Friday, November 20, 2009

Nicene Creed According to the Scriptures.

Interesting post over at Extreme Theology. Yes, I stole the title.....

Being a member of the Southern Baptists, I've noticed resistance to creeds, confessions and catechisms. Of course, until recently I hadn't noticed a big deal about it. I mean, doesn't everyone know what the chief end of man is? Even if they don't believe it?

I shifted from Presbyterian (conservative orthodox branch) to Southern Baptist for one main reason. When I had some questions, I was quoted catechism by the Presbyterian pastor and shown from Scriptures by the Baptist pastor. Now, there was actually both answers were correct, but there was a tendency to emphasize catechism knowledge over direct Scripture knowledge on the part of the Presbyterians, at least of that time.

Of course, as I'm getting older, I'm finding balance in many things and so, if I was teaching a class to high school seniors or older, I'd use something like the post above to go through and examine why these extraScriptural documents were written.

Monday, October 12, 2009

John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

A short video.

My only comment would be that while denouncing the "prosperity gospel", "name it and claim it", "blab it and grab it", etc. heresy, that we do not ourselves violate Scripture by calling anyone who quotes the clear blessing verses of the Bible in context a "prosperity preacher". I've seen it more than once and had this accusation directed against myself. Why?

I'm a tither and if you tell me that you "cannot afford" to tithe, I will happily and swiftly tell you that when you "cannot afford to" is the time when you can least afford not to tithe. To the Pharisaical heretic hunters, that is enough, I'm guilty and should be put to the Inquisition with themselves as Inquistors of the Faith.

God has not blessed me with a BMW, but I have had blessings in my life. I don't run around in a fancy suit with a fat wallet, but I've never had need to go hungry or even do without many small luxuries. My checking account isn't huge, but everytime something "fun" happens that requires some money to fix, it is there. I may have to go out and work for that money, but right on time, the opportunity for the cash I needed is there.

For my recent trip to Africa, it looked like some extra cash would have to come out of the savings account, but <*pop*> in the last two days before I left came two decent sized donations that closed the loop. Right on time and right on expense as I found when I got back. Note that this doesn't count the money we had already committed out of pocket for the trip.

Of course, this didn't say that everything was cake and ice cream, simply that God takes care of His own children. I've felt the rod more than once and I'm probably going to feel it again before I'm done (or, if you prefer, He is done with me, same thing though).

Listen to entire sermon.

On Controversy

Just a little something I found through J D Greear's blog on the Orthodox Presbyterian Church's website that I found interesting reading. Enjoy.

New Horizons

On Controversy

John Newton

Editor's note: A minister, about to write an article criticizing a fellow minister for his lack of orthodoxy, wrote to John Newton of his intention. Newton replied as follows:

Dear Sir,

As you are likely to be engaged in controversy, and your love of truth is joined with a natural warmth of temper, my friendship makes me solicitous on your behalf. You are of the strongest side; for truth is great, and must prevail; so that a person of abilities inferior to yours might take the field with a confidence of victory. I am not therefore anxious for the event of the battle; but I would have you more than a conqueror, and to triumph, not only over your adversary, but over yourself. If you cannot be vanquished, you may be wounded. To preserve you from such wounds as might give you cause of weeping over your conquests, I would present you with some considerations, which, if duly attended to, will do you the service of a great coat of mail; such armor, that you need not complain, as David did of Saul's, that it will be more cumbersome than useful; for you will easily perceive it is taken from that great magazine provided for the Christian soldier, the Word of God. I take it for granted that you will not expect any apology for my freedom, and therefore I shall not offer one. For method's sake, I may reduce my advice to three heads, respecting your opponent, the public, and yourself.

Consider Your Opponent

As to your opponent, I wish that before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord's teaching and blessing. This practice will have a direct tendency to conciliate your heart to love and pity him; and such a disposition will have a good influence upon every page you write.

If you account him a believer, though greatly mistaken in the subject of debate between you, the words of David to Joab concerning Absalom, are very applicable: "Deal gently with him for my sake." The Lord loves him and bears with him; therefore you must not despise him, or treat him harshly. The Lord bears with you likewise, and expects that you should show tenderness to others, from a sense of the much forgiveness you need yourself. In a little while you will meet in heaven; he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now. Anticipate that period in your thoughts; and though you may find it necessary to oppose his errors, view him personally as a kindred soul, with whom you are to be happy in Christ forever.

But if you look upon him as an unconverted person, in a state of enmity against God and his grace (a supposition which, without good evidence, you should be very unwilling to admit), he is a more proper object of your compassion than of your anger. Alas! "He knows not what he does." But you know who has made you to differ. If God, in his sovereign pleasure, had so appointed, you might have been as he is now; and he, instead of you, might have been set for the defense of the gospel. You were both equally blind by nature. If you attend to this, you will not reproach or hate him, because the Lord has been pleased to open your eyes, and not his.

Of all people who engage in controversy, we, who are called Calvinists, are most expressly bound by our own principles to the exercise of gentleness and moderation. If, indeed, they who differ from us have a power of changing themselves, if they can open their own eyes, and soften their own hearts, then we might with less inconsistency be offended at their obstinacy: but if we believe the very contrary to this, our part is, not to strive, but in meekness to instruct those who oppose. "If peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth." If you write with a desire of being an instrument of correcting mistakes, you will of course be cautious of laying stumbling blocks in the way of the blind or of using any expressions that may exasperate their passions, confirm them in their principles, and thereby make their conviction, humanly speaking, more impracticable.

Consider the Public

By printing, you will appeal to the public; where your readers may be ranged under three divisions: First, such as differ from you in principle. Concerning these I may refer you to what I have already said. Though you have your eye upon one person chiefly, there are many like-minded with him; and the same reasoning will hold, whether as to one or to a million.

There will be likewise many who pay too little regard to religion, to have any settled system of their own, and yet are preengaged in favor of those sentiments which are at least repugnant to the good opinion men naturally have of themselves. These are very incompetent judges of doctrine; but they can form a tolerable judgment of a writer's spirit. They know that meekness, humility, and love are the characteristics of a Christian temper; and though they affect to treat the doctrines of grace as mere notions and speculations, which, supposing they adopted them, would have no salutary influence upon their conduct; yet from us, who profess these principles, they always expect such dispositions as correspond with the precepts of the gospel. They are quick-sighted to discern when we deviate from such a spirit, and avail themselves of it to justify their contempt of our arguments. The scriptural maxim, that "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God," is verified by daily observation. If our zeal is embittered by expressions of anger, invective, or scorn, we may think we are doing service of the cause of truth, when in reality we shall only bring it into discredit. The weapons of our warfare, and which alone are powerful to break down the strongholds of error, are not carnal, but spiritual; arguments fairly drawn from Scripture and experience, and enforced by such a mild address, as may persuade our readers, that, whether we can convince them or not, we wish well to their souls, and contend only for the truth's sake; if we can satisfy them that we act upon these motives, our point is half gained; they will be more disposed to consider calmly what we offer; and if they should still dissent from our opinions, they will be constrained to approve our intentions.

You will have a third class of readers, who, being of your own sentiments, will readily approve of what you advance, and may be further established and confirmed in their views of the Scripture doctrines, by a clear and masterly elucidation of your subject. You may be instrumental to their edification if the law of kindness as well as of truth regulates your pen, otherwise you may do them harm. There is a principle of self, which disposes us to despise those who differ from us; and we are often under its influence, when we think we are only showing a becoming zeal in the cause of God.

I readily believe that the leading points of Arminianism spring from and are nourished by the pride of the human heart; but I should be glad if the reverse were always true; and that to embrace what are called the Calvinistic doctrines was an infallible token of a humble mind. I think I have known some Arminians, that is, persons who for want of a clearer light, have been afraid of receiving the doctrines of free grace, who yet have given evidence that their hearts were in a degree humbled before the Lord.

And I am afraid there are Calvinists, who, while they account it a proof of their humility, that they are willing in words to debase the creature and to give all the glory of salvation to the Lord, yet know not what manner of spirit they are of. Whatever it be that makes us trust in ourselves that we are comparatively wise or good, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party, is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit.

Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines as well as upon works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature and the riches of free grace. Yea, I would add, the best of men are not wholly free from this leaven; and therefore are too apt to be pleased with such representations as hold up our adversaries to ridicule, and by consequence flatter our own superior judgments. Controversies, for the most part, are so managed as to indulge rather than to repress his wrong disposition; and therefore, generally speaking, they are productive of little good. They provoke those whom they should convince, and puff up those whom they should edify. I hope your performance will savor of a spirit of true humility, and be a means of promoting it in others.

Consider Yourself

This leads me, in the last place, to consider your own concern in your present undertaking. It seems a laudable service to defend the faith once delivered to the saints; we are commanded to contend earnestly for it, and to convince gainsayers. If ever such defenses were seasonable and expedient they appear to be so in our own day, when errors abound on all sides and every truth of the gospel is either directly denied or grossly misrepresented.

And yet we find but very few writers of controversy who have not been manifestly hurt by it. Either they grow in a sense of their own importance, or imbibe an angry, contentious spirit, or they insensibly withdraw their attention from those things which are the food and immediate support of the life of faith, and spend their time and strength upon matters which are at most but of a secondary value. This shows, that if the service is honorable, it is dangerous. What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made?

Your aim, I doubt not, is good; but you have need to watch and pray for you will find Satan at your right hand to resist you; he will try to debase your views; and though you set out in defense of the cause of God, if you are not continually looking to the Lord to keep you, it may become your own cause, and awaken in you those tempers which are inconsistent with true peace of mind, and will surely obstruct communion with God.

Be upon your guard against admitting anything personal into the debate. If you think you have been ill treated, you will have an opportunity of showing that you are a disciple of Jesus, who "when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not." This is our pattern, thus we are to speak and write for God, "not rendering railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing; knowing that hereunto we are called." The wisdom that is from above is not only pure, but peaceable and gentle; and the want of these qualifications, like the dead fly in the pot of ointment, will spoil the savor and efficacy of our labors.

If we act in a wrong spirit, we shall bring little glory to God, do little good to our fellow creatures, and procure neither honor nor comfort to ourselves. If you can be content with showing your wit, and gaining the laugh on your side, you have an easy task; but I hope you have a far nobler aim, and that, sensible of the solemn importance of gospel truths, and the compassion due to the souls of men, you would rather be a means of removing prejudices in a single instance, than obtain the empty applause of thousands. Go forth, therefore, in the name and strength of the Lord of hosts, speaking the truth in love; and may he give you a witness in many hearts that you are taught of God, and favored with the unction of his Holy Spirit.

Reprinted from The Works of John Newton, Letter XIX "On Controversy." Reprinted from New Horizons, October 2002.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Back from Africa

Well, I must say that it was an interesting event. I still cannot say much about the details except to praise the team for their hard work and dedication. There are many good things going on and many frustrations, but I hopefully have given them a technical boost in their operations.

I was there on a tech consult and the situation wasn't something where I could go around preaching or witnessing on the street. I did get a chance to try to strengthen one local fellow believer and I pray that my testimony helps him out. It wasn't a direct spiritual thing, the team there can handle that, but more of an outlook on life to be strived for.

I saw God move in His time more than once during my stay and now I must pray that He granted me the wisdom to allow the team to make the best decisions from my advice. He also managed to teach me a few things about meekness after I ran across a couple of situations that made me want to go through the roof, but after I inquired into the details, I saw even more reason for allowing things to move in His timing.

I will say I saw some beautiful souls there. I know that I did spend much time with one young worker there who I wish I could have been more like. He has avoided the staining with the world (and the price in pain that went with it) that I have gone through in my life and I love him for it. Of course, God works in His own way and my time spent turned away from God equipped me in many ways to do other things. I have no problem being the one who puts the axe to the brush and plows the ground so that men like those I met there can plant the seed and harvest it. If God wants that to be my lot, then I will be happy in it. I just hope He will direct my work so that it is pleasing to Him and helps His Glory shine before men.

Now, I will spend my time back here, using the talents God has given me to try to get these new brothers some material support for their work to see if I can help smooth their paths as they do their work. I know that sounds pompous, but between not being able to write details and trying to express everything, this is just the way it comes out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Case of Eisegesis

UPDATE: 13 April 2011, once again NAMB decided to move their links around. Maybe if someone wants to ask about wasting money by the SBC, maybe they should check on this shuffling of what are supposed to be static pages.

If you go look here on one of the NAMB's websites, you find one of those most interesting relics of the dark side of the conservative resurgence. IMO, I think it comes from the unfortunate Dominionist elements involved and the political need for the other more orthodox conservatives to placate them. There is always a problem when expediency shows up in the church.

Other factors include heretic hunters (a.k.a. - wannabe "Inquistors of the Faith"), the gullible and those that want (despite the Baptist tradition) to suppress the priesthood of the believer.

This little "chart" uses eisegesis (the reading of something into Scripture or any other text to prove a certain point) based on several falsehoods to "make the point". Although there are the usual antimasonic problems that make them sound like they are lightweight antiChristians, that will be skipped mostly and I'm going to explore the direct problems with it.

The First Comparison: GOD

Well, since Freemasonry does not judge between any special revelation and has no "worship" of any deity, although respect and reverence are given to the Creator of creation. Again, this is the level of knowledge of God that all men have access to, known as the natural revelation. The rituals are morality plays set in different formats that are not "worship" in the sense the NAMB is trying to push here. Oh, somebody might be "offended". True, but it boggles my mind that a group claiming to be conservative Christian would prefer to use the liberal "thou shalt not give offense" method instead of education on the issues, especially since some of those names used for "pagan gods" that NAMB claims is glorifying are actually titles. Some of them were even used as titles for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Bottom Line: Freemasonry does not sanction worship of any specific deity, it is not a church. NAMB chooses a hierarchical type of approach by claiming evil and banning instead of educating.

The Second Comparison: OATHS

Christians should take all oaths seriously and not give any oaths rashly.
Well, this part NAMB got right, the problem is that they have not made the case that the obligations are "rash" oaths. They do claim they are excessive, but that is why this is a case of eisegesis since that is purely projection by the part of the interpreter here, there is no Scriptural line drawn. I do have to thank the NAMB for this subject though, because through it I learned a whole lot more about taking of oaths by Christians, including the fact that both Paul and Jesus swore oaths.

Bottom Line: Bogus call by the NAMB. The only way this accusation works is when you hold to the (incorrect!) position that no Christian should ever swear any sort of oath, which then condemns so many military, jurists, peace officers, etc. that it isn't even funny.

The Third Comparison: JESUS CHRIST

Amazingly enough, it seems that the NAMB figured out that Freemasonry isn't Christianity, then got upset about it. I'm beginning to wonder about the purpose. After all, when the Roman Catholic Church got upset about the loss of revenue and control, they started up the Knights of Columbus, so maybe the SBC should start up the Fraternal Order of Baptist Born Again Men. After all, that way you would actually have a Christian fraternity then that could be legitimately carped about over its interpretation of Jesus.

Yes, this falls into the trap of assuming that Freemasonry is more than it is. It also avoids the fact that all of these writings they natter on about are purely optional reading. A number of them do give pagan and occult concepts, but as information, which any Mason is free to disagree with and, in fact, should disagree with if it is contrary to his religious beliefs. While the NAMB is correct that Christianity does teach the uniqueness of Christ, the fact that the NAMB denies the evidence of messianic movements in many of the world's past and current religions and confuses the non-sectarian philosophical discussion by Pike with some kind of statement of beliefs undercuts their case yet again.

Bottom Line: Yet more stretching that falls short, woeful ignorance and again a retreat from the need to educate. The SBC wants a Great Commission Resurgence, but they still don't want to educate. Why? Are they trying to grow Christians or mushrooms?

The Fourth Comparison: SALVATION BY WORKS

Some religions require salvation by works, Christianity does not. However, the doing of works as a fruit of being saved is a strong thread in Christianity. As usual for the antimason, one book is conspicuously absent from the list of verses on the right side of the chart on the NAMB website:

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18)
Works don't save a Christian, but a Christian saved by grace will be doing works. Works as either a requirement or result of salvation cross all the major religions in one form or another. Well, I think Christianity is the only one that calls them a result, but I might be wrong about some of the karma/reincarnation religions. Of course, I'm not quite clear about the problem with the quote from Pike, at least the first portion. If you don't have faith in Christ, do not repent and do not show the signs of the Spirit re-forming you, then the Redeemer's (Christ's) death was for nothing, you are not saved. You must have that faith and repentance to benefit from His sacrifice and it will result in changing you.

Bottom Line: Weak, majorly so. Oh noes! "Some" may get some false hope from works, but I think the NAMB and SBC would be a bit better off looking for those that are being taught a works based theology in their own churches, no matter what lip service is being paid to grace. The saddest and most pitiful part of this point is that the NAMB is advocating, like all antimasons who claim to be Christian, adding a work to grace. The work of a Mason leaving Freemasonry for salvation. Sad.

The Fifth Comparison: INCLUSIVISM

Freemasonry teaches no way to salvation. Candidates and members are specifically and repeatedly told that since Masonry makes no distinctions between any special revelation (Bible, Koran, Torah, Vedas, etc.), their salvation depends on what their religious beliefs teach them, NOT Freemasonry. Which lets the air out of this one real fast.

Of course, once again Pike is cited (without dealing with the clear statement in his works and Hutchen's condensed version that these are all optional and anyone can disagree with them) and it is interpreted in the way the writer wants it to be. So, of course!, it is all about knowing the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Testimony of the Holy Spirit! It just cannot be speaking of the intellectual level of thought where man in his finite wisdom can discern from the creation the nature of the Creator, can it? Why not? It is obviously how Pike intended it.

Bottom Line: Piled higher and deeper. You know why this is atheist sounding fodder? Because if you just assume that there is no God, there is no Christ, the Bible is errant, etc.; then regardless of any evidence to the contrary, you will force fit your interpretation into an antiChristian one. Which is exactly what this little "comparison" has done. Despite the railing about "blasphemous" comparisons of Christ with pagan messianic figures, what the NAMB has done is lower the level of rational scholarship to the point where if it was accepted anywhere but in their little pandering critiques of Freemasonry, it would mean that a honest person would have to accept the "pagan Christs" as reality when using the same standards of scholarship.

Why not just educate for real instead of worrying about propagandizing for agendas? While the SBC is trying on the GCR and I see much good in it, if the SBC fails to fix its education problem, then the GCR will just be another money and time wasting effort. If the SBC does choose to educate, then it will have its GCR, whether it wants it or not.

Friday, September 4, 2009

They are without excuse

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalms 19:1-4a)

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
(Romans 1:20)

"The grave error in a technically directed cultural drive is that it sees its highest goal in the possibility of achieving an alteration of Nature. It hopes to set itself in the place of God, so that it may force upon the divine will some petty conventions of its dust-born mind.” Erwin Schrodinger

The destiny of mankind is not decided by material computation. When great causes are on the move in the world, stirring all men’s souls, drawing them from their firesides, casting aside comfort, wealth and the pursuit of happiness in response to impulses at once awe-striking and irresistible, we learn that we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time, and beyond space and time, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.
Winston Churchill, The Old Lion, Rochester, NY, 1941

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” Werner Heisenberg

“Science and religion are very much alike. Both are imaginative and creative aspects of the human mind. The appearance of a conflict is a result of ignorance.

We come to exist through a divine act. That divine guidance is a theme throughout our life; at our death the brain goes, but that divine guidance and love continues. Each of us is a unique, conscious being, a divine creation. It is the religious view. It is the only view consistent with all the evidence.” John Eccles

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23)

Something I have never been able to understand was how people could deny that there is a Creator. Even when I was straying, the knowledge was there. I think here we see the greatest depravity of Mankind, that they would deny God and try to usurp Him. The greatest thinkers throughout history have always acknowledged a Creator, even if they were not Jewish or Christian. Even now, those that deny God by making a god of science must believe on totally blind faith that miraculous happenings for which the deniers have no proof happened in the past. Miracles so great that they make a six day creation a few thousand years ago by a Creator sound simpler. I don't know what I can do for them.

I can do what He has told me to do in Scriptures, but I also know I cannot do anything for them, only He can. How to make them see? Have I gone too far in my search for growth? I know that even if I am deluded as to my salvation and He judges me unworthy and a false follower that He will know not, that His judgement will be just and my condemnation will be fitting. Of course, my knowing that bases itself on knowing that He is my Lord and Savior and that I am nothing without Him to guide me.

But I fail so much. I try so much and let distractions interfere with me.

Part of this came from rereading an old favorite science fiction book and remembering how much people want to believe in those fantasies. Those who believe them will stay lost, because they believe in that bright and shining future, even though it is flawed by human failures and faults. Logically, if they believe in that, then Christianity is lost to them, because for those futures to occur as they have been written in stories, then Christianity would have to be false. These believers still dream and hope, as I did once, for the outward reach and growth of these fantasies.

They cannot see as I have seen, the turning inward, inward of all human cultures and societies in the last decades. The retreat had started before the pinnacle of the outreach was accomplished. By the time we had reached the Moon, our culture was turning away. Some of the later writers knew that and postulated wildcat entrepreneurs who forced Mankind back into space, but there are none like that. Even the hard science stories are disappearing as over the years more and more shelf space in the book stores' "Science Fiction & Fantasy" section have been taken up by escapist science and romantic fantasies.

I see the symptoms of this throughout our Western culture as people put their faith in all kinds of idols and refuse to turn to Him who is their salvation.

Lord help them.

Lord help us.

Lord help me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Do You Fight the Lies...

...from those who claim to be Christian? As can be noted in the brief study I did on Bearing False Witness, breaking this particular commandment is linked to a number of other problems. It looks like this can be said of other commandments also, but when we look at the fruits of those who claim to be Christian (our only standard to discern a true Brother in Christ), if this one pops up, then I've seen that the others will follow. After all, I could make the case for the key commandment being the first one, but how can I tell if someone has some other god before God? Only by their fruits.

I was reading some of John Piper's work after seeing a missions video on youtube that was linked to his quote about missions: "Go, Send or Disobey." While exploring his website, I did what I do from time to time when I find a new preacher, I searched for "Freemasonry" and "Masonry". There was only one hit on the entire site which from my research indicates there is probably something from someone else. I've found that solid, orthodox, reformed preachers tend to have nothing or one item from someone else. For some reason, Freemasonry isn't on their radar screens.

So we find here. My search only found one document from July 21, 1989(!) with the following quote:

33. Ron Carlson, an expert in cults, ate lunch with me and others one day and spoke of the amazing inroads of the Masonic Lodge in America. He has made a tape exposing the cultic, Eastern, counter-Christian elements of the Lodge. Fifteen thousand men have left the Lodge because of this tape. Ron has been threatened. He said 40 percent of Southern Baptist pastors belong to the Lodge. The whole elder board at a well-known Twin Cities Presbyterian church belonged to the Masons at one time recently. When you join you must take an oath that you will slit your throat before revealing the secrets of the Lodge. The IRS investigated recently and discovered that none of the money raised by the circuses went for the children’s hospitals. The red Fez with the Islamic sword and crescent is based on the bloody slaughter of 10,000 Christians by Muslims in the city of Fez. Norman Vincent Peale, who is high up in the Masonic order, told Ron that Masonry is the most important thing in his life. One board chairman in the Twin Cities who railed at Ron answered his question of why he should be accepted into heaven by saying, “I guess I’ll say I was a good Mason.” How vigilant we must be about the subtlety of sin and error.

So, what do we really have here?
  1. The source is "Ron Carlson, an expert in cults." Ok, the first line would be that since Freemasonry isn't a cult, he doesn't know jack about it. Unfortunately, as we will see, it may sound like a snippy joke, but it is actually the just the simple truth.
  2. Next we have "amazing inroads of the Masonic Lodge in America". Uh, like every single other secular fraternal organization in America, we have a steadily declining membership. Even when I've seen a local "boom" in new members, it is merely a slowing of the rate of decrease.
  3. Next, "He (Carlson) has made a tape exposing...". I've heard recordings of Mr. Carlson's presentations at conferences. He is called on to speak against Freemasonry. Within a few minutes, despite this talk supposedly being the "real deal" about Masonry, Mr. Carlson will be telling people about "resources" available for sale on the back table. I gues this would qualify this tape as being the "real real deal".
  4. "cultic": Not by any definition either ancient or modern. The only basis for this remains the constant stretch by these antimasons who claim to be Christians that Freemasonry is a religion. This despite the massive witness of centuries of Masons that Masonry is NOT a religion. Oh, we are all just Satanists anyway, right?
  5. "Eastern": Oh wow. Care to comment on the Oriental nature of the people that produced the Bible? Now, if this is a "modern" pop definition of Eastern (i.e. slant eyed folks), then it is a laugh. I don't think you will find the corporate group state mentality in Freemasonry that you will find there, or even in the Bible where one Man was chosen to die for the good of the state.
  6. "counter-Christian": How is it "counter"? I know of nothing in Masonry that is against ("counter") Christianity. Unless it is the fact that this secular fraternity chooses not to whole-heartedly endorse Christianity as the one, true faith. Of course, then it wouldn't be secular, would it? It wouldn't be Freemasonry either.
  7. "15,000 men have left the Lodge because of this tape". Really? Does Mr. Carlson have this in writing? I doubt it. Of course, having worked the phones to call older brothers who are about to lose their membership for not paying their dues (wait, isn't this a cult, you know, HARD to get out of?), I'm quite aware of one problem among my older Masonic brethren, especially if they are also my Christian brethren. When I call and let them know that if they are in distress economically that we can provide for them, I find them politely thanking me and requesting that we don't. Why? Is this the Great Carlson AntiMasonic Tape at work!?! Maybe. The reason these older Christian and Masonic brothers are letting their dues lapse is that they are old, no longer active and are tired of being harassed by their kids and preachers who are listening to Mr. Carlson's or Mr. Ankerberg's lies. Remember what I said about bearing false witness leading to other sins? Here, the idea of honoring they father and mother or respect for the elder ones in the church go >poof!<
  8. "Ron had been threatened." By who? The last time you had a case of that was the Morgan Affair in the early 1800s. Oh wait, bearing false witness and dividing the church? Scripture has somewhat to say about that, but I don't think it is a mere threat.
  9. "40% of SB preachers/Presbyterian Church". The first is a known lie, pushed by Dr. Holly among all his other ones. As for the other, if true, so what?
  10. "take an oath to slit your throat". Old lie, I did not do so, have not heard of anyone else doing so and after sitting in many jurisdictions both in the USA and overseas for degrees, I've not observed any oath calling for slitting your own throat.
  11. IRS and the Shrine. I'm not aware of anything back then, but I am aware, even though I'm no longer a Shriner, that an internal investigation is ongoing into some abuses by members of a subgroup of Shriners. If this is true (and it looks like it is), then the Shriners involved will probably end up no longer Masons as well as no longer Shriners.
  12. The Red Fez lie: I'll only cover the first fact on this one. The city of Fez was founded by the Muslim sultan who conquered the area from pagans (although there may have been some Christians there) and the hat known as the "fez" for the city didn't exist until the next sultan built up the city of Fez to attract more commerce to it. Oops! BTW, the currently fashionable number and the one I've always heard was 50,000 Christians, not the mere 10,000 of Mr. Carlson's myth.
  13. Norman Vincent Peale: Oh, this is a personal testimony (how about two or three witnesses?) by Mr. Carlson.
  14. "I was a good Mason." See #13 above.
  15. "How vigilant we must be about the subtlety of sin and error." Amen Brother Piper, Amen. I suggest you start with Mr. Carlson. Over half of the points above are lies, the rest appear to have no evidence except for Mr. Carlson's personal testimony and Mr. Carlson appears to use his conference appearances as live infomercials for his products. I find his fruit to be a bit dubious.
Fortunately, Mr. Piper most definitely appears to be only guilty of trusting someone who is supposed to be of good report.

Going to Africa

I've known it for a while now, but it is been getting more official: I'm going to Africa on a mission trip. I'm not going to say exactly where since it fits on the IMB's list of countries that you aren't supposed to talk about. While I'm going to be there doing what the missionary requires, the primary requirement is to improve the quality of the local food production. Since part of what I do around my place is sustainable agriculture and livestock, I am able to fit a specific need.

Actually, this might be something more than just what I'm going for. I'm not sure, but along with the minor stuff, once I get on the ground and see what the locals have, I might be able to work on getting more to them. They have very little to no electricity, but these days everyone thinks "modern". How much electricity do you need for refrigeration if you use an old fashioned ice box? A few hours of generator power once a week to hard freeze ~50 lbs of ice, which should give the locals some extra food storage, especially for something like making cheese. Even a little bit of cold box extends your options on holding food.

This would give them the option of culling their goat flocks harder to get higher productivity since it won't go to waste in the heat. There would be the ability to hold excess products until enough was on hand to process for long term storage. For example, if they need to consume most fruit as part of their daily diet, but there is a little bit left over, then it could be accumulated in the cold for a few days until there was enough to cook down and can in jars for later. It is amazing how much just a little bit of ice can do. However, that is for the next time I go.

So, please, I'd like your prayers and if you feel like you need to you can send a donation through the online giving link here, I'm sure there is someway you can list it as "for Kamatu's Africa Trip" or something like that. You will probably confuse everyone except my pastor. It takes some kind of registration, so that is up to you, but I would thank all of you who pray that He will make this trip a success.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Why Apologetics?

Back in February I did a short post on the core of apologetics, this expands on it some. I was sorting out my documents since I've disposed of my baby (first day at school!) and I'm waiting for the washer to finish so I can hang some clothes up on the line.

God said it, I believe it, that settles it.

Anyone familiar with this one? For a believer, it is at the bottom line, the simple truth. However, for those in the world, it is a bit simplistic and they don’t know how you got from where they are to where you are.

1 Peter 3:15 - "...and always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

2 Timothy 2:15 - “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.”

This is the verse translated in the King James as “rightly dividing the word of truth”.

1. The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.
2. Formal argumentation in defense of something, such as a position or system.

What Apologetics is Not

Apologetics is not designed to prove the word of God, but to provide an intellectual basis for faith.

The objective of apologetics is not to convince a person to become a Christian contrary to his will. The objective, "strives at laying the evidence for the Christian gospel before men in an intelligent fashion, so that they can make a meaningful commitment under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit." "The heart cannot delight in what the mind rejects as false." (Charles Pinnock, member Evangelical Theological Society)
Apologetics does not diminish the importance of faith. Apologetics defends the reasonableness of faith in God and his Word. When non-Christians ask tough questions about the Christian faith, will you be able to give a solid and logical response? If not, there is an opportunity lost to spread God's Word. Worse, the Christian who has a weak foundation for his faith can be easily shaken by the doubts of non-believers.

Is Faith Reasonable? What is Faith?

"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain

John 10:38 - “But if I am doing them and you don’t believe Me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand that the Father is in Me and I in the Father.”

Mark Twain states the current popular definition of religious (especially Christian) faith, however, with apologetics, the true meaning of faith becomes clear: ”Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.” The trust comes from evidence, a closer way of thinking of a Christian’s faith in God is the faith we all have that the sun will come up tomorrow morning. There is no evidence we can use to prove today that it will, but we have seen it come up every day of our lives and so have faith that it will again tomorrow. This is the kind of faith a Christian should gain as they mature.

What kind of questions get asked?

You may not hear any of these, but our kids going to college will. This is not a huge memory work project to memorize defenses to these, but you have to know that there are defenses, usually that end up showing that the question is a bit silly. I don’t know the specific detailed answers to all of these myself, but they can be looked up. You will hear them from people who have advanced college degrees, even if they are stupid statements. It’s not that they are stupid, but they are ignorant and amusingly enough, they are often taking the garbage they have heard about Christianity and the Bible on blind faith of the sort Mark Twain wrote about.

The prophecy about the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14) really translates as a “young woman” not a virgin.
Don’t you know that all agricultural societies have a dying and rising god?
Don’t you know that Jesus is really modeled on mythological deity X?
If Jesus was supposed to be the model for Christians and He was “meek”, why did he dispute with the Pharisees so much?
If Jesus is God, how did He hear prayer when He was a baby?
Well if you don’t believe in abortion and want them to stop, why aren’t you out there adopting babies?
Are you saved by faith or by works? You know the Bible contradicts itself, don’t you?
Since we only have copies of copies of copies of the Bible, how can we trust it?
Don’t you know the Bible is full of contradictions?
Jesus lived a long, long time ago and how can we really know if He was real or that we know what He really said and did?
Jesus couldn’t have really been raised from the dead, He either swooned and woke up, the disciples stole His body, the disciples went to the wrong tomb or it was all some kind of mass hallucination/vision.
Jesus was just a good moral teacher or prophet.
Jesus never claimed to be God.
The Bible states that X horrible thing happened and I just couldn’t ever believe in a God who would do such a horrible thing. (Argument by Outrage)
You know about group X that calls themselves Christians that do some horrible or strange thing Y, don’t you? Aren’t they Christians? They aren’t? What gives you the right to judge? Maybe you are wrong, aren’t you?
Do you believe the Bible is the literal Word of God? Do you hold to a literal interpretation? So, you believe that mountains can skip, don’t you?
Do you eat bacon? Doesn’t the Bible literally say that pork cannot be eaten? Well, real Bible believing Christians wouldn’t eat pork, would they? So you must not be one.

What can apologetics give you? Increased Conviction

I can only speak from personal experience, but studying apologetics, I can state a few things if I’m confronted by these, at least in general. For example, I’ve studied supposed Biblical “contradictions” and I’ve always found that they all fall into the category of being out of context, in the literary, cultural or historical sense, so I can easily answer a critic.

Take for a simple example Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:. Now, I can claim this is in the Bible, so it is Scripture (true) and that these are the words of Jesus (true) which all Christians should agree with (true). Oh no! Have you been wrong all this time Christians? Did Christ advocate that kind of action? Well, no.

What has been done is taking the verse out of context, let's put it back: Matthew 5:38-39 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: (39) But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (It goes on down to the end of the chapter at verse 48.) As you can see, the verse has been lifted out to attempt to twist it into something the Scripture doesn't say.

Greater understanding also comes, which increases faith. Take “meekness” which the world defines as overly submissive, docile, of little courage, wimpy, low spirited or compliant. How many Christians of today do you think agree with this definition of meekness?

Consider one definition from Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary: “a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked”. From the Handbook of Biblical Social Values: “gentleness, coupled with non-violence that is followed not because of any revulsion to violence, but because the meek person CAN use violence but has enough confidence and ability not to threaten or challenge others, and whose opponent is unworthy or too weak -- in other words, he's not strong enough or right enough for you to bother with.”

Something every Christian should realize, that for 2000 years now, people have been trying to find that magic bullet to kill Christianity. Don’t you think that if there was one someone would have found it by now? There really is “nothing new under the sun”, so pretty much, anything that a skeptic throws up as an objection has been dealt with long ago.

Verses that support contending for the faith with knowledge

Jude 1:3
Psalm 25:9
Proverbs 10:17
Proverbs 12:1
Proverbs 13:18
Proverbs 15:12
Proverbs 15:31
Proverbs 15:32
Proverbs 22:19
Proverbs 27:5
Proverbs 28:23
Proverbs 29:1
Ecclesiastes 7:5
Matthew 5:10-19
Matthew 22:29
Mark 12:24, 26-8 22:29
Luke 17:3
John 14:23-24
Acts 19:8-10
1 Corinthians 15:58
1 Timothy 4:1-16
1 Timothy 5:20
1 Timothy 6:2-4
2 Timothy 2:22-26
2 Timothy 3:16
2 Timothy 4:2
Titus 1:13-16
Titus 2:15
1 Peter 2:19
1 Peter 3:13-17
1 Peter 4:12-19
1 Peter 5:8-10
2 Peter 2:1-3
2 John 1:9
James 5:19-20

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bearing False Witness

This is not an exhaustive study, merely one that can be replicated by using an electronic or study Bible, intended as an overview. Any references made to the other commandments are informational only since I have not done the same level of research on them, so I will not be defending the comments made about them. Enjoy. I did and found it very instructive.

Exo 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Deu 5:20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

One little commandment, with huge implications to believers throughout Scripture. As given here, it could simply refer to perjury in legal matters, but it goes much further. Perjury would also include taking the Name of the Lord in vain (some say that this and false professions of faith are the major thrust of the third commandment, not directly swearing). Bearing false witness could also include violations of the sixth (killing) and eighth (stealing) commandments.

It is interesting that this is not a simple prohibition against lying as some choose to interpret it, but then it can be necessary to lie when that lie covers a greater sin. A classic Scriptural example would be in Exodus 1, when the Hebrew midwives reported to Pharaoh that Hebrew women were giving birth before the midwives could get there. They prevented the murder of innocents by being less than truthful, but is this bearing false witness? No. As we will see, false witness covers the area of lying to do injury to others and/or to try to make oneself seem more important or righteous in the eyes of men. Not only can this be done in court, but in everyday life. Loving your neighbor as yourself includes wanting to maintain his good reputation even as you maintain your own.

Slander, spreading rumors, equivocating, gossiping, telling partial truths, remaining silent while others bear false witness and all other forms of lying come under this prohibition and in some ways they can be considered worse than perjury since there is no appeal or formal way to refute this form of false witness. The lies can simply be repeated over and over again. Even worse, the slanderers and rumormongers can tell their tales and claim to be pious while doing so, think of those who “share” too much information in a prayer request so that one can “pray more effectively”. Look at the scribes and the Pharisees in the NT as they attack Jesus and the apostles while claiming to be righteous. In this way, so do those claiming to be Christian also indulge themselves while claiming to be righteous.

Exo 23:1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

Exo 23:2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

Notice the expansion beyond a purely legal court sense to cover a wider area. Slander, going along with the crowd and “the end justifies the means” thinking are addressed here. One comment I read implies that 23:1a include receiving a false report, we may hear it, but we should reject it.

Exo 23:7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

Keeping far from a false matter goes along well with the concept of rejecting the false.

Lev 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

Lev 19:12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.

Lev 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.

Notice how false witness twist into violations of the other commandments mentioned above. Also, gossip and rumors are also covered.

Psa 15:1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

Psa 15:2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

Psa 15:3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

This Psalm gives indicators of how you can identify the righteous, firstly by their walk, work and speech. Notice that in answer to the questions in verse 1, the lack of false witness is mentioned twice in both a positive and negative manner to reinforce it. Again, the implication is here that other commandments are violated by the one bears false witness.

Psa 36:3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.

This appears to be formerly godly man who has become wicked as he has left being wise and doing good, but the false tongue again shows itself among the other markers.

Psa 40:4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

This seems to refer more to the “lies” of earthly things, positions and power although flattery and pandering to the “better” people appears to apply also.

Psa 50:19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.

Psa 50:20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.

This portion of the Psalm (vv. 16-21) is addressed to those who sit in the congregation claiming to be faithful and righteous, but again, the bearing of false witness in its many forms give an indicator of their walk. Even those they should have closest of relationships with will be attacked by them

Psa 52:1 Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually.

Psa 52:2 Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.

Psa 52:3 Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.

Psa 52:4 Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.

Psa 52:5 God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.

Here David is rebuking one who lied to Saul, provoking Saul into killing the priests of the Lord. Jealous and hating David, Doeg the Edomite reported to Saul in such a way as to make Saul think that the priests were in rebellion against them, when they were simply helping the trusted servant of the king.

Psa 58:1 Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?

Psa 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

The question of speaking the truth (righteousness) also includes remaining in silence while hearing gossip and slander. It is also noted that even infants lie before they can speak (as any parent can testify), which makes lying closely related to our fallen state and may be considered a good indicator for the validity of a profession of faith. It must remain only an indicator and not a positive sign one way or the other since most of us are not instantly transformed, but must renew our minds and work out our salvation with fear and trembling as we grow in Christ.

Psa 62:4 They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.

In context, the false witnesses seek to destroy the righteous, loving both the gossip behind the back and false flattery to the face.

Psa 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

Psa 101:4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.

Psa 101:5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

The rules of the king as ruler. All sorts of evil and evildoers will be shunned and banned from the court. It also applies to anyone in relation to those they turn to for counsel. Notice that slander is prominently mentioned as a specific trait of those to be removed.

References: Proverbs 10:16-18; 12:17; 14:5, 25; 19:5,9,28; 21:28, 24:28, 25:16

These are short snips again confirming that the Lord is against the false witness.

References: Proverbs 11:1; 16:11

These are about true scales and measure which refer to false witnessing in combination with stealing.

Pro 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

Pro 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

Pro 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

Pro 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

The references are easily read and need no comment, but this one passage is quite interesting. Here seven things are listed that are abominations to the Lord and four of them directly involve bearing false witness and the other three are possibly connected to it by being related in the other passages with lying as a strong indicator of a false witness or professor of the faith.

Isa 59:3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

Isa 59:4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

A catalog of sins that keep prayers from reaching the Lord, i.e. signifying the unrighteousness of the one praying. Notice the multiple references to false speech.

Jer 9:3 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.

Jer 9:4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.

Jer 9:5 And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.

Jer 9:6 Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD.

Jer 9:7 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people?

Jer 9:8 Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.

The Lord speaks of why He will judge Judah, again, repeated references to the various ways of bearing false witness along with hints of other issues such as theft and coveting. Notice that they “weary themselves” or work at it. Again the use of false witness as an indicator of true righteousness.

Eze 13:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.

Against false prophets who claim to have a “word from god” and deceive the people with their lies.

Zec 8:16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:

Zec 8:17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.

Speaking to the returned exiles about what they have to do to restore Jerusalem and their nation. Notice what the Lord requires them to do. Real simple stuff, but which again points strongly to the indicator of bearing false witness as an outward sign of the unrighteous.

Ok, that was just a bunch of OT stuff, what about the NT?

Act 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Ananias and Sapphira’s lies brought instant punishment, for the crime of lying to God. Notice that it wasn’t the keeping of part of the money that was the sin, it was the attempt to puff up their reputation by keeping part back while claiming to give all the money. Notice also the link between false speaking and stealing again.

Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

Rom 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

Rom 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Notice how many variations of speaking falsely make up this list of traits along with some that usually include sins.

Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Rom 3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

Rom 3:14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

Rom 3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:

Rom 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:

Rom 3:17 And the way of peace have they not known:

Rom 3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Again, a listing of traits, with multiple mentions of false witnessing.

Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Col 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Snips from these passages about those who convert to Christianity, again with multiple references to the various forms of bearing false witness. James 3 is also instructive about this.

Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

The description of the new Jerusalem, with those that make lies specifically prohibited from entry. Other translations say “does what is vile or false” and “practices falsehood”, which along with “maketh a lie” implies those who bear false witness in all its forms deliberately.

As is shown above, those who bear false witness tend to freely break other commandments, cloak themselves with righteousness and cause disruption in the congregation. We should steer clear of them and examine ourselves since we must also purge ourselves of these old tendencies to destroy others, cause discord and puff up ourselves vainly by our own words. Those that cannot be faithful in a few things, cannot be trusted with many, so to from this study it becomes clear that those who bear tales, slander and gossip should be looked at very carefully, because from Scripture the evidence is strong that they are just professors and not true believers, wolves in sheep’s clothing. Like those of Berea, we must study to find the truth of matters. They did not simply study Scripture, they studied Scripture (here the OT) to compare it to what Paul and Silas were teaching them that was outside the Old Testament.

Wait, am I being too legalistic here? A bit on the Pharisee side? I don’t think so.

1Ti 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

1Ti 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

1Ti 1:6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

1Ti 1:7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

1Ti 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

1Ti 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

1Ti 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

1Ti 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

However, let’s make it clear. What did Christ Himself say about this matter of bearing false witness?

Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Rev 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Rev 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Argue with Him.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This is something from C. H. Spurgeon's Morning & Evening devotionals for the evening of 29 July.

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” - John 6:37

This declaration involves the doctrine of election: there are some whom the Father gave to Christ. It involves the doctrine of effectual calling: these who are given must and shall come; however stoutly they may set themselves against it, yet they shall be brought out of darkness into God’s marvellous light. It teaches us the indispensable necessity of faith; for even those who are given to Christ are not saved except they come to Jesus. Even they must come, for there is no other way to heaven but by the door, Christ Jesus. All that the Father gives to our Redeemer must come to him, therefore none can come to heaven except they come to Christ.
Oh! the power and majesty which rest in the words “shall come.” He does not say they have power to come, nor they may come if they will, but they “shall come.” The Lord Jesus doth by his messengers, his word, and his Spirit, sweetly and graciously compel men to come in that they may eat of his marriage supper; and this he does, not by any violation of the free agency of man, but by the power of his grace. I may exercise power over another man’s will, and yet that other man’s will may be perfectly free, because the constraint is exercised in a manner accordant with the laws of the human mind. Jehovah Jesus knows how, by irresistible arguments addressed to the understanding, by mighty reasons appealing to the affections, and by the mysterious influence of his Holy Spirit operating upon all the powers and passions of the soul, so to subdue the whole man, that whereas he was once rebellious, he yields cheerfully to his government, subdued by sovereign love. But how shall those be known whom God hath chosen? By this result: that they do willingly and joyfully accept Christ, and come to him with simple and unfeigned faith, resting upon him as all their salvation and all their desire. Reader, have you thus come to Jesus?
From Scripture: Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (Luke 14:16-24)

Yes, we have a choice, but can we choose without the Spirit working on us? No, we cannot. Wait, isn't this unfair, that some are chosen and some are not? No, because God in His sovereign knowledge knows those who will fulfill His purposes and those who will not and does all things according to His glory and for His purposes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What to do?

I just noticed on a forum I used to frequent, that this got posted a few days ago.

Message Board Mission Statement

There are the simple goals that the board wishes to achieve:

• Providing a forum for Christians to gather under one fellowship.
• Strengthening believers in evangelism, discipleship, and edification for personal growth.
• Promoting awareness within the Christian community of current world events; predicted in scripture; of Bible prophecy
• Providing news & websites voicing politics from a Christian perspective.
• Providing websites & discussions exposing deceptive cults, apostasy, heresy, false doctrine, and false teachings.
Nice, right? There is also an extensive post on "Dishonesty" by one of the "super" mods which goes into all the "bad" things people with emphasis on the poor, long suffering mods. Well, having been a "poor, long suffering mod" myself on another (and larger) group of forums, I can understand that part. I always considered it part of the job I had volunteered to do for the community. The last "bump" of this post had an interesting comment:
...we have enough work to do with trolls, but it really hurts my heart when fellow brothers and sisters in Christ sign up in order to cause division on the forum or make the board look unChristian or mean spirited. Very un-Christ like, I think your spirits need to be checked and look at the big picture, not just your personal vendettas. What you do in secret, shows your real character...sadly there are many trees showing rotten fruit, and for what? Think on that.
The problem comes when my "title" is "Shunned One", because despite my being open, I was allowed to be stalked, harassed and vilified by another user with the full and complete cooperation of certain members of the mod team. My "sin" that led me being shunned? I spoke against the use of lies in any "defense" of the Gospel, I showed several "good Christian" posters that they were holding heretical positions and (most important) I showed that several of the members of the mod team were also holding heretical positions. In fact, these mod team members with their statements, covering for violations of forum rules and altering of threads (justified by my "sin" of being a Freemason who happens to do Christian apologetics and able to prove their foolishness) are causing the divisions.

Oh, and I cannot be accused of joining to cause divisions, I was a member before some of these mods (long before) and the "problem" started when I simply corrected some factual errors in an accusation.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"... according to the Light they have received."

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:19-21)

The concept that everyone can be saved as long as they follow the "light" they have received is both true and a heresy. Huh? How can that be? If this is used to justify salvation of nonChristians who have heard the Gospel, then it is a heresy. The only possible "out" in Scripture would be for a pagan (not a Jew before Christ) to follow Truth before he knew it.

(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) (Romans 2:13-15)

After they have heard the Gospel, then "doing the right thing" in ignorance won't cut it anymore. Note that this does NOT deny Christ as the only Way to the Father, let us look at the definitive passage on that:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

Very clear cut there, right? I think so.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

Aha, this resolves it, because if there is some "man on an island" who has never heard the Gospel, but responds in accord with God's Will will be one that Christ loves and He "will manifest myself to him."

Everyone receives the Light of God (see Romans 1:20) in their life, but it isn't the basis for salvation. Only when we turn towards that light and follow it can we become His children. We won't be judged on how much light God gives us, but by how we turn towards His light we have and follow it. Remember that when someone tells you that all religion is simply different ways to worship God, all light in this sense will lead back to Jesus. If they are going somewhere else in their beliefs, then they are denying Christ and accepting universalism.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dealing with the VA

What is it with government employees in general and the VA in particular? Here I sit stressing in the middle of the night, because after years of work, gathering documentation, trudging up the line of appeals, seeing quacks who write junk and lies that have to be rebutted and finally getting it before a VA judge who makes a ruling raising my rating to the maximum amount allowable by law, the VA decides to send me a letter saying that they want to reduce my rating back to where it was.

The crux of this rant, since I'm not really that stressed yet. Why is it that I can get a letter from the VA that will at a minimum eat up two days of my life, potentially can stress my entire family out seriously and (knowing my wife) is already working on her nerves since she still isn't quite sure on this "be still" stuff and there is no penalty or recourse on the VA (or other government) employee?

However if I shake my finger in their face (let alone give them the arse kicking that their lack of ability to reason their way out of a paper bag truly deserves) then I am issuing a terroristic threat and can be banned from VA facilities?

Oh, because they are "doing their job" and need to be "free from fear"? "Doing my job" is the defense of all incompetents that are doing something wrong. Of course, if they simply did their jobs in accordance with regulations and with PROPER and FULL review of case records (in my case, this actually means some summaries of the issues in my records, so they don't have to dig that far back), then they could live "free from fear".

Amazing, isn't it?! If government employees would actually do their jobs then they could be free from fear! Of course, if they use the excuse to mess with peoples' lives, thereby triggering problems, then I guess they should be afraid. If I were them, I'd be afraid of low stress guys, especially when they make them useless for any valid function in their family.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Antimasonic junk part 2

A little item that can be found here. It is from Hank Hanegraaff speaking officially from his position as the head of CRI ministry. So, here we go again with the original being in bold:


Mysterious symbols. Secret rites. Hidden teachings. Is this an accurate portrayal of what Freemasonry is all about? Is Masonry really occultic?

With close to 34,000 lodges around the globe and a membership numbering upwards of 6 million, it is obvious why the Encyclopedia Britannica would dub Freemasonry as the largest world-wide secret society. But just because something is secret does not necessarily mean that it’s occultic. In fact, the majority of Freemasons contend that their organization has no occultic elements whatsoever. However, the deeper we dig into the recesses of Masonic teaching, the more reprehensible the picture becomes.

Christian author John Weldon lists five ways in which Freemasonry fosters occultic involvement among its members: First, Freemasonry supports the now-popular New Age dictum that man houses within himself unlimited power that can be unlocked using specific procedures. Second, Freemasonry espouses a philosophy and a system of symbols which bear a striking resemblance to many of the occultic arts — for example kabbalism, Rosicrucianism, and hermetic philosophy. Third, Freemasonry encourages its members to discover the deeper significance (or “esoteric truths”) lying beneath its ceremonies and symbols. Fourth, Freemasonry promotes the development of altered states of consciousness, an exercise rooted in mysticism. Finally, a number of Masons regard their organization as the vehicle that will lead the world into an age of occultic enlightenment.

Why are so many Masons unaware of this side of Freemasonry?,” one may well ask. The reason is that a large portion of Masons seldom strive to advance beyond the initial ranks or degrees offered within their organization. But as one progresses to higher degrees, more and more details about the underlying foundations of Masonic ideology are gradually revealed, including its occultic dimensions. It is therefore imperative that we warn others about the dangers brewing beneath the surface of the Masonic Lodge.

On Masonry and the occult, that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.

Yet more chicken puckey. Same crappy sources that promote the usual lies, but let’s check on Hank’s five points:

1) Really, news to me, but it is interesting how antimasons have so penetrated the “secrets” of Freemasonry that they can always manage to teach something new to Masons about Masonry.

2) Striking or vague? Yes, some symbols are common, but then the cross itself has some pagan interpretations and this says what about the Christian interpretation?

3) News to me, as usual. This one can be considered as having a grain of truth though. There is some urging to think on the meaning of certain symbols, but the meanings are explained, not the attempted New Age link (it was Satanic in earlier decades). For example, the compasses (of Square & Compasses fame) are a symbol to remind Masons to circumscribe their actions and keep their passions within due bounds. Definitely not New Age meditations for esoteric meaning stuff.

4) News to me, really never heard of this.

5) Okay, some “number of Masons” believe this. Since all the secrets are open to the dedicated antimason (otherwise they couldn’t make their pronouncements with any authority), what number? Can it be stated as a percentage or raw number? Can we get an estimate closer than one to some millions? I doubt it, I'm familiar with this kind of argument, it comes from fundy athiests and other lightweights.

Of course, the usual ending of how sincere, devoted Christians, even theologians, ministers and Christian apologists, men of intellectual attainment and spiritual discernment stay members of Freemasonry. How can this be? AHA! They are too stupid and/or ignorant to notice this “problem” with Masonry, even though they are objectively far better qualified than the antiMason is to discern these issues. Oh yeah, if the Mason doesn’t accept this without question, then he just hasn’t “gone far enough” in the degree system. That’s it, case closed. So my question would be: Is it any wonder that the Church today finds itself confused, disoriented and riddled with heresy and heretical teachings?