lies?  Do you remember who the father of lies is (John 8:44)?

What if you destroy Christian liberty by binding the consciences of the saints to conspiratorial beliefs and practices for which you have no authority from the great Head of the Church?  What if He whose eyes are like a flame of fire, whose feet are like burning brass, who took a whip and drove out people from His Father's House who were perverting His truth, and who killed people in Corinth for unworthy practices (1 Corinthians 11) does not like it when you tell His espoused bride (Ephesians 5) something other than what He, her great Husband, commands?

What if you are now feeding God's sheep junk food instead of giving the hungry children of God the milk and meat of the Word?  What did Jehovah do to the shepherds who would not "feed the flock" (Ezekiel 34:3; 1 Peter 5)?

What if, after you stand against masks and against social distancing, COVID spreads through your church like wildfire?  What if some of God's saints die because you failed to practice sound reasoning--which is commanded in Scripture (Isaiah 1:18) and is part of the greatest commandment, to love God with all your mind as well as your affections (Mark 12:30)?  What if you are an awful testimony to your community as your church becomes known as the place, not where God's truth is spread, but where disease is spread?  What if your church spreads COVID to people in the community who then die and go to hell?

What if your church leads to many church members losing thousands of dollars since they can't go to work because you exposed them to COVID?  What if your church temporarily shuts down community businesses by infecting them with COVID?  Do you think those people will listen to your church when it proclaims the gospel?

What if people leave a strong independent Baptist church for a weak or false "church" because the strong church is such a rotten testimony through getting side-tracked with conspiracy theories?  What if you are no longer able to effectively fulfill the Great Commission because people who are not conspiracy theory addicts think your church is full of disease-spreading nut cases?  You bear no sin if people are turned off because of Biblical truth, but what if you do bear sin if they are turned off because you are promoting conspiracy theories?

What if people follow your COVID conspiracy theories and get into other conspiracies, with the result that they die of forms of cancer that are actually easily treatable because they opt for New Age or other unconventional "medicine" instead of treatments that actually work?

What if people are not willing to believe actual Biblical truth you preach to them because of the conspiratorial lies you were mixing in with God's truth?

What if preaching conspiracy theories actually helps destroy religious liberty and weaken constitutional freedoms?  What if by going nuts you provide a great argument for secular rulers keeping churches closed?  What if by rejecting masks or other CDC guidelines you distract from real and wicked violations of religious liberty, such as Nevada guidelines that favor casinos and discriminate against churches or the unrighteous restrictions on churches in California?  What if by making conspiratorial nonsense a hill to die on, you strengthen the hand of Satan and those in government who actually do despise Christ, His churches, and His people, and make it harder for Christians to really take a stand over what actually does matter?

What if the real conspiracy of Satan is not found in the misinformation in Plandemic and other online videos, but Satan's real goal is to get you to believe unscientific lies online, stop preaching the Bible, commit the sins of slander and evil-speaking, contribute to the death or sickness of some of the saints and some in the world, destroy your testimony, hinder the Great Commission, and contribute to the destruction of religious liberty by being a nut-case?

What if you may have good intentions, but there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is still spiritual death and destruction (Proverbs 14:12)?

Please carefully apply Biblical principles, employ logic--the way God thinks--use reason--as He commands His people to do--cry mightily to God for understanding, and put feet to those prayers by doing careful research, before you promote conspiracy theories to fellow saints in the Lord's church, and especially consider the above, if you are a church leader, before you bring any conspiracy theories into the sacred pulpit of the Lord's NT temple.  Maybe you should even evaluate whether the time you spend watching YouTube videos on this stuff would be better employed studying Scripture or even reading a textbook on biology to make sure you understand basic scientific facts.

Be careful you are not advancing Satan's cause when you think you are opposing it by proclaiming conspiracy theories.

By the way, if you think I must have been paid off by Big Pharma to write this, please make sure that they have my correct address--the checks haven't been coming, and I have been waiting and waiting and waiting.

If you feel personally offended by this post, or if you think that the proper response to it is to ignore its arguments and attack is author, I would suggest that you meditate upon Isaiah 1:18 and, instead of judging based on feelings, think dispassionately about whether your response is logical or rational.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Sanctification By Works In Colossians 3

Justification is by faith alone.  Scripture teaches that in many places.  Sanctification, however, is not by faith alone.  Sanctification comes also by works.  You've got to do something and keep doing things to be sanctified.  When you don't do those things, that is not being sanctified.  This is biblical and historical teaching.  You can see this in the section on sanctification in the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)  [see underlined portions]:

1. They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, are also farther sanctified, really and personally, through the same virtue, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. (Acts 20:32; Romans 6:5, 6; John 17:17; Ephesians 3:16-19; 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23; Romans 6:14; Galatians 5:24; Colossians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14)

2. This sanctification is throughout the whole man, yet imperfect in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war; the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Romans 7:18, 23; Galatians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:11)

3. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, pressing after an heavenly life, in evangelical obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head and King, in His Word hath prescribed them. (Romans 7:23; Romans 6:14; Ephesians 4:15, 16; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 7:1)

To some of you reading, what I've written so far might seem like a no-brainer.  However, churches are in a major way buying into an idea expressed by words such as these:  "sanctification is the daily hard work of going back to the reality of our justification."  Timothy Kauffman writes about this in Sanctification, Half Full: The Myopic Hermeneutic of the “Grace” Movement:

[T]he new view (occasionally called the “Grace movement”) appears to allege that justification completes our sanctification; that is, the holiness of sanctification is that same righteousness that was already secured for believers via Christ’s substitutionary atonement, and is obtained by the same instrumental means of faith alone.

The Bible nor the history of Christianity says sanctification is by faith alone, but by faith plus works.  Read Colossians 3:1-5:

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.

The first half of verse one describes the reality of justification or salvation, if you will:  "ye then be risen with Christ."  It is a first class condition, so it is a condition of reality.  If someone is really justified, he will do things.  He will do good works.  That is how he is sanctified.  And they are all commands:  Seek (v. 1), Set (v. 2), Mortify (v. 5).  People who are truly justified are commanded to do good works, not preach the gospel to themselves.

If someone truly saved were to preach the gospel to himself, he might do it in a few words, and I'm going to use my own name:  "You are risen with Christ, Kent."  Alright done preaching the gospel to myself, and now I, me, am commanded to do these things.  Your affections are not just going to be set on things above.  You've got to set them.

Many, many professing Christians today are not seeking, not setting their affections on, and not mortifying.  They are not.  After reminding themselves that they are risen with Christ, they need to obey those commands.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Simplicity of God

A good question for anyone to answer is, Who is God?  Is that question easy to answer?  If it is, you answer it.  What would you say?

Your wrong answers might mean that you don't believe in God, you don't have God, and you don't know God.   Each of those mean that you are not saved.  Only God saves.  He's not going to save everyone and belief in Him is required.  Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17:3:
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God
The assumption here is that if this is life eternal, then in contrast is something that is death eternal.  If someone doesn't know the only true God, there is no eternal life for him, so eternal death.  In his Body of Divinity, on the "Being of God" Thomas Watson answers the question like others have:
God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.
I don't want to scare you about your shortcomings in the knowledge of God.   However, your aspiration should be to know God and worship Him in truth.  We know that people do worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator.  In the history of Christian doctrine, an attribute of God not listed by Thomas Watson in his answer is "the simplicity of God."  The simplicity of God does separate God from His creatures, which distinguishes the Creator from His creatures.

The simplicity of God isn't demeaning God.  To say God is simple is to contrast God with complexity, which requires the existence of parts.  As an example, God is not the sum of parts, like we are. God is love (1 John 4:8).  We are not love.  Love can be a part of what we are, something that characterizes us as does a number of other parts.

God's creatures can be distinguished between them and their characteristics.  We have attributes.  God is His attributes.  The attributes of God cannot be distinguished from who God is as God.  God is the love by which He loves.

God is self-existent, so He just is.  Not for us, His creatures.  God has given us our existence.  God does not derive Who He is from anyone or anything else.  All creatures owe their being to God.

The divine attributes of God are the essence of God.  They are essential to His being.  For example, if God is not omnipotent, He is not God.  So He is all of His attributes in an indivisible whole. If He was anything but the perfection of those attributes, He would not be God.

The attributes of God are not parts of God.  They are God's own being.  The creatures of God are made up of parts.  God cannot add to or lose any of Who He is.  No difference can be made between all of Who He is.

When Romans 3:23 says that we fall short of the glory of God, it speaks of a fundamental difference between God and His creatures.  God has no part, because He is only whole.  God does not fall short in any attribute.  This is His wholeness.  Jesus too is the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9).  Jesus did not and does not fall short of the glory of God.  He is God (John 1:1).  He is of the same nature as the Father.  He is full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

I've given scriptural proofs of what has been called the simplicity of God, but it is revealed in that God is love, God is life, God is light, God is powerful, God is good, God is true, God is faithful, God is holy, God is righteousness, God is peace, and God is joy.  These are not parts.  They are God.  His simplicity is the absence of parts.

Something composite or made up of parts has every component dependent upon every other one.  God is not dependent upon anything.  Being good is not distinct from God.  He is goodness. We possess goodness distinct from who we are.  This is not the case with God.

God is infinite.  God has no potential to be in a different state than what He is or who He is.  He is not subject to place or time, each of which would require God to be dependent on something or someone else for who He is, which we know could be only His creation.  God has no variableness because He does not exist in relations to others or other things.  He just is.  This is the simplicity of God.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Saving Faith: What it is not and what it is: Bible Study 5C-D in "How Do I Receive the Gospel?"

 In previous weeks I have posted Bible studies #1-3 and 5A-B in the series of evangelistic Bible studies.  This week I have posted the final part of study #5, namely, what saving faith is not and what it is.  I believe that a lost person who goes through these studies honesty should be illuminated by the Holy Ghost as to his spiritual condition. In our day when anyone who can walk down an isle and shake the hand of someone at the front is assumed to be genuinely converted, a careful presentation of what falls short of saving faith and what it involves is, I trust, something the Lord can use for His glory and which can help the lost, and which can also assist the saints in carefully helping the unconverted with the spiritual needs of their souls.

The videos at FaithSaves have also been made mobile-friendy, so you can view them here on your phone or other mobile device now as easily as they can be watched on a desktop.

Please watch the embedded video below or watch the video on YouTube, and please feel free to share your comments here and there and to "like" the video if you believe it is valuable.

Bible Study #5C: Saving Faith, what it is not and what it is, 
in"How do I Receive the Gospel?" Bible Study #5:

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Pretence of Christian Liberty

 You like that title?  It's not original.  It comes from the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) [21:3]:

They who upon pretence of Christian liberty do practice any sin, or cherish any sinful lust, as they do thereby pervert the main design of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction, so they wholly destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our lives.  (Romans 6:1, 2; Galatians 5:13; 2 Peter 2:18, 21)

In case you complain about those Baptist boogie men, as if whatever experience you've had or have been deceived into thinking you have had as an excuse that could nullify scriptural teaching, something almost identical is in the Westminster Confession of Faith (20:3).

I'm pointing out this one item in the the LBC and WCF because it is the historic position of the church, it isn't new, the contradiction of it is a big problem today, and it also disclaims the idea that this is a pet peeve or a recent obsession.  I also like the language, "pervert the main design of the grace of the gospel," and, "destroy the end of Christian liberty."

Using foul language or gestures is a pretence of Christian liberty.  You don't have liberty to do that as a Christian.  That isn't salvation.   The female showing her naked thighs is a pretence of Christian liberty.  Playing and promoting profane music, worldly and carnal, is a pretence of Christian liberty.  We have liberty to "serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our lives."  These previous examples in this paragraph and many others represent the perverting "the main design of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction."

I would add that calling on professing believers to destroy their idols, stop imitating the world, deny worldly lust, abstain from fleshly lust, cover their nakedness, and stop glorying in their shame is not "contrary to the word," "not contained in it," or betraying "true liberty of conscience" (LBCF 21.3).  Contrariwise, God saved us from these things.  The doing of them and claiming Christian liberty is but a pretense.  In other words, it is pretend liberty, concocted in the imagination of the doer by which he or she can live for himself or herself and still call himself or herself a Christian.

Scripture teaches what the LBC calls "liberty of conscience."  The idea here is that a believer is expressed by the words (21:1), "their yielding obedience unto Him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind."  This is still "yielding obedience unto Him."  It isn't liberty to sin against God, but to do so with "a childlike love and willing mind."  It matters why we do what we do.  Subjecting people to other than scriptural mandates inhibits God-honoring motivation for service.

Further investigation into the teaching of scripture upon the conscience reveals that the conscience is in part protected by rare subjugation to merely human ordinances.  Even performing according to Divine design, a conscience will still respond to non-biblical or unbiblical edicts.  A conscience can be harmed by adding to or taking away from what scripture teaches.  Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 for the freedom of conscience.  A pretence of Christian liberty is not that.  A Christian wants his conscience warning him against idolatry, foul language, shameful behavior, nakedness, worldliness, irreverence, and lust.

Monday, August 10, 2020

No Daisy Dukes In the Kingdom: Professing Christians Who Don't Want to Go to Hell But They Don't Like the Kingdom of God Either

 In His model prayer, the Lord Jesus Christ gave the pattern of praying, "Thy kingdom come," an imperative of request.  True believers will ask for God's kingdom to come.  They want it.

The kingdom of God isn't some arbitrary kingdom like Vulgaria in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  It is a particular, defined kingdom.  Jesus is its king already.  It's not subject to vote.  He's already got the position and it is a lifetime appointment, which happens to be forever.  If you want in that kingdom, you've got to accept His reign in advance.  That means you like it.  You desire it.  You're asking for it already, can't wait until it gets here.

Christian girls who post themselves in their daisy dukes on instagram, I can tell you in advance, they won't like, they don't like, the kingdom of God.  They want a different kingdom, not one where Jesus Christ reigns.  Problem is that His is the only kingdom.  The end of that model prayer reads:  "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever" (Luke 6:13), which is also a quotation of 1 Chronicles 29:11, the whole verse of which says:

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

I can see the moribund countenance of the professing Christian girl, who was just told she couldn't bring her shorts with her.  When everyone else breaks into the grand chorus of praise, her lips are frozen.  She can only sing if self-care or self-love are included, and then she would rock.  At the prospect of the actual kingdom, she would ghost God if she could, because He won't let her dress like she wants in His kingdom.  At last check, she still likes His air and food provision though.

One of the great losses of not praying like Jesus said is the absence of praying for the kingdom of God.  Jesus is already reigning at the right hand of the Father in the midst of His enemies (Psalm 110:2).  Everyone added to the kingdom in this era is giving in to that reign, which means submitting in a biblical church.  It is an actual submission, not one like where you just put an X in the submission box, registering intellectual assent.  Jesus threw the keys to the kingdom to the church, and you don't have to be in it.  You can go ahead and take the temporal life you have as everything you're ever going to get.

I recognize that most churches today don't give the impression to people that they are already citizens of a kingdom, which means a rule is presently occurring.  They are under a rule.  This is why in the description of overseers or pastors, it says that they "rule" as the accurate, true verb of job description.  Jesus is ruling, but they are carrying it on for Him as if it were Him.

Daisy Duke Christian imagines Vulgaria like the ink blot rorschach for the kingdom of God.  Superimposed is "the grace of God."  God's grace allows God's kingdom to be Vulgaria.  Hey, I want in now!  This is all fiction hatched in an imagination.

Daisy Duke Christian doesn't evangelize.  She thinks by being "nice," that is evangelism.  She's "nice" to everyone, while they die and go to Hell.  They are in turn "nice" back to her, and everyone is a big nice happy family in the kingdom of Vulgaria.  It is all a lie.

What I'm writing is also true of Nashville Profane Music Christian.  None of these are going to be in the kingdom of God.  They wouldn't even like it.  If it showed up right now, they would reject it, unless they found out the alternative would be going to Hell.  Then they would begrudgingly sign on to avoid that, hating every moment of it.

God won't take someone into His kingdom as a hostage with Stockholm syndrome.  Actually, just the reverse is true.  Daisy Duke Christian has developed a psychological affection for her captor, who happens to be the prince of this world.  She's in bondage and she doesn't recognize that he is ruling over her.  That's why she wants to stay, like Lot's wife looking yearningly toward her own vision of the kingdom, which identically matches the world system.

In one very true sense the kingdom has already started for actual kingdom citizens.  They want to live now like they will for a thousand years after Jesus has made His enemies His footstool.  They want to be with Him in church, His church, not the phantom church of pop Christianity, which not only allows but most often encourages daisy dukes.  Those who don't like the actual kingdom of Jesus Christ now aren't real citizens.  And there are no green cards.  They will never get a temporary visa.  Believing in Jesus does mean believing in Jesus, which its clear through the whole Bible means that you want Him as your King.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Repentance: What it is: Bible Study 5B in "How Do I Receive the Gospel?"

Last week I posted "Repentance: What it is Not: Bible Study 5A, 'How Do I Receive the Gospel?'" This week I am posting part 5B, on true repentance.  Parts #1-3 of the foundational Bible study were posted in the past, while part #4, on the Person and work of Christ, is not yet ready to go live.

As in the section on what repentance is not, I found Joseph Alleine's Alarm to the Unconverted helpful  in this part of the study.

Have you ever truly repented, or have you been satisfied with a counterfeit that falls short of true conversion?

I would encourage you to consider training people in your church to use these Bible studies in their gospel preaching, and to share the videos on YouTube or at FaithSaves with others.  Some have also said that they have used these in their family devotions.  Please watch the embedded video below or watch the video on YouTube, and please feel free to share your comments here and there and to "like" the video if you believe it is valuable.

Bible Study #5B: What True Repentance is, in
"How do I Receive the Gospel?" Bible Study #5:

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The Easiest People In the World To Fool

The Bible doesn't make a point blank statement to describe the people easiest in the world to fool -- "they are. . . ."  You can cull this information from a cumulative view of all of scripture though.  On top of that, it has been my observation.

The phrase, "a sucker is born every minute," is associated with P. T. Barnum, the circus master.  The origination of the statement identifies with gambling and con men, saying, "There's a mark born every minute."  "Con" means "confidence man."  Researchers into confidence tricks defined them as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct. . . . intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial."  The purveyor of the trick became also known as a "con artist."  Those fooled are labeled by the cons: marks, suckers, stooges, rubes, or gulls (the latter short for "gullible").  The people of our church know that very often, I say, "people think they're getting something, but all they're getting, is getting gotten."

The one quality that I see today of those easiest in the world to fool is "niceness."  Niceness is the most important trait to fooling them.  They latch on to those who are nice to them.   The marks or stooges themselves aren't nice -- usually not -- but they are suckers for niceness.  If you brag them up, promote them, say nice things to them, tell them how great they are or look, they will usually trust you, that is, you'll gain their confidence.  If you are not nice to them, that being the one redeeming trait, they reject you.  Just be nice to them.  Never say an unkind word to them.  Put heart and like on every post and a nice comment, and you've got yourself at least a superficial supporter.

This "niceness" is a chief replacement for biblical love.  Actual love isn't a con.  It truly does care about what is best and most important for a person.  Love isn't fooling anyone.  It tells the truth.  When I say truth, I mean, what scripture or God says about whatever subject it is.  Love says and does what is best for another person, which also includes reproof and rebuke.  Those aren't nice.

In Genesis 3, look how nice Satan was to Eve.  See how Satan framed God, that God wasn't being nice to her.  Satan was nice.  God wasn't nice.  Eve went with nice.  The following chapter, God wasn't nice to Cain.  He didn't just accept his offering.  On the other hand, He was nice to Abel, which was grounds for Cain murdering his brother.

I like the dictionary definition of "nice," because it does fit what I'm talking about.  "Nice" means pleasant and agreeable.  The example given in a sentence in the dictionary for "niceness" was also appropriate:  "Her sheer niceness won her many friends."

Of all those prey to niceness, women are the most, and especially young women.  This is why 2 Timothy 3:6 says, "they. . . . lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts."  It is why younger women in the church need to submit to older or more mature women.  Con men themselves say that young women are the easiest marks, especially under the influence of a little bit older man.  If you have a young woman about 16-25, she is most easily conned by a man 20 to 30.  He does this by saying and doing nice things to and for her.  This is how young women give away their purity and virginity.  They also stop listening to their parents.

I'm not saying, don't be nice to people.  We all should be nice whenever we can.  It's not that important though.  Being nice all the time is not only not required, but it's required not to be nice in many cases.  You can't love someone and be nice all the time.

Niceness becomes the currency of societal acceptance.  It is a requirement on social media.  You can accumulate numbers of friends on social media by using your niceness currency.  Someone uses the Lord's name in vain.  Be nice.  Someone uses a foul word.  Be nice.  Someone lies.  Be nice.  Someone shows up naked.  Be nice.   Boy comes out as a girl.  Be nice.  Two men kissing.  Be nice.  You'll get along with all of them, and they "like you."  You recognize that you've got keep being nice.  That's all it takes.  As society crumbles around you, taking that steep slide toward Sodom and Gomorrah, you just keep being nice.  Everybody gets along with this singular ethic of being nice.

If you aren't nice, you won't be treated nice.  You know that.  A whole theology can develop around niceness until every interpretation of scripture submits to niceness.  Every point of view you take relates itself to niceness.  It's acceptable belief and practice if it conforms to niceness.

Does God want you to be nice to everyone on every occasion?  No.  What I've witnessed is that people won't be nice, when you're not nice.  This is the point, I believe, of Proverbs 18:24, which in the King James Version reads:
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
I grew up thinking that this was a positive first statement.  It's good to be friendly, because you'll have friends then.  Being friendly is almost identical to "be nice."  If you want to have a lot of friends, just be be nice.  It isn't positive; it is negative.  The friendliness of which it speaks is a type of perversion, because it is pandering to people.  You aren't causing necessary division, required by God in scripture, by not being nice to people who don't believe right or do right.

The second half of Proverbs 18:24 relates to the first.  A true friend doesn't demand friendliness.  He's going to be loyal.  Keeping friends by being nice to them is a recipe for disaster.  You'll have a group of sycophants like one sees on social media among millennials (yes, I said that word again).  Psalm 101:3-5 provide a contrast:
I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.  A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.  Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
This is David saying, I'm not going to be nice to people.  If you keep being nice to people, who are living in sin without repentance, you will get more sinful living.  You don't want that.  This is why 2 Thessalonians 3:14 says:
And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
You see the same type of treatment in 2 John 1;10-11 in a different situation:
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
Those being fooled by niceness, because they've reduced their standards to niceness mainly to them, see most everything through this lens of niceness.  They've stopped being discerning, as scripture calls upon them to be, except in the one area.  They know when someone isn't treating them nice.  So what does the con man do, any type of deceptive person do?  He treats them nicely and he knows he's got them.  Whatever they want to do gets approval, except for the lone standard of niceness.

What do you hear as a common judgment of someone today?  "He's a really nice guy."  "That's good!"  "She's so nice!"  "I've got to get to know her."  People have become so accustomed to this as the one vital trait, niceness, that they adjust their lives to it.

Some people think I'm a nice guy.  Others think I'm not a nice guy.  I try to be nice as much as I can.  If everything is reduced to nice or not nice, I believe I'm less nice than ever.  We need men who will stop being nice, and take their model as the Lord Jesus Christ.  It's easy to say that Jesus was hated in His time on earth, because He wasn't nice.

Those who mandate niceness aren't nice if you aren't nice.  I've found them to be some of the meanest, most disrespectful people I've ever met or seen.  They hate people who are not nice to them.  Hate them.  They treat them with hatred.  They treat them in the most vile, hateful manner that anyone could treat anyone.  All it takes to not experience this hatred is to be nice to them all the time.  It seems simple doesn't it?  Even if they don't really believe in niceness.  They just want it all the time for themselves.  They'll hate you if you don't.  They'll ghost you if you don't.

Satan is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44).  The effectiveness of his lies, as seen from the very beginning, relate to how nice he is.  He's lying, but he's a very nice liar.  He keeps people under the deceit of his lies by the niceness of them.  Everything will keep being nice for people all the way into Hell.

The easiest people in the world to fool are those for whom niceness has become the overriding condition or standard of their lives.  That's a lot of people today.

Monday, August 03, 2020

COVID-19 and Churches Subject to the Higher Powers of Romans 13

Government response to COVID-19 challenged Christian thinking on Romans 13 and other like New Testament passages.  In other terms, it sharpened ecclesiology.  One might call it a test or trial that aided sanctification.  In the middle of this test, growth occurs.  A church might look and act differently in a matter of months and say something it never said before that seems to contradict former statements and stated doctrines or practices.  It might sound like it is contradicting itself.  Everyone and every church needs the opportunity to change.  That's even a reason why the Jezebel of Revelation 2:20 was given space to repent, including by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

People don't want to change, if in the middle of the change, they get clubbed both for changing or for not changing fast enough.  They'll just keep their head down to avoid the carnage.  This reflects what Paul commands the church in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, "Be patient with all men."  Especially young people need to be given the opportunity to fall and get back up again.  Church discipline has the purpose of restoration, which takes some time.  One could notice how patient Jesus was with his disciples.  They had to change, but they were given time to own their beliefs.

Sanctification itself is a lifetime engagement.  Not until we are glorified do we arrive.  Until then we see through a glass darkly.  I'm not going to make major changes any longer at my age, but I'm still changing and growing.  I've got more to learn and I love it.

Someone may have written earlier, "civil government should be obeyed and submitted to by Christians," and, "Peter told a persecuted group of believers to accept and obey their authorities."  Those statements don't contradict disobedience to civil government and authorities.  As has become popular verbiage, the application of Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 isn't binary.

Romans 13 1 states:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
The important two words regarding the application of Romans 13 to the government response to churches during COVID-19 are "be subject."  Maybe next important are "higher powers."  An important word for application is hierarchical.  "Be subject" doesn't mean "submit."  It means, "place yourself under."  There are higher powers and even higher powers.  The highest power is God and when someone places himself under higher powers, there is always the very highest power, God that arbitrates all subjection.

As subjection relates to the husband and wife relationship, the husband is a higher power, but the wife submits to her husband (submits different than subjects) "as unto the Lord."  The Lord helps a woman submit to a knuckle head.  She recognizes that above him is the Lord.  She is ultimately submitting to the Lord, which helps her submit in the short term to a man.

At some point, a church that submits itself to civil government can see that it clashes with the highest power.  Right then, in accordance with hierarchicalism, it circumvents or bypasses the higher power for the highest power.  The church is still subject to civil government, but does not submit to civil government because it contradicts God.

Even the Constitution of the United States recognizes a highest power that gives power to the government.  The authors of the Constitution limited the powers of the federal government in the Bill of Rights, acknowledging that men possess certain rights from God, not from government.  This includes the right to the free exercise of religion, what people call "the free exercise clause," which reads:  "Congress shall make no law. . . . prohibiting the free exercise thereof [religion]."

Civil government does not define the exercise of religion.  At least according to religion, God does.  Civil government does not have power either to define the exercise of religion or to regulate it.

Government in the United States, whether local, county, state, or federal, has an interest in the safety of its citizens.  To what degree can the power of the state function in regulating its citizens?  Every citizen walks out his front door with many risks and also risking others.  The government can't eliminate all risk and it doesn't have the power to do that.  If it did, it could take away every liberty any of us possess.

There are 39.51 million people in California.  I'm saying that is 39,510,000 people.  9,399 have reportedly died of COVID-19.  I did the math.  That's .00023788914 or .023% or two one-hundredths of a percent.  You can correct me if you think I'm wrong.  Let me apply this math to Oregon.  333 have reportedly died in Oregon of COVID-19.  There are 4,281,000 in Oregon where I live.  That is .00007894736 or .0078 percent or seven one-thousandths of a percent.  I will risk seven one-thousandsths of a percent for the freedom to practice my religion.

I could become more eggheaded.  I could ask, what percentage of these above people died in a nursing home?  Officially over 25% of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes.  I did that math too.  There are 157,000 COVID deaths in the United States and 40,273 are nursing homes.

Abortions constitute over 800,000 or more deaths every year in the United States.  You could see how that Christians, who believe abortion is murder, might see this protected and even supported practice as a contradiction.  Also certain massive and regular political protests are being allowed by the same governments all over the country.  The same governments that restrict churches are in writing permitting these protests.  All the West Coast states deemed cannabis businesses to be essential.

A major reason for the free exercise of religion is incapability of government to legislate morality.  How damaging is immorality?  God wants worship.  In the face of death, someone needs preparation to meet God.  Is soul solace essential during a pandemic?  Civil government cannot abrogate moral law.  It cannot say, "No, there is no eternal life and eternal death, only physical life and physical death."  The government supercedes its power, both by the judgment of God and even by the judgment of the Constitution, when it prohibits free exercise of religion.

Regarding COVID-19, where does civil government overstep its authority?  How does it violate the free exercise of religion?   It does that when it says a church cannot meet.  County, state, and federal governments in the United States have revealed their interest in intruding on the rights of churches.  Churches must submit to the highest power when only higher powers, lesser powers than the highest power, violate the highest power.

Churches now are defying their government.  They have the right to do this.  Perhaps they started out submitting to the government edicts regarding COVID-19.  Because they are not doing so anymore isn't a contradiction.  Much of what is happening is new.  Through further evaluation and new and better information, churches are applying scripture and submitting to God rather than men (Acts 5:29).  They are subject to the higher powers, but not at the expense of the highest power.