Saturday, November 28, 2020

Millennials Will Rue the Day They Despised Authority

Authority proceeds from God.  When I write "authority," I mean what the Bible says it is, and it is hierarchical (Romans 13:1-3).  It doesn't violate scripture.  God created or originated authority.  It is necessary to accomplish His moral will (God's sovereign will is always going to occur).  Authority orders the divine design of the world.  It will only work the way God designed, if authority is respected.

I'm not saying that all millennials despise authority.  I'm writing about millennials who do, and really anyone who does, but I focus on millennials because this is more characteristic of their generation.  Millennials will still want authority now and especially in the future.  They will need it.  Right now in the short term it is convenient for them to despise authority.

Why should anyone do what these millennials tell them to do?  If they do tell anyone to do, why should they expect them to do what they are told?  Why should these millennials ever possess any authority, if they don't believe in it themselves?

Many Christian leaders today decry the apostasy of the day.  For all the possible causes, a perverted view of authority explains a lot.  In a rudimentary way, it is the underlying problem.  How?  Why?

God is in charge.  He uses under-authorities to be in charge.  He authorizes institutions -- family, church, government, etc. -- to order the world He owns.  Satan merely usurps that authority.  The response to authority is obedience.  The attack of authority undermines God's institutions and then results in disobedience.  Salvation itself comes through the obedience of faith.  The faith is in God, Who is the authority.  His under-authorities are still His authority.  Someone who disobeys those, with the exception of violations of the Word of God, disobeys Him.  They are not believing in Him, because this is how He works, just like He used men for the writing of His Word.  In that sense, obedience to God is obedience to Moses, for instance. 

All of society breaks down with the position of these millennials on authority, really just so they can have their own way, just like Korah and his band with Moses in Numbers 16.  They will justify it or excuse it by saying that their authority is unreasonable or wrong or bad leaders.  They know best about leadership, how it's supposed to be done.  In most cases though, they can't even be challenged, these millennials.  They offer no due process, no discussion, no defense.  They are judge, jury, and executioner.  Like Rehoboam of 1 Kings 12, they look to their contemporaries, their friends, other millennials, as proof or evidence that they are right, their cronies on social media.

No one who despises authority as a practice is a Christian.  God is the Author of authority.  Again, I'm not talking about so-called authority that teaches or requires something contrary to the Word of God.  Just because millenials don't like what they're being told doesn't mean that they can call it unscriptural, and that's their simple, rebellious way out.

The despising of authority starts with not truly glorifying God as God.  The despising of authority is an outgrowth of not glorifying God.  You know someone does not glorify God because he despises authority.  It is indicative of a reprobate mind.

The benchmark or the norm for someone aligned with God is subjection to authority.  His instinct is to do what he is told.  He listens.  With God-ordained authority, he is swift to hear, slow to speak (argue), and slow to wrath (at what he's being told) [James 1:19].  He is apt to do what he is told, rather than bucking it.

If you are millennial, and you despise authority, don't expect your spouse to submit, nor your children.  Why should they?  You shouldn't expect your employees to listen to you.  You don't listen, why should they listen to you?  The culture that you spawn will be one that will break down because authority is necessary.  Your disrespect will come back on you.  There is no way that your world will work.

The millennial who despises authority won't be in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, because Jesus expects obedience.  He is the King.  Your Jesus might be something more like a therapist, but the Jesus of the Bible, the only true one, will rule over the earth.  You won't like His kingdom and you won't be in it.  It is a kingdom of authority.

2 Peter relates despising authority to lust.  Lust then relates to self, to me, me first.  2 Peter 2:10 says:

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

They walk after the flesh.  Their lives are characterized by flesh.  Their music is fleshly.  Their entertainment is fleshly.  Their recreation is fleshly.   Someone who lives according to the flesh doesn't want the restraint of a authority, hence, he despises it.  He is not afraid to speak evil of authority.   When the authority arrives to restrain, like the Holy Spirit, the Restrainer (2 Thess 2:7), he tears down the authority.

Righteous men are very careful with their authority, especially in public.  Righteous men don't rebuke an elder, but intreat (1 Timothy 5:1).  This is seen in the servant/master or employee/employer:  "be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling."  "Fear and trembling" is a non-starter with most millennials today.  It's a violation of personal wellness and self-care.

Deuteronomy 5:1 says:

And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.

There are verses like that all through Deuteronomy.  Moses says, these statutes and judgments that I speak, learn, keep, and do them.  That is how authority works.  Moses says something and everyone learns it, keeps it, and does it.  This is especially the message of the Bible toward parental authority, that is seen again and again in Proverbs.  This generation is even represented by Proverbs 30:11, "There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother." The book of Proverbs reads very serious about this from God.  I'm going to publish all of these just so that you have them all in one place:

Proverbs 1:8, My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

Proverbs 4:1, Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

Proverbs 10:1, A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

Proverbs 15:20, A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

Proverbs 17:21, He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.

Proverbs 17:25, A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.

Proverbs 19:13, A foolish son is the calamity of his father.

Proverbs 19:26, He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.

Proverbs 20:20, Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

Proverbs 23:22, Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

Proverbs 23:24-25, The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.  Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

Proverbs 28:7, Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.

Proverbs 30:17, The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

Many, if not most, of these statements are axiomatic.  A millennial may question them, but it's like questioning the transitive property or some other axiom.  They are just true.  As you read them, millennial, you can question them or challenge them or just ignore them, but if they are you, then they are who you are.

You will notice that there is very little about the father and what he's doing with his son, but it's about the son and what he's doing with his father.  If the father is disobedient to scripture, and teaches that, that's bad, but this isn't the issue.  There aren't a series of verses that say, "Father, please thy son and make sure he gets to have his way and live like he wants.  Don't be too scary.  You don't want to hurt his feelings."  Your millennial companions might listen to your complaints and justifications, but in the judgment of God, you are still guilty.  You won't escape this judgment of God without repentance.  It's on you, no one else.

"Disobedient to parents" characterizes the apostate in Romans 1 and in 2 Timothy 3 in those tell-tale passages.  Why is this so idiosyncratic of someone who has turned from God?  A person who won't do what his parents want will not do what God wants.  The two are inexorably tied together.

It might seem like a world the millennial will like, one where he despises authority.  At some point, it will be his authority or all authority.  That is a society that is broken down.  It will not characterize the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is not His kingdom.  Millennials will rue the day they despised authority, including the final day characterized for him by weeping and gnashing of teeth.

If you are reading this, there might be an opportunity for you to repent, to consider your ways and turn from them.  You should do it before it's too late for you.  It will not work out for you if you don't.  You will regret and most likely for all eternity.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Support Bethel and Faithsaves.net When Shopping at Amazon

 Black Friday is today, and Cyber Monday is coming up! I relatively recently wrote a post about Amazon Smile and how you can, whenever you shop at Amazon.com, support Bethel Christian Academy, a ministry of Bethel Baptist Church, without paying a penny more for whatever you were buying.  However, there is a way to go one better--you can support both a ministry such as Bethel as well as faithsaves.net while paying exactly the same price as you would normally at Amazon.com.  If you go to Amazon via the link below:

Support Bethel & FaithSaves

you will support both your Amazon Smile organization such as Bethel and faithsaves.net. (While the page opens to the Amazon page for the book Thou Shalt Keep Them, you do not need to buy that book, but can navigate from there to anywhere on Amazon and you will still end up supporting Bethel or whatever other Amazon Smile organization you use and FaithSaves with what you purchase. Also, Bethel Christian Academy gets exactly the same 0.5% whether or not you also help support fathsaves.net--there is no decrease in the amount given to BCA for having Amazon give a small bit of their profit to FaithSaves also.)

If you don't want to support faithsaves.net, but only an Amazon Smile organization such as Bethel, you can use the link below to sign up for Amazon Smile, and then afterwards just go to smile.amazon.com:

Click here to sign up for Amazon Smile and/or pick Bethel Christian Academy as the charity of your choice

If you don't want to support an Amazon Smile organization, but only faithsaves.net, you can use the link below:

I would encourage you to use the first button above and support Bethel and FaithSaves whenever you shop on Amazon.com, and share the link with others so they can do the same (unless your church has its own Amazon Smile account--then support your church--which you can still do by making it your Amazon Smile organization and then just clicking through the first link above).  Save this blog post to your bookmarks and click from here into Amazon whenever you are going to buy something from them. (You can also explore other options to get discounts on purchases online here.) The sending church of Dr. Brandenburg does many things for the glory of God in addition to having this blog, from giving people a place to have pure worship for the 7 million people in the Bay Area, to the new church plant that Evangelist Brandenburg is establishing in Oregon, to the faithful ministry and gospel outreach in the Bay Area, to the school and other educational ministries, etc. At faithsaves.net we are working to help Bethel expand its video outreach so that college courses, debates, podcasts, etc. can be online, and the video equipment for all of that is expensive, so support would be a blessing.  If Amazon is willing to help out by donating a portion of what you purchase, why not do it?  Thank you for your consideration!

-TDR

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

"Holy" Is Not Related to "Wholly"

Calvary Chapels multiplied here in the Rogue River Watershed beginning in the late 1970s, especially beginning with Applegate Christian Fellowship and Jon Courson, which is the largest congregation in all of Southern Oregon.   This was an outgrowth of the first Calvary Chapel started in Southern California in 1965 with Chuck Smith, proceeding from the Jesus Movement.  Very large other Calvary Chapels have divided off of Applegate here, one called Mountain Church in Medford.  They all have the "Jesus Movement" quality, which was an outlier in the history of Christianity, producing something syncretistic with the culture of the world at a much higher degree than had ever been seen.

Applegate has its own radio station, which plays non-stop here. When I jump in my car, I often turn it on, and almost always someone is teaching from somewhere in the Bible.  The teachers on the station are almost exclusively Courson, either the dad, Jon, or one of this two sons, Ben and Peter-John, the latter who died in 2019, but his replays continue.

Until I moved up here to Oregon, I knew of Calvary Chapel, but I had not been around it.  I did not know really what distinguished it.  Southern Oregon though has been heavily impacted by Calvary Chapel and I think it is the greatest religious influence in the area where we are evangelizing and starting a church.  Jon Courson left Oregon for a short while around 2002 to help Chuck Smith in the founding Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, but came back around 2006 and has been here ever since.

With that introduction, coming home last night at about 5:30pm after evangelizing and passing out gospel tracts in town, I turned on KAPL, the Applegate station, and Jon Courson was teaching from Revelation 4.  When I listen, I'm not doing so with the idea that I want to find something wrong with teaching on that station.  Just the opposite, I know when I turn it on, someone is going to be teaching from the Bible.  I would rather listen to something from the Bible.  I would like it to be good.  Very often I agree.  However, I'm starting to get what the Calvary Chapel doctrine is.

Calvary Chapel doctrine is easy believism.  It is second blessing or keswick sanctification.  It is revivalistic.  It is mystical.  It is overtly positive to a fault, going out of the way so that people won't feel guilty.  It is what I've heard termed (and used myself), cheap grace.  It is very often allegorical and especially in the Old Testament, seeing things in passages that are not there.  For all the time I've been listening, I don't hear a true gospel.  They believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ, but it is mostly a less than saving faith preached.  I don't hear repentance.  I'm sure they use the term when they get to those passages, but I still had not heard it after hours hearing it in the car.

I think people have been saved at Applegate, but it is so weak that it will give most people the false impression they're saved, when they're not.  It changes the nature of Christianity and a true imagination of God.  The doctrine produces worldly people, who call themselves Christians.  They use worldly music and mainly rock.  The sermons are not expository.  They are verse by verse, but they are not finding the point of the text and preaching the text then in its context, which is what expository preaching will do.

What I heard last night is just an example -- understand that I'm writing here based on memory of what I was hearing.  Courson was commenting on "holy, holy, holy," spoken by the angels to God.  He said that the word "holy" relates to "whole" or "wholeness," related to sound, healthy, or complete.  That make sense to a hearer, because the word "holy" sounds like the word "wholly" (actually exactly like it).

Saying that's what holy meant, "whole," then he took off on some related passages, including worshiping God in the beauty of his holiness.  He said that holiness is lovely, that it is attractive to people, because there is a wholeness of completeness to it, as if someone has it all together.  Obviously, if someone gets the meaning of "holy" wrong, that will greatly influence the understanding of Revelation 4, God Himself, the gospel, and the entire Bible.

"Holy" does not mean "whole."  At best, you get out a book of English etymology and you can find a related Old Scottish word, hale, which means "health, happiness, and wholeness."  That's not how you understand the meaning of a biblical word.  Both the Hebrew (qadosh) and Greek (hagios) words translated into the English, "holy," in the King James Version mean "separate" or "sanctified."  God's holiness is beautiful, but that doesn't mean that it is attractive to an ungodly or unsaved person; just the opposite according to Jesus.  He said men are turned away the light of God, that they hate it and love darkness instead.  Believers should worship God in the beauty of His holiness, because that is God's standard of beauty.

Beauty to Applegate is what is "whole," which is attractive to people.  Their "worship" is "attractive," so it must be "beautiful."  Actually, beauty is subjective to Applegate.  It isn't based upon God's holiness.  God's holiness isn't sensual, worldly, and fleshly, among other traits we know God doesn't like and do not correspond to His nature.

Here's how Courson explained what was happening then with the angels incessantly proclaiming, "holy, holy, holy," in the presence of God.  I'm not making this up.  He said that the angels would be considering going back home for the night, but when they look at God, they are so overwhelmed with Him that it produces an ecstatic state, so that out of that impression, they bow down before Him.  They are just blown away by God and then they proceed to get up again to leave, see God again, and are affected again by seeing Him, so that they proclaim, "holy, holy, holy," again.  They just keep doing this and then just never stop.  I'm not misrepresenting what he said.

Courson said these angels were not automatrons, like, he said, the characters on the Disney ride, Pirates of the Carribean, who just keep singing their refrain in a loop.  He tried to sing "holy, holy, holy" to the tune of the Disney ride.  He said, No, these angels are of greater intelligence then humans, so they are speaking out, "holy, holy, holy," because of the effects of their seeing God.  Is that what you think?

Here's a simpler explanation without reading into Revelation 4 this idea that the angels in heaven would go home for the night, but His wholeness is too inspiring to leave.  God created certain angels with the express purpose of praising Him like they do in the heavenly holy of holies.  I don't doubt their intelligence, but I don't think they are just blown away by the "wholeness" of God, that He's just got it all together so much, that they can't help but stay forever, continuing to say exactly the same thing.  They are fulfilling their duty out of fear of God, which is why they cover their face and feet with separate sets of wings.

"Wholeness" is an easy vessel in which to pour all sorts of ideas, especially for new age teaching.  It helps with cheap grace.  When God commands, "Be ye holy," like in Leviticus and then 1 Peter, He then doesn't mean, "be separate," or distinct, in accordance with the character of God, but that someone has his life all together, whole, happy, and attractive.   People don't like separation.  God's holiness is a uniqueness of God, His majesty, the glories of the perfection of His attributes, but they are all maintained by His keeping separate from everything.  Nothing about God then is common or profane. The world will be blown away by this person, who is holy, because his life is so complete, thinking that it is beautiful.  To be holy, he could work on self-care and wellness, to present himself as an attractive person.  This is deceit about the holiness of God.  How could someone sincerely think this, I don't know.

Another ride in the car two days before, I had KAPL on again, and someone not a Courson was teaching on Acts 10 and 11, and the entire time he was parking on Acts 10:15 (and 11:9):  "And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."  His exclusive point was the someone who believes in Jesus is not common, whether he's even not doing what God doesn't want him to do, since all of us still sin.  I bring this in, because it is related.  When someone isn't living a righteous life, he is common (or profane).  He isn't holy.    Sure, if he's truly saved, he's positionally holy, but not to sin, and if he is sinning, he is common and profane.

The passage was unrelated to the point this teacher was making.  The truth is that people are not unclean or common just because they are Gentiles or just because they don't follow the dietary restrictions.  However, it doesn't mean that people who are actually sinning are not common.  They are.  God doesn't want believers living in a common or profane manner.  This is just another issue of personal holiness that is twisted that results in a different, unbiblical version of Christianity being presented, and again related to the holiness of God.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Angels Marrying Humans and Jesus Preaching in Hell? The Happenings of Genesis 6 and 1 Peter 3

Why this subject now?  I have taken the same position on these two passages since I came to my position on these two passages.  Other men I respect a lot have taken drastically different positions.  You can't confuse the difference between them, they're so, so different.  If you have some general knowledge of this, you know what I mean.  I have to admit, the ones I don't take are in my opinion very weird.  They are some of the strangest things you will hear in biblical interpretation.  But again, why now?

A youtube feed on my phone read this video:  R. C. Sproul VS John MacArthur on 1 Peter 3:18 - Biblical Clarity.  It's kind of a fabricated debate, because they're not really debating.  It just shows that the two men take two totally different positions on both Genesis 6:1-7 and 1 Peter 3:18-21 on the related passages.  I knew I differed than John MacArthur on both of them.  I didn't know that R. C. Sproul did too.  Then I went looking to see if I've written a post on either of these in all my years of blogging.  Answer:  no.  In one post, I'm not going to end this debate.  The positions are so different that they can't be confused.  They are not the same.  There is no way they could both be right.

Do the two differing positions make any difference?  They will definitely change your angelology.  I believe that there is very rich doctrine in the correct position that is lost.  I'm saying, since they are true, they would be missed.  Scripture, all of it, is sufficient.  If all scripture is sufficient, and we take some it away, it isn't sufficient then.  We need all of it.  We need this teaching.  Our church decided long ago that a difference of interpretation on these two passages would not be a separating issue.  That doesn't mean they aren't important.  Everything is important in the Bible.  For some readers, not separating over something is the biggest news of this piece.

I want to admit that I didn't listen to every single bit of the youtube video, but I listened to enough of it to know that R. C. Sproul and John MacArthur take a different position on both Genesis 6:1-7 and 1 Peter 3:18-21.  I also listened to enough to know that I take the same one as Sproul on Genesis 6:1-7.  Sproul seems to like two positions on 1 Peter 3:18-21 as if both of them are good, not the MacArthur one in this instance.  He gave three positions on 1 Peter 3:18-21 on the video and sounded like he liked both of the two, preferring one slightly above the other though, that were different than the one MacArthur took.  Both were very different than MacArthur's.

None of the positions are a new position.  All of them have been around for a long time.  I'm not going to get into the history, even though that is important to the ones taking the varied positions.  In the midst of arguments, someone will say that he read support in the church fathers.

MacArthur says that angels intermarried with men producing a race of giants in Genesis 6.  He says that Jesus went to Hell to preach to demons in 1 Peter 3.  Sproul says that the godly line of Seth intermarried with ungodly line of Cain in Genesis 6.  He says that Jesus preached to people held captive by sin, these are the spirits in prison, through millennia since the days of Noah in 1 Peter 3.

In a casual moment, I heard someone I know, who takes both MacArthur positions, that these positions are very important to an overall understanding of the Bible and history.  It was a casual moment years ago after playing basketball.  I didn't follow up because I knew there wasn't time for that discussion.  It still intrigues me though what he might have said.  I can't wrap my brain around a position grammatically or contextually that says angels procreated with human beings to produce giants, and then Jesus later went to preach to these fallen angels while they were chained in demon prison.

I believe Genesis 6 explains how things went south before the flood.  It is a consistent theme that runs through the Bible, which is why it is so important that believers are not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  Intermarriage between believers and unbelievers produces an ungodly line.  There isn't a great threat for intermarriage between angels and humans to destroy mankind.  However, read through Genesis alone and see what interhuman relations does to cause great sin and difficulty.

I Peter is about suffering.  Noah suffered in the days he prepared the ark, but God saved him and his family from the world by water.  Noah suffered when the preincarnate Spirit of Christ preached through Noah to that generation of men before they were killed by the flood waters and ended in Hell.  The spirits in prison weren't in prison when Noah and Jesus preached to them, but Noah and Jesus did preach to the spirits in prison before they were in prison.  Who was suffering worse in the end?  Noah or those who rejected His preaching?

During a debate with a major Campbellite debater years ago now in Oakland, the crowd was silent when I brought an argument from 1 Peter 3 against baptismal regeneration from its context.  It is a powerful passage on an important purpose of baptism.  Baptism saves men from the world, so that they will have a good conscience toward God.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Belly or the Bowels (part two): Either a Belly Church or a Bowel Church

Part One

In Philippians 3:19, the Apostle Paul uses these words:  "whose God is their belly."  Let's play a thought experiment with a potential reader of those words at the end of that chapter of Paul's epistle to the Philippians church.  He says,

My God is not my belly, so Paul isn't talking about me.  He must be referring to unbelievers or apostates, and I'm not one.  I believe in the true God.

This is important to consider, especially in the changing nature of churches today.  Just because the name of God and of Jesus are both used doesn't mean that these are the true God and Jesus of the Bible.  This reader isn't going to say, "My belly is my God, you're right, Paul."  No, this reader is going to say that the true God and the true Jesus really are truly their God, but in fact their belly is their God.  True faith in God is not some arbitrary check in a box.  Many false religions put the check in the right boxes, but are not genuine faith.

The belly and the bowel contrast presented in part one distinguish between two religions or even two churches, with the exception that one of them isn't even a church, because it isn't preaching true conversion. The belly religion or church contradicts true salvation.  No one in the kingdom will have his belly as God.  It is a fabricated kingdom in someone's imagination, that he calls God's kingdom, because then he envisions being in God's future kingdom, while also pitching his tent in the kingdom of this world.  This has now long become the norm in evangelicalism, churches pandering to bellies.

The bowel approach relies on scripture alone, exclusively scriptural methodology, what the Apostle Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 1-3.  That always "works."  When I say works, God's Word is powerful.  What I mean is that it really works.  However, it also doesn't "work."  It never "works."  The belly approach works far more in getting some tangible result and almost everyone reading this knows what I mean.  The belly approach incidentally is the Rick Warren approach of Purpose Driven Church.  Growing up, Warren didn't like how unsuccessful his father's church was, so he crafted a strategy that would always work.  His belly wanted more.  The nature of how the belly approach works reminds me of the moment Dr. Seuss's Grinch gets its idea.  It's either a wonderful or an awful idea, all depending on how one judges the two.  An awful idea became a wonderful idea, that was still awful.

Churches that proposition the belly introduce a different God.  God doesn't work through the belly.  He addresses the bowels.  God makes this plain in scripture.  It is determinative.  If your means or agency is belly, this isn't God.  It is a kind of bait and switch.  A belly allurement is not offering God.

What is a belly church?

To follow Paul in Philippians 3:19, the belly church minds earthly things.  BDAG provides two definitions of the Greek word translated "earthly":
1.  pertaining to what is characteristic of the earth as opposed to heavenly; 2.  pert. to earthly things, with implication of personal gratification, subst. worldly things
Someone again might ask:  But this is a church, isn't it?  It calls itself a church.  This is where discernment comes in.  In the next verse, Paul writes, "Our conversation is in heaven."  He is saying literally, "Our citizenship exists in heaven."  The word "is" or "exists (huparcho) is to say "what belongs to someone," so that heaven is where the believer's possession is.  The church is the domain of heaven on earth, not the domain of earth on earth.  The domain of earth on earth is the world.

The belly church tries to make earthly ones at home on earth instead of heaven.  Belly things are earthly things.  The belly church charms its subjects with its dress, music, recreation, and in general way of life, which is the meaning of culture.   It presents a worldly culture, and then says it represents God.  It isn't a solemn or reverent assembly.

The contemporary belly church labels its earthly culture, the grace of God.  Its adherents call this culture authentic, because it is who they really are.  They are free to be themselves, earthly and at home on this earth.  Their redemption brings a quantity of life, but not a quality of life.  It isn't redemption, because their god is still their belly and they are still minding earthly things.  They love the world, so the love of the Father is not in them (1 John 2:15-17).

Some churches have just modified the earthly things, dialing them down and adding heavenly things, in accordance with the bowels, the affections.  Their worship isn't sacred.  It's just less worldly.  It's church schedule is still filled with earthly activities.  Very often these churches attract using earthly attractions, retaining a semblance of church.  An erosion has occurred to where the modifications of heavenly things, syncretizing them with earthly things, have become their own culture.  They're not really sacred anymore.  They're just called sacred, because the church has been using them.  Being used in the church doesn't make something sacred, whether it is a modified heavenly thing, mixed with earthly things, or completely earthly things.

Associates of or supporters of belly churches, please consider whether your God is your belly.  You might call it Jesus.  You're being fooled, and this deception will send you all the way to Hell.  Let's just say it.  You think you're on your way to heaven, but you're going to Hell.  When you're there, taking in the deception that your belly religion is Christianity, that will be an eternal, painful regret of the nature of gnashing of teeth.

(To Be Continued)

Friday, November 20, 2020

Updated Evangelistic Bible Study #1

The evangelistic Bible study series online at faithsaves.net are being updated.  Study #1, which covers the inspiration, preservation, and canonicity of Scripture, has been updated with pictures and other things that make it much nicer looking.  I would encourage you to start using the updated ones if your church uses these evangelistic Bible studies.

In addition to improvements in the appearance of the Bible study, some facts have been updated.  For example, the chart below:

which was in the older version of the study is no longer accurate.  The Bible still has far, far better manuscript evidence for it than any other ancient document has in its favor, but the specific numbers in the table are no longer accurate as more copies of various ancient texts, as well as more Biblical manuscripts, have been discovered.  The updated version of the study contains updated information.

You can download an MS Word file of Bible study #1 here to personalize with your church's information, while seekers can be directed here to get PDFs of it and to have access to other helpful gospel resources.

-TDR

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Woke Cards: First in Series of Woke Holiday Cards

Send someone a Woke Card for the next holiday.  Here is the first in a series of Woke Holiday cards.  This one is for Thanksgiving holiday.  Don't worry about paying for someone's housing, actually providing them a home, like parents do their children.  Instead, send that homeless person this Woke Thanksgiving card.  The person (not a he or a she) will enjoy this card.

If you want to signal your own virtue to your friends at Thanksgiving, send a card to a homeless person.  Your other woke friends will be impressed.  Make sure you let them know by talking about what you've done.  Tell them about Woke Cards.

Rather than spending money you could use for designer ripped jeans, yoga pants, or your own alcohol (not the alcohol that helped them become homeless), just buy a Woke Thanksgiving card instead.  Everyone will love you.  That homeless person will still be homeless, but these woke cards might make them feel something.  Woke Cards is here for you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

No Reason to Fret the Harry Styles Vogue Cover Unless Designed Gender Distinction or a Male and Female Item of Clothing

Prominent secular conservative voices repudiated British singer-songwriter Harry Styles for appearing on the cover in Vogue magazine in a dress.  Both Candace Owens (also here and here) and Ben Shapiro confronted his masculinity.  MSNBC defended Styles with the exact or identical argument used by evangelicals and fundamentalists for unisex apparel:  "Jesus wore dresses."   That I have seen, only secularists have renounced this fashion.  Zero of what we call the Christian public intellectuals say anything about it.  I don't hear any public Christian voices.  A very low percentage of professing Christians mount any defense of designed gender distinction.  Very little makes evangelicals and even most fundamentalists more angry than a Christian who stands for unique female and unique male items of clothing.

On the other hand, the world is very serious about what Harry Styles did.  That I know of, only Candace Owens and Ben Shapiro have said or written anything, and that you can tell by what's being written from the left.  The world has come to Styles's defense with great ferocity (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).  This is big to the world.  It means a lot to the world system.  It means almost nothing to Christians.  Why?  Christians stopped teaching and standing on biblical teaching on this matter a long time ago.   This is in a major way because professing Christians themselves will attack fellow Christians for talking about what the Bible says on this subject.  They will not defend the Christian who says what the Bible teaches.  They attack.  And then many, many just stay silent.  They might be thinking what I'm writing, but they will not stand with me for what I'm writing.

Among the leftist values bromides, denouncing Styles is breaking the law, "kindness is everything."  Only positive affirmation must be given.  If not positive affirmation, then smiling silence at least should be offered to be kind, according to the platitude.  Meanwhile, God Almighty seethes in heaven at this abomination.  He designed men and women.  He requires support of His design.  This is an attack on God as Creator, violating both written and natural law of God.  God is not happy.

Harry Styles is not the first contemporary male to wear a dress.  We've seen a rise in this trend.  However, women long ago started wearing pants, the distinguishing male item.  A majority of Christianity long ago capitulated on the biblical teaching of gender designed distinctions in dress.  Very few Christians will tell you with certainty what is male and female.  I contend that women wearing pants is as serious as men wearing dresses.  If someone is judging these matters based upon biblical or divine authority, it must be.

On various occasions and for various reasons, including preaching there, I traveled through the vicinity of the San Francisco gay pride parade as I pastored a church in the Bay Area.  They had several booths or tents for the purchase of the male skirt or dress.  I think that you all know that when a "transgender" makes his statement about being a woman, he wears a dress or a skirt.  He's not wearing pants.  Why do you think that is?  Hmmmm.  Jaden Smith, son of actor and rapper Will Smith, drew attention by wearing dresses in public a few years ago.  I've thought that it was only a matter of time that men will start wearing dresses on a regular basis.

Most Christian men will still say that it's wrong for a man to wear a dress, but they don't mount a biblical explanation.  It's just a preference.  They've actually been defending men in dresses for awhile.  They say something like, everyone wore robes in Bible times, to justify their wives and daughters wearing pants.  That's their argument.  It's not one that you can draw from scripture, but it has the purpose of defending a woman wearing a male item.  So now when a man wears the woman's item, it's that goose and the gander thing.  What can they say?  They've taken away their own biblical argument against male dresses or skirts.

Where have true believers argued against pants on women and skirts and dresses on men throughout history?  They go to Deuteronomy 22:5, 1 Corinthians 11:3-16, and Job 38:3 and 40:7.  I call pants the male item because of the language of Deuteronomy 22:5.   A good understanding of the Hebrew of the King James Version English, "that which pertaineth unto a man," is "male item."  It is more than just clothing.  Women should not wear what is a distinctly male item.  Men should not put on a woman's garment.  All who do so are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.  When I write on this, it isn't unusual that I get mocked by professing Christian men for writing on it.  They want to make sure that they stand up and take a strong stand for "women's pants."  This is very important to them.

I think that a dress or a skirt on men is still a bridge too far for most men, let alone Christian men, but the defense of that position comes from the Bible.  We need men to repent of their capitulation on this issue and to join churches outside the camp to stand upon the Word of God.  This is not just a matter of a gag reflex or a personal turn-off.  This is about creation order.  This is about the preservation of divinely originated roles.  This is to preserve the family, which is to guard the truth.

Before men starting wearing dresses, women began wearing pants.  Why do you think this is?  It isn't rocket science.  You know that.  You even know why?  Pants are a male item, so they symbolize authority.  I think this might be an insult to your intelligence, but when women started wearing pants, society as a whole opposed it, women too.  Pants were masculine.  Most people saw pants as rebellious for women.  They were bucking male authority.   This assumed there was male authority, represented by the terminology, men wear the pants in the family.  There is less repulsion and rejection of a dress on a man right now in our culture than there was at one historical juncture with pants on women.  Most of you reading this know that.

The dress that Harry Styles is wearing for the Vogue article is also frilly.  It is not just a dress, but a very feminine dress.  It is attempting to make an even greater statement of "gender fluidity."  If the statement was put into words, it might be, "There is no gender distinction."  A corollary to that is, "God didn't make me; I got here through natural causation."  The postmodernist or critical theorist adds, "It's a social construct."  Constructed by whom?  The Male Patriarchy.

Shapiro argues Jordan Peterson style, assuming that the Bible can't be used in the public square.  He tries to go all science, like a classic liberal.  He looks at animal life and genetics.  You can tell that he doesn't feel good about his argument, so he uses "moron" and "idiot" to add.  We Christians need to come in and just say it.  God wants male and female items.  We need to stand on them.  We shouldn't mock them.  God wants the distinctions, clear ones.  God created masculinity.  God Himself says, Gird up your loins as a man.  Go with what God says.  Honor Him.

There is, as you know, now such a thing as a dress that is more feminine than other types of dresses.  For instance, some women wear "business dresses" that project a kind of authority.  It's still a dress, but it's also indicating a work that also was once only masculine.  Women jumped from the feminine dress to the business dress to the pant suit.  Each of these steps were moving away from a God-ordained appearance and role.

Secular conservatives should not be the ones, or at least the only ones, saying something about the perversion divine designed distinctions between gender.  Ben Shapiro makes an argument, "It's just stupid!"  He's saying something.  It's stupid.  That isn't a good argument, but he's saying something.  This is an intelligent man.  We need to bring the biblical argument to the public square.  It is true.  It is science.  It is necessary.  Join in this.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Most Rampant False Doctrine or Religion That You Didn't Know Its Name: Perennialism

Last week going door-to-door, I rounded a corner to visit some duplexes, and a man was standing outside, who seemed 65 plus, short and heavy.  I approached him with the intent of preaching the gospel.  The first thing he said was, can you help me get into my house, I locked myself out?  I followed him to his condo.  He needed to get over his back fence to get in, which was about six foot high.  I lifted him up to where his behind was on my right shoulder, and then I shoved him up with both hands in that same anatomical area to slide over to the other side of the fence.  He got in his house and invited me to come in and sit down.  I thought, "Wow, this is going to be a great opportunity to preach the gospel to this man!"

I sat down on his couch and his little dog Marlie walked over to me for me to pet.  And the man said, "He's friendly. . . if you're a good person."  Marlie was friendly.  A sign.  Then I sat and listened to this man espouse his hatred of biblical Christianity, much different than how I thought it was going to go.  He would not let me talk at all.  I sat and listened and listened. . . . and listened.  I just looked at the man, hearing the falsities proceed from his mouth in rapid fashion one after another, waiting for a pause to refute in as nice a way as possible.

From his story, I heard from the man that he had several heart attacks in the last few years until he went in for surgery to have a stint put in a major artery.  He had considered just dying of the heart attack, but Marlie, the dog, gave him reason to live.  I didn't want him to die of a heart attack after sharing my thoughts with him, but it didn't matter.  He wouldn't let me talk, despite the fact that he said that the Hebrew language behind the Old Testament came from two different species of space aliens.  I tried to remove a disapproving look from my face, because even when my countenance showed even the slightest show of disagreement, he would turn red and his voice would raise in anger.  He hated Leviticus, because in that book the God of the Bible said to destroy other people (my brain said Leviticus was the priesthood and sacrificial system).  That wasn't God, he said.  After fifteen minutes, I rose from my seat, said goodbye, and walked out.

At one point, the man said that he had deeply studied twelve or so religions and that he found that they all were the same.   In other words, all religions taught the same teachings.  Through my entire adult life, I've heard this same belief and exponentially more today.  Now I hear that school of thought all the time.   This false doctrine or religion has a name now:  perennialism.

In its most developed representation, perennialism says that religions are just iterations of a singular spiritual comprehension, that is the deeper reality.  It would say that embracing the deeper reality should be the goal of the religion.  Many perennialists would explain the religions as providing a variation of archetypes, essentially the same characters known by different names.  In Christianity, Jesus is one of them.

The perennialist looks at a religious person with the condescension that religion is an expression for a simpler mind.  He can grasp this, so if it works for him all the better, just as long as he doesn't take it further than what it really is.  When he starts condemning others that take a different viewpoint, that is taking the religion further than he should.  As along as it results in helping others and giving him the strength to deal with his own difficulties and overcome obstacles, then it's good.  Perennialism isn't saying there is a god any more than conventional wisdom, something tried and true through many years for which the religion provides understanding or enlightenment.

Perennialism provides grounds for toleration.  None of these religions has a unique corner on the truth.  The truth weaves its way through all of them.  The key for perennialism is to receive the ultimate enlightenment from the religion that will bring the optimal personal and societal wellness.

Even if professing evangelical churches do not claim perennialism, in greater numbers they embrace the popularity of perennialism.   Christianity works better as a philosophy of life that helps its adherents thrive and succeed in a worldly sense.  It allows them both to be a Christian and then to fit into this world.  Millennials especially are drawn to the elimination of dogmatic belief and practice.  They can still call themselves a Christian and say they believe in Jesus Christ, while not rejecting the religion of other people.  Professing Christians and other religions coexist.

Professing evangelicals might argue that more non-Christians will be drawn to a perennialistic style of Christianity.  The tolerance they mislabel love means they are loving non-Christians.  This favorable acceptance will draw non-Christians to Christianity, bring them in, and the church will grow.  They will believe in Jesus, because this Jesus matches their deeper understanding of Jesus.

What does someone do with perennialism?

As I said, I've encountered perennialism my entire adult life without having a name for it.  When someone says that all the religions are the same, he has reduced all the religions down to where they seem to agree to him.  The so-called "golden rule" is major.  What I've noticed is that the do unto others is mainly do unto me.  The golden rule means I'll get treated like I want to be treated.  The attraction to the golden rule is what it does for me personally.  Self-wellness is the actual religion, which contradicts the rudimentary teaching to deny self and follow Christ.

The apparent agreement between religions is agreement on what Jesus calls the second great commandment, love thy neighbor as thyself.  I hear this from forms of perennialism and I point out that love thy neighbor is the second commandment.  You can't keep the second without keeping the first, love God.  To love God, He must be God, as God has revealed Himself, which He does in great detail in the Bible.  It also must be love, which God lays out in His commandments.

I tell people that whatever similarity there is between religions is because false religion counterfeits the truth.  Sure there will similarities because that is the nature of the counterfeit.  That's how the counterfeit deceives, is by imitating certain aspects of the truth.

Maybe the person feels good about his perennialist religion.   God doesn't accept it.  He's sinning against God by disobeying what God said.  He's a sinner in trouble with God.  He needs Jesus Christ, not for a more comfortable life on earth, but to save Him from God's just wrath against His sin.  God is going to punish Him for sinning.  He needs to know about this.  That is the biggest threat to his well-being, because it effects him through all eternity.  It is also true.

Perennialism is an attack on the truth.  It contradicts numbers of biblical teachings.  I am sad that so many Christians have taken up the cause of perennialism.  The allure is a 2 Peter 2 one:  lust.  They like a Christianity that continues to walk according to lust.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Evangelistic Bible Study #4, "How Do I Receive the Gospel?" is now live!

 In previous weeks I had mentioned that videos teaching the evangelistic Bible studies that I have written were being made available.  We had made #1, "What is the Bible?" live.  That study covers the inspiration, preservation, and canonicity of the Bible.  We had made #2, "Who is God?" live, covering who the true God is, including His crucial Tri-unity.  We had made #3, "What Does God Want From Me?" live.  Study #3 covers the law of God and His objective standard of perfect holiness which He will use to judge mankind in the last day.  #5, "How Do I Receive the Gospel?" was also made live--that study covered repentance and faith, the human response to the gospel.  However, we were having issues with study #4, so that one was not yet available.  However, I am pleased to report that Bible study #4, "How Can God Save Sinners?" is now live.  You can watch it at FaithSaves, watch it on YouTube, or watch it through the embedded video below:



Please "like" the video on YouTube and feel free to post a comment if you believe it is valuable, as doing those things help the video gain circulation.


The physical copies of the Bible studies are available online if you can do them with someone in person or over Skype, Zoom, etc. in this era of COVID.  I would encourage you to share the videos as well with people who are not willing to do a one-on-one study with you but like to watch things over the Internet.


May the Lord use these studies for His glory and the advancement of His gospel!


Studies #6 and #7, on eternal security and assurance (#6) and the church (#7) are not yet available, but we are working on them.  Please feel free to pray for us as it takes a lot of work to have these done well.  The actually evangelistic studies, however, are all complete--#6 and #7 are follow-up Bible studies.


-TDR

Monday, November 09, 2020

The Belly or the Bowels

The word "bowels" is used in the King James Version of the Bible, translating the Greek word, splankna, which is used eleven times in the New Testament.  Here are related ones (9 of the 11):

2 Corinthians 6:12, Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

2 Corinthians 7:15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

Philippians 1:8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Philemon 1:7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

Philemon 1:12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:

Philemon 1:20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.

1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

A modern reader is not usually familiar with that concept, bowels or affections, in scripture.  The reason is it is a premodern conception.  You can read it in writings from the pre-New Testament and New Testament era.  Predmodern theologians, like Jonathan Edwards, talked and wrote about it.  From the above usage, it is common, not remote.  It is also authoritative, a divine understanding, not just a cultural one, as some moderns might think or report.

The New Testament contrasts splankna with the word, "belly," the Greek word koilia, which is used twenty-two times in the New Testament.  Here are the related ones (4 of these):

Mark 7:19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

1 Corinthians 6:13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

Philippians 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
At an old blog site, called "Conservative Christianity," David de Bruyn, a Baptist pastor in South Africa writes on this in a post he titles "Conserving Ordinate Affection":
The word emotion is a relatively new word, and its current connotations have emerged from a secular worldview. For a time spanning the ancient Greeks, Romans, and early Christian era into the eighteenth century, men spoke of the affections and the passions, not of the emotions. The Greeks spoke of the passions: the feelings that emerged from the “gut” or koilia. These were described as the impulsive, sensual and even animalistic urges and appetites. Amongst these might be lust, envy, cowardice, rage, hilarity, gluttony, laziness, revelry, and so on. For them, these were to be governed very strictly, and for later Christians – many of them mortified altogether. They also spoke of the affections that emerged from the chest, or steithos, and the affections that emerged from the spleen, or splanchna. For them, these were the noble and gracious feelings which produced nobility, courage, honour, reverence, joy, mercy, kindness, patience. The Greeks taught that the passions always won over the intellect in any contest, unless the intellect was supported by the affections. To put it another way: a man’s affections guide his mind’s decisions, a truth that the Bible teaches (Prov 9:10).

This understanding of differences of feelings prevailed for centuries. Certainly not all used the terms identically, but there was general agreement that the affections were to be differentiated from the passions, and that Christians in particular should seek to mortify ‘passions’ and ‘inordinate affection’ (Colossians  3:5 [note the 17th century terminology coming out in the KJV]), while pursuing affections set on things above (Col 3:2). Jonathan Edwards’ magisterial work Religious Affections brought a kind of cohesiveness to the discussion. For him, the affections were the inclinations of a person towards objects of desire. The type of object determined the type of desire. A man is moved in his will by his affections, which operate through a renewed mind. The passions, for Edwards, were the more impulsive and less governed feelings.
One important philosophical shift that occurred as a result of the Enlightenment and had significant impact on broader culture was the emergence of the naturalistic category of “emotion.” When theologians and philosophers prior to the Age of Reason spoke about human sensibilities, they used nuanced categories of “affections of the soul,” such as love, joy, and peace, and “appetites (or passions) of the body,” like hunger, sexual desire, and anger. This conception of human faculties appears all the way back in Greek philosophers, who used the metaphors of the splankna (chest) to designate the noble affections and the koilia (belly) for the base appetites. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul employed such categories as well, urging Christians to put on the “affections” (splankna) of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience (Col 3:12) and describing enemies of Christ as those whose “god is their belly (koilia)” (Phil 3:19).

This way of understanding human sensibility dominated Christian thought and philosophy from the Patristic period through the Reformation. The affections were the core of spirituality and were to be nurtured, developed, and encouraged; the appetites, while not evil (in contrast to Gnosticism), must be kept under control lest they overpower the intellect. Theologians believed that the Bible taught a holistic dualism where material and immaterial combined to composed man; thus, while the body and spirit are both good and constantly interact and influence one another, and physical expression is part of the way God created his people, biblical worship should aim at cultivating both the intellect and affections as well as calming the passions.
According to these two categories, the belly and the bowels, a true believer can be distinguished by his living according to the bowels and not according to the belly.  This is how it reads in the New Testament.  Everyone has bowels and everyone has a belly, but the true believer follows the bowels and not the belly, according to their New Testament delineation.  This isn't just a "cultural issue."  This is biblical teaching that must be and will be applied.  One could say that the broad road to destruction is a belly road, which is why the large majority are on it, and then narrow road is a bowel road, one that leads to life eternal.  In varied ways, every unbeliever lives according to his belly.

C. S. Lewis wrote about the bowel and belly contrast in his book, The Abolition of Man.  Well read scripture and the premodern Greek writings, Lewis made the connection.  Aniol writes about the Lewis presentation of this teaching.
The problem is that when the passions are set in conflict with the mind, the passions will always win. A man may know that it is wrong to hit another man, but if he is angry, that knowledge alone will not stop him from reacting wrongly. It is only when his knowledge is supported by noble affections that he can overcome his passions. As C. S. Lewis says, “The head rules the belly through the chest.” This is true for faith. Faith is not mere belief in facts. That alone would not move a person to a righteous life. Faith is belief combined with the affection of trust. When belief is supported by trust, a person will be able to overcome his sinful urges.
These two lives, the bowel life and the belly life, are easily distinguishable in this world.  Some professing Christian teachers today justify living the belly life.  They explain it as Christian liberty.  According to some, as long as belly decisions or belly ways aren't "wrong" or "sinful," then a professing believer has liberty to practice or live them.   More and more belly activity is justified under the umbrella of authority of so-called Christianity.  It isn't Christian.  It isn't how a true Christian lives.  It is walking according to the flesh.

Paul breaks this down in Romans 7 among other places in his epistles.  Paul says that the true believer operates under the "law of the mind" (Romans 7:23, 25), which functions only in the believer and battles and has victory over the law of sin in his members (7:23).  The unbeliever lives only according to the law of sin in his members, which is the belly life.  The Apostle Paul also calls this the "carnal mind" (Romans 8:7).  The unbeliever does not have a spiritual mind (1 Corinthians 2:15) but a natural one (1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Peter 2:12).

Modern churches, disregarding the bowel and belly contrast in scripture, cater to the belly for their crowds.  Then they attribute the success to the Holy Spirit or the work of God.  Many mere professing Christians are stripped of the understanding needed to see their lack of conversion.  Their consciences become seared like with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2).  They don't even know any better because they function with the approval of "church leaders."

(To Be Continued)

Friday, November 06, 2020

Learn Christian Latin, Self-Directed: How I am Doing It

Latin is the language of Christendom for over 1,500 years--it is valuable for someone who wants to understand the history of Christianity, to understand the Latin Vulgate and Old Latin Bible translations, the language known by Biblical writers from Mark, early writers in Christendom, influential medieval theologians from Anslem to Aquinas, reformers from Luther to Calvin, Puritans like John Owen, and Baptist writers like John Gill.  Latin also helps one to understand untranslated Latin excerpts in commentaries like Keil & Delitzch, Latin excerpts in systematic theologies, and so on.

Interestingly, only approximately 0.01% of all extant Latin, though admittedly with substantial influence, is composed of classical Roman authors  Approximately 80% of extant Latin writings composed by those who professed to be Christians, while the other 20% is scientific and various other treatises by non-Christian writers (Derek Cooper, Basics of Latin: A Grammar with Readings and Exercises from the Christian Tradition [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2020], xvii).

So in light of the value of Latin, I have prayerfully decided to to learn the language at my own pace.  So how is it going?  I'm glad you asked.  How am I going about it?

I first started with Latin 101: Learning a Classical Language by Hans-Friedrich Mueller, a course offered by "The Great Courses" organization.  Having profited by numbers of classes offered by The Great Courses, I would use their class to learn classical Latin and then transition to the Latin of Christendom.  The "Great Courses" class offers a textbook with exercises and also video lectures, and I wanted to have lectures with a real, knowledgable teacher.  I also did not want to pay very much money, and I knew that The Great Courses regularly offers sales where their classes are listed at 70-85% off (you should never pay the full price, or even half price, for a Great Courses course; they list prices are fake to make you feel like you are getting an incredible deal at 70% off.  The marketing technique is effective--but the real, 70% off price for their classes is actually reasonable for courses that are often of high quality.)

I got through the majority of the Great Courses class, completing all the exercises, with their textbook and a Latin dictionary (Simpson, D. P., Cassell’s Latin Dictionary: Latin-English & English-Latin, 5th ed. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing, 1968)  However, as I kept plugging away, I started to get really bogged down in the exercises.  I was looking up practically every word in the dictionary and taking an inordinately long amount of time to complete the exercises.  I believe that the Great Courses class will probably work for some, but for me there just were not enough exercises to attain sufficient mastery of the material before going on to the next chapter.  So after slogging through a majority of the book, with progress getting slower and slower, I started looking for alternatives.

I discovered the Familia Romana / Lingua Latina: Per Se Illustrata series, and have to this point been very impressed.  I purchased a number of books so that I could have everything I needed to teach myself using that series, as well as a few other works that help as described below:




5.) Ørberg, Hans H., Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata: Teacher’s Materials. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing, 2005. Amazon Smile link











I also got a few others; click here for my page on learning Christian and classical Latin for more information.

The student textbook, Familia Romana, Pars 1: Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata, is written entirely in Latin. It presents an interesting story of a Roman family with all its adventures, and teaches Latin inductively with plenty of pictures, side-notes, and other helps so that the student can understand the Latin in Latin.  (See an example here from the first chapter of the book.) The successive chapters build gradually on each other and the student learns Latin naturally.  After learning new grammatical forms inductively, the textbook complements induction with a deductive presentation.  The deductive approach is also followed by the two specifically Ecclesiastical/Christian Latin works by Collins and Cooper.  (Collins is very Catholic while Cooper, a Protestant, draws on the entire Christian Latin tradition.)

I am now in chapter sixteen of Familia Romana, am making regular progress, and am already getting interesting information from the specifically Christian Latin works by Cooper (especially) and Collins.  Dr. Cooper also kindly allowed me to obtain from Zondervan a complementary review copy of his textbook and video lectures.  I do not believe I have said anything about differently than I would have if I had needed to pay for his text and lectures.

I can plan to keep you updated as I continue to make progress, Lord willing.  This way of learning Latin is working for me and I believe it would work for others, at least from a high-school level on up.

Note that the links to Amazon above are affiliate links.  You can learn more about how to save on Internet purchases here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Evangelism Is Still the Solution and This World, Including the United States, Is Not My Home

At all times I have a much bigger picture in mind than a four or eight year snap shot of the history of the United States.  I always think of the kingdom of God first and especially today.  If where I lived was of the greatest significance, my wife and I would not have moved in a U-Haul truck to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1987.  Very often I say, it's a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there, but I still lived there 33 years.  We didn't move there because to us it was a superior place to live.  We went to do the work of the kingdom.  I thought of it as being a missionary to France.

In the run-up to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, you know that God would have preserved them if there were at least ten righteous souls there.  You don't get ten righteous souls by voting in a new president.  You get those through evangelism.  That doesn't mean you would have succeeded, because they may not have listened, probably wouldn't.  We do, however, have well over ten righteous souls at Bethel Baptist Church in El Sobrante, just north of Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I don't like what Joe Biden and the Democrat party represents.  I think they'll hurt the country if they get power as most people are predicting.  What am I going to do about it?  The same thing I did while Donald Trump was president -- preach the gospel to every creature.  You don't really care about the solution if you put too much more than a fraction of effort into politics compared to preaching.  It is a serious error that the affections of professing Christians are stirred more by politics and for political issues than for Jesus Christ.

I'm not against it, but I've never given a donation to a political cause.  I think it is right to do, but I've never done it.  I've never been involved in a political campaign, except twice.  I held a sign for a man in our church to be a county supervisor and passed out flyers one afternoon for my father-in-law to be a school board member.  In both cases, it was more to encourage and support those men. They both lost.  I've written blog posts here.  I talk about how to vote for every election in my church.

What I'm doing now is trying to go out preaching the gospel six days a week.  I spend many hours a week doing that.  Then I have evangelistic and discipleship studies. I train others to preach the gospel every week.  I follow-up with people to whom I've already preached the gospel.  I think you know that a few posts about Trump don't mean that I think he is the solution.

When at some future date, the United States has fallen, and I'm alive to comment, I won't say it was because of how people voted in a presidential election.  That is a mere symptom.  Scripture behooves to instruct people on how to think and act regarding the government.  That's part of observing all things whatsoever God commanded us and teaching the whole counsel of God.  The country will have fallen because it did not believe the gospel.  When Jesus went to Israel, He dealt with the souls of the nation, not its politics.

I believe I've got good reasons to think I'll have better and more opportunities to preach the gospel if Donald Trump wins today.  It is less likely, I believe, that my religious freedom will be taken away.  I see new powers hindering and stopping this activity.  I see more persecution ahead if Trump loses.  Freedom to obey scripture will be taken away.  I expect that.  It saddens me to think of that occurring.

My kingdom is not of this world.  I have no continuing city here.  I have a thousand year reign of Jesus Christ and an eternal state to look forward to.  I want people in those.  I'm an ambassador of Jesus Christ.  Since I'm an ambassador, I'm saying I'm not a citizen here.  My citizenship is in heaven.  Let Jesus Christ be praised.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

A One Issue Conception Against Biden/Harris and For Trump: Why Are Washington DC Businesses Boarding Up Windows In Anticipation of Tuesday?

Businesses in Washington DC and across the nation are boarding up their windows in anticipation of the election on Tuesday (read here, here, here, here, here, and here).  The first link toward articles substantiating that activity provides the headline, "It’s Absolutely Heartbreaking to Watch Washington Boarding Up for an Election."  I've read various reports with such sentences as this:  "Election violence feared."  Here's another jewel:  "Don't loot in Chicago."

So, some simple questions.  Who is going to break these windows?  Who is going to loot?  From whom are we expecting violence?  It won't be Trump voters.  Washington DC is not getting ready to have its windows broken by Trump voters.  Everyone reading this knows that this new investment in plywood comes in anticipation of a Trump win (why do they anticipate that if the polls are correct?  Um.).

If Biden were to win, Trump voters will not break windows and loot and do violence.  They might parade and rally, but they don't riot.  They don't destroy property.  They don't hurt people because of whom they voted for.  You, my readers, know that.  Some of you don't care because you think some eggs need to be broken to make an omelet.  You're happy to see teeth missing in the mouths of Trump voters.  It's worth it for you for very superficial "reasons."

Biden is claiming to bring in light against darkness.  He's everybody's president and all that, unless he isn't.  Then, well, your windows will be gone.  Some are writing and he is advertising that he will unite the nation.  A party that threatens violence unless it gets its way is not a unifying force.  Biden himself won't even disavow antifa or BLM for their violence.  They "condemn all violence," but no one in particular, especially their people.  "Condemning violence" is symbolic language to them, their own dog whistle, that says, use violence because we won't say anything.

Many professing Christian voters are saying they must vote for Biden for the sake of the body politic, cleansing it, and so on and so forth.  Trump is a cancer, etc.  The chemotherapy is the threat of a lug wrench and a baseball bat.

Violence is threatened only for a Trump win.  The threat of violence for a Trump win has at least two effects.  One, Trump voters know they are being threatened.  This is what they are going to get if they vote for Trump.  They don't like being threatened with violence.  For them, this has an opposite effect.  They want to vote for him more than ever, because of this threat.

Two, the best outcome for Biden and Harris from the threat of violence of his supporters would be that the chaos will effect a vote for them.  It's like the burning of the Reichstag.  They blame on Trump the chaos and confusion and danger they cause.  People just want to end it all and they believe it will end if they vote for Biden.  They are right in a way.   The violence will greatly diminish if Biden wins, because his supporters will be happy.  This is violent extortion.  The threat of a criminal act elicits a reaction.  Without Trump, we can go back to the status quo.  This especially works for people not that concerned for religious freedom or being censored for unacceptable political speech.

Boards on windows are being nailed for Biden and Harris supporters.  They threaten the violence.  The police know this.  Major cities know this.  You know this.  You can't let Biden and Harris win.  You must vote Trump.  You know I'm telling you the truth.  If you vote for Biden and even for someone else besides Trump, you are aiding and abetting this kind of society.

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Paragraph from Washington Examiner explaining the quiet or hidden Trump vote:

"There are a lot of people who are too afraid to put up a sign [for Trump]," he said, explaining that his neighborhood, more than an hour away, was mixed between Trump and Biden voters, and black and white voters. During the protests that followed the death of George Floyd, he said, "I pulled the Trump magnet off my Jeep. Everybody took their signs down. People don't want to be a target."

Someone put a large Trump sign in a field next to a road we drive every day.  It was torn down twice, all the other banners remaining up.  Everyone knows this.  The threat against freedom of religion and political speech comes from the left.  They're already planning it.