Run Away and Hide

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In the news we read of the moral failings of many people in relation to sexual harassment and unwanted advances. Whatever it is that you think about that, do you think those accused would like to run away and hide from the accusations if they could? Perhaps some refuse to run away, but instead are determined to stand and fight, looking to expose the accuser of the evil perpetrated wrongly. On the other hand, it’s not unreasonable for those guilty for there to be a strong desire to run away and hide.

It illustrates exactly a principle of life many live with in a church context as well. When trouble brews, then blooms, many want to run away and hide. Why is this? Running away and hiding means one hides self from conflict and heartache. At least, this is intended. No one wants to experience either, but the experiencing of one or both is related, perhaps, to the proverb in Proverbs 18, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment” (18:1, ESV).

Seeks his own desire – which is what? Hiding from the problem so one does not have to face it. The shame and embarrassment are powerful “tools” that prevents some from owning up and facing a moral failing. Don’t think you are immune from such an unspiritual disposition. Not a one of us, I am sure, believes “I will run away so I don’t have to face it” way of thinking, yet it so often happens to be the ones who boldly state such a conviction quickly departs.

We run away because the embarrassment is great, because one must admit something thought or done was (is) wrong and because one feels so low the lowly one can walk underneath a pregnant ant (if you will)!

Such an approach means the problem is not fixed. Even if one starts afresh elsewhere, the problem at the previous location is not fixed.

The proper solution is to make it right. RT

What Should We Have Expected?

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I was reading Isaiah 40 the other day when I read verse 17, wherein the Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, spoke how He looks upon the nations as nothing, less than nothing and worthless. The Lord was not speaking of the United States, but He could have certainly included us in the denunciations leveled against the idolatrous nations of Isaiah’s time. We are a nation of laws, but a nation that changes the laws to suit the whims of the people. 1) We are a nation that allows illegal immigrants to come to this country and kill a young woman, only to be exonerated for the crime. 2) We are a nation that looks upon a well-known actor (like Jim Neighbors) who was an practicing homosexual up until his passing, mourn his loss and say he is in a better place. 3) We are a nation that kills innocent children in the womb because of moral failing and political persuasion—and we continue to vote the murderers into office! 4) We are a nation that finds fault with the homosexual community, but the heterosexual community has run a-muck with the same sexual vices. 5) We are a nation that looks on alcohol as a drink of pleasure rather than what it actually is—the devil’s brew. 6)  We are a nation that has become confused concerning which bathroom should be used. 7) We are a nation that looks on legalized stealing because those who do not have should get from others what they refuse to work for. 8) We are a nation that has rejected God and all things related to His way of thinking, and what should we expect from such a rejection? As Babylon, as Egypt, as Rome, as the Medo-Persians, we, too, will fall. So, as Christians, lets us take the Lord’s banner and live the gospel of Christ, for the alternative is hopeless. This is what the Lord expects! RT

Life’s Devalued

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The Sentence of Death

In the Columbus Dispatch today (11.25.2017, A-8), the headline reads that the once-Olympian had his sentence doubled for the murder of his once-girl friend. Initially, Oscar Pistorius received a sentence of a little more than 6 years in prison for her murder. He maintains her death was by accident, but a court in South Africa was not convinced, thus his 6 years. Life, evidently, is not valued highly in South Africa, at least not in the case surrounding Pistorius and his once girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

As if righteous indignation seemed to get the better of the court system, his verdict, on appeal, was double to a little over 13 years.

13 years? That is all he got for conviction of murder?

She no longer has life, and he gets 13 years in prison! No longer do her parents have a daughter, and he gets 13 years?

Via an attorney, her parents now believe justice was served in this matter. Justice was not served. According to the Lord, when one is convicted of murder, the life of the convicted one should be taken from him. From the time of antiquity, the Lord said as much. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made He man” (Genesis 9:6, Jewish Publication Society Bible).

Those who have no love-loss for the Lord will speak against such justice, but the course (path) they are on and the path they take us down is the de-valuing of life. Is that the justice you want? The Lord does not, for He spoke on the matter already. RT

The Church of Sweden

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/24/church-sweden-stop-clergy-calling-god-lord-bid-crack-gendered/

Church of Sweden to stop clergy calling God ‘he’ or ‘the Lord’ in bid to crack down on gendered language

The Church of Sweden is urging its clergy to use gender-neutral language when referring to the supreme deity, refraining from using terms like “Lord” and “He” in favor of the less specific “God.”

RT: Why is this taking place? Is it because the Greek text of the New Testament demands this, or is there some other reason? A good translation can‘t do anything but responsibly translate in an accurate manner the (a) word from the document of origin to the language of destination. Thus, when the word “theos” in Greek is translated, the language of destination (English) uses the word “God.” What Greek word is used to give us our English word “Lord”? That word is kurios. It’s a word that conveys power and authority, appropriately translated “Lord.” Does not the word “God” convey the same? It can and does, but the word “God” does not come, translationally (if you will), from kurios. The less specific “God” is not less specific (with regard to authority), except when one wants to eliminate an idea that permeates the Bible, especially the New Testament, such as the idea conveyed in the word “Lord”.

The move is one of several taken by the national Evangelical Lutheran church in updating a 31-year-old handbook setting out how services should be conducted in terms of language, liturgy, hymns and other aspects.

RT: Since the Evangelical Lutheran Church is not a term one reads of or about in the Bible, then their origin as a church is from the mind of man. Anything man conjures up is bound to change; he is as steady as the waves of the sea. The Holy Spirit gave warning in these words: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12, ASV).

The decision was taken Thursday at the end of an eight-day meeting of the church’s 251-member decision-making body, and takes effect May 20 on the Christian holiday of Pentecost.

A former state church, headquartered in Uppsala, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of the capital, the church has 6.1 million baptized members in a country of 10 million. It is headed by a woman, Archbishop Antje Jackelen.

RT: The Scriptures teach, “Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness” (1 Timothy 2:11-12). In today’s environment, such words as from the apostle Paul are not well received. Of course, this makes our point. With man there is constant change. With God, He is steady as a rock, the Rock. The Lord, in other words, does not support the head of any church filled by a female or, for that matter, a male. He (Jesus) is the head of the church, and what He says concerning it is not up for discussion. Paul, in writing to the church in Ephesus about Jesus, said this: “far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church” (1:21-22).

Jackelen told Sweden’s TT news agency a more inclusive language had already been discussed at the 1986 conference. “Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human,” Jackelen was quoted as saying by TT.

RT: Yes, it is true, inherently speaking, God is beyond our gender determinations, but it is not true that God did not become human. When Jesus became flesh (He who was/is God), He became a man, a male, not a female. There is a reason for this, and the reason belongs entirely to God. Thus, God is not beyond our gender determinations!  Consider what Paul said about the Lord in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (5:21). Notice the pronouns; substitute those pronouns with a neutral word, then read it; for instance, use the word “it.” How does this help one to properly understand?

The change was met with criticism, however. Christer Pahlmblad, an associate theology professor with Sweden’s Lund University, told Denmark’s Kristeligt Dagblad that the move was “undermining the doctrine of the Trinity and the community with the other Christian churches.”

“It really isn’t smart if the Church of Sweden becomes known as a church that does not respect the common theology heritage,” he said.

RT: This is not an answer to the problem. It’s not a matter of heritage, but of truth as revealed in Scripture. Perhaps there are occasions when a neutral word is much better than a word specifically oriented; on the other hand, those who have an agenda to neuter language for the sake of psychology might also have an agenda to neuter and neutralize the Way of God. The Church of Sweden, the state church seems to have this approach (their denials not withstanding!).  

Gender-neutral terms | Checklist

Forefathers – ancestors, forebears

Gentleman’s agreement – unwritten agreement, agreement based on trust

Girls (for adults) – women

Housewife – shopper, consumer, homemaker (depends on context)

Manpower – human resources, labour force, staff, personnel, workers, workforce

Man or mankind – humanity, humankind, human race, people

Man-made – artificial, manufactured, synthetic

Man in the street, common man – average/ordinary/typical citizen/person

Right-hand man – chief assistant

Sportsmanship – fairmess, good humour, sense of fair play

Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Guide to Inclusive Language

 

Is It Epistemological Agnosticism Or Not?

Epistemology is great analytical thinking that is imperative to knowing and understanding truth.

Biblical Notes

By Mac Deaver

Recently, in response to my criticism of Derek Estes’ Master’s Thesis conclusion that certainty must be rejected from the concept of “knowledge” as an essential trait (which criticism I presented in my article, “I Am Probably Writing This Article”), I received a very cordial email from Derek. I do indeed appreciate the tone of the response.

Just here I will respond to that email.

Derek wanted “to provide just a couple of points of clarification” regarding the issue between us. I had claimed that to reject certainty as a characteristic of knowledge amounted to giving up knowledge itself. Derek had claimed that “certainty” was not an essential part of the definition of “knowledge.”

Now in response to my response, Derek in offering his clarification makes two points. His first point is to suggest that it is not the case that the only alternative to certainty is epistemological…

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No Justification, But A Contribution

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Angela Lansbury, a female actress into her tenth decade of life commented in an interview that some women must take some blame for the sexual harassment problem in society. “There are two sides to this coin,” Lansbury, 92, said. “We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us — and this is where we are today.”

In this she is correct.

There is no justification for sexual harassment, violation or any kind of wrong-doing that might be perpetrated against another person. Yet, there are many contribution factors.

  1. On November 4, 2017, there is a report from Paris with the headline “Paris Opens its First-Ever Naked Restaurant.”
  2. Hooter’s restaurant now has a change in strategy because older patrons have more interest in breast than younger patrons.
  3. In May of 2016, a report spoke of provocative dress and sexual responsibility.
  4. “A Democratic Congresswoman is under fire after saying that women are partially to blame for sexual assault and harassment in the way they dress and act.”

Thoughtful people see this as well as they see the sun shine in the sky. Agenda-oriented people, however, can’t see this at all, even as it stares them in the face. Why? Because that demands accountability/responsibility, and some think even if a woman walked naked down the street there is no justification to violation. This is true.

No justification, but a contribution.

In the earliest days of human history, the Lord said this will occur: “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you” (Genesis 3:16, NET). One expositor said about this passage, “…a conflict between the man and the woman. She will desire to control him, but he will dominate her instead.”

How does she do this? There are many contributing factors. Negatively, generally speaking, she can’t overpower him physically, but she can drop him to his knees sexually.

Of course, not all females are like this, and neither is it the case that all men are brutes.

There is no justification for sexual harassment or unwanted advances by one toward another. However, this will occur, and it will never stop when men (people) have no interest in the Lord’s way, though there is great interest in the ways of man. “They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world’s perspective and the world listens to them” (1 John 4:5).

No justification for wrong, but many contributions generate wrong-doing. RT

I Am Grateful

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As a Christian, for what are you grateful?

I am grateful to the Lord because back in 1983, Alamogordo, New Mexico, I obeyed the Lord Jesus, associating my life with His in faith and water baptism – exactly like the Lord called on me to do. Paul wrote in Romans 6:3-4, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (KJV), and this is exactly what I did.

I am also grateful to the Lord because I learned the church of which I was a member (the Nazarene Church) came into existence well-over eighteen-hundred years after the time of Christ. Eighteen-hundred years too late. I also learned the Lord’s church came into existence merely ten days later than when Jesus ascended to the Father (Acts 2). As great as the Nazarene Church was to me in the early years of my life, the Lord’s church is far more influential because of who Originated it.

I am grateful to the Lord because I serve as a preacher in His kingdom. With this role wherein I serve, I have a heavy responsibility placed on me to do at least two things. First, live the life of Christ as revealed in Scripture. Second, be faithful to teaching that which He said He wants taught. Peter wrote, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11). I do not have the liberty to go too far, or not far enough. I must stay with the Lord with a “thus saith God” in my preaching and teaching. I could faithfully serve the Lord in any number of roles, but I chose to serve the Lord in this role.

I am grateful to the Lord for His mercy. As I look back over my life as an adult (nearly forty years), I am humbled by “where I was” and “where I am now.” The baggage I brought to the Lord is more than some have experienced, but perhaps not as much as you. Still, I carried a full load. To this day, I have many regrets associated with that baggage, but in the Lord’s mercy, He remembers it no more. Gratitude beyond measure I have to the Lord for that!

I am grateful to the Lord, as I mentioned a moment ago, for the responsibility placed on me. It is my prayer He is pleased with what I am doing. I am grateful He has given me the ability to write, to think quickly and deeply, to challenge error, but to do so with compassion, understanding and without a threatening disposition. I am grateful to the Lord for a thick-skin. Time and again people try to penetrate, but I know my standing in the Lord’s presence. I know my strengths, and I know my weaknesses. I know what is true about me, and I know what is false about those things said concerning me. For me to be offended, as one sister said, one would need to use a two-by-four against me. I refuse to be troubled by that which is not the truth. In fact, it is only truth that I want to penetrate, and especially the Lord’s truth.

For what are you grateful?  RT

We Need Joshua

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Men Like Joshua

When the Lord told Joshua to prepare himself for the duties in front of him, the Lord knew well that Joshua could not appreciate the difficult task he had. Joshua, however, was in better position than any other person, but even with that being the case, there was (and is) something different between being by the side of a great leader and being the leader yourself. When you are by the side of a great leader (or any leader), decision consequences don’t fall on you, but on the one who made them. When the Lord told Joshua to prepare himself, He said, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (1:9, ESV). The Lord told Joshua to be courageous, but it was not in military matters He was speaking. What the Lord had in mind was for Joshua to be courageous in allegiance and obedience to the Lord’s Word and purpose. The Lord knew well that Joshua would face much resistance of one sort or another.

It takes a great deal of commitment and courage to stand firm in the Lord’s way when most of those around you are not doing so, or waffling in doing so. Joshua was leading a complex nation. No doubt there were many who loved the Lord as much as Joshua, but how many were confused in their loyalties. Perhaps many of them desired to hear and obey the Lord, but for one reason or another, they allowed distractions to get in the way. Some of those distractions could have been family issues, self-esteem, hardships and heartaches. Whatever it was, those so struggling, the Lord called upon them to set it aside and consider what was in front of them (cf. Hebrews 12:1-3).

Those called upon to lead either understand this already, or need to!

In Joshua 1:6-9, the Lord gave Joshua guidance as to how to stay courageous. First, he had a definite work to do; without an assigned task, one does not know what needs to be done, much less how to accomplish it. Second, to have a task at hand, means a directive must be in place to get the work completed. This complements the first point. At a practical level, a plan is most helpful to see where one needs to go; trying to “wing-it” brings confusion and directionless movements. As with the practical, so with the spiritual. Third, in Joshua’s case (as well as our own), divine help is a must; without the Lord, we can only hope to accomplish, but never really know whether we accomplished the task or arrived at the Lord’s destination. With the Lord’s plan in front of us, with the Lord’s plan faithfully executed, we will certainly accomplish the work required. Fourth, a determination to accomplish what is ahead means one must adopt courage, have a brave and determined heart to see it through to the end.

In the Lord’s church, godly men who serve as elders are crucial to the local congregation. Horror stories abound of men serving as elders who do not employ each the Lord’s principled guidelines given to Joshua. They are nice, courteous, financially astute, benevolent in spirit and means, but not very strong in the Lord; thus, mean/leaders like this are not godly from the Lord’s perspective, only from man’s. In fact, the Lord would not use them to lead His people. The Lord’s church need men like Joshua. RT

Can’t Stop It

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Do you build up, or tear down? It’s not likely you will answer this as one who tears down, but it is possible you might do both. Consider whether or not you talk to a person about your aggravation or disagreement about a third person. “Do you agree with what she did! Certainly, she had to be out of her mind to do that.”

For what good reason would you say anything like that? Is it because you want a person not privy to the situation to know how you feel, you who also happen to be unfamiliar with the specifics of the situation? No good is accomplished when you talk to someone about another person or situation, though much bad can begin to get a hold and travel much faster than anyone can do to stop it. In matters like this you actually tear down. You not only negatively affect yourself, but you negatively influence the one to whom you are speaking, when you speak about someone else. Rather than doing such things, employ the words of Jesus in the Gold-Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:12).  You can build up, then, much faster than anyone can stop, or even desire to stop. RT

YOUR ANSWER

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How can a person KNOW whether or not what he/she does is approved by the Lord? Two things to help us in getting a better understanding. First, in the New Testament, if the Lord revealed His commands (and He did) that we are to obey, then those who obey His commands with the love of Jesus in one’s heart can know he/she is pleasing to the Lord. Second, when one applies the principles of holiness and righteousness to life, even though the Lord did not express precisely something on this point. That which you are considering, will it encourage you to miss meeting with the saints? Does it invite you to compromise the Lord’s righteous way? Does it reflect badly on the Lord’s name or some other name? How would you answer? RT