Archive for the 'Religion' Category

The Bible Against American Gun Culture

BY Herschel Smith
4 days, 5 hours ago

Mark Hiskes writing for Reformed Journal.

… when I was 21, two ski-masked men with guns reinforced her teaching. Around midnight they snuck into our college home of 5 friends, rapped a loaded gun at the back of each of our heads, made us lay face down on the floor, tied our hands behind our back and our ankles together, and then for about 5 hours ransacked every inch of our house for anything of value. When the police arrived the next morning and dusted the place for fingerprints, they made one thing clear, as we shivered close by in this house that no longer felt like home: “If you’d tried to resist in any way, you’d be dead.”

To this day I have absolutely no doubt that owning a gun would have gotten us killed that night.

So, when I read about God and Guns, The Bible Against Gun Culture, edited by Christopher B. Hays and C.L. Crouch, I knew I had to read it–because as a Christian I also believe, as Hays puts it early in the book, that “any Christianity that supports guns as a solution to social problems is not Christianity at all” (10).  Written and edited by seven Biblical scholars with an excellent foreword by Stanley Hauerwas, each chapter is steeped in Biblical scholarship but written for a wide audience. The authors recognize that there are good people on both sides of this issue; however, as Hauerwas says, they still “must challenge what has been and continues to be taken for granted by good people” (x).

[ … ]

Yolanda Norton’s essay uses the Old Testament story of Rizpah to show how a mother’s public lament over a slain son can be “a prophetic witness” to both state and community, citing contemporary instances of such lament by mothers of slain black sons. Her essay is a powerful indictment of American gun culture, which, she argues, “has again and again, demonstrated its own willingness to sacrifice Black bodies to its own purposes” (53).

[ … ]

Of course, the Bible has nothing to say directly about guns per se, but T.M. Lemos makes a fascinating comparison between Israelite bows and American guns, showing how hypermasculinity is common to both. He argues that “This idea of personhood, grounded in domination, is something that other parts of the Bible take great pains to reject. This has important implications for the place of the gun in the life of contemporary Christians” (78). Given the multifaceted, violent media environment we inhabit in 2023 and the pride with which mostly men pose, biceps bulging, their AR15 front and center, it’s hard to argue with Lemos’s point.

David Lincicum’s concluding essay, “Can a Christian Own a Gun?” cuts to the Biblical chase: “The gun is a temptation to arrogate life-destroying power to the wielder and should be resisted by those who follow in allegiance to a crucified Messiah” (116).

Looking at the ‘about’ page and also the names of the commenters, it didn’t take me long to figure out that this is mostly a CRC publication (Christian Reformed Church).  The CRC has had many problems of late, mostly having to do with accepting modernity into their church and the full rejection of core doctrinal beliefs.  Calling them “reformed” is a throw-back to what they may have been 100 years ago, but it’s certainly not accurate today.  They are no more followers of Calvin than I am a globalist.

He sets up various straw men to make it easy to knock them down.  No one I know, Christian or otherwise, believes that guns are a solution to the ills of society.  Only turning to Christ will do that.  Furthermore, the ease with which he is persuaded to believe falsehoods is lamentable.  He doesn’t know any more about the existence of all “possible worlds” than the cops did when they told him they would all be dead if they had resisted.  I recall covering two elderly people who didn’t resist a home invasion, and they were both doused with gasoline and set on fire before the home invaders left for the night. They both perished.

In the comments I see that some people see it as a duty to acknowledge that hunting is legitimate.  I “accept it,” say some commenters.  Honestly, God gave mankind dominion over the animals, and it doesn’t matter to me whether they “accept it” or not.

Finally, let’s assume that this man is married or has other family.  He might defend their lives with his hands, and then end up getting killed by a firearm in a home invasion, but in either case (live or die), he wouldn’t be available to defend him wife against rape, torture or kidnapping. I’ve often wondered how wives feel about husbands like that.

As I’ve said before, I consider such men no better than child molesters.  They wouldn’t lift a finger to defend the weak, helpless or downtrodden among us.  They’re worthless as defenders.  I’ve addressed this so many times before it makes no sense to keep rehearsing it. But rehearse it briefly I will.

… the best case for the necessity of self defense comes straight from the Decalogue.  John Calvin, commenting on commandment and prohibition, observes:

We do not need to prove that when a good thing is commanded, the evil thing that conflicts with it is forbidden.  There is no one who doesn’t concede this.  That the opposite duties are enjoined when evil things are forbidden will also be willingly admitted in common judgment.  Indeed, it is commonplace that when virtues are commended, their opposing vices are condemned.  But we demand something more than what these phrases commonly signify.  For by the virtue of contrary to the vice, men usually mean abstinence from that vice.  We say that the virtue goes beyond this to contrary duties and deeds.  Therefore in this commandment, “You shall not kill,” men’s common sense will see only that we must abstain from wronging anyone or desiring to do so.  Besides this, it contains, I say, the requirement that we give our neighbor’s life all the help we can … the purpose of the commandment always discloses to us whatever it there enjoins or forbids us to do” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 1, Book 2, Chapter viii, Part 9).

Matthew Henry observes the same concerning Proverbs 24:11-12 (“If we see the lives or livelihoods of any in danger of being taken away unjustly, we ought to bestir ourselves all we can do to save them …”).  Far from a weak or forced case for self defense, this is one of the strongest in the Scriptures.  Thou shalt not kill means that thou shalt not allow yourself or those around you to be killed, thus says the Lord.  It isn’t an option – it is His commandment.

There’s Calvin for you, Mr. “Reformed.” Jesus Himself was so adamant about self defense that He ordered His disciples to break the law in order to carry weapons.

Jesus, who wasn’t the Bohemian hippie flower child pacifist he’s made out to be in contemporary culture, demanded that His followers find weapons themselves.  It’s important to remember that this command involved disobedience to the state.  Jesus’ command involved civil (and if necessary, violent) disobedience, thus forcing his followers to become criminals if they followed His command.

… for some evidence, see Digest 48.6.1: collecting weapons ‘beyond those customary for hunting or for a journey by land or sea’ is forbidden; forbids a man ‘of full age’ appearing in public with a weapon (telum) (references and translation are from Mommsen 1985). See also Mommsen 1899: 564 n. 2; 657-58 n. 1; and Linderski 2007: 102-103 (though he cites only Mommsen). Other laws from the same context of the Digest sometimes cited in this regard are not as worthwhile for my purposes because they seem to be forbidding the possession of weapons with criminal intent. But for the outright forbidding of being armed while in public in Rome, see Cicero’s letter to his brother relating an incident in Rome in which a man, who is apparently falsely accused of plotting an assassination, is nonetheless arrested merely for having confessed to having been armed with a dagger while in the city: To Atticus, Letter 44 (II.24). See also Cicero, Philippics 5.6 (§17). Finally we may cite a letter that Synesius of Cyrene wrote to his brother, probably sometime around the year 400 ce. The brother had apparently questioned the legality of Synesius having his household produce weapons to defend themselves against marauding bands. Synesius points out that there are no Roman legions anywhere near for protection, but he seems reluctantly to admit that he is engaged in an illegal act (Letter 107; for English trans., see Fitzgerald 1926).

I’ll also point out that the very cause of the violence to which Ms. Norton speaks remains unaddressed in her essay, at least the part quoted.  Fatherless families, children out of wedlock, and government handouts. Go fix that problem Ms. Norton and you’ll see a different society.

Finally, the author says, “You are different with a gun in your hand,” or at least he seems to quote it with approval. Here we are again back at that superstitious belief that an object can change a man’s heart.  So tell me, Mr. Hiskes, how does that comport with 1 John 1:8, Eccl 7:20 and Eccl 9:3? Give us some theology here, Mr. “Reformed.” Make sure it agrees with the confession and larger and shorter catechisms.

Notes on John, Chapter Five, Part Five

1 month, 2 weeks ago

Part One – Introduction and Background
Part Two – Resurrection
Part Three – Life Everlasting
Part Four – Judgment

In John 5:21-40, Christ preached this section exactly as it should be. Though combined for effect by our Lord, writing for instruction here and admitting much overlap and repetition in Christ’s discussion as presented, we’ll examine, in turn, the four topics shown in verses 21 through 40: resurrection, life everlasting, judgment, and the witnesses of this first-century judgment. It’s presented in six parts, none long, for ease of reading. Read the entire chapter first.

Lesson 5, Witnesses

The Jews were having their conditional covenant terminated for violation (Isaiah 61:1-2, Daniel 9:24-27, Micah 7:13, Matthew 23:13-24:35, Matthew 24, Revelation 4-19. The Old Covenant and the temple system are being put to death, “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.” – Deuteronomy 17:6. This verse does not apply directly to the end of the Old Covenant but shows an aspect of God’s nature in judicial dealings with men under His rule. But we are not without hope; the promise (covenant) of a seed (Galatians 3:16) to Abram was fulfilled two thousand years ago and remains, the Church being added to daily.

In verse 30, we learn what Christ repeatedly states about His mission on earth. He does all things by the will of the Father, only seeking to please Him. His judgment is just because He does this in the will of His Father, who sent Him.

“30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. 31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.”

Jesus claims the Father again (For personal application, see John 6:44). In verse 31, Jesus begins to offer the empirical observable truths from several witnesses about who He is. But more importantly, under the covenant nature of our God and demands in the law for more than one witness to establish criminal conviction, Jesus indicates that His testimony, though He is God the Son, will not be the lone voice. Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly, never sinning against it in the will of the Father. Christ sets forth proof under the law of God that He, Jesus of Nazareth, is the Christ of God. Remember to whom He’s speaking (verses 16-19); if He bears witness of Himself as the lone testimony, under the law, it’s insufficient.

In verse 32, Christ starts to list the witnesses and their proofs. We’ll note the witnesses and make a select point or two.

-First witness, John Baptist. See John 1:26-27, 29-30.

“32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.”

John Baptist told the Jews that the Christ of God Almighty was among them (John 1:26-27), soon to be revealed. The whole witness (John 1:15) and record (John 1:19) that John Baptist gives is well worth examination: John 1:15-37. It’s preached too little and examined too lightly today.

“33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.”

In verse 33, Jesus addresses the Pharisees directly about sending the priests and Levites to ask John who he was (John 1:19, 22). In verse 35, He broadens the conversation to all those listening, for all men in Judea went out to John to hear him preach and get baptized in Jordan (Mark 1:5,7-8). And as stated, verse 34 is the sermon’s purpose: that ye might be saved! Also see Isaiah 40:3-5, Malachi 4:5, and John 1:23. This witness is valid.

-Second witness, the miracles done by Christ.

“36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.”

Verse 36 was already set up by verse 20 to indicate that He would examine this topic. Also, see John 14:11. Of course, there are too many miracles to list here, but remember that this whole exchange started over the miracle of healing the lame man by the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-9). In verse 36, by repetition, Christ is re-establishing context for the maintenance of His exposition; the word of God is never without scope of purpose.

Nicodemus, among others, admitted that Christ’s power had to be from God (John 3:2). Nicodemus also perceives Jesus to be a teacher, which, being interpreted, would be a prophet sent from God (John 3:2). In verse 11 of John 3, a verse often misunderstood, Christ explains that He is indeed a prophet by citing the testimony (another judicial term) of all the prophets before Him. But we know Jesus isn’t only a prophet but also the High Priest, Saviour, Lord, and King, being all things to every man in faith.

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” – John 21:25. Therefore, the witness of His works and all that He did are well established in the ear of God’s high court.

-Third witness, the Father.

“37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”

Father God, speaking through the prophets, Moses, and David, showed the coming of Christ throughout the Old Testament. God predicts the virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14, but in John 8:41, the Jews accuse Jesus of being born of fornication. Though this verse is abused by many denominations, sects, and cults today, one thing is clear: the coming Christ is spoken of in Genesis chapter 3:15. See Micah 5:2, and in Psalm 22, there are many messianic verses about the crucifixion of Christ. Also, see Isaiah 53. Many other examples exist for our edification.

Verses 36 through 38 should be examined together. The works Jesus was given to fulfill were from the Father. The Father Himself is a witness in the Law and Prophets, by which we take Jesus to mean the entire Old Testament (Luke 16:16). Jesus, once again, broadens the conversation to include all the prophets and Moses. See Matthew 23:29-31, John 5:39, 46-47.

“Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:” – Matthew 23:34. As Jesus pronounces the judgment upon that generation, He tells the Jews that not only have they rejected God’s witness in our text, but will reject and persecute the Apostolic Era prophets, witnesses, and teachers/evangelists.

As any good ruler would (Exodus 17:14), the Father keeps a book of remembrance: Malachi 3:16, Revelation 20:12. Remembrance is an imperfect term and merely a word picture for us. God knows all things from the beginning to the end. More so, He orders all these things for they are His works (Isaiah 46:10). All is to the glory of God through Jesus Christ (Romans 11:36). God knows those that are His (2 Timothy 2:19), and He forgets not your deeds serving Christ in the truth (Hebrews 6:10), and He knows who is appointed to the second death (Revelation 20:15) except they repent. The witness of the Father cannot be denied except by the self-willed and self-righteous man, even today.

-Fourth witness, Scripture.

“39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

Having alluded to the Law and Prophets in the immediately preceding verses, Christ specifically cites the Scriptures as a witness. As mentioned, the verses are very tightly wound together. Since the witness of the Father is predicated on Scripture, if one concludes that verse 38 flows into 39 and there are but three witnesses, that’s probably correct, and you’ll get no argument here. For purposes of examining this section, it’s listed separately.

The Father and His will are found in Scripture. Jesus is the Word made flesh; He does always do the will of the Father, and the Holy Spirit is with them; these three are One and never in disagreement. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” – 1 John 5:7.

Christ has established the law, and the witnesses are found faithful. Having chosen to live by the law and therefore die in the law (Romans 2:12), the Jews are guilty in the very least of violating the Ninth Commandment (Exodus 20:16) and are antichrist (1 John 2:22). Having further denied the witness of the Father, they are outside the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3) as well and in grave peril of their life. They are guilty as charged, denying that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ and Son of God; though offered salvation (verse 34), they will not be saved.

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” – 1 Corinthians 1:26.

God have mercy on us all.

Notes on John, Chapter Five, Part Four

1 month, 2 weeks ago

Part One – Introduction and Background
Part Two – Resurrection
Part Three – Life Everlasting

This is Part Four – Judgment

In John 5:21-40, Christ preached this section exactly as it should be. Though combined for effect by our Lord, writing for instruction here and admitting much overlap and repetition in Christ’s discussion as presented, we’ll examine, in turn, the four topics shown in verses 21 through 40: resurrection, life everlasting, judgment, and the witnesses of this first-century judgment. It’s presented in six parts, none long, for ease of reading. Read the entire chapter first.

Lesson 4, Judgment.

Part two is required before proceeding. All men everywhere are born damned to hell because they are sinners (Romans 5:12, 6:23). I don’t like this, and you don’t like this, but only a preeminently foolish man would seek to set God’s terms for Him, but that’s precisely what lost sinners do instead of submitting. We are condemned for this inherited sin condition (John 3:18), for which Jesus died in payment for you personally if you believe (Romans 5:8). That’s the necessary basics.

Nothing causes a more significant and sure consternation, railing, and vehement refusal to obey the word of God than Christ setting down His authority over the soul and duties of a man in sin. But Jesus is a good and just Judge, no spite or envy control His being, for He is God and only seeketh all men everywhere to come unto Him by faith (Acts 17:30, Romans 10:13, 1 Timothy 2:4). Christ is the Judge of your heart toward the peace offer from the Father to all men if only you would hear. It’s better to accept an accord from God, entering into a treaty by your surrender, than to remain belligerent, at enmity, and burn for eternity.

Read verses 26 through 30. The resurrection and judgment of all men are necessarily linked as an historical event to come. See verse 21 which was discussed in Part Two and compare verses 22 and 27, “22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:” & “27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” Also see 1 Samuel 2:6, Psalm 68:20, and Romans 4:17. “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” – Revelation 1:18. Christ died and rose bodily, the power of life or death is His.

Jesus, being God, is the master instructor in all things, and this topic is no different. He makes mention of the resurrection in verse 21 and judgment in verse 22, including by whose authority. He provides the critical detail in verse 27 as to why the Father has committed all judgment to Him in the matter of men’s souls because He is the Son of man.

Further details were covered here about this authority of Christ and its founding upon His twofold nature, being both fully God and fully Man, He is solely and eminently qualified to judge us for sins, “17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” – Hebrews 2:17-18.

“28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice”

Verses 26 through 30 speak of the spiritual resurrection of the soul to eternal life, living for God now. This is a judgment to which all men are guilty of sin, yet the pardon of grace is offered by Christ. As absurd as that sounds to a lost man, there is also the resurrection of dead men’s bodies at the end of history to be judged by Christ. These verses speak of the resurrection of all men, some unto eternal damnation and some unto life everlasting with the Father. When Christ returns, all men will be called forth from the graves. These facts are only contended among some minority of evangelicals and orthodox believers.

There is some dispute about whether a single judgment will occur or two separate. I do think it’s one resurrection and judgment of all, yet those condemned will be judged as damned, and those forgiven will are judged as sons already in the household of God Almighty. Revelation Chapter 20:10-15 details the treatment of the kingdom of Death and Hell and all those who’ve rejected Christ and is not necessarily a different judgment event from those belonging to Christ. There are other perspectives, but all honest men advise being personally ready.

“29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

One can read verse 29 either way. Those already appointed unto life or those set unto damnation are judged together though reckoned under respective accounts of their works. Those unto life (Resurrection of the just, Luke 14:14), having their sins already abolished in the person of Jesus Christ, will be judged according to their service and failures in the Kingdom of God, but are blessed (Revelation 21:4). Those resurrected unto damnation will be reckoned to the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

Dispensationalists take a two separate judgments view. Amillennialists take an ongoing, person-by-person upon-their-death view. Most others take a future single-judgment view. One thing is sure, you will see Christ if you are able to do anything other than tremble prostrate before His majesty; either way, you will be there.

Some also say the instances in Scripture where the resurrection sounds physical are only symbolic of a spiritual resurrection; they contend there is no physical resurrection, but I disagree. Christ physically rose. The restitution of all things is coming, and Father God will leave no ledger unattended. You’ll be eternally satisfied in Christ as to how He does all things well; don’t let doubt of a physical resurrection hold you back from the first thing, which is salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. Above all else, as Christ teaches, you must see this spiritual new birth into the Kingdom of God by faith (John 3:3); don’t be found appointed unto everlasting destruction (1 Peter 2:8).

The flood in the time of Noah (or a flood) is often cited in Scripture as a warning that judgment is to all men, Psalm 90:5, Isaiah 59:19, Jeremiah 46:7, Amos 8:8, 9:5, 2 Peter 2:5. There is likely no adequate way to fully express to the mind of man what the day of judgment will look like; Christ gives several warnings in Scripture, some by parable. One example is found in Matthew 25:31-46.

You will not see any notion of uncertainty here at TCJ as though a man will be finding out his eternal station on that day. You can and must know now (1 John 5:13) your eternal soul’s condition before you die. There will be no bargaining or pleading on that day, nor bragging about the works you’ve done (Matthew 7:21-23). Most who tell people that they’ll find out on that day want something from you, often its money but also manipulative power over; beware. On that day, God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.

Christ is the Judge and will judge the quick and the dead; the only disputation about this is from men dead in their trespasses and sins.

“And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” – Acts 10:42

Notes on John, Chapter Five, Part Three

1 month, 2 weeks ago

Part One – Introduction and Background
Part Two – Resurrection

This is Part Three – Life Everlasting.

In John 5:21-40, Christ preached this section exactly as it should be. Though combined for effect by our Lord, writing for instruction here and admitting much overlap and repetition in Christ’s discussion as presented, we’ll examine, in turn, the four topics shown in verses 21 through 40: resurrection, life everlasting, judgment, and the witnesses of this first-century judgment. It’s presented in six parts, none long, for ease of reading. Read the entire chapter first.

Lesson 3, Life Everlasting

Though God provides sustenance for your body as He chooses, the life He offers is by the Spirit of God. The idea that you can get to God through your occasional human efforts is imperial heresy promoted by the evil one and blasphemer, that false king who desires your mutual death with him in hell. You are not God, and neither is he; It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Judgment is by Jesus Christ, “According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.” – Isaiah 59:18. (Revelation 20:13).

Men everywhere are stubborn, obstinate, and hard-headed. There is an explosion in depravity. As it was, so is it today, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” – Genesis 6:5. Sin and evil thereby abounds in every quarter, depending upon the same vile system that not only condones but sanctions this evil, men still, strangely, consider themselves above it.

You need the functioning sense of what is holy, what is above, where the hope of a life with worth and purpose resides; that is, from the Almighty. All men’s minds are continually evil, but Jesus Christ is the life sanctified unto well doing in His name.

Jesus Christ is the way and truth of life (John 14:6) in verses 24 and 25. He did not end the covenant of the temple and leave the world yet without hope for the future. The day of salvation is at hand for you in the New Covenant now extended to all men. There is a new and better way in Christ Jesus.

By these next two verses in a row, Jesus emphatically declares the necessity of faith founded solely upon Him. Repent ye sinners. The magnitude and import of what’s about to be said can send you to Christ for the salvation of your eternal soul or damn you to hell. Pay close heed, give all attention, remove distractions from your mind, behold, hear Christ, and live!

“24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”

Jesus speaks of spiritual life by a new birth and life after resurrection to judgment. There may be opinions on this, but verse 40 makes clear you must come only unto Christ to have both, and there is not an either–or about it. Both are small things to God, for He spoke the worlds into being and breathed the breath of life into the soul of man, making you a living spirit. God divided the light from the darkness and will place you in the light of Christ, the torment of sin gone. Holy Father God is not uncharitable to those who truly submit to His divine revelation of salvation through faith in Christ upon hearing the Gospel.

Men must honor Christ as they do the Father (Verse 23, 1 John 2:22) because Christ is all things to the man in faith. He is the sacrifice for sin, payment to God for the hell due for your sins, and He is the Judge who can forgive all sin, bringing the lost man into the love of the great and eternal God; the Son quickeneth whom He will and won’t cast you out.

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” – John 6:37.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:44.

Holy Almighty God draws as many as He will to the Son. If your soul hears Christ, calling and drawing, giving you interest in things eternal and hope beyond this world, believe on the God of that calling who sent Jesus; be no more subject to the bondage of death. It’s Jesus who died to pay your sin debt on the cross and rose again as the intercessor, the One who can reconcile you to God.

Life and judgment are given to the Son of God; throw yourself upon the compassion of Christ for the lenity of salvation. Believe in Jesus Christ, for the man who does is no longer condemned but has everlasting life. Being passed from death unto life, no longer having the weight of hell but a light yoke of serving the God of goodwill toward men; death’s stranglehold loosed, and the calling of Christ placed on you, being born again into a new and eternal life. Be dead no more, but live ye unto Christ!

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” – Jesus Christ.

Is The Hamas/Israeli War A Part Of Bible Prophecy?

1 month, 2 weeks ago

Folks can tell you truth, but no man can understand it for you.


Notes on John, Chapter Five, Part Two

1 month, 2 weeks ago

Part One – Introduction and Background

This is Part Two – Resurrection

In John 5:21-40, Christ preached this section exactly as it should be. Though combined for effect by our Lord, writing for instruction here and admitting much overlap and repetition in Christ’s discussion as presented, we’ll examine, in turn, the four topics shown in verses 21 through 40: resurrection, life everlasting, judgment, and the witnesses of this first-century judgment. It’s presented in six parts, none long, for ease of reading. Read the entire chapter first.

Lesson 2, Resurrection

The question will run throughout verses 21 through 29, with 39 and 40, which verses speak of the spiritual new birth for the believer and which of the resurrection of the body? Well, some are clear, some less so. We can infer from Christ’s introduction of the topic in verse 21 that He does speak of both.

“21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”

The distinction is given in verse 21 for teaching His audience who know of the Old Testament instances of resurrection. But Jesus doesn’t stop there and says He will quicken whosoever He will (Romans 10:13) to a new birth by the Spirit. See John 11:25. You must be in Christ.

By the time He’s done, Christ makes no distinction; what is done, is done in Christ, and you can have all the hope of heaven in Him, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” – Philippians 1:6. By His grace, your faith in Jesus Christ is enough (Ephesians 2:8-9). He is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless (Jude verse 24); we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (1 Peter 1:5).

There are several resurrections in the Bible. The first person raised from the dead in the Bible is the son of a widow in 1 Kings 17:17-22 as Elijah, the prophet of God, cries out to God for the boy’s soul to return to him. Jesus raises Lazarus (John 11:23-26), which is relevant here; Martha had learned well listening to the teachers at her local synagogue. And in case you haven’t heard, you’ll get to meet her one day, if you also believe as she did. The man who fell from a window is revived in the middle of Paul’s preaching (Acts 20:9-10). These are but a few examples. Certainly, the Pharisees would have known about the Window’s son; they believed in the resurrection; it was the sect of the Sadducees who did not (Acts 23:8).

Christ has already explained the spiritual new birth to Nicodemus, himself a Pharisee and on the ruling council (John 3:1-7). He is beginning to clarify the bodily resurrection and final judgment to His disciples and those standing by. We know both the new birth by the Spirit and bodily resurrections are facts of the eternal workings of God as He, through history, brings the final estate to fruition for His Church of faith.

Some today say the resurrection is past, though they can’t explain how they know or why we missed it. Paul dealt with this same thing, “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” – 2 Timothy 2:18. Don’t let your faith be overthrown.

Discussing the bodily resurrection can be confusing when speaking with lost sinners; it’s not recommended as an evangelist’s tactic. And never discuss judgment, death, and hell for sin without also showing the hope of eternity through the spiritual new birth by grace through faith in Christ crucified and resurrected. Though the Sadducees disputed it, Jesus is speaking with people who were well taught since childhood about the resurrection.


Notes on John, Chapter Five, Part One

1 month, 3 weeks ago

Part One – Introduction and Background

In John 5:21-40, Christ preached this section exactly as it should be. Though combined for effect by our Lord, writing for instruction here and admitting much overlap and repetition in Christ’s discussion as presented, we’ll examine, in turn, the four topics shown in verses 21 through 40: resurrection, life everlasting, judgment, and the witnesses of this first-century judgment. It’s presented in six parts, none long, for ease of reading. Read the entire chapter first.

Lesson 1, Introduction and Background

John 5:1-9. Jesus healed a man who had been lame for Thirty-Eight years by the pool of Bethesda. There, an angel would go in and trouble the water, permitting the first man after who entered the pool to be healed. These verses conclude, “8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.” – John 5:8-9

John 5:10-16. The Jews see the healed man carrying his bedroll and accuse him of violating the law by working on the Sabbath. The Jews discovered that Jesus had healed him and told him he could take up his bed. The section concludes, “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.” – John 5:16

“17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” – John 5:17-18. See Philippians 2:6.

In Verse 17, Jesus begins a range of topics that runs through the end of the chapter. Having been presumably interrupted by the Jews in verse 18, He continues without disruption to the end. It’s not until verse 34 that we find Christ’s purpose in this discussion: that ye might be saved. Ever the evangelistic Christ of God, full of grace and truth, the Word made flesh dwelling among men, He offers salvation over and over again that they, and you, not perish but have life, and still, too many in that day and now will not obey the truth.

We’ll look at this section of Scripture, seeing several aspects of Christ’s teaching, making some contextual notes, and further application. The section includes a critical salvation message about everlasting life blended, rightly, into a discussion of the final resurrection and judgment being brought to fruition by the power of God (Verses 21-29).

Christ pivots in verses 30 and 31 from judgment to the many proofs that He is the Christ of God, showing that, indeed, all these things must come to pass. Verse 40 is a key summation before the last several verses to which we’ll only refer but not examine in detail. Verses 39 and 40 are the impetus for this writing.



Without teaching the covenant nature of God in American churches, a critical aspect of Biblical understanding goes missing. God makes covenants with men and nations; the Church of Jesus Christ is worse off for neglecting this teaching.

Judicial terminology and word pictures are used throughout the Scriptures, including the New Testament. God presents His word this way in general because He makes contracts. Like it or not, your salvation is one such covenant; you must serve Him to bring Him glory, becoming His bride.

Neither is the legal sense of the term witness to be overlooked. In this covenant you made with Christ, you are a witness of Christ before sinners (Acts 1:8), as a legal matter in the courts of heaven, that those at enmity with God may face trial for their crimes (sin) against Him. Primarily, just as Christ did, we offer to show all men sin and hell that they would believe in Christ crucified, repent, and be saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ’s atonement.

Witness as a legal term derives from the law of God “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” – Deuteronomy 19:15. The concept is brought into the New Covenant by way of similar application, establishing evidentiary proof of sin, conversion, and good works toward God. See 2 Corinthians 13:1.

In John Chapter Five, Christ establishes several witnesses as though a courtroom scene is taking place. Remember that the Pharisees are lawyers and scholars of the Old Testament law; they were being warned because they knew these things.

There are many witnesses of Jesus Christ even today. Still, there are indeed three who witness of Christ: our word, the witness of the apostles, prophets, and disciples, including every book in the canon, which is the word of God, and the power of conviction by the witness of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of the lost sinner who hears from God as we share Scripture, tell our own story, and show them about Christ crucified. Though we pray for later realization of their offense against the Almighty, if the hearer rejects this threefold witness, they are condemned to eternal death (John 3:18). A very similar situation is presented in John Chapter Five for us today.

In this chapter, Jesus relies on the witness of others. Today’s modern Pharisees are also a pack of lawyers using lawfare for their gain to manipulate and ensnare men, as it was two thousand years ago.


Those Who Behead Babies

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Red State.

You know who else murders babies by cutting their heads off?  Abortionists.  Every day in America.

And in both America and Israel abortion is still legal and accessible.

Where is the outrage?

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

1 month, 3 weeks ago

Don’t make Christ wrench your soul away. With seriousness of mind and patience of heart, you ought to practice death each day and record it so. Crucify yourself daily and more so as we see the day approaching, always seeking the putting off of this tabernacle that on the final day appointed you simply as possible step out of your body to Christ who does take your soul straight to Him. We ought to meet Christ in the air, caught up to heaven. Pray with gravity that your spirit in Christ should reign in your mind, fearing not the death of the body that will come but seeking things above for the day of complete translation into grace ever more; be drawn unto the presence of things unimaginable, to terrible to speak of on earth, called directly before the throne of the Almighty. Put away all corruption, vice upon vice.

The disconnect between modern church teaching and the saints of old is that today, they teach a willful weakness because they do not demand the men of the church be holy. Christian discipline is thus the spiritual war we are to fight to purify the soul, killing the control the flesh has, arresting our minds to take complete governance of the attributes we must allow Christ to use in piety for waring in His Kingdom. This will make you a hard man, not a soft man. It will make you a roaring lion and menace to the kingdoms of the earth and their phony fallen devil.

There is no more significant threat than the Christian who has so thoroughly expunged all vice and lasciviousness, in control of his desires, that he becomes as a living image of Christ, a little Christ, Christian indeed, dividing souls asunder at the speaking of the word of God, denouncing sin, confounding putridly wicked men bound to hell, demanding virtue at every turn with Christ risen in his heart to take the Kingdom of heaven by force that Christ be seated on the throne of his family, church, town, and country. Jesus always did the will of His Father, and whosoever does the will of the Father, that man is Christ’s brother, a son of God.

Today’s churches make men weaklings and cowards, compliant in sin, comfortable, and unrepentant. What is the man who claims Christ but is unashamed at his inability to subjugate himself? If the Christian man cannot conquer himself, he will not have the dominion God would offer, and he will control nothing whatsoever. Ruled by women and children, too scared to answer any man, too frightened to rebuke and humiliate evil spirits in men, constantly shoved around by the system of Babylon, living in dismay and wonder at the power of the Beast who serves the devil. Those in the wonder of the Beast, in awe of his power, in fear of war with him are not Christian (Revelation 13:4)!

Why are Christians as chaff before the wind when it should be Christ’s enemies that are on the run? Who is your king? It’s war, the spoils of which are life, liberty, light, and the adoption of high and holy heaven having inheritance with Christ to those that are His. Or outer darkness now soon followed by the lake of fire; which shall it be?

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” – Romans 8:37

What are these things referred to in the verse? Being killed all the day long for the name of Christ, like lambs to the slaughter, put to the sword, perils, nakedness, famine, persecution, tribulation. But the churches today would have you in silence about our Christ, going along with the world system, being obedient to evil princes ruled by dark spirits. These churches and the people in them are phony; they are not disciples of Christ Jesus, purpose-built for assaulting the gates of hell that our great King may reign in righteousness on earth as it is in heaven.

Christ made teachers, evangelists, witnesses, and preachers. If you can find a man to help teach you in this today, lay hold on him and be made the Son of God the angels of heaven desire to see; otherwise, you will have to do it on your own. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; we are all, at the very least, a witness for Jesus Christ. Fill yourself so thoroughly with the word of God that you begin to think like God, and then your actions will very soon follow, perceiving which way in service the Father would have you to go.

A Christian Soldier must purge himself of all that is dishonorable to be made a fit vessel, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use (2 Timothy 2:21). We must not do even as our Lord says of the Pharisees who are called a whited sepulcher and beautified on the outside yet full of dead men’s bones and uncleanness (Matthew 23:27), and of a cup clean on the outside yet filthy ravening wickedness remains on the inside (Luke 11:39). “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:20

Your sins of the heart will leak out; they always do when you have not the mind of Christ in you. Jesus speaking, “And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.” – Mark 7:20. Sin begins in the desires of a man; the devil cannot tempt to that which you are not already prone!

James 1:15 relates, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Lust means any desire that is in the man but is conceived, birthed, and acted upon when he is tempted and drawn away from the purity that is in Christ. For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)!

A Christian man must first conquer himself above anything, or he will never attain the duty of priest or king that God has ordained for him to serve therein. Christians say they’ll fight for a place in the world but haven’t even put down their own childish pleasures of offense to God; they remain unprofitable to the Kingdom. No soldier can war for the King who has not first attained to battlefield discipline readiness over his mind, habits, family, his people, and the local church. Indeed, everything God has blessed to the soldier’s charge must be put in subjection to the high calling of Christ Jesus.

Why do they bother teaching about the armor of God in churches today (Ephesians 6:11)? Being a victim of the devil and making war on the kingdom of Death and Hell for King Jesus is not the same thing. I’ve got as much work to do in these regards as any man, but be ye well warned; God doesn’t compare us one to the other but demands that we be sanctified for His glory, bringing all honor upon the name of Christ. May the love and mercy of God be with you all.

An imprecatory prayer of the Christian Soldier here seems fitting.

“Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. 2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. 3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. 4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. 5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them. 6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them. 7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul. 8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall. 9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.” – Psalm 35:1-9

Be sanctified by Christ that you might sanctify all that is put before you.

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:12

The Great Omission

2 months ago

Found at Postmillennial Worldview from One More Hope. The latter I know nothing about, but Postmillennial Worldview is well worth a stop each week. I don’t know anything about Pastor Sumpter or his ministry.

Idahoan Pastor Toby J. Sumpter recently tweeted what he deems is the newly edited version of the Great Commission for modern evangelicals:

“A moderate amount of power has been given to Me — mostly in Heaven and a little on earth, therefore try your best to make disciples, maybe a few from every nation? — baptize them and teach them only your favorite parts of the New Testament.”

The quote makes some chuckle, but to a large part of the evangelical world it is a sad, but true reality: Welcome to the great omission! In 2018 Barna Group [1], a Christian research organization, released the results of a study conducted on pastors, churchgoers, and U.S. adults which demonstrated that 51% of those surveyed did not know what the Great Commission was! If 51% of the surveyors had never even heard of the Great Commission (this included pastors mind you), I wonder out of those who have heard of the Great Commission, how many actually understand and are actively obeying this great command?

The survey and quote demonstrate a catastrophic failure of the Church to understand what she is for and why on Earth (literally) are we here. It’s like we have embarked upon a ship not knowing where we are going, why we are getting on a ship, or what the purpose of the trip is. I once heard Pastor Jeff Durbin say that “culture is the report card of the Church” and if that’s the case we are failing tremendously. The Church’s disobedience to know, comprehend, and obey the Great Commission is the direct result of the darkness and sin encroaching upon the bride of Christ. Think about it, God’s solution to save, redeem, and restore the world from its cursed state (Gen. 3:15), is the Great Commission implemented and obeyed. It is not plan A or B or C, it is THE plan and for too long we have engaged in the great omission. It’s time for the bride of Christ to repent of her disobedience and be awakened to the inheritance that already belongs to her (Ps. 2:7-8), purchased by Christ’s blood-bought payment for the world (Matt. 28:18-20;Jn. 3:16-17; 19:30).


Let us compare and contrast Pastor Sumpter’s satirical formulation of the Great Commission with the actual passage from Matthew 28:18-20. First he says: “A moderate amount of power has been given to Me — mostly in Heaven and a little on earth”. Now it’s probable that most Christians would not actually profess this with their mouths, yet we do confess it by the way we live. The misconception comes when trying to understand the idea of Christ’s Lordship. Scripture says:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus having all authority in heaven and on earth often means to Christians that He is supreme Lord in the heavenlies, in some other dimension way-out “there”. He is Lord over all of the angels, over all of the deceased saints that are now in heaven, or Lord over the Church, but when it comes to His full authority, kingship, power, and sovereignty over all his earthly creation, we have a hard time not limiting His authority because we are under the guise that “this world is not our home”, we’re just “passing through” and that the earthly world actually belongs to Satan. Yet Jesus is saying the exact opposite! At his ascension, Jesus was attending his coronation session. The Father gave Him all authority and made a regal pronouncement to the world, to every individual, every family, every city, every nation, every president, every political authority, every business, every educational system, that everything must be submitted under the Lordship of Christ because He has been crowned as King over all kings and Lord over all lords (Rev. 1:5). Universal dominion belongs to Christ (Ps. 2, 72; Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 1:18-22; Col. 1:15-20). This scene is the capstone moment of God’s great story of covenantal and redemptive work throughout the world. Therefore, Christians are commanded to press the Crown rights of King Jesus in every area of life and thought. Hallelujah, truly “all authority” has (past-tense) been given to the King.

Read the rest here.

It’s one thing to send the tweet and write this article; it’s another to teach anyone who would listen about the foundations of not just why we tell folks about Christ but how to deliver a clear and straightforward salvation testimony. If you read the whole article and come away thinking, it doesn’t tell how to prepare and do it, you’ve found the real problem.

The Great Commission isn’t only about teaching those who wander into your church building, but as Mark relates the words of Christ, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Prepare: here, here, here, here, and doing it here.) Christ made His men into teachers, evangelists, witnesses, and preachers. Todays leaders make their men comfortable by tickling their itching ears.

I wonder how many doors Pastor Sumpter’s church knocked on this summer and how many of his men stand on public streets with their Bible offering to show lost sinners what Jesus was doing two thousand years ago and why they need Him this very moment. I hope for their zeal and my total embarrassment that their works put me to shame for even asking.

The trenches are where Christian Soldiers win the war, one soul at a time. Personal witnessing is as much about seeking the lost as it is about asking those who claim Christ if they’ve told somebody how they got saved and how Christ can save them also. Challenging milk-takers to grow by publicly sharing their testimony with lost sinners is a key beginning of growth in the believer. Every Christian must tell lost souls how to be saved; that’s the power of the multiplier, as the Holy Spirit works through us.

The Gospel of Christ doesn’t need a bunch of fancy university degrees; it needs sergeants, soldiers, and grunts who know how to fight and win. Professional Christianity has wrecked the Church in the West. Take your fancy titles and throw them in the trash, grab your Holy Bible, and go show folks how to be saved from the book of Romans, compelling them to come into the wedding supper of the Lamb.

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