War or Peace?

Christians’ opinions about war cover the continuum from pacifism to patriotism—from no war to any war for the homeland.  I think both positions are based upon selective use of biblical teaching.

It is true that God’s perfect world did not have war; however, it is incorrect to conclude from that truth that God is therefore against all war—e.g. a pacifist.  We know that God is not a pacifist since He actually led Israel into war e.g. Jericho, Joshua 6; Ai, Joshua 8.

It is true that war is a dreadfully horrid situation.  It is the most dreadful of conditions one can imagine except for tyranny and hell; unfortunately, the reality is that in a fallen world it is, at times, the only way to prevent would-be despots from imposing totalitarianism upon every man woman and child.  Tyrants view humans as a means rather than an end; consequently, it is perilous indeed to believe that such a malevolent mind could value humane agreements or treaties beyond what is self-serving. Continue reading →

Deacons: A Better Way!

Deacons should play an important role in the life and ministry of the local church, and they very often do.  Unfortunately, their New Testament role is often obfuscated by man’s wisdom.  In Baptist churches, and other local churches that are similarly structured, the title of deacon can easily become an honor to be bestowed, a trophy of popularity or an insignia of importance; consequently, the deacon ministry easily becomes a ruling body of some sort, which has devastating consequences upon the local church.

The New Testament gives clear qualifications for being a deacon (1 Timothy 3:8-13), but there is scant information concerning their responsibilities, numbers, etc.  The only example of men functioning in the role of deacons is Acts 6:1-7, although there is debate whether these seven were actually deacons.  Some say they were, while others say they were elders and still others maintain that they were just some men set aside to meet a temporary need.  I believe these were deacons, and later the qualifications would be expanded. 

Assuming that these seven were the first deacons, we are still left without prescriptive Scripture concerning their responsibilities, yet there are some incredibly important insights to be gleaned from this event in the early life of the church.  Let me mention four significant particulars from this passage and the New Testament concerning deacons, which can have a profoundly positive impact upon the deaconate of any church. Continue reading →

Tragedy at Virginia Tech: A Standard too High

The Virginia Tech Massacre last Monday has once again shocked the nation.  Here in civilized America, the most technologically advanced society, where man dwells far above the mire of barbarism, a young man commits a most uncivilized act, a heinous betrayal of humanity even by barbaric standards.
 
Pundits seek someone to blame for not stopping Cho Seung-Hui before he unleashed his nefariousness upon the innocent.  All the nation grieves and rightly so.  For these young people did not sign up to serve on the front lines of combat.  What can a Christian say about this iniquitous rampage: here are a few thoughts. Continue reading →

Should We only use the King James Verson?

The KJV has been used mightily of God as His church has proclaimed the wonderful truths of Scripture throughout the world over the nearly pas four hundred years.  The Bible is the best seller of all books for all times, and the KJV is the best selling Bible of all times. 

The poetic nature of the the KJV accentuates the dignity of Scripture far more than some of the drier modern translations, and many would say that it is far easier to memorize as well. 

These and other considerations result in an appreciation for the KJV by even those who do not use it as their primary translation.

Consequently, love and appreciation for the KJV, choosing the KJV as one’s personally preferred translations, or even believeing that it is possible one of the best translations is not a problem.  However, there is a problem when, as some do, people say it is the only accurate translation.  Supporters of the KJV only translation are dogmatic, sometimes downright atagonistic, but in reality the facts are not on their side. Continue reading →

What is the best Bible Translation for Bible Study?

The number of Bible translations has grown significantly and there seems to be no end in sight.  This can be rather confusing for most people since they are, more often than not, unaware of the kinds or purposes of translations and/or what they are based on.

Some Bibles like the New International Version are intended to be easy to read and understand while maintaining fidelity to the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, which is known as Dynamic Equivalence.  Others like the New American Standard Bible are intended to accurately reflect the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts while maintaining a high degree of readability, which is known as Formal Equivalence.

The difference between them is two-fold; first, they are different in emphasis or purpose.  Translators are constantly choosing from translations that exist on a continuum between most accurate—the original language—and most readable, which would be the simplest vernacular.  The former would maintain accuracy but be unreadable to most, and the latter would be readable to most but dangerously inaccurate. 

Second, they differ in regards to what manuscripts they use for their translation.  While the King James is a formal translation like the NASB, the translators of the KJV use only some of the ancient manuscripts available; whereas, the NIV and the NASB use all of the available manuscript evidence. 

Since the NASB uses all of the available manuscript evidence, is a formal translation, and yet very readable, I recommend that everyone have an NASB for their primary translation or at least for their Bible study. For a more thorough understanding of the differences in translations you can listen to my Messages on “Help!! Which Bible Translation is Right?” or click more for an synopsis. Continue reading →

Conclusions about the Cessation of Biblical Tongues

The following is intended to summarize our two month study on the New Testament teaching about speaking in tongues and modern day claims.  I encourage you to listen to the entire series on tongues if you were not present when we studied this together.

The series on tongues is really a part of a larger study of 1 Corinthians 12-14 and other related biblical passages. This study examines these verses in their historical and biblical context.

Continue reading →

Sexual Abuse in the Church!

Everyone by now is aware of the child abuse that not only went on in the Catholic Church, but was actually covered up by the leaders of the Catholic Church.  That immorality and abuses will happen in the church is inevitable since the church, like any other organization, is filled with people who are sinners.

However, it is tragedy of tragedies that the church would cover-up, ignore or minimize sin and particularly this kind of sin.  Now a 20/20 exposé has focused upon Protestants and Southern Baptists in particular. Continue reading →

The High Cost of Reading

In today’s Crimson, the deans at Harvard urge professors to work at lowering the cost of required reading for classes.  The per student average spent on reading materials at Harvard last year was $1300.00.

What makes this article so interesting to me is when I consider it in light of the simple and oft repeated mantra that “reading is diminishing as both a pastime and a primary source of learning and evaluating”. The argument against emphasizing reading goes something like this; since we are an image driven culture, and there seems to be no foreseeable abatement to this trend; we should stop resisting the zeitgeist with our antiquated ideas about the value of reading.  The avant-gardist is indefatigably reminding us it is really all about image and perceptions.

Particularly, and most alarming to me, Continue reading →

The Message of Mormonism

When anyone sees two young men riding bicycles and wearing white shirts and black ties, he can be almost certain that the Mormon missionaries are spreading the message of Mormonism. 

Generally, Mormons are well educated and hard working as well as being fairly knowledgeable about Mormonism.  Often times, they are even more knowledgeable about how to confound the average Christian with seemingly inexhaustible quotes from their authoritative books—including the KJV—apostles and prophets of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

I have read that as many as forty percent of Mormons come from a Baptist background. The reason for this is because that while Baptists are known for being “people of the Book” meaning the Bible, they are all too often inadequately familiar with “the people of the Book”; thus, they are fitting prey for the Mormon Missionaries who seek to convert Christians from being “people of the Book” to “people of the books”, which includes all of the Mormon writings.

In order to speak the truth to Mormons, and not be lured into the cult by their cunning ways, Christians must be armed with the truth of Scripture and an understanding of Mormonism’s doctrines, falsehoods and tactics. 

The following documents were designed to equip Christians to engage Mormonism with the truth. Continue reading →

The Deity of Christ – undeniable!

Undeniable should not be taken to mean that no one denies Christ is God. One only has to look into the halls of academia, walk the corridors of cults, listen to the mantra of atheists and agnostics, or scan the pages of antiquity to find a plethora of individuals all too willing to deny that Jesus Christ is God incarnate; however, the deity of Christ is undeniable if the pages of Holy Scripture are allowed to speak.

Although one may not fully comprehend the declaration of Scripture concerning Christ being fully God and fully man in one person, it is undeniable that it is proclaimed in Scripture.  But even the lucidity of Scripture regarding the nature of Christ does not bridle the pride of cults in seeking to strip Christ of His deity and none more formidably so than the Jehovah Witnesses. 

They have gone to great lengths to explain away every Scripture that clearly teaches or implies the full deity of Christ.  They have done this in the voluminous writings of the Watchtower, their “New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures” and “The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures”. 

If you want to arm yourselves with the knowledge of what the original languages actually say concerning the deity of Christ and how JW have meticulously mistranslated all of the verses that teach Christ’s deity, I encourage you to study the following two documents. Continue reading →