Monthly Archives: April 2022

9 Things (April 28)

1. Sometimes grieving death isn’t the worst kind of grief. We grieve broken friendships, we grieve alienated children, we grieve a loss of health and vitality. We grieve the broken things of the past that we can’t fix. We grieve not having those things that others take for granted. We grieve poisonous relationships that force distance. Some of the hardest grief is the grief that one mourns alone.

2. One of my greatest griefs is watching the Church that I love being hijacked by domineering, unbelieving, cruel, racist, women-hating bullies. They pretend to be fighting the “reformed downgrade” and “feminism” but in reality they are fighting against the image of God in their neighbor and baptizing their pathologies.

3. The husband is not the savior of the wife in any way. Ephesians 5 says that he is to love his wife as Christ loves the church – and then the REST of it is about Jesus. If you want to know how to love your wife, learn about Jesus and how he loves his church. Read the Song of Songs and Philippians 2 for a start.

4. My wife was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome about 10 years ago. It was a blow and a relief. A blow because we partly knew that she would never be the same again and her mobility would decline. A relief because we finally had some answers. There were members of our church at the time, including an elder, who were offended that I asked for prayer for her “too much”. I still don’t know how to process that.

5.  I love Reformed theology as it is summarized in the Three Forms of Unity. This, to me, is what it means to be Reformed. However, there is a disconnect between the theology and the practice of the Reformed world. There is something in the culture of the Reformed world that breeds a very, very ugly spirit. Social media takes that spirit and makes it public.

6.  I read this week that 55 percent of Americans believe that the US Constitution is inspired by God. Either they have no idea what inspiration means, or they have a serious problem with idolatry. Either way, we have a huge problem.

7. Nationalism and Christianity are not compatible. They are competing religions. One seeks salvation in power and control. The other is proclaimed through weakness and the foolishness of the message preached. You cannot serve God and Mammon.

8. I long for the day when seminaries training pastors will not only teach languages and theology, but will also provide the guidance and space to begin their healing from past traumas. Until a man deals with his trauma honestly, he cannot be an effective pastor. Until he understands himself, he will invariably feed himself rather than the sheep.

9.  When one believes that God will only bless a nation based upon their national obedience, then one can easily justify the oppression and hatred of the sinner who won’t get on board. It is a scary place to be. Blessings for national obedience is not Christianity.

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“I hate divorce” follow up…

Sometimes I use this platform so I don’t have to keep typing the same thing over and over.

Several years ago, I posted about Malachi 2:16 “God hates divorce?”

And I followed it up here:

Every few years, someone brings up objections to my exegesis. If they are not reviling me (which is fairly common) I answer them. Generally like this:

Every translator translated it like I mentioned until the King James, and then they all followed suit. It became hallowed with use, but it, respectfully, is wrong.

The KJV also translated it assuming that the word “to send away” was an infinitive construct, as you do.

The problem is that the hebrew almost always uses the preposition “lamed” attached to the verb to indicate it as a helping verb. For an infinitive construct to stand alone without a preposition (as is the case here) it only admits of a very few uses, and a helping verb is not one of them. The infinitive construct without a verb is relatively rare in Hebrew.

So, when I translated this some years ago, I struggled with it. It was awkward, it wasn’t how Hebrew was normally used.

And then it occured to me – the 2s imperative has the exact same spelling and vowel points. Why do we assume it is an infinitive construct when the imperative is spelled exactly the same?

So I looked at the semantics that way

“Because” – or “that” (depends on context)

“He hates” – really can’t be translated honestly any other way – but I’ve read comments that say that it is a mistake, and the first person consonant dropped off by scribes centuries ago….)

Let go.

Run a quick search, with vowel points, on the word “send away” with the exact same spelling.

it comes up about 10 times, if I remember, and every time it means “set loose” send away, and almost always it was used by Moses while speaking to Pharaoh.

Thus sayeth the Lord “Let my people go”

Translated, let go, in this instance.

In Deuteromony 24 – the word to send away and the word “divorce” are contrasted to one another and not identical.

Quite frankly it just doesn’t mean what the KJV said it meant – other modern translations kept it the same because most evangelicals (those who buy bibles) don’t want to hear it. It is their favorite verse.

I know that I lost friends, lost church members, and was reviled publicly because of it. That is hard to go through.

But the Hebrew says what it says.

And thank you for the discussion. I have been reviled on it so many times, that an honest and intelligent discussion on it is a breath of fresh air.

Anyway, one other point – the “he”, which is the subject of “hates” can only refer to the treacherous man.

If it is referring to God, why does the Lord God refer to himself in the third person? Sometimes that is the case, but then it is clear that he is speaking of his triune persons. Here it is not at all that clear.

Also, if the first clause IS referring to God, “he hates”, then why does the second clause revert back to the treacherous man “For he covers violence with his garment…”

So the whole context – he is speaking in the third person of the treacherous man and then, all of the sudden, for three words, he is referring to the Lord God of Israel, and then back to the treacherous man.

It is just awkward.

This is why one grammar that I was checking on it posited that the “aleph” indicating first person must have dropped off in the copying process over the centuries and it REALLY says, “For I hate (to send away) – which, by the way, STILL doesn’t say, I hate divorce.

You would then have to change the infinitive construct to a participle to get it there and say, For I hate THE sending away – )

And that is closer, but still not there….so let’s make “send away” the same as “divorce”

For I hate divorce…”

And now you have something that isn’t there at all, but is repeated over and over and over again until it is believed to be biblical.

A couple of final points:

It matters. If you translate it correctly, you have not become a “liberal”, you have not become a white knight, and you are not, all of the sudden, against marriage and for easy divorce. Please try to separate what the scripture says from your modern social agenda.

What God hates is the treachery that leads up to divorce. What God hates is covenant breaking and hard hearts that sometimes makes divorce necessary.

What God hates is twisting his words to call the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent.

When you translate the verse correctly, you see God’s heart in this difficult passage. God hates treachery, violence, and hatred and he will come to judge the living and the dead. He is giving the opportunity for repentance, “Take heed to your spirit and do not act treacherously.”

To twist this around to “God hates divorce”, you turn it into a catch phrase to turn against the suffering and to send them back to their abuser.

“God hates divorce. So you have to suffer for his sake, just like Jesus did.”

Absolutely horrible and it really has to stop. WE’VE become the treacherous man that God is so strongly condemning.

Why do you think so many are willing to suffer so much reviling to get this passage right?

It matters.

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The marks of the church and social media

As God is more and more exposing the rot and corruption at the heart of what passes for Christianity these days; as one famous church after another is embroiled with scandal; as the weak are driven away and the wicked are exalted, there is a question that is on the lips of many, many faithful Christians who no longer have a home:

How can I find a safe church? How can I find a congregation that is faithful to the gospel and a safe place for the sheep?

I understand the question. How can you “not forsake the gathering together” when false churches and dangerous cults abound. Weird authoritarian doctrine, abusive patriarchy, heretical teaching on Christ and the Trinity, are so pervasive that it is no longer sufficient to simply look at the creeds that they say they hold or the denomination of which they are a part.

The Reformers 500 years ago were at a similar place. Being in the local church was one of the most dangerous places to be. If you professed that Christ was not physically present in the Lord’s Supper you could be burned alive.

But they did not abandon the idea of gathering themselves together. Whether it was in homes, or in fields, or in the woods, God’s people gathered together.

So the question – how do you find a safe church – needs an answer.

Our fathers answered it with the now famous formula: If the word of God is faithfully preached; if the sacraments are administered according to the word of God; and if church discipline is administered according to the word of God.

Since this is a blog and not a book, I would like to focus on the last one – discipline.

This means something different than simply practicing excommunication. Rome in the Middle Ages practiced excommunication. In fact, the Reformers that put together this formula were all excommunicated from Rome.

Rather, it means this: The sheep are led to green pastures, and the wolves are driven away.

And you think to yourself: But how can I tell if the church is serious about driving away wolves and protecting sheep?

And here is where social media is actually helpful. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if wolves wore signs announcing that they were wolves? Often times they do.

If they call the rape of a toddler “sexual satisfaction”…

If they defend those who call the rape of a toddler “sexual satisfaction”

If they blame the rape of the toddler on the refusal of the wife to have intercourse…

If they defend those who blame the rape of the toddler on the refusal of the wife to have intercourse…

If they call the abuse and silencing of women “Biblical manhood and womanhood”…

If they call sexual assault “inappropriate conduct”…

If they deny that marital rape is a sin and extreme wickedness…

If they believe that calling the police is “getting the unbeliever involved” and will not report crimes against women and children.

If “Battling feminism” is far, far more important than loving your neighbor and sitting with the wounded.

If battling feminism is more important than the dignity and welfare of their wives and children.

If they absolutely refuse to change their views on these things, and reject all compassion at every opportunity in order to uphold their system.

If their system is more important than the lives of the sheep.

To me, these are, at a minimum, a failure on the part of the church to hold the third mark. Sheep are abused, and wolves are set free on the congregation to prey to their heart’s content.

Jay Adams opened the door and the churches that followed his method became the most dangerous place for the sheep.

There are other signs that a church should be avoided as potentially unsafe:

If Doug Wilson is on the book table.

If they view crying as weakness and manipulation.

If they don’t have a Child Safety Policy in place and enforced.

If the pastor makes “The old ball and chain” jokes, or “You know how women are” jokes.

If the kids all look scared to be in church.

If they continually preach about the “sin” of divorce and never speak of the wickedness of the covenant breaking the leads to divorce.

If it is more important to enforce their view of divorce than to protect the sheep.

These are all red flags. Maybe we should put together a list….

So by all means, check the doctrinal statements. Look at what creeds and confessions they hold to. But don’t neglect the third mark of the true church.

This is where many fail. Check the social media feeds of the elders and pastors and other leaders. Who do they follow? What groups do they belong to?

Can they tell the difference between wolves and sheep? Do they cast away the beaten women and embrace the man who did the beating?

Do they raise funds for the defense of the man who destroyed his family?

Take your time. Look not only at the congregation and the doctrinal correctness of the preaching, but check some of these things as well.

These things are far, far more important than whether you like the music or enjoy the coffee fellowship. A handful of people singing Psalms together in safety is far better than singing with a praise band of wolves.

It is better to meet outside or in your home with the sheep than gather together at the table of the wolves.

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9 things (April 6)

  • If the welfare of society, marriage, family, culture, and country are all dependent upon men being manly, here are two questions that must be asked: Who gets to define what being manly is? And this one: What do you do with those who don’t get on board?
  • My shoulder hurts. I put some cream on it. Its got arnica, hemp, menthol – some other stuff. So I’ve spend the whole afternoon saying to myself, “What is that smell? Oh, yeah.”
  • Last week, I was out of town withdrawing from the world. I deleted all of my social media apps from my phone. It was wonderful. I left them off of my phone and now am far more productive.
  • Yesterday, my pants rejected me. I was putting them on, and my foot got tangled up and down I went. I think I heard them whisper, “Not today, fat boy.” My pants hate me.
  • My wife thinks I’m curvy and spectacular, though. So there’s that.
  • If women were only given leadership roles because men failed to lead, then how do you explain Huldah? Josiah was king. Jeremiah and Zephaniah were the prophets. and Hilkiah the high priest. All of them were godly and faithful leaders.
  • People have all sorts of experiences and backgrounds. People come from all sorts of different cultures and have different ways of thinking. Christians must not base fellowship on political viewpoints, but on the unity of true faith. The unity of true faith is not the same as a political viewpoint.
  • Last week a man attended our church for the first time. He decided that he could not fellowship with us because of how we responded to COVID in 2020. It was his test of fellowship, so he asked. How did we let this happen?
  • While I was out of town, I went shopping for odds and ends, just for fun. I didn’t take my phone. It felt weird, but totally liberating.

Hold to Christ. He will hold you fast. Patiently await the day when all wrongs will be made right.

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A Pastor’s Treatment of His Wife (Miller)

I love this a lot, and Miller is right on the money.
When was the last time you heard a pastor speak like this?
When we started viewing women as trouble-makers by nature, to be suppressed and silenced, instead of co-heirs of eternal life, we opened the door to so many men who should never be in the pulpit.

The Reformed Reader

(This is a re-post from May 1, 2017)

A pastor’s marriage is a very important part of his life and ministry. It should be obvious that a pastor must be an excellent Christian example of what it means for a husband to serve, cherish, nourish, and love his wife in a humble, Christ-like way. Samuel Miller (d. 1850) gave some outstanding advice along these lines:

As a clergyman ought to be the most pious man in his parish, to go before all his people in the exemplification of every Christian grace and virtue, so he ought to make a point of being the best husband in his parish; of endeavoring to excel all others in affection, kindness, attention, and every conjugal and domestic virtue.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some clergymen, who preach well on the duties of husbands and wives, are, notwithstanding, austere, harsh, tyrannical, and unkind…

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I Believe in the Holy Spirit

Bill Gothard, Purity movements and the Holy Spirit

My Only Comfort

31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
34 “And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to…

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