It seems that Frank Turk of "Team Pyro" fame can't handle the truth that by and large the professing church has fallen - or leapt - off a spiritual cliff.
After reading the account of Karolyn Caskey over at CR Online I sent the article in its entirety along with a brief series of questions to Frank Turk (a.k.a. Centuri0n) by e-mail in reference to a recent series of posts in which Frank takes the Biblically unprecedented position that Christians don't have the moral ability to decide to leave their local church.
As you can see for yourself in his sneering reply posted below Mr. Turk is a classic and sad example of the highly Pharisaical church legalist. In fact the only organizations I can think of who hold as firmly to Mr. Turk's "Roach Motel" position on the local church as he does himself (i.e. "you can check in, but you can't check out") are the RCC and the LDS.
Below is Mr. Turk's response to my e-mail along with portions of the original to which he specifically replied - assuming this indignant screeching screed can be called a reply as it reads more like the ranting of an unbalanced individual than a cogent, reasoned response.
After reading his message I replied to Mr. Turk by thanking him for responding, offering my prayers that the Lord would open his eyes to the truth, and wishing him a happy vacation (he's apparently taking some time off for the 4th of July).
> Long time no speak (mostly due to being banned from
> both your blog & Pyro),
> but nonetheless I thought I'd share this one with
Wow. How nice of you to share. It's odd that you
don't remember being banned for giving lectures --
that you just say things and don't defend them, and
are unwilling to defend them, and what you say doesn't
lie up to any facts.
Just being banned. That says something -- about
-you-. Too bad you don't know what that is.
> I guess your pastor calling the police and having
> you dragged from church in
> handcuffs is grounds to leave your local church even
> in Frank Turk's world,
> right? Or maybe not?
Because you are a reactionary who doesn't read
anything thoroughly, you have apparently missed this
part of the story:
According to Mrs. Caskey, she contacted her lawyer and
asked her to represent her in the meeting at the
church. The meeting was not held, and through friends
in the small town of Allen, Caskey was told that “they
were going to try and dismiss me from the church.”
Now, let me ask you -- where, in my recent series of
posts, have I ever advocated going back to a church
that you have been thrown out of? Anywhere? List one
Yes: the meeting "was not held". The fact that they
were notified her they wanted to hold it would be
enough to tell me -- and any reasonable person -- that
they are not wanted there. However, she never
followed up as to why the meeting wasn't held. The
article doesn't say why it wasn't held. But she knew
that she was no longer welcome.
If you can point me to where I said, "go back until
they carry you out in cuffs," you can then have some
royal indignation. Until then, You are only
demonstrating to me that I did a really smart thing my
banning you. You're an ignoramus who thinks that he
has some moral high-ground from which to issue edicts.
> Perhaps this gray haired
> saint should just take it up
> with the elders after she's been sprung from the
> pokey? Oh, and how about
> the other members? Her children, grandchildren and
> other family, her
> brothers and sisters in the Lord beside whom she's
> faithfully served
> alongside for 50 years, I guess so long as they're
> not being arrested and
> dragged from service they ought to just stay put and
> remain under their
> loving pastor's authority and care, right?
No. She shouldn't have gone back. Do I think her
"pastor" did something despicable and vile? Why yes:
yes I do. I think he's the villain in this little
morality play. But he's a villain who has been
enabled by all those who left and so-called elders who
have no way to hold him accountable.
Mrs. Caskey is certainly one victim in this event.
But it seems rather stupid to go back when one is
being actively told they are not welcome, doesn't it?
You might paint this as her being persecuted -- and I
might find a way to agree with you about that. But
isn't that /what we should expect/ when we stand up
for Christ against the world?
When a worldly man takes over a church as pastor, it's
the Gospel against his slice of the world. We should
expect the world to hate us.
To save you some time, I'm going to post this e-mail
to my blog for people's summer reading. Then, when
you mis-represent me (again) you can link to that post
so people can see the whole conversation.
Happy 4th -- don't handle any lit fireworks.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
It seems that Frank Turk of "Team Pyro" fame can't handle the truth that by and large the professing church has fallen - or leapt - off a spiritual cliff.
Posted by Coram Deo at 3:44 PM
A recent commenter dropped by and had a question about our country's political system and the act of voting: I will continue to obey the laws of the land, as they do not conflict with the word of God. But what do you think about not voting?
Now this isn't a political blog, but the question in the context of the entire comment is both valid and important since it touches on the Christian's civic responsibility as we pass onward through this strange land toward our eternal home. The question is also particularly relevant and timely since most Americans are being inundated daily by the various persons vying for attention leading up to the 2008 presidential election.
Here was my response:
...thanks for dropping by, sharing your encouragement, and for your inquiry about my views of our political process and voting in particular.
First I'd say it's important to understand what you've already pointed out, which is that the governmental powers of men are ordained by God. He alone raises kingdoms up and casts them down according to His perfect and sovereign will. But in the particular case of the United States, it’s my opinion that America's original system of a constitutional republic has long since withered and died on the vine.
Sadly it's abundantly clear that "we the people" are mere inches away from tyranny in this nation, and as you indicated in your original post, there's not a whit of difference between the candidates who are perennially offered up by the bi-factional ruling party of this country. I call it a bi-factional ruling party because the concept of the "two-party" system is a charade and a sham. It's a red herring game of good-cop, bad-cop designed to keep the mindless sheeple believing that they actually have a voice in government, yet this is clearly not the case.
Certainly there are a few noble and godly public servants, but the system itself in anti-Christian. There's nothing that can be done from "the inside" to correct the dangerous course of our nation as it careens wildly toward the uncharted and rocky shores of a centralized governmental power that was once considered to be the stuff of nightmarish Orwellian fiction.
To utilize a familiar analogy Humpty Dumpty is broken, and there's simply no putting him back together again.
But we needn't lose heart or become weary in well doing! The key point for the believer is to maintain our focus on the eternal, and not become bogged down in or consumed with the temporal. We ought to live our lives in humble obedience to Christ with the full knowledge and blessed assurance that we are as strangers in a strange land, passing through this earthly realm and into a heavenly city not built with hands. God Almighty is unfolding history according to His own eternal plan and purpose, and nothing can stay His hand from accomplishing that which He wills to do.
Praise the Lord!
I believe that far too often otherwise well meaning Christians become ensnared in a social gospel that basically substitutes good works for the atoning blood of Christ. Please don't misunderstand my point here, good works will inevitably flow from the true Christian life because they are produced by the Spirit of God within the believer, but like faith without works, works without faith are spiritually dead and fit for nothing.
Sinners don't simply need food, clothing and clean drinking water, although these things are good and necessary for life. Rather they need the the bread of heaven, the robe of righteousness, and the spiritual water that is Christ Jesus since these are good and necessary for eternal life.
Unfortunately human government is generally so power mad and bent on total domination that it will absolutely refuse to relinquish any power it has obtained through legislation, public acquiescence, or plain old fashioned brute force. This is unsurprising in the light of scripture as we can easily see in the book of Daniel. In his nighttime visions King Nebuchadnezzar saw human government as a beautiful and impressive statue in the similitude of a kingly man which was comprised of various materials that represented various human governments. But as interpreted through Daniel, God's man on the scene, and as seen through God's eyes these various human governments were revealed as terrible instruments of continual destruction. It's also interesting at this point to note that the description of the "statue" of King Nebuchadnezzar's nighttime vision is consistent with the concept of a graven image or what is commonly known as an idol.
In essence and in practice human governments are in direct competition with God Almighty for the "hearts and minds" of mankind. Human governments seek to usurp God's authority by demanding loyalty that belongs only to the Infinite Creator and Judge of the universe. In other words they make idols of themselves and set themselves up to receive what amounts to a form of worship and obeisance.
For example, have you ever asked yourself why the flag of the United States is plastered all over practically every church in this nation? Have you ever wondered if it is appropriate? We don't typically think much about such things because "that's the way it's always been, right?" WRONG! Like any type of subterfuge many, if not most of what we consider to be "normal" is anything but. Consider the following:
The claim that we make an idol of our government is provocative and disconcerting; it is also almost impossible to deny. Idolatry occurs when we take anything within God's creation and elevate it above the boundary separating Creator from the creature, and make it a kind of God. Political philosopher David Koyzis has explored this concept in detail, examining how ideologies can become idols:
"If ideologies deify something within God's creation, they inevitably view this humanly made god as a source of salvation. Thus each of the ideologies is based on a specific soteriology, that is, on a worked-out theory promising deliverance to human beings from some fundamental evil that is viewed as the source of a broad range of human ills, including tyranny, oppression, anarchy, poverty and so forth."
Our view of governance has not only attained this level of ideological belief, but has become rather commonplace.
The prior quote was taken from a post over at the evangelical outpost shortly after hurricane Katrina entitled "Deliver Us From Evils: The Soteriology of Gnostic Governance".
Friends, it's indisputable that human government, while instituted by God Almighty, is the playground of the devil himself. There has been more death, torture and injustice perpetrated on mankind by his various governments than has ever been perpetrated by all other forms of human on human violence combined.
As Christians let's keep our focus on the eternal hope that lies before us and not subscribe to the false Dominion Theology (a.k.a. Kingdom Theology) that says we must prepare a kingdom fit for Jesus to return and claim. Rest assured, He will return again one day to claim His kingdom, but it will not be the result of the righteous works of men, which are as filthy rags before the Lord of Hosts.
Posted by Coram Deo at 6:54 AM
Friday, June 29, 2007
From the Spurgeon Archive:
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)
God encourages us to pray. They tell us that prayer is a pious exercise which has no influence except upon the mind engaged in it. We know better. Our experience gives the lie a thousand times over to this infidel assertion. Here Jehovah, the living God, distinctly promises to answer the prayer of His servant. Let us call upon Him again and admit no doubt upon the question of His hearing us and answering us. He that made the ear, shall He not hear? He that gave parents a love to their children, will He not listen to the cries of His own sons and daughters!
God will answer His pleading people in their anguish. He has wonders in store for them. What they have never seen, heard of, or dreamed of, He will do for them. He will invent new blessings if needful. He will ransack sea and land to feed them: He will send every angel out of heaven to succor them if their distress requires it. He will astound us with His grace and make us feel that it was never before done in this fashion. All He asks of us is that we will call upon Him. He cannot ask less of us. Let us cheerfully render Him our prayers at once.
Posted by Coram Deo at 7:41 PM
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I certainly don’t lay any claim to knowing the secret things of God, but it seems to me that the days of sweeping corporate revival are long past because the patient is surely dead. Sadly modern church-ianity is a hollow spiritual shell with no life. It’s but empty pomp and circumstance puffed up with religious sound and fury, signifying nothing.
The soaring Christ-centered, God honoring preaching of days gone by has been largely replaced with the man-centered false gospel of the Protestant Pope, “America’s Pastor”, Rick Warren and the cotton candy, bloodless Nerf theology of “Gawd has a wonderful plan for Your Best Life Now”, Smilin' Joel Osteen.
The stark and disturbing truth is that professing church is Biblically illiterate and spiritually bankrupt and has traded its spiritual birthright for a worthless bowl of worldly pottage.
Men, if you are hoping that your church’s Info-tainment style Sunday service is going to give you and your family a solid knowledge of the Bible, then you hope in vain. It’s your responsibility as spiritual head of the household to do the job. It's time to repent for the wholesale abdication of our God given responsibility to "train up our children up in the way they should go", and to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord". It's time to stop relying on others to do our job for us. The family starts in the home, and as with our hearts Christ must rule and reign there also. In fact He must have the preeminence and occupy the throne in each and every area of life; our heart, our mind, our spirit, our home, our family, our occupation, our very being.
Oh, how far we have fallen! I’m amazed each and every day by the apparently desperate race to the very bottom of the pit in which today’s Circus Church is engaged. All the stops have been pulled as pernicious pastors continually attempt to outdo one another with increasingly hellish shock tactics, marketing ploys, and downright deviant advertising in the continuing "pornification" of the church for what amounts to nothing more than a shameless numbers game. Modern church-ianity is what happens when 21st century capitalism meets a (false) gospel for sale. These deceitful charletans will go to any lengths and do whatever it takes to herd the sheeple into the pews, but not with the hope that they might hear the gospel and repent, but rather with the hope that the church can hit its numbers and obtain a bit more filthy lucre in the offering plate.
Were it not for the eternal Word of God it would be hard to understand an apostate church leadership that is so morally corrupted and so spiritually bankrupt that it would gladly pay for the opportunity prostitute itself, but as the scriptures clearly show, these disobedient children are of their father the devil and have no part in the Lord:
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (John 2:19)
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (2 Tim. 4:3)
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:16)
God help us!
Posted by Coram Deo at 8:56 PM
Slice of Laodicea asks a loaded question: Is Flag Waving Appropriate in Worship Services?
Jim Bublitz at OldTruth.com posts about American evangelical churches doing 4th of July extravaganzas in worship services near the 4th of July. A couple of years ago, I turned on the TV station that our ministry runs and they were airing a Baptist church service from some huge southern church. My husband and I sat there agape at what we saw. They had dancers that would have done well on Broadway, they had celebrity singers, they had Abe Lincoln, they had Uncle Sam on stilts, they had red, white and blue balloons dropping from the ceiling, they had jugglers and confetti and the people screamed and waved, and a thumping good time was had by all. I’m not opposed to patriotic shows and flags, but does this belong in Christian worship of our holy God? I don’t think it does. What we were witnessing was a circus, not a worship service. Problem was, it was video from the church’s Sunday morning service. I believe that upholding our nation’s leaders in the prayer of the church is biblical. Staging a patriotic show in a “worship” service is not. What do you say?
This was my response:
I for one can’t understand what place the American flag or the teaching of the pledge of allegiance to Christian children has in Christ’s church. One question, to whom and to what alone do Christians owe their whole and singular allegiance?
It would seem that the high places are still not taken away.
After posting my initial comment I considered the matter further and fired off a second volley:
Okay, I'm probably setting myself for some lumps here, but this same question equally applies to the so-called "Christian flag". What is that abomination doing in Christ's church alongside the "stars and stripes"?
Or how about this, what if those familiar and innocuous flags were replaced with icons? What if your pastor asked you to solemnly pledge allegiance to the icons? What if the icons were paraded around the room in a procession set to a joyful chorus of praise? God forbid!
Now before your blood pressure gets out of kilter and your ears start getting hot please understand that I'm not somehow ignoring the fact that thousands of Americans (and pre-Americans) have given their lives to protect the freedoms I enjoy today. The thing to remember is this, it is GOD who gives us those freedoms. The Christian can honor the sacrifice of his countrymen, if appropriate, but in Church we ought to honor God, and not man!
Posted by Coram Deo at 7:42 PM
From Slice of Laodicea:
Robert Parham Update
I learned more today about the author of the guest editorial at the Atlanta Journal Constitution that blasted Southwestern Baptist Seminary’s Christian homemaking emphasis in their undergraduate program. It was written by none other than a liberal Baptist of the Jimmy Carter ilk. Not just any liberal Baptist either, but Robert Parham, Executive Director of the Baptist Center for Ethics. I had to smile when I read the sanctimonious statements on his website, EthicsDaily.com. He, unlike the whacked out religious right Baptists, believes that Christians should stop being known for what they are AGAINST. They need to be positive and proactive rather than reactive. Here’s a quote from his site:
"When we started BCE, we recognized that too often Christians have been known for what we are against. We were convinced that it was high time for thoughtful Christians to be positive and proactive. So, we seek to reframe the way Christians think, talk and work on issues. BCE challenges Christians to be pro-health, not anti-alcohol; pro-women and pro-people of color, not anti-discrimination; pro-poor people, not anti-poverty; pro-family, not anti-abortion and anti-pornography; pro-sex education, not anti-human sexuality; pro-character development, not anti-moral failure. While it is more difficult to be positive than negative, we are committed to a constructive ethics agenda."
Read it all in context here. Reading his insulting, sneering words against those Southern Baptists who actually believe what the Bible says about the model for the Christian family, I assumed that Parham was just another liberal hack journalist, chipping his teeth on conservatives for pay. Come to find out, he is a “positive, proactive” Baptist who wants to improve the tone of discourse in America and demonstrate how tolerant and creative Christians can be. Physician, heal thyself. Mr. Parham’s public potrayal of Paige Patterson and the staff and faculty of Southwestern Baptist Seminary as cultural neanderthals is disgraceful and uncouth. Why is it that his ethic of tolerance and positivity doesn’t apply when it involves a Christian conservative who believes the Bible? If he can’t manage to do that, deleting his pious statements on his website would be in order.
Posted by Coram Deo at 7:06 PM
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
True Christianity! Let us mind that word “true.” There is a vast quantity of religion current in the world which is not true, genuine Christianity. It passes muster, it satisfies sleepy consciences; but it is not good money. It is not the authentic reality that called itself Christianity in the beginning. There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday and call themselves Christians. They make a “profession” of faith in Christ. Their names are in the baptismal register. They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage service. They mean to be buried as Christians when they die. But you never see any “fight” about their religion! Of spiritual strife and exertion and conflict and self–denial and watching and warring they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded and His apostles preached. It is not the religion which produces real holiness. True Christianity is “a fight.”
The true Christian is called to be a soldier and must behave as such from the day of his conversion to the day of his death. He is not meant to live a life of religious ease, indolence and security. He must never imagine for a moment that he can sleep and doze along the way to heaven, like one traveling in an easy carriage. If he takes his standard of Christianity from the children of this world, he may be content with such notions, but he will find no countenance for them in the Word of God. If the Bible is the rule of his faith and practice, he will find his course laid down very plainly in this matter. He must “fight.”
HAT TIP: Slice of Laodicea
Posted by Coram Deo at 8:29 PM
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Right before our very eyes mainstream Christendom is converging with the New Age movement. In 2007, two events are scheduled, and if they actually occur without a public outcry by Christian leaders then we will have entered into a full-fledged paradigm shift, and a line will have been crossed that will very likely mean no turning back.
Continue reading here.
Posted by Coram Deo at 8:37 PM
...that you are being deceived.
The Achilles heel of contemplative prayer has always been its lack of biblical support . The choice is clear, we either come to God on his terms or any way man sees fit. Coming to God through a practice taught by mystics during the Dark Ages which they borrowed from eastern religions is not coming to God on His terms.
Posted by Coram Deo at 8:20 PM
Sunday, June 24, 2007
I had the following exchange with Dan Kimball this evening in the meta of his thread entitled "Do some Christians want to be "hated".
Dan hails from the emergent camp which is itself a cultic version of modern neo-liberalism which has been laced with a poisonous dose of New Age Mysticism. Much has been written on the so-called "emergent conversation" and there's a veritable mountain of evidence which demonstrates the spiritually venemous nature of this movement, therefore I won't take the time in this post to further decry the dangers of the emergent camp.
Comparatively speaking Dan Kimball is among the more orthodox in the movement, which sadly doesn't say much for the emergents since Pastor Dan is generally confused about what is to be considered as orthodox, and his position on creedal Christianity is shaky at best. Below are the comments we exchanged tonight:
The main thrust of my original post wasn't to question your observation that many self-professed Christians behave in a manner that seemingly or actually opposes scripture - this is an indisputable fact.
My thoughts on the matter at hand are two-fold and perhaps weren't clearly communicated in my original message:
A) The behaviors exhibited by professing Christians - such as the example provided in this thread - aren't always the behaviors of true Christians.
False converts and false teachers abound in today's melting pot of Christendom and discerning true believers should always be careful not to equate a positive or even non-antagonistic attitude toward Christ as something akin to evidence of saving faith. This is because there is a demonic faith that intellectually assents to the truth claims of Christ, but which never results in contrition, repentance, and true saving faith (see the parables of the Sower and the True Vine and Husbandman).
B) The apologetic method you've advanced here both in the body of your main message and in your brief reply to my comment is – at least in my understanding - Biblically unprecedented insofar as your assertion that the Gospel message is somehow beholden to the "opinions or attitudes" of men. When Christ Himself "hung out" with the vilest of sinners - prostitutes, publicans, et al - He never once gave occasion to nor offered a winking nod toward their licentious lifestyles, but rather He challenged them to turn away from their sins (repent). Yet it's interesting to note that those whose sin weighed heaviest upon them were those who most desperately sought ought the Lord and His forgiveness. Those who were righteous in their own hearts were those who despised Him the most vehemently and ultimately conspired to bring about His execution. This exemplifies sinful pride at its worst.
To your point it's certainly true that poorly equipped messengers can - and do - corrupt the Gospel, and this is the root cause for the existence of many if not most of the cults of Christianity.
But the Gospel message itself is very simple and direct and not the least bit confusing. All mankind stands guilty and condemned before the Infinite Creator and Judge of the Universe but for Christ crucified, the ultimate truth of the ages - the hinge upon which all of human history turns.
Clearly there’s much more to be said on this subject than can be contained in a simple blog comment, but suffice it to say that salvation isn't the sterile transaction many think it to be. It isn't the shiny turnstile of heaven dully clicking as the saved are recorded as "in" while the lost are simply scratched off the rolls of the Book of Life and recorded as “out”. God isn't an omnipotent accountant with His angels busily and dutifully filing their paperwork.
In closing I believe that when we as the church, the Bride of Christ, really get it - no I mean when we REALLY GET IT – when we by the grace of God grasp what this is all about, the magnitude of the task set before us, the weapons and armor He’s given to us, and the battle plan He’s laid out for us to execute in simple and humble obedience ; then maybe we'll see the type of revival that godly gray haired old men fondly and faintly recall, and of which the young men of our time have not yet dared to dream.
Thankfully God is still in the "seeking and saving" business, and it is for this purpose that Christ came into the world - to save sinners.
His Word is sure, His grace is sufficient and His mercies are everlasting – Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty Who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.
Posted by: Coram Deo | June 24, 2007 at 08:03 PM
"I can't fathom a true born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ harboring a secret desire to be hated as some sort of perverse spiritual litmus test."
I don't think any Christian wants to be hated... but so many times I am hearing this as an excuse for why some feel they shouldn't be out in the world hanging out with non-Christians. Or that it does bring a sense of "I am doing the Lord's will" when they get into confrontations about the gospel with people, when after listening to the story or assessing what happened, it wasn't about the gospel they got mad at the person, it was the way they had attitudes, poor explanations and apologetics, didn't listen to the other person's opinions etc.
I am really not talking about anything crazy here - simply being friends with one or two or three people those outside the church who we pray for, hang out with etc. I have several non-Christian friends, and although at this time they reject the gospel, I don't think they "hate" me - but I also don't give up on them as human beings and care about them, so I am not going to abandon them if they choose at this time not to put faith in Jesus.
Posted by: Dan | June 24, 2007 at 04:49 PM
It might have been beneficial if you'd shared some scriptural examples of the type of apologetic suggested above being employed.
I can't fathom a true born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ harboring a secret desire to be hated as some sort of perverse spiritual litmus test.
This being said I have no doubt there are innumerable false converts both in the pulpits and the pew who view evangelism in this manner. Sadly the professing church is awash in tares and goats and due to their demonic faith they bring shame and dishonor to our King.
The key for the true believer is godly discernment which grants us the ability to tell the bad tree and the bitter spring from the good.
A dearth of godly spiritual discernment is perhaps the single biggest problem in the modern professing church today.
Posted by: Coram Deo | June 24, 2007 at 04:13 PM
Posted by Coram Deo at 8:08 PM
I sent the message below to Rod Parsley - a notorious Word Faith shill and spiritual charlatan of the lowest order - in response to his most recent attempt to sell the Gospel through his book entitled "Culturally Incorrect".
I for one would recommend a different title be stamped on virtually everything associated with Rod Parsley and his ministry: "Biblically Incorrect". Below is the e-mail message I sent to him at "firstname.lastname@example.org":
In the boldness of the Lord, the battle plan we need comes from the Word of God, not your book. I would further assert your most recent book has been released primarily to generate financial gain for you and your ministry. In humility I request that you repent of the shameless selling of the Gospel.
The modern-day Simon Magus whom you target is still unable to buy "the anointing", and you sir are unable to sell it.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
HAT TIP: Shane Trammel blog
Posted by Coram Deo at 8:17 AM
"The conflict of the ages is upon us. This unbiblcal distorted thing called the church, that mixes with the world and dishonors its so-called Lord, has been found out for what it is, a fraud. The true church is born from above. In it there are no sinners,and outside of it no saints. No man can put another’s name on its member’s roll;and no man can cross another’s name off that roll.. This Church-of which, bless the Lord, there is still a small remnant in the world-lives and moves and has its being in prayer. Prayer is its soul’s sincere desire."
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:16-17)
"There is all around us, however, a very evident and continuing substitute for worship. I speak of the compelling temptation among Christian believers to be constantly engaged, during every waking hour, in religious activity.
We cannot deny that it is definitely a churchly idea of service. Many of our sermons and much of our contemporary ecclesiastical teaching lean toward the idea that it is surely God’s plan for us to be busy, busy, busy–because it is the best cause in the world in which we are involved.
But if there is any honesty left in us, it persuades us in our quieter moments that true spiritual worship is at a discouragingly low ebb among professing Christians.
Do we dare ask how we have reached this state?
How can our approach to worship be any more vital than it is when so many who lead us, both in the pulpit and in the pew, give little indication that the fellowship of God is delightful beyond telling?"
A.W. Tozer, Tozer on Christian Leadership
HAT TIP: Christian Research Network
Posted by Coram Deo at 7:50 AM
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
“Proof of the deceitfulness of the heart lies in the disguises that it throws over its vices. It calls evil good and good evil. How common is it for men to change the names of their faults, and endeavor to reconcile themselves to sins that, under their own proper designations, would be regarded as subjects of condemnation. Thus intemperance and excess are called social disposition and good fellowship; pride is dignity of mind; revenge is spirit; vain pomp, luxury and extravagance are taste, elegance, and refinement; covetousness is prudence; levity, folly, and obscenity are innocent liberty, cheerfulness, and humor. But will a new name alter the nature of a vice? No, you may clothe a swine in purple and gold, and dress a demon in the robes of an angel of light; and the one is still a beast, and the other a devil still.
The same operation of deceit that would strip vice of its deformity would rob holiness of its beauty. Tenderness of conscience is called ridiculous precision; zeal against sin is moroseness and ill-nature; seriousness of mind, repulsive melancholy; superior sanctity, disgusting hypocrisy—in short, all spiritual religion is nauseating cant, whining methodism, and wild enthusiasm. It is, however, the climax of this deceitfulness when vice is committed under the notion that it is a virtue; and this has been done in innumerable instances. Saul of Tarsus thought he was doing God service while he was destroying the church. The bigots of Rome have persuaded themselves they were doing right while they were shedding the blood of the saints. Oh, the depth of deceit in the human heart!”
–19th Century preacher John Angell James from his book, The Christian Father’s Present to His Children
HAT TIP: Slice of Laodicea
Posted by Coram Deo at 7:42 AM
Sunday, June 17, 2007
From Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries:
In light of the pro-Mormon book by Mormon apologist Robert Millet entitled A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, which unbelievably as been endorsed by some leading evangelicals, it now becomes imperative that a clear biblical distinction be maintained to mark the wide divide between the Christ of the Bible and the Christ of Mormonism. In Millet’s book, Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, made the bold statement that Millet “is in fact trusting in the Jesus of the Bible for his salvation.” But is this biblically tenable? As Christians charged with contending for the faith against false teachings like those found in Mormonism, we need to know the answer.
What The Scripture Says
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. (Philippians 2:5-6)
The intent of this work is drawn from an adage by one of the greatest illustrative Bible teachers the Church has ever known, Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse who said – “The goal of the good Bible teacher is to get the hay down out of the loft onto the barn floor where the cows can get at it.”
And while I could certainly make this much more complex, I have chosen to make this information as accessible as possible. This way, if you are interested in teaching someone in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about Who Jesus Christ of Nazareth really is, or if perhaps you are a member of the Mormon Church who is seeking this information for yourself, then you will find this look at Philippians 2:5-6 to be of value.
That said, let’s zero in on verse 6. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. This is a critical verse to really become familiar with, as you begin to share your faith in Christ in this postmodern culture. More and more people around us today truly have no concept of the actual Person and nature of our Lord. You first need to understand that there is a plethora of wrong views about Jesus that are currently being taught in our society, as there is no shortage of misinformed people running around claiming to speak words from God.
How Can We Know For Sure What Is True?
The important question that we need to ask, and to encourage others to ask as well is: How do we know if what these people say about God is really true or not? Well, the prophet Isaiah tells us when he explains that people who claim to speak for God must teach what agrees with the Law – [Holy Scripture]– and [with] the testimony – [previous doctrines–or teachings–that have already been developed from the Bible].
God the Holy Spirit further tells us in the Scriptures – If they do not speak according to this Word, they have no light – Isaiah 8:20. The fact is that there are so many today who are speaking from darkness and then go on to claim that it’s from God. But the Lord plainly warns us – Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord – Jeremiah 23:16.
In this postmodern era we do have to be very careful just who we listen to. For “this is not a drill,” as the old saying goes. And the Bible tells us emphatically to – Test everything. Hold on to what is good – 1 Thessalonians 5:21. The wise man then, is going to ask: Well–what do we Test everything by? The answer to this vital question is found right in Acts 17:11, which is Dr. Luke’s book about the early history of the ancient Church: Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
We can certainly see from this God thinks it is noble, good, and righteous, to Test everything you are taught about Him by His Word in the Bible. And that’s why a true minister of Jesus Christ will always encourage you to look up in the Holy Scriptures, for yourself, the things they teach you. They will want you to be of more noble character than those who don’t. Can you see that? And–it’s also for their own protection as well.
The Essence of God
Let’s go back to our text in Philippians 2:6. It’s clear from the preceding verse that we are talking about Christ Jesus here. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Now we’re going to spend a bit of time just on the a part, or the first part, of this verse – Who, being in very nature God. In the footnotes to the NIV Study Bible, Dr. Richard Gaffin, Jr. points out that in very nature God is “affirming” that Jesus is fully God.” And further, the word “nature” here (morphe in the Greek) is “the sum of those qualities that make God specifically God” (1985 ed., p.1805).
Ontologically, what we are saying is, that in this verse of Holy Scripture the Bible is unmistakably teaching that Jesus of Nazareth by being in very nature God is literally made of the same essence that makes God Who He is. And you will come to see this very clearly before we are through. Let me illustrate. Now, you and I are human beings in our nature. Are we not? And as such we are made up of all of the stuff (essence) that comprises a human being.
Here in Philippians 2:6 – the Apostle Paul is telling us that Jesus is made of the same essence–Deity–that God is made of. Does this begin to make sense? In other words, the Babe we think of each Christmas season lying in that manger, Who then grew up as the earthly Son of Mary and Joseph, is God Himself living in a human body. Paul is telling us that the Man-Christ Jesus of Nazareth is fully God, in addition to being fully Man. So, therefore, Jesus is both the Son of Man and the Son of God.
You must understand that the historic orthodox Christian Church didn’t just make this up. And by the way, when you see “Catholic” in the ancient creeds of the Church, the Greek word katholikos used there means “universal,” and does not at all refer to the “Roman” Catholic Church. No, the universal Church-the Body of Christ-has always proclaimed that Jesus of Nazareth is our Creator-the LORD God Almighty Himself-come into His own creation because this is what is all over the pages of the Bible. And, this is what the cardinal doctrine of the Messiah (Mashiyach–in Hebrew), better known to us as the Christ (Christos–in the Greek) truly reveals to the world.
The Bible teaches that right after mankind fell into sin in Genesis 3, God announces that He was going to come into His world as the Savior of our fallen race. For the LORD God said to Satan – And I will put enmity – [hate] – between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers – [and then God hints at the crucifixion of Jesus–and His triumph over the Devil–as the LORD God-Jehovah Elohim-further says] – He will crush your head and you will strike His heel – Genesis 3:15.
Christ Was Already Living Before He Lived On Earth
Now–let’s look at the first part of Philippians 2:6 again. Who – [Christ Jesus] – being in very nature God. We’ve already seen that this verse teaches our Lord is made up of the nature–or stuff–of God, namely Deity. But H.C. Hewlett tells us that this phrase being in very nature God uses the “participle hyparchon” in the original Greek. And the way this sentence is constructed it “indicates that [Christ] was already in existence” (New International Bible Commentary, p.1444). The word hyparchon carries the meaning of “existing”–“which always involves a preexistent state” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, p.60, emphasis added).
So, reading this in the original language you’d get the plain meaning “Who, was already existing in the very ‘form’–or nature–or essence of God.” What God the Holy Spirit is telling us here about Jesus Christ of Nazareth is that He is a Being Who was already in existence before He became that Babe in the manger, and He never stopped being God. No, what Christ did was to simply add another nature-this one human-to the nature of God, which He already had!
The Deity of Christ Is Not An Invention
The Bible clearly does teach that Jesus has always been God, and when He was born of the Virgin Mary, He then became Man. Now, whether someone wants to believe this or not, is entirely between them and God. However, if they choose not to believe what God’s Word says, then they should at least be honest enough to stop telling people that the Church “made up” this doctrine. Yet, this is precisely what skeptics, the Mind Science cults–like Christian Science and the Unity School of Christianity–are telling people around us.
Others who say that supposedly dishonest clergy “invented” the Deity of Christ are those in the non-Christian cult of Liberal Theology and people involved in the New Age Movement. And then there are others who don’t believe that the one true eternal God became man, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormon Church, and The Way International, who continue to insist that the Bible “doesn’t teach this."
While it is certainly true that they have the right to their own views, they are clearly wrong when they say that the full Deity of Jesus Christ is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Our text here in Philippians 2:6 alone refutes that argument. And especially now that we more fully understand the original Greek language in which Paul wrote the words of our initial text concerning–Christ Jesus – “Who, was already existing in the nature–essence–or the very stuff–that makes God Who He is.”
What The Bible Tells Us About the Historic Person Jesus Of Nazareth
Now–if this was just one obscure passage of Scripture by just one human author, then maybe these folks might possibly have a case. Although by definition, to say “Scripture” is to say God wrote the passage (see–2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). That aside though, let’s go to John 1:1. A verse that is so very important for us to have a good grasp on as we try and witness in these crazy times that we are currently living in.
John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Here it is again broken down in the original Greek. En arche. In the beginning – before anything originated and began to exist. En ho Logos – was the Word. The Word already was existing. Do you see how this agrees with what Paul wrote in Philippians 2:6? Now John himself is also telling us the Word–Christ Jesus–was already existing.
Then the Apostle whom Jesus loved goes on to instruct us and the Word was with God and – Theos en ho Logos – the Word was God. What God was made of–the Word was also made of. Which is to say, the morphe–essence–form–or the very nature of Deity. As you should now be able to see, all of this really is quite clear in the original text.
Let me quickly point out 2 other verses that are also clear indications of our Lord’s Deity. The first is Colossians 2:9. Here the Apostle Paul tells us – For in Christ pleroma tes Theotes somotikos – in the Greek. This means – “everything that makes God Who He is” lives in the Man Jesus of Nazareth. The full Deity of Christ just couldn’t be written in any stronger language than Paul is using here!
The second verse I'd like to point out is Hebrews 1:3 where God the Holy Spirit tells us – The Son [Jesus] is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His - [the Father’s]– being. Charakter hautou hupostasis – in the original. The substance–or essence–of God’s exact nature–Deity. Once again we learn here that the Father and the Son are identical in their nature, which is what makes them Who they are–and that is Deity–God. And so Christ Jesus really could say He who has seen Me has seen the Father (Jn. 14:9). Because the Bible categorically teaches that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the exact representation of [God’s very] being. I know this is all a bit technical, but this is how easily these subtle, twisted, and eternally dangerous lies of the Devil will ensnare unsuspecting prey.
And this brings us nicely around to Philippians 2:6 once again. As you should be able to see by now, if someone really wants to break down a verse of the Bible, there is certainly a whole lot that you can find. The a part of verse 6 once again – Who, being in very nature God. What I want to do now is to reinforce our newly acquired about the phrase in very nature God, which is that word morphe–in the Greek–that I’ve mentioned a couple of times now.
As Dr. Robert Lightner informs us:
The term translated nature morphe in verses 6 and 7 is a critical term in this passage. This word (trans. form in the KJV and NASB) stresses the inner essence or reality of that with which it is associated (cf. Mark 16:12). Christ Jesus, Paul said, is of the very essence (morphe) of God, and in His incarnation He embraced perfect humanity. His complete and absolute deity is here stressed by the apostle (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, pp.653,654).
You will remember that I just showed you from John 1:1 that the Apostle John taught the exact same thing, as did the writer of the Book of Hebrews. Namely, that Jesus of Nazareth was not only a Man, but He was also made of what God is made of–Spirit-Deity. it is critical for you to understand that the Bible is quite emphatic that Jesus never stopped being God, as I said before, He just added humanity to His already Divine nature. Dr. Lightner further points out – “The Savior’s claim to deity infuriated the Jewish leaders (John 5:18) and caused them to accuse Him of blasphemy (John 10:33)” (ibid.). Which you will recall, is the very crime for which Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified.
The Crucial Issue
We need to remember that the Bible tells us to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them – Ephesians 5:11. We also must understand that the Deity of Christ is Satan’s prime target of attack. And here’s why. In the Gospel of John 8:24 our Lord says something that cuts to the very heart of all that we have been talking about. Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord of Glory, and the only Savior of this lost world is quoted by the Apostle John who is an eyewitness to this event.
Let's look at John 8:24 – I told you –[ says our Lord and God]– I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I Am. We must stop right here. If you are reading the NIV, you will notice little brackets after the words I Am. And then you will see the words – “the One I claim to be.” Both the King James and the New American Standard versions have the word “He” in italics, while the New World Translation has word “he“ in lower case letters, and in brackets. The reason for that is, the translators have added those words to the text in an attempt to “clarify” what Jesus meant. The words “the One I claim to be” and “He” are not in the original Greek text.
What Jesus is actually quoted by John as saying is – I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I Am, you will indeed die in your sins. And you may recall that this is the Divine Name of God as found in Exodus 3:14 when the Lord spoke to Moses through the burning bush. So, what is Jesus trying to tell us here? The Master has just said, that He is the great I Am–the LORD God Almighty–Creator of the universe–and the very Person Who spoke to Moses from that burning bush!
The point our Lord is making here is this: Unless a person comes to Him and acknowledges that it is their own Creator–God Himself–Who is their Savior, then that person will die in their sins, and will have condemned themselves to Hell. And this is exactly what the Apostle Paul is confirming in our text in Philippians 2:6.
The great Reformers of the Church had an important phrase that they used Soli Deo Gloria, which means “to God alone be the glory.” Can you see now why it is so harmful to the fate of mankind as the contemporary church “world” (a more apt word than you know) continues this horrific drift away from a true understanding of the all-surpassing greatness of Jehovah Elohim. You see, because the Church of our Lord has been failing to magnify Gos to His proper, people now have a false view of their Creator as simply a slightly more powerful version of man. And in this paralyzing process a vital truth which relates directly to our subject of the full Deity of Jesus Christ has now become obscured. The one true and living LORD God Almighty would never share His glory with another; that glory which is due to Him alone!
Open your eyes, and you will see that this long promised Messiah has to be God Himself, and this was not unknown to Jewish scholars. As a matter of fact, in the Jewish New Testament Commentary, Dr. David Stern, himself a messianic Jew living in Jerusalem, tells us: “The pre-existence of the Messiah was a familiar concept in rabbinic Judaism… [However–more] problematical for Judaism is the Messiah’s equality with God;…(p.596, emphasis added). And this is, in fact, is what the orthodox Jewish faith is rejecting, even now.
But Does The LDS Church Say?
And the sad thing is, there are so many more people who are also dying in their sins because they are denying the full Deity of Christ. At this point we turn attention specifically to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormon Church. When you meet people from the LDS faith, they will say to you – “We’re Christians too, because we believe in the Savior Jesus Christ.”
This is well illustrated by:
Mormon apologist Gilbert W. Scharffs [who in his book] claimed that “Latter-day Saints are Christians because they emphatically believe in Christ, use His name in their official church title, and believe in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, which testify repeatedly of the reality of Christ and the truth of His teachings….Mormons are Christians. Christians are those who accept Christ as their Savior” (as cited in The Counterfeit Gospel Of Mormonism, p. 119).
But the question we need to ask is: Which Jesus Christ do you believe in; Jesus Christ of Nazareth–of the historic biblical record–or one of the myriad impostors.
In order to answer this question we will need to look at what the LDS church itself actually teaches about Christ Jesus. So, let us first consider this from Gospel Principles – an official publication of the Mormon Church. The following comes from chapter 2:
God is not only our ruler and creator; he is also our Heavenly Father. "All men and women are . . . literally the sons and daughters of Deity. . . . Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body" (Joseph F. Smith, "The Origin of Man," Improvement Era, Nov. 1909, pp. 78, 80).
Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ (see D&C 93:21), so he is literally our elder brother (see Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 26). Because we are the spiritual children of our heavenly parents, we have inherited the potential to develop their divine qualities. If we choose to do so, we can become perfect, just as they are. (http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,11-1-13-5,00.html)
And then in the next chapter we read:
“We needed a Savior to pay for our sins and teach us how to return to our Heavenly Father… Two of our brothers offered to help. Our oldest brother, Jesus Christ, who was then called Jehovah, said, "Here am I, send me" (Abraham 3:27)… Satan, who was called Lucifer, also came, saying, "Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor" (Moses 4:1)” (http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,11-1-13-6,00.html, emphasis added).
How about this from the book Our Search For Happiness–An Invitation To Understand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – written by Mormon Apostle M. Russell Ballard:
our spiritual selves, if you will - existed along with the rest of our Heavenly Father’s spirit children. Jesus was the greatest of these spirits. He was the first-[one]-born…and He held a special place of honor with the Father “before the world was”… In that capacity He helped implement the plan that would bring us all to earth to obtain physical bodies and experience the vicissitudes of mortality so we could grow in our ability to obey God’s commandments once we heard and understood them. (p.9)
In the LDS book of “Scripture,” known as The Doctrine And Covenants Jesus is alleged to have spoken this to the so-called prophet Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church:
And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn; And all those through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are of the church of the Firstborn. Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;… (93:21-23).
And the finally Dr. Walter Martin sums this section up well for us in his classic textbook The Kingdom of the Cults when he points out that the “Jesus” of the LDS Church is clearly not the Christ of biblical revelation:
The Savior of Mormonism, however, is an entirely different person, as their official publications clearly reveal. The Mormon “Savior” is not the second person of the Christian Trinity,… Mormons reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and he is not even a careful replica of the New Testament Redeemer. In Mormon theology, Christ as a preexistent spirit was not only the spirit brother of the devil (as alluded to in The Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:1-4, and later reaffirmed by Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses, 13:282), but celebrated his own marriage to “Mary and Martha, and the other Mary,” at Cana of Galilee, “whereby he could see his seed, before he was crucified” (Apostle Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 4:259; 2:82)…[and] the Mormon concept of the Virgin Birth alone distinguishes their “Christ” from the Christ of the Bible (p.252, emphasis added).
Who Will You Believe?
The problem we run into immediately is that none of this agrees with the historic record of the actual Person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, which we read about in the Bible-the true history of our Lord and Savior–Christ Jesus. This would mean then, according to Holy Scripture, that all people who believe the things that we just read, and who deny His full Deity–remain condemned to Hell.
You’ll recall that the Apostle John, in his eyewitness deposition, the Gospel of John, records the real Jesus as saying – I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I Am –[the eternal God Himself come in human flesh]– you will indeed die in your sins. And so, clearly, we are not dealing with some minor issue here. But rather, this is the very Gospel of Jesus Christ itself!
We should now be able to see that many who would claim to be Christian really have little idea about what the Bible actually says concerning our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (see–Roman 9:5; Titus 2:13). And they also have no idea just how important it is to tell others where the Bible clearly teaches Who Jesus Christ of Nazareth is. Not Who He was, but Who the Master is. For He is alive! Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead. And we who truly are Christians need to be able to prove from the Scriptures that it was indeed the very Creator of this universe Who hung on that cross.
The Bible tells us that Jesus went to that grisly death for the joy set before Him – Hebrews 12:2 (emphasis added). And what was that joy set before Him? His unfathomable love for–you. Do you see it? God doesn’t just talk about His love for us. No–the Bible says God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us – Romans 5:8 (emphasis added).
And to accept this free gift from the LORD God Almighty is the best present you could ever receive. If you haven’t, won’t you give yourself to Jesus? The truth is your Creator loved you enough to take your place and received the punishment that you deserve. If you listen closely, you will hear Him speak to your heart, and you’ll just know that what I say is true.
God Was On That Cross
And now we arrive back at Philippians 2:6 – [Jesus–the Christ] – Who, being in very nature – God. The question we must ask ourselves is: Who died for the sins of mankind? The answer is–God. And Who has mankind sinned against? God. Therefore, Who is the only Person Who could have forgiven our sins? God. You see, it really is that simple to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, it’s Satan, the ruler of the kingdom of darkness, who attempts to complicate this glorious truth and tries to hide God’s free gift away in his Kingdom of the Cults.
Philippians 2:6 – [Christ Jesus–the glorious Lord of all lords and the King of all kings] – Who, being in very nature God – was already in existence–in the essence and nature of Deity prior to His coming to earth. Hence, the Word–Who became flesh–the Man Jesus of Nazareth–must be Jehovah God in human form because our Lord possesses all the very attributes of Deity. And this is exactly what the Apostle Paul is teaching us here in this passage of Philippians chapter 2.
And in summing all of this up, we have clearly seen that the Bible undeniably teaches that Christ was already existing as God before He added a human nature. God the Son–second Person of the Holy Trinity–then took on flesh when He was born of the Virgin Mary as the precious Babe, Who was wrapped in swaddling clothes in that dark and smelly animal manger. Thus we have the cardinal doctrine of the historic orthodox Christian Church known as the Deity of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Whether someone accepts this or not is another matter entirely at this point.
As has been asked elsewhere: Do you realize that when the very Creator of the universe came into His world there was no room for Him? So, the next time you look at a nativity scene, just think about it. God became man, born as a tiny, helpless, infant making Himself vulnerable to His rebellious creatures. Why? So that He might show us what He had said all along in Holy Scripture – the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6).
Can you see it now? For it is written, God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. However, in the Book of Isaiah, written some 700 years before Jesus was even born, Yahweh, or Jehovah, if you prefer, the LORD God Almighty says – See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands (Is. 49:16)…then all mankind will know that I – [Yahweh] – the LORD – [Jehovah] – am your Savior, [and] your Redeemer (Is. 49:26). Holy Scripture clearly teaches that the LORD–Jehovah God Himself–would become man to save us from, and to redeem us from, our sins against Him and to save us from the flames of Hell.
And Now The Rest Is Up To You
And as I said previously, whether a person will believe this or not is between them, and their Creator, Christ Jesus. But in the end, they will not be able to avoid the cold, hard Truth: Jesus Christ of Nazareth is Yahweh–Jehovah God Himself-come in human flesh to die for our sins against Him. This is exactly what the Old Testament teaches He would be. It is exactly what our Lord claimed while He was here on earth. And it is exactly what the New Testament teaches about Who the Savior, the historic Person, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ really is.
Posted by Coram Deo at 9:13 AM
From Walter Martin Ministries blog:
In a recent 60 minutes interview, presidential hopeful and Mormon golden boy Mitt Romney told reporter Mike Wallace that, “I can't imagine anything worse than polygamy.” This struck me as a bit disingenuous since Romney is not just a Mormon, he’s a temple-Mormon, bound by a blood oath taken in a secret ceremony—and the best of the temple-Mormons plan to practice polygamy for eternity. The Mormon Church may currently forbid participation in it while here on earth, but the doctrine of eternal polygamy has never been revoked.
What does this mean for Mitt Romney? As long as Doctrine & Covenants 132 is still part of the LDS canon, polygamy will never end; it remains the foundation of Mormon Church practices. Men can still be sealed for eternity in a Mormon Temple to women other than their earthly wives. If Romney is a good Mormon, he knows he needs multiple eternal wives if he is ever to rule as a god on his personal planet. This is the ultimate goal for “good” Mormon men, and one goddess-wife can’t populate an entire planet.
So, all the negative talk from Romney and the little jokes from his wife about polygamy are just so much political smoke blown by the great-great grandson of Joseph Smith’s right hand man, Parley P. Pratt who “defined Mormon doctrine and theology for much of the church's first hundred years.”  And exactly what did Apostle Pratt have to say about polygamy? “It should be the privilege of every virtuous female . . . to demand either of individuals or government, the privilege of becoming an honored and legal wife and mother; even if it were to be necessary for her to be married to a man who has several wives . . . .”
Romney’s great-great grandfather Pratt was an ardent supporter of polygamy; one of the original twelve Mormon Apostles who defended it to the death—literally—when he was shot in the back stealing his twelfth wife. Polygamy was practiced in the Romney family all the way up until the birth of his father in Mexico in the twentieth century.  It is a strong Romney tradition, to say the very least. The question everyone should be asking is, why?
The truth behind the political song and dance is simply this: Mitt Romney may truly be appalled by polygamy on earth, but he is required to practice it for eternity as a good Mormon: this is Church doctrine. He will say whatever needs to be said in order to sit behind the desk in the Oval Office, but he absolutely cannot deny the doctrine of eternal polygamy.
Media luminaries and religious leaders who support Mitt Romney just don’t seem to get it. They don’t get that the Mormon Church presents the public image that polygamy is wrong, while privately approving it for eternity. They don’t seem to notice the Mormon Church's teachings that women will never be equal to Mormon men, and people with dark skin are cursed.  They don’t understand that the Mormon Prophet’s influence can affect the Presidency because a temple-Mormon is bound by a blood oath to obey the Mormon Church over U.S. Law and the U.S. Constitution.  They are blissfully unaware of the fact that according to Mormonism, their eternal fate is that of sterile servants to the Mormon gods. They will serve Mitt Romney for eternity, or as Parley P. Pratt put it, “They are angels, and not gods; and are ministering spirits, or servants, in the employ and under the direction of THE ROYAL FAMILY OF HEAVEN—THE PRINCES, KINGS, AND PRIESTS OF ETERNITY.” 
In light of these facts, I’ve compiled a short list of questions the elite press corps should ask Mitt Romney. The answers to these questions have political ramifications that might interest millions of Americans.
1. Did you take a blood oath to obey the Mormon Church above the United States Constitution and U.S. Law?
Correct Answer: Yes.
2. Are dark-skinned people cursed according to the Book of Mormon (and other Mormon Scripture)?
3. Are men and women eternally equal in Mormonism?
4. Will a good Mormon man become a god and rule his own planet with multiple goddess wives for eternity?
5. Will people who reject Mormonism become servants of the Mormons?
This is the truth at the heart of Mormonism, and it presents numerous difficulties for Mitt Romney. Can a man who believes in a cult of Christianity—a cult that devalues minorities, women (and well, everyone other than themselves)—ever find any middle ground from which to rule America? And how will millions of Americans (and the world) view a god-to-be in the White House? Because Mitt Romney, for all his polish and political sophistication, is devoted to Mormonism and actually believes he will become a god.
And Mormon gods practice polygamy for eternity.
 Peter L Crawley, The Essential Parley P. Pratt, Signature Books, 1990,
 Parley P.Pratt, Key to Theology, F. D. Richards, London, 1855, 167.
 Deseret News.com, http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660198565,00.html (accessed May 20, 2007).
 Doctrine and Covenants 84:33-9; Goddesses are always subject to a god. Women are denied the Priesthood (meaning they are denied authority—not the same as Catholic priesthood). “In the LDS universe, theologically described as the real eternal universe, each man who achieves the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom is worth many times more than each woman, even the women who qualify at that highest Celestial level, because each man who achieves Godhood-level may have numerous God-wives, but each God-wife may have only one husband. This can only mean that each "heavenly father" is worth many times more than each "heavenly mother." And, even if the ratio were strictly one to one, the male God, not the female God, holds the priesthood authority and is the only one of the God parents to whom his earth-mortality children are allowed to pray. So Mormon women can never, NEVER achieve equality with men, no matter how outstanding or righteous the women are. That's just the way it's set up." MORMON WOMEN, PROZAC® and THERAPY By Kent Ponder, Ph.D. e-mail address: email@example.com http://home.teleport.com/~packham/prozac.htm.
The curse of dark skin is found in Mormon Scripture: Book of Mormon: Alma 3:6-19; 3 Nephi 2:14-15; Enos 1:20; J of D, 7: 290-291.
 “His oath in the temple was to “consecrate himself, his time, talents, and everything he now has, or will have in the future, for the building up of the Kingdom of God here upon the earth, and for the establishmentof Zion”. It is important to know and understand that the ‘Kingdom of God’ to a Mormon, is not at all the same as the Kingdom of God to a Christian. To a Christian, the phrase means throwing the goodness and love of God into the world wherever you go and sharing the truth with others. But to a Mormon, building the ‘Kingdom of God’ means advancing the physical earthly organization of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.” Rauni Higley with Andrew Longman, Why I, as a former Mormon, would not vote for Mitt Romney for President of United States. CWN,http://www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/print.php?&ArticleID=2125 (accessed June 12, 2007).
 Pratt, 173. Emphasis in the Original.
Posted by Coram Deo at 8:33 AM
Sadly most Mormons don’t seem to know - or don’t want to know – about the many contradictions within their “scriptures” themselves and of course with the Holy Bible.
Here’s the link to a great article about contradictions within LDS “scripture” from ex-Mormon Sandra Tanner of Utah Lighthouse Ministry.
Posted by Coram Deo at 8:12 AM
Saturday, June 16, 2007
by: David Kupelian
"Father knows best."
How do those three words make you feel? Turn them over in your mind a couple of times and be aware of the subtlest of feelings. Be honest.
Do they make you feel slightly squeamish? A little discomfort in your solar plexus? Is something deep down inside you repelled by those words?
If so, you're not alone. Contempt for male authority – as if to say, "Give me a break, father sure didn't know best in my life" – is everywhere around us. We're swimming in it. You see, men, boys and masculinity itself have been under withering national assault for decades.
"Father Knows Best," of course, was a popular TV show during the '50s, when I was a little boy. Set in the wholesome Midwestern town of "Springfield," insurance agent Jim Anderson (played by Robert Young) would come home from work each evening, trade his sport jacket for a nice, comfortable sweater, and then deal with the everyday growing-up problems of his family. Both Jim and wife Margaret (played by Jane Wyatt) were cast as thoughtful and mature grown-ups. Jim could always be counted on to resolve that week's crisis with a combination of kindness, fatherly strength and good old common sense.
Today, more often than not, television portrays husbands as bumbling losers or contemptible, self-absorbed egomaniacs. Whether in dramas, comedies or commercials, the patriarchy is dead, at least on TV where men are fools – unless of course they're gay. On "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," the "fab five" are supremely knowledgeable on all things hip, their life's highest purpose being to help those less fortunate than themselves – that is, straight men – to become cool.
However, it's not only in Hollywood, but on Main Street, that masculinity has become uncool and even despised. The evidence is everywhere:
In public school classrooms across America, in every category and every demographic group, boys are falling behind.
Girls are excelling and moving on to college, where almost three out of every five students today are female. At the same time, young boys – who don't naturally thrive when forced to sit still at a desk listening to a teacher lecture for six hours a day – are diagnosed by the millions with new diseases that didn't exist a generation ago. To "treat" them and make their behavior more acceptable, we force them to take dangerous psycho-stimulant drugs.
Yes, dangerous. Between six and nine million American children, mostly males, are taking Ritalin, the most popular treatment for Johnny's "attention-deficit" and "overactivity" problems at school. But Ritalin is the trade name for Methylphenidate, which the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies as a "Schedule II" substance. "The controlled substances in this schedule," the DEA cautions, "have a high abuse potential with severe psychological or physical dependence liability, but have accepted medical use in the U.S."
Thus, rather than focusing on understanding boys' actual make-up and crafting an educational experience to fit their genuine needs, "pediatricians and child psychiatrists are increasingly turning to pharmacology as the treatment of choice for depression, attention disorder, severe anxiety, obsessive disorder, manic depression and other conditions," reports the New York Times. And twice as many boys as girls are being given these psychiatric drugs.
"What we have done," explains Thomas Mortenson, senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, "is we have a K-12 school system that seems to work relatively well for girls and does not work for a very large share of boys."
As a result, boys have fallen so far behind girls in American society that many colleges are concerned about maintaining a normal ratio between young men and women. "It's led to what some college counselors call education's dirty little secret," reports the Denver Post: "affirmative action programs for men, no matter their color. Admissions directors at many schools are bypassing girls with better grades and more extracurricular activities in favor of boys who don't have similar credentials, just to keep male numbers up."
The Post report cites some disturbing but typical school statistics: "Boys are greater than 50 percent more likely than girls to repeat grades in elementary school, according to a recent U.S. Department of Education study. They're also one-third more likely to drop out of high school and twice as likely to have a learning disability."
Oh yes, the suicide rate among teen boys is far higher than that of girls.
What about marriage and divorce? We've all heard that about one in every two of America's marriages are ending in divorce, but did you know that two out of three of those divorces are initiated by the wives?
Typically, divorce means one thing to fathers: They lose their children. It's a widely acknowledged national scandal that the judicial system is biased in favor of the mother in child custody disputes, as a recent report by the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men, a state government panel, confirmed yet again. Nowhere, the panel found, is the bias against men so obvious than in matters of child custody and support. Fathers get custody of children in uncontested cases only 10 percent of the time and 15 percent of the time in contested cases. Women get sole custody 66 percent of the time in uncontested cases and 75 percent of the time in contested cases.
Why? How does this make sense? "Given the plethora of evidence documenting the benefits of involved fathers with their children, and the present rate of female participation in the workforce, the custody imbalance between fathers and mothers seems difficult to justify," concluded the state panel.
What about the reported national epidemic of "deadbeat dads" we're always hearing about from the government and elite press? After all, the Clinton administration gave us the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act and President Bush has requested tens of millions annually for programs to "promote responsible fatherhood" – while also promising to aggressively increase collections from all those "deadbeat dads."
"In fact," writes Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D., a Howard University political science professor and president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, "no evidence exists that large numbers of fathers voluntarily abandon their children. No government or academic study has ever demonstrated such an epidemic, and those studies that have addressed the question directly have concluded otherwise. In the largest federally funded study ever conducted on the subject, psychologist Sanford Braver demonstrated that very few married fathers abandon their children."
Overwhelmingly, writes Baskerville, "it is mothers, not fathers, who are walking away from marriages and thus separating children from their fathers. Other studies have reached similar or more dramatic conclusions." He adds:
Braver also found that when they are employed, virtually all divorced fathers pay the child support they owe and that the number of arrearages "estimated" by the government is derived not from any actual statistics but from surveys. The Census Bureau simply asked mothers whether they were receiving payments. No data exists to corroborate the mothers' claims. As Braver found, "there is no actively maintained national database of child support payments."
Braver’s research undermines most justifications for the multi-billion-dollar criminal enforcement machinery, as well as the proliferation of government programs to "promote responsible fatherhood."
If Braver is to be believed – and no official or scholar has challenged his research – the government is engaged in a massive witch hunt against innocent citizens.
How on earth did we get here? What happened to the great feminist revolution that was supposed to make ours a better, more equal society? Women are being liberated – or so we have been assured for decades – from their traditional roles, breaking the bonds of their former "servitude" and developing themselves personally, professionally, spiritually and sexually as never before. Meanwhile, men were supposed to develop and express their softer, more sensitive, nurturing and feminine side. Society was supposed to evolve into this great big happy androgynous paradise where everyone is equal to everyone else in every way.
How utterly stupid. But even if such radical "equality" were possible and desirable, why on earth do we now find ourselves in cultural hell rather than heaven? Why are men being denigrated as never before? Why are boys floundering in school as never before? Why are our family courts so flagrantly biased against fathers? Why, in short, if this is all about equality, is there such an unrelenting war against boys and men?
'Straightjacket of masculinity'
As Ph.D. scholar Christina Hoff Sommers writes in her groundbreaking book, "The War Against Boys": "It's a bad time to be a boy in America." She cites example after example of how America's cultural, academic and political elite have had an extended field day maligning and redefining masculinity, such as in their analysis of the student massacre at Columbine High School:
"The carnage committed by two boys in Littleton, Colorado," declares the Congressional Quarterly Researcher, "has forced the nation to reexamine the nature of boyhood in America." William Pollack, director of the Center for Men at McLean Hospital and author of the best-selling "Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood," tells audiences around the country, "The boys in Littleton are the tip of the iceberg. And the iceberg is all boys."
Sommers shows how the chic, politically correct '90s "discovery" that girls are being shortchanged by American society – which has resulted in the profound transformation of our schools, laws, parenting and culture to favor female success – is largely unsupported by either research or common sense. She goes on to show that it is actually boys who not only are being shortchanged, but are being targeted for radical reprogramming by a society increasingly offended by masculinity itself.
"How our culture binds boys in a 'straitjacket of masculinity' has suddenly become a fashionable topic," she explains:
There are now conferences, workshops, and institutes dedicated to transforming boys. Carol Gilligan, professor of gender studies at Harvard Graduate School of Education, writes of the problem of "boys' masculinity … in a patriarchal social order." Barney Brawer, director of the Boys' Project at Tufts University, told Education Week: "We've deconstructed the old version of manhood, but we've not [yet] constructed a new version." In the spring of 2000, the Boys' Project at Tufts offered five workshops on "reinventing Boyhood." The planners promised emotionally exciting sessions: "We'll laugh and cry, argue and agree, reclaim and sustain the best parts of the culture of boys and men, while figuring out how to change the terrible parts."
"Terrible"? Just what sort of qualifications do these "critics of masculinity" bring to their project of "reconstructing the nation's schoolboys," Sommers wonders aloud. "How well do they understand and like boys? Who has authorized their mission?"
The answer, as Sommers ultimately reveals, is that there is nothing wrong – and a very great deal right – with boys, just as there is with girls. As maverick feminist Camille Paglia courageously reminds her men-hating colleagues, masculinity is "the most creative cultural force in history." Indeed, the "force" that for millennia has tamed the wilderness, constructed civilizations, revolutionized life through dazzling inventions and sacrificed its own life to protect women and children has been masculinity.
'Rebelling against father'
Mountains have been written about this feminist-inspired assault on men, this mysterious hostility we've lived with for so long. So let's skip over the usual litany of evidence – the fiery denunciations of marriage (which some feminist professors condemn as "slavery" and "legalized rape"), the militant demonstrations of the '60s, the toxic books maligning homemaking in favor of corporate ladder-climbing, and so on. Instead, let's get right to the very heart of the matter. Let's dive down deep, so deep it's almost scary – and then dredge up what truly lurks underneath today's "war on fathers."
Let's make a crucial point at the outset: It's simply impossible to understand this issue – man-woman relations, marriage, masculinity, femininity, gender identity and so on – unless we understand that there is, in reality, an all-powerful and all-knowing God, that He created us and the world we live in, and that He has ordained laws and principles for us to live by. Further, that there is a realm of good and a realm of evil, and that both of these dimensions are powerfully vying for our allegiance all the time – and that, whether we realize it or not, we obey the impulses from one spiritual authority or the other. That's it – there's no neutral zone, no secular space that's off-limits to this cosmic tug-of-war over each one of us. Only in our vain imaginings does such a God-free zone exist.
Indeed, this world we live in, despite its magnificence and natural beauty and order, is a war zone and always has been. I'm not speaking only of the armed conflicts that have erupted throughout history, wracking nations, cities, villages and families, but also the ultimate war that rages within each one of us. There's an ongoing battle between heaven and hell – and we're the prize. Will we follow the higher, noble and unselfish impulses that beckon to us from the heavenly realm? Or will we give in to the lower, ignoble, selfish, lustful impulses that also appeal to us from just beyond the three dimensions of our earthly existence?
OK, I'm with you so far, you might say. But what does this have to do with hating men and masculinity?
Let's focus for a moment on a profound truth that wasn't the slightest bit controversial for the last 3,000 years or so, but is now: God is our Father in Heaven – our Father, not our Mother. Calling God "Father" – despite some of the recent, politically correct Bible versions that neuter or feminize such masculine references to the Almighty – is not due to culture, church dogma or linguistics. It's for real, folks. The Creator of the Universe doesn't have a mother's nature. He's a strong but loving, just but merciful, Father, King and Judge.
And guess what? More than any other single factor in our lives, our relationship with our earthly father sets the pattern for how we will relate to our Heavenly Father. That is to say, if we have a good father, whose maturity and character make him easy to respect, it's natural for a child to transfer that bond he has with his earthly father to his Heavenly Father later on.
Moreover, what's true for individuals applies to entire civilizations. When we encourage the bond between fathers and their children, our society prospers. When we separate fathers from their kids – through destructive feminist philosophies, subversive no-fault divorce laws and the like – our society not only fragments, but loses its very identity, which is exactly what we see happening today.
Why is this true? Because, contrary to feminist orthodoxy, men are different from women! In this confused era of feminized men who wear earrings and are embarrassed at their own masculinity, this may be hard to accept, but there really is a reason Jesus was a man and that all of His 12 disciples were men and that the Bible was written by men and that the vast majority of pastors, priests and rabbis are men.
And that reason is not, as radical feminists insist, that a bunch of sexist, patriarchal pigs created the Christian religion just to enslave and control women. Rather, men were simply designed by the Creator to love and protect and defend and lead women and children – in every way, including spiritually. (And yes, I realize there were also very godly women surrounding Jesus, just as there are wonderfully righteous women around today, but the point is, it is men who are meant to bear the ultimate responsibility and burden of leadership.)
Radical feminist Andrea Dworkin, who died recently, didn't think men should be the leaders of much of anything. In fact, she urged women not to marry. "Like prostitution," she wrote, "marriage is an institution that is extremely oppressive and dangerous for women." Such a radical view becomes more understandable when we realize Dworkin had been abused by the men in her life. At nine, an unknown man reportedly molested her in a movie theater, and when she eventually married, her anarchist husband abused her severely – frequently punching, kicking and burning her, and beating her head against the floor until she was unconscious. Is it any wonder she developed a hatred for men?
Andrea, if you could hear me, I would say to you: I am truly sorry for the things you suffered at the hands of corrupt, violent and abusive men in your life. But you erred greatly in concluding that therefore fatherhood, marriage and men are all worthless and toxic to women. That belief emanated from your rage toward those who victimized you – and in your anger you sadly extended that condemnation to apply to virtually all men.
The simple truth, which most of us understood when we were little children, is that "father" – if he is bonded to our Heavenly Father – "knows best." But what exactly do those words, "bonded to our Heavenly Father," mean? Are they some sort of religious mumbo-jumbo meant to subjugate women?
Hardly. Let me tell you what those words don't mean. They don't refer to a phony, prideful, pretentious hypocrite hiding behind his religion. Rather, they refer to an ordinary man living in the light of constant, honest self-examination, progressively giving up his own selfishness, anger and self-doubt, and accepting full responsibility for the lives of his family members. Such a man is worthy of being followed, respected and loved. One important proof of this "heavenly bonding" comes when he sees that his wife is right and is willing to submit to her correct discernment. Remember, a good man serves a Higher Right. What's important to him is what is right, not who is right. So, sometimes "mother knows best," but it is father who decides the question. Otherwise no one is ultimately responsible.
'What if he's a jerk?'
But – you are now surely asking, or possibly screaming – what if he is not a good man? What if your man is unprincipled and angry and selfish and dense? How can you respect such a man, let alone follow him?
That brings us to the most important point of all. Hating our earthly father (or husband), no matter how bad he is, makes it very difficult if not impossible to form a genuine bond with our Heavenly Father. Remember the Commandment: "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" (Exodus 20:12 KJV). There's something vital and actually life-giving ("that thy days may be long upon the land …") about honoring our father and mother, even if they're very imperfect – in fact, especially if they are imperfect, which they're bound to be. It's easy to love people who love you back. Loving people despite their flaws is the key, and who deserves that love better than the very ones who gave you life?
But again, how do you honor your father if he's just not honorable?
Here's the secret: If you're fortunate enough to have a decent father (again, this applies to husbands as well), respect him and appreciate him for the good you see in him. But if your father is so deeply flawed that he has hurt or corrupted you, then you can still "honor" him – and thus obey the commandment – by giving up your resentment and hatred for him.
I'm talking about forgiveness, of course, but I find a lot of people don't quite understand what this really means. Forgiveness doesn't mean you conclude that his treatment of you was OK, because it may have been thoroughly rotten. Rather, to truly forgive means, as a Christian minister I know once said memorably: "Feel the hurt – but not the hate."
Think about this. It could change your life.
When someone wrongs you, there's a critical difference between the "hurt" and the "hate" that result, although the two always tend to be mixed together into one big pain. However, a truly sincere person who desires to obey that commandment can rise above the hate component.
For a powerful example of this principle, watch the movie, "The Passion of the Christ." Jesus was flogged and mocked and tortured – but although He certainly felt the hurt of that awful abuse, he didn't fall to experience hate. Rather, He prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34 KJV).
Please don't tell me, Well, that was Jesus, He can do this, but I can't. Baloney. We can all forgive, completely and totally – in fact, we're commanded to do so: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15 KJV).
Let's bring this down to earth. Suppose I thoughtlessly, or even maliciously, trip you and cause you to sprain your ankle. You will, of course, feel pain in your ankle, but you will also very likely resent me for causing you that pain and injury. That hostility toward me is a separate pain, distinct from the physical pain in your ankle.
As a matter of fact, your anger toward me increases your overall discomfort level, because of the emotional upset you're experiencing on top of the physical injury. Get rid of the anger toward the person who caused the injury – in other words, forgive him – and you're left with the much more tolerable pain in your ankle. Who knows, you may even recover faster. Forgiveness has a way of bringing God and healing into the picture.
So, women, if you have been hurt by your father or husband, realize that if you are willing, you can give up the resentment that always seems to accompany violation, cruelty or betrayal, and which clings to us even years afterward like some sort of parasite on our soul. This resentment slowly destroys our spirit and feeds our pride, that dark nature we all inherit. That's right, resentment is literally food for the wrong side of us, which grows larger and stronger when fed daily doses of anger and unforgiveness.
Fortunately, the opposite of this syndrome is also wonderfully true: If you can just find it in your heart to genuinely forgive, the dark side of you will die a little bit and the bright side will grow stronger. Just "feel the hurt" while you quietly "let go of the hate." Have a little compassion; it will make it easier to let go of the hate. Realize that the man who hurt you was probably a victim himself – confused, programmed, dehumanized, and injected with anger during his own flawed upbringing.
This genuine forgiveness toward your father or husband actually exerts a powerful, unseen force on him – mysteriously helping him to recognize his long-invisible faults, and to grow beyond them.
Men, don't blame women for giving up on you and divorcing you. Some of the blame rightfully belongs to you! Your intense need for their emotional and sexual support, your selfish use of them, your impatience, your angry unmanliness – all this and much more literally creates the resentment within your beloved. Remember, women are much more vulnerable than men. You must be strong for your wife, which will eventually inspire her to be strong for you. So give up your own "hurt feelings" – really anger – toward her for being so emotional and even unreasonable; it’s the result of a frustration you've had a large part in creating or feeding.
America needs to get a handle on its divorce epidemic. We're committing national suicide – one family at a time. Many troubled couples just don't know how to deal with all the hatred and emotion that evolves between them. I see many instances where both spouses are decent people, yet they develop such conflict and pain between them that they just can't bear to live together any more.
But how many marriages could be saved if the offended spouse – the one pushing for the divorce, which is usually the wife – were just to learn to give up all that anger for the other?
Which brings us back full circle to our question: What's behind the war on men?
The angry spirit of the radical feminist says, basically: "Men are selfish dogs who use women for their own gratification. Christianity is a man's religion, used for centuries to oppress women. Women are better off without these selfish men, and without the god of selfish men." Although few people reading this would identify consciously with such radical views, in reality millions of us have embraced the secret rebellion against God and patriarchy represented in those sentiments.
In fact, our rebellion against God and this nation's core, Judeo-Christian values – revered during previous ages, but mocked by our own – has reached the point that many of us feel threatened, not by weak, shallow and selfish men, but by real manliness! That's right: We have become so confused and corrupted that not only have we lost our grip on our own former nobility, confidence and national identity, but we now cynically mock the righteous soul when he happens to appear on the scene, because his goodness shames us.
What do I mean by "manliness"? A real man is not today's foppish, effeminate "metrosexual" male, obsessed with clothing and hair care. But neither is he the caveman caricature of "Maddox," author of the bestselling "The Alphabet of Manliness," whose "real man" is a foul-mouthed brute who takes advantage of women at every opportunity and knows how to crush a beer can on his face.
That's not being a man. That's being less than an animal. In reality – brace yourself for this – a godly man, a truly masculine man, a truly "manly" man, is a reflection of God's nature. (Remember, we're supposed to be created in His image.)
The ultimate "real man," of course, was Jesus of Nazareth. He was strong, outspoken and God-centered – also patient, sensitive and caring (but not effeminate). He was a "force of one," who comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable. He confronted people with their sins and hypocrisy, while offering nothing less than the way to God and everlasting happiness.
So what happened to Him? The ultimate man was so threatening to the political and religious elite of his day that they executed Him.
What about us today? While we bemoan "deadbeat dads," let's pause for a moment to ask ourselves a scary question: If a really great man, a Christ-like man, appeared on the scene – or someone even close – could we stand him?
On today's secular, matrix-like world stage, where God's reality is seen as discredited myth, and alien philosophies and sexual obsession embraced as enlightenment and liberation, we simply have lost sight of who and what we actually are. Men are meant to be Christ-like – righteous, strong, courageous, assertive, butt-kicking, sacrificial doers of what's right. Women are meant to be their righteous, strong, courageous, noble helpers and partners.
Yet, even though all men fall short of the mark at one point or another, remember that they still have that divine spark within, somewhere. Just remember that it's there – and seek it out and serve it. And men, remember that your beloved, whatever her faults, has a divine spark, an innocent angelic nature buried inside, even if you can't see it right now. Seek it out and serve it.
Ladies, is it really right to reject men for their many flaws, giving up on the good man that may be locked up inside? Isn't that exactly what men do to you when they treat you as objects of selfish gratification – denying your true worth and ignoring your well being?
The solution is pretty simple. Men, stop looking at women as though they were created to serve your ego. They weren't – they really weren't. Care about them for who and what they are – and could be.
And women, give up the anger against your men. Their failure to find real, selfless love for you is their serious flaw. But your resentment toward them for that failure is your serious flaw. Give each other a break. Bring the best out of your spouse – and your kids, and everyone else for that matter – by discovering how to be both patient and strong at the same time. There's magic there.
Most urgently of all, reject divorce as an option. Statistics prove second marriages are even more likely to fail, and you will lose forever the youth you shared and the life you lived – and your children will suffer most of all.
When we break the bond between fathers and their children, we're breaking the bond between God the Father and our nation. When we restore that connection, our society will be healed. It's as simple as that.
That's God's way. Listen to Him. He's your Father, and believe me, He knows best.
Posted by Coram Deo at 5:39 PM