Monthly Archives: June 2016

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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Filed under Men and women, Patriarchy

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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