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The ‘Word of God’ and quotes from Reformers via social media Pt 3

In my first post I discussed a strange phenomenon or development which occurred while I was driving over the road last year, namely: that many on social media which call themselves Christians, have developed an antipathy for the Words of God. You can read my first post here. In my second post I went on to discuss the quoting of ‘Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God.‘ You can read that post here.

In my last post I had two primary questions concerning the quoting of ‘Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God.‘ I covered the first question in my last post, which was:

First. Why have Christians, especially Reformed Christians stopped reading quotes from men who have come before us or creeds and confessions?

My goal today is to discuss the second question which is:

Secondly. Why does the only attention they (my quotes) draw is a negative comment, instead of reading them in context?

In answering this question I will state that I believe many think of themselves as grown up or beyond the scope of learning anything new from men who have come before us. In other words, they took their baby steps with Calvin, Luther, Knox, Spurgeon, and so forth, and now they need something deeper. I have talked to many Pastors/theologians on social media. Some of these were prideful and wouldn’t give me much of their time because I didn’t have that degree abbreviation associated with my name. Many of these are no longer on my friends list because they fell into some heinous sin, which brought shame on the name of Christ. The heinous sin which brought shame on the name of Christ wasn’t their downfall. Their downfall was the primary, underlying, main sin which they clung too and that was the sin of pride.

The main and primary reason of which I believe that my quotes draw a negative comment is because of laziness. That is right. I said that it is because of laziness. In other words, because we live in a society that is fast paced, we do not take the time to search a quote out and read it in context, to see if it is reading differently than what we perceive it to read. When I post a comment to social media it is not some obscure comment of which I searched the net and found. I list all the credentials under it in order that anyone who reads it may be able to go back and read it in context. Again, I list the author of the comment, the publisher of the book, the name of the book, and the exact page number where it may be found in the book from which the quote was taken. Just as we do not interpret a single scripture by itself, but instead interpret it in the light of context and the whole council of God, even so we should not interpret a single quote in isolation.

Another reason my quotes draw a negative comment is because it is not from that persons theological camp. A Baptist doesn’t think the quote is good because it isn’t from a Baptist theologian and a Paedobaptist doesn’t think the quote is good because it isn’t from a Paedobaptist. I once had a Covenanter state that we should only quote from our own theological camp. I even had one person tell me that I shouldn’t be quoting from Sir Isaac Newton’s: ‘Observations of the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John.‘ I asked them, ‘Why not?’ They said, ‘Don’t you realize that he was a Unitarian?’ It is funny that John Gill didn’t seem to mind quoting from him in his ‘The Sure Performance of Prophecy.

There may be other reasons why my quotes draw a negative comment, but I will conclude with this reason:

My quotes draw a negative comment because words have changed meaning or have bad connotations attached to them. For instance, many Baptists will not use the word ‘sacraments,’ when speaking of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper because of the use of the term ‘sacraments’ among Roman Catholics. These Baptists prefer to use the term ‘ordinances.’ Many of them do not realize that the seventeenth century Baptists used the term ‘sacraments’ when they wrote concerning Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

For instance: A few weeks ago I placed a quote up be Martin Luther and a brother of whom I highly respect and love, had a problem with one of Luther’s words. Now to be fair and honest, I probably should not have quoted from Luther’s Table Talk. This book, which was not written by Luther, but by his students, possibly should be read primarily for entertainment, due to the fact that the material contained therein is second hand testimony. Roman Catholics like to attack the writings of Luther. It usually falls on deaf ears when you point out that Luther didn’t write the Table Talk. However, a honest, recent Roman Catholic scholar pointed out that the Table Talk does not qualify unconditionally as a primary source. He stated, “the real distortion of the Luther image occurred with the Table Talk.”[1] This is because the Table Talk was written by Luther’s students. Luther had students who stayed in his house and as they gathered around meals or took walks in the garden, Luther would expound on questions or topics, of which were brought up by his students or his friend. Therefore, being notes on what Luther said, they cannot and should not be read as actual quotes from Luther.

However, I did quote from the Table Talk and here is the quote:

“A good preacher should have these properties and virtues: first, to teach systematically; secondly, he should have a ready wit; thirdly, he should be eloquent; fourthly, he should have a good voice; fifthly, a good memory; sixthly, he should know when to make an end; seventhly, he should be sure of his doctrine; eighthly, he should venture and engage body and blood, wealth and honor, in the word; ninthly, he should suffer himself to be mocked and jeered of every one.”

My theological friend responded with 1 Timothy 3:1-7. This list in 1 Timothy are the qualifications for the office of Bishop or Overseer. There is a vast difference between listing the qualifications of an office and listing good qualities which could reside in those holding the office. However, I do recognize that Paul also includes qualities that should reside in those who are seeking this office. So even if Luther did actually make this comment to his students, nevertheless, the qualities or properties for a good preacher which are listed, are not bad in and of themselves. Also the very next paragraph is a qualifier or explains why Luther may have made this comment and that is why my theological friend should have searched the matter out and seen why Luther may have made the comment found above. Here is the next paragraph from the Table Talk:

“The defects in a preacher are soon spied; let a preacher be endued with ten virtues, and but one fault, yet this one fault will eclipse and darken all his virtues and gifts, so evil is the world in these times. Dr. Justus Jonas has all the good virtues and qualities a man may have; yet merely because he hums and spits, the people cannot bear that good and honest man.”

Notice that the Table Talk, if it be Luther’s actual words or not, states that the defects in a preacher are soon spied out, even though the minister may have ten good virtues. And the Table Talk lists an example of a minister who had all good qualities, except for the fact that he hummed and spit while he preached and the congregation could not bare that. (Examples from other theologians will be found below stating some of the same things the Table Talk does concerning the use of the voice in preaching.)

My theologian friend admitted that some of the qualities listed in the above quote for a good preacher are good qualities, but God never expects a man to be eloquent nor to have a good voice. This word ‘eloquent‘ I believe is what really had him up in arms over the quote. This is due to what I stated above, namely that when evil or bad connotations get attached to a word, then people will not use or accept that word.

Some believe that when Paul stated: ‘And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 1 Cor. 2:1, that he was stating that he did not come to them with eloquent preaching. Now if we define eloquence as the Corinthians did, then certainly Paul did not come to the Corinthians with rhetorical speech of the art of sophistry. The art of oratory was huge among the Corinthians. If someone had a problem in court with one of the members of their community, then they would hire them an orator to speak for them. The content was not as important as the rhetoric. If the speech was beautiful and eloquent, then it would captive the audience and move them towards the point of view of the one who had hired them. Certainly Paul did not come to Corinth with this form of rhetoric, However, if eloquence is taken in its basic definition of ‘fluent or persuasive speaking or writing,’ who could argue that Paul wasn’t eloquent? For certainly no more eloquence could be found in words than the words he wrote the Corinthians:

1Co 2:1-7 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

So when the Table Talk uses the expression ‘eloquence‘ it is not stating that a good preacher must be gifted in rhetorical speech, but must be eloquent in the subject of which he is speaking.

I will close this article with a few quotes:

Tell me what you think in the comment section below.

Notice that Ames speaks about a ministers speech, gestures, and voice while preaching:

Concerning delivery, Ames advises that speech and gestures should be: “completely spiritual, flowing from the from the very heart; showing a man very conversant in exercises of piety, who also has persuaded himself beforehand, and thoroughly settled in his own conscience, those things to which he endeavours to persuade others; and into which, finally, there is Zeal, Charity, Mildness, Freedom, and Humility, with grave authority. The pronouncing of the speech must be both natural, familiar, clear, and distinct, so that it may be fitly understood; and also agreeable to the matter, so that it may move the affections. Gal 4.20, I would now be present with you, and change my voice, because I am in doubt of you. Among others, here are two voices that are most to be criticized: the one which is heavy, slow, singing, and drowsy, in which not only the words are separated with a pause, the same as a comma, but even the syllables in the same word are separated, to the great hindrance of the understanding of things. The other voice which most offends here is that which is hasty and swift, which overturns the ears with too much celerity, so that there is no distinct perceiving of things. That type of speech, pronunciation, and action which would be ridiculous in the senate, in places of judgment, or in the Court, is even more to be avoided in a Sermon.”

William Ames- The Marrow of Sacred Divinity, Chapter 35- Of ordinary Ministers, and their Office in Preaching.

Notice Spurgeon speaks first negatively concerning the use of the voice and then positively concerning the same:

“You are not singers but preachers: your voice is but a secondary matter; do not be fops with it, or puling invalids over it, as so many are…….On the other hand, do not think too little of your voice, for its excellence may greatly conduce to the result which you hope to produce…..I once heard a most esteemed minister, who mumbled sadly, compared to “a humble bee in a pitcher,” a vulgar metaphor no doubt, but so exactly descriptive, that it brings to my mind the droning sound at this instant most distinctly, and reminds me of the parody upon Gray’s Elegy: —What a pity that a man who from his heart delivered doctrines of undoubted value, in language the most appropriate, should commit ministerial suicide by harping on one string, when the Lord had given him an instrument of many strings to play upon! Alas! alas! for that dreary voice, it hummed and hummed like a mill-wheel to the same unmusical turn, whether its owner spake of heaven or hell, eternal life or everlasting wrath. It might be, by accident, a little louder or softer, according to the length of the sentence, but its tone was still the same, a dreary waste of sound, a howling wilderness of speech in which there was no possible relief, no variety, no music, nothing but horrible sameness.”

Charles Spurgeon- Lectures to My Students Vol 1, Lecture 8, On the Voice

He does warn not to play act while in the Pulpit:

“This is a most important matter. Of all things that we have to avoid, one of the most essential is that of giving our people the idea, ‘when we are preaching, that we are acting a part. Everything theatrical in the pulpit, either in tone, manner, or anything else. I loathe from my very soul. Just go into the pulpit, and talk to the people as you would in the kitchen, or the drawing-room, and say what you have to tell them in your ordinary tone of voice.”

Charles Spurgeon- Lectures to My Students, Lecture 3, Anecdotes and Illustrations

Notice Edwards, possibly the greatest mind ever produced on American soil, uses the term ‘eloquence‘ in a positive and not a negative sense:

“We know that when men are greatly affected in any matter, and their hearts are very full, it fills them with matter for speech, and makes them eloquent upon, that subject and much more have spiritual affections this tendency, for many reasons that might be given.”

Jonathan Edwards- The Present Revival of Religion, Part 4, Section 2- Another cause of errors in conduct attending a religious revival, is the adoption of wrong principles

Here is an example of eloquence used in the negative sense and then used in the positive sense:

I inquired of Dr. West, Whether Mr. Edwards was an eloquent preacher. He replied, “If you mean, by eloquence, what is usually intended by it in our cities; he had no pretensions to it. He had no studied varieties of the voice, and no strong emphasis. He scarcely gestured, or even moved; and he made no attempt, by the elegance of his style, or the beauty of his pictures, to gratify the taste, and fascinate the imagination. But, if you mean by eloquence, the power of presenting an important truth before an audience, with overwhelming weight of argument, and with such intenseness of feeling, that the whole soul of the speaker is thrown into every part of the conception and delivery; so that the solemn attention of the whole audience is riveted, from the beginning to the close, and impressions are left that cannot be effaced. Mr. Edwards was the most eloquent man I ever heard speak.”

Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards, Chapter 25- Concluding Remarks

Apollos is called an eloquent man in scripture: (chiefly because he was fluent in the scriptures)

Act 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Commentators on Acts 18:24

John Gill– an eloquent man; in speech, as well as learned, wise, and “prudent”, as the Ethiopic version renders it:

John Calvin– Furthermore, lest any man should think that Apollos’ eloquence was profane or vain, Luke saith that it was joined with great power, namely, that he was mighty in the Scriptures. Which I expound thus, that he was not only well and soundly exercised in the Scriptures, but that he had the force and efficacy thereof, that, being armed with them, he did in all conflicts get the upper hand. And this (in my judgment) is rather the praise of the Scripture than of man, that it hath sufficient force both to defend the truth, and also to refute the subtilty of Satan.

J. P. Lange, Philip Schaff– He was an eloquent man (λόγιος means both learned and eloquent; as the main fact, however, viz., that he was learned in the Scriptures, is specially mentioned, the word is to be here taken in the latter sense). As his knowledge of the Scriptures is represented as having been very great (δυνατὸς ἐν τ. γρ., i.e., it constituted his strength), it is quite probable that, as an Alexandrian, he was indebted both for his skill in the interpretation of the Old Testament, and for his eloquence, to the school of Philo.

Footnote:

[1] Franz Posset- ‘The Real Luther,’ p. 30.

A second scripture, which is, one of the most misused scriptures in the Bible Psalms 37:4

Psa 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

When I first became a Christian, I began attending a Pentecostal Church. Much emphasis was placed on the gifts of the Spirit. There was constant talk of looking for miracles or receiving something in the natural from God. I had one Pastor who claimed that you could walk in perfect health if you had enough faith in God and was obedient to the things of God. He portrayed himself to be one who was being blessed by God concerning perfect health. It was however ironic, that he wore glasses and took medication to regulate his thyroid, all the while claiming perfect health while using the verse above.

I was eventually recommended by the congregation to be placed into the office of elder and participated in teaching the congregation. After having taken a course in hermeneutics, I began to flesh out the meaning of the verses I worked through. This verse was one of those verses.

What I want to do in this post, is to show what it means to delight thyself in the Lord and what desires of the heart will be granted to those who actually have a delight for the things of God.

Many begin at the verse they are interpreting and expound on it from that point, however, I like to go back to the beginning of the chapter and work my way down to the verse in question. I will just give some passing comments as I work down to verse 4.

Psa 37:1 A Psalm of David. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

This Psalm is a Psalm of instruction to the righteous to not ‘fret’ (Lit., incense not thyself: be not angry or indignant or discontented) against the wicked though they seem to prosper and live in peace. Asaph had fallen into discontent and envy of the wicked in his Psalm chapter 73. It wasn’t till he went into the sanctuary of God, that he understood their end Ps. 73:17. Howbeit, David understands the end of the wicked and therefore instructs his hearers and readers of this Psalm not to be discontent and envious of the wicked because ‘For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.vs. 2.

Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Trust in the LORD…..David’s instruction is to trust in the Lord, not men, who are fading and perishing like the grass, nor in riches, which are uncertain things; but trust in the Lord who is everlasting strength and in whom holds everlasting riches for those who place their trust in him.…..and do good…..by keeping God’s commandments and walk in uprightness before him, specifically in doing good to others and in acts of beneficence to the poor…..so shalt thou dwell in the land,….this speaks to the land of Canaan, but points especially to that better country which Abraham sought by faith…. and verily thou shalt be fed…..or shall have the things which you need, as will be shown below.[1]

Psa 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

David who was a man after God’s own heart, delighted himself in the Lord, walking before him upright in all his ways. This is seen in Psalm 122 whereby David saith: I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.‘ Therefore, even though David was King and lived as Kings do, nevertheless David’s heart was towards the things of God and expresses it in the words found in Psalm 145: ‘I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

Just as David delighted himself in the Lord, even so are we to do the same. Once we take the Lord and the things concerning him as our delight, then our minds and hearts change.

Many take ‘the desires of the heart‘ to be natural things or things with which we lust after. This is because their hearts and desires are turned earthward, instead of heavenward. Even so, the Word of Faith preachers have subverted hearts and minds by boasting of the riches of this world. They speak of their new Ferraris and the mansions in which they dwell as blessings which God has granted because they have supposedly delighted in the things of the Lord and received the desires of their hearts.[2] They call on men to sow seed offerings in order to receive the things we need in this life.

However, Christ tells us in Mat 6:31-34Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

And Paul reiterates this by telling us in Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

As we begin to seek Christ and the things of his kingdom our hearts change. They turn from earthly things to heavenly things. Our hearts become fixed on the things which please the Lord. Our desires move towards the things which concern Christ and his kingdom. We begin to delight in the salvation of souls. We begin to delight in prayer for the sick, feeble, and weak. We begin to desire the attendance of Church, the hearing of the Words of God, and the singing of hymns to his glory. Our hearts become saturated with wanting his ways and desires to be our ways and desires and our old ways and desires are discarded.

Therefore, this Psalm is not speaking of desires for earthly things per se, but is speaking of desires which stem from a delighting of oneself in the Lord. Does this exclude desiring things that are of this earthly sphere? No. However, even those things which we desire in the flesh will be things that glorify God and that benefit us as we live this life. Charles Spurgeon offers a great comment on desiring things in the natural realm:

When a man’s delight is in God, then his desires are of such a sort that God may be

glorified in the granting of them, and the man himself profited by the receiving of them.[3]

Tell me what you think in the comment section below.

Footnotes:

[1] John Gill- Commentary on Psalms 37:3, with a few thoughts of mine added therein

[2] These Word of Faith ministers are not given these things because they have delighted themselves in the things of the Lord, but on the contrary, they are giving these extravagant things in the flesh as a judgment on them. They shall be a curse to them. For if you are covetous, then God will usually heap riches on you, so that your judgment will be more severe.

[3] Charles H. Spurgeon- ‘Sunshine in the Heart,’ A Sermon on Psalm 37:4, delivered on Sunday morning, June 15th, 1862

The ‘Word of God’ and quotes from Reformers via social media Pt 2

In my last post I discussed a strange phenomenon or development which occurred while I was driving over the road last year, namely: that many on social media which call themselves Christians, have developed an antipathy for the Words of God. You can read my last post here.

Today, I would like to discuss point 2 of what I normally post on social media, which is:

2. Quotes from Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God

I have found, after I came off the road, that quotes which used to generate a lot of attention, rarely draw any attention at all now. I say they rarely draw any attention at all now, however, I have found that when those calling themselves Christians, comment on them; it is usually to say something negative. So my discussion of this strange phenome-non will center on two points:

First. Why have Christians, especially Reformed Christians stopped reading quotes from men who have come before us or creeds and confessions?

Secondly. Why does the only attention they draw is a negative comment, instead of reading them in context?

First. It seems to me that men have given up the great teachers who have come before us. I have had one Pastor tell me, “I do not care to study Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Dagg, Pink, or Spurgeon. I learn through reading scripture by myself.”

It is true, that we are to read scripture. I highly recommend that everyone pull out the Bible and give it a read. Start at Genesis and work your way to Revelation and then start over. However, the Pastor who told me that he only learns by reading scripture himself works 65 plus hours a week. There isn’t much time left to read the Bible, study it in context, and prepare his sermons appropriately. Now I am not knocking working in order to support your family, but as a man who stands in the pulpit, I would rather drive an older vehicle, live in a smaller house, and wear used clothes than to neglect the study of God in order to feed God’s sheep.

This Pastor has committed at least two errors in his study of the things of God:

1st. As heirs of the Protestant Reformation we do not cry, solo Scriptura, but sola Scriptura.

Solo Scriptura basically means ‘just me and my Bible.’ One can get well aquainted with the scriptures by studying one’s Bible by themselves, however, since we all approach scripture with certain biases, then we will never come to the right interpretation, except we be taught.

A good course in hermeneutics will aide the student of scripture to rightly interpret the text. For instance: We all can read the morning paper and the interpretation of what is in it comes spontaneously because we live in the era of the events taking place, of which we are reading. This is not so with the Bible. There is a huge gap between the interpreter of scripture and the text of which he is interpreting. Hermeneutics helps to bridge this gap by applying rules to what we are studying. Hermeneutics isn’t only used with respect to the Bible, but with all pieces of ancient literature. Since there is a time separation between us and what is in the Bible, then there is a historical gap; in that our culture is different, there is a cultural gap; in that the original text was in another language than our own, there is a linguistic gap; in that the documents originated in another country, there is a geographical gap and a biological gap. In that usually a totally different attitude towards life and the universe exists in the text it can be said that there is a philosophical gap. The last could relate to how the universe was put together or who put it together.

Solo Scriptura has lead to many erroneous doctrines, not to mention many cults who call themselves Christians. All one would have to do is look at the doctrines of cults like: The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, and Mormonism to recognize that one is not supposed to approach the study of scripture with a ‘just me and my Bible’ attitude.

The battle cry of the Reformation, however, was sola Scriptura and basically means that scripture is sufficient as our supreme authority in all spiritual matters. It means that all truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught either explicitly or implicitly in scripture. However, this view does not overlook tradition. I realize that the word ‘tradition’ has some bad connotations attached to it because of the Roman Catholic Church’s view of tradition, however, when the Protestant Reformers spoke of tradition they spoke of something entirely different than what the Roman Catholic Church meant.

Reformed Theology shares much in common with other communions of historic Christianity. The sixteenth-century Reformers were not interested in creating a new religion. They were interested, not in innovation, but renovation. Though they rejected tradition as a source of divine revelation, nevertheless they did not despise the entire scope of Christian tradition. They believed that the Church had learned much in her history and therefore embraced the doctrines articulated and formulated by the great ecumenical councils, including the doctrine of the Trinity and of Christ’s person and work formulated at the Council of Nicea in 325 and of Chalcedon in 451.

To close this point: We are not called to live as a hermit and hide in a cave somewhere with just our Bibles and study scripture on our own.

2nd. This Pastor has also rejected the gifts of God. God’s Word says:

Eph 4:11-14 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive…

These men of God were gifts unto the Church. Whereas Ephesians 4:8 states this: “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” These gifts were given for the edifying of the body of Christ, that we might grow in Christ and not be children who are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. Therefore, Christ taught the apostles, the apostles taught the Churches, which elders sprung from, and those elders taught other elders. Much of what Luther and Calvin knew concerning the proper interpretation of scripture came from Augustine, Bernard, Hilary, and many others.

Therefore, to reject the study of men who have gone before us, is to reject the gifts God has given to the Church. It seems to me that some think that they have grown so much, as to not need to be taught anything new. When I state, ‘taught something new,’ I do not mean a new novel or original doctrine, but mean that as long as we are in this body we are always learning concerning the things of God. Once we get to heaven all knowledge will not be given to us for we are not omniscient, but we will always be learning the things concerning God. So this is the primary reason I see that many now pass over quotes from men who have gone before us and that is because many think that they have outgrown studying the things concerning God through men who have gone before us or through the gifts Christ has given to the Church.

I do not want to make this post to long, so I will close here and pick back up next week with:

Secondly. Why does the only attention my quotes from men who came before us or my quotes from creeds and confessions draw is only a negative comment, instead of reading them in context?

Tell me what you think, in the comment section below, of why there has been a distaste for the study of the things of God.

One of the most misused scriptures in the Bible, Matt 7:1

April 28, 2020 7 comments

A while back I was on social media and ran across a thread concerning Joel Osteen. I believe, as far as I can remember that someone was asking if Osteen was a true minister of God, or something to that effect. So, being the Bible reader which I am, I commented and plainly stated, ‘No.’ Of course, after I replied, I had to defend myself against all kinds of attacks, whereby I was being accused of judging Osteen’s salvation.

The main scripture used against me, of course, was Matt 7:1. I was told that I could not judge Osteen’s theology or lack thereof. This is a misuse of the verse and my opponents did not have enough Biblical insight to rightly interpret scripture, nor to rightly understand the true interpretation of Matt 7:1. On top of that, their entire argument was self refuting because if I can’t judge Osteen’s theology, then they have no right to judge mine.

This verse left in context does not forbid all and every kind of judgment. What Christ is condemning is all rash, censorious, hypocritical, self-righteous or other kind of unfair judgments. This the Jews were inclined towards in their religious lives. This is especially true of the self-righteous Pharisees who were quick to cast the first stones in judgment, but would devour widows houses and would search sea and land to make one proselyte, but then would make him twofold more the child of Hell than themselves.

In context, Christ is forbidding a hypocritical judging of others. For how can one say to his brother, ‘Here let me get the splinter out of your eye,’ when they have a log in their own eye. Christ goes on to say that after one has removed the log out of their eye, then they could see clearly to get the splinter out of their brother’s eye. Also if Christ was speaking against any and all types of judgment, then it is ironic that in the same chapter he tells us to beware of false prophets, which come to us in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Now how could someone determine who a false prophet is, if he couldn’t judge? Also Christ told the Jews in John 7:24 to not judge according to appearance and that when they do judge they are to judge righteous judgment.

So what I am going to do here is just list three groups who misuse this verse. There may be others who misuse this verse, but I will only focus on these three and then I will provide some commentary from learned men of God.

Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

1. This scripture is abused by those who would not have their sins examined by the light of scripture. (This speaketh to the backslider)

2. This scripture is abused by those who would not have their doctrine brought under the light of scripture. (This speaketh to false teachers and those who twist scripture to their profit)

3. This scripture is abused by those who claim that we should be tolerant of others lifestyles and to each his own.

First, to examine the scripture:

Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

This scripture is not condemning all judgment, but in context is a prohibition against one particular type of judgment; specifically a hypocritical judging of others while we ourselves live in worse sin. However, if our lives align with scripture according to the grace of God given us, then we are to judge righteous judgment. We are also to discern and judge the doctrine which comes forth from a ministers lips. We are to be like the Bereans and search the scriptures daily to see if these things are so.

There are many things the Christian is called to judge, however to be brief I will only list two:

1. Paul declares that if two brothers are in dispute one with one another, in the Church, then set one over them, who is least esteemed in the Church and let him judge the matter. 1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

2. Scripture declares: 1Co 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? If a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

What this scripture is condemning:

It condemns rash, judgment or interpreting men’s words and deed in the worst sense. Which was common among the Jews. It condemns hypocritical judgment or judging someone who is living with a little sin, while you are living in the pig pen of sin. First cast out the beam (the great sin) in thine own eye, then you can see clearly to get the mote (the little sin) out of thy brother’s eye.

Now to the 3 people above who misuse this scripture:

1. This scripture is abused by those who would not have their sins examined by the light of scripture. (This speaketh to the backslider)

Are not God’s ministers called to reprove thee when thou art playing the harlot against Christ? Would you cause them more anguish of heart by constantly having to rebuke thee because you will not submit yourself to those who care for your soul?

Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

2. This scripture is abused by those who would not have their doctrine brought under the light of scripture. (This speaketh to false teachers and those who twist scripture to their profit)

The scripture saith: Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Thou false prophet, this scripture is in the same chapter as judge not, that ye be not judged. So how are we to know who you are, except we judge what comes from thy mouth? What, are God’s ministers supposed to sit back while you make merchandise of the weak and feeble among God’s people?

The scripture saith: 1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

And again: Tit 1:10-13 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

And finally to the last group:

3. This scripture is abused by those who claim that we should be tolerant of others lifestyles and to each his own.

What do you think that your blaspheming God and rebelling against your Creator should not be called out? Living in the grossest of sins and not wanting anyone to reprove you of it.

The scripture saith:

2Ti 4:2-4 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Now for several commentators on this verse:

Mat 7:1. Judge not.—The word κρίνειν here undoubtedly implies unkind, condemnatory judgment (Theophylact, Kuinoel, Tholuck, and others), as appears from the opposite clause, ἵνα μὴκρι θῆτε. Meyer denies this without reason, although the simile about the mote and the beam, proves that the expression cannot simply mean condemnation. It is general. Meyer is right in controverting the idea, that the word κριθῆτε refers exclusively to the judgment of other men (Erasmus, etc.). He applies it to the judgment to come; but Mat 7:6 proves that judgment on earth precedes the judgment of the last day. Uncharitable judgment receives its meed here as well as there. Comp. Mat 5:22; Mat 6:14; the parable in Mat 18:23; Jam 2:13. Heubner: “Judge not. This neither refers (unconditionally) to our private judgment, nor to the official expression of our opinion which we may be bound in duty to give (which, however, may run into the sinful extreme here condemned). Least of all does it apply to the sentence pronounced by a judge (who should always bear in mind that he is under the holy law of God), but to those uncalled-for judgments which are neither dictated by duty, nor prompted by love. Κρίνειν therefore is here equivalent to κατακρίνειν.” Comp. Luke 3

Lang’s Commentary; J. P. Lange (1864-1880; Philip Schaff English Translation)

Judge not … – This command refers to rash, censorious, and unjust judgment. See Rom_2:1. Luke Luk_6:37 explains it in the sense of “condemning.” Christ does not condemn judging as a magistrate, for that, when according to justice, is lawful and necessary. Nor does he condemn our “forming an opinion” of the conduct of others, for it is impossible “not” to form an opinion of conduct that we know to be evil. But what he refers to is a habit of forming a judgment hastily, harshly, and without an allowance for every palliating circumstance, and a habit of “expressing” such an opinion harshly and unnecessarily when formed. It rather refers to private judgment than “judicial,” and perhaps primarily to the customs of the scribes and Pharisees.

Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible

Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. This is not to be understood of any sort of judgment; not of judgment in the civil courts of judicature, by proper magistrates, which ought to be made and pass, according to the nature of the case; nor of judgment in the churches of Christ, where offenders are to be called to an account, examined, tried, and dealt with according to the rules of the Gospel; nor of every private judgment, which one man may make upon another, without any detriment to him; but of rash judgment, interpreting men’s words and deeds to the worst sense, and censuring them in a very severe manner; even passing sentence on them, with respect to their eternal state and condition. Good is the advice given by the famous Hillell (u), who lived a little before Christ’s time.

John Gill

So this ought to settle the matter, however, I do not believe it will because many will not take the time to do the necessary work in order to properly exegete scripture.

Tell me what you all think in the comment section below.

The ‘Word of God’ and quotes from Reformers via social media Pt 1

April 27, 2020 7 comments

Many may not be aware that I am no longer driving over the road, but quit this last November for reasons that are primarily related to trucking itself, rather than my ability to do the job. I will not go into these reasons here, but instead want to speak on a phenomenon which has occurred over the last year while I was away from social media.

This phenomenon or development is related specifically to what is posted to social media platforms, particularly what I post to my social media platforms and the response it receives. I myself rarely use social media to tell the world about my dog dying, the sale I found at J C Penny’s on some cool looking jeans, or any other related events in my life. However, I do discuss a little football on social media and when I need prayer concerning some important event in my life, I let everyone on my friends list know.

The two primary things of which I post to social media is:

1. The Word of God

2. Quotes from Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God

1. Concerning the former, my posts from ‘The Words of God,’ (the Bible) before I went back out on the road used to generate a lot of attention. This should be if anyone is a Christian. How could a true Christian see God’s Word and not say amen or hit ‘like’ in passing? However, a year latter this is not the case. There seems to be more of an antipathy towards God’s Word or to say it more plainly, there seems to be an aversion, distaste, or dislike concerning the Scriptures in the times we are now living. Now I realize that most Christians could just read their Bible if they want to read scripture. Matter of fact, I had one Facebook friend say those exact words, “If I wanted to read scripture, then I would just open my Bible.” But how many Christians actually do that in the days in which we are living? If it were not for the pandemic of which the world has been facing the past few months, most Christians would not be quarantined and would be about their usual busy lives of making a living, tending their yards, and participating in events that consume all their free time. Even in this time of self quarantine I imagine that most Christians are staying busy catching up on the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ or following CNN so as to have something new to post to social media concerning this pandemic.(1)

There are many reasons that I post scripture to my social media platforms, however, I will only list a few:

The reason I post scripture to my social media platforms is first and foremost because scripture holds preeminence in my life. The second reason I post scripture to my social media platforms is because scripture says, ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.‘ 1 Cor. 10:31. The third reason I post scripture to my social media platforms is because I read scripture and rarely watch much television, and by doing so I try to bless those on my friends list with a scripture or two, that will help them as they go about their daily lives. However, one would think that if they had a friends list which included 400 to 500 professing Christians, God’s Word would receive more than 2 to 3 likes as those Christians browsed their social media feeds. Though I could list several more reasons for posting scripture to social media, nevertheless, I will conclude with the fourth and final reason why I post scripture to my social media platforms and that is because unbelievers are present on those social media platforms and I use scripture as a witnessing tool to them.

Now I am not writing this because very few have liked my posts here lately. I could care less what anyone thinks of me. I have been ridiculed, refused wages, fired, lost friends and family, and a host of other things since I began following Christ. Those things have not stopped my witness. I have been in valleys where God seemed far away and sin seemed as if it consumed me, yet those things have not stopped my witness. Though my old man has over the years tried to rear his ugly head, that has not stopped my witness, and God is still with me these 28 years later.

So my point of writing this post is just to ask, “What has happened over the past year to make Christians turn from acknowledging God’s Word on social media platforms? I will give a few reasons that could explain the disinterest in God’s Word on social media platforms:

Perhaps, 400 to 500 Christians are to busy to hit the ‘like’ or as I would call it, ‘the Amen button.’ or Perhaps, Christians are walking through the valley of the shadow of death or it may be the opposite, they are living on the mountain and don’t need God’s Word at this time. or Perhaps, there are not as many Christians on my friends list as I thought and they are showing their true colors at this point and time. or Perhaps, this global pandemic has hardened hearts towards God and Christians do not feel an Amen at this time. or Perhaps, Christians have chosen to read their Bibles instead of reading scripture online.

Concerning the last possibility that Christians are now reading their Bibles, instead of reading portions of scripture on social media sites, if this be the case, then I rejoice in this fact and praise God for it. However, I don’t believe this is the case.

So I ask, “What has moved hearts towards a distaste in God’s Word?” I will let you leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

I will cover point 2. Quotes from Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God, in my next post.

Note:

(1) I do not watch ‘The Walking Dead’ or CNN and if you do, I am not judging you for that. You have the liberty to watch either one. I am particularly not interested in either of these, as entertainment or the other as a news source.

Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section One – Authority, Revelation, and Scripture (Q.4)

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment

William F. Leonhart III

Q.4: What is the Word of God?

A. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, and the only certain rule of faith and obedience.1

12 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 2:20

In ages past, God revealed Himself in many ways. He spoke through visions, dreams, a burning bush, and even a donkey. At one point, He spoke through a stuttering, stammering prophet. At other points, He spoke directly to people. This same God “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world,” (Heb. 1:2; NASB). These words of Christ, by the work of His Spirit, were brought to His apostles’ remembrance and written down in His holy word.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section One – Authority, Revelation, and Scripture (Q.1)

by William F. Leonhart III

Q.1: Who is the first and chiefest being?

God is the first and chiefest being.1

1Isaiah 44:6; 48:12; Psalm 97:9

In January of 2012, I had the honor of taking a winter course on “The Theology of the Word of Faith Movement” with Justin Peters at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The class was memorable to me for several reasons. I had been following the career of Mr. Peters for a while with great interest. One night, my wife and I even had the honor of having him into our home and serving him chicken pot pie. I recall sitting in my living room laughing and singing Ray Stevens’ The Mississippi Squirrel Revival together while my wife rolled her eyes.

I also recall one of the first statements he made in front of the class. I recall it because I wrote it down. He said, “Your worship of God will only be as deep as your theology.” Then he said, “Let me rephrase that. Your worship of God will only be as deep as your knowledge of Him.” In making this statement, Mr. Peters was answering one of the most important questions a Christian should ask himself: “Why do I study theology?”

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The expositor of scripture must keep in mind that the words of Holy Writ are of Divine origin and are verbally inspired

Arthur PinkIT is of first importance that the expositor should constantly bear in mind that not only are the substance and the sentiments expressed in Holy Writ of Divine origin, but that the whole of its contents are verbally inspired. Its own affirmations lay considerable emphasis upon that fact. Said holy Job,

“I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (23:12):

he not only venerated God’s Word in its entirety, but highly prized each syllable in it.

“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6).

We believe that is more than a general statement concerning the preciousness, purity and permanence of what proceeds out of the mouth of Jehovah, for it is to be duly noted that the Divine utterances are not simply likened to silver tried in a furnace, but to “a furnace of earth.” Though the Holy Spirit has employed the vernacular of earth, yet He has purged what He uses from all human dross, giving some of His terms an entirely different force from their human original, investing many of them with a higher meaning, and applying all with spiritual perfection—as the “purified seven times” purports. Thus, “every word of God is pure” (Proverbs 30:5).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

A Quiz on the Doctrine of Scripture

November 11, 2015 3 comments

by Tim Challies

God has spoken and God speaks. God has spoken and continues to speak through the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. How well do you know the doctrine of the Scripture? How well do you know what the Bible tells us about the Bible? This short thirty-three question quiz is designed to help you find out.

 

 

 

To take the quiz click here.

Categories: Scripture Tags: , , ,

What is the Earliest Complete List of the Canon of the New Testament?

by Michael J. Kruger

In the study of the New Testament canon, scholars like to highlight the first time we see a complete list of 27 books. Inevitably, the list contained in Athanasius’ famous Festal Letter (c.367) is mentioned as the first time this happened.

As a result, it is often claimed that the New Testament was a late phenomenon. We didn’t have a New Testament, according to Athanasius, until the end of the fourth century.

But, this sort of reasoning is problematic on a number of levels. First, we don’t measure the existence of the New Testament just by the existence of lists. When we examine the way certain books were used by the early church fathers, it is evident that there was a functioning canon long before the fourth century. Indeed, by the second century, there is already a “core” collection of New Testament books functioning as Scripture.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.