Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Ugly Is the New Beauty and How This Is the Deceptive On Ramp Onto and Then Fast Lane Of the Broad Road to Destruction, Part Two

Part One

I see ugliness all over today, and it's not just something generational, that is, what happens every generation with older people not liking the latest with the younger ones.  We live in a culture that glories in ugliness.  In most cases, the uglier the better.  This occurs when God stops being the standard.

Objective beauty is the holiness of God.  This means that the perfections of God's attributes, those characteristics, as revealed in general through creation and the law written in man's heart and then in the Word of God, define beauty.  What contradicts those is ugly.  Anything that clashes with God and His nature is ugliness.

One might think that men wouldn't be attracted to ugliness, that it would die on its own for the comparison to beauty.  The allurement is what entices the flesh.  It isn't credible.  It is attractive to fallen humanness. It doesn't have to make sense, because it goes along with depravity, the consequence of a reprobate mind.  However, just because men like it and want it doesn't mean that it is beautiful.  It is ugly.  You are right to think that is ugly.  Don't doubt that.

Because beauty proceeds from God, it is necessarily mimetic, that is, it is an imitation or a copy of what God creates or does.  It reflects on God.  Mimesis contrasts with poiesis, which finds authenticity through the expression of self on its own terms.  The Corinthians justified it by saying it's only natural, it's "meat for the body and the body for meats."  Babylonian mysticism connected these impressions, proceeding from self, to some spiritual inspiration, identifying foul sensual assertions as divine.  The contemporary church is now rife with this, conceiving many of twice the children of Hell they once were.

Now someone who endorses and promotes poiesis and then fellowships with its makers, adherents, and advocates, the ugliness that contradicts the nature of God, might claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ. This person turns the grace of God into lasciviousness (Jude 1:4).

In contrast, the Lord Jesus submitted in every way to the will of God the Father, pleasing Him.  The Apostle Paul was then an imitator of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), calling on others also to be imitators.  The plan of God is imitation.  Man is is made in the image of God and in His likeness, so man himself is an imitation, a divine endorsement of imitation.  God would have imitation the model or paradigm.  Then Jesus gave the example of doing exactly what the Father and wanted and what the Father did.  In John 5:17, Jesus said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work."  They were doing the same work.

With his upward gaze, man is to see, contemplate, and meditate upon the work of God, the glory of God, and imitate what He did and does.  That work is beautiful.  Man is not to look into himself to find beauty, producing something new and different.

In so many ways, the expressions of men's selves run in direct contradiction to what God said to do and in violation of what He said not to do.  Men fashion themselves after women and women after men.  Men resemble femininity and women masculinity.  In their "authentic" ways, they turn exactly away to what God commanded against.  God prohibited marking one's skin in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:28), because it was pagan and these kinds of associations with the world God teaches against (Romans 12:2, 1 Timothy 2:9, Zephaniah 1:8, Leviticus 19:28).   The extreme piercings of varied body parts, butch hair and combat boots on women, long hair on men, and unnatural hair colors all fall in the same category.  They express degradation.

There is so much trashiness in the culture, it is hard to describe it all.  Today you hear, dumpster fire.  The culture is a dumpster fire.  So many things are wrong and embraced fully for their sheer ugliness.  One could hope that someone could be permitted with freedom of speech to call this ugliness what it is, to give it a true characterization.  The culture has gone further to disallow an accurate label.  The beautiful can be assailed and aspersed, the most reprehensible things said against what is aligned with God.  Criticism of the ugly is said to trigger, cause a lack of wellness, and violate personal boundaries in a criminal way.

The ugliness very commonly spawns from disobedience to parents.  Offspring rebelliously separate themselves from their parents without explanation or cause.  These are the teenagers with their earbuds, fettered to sensual rhythms pumping into their brains and bodies, hiding this, but the ugliness feeding into an external attitude that challenges authority.  They just want their own way, as Solomon describes in the first few chapters of Proverbs.  Women now wear in public something that was once only in the bedroom, and this is fashion.  Women wear the stretchy leggings, which leave nothing to men's imaginations. Men wear earrings, not long ago a solely feminine adornment.  Contemporary entertainers tap into rebellion manifested in extreme hairstyles and bizarre fashion.

There are reasons why scriptural Christianity through history stayed free of markings, tattoos, and piercings.  They are characteristic pagan phenomena emerging from minds not submissive to the Word of God or the characteristics of general revelation of God.  They are intended to defy theological norms.  They do not imitate Divine design.

The decorations of ugliness do not mirror the attributes of God, but glory in the manifestations of the sin nature in man.  It is distorted.  It is deteriorated.  You've seen the dilapidated, decaying structures.  If it's not that, it is a demented modernism, portraying the excesses of covetousness, often related to alcohol, entertainment, and sensuality.  This is embraced as authentic and art.

Various terms masque the determined uglification of music today, one being alternative.  Alternative according to the dictionary definition is "one or two or more things available as another possibility."  You were going to walk, but you had alternative transportation.  That was the normal usage.  Then a certain faction called homosexuality an alternative lifestyle, the terminology justifying the behavior.  Now that term is used to justify other ugliness, obviously springing out of that same rationalization.

What is alternative?  There is popular music, conforming to the world and the present age.  Alternative is a further degradation, a digression to further perversion.  For music, it first applied to punk rock and its grotesque nonconformity to what is good and right, and even more extreme form of abasement.  These are forms not ordinarily accepted, pushing the envelope in a world already way off the narrow road.

The Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:10 prayed for the church at Philippi, that they would "approve things that are excellent."  A true believer will test and then accept only that which is of absolute or objective beauty.  The word "excellent" is part of a verb that means "to be worth more or superior to."  Later in Philippians 4:8, Paul commands, think on these things, among which are "things that are lovely."  Characteristic of a culture and life departing from God is the embrace of the ugly.  Not only do these things that pertain to the world and the flesh lure to the broad road of destruction, but speed the pace of someone further down that road to a place where he can never return.  He's eternally lost.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Ugly Is the New Beauty and How This Is the Deceptive On Ramp Onto and Then Fast Lane Of the Broad Road to Destruction

I've been writing on this subject a lot and for a long time, but among the few things that motivated me to write this one was a new book written by Carl Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of Modern Self.  This is not an endorsement.  I haven't read the book.  I just thought that people might have thought I had read the book because of the content of this post.  Hearing about the book and reading some reviews of the book were one motivation, but not the main one.

God made man in His image.  One definition of the image of God, found right in Genesis 1, is God's likeness in man.  One noted characteristic that distinguishes man among many is his upright walk and upward gaze.  Watch yourself when you walk outside, how you look upward.  The glory of man is the glory of God, man finding His navigation by looking toward His Creator as his North Star.

True believers in God through history looked upward to find their identity and the true meaning of themselves.  They received that from God.  He defines reality.  Some now call that viewpoint "premodern."  Premodernism measured and measures according to God.

Transcending man, beyond and separate from him, comes from God truth, goodness, and beauty; hence, those three are called the transcendentals.  Before man gets to specifics such as truth and goodness, he arrives at beauty in the immensity, order, and proportionality of the revelation of God.  These are the "invisible things of [God] from the creation of the world [that] are clearly seen" (Romans 1:20).  These are the "heavens declaring the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1).

As we work our way through scripture, God's Word reveals the glory of God, declared by the heavens  that He created and sustains, to be the perfections of His attributes.  God manifests Himself to mankind first through creation, and that revelation, which everyone knows is the glory of God.  But mankind as a race does not glorify God.  He does not worship God in His transcendence.  What happens or what has happened, and what is the result of that?

When man receives beauty from God's revelation of Himself, this is objective or absolute.  God is the standard for beauty, so for something to be beautiful, it is judged according to God.  This was premodern thinking about beauty.  It is the truth about beauty.

Beauty was not in the eye of the beholder to premoderns, because it isn't in the eye of the beholder.  Beauty isn't subjective.  It was according to the revelation of God, the plain qualities revealed therein. Those are objective.  Beauty starts with God, so it is immutable.  It cannot progress.  It is transcendent, so invariable.

The truly or actual authentic is the original, like leather to naugahyde.  The latter is inauthentic.  Related to beauty, authenticity patterns after the revelation of God.  In scripture, this is termed the beauty of holiness.  Holiness is this transcendence, separation, or majesty.  Only that is acceptable to God.  If the opposite of beauty is ugliness, then subjective "beauty," which isn't beauty at all, is both ugly and inauthentic.

Modern and then especially postmodern thinking looks at man and then inward for beauty.   Man first is the measure and then self. This turns from the upward gaze to the inward.  Self becomes the standard, and this is subject, that is, from the perspective of self. Authentic with postmodernism means be true to you.  Jesus, however, said if any man would come after Him, let him deny his self (Luke 9:23).  The beauty of God's holiness is the glory of God, which is seen in the face of Jesus Christ, not in the face of man or in himself.  Man's heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

Attributes according to the nature of man are sensual and distorted by depravity.  It moves beyond lasciviousness to all out sexual perversion.  This turn inward for authority also rejects any critique.  The idea here, even though it is never applied consistently, is that the acceptable judge is self.  Criticism, on the other hand, assumes objective criteria.  There is nothing to criticize or reject if any and everything can be good, because it's all according to the eye or ear of the beholder.

Postmodern authenticity is sheer self approval.  This is letting you be you, which can be an anthem for postmodernism.  Oddly, narcissism in postmodern psychology says you should be other than you. Applying an objective standard, one from God, and denying self is hate speech worthy of a restraining order or worse. The narcissist apparently presents objective beauty in contradiction of self identity. This is considered harm on the level of physical violence. These concepts undergird future rejection of freedom of speech and further down the road, reeducation camps.

Opposite of God as standard, self as standard is ugly. You reader might like it, but your like of it is not what deems it beautiful.  Popular art is ugly, and all the iterations of it, and this in music, drawing, painting, architecture, and fashion.  Truth and goodness cannot be separated from God, so with the ugly will follow evil and lies.

I have contended that the corruption of truth, let's say in the form of an unscriptural doctrinal statement, is not the on ramp to the broad road.  Instead, it is ugliness, what is this subjective aesthetic.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not called ugliness.  It is called beauty, but it really is ugliness.  It proceeds from the imaginations of men, which is a denial of God.  It is an alluring and easy access to the broad road and then a speedy fast lane down that road away from the nearest on ramp.  This is the road to perdition.

God is worshiped through self denial.  If any man comes to Him, he starts with denying himself. An unwillingness to deny self is worshiping the creature. This is apostasy   Perversion and distortion follow.  Good is evil and evil is good, but first ugly is beautiful and beauty is ugliness.  It is the music hall and the art museum of Sodom and Gomorrah.  It is blasphemy to the name of God that ends in eternal destruction.  It will not enter the kingdom of God.  His eyes are so pure that He cannot look upon it.

It is an easy transition from beauty as personal taste, to a self scripted truth and goodness.  The god of man's own imagination is very compliant.  He is sovereign and to them a benevolent master, much better than the One and True God, who is judging them and will judge them according to His holy and immutable standard. 

Contemporary evangelicalism has for the most part inculcated postmodern culture, rejecting the beauty of God's holiness for the faux authenticity of self-fulfillment and advocating another Jesus made in the image of self.  Each person chooses his own identity.  Love is not defined by God and fruit of the Holy Spirit, but is a strong feeling of attraction to what pleases self.  Everyone finds his own meaning by expressing himself according to his own feelings and desires.

The institutions of divine authority, including parents, who curb or constrain self-expression, which is the total freedom to be themselves, what they call authenticity, is on the order of a hate crime.  This will cause their selves to be "unwell."  It requires them to be someone other than who they see themselves to be, which is their definition of themselves.  Violating these boundaries is the new immorality, a narcissistic personality disorder.  From their perspective, the only hope of a future relationship is found in not just the absence of criticism or judgment, but the acceptance of what they themselves see as their true identity. 

The high octane of personal pleasure fuels faster speed down the broad road.  Without the restrictions God has designed to impede, provided through His ordained institutions, including true churches and a father and mother, the adherents to self fulfillment will continue their hurtle toward the catastrophic end.  They police themselves from the bromides of their own self help manuals.  God, however, will still judge them according to His Book.

As Romans 1:25 says, they have turned the truth of God into a lie.  They have turned the beauty of God into ugliness.  It is the ultimate form of suicide, spiritual suicide, ending in eternal separation from God in the lake of fire.

Friday, December 25, 2020

The Tetragrammaton and the Incarnation--A Hebrew Connection?

George Sayles Bishop, contributor to The Fundamentals (George S. Bishop, Chapter IV: The Testimony of the Scriptures to Themselves, in The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth, ed. R. A. Torrey, vol. 2 [Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005], 80-96), defender of the inspiration and preservation of Scripture and opponent of higher criticism and secular lower criticism, and someone I cite in my papers on the history of the debate over the Hebrew vowel points and on the inspiration of the vowels, commented as follows on the Hebrew language and the Tetragrammaton in particular as connected to the incarnation of the Son of God:

[T]he Bible differs on its surface from every other book.

It speaks of a Trinity in the very roots of its verbs, ever one of which is, in the Hebrew, composed of 3 letters—tri-lateral.

It teaches man’s apostasy and restoration in the singular reversal of its text.  The Hebrew is written and read from right to left:  from God’s right hand where He doth work, is man’s departure.  Then the Greek takes him up, a prodigal son at his remotest distance from God and brings him back from left to right—from death to life again.

Incarnation is in the Tetragrammaton [JHVH/YHWH]: that is the Hebrew letters of the word Jehovah, יְהוָֹה, written vertically from up to down give us the outlines of the human figure—God made flesh.  This is the difference between Elohim, God in creation; and God in covenant anticipating incarnation.

Tetragrammaton YHWH & Incarnation Hebrew

Again: the Bible puts man’s true relations in the very conjugation of the Hebrew verb.  In all occidental languages the verb is conjugated from the first person to the third—“I,” “Thou,” “He.”  The Hebrew, in reversal of the human thought, is conjugated from the third down and back to the first:  beginning with God, then my neighbor, then myself last—“He,” “Thou,” “I.”  This is the Divine order:  self-obliterating and beautiful. (George S. Bishop, The Doctrines of Grace [Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Books, 1977], 8)

What do you think—is his comment just speculation, or is there something to it?  God is the Author of language, after all, and it is reasonable to think that He would take the highest degree of care in His own name in the language, Hebrew, in which He originally revealed Himself.  On the other hand, does He ever encourage us to draw conclusions like this in the plain statements He makes about how we are to learn of Him in His revelation?  Do you agree with Bishop?  Why or why not?

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Most Difficult Issues for a Church

This could be a part two to the first post this week.

Thirty-three years ago, my wife and I, married two weeks, moved with nothing to California, the San Francisco Bay Area, to start a church.  We stayed until July of this year, 2020, when we moved to Southern Oregon, Jackson County, to begin again.  The church in California is solid with good leaders trained in our church.  Now we're missionaries, but we're doing the same thing that we did when we came to California, except with a lot more knowledge and experience.  Lord-willing we'll do it a few more times, if the Lord tarries and we live.

I can say that I've now been at two places to start two churches, but I've also seen enough in other places to know what I'm about to tell you.  I should say that it corresponds to what you will read in the Bible too.  The latter should precede the former, but that's not always how it occurs in real time.  Sometimes life experience seeks out the teaching and application of the Bible.  The two feed off of each other, but the Bible reveals the truth.  It is the final authority.

My experience is that the most difficult issues for a church are the ones where a desire of the flesh clashes with what the church teaches.  It looks like someone won't consider scriptural teaching because he knows it means giving up something that he doesn't want to lose.  If the church would go ahead and allow for his desire, it seems, he might listen and come along.  He won't change on it.  He can find a church that won't challenge this desire of the flesh.  Will the church confront and disallow this continued disobedience to scripture with the threat of his leaving?

The less ways that a church might clash with people's desires of the flesh, the more people a church might keep.   Today these desires are totally accepted by society and most churches.  The church that won't accept them is now an outlier.  Will the church require compliance to scripture in those areas that conflict with people's desires of their flesh?  When one person is allowed freedom to disobey, that resistance will spread.  What one person gets away with will transmit to others.  Soon, that's not the belief and practice of the church anymore.  The church has not kept that teaching.  Then it easily affects other churches, that also give up on that truth.

Church leaders don't want to lose people, but that doesn't mean that they won't lose anything, when they don't lose the people they have because they have relented to their people's desires of the flesh.  They will give up teachings and practices that clash with those desires.  Leaders imagine their church will lose a majority of its younger people, because they want the music, dress, entertainment, social media, and friends of the world.  With the internet, they can find a version of Christianity that will allow for anything.  Leaders know that, some competition is occurring here, pressuring them to compete against potential departure, like keeping a customer.

The item coveted by the flesh is an idol.  Covetousness is idolatry (Col 3:5).  Jeroboam wanted to keep his people in the Northern Kingdom, so he built altars with golden calves at Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12).  They might have an instinct against the convenience of the fleshly desire to obey by traveling down to Jerusalem to worship.  Jerusalem offered an invisible God.  Jeroboam provided a visible alternative, which could compete with the convention, tradition, or norm, the old way, of Jerusalem.  The visible calf was the comfort Aaron offered in Exodus 32 when fear struck the people at the base of Mt. Sinai.

Early in California I ran to the grocery store to pick something up there and a church member was two people ahead in the express lane.  He sat down one bottle of hard liquor on the counter.  I didn't know about this.  So what do I do?   I wanted to say nothing.  I wanted to stare at candy bar selection to my right, play like I didn't see him.  These are the most difficult issues in a church.

I look at the giving records of the church, and certain members with very high paying jobs are giving little to nothing in the offering plate.  They just drove their new expensive car into the church parking lot, so they can afford that.  Do you think they want that conversation about giving?

Someone with no time for evangelism has plenty of time to hang out with friends.  He or she has regular recreation and party time.  Ask for a fun trip and he's ready to go.  He "can't" come to a work day.  Entertainment references and pop knowledge come from his lips, but rarely to never a scripture verse or biblical expression.  Is he or she going to like your confrontation over this deluge of popular culture?

Is it appropriate that one of the women of your church shows cleavage?  A partial view of her breasts is readily available?  This isn't the Trinity.  This isn't the doctrine of justification.  This is whether God allow for women revealing this body part in public.  If you talk to her or have one of your ladies talk to her in a kind way, how's that going to go?

I could give many more examples, but these are the most difficult issues in a church.  A church leader might think that any one of these issues might send someone away from the church.  A person who leaves might not even say that's the reason.  He can find something else to leave about, that will sound legitimate to him.

Instead of dealing with an issue of the desires of the flesh, one might chalk that up to an issue of growth.  Here is a weak person, who just needs to be given time to grow.  One year later, he still needs time to grow.  Ten years later, when he's worse or at least no better than ten years before, he still needs time to grow.  The issues remain.

How a person responds to scripture on any issue is one of the chief indicators of true conversion (James 1:19-27).  The major reasons for church gathering according to Hebrews 10:24-25 are provocation to love and good works and exhortation.  Scripture is profitable for reproof and correction.  In preaching the Word, the preacher reproves and rebukes.  Paul commanded Timothy in Titus 2:15 to rebuke with all authority.  I know that's not all of what the Bible teaches about relationships in the church, but the most difficult issues in a church are when someone considering membership or a church member functions according to desires of the flesh and that practice must be be addressed in the ways the passages say:  correct, reprove, rebuke, etc.

Consider these two statements.  "We had thirty show up."  "We had fifteen show up."  Which of these is better?  Let's say that thirty were showing up until a desire of the flesh was confronted, and now fifteen are showing up.  When you report that you had thirty, that sounds better than fifteen.  Thirty sounds like you might be doing a better job.  I understand.  Many church philosophy books or church growth manuals today explain the plan for getting thirty by allowing for desires of the flesh.

Keeping allowing for desires of the flesh long enough and in order to keep people, and then these desires become part of the doctrine and practice of a church.  Much longer and this characterizes almost all the churches of the entire country.  Churches that have kept reproving desires of the flesh, they are far away and few between and are now so far out of the mainstream that Christians think they're some kind of a cult.  They're bad.  They are in fact perverting the grace of God that allows for desires of the flesh.

So few people are denied desires of the flesh that they must be permitted.  Grace justifies their permission.  The church becomes like the world.  The church that isn't like the world is now wrong.  This all started with the most difficult issues for a church.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

What Is the Extent that Churches Should Try to "Keep" People? Is It Even Right At All?

If the Bible is the authority for faith and practice, the faith and practice will correspond to or reflect the Bible.  God keeps people saved (1 Peter 1:5).  Saved people won't eject from the church (1 John 2:19).  If that is the faith and practice of the Bible, then God keeps people in a church.  The truth of scripture is not the enemy of someone staying in a church.  The truth attracts believers.  They're going to want it.  They're staying because the truth is what God uses to keep them in the church.

The truth isn't what will cause a saved person to leave a church.  The corruption of or absence of the truth will cause a person to leave a church.  So how is it that a scriptural leader keeps someone in a church?  He does it by building that person up in the truth, strengthening him in the truth, so that he will not be led astray by error.

Is the following how a church leader thinks?  "I better preach the truth, because I want these people to stay."  It should.  However, it isn't unusual instead to think, if I preach this truth, that person might not like it and will leave.  So how is it that you "keep people"?  You don't preach or enforce that truth.  You do the opposite to keep people.

Have you ever visited a church or been around another church and noticed weakness?  I mean, regular unscriptural practice among the members.  When I say that, I don't mean the process of Christian growth, where change occurs over time, more doing of right with some doing wrong.  A leader can't teach everything in weeks, months, or even years, and especially today.  We can't assume that people grew up with the teaching of the Word of God.  They have to be trained.  What I'm describing is church wide weakness, that doesn't seem like it's even being dealt with.  Sometimes, however, the growth factor is used as an excuse for weakness, constant explaining away of disobedience, that isn't confronted for fear of losing people, not keeping them.

The unwillingness to deal with sin of various types -- commission, omission, worldliness, etc. -- because confronting it would result in not keeping someone or many people, takes a church the trajectory of apostasy.  Very often the explanation is, "You're not going to keep people."  Leadership pictures the shrinking of the congregation.  That imagination informs policy, staving off potential leaving.  It also looks around and the increased numbers of churches that take the easier positions or ones conducive to keeping more people, and therefore adding them, are doing that, keeping and adding.  And their leaders explain these as reasons for church growth:  they've closed the back door.  So "God is using these decisions."  It's not explained as, "we're disobeying God and God isn't being pleased, but we're going to do what we're doing anyway, because we want to keep these people."

When one reads evangelical's materials on the church and then watches what they do, one can see that not losing people becomes preeminent.  They do what it takes to keep people and then they adapt their belief and practice to that to various degrees.   No doctrine is really adaptable, but in an arbitrary way, grace seems to have been the easiest.  Grace is a wide river, overflowing its banks, pulling in people who won't repent, won't obey, and live in continuous sin.  God's grace keeps taking care of them.  This false grace doctrine leaks into numbers of other doctrines to allow for all sorts of doctrine and practice friendly to keeping the most people.

Someone might rightfully explain that churches haven't kept carnal people.  Those people are already lost.  Also, by keeping them, they've hurt their church.  The goal of the church is to please God.  People that want to please God will stay.  They are better off losing people who don't want to believe and obey scripture, even if it means being smaller.

Another thought on keeping people is the following.   What is the size of a church?  Is the size of the church the number of people a church has when it allows false doctrine and practice?  Or is the size of a church the number of people it has when it obeys the Bible?  Who decides how big a church is?  What is gained by having a big church that does it by not pleasing God?  Or arrives at the greater size through greater disobedience to or displeasure of God?

I've asked the question, should churches try to keep people?  It's right to try to keep people, but not according to conventional thinking.  You try to keep people by explaining what the Bible says about leaving.  You try to keep people by helping them deal with trials and tests.  You try to keep people by building them up in the faith.  That's really trying to keep people.  The church becomes stronger and it pleases God more.  It will even grow, but the growth will be the addition of true Christians.

Someone may want to leave because he's tempted by the world.  The way to keep that person is not by making the church more worldly so that person will feel more at home.  That's a person, who might not even be saved.  He loves the world.  He can't find out that he isn't saved if the church tolerates it and accommodates it like most churches in evangelicalism are doing today.

No, the person who seems to be headed out because he loves this present world, he should be confronted for his worldliness with the thought of biblical restoration.  Give him scripture that will confront the destructiveness and faithlessness of this thinking and behavior.  Woo him to stay by providing scripture.  This is spiritual warfare.  It will preserve a soul, save a soul from death, but it will also exalt God and His Word, the purpose of the church.  It will preserve the truth by passing down the purity of the Word to the next generation.  This is truly keeping people.

Friday, December 18, 2020

The SNOWMAN is a hater--systemically racist, sexist, fascist, and anti-LGBTQ+!!!!!!!

Happy Winter Solstice!  I wanted to point out an important point of systemic racism in this evil United States culture of racism, sexism, and xenophobia that you may have overlooked, although it is all around you, promoting microaggressions against womyn and all people of color everywhere.  After reading this article, you will have no justification for continuing use of this racist and sexist language, and you should immediately cancel anyone you know who continues to do so.  You must start going into restaurants, malls, and other random places, accosting people, and finding out if they are fascists who refuse to cancel these great evils that you are now woke to.  If they do not immediately agree with you, hit them in the face, vandalize their car, and take their wallet, as Antifa would explain is the ONLY proper response.  What do I refer to, you ask?  What could have been missed in the gazillion mandatory diversity training sessions at work, in the now ubiquitous political brainwashing everywhere?  I refer to the racist, sexist, and fascist language of the SNOWMAN.

snowman with happy children

The Snowman—

 universal symbol of patriarchy, bigotry, 

and fascist, racist, sexist hate.

Note, first of all, the sexism here—it is the snowMAN.  Snowwomen, and non-binary, LGBTQ+ snow persuns, are vastly underrepresented minorities in this cold, hard world.  You must immediately cease referring to the patriarchal term “snowman” and speak, instead of “snow persuns.”  Certainly children—excuse me, those who identify as being in the age group whose age assigned at birth is zero/newborn—should not be encouraged to build or play with snowmen.  At the very least, all snowmen should be built with a frown instead of a smile, and with frozen tears or icicles of contrition for the sexist male privilege into which they have been ushered, and a taller, stronger, happy, Biden-Harris snowwomyn should be built next to any snowman.

irish snowwoman stuffed

The snowwoman—not sexist like the snowman, but still racist and white supremacist

Note as well, that snowmen—and even snowwomyn—are overwhelmingly white.  Diversity in snowpersuns is almost entirely lacking.  White snowmen should be frozen out high-level colleges and job opportunities attractive to them, whether in refrigeration, arctic travel, or ice cream sales, until snowpersuns of color, and snowpersuns of every kind of racial, gender, and sexual minority, are overrepresented in every income bracket of our systemically racist, sexist, and fascist nation, and there are equal numbers of diverse snowpersuns found in winter in North Dakota and in summer in Arizona.

Don’t try to cover your hate with the argument that snowpersuns are white because snow is white—it’s just nature.  That’s the same type of old fascist argument people make against transgender rights when they claim there are only men and women—it’s just nature.  No, “nature” is just a social construct, just like “men,” “women,” and the color of snow.  This does not need to be proven—everyone that is woke knows it, and if you deny it you are giving in to white privilege and are just a RACIST SEXIST FASCIST.  Q. E. D.

A LGBTQ+ Non-Binary, Socialist/Communist, 

Snowbeing of Color Snowpersun—

the ONLY acceptable alternative for tolerant persuns. 

(No picture included because there aren’t any yet.)

I hope that you are now woke to the great evil of building, encouraging children to play with, or in any way supporting the racist and sexist evil of the SNOWMAN.  Dear reader, if you have every used such racist and sexist language, please send me a check of no less than $10,000 for every time you have supported patriarchy with this now cancelled term, to show that you are now fully in on diversity, inclusion and tolerance.  I will donate the appropriate portion of your guilt offering to our local Antifa chapter while keeping the rest for myself.  If you do not, I will burn your house down to show what tolerant people do to intolerant fascists like you.

stuffed snowman

So in conclusion: The snowman—cancel him! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

What Is Trumpism? Part Two: Gospel Relations and Wokeness

 What Is Trumpism?  Part One

Perhaps you are far enough removed from what it is to be "woke" that you don't know what it is.  It might sound familiar, because it echoes religious connotations, as very often a counterfeit does.  Scripture uses "awakening" to speak of true spiritual enlightenment.  The Bible calls on unbelievers to wake up, which would mean being saved, and also admonishes believers to wake up in order to stir them from some degree of apathy.  In this case, however, being woke means that you have the special knowledge to see what others can't see.  You "spot" white privilege and systemic racism everywhere with x-ray style vision that others miss.

How does someone become woke?  Expertise or specialization in critical theory.  How does one get this knowledge?  Honestly, it is something closer to competence in the use of the divining rod for locating water.  It is the the bizarre knowledge of the Gnostic, moved by something extraordinary in the realm of an ecstatic experience.  The more fantastical the claim the greater possibility of correctness.  The Apostle Paul describes something like it among the Corinthians out of Babylonian mysticism (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:1-3).

If I were to walk up to just any white person and call him a racist, he asks, why?  I answer, it's obvious, but it's something that you are inherently blinded to.  You are not woke to its reality in you.  BLM adherents have gone around doing something similar, asking random white people to admit their racism and privilege at the threat of violence.  It's like the Salem witch trials.  If they don't confess they are a witch, they are drowned.  The blindness, characterized by an unwillingness to admit racism, apparently comes through a social construction imposed upon the country.  All whites are so immersed in systemic racism, that they don't know they're all racists.

In part one, I focused on the individuality of Trumpism compared to the judgment of wokeness.  I want to explore the relations of wokeness to the gospel, partly to reveal its destructiveness in nature.  Woke evangelicals preach repentance of group sins in line with Marxist group identity.  A whole group, white people, is guilty of systemic racism.  Reparations is a legal remedy for group sin.  You might say that you aren't racist and that you've never harmed another race.  You say that, but you don't "know" that because you aren't trained to see it. You aren't woke.  You haven't swallowed the blue pill.

The undermining of the gospel comes through a collective sin that brings group guilt. The group that sinneth, it shall die, which is just the opposite of what Ezekiel and Jeremiah and everywhere else in the Bible taught related to sin and guilt.   It would then require group repentance.  White people are guilty.  Men are guilty.  Straight people are guilty.  Even if a white person becomes woke, he must still be named in the class action suit.  Part of wokeness is admission of group guilt.  This is the only way to forgiveness.

This spiritual collectivism contradicts scripture.  Jesus Christ came to save individuals, not groups.  A single person is awakened to his own sin and his own need of repentance.  He enters the kingdom as an individual.  He stands before God as an individual.  The soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4).  A man must examine himself for what he has done, not his group.

The transformation of wokeness is for the collective.  The change is group change.  A living sacrifice submerges himself in and for the group and the expense of his individuality.  This is their Jesus, another Jesus, bringing in their imagination of the kingdom.

How are people awakened to their guilt of racism, sexism, transgenderism, and perhaps Trumpism?  It's a specialized knowledge, so you can either become a practitioner of critical theory, which is akin to learning divination or you can listen to the preaching of the theorist.  He's cherry picking scripture into which he can force his theory without historical precedent.  No one had ever found in the Bible what he says he has found.  He goes a looking to bring critical theory into God's Word.  It's a reinvention of Christianity as detected through a seer stone.

The individuality of Trumpism matches the gospel and is a repudiation of the collectivism of evangelical wokeness.  Wokeness undermines the gospel.  It is in fact a different gospel.  It requires group accession and group repentance.  This is adding to the gospel, which makes it legalism.  The requirement is conforming to the group.

I'm not saying that Trump himself is converted, that he is saved or that President Donald Trump has believed the gospel.  I don't believe so.   I'm sure that some Trump supporters think he is.  They've heard reports of private evangelism of Trump followed by a profession of faith.  I don't see a changed individual life of Donald Trump.  By the abundance of his heart, he speaks, and I hear corrupt speech, bitter waters proceeding from a bitter fountain.

Others, which might be seen as adherents to Trumpism, take the position that Trump is a blunt instrument of change, ordained by a sovereign God.  One analogy, I've read, is that he is chemotherapy to cancer, a painful methodology for a necessary cure or at least greater postponement of death.  Advocates of the chemo acknowledge the cancer.  The body is cancerous.  It needs chemotherapy and Trump is it.  The cessation of Trump, they diagnose, bolsters the cancer.

An irony to the lack of conversion of Donald Trump by judging him as an individual, however, is that I hear the same as bad or worse corrupt speech from woke evangelicals.   Trump just doesn't receive the gospel.  He's responsible.  They see themselves as covered by their group identity.  They are woke, so they are absolved of group guilt, their filthy language and lascivious lifestyles notwithstanding.  It is a form of left wing legalism.  Their sins are covered by their "good works."

Many white people, who aren't woke, believe the truth about race, that it is an arbitrary distinction, not backed by scripture.  The Bible doesn't recognize race.  It does acknowledge a covenantal distinction between Jew and Gentile.  These white people want a color blind society.  They want equal treatment, vis-a-vis James chapter two.  They also eliminate covenantal distinctions in the church age.  They want to be free to judge according to scripture.

Park on the last part of that last sentence of that last paragraph:  "to be free to judge according to scripture."  That is true freedom, ordained by God.  It also gives someone the freedom to be released as an individual from the charge of racism.  Someone can actually be saved, truly converted. He's not a racist anymore.

The movement aligned with David French, Beth Moore, and Rod Dreher distorts the gospel.  Its righteousness is one of virtue signaling.  It constructs modern phylacteries.  They signal to everyone how righteous, actually woke, they are.  The toll levied for leftist acceptance produces a false gospel.  They can talk about Jesus, what He can really do, but He becomes of no affect, because He doesn't remove the group guilt of which "Trumpists" are not woke.  They won't allow for individual redemption through their group or community sin and guilt.  The Apostle Paul says concerning them, if they will add anything to the true gospel, let them be accursed.

Monday, December 14, 2020

What Is Trumpism?

Anonymous comments, some I did publish and most I didn't, and others under my most recent post, in which I briefly mentioned President Trump, were typical of what I get when I ever say his name.  They are angry, insulting, unhinged, foul, devoid of reason, and carnal.  And they want me to be a better Christian, or just a Christian period, by not uttering the name, Trump.  It would have been easier for me not to have written more about Trump, but I've chosen to double down and write something right away, because the point of putting on the pressure -- they would censor if they could.  I'd say at least forty percent of the Democrat party would like public religious or biblical speech illegal and punished.  It starts with intimidation.

The instinct to silence speech has spread into evangelicalism.  Leftists or progressives have their favorite and quotable "evangelicals," who have brought an ambiguity to scripture that allows for interlocutors to transmogrify it to their own liking.  This doesn't please or honor God, not laboring for divine approval.  It negotiates greater likeability of more and various parties, looking for a sweet spot to land somewhere in between.  There are many potential motivations, but mainly today quite simply, it's to look "woke."  Being woke is now being elite, scholarly, scientific, and compassionate.  It's also being wrong and extremely destructive.  These "evangelical" characters become protected from criticism.  Anyone who does criticize is either a racist, sexist, or just a sycophant for Trump, who has been drawn into his cult of followers, partly unaware, or not having the critical theory, to know he's a white supremacist.

One of the more woke and feminist favorites of the left and progressives is the popular, celebrity, evangelical, female teacher in the Southern Baptist Convention, Beth Moore, with her 975,000 twitter followers, drew a lot of praise with the following tweet on Sunday this week:

I'm 58 2/3 years old and I'm pretty sure that Moore picked up the terminology "Trumpism" from her good friend, David French, when she was directed to his just published article on The Dispatch, where he is senior editor, entitled, The Dangerous Idolatry of Christian Trumpism.  He's also a columnist at Time, and was a guest this morning on the Morning Joe show on MSNBC.  The Dispatch was a publication launched in October 2019 by men notoriously neoconservative and never-Trump, Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg.  Trump, of course, has been hated by the pure neocons, ever since he came on the scene, pummeling Governor Jeb Bush out of the 2016 primaries.

For a start, whatever Trumpism is, Beth Moore herself, her kind, and their teaching are more dangerous than it.  This is not to approve of much of what French exposed in his piece, even though I do understand the thinking of those people more than I do Moore's and French's.  A very destructive problem is this faulty thinking that Trumpism, whatever it is, is the problem.  I'm saying that I don't know what Trumpism is because it is a word that serves as a vessel to pour many different definitions that might suit the one who uses it.  Whatever it is though, I would evaluate Trumpism as a net gain in the United States, compared to the absence of Trumpism.  It's not a replacement for Jesus Christ.  It isn't the formation of a new gospel.  It isn't the answer, but it is a safe space ironically to find an answer.

Some of what is called Trumpism is not true.  One should say that everything from the left is not true.  The left lives in a world of lies or that a world that is a lie, both.  Neoconservatives aren't biblical Christians, which are the only Christians, that is, biblical ones.  They are so associated with progressives now that they aren't even liberal enough anymore to show up on Fox News.  Their associations with the left annul them.  They are relegated to CNN and MSNBC purgatory.

Just as an aside, who is the crowd of people that the Southern Baptist Convention or evangelicalism is going to receive and keep, who apparently accepts the gospel and this Woke thinking that accommodates the left?  They think they'll pick them up, while they ignore the deplorables?  Or maybe they think they already have the people who, as President Obama put it, "cling to their guns and religion"?  They don't, but those are far more likely to consider the Bible than the ones they are attempting to impress.  Those people have already sold their souls.

Trumpism has a Wikipedia page, certainly written by leftists there.  You know that you've got make-believe when a big part of the definition is "narcisissm," which is constitutive to critical theory.  Narcissism was introduced to psychotherapy by the God-denying atheist, Sigmund Freud.  Those who use it, like it's being used today, I read apply it in Freud-like manner.  It's not what we might think, sinful pride, from scripture.  The labeling of Trumpism, which includes Trump supporters, as narcissists is an aspect of critical theory through a marriage of Marxism and Freudianism.

The Trump supporter believes in liberty, which is tied to individuality, even in the definition of Americanism.  For the Christian, which isn't every Trump supporter, this is the individual relationship with God, rights God gives an individual (not a group), and individual salvation or redemption.  God saves individuals, not groups.  A major appeal of Trump to true believers is the individualism he represents in his beliefs, which to him probably stems from the era from which he comes, this being a far more prominent view, and then the Presbyterian church in which he grew up.  It was a liberal church, but today it would look conservative.  

The left puts its emphasis on the group -- think group identity -- and what you hear most often today, community, as in "community organizer."  Individualism is equated with narcissism.  These are people so concerned for their own liberty, that they neglect the group.  The practical purpose of critical theory is said to redirect individual narcissism towards collectivism.  The individual lacks in critical reflection, destining for himself to act upon his own self-interests.  One symptom then of this narcissism is the demonization of others, anyone different.  Freud was Jewish, and especially at that juncture in history, saw this as the narcissism too in nationalistic tendencies that reject other ethnic identity, which later critical theory pointed out the need for this narcissism to find its expression in an autocratic leader.

Between the two, scripture, therefore, God, teaches individual rights:  the right to life and the right to property.  You don't have true freedom if someone can play horseshoes in his neighbors front lawn or invade his refrigerator.  Marxism believes that the state is God.  At the root of its equality is equality of outcome, accomplished at the group level, the community.  Capitalism is narcissistic because the person wants to keep what he owns instead of sharing it all with others.  Anyway, you get the picture.

The protection of individual rights is the purpose of government.  Trump supporters, not blind to Trump, don't see Trump as a ruler who wants absolute power.  I am a Trump supporter.  I don't see it.  Trump was the de-regulator.  He unchained individuals to innovate, much like we saw with the production of ventilators and then the vaccine.

The oligarchy of Big Tech is where I see autocracy. These Democrat governors closing their states for business are the autocrats.  Trump was criticized during the pandemic for not "providing leadership," which would mean a national mask mandate, something like that.  Trump allowed the states the power reserved by the constitution to the states.  His threat of intervention, which he didn't really use, came with the endangerment of the citizens in Democrat run cities.

The freedom of religion is the right of the individual, as seen in the free exercise clause.  Trump encouraged and supported the individual freedom to gather and worship against the Democrat instinct, like a state church, to conform to the state.  The point of nationalism is the protection of individual rights again.  Open borders destroys private ownership.  People can't be free if they are not protected, which is why the first role of government is protection.  Protection requires borders and walls.  These ideals have also been chosen to be superior to the alternative.

The left will call the individualism of Trump, not only narcissistic, but cultic.  The only cultic tendency that characterizes Trumpism, that I see, yes, is taken to an extreme by some people.  I don't see it as a dangerous extreme, but I do see it as a necessary extreme right now to combat the collectivism of the left.  I've heard the left call them black or brown shirts, which is a lie.

True Christians believe in the sovereignty of God.  They believe God is the author of history.  They believe that God brought Trump in whatever way they compare him to other leaders in world history whom God has providentially caused or allowed to gain power.  Some probably have a cult like belief in this.  They're wrong to think that way, but I see them as a necessary, even providential, deterrent to the Marxists and Communists.  They have far more adherents to their wicked, dangerous, and destructive collectivist cult.  They are warped and blinded in far worse ways than the simplicity of the most fervent MAGA hat wearers.

A means to an end, Trumpism allows Americans to keep being Americans.  Trump hasn't come close to living like the country he wants to allow Americans to have.  He hasn't lived it himself, but he has fought for those who believe in it.  Others who have said they have believed in it wouldn't and didn't fight.  They capitulate still.  If one of them had fought like he has, we may have preferred one of them to him.  This is what we got, like Israel got Samson and Cyrus in the Old Testament.

Trumpism, the word itself, is a type of critical theory tool.  Words are power.  David French and Beth Moore want you, Trump supporter, to be ashamed of yourself.  Don't be.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Sanctification Summary: Christian Holiness or Sanctification—A Summary from Eternity Past to the Eternal State

 During the recent Word of Truth Conference at Bethel Baptist Church, I had the privilege of preaching a summary of what Scripture teaches on sanctification. It was suggested that this summary be made into a pamphlet.  You can now download the pamphlet on the FaithSaves website by clicking here; it is entitled "Christian Sanctification: A Summary from Eternity Past to the Eternal State." The video is also live at FaithSaves; it can also be watched on YouTube by clicking here; if it is a blessing, I would encourage you to "like" it on YouTube and leave a comment. I have also embedded the video below for your viewing edification.

May it be a blessing to you, and with those with whom you can share it who want to understand what Scripture teaches about sanctification.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

No Christian In the United States Is Going to Be Able to Just Ignore the Country To Serve God and His Kingdom

Well known Christian leaders today remind people that we're not on earth to sustain America, but to serve God and His kingdom.  It's true.  How does that thought change evangelistic efforts right now?  Does it stop parents in churches from thinking about how they will educate their children?  Does that mean ignore the deluge of sewage that comes through the media and the easy accessibility to it?  What if your people don't have a job because the economy is shot?  If the church budget shrinks, what does that do to mission support?  When you go to plan your week, how will you do church with the shut down or new regulations?  How is hospital visitation?  How does your church relate to the fast downward slide of Christianity?  How will your church relate to "wokeness"?

There are at least two countries right now.  One country thinks there was fraud in the election even if no one hacked the computer voting systems.  Ballot harvesting, a modern kind of stuffing the ballot box in the age of Covid-19, isn't "voting."  I'm not going to review all the other issues.  One country covers this.  The other doesn't.  One calls the election and titles someone president-elect and moves on.  The other says that counting only legal votes, he won in a landslide.  Both cannot be true.  One says the Biden family enriched themselves all over the world and are owned by the Chinese.  The other just ignores that.  One says Trump was a Russian agent and the other says the government spied on a political campaign.  These cannot both be true.

One side says they want the liberty to label someone a Sodomite and call that activity sin.  A high percentage of the other sides says they want that speech to be illegal and punished.  One side wants to treat transgenderism as legitimate, legal, protected, and promoted through affirmative action.  Let's put transgenders in positions of authority among other affirmative action.   That same side wants to keep killing babies.  The other side wants both of those last two eliminated.  I'm not going to keep going.  It would be a book length treatment to characterize the two countries.

To obey the Bible in this culture, a church must take a stand against what is happening not only in the culture, but also in other churches.  In this country, that also means attempting to do something about it.  This is part of being salt of the earth.  Salt in Matthew 5:13-16 is mainly a preservative.  That doesn't mean that the church stops being the church, but the church still must stand against sin.  It must not allow sin and false doctrine in the church, but it also much stand up against it in the culture.  If not, what's going to happen is that very soon, people are going to be in jail and starting a new prison ministry.

Any one of us can gladly and happily say that we would welcome a prison ministry and call on the Apostle Paul as an example.  The world was already deeply in that condition when Paul began.  Starting in the 16th century, the world began to change.  True Christians were still being persecuted and killed in Europe, but that was changing.  Then a boatload of Christians came to the new world and that impacted everywhere.  Wouldn't you say that they weren't ignoring the country to serve God and the kingdom?  The two went together.  That move that culminated on November 11, 1620, just over four hundred years ago, made a lot of difference to our world history in the proceeding exactly four centuries.  Would you agree that we're at the precipice of just throwing that away or at least allowing it to disappear?

The way to preserve freedom that would allow for continuation of biblical church activity is not by ignoring differences and learning to get along with them.  One of the two sides will not allow for that.  Getting along will mean subjugating biblical teaching and practice to their views.  Maybe you think it would be good for the church to go underground.  Pastors and other church leaders preparing their people for persecution and operating underground is not just ignoring the country to serve God and the kingdom.  We're already to a place where these forces cannot be ignored.   We're not there yet, but I'm writing here saying that we're close to that and we should try to postpone it at least. 

Both postponing the loss and then total loss of freedoms necessary for a church to function according to scripture can be done while participating in a wholesale obedience to biblical church life.  All the evangelism, discipleship, edification, building, worship, discipline, and growth can occur at the same time as attempting to defend freedom.  Capitulation should not be a strategy.  Biblical principle can be relied upon to do both.  If we're going to pray that we can live peaceable lives (1 Timothy 2:1-2), then we should do everything we can do to live those lives.  Faith without works is dead.

Priorities should be kept.  The church should still be the church.  It isn't the government.  The church, however, should not sit back and try to remain neutral and straddle both countries.  That's what I see John Piper, Tim Keller, Mark Dever, most of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Calvary Chapel type of churches, almost all of evangelicalism, and now much of fundamentalism doing.  Warnings come from pseudo-Christians that we won't be a good enough testimony to evangelize if we support one side in the culture war.  They long ago capitulated to the culture in numbers of ways and are attempting to write a theology into the Bible that fits with their compromise.  They think that is the best future, because a bridge will still exist to one of these two countries to bring them into the church.

Every time I write something about the subject matter of this post, I get attacked by multiple anonymous commenters ridiculing me and attacking me as misrepresenting Christianity.  This is the "love is love" crowd.  This is the Christianity of the leftist value sign.  They attempt to create an environment of fear that will scare someone from saying anything.   Virtually all of the Bible clashes with one of the two countries that exist.  Much of the Bible also clashes with most of the other country too, but the second one of these two would like to allow someone still to keep and preach all of the Bible.  Much of this side still thinks absolute truth should exist.  That's where we're at right now.

What can we do?  We must do all the normal things, like vote, speak out, write, even give money, and show support for the right side.  I don't know what else is going to be necessary.  Right now, when you are threatened by someone and insulted, you can't let that stop you from your support of the right side.  Some are using the "S" word, secession.  I don't know how that will occur.  It wouldn't be the secession of states likely, but the secession of counties.  You've seen the red map.

The red part and the blue part each has two very different views of the world.  Sure, the red people live in blue parts and blue people live in red parts.  That will likely continue.  However, the sides are so separate, I believe two countries are necessary now.  The two views and even two countries can't coexist.  I know one of them doesn't want to allow the other to exist, just look at Portland, Seattle, and Minneapolis.  I don't know how this split is going to take place, but true Christians should be prepared to know what they will do, depending on how it's going to occur.

Let me give you a thought experiment.  Let's say that Texas wins this lawsuit against the four swing states that didn't follow their own election law, violating the Constitution.  In other words, let's say that the Supreme Court turns the election to the legislatures of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, which happen to all four be Republican majority.  All four of them choose Trump electors.  Trump wins, because that's enough to give Trump 270 plus electors.  Do you think violence will result?  Should the Supreme Court ignore the Constitution because it knows that violence will occur?

The blue media is just calling the Texas lawsuit crazy.  Haven't you heard that argument before?  Anti-abortion just crazy.  Pro-boundary crazy.  Anti-transgender crazy.  If not crazy, then wacky conspiracy theorists, who are overturning an election and disenfranchising inner city voters.  This is a right wing coup, that kind of thing.  These are the Russion hoaxers speaking.  They say a girl can be a boy and vice versa.  That's the country they envision.  They defend a man wearing a poofy woman's gown as normal.

I think the Texas lawsuit is legitimate.  I believe they are right.  The left isn't saying they are not giving a good legal or Constitutional argument.  The left is just saying they are crazy.  If the Supreme Court is still too woke to vote according to the meaning or writing of the Constitution, its actual text, what does the red side do?  Do they just be super nice and let it go.  They know what happened.  Their side was too scared to vote according to the law.  What will this mean?   This seems like a precipice to me.

I don't mind being an evangelist in a blue region.  However, I don't want the country by necessity to become blue.  It shouldn't.  Churches can't and shouldn't ignore this.  They can tell their people the truth and that's not being a "bad testimony," something we're being told by woke evangelicals, because they think that will work.  When I'm out preaching the gospel, politics themselves do not enter in.  It doesn't relate to that.

We need to know that serving the kingdom or working at protecting liberty isn't binary.  Yes, that word, binary, is useful here.  We can keep these two thoughts in our brain at the same time, not disparate.  They are connected thoughts.  We can defend from scripture keeping this two ideas in our heads at the same time. When someone mocks us or attacks us, we don't have to capitulate to "be a good testimony."  That's just a strategy on their part.  They've studied us and think it will work.  They know how we tick.  Don't listen to it.  It's a lie.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

The Gospel (The Good News of Salvation, Because We Need to Be Saved and God Can and Wants to Save Us)


This afternoon I was able to go door-to-door with a young man, who was just saved here, and this was his first time. Three of the conversations were with young mothers, who were not sure they were saved. They were all legitimate, decent conversations, all headed in the right direction toward preaching the gospel, but they had young children keeping them from standing there to hear the gospel. However, in each case I asked them if I could have their email addresses so I could send them the link to this presentation of the gospel. They all three agreed. I came home late in the afternoon and I immediately sent those emails with that link. They could watch the gospel at home. I was very happy about that.

One thing we're doing is printing a postcard for our new church plant that has the link on it to the gospel presentation, inviting people to go by that address and watch it. It's also on our website: .

Sunday, December 06, 2020

My Lifetime Surprising Struggle With My Own Sin

Nobody on earth, what I say, "breathes pure, spiritual air."  Nobody has their head in some superior spiritual cloud.  Everyone must struggle against sin.  My life has been one of a continuous struggle with sin.  When I say that, some might act like they are surprised.  I was surprised too, because when I was young, I didn't understand sanctification.  Little was said about sanctification as a struggle, the latter a technical word to describe a successful Christian life.

I don't expect believers to live a sinless life.  Scripture itself informs me of this (1 John 1:7-2:2).  It's been, especially in certain seasons of my life, a real struggle, even after I became a pastor in early adulthood.  Being a pastor doesn't take away the difficulties of living the Christian life and not sinning.

To a pastor, it seems very, very important not to be sinning.  It's similar to sinning as a husband or parent though.  Your consideration is that the people you are leading will not do well with your leadership if you are sinning, you are not doing right.  Struggling with sin seems to be very, very incongruent with influencing people under your leadership, so you don't want them to know that you're struggling with it too.  This tends toward this idea that you're really not, when you really are.

Struggling with sin doesn't sound like a good Christian life.  It sounds like failure.  Yet, that's what the Bible says sanctification is, a struggle.  It will be harder at different times in your life too, and it would be helpful to know that.

The struggle isn't losing.  It is struggling.  Losing is giving in to sin, saying that you are just going to continue in sin.  When someone is struggling with sin, he's not comfortable with his sin.  He's vexed.  He doesn't like it.  He's battling, which can look ugly.  It is.  But he doesn't settle and give in, to where he's now a committed sinner, not giving it up.

One reason someone might not want to admit a struggle with sin is that someone might think he's even unsaved.  This is an important reason why to teach believers that sanctification is a struggle.  It isn't an excuse to sin.  Where is this doctrine though?  The classic passage is Romans 7.  Romans 7 gives a lot of hope to any Christian when he finds out what it's like to live the Christian life.  It seems impossible to have assurance of salvation without a passage such as this, looking at Romans 7:7-24, but especially focusing on 7:14-23:

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

When you read it, it is pretty self-explanatory why this passage is so helpful to present the true Christian life as a struggle.  This is not some novice, weak professing believer here.  This is the Apostle Paul, sometimes considered the greatest Christian who ever lived.  This is his describing of his own life, not someone else.  It doesn't sound possible, but it is true.  Where do we get the idea that the Christian life is not a struggle if he said this about his own Christian life?

I write "surprising," because I had the definitive impression that my Christian life wasn't going to be like that, a struggling one.  Why?  I don't remember anyone telling me it would be a struggle.  Keswick theology, which was the environment of evangelicalism and fundamentalism, that I grew up with, portrayed Christians able to live in an ionosphere of near perfect Christianity.  It's not that people were doing it, but it was what was portrayed by preachers.  They weren't living this way, but they were making it look this way.  I wanted what they had that they didn't have.

How did I figure out that it wasn't what was presented to me?  It took me awhile.  Ironically, it was a struggle to find out it was a struggle.  I had to study the Bible.  I had to reject what I heard or was taught, to sort through and understand without anyone telling me.  That's not the preferred way, which is one reason why our church has recently put so much emphasis on sanctification in our Word of Truth conference, spending four years of conferences on this subject.  I've written on it.

Pastors are not disqualified for struggling with sin. Parents are not disqualified as parents for struggling with sin.  The people we pastor are not disqualified for struggling with sin.  There is disqualifying sin for a pastor.  He can't pastor any more for varied reasons, but he's not disqualified because he sins.  Paul was obviously sinning and he was the one who wrote about disqualification.

In writing this piece, I thought of pastors who are judged by a perfectionist standard, who actually don't judge their own people in their church by a perfectionist standard.  They are trying to help their people.  Why are leaders judged harshly?  They are going to be judged, but a big reason for harsh judgment can be that the followers want to use their leaders as an excuse for ejecting from the struggle themselves.  They don't want to live the Christian life, and they use the struggle of a leader as a reason not to struggle.  This doesn't make sense, but it happens.  all.  the.  time.  Especially young people today are harsh about their leaders.  They don't want to be judged by their leaders and then they use their own judgment of their own leaders, not to live the Christian life, but to not live the Christian life.

I've been careful in my leadership to give room to young people to grow and to help them to grow.  I don't excuse their ejecting from the Christian life though.  I expect them to want the Bible, to love Christ, and to struggle.  Just giving up on the struggle and then using whatever leader -- parent, pastor, teacher -- as an excuse, to give up, to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, to go out from us and discontinue with us, is inexcusable.  This is apostate-like behavior.  Every true believer is going to struggle and the support with that struggle needs to be there, either with the follower or the leader.

The Apostle Paul was attacked all the time for his Christian life and for his leadership.  The whole book of 2 Corinthians among other chapters in other epistles accounts for this.  People used Paul's example as their basis for false teaching and bad behavior.  He was regularly defending himself.  Why?  It was crucial for followers that they didn't have him as an excuse.

I believe in continuous Christian living, a practice of righteousness, that is seen in 1 John and James among other places.  However, not in contradiction to that is a struggle with sin.  My lifetime has been a surprising, relentless struggle with sin.  Losing the struggle is giving up.  A true Christian will not give up.  Giving up is not an appropriate response to someone who is struggling.

Someone struggling is at least struggling.  Someone giving up is doing his own thing in contradiction to struggling.  Endurance is a struggle.  Followers of leaders should give leaders some room to struggle.  They are not following their example when they give up.  They can't use the example of a struggling leader for ejecting from true Christianity.

Was the Apostle Paul a broken, useless leader because he was doing what he hated?  Was he not worth listening to?  We don't want to trample and kick someone to oblivion, just because he has sinned.  It's also contradictory in someone who is living in sin without repentance because he saw others sin, and those same people have judged him or her.  The question should be, is the judgment true?  Isn't the point to repent, submit to and please God, and grow as a Christian?  In so many cases, it is just about not being judged.  This was the case with the critics of Paul.  They criticized him because they didn't want to be judged by him and they had an agenda and life of their own they wanted to live.

Our judgment of other Christians should have as their point the desire to see repentance and growth, the actual winning of the struggle against sin.  It shouldn't be to excuse behavior.  It isn't an excuse.  Everyone is going to stand before God by himself.  He needs to struggle with sin and then help others with their struggle.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Raise a Godly Family in an Ungodly Area--Is it Possible?

 If one is in Oklahoma, there are pages and pages of Baptist churches in the phone book. (Phone book? What's that? But I digress.)  In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are many, many fewer churches that even preach a true gospel, much less take a stand for all the truth in the Bible.  Sometimes, in relation to a post like "Evangelize the Bay Area of California!," some people say, and more people think, something to the effect: "I'm glad you are wanting to do that, but I could never do it.  I want to raise my family for God, so we will live in a conservative area, try to move some place rural or stay rural if we are, and never, ever go to a place that is liberal and godless like San Francisco."  Is this a Biblical way of thinking?  Do we see this sort of thinking in Scripture?

It is true that if one wants to live a comfortable and easy life, coasting along living the American Dream, doing so in a conservative and more God-and-Bible friendly area is easier.  Taxes are likely to be lower; people are more likely to be friendly; everything is nice and pleasant.  But where does Scripture say life is about having things nice and easy?  Where do "nice and easy" and "take up the cross and follow Me" meet?

Revelation 2-3 records Christ's commands to seven first century (Baptist) churches. One of these churches was "where Satan's seat is," and where "Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth" (Revelation 2:13).  Sounds like a really, really rough place.  A lot worse than San Francisco, in fact.  No martyrs in San Francisco recently.  So because the church was in a wicked part of the world, Christ told the congregation that they shouldn't be in a big, bad city, where Satan's seat was.  He told them to go to some rural place and live the American Dream.

Oh wait, sorry, that isn't in the text anywhere.  Didn't Christ want the families at that church to be able to raise their children for God?  Didn't He know that you can't do that in a city "where Satan's seat is"?

In the book of Acts, the Apostles and their helpers really, really wanted those who received the gospel to raise their children for God, of course.  Therefore, we see the pattern that they sought out the areas that were the most likely to have Biblical values and went there first, leaving those in the big, bad cities to perish in their sin.

Oh wait, sorry, that isn't what they did--they went to the cities first, and even when the Apostles had to flee because of riots, they didn't tell the church members there to leave their city and go somewhere things were easier.

So this idea that you can't raise your children for God in areas that are hostile to the Bible is not in Revelation 2-3 and not in the book of Acts.  Is it in the epistles? Nope.  In the Gospels? Nope.  So does it have any basis in the Bible?  None at all.  It is just made up.  The closest you can get to it is that if someone is actively trying to kill you or cause you bodily harm Christ teaches that you can run away.  Also, if you go to a wicked place for worldly purposes unconnected to the glory of God and leave godly influences behind to go there (Genesis 18-19), you should expect bad things to happen. Those are both totally different than refusing to go to a liberal part of the United States to help a strong church or plant a church because there is more open evil in the world than in some nice, rural, conservative, Bible-friendly area, maybe in the Bible belt or in the heavily Republican South.

What does matter to raising a godly family is having a strong church that is seeking to obey all of Scripture for the glory of God, and where both parents are actively serving.  If you want to raise your family for God, make sure that you have a church like that.  Make sure that you have your kids in a strong Christian school or homeschool that is actively seeking to disciple them with close parental involvement, and that you and the school are consistent in the use of the rod and of reproof.  If you think you can put your kids in public school because you live in a conservative area, so everything will be fine, you are bonkers.  Do the above to raise a godly family.  If God is giving you the desire to help evangelize for the purpose of seeing new churches established in a part of the USA that actually needs them really, really badly--in other words, those liberal parts where nobody or almost nobody is preaching the gospel--do not refuse to go because of this made-up idea that you can't raise a godly family there.  It isn't true.  It is a lie, a Satanic lie to confuse people on what is necessary for godly child-rearing and to prevent the Great Commission from being fulfilled.  Certainly someone in a weaker church in a more conservative part of the country is more likely to lose his children to the devil than someone in a stronger church in a more liberal part of America.

At least in my experience, people who have adopted this non-Biblical idea usually limit their restriction on moving to liberal areas to the United States.  Going to a mission field is OK, even if the place is very wicked.  If they were consistent, they would apply this idea to foreign countries as well, which would be the end of world missions.  The large majority of the world is more corrupt and with less Biblical influence than remains even in San Francisco, Massachusetts, and other parts of the USA where we still have First Amendment protections and other constitutional privileges as citizens that are not present in the overwhelming majority of the world.

It would be great if some of the people in the Baptist churches on every corner in the Bible belt and in other nice, Bible-friendly areas would get out of their holy huddle and move to parts of the USA and to the rest of the world where the vast majority of the population has never heard the gospel even one time.  They should be earnestly desiring to move to places like that and start preaching the gospel to those that have never heard it (Romans 15:20).  Maybe the default position should be to help there, and only stay in their nice and comfortable place if it is clearly God's will that they stay instead of going.

So if you have it in your mind that you would never go somewhere like the San Francisco Bay Area because it is liberal with little Biblical influence, you are not thinking Scripturally.  Instead of wanting to avoid going there because of a made up idea that raising a family for God is impossible in such a place, ask the Lord of the harvest what He would have you to do and where He would have you go, knowing that as you actively take up your cross and follow Christ you will have the best chance possible to raise the next generation to do the same.

Oh, and by the way, while the idea that you can't raise children for God in a liberal area is not in the Bible, at least you have the Catholic philosophy of monasticism and Ellen White, the cult leader and prophetess of Seventh-Day Adventism, on your side.  In her allegedly "inspired" book Country Living, Mrs. White made statements such as:

"[God] wants us to live where we have elbow room. His people are not to crowd into the cities. He wants them to take their families out of the cities, that they may better prepare for eternal life" (17.1).

"Get out of the cities as soon as possible, and purchase a little piece of land, where you can have a garden, where your children can watch the flowers growing" (17.3).

Aww, isn't that sweet.  Too bad it isn't in the Bible anywhere. If you follow the Bible instead of Ellen White, take up the cross, follow Him, and help to preach the gospel to everyone in the areas where nobody is doing it.  God will help you raise your family for Him there.                           -TDR