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Atheism and Evangelism
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This is something that is thrown at my face by atheists which I have only a rough idea of how to respond against. And it goes like this:
“How can you call Greek Mythology fantastic and ridiculous when God does similar events in the Old Testament and the New Testament? Aren’t you being hypocritical?”
My response is this:
“The reasons we call Greek Mythology fantastic and ridiculous isn’t because it features miracles. In fact, I believe that Greek Mythology does not have anything we would call a miracle, and to interpret fantastic events as miracles is to commit the fallacy of interpretatio Habraea, that is, interpreting Pagan religion using the hermeneutic of Judaism and Christianity (much like how the Greek scholars interpreted Egyptian religion as they related to Greek gods). No believer in the Homeric religion of Ancient Greece would call the event of Deucalion and Pyrrha throwing stones and having them transform into the human race after the global flood a “miracle,” because it was expected that crazy and irrational things happened in this universe, given that the gods and all of nature was a product of chaos. They are fantasy because they are just suspensions of the laws of nature that conform to the pagan dream-logic where chaos and whimsy determine everything.”
What do you think? As a Classicist, do you find it accurate?
It's a nice response!
Never liked mythology, myself. The Greeks and Romans were only "believers" in paganism superficially, especially in the case of the Romans who were actually just highly superstitious (they wanted to be left alone only; cf. Job 21:14; 22:17). Greek and Roman poets had no problem changing around the details and adding things to the "story" whenever they pleased. Herodotus has a lot of info in book two about the coincidence between Egyptian and Greek gods et al.
Bottom line: mythology is not true in any respect; the Bible is true in every respect.
Are we being inconsistent? Not at all. We believe the truth. It is the lie we refuse to believe.
Atheism is belief in a myth – the myth perpetrated by Satan that "there is no God" (which is what Satan wants to believe and what he wants us to believe). But it is only a myth. There most definitely is a God – as every aspect of His creation shouts in the ears loud enough to be heard by those stone deaf.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Some words for consideration. Einstein has always been my #1 hero, simply for the fact that he rewrote all of physics.
Yes, he was very smart. Perhaps the smartest person who ever lived. Too bad he wasn't smart enough to realize he was going to die and no would have no answers at the last judgment for his lack of a Savior. Actually of course, it has nothing to do with "smarts". It's a question of choice. We all feel for people we especially admired who couldn't get over their core arrogance so as to humble themselves before God and accept His Gift. It does go to show that being the smartest person in the history of the world is meaningless absent salvation; whereas being the dumbest is no disadvantage or cause for regret if the person accepts Christ.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Based on my personal studies, Einstein was not an atheist. Did he have heterodox views on God? Yes, but he was not an atheist. The idea that scientists are atheists came from a statistical survey of the National Academy of Scientists that showed that 95% did not believe in God. However, all of these “scientists” are narcissists and bureaucrats, and so this study was not representative of true heroes like Einstein.
Of course it wouldn't matter if the percentage were reversed. God, after all, does exist. Even the demons know that . . . and shudder (Jas.2:19). What is required is to turn to Him in Jesus Christ and accept the gracious Gift of life eternal through faith.
“Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the LORD.”
(2 Chronicles 19:2)
How can we tell whether we are guilty of the sin of "doting over" those who hate the Lord?
In the example quoted, Jehoshaphat had given significant material support to a regime that practiced Baal worship; the Lord's attitude towards the northern kingdom was also not in doubt given the continuous testimonies of the prophets. Not sharing in the cup of Ahab was a spiritual "no-brainer". I'm confident that you're not going to find yourself helping beast-marked storm-troopers track down starving believers during the Tribulation.
By the way, I saw David Berlinski on the tube the other day. He has a number of good anti-atheist points which proceed from a highly intellectual and scientific point of view. He's clearly not a believer, however, and it is also hard to see how his opinion of himself could possibly be any higher than it is, but the arguments might be grist for your apologetic, anti-atheism mill.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
The inmates are now officially running the asylum:
In a surprise settlement, United Church agrees Toronto’s atheist minister can keep her job | The Star
The article should be surprising, I suppose – the kind of thing that would make you think you are reading "The Onion" instead of an actual newspaper. But this is where we are. The really sad thing, to judge by what can be gleaned about the larger group / denomination, is that they are likely no better off: even for those who believe that there is a God but who do not accept the truth about Jesus – whom I suppose they do not consider to be God – how can there be any salvation even though they may not be out and out atheists?
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
James 2:19 NIV
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I don't know if this will help anybody. Here is how my dialogues go:
ME: You need a relationship with God!
ATHEIST: *sneer* Why don't you try a relationship with reality, Bible-man?
ME: I don't believe it is possible for a man to have peace without God.
ATHEIST: I'm peaceful just as I am! So I don't really need God.
Of course, this is after the atheist trolls the internet 24/7 posting obsessively about the God he does not believe in, against the Bible/Pentateuch he is convinced is sheer mythological nonsense, getting into heated and emotional debates against theists whom he is convinced are sloppy in thinking. Is that what inner peace really looks like?
If he is convinced that this non-peace is peace, then we have a real problem. And it's not just his problem. It's my problem too, because I am not going to passively stand there watch you ruin your life and your afterlife like that. Nobody will ever find God unless they seek him, and nobody will ever seek him unless they are convinced that they need him.
And there really is no price you can put on peace. It is priceless.
It is foolish when atheists say "I'd rather go to Hell with Hawking and the great men blah blah blah." The idea is that God sends good people to Hell or that he sends people whose works are so good that it is unjust of him to do so.
But have you ever considered that it is possible for bad people to have good talents?
You need to watch this clip from the film Amadeus. In it, Mozart and Salieri are rival composers, and Salieri becomes extremely angry at God and renounces his belief in God after he meets Mozart. Why? Because Salieri works and labors throughout his life for music and is only mediocre, while Mozart is a complete buffoon but a genius.
Everything atheists say on the subject of God and eternity is foolish. It is all foolishness because it is all the result of hardness of heart. The Bible assures us that "they knew" at one point, then they deliberately blotted the truth out of their hearts and hardened them against the truth.
(18) God's wrath is about to be revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness – on men who suppress the truth [in their hearts about God] in their unrighteousness. (19) For that which can be known about God [from everyday experience] is obvious to them, because God has made it obvious. (20) His nature, though invisible, is nevertheless plainly apparent, and has been since His foundation of the world, for it may be clearly inferred from this creation of His – [this is true of] both His eternal power and His divinity – so that they are without any excuse: (21) they knew about God, but they neither honored Him as God nor thanked Him. Instead, they gave themselves over to [the] vanity [of this world] in their speculations, and their senseless hearts were filled with darkness.
That is the usual way of the human race; unbelievers do that (and are allowed to do it) in order to make it through life without having to bother over an issue they've already decided (see the link: "Hardening the Heart"). It is the grace of God that He allows them to live out some years even so – wherein they theoretically could repent; just as He keeps us here to show to what degree we believers really do love Jesus Christ, our response in growth, progress and production being the basis for our eternal rewards.
Good and bad is relative; so is great and small, but, yes, there are distinctions, human ones, that pertain even in hell:
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:12 KJV
But it's God's opinion that counts. You and I and all believers are "righteous", "good" in God's eyes because we have been washed with the blood of Christ. When we stand before Him it will be for reward, not based on whether or not people saw us as "good" but based upon our Lord's absolutely fair evaluation of how much we grew, how far we progressed, and what we did for the Body of Christ.
Mozart wrote some fine music (if you like music); whether or not he was saved or what went on spiritually with his rival would be hard to tell even if we knew them personally.
But I have learned not to believe anything in movies (or the media).
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
Thank you for all of your prayers, and those who have prayed for me too. I was able to proclaim the Gospel Message at my brother's memorial without any hindrance at all. The LORD also gave me 2-3 other witnesses who shared the Gospel along with me. They said that they were thankful that I had witnessed to my brother before he went home to Glory. The only problem that I had was the person who headed the ceremony at the memorial (clergy men or women?). This person was referred to as "Pastor" Joy (female) who sprinkled "holy water" on all of us, and that she prophesied about certain events.
When is it correct to stop ministering to someone such as an atheist about the Gospel? I had tried to help an atheist understand the Gospel about 10 times, but he kept on refusing it. I was accused of intolerance and not planting any "seeds", even though my discussion with the atheist went nowhere. There are also times when I am trying to help a professing Christian that their doctrine is incorrect. For example: a professing Christian claimed that those who believe in "predestination" do NOT know God at all. I quoted several passages in the Bible where it specifically uses the word "predestinated" (Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4-5). Even after I showed this person that to say that "predestination" is "unbiblical" even when I CLEARLY cited the passages that uses that EXACT word. She and her female friends (they seem to hate men and accuse men of being incorrect even after showing them that my interpretation has been backed up using Scripture) said that I am intolerant and made personal attacks on her. And they completely ignored what I wrote. This discussion went on 2-3 more times and she remained obstinate and would not accept correction. I responded by quoting Matthew 7:6 regarding casting pearls before swine. I used the word "hogs" instead of "swine" and they were deeply offended. Was I wrong in citing that verse even after a lengthy discussion about a major biblical doctrine? They also accused me of being unloving. And when should I leave a discussion about the bible even after dialoguing several times with such a person?
I'm very sorry about your brother, but encouraged to hear that you were able to use the opportunity of the service to share the truth. That is wonderful and important, because while most unbelievers are able to block out the obvious issue of death most of the time (and its implications), these occasions offer a chance to break through for some when otherwise they would not be as receptive. I think that any time there are multiple people ministering there will be levels of truth given – from 100% to zero (as seems to be the case here). So while this sort of thing rankles me too, I think you handled it well . . . and you did YOUR job as unto the Lord.
As to limits, these are questions of discernment of circumstances. These are between you and the Lord in the Spirit to figure out. The more you grow, the more obvious the answers will become – and they will be different in one important respect: what is appropriate for a highly advanced believer may not be exactly the same as for a baby believer and vice versa (with gradations along the line).
You are very persistent. That is a wonderful trait – but the danger of it is when it verges into stubbornness (I have to watch that as well). Knowing "when to quit" is an important skill that develops with growth. I think your remembrance of the "pearls before swine" principle is excellent. Quoting it to others might only provoke them, however. After all, if you've just given them the truth and they refuse to accept it, the chances of them receiving this further truth in the right spirit are about nil. After all, our Lord gave His disciples this principle; He didn't quote it to those who fit the description.
You are fighting a good fight, my friend. I see the Lord developing you for ministry. The key here is spiritual growth, so please continue to make a point of being committed to listening / reading good Bible study ministry every day. As you grow, so also will your discernment. And don't worry if you feel after the fact that you "could have done it better". There's little point in looking backward beyond "taking the lesson" and moving forward thereafter. This is a battle and no battle was ever fought perfectly. The important thing is to keep fighting and to keep trying to do it better day by day.
Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for your quick response.
To be sure to see my name on the ichthys site felt so much an honour, much more than I would feel than receiving a Queens Birthday honour award! As to changes, yes, there is one you might like to make right away, please let me know if this requires me to submit a new copy.
Being the beginning of fire season and deadlines, I have some urgent issues to deal with here, so other than these minor changes that I could send you, the others will need to be done a bit later on. Am under the pump, literally, as I work on the water pump and related deadline issues.
A brief report on other things: Thank you for your prayers. I also keep you and yours in mine. My friend died about two weeks ago, was cremated at 4pm on a Wednesday, his wife was not in attendance, being 200 km away, sitting inside their house, receiving support from her friends, when a very strong gust of wind blew her front door wide open. As they looked up at the clock it was 4pm. My other friend has recovered quite a bit - he and his wife are coming back today after a weeks break in a forest caravan park chalet. When we can get together, our Filipino friend continues to give a good lesson. I let his comments on his interpretation of the tri-fold nature of man mimicking the tri-fold nature of God slide, as I had already bought up a slightly different interpretation on another topic. I will reintroduce the bi/tri theme from your teachings in an offhand way later so as not to be confrontational.
We seem fairly healthy at the moment, barring my littlest son’s cuts and bruises on Friday.
In the rush and tare in the city yesterday the Lord managed to open my mouth to a fellow in a little one man shop at the undercover markets. I noticed some church literature on the counter. He asked was I a Christian. Yes. I asked him about the Tribulation. On a sheet of paper I wrote your website (in my urgency, I couldn’t find my Ichthys card, which was in my wallet). I sketched a rough time line of the 33, 2033, 7 year Tribulation, 3 1/2 midpoint of the antichrist, told him of the coming deception of religions and the world by the antichrist. He had heard about it but the rapture might take care of it. Well that was why I wrote Mark 13 down on the paper as well.
Also found out some nice young men, nicely dressed, were talking to him about religion. Well! Red rag to a bull! Mormons! Well I was on about their false doctrines, the Masonic temple ordinances, their take on the Trinity and my previous involvement in this false sect.
The only “line” I may have missed to over emphasise was “Many false prophets and false Christs will come. That will wait for next time I go to the city. Together with a few business cards.
This all took place in about 10 minutes. Sometimes I believe the Lord uses us in spite of our multitude of weaknesses. (Why should others miss out just because we are not up to the mark. The Lord certainly is more than capable). It somewhat stunned me that so much ground was covered by the Lord in so little time. I returned to find my family near the car park, chomping on the bit for our errands yet to do.
As always, my gratitude for your ongoing generosity with your understanding of the Word of God.
In our dear Lord Jesus Christ, the One Mighty to Save.
Your student and friend
I'm sorry about your friend (you did all you could indeed), but good news about your other friend – and thanks much for the report on your courageous efforts in sharing the truth of the gospel! It's most inspirational.
As to the index, whenever and if ever you want to make changes and additions, just send along the new copy and I will do the rest.
Thanks again for your work, my friend!
Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily – and thanks so much for yours!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
We have subsequently had no internet for 3 and a 1/2 days. It was not meant to be fixed for another few days by a technician, however, my wife had a tinker with it today and it came alive! The fire season has just begun and I have quite a backlog of work to do to be fire ready. Long story and a few hurdles to go yet. I missed out on my cafe day last week as I was so busy. Redressed that today by going and inviting my pilot friend along. The fellow has sold his house here and as he will be leaving soon. I thought I would check to see how his view on the pre-trib was going. He had previously given some indication of willing to entertain a different view.
Me: You know there is no pre-trib rapture.
Him: Yes there is. It says so in Revelation.
Me: Show me where it plainly says that and I will believe it. I have never seen it.
He left without responding.
Just before going to the cafe, my friend said he had just about enough of the cafe, as the men seem a closed shop to the truth. I said I do not want to give up so we went together. This result was not what I was hoping for. At the least I thought he may have presented a case.
Our Filipino friend and my Australian friend are leaving in two weeks for the Philippines. I am wanting to send this Expanded Index and your books so that my family member there can read your writings and share that with the rest of the family. They have a lot more trouble with the internet than we do here!
Just another thing - I did not want to give the impression I shared your writings courageously with the man at the markets. He was quite friendly, and seeing he was willing to share his faith (by way of having some pamphlets on his shop counter) and following my comment about it, him asking me if I was a Christian, certainly was done in a very friendly manner. Not much in the way of courage there. Still a way off from being hot, rather than lukewarm. However, I do very much appreciate your kind encouraging words to my now and again little efforts that I do for the Lord. Please always remember that I rely heavily on your teachings and writings, and they are what give me confidence to share the truth with others in a meaningful way.
In the One who gives us more than we can presently know.
Our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Your student and friend
Thanks much for the update, my friend. I have replaced the file and it's up and working. Thank you!
We are none of us perfect, and we do need to have the attitude our Lord told us to have, namely, that "We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty" (Lk.17:10), but we are still allowed to feel a certain amount of satisfaction in a job well done, even if we are far from boasting about it and well aware of how much more we could have done and could be doing – that is true of us all, after all. So I'll stick with my commendation, even as you stick with your humble assessment. This is one of those times where it's good to "hold onto the one and not let go of the other" (Eccl.7:18).
Keep up the good work for our Lord, my friend. I certainly appreciate this index, and I know that it will prove useful to many others as well (here's hoping it does so in the Philippines right soon!).
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Today’s top temperature here is 37C today, so I got up early to tackle some watering, weeding and slashing at the block. Got back home for some breakfast/lunch, called “brunch” here. I am grateful our Lord has blessed me to be able to tackle these jobs, as 12 months ago I was unable to. I am thankful He has answered prayers.
This Christmas is pretty exciting. One of my relatives who usually comes down for Christmas is working his last two weeks with a company, so will visit in the New Year, when he is out of work, before a job search. He is the “atheist”. His best friend committed suicide a couple of years ago and does not want any happy birthday greetings. It is a sore point for reasons I am unsure of. He does not want to talk about any purpose for life.
I read a little in your above reference concerning how foolish it is not to believe. I am sometimes thinking of ways I can “introduce” Christ into our talk without a big argument happening.
Prayer is often the ONLY way change can happen.
So it is a happy, noisy time of the year.
Hope you and your family also have a joyous time together this Christmas and a Happy prosperous New Year.
I still think our Lord wants us to promote the gospel whatever the time of year.
In His Holy Name, Jesus Christ, our Savior.
"I still think our Lord wants us to promote the gospel whatever the time of year".
And you are actually doing it. Your zeal, and more importantly your follow through, are prods to me to do what the Lord wants me to do as well – and I'm sure that is true for every other godly person who sees your example. That is what Christian association is all about:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:24 NIV
File received and uploaded.
In Jesus who is our Lord and the One we love every day of the year.
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
It seems to me that when this scripture was translated that the word "destroy" was used.
"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Here is what Strong's says:
"622 /apóllymi ("violently/completely perish") implies permanent (absolute) destruction, i.e. to cancel out (remove); "to die, with the implication of ruin and destruction" (L & N, 1, 23.106); cause to be lost (utterly perish) by experiencing a miserable end.
I don't see this "absolute destruction" be used correctly in this verse. To me this word destroy means: "To put an end to existence". Using this definition is what atheist and agnostics believe, that when we die we cease to exist. That is the reason I believe that the choice of the translator using the word "destroy" is not appropriate, for that is not what happens when an unbeliever dies physically. It also does not make sense as we know that unbelievers will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever and ever, suffering so great an anguish that we cannot even begin to imagine.
Am I incorrect in my observation, and if I am, then I need an explanation on what I just said.
Thanks as always for your great help.
Be blessed always,
Good to hear from you, my friend, as always. You are absolutely correct – very good!
The gist of the explanation is that if a person is killed physically and ends up in the lake of fire, that is "destruction" of the "LIFE" because now the person is no longer alive physically and has also suffered the second death. This does not mean, as you have rightly concluded, that said person has gone out of existence or is not conscious of what is happening. One would think that atheists and agnostics would be able to figure that out from the whole point our Lord is making; that point is that we SHOULD fear God precisely because He has this power. But if all He can do / will do is terminate existence, that's not much of a cause for fear especially considering how miserable this life is. Indeed, one of the main systems of pagan philosophy at the time of writing – about as widespread as the R.C. church today – was based entirely on the notion that death was not to be feared precisely because it would end in nothingness instead of in eternal punishment (Epicureanism). But the whole point of this passage, Matthew 10:28, is the coming judgment and punishment by God – that is what to be feared . . . but it needn't be if annihilation were meant here (which of course is not the case). A good example of how translation can easily skew the meaning if not done with care.
This is all explained further at the links:
Bible Interpretation VIII (see Q/A #14)
Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment II
And from "Matthew verse by verse":
Matthew 10:28 (NASB)
28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
*Q: Is soul here used as a synonym of spirit?
48) No. What we have here is the word psyche and psyche refers to "physical life" (see the link); if we believers are killed (i.e., if our physical life on this earth is taken away), it does not affect our eternal life (or resurrection bodies). But for those who deny the Lord, the end result is the second death rather than eternal life. Therefore God is worthy of fear but human beings are not.
Hope you are doing well. Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Dearest Dr. Bob,
We wish you and your family a Blessed Happy New Year 2019! I hope and believe Our Lord has kept you all well. My family sends you their choicest Greetings and Love from India.
You are always in our prayers. I know I have not been in touch with you for a while now. But I will be in touch with you more often this year. We are praying for you and your family and The Ministry and your job. My dad passed away in May with Alzheimer, he was 70. I hope he is with The Lord. He knew The Bible from front to back like the back of his hand, but he struggled with mental illness. Am glad his misery ended.
I have made the best new year resolution ever to seek and follow The Lord wherever he wants to take me. I received Deut 28:8 as my promise verse at church today and I love it and am so glad. There are a whole bunch of things I have planned to do spiritually and in my business life, but I am keeping God and His Kingdom First! I know you pray for me and my family always. I am so thankful.
May God Bless you Abundantly in all your endeavors going forward and your health and general upkeep.
All our Love from India
Your faithful family in Christ Jesus for Everlasting
Great to hear from you.
Happy new year to you and your family too!
Sorry to hear about your dad, but I do understand. My mom's passing was a blessing by the time it happened because she was more or less out of it and completely miserable. But she kept the faith until the end. From what you tell me, I'm confident that your dad was a believer too, even if he had a rough set of final years.
Wishing you and yours a very blessed 2019 with spiritual growth and production for the Lord.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thank you Dr. Bob.
I can understand your mother's plight. Well I'd sure be happy to see my dad in heaven. I believe your words. I am currently witnessing to some atheists and OSASers on Facebook by sheer Grace from our Lord. I will write to you as I need help on expounding certain passages. How is the weather in KY? Our mutual friend and I had a good conversation on FB messenger yesterday. Thank you for your prayers for him. We love you Dr. Bob. You gave a Blessed day.
Good for you, my friend! The Lord has a ministry for us all, and I pray for your success in this one. And remember it's often not the results we can see that will be rewarded before the judgment seat of Christ.
There is info about OSAS and atheism at Ichthys. Let me know if you need any help locating the links.
Yes, our friend is terrific (check out his page on Ichthys at the link).
Thanks for all your good words, my friend!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I had a new roommate move in recently, and we got to talking. Long story short, he grew up a Pastor's kid, went on some long worldwide missions, and then lived his early twenties in a sinful lifestyle. He's now back in the fold, ~27, and associated with a church plant tangentially related to the church I sometimes attend (depending on who is teaching).
There are some things we talked about that I want to bounce off you to make sure I'm parsing the situation correctly. This was a good experience for me in "talking up" to someone, since I'm years his junior by a few years.
1) Expectations for different people
One of the things that the conversation stalled on was the idea that God expects different things for different people. I made some offhand remark about how I'm like a "fourth generation" Christian (i.e., most on both sides of my family back a few generations have been Christians of some stripe) and it would therefore be "worse" for me to go off the deep end in college with respect to temptations.
What I was thinking with regard to this was that I've had the truth presented to me all my life from all sides – not just my parents. Not that "family ties" or whatever give us any slack with the Lord, but that I'd been raised in an environment where I was constantly exposed.
For some reason he took great issue with this comment. I tried to make clear many times that I wasn't puffing out my chest and saying I'm a fourth generation Christian (as some sort of boast), but that I had no excuse. But it still seemed to really get under his skin.
I turned the conversation to scripture with Luke 12:47-48. To me, this passage has always been pretty straightforward. God expects the same general pattern of behavior from all Christians (i.e., the standard is the same), but we are all judged with perfect justice based upon our actual circumstances. To whom much is given, much is expected.
But we went round and round on this too. Semantics about the word "standard." ("God doesn't hold people to different standards because the standard is the same"). Complaints about the fact that we can't ever really know other people's hearts. And so forth.
Related to the above, we spent at least 15 minutes talking about whether or not we can generalize about expectations based upon people's life state.
He was of the opinion that the fact that he was a Pastor's kid was neither here nor there. That "God judges everyone by their hearts" and that circumstances like this don't matter. So, under these assumptions, I would not have a higher expectation despite growing up in a strong Christian family and having "more opportunities."
I think the argument went something like Luke 12:47 depends upon how much people actually know God's will, so we shouldn't make assumptions about people based simply upon where they find themselves in life because maybe they don't actually know God's will.
I found this somewhat unconvincing. But didn't want to push it too far before I thought it through more. I was careful to mention that time is somewhat of a red herring in spiritual maturity (a red-hot Christian of 2 years may be far more spiritually advanced than a lukewarm Christian of 20), but that this doesn't mean that we can't make "rule-of-thumb" judgments about people's behavior based on how long they've been Christians and their general "exposure level" to the truth.
In general, I just couldn't wrap my head around the thought that someone could grow up surrounded by the truth and not have any better an idea of God's will than someone who grew up in a very negative unbelieving environment (such as an inner-city gang).
3) "Simple faith"
Subtle accusations of intellectualism came up several places in the conversation. I've faced this before – people claiming that I'm speaking from privilege, a coddled upbringing, and what have you, and that "not everyone can be expected to talk about these things."
I accept some of the sentiment (Ichthys is not everyone's "cup of tea," e.g.), but was absolutely floored when he brought up an example of someone reading one verse a day for years as someone that I couldn't generalize about. Sure, one verse a day is better than no verses a day. But the implication was that I was imposing my "legalistic" standard of Bible reading/study on others...that the fact that my first response was "only one verse a day?" was somehow problematic because it betrayed biases or whatever. (?!)
His general argument: what about all the "simple people" Jesus ministered to? What about people who can't read, or can't read complicated things or denser materials? Isn't "just believing" enough? "How can you draw distinctions between people based on how much they read and study since you are "predisposed" towards reading and studying... isn't that favoring you?"
4) Ministry targets
We spent some time talking about the state of the church: I was more concerned by the total lack of teaching, and he was more concerned with the lack of unity.
He goes to a couple of bars in the town to play music and engage in outreach. The church plant he is associated with has as one of its core goals "racial reconciliation." Several of his friends from when he was back in Atlanta were openly gay people who claimed to be Christians (whom he did have conversations with about the wrongness of their state, at least).
I tried very much to not immediately jump to conclusions based on what would be mistakes for me. But at the same time, I found myself very much feeling like it was my duty to point out that if he is just a few months out of a lifestyle of sin, so maybe bars with various temptations aren't the best place to go?
Then there was the idea that the church is not unified enough. That it is a terrible thing to have churches that cater to one particular set of cultural assumptions and beliefs (think stone-faced white protestants vs. energetic African-American gospel churches). He was pushing hard for full integration of all peoples regardless of preference or communication style (etc.), and I kept mostly silent.
5) Will to live
Toward the end of the conversation, we prayed for each other, and he mentioned repeatedly that he often felt the desire to be taken out of the world right now. That he would pray to go to sleep and never wake up. Things of that sort.
We had a level conversation about why these things are selfish (we are here after salvation in part to help others), and how suffering is a part of growing up as a Christian. But I'm not sure if any of it really got through to the point where he felt like it would be better for him to be around another day rather than getting called home overnight.
So that's a general summary for background. I certainly don't want you to "take my side" or whatever, but I would like your thoughts on the below, so that I can be ready when any of these come up in conversations in the future.
1) Expectations for different people
God does judge us based on our knowledge of his will. But Luke 12:48 is even more general than this, right? As in, people who are given more education, more wealth, a more supportive family, etc. entirely aside from spiritual considerations also have higher expectations put on them?
So long as we understand that we can never truly know another person's heart, and that there are exceptions based upon determination and seriousness, is it OK to say things like "people that have been Christians for 10 years should be expected to do/not do XYZ more than Christians of 2 years"?
This just seems like common sense to me. And related to the above, this would mean that it is not odd or strange for God to expect more out of children that were raised in more overtly Christian environments, right?
3) "Simple faith"
While people all have different backgrounds and intellectual capabilities, in our modern day of almost universal literacy, it is not at all out of line to expect serious Bible reading and Bible study, and to view people who do not engage in such things as "less determined Christians" (without getting legalistic about it and not making a point of lording distinctions over people).
This again strikes me as just common sense. I don't see how someone can get to maturity on simple faith alone, otherwise we wouldn't have the Bible and teachers in the Church, right?
4) Ministry targets
While it is true that everyone is called to different ministries, I am very wary of making prescriptive statements about the behavior of others. For example "all Christians should go out and seek Christian brothers and sisters dissimilar to themselves and try to live as one body... unlike the behavior of most (white/middle class/other dirty word) churches!"
What do you think of trying to push for full unity across racial and ethnic boundaries? To me, as long as all the churches welcome everyone with open arms, there is absolutely no problem with different churches forming around shared culture and values. It's one of the reasons all the Bible's guidance on church polity is so flexible – because different people groups value different things, there are many good and right and proper ways to "do church" depending upon the group in question – so long as the truth is being taught – correct?
Or should we try to push everyone into heterogeneous local churches and dissolve differences in practice in the name of unity?
5) Will to live
While it is true that the proper Christian perspective on death is that it is a good thing to depart and be with the Lord, we should not be actively be praying for our own deaths, right?
It's good to hear from you, my friend. I hope that your summer classes are going well, and that you are able to get a bit of rest and relaxation between the lines as well. I'm certainly praying for both.
I think you are handling this very well and I certainly do affirm all of your conclusions here. There are two things I would wish to say. The first is that part of the problem you are dealing with is that of definitions. People who let Plato's Socrates define the terms always lost the argument. We are not in the business of arguing, but if we let others set the terms of the discussion and accept them as if they were reasonable from a Christian point of view it will be more difficult to help them see things clearly and to make our own position clear (at least).
It is true that to whom much is given, from them much is sought, but that is speaking of servants and their production. Someone who has not been put into service because they are unwilling to prepare for it in the first place hardly need worry about expectations. So you are correct that any lesson taken here would start with a commitment to grow and progress and then and only then be concerned about doing a faithful job in ministry once that ministry has been assigned.
Also, it seems unnecessary even to point out that this doesn't work in reverse. Our Lord's words are meant as prods to get us going; they are most definitely NOT meant as an excuse for those who don't feel the need to do so – because of putatively not being given much. That is a very dangerous thing to assume, moreover, especially for someone living in the USA who is of enough intelligence and means to be in college here, for someone with the gift of the Holy Spirit and living at a time when the truth along with the tools to find the truth are more easily accessed than ever before (even if both are out of fashion in Laodicea).
Importantly, I should add, the only expectations that matter are the Lord's. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or opines on this point. We are responsible to Him and we are going to have to give an account to Him and no one else.
Most of the other objections from your new roommate fall to the ground for the same reason: we are responsible for what we are given not for what someone else is given or not. So in regard to what the Lord expects of us and how we should respond to Him, it really wouldn't matter if 99.9% of the Christians in the world really were not "expected" to grow, progress and produce – because the Lord certainly does have that expectation of us (and of all others too – He provides wherever anyone is willing to respond). I am corresponding with a number of prospective pastors in different parts of Africa whose spiritual progress and keenness in the Spirit to understand the truth is superior to 99.9% of US Christians I have had contact with in this country, and none of them is privileged by any means. But even if your roommate's excuse were valid for third world Christians, how would that be an excuse for someone who DOES know "what the Lord wants" and could most definitely do it if willing? That failure is a prescription for "many blows" to go back to Luke 12:48, and pointing to the failures of others won't get us off the hook when standing before the Lord. I am sure that many unbelievers feel that they can say "others didn't hear the gospel so it's not fair to condemn me!" Not only is that not true (effectively, since no one who wanted it ever failed to get it), but would matter even if true because "this person" HAS heard.
In my experience, most people in this world construct a "personal theology" which they use as a shield to avoid what they don't want to do and to justify what they do want to do. This ranges from atheism to multitudinous personal takes on any manner of Christian denominations and sects, but it always ends in the same place: "not Thy will but MY will be done". In other words, the whole point in making up your own truth is that you don't want to have to deal with the actual truth.
It is difficult to argue with these personal theologies even though they are tragically flawed from top to bottom (as you have so articulately discerned in this case). Simply put, until an unbelievers is willing to accept Christ, nothing we say or do will matter (although the Lord may use us to break through to them); analogously, until a believer has finally decided to live for Jesus Christ and Him alone, nothing we who are "boiling for the truth" can say or do is going to convince them that their lukewarm approach is wrong. In fact, what you are experiencing is so common as to be almost universal, namely, attempting to convert others to the same unquestionably wrong approach. Why? It's the "safety in numbers" principle, the same one cult members adhere to, the same one the devil employed to suborn a third of the angels, namely, the idea that, "If I can convince you I must be right even though I have doubts at the core and thus I strengthen my wrong into right by getting you to see things the same way. I am uncomfortable when you challenge me but more comfortable than I was when I refute you (in my head)."
I can't think of anything worse than forcing the very few churches and ministries in this country which are actually devoted to seeking and teaching the truth into a false unity of lukewarmness for which this person advocates. As to what others do, be they Charismatics, Baptists, Presbyterians, Evangelical Frees, and African Methodists, it's of little consequence to me because these only vary in style and appearance, not in substance: underneath they are mostly all the same, lukewarm to the core.
You have sacrificed a great deal to get where you are at, my friend, and I know that the Lord honors that greatly. He is going to put you into service when the time comes precisely because you have heeded His words – like those at Luke 12:48.
So while roomie may think that there is no significance in the difference between your approach and his, there is all the difference in the world:
And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
Malachi 3:18 NIV
Your friend and fellow soldier in the fight for Jesus Christ and His truth.
I recently fell in love with Sigmund Freud's theories, because I realized that the core idea behind them is actually true. Later I realized why I loved the core ideas behind Freud's theories: because they're exactly the same as the core ideas Aquinas had regarding human psychology.
Aquinas wrote that the human psychology had a "conscious unconscious" (henceforth CU) that was responsible for "deep" thinking, and that this CU was responsible for our decision making. I don't know if he wrote it down explicitly, but given the scientific nature of Aquinas's thinking, he also probably believed that if a person were to engage in counseling, they would eventually "let down" their defense and reveal the CU.
In academia, what is it called when you write papers using ideas from another thinker without citing?
This also solves a dilemma many Christian counselors have with "secular" psychoanalysis. The truth is, psychoanalysis is not inherently a secular idea, but rather has its roots in Christian theories of human thinking and decision making. It just happened to have exploded in secular academia because an Austrian academic dressed it up in humanism.
Well, my friend, as Solomon said, "there is nothing new under the sun". Human beings are what human beings are and that is obvious to most people who have some measure of intelligence and bother to study things objectively (cf. Jn.2:24-25). The Greek historian of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides, describes historical action in very similar terms – but better and earlier than others like Freud (see Luginbill ).
This is all part of natural revelation (link), certain obvious truths about life and the world and people, individually and collectively, which, taken together with the "eternity in our hearts" (Eccl.3:11), the knowledge inherent in us of a Creator who is perfect in every way, ought to set everyone on the path to salvation – and it does; it's just that most are not interested in going in that direction for a variety of selfish reasons.
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Is There Salvation Without Repentance? In the Book of Jeremiah, God describes what repentance is like:
"I listen to their conversations and don't hear a word of truth. Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, "what have I done"? No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!"
"Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD."
Repentance = horror + shame, followed by a change of mind to never do evil again. If Christians do not repent while they are living, why do they presume they'll have a "second chance" in the afterlife? Lukewarm deists and agnostics like to believe in "second chance salvation" where Jesus Christ reveals himself in full glory and asks if they would like to change their mind. Just so their reward is totally disconnected from the life they have lived. But Evangelicals believe in the same stupid lie: second chance repentance. Just so their reward is totally disconnected from the life they have lived.
However, Ezekiel tells us it is a lie. "None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of THE RIGHTEOUS THINGS they have done, they will live." Also notice that the "righteous things" are in plural. So there must be at least two good works, and hopefully many more, a contrite sinner performs, and these good works will make them live.
Same for the apostate. "But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die."
And if Judas and Esau were horrified and ashamed by what they had done, that just means most Evangelicals are more evil than Esau and Judas. Not the most flattering comparison.
And like the wicked Israelites, they complain that God is unjust for requiring good works. But is it God who is unjust? Is it not you who is unjust, believing that saying the magic words will cause God to acquit you? Is that not infinitely more unjust?
It's always important to keep in mind that the nation of Israel was composed of believers . . . at least it was SUPPOSED to be – and that is how the Lord comported Himself towards them. Repentance from sin is for believers. Unbelievers need to turn to God. That is a sort of repentance too – in the true biblical sense of the word which means to drastically alter one's thinking (doing a "180" in one's heart). But it is misleading to conflate the Lord's commands to His own people to stop doing things that spit in His face with the behavior of those who were no part of Him in the first place.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
You said, "Unbelievers need to turn to God."
Repentance from sin is usually a component to that. Almost every atheist (99%) believes that sexual immorality is moral. So that raises the question: just how much of the atheist's neglect of the first tablet of the commandments is motivated by the desire to do something on the second tablet of the commandments?
On the contrary, recognition of sinfulness does show that we need a Savior, but confusing that with repentance is a dangerous thing, because then salvation becomes work – us reforming or attempting it – when salvation is truly all about us accepting the Gift whereby our sins have been forgiven without us doing anything.
(8) For you have been saved by [God's] grace through faith [in Christ]; and this did not come from you – it is God's gift. (9) Nor did it come from what you have done, lest anyone should boast.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!"
As to atheists, they are a special subset of unbeliever. It's not just that they have not "yet" believed in Christ and accepted the Gift. Rather, they have rejected God completely, even denying the existence of Him who gave them life – and even though they know (or knew) very well in their heart of hearts about Him and what He was like:
(18) God's wrath is about to be revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness – on men who suppress the truth [in their hearts about God] in their unrighteousness. (19) For that which can be known about God [from everyday experience] is obvious to them, because God has made it obvious. (20) His nature, though invisible, is nevertheless plainly apparent, and has been since His foundation of the world, for it may be clearly inferred from this creation of His – [this is true of] both His eternal power and His divinity – so that they are without any excuse: (21) they knew about God, but they neither honored Him as God nor thanked Him. Instead, they gave themselves over to [the] vanity [of this world] in their speculations, and their senseless hearts were filled with darkness.
Yes. It is about what Jesus did and not what we have done. But there is a warning in the Old Testament.
"Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty."
God warns against judicial murder (including the future judicial murder of Jesus Christ) with a very stern warning: I will not acquit the guilty. You will not kill and innocent person, claim the blood of Jesus covers you, and still get into Heaven.
Obviously, anyone who hardens their heart past a certain point is very unlikely to turn to the Lord – Pharaoh for example (and cf. Rom.1:18-32).
Believers who harden their hearts to do unspeakable things damage their faith and push themselves ever farther from Christ. At some point, they stop believing. That is the definition of apostasy: only believers are saved (see the link).
In Jesus Christ through whom we are saved by grace through faith alone.
Thank you for your reply, and it has taught me much and gave me clarity regarding who my neighbor is. I have a question that concerns someone that I am trying to tell the Gospel to; but this person is what the world calls today a "trans" or "transgender". I feel that someone as such needs to hear the TRUE Gospel, and not some diluted or another Gospel that "teaches" that it is OK to be sexually immoral. I feel this is different than lets say someone who continues to disseminate false doctrines that will send people to a eternal hell. This "transgender" person feels as if it is not a sin to be that way. They will always make excuses such as, "God made me this way!". Or they will change the meaning of bible passages and use the excuse that the passages condemning sexually immoral practices were cultural, and exclusive only during that time. I have heard this before.
I really want to help this person out, but at the same time, I don't want them to get to a point where they are offended and I lose contact with them. Somewhat like having a fish on a hook, but then I struggle too hard or have the wrong technique, and the fish ends up escaping. I know that some of my Christian friends want no part of ministering to this person, but I feel the opposite, because we were all once sinners. I just don't know how to broach the subject without having to lose this person's interest in the Gospel. What can I do in this situation?
Since you use the fishing analogy – and our Lord has made all of us believers "fishers of men" (Matt.4:19; Mk.1:17) – we also know that every fisherman has his/her own technique and that all fish are different too. What all fish have in common is that if they are not biting, we are not going to catch them. But if they ARE biting, then a practiced fisherman who exercises patience always has a good chance. And in terms of actual witnessing, God is the One who is empowering the process and bringing success.
So the first thing is to determine if we really are being offered an opportunity. That is fairly easy to do, it seems to me. If the person knows we are Christian, and if we dangle a little bait, something like, "yes, the recent tragedy at XYZ is terrible – I don't know HOW people get through this world without the Christian hope!" Now if someone really is searching for the solution to sin and death, they are likely to nibble at that one (and, by the way, I'm NOT suggesting this particular one for you – everyone has their own way of stating the divine and godly viewpoint of anticipation of salvation and eternal life, and every prospective believer is different too, and we must take the audience into account in how exactly we express the truth, remembering that the truth always has to be presented truly).
If they don't nibble, we might want to think about waiting for a better time and a better opportunity. We can't force the issue. We wait in the boat for a bite. We can wiggle the hook, but we can't make the fish bite. If we bang on the water with an oar and command the fish to come up, guess what. We may be making ourselves feel better ("Look at me! I witnessed to so and so!" – but they didn't respond), but we are not winning anyone to the Lord that way. The fish have a vote, because it's all about free will.
What if they do nibble? I think it is a mistake to introduce the issue of sin in giving the gospel, except for the critical facts that we are all sinners, that Christ died for all of our sins, and that all of our sins are forgiven when we believe. Don't forget: the gospel changes all who respond to it. The heart is washed clean. The person is given a new heart, one devoid of hardness. At that point of salvation, the new believer is temporarily at least freed from all prior sinful entanglement. If they really are ready to persevere with the Lord from that point forward, He will help them to walk a sanctified walk, and change whatever it is that needs to be changed. But if we make an issue of some sin or sinful behavior in which they are enmeshed BEFORE the fact, then we are putting conditions on salvation – and there are no conditions on salvation . . . except to accept the Gift of Jesus Christ, acknowledging who He is and what He has done for us through faith in Him.
Death is something everyone dreads (except believers), and the offer of life eternal is the most wonderful thing on this earth. To avoid death, darkness and judgment is worth all a person has, like selling everything for the pearl of great price. If the Spirit convicts someone's heart of that truth, they will flee death by running to the gospel; they will need little convincing from us. The Spirit is the One who really does the convincing. Our job is to provide the truth, the simple yet incredibly powerful truth of the gospel. It is not up to us to try and fine tune an "after response". If we do that, there may very well be no "after response" because the person will see the gospel as huge load that requires them to "give up" this and that after being saved. Now you know very well yourself that we all ended up giving up "this and that" after we believed because the gospel and the truth we learned and accepted thereafter changed us. It is the same for everyone. But that happens AFTER; it is not a BEFORE condition.
And you don't have to worry about "saying sin is OK" either, not if you are witnessing correctly. Now if you are jamming the gospel down the throats of people who aren't interested in it, then this may be an issue because they are only interested in justifying their conduct and not in being saved, so that is where the discussion went. But if you are really only responding in love to those few who demonstrate that they DO want the truth, then it will all work out fine. If they want eternal life and are grateful to accept Jesus Christ, guess what? They will easily begin to turn their lives to Him in all respects after they are saved. That is, if you net them after you have fished them.
How do you net them? All too many Christians and even major Christian groups engaged in evangelism get the fish to the surface and then let them go. No. You have to give them direction thereafter, help them to grow as you have grown. Of course, way too many Christians and Christian groups involved in evangelism have not grown to spiritual maturity themselves, so even if they have "caught" them their nets are filled with holes if and when they do use them. A new believer has to be led to a place where he/she can grow in the truth. That should be a local church but today most of these are sadly deficient on the score of helping to produce genuine growth because they don't teach the truth in any depth of detail, if at all. Nowadays one finds what one can find where one can find it. I would be pleased for any new believers to be pointed to Ichthys (or Bible Academy) or any other place where the truth really is being taught. But pointing a new believer to a legalistic church that will dictate their behavior or to a libertarian church that will tell them it's all OK (whatever "it" is) will not produce growth in either case, and a very large number of such new believers end up "jumping out of the boat" and reverting to the world as a result.
So I wouldn't worry about this, my friend. If a person really does want to hear the gospel, that is of God: give them the gospel. Once you do, if they accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, their hearts will convict them to turn away from anything and everything sinful, regardless of past behavior or beliefs. And if they are led to a good place where they can grow, they will do so in increasing sanctification.
But if they aren't really that interested in the truth, will they believe? And if they "believe" on condition of doing ABC, are they really saved or is it a works contract in their heart? And even if they legitimately accept Christ, without being led to a place where they can grow, will they be able to resist the siren song of the world and their prior lives so as not to fall back away?
Only the truth can save a person. Only desire for the truth can motivate a person to be saved. Only continued attention to the truth can keep a person safe after being saved.
Best wishes for you in the Lord, my friend, in all your noble endeavors to spread the truth of His Word.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
My deceased friend's mother is receptive to the gospel. Despite being abandoned by her husband who is in slavery to X sin she is willing to come to a church with me.
She still doesn't believe that X is a sin, but I hope that this action is being started by God. If God has started it, he will finish it.
Being saved is all about responding to the simple truth of life eternal given by grace through faith to those who believe in Jesus Christ. Points of doctrine (including important ones) come later – because a person cannot really understand any of these (not in terms of the truth versus mere gnosis) without the Spirit they receive on belief.
No doubt this is also the Lord encouraging you and showing you that your labors on His behalf have not been in vain, my friend (cf. 1Tim.3:13).
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
She said she was not interested in going to church. I fear that my work for the Lord may have been in vain.
Given what "church" is today in Laodicea, not wishing to "go to church" may be a positive sign. And besides, our efforts are measured by the Lord based upon what is in our hearts, not based upon how others respond to them.
As for you, you love Jesus Christ. That love will protect you no matter what.
You have nothing to worry about . . . except maybe about worrying too much.
Everything is part of the plan of God, and He has plans for your.
So hang in there, my friend. This fight is a "day to day" affair. We don't have to worry about days that haven't even arrived yet. They may or may not. If and when they do, they are unlikely to turn out the way we had expected, whether for better or for worse or just different.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1st John 5:4 ESV
Your friend in our dear Lord Jesus Christ,
Thanks for the reply and I really enjoyed going through the links they have been refreshing and edifying.
Just a clarification. I have no ties with these people I mentioned only that we keep on bumping into each other more often these days. It's somewhat annoying, people haven't gotten over the spiritual gifts and press on to spiritual growth and production.
On another sad development I met someone who asked me the very questions and concerns from the last email but the only thing different was that the person asked me that, apart from the gifts mentioned in Romans and Corinthians what other gifts are there? Since almost all the "spiritual gifts" listed in these letters are not in operational, do you have any other list or comparison of current operational gifts?
Another question. A colleague of mine has been aspiring to start a church "visible". For sometime he has been rallying support and doing evangelism forming small cell groups, he is a Law graduate, we were together in high school few years back, the thing is, for the past three years he has been organizing cell groups and numbers have swelled up that attendants have grown over 700 so he plans on launching a church this coming month and he has been asking me to be part of it, what could be the best counsel or answer can I give him because clearly it's going to turn out to be just exactly what I have come to believe will be the source of problems? I will greatly appreciate your advise.
Understood, my friend – and you are very welcome.
Here is a link to where all of the spiritual gifts mentioned in scripture are discussed: in BB 5: "Spiritual gifts"
On starting a church, my question would be "why?" Of course people have reasons for what they do. So what is the reason to start this church? The only biblical reason is to provide a setting for the teaching of the word of God which in this case ought already to be going on in some small group with at least one prepared man who is doing most of the teaching; or if a group gets together who have no teacher, putting in together in order find one and possibly hire one (if that is necessary to bring the individual to the area) would be the reason. But you don't need a dedicated building for that; and you don't need to formalize membership for that. So this "why?" question (whether posed or not) cuts to the quick of what is really going on, in my opinion.
I have said a prayer for you and the health of your family and will put a request on the Ichthys list as well.
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Thank you Dr Bob for the quick response and thank you for saying a prayer for me and for my family. I will surely go through the links though I have read pneumatology time and again but this time I'm going in with precision and direction.
Well, concerning the church part, since in the ideal sense everything has already been done, I too find no reason for starting what's already happening, but on my part it's going to take a great deal of controversy and discussion to convince my friend.
You're most welcome.
Asking about the motivation is not a bad way to get someone to investigate the "why?" of what they are doing. I'm sure "for the glory of God!" is a good pat response, but is God really glorified by doing things the wrong way?
(12) "When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? (13) Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies."
Isaiah 1:12-13 NIV
"I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me."
Amos 5:21 NIV
"Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you," says the Lord Almighty, "and I will accept no offering from your hands."
In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.
1st Corinthians 11:17 NKJV
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
I've been trying to help a friend out and bring him to Christ. I've been teaching him things about the bible and he seems to get a good understanding of it over the years, and has gone closer to Jesus, too. He is poor and I've been helping him out financially so he can help support his family. Lately, I've noticed that he's been spending the money I give him on the wrong things...like cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling. I've told him many times to be careful how he spends the money I give him and he got upset at me, telling me to enjoy life and have fun. His friends think that I am just a person who likes to bring people out of their fun and am a downer.
Anyway, please pray for these people for Godly wisdom and understanding of God's Word, and perhaps they will be taught a lesson from all of this and return to the Lord wholeheartedly with love and guidance from The Holy Spirit.
You are a very generous person. I have noted that before.
People tend to take advantage of others who are overly generous. I would counsel you not to continue to throw good money after bad. Unbelievers don't grow closer to Jesus just because they continue to hear the gospel over time; they believe or they don't believe. The behavior you reported is not indicative of a believer.
It's OK to keep praying for such folks. But fooled one time is quite enough in something like this. Just because someone is poor does not at all mean that therefore he/she is a believer or going to believe upon hearing the gospel.
I don't like seeing you exploited, and allowing yourself to continue to be exploited is something I don't think the Lord is requiring either.
You have a good heart. Please take some basic steps to protect it.
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
P.S.: If you haven't noticed or already done so, please check out the list of wonderful ministry offerings on the Special Topics page, including postings by Bartek Sylwestrzak (*series on Mary now complete!), Christian Vassallo, John Jackson, "Bible Readings by Emma", Bible Reading Log by Christian Vassallo (helps for reading through the English Bible), The Holocaust: A Biblical and Historical Examination (Future Implications) by Fred London, the Expanded Index to topics found at Ichthys, and, most recently, Foundational Principles, by Odii Ariwodo.
Special Prayer Requests
A special word of thanks to all who have been praying for this ministry. The Lord has brought about a great deliverance for me and mine. I am forever grateful to Him, and also to all of you who have been faithfully interceding for me and for this ministry.
The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.
Addendum: 12/24/16: I also want to thank everyone who has been praying for my family and especially for my mother. She passed away yesterday morning at the age of ninety-six. Considering the sad shape she was in, it was a blessing that the Lord took her when He did. She died "full of years" in the company of those who loved her, and now she is with the Lord – and nothing is better than that (Phil.1:23; Rev.7:17; 21:4).
*Urgent Prayer Request #2 [11/14/18]: Please pray for our friend Odii and his fiancée Abi. Her family has just survived a home invasion where the invaders expressed the purpose of killing her father, a prominent local judge, from religious and political motives. While no one was physically injured (all valuables were stolen), their city is a very dangerous place, and this may not be the end of it. Please pray not only for their protection but for a way out to a safer country.
Urgent Prayer Request: **[latest update 1/19/19 below] Please be in prayer for our brother Vau who has just received a preliminary diagnosis for neuroendocrine cancer, a rare cancer that combines with different cancers from the colon and the liver (in his case). Our brother is undergoing more testing for confirmation of diagnosis and is being prepared for chemotherapy. His loss would be a heavy blow to his wife and children. But we know that nothing is impossible for the Lord. [for more requests, see below]
Update from Vau (5/14/18): Hello my friend! I'm so glad to hear from you and yes I saw the posted and I'm so grateful for the prayer request, because I do know the prayer of the righteous availeth much. I've been meaning to keep you posted as well but I had some tough times early going. But as of 8th or 9th, I've been feeling great and stronger each day. I had the week off of chemo this past Thursday which completed the first cycle of treatment out of 4 cycles. I start the 2nd cycle this Thursdays and they will be testing me some time this month to see where I stand and if there's any improvements.
But if I may testify, God has been so good to me. He is manifesting himself daily and he has blessed me tremendously to the point that I can't explain it all. He has been taking me higher and my faith has increased. This situation I'm in has touched hundreds of people and support is coming in from all sides. There's a lot of eyes watching this very carefully and a lot of people are touched deeply and when God completes his miracle, I believe some will believe in Him and His son Jesus like never before. He's been using me in a mighty way to witness and pray for quite a few people and God has been blessing it. I'm so excited and encouraged and I thank God for you and the Saints that are lifting me up in prayer by bombarding heaven on my behalf. I love you all in Christ Jesus and I promise I will send my next update after they retest me to see where I stand. I'm looking for them to tell me some news. But either way, good news is coming my friend.
Your friend/brother in Christ our Lord,
*Update from Vau (6/15/18):
Hello my brother in Christ! I wanted to update you again with the latest CT scan results. The test show that the cancer has not spread and that it's stable. Praise God! Which also means that the Chemo is working and no changes is needed. All the way from the doctor to the nurses, they all seemed amazed at how well I've been handling the Chemo treatment with minimum side affects. They say I look very well and that I make there job easier with my attitude and results. But all of the Glory belongs to God. I'm trusting God for a great miracle that will have doctors, nurses, friends and family astonished by shrinking and completely removing the tumors/cancer in the liver and colon. The doctors and the treatment can only do so much and what it's doing now is what they were hoping it would do which is to stabilize, but I know what's impossible for man and medicine is possible with God, I also know my faith and my obedience is being tested highly, and the devil has been coming against me, so please also pray for my strength and faith to increase even the more as I fight this physical and spiritual battle. I thank you and all of the Saints of God for your consistent prayers and thoughts, for I know that the prayers of the righteous availeth much which means a lot to me.
God bless you my friend!
To God be the glory to whom all blessings flow!
*Update from Vau (7/28/18):
Praise God! My tumor marker levels went all the down to 12.1 not including the last 3 weeks of chemo which the next time I test is 8-6. Remember, it started at a 275. Normal level is 2.5. This past Thursday was my last treatment and I go back for a Cat scan and testing on 8-6-18 and will see the Doctor 8-9 for review and next step. The Doctor said don't put to much stock on tumor level I guess regarding in shrinkage of the cancer on my liver, but still great news the the chemo treatment is working to stabilize it until God reverse it and take it away at his good timing :).
*Update from Vau (8/19/19):
Hello Brother Bob,
Thank you much for information you provided me and the encouraging words/prayers from you and the other Saints that are praying. So sorry for the late response. I've had a few follow up appointments. Basically, the neuroedocrine cancer on the liver has grown a little and there's several small tumors growing as well. Even though my tumor markers went down, it didn't stabilize or shrink the cancer on the liver, but it may shrunk the cancer on the colon. Can't really tell about the colon because of the mass covering it, but what we do know is it must not be growing or that big. But the main enemy right now is the rare neuroedocrine cancer on the liver. That's the biggest threat at the moment. So when I went to my first appointment the Doctor immediately said he wanted to start me back on Chemo Therapy again, but this time it would be different chemo from the last. I remember last time they had mention something about Immuno Therapy, but when I ask him about it he immediate shut it down because he said it probably wouldn't based on some studies done. But keep in mind this is a very very rare cancer around 5% of cancer patients get this type of cancer so everything pretty much is experimental and there hasn't been enough studies to truly get definite diagnose on how to try to treat it all the way especially in the liver. But in the middle of conversation it was like God dropped something on his heart, he said you know what, lets try the Immuno Therapy and he felt like because I was doing well and looking well (which he's been very amazed) I could handle the Immuno Therapy and then if needed go back to the Chemo if the Immuno Therapy didn't help.
So when we went back to the second appointment after he consulted with specialist from MD Anderson and others, they were not sure and said he could go either way and others said to do the Chemo instead. But my Doctor said he's still not sure himself and he's wrestling with ideals in his head (which I believe it's the Immuno Therapy). I'm going to one of the specialist he spoke with Friday for second opinion. Even though my Doctor spoke with him, it was very quick and Doctor really never took his time to case the entire situation. Once I see him Friday, my Doctor will be waiting for me to comeback; we have a decision to make. This has been very tough and heavy on me, but I'm trusting and believing that God will guide me and give me the right thing to decide. This is no doubt a job for God. According to man, there's no cure only treatment, but according to God there's nothing IMPOSSIBLE for him to do. I'm trusting and believing that God is going to provide a miracle. He has healed me several times where doctors or man wasn't involved and I know he can do it again my friend. There are risk in doing both of them by the way, pretty much if the cancer grows and I get sick from it, I won't be able to switch from one to the other. That's in either case, but I'm confident that once God gives me what to do, it will work out the way it suppose to work out.
I appreciate all of my brothers and sister in Christ praying for me on your website and I thank you brother Bob for checking up on me, encouraging me, teaching me and praying for me as well. I will keep you posted, but just so you know I'm leaning toward the Immuno Therapy at this present moment. I felt that way from jump. Me, my wife and my mother are all in agreement, but God will have the final say so for sure.
To God be the glory from where all blessing flow,
Update about Vau (11/27/18):
Our friend Vau had received mixed signals from the doctors such that the situation was that this new therapy was not going to work out and with not much encouragement from them regarding the traditional methods. So our friend Vau put things in God's hands. And there are NO better hands! I received this from him yesterday: "I've been feeling good and doing well to God be the Glory! I've had a little mild stomach issues which had me thinking funny things, but after prayer and seeking God for healing, I promise you the issue got much better." He is back at work and also about to reinstate his teaching ministry on Facebook. Stay tuned for a link once this is about to launch. Vau asks me to thank everyone for their prayers and to say how much he appreciates them. God is good!
Update from Vau (12/13/18):
Hello my friend! I pray all is well with you. Well for me, I received not the best news today. The CT scan came back showing growth on the liver and also tumor in the abdominal which is why my stomach has been giving me issues. The bottom line is they want to start back on chemo (which is not an option) or try immunotherapy which I was approved for the first time around but decided to try the 2nd chemo plan. The insurance may not approve the second time around but we shall see. I'm not sold on that either. But I told them I need 2 weeks to think about and to go ahead and check with insurance to see if they will approve it.
I'm standing on what's been told to me from God that I will be healed and to Trust, Believe and Surrender all to him. I'm doing just that and I believe God will lead and guide me. Before my appointment today I prayed for a while and the Holy Spirit came in like a flood and spoke to me and said to me what I mentioned earlier and confirmed some things. I believe it with all my heart and I shall not be moved. It's in Gods hands and he will lead and guide me to what I need to do. Please continue to pray for me that my ears and my mind stay in tune to what God is saying. Meanwhile for me, I'm staying the course and not changing any plans at all. I will proceed with my ministry 1-6-19 and I'm looking for God to move.
Update from Vau (12/23/18):
Hello my friend! I just wanted to give you a quick update before I got busy and forget to do so. Please go to www.opdivo.com Then read below where it talks about important information. It's going to list the two drugs they wanted to give me for immunotherapy. It's going to show several side effects and on top of that it's not even for the type of cancer I have, so this would be completely experimental and a very risky dangerous one. I've decided through prayer as my final determination that I'm definitely not going that route and now it's COMPLETELY in the hands of the Lord. Man has done all they can do and what's impossible with man is possible with God.
So that's where's I'm at my friend. I thank you and the Saints of God for your prayers. I feeling pretty good still. I do have a tumor in my pelvis area that was giving me tough issues where I could not sleep to well, but now even that has gotten better but it's still an issue. But overall I'm well and encourage looking and expecting God to heal me.
I pray you and your family have a wonderful holiday my friend.
Take care, your brother in Christ
Update from Vau (1/19/19)
Hello my friend! The best way to access my page is to go to search and type in Vau Washington Pastor. I have made the last two services available to the public so even if we are not Face Book friends, people can still view videos. Thank you much for sharing information. We are getting ready to get hit with a snow storm out here but we should be good for tomorrow service unless the roads are bad. Last week service went well, even though it wasn't a popular message :) it still got viewed by also 300 people. We had 4 visitors so I thank God for the opportunity. The weather had me thinking we weren't going to be able to have service, but it changed at the last minute. I can't waste anytime or opportunity so I will be ready to go forth. The devil is mad for sure. I've been having stomach issues a little more and it has messed with my sleep a little sometimes, but I'm keeping the faith and moving forward in the name of Jesus. I know my faith is continually being tested and it's not my time yet to come out the fire, but I'm very confident that my full healing is close.
What I found amazing is for the last two Sundays I've been pain free while up Preaching and for that day. Every Saturday I cry out to God to please give me relief to be able to minister his word and also with my feet which I have a slight dose of neuropathy in both feet because of the last chemo treatment and also in my finger tips. God has showed up both weeks where I haven't had any pain at all, but come Monday or Tuesday it's back. That's God letting me know that he's in control and when it's time for me to be completely healed , he will do just that in his good timing. I'm in complete awe watching how God is dealing with me and this situation at the same time it's been a little rough dealing with day to day. But I'm determine with my life to give all that I have to serve him and not let him down. I know I'm still learning and getting back to the routine of things but I'm also willing and I know the Lord will give the increase in all things.
As always my friend, I appreciate you much for the prayers, follow ups and concern. I thank God for your Labor in Christ which I continue to learn from myself to equip and arm myself even the more.
Your brother in Christ,
More Prayer Requests:
For Lowell, for success for proton therapy for his prostate cancer.
*For our friend Gaurav, for encouragement, health, and material deliverance. [n.b., Gaurav was the first one on this list years ago; he writes that he is still "hanging in" and staying faithful to the Lord, but he and his family are in greater material need than ever; please remember them in your prayers]
*For Shontel, for the means and opportunity to get out of a debilitating and dangerous domestic situation ASAP.
For David's wife who is entering hospice [*update: our friend's wife has gone to be with the Lord; please pray for his comfort].
For Kevin for successful brain tumor surgery.
For Bob P. for help in healing a painful skin disorder (praise here as the condition has been somewhat ameliorated, but please keep him in prayer); *and Bob wife, Debbie, just diagnosed with invasive ductile breast cancer *[update: treatments successful! Please continue prayer as some continued therapy necessary for some time].
For comfort for Jon and his family in the loss of his father. Thanks to all who have been praying for him. Jon reports convincing evidence that his dad was indeed saved before the end. Praise the Lord!
For Abby for success and blessing in her new efforts in ministry, and for her cousin Danny's health. *Please also pray for her health, strength and perseverance in stressful and challenging circumstances.
For our friend Bartek, for the recovery of his health, and also for success in gaining citizenship in the UK [*praise here as his petition was successful!]. *Also, please pray for empowerment and help for his father in his evangelization ministry.
For help and support for Yuhanna and his family in the midst of continuing trial and testing, and for the salvation of his wider family. And please pray in particular for financial help and help for a better job for his wife in the midst of this crisis. **[update: 12/18: please pray for success for a critical initiative that would overturn much wrong and right the situation for our friend and other affected; *next 60 days are crucial]. *Yuhanna also asks for prayer for his wife and children find a sound biblically based church and for the Lord to display the fruit of The Spirit in their lives; and also for Charlotte to find employment.
For Ramsey, for success in his job application process [praise here! please keep him in your prayers].
*For the empowerment of our friend Curt's ministry; for his health, the health of his family [praise for good news here - please pray for Curt's own health], and for his finances. *Critical: please also pray for immediate deliverance from false accusations.
For our brother Abishai's help and guidance in preparing for ministry, as well as for his healing and help with his business to provide for his family's basic needs, and for the health and healing of his young daughter [praise here!]. Please also pray for his brother, a believer, to be led to the truth on important issues of doctrine. And please also pray for the health of his wife and children, and of his father in law.
For our friend Betty's help and deliverance [praise the Lord for answered prayer!].
For our friend Carol's recovery, encouragement and for help in her professional life.
For our friend Vau's father for healing from critical illness, and for Vau's encouragement [praise here!].
For our friend John's family's deliverance from cult influence [praise for some good news here, but some members are still entrapped]. *Please also pray for John's health and that of his wife as well.
For our friend Kathleen's recovery from a terrible accident.
For our friend Steve for strength, protection, providence and deliverance – more needful now than ever.
For help and deliverance for our friend Cindy's daughter.
*For our friend Brittany's healing from cancer, and for her spiritual recovery and encouragement.
For our friend Ken and his family's protection from persecution for seeking the truth.
For the family of Jewel, a recently martyred pastor in Bangladesh (please see the link).
Ken Young's ministry and for his health (please see the link).
For Christian congregations being persecuted in Sri Lanka (please see the link).
For our friend Neal's help in and healing from devastating illness.
*[For young Joel, a newborn with Zellweger syndrome . . .]; from the family: little Omari Joel passed on June 4, 2018 at the age of 5 ½. There are no words to express our gratitude for your prayers, and your love will always be remembered. Your prayers were blessed with love, grace, and an eternal relationship with Jesus. May God continue to bless you each and every day, and thank you for bringing our family into your family. Amen. Many blessings, keep family in your prayers!!!
For our friend Mark's successful surgery and swift recovery.
For the healing, blessing, encouragement and vindication of our brother, Nihal
*For our friend Mike's encouragement and God's blessing on his livelihood to provide for his family (urgently needed at present!).
For Helen's healing from cancer and for her comfort in the loss of her family members.
For pastor Don's wife Jessie's healing from cancer.
For Clyde's encouragement and deliverance in severe testing.
For John, for help in getting more hours or work or a better job.
For our friend John's help in coping with a difficult medical condition (cadasil).
For our friend Paul's father-in-law, for deliverance from cancer.
For healing for Leigh's dad's health (praise for betterment here - she thanks everyone for their prayers), for her daughter's healing from hypothyroidism and celiac disease, and for encouragement and help for her.
*For the salvation of Judah's friend, and for help for Judah in overcoming spiritual obstacles and for help in preparing for ministry.
For Tom for help in the development of all skills necessary for an apologetics ministry combating atheism in particular. *Please also pray for the salvation of his grandmother.
For the deliverance of Michael's wife from extreme charismatic influence.
For Michael's deliverance from debt, stress and unwanted conflict – special prayer help needed here as things are getting worse.
For our friend Karl's mother's salvation.
For our friend Oscar's continued spiritual growth and help in securing suitable employment in spite of serious satanic opposition.
For Richard Khum and Mission Training School in Myanmar (email@example.com).
For Ashley and help with her marriage.
For Wen and family in a new area without suitable Bible teaching.
For Zach's healing, deliverance and comfort from severe cult abuse and control, and to be led into God’s truth.
For the salvation of Danny's mother and for her healing in extreme pain; for healing in body and mind, and for his protection and blessing on his family and for their reconciliation. Please also pray for Danny's living situation, and also for his job situation where he is experiencing persecution.
For deliverance for John's friend from the JW heresy.
For our friend who wished to remain nameless, for her protection and the protection of her children from a hostile and aggressive "ex".
For the deliverance of Jay's friend from the influence of a noxious cult.
For our friend Anna and her family's comfort in the loss of her daughter, and for the comfort, encouragement and salvation of her two children.
For our friend Sheila's healing from the effects of a chronic condition.
For our friend Sandra, suffering from multiply myeloma [praise here! please keep her in your prayers].
For David's wife who is recovering from back surgery.
For friends Lynette, Angie, Marcia, Dan and Jeffery, all of whom are presently under heavy spiritual pressures and in need of prayer and encouragement.
For our newly converted brother Jacob in India, for healing for him and for his daughter, for his material needs, and for the salvation of his parents.
For our friend Tommy, for a roof over his head.
For the protection of Crystal and her family.
For Billy's mother to be led into all of God's truth.
***For Resi in transitioning from Roman Catholicism and for help in serious financial difficulties. Please also pray for our friend and his cooperative to be successful. Prayers also please for family who does not share his faith. And please pray for our friend's protection from persecution in a place where standing up for the truth and not following the crowd results in suspicion and shunning.
For Kim and her family, and for her daughter's deliverance from a cult.
For Leigh – she thanks everyone for their prayers (the Lord has taken her father home in a peaceful way).
For Ryan's salvation.
For Brian's healing from sleep apnea, protection on a hazardous job, and continued spiritual growth.
For help for Steven in successfully carrying a heavy and difficult academic load in preparing to minister to the body of Christ.
For the opening of Daniel's heart to the gospel and his salvation in Jesus Christ.
For Becca's family, for help with serious medical and financial troubles (praise here for answered prayers!).
For the salvation of John's two unbelieving sons.
For Charles' granddaughter, for the perseverance of her faith and for her deliverance from drug addiction, and for the salvation and spiritual growth of another granddaughter.
For Bogdan's salvation and receptiveness to the truth.
For Clinton, for spiritual growth [praise here for completing his degree and landing a good job!].
*For Chris, for the preservation of his job in the midst of budget cuts [praise here! Victory! Job retained!], and for his health and protection on the job. *Please also pray for Lisa's health.
For the salvation of Mitch's wife.
For help for Sam's recovery from cancer and deliverance from extreme insomnia.
For Cary, for encouragement in persecution abroad, and for health and strength.
For Ania, for her salvation and spiritual growth in the truth.
*For our friend Odii, for help in finding a way to make a living without compromising his principles in a difficult field (social media). *Please pray for the success of his business as a base for ministering the Word. **Please also pray for his fiancée and her family for protection from violence in the place where they live.
For Alex' and Chris' mother, for her salvation and the opening of her heart to the truth.
For our friend Carmen, for the protection of her granddaughters, and her encouragement and strength in negotiating a difficult trial; for her boy Josh's recovery and for encouragement for him to turn to the Lord for help.
*For Amber's continued spiritual growth and encouragement, and for her healing. Please also pray for the salvation of her grandmother.
*For Sande's encouragement and perseverance in proclaiming and teaching the Word in the face of significant resistance. Please pray also for his health and the health of his mother and grandmother (suffering from aplastic anaemia and spinal stenosis respectively).
For Christine, for help and protection in a longstanding debate with several JWs, and for Melina and Sandra, for their salvation and deliverance from the WT.
For Christian, for the prospering of his consultancy in order to have more time to prepare for and engage in ministry [praise here! please continue to pray for the success of his business].
For Kim, for help for her and her family in struggling with severe financial pressures and for moving forward with spiritual growth.
For Brooke, for peace and blessing her marriage, and for her spiritual growth.
For Filip, for salvation in Jesus Christ and spiritual growth thereafter.
For Mélanie, for her healing and help in finishing her degree under difficult circumstances, and for encouragement to move forward with spiritual growth.
For Jeffery, for the salvation of his two sons.
*For Dorota's healing from inoperable cancer, and for her salvation [*praise here as she has responded to the Lord! Please pray for her course of chemotherapy].
*For old friend and seminary colleague, pastor Mark, for his healing from cancer and its complications.
For Peter, for the deliverance of his family from cult influence and to be led to salvation in Jesus Christ.
For comfort and encouragement for Charles and his wife Joan who was just diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
More E-mails: Complete archive of previous emails: Ichthys' Emails
New Testament Interpretation VI
Old Testament Interpretation XII
Fighting the Fight VIII
Spiritual Warfare VI
Sin, Faith and Suffering
Prayer, Vows and Confession
Eschatology Issues XXIII
Apologetics, Ministry and False Teaching
Culture and Christianity XIX
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry VI
Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality II
Salvation, the Gospel, and Unbelief III
Fighting the Fight VII
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions VI
Interpretation, Application, Exegesis and Ministry
Biblical Anthropology VII
Baptism: Water and Spirit VIII
Text and Canon
New Testament Interpretation V
Grace versus Law II
Apathy, Atheism, Cults and False Teaching
All about Ichthys III
The Battlefield Within II: Combating anger, fear, blaming God, blaming others
Salvation Questions III
Faith, Forgiveness, Salvation III
Eschatology Issues XXII
Cults and Christianity X
Cults and Christianity IX
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry V
Fighting the Fight VI
Marriage and the Bible VII
Culture and Christianity XVIII: Substance Use and Abuse, Tithing, Politics and Environmentalism, Friendship, Self-Defense, and Work
Paul the Apostle: Aspects of his Life and Ministry II
Old Testament Interpretation XI
Mutual Encouragement in Christ VII
The Transitional Era of the Book of Acts and its Unique Spiritual Gifts
Old Testament Interpretation X
Marriage and the Bible VI
The pre-Trib 'Rapture': so called 'imminence' and other false proofs refuted
Encouragement, Spiritual Testing and Spiritual Growth III
Eschatology Issues XXI
Eschatology Issues XX
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations X
Legalism, Past and Present III: Sabbath observance, tithing, dietary regulations and other issues
Believers in the World V: Ministering, Mutually Encouraging, and Coping with Family, Politics, and Health
Salvation, the Gospel, and Unbelief II
Old Testament Interpretation IX
Christology Questions IX: Christ and His Church
Mutual Encouragement in Christ VI: Perseverance
Science and the Bible III
Faith, Forgiveness, Salvation II
Eschatology Issues XIX
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry IV
Bible Interpretation IX
Marriage and the Bible V
Gospel Questions XIII
Biblical Anthropology VI
Cults and Christianity VIII
Fighting the Fight V: Dispatches from the Laodicean 'Front' II
Old Testament Interpretation VIII
Eschatology Issues XVIII
Spiritual Growth III
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry III
Sin, Guilt, and Salvation II
New Testament Interpretation IV
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations IX
Peace, Reconciliation and Salvation
Mutual Encouragement in Christ V: Soldiers of the Cross
Baptism: Water and Spirit VII
Faith, Forgiveness, Salvation
Cults and Christianity VII
Old Testament Interpretation VII
Sin, Guilt, and Salvation
Eschatology Issues XVII
Dangers of the Pre-Trib Rapture False Teaching
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations VIII
The Infinity, Magnitude, Glory, Providence and Plan of God
Eschatology Issues XVI
Gospel Questions XII
The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God IV
Nephilim, Antichrist, the False Prophet and the Mark of the Beast
Angelic Issues VII
Prayer Questions II
The Trinity and Messianic Legalism II
Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment II
Atheism and Apologetics II
Politics versus Spiritual Growth II
Culture and Christianity XVII: Humor, Self-Defense, Pacifism and War
Culture and Christianity XVI: Alcohol, Money and Dietary Issues
Dreams, Visions, Miracles, Exorcism, Tongues, and False Prophets
Calvinism, Catholicism and Ichthys
Apologetics, Legalism, Cults and Philosophy
The Law, Legalism, and Rome
Mutual Encouragement in Christ IV
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers V
Faith and Free Will in Trial and Testing
Free Will and God's WILL in Salvation
Jobs, Money, Finances and Giving: What does the Bible say?
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry II
Eschatology Issues XV
Dealing with Sin and Guilt
Mutual Encouragement in Christ III
Preparing for Tribulation II
It is Better on the Other Side
Christology Questions VIII: The Deity, Humanity and Life of Christ
The Lives of the Apostles and the Writing of the New Testament II
Biblical People and Places: Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Hagar, Esau, Joseph and more
Biblical Anthropology V: Body, Spirit and 'Soul', Present and Future
Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet and the Mark of the Beast
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions V
Prophets, Prophecy, and False Prophets
Christology Questions VII: The Life and Spiritual Death of Christ and Holy Communion
The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God III
Culture and Christianity XV: The Bible vs. some Sensitive Social and Political Issues
Christology Questions VI: Christophany, Deity and the Spiritual Death of Christ
Encouragement, Spiritual Testing and Spiritual Growth II
Spiritual Warfare V
Cults and Christianity VI
Fighting the Fight IV: Dispatches from the Laodicean 'Front'
Eschatology Issues XIV
The Gift of Tongues: Part 3
The Resurrection Body and our Eternal Future II
Gospel Questions XI
Blindness, Disease and Healing
Ministry and Preparation for Ministry
Atheism and Apologetics
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations VII
Church History II
Salvation Questions II
Culture and Christianity XIV
Encouragement, Spiritual Testing and Spiritual Growth
Judaism and Legalism in the church-visible
Bible Interpretation VIII
Apostasy, Sin and Salvation
Confronting False Groups and False Teaching III
Eschatology Issues XIII: Time of the Tribulation and the Resurrection, Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast
Theological Questions II
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions IV
Old Testament Interpretation VI
More Questions on the Book of Hebrews: Melchizedek, Esau, and the 'Impossibility' of Being Restored
Believers in the World IV: Making Godly Choices vs. Following Man-Made Rules
Guilt, Sin and Victory through Spiritual Growth
Confronting False Groups and False Teaching II
Cults and Christianity V
Politics versus Spiritual Growth
Christian Struggle, Perseverance and Deliverance
The Bible and the Natural World
Sin, Fear and Forgiveness
An Extended Conversation on the 'Unpardonable' Sin
Eternal Realities: Real Heaven, Real Hell
Eschatology Issues XII: Babylon, Armageddon, Israel, 2026
Ministers, Ministry, and Preparation for Ministry
Evangelism in Principle and Practice II
Gospel Questions X: Glory, John the baptist, the hidden talent, the Kingdom of God
Old Testament Interpretation V: The Flight to Egypt, the Virgin Birth, Jonathan's Choice, Tyre in Prophecy
Matthew Questions, verse by verse
Marriage and the Bible IV
Politics and Political Action on the Eve of the Tribulation
Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading IV
Spiritual Growth II
Mutual Encouragement in Christ II
Baptism: Water and Spirit VI
Science and the Bible II
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers IV
Culture and Christianity XIII: College, Dating, Marriage and Friendship
Eschatology Issues XI: Trumpets, the Millennium, the Time of the Tribulation and the Resurrection.
Sin according to the Bible: Hamartiology II
Bible Interpretation VII
Salvation and Sin
Bible Interpretation VI
Eschatology Issues X: Strong delusion, blood moons, 2026, imminence, apostasy & the mark of the beast
Angelic Issues VI: Cherubs, Guardians, Elders and 'gods'
Sin according to the Bible: Hamartiology I
Bible Chronology, Aramaic and Interpretation
Christians and Mental Illness
Culture and Christianity XII
The Trinity and Messianic Legalism
Anger, Anthropopathism, Eternity and Divine Motives
Unbelievers, Free Will, and the Plan of God II
Christology Questions V: the Baptism, Temptation and Spiritual Death of Christ
The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God II
Believers in the World III: Prosperity Gospel, Tithing, Cults and Legalism
Gospel Questions IX
Faith, Hope and Love: Virtue in Spiritual Warfare
Trinity Questions II
Some Sensitive Topics IV
Finding a Church – or Something Better? II
New Testament Interpretation III
Faith vs. History, Archaeology, Philosophy
Believers in the World II: Confronting False Groups and False Teaching
The 144,000 and the Two Witnesses of the Tribulation
Biblical Anthropology IV: Soul and Spirit, Image and Likeness, Book of Life, Life at Birth, Accountability and Infant Salvation.
Predestination, Free Will and False Teaching
Christophany and the Trinity
Love, Marriage, and Divorce: Marriage and the Bible III
Interpreting Dreams and Analyzing Prophetic Claims
Culture and Christianity XI: Lying, Suicide, Tattoos, Investing, Drugs, Music, Family, Dating, Politics
Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading III
Eschatology Issues IX: Amillennialism, Trumpets, and the Seven Days
Spiritual Warfare IV: Demons, Demonic Influences and Satanic Methodology
Satan's Fall from Grace
Atheism and Gnosticism: Denying the Truth about God
Sin, Salvation and Forgiveness: Claiming the Mental and Spiritual High-Ground
Struggling with Salvation . . . and Relatives
Legalism, Past and Present II
Ministry and the Ichthys Ministry II
All about Ichthys II: Mutual Encouragement in the Lord
The Book of Job and Christian Suffering
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers III: Creationism, Neanderthals, Fossil Record
Christology Questions IV: Jesus' Birth, Baptism, Early Life, and Kenosis
Third Party Testimony III: Near Death Experiences, Revelations and Tongues
Third Party Testimony II: Charismatic Claims of Visions, Dreams and Prophecy
Third Party Testimony I: We Believe God and His Word – Not People
God Heals - in His way (not our way)
Sanctification, Separation and Restraint
Finding a Church – or Something Better?
Culture and Christianity X: Military Service, College, Politics, and Race Relations
Contemporary Churches and Women Preachers
Culture and Christianity IX: Politics, Tithing, Music, Crucifixes, Alcohol, and Gambling
Marriage and the Bible II
Biblical Anthropology III: Soul versus Spirit, "Soul Sleep", and the Interim Body
New Testament Interpretation II: Who is equal? Grace in vain. Unequally yoked.
Aspects of the Crucifixion II: Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
Aspects of the Crucifixion I: Carrying the cross, trials and rooster crow.
Salvation Lost and Found
The Canon: Content, Chronology, and Criticism
Spiritual Warfare III: Peter's 'Angel', Saul's Death, and Strange Events
Old Testament Interpretation IV: Gehazi's Leprosy, Tyre's Destruction, and Immanuel
Nephilim, Fallen Angels, and Genesis 6
Gospel Questions VIII
Sin, Atonement and Forgiveness II
Sin, Atonement and Forgiveness I
Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment
When is the Rapture?
Noah, the Flood, and the Nature of Animals
The Tribulation: Timing of, Preparation for, and Conditions in
Eschatology Issues VIII: Revelation, Tribulation and Judgment
Antichrist: the Mark, the Number, and the Identification of the Beast
Satan's Revolt and the Tribulation to Come
Old Testament Interpretation III: The Name 'Jacob', the Mark of Cain, Jeshrun.
Old Testament Interpretation II: Urim and Thummim, the Bronze Serpent, the Ark.
Being Saved: Security, Apostasy, and the Sin unto Death
Fighting the Fight III: False Teaching, Local Churches, and the Truth
Fighting the Fight II: Struggling with Sin, Doubt, and Severe Testing
Fighting the Fight I: Accountability, Faith, Sin, Forgiveness, and Reward
Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church II
Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I
Witnessing: Cults and Christianity II
Witnessing: Cults and Christianity I
Ministry and the Ichthys Ministry
Biblical Interpretation V
Baptism: Water and Spirit V
Spiritual Growth, Church-Searching and "Discipling"
Unbelievers, Free Will, and the Plan of God
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations VI
Baptism: Water and Spirit IV
Paganism, Idolatry, Mythology and the Occult
The Lives of the Apostles and the Writing of the New Testament
The Essence of God and Deity of Christ
Parables and their Interpretation
The Meaning and Purpose of True Christian Assembly
Marriage and the Bible
Spiritual 'ups' and 'downs'
1st John: Text and Interpretation
Eschatology Issues VII
Perseverance in the latter days of Laodicea
Baptism: Water and Spirit III
Prayer: the Persistence, Purpose and Power of.
Paul the Apostle: Aspects of his Life and Ministry
Gospel Questions VII: The Wedding at Cana et al.
Israel, 'Lost Tribes' and the Star of David
Israel and Antichrist in Eschatology
Explaining and Defending the Trinity and the Person of Christ II
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions III
Culture and Christianity VIII
The Geography of Heaven, Hades and 'Hell'.
Eschatology Issues VI
Bible Interpretation IV
Legalism, Past and Present
The Resurrection Body and our Eternal Future.
Christ the First-Born, High Priest in the Order of Melchizedek.
Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading II
Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading
Hermeneutics, Typology, Christophany, Theophany and Anthropopathism.
No, Hebrews does not teach that you lost your salvation.
Gospel Questions VI: the Long Ending of Mark et al.
Judas and the Betrayal of Christ
Doubting Salvation and Questions of Sin
The 144,000: God's Seal vs. the Mark of the Beast
Atheism: Putting Truth to Death
War in Heaven II
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions II
War in Heaven
The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions I
The Law, Love, Faith-Rest and Messianism
Paul and the Law
Genesis Questions III
Sin and Salvation, Confession and Forgiveness
Have I Lost My Salvation? (III)
The Battlefield Within: Fighting the inner spiritual Struggle.
Putting Christ in Christmas: Loving Jesus, the Star and the Magi, Wonderful Counselor.
Old Testament Interpretation: Moses and Zipporah, David's disastrous Census, the Destruction of the Midianites, et al.
Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means
153 Fish: Explaining some Difficult New Testament Passages
Kenosis: Our Lord's Self-Limitation during the 1st Advent
Biblical Anthropology II: 'Soul sleep', & dichotomy vs. trichotomy
Biblical Anthropology I: The Nature of Human Beings and Human Life according to the Bible.
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers II.
Culture and Christianity VII: Jury Duty, Witnessing, Biometry, Military Service et al.
Culture and Christianity VI: Halloween, Holidays, Aliens, and Christian Applications.
Angelic Issues V: Michael, the Angel of the Lord, Christophany, demons, cherubs, and Satan's revolt.
Angelic Issues IV: Satan's Revolt in the Plan of God.
New Testament Interpretation: Melchizedek, 'Forsake not Assembly', 'Women Remain Silent', Water-Baptism, Tongues, Prophecy, Intervention of Departed Believers.
Lost my salvation II?
All about Ichthys: Mutual Encouragement in the Lord.
Fallen Angels, Demons, Nephilim, and the Devil's Methodology.
End Times Interpretation II.
Salvation, the Gospel, and Unbelief.
The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God.
End Times Interpretation.
Grace versus Law.
Communion and the Spiritual Death of Christ.
Sinlessness and 1st John.
Israelology, Anti-Semitism, the Remnant, Gentiles, Lost Tribes, Jewish Myths.
"Soul Sleep" versus our true Heavenly State.
Christology Questions III: The Angel of the Lord, the Lamb Slain, monogenes.
Angelic Issues III: Demons, Satan, Elders, Female Angels and Guardians.
Against Universalism III: Unbelievers in the Plan of God.
Waters Above, the Firmament, and the Genesis Gap.
In Need of Guidance and Encouragement.
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations V.
Servants, Slaves, Disciples, and Ministers.
Baptism: Water and Spirit II.
Bible Interpretation III: David's Anointing, Stephen versus Genesis, Triplets, This People, and more.
Evangelism in Principle and Practice.
Scripture versus Personal Experience.
Calvinism, Covenants and Catholicism.
Culture and Christianity V: Temporal Authority vs. Biblical Application.
False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security III.
The Dangers of Messianic Legalism IV: Unclean and Impure?
Things to Come III: The Wrath of God and the Fate of the Beast's Army.
God Works All Things Together for Good.
The 7 Trumpets, the 7 Kings, Nephilim, Antichrist and Revived Rome.
The Coming Tribulation and the Kingdom of God.
Sin, Confession and Forgiveness.
Mutual Encouragement in Christ.
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations IV.
Culture and Christianity IV: Doing one's job as 'unto the Lord', the peril's of 'heroic medicine', Christian perspectives on legalizing marijuana, when lying is not a sin, and when life begins.
Eschatology Issues V: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons".
Ichthys and Contemporary Christianity.
Gospel Questions V: Help my Unbelief, Respecting our Enemies, etc.
The Two Witnesses of the Tribulation: Moses and Elijah.
The Apostles, the Jerusalem Council, and Legalism then and now.
Aspects of the Christian Walk: Gambling, Lying, Christmas, Judging, Worrying, et al.
Believers in the World: Using our Free Will to Respond to the Lord
Christology Questions II: The Serpent Lifted and the Cross, Jesus' Infallibility, Destroy this Temple, the Sign Spoken Against, His Glorification, the Spirit's Anointing, and the Necessity for His Humanity.
Paul's Jerusalem Error, Worshiping Truly, the Priesthood of the Believer, and Peter's Vision of the Impure Food
Christian Trials and Testing
Gospel Questions IV: The Prophet, the rich man in Hades, Peter's wife, the 'eleven' and the 'twelve' apostles, 'the world could not contain' (Jn.21:25), and progressive revelation.
Eschatology Issues IV: Israeli politics, 'This Generation', Signs of the Times, the Beast presently alive?, 'Flee Babylon', Preparing for the Tribulation, and 'was, is not, will be'.
John's Water-Baptism versus the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Eschatology Issues III: Over-focusing on Revelation, the Seven Churches, Enoch versus Elijah, and the Symbolism of the Menorah
The Purpose of Chronicles, Cyrus the Persian, the Chronology of the Exodus Plagues, Qumran and Isaiah, Nebuchadnezzar's Madness, and Jeremiah 31:22, "A Woman will Embrace a Man".
Aaron and the Golden Calf, Mount Zion, Moses and Zipporah, the high priest's attire, and the ark of the covenant.
Aspects of the Genesis Curse on Animals, the Tree of Knowing Good and Evil, Jacob Wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, and Kainam.
The City of David, the Star of David, Solomon's Wisdom, and the Song of Solomon.
The Israelites at Kadesh and 'not entering the Land of Promise'.
Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers.
Sin and Spiritual Transformation.
Cults and Christianity IV
Cults and Christianity III
Cults and Christianity II
Cults and Christianity.
One Baptism: the True Meaning of Peter's Words at Acts 2:38.
Apostasy and the Sin unto Death, the Conscience and Sanctification.
The Plan of God and Individual Salvation (excerpt from BB 4B)
In Your Anger, do not Sin: Ephesians 4:26 and the Sin Nature
Bible Interpretation II: Easter, Abiathar, the Hyssop-Blood Cross, Baal, the Scarlet Thread, Names of God, Adiaphoria, and Mezentius.
Spiritual Warfare II
Culture and Christianity III
Have I Lost my Salvation?
On the Firing Line: Encouragement in Christian Trials
Eschatology and the Old Testament
Prayer and our Walk with Jesus.
Issues of Canonicity II: Aramaic, Enoch, KJV, and the Pastorals
Bible Vocabulary and Bible Word Studies
Satan, his Demons, and the Gnostics
Antichrist: Alive and Well and Living on Planet Earth?
The Nature of Angels
Our Eternal Future: Life after Death for Believers in Jesus Christ
Giants and Nephilim, Sumerian Myths, and Sea Monsters
Dreams and Visions II
The Golden Rule
The Divinity of Jesus Christ
Free-Will Faith and the Will of God
Some Sensitive Topics III
The Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy: explaining James 4:5.
Faith: What is it?
The Seven-Fold Spirit of God.
Free-Will Faith in the Plan of God.
Putting the Word of God First.
The False Doctrine of "Soul Sleep" II.
The False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security II.
The Plan of God
The Dangers of Messianic Legalism III
The Dangers of Messianic Legalism II
The Dangers of Messianic Legalism.
The Gift of Tongues: Part 2
The Gift of Tongues: Part 1
Mega-Churches, Emergent Christianity, Spirituality and Materialism.
Epignosis, Christian Epistemology, and Spiritual Growth.
Jephthah's Daughter, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage.
Christian Unity and Divisiveness.
Death, Martyrdom and Resurrection.
Blessing, Cursing, and Prayer.
Freedom and Responsibility.
Fighting the Good Fight of Faith.
Only-Begotten, Mother-of-God, On-this-Rock: English-only Interpretation is Dangerous.
The Greek Text of the New Testament and some Issues of Textual Criticism.
What does the name 'Christian' mean?
Some Jewish Issues.
Christians Beware: Internet Frauds and the Need for Spiritual Discernment (part 2).
Christians Beware: Internet Frauds and the Need for Spiritual Discernment.
Sin and Forgiveness.
Spring Special: The Millennial Regathering and Purging of Israel.
Life Begins at Birth.
Culture and Christianity II
Culture and Christianity I
The Saved and the Unsaved
Last Things and Last Judgments
The Local Church and Personal Ministry IV
The Local Church and Personal Ministry III
The Local Church and Personal Ministry II
The Local Church and Personal Ministry I
More on Antichrist and his Kingdom
Antichrist and Babylon
Some Sensitive Topics II.
Christmas Special: The Judgment and Reward of the Church.
What is God's Will?
Combating Legalism VI
Combating Legalism V
Combating Legalism IV
Combating Legalism III
Combating Legalism II
Combating Legalism I
Aspects of the False Doctrine of Institutional Security
Chronological Order of the Books of the Bible II
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations III
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations II
Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations I
Gospel Questions III: Least in the kingdom, Millstones, Pennies, Pebbles, Babes, Rhaka, Tallits, and the Crown of Thorns.
Gospel Questions II: Jesus' Turning Water to Wine, Sweating Blood, Walking on Water, Washing the Disciples' Feet, and the Promise of Freedom."
Things to Come II: Genesis Rapture, Daniel's Weeks, Seven Kings, Signs of the Apocalypse, Tribulational Suffering, Seven Seals, the Bride of Christ, and Mystery Babylon.
Things to Come: The Half Hour, the 144,000, the Book of Life, Rewards, the Beast's Kingdom, the Great Apostasy, and the so-called 'Partial Rapture'.
Satan and the Existence of Evil.
The Holy Spirit: Blasphemy against, Restraining Ministry, and Gender.
Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Growth
Christian Love, the Golden Rule, Christian Military Service and Self-Defense.
Issues of Canonicity: Apocrypha, Enoch, and Inspiration.
Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality.
Numbers, Letters, and the Mark of the Beast.
Gospel Questions I: Jesus' Life, the Gospels and Cherubs, and who Wrote Matthew.
More Questions about Genesis.
Naaman, Nero, Nineveh, and Senacharib.
The False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security.
Choosing Hell: Questions about Salvation and the Love of God.
The Chronology of the End.
The Route of the Israelites in Crossing the Red Sea.
Some Issues of Transmission, Translation, and Transliteration: The Camel and the Needle, etc.
Aspects of the Life of Christ: Jesus' siblings, the man born blind, et al.
Jesus is God and man.
Jesus is God.
Redemption, the Blood of Christ, Christ our Passover, and The Passion of the Christ.
Eschatology Issues II: Angelic bodies, heaven and hell, Satan and the Nephilim, etc.
The Book of Job and Biblical Interpretation.
Some Questions about Eternity.
Who Controls our Thoughts and Emotions?
The Day of the Lord.
Sleep as a Euphemism for Death.
Christ's Preaching to the Spirits in Hell (1Pet.3:18-20), & Michael's Rebuke of Satan (2Pet.2:10-11 ).
Recovering from Sin.
The Timing of the Resurrection.
Dispensations, the Church, the Rapture, and the Destruction of the Universe.
Christianity versus Contemporary Kitsch.
Purpose Driven Life, Oprah's New Age Religion, et al.
Lot, Esau, and Cain: Learning through Negative Examples.
Against Universalism II: Only Believers are Saved.
Against Universalism I: Free Will and the Image of God.
Courage in the Fight.
The Seven Edens and the Eden of Adam and Eve.
Opposition to the Genesis Gap from the Creation Research Institute et al.
Mary 'Full of Grace'?
Changing the Name of God?
The Beast: Some Questions about Antichrist.
The Book of Revelation: Some Questions.
Red Hot or Lukewarm? Bible Teaching versus Sermonizing.
The Last Judgment and the Great White Throne.
Baptism: Water and Spirit.
Christology: Some Questions on the Life of Christ.
Train up a Child in the Way he should Go.
War, History, and Politics.
Unbelief and its Consequences.
Dreams and Visions.
Explaining and Defending the Trinity and the Person of Christ.
Free Will and Faith under Pressure.
Angelic Issues II.
Science and the Bible.
Bible Interpretation I: Academics, Versions et al.
Faith in the Word of God: the Basis of all True Worship.
Aspects of the Resurrection II.
Faith and Encouragement in the midst of Fiery Trials.
Some Sensitive Topics.
Jethro, Amenhotep, Iraq, the Catacombs, and the KJV.
Eschatology Issues: The Fig Tree, Ezekiel 38, Joel 3, and the Trumpets.
Christ the Rock, the Rooster's Crow, and the Cross.
Applying Faith II: Production, Forgiveness, Circumcision, Truth over People.
Applying Faith: Eating, Drinking, and Vacation.
The Tree of Life, Communion, and the Virgin Birth.
Can Prayer Be Offered From Heaven? & Some Genesis Questions.
Walking the Path of Faith through the Light of the Word of God.
Salvation on the battlefield, truth revealed to infants, and damnation.
Preparing for Tribulation.
Divine Sovereignty and Divine Judgment.
God's Free Gift of Salvation.
Should Christians wear Jewelry?
The Lord's Prayer.
The Events Surrounding the Birth of Christ.
Cremation or Burial?
Zechariah, Demon Possession, Marriage, Spiritual Experiences, and Bible Prophecy.
No Grounds for Divorce?
The Shape of the Universe, Hominids, and the Genesis Gap.
Taking Personal Responsibility: Interest, Bankruptcy, Gambling, and Employment.
The Seven Churches, the Judgment Seat of Christ, and other issues in Eschatology.
The Canonicity of the book of Hebrews.
Great White Throne, the Last Judgment, and the Outer Darkness.
Political Action versus Biblical Christianity.
Study Tools and Methodologies.
The Gospel and the Kingdom of God.
Pursuing a Deeper Relationship with Jesus and Christian Epistemology.
The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory.
The Divinity of the Spirit and the Percentage of those who are Saved.
Should Christians ever consider getting a lawyer?
Pastoral Authority, Popes, Pat Robertson, and Pelagianism.
Some Questions on Church Polity.
Apostles and Evangelism
Luther, Arminius, Calvin, Kant, Ironside, Tutu and Thieme.
Transmutation, Resuscitation, and Resurrection.
Is the Soul a tertium quid?
More on the Documentary Hypothesis and More on the Rapture.
Enoch's Walk with God and Some Questions in the Gospels.
The Influence of the Renaissance and Rationalism on the Church and Cutting off Arms in Malachi 2:3.
1st John 5:20 & Romans 6:23.
Baptism and Following Jesus.
Where is Armageddon?
Assurance of Salvation.
The Cross, Sin, and the Devil in God's Plan.
More on: Spiritual Gifts; Hats & Hair; the Age of Accountability.
Daniel 9:25 and Daniel 11:30.
Who will populate earth during the Millennium? and Asking for Wisdom: James 1:5.
Was Judas Saved?, The Gospel of Judas, and Issues of Canonicity.
Is 'My Son' Israel or Jesus in Hosea 11:1? & How do you Prove Sin to Someone?
Did Matthew Write his Gospel in Hebrew?
Christian Crowns, Pagan Names, and the Time of the Cock-Crow.
Child-like Faith, Mark vs. Matthew, the Mahdi, and 'Who was with God in the Beginning?
True Orthodoxy and False Creeds.
Foot-washing, Bitter Herbs, Baptism, and Borrowed Faith.
All Things Charismatic.
Friday versus Thursday Crucifixion.
Jesus' Cursing of the Fig Tree, Apostasy, and 'Feng Shui'.
The Genesis Serpent, Using "it" to refer to the baby Jesus, and more on Tattoos.
Resisting the Devil.
Why did Jesus choose John over James to take care of His mother Mary?
Antichrist's 'desire of women' in Daniel 11:37 et al.
Do recent catastrophes have a divine origin?
Does God really want us to be sick and poor? Revisiting the prosperity gospel.
Why did our Lord Jesus arise from the tribe of Judah?
What will our relationship be in heaven with children who died young?
The baptism of the Holy Spirit as distinct from speaking in tongues.
The Grammar behind the Genesis Gap.
The Great White Throne Judgment.
Moses and Zipporah.
The Victory of Faith.
Does God's choice of us eliminate our free will?
Why does God allow bad things to happen?
The Bible as "divine", roof prayer, and tattoos.
Character in Hebrews 1:3, et al.
Exorcism, et al.
"Are the children of unbelievers lost if they die before receiving Christ?"
How not to get "left behind".
"Is baptism necessary for salvation?"
"The nature of life after death."
"The personality of the Holy Spirit."
"The dragon of Revelation 12 and the talking idol of Revelation 13."
"Bound by Satan in Luke 13:16, language and the Tower of Babel, Daniel's 70th week, and the number 12."
"Infirmities and Diseases in Matthew 8:17"
"The Leftover Baskets of Bread and Fish in John 6."
"Waiting for the Ascension" and "Amos 4:11".
Why was Canaan cursed?
Should Christians have a competitive attitude?
John "leapt for joy" in the womb - or did he?
Satanic Influence in Video Games and Television.
Moving Mountains: Matthew 21:21
Not a hair shall be lost? Luke 21:16 versus Luke 21:18.
The reign of antichrist: 7 years or 3 and 1/2 years?
The Trinity in Scripture.
The Ark of the Covenant.
"Doubts about the Nephilim in Genesis 6" and "Ezekiel 9:4 and the Mark of the Beast"
"Word Counts in the Bible", "Him whom they Pierced (Rev.1:7)", and "Necromancy".
"Waiting for a Savior" and "The Direction East in the Bible"
Is there a purgatory according to the Bible?
Your desire shall be for your husband: Genesis 3:16.
Have I committed the unforgivable sin?
Is the local church meant to be a patriarchy?
Why doesn't the Bible mention all of the prophets of the children of Israel?
The True "Victorious Life".
Tohu in Genesis 1:2 and the Cause of the Darkness.
Why Doesn't God Prevent All Children from Dying?
Why were Christians being regarded as "evil-doers" in 1st Peter 2:12?
The Scofield Reference Bible.
Phylacteries and the Mark of the Beast, and "What about Joseph?"
Feeling desperate and alone.
Is Tithing net or gross?
Assembly of the local church, and Jesus' use of "I AM" from Exodus 3:14 in John 8:58
The "burden of the Lord" in Jeremiah 23:32-40, and judgment for idle words in Matthew 12:36-37.
The importance of spiritual resiliency.
Does God use disease to discipline us?
Recovering from Cult Exposure.
Variability in Christian Testing and Personal Tribulation.
Is there any value to the Apocrypha?
The Communion Ceremony outside of the local church.
The Christian Walk, the End, and Tattoos.
Should Christians honor Sunday as the new Sabbath?
Chronological order of the books of the Bible.
Doubt, light, missed opportunities et al.
Addicted to Sin.
Corporate prayer in Matthew 18:19: "when two agree on earth".
What does the Bible say about humor?
The value of cumulative prayer.
Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.
How could a loving God order the destruction of the Canaanites?
Should Christians observe the Torah?
Church Polity and three other passages.
Walking with Jesus.
Tongues: does 'no man' understand?
The few saved, the door in heaven, visions of heavenly realities, and Christmas.
Christian suffering and spiritual maturity.
Aliens, antichrist, and eschatology.
Does exceptionally sinful behavior indicate that a Christian has lost salvation?
Should Christians celebrate Jewish festivals?
The Deaths of the 12 Disciples / Apostles of Christ.
Categories of Sin in Psalm 19.
Some brief answers on a variety of topics.
Pastoral Support, Pastoral Preparation, and the Purpose of Assembly.
Encouragement, Isaiah 6:11-13, and the Hope of Repentance.
Questioning the Genesis Gap.
Dinosaurs, the Nephilim, Noah, et al.
How much should we pay our pastor?
More about Women Preachers.
Is it wrong for me to celebrate Easter?
The Remnant in Isaiah 6:13.
The Big Distinction.
The Day of the Lord in 2nd Peter 3:10.
The Day of the Lord.
The Sealing of the Holy Spirit.
Visions of Angels: Colossians 2:18.
Waiting on God's timing: patience in testing.
"Your Throne, O God": Psalm 45:6.
Moses striking the Rock.
Procreation and Creation.
What is meant by the phrase "the Lord's footstool"?
1st Peter 3:3-5
A conversation about divorce and remarriage.
Faith in the midst of the fiery trial.
Hebrews 10:26 again, and two other notes on Arthur Pink and the Greek word diakonos.
What is the correct translation of Isaiah 59:19?
Is the star of Acts 7:43 the star of David?
Some questions about Nimrod and Christmas trees, Tongues, and Healing
Is Jesus the only One ever to restore sight?
What happens to people who were born and died prior to the birth of Christ?
Which is better, the King James Version or the New King James Version?
What is the minimum necessary to be saved?
How can we know whose interpretation of the Bible is right (Part 2)?
How can we know whose interpretation of the Bible is right (Part 1)?
Psalm 22:1, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
The "Mind of Christ" in 1st Corinthians 2:16
Simeon and Simon, and the two crows of the rooster
Ichthys, saints, and the Last Adam
Does Hebrews 10:26 teach loss of salvation?
Eternal security: where does one draw the line?
Who are Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39?
How did John the baptist come to doubt Jesus?
Is Jesus literally seated on the throne at God's right hand?
Are the Celts the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?
Whatever happened to the "Genesis Gap"?
"The baptism which now saves you": 1st Peter 3:21.
Hebrew Language Study Tools.
What type of healing is being discussed in Isaiah 53:5?
The Origin of the Four Seasons
2nd Peter 3:5: Doubting the Tribulation
Tent-making and Galatians 6:6
A Question about Ichthys books
Biblical Metaphors and Symbolism
Faith and the Pre-Tribulational "Rapture".
Bible translation and John 8:58.
Melchizedek and the high priesthood of Christ: two questions et alia.
In need of encouragement.
The centurion and the Syro-Phoenician woman.
Who is the Meshiach?
A Sadducean Question
What is "heaven" like according to Christian teachings?
Acts 20:28: Whose Blood?
1st Corinthians 11: Hats or Hair?
Confession of Sin, Fellowship, and the Filling of the Holy Spirit.
A Miscellany of Questions and Answers (Nineveh, the beast, tongues, demons, Sadam, etc.)
Some Greek Questions in the Gospels (John 1:3; 2:19; 8:58; Luke 23:43)
Is Man trichotomous, and does that mean that salvation is three-tiered?
Questioning the Trinity
The blood of Christ
Christ knocking at the door in Revelation 3:20
The futility of memory without God and eternal life.
The meaning of Jesus' words, "I am" in John 8:58
What does the Bible say about Heaven and Hell?
Peace in 1st Corinthians 14:33
Salvation and Church Affiliation.
Several questions on the book of Hebrews.
Does the Bible prohibit women from preaching or teaching in the Church?
Should Christian leaders refrain from drinking in public?
How to use the Bible translations at Ichthys.
The Worship of Jesus: a proof of His divinity?
An Extended Conversation about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Is water baptism required for Christians today?
Are health and wealth a part of the gospel?
Will those in Hades be able to see Christ's return?
Feelings of Guilt about Remarriage.
Who are the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?
What does "the Word was with God" mean in John 1:1-2?
Three questions on three verses in Isaiah (Is.21:4; 28:10, & 66:24).
How important is education for a pastor?
Does Hebrews 10:26-35 ("deliberate sinning" etc.) mean that a believer can lose his or her salvation?
Availability and use of Ichthys materials: several questions.
Is there any difference between demons and fallen angels?
Two questions about Judas Iscariot.
Three Questions about Tattoos and Salvation.
The Hebrew word for 'one' (`echadh) and the uniqueness of God.
Did the witch of Endor really conjure up the spirit of Samuel?
A Question about the "Waters Above".
Why did God the Father wait so long to send Jesus into the world?
How does being "slain in the Spirit" relate to being baptized in the Spirit?
How do you prove the existence of God?
Where does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?
Is it ever Justifiable to Tell a Lie (part 2)?
Seeing double in Matthew.
Mary, Joseph, and Nazareth.
Is the Westminster Catechism a Good Reference Tool?
What does it mean "the spirit returns to God" in Ecclesiastes 12:7?
Is there any Connection between biblical Gemstones and Moral Characteristics?
Are Miraculous Gifts Operational Today?
Jesus Christ in the Old Testament (Christophany: Gen.3:8).
Can those in organizations which teach "salvation by works" be saved?
Is "helpmeet" a wrong translation in Genesis 2:20?
Our will and God's WILL.
Cast thy Bread upon the Waters: What do the seven and eight portions in Ecclesiastes 11:2 mean?
Was Cain Satan's literal "seed"?
The Demon Possessed Girl in Acts 16:16.
The "Sin unto Death" in 1st John 5:16.
Is death just a natural part of human life?
Communion and the Blood of Christ.
What does it mean in 1st Corinthians 7:14, "the unbelieving husband is sanctified"?
The Re-institution of the Feast of Tabernacles in the Millennium.
Secular Documentation for the Exodus.
The false doctrine of "soul sleep".
The Author of Hebrews and Jesus' Perfect Completion of His Mission.
The Trinity in Isaiah 63:10-15.
How old was Jesus at the time of His crucifixion and resurrection?
Five Smooth Stones: 1st Samuel 17:40
How can we know the Bible is true?
The name "Jesus".
Habakkuk's Prosperity Prayer: Habakkuk 3:17-19.
Jeremiah 31:22: "A Woman shall Compass a Man".
The New International Version of the Bible and some issues in Bible translation.
Is "the Prophet" of Deuteronomy 18:18 Muhammad?
The One True God and the Trinity in the Old Testament.
Are those in Hebrews 6:4 who "crucify the Son of God afresh" lost?
Are New Bible Translations Part of a Conspiracy?
What exactly is the "red heifer prophecy", and how does it relate to the events of the end times?
Where did the waters of Genesis 1 go?
Sin, Baptism, and the Book of Revelation
Tithing and the Book of Life
The Dangers of the Prosperity Gospel.
English and the Tower of Babel.
The "Seven Thunders" of Revelation 10:3-4
The fate of the unrighteous dead in Isaiah 66:24
Who are the "sons of the kingdom" in Matthew 18:11-12?
Why does Judah get greater honor than Jerusalem in Zechariah 12:7?
Are there Female Angels?
Longevity in the Millennium.
How is the date of Easter computed?
What is the meaning of the 1290 days versus the 1335 days in Daniel 12?
What Church era are we now in?
The mark of the beast.
Christophany in the Exodus.
Can you explain "help my unbelief!" in Mark 9:24?
What does it mean to "overcome" in Revelation chapters 2 and 3?
Are women required to wear veils or hats in church?
Is the world about to come to an end?
Does the Bible ever describe the earth as being round?
Pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation rapture?
Pearls before swine.
Recognizing the Messiah.
The gift of healing.
The origin and fate of the "giants" in Genesis chapter six.
Christian suffering - Christian encouragement.
Is speaking in tongues biblical?
Is speaking in tongues a sin?
Can you recommend a good commentary on the book of Romans?
Aspects of the resurrection.
The recipients of Peter's epistles.
Pre- or Post-Tribulation "rapture"?
The lives of the prophets.
The old prophet who lied.
Animal sacrifice in the millennium.
Is it ever justifiable to lie?
Who wrote the King James version?
The meaning of the divine name יהוה.
The so-called "documentary hypothesis".
The relationship between the books of Kings and Chronicles.
David's disastrous census of Israel.
Aspects of the Unseen Angelic Warfare and 666, the Mark of the Beast.
The 200 million strong demon army of Revelation 9:13.
Deliverance through Childbearing in 1st Timothy 2:15?
Some questions about the Tribulation.
More on divorce and remarriage.
Divorce and remarriage.
The antecedents of ICHTHYS.
What does it mean to "remember the Sabbath and keep it holy"?
The manner of the apostle Peter's death.
Wasn't Matthias the thirteenth apostle?
Forward progress necessary for salvation and spiritual growth.
The "seven days" of human history.
1st John 1:9 and confessing sin.
ICHTHYS and the role of traditional Christianity.
Can you recommend a good survey for the Old and New Testaments?
Where can I find more information on the "Genesis gap"?
Is Church membership an issue in salvation?
Can you recommend a church?
Are these materials available for purchase as books?
A bit of autobiography.
What is your opinion of the Abingdon one-volume Bible Commentary?
What is the significance of the number "20" in the Bible?
The 144,000 of Revelation chapters 7 and 14.
What is your view on predestination?
Who is "true Israel"?
The chronology of the date 2026.
Does baptism play a role in being born again?
Why does the devil have access to God while man cannot stand in His presence?
The structure of the book of Revelation.
What is your view of the rapture?
What is meant by the "10 days" of Revelation 2:10?
Dragons in the Bible?
Are there apostles in the Church today?
What is the meaning of the word "chosen" in the Bible.
What are the most common Bible names?
What is the biblical significance of the number forty?
What does the Bible have to say about witchcraft?
How can I protect myself from false teaching?
Didn't the devil know he couldn't defeat God?
Are the Masons wrong according to the Bible?
Can the faith of "backsliders" be restored?
Are there biblical origins to mythology?
What does the phrase "sides of the pit" mean in Isaiah 14:15?
Can prayer be offered in the name of the Son?
Election and John 6:37?
Is it valid to celebrate Christmas?
Can you give me some information on divine names in the Bible?
What is the significance of name changes in the Bible?
Is faith a "gift of God"?
Is there a "gospel of Thomas"?
Is the nature of Man dichotomous or trichotomous?
Will the temple be rebuilt in Jerusalem?
Does the Bible teach a literal Millennium?
What does the word "good" mean in Genesis?
Who are "the dead" who "rise first" in 1st Thessalonians 4?
Are the Greek tenses in John 7:34 correctly translated?
Is the devil "mad" to oppose God?
Does the Bible require supporting the pastor financially?
How can Jesus be a man and God at the same time?
How did people atone for intentional sin in Old Testament times?
What is the symbolism of the Lamb of God in Revelation?
Can you recommend some word study tools for Bible study?
Can people who commit suicide be saved?
Are tattoos biblical?
Is it "ichthys" or "ichthus"?
What is the difference between wisdom and discernment?
Marriage of Believers and Unbelievers.
Is hearing believing in John 6:35?
How certain a date is 2026?
Is Paul describing himself in Romans chapter seven?
Is tithing required for salvation?
What is the evidence for the "rapture"?
Is there any validity to the "prosperity gospel"?
Who are the "Nephilim" in Genesis chapter six?
Is there a literal "devil"?
What does the Bible have to say about reincarnation?
What is the unpardonable sin?
Believing the Bible for Spiritual Growth.
Why was the New Testament written in Greek?
What about those who have never heard of Christ?
What about elders and deacons?
Eternal Security and "sinless perfection".
Eternal Security and "salvation by works".
Does the Bible teach ex nihilo creation?
When did Jesus first know He was God's Son?
Are there prophets today?
Despairing of life.
How important is baptism?
How could Christ have been three days and nights in the grave?
Do Muslims worship the One true God?
What can I do about spiritual fainting?