Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Could Someone Be Saved When He Acknowledges He Believes Jesus Died for Him?

In now over three decades of regular evangelism, my outline of the gospel presents four points, the third of which is either worded, Jesus Paid the Penalty for Sin, or, Jesus Died for You.  Either way, I end that point by asking, Do you believe that Jesus died for you?  Almost everyone says, yes, to that question.  It occurs so often, that I would say everyone says, yes, to that question every time that I ask it.  The third point is not where the presentation of the gospel breaks down.  Many people without hesitation believe that Jesus died for them.

My question to you reader is, is someone saved who believes that Jesus died for him?  A lot of people believe that.  Do you think they're saved?  To be consistent, many should say, yes.  Almost none of the people, who say, Jesus died for me, at that point are saved.  If they are saved, they were already saved before I asked them that question.

Do you think anything is missing from what someone needs to believe, if he just believes that Jesus died for him?  What more needs to be believed?  More does need to be believed.

On the other hand, to be consistent, many churches should perhaps assume that someone is already saved because he does already believe that Jesus died for him.  This is more than what some churches expect someone to believe.  They ask the person to just reach out and accept the free gift of salvation or eternal life by praying for it.  That is less than believing that Jesus died for him.

When someone believes Jesus died for him, he is believing that Jesus is Savior.  Is that enough to be saved?  Someone will reach that point by the time I get to the third thing he needs to know in our presentation.  I never think that is enough.  Someone hasn't believed in Jesus Christ, when he merely believes that Jesus died for him.

When I present the gospel, I explain why the person needed Jesus to die for him.  I explain that I would die for him, but that wouldn't be good enough.  I'm a sinner.  At that point, I explain the Trinity, that Jesus is God, and that Jesus was sinless.  He could die a substitutionary death.  I most often also explain that Jesus shed His blood for him.  I explain what the blood of Jesus Christ did, does, and means to him.  I explain all of that, and when he believes that, I still don't believe that is a saved person.

What more does someone need to explain for someone to be saved?  Why isn't someone saved after that third point, when I ask, do you believe Jesus died for you?  He says, yes.  Everyone says, yes.  When I explain it, he saying, yes, to Jesus as God, Jesus as sinless, Jesus as having shed His blood, and Jesus shed blood as washing away sin?  When he says, yes, why wouldn't he be saved yet?  What's missing?

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Combinations of Work at the Start of a Church

Many of you readers know we are starting or planting a church in Oregon right now.  We are missionaries.  When I say, "we," I mean my wife and I.  My two eighty year old parents are with us, while we start.  We are also raising support at the same time, so if you are a pastor or church member out there, we are looking for fellowship in the gospel.  In other words, we need support.  We will do this in Oregon, and once the church is started, we will go elsewhere to do that again.  I would love you to contact me about support.  You can get my number and a workable email address at the website of our new church, which is really still a mission (  Please call or email.  Thank you.  I repeat, we need your help.

We started a church in California in 1987 in the San Francisco Bay Area, the East Bay, north of Berkeley.  What I like to say, because it is scriptural, is that we began evangelizing there, and then a church formed out of those who were saved.  Some might think that's just technical, but it is the right way to think.  We are building the kingdom through evangelism.  We want to get a church started, but we are also wanting to evangelize the area.  The two are very closely related, but they are not the same.

Without using gimmicks, which we use none, what does someone do in starting a church?  How does it happen?  We should look at the Bible.  When I think of what should happen, I think of what the Apostle Paul did in Acts.  Barnabas and Paul went to Cyprus and they evangelized.  When they were done there, they went to Asia Minor and evangelized there.  They moved from place to place in Asia Minor too.  As a church forms out of evangelism, a pastor, who is trained, must be left.  He might be a pastor from somewhere else or trained right there on the ground.

I'm going to tell you what I'm doing right now, because I'm in the midst of doing it.  It's not as if you couldn't be doing the same thing where you are, because this is not some secret.  It is very basic, which is what you read in the New Testament. 

Begin covering the area with the gospel.  I spend a chunk of the week going door-to-door. Perhaps you wouldn't do it, because of Covid-19.  It's not been a hindrance at all.  The worst that happened was an older man with a cane, who left his house with insane anger in his eyes and asked if I had left the tract on his door.  I said, yes.  He said, that's littering.  I just looked at him, because it was a patent lie.  He was angry, because he hates Christianity.  I was holding my mask in my hand right in front of him.  He said, where's your mask?  He wasn't wearing one.  I just looked down at my mask I was holding.  I was standing there outdoors with no one, besides him, within 100 feet of me. There were two obvious points.  Where was his mask and why did he walk within six feet without one?  I was talking to no one within six feet and carrying a mask.  I asked one question, where's your mask, sir?  He didn't answer.  He said, "I'm calling the police."  It was fine in part because he confronted me on my way out to my car.

I want to keep preaching the gospel.  Today I went 2 1/2 hours.  I had four conversations.  Two were with younger men, both who claimed to be spiritual, one more skeptical and the other more pantheistic.  They were both long conversations and one of them might have a future.  The other two were with an older religious man, who didn't know the gospel, and he couldn't keep talking, but he was interested in meeting again to hear the gospel.  The other was a woman who had just finished dialysis, but she did want to know the gospel, except she was too tired.  These kinds of conversations happen almost every time I go out.  I'm trying to go out 2-3 hours 6 days a week.

So, I want to get coverage.  This is fulfilling, preach the gospel to every creature.  It is sowing the seed like the parable of the soils in Matthew 13, making sure it falls everywhere.

Second, out of the coverage, you can get some evangelistic Bible studies.  I just talked about people two paragraphs ago, who were potential for an evangelistic study.  One of our original group is starting in on an evangelistic study with someone I met door-to-door, who was interested in a Bible study.  Maybe it will keep going, maybe it won't, but these are available for people.

My wife does these evangelistic studies.  She's got one going herself, and maybe two.  When you have ladies, it helps if your wife can do this.

Third, disciple converts.  When someone makes a profession, we give a Bible and we have an initial study.  Then we get into a thirty week discipleship.  Everyone goes there.  If someone is really saved, he will follow Jesus Christ.  His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.  That voice is scripture.  I assume true believers want the Word of God.

Included in discipleship is corporate worship.  We hold services:  Sunday School, Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and then a midweek time.  We want to get someone to all of those.  In those times, you reinforce the individual discipleship or individual discipleship reinforces the services -- either/or, it doesn't matter.  People learn how to pray, to give, to sing, to fellowship, to live holy, to be separate from the world, and to minister.

We immerse new believers.  This is part of making a disciples in addition to teaching them to observe all things Christ commanded.  Lord-willing, we will be baptizing at least five adults on Saturday.  We are renting a motel room with an indoor pool that we can reserve for just us for an hour.  We are looking forward to more.

Help the new believers learn how to evangelize.  This is perfecting the saints for the work of the ministry.  After a church is started, an evangelist or missionary should be leaving other people to continue the work.  They can't do that if they are not trained to do that.

Fourth, every person in your new group has a circle of influence.  Start talking to everyone that all of them know.  They have family, brothers, sisters, parents, children, aunts, uncles, co-workers, and friends.  Start getting evangelism appointments with every possible person.  This is actually where the most people listen.  People's lives change and they are the best testimony to other people.

This is what I see.  A new convert talks to her best friend.  A new convert talks to a co-worker.  A new convert talks to a sister or brother.  A new convert talks to her parents.  There are a lot of these people.  One person might have ten to twenty other people.

Much more is required to get a church started, but these are four basic activities that work together to see it happen.  This will spread the gospel and it will get a church started, two closely related jobs.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Two Short Essays: What Postmodernism Gets the Most Right (It Does) and Science Should Recognize Supernaturalism as Science


Here is how Britannica defines postmodernism:

Postmodernism, also spelled post-modernism, in Western philosophy, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.

Postmodernism is a reaction to or what one might call a pendulum swing from modernism.  Modernism depended on human reason or empirical evidence alone as its basis for truth.  Modernism did not nor was sufficient to fulfill its adherents.  Postmodernism arose mainly, it seems, from a dissatisfaction with modernism.  Modernism did not provide satisfactory answers to important questions related to man's existence.  The main evidence overall for postmodernist thinkers or sympathizers was the modern machine running over humanity as witnessed in the wars of the twentieth century.  Modernism did not bring utopia.

After the rejection of transcendent truth, goodness, and beauty proceeding from Divine revelation, and then the abject failure of modernism, postmodernism is the next iteration of the departure from the Divine.  One could say that the results of modernism were foretold by Friedrich Nietzsche in his "death of God."  Some of the popularity of Jordan Peterson in recent days was his evaluation that Nietzsche's intention of “God is dead" was a warning against the atheism and nihilism of the Western intelligentsia. Peterson says that Marxism and then Nazism moved in to fill the void.

Postmodernists now react to the void left from at least the practical atheism of the West.  What we see in the streets of the United States are the manifestations of that void.  Postmodernism doesn't offer a better alternative than modernism.  It's actually far worse.

Postmodernism is right in its rejection of the modernistic means of knowing the truth.  It says that we are limited in our ability to know.  Modernism placed and places far too much value on reason and empirical evidence.  Postmodernism says the reason is biased, so that reality is constructed through institutions, language, and power.  These are subjective barriers to knowing truth.  This is right.

In application to postmodernism, we get critical theory.  In gender theory, gender has not been determined by empirical evidence, but by a social construct.  "The man" can't be trusted, so if your birth certificate says, biological male, you can still identify as a woman.  Gender is merely a social construct.  Ideas and values are power constructs that shape what is called the truth.  Human beings cannot rise above cultural bias to get at reality, knowledge, or truth.

When modernism rejected the epistemology of faith, the means by which God gives the truth, skepticism and relativism replaced it. By faith men know what is most important to their reality.  The modernistic rejection of faith in God's revelation brought postmodernism.

Postmodernism does acknowledge that man cannot access knowledge in a neutral way.  He comes with a bias.  No one is neutral.  The Bible agrees with that assessment.  This is the reason why men must depend on Divine revelation for their knowledge of the truth.  Postmodernism gets the bias part correct, but turns the exact opposite direction to get the solution.

One more thought.  Much of evangelicalism by bowing to evidentialism and historicism for its theology has aided and abetted the rise of postmodernism.  I'm not saying that evidence does not match what God says in its Word.  I am saying that what is most important for us to know we know by faith.  None of the truth is contradicted by Divine revelation.  All of what we need to know, we receive sufficiently from scripture.  You can see the rejection of that among the leaders of evangelicalism, so it is no wonder that evangelicals today are being influenced by critical theory.  They so wanted to be included in the academy, that they turned from and rejected a premodern, transcendental, fideistic epistemology.


When I evangelize, I don't know how many times I've had someone say they can't take what I'm saying or preaching because he or she is a scientist, meaning of course that I'm not a scientist with what I'm presenting.  It's a lot of times I've heard this -- thousands.  I had it occur the last two days in a row, as examples, and that's not unusual.  I've got a lot of different come backs through the years, but one of them is, "I'm a scientist too."  In fact, people who deny supernaturalism are not the scientists.  Supernaturalism is a requirement for true science.  I'm not going to plunge the entire depth of this subject, but I want to explain part of it at least.

It's not scientific to look at this universe and say, it's only natural.  It's not scientific to look at the existence of kinds both living and in the fossil record and say, it's only natural.  It's not scientific to look at the hundreds of conditions that exist for anyone to live at every given moment and say, it's only natural.  It's not scientific to consider the origin of all matter and space and say, it's only natural.  It's not scientific to look at the irreducible complexity of a human cell and its DNA and say, it's only natural.  It's not scientific to consider the human eye, the circulatory system, the reproductive system, two people conversing at a rapid pace with almost complete understanding and say, it's only natural.  It's not scientific to read and know the thousands of fulfilled prophecies of the Bible and says, it's only natural.  It's not scientific to read and know the true history of the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ and say, it's only natural.

What is obvious is the tremendous power and intelligence required for the origination and sustaining of the order and complexity of all things.  Whatever the explanation, it isn't natural.  Even if someone doesn't want to believe it is God, he still ventures into something supernatural that someone might say requires more faith than the biblical account of the origin of the universe.  For instance, a common view among professing naturalists is the multiverse.  

In The Scientific American in August 2011, scientist Mark Ellis criticized the multiverse view because the issue is metaphysical and can't be resolved with empirical science.  The thought or idea of what it would take or what it would have taken for the existence of a mind-boggling immense and complex universe with incalculable variegated systems delves into something beyond our comprehension, which by definition is supernatural.  Something beyond our human abilities, which is what it would take for all things and every thing to exist and function, moves into the supernatural.

If someone could or would get it into his head that the universe requires a supernatural explanation, then he can consider or explore God as the supernatural explanation.  It does require the supernatural.  There is not an eternal regression of causes, and the first cause must be more powerful and intelligent than human comprehension.  It is not scientific to limit ourselves to the natural alone as an explanation.

Furthermore, some of the smaller, detailed happenings also are beyond a naturalistic explanation as seen in the inability still to know or understand.  Unexplained phenomena are all around.  Men are still not sure what causes the electrical discharges of lightning, a very common occurrence.  A strong force holds atoms together and even though they know it exists, scientists don't know what it is.  They know more than ever about how it works, but they still do not know what it is.

It isn't scientific to reject the supernatural.  It's a philosophical point of view and that's what scripture says it is.  Another name for complete naturalism is uniformitarianism, "the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in our present-day scientific observations have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe."  This point of view is represented in scripture in 2 Peter 3:4, "all things continue as they were from the beginning."  It is a denial of supernatural or divine intervention.

Things don't just continue as they were from the beginning.  That is not scientific in and of itself based upon many different scientific truths, including life comes from life, not from nonlife.  A supernatural first cause, a Self-Existent Uncaused Cause, who intervened to start, is a necessity for the fulfillment of that law of science.  God has continued and continued to intervene and provided sufficient evidence, revelation from Him, that proves His intervention in His creation.

Friday, September 25, 2020

The King James Bible: Too Hard to Understand?

"The King James Version is too hard for people to understand!  It is written in Old English.  Therefore, we need to use a modern Bible version that is easier to understand."

Is this true?

Before dealing with the most important question--what Scripture says on the subject--a few brief words on a secondary but related question.

The King James Version: Is it Old English?

First, the King James Version is not in Old English.  Old English is the language of Beowulf.  If you want to hear Old English, watch this:

Is the King James Bible easier to understand than that?

Maybe the King James is Middle English if it isn't Old English.  Here is someone reading from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which was written in Middle English:

Here you can probably make out something here and there, but it is clear that the King James Version is not in Old English, nor is it in Middle English.  It is much easier to read than the Canterbury Tales.  (Side note: I enjoyed my college class on Chaucer's classic at U. C. Berkeley.)  The King James Bible is in early modern English.  English has changed less between 1611 and today than it did from the days of Chaucer in the 1400s to the KJV.

So the King James Bible is not in Old English, nor in Middle English, but in modern English--early modern English.  That does not mean, however, that it is necessarily easy to understand.  Perhaps it really is "too hard," and we should overlook the fact that the New King James Version is soft on sodomy, removes "hell" from 22 verses in the Bible, replacing it with easier words to understand, and ones that are in common use, like "Sheol" and "Hades" (2 Samuel 22:6; Psalm 18:5; Matthew 11:23, etc.), is not actually translated from the same underlying language text, and contains other problems.  Maybe since the King James Bible is "too hard" to understand we need to just deal with these sorts of problems in the NKJV.

"Too hard": What is it?

Biblically, what does it mean that language is "too hard" to understand?  In the New Testament, the Greek of the book of Hebrews is much harder to read than the Greek of the Gospel of John.  The Gospel of Luke and Acts are harder to read than 1 John.  Sometimes the New Testament contains really long sentences, like Ephesians 1:3-14, which is all just one sentence in Greek.  Why did the Holy Ghost dictate such long sentences?  Wouldn't they be too hard to understand?

The vast majority of people in the first century were simple rural people; farmers, shepherds, and the like, not highly educated urbanites. Literacy was sketchy in many places.  What was Paul doing when he wrote Hebrews under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?  What was Luke thinking?  Didn't they know that their Greek would be too hard to understand?

What about the Old Testament?  Significant portions of the Hebrew prophetic and poetical books are much more challenging Hebrew than many of the narrative sections of the Hebrew Bible.  Why did the Holy Spirit write hard Hebrew and hard Greek in some parts of the Bible?  Shouldn't it all have been easy to understand?

Is there more literacy in the English speaking world now than there was in the first century world of the New Testament, or in the world where God gave the Hebrew Old Testament?  When was learning to read--or improving one's reading level--easier?  Surely now.

The question, then, should be:  "Is the English of the King James Version significantly more complex and harder to understand English than the Greek of the New Testament was to the New Testament people of God or the Hebrew of the Old Testament was to Israel"?  The King James seeks to replicate the syntax of the original language texts as much as possible.  That is why every verse from Genesis 1:3 to Genesis 1:26 begins with the word "And"--we may not write that way in non-translation English, but the KJV accurately represents what the Hebrew given by the Holy Spirit says here.  We can't simplify the syntax of the King James Bible without moving it further away from the original language text.  If we have to leave the syntax alone, does the King James Version have more archaic words than the Greek of the New Testament or the Hebrew of the Old Testament? There are over 680 hapax legomena or words that occur only one time in the Greek New Testament and close to 1,500 hapax legomena in the Hebrew Old Testament. While not all of those hapaxes would have been rare or archaic words to first century readers, many of them would have been.  By way of contrast, there are nowhere near that many archaic words in the King James Version.

Evaluated by the standard of Scripture itself--by the standard of the Greek and Hebrew text God gave to His people--the English of the Authorized, King James Version is indubitably not "too hard."  People who claim that it is too difficult to read should be enthusiastically promoting the Defined King James Bible, which leaves the actual King James Version text unchanged but defines the few archaic words at the bottom of its pages for readers, or works such as David Cloud's Way of Life Encylopedia of the Bible and Christianity, where all the rare KJV words are defined, instead of encouraging readers to reject the  KJB's fantastic translation of the perfectly preserved Hebrew and Greek Textus Receptus for corrupt modern Bible versions.

So is the King James Bible too hard to understand?  If we employ the only objective standard--Scripture itself--the answer is "no." 

Learn more about Bibliology here.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

No Crown Performance: God Wants To Be Sought After

One reason many give for not believing the gospel or the true message of scripture is the quality of the supportive evidence.  In their assessment, the means by which God persuades of His existence or of the truth of the gospel does not rise to a high enough caliber to believe.  The Bible preemptively strikes at this excuse by informing us that men already know God and they suppress the truth in their unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).  In other words, men have a will problem and not an intellect problem.  This is why scripture is the solution, because the will requires a supernatural work to change.  The Bible is the instrument of the transformation of the will, necessary for true salvation.

There are mounds of evidence, more than enough.  God says there is enough (Romans 1, Psalm 19).  However, I understand the criticism.  God is all-powerful.  If He wants us to believe in Him, and He can do anything that He wants, then why wouldn't He just provide a crown performance to every single person who ever lived?  Furthermore, why should anyone even be required to believe in Him, when He could just show Himself directly to everyone?

I use the term, crown performance, in line with what an entertainer does for a king or queen, except in reverse.  The traveling minstrel comes to the throne room and entertains the king or queen to a thumbs up or thumbs down.  In this case, God comes to a person and performs for him, jumps through the person's hoops, to prove to the person who God is.  God doesn't do this, because God wears the crown.  We perform for Him, not Him for us.

God gives sufficient evidence for the one who seeks Him.  You may say or think, "But we can't seek Him."  We can't on our own, but God enables everyone to seek Him through His powerful revelation (Romans 10:17).  Men do not believe in Him because of a lack of knowledge, but because of a suppression of that knowledge.  In other words, men don't seek God while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6).  Jesus said they don't strive (agonize) to enter the narrow gate (Luke 13:24).

Man on his own does not seek after God.  With God's revelation, man can seek after God.  God wants man to seek Him.   He must receive what he knows and upon receiving that, he receives more, until he finally receives enough.  This pleases God.  The idea that men need more evidence does not please God.  It's rebellion against God.  It isn't thankful for what God has given.

What I'm writing takes away the pressure off the evangelist.  The evangelist offers the gospel.  The gospel is great.  There's nothing better.  If someone doesn't want the gospel, there isn't anything more that the evangelist can do.

God calls every believer to preach the gospel.  In that way, God intends every believer to be an evangelist, which is a person who preaches the gospel.  There is the office of the evangelist too, but there is the general job of preaching the gospel, which is to be an evangelist.  The message of the gospel itself is the allure of the preaching of the gospel.   No one can offer something greater, so that if someone doesn't want it, he's not going to be persuaded by something other than the gospel, which proclaims the goodness of God.

God isn't going to provide a crown performance, so for those for whom the evidence God gives isn't enough, they're not going to believe.  God has given sufficient evidence to believe through general revelation (creation, conscience, providence, etc.) and special revelation (the Bible).  If someone doesn't get saved, it's not because of the knowledge, but because of rebellion.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

What Is "Critical Race Theory"?

I remember visiting a particular house with a rainbow flag.  There have actually been many, but this one comes to mind.  I like rainbows.  They are pretty.  They're meaningful in the Bible in a good way.  When that flag flies on a house today, I'm critical in my mind and heart.  I don't like what it stands for.  The person who came to the door was a woman with a man's hair cut, who also dressed and talked like a man.  I was kind to this person, and we could talk, but I was critical, based upon scripture.

You know, I know, you can't be critical today about what is obvious according to scripture.  You are required to be silent to a lot of aberrant appearance and behavior, that is easy to see.  So little is good that when you do see something that looks biblical, it's extraordinary.   For awhile, society has instructed toleration.  No one knows enough or has the authority to say something is wrong.  No one knows the truth.

In one sense, the church has lead in capitulating to the loss of meaning.  Almost nothing is sacred anymore.  Music is amoral.  The roles of men and women have become a mystery.  The one thing you know is that you don't want anyone to be offended or feel bad about almost anything.  In this vacuum of meaning, critical theory steps in.  Where the church embraces little to no authority to judge almost anything, especially in cultural issues, a new caste of secular experts claims the ability, and is judging with certainty and harshness.

As I grew up in a first generation Christian home, my parents would not allow foul language, which even included forbiddance of minced oaths, words short for the longer profane term.  At a certain point very early in my life, I just was not going to speak these prohibited words.  The present culture in many places in the United States requires avoiding the expression of a new list of vocabulary.  Rather than the historic encouragement of a clean mouth, a new movement has arisen that requires public shaming, firing, canceling, or even other forms of violent punishment for having said something racist, sexist, or homophobic.  Devastating consequences could result from even inadvertent violation of a new speech code.

You may see yourself as not a racist, which you might define in your mind as equal treatment or opportunity to all races and not judging someone by the color of his skin.  You didn't know that racism is undetectable to any one except for an expert trained in a critical method to decide if someone or something is racist.  This expert is "woke," meaning that he is awakened to what is invisible to you.  He has an ability to spot racism, like a Geiger counter picks up radioactivity.  His expertise at this critical method enables him to know not just what someone says, but what he meant by what he said.  He sees things that you can't see, so it is essential that you just admit you were wrong when they say you were wrong and to confess that you're racist, when they say that you really are racist or have a white privilege.

My title asks, what is critical race theory?  What is the basis for these "critics" of "racism"?  Their basis is not the Bible, the basis for criticism of premoderns.  It isn't science or reason, the basis for modernism.  Their basis is "theory."  No one should consider theory to be a basis of criticism.  Theorists have been imbedded in universities for awhile now, giving the impression of authority.  They have tenure. Now they also have some very loud and extreme followers.  They expect their ideas to be heard, allowed, and adhered to.  Their critical theories, one of which is race, are now even considered the truth.

The theory is that white males are racist.  This is not based on the Bible, theology, or science.  It is theory.  White males either don't know they're racist or they can't judge that they are.  They are not the experts, the purveyors of theory.  The can't know what they can't know.

Opponents of critical race theory won't call it liberal.  Classic liberalism encourages free speech.  Much speech is not tolerated by critical race theory.  Therefore, disputants of critical race theory call it leftist, leftist ideology. 

When you hear, "critical race theory," it sounds like something difficult to understand.  It sounds smart, something proposed by a PhD, deeply read and researched.  It isn't.  It is hard to understand, because it isn't based upon truth.  It's nothing you'll figure out through objective analysis.  It is subjective.  It is relativistic.

Without a true, valid, or objective basis, critical race theorists invent whatever criteria suits them to prosecute their targets or victims.  Since they believe that race and gender are only social constructs invented by power and the use of language, they apply these methods to construct their own reality on the world.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Greek Names of the Books of the New Testament

 How would you write the names of the New Testament books in Greek--and how would you pronounce them?  The names of the books of the New Testament in Greek are as follows:

Μαθθαῖον Μᾶρκον Λουκᾶν Ἰωάννην Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων Ῥωμαίους Κορινθίους ά Κορινθίους β´ Γαλάτας Ἐφεσίους Φιλιππησίους Κολοσσαεῖς Θεσσαλονικεῖς ά Θεσσαλονικεῖς β´ Τιμόθεον ά Τιμόθεον β´ Τίτον Φιλήμονα Ἑβραίους Ἰακώβου Πέτρου ά Πέτρου β´ Ἰωάννου ά Ἰωάννου β´ Ἰωάννου γ´ Ἰούδα Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου

If you would like to hear them pronunced, please click here to have your desire fulfilled at 2:12:30 into this video from my 1st year Greek class.

Professors of Greek might want to consider having their students learn the Greek names and refer to the books of the New Testament by their original language names instead of their English ones in class, as well as, in general, adding spoken Greek to their communication as much as possible.  After all, the more senses one employs in learning a language the better he tends to learn it.

Besides, knowing the books in Greek is just ψῦχος, ἄνθρωπε;                                        -TDR

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Why Does the Church Sing When It Is Assembled? Part Two

Part One 

A true reason for faithfulness to gather with the congregation of the Lord is to join the congregation in singing to the Lord.  Recent government actions target singing in particular, seeing it as non-essential.  Some churches have argued it is essential.  Why is it essential though?  What would be the argument for singing being essential in a church?  Some of what I've seen in either evangelical, fundamentalist, or even separatist churches doesn't seem essential.  Representing what's happened, the Sacramento Bee said at one point this summer:

The mandate, issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials a week ago on July 1, seemed destined to be combated by churches, especially those that consider singing particularly essential to worship.

On the other hand, an online magazine, The Conversation, defends continuation of singing in church:

When people sing, sound runs through the body, giving rise to emotion and facilitating transformation. It acts as a natural antidepressant by releasing endorphins, the feel-good chemical. Studies have also linked singing with improved mental alertness, memory and concentration through increased oxygenated blood to the brain. Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg found that changes in the brain during worship make people “nicer, more forgiving, and trustful.”

This sounds like what many churches think they're doing today with their singing.  It's not scriptural, but it is typically self-centered.  Later the same article said:

Those with praise teams and bands that lead the congregation in song found it easier to provide music in online services – with fewer people, social distancing was easier to maintain. As a result, they continued to rehearse and perform in livestreamed or prerecorded services.

The crucial text here is that these teams and bands "provide music."  They are providing music for an online audience, not God.  Nowhere does scripture say that church leaders should provide music for its members.  Members provide music for God.

Consequence of a Change In Direction or Audience

Worship is vertical.  That's the direction -- up.  It goes to God.  It's like incense from the altar of incense, going upward into the nostrils of God.  Because of that, the question is whether God will accept it.  It must be, as Romans 12:1 says, "holy, acceptable unto God."  When Nadab and Abihu, two priests, messed with the incense recipe, God killed them.  That's how serious He is about what goes up and into His nostrils.

When the music sung or played clashes with the nature of God, because it isn't being offered unto God, but unto an audience of men, it changes God in the imagination of the people involved.  They imagine a god who would find it acceptable, but if it isn't acceptable to God, then it is the wrong God.  This turns into idolatry, worship of a false god.

Worshiping the wrong god arises out of worshiping the wrong way.  To start, it isn't really worship, because it is centered on the people.  So think of it.  The people are the object of the worship.  They are the false god.  This is worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator, a Romans 1 violation.

People then imagine a god that is more like people.  Guess what?  Their false god receives regular sensual and fleshly offerings, all about desire.  This church music that is "essential" isn't even accepted by God.  It is "essential" to gratify the lust of the singers and the true audience, themselves and their fellow worshipers of self.

The nature of music in churches has changed drastically in the last century.  It has a considerable impact.  God doesn't get worshiped.  The people don't understand God.  I believe it alters a true understanding or imagination of God more than a doctrinal statement.  It results in the acceptation of many other bad practices.

Churches don't even like what God likes.  If they had to offer it to Him, they would be so upset that they would quit.  They can't worship Him. They can't sacrifice their own feelings.  It's about them and not God.  Church leaders very often know that, so they just relent to keep their crowd for even worse reasons.

Today, feelings are choreographed or orchestrated by the music.  They are feelings that do not match up with the God of the Bible.  The "worshipers" very often think that feeling is the Holy Spirit.  Since they got that feeling, they think or better feel they are aligned with the Holy Spirit.  This changes their understanding of true spirituality.  Even though they aren't spiritual, they think they are.  They go along either without the Holy Spirit or not controlled by the Holy Spirit, and yet they are deceived into thinking they possess the Holy Spirit or are controlled by Him.  They are very far more prey to deceit of all kinds.

Sensuality becomes a value to those using it.  They feel justified then in being sensual.  They've been using it in church, so "it must be fine too in their everyday lives."  I'm saying, their values change.

Values relate to God.  He is of the highest value.  All that is true in value proceeds from the right assessment of God.  Without God as a true value, the values of a person change.  This changes his practice.

The consequences I've described have completely mutated the church into something of a different nature than what God wants it to be.  God isn't being worshiped.  That's very bad.  It's bad enough.  However, that won't get fixed because the church doesn't consider the effect.

Churches are more like the world.  The world is fleshly and sensual.  This allure to the flesh is a characteristic of apostasy in 2 Peter 2.  Read that chapter.  False teachers use these allurements to deceive.  Instead of turning the world upside down, the world has turned the church upside down.  John wrote that the love of God does not abide in those who love the world.  James wrote that friendship with the world is enmity with God.  Rather than being a true, pure relationship with God, it is spiritual adultery, where the church prostitutes itself with the world.

It is no wonder that the world gets worse and worse.  The church isn't salt or light.  If the church is going to be superficial, banal, trite, and crude, then why wouldn't the world become that much worse?  The world is exponentially more ugly than ever in my lifetime.  Churches pave the way.

The church isn't centering on the one and true God in its singing and playing today.  Why is it singing?  It isn't for a good reason or in a good way.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Why Does the Church Sing When It Is Assembled?

Congregational and church choir singing has been in the news recently with state governments regulating churches to sing both as a congregation and with choirs only with masks.   That's in the news and it gets our attention.  However, I want to talk about why churches sing at all when they gather.  Does it matter whether the state stops churches or not?

The Bible Teaches Congregational Singing

The New Testament doesn't say much about congregational singing.  The Old Testament reveals loads about it.  When Israel gathered, she was to sing to God.  This is clear.  God inspired Psalms to be sung to Him by the congregation of Israel.  Whatever God constitutes for His Old Testament assembly, He wants for His New Testament one, if He has not terminated it or shelved it for a season.  He hasn't ended singing.  The New Testament says enough to know that God wants the church to follow along with what He intended for Israel.  Heaven sings and will sing to God (Revelation 4-5).

As to the church, Jesus sang in the church (Hebrews 2:12).  In the upper room gathering of Matthew 26:30 (Mark 14:26), "when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives."  This was Jesus ordaining for the church what was also already instituted for Israel.  Then you see Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 4:19.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
It's obvious these parallel passages include congregational singing, because Paul writes, "Speaking to yourselves," which means "speaking among yourselves."  This word for "speaking" is singing and playing musical instruments as seen in the words, "singing and making melody."

The Audience of Congregational Singing

The answer to why the church sings as a congregation relates to the audience of the singing, which is always God.  We know that the church is singing to God, because that's what scripture says dozens of times, perhaps exclusively.  The only argument for the singing to be directed to others besides God are the phrases "speaking to yourselves" and then "teaching and admonishing one another."  Those are outliers to everything someone will read in scripture about the audience of worship.  I don't believe either of those are ordering the church to sing to people.

Since the sole audience of the singing of the congregation of Israel and the church is God, the interpretation of "to yourselves" should be understood in light of that context of all of scripture.  We should interpret the exception in light of every other occasion.  The word translated "to" is the Greek preposition en, which has multiple meanings.

God won't hear singing from the lost (Psalm 66:18), so the singing is "among yourselves," one of the many meanings of that word.  This is the same understanding of the very same Greek phrase two times in Matthew 20:26-27:
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.  And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.

The Apostle Paul also uses the very same two words in Romans 1:13 among other places.
Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
The second construction, "teaching and admonishing one another," found only in Colossians 3:16, should be taken as the following:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

In other words, the word of Christ is taught and admonished to church members, and psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are to be sung to the Lord.  It really does come down to how the verse is diagrammed.  There are many who have taught this verse in this manner.  "Teaching and admonishing" modify "the word of Christ dwell in you."  "You" of "in you" is plural, so Paul is talking about congregational teaching and admonishing of the church.

Early in my preaching (over ten years ago), I did connect teaching and admonishing with the singing, but I called it a byproduct or a result of singing to the Lord.  I said that when singing is directed to God in an acceptable manner, then the church is edified.  That's probably true, that it is a byproduct, but it's not what the verse is saying.  How I'm explaining that verse now fits into the understanding of all of the rest of the Bible. 

Exceptional usages or understandings of verses should not guide the practice of the church.  Congregational singing is worship, that is, it is an offering presented to God.  One could and should call it a sacrifice of the lips of a church in fitting with Hebrews 13:15:
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
God takes the praise of congregational singing in the New Testament like He would the offering of an acceptable animal sacrifice in the Old Testament.

What Happened to Church Singing

The biggest change to church singing started in the 19th century when churches changed the audience of singing.  The change came from reasoning that music could be used to attract unsaved people.  This resulted in the adaptation of music to an unbelieving audience.  The concept of "gospel music" arose out of this false concept.  Now instead of being worship of God with God as the audience, it became a means of attracting unsaved people or so-called carnal Christians to a gathering.  Instead of being an assembly of believers, it was a mixed congregation.  This shift has had a horrendous and cataclysmic effect on the church that hasn't been eliminated and has only become worse.

A very large majority of churches, I would estimate at over 90 percent, uses music.  It isn't worship.  It is a method or a tool.  The primary audience, if not exclusive audience, of the music isn't God, but people.  Out of that arose such explanations as, "we're preparing the hearts of the hearers for preaching."

I just heard Todd Friel this week explain on his "Wretched" podcast something I've heard many times, that is, the music has a purpose of passing along doctrine and practice to another generation.  He made that point by criticizing the content of contemporary Christian music versus more traditional hymns, saying that the former does not include teaching on the Trinity.  Only the old hymns have the Trinity in their lyrics.  As a result, these doctrines aren't being learned, he said.  He said that music needs to have the important function of passing along doctrine, because people can learn it easier when it is set to music.  He used a theme song from an old sitcom as an illustration, saying that he couldn't get the useless lyrics out of his mind, and that's what church music should be doing too -- using sitcom style music to teach dense doctrinal lyrics about the nature of the Trinity.

Do you understand that what Friel is saying is very, very wrong?  It isn't scriptural.  His take on church music or congregational singing is not according to the Bible.  However, it is not untypical.  What will occur and has already occurred in a wide scale manner because of the idea he expressed is that churches will put substantive lyrics to very trite, superficial, ungodly music.  Those songs might have the Trinity in them, but they will disrespect God and give an imagination of Him that clashes with His true nature.  The music is "catchy" for a purpose, and this frivolous, profane, worldly, or often sensual music is chosen or composed apparently to keep the lyrics in its adherents' heads.

God Is the Only Audience of Worship

Music in the church changed because the audience changed, first the music and then the lyrics.  When God was the only audience of singing, the music and the lyrics were vastly different.  The question changed.  Instead of, what does God want, it became, what do people want?  It wasn't just what do people want, but what do unsaved people want?  Now it is often, what do millennials want, what do the young people want, or what do the people of the region or the culture want?

God isn't worshiped when a church offers Him or presents to Him what people want.  God is worshiped by giving Him what He wants.  God is the only audience of worship.  The music should be sober, reverent, sacred, and all and only the attributes consistent with who God is.  At a root level, the church isn't even singing to God though.  The choice of the music was based on what it would do to or for the people attending.  This music isn't even being offered to God.  It is being used as a kind of allure to church or a manipulation of the attendees.

What I'm writing doesn't just apply to contemporary Christian music, that might be hip-hop, rap, heavy metal, or just classic rock.  It applies to the trite, carnival-like music of the original revivalistic music, that is the forefather of the perversion as its modern iteration.  Churches still use the quick paced, energized songs that placate the spirit of the age.  They provide a feeling that their singers consider a manifestation of the spirit.  It conforms to sentimentalism and deceives people against actual, true love of God.

I understand some of the motivation.  Leaders want their people to be excited about God.  The music excites people.  It's like an artificial sweetener.  It choreographs excitement.  True affection doesn't come through the stirring of passions.  It comes through proper, right thinking about God.

Before someone ever thinks about the effect of the music on the people, the question should be, should people anyway be the consideration for the choice of music?  Should it only be what God wants?  The right question that I'm posing could be followed by another question, why did the church stop singing the psalms?  Psalm singing did not fit the change from God as the audience to people as the audience.  Psalms were too difficult or unpopular to sing and especially to attract unconverted people.  The church stopped singing them and replaced them with loads of pablum.

Since the advent of the age of people-centered music in churches, almost entirely from the mid to late 19th century, music changed.  A correction requires discarding a very large percentage of the music the church has used since then.  Acceptable songs have been written since the mid to late 19th century, but relatively very few.  Some call many of these songs, the old hymns.  If those are the old hymns, we need the older hymns.  Very few of those hymns match a true understanding of worship.  They weren't composed with God as the focus or audience.  They were meant to do something other than sing to God.

(To Be Continued)

Friday, September 11, 2020

Christian Piano Teacher Offering Internet Lessons

My wife, Heather Ross, has availability to take some new piano students. She has taught piano for many years with many students successfully using their skills for the glory of God.  When we were in Wisconsin, she was already teaching students over the Internet for students from Bethel Baptist Church in El Sobrante, CA, and Carson River Baptist Church, in Carson City, Nevada.  Please note her description (very slightly edited) of her music ministry below:

Having begun teaching lessons while still in high school, I went on to major in music and graduated with a degree in sacred music in 1999. Since earning that degree, I have accompanied for four separate vocal music CDs using original improvised piano accompaniments. I have played sacred music in church for 25 years and have a great deal of experience improvising with hymns. I have taught piano, flute, choir, and general music at Mukwongo Baptist Academy for many years.

Having earned my Masters in Education in 2014 and partnering with a local music academy between 2015 and 2018, I continue to add new skills, implement tested methodology, and discover students' individual strengths as I work to help them become the best musicians and individuals they can be. Throughout my years of teaching, I have experimented with various methods and have discarded those which have not proven to be a positive focus of energy in the lesson time. 

I believe children learn by doing and, when given clearly laid out plans and directed down a productive path, every child will be successful no matter what his / her natural ability. I invite parents to sit in on any lesson. You will find that instruction time is used efficiently; specific objectives are used to maximize instruction; students are encouraged multiple times during each lesson and individuals leave feeling encouraged to do their best as they create beautiful music with their hands and hearts.

You can read her testimony of conversion to Christ here as well.

Here are some testimonials about Heather Ross:


I have been taking lessons with Heather for almost 3 years and it has significantly improved my piano playing. I started as an adult learner and was stuck “in a groove” when I started lessons with Heather. She has helped me to learn more technical skills to play piano more efficiently and with more ease. She is extremely experienced and knowledgeable, so if you’re looking for the best, look no further. I have recommended her to my niece, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law. If you are looking for classical and/or hymns piano teacher, Heather is an excellent choice.


Heather is a very patient and encouraging teacher who seeks to bring out the best in your child. She is always finding ways to better herself as a teacher and to help your child reach their full potential. My child was challenged through her teaching and made great progress. Highly recommend her.


Heather teaches my daughter via Google Hangouts. It always amazes me the technicality she can see over the internet. She knows if my daughter is tense, bending her knuckle wrong or doesn’t have her fingers on the right part of the keys. Heather is a patient and talented teacher and we are grateful to have her at our disposal.


Her solid musical training and education, coupled with her years of experience have proven to be a great help for numerous piano students. Heather Is well capable of helping students of all different levels in their musical skills.


I have received help from Heather for specific pieces that are “beyond me” and she has always been able to communicate the best way to learn the piece. I have also observed her teaching young piano students and have been impressed with her ability to help each student improve and strive for their very best!

A Former Student

I really enjoyed taking lessons from Heather. She provided many fun incentives to reward practicing and help me reach goals. I appreciated that before she pointed out something I needed to correct that week, she first gave positive words about what I had accomplished that week in my practicing. I also appreciated her emphasis on theory--(learning chords, cadences, scales, arpeggios), playing by ear, and improvising. She provided me with a great classical foundation and helped me develop into an advanced pianist before entering college and furthering my pianistic development.


If you are looking for a teacher who cares about her students and wants there best, Heather is a wonderful option! She is very experienced, knowledge, and a phenomenal piano player! I had several piano teachers as a little girl, but I had the privilege of taking piano lessons from Heather during my high school years. None of my prior teachers developed me in piano at the rate that Heather did. She knows how to motivate students to not just “get by” but encourages them to achieve their best. Definitely recommend her!


My son has been taking piano lessons from Heather for several years now. I am so pleased with how much I have seen him progress in his skill as a result of her teaching. She challenges and encourages him to do his best and master each new piece. I also like how she takes the time to plan recitals at local senior living facilities so that her students can learn to use their talents to be a blessing an encouragement to others. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a quality piano teacher who will really invest the time into your child to see him or her become a the best piano player that they can be!


Heather is a very dedicated, loving, and experienced teacher. I know I learned so much through her piano teaching. She doesn't simply teach for a pay check, but to see each of her students fully developed in piano And all other areas of life!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

A Faithful Willingness to Apply the Bible to Its Own Preservation

Let's talk about the inspiration of scripture.  Consider this sentence:

There is simply no statement in the Bible telling me to expect a perfect set of sixty-six books in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

Gotcha!  The Bible doesn't have anything to say about that!  Of course, it does say, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God," but is that the same thing as saying, "There was a perfect set of sixty-six books in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts"?

People who do believe what scripture says about inspiration do, you know, jump to the application of a perfect set of sixty-six books in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.  They are willing to make that application even from something as simple as "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."  2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21 just don't make those exact types of statements, and yet believers through church history have taken assurance from them that there was a perfect set of sixty-six books in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

We have a record of a faithful willingness to apply the Bible to its own inspiration.  The saints have been able to break down the minimal passages on this doctrine and come to perfect originals.  Every word was perfect, all sixty six books.  No verse says exactly those words, but the saints of God still believed that truth.

The original manuscripts are convenient for making, shall we say, tough applications of scripture.  No one has them, those papyrus, parchments, or tablets. Since we don't have them, it's easy to say they're perfect.  No one can say we're wrong.  No one can prove we're wrong.  That's not all though.

Without inspiration, all of the doctrines we take from scripture, all the Bible teachings, can fall like a house of cards (an overused metaphor that I lazily borrow).  Many people like justification by faith, for instance, and heaven that's at the end of that, purpose in life and all that.  They'd like doctrines like those to stay intact.  Inspiration of the original manuscripts, all the words of the sixty-six books being perfect, that sustains all the teachings for theologians from which they make a living.  And that application of the inspiration passages is easy to grab on to, even though we don't have "scientific proof" of it.

Then we get to the preservation of scripture.  Consider this statement:

There simply is no statement in the Bible telling me to expect a perfect set of Hebrew or Greek biblical manuscripts.

As much as scripture says, "all scripture is given by inspiration of God," it says a lot more about its own preservation.  It's much easier, if what we're depending upon for our doctrine is scripture, to expect perfect preservation of scripture, that is, to expect God's perfect words in our hands.  That sounds like it could be a book title:  God's Perfect Words In Our Hands.

The last above quote is verbatim from Mark Ward in a recent post he wrote, entitled:  "Answering a Question I Get All the Time: The Places to Start in Studying New Testament Textual Criticism".  In that post, he wrote this paragraph:

I have indeed purposefully avoided the textual debate on my YouTube channel and in direct conversation with my KJV-Only brothers. I’ve done this because the Bible (it seems to me) is far clearer on the principle that “edification requires intelligibility” (1 Cor 14) than it is on the textual debate (I lay out portions of that case here). I want to lay importance on what the Bible says rather than speculating about matters I’ve (sic) convinced it doesn’t address. There simply is no statement in the Bible telling me to expect a perfect set of Hebrew or Greek biblical manuscripts.

I can appreciate Ward saying that he wants to lay importance on what the Bible says, since it says nothing about textual criticism, the subject of his post.  The one thing he will say that the Bible says is "edification requires intelligibility" (1 Cor 14), because that works for his argument against the King James Version of the Bible -- straight line between 1 Corinthians 14 and rejection of the King James Version for him.  Ward is willing to make that application.  It's apparently all he's got from the Bible to apply to this issue.  I'm not going to call that faithful, even if that's "pugilistic." 

Mark Ward has his just one biblical point.  I don't think it is a legitimate application of the Bible.  People really didn't know a foreign language in 1 Corinthians 14, so tongues, unknown languages or mere gibberish, were legitimately unintelligible.  His application isn't a historical one, like inspiration and preservation.  I've written before that I think he's just making it up.  English speaking people know the King James.  The vast number of English speakers, who use the KJV, find it intelligible, not like a foreign language or gibberish.

Ward's other biblical point, albeit what he says is absent  from the Bible, is that last sentence, the one I quoted above.  He won't say that the Bible doesn't promise its own preservation.  He won't say that the Bible doesn't promise perfect preservation.  He doesn't say that the Bible doesn't preserve every word perfectly.  What he says is a straw man.

Mark Ward writes:  "There is simply no statement in the Bible telling me to expect a perfect set of Hebrew or Greek manuscripts."  This is an unfaithful unwillingness to apply the Bible to its own preservation.  It's a dodge.  It's a kind of Jesuit casuistry.  Someone calls me and asks if my dad is home.  I say, "He isn't here," and I point at my table.  My dad isn't on the table.  It's true he isn't here.  I didn't lie.  I'm telling the "truth."

Let's break the statement down.  The Bible doesn't tell Mark Ward personally anything ("me").  The Bible doesn't tell someone to "expect" something.  The Bible doesn't talk about a "set" of something.  The Bible doesn't mention Hebrew and Greek.  The Bible doesn't use the word "manuscripts."  Of course the Bible doesn't tell us those things.  To get the doctrine of scripture, we've got to apply scripture.  Men have, and through history men have declared, the doctrine of the perfect preservation of scripture.

The Bible teaches its own preservation.  God inspired every Word.  God preserved every Word to be available for every believer in every generation since its inspiration.  That's what preservation is:  preservation.  Preservation isn't partial spoilage.  You get the doctrine of preservation by a faithful, willing application of the Bible to its own preservation.  You take the combined multitude of verses about its own preservation and apply them to have a doctrine of preservation.  Mark Ward among many others now is unwilling to do that.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Even Moderate Drinking of Alcohol Causes Cognitive Decline, Higher Risk of Obesity, and More

Those who support drinking alcohol, including professing Christians, might point out apparent benefits of moderate drinking, both compared either to drunkenness or teetotaling.  Recent "studies" have debunked some of those in a significant way.  It should make sense to someone.

The simple answer is alcohol gets into the blood stream, goes to the brain, and it kills brain cells.  Aaah, but that isn't exactly what happens.  No.  It's more technical.  Alcohol damages some of your neurons, which send electrical and chemical messages within the brain and between it and other parts of the body.  There, that's all.  To get even more technical, alcohol inhibits the communication between dendrites, or branching connections at the ends of neurons that send and receive information between neurons, in the cerebellum, a part of the brain involved in motor coordination.  This means that alcohol, like most know already, is mind-altering.

If you were to try to justify doing what I wrote about in the second paragraph, a good way to do it is to say that a lot of people destroy or harm or hurt their bodies in a lot of different ways, including the brain, so to be consistent, it is permissible to do it with alcohol too.  I'm not going to go further with it, but scientific studies have been done recently that show that even moderate drinking of alcohol damages the brain, results in obesity, and affects your immune system in a bad way.  The latter isn't good news for future possible coronavirus exposure.

What I have for you below is a bit of a one stop shop with recent articles and studies for the affects of moderate drinking of alcohol for those who believe moderate drinking is acceptable and even helpful.  Of course, I believe the Bible prohibits the drinking of any alcohol.  No one has to do it.  No one should do it.

Physicians Weekly

European Association for the Study of Obesity

Alcohol and the Brain

This Is Your Brain On Alcohol

5 Scary Ways Alcohol Damages the Brain

Moderate alcohol use is associated with decreased brain volume in early middle age in both sexes

Consumption of alcohol even in small amounts can result in obesity and metabolic syndrome, suggests study

Moderate Drinking May Shrink Your Brain by a Percent. Is It Worth It?

How Alcohol Can Affect Your Immune System

Friday, September 04, 2020

Christians and Labor Unions: An Unequal Yoke

 or ?

Christians should not be part of labor unions.  If they are part of a union, they should resign from membership, for reasons including the following:


1.) The Bible teaches that employees are to submit to their employers with “fear and trembling, in singleness of [their] heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men” (Ephesians 6:5-7).


It likewise teaches:

"Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed." (1 Timothy 6:1)


"Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again." (Titus 2:9)


"Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward." (1 Peter 2:18)


Since believers are commanded to submit to their employers as to Jesus Christ, to strike, walk out on, speak evil of, disobey, undermine, or provoke discontent against their employers is to rebel against Jesus Christ.  These commands apply not just to godly employers but to evil ones as well (1 Peter 2:18).  You do not bargain with Jesus Christ.  You submit to Jesus Christ.  The Bible requires a similar sort of obedience to your employer. Employees who are treated poorly are to cry to God (James 5:4), who will give wicked employers eternal punishment (James 5) as well as being able to apply righteous punishments even in this life, but as an individual employee the command is:  “He [the employee] doth not resist you [the employer]” (James 5:6).  This command to cry to God and show sacrificial love and non-resistance to employers, even wicked ones, is diametrically opposed to the beliefs of labor unions.


2.) Furthermore, the Lord Jesus Christ taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) that love to all should be the basis for the Christian's actions, rejecting the union idea of the class-struggle; Christ likewise rejected the materialism that is involved in union membership, instead teaching that the saints must seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first; and Christ rejected the principle of force and coercion that is too often involved in union membership.


3.) Christ also specifically taught individual bargaining rather than collective bargaining for laborers (Matthew 20:2, 15).


4.) The Bible teaches that those who are part of the kingdom of God and those who are part of the kingdom of this age (cf. John 1:12; 8:44; Ephesians 2:1-10) are radically different. When the Christian recognized his status as a hell-worthy sinner, repented of his sin and any confidence in religious rituals or good deeds, and trusted in the saving work of Christ on the cross alone, he was born again (John 3:3).  Those who have experienced this miraculous change have different aspirations, ways of thinking, paths in this life, and eternal destinies from those who have not, and Scripture forbids the born again from assuming an unequal yoke with those who are not in the path of God’s kingdom (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).  These facts require Christians to refrain from joining or financially supporting labor unions.


5.) Finally, Christians must not be part of an organization that supports, lobbies for, donates to, or promotes causes that the Bible condemns.  Unions spend millions and millions of dollars advocating for the legal murder of preborn children. When you give money to the union, you are supporting ripping helpless infants limb from limb while they face excruciating pain without the pain killers given to dogs and cats. You are supporting sodomy, although God says it is an abomination and He rained fire and brimstone on those practicing it (Genesis 19). You are supporting the persecution of Christian and other religious business owners and attempting to force them to violate their consciences and their duties to God. You are contributing to them having to choose to bow to the rainbow Mafia or to lose their businesses (Matthew 25:40, 45). You are violating huge numbers of Biblical principles about civil government.

Even secular people in the United States, whether in right-to-work states or states that limit one's freedom to work, cannot be forced to join unions to keep their jobs, nor can they be forced to pay full union dues. In non-right-to-work states, those with religious objections to union membership can opt out of the union and not pay the union a single penny, based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and principles affirmed in the First Amendment and reaffirmed in Janus v. AFSCME. (Please note that I am not a lawyer and I am not giving legal advice.)

If Jesus Christ is your Lord, then you must not bow the knee to a labor union. Do not join one, and if you are part of one, get out. If you need help in leaving, contact the National Right to Work Foundation.


Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Division, Chaos, and Agitation

 As of about a week ago, the Democrat party started admitting riots had occurred as what seemed to be only for the purpose of deniability.  Vice President Biden said a few days ago in a speech in Pittsburgh:

Rioting is not protesting.  Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It's lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change. It will only bring destruction. It's wrong in every way. It divides instead of unites, destroys businesses, only hurts the working families that serve the community. It makes things worse across the board, not better.

He assigned no blame to those who actually did it, which again allows for deniability.  "I never said it was BLM or antifa."  Using the fire metaphor, actually lit by his own supporters, the former Vice President said that President Trump had fanned the flames.  Will people believe that President Trump is the cause of BLM, antifa, and other revolutionaries occupying and destroying American inner cities?  In the same speech, he said:

The common threat, the incumbent president who makes things worse, not better, an incumbent president who sows chaos rather than providing order. . . .  Trump has sought to remake this nation in his image. Selfish, angry, dark, and divisive. This is not who we are.

In answer to his speech, which you could read the transcript here, President Trump tweeted:

Just watched what Biden had to say. To me, he’s blaming the Police far more than he’s blaming the Rioters, Anarchists, Agitators, and Looters, which he could never blame or he would lose the Radical Left Bernie supports!

The situation of blaming the fires on President Trump reminds me of how Adolph Hitler came into power in Germany, when he set fire the Reichstag and then successfully blamed it on the Communists.  That was a different era, and one wouldn't think that the same strategy could work today.  However, I would like to explore the ideas of division, chaos, agitation, and their relationship to one another.  Two sides often point at one another and claim that the other is the one causing division.  Trump is causing division.

In more recent history of American Republican presidents, they have attempted to get along with the other side through compromise.  It's worth asking:  how did that go?  The left has a philosophy of Hegelian dialectics that takes a thesis and antithesis to form a synthesis.  The synthesis becomes the new thesis, which is left of the former thesis.  Their antithesis keeps moving leftward, not based upon absolute truth, but on postmodern deconstruction of all Western values.  Every new synthesis is left of what it was until everything loses meaning and nothing is sacred anymore.  It is an attack on absolute truth, where fornication or same sex is love, neither man or woman is man or woman, murder is choice, no property is private, and God doesn't exist.  This is all at the bottom of wokeness.

To combat the so-called progress, from the above described dialectic, division must occur.  It can't be a weak divide.  It must throw down a strong, impenetrable barrier of truth across which nothing can pass.  This is more important than getting along.  Without some kind of stand at this point, we've reached a juncture, if we haven't already, of no return.  We've got to stand now, or we will for sure be at a place of never coming back, even if we haven't already reached that. 

The chaos could be said to be caused by the one who will not just put up with the opposition.  Someone tries to give a speech and he can't keep talking because people are screaming, shouting him down.  A young person tries to lead in the state university and bring in a speaker who isn't deconstructing but declaring the original meaning of the words of a founding document.  He is threatened.  He continues along his path and chaos occurs.  The more people refuse to be canceled, the more strife, division, and chaos occurs.  The call to end chaos is the call to capitulation, to give up, to cede position and even territory, to relinquish freedom.

During Jesus' earthly ministry, more demonic activity was seen than at any point in history.  I said, "seen."  Demonic activity is always occurring, but with Jesus there in person, the demons were flushed out into the open and defeated at record pace.  An outward observer might say that Jesus caused more demonic activity.  If he wasn't around, the demons would not have been seen.  Everyone could have gone along their sweet way without this kind of agitation.

In recent days at multiple homes, I've watched extreme revolts of children against parents, screaming and yelling and opposing.  The parents relent.  Everything becomes a negotiation.  To get a handle on this kind of chaos, really solve it, authority must be used, punishment must be meted out.  Pain will be involved.  This will be criticized.  This will be fought.  It will be messy.  Most are too afraid or unwilling to face this anymore.  It doesn't look like unity.  It looks like division, chaos, and agitation.  All of that is a necessity, and you reader know this.

If we will not prepare ourselves for division, like Jesus did, we are giving up in a fight.  This is the fight for God, for truth, and for good.  We will be called divisive.  Understand that.  Chaos will ensue, somewhat like you might read in The Red Badge of Courage.  War is ugly.  People have called it hell.  Hell isn't the right word, but it isn't easy. Henry Fleming fled from the field of battle in Stephen Crane's classic novel. Anyone would understand someone doing this.  It's scary.  We need those who will stay in the fight and not give in.  We can't be afraid.  So much is at stake.