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Billy Graham Rule Follow-up

It keeps coming up. Here are some of my thoughts from a while back.

My Only Comfort

I recently wrote a blog to correct the misinterpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5:22. You can find it here. I am certainly aware that in terms of the age of internet news, Mike Pence and the Billy Graham rule are the equivalent of 200 years ago, but I can’t seem to let bad theology go, especially when it harms the sheep.

I also know that most readers skim, so please – before you skim, read this paragraph: I have nothing against Mike Pence and his love for his wife and his desire to protect himself as a famous politician with a great deal of power. It seems like a wise thing to do, given his position in our country. So PLEASE don’t think that this post is about that. Also, I don’t know anything about Billy Graham or his rule, having never read his biography. How Billy Graham does things…

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Every Appearance of Evil, and the Billy Graham Rule

Perhaps it is time to look at this again. We need to get this straight. Bad theology always has bad consequences. If you are going to quote a verse, try to get it right at any rate.

My Only Comfort

I’ve been gone and out of the loop for a while. The debate over the so-called “Billy Graham” rule, in light of the comments of Mike Pence, went on without me. That was probably a good thing.

But every generation renews its battle with the horrible interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5:22. You have probably heard it:

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1Th 5:22 KJV)

This is generally interpreted by small-minded men as an excuse to avoid interacting for good in the lives of others. When the passage is poorly translated, and taken out of context, it appears as if it is saying that one should avoid doing anything that someone else might take as being evil. Thus, lazy and guilt-ridden men can avoid interaction with “undesireables” and still pretend to take the high ground.

For example, I heard one man say that if he were driving alone down…

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Back to the Reformed Confessions and Catechisms

For more on Sola fide. The Reformed Confessions are in remarkable agreement.

http://wp.me/p1YwlL-BZ

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Believing Jane: Reflections on a Rape and it’s Cover-Up at The Master’s College & Seminary

I add my voice to this. Jane, we hear you and believe you.

Late Night Theology

believingjane

On this fine afternoon as thunder rumbles outside my window, my blood is boiling and my “injustice antenna” is sounding alarms. I just read a well-documented account of the rape of a Master’s College student. Her rapist was a student at the Master’s Seminary. Both of these institutions are associated with John MacArthur’s church Grace Community Church. When college and church staff learned of the rape, instead of supporting the victim, she was blamed, called to repent, and kicked out of school. You can read the full story on Marcy Preheim’s website at http://www.marcipreheim.com/2017/09/18/do-you-see-me/but I will also provide a summary of the situation.

Jane (not her real name) was a 21 year old student at the Master’s College studying to become a Biblical Counselor. In her courses, she learned all about how to deal with situations of rape, including the importance of reporting it to the police. On a…

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God hates divorce?

I’ve edited since I first posted this over 2 years ago. I’ve been called a lot of things because of it, but no one has challenged my Hebrew yet. I can’t make this say anything else in good conscience.

My Only Comfort

Does Malachi 2:16 teach that God hates divorce?

The King James: For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

The New King James: “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”

The New American Standard: “For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

The English Standard: Malachi 2:16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of…

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Too Filthy to Serve?

From the archives, for friends who need this today.

My Only Comfort

And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. (Zec 3:1-5 KJV)

Have you ever believed that you…

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You weren’t there

Dear Pastor James (and any other pastor who will listen), You said to me in your letter, “it is about you and John learning to understand one another.” LISTEN. Please, for once, stop talking. Stop spouting parts of Scripture passages and trite “Christian” expressions. Stop trying to fix this. Stop trying to fight for “marriage” above […]

via You Weren’t There — a letter to pastors from a survivor of domestic abuse — A Cry For Justice

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Just a quick thought

I don’t have anything brilliant to say, just something that has been on my mind. As most of you know, my wife has a brutal illness called CRPS. She is hesitant to talk about it, because if she says what it is actually like, she thinks she will sound melodramatic.  So she tends to downplay what is going on. But I see her eyes.

And I also know that this disease is one of the worst things that someone can get. No matter how we describe it, the facts of the case are actually worse. A normal person may describe a burning sensation in a limb. But when a sufferer of CRPS describes a burning, she means that her whole leg feels as if it is immersed in burning oil, and charring away. And it never stops. Month after month, year after year. If you don’t have it, it is really hard to imagine that something as horrible as this actually exists. But it does.

So here’s my thought that  I have been having. I hear the same things from those who have suffered terrible abuse, either as children or as adults. And what is the one thing that they always struggle with? Everyone that they try to tell is sure that they are exaggerating, being melodramatic, or just making it up. “People that are that wicked don’t actually exist, do they? You HAD to have misunderstood.”

We have a hard time fathoming deep and profound moral evil, where someone would purposely, continually, year after year after year would plot, plan and carry out destruction and pain against his wife and children. People like that don’t exist, do they? And we cannot fathom it. It is easier to say that perhaps the victim is just being dramatic…

And all of the sudden, I find myself wondering if there is a connection. It seems that for the most part, people don’t want to believe that something as horrible as this can exist on this earth. Maybe it happens to others, but not here. This belongs to another culture, another kind of people, another age.

If we admit that there is great evil – either moral evil, or physical evil – then we have to admit that we really don’t have any control at all.  It terrifies us that there is something so monstrously evil, painful, or wicked that there isn’t anything at all that we can do about it. It is hard for us to acknowledge that there is something greater that we can bear in this cursed world.

It’s easier for us to admit that perhaps people are exaggerating, being melodramatic, because the alternative is a world that is not really a very nice place to live.

But isn’t this exactly why Christ died for us? Because we couldn’t do anything to take away the curse, God sent his only begotten Son. And He WILL wipe away every tear, and there will be a new heavens and a new earth, because this present age is corrupt and fading away.

So we do what we can to alleviate the curse. We seek justice, truth, equity, medicine, comfort. And seek it where we can find it. We work for it, we strive for it. But we always keep our affections where Christ is, for He is our life.

And we also need to hear one another. Yes, horrible evil exists. Monstrous men, monstrous diseases. Almost always, the truth is worse than what is reported. We want to be believed, so we downplay it. We don’t want to be outcasts or make people uncomfortable. So generally, we skirt around the edges, and keep the pain inside. But the truth is, great evils exist. But an even greater truth is that Christ is greater than them all.

This is what has been on my mind lately.

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This Is What It Means To Be Included

Beautiful thoughts from Tim Fall.

Tim's Blog - Just One Train Wreck After Another

“This is what it means to be included.”

The mother’s words jumped out at me from the radio.

Included.

Two year old Tatum Bakker had never been able to swing on a playground swing set until they visited Brooklyn’s Playground on their way through Pocatello, Idaho. It’s a playground designed for children who are physically able and for those who are less able to play on together, named for the little girl who started it all, Brooklyn Fisher.

Photo: http://brooklynsplayground.org/ Photo: http://brooklynsplayground.org/

Kids with conditions like spina bifida usually can’t take part in playground games and activities, kids like seven year old Brooklyn and two year old Tatum, but in Pocatello they can. As Tatum’s mother explained:

And I put Tatum in a swing and kind of sat back and absorbed it all, and looked up and saw an older child, maybe 10 or 12 – a little girl – in a…

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This Is What It Means To Be Included

“This is what it means to be included.” The mother’s words jumped out at me from the radio. Included. Two year old Tatum Bakker had never been able to swing on a playground swing set until they vis…

Source: This Is What It Means To Be Included

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