Sorry, I just can’t

I don’t like using this blog for politics, since I find the whole subject distasteful. But I have been told repeatedly that if I don’t vote for Trump then I will be casting a vote for HILLARY!

Well, I find it sad that the only argument for voting for the Republican party is that we have to keep someone else out of office. Seriously? The Republicans can’t do any better than that?

But this post isn’t about that.

I am a Christian. This means that above all else I obey and serve Jesus Christ and follow his commandments. I serve Jehovah, the creator and sustainer of the world as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. And the first commandment is this: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

There have been many times in history – some of them recorded in sacred scripture – where God’s people were faced with a choice: obey God, or lose everything. God brought them to a position where their faith was tested. Where it seemed, by all human reasoning, that obeying God would bring disaster. God’s question was this: will you be god, knowing good and evil? Or will you obey me, and trust me for the future?

One such time was in the days of Ahaz and Isaiah. To Ahaz, the only possible way out of disaster was to make a treaty with Assyria. The only problem was that God said, “Don’t do it.” (Isaiah 7). Ahaz’s refusal to obey God didn’t change God’s plans, but it did bring disaster upon the house of Ahaz.

So here is where it comes down for me.

16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.
18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. (Psa 50:16-18 KJV)

God calls these people wicked and refuses to hear their prayers or acknowledge their status as covenant people. What was their wickedness? They consented with thieves and were partakers with adulterers. They did not hate sin as God hates sin.

As a Christian, I am called to hate sin more and more each day. I am to hate workers of iniquity, even while I pray for their forgiveness. I am to fear God rather than man.

And there is one thing that I fear far, far more than even Hillary Clinton. I fear God. For this reason, I cannot vote for Donald Trump.

His lying is well-known. He is a proud and unabashed serial adulterer. He is a relentless, hardened thief and a covenant breaker.

Don’t tell me about who he plans on putting into the Supreme Court. He has never once told the truth, and I don’t believe a word out of his mouth. He could appoint Howard Stern and Hugh Heffner for all I know. He has more in common with them than with any Christian.

He is a reviler, a covenant breaker, a thief, an adulterer, a bully and a wolf.  You will probably at this point say that even if this is true, Hillary would be worse. Maybe so. But I won’t vote for her either.

I have no idea what God will do with our country. I have no idea about the future. I have no say in the matter. None of us do. But I cannot ever disobey God and give my vote of approval to a man that the Bible says God hates. (Notice I did not say a reprobate. God could indeed bring him to repentance, and I pray that he does – but I can only know what God has revealed to me. God hates the wicked every day and calls us to have the same revulsion of their wicked deeds that He does).

How can we expect God to “bless our country” when we who are to be salt and light shut our eyes and give our consent to such a godless, wicked man? Will good come from our shameless disobedience to God?

For me, to ignore all of those Bible verses that command me to shun the evil doer; never walk in the counsel of the ungodly; have nothing to do with the sons of Belial – for me to do that would  be a violation of the commands of God. I cannot and will not do it.

I fear God far more than I fear Hillary.

May he have mercy upon us.

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Wedding Sermon

Towards the end of Jesus’ life, his enemies were looking for an excuse to arrest and execute him. At one point, they asked him about divorce.

Listen to what Jesus answered them: (Matthew 19)

4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

He refers to the beginning, before sin and shame entered the world. God didn’t change his standard when men fell. He still expects us to live as we were created to live.

He answers a modern problem with reminding us of the very beginning. He gives the account of God’s creation of Adam.

God is one, and yet God exists eternally in three persons, and the persons of the trinity love one another, as Jesus taught us. And men and women were created to enter into the fellowship of love with the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

But it wasn’t good for man to be alone. So God brought a woman – flesh of Adam’s flesh and bone of Adam’s bone. They also were joined together in love, to image God’s perfect love to one another, to their children, and to the whole world.

But then they fell. They worshiped and served themselves, and became subject to the bondage of the devil, and hatred, reviling, murder and lust became the norm.

As the Heidelberg Catechism says, now we are prone by nature to hate God and our neighbor – and nowhere is this more apparent than in marriage. Where love was supposed to reign, hatred and bitterness entered. Where love and service were to rule, dominion and subjugation took over.

For the heart of every man is this: “I will be as god, knowing good and evil.”

And when two people come together, both saying in their hearts “I will be as god” only abuse, chaos, enmity and strife can result.

This is what Jesus warned us of. Don’t tear apart what God has joined together.

The standard for marriage is not marriage as it is now, according to Jesus, but marriage as God created it, before it was twisted and defiled by sin.

In the beginning, God told man to be fruitful and multiply and spread the kingdom of God throughout the whole world. But instead, man became a slave to the kingdom of the devil.

And so we are really talking about two kingdoms.

In one kingdom, the currency is power and control, lust, dominion, hatred – gaining the upper hand, winning at all cost.

This is what controlled the world before Jesus came to set up HIS kingdom. The few who were powerful crushed and enslaved everyone else. Husbands crushed and enslaved their wives. But from the beginning, it was not so. And Jesus came to restore to us the kingdom of God.

This is the very reason that He came into the world – to take away our sins. He came to deliver us from the bondage of the devil, to establish a new kingdom. And in the kingdom of God the currency is love, peace, joy, service, mutual respect, cherishing one another, learning to take the lower seat –

Jesus Himself is our example.

The conquering king came to defeat the greatest enemy the world can ever know. He came, though, not as a typical earthly general, but as a baby in a manger, he lived a life of poverty and homelessness, and was beaten, condemned, and executed – not just as a criminal, but as the lowest of the low, as the scum and off-scouring of the world. He took the form of a slave, the foreskin of the world.

If you had seen him, you also would  have despised him. You would have built walls to keep him out. “He’s not our kind of people.”

But in his moment of sinking to the lowest depth of powerlessness and weakness, when he died on that cross – something happened – the head of the serpent was crushed, the devil was cast out of heaven, and the war was finished. The devil received the death blow, for Jesus on the cross was not a victim; rather he was the victor. He was the conquering hero.

He was despised and rejected in our place, that we might be loved and accepted by God.

He was bruised for our iniquity and wounded for our transgressions, that we might be acceptable, without blemish and without spot before God and once again walk with our Maker.

And that day will come in perfection, when He will restore what WE threw away.

At the resurrection, the kingdom of God was inaugurated. Even now, Jesus is plundering the kingdom of the devil. Even now he is conquering and to conquer. And – here is the amazing thing – he has invited us to take part in his conquest!

He has united us to himself by the Holy Spirit and has promised us that the day will come when we also will crush the head of the serpent.

But now we still live between the two worlds– the world of the flesh and our sinful lusts, and the world of perfection when we have finally put off this body of sin.

We still are prone to use the currency of the kingdom of the devil – we still automatically think that our help and safety will come from power and control, domination and lust, conquest, winning at any cost.

But these things will never advance the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God comes only one way – the way that it did with our conquering king – through suffering, weakness, service, love – and humility.

3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.1

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phi 2:3-11 KJV)

Our example is Christ, who won the victory not by domination and control, but by love and service. In obedience to God he suffered and died, and the serpent’s head was crushed. And now he calls us to that same obedience. Don’t exalt yourself. Remember what Christ has done for you.

Anything other than that will tear apart what God has joined together.

So Jesus says to us that God joined us together, which is a wonderful thing; but it includes a warning. Don’t tear apart what God joined.

Which kingdom will you serve? One promises the easy way – but will end up in death and hell. Which kingdom will be served in your home? Hatred and strife? Or love and service?

By faith in Jesus Christ we belong to Him. Your marriage will be as strong as your faith in Christ. Every failure in marriage is a failure of faith.

But by faith, by trusting in his promises and looking to his hand alone for every good thing, he will guard and keep your soul.

You never have to settle for normal. Normal is bad. The saddest thing to me is when people say, “How’s your marriage?”

And the answer is “normal. We have a normal marriage.”

That’s not a goal! Strive for redeemed marriage.

But this can only be done by faith in Christ, who has redeemed us from the bondage of the devil.

In a few moments you will both vow to love one another. How does one do this when our default setting is hatred? Only through the gospel – learning to love the Lord Jesus.

Only when you learn to love the Lord Jesus can you learn to love each other. I know that is perhaps shocking – but it is nonetheless true. Unbelievers can fall in love, they can be attracted, they can even love how someone makes them feel – but they cannot truly love a person  until they learn how to love Jesus.

Joe, you can love how Rachel makes you feel. You can love what you think she is like. But you cannot love HER until you learn how to love the Lord Jesus.

Rachel, you can love how Joe makes you feel inside. You can love what you think HE is like. But you cannot love Joe until you learn how to love the Lord Jesus.

Things aren’t the same as they were when they were created because now sin and shame are in the world, and those ugly things will start to creep in. And if you haven’t learned to love the Lord Jesus, you will find yourself saying – “That woman that YOU gave me…!”

But the more you love Jesus, the more you will love each other. The more you won’t fear knowing one another, and actually being known. Because you know that nothing can take you from the love of God, you don’t have to be afraid anymore.

God has given each of you a tremendous gift and you are now entering a new era of warfare. Remember, that in this life we are at war – we are crushing the head of the serpent. And now, instead of going at it alone, you are two warriors, joined together by God as one flesh. Two conquering heroes united as one. Do battle together.

What does that mean? Learn to love Jesus. And when you do, you will learn to take the lower place, you will learn to serve one another. You will learn more and more to die to yourselves.

A warrior ready to die is undefeatable. Take up your crosses and strike the blow on the kingdom of the devil!

And do not neglect the church. This is where Christ’s warriors are equipped. This is where you learn to love the Lord Jesus.

Count yourself as dead in Christ daily – that you might live in service to God and to one another as he has commanded. This is how to keep the vow. It isn’t drudgery; it isn’t hard work. It isn’t difficult. Jesus said, my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Learn to love him, and then you will love each other, for God has joined you together, and called it very good. Instead of tearing what God calls good apart, put on your combat boots together, and crush the serpent’s head together.

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We Need a New Name

Excellent post. I agree completely.

A Daughter of the Reformation

In the 1980s, a new group was formed to combat the rise of egalitarianism in the church and the home. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), in their early meetings, chose a name for their new movement: complementarianism. While there is debate over the origin of the name, the movement defined itself as the conservative answer to egalitarianism. The complementarian movement has done some good things in affirming the complementarityand equality of men and women. It is good to affirm that husbands are to lead their wives sacrificially and that wives are to submit to the leadership of their husbands. It is also good to affirm the ordination of qualified men.

However, over time, there has been increasing concern about some of what is being taught in the name of complementarianism. Many authors, myself included, have spoken out about these abuses. The recent debate over…

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For My Dad

There were always so many of us. I was always in the middle. The memories that stuck out the most were the ones where it was just my dad and me. Those were the silly things that stuck in my head, where it struck me that Dad knew that I was there, and I wasn’t just “the other one”.

There was the first time I heard Rubenstein playing Beethoven – and Dad listened with me. He said, “When you can play it like that, I’ll give you $500.00.” I learned it. I never played it even close to Rubenstein, but he gave me $500.00 anyway.

I listened to Horowitz play Chopin. I had the score on the back of the couch and I was kneeling backwards on the couch following the score. Dad came along and knelt next to me.

“Is this the score?”

“Yeah”

Then he listened with me silently, as one is supposed to. Horowitz finished playing. He said,

“Pretty.”

I said, “Yeah.”

It was the Raindrop Prelude. I knew then that I wanted to learn it.

The things that stick in your head are funny things. You run them around in your mind over and over. The times he took you to buy pants. The time he took you to get a suit for your graduation.

There was the time that he took me to San Francisco for a music competition. I was so out of my league. But he never let on that he knew.

Growing up in the 70s, we saw the advent of the Aaron Spelling TV shows, which Dad dubbed “jiggle shows.” We, of course, never watched them. Nor did we listen to that “boop-de-boop” music, whatever that means. He was adamantly opposed to everything rock, disco, pop, or anything that smacked of hippies.

But then there were the hunting trips. Waking up at 4:30, grabbing bags of Snickers and apples, driving in the huge yellow van to some forsaken area. If we had been allowed to watch slasher films, we would have been terrified. Instead, we huddled frozen together in the van, shivering. Eating snickers and apples and listening to “God didn’t make the little green apples, and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summer time;” “Just call me angel of the morning, angel;” “One toke over the line,” and “Everything is beautiful.”

To this day, the dulcet alto of Anne Murray brings to the mind the car-sick queasiness, ice cold shivers, the taste of Snickers.

We never even saw anything, much less killed anything. I remember the porcupine in the tree mocking us, until my brothers took the rifle to it.

John Denver and Statler Brothers awaken memories of camping in Southern Oregon.

But greater by far are the hymns that we sung. Christmas is “Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning” and “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates”.

Thanksgiving rings with “We Plow the Fields and Scatter”.

Easter is “Christ the Lord is Ris’n Today” and “Low in the Grave He Lay”.

I still can’t play “Alleluia, Alleluia” without the image of Dad in the pulpit, waving frantically trying to get me to go faster, faster, faster. After 40 years of playing it, I still don’t think I have played it fast enough.

I remember the first bikes for Steve and me. We rode for hours up and down the large property.

But the greatest legacy of my father that he left to me was a share in the kingdom of God. I remember the catechism, the prayers for me, the sermons, the questions answered. He brought the word of Christ into the home and it stuck. And for that, Dad, you have my eternal thanks.

Thank you for your faithfulness, your zeal for the church and your love for Jesus that has infected everyone you have come into contact with.

With love and gratitude,

Sam

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An Acts 17:11 woman!

You’ve heard of the noble Proverbs 31 woman.

You’ve heard of the intrepid Titus 2:4-5 woman.

But those wonderful and inspiring (as well as inspired) passages have been so twisted and bent out of shape that they are almost unrecognizable.

No wonder you have to fill every women’s bible study with a new expert explaining to you how to do it.

I’m here to call for something radical – other than a repudiation of the word “radical”. Please quit using it. It’s silly.

OK – where were we? I have a wife. She is a mark of favor from the Lord. She’s my noble Berean! My Acts 17:11 woman!

I have four daughters who are like the daughters of Job.

But my wife and I haven’t taught them to be Proverbs 31 women or Titus 2:4-5 women, according to the current usage of those terms.  They’ve never worn denim burkas. They’ve never been taught to leave the room when the men are talking. They were taught about the Trinity, the nature of Christ, the doctrine of salvation and election. And they were taught that they were women of dignity and worth and value as daughters of God. They’ve been taught to find and use their gifts and abilities and learn to serve God wherever he calls them.

What we really need are churches full of Acts 17:11 women. Berea had a bunch of them (Acts 17:12) and they were famous throughout the world.

No  more shallow theology for women. No more women’s bibles and women’s devotionals. No more sending the men off to learn about theology proper and sending the women off to learn how to homestead.

Study the scriptures, to see if these things be so.

When you are a good Acts 17:11 woman, you will be a far better and more God-honoring Proverbs 31 woman and Titus 2:5 woman, because you won’t care a fig about what the next best-seller says, what your favorite author says or what the fifties misogynist culture says – your only goal is to search the scriptures to see if these things be so.

Does the Son actually eternally submit to the Father?

Are women lesser than men? Does the Bible actually teach that all divorce is wrong? Does the Bible actually teach that covenants by nature are unbreakable?

Does the Bible actually teach that submission to your husband means that you have to allow yourself to be abused and degraded without murmuring?

Does the Bible actually teach that Jesus has a special message for your for each day of the week?

So here is my challenge. Be an Acts 17:11 woman.

Be an Acts 17:11 man.

In fact, be an Acts 17:11 person whatever God has called you to!

Perhaps if we had more Acts 17:11 people in the world, “Jesus Calling” wouldn’t even be a thing! How great would that be!

For those who didn’t want to be bothered to have looked up Acts 17:11 – here it is:

11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Act 17:11 KJV)

(Did you notice the word “daily”…)

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Unintended (?) Consequence

I’ll be brief. I just wanted to get this thought down. They tend to be elusive.

The false doctrine of Eternal Subordination of the Son has already been thoroughly debunked as anti-nicene, anti-biblical and anti-historical, so I won’t repeat those arguments.

But every twisting of the doctrine of God results in tragic, very real consequences. One of those consequences, as argued by our friends at Cry for Justice, is spousal abuse. But there is another, perhaps unintended, consequence.

Those who have been greatly abused as children have oftentimes left the faith, saying that they cannot believe in a God that practices cosmic child abuse. The argument against Christianity is that God tortured and killed his Son instead of you and me for something that WE deserved. How can that possibly be a good and loving God? If a murderer kills my wife, would it be right for me to execute my son in the place of that murderer?

The argument from these hurting people is that this doctrine is what leads to child abuse in the home. If God does it and it is perfect and good, then doesn’t the father in the home have the right to use his sons as he sees fit?

The answer to this charge from the beginning has been Nicene Trinitarianism. There is only one God, and only one will in the divine nature. According to the mystery of the divine will, God sent his only begotten son into the world to take the sins of the world. And yet, because of the unity and simplicity of God, it is also correct to say that God took the sins of the world upon himself (Acts 20:28). It is correct to say that the Father sent the Son. It is also correct to say that the Son sent Himself, for there is only one God (John 1:10-12).

So the question for Bruce Ware is this: How do you defend your faith against the charge of divine child abuse when you hold to an eternal dynamic of authority and submission in the divine nature?

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Eternal Subordination–It’s a salvation issue!

2014-07-03 10.30.43There has been much written lately about the Eternal Subordination of the Son, and much of it is technical. What I want to do in this post is to bring it down to the basics.

Here is the question: Is the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, the Jehovah God of Israel?

The church has always confessed that he is indeed Jehovah God. As Jehovah, He is the proper object of our prayers and sovereign over all things.

Paul explicitly states this truth in Romans 10:9-13

9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
13 For a”everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The two parts of Paul’s gospel are these: First, to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and, second, to believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead.

The question is, then, what does it mean to confess that Jesus is Lord? There are two possible interpretations if you take this verse by itself. First, it may mean to confess that Jesus is your master, whose law is to be obeyed. This is a possible meaning of the Greek “Kyrios”. It can mean a master, one who owns you and whose will is to be obeyed.

There is no question that this truth is taught concerning Jesus. But is that what is being taught in this particular verse?

Looking at the context, we see that something much deeper is being taught. Paul’s demonstration from the Old Testament scriptures of the truth he is teaching is found in verse 13: “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

In other words, Paul is teaching that the way that you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord is by calling upon him for salvation, as was foretold by the prophet Joel:

31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

To make this simple, Paul quotes Joel 2:31-32 to bear witness to the gospel. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord – as is written in Joel 2 – you will be saved.

The word that Paul uses is Kyrios (Lord, master, ruler, owner). But the word that Joel uses is YHWH (Jehovah), which is the personal name of Israel’s covenant God, the creator of heaven and earth, sovereign God and the only object of our prayers, and the only redeemer. “Kyrios” can refer to a husband, an owner of slaves, a landlord, much like our word “lord”; but YHWH can only refer to the one true God.

When the Old Testament was translated into Greek, the Hebrew YHWH was translated by the word Kyrios (lord), much like our modern English Bibles. This follows the Jewish custom of preserving the sacred name of God. Whenever a Jew would come upon the word “YHWH” they would pronounce it “Adonai”, meaning “lord”. This custom continues to our day, whatever language one speaks.

But the Hebrew text itself in Joel 2 doesn’t say “lord”; it says YHWH. In our English versions every letter of LORD is in caps, indicating that it translates the Hebrew YHWH. This is important to our interpretation of this text.

So then the question of interpretation is this. Is Paul saying that salvation is calling Jesus our owner and master? Or is it calling Jesus YHWH, the creator and sustainer of the universe?

And by quoting Joel, Paul removes all doubt. Salvation depends upon calling upon Jesus the son of Mary, who also is YHWH the eternal second person of the divine trinity, to save us.

This calling must be done with the mouth and believed in the heart. When we call upon Jesus we are calling upon Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

This is simply a sample passage of many. Throughout scripture, Jesus of Nazareth is identified as YHWH, the God of Israel. The heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus, who walked among men, who suffered and bled and died, who rose from the dead, is one and the same Jehovah God, who spoke to Israel from Mt. Sinai, who is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Since this is true, the following passages also apply to the person of Jesus Christ.

25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength (Isa 40:25-29 KJV)

 

18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. (Isa 45:18 KJV)

 

9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isa 46:9-10 KJV)

 

13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
(Isa 40:13-14 KJV)

 

11 My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
12 But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
(Psa 102:11-12 KJV)

 

14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you (Exo 3:14 KJV)

 

8 Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
(1Ch 16:8-10 KJV)

 

3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (Psa 18:3 KJV)

How many more do we need? If Jesus is Jehovah, then he is taught of no one, submits to no one, does all his good pleasure, is the only source of our salvation, is the only name worthy to be praised, owes his origin to no one and is worthy of praise, glory, honor and blessing forever and ever.

If this is not the case, if Jesus is NOT Jehovah, then we are horrible blasphemers every time we sing praise to Him.

If he IS Jehovah, then he submits to no one.

Compare this, then, to current teachers of ESS – the Eternal Subordination of the Son:

The Father, then, is rightly the primary object of Christian prayer, since he is the one who, as designer and architect of all things, has highest authority and position over all things. The Son, for his part, accomplishes the atoning work by which alone he may bring those who believe in him to the Father (2 Cor 5:18-20; 1 Pet 3:18). The Son, then, is not primarily the object of the Christian’s prayers but rather the one through whom his prayers are brought to the Father. (Bruce Ware)

Though all three members of the Trinity are equal in power and in all other attributes, the Father has a greater authority. He has a leadership role among all the members of the Trinity that the Son and the Holy Spirit do not have. (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1994) p 459

In this chapter, I will attempt to show that this “temporary submission” view is incorrect. In contrast to that view, I will examine the meaning of the names “Father” and “Son” as well as 31 passages of Scripture that give evidence that God the Father has eternally had a role of leadership, initiation, and primary authority among the members of the Trinity, and that the Son has eternally been subject to the Father’s authority. (There are also good reasons to hold that the Holy Spirit has eternally been subject to the authority of the Father and of the Son, but it is not the focus of this essay.) (Wayne Grudem)

And rather than back down when confronted with the charge of anti-nicean trinitarianism (read “heresy”) they continue to teach this and dig themselves into deeper and deeper holes. Salvation is at stake. This is not simply a difference of opinion among Christians. This is the heart of the Christian faith.

You cannot say that Jesus has all the same attributes as the Father and ascribe to him an eternal subordination role. Either he is sovereign, or he is not. If he is Jehovah, he is sovereign. If he is sovereign, then he submits to no one, by definition.

This is the foundation of the faith, according to the scripture and the confession of the church. Anything else is another gospel. Let’s call it what it is. Damnable heresy. That isn’t me. That’s the bible. If Jesus is not the object of our prayers, according to Ware, then he is not God. You can quibble over the meanings of ontological and economical all you want, but the point is still there. Jesus is God or he is not. If he is God, he is the One we pray to. If he is not, then say so and be done with it.

But don’t call yourself a Christian.

There is much more to be said. But you, gentle reader, study this issue from the scriptures. Salvation is at stake. It is not a minor thing. If one is to be saved, according to Paul, one must confess with his mouth that Jesus is one and the same Jehovah, Covenant God of Israel.

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I don’t know what to say

But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: (Deu 22:25-26)

He found her hurting behind a dumpster. Instead of helping her, instead of getting her to a hospital, instead of checking to see if she was alright – he raped her.

Really.

I can’t even fathom how utterly depraved one must become to do such a thing.

Seriously, think about it. How low, how degraded, and how despicable must one be to commit a rape?

And yet we not only see it everywhere, it seems to be condoned with a “boys will be boys” attitude. How can God possibly allow this to continue? It is of his mercies alone that we are not all consumed.

This son 0f the devil might have fooled the judge; he might have fooled a lot of people. These kind fool the churches too. But he didn’t fool God.

We’ve got ourselves into a strange judicial system. We think that the system is for the purpose of changing hearts and helping the criminal lead a productive life, rather than existing for punishing evil-doers.

Some crimes – such as stealing in order to eat – are done out of desperation. Such a criminal can be helped by a judge. Some criminals have fallen into the wrong crowd and have gotten caught up in something beyond their capabilities. These also perhaps can be helped.

But that isn’t a rapist. A rapist, according to Moses, can’t be helped. God can, of course, but God has said to us – this one is beyond you. Put him to death. He must be removed from society. You can’t do anything with him.

The church also seems to lead the way in this strange, perverted view of justice. We think that if someone becomes truly repentant, then they shouldn’t be judged so harshly. We say, “If they are sorry, then there shouldn’t be any consequences.”

What a monstrous statement, what pride and arrogance, to thing we can do that which God says we cannot. Eventually it leads to utter foolishness and wickedness, for what measure will one use to measure the heart? When did the meaning of “repentance” change, to mean carefully constructed words and half-hearted mutterings of regret?

For that matter, the one in question showed no remorse whatsoever – but the judge still didn’t want to “ruin his life.”

Here’s a light-bulb moment, you wicked unjust judge: This young son of Belial ruined his own worthless life. His despicable father referred to his crime as “20 minutes of action.” As if it was just meaningless sex. “He shouldn’t have to suffer his whole life for it!”

How much suffering, though, do wicked men bring on the world 20 minutes at a time? This young woman will struggle with this her whole life. She has found her voice, and for that I rejoice. But the pain will never go away, until God wipes away every tear.

How many families are destroyed by one murderer in one moment of time? How many lives are destroyed by serial killers in one moment of time?

How many communities are shattered by one drunken driver?

Here are the facts. According to the bible, one who rapes is the same as one who murders. A rapist is not someone who “makes a mistake”; one who is just overwhelmed with passion and couldn’t help it. A rapist is one who is so thoroughly degraded, who has so thoroughly corrupted himself that he is no longer fit to live. No man can do anything about a rapist. He’s beyond help.

That isn’t me who said that. It was God himself. No one, not me, not this judge, not the church, can pretend otherwise. A rapist is not overwhelmed with lust, or love – but rage. Rage against God, and therefore rage against the image of God. He sees beauty, personhood, innocence, or even just a human being in God’s image and wants nothing more than to destroy it, whatever it takes.

It’s what turns him on. It is spitting in the face of God and saying, “Here’s what I think of your daughter, God! What will you do about that?” – and he derives sexual pleasure from spitting in God’s face, through degrading God’s image! It is not a moment of drunken passion, it is not just a moment out of character – it is a defining act of one who has so thoroughly repudiated everything good and kind and pure and embraced the full worship of wickedness and evil, no matter what he successfully pretended at before.

Woe unto him, and woe unto the one who looks the other way. God WILL have his vengeance on those who cause the little ones to stumble.

Can God change his heart and bring him to repentance? Of course he can, and we pray that he will, for it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But that isn’t our concern. Our concern is obedience. Our concern is to view men the way that God views them. Our concern is to align our thoughts to God’s thoughts.

And if God has spoken this about the rapist, how dare we say otherwise.

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Alone?

2 Kings 6:1-23

The Syrian army was brutal. Their oppression of God’s people was relentless and cruel. The helpless were carried away captive; the poor and the weak were the first victims.

Like a lion, the devil’s army seeks to separate the weak from the herd and then go in for the kill. The tactic is very successful. This was also practiced by the Syrian army. Divide and destroy. Pick off the weak.

Even though Israel had a wicked king who refused to bend the knee to the God of Israel, the LORD still had pity on his people. When Ben-Hadad, king of the Syrians, would plan a secret raid on an unprotected village, God would tell his prophet Elisha of the plan and Elisha would warn the armies of Israel. The villages would be spared. But Ben-Hadad was convinced that there was a traitor in his inner circle.

When Ben-Hadad found out that there was a lone voice protecting the weak from destruction, he set his mind on destroying that voice. He sent his armies to destroy Elisha so that he could continue his policy of destruction, lies, and oppression unhindered.

But God had other plans.

The Syrian army approached Elisha’s village. The thundering of the feet, the shouts of the commanders, the snorting of the horses, the clanging chariots. How terrifying for Elisha!

Elisha’s servant goes outside and sees the tremendous army surrounding the village and is overcome with fear. “Alas, Master, what shall we do?”

Have you felt that same fear? Have you felt surrounded on every side, utterly alone and forsaken?

Has a well-meaning friend said, “Don’t worry. God won’t give you more than you can handle”? You know better, don’t you?

The fact is this: the armies of Syria were far, far greater than Elisha and his one servant could handle.

And the armies of the world, the devil and our own flesh are far, far greater than we can ever handle. Our enemies are fierce and relentless.

But then look at what Elisha says,

16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. (2Ki 6:16)

Let those words sink in your ears. Meditate on them in your night terrors. When you are forsaken and alone, remember them.

Those who seek your life to destroy you are strong, relentless and fearless. They are greater than you can bear.

But fear not. There are more with you than there are with them.

Elisha’s servant responded like all of us do. He counted what he could see. Two. There’s two of us. Now, Elisha, look at the chariots, the horsemen, the cavalry, the infantry. Are we having math issues here?

No. We aren’t having a problem with math. We are having a problem with perception.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. (2Ki 6:17 KJV)

And you may say to yourself – well, that’s Old Testament. I’m not Elisha. But the inspired author isn’t just relation history, he is also relating theology. The fact is this: Christian, there are ALWAYS more with us than there are with them, and the scripture is full of this. Look at this sampling of passages:

17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.
18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. (Psa 68:17-19 KJV)

You, Little One, you are not powerless; you are not weak; you are not alone. You are in Christ, the king of kings and lord of lords. He is the creator and sustainer of the universe and the captain of the Lord’s army.

His name is the Lord of Hosts. That is, the Lord of Armies. He is the commander of the Lord’s army, which ever surrounds each of us, for he knows us by name.

There are indeed more with us than there are with them.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Psa 91:11-12 KJV)

For this reason it is a terrible thing to hurt and have contempt for any member of Christ’s church, for he takes it very personally.

10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. (Mat 18:10 KJV)

And when it is our Master’s will to call us home, we don’t even do that alone, but are carried into heaven in the arms of the angels of God.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; (Luk 16:22 KJV)

So quit doing math with the eyes of the world. You may feel lonely, and despised, and rejected. You may think that there is no one else, that you alone bear your burden. You may feel as if you enemies have gone over your head and that this battle is too great for you.

And you would be right. The battle is too great. But there are always more that are with you than are with them.

God would have us lift our eyes to his throne room, where Christ is seated. There we see that we are not alone in worship, in love, in adoration. Our voices are joined by the angels, prophets, apostles, martyrs and all who have claimed the name of Christ:

9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. (Rev 5:9-14 KJV)

So take courage, Little One. Lift your eyes up where the Lord of Hosts is. He reigns forever and ever, and there are always more with you than with them. The destiny of the serpent and his followers is eternal destruction. But your home is with Jesus forever. Who can separate us from his love.

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Traditions of Men Have Largely Consumed the Evangelical Church and are Causing Widespread Suffering

Please do the hard work of examining your beliefs. Excellent and challenging article by Jeff Crippen.

A Cry For Justice

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mat 15:8-9)

Once again today, as happens at least once every week, I spent an hour on the phone with a wonderful Christian lady who is severely traumatized, broken, and living in fear moment by moment. She is married to an abuser. The most wicked kind of abuser — the kind who claims to be a fine Christian man and who loves to quote Scripture to her. She is a member of a church, where he is a member, and all she receives from her church is more abuse while her abuser is enabled in his evil. What do you say to such a person? How can you help? Twenty years or more of living in oppression, watching your children be alienated against…

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