Sunday, January 30, 2022

When "One" Doesn't Mean "One": The Church, One Body

Institutions declare, "One team."  Whole nations announce to themselves and to other nations, "We are one."  You've got, "one office," to promote productivity for the work place.  To express the unity of a city, there's "One Atlanta."  Not surprisingly, you see "One Philadelphia" too.

One team isn't saying, "We're numerically one team."  No.  The people on the team or the leadership of the team are saying the team is unified.  Speaking of the nations of the world at the World Cup, "We are one," speaks of a desired unity of all the nations.  Even an office wants unity, because a unified office gets more work done together than divided.  It's normal for cities to say they are one through all the racial, ethnic, religious, etc. diversity.  I could have googled almost every major American city to find some initiative toward "One Miami" (which there is).  Of course, there is one New York City in number, but that's not what cities mean when they say they're one.

When we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, we say, "One nation, under God, indivisible."  The Pledge of Allegiance recognizes at least a desire for unity in a nation.  That pledge isn't saying that other nations aren't nations, because there is only one nation.  It isn't saying there is one mystical nation, maybe even an invisible nation to which everyone in the world belongs.

Before all the examples above used "one" for unity and not for one in number, the Bible did it.  God did it.  God did it before any of the above did it.  Do not assume that "one" means numeric one.  Many people know this usage of "one" because the Bible used it so that they would and could know it.

Scripture uses "one" for unity quite a few times, so it should be expected.  No one should think, "Wow, that says 'one' there, so it must mean numerical one."  Since numerical one doesn't make sense, the same person says, "It must be something mystical and universal."  "One" can and does mean "unified one."

Romans 15:6 says:
That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul writes to the church at Rome.  He says, "ye," plural, speaking of the individual believers in the church.  Is there only one numeric mind and one numeric mouth there in that church?  Of course not.  This is an example of this type of usage of "one," fitting of the title of this post, "When 'One' Doesn't Mean 'One'."

"One mind" is often used to communicate a biblical kind of unity, a group of people all thinking the same way, having the same beliefs.
2 Corinthians 13:11, "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."  Philippians 1:27, "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel."  Philippians 2:2, "Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."  1 Peter 3:8, "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous."
Do you see that this is a common usage?  There are others.  "One voice" is used this way:
Acts 19:34, "But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians."
No more is this kind of "one" used than it is for "one body," speaking of a unified church.  The church is the body of Christ, and "one body" speaks of a unified church, a unified body of Christ, a local one.  "Body" is a metaphor used for the church in the New Testament to show both the diversity and the unity of a church.  Here are the usages:
Romans 12:4-5, "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office.  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."  1 Corinthians 10:17, "For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."  1 Corinthians 12:12-13, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."  1 Corinthians 12:20, "But now are they many members, yet but one body."  Ephesians 2:16, "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby."  Ephesians 4:4, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling." Colossians 3:15, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."
A body has many members, that is, body parts, but it is still one body.  God wants a unified church, a unified body.  This is not all believers.  The kind of unity found in a physical body, which is the comparison, isn't even found among all believers.  Some might say, "There is a spiritual unity," but that is not the unity taught and admonished in the New Testament.  The spiritual is certainly part of the unity, but it is far more than that.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 explains the metaphor or analogy of the human body.  A body is one, that is, it is all together in one cohesive unity.  The parts are all attached and work in symmetry.  It's one like that.  It's not several pieces sitting different places in different locations.  It is all in exactly the same place at the same time, but interconnected in a way for more than that.  All the body parts fit together into one body.

Every body part, each member of the body, enters the body through baptism -- "by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body."  Water baptism unifies someone to a church.  The Lord's Table, represented by the words, "have been all made to drink into one Spirit," unifies the church even as 1 Corinthians 10:17 talks about many being one bread and one body.  This is the "communion of the body of Christ" in the previous verse, 10:16.  The two ordinances of the church, baptism and the Lord's Supper, are important components or instruments for the unity of a church and to display the unity of the church.

The list of "ones" in Ephesians 4:4-6, one body, one Spirit, One Lord, one faith, etc., all relate to verse 3, "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  There is obviously numerically one Spirit, one Lord, and one faith, but each of those are the basis of the oneness of a church.  The unity of the church in the most fundamental way is found in the "one body" language in verse 4.  Division would bring two bodies when there is only one.

In Romans 12:4-5, Paul uses the plural "we" to include himself in one body.  Again, this is not numerical one.  All body parts are part of one body, indicating unity.  This is true of every true church of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul could say "we" even when writing to the church at Rome, because what applied to that church also applied to his.

Besides those listed in the blockquote above, there is one other usage of "one body" that distinguishes slightly from the usage of the rest.  The Apostle Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 6:16, "What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh."  This is only slightly different, but it is also illustrative.  Even when a man joins a woman, a harlot, outside of marriage, the two become one, so instead of two bodies, they are one.  They are obviously still two separate people, but the act itself brings a unique unity, which is important to consider.  Paul is letting that be a warning.

The teaching of "one body" in the New Testament does not say there is only one numeric body of Christ in the entire world.  There is no universal, mystical body taught in the New Testament.  In the instances it is used, it is showing that even though a body has many members, it is still one, that is, unified.  The Lord wants every one of His churches to be unified with Him as its Head.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Two Story View of Truth and Gender Identity: Matt Walsh on Dr. Phil

A conservative commentator, who works with and on Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro's new media company, showed up for the Dr. Phil show with two transgenders (the term "non-binary" was used).  This interaction has been big on the world wide web.  I didn't hear about it until today, even as I write this.  I know who Dr. Phil is, but I've never seen his show.  I only heard of Matt Walsh, because I've seen him on the roster for Daily Wire.

I did know that Walsh had written a children's book, Johnny the Walrus, to help parents with the gender identity issue with their children.  It became a bestseller at Amazon and in particular with LGBTQ, which became a kind of joke for Walsh, bragging that his book might show up in the LGBTQ category.

Walsh, I can see, has now become a unique target for leftists, because he wrote Johnny the Walrus and he showed up on Dr. Phil.  Dr. Phil had on his show these two transgenders, who are "married," it seems, then a pro-transgender professor, two different parents, a mother and father, who both don't want this taught to their children in school, and finally Matt Walsh.

Everyone was "nice" to the transgenders except for Walsh.  It's not that Walsh wasn't nice.  He was just truthful in a matter-of-fact, unapologetic kind of way.  Others insulted Walsh at will, while he insulted no one.  Walsh took the position essentially everyone not long ago would have agreed.

(If you would prefer not to watch anything with a sexual subject, do not watch this video.  If you do not want to watch transgenders, do not watch this video.  I provided the video so you could hear what Matt Walsh said, which does give some good talking points on this issue.)

As good as Matt Walsh does, he misses something that should be more obvious.  I agree with everything he at least says on the show.  As for Dr. Phil, I get why he is popular and has stayed on TV for so long.  He takes a neutral, non-judgmental role in his questions, but picks out guests with sharp disagreements with each other in order to facilitate a battle.  Something like this then goes viral on the internet.

The transgenders provide a definition of "sex" and "gender," that is false on the gender side.  I'm not going to say what they said.  It relates to regions of the human body to distinguish what sex and gender are, including that gender is between the ears.  Gender is not between the ears.  The professor on the show said that sex is nature and gender is nurture.  Gender is not nurture.

Sex is the biological component, what some might call "the science."  Both sides of the gender issue will very often agree on a definition of sex, something related to unique physical traits of the male and the female.  They do not agree on what a man and a woman are.  A man is an adult biological male.  A woman is an adult biological female.  They can't say that.

In the discussion on Dr. Phil, the transgenders would not define a woman a biological female.  They asked Walsh to define woman, and he said, "an adult human female."  Then they asked what a female was, which he said, "Someone with female reproductive organs."

What about gender?  Perhaps you have not felt the need to define gender in the past.  Most people don't feel that need.  For me, gender has mainly been about noun pronoun agreement, which is either English or Greek grammar.  

If you try to find a historic definition of gender, you will see that it is not a controversy.  It was cut and dry.  No one was separating sex from gender, like we see today.  Webster's 1830 Dictionary says that it comes from the Latin, genus, and means:
1.  Properly; kind; sort; [obs.]  2.  A sex, male or female.---3.  In grammar, a difference in words to express distinction of sex; usually a difference of termination in nouns, adjectives, and participles, to express the distinction of male and female.
The Latin gives a big hint, because genus means, "birth, origin."  In its root meaning, gender relates to how or what you're born.  You trace gender back to what you were born, because you were born with your particular gender.

In 1839 Oliver Beale Peirce wrote The Grammar of the English Language.  In it he point blank wrote:  "Gender is the distinction of sex" (italics his).  He continued:
Gender being "the distinction of sex," it follows, of course, that, as there are but two sexes, there can be but two genders. . . . Masculine means, not male, but pertaining to a male.  Feminine means, not female, but pertaining to a female.
Peirce gives an example with names.  He says that a masculine name is "John," and a feminine name is "Mary."  This is the historical and traditional understanding of gender.  Neuter is not gender, but the absence of gender.  It is a grammatical category, but in definition, it is genderless, like an apple.

When the 1830 Webster's defines "feminine," it says, "soft, tender, delicate, effeminate, destitute of manly qualities."  For masculine, it says, "strong, robust, resembling man, course, bold, brave."  Since masculine gender pertains to a man, it would be what characterizes a man in contradistinction to a woman.  Since feminine gender pertains to a woman, it would be what characterizes a woman in contradiction to a man.  The existence of these genders assumes that we know what the distinctions are.  We do.

Everything I'm describing about gender comes from a biblical understanding of the unique distinctions God created between a man and a woman.  That is the truth.  That is a truth that Matt Walsh won't say, because it isn't "scientific."  It is scientific.  It is a view of total truth, not the two stories that places gender in the top, subjective story, and sex in the bottom, scientific one.  God created this universe.  God created man and woman.

In 1994 Suzanne Williams, ‎Janet Seed, ‎and Adelina Mwau wrote The Oxfam Gender Training Manual.  In it these three women started unpacking gender on page 99, starting by saying:  "Gender is an old word which has taken on a new meaning."  To begin the second paragraph, they say, "Sex is a fact of human biology."  A few lines later, they write:
On this biological difference we construct an edifice of social attitudes and assumptions, behaviours and activities:  these are our gender roles and identities. . . .  Unlike sex, gender roles are variable.
At the root of gender fluidity today, indistinguishable gender, is gender role confusion or indistinguishable gender roles.  There is not distinct masculine or feminine role.  It started with dismantling the roles, saying those are not biological or scientific, and now the identities themselves cannot be distinguished.  If the roles were "constructed," then so were the "identities."  You can construct both your own role, but also your own identity.

I did not watch the whole Dr. Phil program with Matt Walsh, so I didn't hear if they questioned him on gender.  What I did hear seems like Walsh connects gender with sex in an inseparable way.  That's fine with me, but sex and gender, although related, are not identical.  God distinguished gender more than reproductive organs distinguish between male and female sex.

In the whole discussion of sex and gender, sex is the lower story scientific aspect.  This is very often conceded.  However, leftists treat gender different.  They disconnect gender from science, gender being that which pertains to masculinity and femininity.  This is like disconnecting natural law from moral law.

People will agree on gravity and the consequences of violating that law.  They won't agree on the consequences of violating moral laws.  That is an upper story issue, that is relativistic and subjective, just like they treat religion and art of all types, calling them "values."  Everyone can have his or her own value, and each is just as good as any other.  Anyone can have their own religion, their own Jesus, with no basis of objective judgment.

Walsh surely would agree on objective moral criteria, at least personally, but very little would he and his colleagues speak to this in public.  A kind of eclectic or ecumenical roster at Daily Wire must keep the peace between one another.  In a practical way, this turns moral law relativistic and subjective.  They review movies and music, acting like objective principles must apply at least to the content, yet without treating this as inviolable laws or rules.  Someone can judge, so there must be a standard.

The real problem with the full gamut of the gender issue is not intellectual.  It is volitional.  The real problem is lust.  The only real answer is a powerful one that can change hearts, which is the Word of God.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

"The Phone" and "The Church"

My wife and I were out Saturday in door-to-door evangelism.  We talked to several people including a long time to a couple of Mormon missionaries.  At one of the doors, we rang the bell and stood waiting in the cold outside.  We heard someone talking, so we waited longer.  Then I said, "Someone is talking on the phone."  "The phone."

As we walked to the next door, I thought about the ease at using that language. "Someone is on the phone."  "He's on the phone."  Is there only one phone in that household?  Doubtful.

I remember when there was one phone in the house, so if you were on "the phone," you really were on "the phone."  There was one.  When I grew up, it was one phone, attached to the wall with a short stretchable cord.  Then came the option of getting a longer cord.  If someone called, that was the only phone call happening in the house.

In our house right now, we've got three phones for four people.  Despite the number of phones, if someone calls, no one would question the statement, "He's on the phone."  Everyone knows "the phone" doesn't mean "one phone," as in one phone in number.  It is a singular noun, but it does not mean a single phone.  You know that.  Everyone knows that today.

So, when the words "the church" are found in the New Testament, why would people think that it must mean "one church"?  They shouldn't.

Particular or Generic Singular Noun

Perhaps you remember from English class, and it's the same in the New Testament Greek language, that one aspect of the noun is number.  Number.  Nouns are either singular or plural in number.  Singular is one and plural is more than one.  Under the category of number is singular and plural.  However, let's go further.

Under the category of singular noun is one of two possibilities, depending upon the context.  A singular noun is either (1) particular (specific), or (2) generic.  It cannot be any other but one of those two:  particular or generic (specific).  If you hear another possible usage of the singular noun, someone invented it or made it up.

When I said to my wife, "Someone is on the phone," what usage was that?  I could not tell which phone he had.  It was a man on "the phone."  That was not a particular phone, so it was not a particular usage.  It was the generic use of the singular noun.  It didn't matter what particular phone he was using.

Grammarly says:

Generic nouns are nouns that refer to all members of a class or group. They are often used when making generalizations or talking about universal truths.

In 1938 Fred Long Farley wrote, The Art of Language, and he wrote an example of the use of the generic singular noun:

The generic use of the singular is seen in . . . "the dog is man's best friend."

One English grammar calls these "count" (particular, specific) or "non-count" (generic) singular nouns.  In 2000 Kabakciev wrote in Aspect in English:

The pattern of the article used with count and non-count nouns should be complemented with the pattern of use of generic and non-generic nouns. . . . Generic notions in English are expressed, for example, by subjects like the cata cat, and cats in sentences like . . . . a.  The cat drinks milk  b.  The cat is an animal.

As you are read this, I think you understand the generic use of the singular noun.  You understand "the phone" as I used it to my wife.   Arthur Wakefield Slaten counted up the generic nouns and the ones with the definite article "the" in his book, Qualitative Nouns in the Pauline Epistlesand he wrote:

The 929 generic nouns were rendered in English nouns preceded by the definite article in 222 cases.

In other words, generic nouns occur all the time in the Pauline epistles.  Expect it.

Te Ekklesia, The Church

Ekklesia, the Greek noun translated "church," is found at least 117 times in the New Testament.  Then you've got te ekklesia, "the church."  Those two words in the Greek New Testament occur together at least 70 times, closer to 80.  You have a lot of opportunities to decide whether "the church," this singular noun, is particular or generic.  Related to number, it can be only one of those two.

Here are some examples of "the church" used as particular or specific, and particularly in the Pauline epistles:

Romans 16:1, "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea."  Romans 16:5, "Likewise greet the church that is in their house." 1 Corinthians 1:2, "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus."  1 Corinthians 11:18, "For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it."  1 Corinthians 11:22, "What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not."  1 Corinthians 14:5, "I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying."  1 Corinthians 14:12, "Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church."  Colossians 4:16, "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea."  3 John 1:9, "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not."  Revelation 2:1, "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks."

Read those verses.  There are many other examples than those above.  I gave obvious cases of particular or specific uses of "the church."  What about the generic uses of "the church" in the Pauline epistles?

1 Corinthians 12:28, "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."  1 Corinthians 14:19, "Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." 1 Corinthians 14:35, "And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." Ephesians 3:21, "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."  Ephesians 5:23-24, "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."  Colossians 1:18, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."  1 Timothy 3:5, "(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)"

There are more than these examples of the generic use of "the church."

Generic Nouns

While speaking about qualitative nouns, in his The Basics of the New Testament Syntax, Daniel B. Wallace addresses generic nouns:

It is akin to a generic noun in that it focuses on the kind.  Further, like a generic, it emphasizes class traits.  Yet, unlike generic nouns, a qualitative noun often has in view one individual rather than the class as a whole.

If you want to read an in depth discussion of the generic noun, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a long article that says very much about it, more than I would want to quote here.  If you don't get what I'm writing and need more, there's a lot there.

Sometimes even when Paul writes to a particular church, he's not writing about a particular church, but about the doctrine of the church, so he uses a generic singular noun.  This is very common in scripture, as noted before, but it is also seen in The Constitution of the United States.  Think of the very beginning in the preamble, "the common defense" and "the general welfare."  In Article One is "the state legislature," speaking of no particular state. 

Ephesians 5:23 is a great place to look at the generic use of "the church," even as quoted above in that list of uses. "The husband" is a generic singular noun, speaking of no particular husband, but "the husband" as a class.  "The wife" is also a generic singular noun.  Then "the church" and "the body" are used the same way.  If "the church" and "the body" were to be anything other than a generic singular noun, then one would expect "the husband" and "the wife" to be something else too, which they aren't.

There is only a generic or a particular use for the singular noun.  There is no "universal" or "Platonic" or "mystical" usage of the singular noun.  A "mystical" use, or anything like it, allows to treat scripture like a Gumby doll.  Ekklesia, which means, "assembly," can't be a single, universal, mystical, something-or-other.  It is by nature only local.

When the New Testament says, "the church," it is either a particular, specific church or it is representative of a class, the generic usage of "the church," and context will determine which one.  When talking about the church as an institution, the New Testament uses "the church."  That's the way it should be.  It is not saying there is one church in the entire world, just like there is not one wife and one husband in the entire world.  There also is no mystical wife, no mystical husband, and no mystical church.

You probably still use the words, "the phone."  And when you do, you too are using a generic singular noun, just like when the New Testament often times uses the words, "the church."  You don't mean a "universal, mystical phone" and the New Testament doesn't mean a "universal, mystical, church."

Friday, January 21, 2022

1st Year Greek: A College Class For Distance Students

 I will be starting a distance education class for students to learn the Greek of the New Testament. Click here to find out more.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Voting "Rights" Bill

The Democrat Party holds power in the country barely.  They don't have the Supreme Court, even though John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh both sadly voted to uphold the mandate of the vaccine for medical workers in federally funded institutions.  When those people were off work, they still will have a medicine in their system that they might not want.  The government should not force citizens to put something into their bodies that they do not want.  Those two men swung the court to the side of the liberal justices.

The House of Representatives is a slim Democrat majority and it's tied in the Senate 50-50 with Vice-President Kamala Harris as a tie breaker.  However, as you know. at least Democrat Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia has not budged on some of the leftist agenda advocated by President Biden.  Manchin might be more trustworthy than Roberts and Kavanaugh, two justices selected by Republican presidents. 

The job approval rating for President Biden is very low.  Rasmussen had him today at 41 approve and 58 disapprove, which is very, very low for a Democrat president.  Quinnipac in its latest poll was 35 approve and 58 disapprove.  Anyone in his right mind thinks the job approval should be lower than 41.  Who are these people?  I think we know.

The midterm elections later in November this year, as they stand, look like a surge for Republicans in both the House and the Senate, perhaps giving the Republicans a majority in the House and the Senate.  If that happens, Republicans will be in charge of committees on both sides and starting up investigations on the many corruptions of this administration.  Some foresee impeachment potential, but Vice President Harris may guarantee against that.

I read today that Nick Saban, the successful Alabama football coach, who grew up in a small coal mining town in West Virginia, and Jerry West, the Hall of Fame NBA basketball player and later executive, who also grew up in a small coal mining town in West Virginia, both wrote Senator Manchin a letter to vote for the voting rights bill.  Saban and West could only gain in their professional careers by supporting the voting rights bill, just like NBA players stand to gain by promoting the Chinese Communist Party, despite human rights atrocities.

What are the voting rights of the voting rights bill?  The voting rights bill, if passed, and then upheld by the Supreme Court, would insure that the federal government would control the way states run elections.  The U. S. Constitution guarantees the state legislatures have the right to set election laws. Republicans in state legislatures are pushing to strengthen the election laws of their states in order to stop a repeat of what occurred in the 2020 election.

Covid restrictions came in handy for Democrats in 2020.  They ignored state election laws.  They used Covid for exceptions to election laws.  Then tech titans infiltrated local election offices with money and manpower to control how elections occurred and how votes were counted.  All this enabled massive ballot harvesting.  Democrat operatives filled out ballots on behalf of millions who would not fill them out themselves and dumped in easily accessible boxes.  That's how Democrats won the election.

If 2020 were even a normal election with similar to normal corruption, where individuals received ballots at their homes through the mail and then mailed them in with a signature verifying the voter, the outcome would have been much different.  2020 was a dream election for Democrats, where everywhere was easier to cheat to win.  They also ramped up exceedingly more than the normal mainstream media bias, hiding devastating negative stories about Democrat candidates and spreading others about Republicans.

While many locations in California require one to show an identification and vaccine pass to continue in their establishment to purchase and drink your cup of coffee, they don't want identification for voting.  In other words, they want to make it easier to cheat.  In my opinion, a big part of the Democrat party does not like voting.  They want something closer to the Soviet Union.

The publicity for the voting rights bill poses like a civil rights bill, that without its passing, ethnic minorities will lose their vote.  If you support the bill, you aren't a racist.  If you don't support it, you are one.  Advocates portray it as supported by Martin Luther King, Jr. by his identification with voting rights. None of this is true.  It's part of the politics behind the bill, to arouse the base of the Democrat Party by making it angry about something that is really a lie.  It's actually an old strategy, replayed again and again every decade of my lifetime.

I would not think that Saban or West have even read the bill.  They've likely been recruited to write these letters, having received an explanation of the voting rights bill by their recruiter.  I would guess someone helped them "write" them.  These are not normally political figures.  They are two of the most famous and celebrated contemporary famous sons from the state of West Virginia.   I'm glad to report that I do no think either West Virginia or Manchin will go for it.  He knows it's a "voting rights" bill and not a voting rights bill.

The Constitution as originally written did not guarantee a right to vote.  It's not in the bill of rights. States only cannot deny a right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude (15th Amendment), sex (19th Amendment), failure to pay poll tax (24th Amendment), and age, 18 years and older (26th Amendment).  Under Article 2, Section 4, the U.S. Constitution makes states accountable for managing federal elections.  Most states then give the citizens of its state the right to vote.

States can require voter identification.  That does not abridge anyone based on the amendments in the Constitution.

Voting is not a human right.  It is not a natural right.  It is not natural law.  Those all proceed from God, not government.  Voting is a civil right, which means it is given by the government.  The government gives the right to vote.  It can also take it away.  Not everyone in this country is allowed to vote.

State governments are not trying to take away anyone's right to vote.  Right now they want to ensure that the elections of the states are not just free, but also fair.  Voting can be corrupted by ballot harvesting and many other modern means to steal an election.

Monday, January 17, 2022

John MacArthur: "Men Dressed Like Women"

Not many days ago, well-known evangelical pastor, John MacArthur, went public, perhaps worldwide, by calling on pastors today to stand with Canadian evangelical pastors by preaching for biblical sexual morality.  I noticed that he himself preached "Such Were Some of You but You Have Been Washed" from 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 on January 16, 2022, Sunday morning.  I'm sure that will be available soon on the Grace To You website.  In late December, Phil Johnson did an interview with John MacArthur and asked him what he thought about various issues in the news, including Covid, Totalitarianism, and the Antichrist.

MacArthur also said this in the interview:

Totalitarianism that is going to come will basically be imposed on us by Godless, Christ-hating, Bible hating, anti-Christian forces.  They may not be overt about that, but if you want to make sure that we are free to murder babies, and you want homosexuality to be acceptable, and you want to appoint people into high positions, who are men dressed like women, and if you want to protect transgenders and all of that, then you have a Godless agenda, you have a God-hating agenda. . . . They're not even trying to be hypocrites.  They are not trying to cover up.  I mean, how insane are you when you introduce someone called Rachel Levine and turn that guy into a four star general, who's acting like a woman, who's actually a man?  . . . How perverse is this culture, it's so far gone.

And he said more.  I agree with what he said, however, I want to talk about the root cause of such a result that MacArthur describes.

What was the start of the gender identity crisis, gender fluidity, and then transgenderism, what MacArthur describes as "men dressed like women" and "a guy who's acting like a woman"?  MacArthur assumes that we understand what it means to dress like a woman?  Do we?  Where does scripture show this?  What is the verse that tells us how women dress?

For decades, almost his entire time as a pastor, John MacArthur has often referred to 1 Corinthians 4:6, "not to think of men above that which is written."  In a recent question and answer, he said:

I have no authority. I don’t have authority beyond the Scripture. I can never exceed what is written, 1 Corinthians 4:6. To do that is to become, Paul says, arrogant, and to regard yourself as superior. I have nothing to say to you that puts any demand on you if it isn’t from the Word of God.

MacArthur's interviewer, Phil Johnson, wrote the following:

Let me say this plainly: It is a sin to impose on others any "spiritual" standard that has no biblical basis. When God gave the law to Israel, He told them, "You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you" (Deuteronomy 4:2). And, "Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it" (Deuteronomy 12:32).

The same principle is repeated in the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul was rebuking the Corinthians for their sectarianism, saying "I am of Paul"; "I am of Apollos," and so on. His rebuke to them includes these words in 1 Corinthians 4:6: "I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written."

That is a good guideline for how we should exercise our Christian liberty: Don't go beyond what is written in Scripture.

Does the Word of God say what effeminate behavior is?  Does it tell us what is transgender?  In his interview with Johnson, MacArthur says that men are dressed like women.  This is where the downfall of the nation is.  This is why totalitarians will rise up to control Christians -- in order to protect the practice of men dressing like women.

Do women dress like men?  Men dress like women, when they do what?  Wear dresses.  That is female dress.  What do men wear?  They wear pants.

MacArthur wants a stand for gender distinctions.  That ship sailed a long time ago, when he capitulated on women's dress.  He's just now saying anything about it.  Why?  Because men are now wearing dresses.

I guess it's a strong stand against men in dresses.  I guess.  Does that seem strong to you?  Most men are still against that.  What is a strong stand in actuality is against women dressing like men. You're not going to hear that from John MacArthur,  because that very selectively, as the NASV says in 1 Corinthians 4:6, "exceeds what is written."  Since scripture doesn't say what female dress is, then women can dress about however they want.

Does it say what male dress is?

Evangelicals like MacArthur are way too late on the issue of gender distinction.  They gave up on it long ago.  Transgenderism directly relates to their capitulation and compromise with the world a long time ago.  Judgment begins with the house of God.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Living In Utah: My Observations

My wife, parents, and I moved into Utah mid-August 2021.  Ten years ago, it never occurred that I would live in Utah and if someone asked, I would have said, zero chance.  As Charles Dickins wrote first in The Pickwick Papers, his 1837 novel, "Never say never." Someone recently asked where I was now, and when I said, "Utah," he replied, "I love Utah."  That was it.  He loved Utah.

The Mormons had to leave Illinois, so 148 took seventeen months behind the leadership of Brigham Young to the Wasatch Valley, the Intermountain region of the United States, in 1847-1848.  Approximately 70,000 Mormons came over the next 22 years.  Half the population of the state is still, using their preferred title, Later Day Saint.  As you might imagine, the LDS religion has had and continues to have a huge influence on Utah.

I know many here don't like this mentioned, but, yes, there are polygamist areas of Utah, certain towns famous for their polygamy.  Jon Krakauer wrote about it in his book, Under the Banner of Heaven.  He was driving through Southern Utah, stopped in a small town to get some gas, and he noticed that someone followed him out of town to be sure he left.

Besides the Mormonism, Utah is the West.  It is a Western state.  That's different than the West Coast.  Despite LDS, the state has a Western flavor.  It looks Western.  There are gigantic mountains on both sides jutting up from a desert in the middle of which is the Great Salt Lake.  When you leave certain populated areas, you run into nothingness for many miles all around.

When we arrived in August, it was dry and hot.  Your lawn won't grow if you don't water it.  You don't have mosquitoes.  November and December has seen rain and snow in this valley, but especially in the mountains.  Now there are very tall white mountains everywhere and wonderful ski resorts and snow sports if you like that kind of thing.  Many do.

Utah has five national parks:  Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion National Parks.  Many states have none.  A very short drive from Utah, you have Grand Teton, Yellowstone,  Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Parks.  You can buy an annual pass to National Parks, so many are in driving distance, for the price of just Yellowstone.

When Brigham Young reached the precipice that looked down into the valley where Salt Lake City is today, he said, "This is the place."  They found their promised land.  Those words are now on a gigantic statue in Pioneer Park, which celebrates the Mormon founding of Utah.  Around it are statues of the founders of Utah, which were Mormons.

My Observation

Everything from here on is my observation.  I like Utah.  I think it's a great place to live.  Statistics also prove that.  Brigham Young and those original men had a good plan.  Everything is square, usually with wide streets.  They organized everything around the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City and now the other temples built in the state, which are lit up every night.  Organized in geographic precision are also the meetinghouses, almost all looking identical, thousands spread all over the state.

The Mormons brought a desire to build good buildings.  Most buildings look nice and well-built.  When I visit various doctors with and for my parents, you walk into a nice lobby and sit in a very nice waiting room.  Restaurants and hotels owned by LDS people are well built and usually well organized and served.  Clinics and hospitals are equal distance away from each other, as if they were organized for the greatest convenience for the most people.

LDS people are entrepreneurial.  There are businesses popping up everywhere, what seem like more business than what could be operated by one state.  The city planning is better than other places.  Everything is very convenient.  They have everything you would want or need in close driving distance.

Many businesses close on Sundays here.  I know Chick-fil-A does it, which seems strange other places, but many of them close here in Utah.  Very popular places don't open on Sunday.  Traffic is very light on Sunday.  People don't have to drive far to get to their meetinghouses.  When I get on the highway to go to where we are at church, it's empty.  Very few are out there driving.

If you haven't lived here, and you move here, you notice the people.  It's different.  Mormons are unusually friendly.  How do I know they're Mormons?  They have a common behavior that has affected the whole state.  When I signal, drivers don't speed up to stop me from merging.  They slow down and let me in.  I'm accustomed to fighting in traffic.  It doesn't happen here.  Traffic isn't bad, but even with traffic, you don't get the sense that you might get road rage at some point.  That rage seems to be absent here.  I saw it weekly in California.

I've been to many, many doctors appointments.  I've met six different doctors.  In every case, the conversation goes like this after the initial introduction.  "So you've just moved here, where are you from?"  I tell them where we came from.  "So what brings you here?"  I explain that I'm a Baptist pastor.  I've had long conversations in the office.  They take their time with you in the office, very patient.  I've never seen it where in public places, people talk to you about religion.

The Religion

Since I've been in Utah, I have evangelized, so far not close to as much as I was especially in our year in Oregon.  The neighborhoods I have evangelized have been almost 100 percent Mormon.  You knock on a door, LDS answers.  Next one, LDS answers.   Again, LDS answers.  And again, LDS answers.  You could easily get 20 Mormons in a row here.

Utah does not stop you from going door-to-door.  Its people don't discourage you from going door-to-door.  We're going in very cold weather right now, under freezing.  They do not act like you're strange for knocking on their door in the middle of Winter, the coldest time of the year.  You don't feel like you're going to be kicked out of places.  You don't feel like some one is going to yell at you and cuss you out for ringing their door bell.  A well above average number of people will answer the door.  Very few have no-soliciting signs on their door.  This is all different for me.

Talking to Mormons is all very, very similar.  They want you to think that they are Christian, that they are like you.  They'll even thank you for coming by and doing what you're doing, even though you are there to tell them something that they do not believe.  At your most confrontational, they still want you to think they're the same as you, that they are Christian, and that we're all in this together.  I don't think it's fake.  They do not want you to think they're weird or in a strange religion.  In most cases, they are super, super chipper, up beat, and showing you how wonderful it all is.

The Mormons cover for the strangest parts of their religion.  It almost seems like they don't know how different and odd it is.  I'm not trying to be offensive if you're reading this and you're Mormon.  Talking to a 72 year old Mormon man, he told me that both John the Apostle and Moses both right now were living on the earth, and that was part of their doctrine.  I didn't know about that one until he told me.  The wheels turned in the brain.  It is a strange bit of hermeneutics on their part and not even representative of the strangest beliefs that they have.

When talking to Mormons, I find that they do not know how unorthodox they are.  They don't know how unlike Christianity they are.  Most of them don't know what biblical Christianity is.  Many also don't understand their own religion enough and especially in comparison to Christianity to know how far off it is.  They are not very conversational with important parts of their doctrine.

Even though Mormonism claims to be a restored religion, something restoring Christianity back to what it was at the beginning, the proof for major doctrines comes down to Joseph Smith, some of the original influential leaders, Brigham Young, and then future presidents.  Certain key men, writers and thinkers, took on the task of trying to put together all these disparate sources into a cohesive Mormon doctrine book from the quilt work of contradictions.

I could start with something as simple as who Jesus Christ is.  Mormons are not sure about Jesus, at least as I've talked to them so far.  They do not know who God is.  A main reason, I've found, is that there is so much difference of opinion in Mormon writing.  The human authors of Mormonism, and it really is all humanly devised, even though they claim to have received it from God, disagree with one another.  Later, editors really, have had to try to piece it all together.

Here's a simple one.  Christianity, the Bible, says that Jesus was God who became man.  Mormonism says that Jesus was man who became God.  When did Jesus become God?   In Mormon doctrine, Jesus was man first and then God.

LDS call Jesus eternal God.  You might think that means eternity past.  It doesn't, but then it doesn't depending on how you explain it.  Everyone splinters off an original one spiritual deity.  Maybe they mean that now Jesus is eternal God, eternal as in future, but not in past, because even God wasn't God in eternity past, unless he's that one Spirit off of whom God splintered from.  Anyway, it's tough.

I know Mormons want us, they and I, to be the same.  We're not.  A good way to point that out without waiting is to say that when Joseph Smith received his first vision in the grove, where the father and son appeared to him in physical bodies, that they told him that all other religions were wrong.  I tell them, I'm not offended.  It's just that we know we don't believe the same according to Joseph Smith.  And that's important.  We're not the same.  We can't both be right.

Even if you can persuade a Mormon that what they teach is wrong, giving them actual proof, they can still fall back on new revelation from God, either given to their President or to themselves personally.  Their gift of the Holy Spirit, means He still speaks to them.  Even if they don't like Joseph Smith, God can give them the same doctrine directly.  That is a lot to unravel.

My wife and I talked to a young Mormon wife and mother, and I said we can't believe whatever Jesus we want Him to be, like Jesus is a rorschach test.  She disagreed.  Anyone can find in Jesus whatever they want to believe.  If someone wants him to be Chinese, he will be Chinese.  All embrace mysticism, and many do this level of it.

I will have more observations for you in the future.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Why Do Jews Get Special Favor from True Christians?

Based on what's committed against the United States and people's talk about Islamophobia, one might think Moslems would receive more crimes against them for their religion.  They don't.  The FBI reports 227 Moslem victims in its last report in 2019 and 1,032 Jewish victims.  Jews themselves also know that antisemitism grows rapidly.

For most of my life (born 1962), evangelical Christians were a very reliable ally of Jewish people and especially Israel.  Yet, by far I hear and read among evangelicals more anti-Jewish language and writing than I've ever heard.  I did not grow up around Jewish people and don't ever remember even meeting a Jew until I was in college, but I still heard on a very regular basis, "The Jews are God's chosen people."  I thought that too.

As I read more broadly, I came to understand that American Jews voted for people and issues I opposed.  I still said, "The Jews are God's chosen people."  I continue to think that God blesses a nation that supports the Jewish people.  This comes from understanding of the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12:1-3.  This kind of support seems to match no other support for any other people.
When I arrived in California to start a church in the San Francisco Bay Area, I met many, many Jewish people, including in door-to-door evangelism.  I would approach a door and see the mezuza on the doorpost.  I always called it the shema.  I assumed it was a Jewish home.  After numbers of conversations, the mezuza became a kind of warning:  this conversation would not go well.  As friendly as I was, and however much I told the Jewish people I loved them, ninety-plus percent of the instances Jewish people treated me poorly at their doors.  I reacted to that by still thinking, "The Jews are God's chosen people."
Over time, I added some Jewish friends through involvement in orchestra and other providential events.  Every year a Jewish professor and I exchange correspondence after having met as bus mates on a trip we shared from Missouri to Oklahoma.  I wrote a script on how Baptists rescued Jews during World War 2 in Europe.  It was the story of Ivan Jaciuk, that I first read in The Righteous by the late Sir Martin Gilbert.  Israel planted a tree for Jaciuk along the Avenue of the Righteous in Jerusalem.  I talked by phone with the son of David Prital, the latter whom Jaciuk saved during the holocaust.
Why do the Jews get such special favor from true Christians?  The support of the Jews is an acknowledgement or recognition of God's unfinished plans for a chosen people.  It is affirming God's promises.  God is true in His nature.  Paul reflected Old Testament teaching when he wrote (Roman 11:26):  "all Israel shall be saved."  He wrote what Isaiah did (45:17):  "Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation."  We know Israel will be saved.  We know how and when Israel will be saved.
God will save Israel because He promised He would to Abraham.  He promised He would to Isaac, Jacob, and King David.  He continued to promise that He would through His prophets.
Much of the antisemitism I see comes from those who spiritualize to the church the Old Testament promises to Israel, like Roman Catholics and Lutherans have and do.  Today it's spread to evangelicalism for many reasons.  The church to them is a spiritual Israel in, through, and by which God will fulfill His promises.  In so doing, God replaces Israel.  Israel then becomes an enemy to the true plan of God on earth.
The promises God made to Israel at least apply to Israel.  They also apply to everyone else based upon the Abrahamic covenant, because through Abraham's seed all the families of the earth will be blessed.  It's true that God will only save believing Israel, but Israel will believe.  The Old Testament provides that testimony in Isaiah 52-53 and Zechariah 14 among other places.  The Apostle Paul reiterates it in Romans 11 and John in his book of Revelation.
God loves Israel.  Like God told Hosea to love Gomer, God loves Israel (Hosea 3:1).  New Testament believers love Israel like God loves Israel.
God commanded to preach the gospel first to the Jews (Romans 1:16).  The Jews are a priority for the gospel.  They might not listen, but true evangelical believers go to Jews anyway (Matthew 13:13-15, Isaiah 6:9-10).
The message of Obadiah was that God will restore His people (vv. 16-18), and despite Israel's sin, He will punish those who oppress Israel (vv. 1-15).  God judged Edom for mistreating Israel.
We know God will save Israel.  We should treat Jews like we know God will save tens of thousands of Jews (Revelation 7 and 14).  As evil as many Jews are and live, Israel is one of the greatest friends of the United States.
Some anti-Semites today might say, those Jews control Hollywood and spew out that filth.  You don't have to watch it though.  You don't need to support Hollywood to support the Jews.  In general, Hollywood presents Christianity in a negative way.  That's influenced by a strong Jewish influence.  It's sad, but they're still God's chosen people.
Jews spread their antichrist materials.  More than not they support abortion and immoral causes.  U. S. Jews are far less religious and far more atheist than average.  None of the negative activity of the Jews means God won't save them.  We know He will.
God's future plan still revolves around the Jews.  God doesn't lie.  We know God's plan does include the Jews.  As it relates to Jews, we should act like we know it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Means to Personal Growth: How I Grow as a Person

We're all going to die and personal growth will then end.  At what point does personal growth stop?  The older you get, the less years you have left, and maybe it doesn't matter any more.  I don't know how much time I have left.  It could be twenty years.  It could be twenty seconds.

If you are not growing then, you're not maintaining.  You are diminishing.  In order not to diminish, you've got to grow, no matter what's happening in your life.  You've still got a purpose for being here on earth.  You shouldn't give up.
Since God exists and He functions as we read in His Word, we see His working in the life of a true believer in Jesus Christ.  God works toward the growth of a believer.  This is a promise of sanctification seen in Romans 8:28-29, that God conforms the one who love Him into the image of His Son.

Cooperation with God's Working

God works, but He wants cooperation.  Cooperation must occur, what the Bible calls, working out your salvation (Philippians 2:12).  This isn't salvation by works.  It is working out a salvation already there.  I call this cooperation, because it is God working in the life of the true believer.  He's working, so that you're working.  When this occurs, growth occurs.
Personal growth is cooperation with what God is doing in and through you.  Based on your cooperation, it can be better for you and then others.  If you've had some set backs and unfavorable circumstances, this does not signal to you, just give up, don't keep cooperating.
Growth relates to purpose.  It is not growth if it is not fulfilling God's purpose.  Someone might call it growth, but it would be something like cancer.  It's growing, but we don't call that growth.  If you got better at fleshly living, regular disobedience to God, that is not growth.  It is regression, even if it is fueled by fulfillment of goals.  A person adds skills for better building of the world system.  It will pass away.  It is vanity.  True growth and vanity are mutually exclusive.
For true personal growth, which relates to the purpose of God, what are the means?  Several means fuel my personal growth.  Among these are Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, reading, writing, and practice.

Bible Reading

I'm not going to do much to prove these means of personal growth, especially a few of them.  I keep reading my Bible.  I read through the Old Testament twice in 2021, and the New Testament 1 1/2 times.  I'm finishing up the NT from 2021, right now midway through Romans.  I'm doing something different in 2022.  The goal will be once OT and twice NT.


My daughter and son-in-law gave me a prayer journal for Christmas. I'll use that this year for prayer.  Our church gives out a prayer sheet every week, which I'll dovetail with the prayer journal.  I've done prayer journals twice before.  To me, the journal will strengthen and emphasize biblical prayers, ones in God's will.


For sure, biblical fellowship means faithful church meeting, not missing church meetings.  The personal growth also means engaging as the year progresses.  It's a transition year, but while we meet with the church, we grow through preaching, teaching, and sharing.


Practice is the faithful work for the Lord.  Through the first three, I consider my wife, practicing the Bible with her in my role.  I want to grow in marriage.  Even during this transition, I want to evangelize and make disciples.  I have one evangelistic Bible study.  I have the goal of two other discipleships at least.  In addition, I continue evangelizing.  I strive to edify other believers in the church, encouraging them.  It's happening.  I am helping a young man learn Greek, who wanted to learn it.
I do some physical labor to take up my share of that.  Maintenance does not just happen.  Most churches, almost everyone needs to take up their part, so that burden does not rest on a few people.  It is ongoing.
In one sense, practice is like exercise that strengthens.  Someone might read the Bible and pray, but that would be vain without practice.  Some compare that to the Dead Sea.  It's dead because there is no outlet.


This is an important writing time to me.  Writing crystallizes thinking.  Whatever I am reading, the sharing I experience in the church, by writing it becomes a talking point.  It becomes useful.  I have the words to speak, because writing them forces me to have them.  Whenever we communicate in our practice, writing makes it better.  Writing practices the words that will come from the mouth in practice.
You know I write here twice a week.  I will continue.  Some don't want me to do that for reasons I've expressed here before, but many encourage me to continue.  I don't want to stop.
I want to finish all writing projects.  What are they?  It is five books at least.  First, I finished in 2021 the Disciplines for Discipleship.  It was actually a thorough edit of what I wrote in 1991.  The answer edition is printed and in California at Bethel Baptist Church.  The disciple edition is being printed right now and will be shipped to California in the next week or two.  The disciple edition is 162 pages.
I finished two other books in 2021.  They are not published, but they are in the hands of a friend, who volunteered to get them into the final step.  If he accomplishes that, it will be a great help.  One is on apostasy, about 100 pages and five chapters written by me only, the second overall and entitled Lying Vanities.  Two is a book on dress or appearance, about 300 pages and six chapters written by me only again, the third overall entitled Fashion Statement.
I have two projects I'm working on.  One, so a fourth in total, is a book on the gospel, about 400-500 pages written by five or six men including me, entitled The One True Gospel.  I am editor of these two books, just like Thou Shalt Keep Them and A Pure Church.  I believe it is close to done.  Almost everything is written.  It's in the final parts of editing, formatting, indexing, and then printing.  I will let you know when we are at pre-publication, hopefully soon.
Two, so a fifth in total, is a book on sanctification, about 300-400 pages written by five or six men including me, entitled, A Salvation That Keeps On Saving.  I have about half of the chapters that are completed.  I want this done before the mid point of 2022.  That's a lot of work.  All of these books will be published by Pillar and Ground Publishing, which is Bethel Baptist Church in El Sobrante, CA publishing.


What I wanted to write about the most is what I'm reading.  I would include with reading today, what I hear and watch in sermons, podcasts, and programs.  Even as I'm writing this, I'm listening to a podcast with a man lecturing, who I know, a Jewish man, who teaches at Loyola in Chicago, published author, that I've known for now about six or seven years.  He stayed at our house for a week after I met him on a bus ride, where I preached the gospel to him and others.  I wanted to hear what he would say, which was about interfaith dialogue and conflict.  I almost always listen to these while doing something else.
What am I reading right now?  I am using Basics of Biblical Greek by William Mounce for the Greek with the young man.  I didn't use this book, but he did, so I got it to use with him before I move to second year.  I read several columns every week, usually on RealClearPolitics.  Almost all of these I quick-read.
I am reading six books right now.  I'm anywhere between 15% to 85% done with each of them.  One, I'm reading Sharing the Good News with Mormons, edited by Eric Johnson and Sean McDowell.  It has twenty-four short chapters to help evangelize LDS.  It is worth having for this purpose.  The three other books I read in 2021 for the same purpose were The Mormon PeopleI Love Mormons, and Leaving Mormonism.  All four of them gave me something different and helpful.  They all had strengths and weaknesses.  Maybe I'll write about that sometime soon.
Two, I am reading The Church That John the Baptist Prepared by Joel Grassi.  It is an 850 page book (mammoth) on who Jesus called the greatest man who ever lived.  How many books are written on the greatest man who ever lived?  Not enough.  I don't think anyone will do better than Grassi.  It is a tour de force, tremendous.
Three, I am reading Return of the God Hypothesis by Stephen Meyer.  This book gives the best and most updated scientific evidence for God.  It will give you numbers of talking points for atheists and agnostics, where you start with creation in evangelism like Paul in Acts 17.
Four, I am reading The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England by Marc Morris.  This is the most crucial event to the formation of the nation of England.  Since the United States started from England, this will help Americans understand themselves and their mother country.  This is bed time reading.
Five, I am reading Masculine Mandate:  God's Calling to Men by Richard D. Phillips.  He writes in an edifying, substantive way on some of the foundational knowledge for men to fulfill God's purpose for them.
Six, I am reading Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning by Nancy Pearcey.  She continues with her excellent worldview material, following Total Truth.
Do I read fiction?  I do, but I'm reading nothing fictional right now.  I read a few in 2021.  I very seldom share what fiction I'm reading.  I don't think I need to encourage people to read fiction.  Does fiction aid personal growth?  It can and does.  It helps creativity, imagination, and communication.  I also do it for enjoyment.  I don't mind enjoying myself as an activity, since God created a world to enjoy.
What I've written above is the means of personal growth for me.  God works through every one of these in and through me.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

My Vaccine, Etc. Take

This is my take on the Covid-19 vaccine, etc. 

In 2020-21 Brother Ross has written everything on vaccines and conspiracies on his day on Fridays.  I wish they weren't controversial, but I knew they would be and I know they are. I allowed all of them.  I'm fine with the position he takes.  He's never explained, but I think I know why he wants to write on this subject so much.  I've supported him. So, I haven't written on the subject.  I don't want to write on it.  But I'm going to write about it now.  I think I should.

I understand why people won't take the vaccine.  There are several reasons for it in no necessary order.  As I write these, I'm not looking up anything in research.  These are off the top of my head.  Each of these, I believe, are a reason.  One, the vaccine isn't like anything else produced.  It's a new technology.  How can we be sure about this particular technology?

Two, the vaccine was rushed through without the usual testing.

Three, the government has been lying from the start.  When I say, government, I want you to understand that I don't mean all of the government, mainly the unelected bureaucracy with cooperation of the media.  All things have not been the same as it relates to the government, but the swamp is large.

The government wasn't honest about China.  It wasn't honest about masks.  It wasn't a pandemic.  The fear of a "pandemic" helped botch the 2020 election and made it easier to cheat.  With total respect for those who died and those who knew people who died, people died at a lesser rate by definition than a true pandemic.  Yet it was called a pandemic.  The media has pushed the lies of the government.  The government still lies on a daily basis.

The government used the pandemic to shut down and threaten churches.  It's still doing it in countries less free and without a Constitution like ours.  The vaccine has been a political hard ball.  It's tossed all over the place to cause political damage in a dishonest way.  When people were dying in the last administration, fast balls thrown at the head every minute at the President.  Now when it's spreading like wildfire and this President makes multiple errors, the media is silent.  He wears the mask like a chin strap in public, coughs all over people, coughs into his hand, breaks everyone of his own rules.

Four, the vaccine has the worst side effects I've ever seen.  I admit that I haven't taken many prescription drugs in my lifetime, but these are some weird reactions.

Five, President Biden opposed the vaccine until he became president and now he wants everyone vaccinated.  He is willing to mandate it for anyone that he can.

Six, people are getting fired for not getting the vaccine.  People are having their positions threatened.  Some see themselves as marked people because they aren't cooperating.

Seven, the vaccine sets a pattern of government control that reminds people of passages in Revelation where the Antichrist takes over.  It isn't the Antichrist and it isn't the mark of the beast, but the Antichrist won't allow those to buy or sell without the mark, and the present government has pushed a vaccine passport.  When I was in San Francisco, held over there trying to get to a funeral, a coffee shop asked to see my vaccination card or I couldn't get a coffee there.

This government locked everything down and would monetary fine those who broke their arbitrary, non-representative rules, and then the main executives of the rules broke them themselves with total hypocrisy.  They also allowed leftist protestors to break them without interdiction or discouragement.  Now they let people illegally into the country, who are breaking their Covid rules.  They don't really care about stopping the disease, not with the conviction of someone who really believed it was serious.

Eight, I've thought that a health crisis would be the basis for breaking down the boundaries and distinctions between governments.  It was Rahm Emmanuel, Chief of Staff for President Obama, who said, "Don't let a crisis go to waste."  Some seem to revel in the crisis.  It creates great situations to pass a biggest spending bill for all of history.

Nine, the government says the vaccination works and then requires masks and social distancing as if the vaccination doesn't work.  

Ten, Israel does a study saying natural immunity is better than a vaccination and our government gives no equal favor to natural immunity.  It is essentially silent on natural immunity.  This itself is a sort of lie.

Eleven, politicians by nature make money from Pharmaceutical lobbyists, which seems to be involved.  The more vaccinations, the more money to corrupt lobbyists.  They seem obviously corrupt.  This is a form of corporatism.

Twelve, cheap drugs that could help Covid patients aren't allowed those drugs.  They are safe, legal, and inexpensive, so why aren't they allowed?  Why are they being attacked in the media?  Many testify to being helped by them and yet in many cases, the medical community doesn't have them when they are needed.  These are the same people saying to get a vaccine.  

Thirteen, the wrong people are putting unreasonable pressure on people to take the vaccine.  

Fourteen, other ideas besides the vaccine are not easily accessible.  When someone has a criticism, it's being censored in social media and on the mainstream media.  Why is that?  

Fifteen, more people look to the government for help, adding just a little bit or even a lot more dependency on big government.  

Sixteen, just one more booster, no one more, just a second, you'll just need one more.

Seventeen, this works at 95%, sorry to tell you now it's at just 25% efficacy.  They really didn't know how long the efficacy would last.  It looks like they're trying the vaccine out on us.  

Eighteen, people aren't sure if aborted baby materials weren't used in experimentation to create the vaccine.

I'm going to stop at eighteen.  What I wanted you to know was that I understand your concerns.  If you didn't get the vaccine, you've got reasons.  I think especially cumulatively, people see what I'm writing.  They know it.  Even if they trust the vaccine, they don't want to support this.

With this list of eighteen, if you want to get the vaccine, you should be at liberty to get it.  I don't agree with writing that calls it genocide and a death shot.  Good people support getting the vaccine.  I got the vaccine and a booster.  My parents got the vaccine and the booster.  I didn't push the vaccine at all, but if someone asked me, I told them why I got it.  No pressure.

I had my reasons for getting the vaccination, that I believe are legitimate reasons for getting it.  I'm not ashamed for getting it.  It wasn't so that I could travel, like someone lied.  I didn't need it to travel.  I don't think people should be shamed for getting the vaccination.  It's a liberty issue.  Because it is a liberty issue, I believe Brother Thomas can write about it with liberty.  It's obviously not a liberty issue for some.  You should think about the principles in his conspiracy series.  He cares about scripture more than most people I know.

I thought the reward outweighed the risk.  I thought the vaccination was a risk.  Not getting the vaccination, I believed, was a greater risk.  To me, getting it was a greater reward.  It should not be causing division in churches.  For sure, it should not be a church discipline issue.   I know several unaffiliated Baptist churches where a majority of the people received the vaccination.

When I list of the worst things happening in 2021, I think those on the list should be taken into consideration.  With my eighteen reasons people could legitimately use for not getting vaccinated, that doesn't mean I think the vaccination issue gets into the top five or even the top ten.  That doesn't mean the vaccination issue and others like it aren't important at all.  I've never written that.  I did not make that point at all.  However, if you don't think my top five were important or even true, be my guest for making the case that there are bigger issues than the five I wrote.  Feel free to argue the vaccination into the top five.  Do not rehash what has already been written under other posts.


You can comment, but I'll shut it down if I think it's uncivil.  On this post, I have the right to delete any comment without giving you a reason.