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Culture and Christianity XIX

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Question #1:

Hi Dr,

I hope all is well. What is the appropriate scriptural way to meditate? Your insight is appreciated.

In Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior

Response #1:

Sorry I have been out of the loop for a few days.

I suppose it depends on your definition of "meditation". One does find that word in English translations of the Bible, such as KJV Ps.19:14 "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight . . .". But that root, 'hagah', has to do with uttering sounds, sometimes musical, and with murmuring. In other words, it has to do with vocalizing one's thoughts, most often to oneself.

There is no biblical instance that I know of where someone goes off to "meditate". When we "go off", we do so to have a conversation with the Lord, that is, to pray (as our Lord often did to pray to the Father: e.g., Matt.14:23). If I have time to think but prayer is not my purpose I try to think about godly things as Paul tells us to do (e.g., Col.3:1-4), and most particularly thinking about the Lord and what He has done for us – and about being with Him soon. That sort of godly thinking lends itself and leads naturally to prayer (so the circle is complete). To focus, I also will go over Psalms I have memorized (I don't have the best word-for-word memory). I don't mean to leave the impression that I am perfect in this. Not at all. This "fight for the high ground" of the heart is part of the daily battle that every mature Christian has, and it will continue to be a fight – even after we've gotten pretty good at it – right to the end. It's very easy for our emotions and external stimuli to knock us off that high ground, so recovery from such satanic counter-attacks is key.

All this is actually a big part of the most recent Bible Basics installment, "Peripateology" (see the link).

Praying for you daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

A word about our president: He is a corrupter and delights in corrupting others in order to enslave them. He might be the first president in US history who is pure evil.

Response #2:

I know many who are very upset by this president – and many who were very upset by the last one. Generally, the two groups don't understand the perspective of the other (or make it a point not to care to do so). The point I would like to make, as someone who deliberately steers clear of politics, is that getting upset about things like this which are totally outside our control and which really don't affect us personally unless we do let ourselves get upset is only counterproductive to God's purpose for us in this life. There is more also: if we are wrongly thrilled to have president X or appalled to have president Y, what will we do when we have antichrist? At that point getting thrilled for the wrong reasons in a bad cause (as many will) or getting upset beyond measure so as to lose spiritual balance (as many will) will have far worse consequences. So what has been happening in this country is a test – regardless of one's opinion of liking it or loathing it. As the Lord said to Jeremiah:

"If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?"
Jeremiah 12:5 NKJV

Best advice: concentrate on your job, your degree . . . and your ministry and spiritual growth.  Links:

Politics versus Spiritual Growth II

Politics versus Spiritual Growth I

Politics and Political Action on the Eve of the Tribulation (the "salt" principle)

Politics and Society in Satan's World System (in SR 4)

Wishing you a happy 2018 in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I watch the news and it seems like every month or so, someone dies at schools. And it seems as if the law is doing things backwards. From the most recent Florida shootings and past school shootings like the Columbine shootings. What bothers me is that where are the security guards that are supposed to protect these children? Had these guards have weapons, these children wouldn't have died if these guards took action. This no guns allowed has actually caused the deaths instead of protecting life. A friend of mine is a Principal of a Christian school and he carries a gun tucked away in his coat. He was inspired to do this because of all the shootings. People would say WWJD? I don't know if He would allow for guns in school for protection or not. What would be the moral thing to do in a situation where people need to be defended with weapons for the safety of many others according to scripture?

God Bless,

Response #3:

The Lord is our Protector. That doesn't mean that we can't / shouldn't take prudent personal measures against genuine threats. That is a matter of personal application.

As to what's right for schools / officials / politicians / administrators to do, that is a political question, and I would not be surprised to find out after all of this life is over that one of the reason that the devil is motivating these kinds of incidents is to prod Christians to become politically involved by getting them upset about these tragedies and encouraging them to look for political solutions to them.

Getting involved in searching for political solutions only leads the believer down a road that only ends in evil.

There is no political solution to evil.

We can certainly pray – and praise the Lord if we have been personally spared. But I am leery of even being drawn into discussions which even skirt the issue of some sort of "solution" to problems that are mired deep in the world of ubiquitous social evil manipulated by equally evil politics set in motion by the evil one.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

Are Christians who consider themselves part of the alt-right apostate? Should I consider them apostate?


Response #4:

The only One whose "consideration" matters is God's:

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
2nd Timothy 2:19 NKJV

Getting involved in politics – left or right, extreme left or extreme right – in inimical to spiritual growth and is very spiritually dangerous.

An apostate in biblical terms is someone who has renounced their faith in Jesus Christ. Such a person is self-condemned regardless of the reason for abandoning their faith.

If a person "considers himself" and is involved in politics, he/she is steering a dangerous spiritual course. Helping such a person is dangerous and should be engaged in only with care (cf. Jude 1:22-23). In this case you mention, the way to help is NOT to "correct" the person's politics – which would only demonstrate that one is in the same soup even if the flavor is different – but to try and win them back to spiritual growth, progress and production through the truth of the Word to the glory of Christ. Arguing politics with them will only confirm them in their bad trajectory because it will be a a prideful and emotional encounter by definition (cf. Matt.7:3-5).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

I have come across increasingly scathing and stinging attacks in my faith along the subject.

I think it is because of what is happening in the US over the last 10 years, we had a black president, something that forces us to remind ourselves how far we have come. You can’t discuss Obama without going back to Civil Rights Movement and beyond that to slavery. And when you do this, you can’t escape questioning the role Christianity played in this. Why the silence and even endorsement of slavery? The answer is not hard to dig; N.T. is silent and merely appears to regulate the practice. You have Paul not rebuking slave-masters but appealing for gentleness

The other reason are the new movements especially Black Lives Matter. You must admit they have a way of throwing uncomfortable subjects to the forefront.

And finally ,we have Trump whose surprising endorsement by white evangelicals has really exposed them for being far more faithful to the politics. Raises the question about what other evils they endorsed or even married to their theology.

To my question.

How should I approach these assaults to the credibility of my faith?

Response #5:

Hello again,

On this one, I'm not sure exactly what you are asking.

What I will say is that it is cardinal principle of this ministry to stay away from political action and activity of any sort, and that includes social action or reaction of any sort.

We believers are here to honor Jesus Christ by growing up spiritually, pushing forward in our walk with Him and passing the tests that come to the mature, and then helping others to do the same by means of the gifts and ministries the Lord then provides us. Getting involved in trying to "fix the world" involves us instead with the present ruler of this world. I think politics has ruined more Christians than anything else I can think of, even more so than most debilitating sin. And if a believer is involved in, e.g., alcohol abuse, on some level he/she recognizes they are out of line and cruising for discipline from the Lord (and that is true of all gross sin). But when it comes to politics, many believers have their sin-natural sense of self-righteousness stoked to such a degree that they imagine they are "doing good" when they are only helping the devil sow discord and trap other believers into similarly wasting their time and energy and lives (at best) and endangering their salvation at worst.

In a few short years, the Lord will return, and we who have served Him in this life will participate in the greatest administration of all time, Christ's millennial reign. Until that time, there is no "fixing things", and trust me when I say that when the Tribulation begins in very short order things are going to get dramatically worse regardless of puny human efforts now. Indeed, being politically active now (on whatever "side") is only going to make the person involved more vulnerable to the siren song of antichrist. He will be a crusader too – and throwing in one's lot with him will mean loss of faith and loss of salvation.

Here are a few pertinent links:

Politics versus Spiritual Growth I

Politics versus Spiritual Growth II

Politics and Political Action on the Eve of the Tribulation

Preparing for Tribulation II

Eschatology Issues XIII: Time of the Tribulation and the Resurrection, Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

May I ask you a couple of Bible questions?:

When the Lord says to 'leave your gift there at the altar,' what does that mean? To make up with people before going to Him?

When Paul says that women should be silent as the law also says, what law is he referring to?

Were Roman/Greek slaves in Paul's day whipped, beaten, or otherwise physically injured by their masters, when Paul said to stay a slave?

What should happen when 1 Timothy 5:8 and 1 Corinthians 5:11 conflict. If someone is in
old age, you might not be able to love 'from a distance' if they need daily care for example. I got to that first example with the slaves because I thought if Paul wanted us to submit to physical abuse for God, it would apply in other situation, and also it might be the same with sexually immoral authorities. (Hope that makes sense).

Response #6:

Great to hear from you, my friend!

Apologies for the delay. Posting on Saturday and a busy weekend have put me behind in getting to emails.

On "leave the gift", our Lord is telling us that the reality behind the sacrifice is far more important than the ritual; the rites of the Law had their primary power in what they represented, but if they become merely rituals to the point where the reality contradicts the ritual the person is engaging in, what is the point of such hypocrisy? Better to leave it where it's at and go fix the reality.

On "as the Law also says", this refers to the principle of the husband's authority in marriage; here is a link to where I discuss the details: "Some Jewish Issues" (see Q/A #7)

On the third question, with your explanation, I think I see what you mean – but please do feel free to write me back. Slavery in the ancient world was of course a terrible thing, but it was ubiquitous. For that reason God gives guidance on how slaves who are believers should act. In 1st Corinthians 7:21-24 Paul tells slaves that becoming free if they have a chance is best, even though while they are slaves it is their Christian duty to do a good job. We are never told that we have to do things which are immoral or participate in immoral activities. There are limits to all authority and the Bible tells those in authority to behave as well. In a society where there is no slavery, we believers still need to give respect where respect is due, but we are not required to endorse any sort of bad behavior nor participate in it. We live in a very polarized time. People are very free with their praise and their criticism. Believers need not have any cares for what is going on politically; our King is in heaven. In terms of what we are responsible to do, we can do a good job without approving of anything wrong or evil – and we have confidence that the Lord is our Protector and Deliverer if we ever find ourselves in proximity to evil people, even if they be in authority.

I very much appreciate your insightful questions, my friend – they speak to your growing spiritual discernment which is a clear indication of continuing growth.

Keep fighting the fight – and do feel free to write me back (apologies again for the delay).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

Please don't apologize! You always get back so quickly. I read the answer on the link, and I see what you are saying. There is also the example of Sarah being silent when the Lord and the angels visited Abraham, until addressed by them. And she is praised by the Scripture. (Then again there is Abigail insulting Nabal, but I don't think she is praised by Scripture, only David). I suppose an unmarried adult woman is only under the Lord's authority (not her father's or brother's)?

On the third question, I just realized that there might be a sort of example in the Old Testament for it, too: Joseph when he resisted Potiphar's wife. He removed himself from that room with her, but he did not completely remove himself from his position as slave and run away afterwards. Maybe that says we are okay if a person we have to be around (whether due to work or family) is sexually immoral, just not for us to engage. It is another thing if the person has no work or family connection-we can just stay away completely like Paul would say (there is no principle making us stay like there might be for work or family). In that injunction he refers to someone who claims to be Christian (a would-be friend, not a family member or boss we have to deal with). Though that example is descriptive not prescriptive, Scripture seems to approve of what he did (he is praised for it).

Thanks for helping me understand. (I don't think I ever would have thought of that explanation for the gift and the altar). And I also have thought it might be better to just stay away from politics and the news, because there is nothing I can really do about any of it. It is just upsetting, but me being upset doesn't help anything, it just hurts me. I am very happy our real country is in heaven with the Lord, a place with a perfect ruler where sin and evil can't get to.

It is sometimes hard for me to look at the US and it's ideas and principles and way of life, because I feel I will have to watch it die. I don't want to be attached, Rahab wasn't attached, but it is natural to be a attached to the country you grew up in isn't it? The only thing that gets me over the sadness is reminding myself of the glory of the Lord's kingdom. America seems like a great kingdom, but the Lord's would be infinitely more so great. And the apostles will be there, and the great believers.

Anyway, I am sorry if I made you feel rushed,

Response #7:

No need for you to apologize at all!

Potiphar's wife is a good example of what we've been talking about. It's also a good example of how reading the Bible intensively gives the Spirit many ways through our memory of scripture to encourage us and lead us to the truth, reinforcing the good things we have been taught with truths we can see for ourselves from the Bible. Joseph had no way to extricate himself from slavery so he was in a "no win" situation at that household. He did the right and righteous thing . . . and suffered for it. As Peter says:

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.
1st Peter 2:18-20 NKJV

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
1st Peter 4:16 NKJV

There may be times when we as "servants" have to suffer unjustly. We are all under some form of authority. Parental authority is sometimes evil (recent news reports, e.g.); the authority of the state, even in a "democracy", is sometimes evil (plenty of personal experience and history there); and if a person finds him/herself in jail, or in the army, or in a bad marriage, well, there may or may not have been culpable personal decision making leading to these situations, but once a person is in them, there is certainly the possibility of being abused. We are not required to be happy about it or to stop looking for legitimate avenues of escape; but in the meantime we are required to do "the right and righteous thing" as Joseph did. And we see in his case that God was working it all out together for the good, even though no human being could see "how?" at that moment that he was falsely accused and thrown into prison (Gen.50:20). But of course he couldn't have come into contact with Pharaoh's officials without this event and wouldn't have been in a position to relate with God's help the interpretation of Pharaoh's dream with the result of him being made ruler of Egypt and then having the opportunity to save his whole family from starvation. The bottom line, then, is to trust the Lord when and if we find ourselves in some analogous situation, not forswearing reasonable efforts to become free (as Paul says is the better course: 1Cor.7:21-24), but not getting in the way of God's will for us, by doing things which are definitely wrong and/or self-willed just because we are unhappy with the situation.

Rahab is another excellent parallel. It is VERY wise of you to avoid becoming too emotionally attached to the status quo when that is likely to change radically in the relatively near future. Even without the Tribulation, the advent of antichrist, and the empowerment of evil, we can see how people who were overly attached to their country "right or wrong" became enmeshed in evil during the last century in particular (in Germany, Russian and China) – not that there aren't abundant examples in this century already too.

But if we are "Babylon" as I believe must be the case, becoming overly attached to the point of being led into bad decision-making could have disastrous spiritual consequences. For believers to get involved in political thinking on any level is always a mistake. How much more so in mystery Babylon during the Tribulation! This is what really concerns me about the highly polarized and exceptionally emotional nature of all that is happening in our country today. Not the fact of it (which is disturbing enough), but the fact that taking sides – any side – is going to make the believer who does so very vulnerable to becoming involved in the struggle for supremacy by the beast once the Tribulation begins. That is a particularly deadly problem because it is not yet clear who he is or what his particular politics will be. I have speculated based upon what I know of the scriptures which relate to this problem that antichrist will style himself as the champion of "Christianity" against "antichrist" (the coming leader of the Islamic confederation). Being "involved" will likely dispose a believer to support this "person" or possibly oppose him – but for the wrong reasons, political reasons rather than spiritual ones. Both tracks end in a very bad place with twists and turns we cannot entirely foresee at present. So while things are "sad" today, they stand to get much worse by and by.

Your very wise policy of looking beyond all this to the citizenship which is yours in heaven, and our mutual joy in the New Jerusalem with all other believers on that wonderful day to come is precisely the right antidote to all this – and it is the mindset which all believers should have at all times in any case.

By faith [Abraham] dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Hebrews 11:9-10 NKJV

Your friend and future neighbor in New Jerusalem,

Bob L.

Question #8:

What is the meaning of this proverb?

“Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.”
(Proverbs 27:13)

Response #8:

The second part is parallel to the first; most versions reflect the fact that the second "outsider" (1984 NIV) is feminine (2011 NIV no longer recognizes that there are two genders, apparently). Many versions render "promiscuous woman" or "adulteress" or similar. Here, however, it seems that this is just a natural variation in the typical Hebrew poetic repetition with changes to make the point emphatically: i.e., we are to do this whatever gender the person is we are talking about.

What are we to do? We are to avoid getting financially involved with other people whose dealings are subtle and suspect. If we must deal with them, we need to "get it in writing" with a bond too if possible, because we are likely to lose everything if this questionable person goes bankrupt or is involved in criminal activity. The way this is put leads me to say as I say at the beginning of the paragraph that the better part of valor would be to stay away from getting involved in any financial or legally binding activity with anyone whose bona fides you can't vouch for absolutely. This would mean all unbelievers – not that there aren't honest unbelievers, but still . . .; and it would also mean most believers – since most believers in this era, sad to say, are either only skin deep in terms of Christian character or running off of their emotions most of the time (which makes them prone to trust people they should not trust).

Of course in financial terms this will mainly not apply if a person has nothing to invest, so I personally don't have any such worries. As my maternal grandmother was wont to say, "Blessed be nothing!".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #9:

First of all, I am going to begin with the presupposition that God is speaking through Rushdoony.

I am in debt from college, and God said that I am not supposed to be in debt. By going to college, have I forsaken God?

Response #9:

I have no clue in the world who "Rushdoony" is (nor, frankly, do I wish to know).

If money debtors were going to hell, I would beat you getting down there – along with many other very good Christians I know. So I'm relieved to tell you this is NOT the case.

In the Law, Israelites were not supposed to charge interest, and debts were to be forgiven every seven years (Deut.15:1). Even in secular ancient societies, as in classical Athens, blanket cancellation of debts happened from time to time (Solon's seisachtheia saved the country). The fact that evil has mushroomed among us today and that many of us are "debt slaves" is a reproach against our culture / civilization / country. After all, bankruptcy doesn't really even exist in this country anymore since student loans and medical bills are exempt – the two main reason that honorable people's finances collapse when they experience setbacks such as job loss of serious illness. And a few years of not being able to pay it back only compounds the problem (literally in terms of interest).

Here's a passage that is near and dear to my heart as the end of mystery Babylon draws ever nearer:

Will not your creditors rise up suddenly?
Will they not awaken who oppress you?
And you will become their booty.
Because you have plundered many nations,
All the remnant of the people shall plunder you,
Because of men’s blood
And the violence of the land and the city,
And of all who dwell in it.
Habakkuk 2:8-9 NKJV

Just remember, if you keep on walking with the Lord, He will NEVER forsake you (Deut.31:6, 8; Jos.1:5; Heb.13:5).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

The topic of abortion has been bothering my conscience. What should I do? No, it’s not personally relevant, and I hope it never will be.


Response #10:

I don't know that there is anything you can do – except for becoming politically involved which, in my humble opinion, would be a terrible mistake. There are a lot of terrible things that happen in this world, but it is of the devil to see and approach such things in general, blanket terms instead of treating them as individual cases. What I mean by that is that offering assistance, emotional support, guidance and prayer to someone in trouble is godly; attempting to use the power of government to coerce other people of whom you know nothing to be godly is evil. Also, the latter has many unintended evil consequences. Crusading diverts what may be godly intentions and energies into an evil cause; it also pressures people to change their beliefs or adopt erroneous ones for the sake of the cause. In the case of abortion, many Christians who should know better from a simple reading of the Bible have become materialists because of their adherence to the anti-abortion crusade, affirming a lie that "life begins at conception", making man the biological life-giver in place of God who gives us life in the human spirit created at birth.

Finally, the virulence of the anti-abortion movement has had a lot to do with the reaction on the other side which has played a role in politicizing Christians who have another view – and anyone who has been politicized has also, in spiritual terms, been neutralized as of any use to the Lord in the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged (to a large degree). I don't think we can attribute the vitriol and political polarization in this country entirely to this one issue, but it has certainly played a role, and when things get to extremes – as they did in Thucydides' description of the Corcyrean stasis (Hist. 3.82-84) – civil war breaks out that only ends when one side is annihilated. That's obviously not good for anyone. In other words, reacting to any "bad thing" in the wrong way opens one up to being manipulated by the devil. This is happening more and more as we get closer to the end and no doubt is part of the evil one and his forces paving the way for antichrist's rise to power.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Can you please give me example of lust of flesh?

So if we get taste for food (for example McDonald's) it's sin to buy it only for taste? Not for hungry. Or we see nice watches and want to buy it's too sin?

Response #11:

The Christian life is neither one asceticism nor self-indulgence. So neither restricting oneself to bread and water and denying oneself all pleasure in eating and drinking on the one hand, nor making food into the whole purpose of one's life and doing all sorts of sinful things in order to gratify one's desires is appropriate; and neither restricting oneself to a single home-spun shirt and denying oneself all pleasure in accouterments on the one hand, nor becoming a fashion plate and spending all one's money on clothes and jewelry to the detriment of all other concerns is appropriate. If we have any money, that is a resource. We are here in this world as Christians for a purpose, and that purpose has to do with carrying out the Lord's will for our lives. That will involves growing spiritually, making progress in the tests of life, and helping others through ministry. Every choice we make reflects on what we truly value, the Word of God, the Son of God, and the children of God . . . or ourselves. Asceticism is merely a sick form of pride and is also about self; but over-indulgence in anything is also a sign that we are not putting the Lord's priorities first. We are given a great deal of latitude in how we are going to live our lives and in the choices we are allowed to make. It's not about the meal at McDonald's or about the nice watch, it's about what we really value in our hearts and how we are progressing in our walk with Jesus Christ. We will never get better by staying away from watches or McDonald's (and I'm not even saying that we necessarily should); we only get better at running this race through hearing, believing and applying the truth of the Word of God.

As to the flesh, here is what I read in scripture:

(16) But I tell you, walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out what the flesh lusts for. (17) For what the flesh lusts for is contrary to the Spirit's will, and the Spirit is opposed to what the flesh lusts for. Since these are diametrically opposed to each other in this way, what you are doing is not what you yourself choose. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (19) The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; (20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; (21) drunkenness, orgies – and whatever is similar to all these things. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, uprightness, faith, (23) humility, self-control. Against such things, there is no Law. (24) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its weaknesses and its lusts. (25) If we live because of the Spirit, let us also walk by means of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-25

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

What is laziness according to the Scriptures? And relatedly, when is one considered to be idle according to 2 Thessalonians 3? I am sometimes concerned that I should go out and "hustle", as we call it here, to earn something, whatever it may be. I can't decide if that is what I ought to do or if I ought to be patient and wait for the sale to go through before I start working on starting my business...barring any other possibilities that allow me to or to gain a skill in a manner that allows me to earn as well.

Response #12:

On laziness, this is an English word, and while it might in some respects line up with some ideas / words / passages in scripture, it would be a mistake in my view to assume that scripture sees this as a concept in the same way in which we view things. Because if we do that, then we are going to be back-interpreting onto scripture what we think of and mean by laziness in English (and that can vary from person to person and place to place). So I think you are right to focus on a passage. In 2nd Thessalonians chapter 3, Paul upbraids certain unnamed people in Thessalonica for acting in an "undisciplined" or "disorderly" way. The word there, ataktos, is a military word (1Thes.3:7; 3:11), meaning "not in ranks", and reproaches such individuals for not doing their part by standing shoulder to shoulder with others in the battle line; Paul says that he did not act this way (1Thes.3:7-10), but worked to earn his own bread so as not to be a burden to other believers. The ones coming in for censure here (1Thes.3:11-15) have been taking advantage of the good-natured believers in Thessalonica to sponge off of them for support so as not to have to work for a living. That is something Paul was not going to sit still for. Doing this is not the same thing, it seems to me, as just "being lazy", a term we might apply to someone who doesn't do the dishes until the morning for want of habit and energy. Taking advantage of others is a whole different thing.

Question #13:

Your answer about laziness is a huge help, sir. I think I am beginning to understand it. There are many passages in Proverbs about the sluggard. It seems to me then that the primary application is spiritual. For example, in Proverbs 20:4 NASB,

Proverbs 20:4
The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, So he begs during the harvest and has nothing.

The application may primarily be that those who are not diligent in spiritual growth and ministry may find themselves without any production and reward before the Bema of Christ. Its application in terms of daily living in this world would essentially mean that if a given person is engaging in life situations in such a manner that they are not giving due attention to their spiritual duties, either by failing to do a job to support themselves or by prioritizing physical well-being so much that one lays stock by their career success and defines their heavenly achievements by them. Is this a good rule of thumb for understanding how the Bible speaks of laziness?

Response #13:

It is certainly true that failure to make use of the spiritual opportunities we have is not a good thing and will not be conducive to being highly rewarded in eternity. Solomon's examples of sluggards in the OT (at several points) present extremes, and these are true. Obviously, no one is going to get anywhere in this life by shirking necessary tasks. But what we need to avoid – as well as these extremes of genuinely harmful laziness which you cite from scripture – is a perfectionist standard to which we will never be able to attain. The fact that we may need eight hours of sleep a night to be healthy and function productively does not mean we are being lazy just because someone else seems to be able to get by with only three, e.g. So by all means it is good to have high standards and strive to achieve them; but we should feel good when we do rather that developing a mindset of always beating ourselves up if we don't. Some balance between the two extremes is not a bad place to be. Then, over time, hopefully we will be edging toward the more productive side rather than lapsing toward the lazier side.

Question #14:

Dear Teacher

Thank you for clarifying everything.

It was only your response about laziness that I had to think hard about. I wasn't sure I understood it at first. I'm still not 100% sure that I do but on the surface, I think you are warning me not to allow myself to be crippled by a perfectionist attitude toward spiritual growth and ministry. It seems to me to be like what Paul said in Romans 12:6

Romans 12:6 NASB
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith

As much as we should each aspire to the greatest possible output for the Lord, we have different gifts according to the grace given to us, so we should try to do what we actually have ability to do not what we think that we should have ability to do even if it is what we see somebody else doing.

That is, I should be careful not to lose heart because I think that I should be but am not doing as well as others are. It is sufficient that I do the best I can and keep getting better.

Response #14:

Sorry for the delay, my friend. A bit swamped here.

Yes, I think you have this right. We neither wish to paralyze ourselves by being unrealistic about the issue of sin, nor do we wish to make ourselves feel entitled to sin just because we are forgiven. Prudent believers steer a middle course, "pursuing sanctification" and having a no-tolerance policy towards sin on the one hand, and recognizing also that this is a battlefield wherein we are going to step on some "land mines" from time to time and thus will need to confess and repent and get cracking again with spiritual advance when it happens ASAP – because wallowing in defeat is the worst possible thing we could do.

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:12-14 NKJV

Thanks for your patience, my friend!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

What is the difference between being presumptuous and having faith, biblically speaking? My take is presumptuous think you know what God will do but faith is waiting for what God chooses to do.

Response #15:

The word "presumptuous" in the KJV occurs only twice, once at Psalm 19:13 where it describes "high-handed" or arrogant sins, sins, that is, which are not ignorant or borne of weakness but which brazenly tempt the Lord. In the NT passage, 2nd Peter 2:10, the Hebrew root zudh used in the Psalms passage is not a bad parallel to the Greek root tolma, but the word in the NT is a noun referring to the people who have this characteristic rather than the sins committed. "Daring" – in a bad way – is what the word really means in Greek; this was the quintessential Athenian national characteristic during the democracy and in military situations it served them well at times but also caused them to take risks which were foolish and caused much damage. So "risk taking" when it comes to God, "daring Him" to discipline them for their brazen actions, is the main idea of that passage. I should also note that those so described are either not believers or apostates since they are the enemies of believers Peter is describing in the context: the unrighteous who plague the righteous (1Pet.2:9). So this is not a characteristic which the Bible ever ascribes to believers.

Question #16:

Social Justice Warriors are in favor of mocking the dominant group while forbidding the dominant group from mocking the minority group because the former are oppressors (which is true). Which is also hypocrisy.

When I point this out, I get a sneering "aww, white boy can't handle his feelings being hurt." I don't care about being mocked. Keep on mocking me if you think it will make you happy. But it remains invariant that "punching-up" is hypocrisy because it means that you're interested in vengeance (mutually exclusive with justice) despite professing to be in favor of justice.

I abhor hypocrites. A liar is bad, but a hypocrite is oh so much worse, because lying is one action while hypocrisy affects the very core of who you are.

Response #16:

Etymologically, the word means "actor" – pretending to be one thing but actually being something quite different. That is pretty much how the word is used in the NT too. Getting rid of hypocrites would pretty much make mankind "rare than the gold of Ophir" (Is.13:12).

How are you doing?

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

One of my friends is a Pastor and he said that his friend's wife died and went to what she believes was Heaven. Now I can't find anywhere in the bible where this ever occurred. I know that Stephen saw the Lord before he actually died, and that Paul was stoned, left for death. Some people say that Paul had a near death experience when he was caught up to the third heaven, and the stoning caused this. There is absolutely no proof for this and I can't say either way. Well my friend's wife said she heard the most beautiful otherworldly music ever when she was clinically dead. And saw trees and flowers that were so beautiful that it can't exist in this world. She also said she saw some relatives but couldn't tell what age they were for some reason. I know that the devil is very clever at playing tricks, but is it possible that she really was in the Kingdom of God?

God Bless,

Response #17:

Paul did have a return from the dead experience (it is described by him at 2Cor.12:1-10); whether this took place when he was stoned at Lystra (Acts 14:19) is not really possible to say given all of the things that Paul relates as having happened to him on other occasions (i.e., there are other possibilities: 1Cor.4:8-13; 2Cor.4:7-12; 6:3-10; 11:16-33; Phil.3:7-11), but it does seem more likely than not.

What I always say about such things is this: God does give all believers experiences which demonstrate His goodness, mercy and grace, and which reinforce the truth they have learned from scripture. So if we have an experience, a dream or a miraculous occurrence or any other such thing which encourages us as to the fact that the truth we have learned is the truth, then we rejoice in the truth we have already believed and in the goodness of God who reminds us of that truth by the experience He gives us. If, on the other, we have an experience, a dream or a miraculous occurrence or any other such thing which does not accord with the truth we know and believe from the Bible, then either that experience is not from God or else we are not interpreting it correctly.

When it comes to other people's experience, well, if it is sometimes difficult to interpret our own experiences, how are we supposed to rely on those of others? There are no more prophets today nor any apostles. Therefore while we can rejoice with other believers in the encouragement the Lord gives them, we are most definitely NOT to build doctrine or alter our understanding of the Bible in any way however small based upon these experiences of others. Take the one you report:

1) You did not see/hear/experience this; rather you heard it from your pastor.

2) And he did not see/hear/experience this; rather he heard it from his friend.

3) And he did not see/hear/experience this; rather he heard it from his wife.

4) Finally, we have no idea what his wife really saw. All we can say is that we already knew that heaven is wonderful; if the third-hand details are correct we have no way of knowing, but we are certainly not going to accept them as if they are true because we don't know if this is what she saw, he said, he said, he said . . . etc. And in any case, it's not specifically in the Bible.

See the link: Third Party Testimony

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello Bob,

Some psychologist (Dr. Phil) is against physically hitting your children because he believes that this is the wrong way to raise them. And yet the bible says:

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
(Proverbs 13:24)

What is the correct way to raise a child if he is living in disobedience to his/her parents according to the bible?

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6)

Is verbal discipline enough? or do we have to use spanking and other ways to discipline to teach them a lesson?

God Bless,

Response #18:

The Bible is always correct, of course, but also often misinterpreted. Clearly, we don't have to beat our children daily. And we don't necessarily have to ever resort to physical punishment. Many factors come into play, chief among them is the child in question. Some children are naturally responsive, some are more rebellious. Some can easily be corrected by a word of reproach, some need a firmer hand. Add to this the fact that all parents are different. Add to this the fact that this is partly a cultural issue as well. In a culture where everyone else beats their children regularly, a total absence of physical punishment might be interpreted wrongly – by the child who is not receiving it; in a culture where almost no one engages in corporal punishment, using it regularly would also be likely to send a questionable message to the child. The point is that this is all up to the parents who are responsible. If they are doing a good job raising their children, there is little anyone else can say – and unless we are talking about exceptional abuse on the one hand or exceptional neglect on the other, there is little anyone outside of the family SHOULD say.

Proverbs gives good advice: perfect, divine advice. But it has to be rightly understood. The message of these verses has less to do with the mode of discipline than the need for discipline, however administered. We all needed that. And we all ought to be grateful for parents who provided just what we needed in a loving and godly way, especially inasmuch as this helps to condition us to respond to our heavenly Father – who knows just how to discipline us in just the right way whenever that is necessary:

Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!
Hebrews 12:9 NIV

Here is a link on that subject: "Train up a Child in the Way he should Go"

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

What does the Bible teach about cremation and the resurrected body?

Response #19:

Dear Friend,

Good to make your acquaintance.

There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that cremation is any sort of problem when it comes to being resurrected. After all, we may be sure that Adam and Eve's bodies, no matter how well buried, have long since turned to dust more fine than any cremation could achieve – and that dust was doubtless scattered throughout the world by the great flood. Yet God will have no problem whatsoever resurrecting them.

Cremation was standard practice in the Greek and Roman world at the time of the writing of the New Testament, and yet there is no hint from scripture that Peter or Paul or John (or anyone else) found it necessary to discourage Greek and Roman converts from their normal practice. If this were an issue – especially one that might endanger resurrection – one would think that when the Jerusalem counsel wrote to the believers in Antioch they would have mentioned it.

I do think it is true that burial was the traditional practice in Israel for a reason, namely, giving hope of the resurrection, and so if understood correctly it might be a better witness to the unbelieving world . . . but only if correctly understood. To the extent that unbelievers take from us that we think we'll only be resurrected if the body is preserved, to that extent we confuse the issue of faith. We trust God that He will resurrect us at the appointed time even if, e.g., we are on a ship that sinks or on a plane that crashes or suffer any other thing whatsoever that might have the equivalent result of cremation. We trust in Him, and He has promised us eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ – regardless of how our remains are disposed of.

Here is a link on this which leads to others:  Cremation

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #20:

What is the meaning of the bolded part of this verse?

Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”
(Deuteronomy 19:21)

Response #20:

This is an important injunction in the context, the three preceding verses which read . . . :

And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you.
Deuteronomy 19:18-20 NKJV

It is in this context that the judge or judges responsible for meting out legal penalties must not show any pity for the guilty party – no pity, that is, which perverts their just verdict. Whatever the false witness had intended to do to the one against whom he bore false witness shall be his "crime" in terms of the punishment to be assessed, even to the point of capital punishment if the intention was to "frame" an innocent person on a capital charge. This is justice indeed, and it shows very clearly where western systems fall short. Framing someone for murder may yield a perjury charge but not the death penalty or life imprisonment, and I stress the "may". If everyone who's perjured themselves in this country went to jail for it, we'd need to triple the prison capacity. As one lawyer I know and respect said one time, "In my experience, everybody lies". But if we had the biblical standard, I'm guessing it would cut down on all that, because "those who remain shall hear and fear".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Was Democritus correct? No. Substances are not made out of atoms as he conceived of it. Substances are made out of atomic nuclei, which may be “indivisible” with respect to chemical reactions and transformations, but the atomic nuclei obey the rules of quantum mechanics, and that little bit—the quantum mechanical bit—is so important that it makes the ancient Greeks completely wrong. In particular, under quantum mechanics, all atomic nuclei are waves and have excitations, while the atoms of Democritus are tiny billiard balls that have no excitable states.

Response #21:

He may actually have been correct about that.

The problem is really with modern physics applying the word "atom" ("the indivisible thing", etymologically) to what we call an atom today – which would have been news to D and no doubt something he would have disagreed with once it was found out that what we call atoms can be split into smaller parts. It may be that there are things that can't be split ("D-atoms" as opposed to atoms as identified and classified by modern physics).

Not that it matters. Contemplating the complexity of subatomic physics makes God's incomparable wisdom in being able to create and track and foreordain every single material part to the universe throughout history all the more astounding; it also makes putting any stock in scientific theory a waste of time – until they've figured everything out, which would be never even if they had a million years . . . instead of the fifteen and change remaining until the Lord returns.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Oh, and the quick question I had regarding Deuteronomy: what does it mean when it says you shall not have unequal weights in your bag, or unequal measures in your home?

Response #22:

The main point of those passages is not to defraud anyone. Having two standards, one for the people you are cheating and one for the ones you're not cheating is the abomination this prohibition is addressing.

The Law is both a moral standard and a national policy (for the state of Israel as it was ruled by the priests – though Israel never ever fully adhered to the Law, not even close). This principle was to make sure that no one went around defrauding his fellow believers by employing different standards for one than for the other, with false weights resulting in unfair payments and less than adequate pay-outs. The application for us is not only to avoid cheating anyone else, but also to treat everyone and everything by a righteous standard in an honest and consistent way.

Question #23:

While the psalms are obviously perfect, there are several times in the NT where the writers quote a local hymn that is not a psalm, indicating that Paul, Timothy, etc...did not believe in Psalmody.

God loves art. Hymns are a combination of both music and poetry, both of which are the highest forms of art of mankind. How shocking and uncharacteristic of God would it be if he refused to give us the spiritual gifting to produce great art! One of my favorite hymns is “Trust and Obey"

Trust and obey
For there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Unfortunately, I discovered that I might have bad taste in music… and the trouble with bad taste is that you sincerely enjoy bad music. However I never was bad enough to enjoy pop or rap. That would really be total depravity.

Response #23:

It's news to me that "God loves art". If that were true, he would surely love the Roman Catholic religion which has produced all manner of art, thought by human beings who love art to be quite beautiful.

Personally, I think little of art, and less of music. I do have an appreciation for the quality of art, especially in literature (in which I am immersed daily as part of my profession), but some of the best of it even by some of its best practitioners is often subconsciously "inspired" (and who should get the credit for that?).

I particularly dislike hymns – because of they way they make a person feel, whether good or bad, irrespective of whether they veer from the truth a little or a lot (and they all always veer from the truth to some degree with few exceptions I know of). The Psalms are an exception because they are the inspired Word of God, but of course we do not have the music and an English translation set to our music would not be the same thing as what was originally produced for multiple reasons.

But the words of the Psalms are the truth, and that is where they differ from art. Art is mimesis, a mimicking of reality which comments on it by the degree to which it varies from that reality, but without the variance there is no art. So art is a lie – by definition. And I've never liked lies; but I love the truth. In our modern world, it's impossible to isolate ourselves entirely from art and artistic representations because they inhabit and infect virtually everything man-made in our society. A good history of . . . whatever . . . will not be entirely bereft of literary artifice, but that does not make it fiction which is entirely artifice.

I'm not saying I'm consistent in this and I'm certainly not telling anyone not to like or listen to music or stop going to the opera or plays or to dislike painting and artistic photography etc., etc. But as someone who prizes the truth above all else, I do like to keep all these things at arm's length, engage with them less rather than more, and see what enjoyment I get from them (taking in an occasional movie, e.g.), as a weakness rather than rhapsodizing about them.

In my opinion, while a picture of a pine true can be pretty, a pine tree made by God is beautiful.

As to hymns in the New Testament, we read in the gospels that the Lord and the disciples sang one when they left the last supper and also that Paul and Barnabas were singing hymns in jail in Philippi, but I'm not sure we can tell from the verb hymneo that they were doing anything different from singing songs of praise exactly as we find in the Old Testament (where in the LXX this verb represents various Hebrew verbs for praising God in song). I don't find other sorts of hymns – not the things WE call hymns today anyway – anywhere in the New Testament (contrary to the conjectures and speculations of many commentators).

Songs of praise. Praising the Lord. That is the essence of OT musical worship.

So as to the hymn you like, I don't see any praise there per se. And while the sentiments are difficult to directly dismiss, there is something about it – as is the case with all modern hymns – that leaves me with a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Perhaps the fact that I don't know of any verses in scripture which put things quite this way at all has something to do with it.

Sorry to be such a curmudgeon. Do feel free to ignore all of the above and continue to love your hymn (just love the Bible more).

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello, Bob,

Thanks for the explanation. It is reassuring since it's what I've instinctively done. Although, as I get older, I have fewer and fewer close relations.

The music question: prior to the military putting an end to it, I was a working musician, doing a lot of writing and arranging. I could sense the vestiges of rhythm in some of the Psalms.

Today, I rarely listen and can't honestly say I miss the life. I never cared for Christian music; most of it seemed mediocre as music. I never paid much attention to the lyrics. I always felt that if we were to use music to worship the Lord, it should be the best we can do. I rarely experienced that.

The link was an interesting read. Thanks.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #24:

I'm no musician, but my experience with Christian music is very similar. From a Bible teaching point of view, I've always been disturbed by the fact that lyrics are almost always "off" from the actual truth of scripture, often in very small, subtle ways; but because of the emotional power of music, these false "ticks" tend to implant themselves in the listener's heart all the more deeply. Here are a few things I've written about that:

Christian Music

The role of hymns

The Unknown Hymn

The Influence of Music

Christian Music

More on Christian Music

Negative Effects of Christian Music

"Worship Services"

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hello, Bob!

Here I thought I had a bad attitude toward "Christian" music. Interesting links you sent and some of the other responses were very interesting, too.

I must say that rock, which came up in some of the links you sent, is in general detestable - not as much as rap, but detestable none the less. I consider it inappropriate in a worship service. There is a reason aboriginal cultures used drumming and endless repetition.

I agree with you about the emotional influence of music. Back in the old days, we were looking at music for use in healing which has since been proven to be beneficial. Not folk or rock, but Mozart, Bach, etc. Sadly, I was also involved in music's negative aspect using it's subliminal effects in advertising. I'm not proud of that.

On another note, I don't think I've ever experienced any serious Bible teaching in any church I've attended with the exception of a couple of synagogues where the reading of the Torah was a part of the service. (Always in Hebrew, which I didn't understand.) You are the only one I've found who can actually teach the Bible. For that I am truly grateful.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #25:

Thanks for the detailed testimony, my friend. I know that others will find it very helpful (I certainly did).

When it comes to making a living, let me assure you that no one has absolutely clean hands. Paul made tents, but he of course had no idea to what use they would ultimately be put. That doesn't mean there aren't some things which go way to far (there certainly are), but if we adopt too rigid a standard about isolating ourselves from the world, we will find ourselves having to leave it and being without the means to survive in it (2Cor.5:10), and we all have to work for a living (2Thes.3:10).

Also, thanks so much for your warm words about this ministry (Ps.115:1) – they are greatly appreciated!

Again, happy new year, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I meant to put this question in the other email but forgot. A lot of churches today play Contemporary Christian music, and I believe that actually impact the younger listeners. They have Christian rock and Christian rap. It's almost like their mixing worldly music with music that is supposed to Glorify God. Even the Christmas carols are mixed with worldly lyrics. I personally like the old time Christian music that was pure back then. Can music alone (without lyrics) sway a person to go in the wrong direction in their walk with Christ? I thought about this because King David played music alone and was able to sway Saul's evil spirit, and get it to leave (I think). Where do we draw the boundaries between what is to be considered true Christian music?

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #26:

This is a personal choice issue, but I certainly second your concerns and in no way advocate "for" Christian music. The problem, as you rightly discern, has to do with the lyrics. Lyrics are not the Word of God, and since those who write lyrics are musically talented but not necessarily even spiritually mature, artistic concerns dominate these choices rather than doctrinal purity. To put it another way, there almost no Christian lyrics I have ever heard that were not "off" in one way or another, and sometimes WAY off. Immature believers and/or those easily swayed may thus be led spiritually astray by giving their attention to these things, especially considering that music has a powerful emotional effect. So by listening and "giving in" to music with lyrics that are spiritually "off", we are going to be fighting against ourselves rather than furthering our spiritual growth. It's often a matter of degrees, of course. And the truly sad thing is that in the vast majority of Christian churches today, this music – with its off-center lyrics – has come to dominate and replace teaching rather than to be restrained to its proper role of support. I have written about this in the past. Here are a few links to where this subject is covered at Ichthys:

Commanded to sing?


Christian Music

The role of hymns

The Unknown Hymn

The Influence of Music

Christian Music

More on Christian Music

Negative Effects of Christian Music

"Worship Services"

Your in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:

It is actually extremely difficult to keep oneself “pure” from these things. For instance, my favorite video game series when I was an adolescent (Pokemon) had all sorts of references to “ghost” and “psychic” types. This isn’t much of a problem now since all of my hobbies are highly academic, but almost everybody encounters these kinds of things like it’s commonplace throughout life. The occult scares me, because I know that Satan is extremely powerful… far more powerful than I am, that’s for sure.

Most Christians do not produce good literature. And that’s saying something, considering that 90% of all literature in general is trash. Even C.S. Lewis, who’s supposed to be “the best” Christian writer managed to turn Jesus Christ into an evil character (Aslan) in his Chronicles of Narnia series. Most superheroes are also evil (Batman teaching kids that justice is really vengeance).

By the way, don’t walk away thinking this is a problem in all cultures. In France, they actually do have good literature with good characters who have good values. It’s just in the United States that every protagonist and popular story is evil. The only series that actually taught good values that had mass appeal in the United States was Star Trek, and it’s defunct.

Response #27:

I'm not sure I would consider Batman literature (or Star Trek or Pokemon either), but I do hear what you are saying. Entertainment of all sorts is always problematic; it's just a matter of degrees. If a Christian engages in it (and we all enjoy it), the best outcome in so doing would be if he/she has found something that does not produce serious compromise or temptation. But whether we are talking about sports or news or video games or television or movies or music or any sort of games or dancing or hiking or cultural activities of any sort, they all have their problems and their side-effects (especially if carried to extremes in terms of type and level of engagement), so that less is almost always better than more (spiritually speaking).

So I would be very reluctant to pronounce any of the above "good" – just some of it less bad than others (n.b., the examples are examples only and by no means meant to be a comprehensive catalog of things that fall into this category: knitting, horse racing, stamp collecting, etc., etc.).

This is also a personal issue rather than an outright objective issue. For while it is true that pornography, for example, cannot be minimized in its essential "badness", watching a news show may not be as spiritually upsetting to me as it is to some of my brothers and sisters who are easily consumed by politics; watching French opera may not be dangerous for me as a temptation to consume all my time (especially inasmuch as I will doubtless fall asleep halfway through the first act); playing Scrabble may be more dangerous for me than for someone else since I may be tempted to spend all day doing it when there are better uses for my time; etc.

I agree that absolute purity in such matters is a fool's errand in our culture, day and age, when we are awash in it all. However, Christians do need to be aware of their areas of weakness and stay away from things they can't easily control, and also need to keep a lid on those things that aren't outright dangerous but can easily lead to excess in their individual cases.

We can't go out of the world, but we are not of it, and that truth ought to temper any natural enthusiasm we have for anything relating to culture or entertainment. Even if its French.

So go to the opera, but do your Bible study before you go.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hello I have read your article about Satan’s world system part 4 and I would like to know if technology is kind of a part of it, does that mean we can’t use technology? And if we do, would it be bad? I await your response and thank you.

Response #28:

Very good to make your acquaintance.

As to your question, it would be impossible to live in the world and not use technology. Technology began directly after the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden: Abel became a herdsman and there are technical skills involved in that; Cain became a farmer and farming has always been a technical skill; and Cain and his offspring began to build cities and engage in metallurgy even before the great flood. So there has always been technology. It's just that in our day and age it is entering a new phase of acceleration in terms of information tech, bio tech, and some other areas where the ability of people to do things hitherto difficult or impossible is increasing daily and to some degree exponentially. Technology is not bad per se. There is nothing wrong with being skilled at farming, for example, nor using the knife you invented to peel melons; but if you use it to kill your brother . . .

This ministry, Ichthys, would be impossible without the new technology. When I begin doing research for it, there wasn't even an internet, but now that is how I am able to disseminate this teaching of the Word of God. So the internet and the technologies surrounding it are a good example of my point: the internet can be used for pornography or the study of the Word of God, two things which couldn't be further apart. Technology is a tool. The use to which it is put is the key. On the one hand it is wrong to idolize technology as if it were going to solve the problems of the world – when we Christians know that the sin nature and the rule of the evil one cannot be "solved" until Christ returns. On the other hand it would be wrong to shun technology as if a person could stay away from sin by staying away from technology – Adam and Eve sinned while still in the garden of Eden where there was none.

Believers should thus have a balanced perspective, seeing the dangers and the bad things associated with technology and like issues and keeping a safe distance from these, but not being averse to making godly use of the things God has provided for us to earn a living and serve the Church of Jesus Christ. Any Christian with a lick of spiritual common sense will pretty easily be able to tell the difference.

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.


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