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Ministry and Preparation for Ministry XIII

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Question #1: 

Sorry Bob,


Doesn't the bible say that we should stay in the positions we are in at salvation? But if an unbeliever chooses to leave that we let them go?

To be honest I am struggling to think clearly. It is so much harder settling matters of the heart than any other matter. I will keep praying on this that God will lead us to the right solution that gives Him glory.

Your friend in Jesus,

Response #1: 

No need to apologize.

These are difficult decisions. If a person is not rock-solid sure about them, then it is better to defer until one does have such assurance.

I can't weigh in on personal matters which are questions of application.

"I will keep praying on this that God will lead us to the right solution that gives Him glory." That is the right approach indeed. Whatever is best for you spiritually in the long run, whatever it is that the Lord would have you do, whatever will be conducive to maximizing your spiritual growth, progress and production, that is the best course of action.

When I was in seminary, as I may have shared, after the first year it became clear to me that pursuing an M.Div. with a view of becoming an ordained Presbyterian minister was the wrong road for me. There was (seeming) security down that path, and (seeming) complete insecurity in making a major change. I had no particular skill nor any job prospects. My USMC civilian equivalent occupation for the tank training I received was "artillery proofs director" – never say a job ad for that! And there are plenty of actual ex-artillery guys out there if there ever was one. But I decided to dump the Presbyterians anyway and forgo the M.Div in place of an M.A.B.S. – which would not lead to ordination in any denomination, but which did have a lot more of the things I felt to be important, more Hebrew, archaeology, etc. I ended up applying for ONE grad program in Classics, and my application was not particularly well thought out at that. But God got me in there – it was definitely Him – and He has taken care of me ever since (just as He took care of me always before).

So please take your time on charting your course. When the time is right and the decision clear, be courageous as a lion (Prov.28:1).

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Many thanks Bob!

In Jesus,

Response #2: 

It is experiences like these which act as progress checks for us in our spiritual growth. Growth happens like that of a tree: very hard to actually see happening, but turn around and in just a little while faith has indeed gotten bigger and stronger. That is what you are seeing too, God be praised!

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

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Hi Bob,

I'm thankful to the Lord that the tornadoes stopped short of Louisville and for His protection again.

The damage those things cause is horrendous. It's strange how this has happened in Kentucky when just a couple of weeks ago you were telling me about the bad one they had in Louisville a decade before you moved there.

I'm happy that the Lord is always right there with us helping and protecting us through all the storms of this life and I praise Him for that!

Keeping you in my prayers, Bob.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #3: 

I'm so very grateful to the Lord as well! I have learned in my life that no matter what a person does, there are always vulnerabilities that no human being could ever protect against. So the only real solution is to trust in the Lord – because He is the only one who can keep us safe in so many situations like this, and in plenty of other improbable ones which we could never predict. It is so good to have a Shepherd who loves us and is always looking out for us.

Thanks for these typo corrections and for your prayers, my friend! Keeping you and your family in mine day by day as well.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Hi Bob,

Yes, what you said reminded me of what I've been reading in Daniel - when he was in the lions' den and his friends in the fiery furnace. They were faithful to the Lord and they trusted Him and knew he was able to protect them and save them from it. The Lord is faithful and was right there with them and delivered them - they were completely unharmed.

So it's our job to rely on the Lord and trust in Him, the only One who has the power to protect and deliver us.

God is sovereign and even if it is His Will for us to die then we can still trust that whatever He allows is perfect and is for our benefit and for His glory. And anyway, for us to die is gain. (Phil. 1:21).

Thanks for your prayers, [omitted]

Hope things are calming down for you now and you're managing to get through all of your "stuff".

In Jesus

Response #4: 

That's right! We have zero control. It only seems from the worldly perspective that this is not true – but we believers understand that it very much is. And that is a great thing, because God has total control – and who better to be in control of our lives than the Lord? Our job is to trust Him that this fundamental truth is true.

I wish you could take a couple of weeks off of work and get some rest. Of course you go full throttle at home too, so . . . For "go-getters" like yourself, you need to get back to work to rest up from vacation!

On losing family and friends, if they are worthy, they will come back; if they are not, it's not worth worrying about. The Lord has given you a wonderful nuclear family, and that is a great deal more than most people on this earth have.

Keeping you and them in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Hi Bob,

I can reassure you that I haven't been going "full throttle" at home for a long time. I listened to Curt's Bible Academy the whole of Saturday while I was painting - it was great! I get about two weeks off work around Christmas time so that will be a nice rest for me.

I'm extremely grateful to the Lord for giving me the nuclear family that I have - I always thank Him for them. I'm sure all those people out there who were blessed with wonderful parents and a wonderful childhood are very grateful to the Lord too. They certainly should be.

As far as the rest of my family goes, I was lured back in by lies and deceit which I didn't realise until I got back in there. 1 Peter 5:8 comes to mind now too. Satan is an accuser as well and he's been trying to throw plenty of that my way too. I'm about to make some major changes to help prevent me from going through any more hurt and abuse and so it's no surprise that I'm getting major flak coming at me from all directions. It's affected me in a bad way physically but it's a spiritual battle that the Lord is helping me through one step at a time and I'm remembering to put on the full armour of God.

I don't hold any grudges against them for what they've done to me. I'm not one for self-pity either. I'm a fighter because I've had to be. I'm not losing them because they've walked away from me - it's me doing the walking away for the sake of my own health and sanity. It's still not an easy thing to do though. I still love them after all.

Thanks for your prayers Bob - they're helping me.

I noticed that your old seminary (Talbot) has an "Institute for Spiritual Formation". I read that they have 130 spiritual directors. Nearly 50 people a day meet with a spiritual director, an average of 700 have spiritual direction each semester, including about 300 undergrads, 350 grad students and 50 faculty and staff.

So more dangerous, unbiblical nonsense. I know if that was around when you were there you'd have dodged that one along with the "pastoral counseling"! I knew spiritual formation was all the rage in seminaries as well. The devil is getting in there wherever he can and they're making it pretty easy for him.

Changing the subject again, we have to take in proof of our Covid vaccinations to work by Monday. It's mandatory for NHS workers and they need to have it on their records.

So on and on it goes - the world gets nuttier by the second.

Thanks again for your prayers for me and my family. Praying for you and yours too.

In Jesus

Response #5: 

I am very glad to hear that you are in the process of healing up, physically, mentally and spiritually. These things all go together in the end, after all.

Didn't realize that about Talbot! Good grief! I knew things were less than ideal there now (so I never recommend it as an option), but that's ridiculous. Compromise only goes one way, when you start to compromise. Next thing you know you're putting "bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Is.5:20).

I have heard that your country is cracking down again. Same thing over here in the more "nut-ball" states, even before they have any good data on omicron. So it goes, ever.

Thanks much for your willingness to share,! Your insightful comments are always a help to me – and I know that is true of others as well.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Thanks Bob. I'm feeling a lot better so I have to make sure I stay strong and keep it that way.

So today the UK has recorded the highest number of daily Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Our chief medical man said omicron is spreading at a "phenomenal pace" and that records will be broken a lot in the next few weeks. All of it sounds like a broken record to me now!

Face masks are mandatory in most indoor settings and covid passes showing a recent negative test or full vaccination are needed for large events - I feel like a newsreader! And they're telling everyone to get their booster jab. I had my booster in September and my flu jab a couple of weeks ago so I think I've had enough pumped into me for now. They recommend we have the flu jab for the job that we do but the Covid one is compulsory for us.

A lot of workplaces are canceling their bookings for their Christmas meals which is so bad for those who work in hospitality. At least we got in there early with our Christmas pizza. It was great - I'll go there again.

So it's all going on, but I'm just plodding along as usual. I'm a bit bored of listening to it now.

How is omicron performing on your side of the pond, Bob? And are you starting to wind down now ready for the Christmas hols?

It's a pleasure to be able to share and I'm very happy if it has been helpful to you and others as well. That's what is most important.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #6: 

We have at least twelve cases of omicron in the US – one person even got a headache. Time to lock down everything! Literally, in some states, that is what they are doing.

I saw somewhere that the new Pfizer pill keeps about 90% out of the hospital. OK. So can we please just be done now? That's what the governor of Colorado did today, declaring the pandemic "over". More of that please!

Except for the occasional this and that, I'm done for the holidays and enjoying my break – except for the water heater failure Sunday night; they got a new one in Monday, blessedly. It would have cost my firstborn but nonesuch was at hand so they took a credit card instead, initially rejected – I guess the company couldn't believe they cost THAT much. They do.

But now I AM relaxing, at least for the rest of the evening.

Have a great Christmas!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Hi Bob,

Do you know what I love? That we can push all the noise of Covid into the background where it belongs because we have our Lord to focus on and to love, worship, serve and glorify Him. It's the whole reason for us still being here - the whole reason we were even created. We are nothing without Him and what an absolute joy it is to belong to Him!

Guess what I ordered today? A 1984 NIV Bible - the one you advise us to have over the more recent inferior editions. It looked in good condition from what I could see but it's a present and so I'm not allowed to open it until Christmas day. Can't wait! I have the NASB and NKJV as well. The ESV looks good too. As you write in Read Your Bible, "why limit yourself to one?"

It's great to hear you're enjoying a nice break now. I'm not quite finished work for Christmas yet. I'm back in tomorrow and next Wednesday then I've got nearly two weeks off.

Hope you have another relaxing evening. Praying for you all and thanks so much again for yours too.

In Jesus

Response #7: 

Amen,! The peace we can have as believers in Jesus Christ really does "pass all understanding" (Phil.4:7). And as we grow closer to the Lord through believing the truth, we really do get better at seeing this life for what it is – temporary – and focusing instead on the one to come. The thing that believers who have truly matured through attention to the truth have as their big advantage is the ability to do well in all the areas of this life, family, health, finances, homestead, job – and still put top priority on the Lord and what He wants us to do.

Hooray for your new (used) Bible! Hope you don't experience what I did. For some reason, people who underline things in their Bibles are very common. My latest acquisition has some very annoying such things in critical passages.

Yes, the break is going well – and I'm glad to hear that you are also going to have a good bit of time off. We all need that.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Hi Bob,

Over the last couple weeks, I reconnected with some of my contacts from college. We all hung out at the University, along with a group of 4 others: one random grad student who was interested, and three guys from my Greek and Hebrew classes.

It was probably the most lively group I ever organized in my years of college Bible studies. Two of the guys (including the one in seminary) are Eastern Orthodox, so obviously we don't see eye-to-eye on quite a bit. Even back then I found it to be a way for me to get better at arguing against stuff I disagreed with, and come to better understand how to be convincing in my own positions. Now that I have a couple years more preparation too, I only see more acutely how this is so.

I talked to our friend about some of this (given his background among an even more hostile Nigerian forum community), and we both had a sense that these conversations are not for everyone (and can definitely be dangerous to people without teaching and apologetics gifts), but nonetheless can be an excellent way to test and refine what one believes too.

In the aftermath of this impromptu reunion, all of us in this group from college resolved to stay in better touch, and out of that was born a chat server that has since then been immensely active with debate about various topics. Some of it is a waste of time and completely off in the weeds, but some of it is also a place for me to get plenty of ideas on topics to cover, and to test out the arguments I have on various things. Our friend has often commented that he finds he does best when he has something to push back against, and that, combined with my desire to have an ally in this place, has led to me trying to get him accepted by this community as well. We're working through that at time of writing. People don't know each other so there's some friction and lack of trust, but hopefully it will work itself out.

All of this got me thinking generally about how I'd fallen out of touch with people who I'd at one time had pretty deep spiritual conversations with. I reached out to a couple guys I hadn't talked to in years, and the calls went great. One is planning on doing missions in Europe with his wife, as soon as they figure things out, and the other has been doing campus ministry since he graduated in Spring 2019, along with his now-wife. He's planning on going to Dallas Theological Seminary (where his older brother is), once he gets the finances sorted. He's taking Greek online right now.

These two guys, combined with another three people I've kept in contact with a bit better and another young missionary couple who I know well by reputation (we brushed shoulders only briefly before they moved to Germany for missions) all form a group of people who are not "Ichthys people" but nonetheless are on what I would call the road out of Laodicea.

I have thus far not had a good way to stick all these people together and see what happens because the forum we've set up has been very narrowly focused on Ichthys readers. Not that this is a bad thing. My recent interactions with them has led to me greatly wishing that there was such a place, however. On top of this, as soon as my ministry is up and I start going around locally to get an in-person Bible study going, folks from that endeavor won't be a good match for the Ichthys Community (at least not immediately), and I want a way to engage there as well, which this secondary forum section would provide.

What do you think?

Yours in Christ,

P.S. -- some prayer requests:

My Grandma in her late eighties is in an immense amount of back pain. Some combination of spine issues, nerve damage, and arthritis.

I've had a lot of thoughts crystallize the last couple of weeks regarding my ministry path, now that most of the house stuff is winding down. I think God has held me back for a while now until the time is right, but I'm getting a stronger green light now than ever before, and a lot of things feel like they've clicked into place, even though I'd never anticipated them much before now. We'll see. I'd like for this to clear ASAP so I can get on with it. I've been stuck on the "getting ready to formally launch stage" for a couple years here.

Response #8: 

Your energy and production always amaze me, my friend! I'm very impressed at your determined engagement for the Lord. I am keeping you in prayer for "the prime concern" too, and for all other things as well.

I have great faith in the Lord that He is going to lead you into just the right ministry. Perhaps these recent developments will play a part in that, making some things clear if nothing else, and perhaps opening up new doorways.

The only other thing that comes to mind is the issue of limited time and energy. In your case, the latter seems virtually limitless (good for you!), but we know that the former is not, not for any of us. At some point, you will probably want to focus on "the one ministry" the Lord opens up for you, and that will no doubt entail making some hard decisions about all of the other things you're presently doing. Our friend, I understand, is now teaching occasionally at a local church. Could be that the Lord will use this to open up something for him. Things have a way of happening when He is doing the directing. Once you get out and about more, it is certainly possible that the Lord will make some sort of "face to face" opportunity available for you as well. In the meantime, I don't see anything wrong with exploring all potential avenues. They all sound pretty exciting!

I'll be keeping you in prayer on this as well, my friend (will say a prayer for your grandmother as well).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the kind words, although I assure you that you overestimate me greatly.

On limited time and energy:

I read you loud and clear. I have taken pains to be upfront with everyone (in all these groups) not to get grand expectations as to what my participation will look like. I have gotten a lot better at "saying no" over time, and now I exercise this newfound ability with relish.

I will say that most of the "on the road out of Laodicea" folks expressed this concern for themselves. Especially the guy trying to coordinate Europe-focused missions with His wife and the one taking Greek online while holding down a temporary job. Basically, they just said they could make no promises. They're both married too, which no doubt contributes to their lack of time.

My plan is to have the communities be my "off mode". I think much of the benefit is independent from me -- just getting some of these folks in contact with each other. At least that's what I'm aiming for. If I shift into the three consistent lessons a week as I would like to, it won't work otherwise. That will be "priority #1" once we get there.

Another prayer request:

Did I ever complain to you about the washer and dryer debacle? If not, the short version is when they were supposed to get delivered December 1, the people installing it messed up the washer (it was fine before they got their hands on it...), and now some form of replacement process is underway. The replacement is to come December 22... three full weeks after the initial botched install.

Oh, and we're battling ants. Ah, the joys of homeownership.

Your friend in Christ,

Response #9: 

As to "They're both married too, which no doubt contributes to their lack of time.", no doubt about that.

On "three consistent lessons a week", that is a huge commitment, and the "consistency" part is the biggest load.

"Ah, the joys of homeownership." You're right about that! New hot water heater had to go in today. New stove last month. New entire HVAC system two months before that – all necessary since all replacements were the result of total unit failures (at least they were all oldish). The month in between was devoted to catching and relocating a particularly aggressive raccoon. Even brand new places have their teething problems, however, as you are finding out. At least you don't seem to have problems with your neighbors (that can be another "joy").

No washer-dryers in New Jerusalem (or any of the other stuff either)!

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Dr. Luginbill,

I wanted to see how everything's going. I hope everything's alright.

I also wanted to get your opinion on something. Recently I've really been considering the possibility of going to seminary. It seems that they're not what they used to be, but I still am interested in some of the curricula that I've been looking at. In particular, I'm pretty interested in Dallas. My understanding is that you are harsher on academia in ways, but I'm interested what you think. There is a part of me that thinks I could possibly live a more solitary life and primarily do my studies on my own with various resources, including Ichthys, but there's also part of me that would appreciate the structure that I'd get from seminary. I think there's merit to exploring it, and I would maybe start in the spring if possible. I would also like to just go to the best one but I don't exactly know who has the best scholars so I'm trying to do some research.

To update you more generally, the recent past has been pretty manageable with some of the problems I've indicated. I think seminary could be a healthy next step that might be very beneficial to me.

I'd appreciate any input.

I hope everything is going well. We haven't talked in a while.

In our Lord,

Response #10: 

Seminary was a good choice for me, more for the comradeship I developed with a group of like-minded young men who were there for the same reason I was, namely, to prepare to teach the Word of God. Most of the others were there to prepare to be pastors in typical evangelical churches (not the same thing at all).

I did consider DTS myself. Went to Talbot instead for a number of reasons. Things have changed a lot at Talbot in the many years since I was there. I couldn't recommend it today.

As to going to DTS, there are worse things you could do! Let me list a number of considerations that you should keep in mind as you think about this, however:

1) Seminaries have their own agendas. So they are not necessarily the "place to go" to get straightened out. Rather, one needs to be pretty straight before getting there on account of all the pressures that will be put on one's faith.

2) When I was considering it back in the early 80's, if I'm not mistaken one had to sign a statement of basic agreement with their creed/statement of faith. Some things are no problem (salvation through faith in Christ, etc.); some things would be problematic for me today (not so much at the time). If I'm not mistaken, at that time (admittedly long ago) they required you to sign off on "the pre-Trib rapture" and "OSAS", for example (things I've subsequently found to be false doctrines). They may be more flexible about this now, but everything I've seen of DTS does not speak to any particular flexibility. Perhaps now they let entrants disagree on some of these points if they explain themselves and promise not to proselytize. I'd want to be clear about that.

3) Apropos of the above, they seemed to me to be a very legalistic place where appearances were very important (but esse quam videri is the right approach).

4) It wouldn't be the best place to learn Greek or Hebrew. Not only that but their methodology is suspect. You'd have to commit to doing a lot on your own to counteract this.

5) Speaking of legalism, they will probably want you to be a member of a traditional church and they will probably want a strong letter from your pastor recommending you – and by "church" I'm sure they wouldn't accept Ichthys. They will probably give you a hard time if you are not a member of a denomination of which they approve.

Otherwise, it might be an idea worth pursuing. Let me know what your research turns up.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Dr. Luginbill,

The day after you emailed me back, I was at Dallas, so I can tell you some of what I learned.

First of all, I definitely got the impression that DTS doesn't have any scholars or professors that question the Word in any way, even though those of others do. They also were able to tell me about how other schools compare in terms of conservatism, but I got the sincere sense that they have some of the best programs in the country, as they said. At the same time, I sat in on a short class and I wasn't that impressed, but I doubt that's suggestive of the whole experience.

I also got some insight into the admissions process. Like you said, the one problem is that I do need a pastoral recommendation, and that basically involves being a part of a local church. They said if I got it from you or Curt it basically wouldn't work and that they'd end up asking me for a different one. So I basically have to join a church and get involved if I want to apply for next fall, which is a burden.

There also is a doctrinal statement that the faculty have to abide by, which includes OSAS. I asked about it and they said that students only have to agree to a few basic tenets like the deity of Christ, the Trinity, the resurrection, etc on their part.

On some of what you said, I don't think there would be a ton of legalism. With the language stuff, could you elaborate on that? I've heard some mixed things about learning the languages there or at any place I guess. Also, any insight on anything you know about any school would be great, but I'm assuming you don't know a ton. Could you also elaborate on Talbot? What I really am looking for is a good, solid faculty, but it's hard to know about all these people without reading all their works or commentaries. I can disregard the rest as long as I'm surrounded by the right people. I'm also visiting Trinity on Monday so I'll find a little more out.

In the Lord,

Response #11: 

Interesting! Glad to hear that DTS finally got the point of not demanding detailed doctrinal litmus tests from students.

As to this decision, I am a big fan of reverse planning. You figure out your objective first; then you take the steps necessary to reach it. In other words, what are you trying to achieve?

If you're trying to learn Greek and Hebrew, you're better off at a university which has Classics and also regularly teaching BH (n.b., just because it's in the catalog, doesn't mean they actually teach it, so be sure to make pointed inquiries).

If you're looking to make contacts with and gain insights from acquaintances who love the Word, you're already getting that through the forum and pastors ministry, no doubt better than you'll find at DTS.

If you're looking for some good professors who teach the Bible, you might find that. But it's not a generic thing; it's a prof. specific thing. In other words, identify half a dozen or so professors you really like and go to that seminary / school and take classes from them (make sure they're not planning to retire five minutes after you get there).

The problem with Greek (and to some extent Hebrew) at seminary is that it generally isn't taught in any particular depth. You learn the forms, and get some basic translation, but not much beyond that. Most seminaries never teach any Greek outside of the NT (or so little it's a distinction without a difference). The Hebrew OT is essentially all that is left of BH, but some seminaries are better than others at teaching it. Check the listings (not the catalog) and see how many classes and how many levels of Hebrew are actually being taught – don't get fooled by courses on OT books which are not really Hebrew classes.

On the legalism front, you might be surprised (unpleasantly).

*Also, consider what degree you'd be earning and what the requirements for that degree are. If they are going to require you to take a great many classes you don't want to take (e.g., Sermon Prep, Pastoral Counseling, Missions, etc.), think twice about that degree.

As to Talbot, it had (when I went there in the early 80's) all of the same problems I mentioned above and before. My dad was a Presbyterian minister and I was technically still a member of that church, so he wrote me a letter which got me past the "local church" obstacle. Having to join a new one just to get in would have been too oppressive even to contemplate.

I got something in terms of Hebrew at Talbot, but mostly I had learned the language in three years of prior study at the University of Illinois. Don't think I'd be able to read Hebrew as I do (daily) if all I had was the Talbot stuff. I didn't even take Greek there (they had a wacky system based on the "Dana and Mantey" method which misappropriated and which wrongly applied J.T. Robertson's grammatical works). I had already just had a degree in Greek and Latin and had been on my way to grad school when I took time off to go to seminary. I don't believe it's arrogant to say that I knew more Greek – and more about Greek – already at that point than the professors there.

In terms of the other things at Talbot, I had some good classes, but it was mostly valuable for the relationships I developed. Church history was good; the Bible exegesis classes were helpful mostly by showing me how NOT to do it; I got some Aramaic there which otherwise I would have had to pick up on my own. Most of the professors who had a conservative bent left a few years after I graduated. I think the place is pretty much all evangelical mush now with not much scholarship. If the seminary you're contemplating has a good archaeology section, that would be helpful – they may have that at DTS (don't know about Talbot).

Keep me in the loop!

Keeping you in my daily prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Dr. Luginbill,

Okay, thanks for the elaboration.

What I'm mainly looking for is good scholarship and teaching and some structure in my study. I think your idea of picking a certain number of professors is pretty reasonable, but then it seems like you kinda have to rely on the younger faculty than some of the bigger names that don't actually teach a ton or just publish research, just because you can't literally take all your classes with your chosen group of profs. I think if I really want to make the best decision, I think I just need to listen to individual professors speak online and read their publications, which will inevitably take time.

With the languages, I guess I'll just take your word on it because I don't know much better. It sounds like what you're saying is that a seminary would give you a very basic understanding of the languages but that it would still take you extra grad work or outside prep to really get good at them.

I'll keep thinking and praying about this.

On another note, I have a potential idea for a giving ministry. I've realized that I think giving should be a serious part of my service, and so I was thinking about creating a ministry where I aggregate conservative, Christ-centered organizations, churches, and ministries that help support the truth in some way. I would fund it all myself and would maybe even open it up for anyone to give to this entire group of groups as a whole, but I feel that most people probably would not want to do that because they wouldn't have the same kind of connection of understanding that I do about all the groups. I think doing some due diligence and picking organizations that I benefit from as well should be a huge part of it, and I wouldn't just give to anyone. I would have to be very meticulous about picking out specific ministries, and I would take time to research and look into them. Let me know what you think. I think it might be a good idea. Any principles on giving also would be helpful.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" - Hebrews 12:1

In our Lord,

Response #12: 

Very interesting. Here's the most important link on giving money (in BB 6B: "Giving")

I'm happy to hear that you are engaging with all this, my friend. I'm sure that the Lord will lead you into just the right direction. Keep growing spiritually every day, and all of these things will eventually fall into place.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I have a question about the end of 1 Cor. 3. In the context of the whole criticism/correction that Paul issues to the Corinthians in the beginning, what makes the conclusion at the end of Ch.3 about all belonging to Christ so genius, as I’ve heard. I understand that it makes no sense for them to boast in men due to the fact that they inherit everything Christ has sovereignty over by being IN Christ, but I feel like I’m maybe missing something here. Any clarification is appreciated.

In Jesus,

Response #13: 

Good to hear from you!

How goes the seminary plan? Your ministry plan? I keep you in my prayers daily.

As to your question, Paul's command to the Corinthians to stop "boasting about men" does indeed go back to the first chapter where he criticizes the church for the unnatural and un-Christian divisions that have grown up in his absence. These divisions – this boasting about the men they follow – is problematic for two main reasons: 1) it causes strife among brothers in Christ; 2) it takes the focus off of the truth of the Word of God which is a perfect unity, not to be divided, and places it instead on artificial divisions which are detrimental to spiritual growth. Jesus is our "boast" – He is the One we are following, and we only "follow" human beings who are genuinely His ministers for the sake of the growth we all should desire:

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14

The Bible counsels unity in many places (see the link). We are only told to eject from our fellowship whose who threaten that unity in serious ways (e.g., 1Cor.5:13); otherwise, we are told to separate ourselves from such individuals (1Cor.5:11). But when it comes to superficial divisions, these are to be avoided – and that is the point of Paul's comment in the passage you ask about.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Dr. Luginbill,

Okay, thanks for the response.

With everything else going on, I've been doing okay. I'm gonna look for a good church around there because it seems to be what I have to do in order to apply to a seminary. I think it could also be helpful for me, but I accept that I'll be doing most of my studying outside of the church. I've visited DTS, Trinity (TEDS), and Moody, and I think DTS is a clear frontrunner of most I'm considering. Seems like they pump out good scholars and teachers and have some good faculty members there. With ministry plans, I've primarily been studying and trying to discern my gifts. I've been reading some books on evangelism too to get some additional tactics and maybe approaches in talking to others about Christ. With the giving ministry idea, I have felt compelled to start it because I have the means to give and would like to help groups that are doing worthwhile things, but then in ways I guess I have some second thoughts.

In Jesus,

Response #14: 

Thanks for that update. DTS is the alma mater of my mentor, Col. Thieme, but things have changed a great deal in the last 75 years or so since he went there. Found out today that Talbot, the place I went, now has a whole institute for training "spiritual directors", an awful heresy. Maybe Dallas has stuck closer to the truth. I don't know. They were wrong on OSAS and the rapture (and border on institutional security as well, which is why they want you to be a member of a "real church"); don't think those things have changed. They always struck me as hyper-legalistic. That's awful to have to live with, but it might be worth it to get the training you want – you'll have to decide on that.

In any case, the truth is what we are after. The Lord will lead you to the right ministry. Just keep listening – and growing.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15: 


I've done a little more investigating on this "spiritual directing", and it does seem to be problematic. It looks like it's the "institute for spiritual formation" and some of this includes this "spiritual directing". The Biola website states,

“It is often said that the real director in spiritual direction is God, while the human spiritual director is more of a witness, one that points to God’s activity on behalf of the directee.”


"A spiritual director is: A mature Christian who helps the directee discern what the Holy Spirit is doing and saying and to act on that discernment"

Also, this is their justification for it:

"Spiritual direction is essentially a Christian ministry of prayer, care, and discernment. It fulfills the call to love one another (John 13:34) by encouraging one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) to love (Hebrews 10:24) with increasing wisdom and discernment (Philippians 1:9-11). It takes as a basic principle that those who have put their faith in Jesus have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) by the filling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-13), who is given to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). This Spirit-led renewing of the mind allows believers to test and approve God’s will (Romans 12:2), measuring all things according to the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Brothers and sisters in Christ are to carry one another’s burdens in prayer (James 5:13-16, Galatians 6:2), be quick to listen to one another (James 1:19), and to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Two often-cited examples of the “form” of spiritual direction in Scripture are the story of Eli helping Samuel to properly discern the voice of God (1 Samuel 3) and Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). In these stories we see a pattern where one who is spiritually wise, through a process of prayerful listening, discernment, and evocative questioning, is able to help another person move more fully into relationship with and obedience to God."

So I'm not sure that they're so much training these spiritual directors but that according to some of the things above they have these directors training these students and helping them in their walks. I don't have anything wrong with advice or biblical counseling of some sort, but there is nothing that says believers should aid in discerning what the Spirit is saying to individual believers, especially when it comes to their free will choices.

Unfortunately DTS basically has this same thing, but not quite as bad it seems. Each place makes you take many semesters of doing it. Part of DTS's mission for their program is to "help servant leaders participate in the Spirit's transformation of others", which again maybe doesn't sound great. Am I reading too much into this? This is all stuff to consider. At the same time, this spiritual formation stuff could also just be a waste of time anyway.


Response #15: 

Thanks for this.

It all sounds like new-age psycho-babble to me. This is essentially "discipleship" run ever farther amok (link). Biblical Christianity is about using our free will to listen to and follow the Spirit in honoring our Lord with our lives. Telling other people what to do and how to do it is the stuff of cults. Don't think I could have hacked this requirement. "Pastoral counseling" was bad enough (I changed degrees to avoid that one).

Any seminary you might attend will a) have things you don't like and don't agree with which you will have to deal with / take nonetheless; b) not have things you really wanted out of seminary (e.g., deep language teaching in Greek and Hebrew).

As often mentioned, I was blessed to run into a circle of like-minded believers, and my friendships with them were worth the price of admission (no guarantees on that happening for others, however).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Dear Teacher

Your prayers and constant encouragement are more than enough help for me. And you always go over and beyond in any case. Thank you, Sir.

Thank you for posting it, Sir. I am very grateful to be useful at all.

Keeping you and yours in our prayers.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #16: 

I also just posted your "Creation Story . . .". Well done you! This is really wonderful material, my friend. I think it is an indictment of those who use Nairaland that you haven't been yet drafted to pastor a church somewhere.

You remind me of Mozart in the movie Amadeus: brilliant in composition (= Bible teaching), but forced to spend time on things that made money to make ends meet. Wish we had an independently wealthy patron to support you. As it is, I'm very reluctant to discourage you from these wonderful writings in any way. Still, if I weren't teaching Latin and Greek and going to a faculty meeting tomorrow, perhaps I'd be making better use of my time. But I have to keep the lights on and the mortgage paid.

I really appreciate you, my friend. Keep walking close to the Lord. He will bring you through this dark valley into the light on the other side.

Keeping you in my prayers to that end.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

Dear Teacher

It is due to your encouragement and all your help that I have been able to exercise myself as I have. At least, I know what the Lord has given to me and made me and therefore what responsibility I have to Him.

I am happy and very grateful to the Lord that for once I know what my professional talents are and that I have finally found a way to confirm and develop them. I found a book online, The McKinsey Way, and it's helped. I want to just take one thing at a time and see if I cannot internalize all the principles that I learned there. When I do, I think I will have the confidence to take major consulting studies. It may be partly for this reason that there has been this delay all this time.

I want to honor the Lord by obeying Him in all things including the matter of work and providing for oneself and for one's family. I have never been confident that a church will look after me. I've watched people walk away from me because of the way I approached the Truth, even when I knew next to nothing about it, so I would be very surprised to find that anyone would commit to supporting me for the long term because of their love for the Truth. I have only been very troubled that I don't have the skills for maneuvering the issue of work. I am trusting now that the Lord will help me straighten things out.

Thank you for your constant encouragement and prayers and support, Sir. Keeping you in our prayers here.

Your student in the Lord Jesus

Response #17: 

It's not just you. If I had gone into a physical church, it wouldn't have worked – for the same reasons you address. It also didn't work out for about half of my seminary buddies and I wouldn't have wanted the situations the other half got into. There just isn't enough demand for the truth out there for this to be a proposition one can count on in the late innings of Laodicea. That doesn't mean that you aren't now and won't in the future be doing something the Lord wants done. Think of all the prophets of Israel and how most of them were disrespected. We should be grateful if the Lord keeps us from being stoned!

I'm confident that the Lord will open a path for you. I'm praying for that.

Keep fighting the fight, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18: 

Hi Bob,

I don't write to you often but I could use some prayer. Whether it's demonic assault or spiritual immaturity I don't really know, but there are so many nihilistic lies floating through my head right now that I can't seem to shake. A few nights ago it left me panicking and throwing up. I know many Christians, but they generally shut me out on biblical conversations when I express that politics isn't the answer. I have a strong desire for a biblical pursuit of justice, but right now even that seems to be tied up in politics. I'm trying to stand my ground through Bible reading and prayer. I have a constant feeling that I'm missing something. If you know of any good ministries in the Denver area that would be great. I feel like I'm doing very little for Christ's kingdom right now, though I know that ministry comes with spiritual maturity. I've been a Christian my whole life and it feels like spiritual maturity is always out of reach. Please pray for me.


Response #18: 

It's good to hear from you, my friend, but I'm sorry to hear that your are experiencing some spiritual dis-ease. I think pretty much everyone in this country (and around the world, for that matter) has been thrown off by all the recent dislocation, and here in the US of course we have "double unpleasantness" at present. I'm not surprised that secular friends and acquaintances are of little help in this regard. Given the load all "this" has put on believers, it's a wonder to me that unbelievers can experience any joy whatsoever without a blessed eternal future to look forward to. Focusing in on that – and on our Lord – is certainly the key to regaining you spiritual balance, so I would encourage you to redouble your efforts in spiritual growth. If you haven't already done so, BB 6A: Peripateology: the study of the Christian Walk would be good to read in this regard.

I will pray for you. Also, are you a member of the Ichthys forum? Those who participate generally report that they have received good encouragement from fellow believers who are likewise serious about seeking the truth in a biblical way. I'd be happy to ask you to be sent an invite if you're not already on it.

Also, since you mention Denver, yes, one of my seminary classmates, Mark Perkins, has a church in the area: Front Range Bible Church. I can't say that Mark and I agree on all doctrinal points (he would say the same), but we have maintained fellowship over the years (in spite of differences on, e.g., the pre-Trib rapture and OSAS). I don't know of many other churches I would / could even suggest trying out, so that is something. I do see from the website that they are merging with another church. Don't know what that is about. [update: Mark recently retired and he and his wife moved to Tahiti for a full-time mission effort there]

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

In Jesus our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #19: 

Hi Bob,

Thanks for checking in. Thanksgiving went smoothly. My family is slowly coming around to Jesus; both my brother and mother may be saved. They both read their Bibles that I got them sporadically. My father is gaining interest as well, although both he and my sister are most definitely not saved. I think he sees what happened to me and is beginning to wonder about the Bible's power. The pushback has all but stopped especially because of the success of this new business which has enabled me to go independent (glory to God for making my family struggles and tent making manageable).

In regard to Bible crash course, my goal is the truth. The Truth is our purpose, our life, and why I came to Ichthys in the first place. In conjunction, I strongly believe that the end times are extremely close, whether it is 2026, 2029, or some other day in the near future. In the same way that the reformers paid particular attention in their studies to the dynamics of salvation in order to expose the Catholic church, so in the same way I believe us on the precipice of the worst time in human history need to focus particularly on what is to come (while of course not abandoning or skimping on the Bible's critical tenets). With this perspective, I still believe the channel was premature. After some strong critique that I agreed with, I decided that it was too early to feed the sheep. I also realized that I was relying too much on your spiritual assistance and your approval to the point where I was violating this...

Matthew 23:8-11 (NASB) 8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

This is why I have stopped asking you questions over email because I need to take a step back and do solely what the Father wants me to do informed by the Holy Spirit.

Don't worry, I am not isolating myself as I see many people and have many friendly chats with my job, and also visit my family for dinner each weekend.

In conclusion, I have a fire burning in my heart and want to direct that zeal into a proper direction and salt it with patience because zeal without direction is useless. I'm likely not going to take the channel down, but instead do what I had asked you about that you disagreed with. That is to create a systematic end times study on paper and then go teach it on Bible Crash Course once the study is complete. I feel peace about this although I am embarrassed to have started something and then stopped. Ultimately though my life, my ego, my embarrassment, or what others think of me do not matter if I am going where He is leading me. Jesus Christ and His truth is what matters and towers above everything else. To even touch His truth requires extreme diligence and polishing, and most importantly staying in accordance with the truth. I hope you don't take offense to any of this because I have an extremely high respect for you as a person and your ministry.

I was glad to hear that you had a great Thanksgiving – well deserved after a long semester!

In Jesus Christ,

Response #19: 

Thanks for the update.

Great news about your family! A real answer to prayer! I'll keep them up on my end.

I certainly respect your decisions regarding your ministry. It is YOUR ministry, after all.

I also apologize if I ever gave you the slightest impression that I was "telling you what to do". I assure you that I've only ever wanted for you to be successful at studying and teaching the Word of God.

"We" are not a denomination. Rather, we are brothers and sisters in Christ who share a common love of the Word and the truth – that is our common bond, the service of Jesus Christ.

It is very important for any teacher of the Word to take responsibility for his own teaching, and I'm actually glad to see you doing that. That is what I always counsel. I don't require anyone who comes to this ministry to "get my approval". I only also don't ask their approval for teaching what I know to be the truth, regardless of how this upsets some folks when they want to offer me "suggestions".

We can certainly keep in touch as friends and fellow ministers of the Word. That's what I do with my seminary colleagues too, after all (and some of them have greatly different takes on some key issues).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #20: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

First, I want to thank you for your advice and consultation that you provided during the past year. It has most certainly been of great help and I appreciate it so very much.

Second, I pray that for this New Year of 2020, that God will lead you and guide you in every way possible for the ministry He has given you.

I am sure that many, many people have been blessed, and encouraged by your kind words of wisdom.

I just finished completing preparing a study on the Book of Philippians which I plan to teach in the future. I had begun teaching the woman who had been coming to the weekly Wednesday and Sunday Bible studies. I would ask you to pray for her as she has rejected more or less the study I had begun because in her words "It was too simple, and not enough meat, and she knew all that anyway"; and I had just begun the teaching.

She is a very difficult person to teach, as she is constantly interrupting me in the middle of my thought process, and is giving the attitude that she knows it all. Maybe God has put her in my path to teach me something, or for some other purpose which I have yet to discover.

I am trying to be patient with her, but it is becoming difficult for my wife and I, my wife never gets to speak a word, because of constant interruptions.

Well, I did not really want to burden you with this, but, I would ask not only for your prayers for her but maybe some advice for myself and my spouse.

I pray that God will continue to expand your outreach via your teachings and that many will come to the knowledge of the Truth of God's Word through your ministry that God made possible.

Peace, love, and joy be yours in the coming days ahead in this New Year.

P.S. I have an opportunity that will come to fruition next year in January. We have a friend from the Philippines whom we have been teaching for 8 years or so. She has many relatives and friends in the Philippines, along with a minister and his wife you are starting a new church that they will start building in the middle of January.

I was invited to come there with my wife along with the friend we have been teaching, next year when the church should be completed. We would stay several months and teach and preach at the newly established church.

Right now it is only an opportunity that has been given, and I have begun to pray about God's will concerning the offer.

I ask for your prayers, that "if it is God's will" for us to travel there, that He make it definitely known to us, as I know that He will. We will only go if we get clear directions from Him.

Thank you for all your prayers,

Your friend,

Response #20: 

Good to hear from you, my friend.

On the ministry opportunity, this to me is an example of the right and good way to do things. Many feel-good churches today send their members on one or two week "missions trips" wherein there is no way that they would have the time to actually help spiritually even if they were prepared to teach the truth. What a new church without any doctrinal grounding needs is exactly someone who knows the truth and who is able to teach it to come and help them get their bearings in the Word. Whether this is such a place and whether the right opportunity will present itself may not be yet apparent, but I commend you for your good judgment and love for the Lord.

On the other matter, it reminds me of this passage:

(16) Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. (17) This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” (18) And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.
Acts 16:16-18 NKJV

I'm not sure what to advise you to do, but the scripture says "Let your women keep silent in the churches" for a reason (1Cor.14:34; cf. 1Tim.2:11-12); it applies to men to, of course: when a man with the gift is teaching the Word, he is owed a respectful hearing, but the evil one does what he can to keep the truth from being heard. There is a lot on this in the just now posted BB 6B Ecclesiology.

Wishing you and your family a great 2020 as well, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21: 


Thanks for the quick reply. And thank you for all the hard work on your ministry and the Peter series. It continues to help me grow spiritually, and many others I'm sure.

Things are finally looking better for me. The job/income, the old house (trailer), and my health were all on life support, but it's all gotten so much better beyond my expectations. I still struggle financially sometimes, but I get by. I mentioned the house in my last email, and it's such a huge blessing. And my health is manageable, sometimes even great. I am so thankful for these things. I still struggle with my attitude about it what all happened...there was so much bad that all happened at once, I don't know how I survived it. I admit it still bothers me...I don't know if hanging on to my faith was a victory, or if getting discouraged/angry was a defeat. I guess I'll just be thankful times are better.

I've had a spiritual question for some time and don't remember if I've ever asked you about it. But I prayed for understanding, and I find that those prayers are usually answered very, very quickly. I wanted to see if you think I'm on the right track. I've always had a negative view of Churchianity, while being careful to remember that a lot of people caught up in that are our brothers in Christ. But I've never been able to articulate, even to myself, why I feel that The Spirit is grieved by and leading me away from churches. When I hear about mission trips, for instance...I don't get the warm and fuzzies. But I question why, and how to articulate my feelings about it. It's a strange feeling to be a believer but hold a negative view of churches. I've talked with a couple of people who went on mission trips to Haiti after the big earthquake, for instance. It's hard for me to understand what purpose the mission trips served. And it sounded like the believers in Haiti were perhaps even more advanced spiritually than the folks going on the mission trip. And it bothers me very much that some of the people who went on these trips then use it as some sort of authority, as if their words now have more meaning because they signed up for the trip the church said they needed to go on. What good is it to go on a trip but then ignore your neighbor's spiritual and physical needs?

But then I had lunch with a local pastor recently. I did some IT work at their church and happened to bump into him, and he introduced himself and a few days later invited me to lunch. I thought The Lord might be leading me to a place where I could grow spiritually with others (in addition to doing so here at Ichthys.) But after talking to him, I got that same feeling from the things that were said...the men's groups that confess their lusts to each other, the spiritual milk instead of the meat etc. Churches seem to focus manufactured good deeds. And it kind of clicked, and I thought maybe that was the answer I was looking for.

Do you think that is a fair assessment, that Churchianity is caught up in manufactured good deeds, and of course manufactured emotion as well? You discuss believers' individual ministries often in your teaching. My understanding, from your teaching and from the Bible, is that The Lord will decide what opportunities we have to bear fruit. And we essentially say yes or no to those opportunities, and our level of spiritual growth will allow us to say yes more often, or to say yes in a better and more fulfilling way. And therefore we bear the fruit The Lord intends for us to bear, as opposed to manufacturing fruit through an organizational structure like the local church. The local Baptist church shouldn't be deciding for us when and where we bear fruit, but The Spirit leads us to go and do the things He has planned for us (and in the right time). And we have to prepare spiritually so that when the time is right, our words and actions are pleasing to Him. Mission trips and other similar practices seem to put the cart before the horse. Almost as if the spiritual growth comes from the ministry, instead of growing in faith so that we might then fulfill our ministry.

I also think often of the fact that there have been times in my life where I desperately needed help; material, financial, spiritual, etc. But no mission trip goes 5 minutes down the road to a neighbor. And when the pastor I had lunch with prayed for me, he prayed that I find a church. I would rather he pray for my spiritual growth, which may not lead me to a local building. But it has led me to the Ichthys community, and while I grow spiritually, the local churchians can look down on this poor heathen that doesn't even "go to church."

In Christ,

Response #21: 

Great to hear from you, my friend! I'm very pleased to receive this wonderful report.

"I don't know how I survived it." I'm positive that the Lord had a little something to do with that – in fact no doubt everything to do with it. Most serious believers I have known have had similar experiences – similar in the not knowing how to explain survival except through the grace of God. That is part of the testing that helps us grow. I would counsel you to be grateful to the Lord for your deliverance. None of us is perfect; none of us makes perfect decisions. Believers who are growing are often placed in situations where only God can help. That is to help US learn to rely on Him – and He always comes through, always.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2nd Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV

No "strange thing" happened to you (1Pet.4:12); this is the way it is for all of us out here in the wilderness, waiting for the return of Jesus Christ.

On "churchianity", I hope you know by now that I feel exactly the same way, and so do all the refugees fleeing TO the truth who have found a bit of refuge at Ichthys. The right path is a strait one, a narrow one. For those not willing to walk it, seeing those who are doing so naturally produces shame and therefore reaction. If they can pull us off of the right way, it will mean that they weren't wrong after all. I have also learned to be patient with their lukewarmness, but not with any attempt on their part to water me down along with them.

As far as how to articulate it, unless this is a particular ministry you've been called to, all you need to do is keep standing up for the truth whenever asked to give an account (1Pet.3:15). It will quickly then become obvious when you make it clear just in simple conversation that you understand the truth of the Bible far better than they. At that point they may respond positively – but don't be surprised if they prefer emotion and pabulum. This is Laodicea, after all.

I absolutely agree with you about missionary tourism as well. I find it repulsive, personally. A true missionary is someone who moves in country, bothers to learn the language and the culture, and devotes his/her life to the people and the place he/she has been called to. Two weeks feeling good about yourself for doing next to nothing (and certainly nothing spiritually worthwhile for the most part) is not to be compared to the real thing.

I'm keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Dear Professor

I hope things are going as well for you as can be at U of L. Thank you for placing me on the Ichthys prayer list. [omitted]

Here's an update from something sent out by me:

You have posted quite a few videos already. An excellent achievement.

English was my weakest subject at school, though I have a fair grip on ordinary simple speech.
Some on this site have a much better grasp of ideas and explanations, whereas my limit seems to be solely reading the scriptures and taking them at face value and logical conclusions.

Ichthys is a long read, though I find I can accept what is taught because of the scriptural references Dr Luginbill provides. Also can stop to reread, look up scriptures etc. (Tecarta bible app I use all the time for this). Q28 of Eschatological Issues XLVI lists some that I had been looking at for varying reasons. Last night our Bible fellowship (I didn’t go as I wasn’t quite up to it health wise- and one of the attendees is an aged care worker - so being cautious too). They used a sermon by David Wilkerson - Last Days Deception. His style of kinda yelling, puts me off, but I suppose it gets some revved up. This led me to looking him up on the web, he was the founder of Times Square Church, then looked up other references saying he was a false prophet (endtime - prophets.com) clicked their pretrib rapture button/top 5 reasons why Matthew 24 cannot be talking about the Rapture /Other Articles on the Pre Trib Rapture/(takes you to) nowtheendbegins.com/ our top 5 reasons why Matthew 24 cannot be talking about the rapture of the church. [they are advocating the pre trib view]. A bit of “blinded by science” approach by them. Whereas a simple quoting of appropriate scriptures easily and in short time shows their approach to be nonsense (in my humble opinion).

This sort of thing had me thinking of doing my own face to face videos - not because I was particularly inclined, but because I could not seem to find anyone doing it in accordance to scripture and Ichthys teachings. A few things made me hesitant

It is not as easy as just writing. Avoiding the natural inclination to become conceited. Did not know how to go about it on the technical side (though my son tells me it is not hard). My health has been poor for a couple of months (starting to feel better at long last). Thanks to all who pray.

My preferred presentation was going to be:
A. To have some (not all) smaller videos that would arrive at a natural conclusion
B. Some of the follow up videos on the same topic (mini series if you like) to build more scriptural evidence.
C. A calm slow paced talk, with particular clear, deliberate speech, and emphasis on any and all quoted scriptures. Teach it clear, teach it slow.
D. Endeavour that believers with limited reading/listening skills could relatively easily understand.

I have one friend who basically will not listen to anything out of The USA. I have been trying to persuade him to study at Ichthys. He does have a ministry with those not in the “normal” mode of Christianity, in that he gives the message of hope in Christ to bikies in his group. He was formerly quite a senior member of an established religion. So there was also that aspect (accounting for people’s particular leanings) in my thinking of providing the same message of the gospel in a different style and accent so as to invite a wider audience to embrace the whole truth).

In teaching from scripture, my hope was that viewers could discern how much (or little) of the truth other ministries were teaching; also to point people to Ichthys and Bible Academy. I would include an ‘Other resources’ tab for additional sites I have found useful. I am not decided whether this is a path I will/can go at present. It does concern me that there are a lot of subtleties being taught out there instead of the whole truth. It is most heartening to see you teaching online through Youtube.

Your brother in Christ

Thank you for all your kind, gracious efforts in your teaching Ministry. As I will say again; it is the only thing that gives me the confidence to speak about scripture - because of my trust in the accuracy of your explanations, given in so many different ways, to so many different people.

In Jesus Christ our dear Savior.

Your student

Response #22: 

I will say a prayer for your friend – and of course I'm keeping you in my prayers. I don't know how many people "pray through" the list at Ichthys, but some do.

Great news about your prospective ministry, my friend! As I always say, Ichthys is not "everyone's cup of tea" – because in the case of this particular form of presentation, many people need audio or visual or both (there are MP3 files now, courtesy of Chris. B.), and also even the same material presented by a different person on tape or video or with a different writing style will often "speak" to one person better than another. So there's plenty of room in the pool, my friend! Jump on in!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23: 

Thanks Bob,

One plants, another waters but God gives the increase.

I'm not sure who planted the seed of the Word for me, it even have been my RE teacher at Catholic High School. I remember her telling us about Jesus vividly but not sure when I first heard the Gospel. You have certainly watered the plant and nourished it. God gives the increase. Does that mean something happens to us through faith supernaturally? Is spiritual growth a supernatural and miraculous event?

I remember being blind before and I was completely blind to the Word before and now my eyes are opened it feels a miraculous thing. Having the Holy Spirit within is a miracle. All of these things are jaw droppingly wondrous.

It is so incredible now being a child of God and walking with Him.

Yes indeed I am taking it day by day but keeping up both my Bible and study from your ministry daily, study from several sections at once and one unit from Bible Academy a day. I am finding that as I keep this up, I can really see the growth and God is really rewarding my study.

I have decided to hold off on my videos a little longer. I want to grow more spiritually first. Also God has not revealed to me yet what ministry I am to have. What positions/ gifts are given to women?

In Him,

Response #23: 

Everything God does for us is supernatural – because He is. Being born again, born from above, is, as Jesus told Nicodemus, something the world cannot discern. But we know just how marvelous and miraculous it is!

You have a wonderful witness, my friend.

In terms of ministries, as I always say, it is important not to think of them in traditional terms. Denominations have tended to closely define "ministry" that "counts" as some particular codified position in their church. In fact, there are as many ministries as there are believers, and no two of us have the same exact combination of gifts. Remember: all genuine "work" empowered by the Spirit and done through grace has already been prepared for us by God (Eph.2:8-9). Our job as believers is to 1) grow to the point of being ready to be tested; 2) pass the tests that come; 3) be receptive to the Spirit guiding us into the particular service that the Lord Jesus has for us. We don't want to be precipitous; we also don't want to hang back. The Lord will show you the right thing at the right time . . . just as long as you are willing to move when He is ready to have you move.

There is a lot about this in BB 5 and also BB 6B.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.


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