This ‘n That
Basket of Figs, January, 2004
Ø If the Bible is a “living document” that must be twisted and corrupted to meet the demands of modern sociology, psychology, and other pseudo-sciences, why does the church complain when the Constitution of the United States is treated the same way? The church is the salt of the earth, and if she does not treat her covenantal document with respect, won’t this mindset make its way into the world? There is an article from an old Basket of Figs that deals with this. Go to:
Ø Speaking of covenant, the only covenant that saves the soul is the one that God took on Himself in Christ. In the Gospel, God in Christ reconciles the world unto Himself and sends forth His Spirit to call us to this reconciliation. Our flesh has nothing to do with it. The Lord Jesus Christ took it upon Himself to guarantee our salvation, and none of His sheep is lost or can be lost. I am not saved because of the strength of my commitment to Christ but because of the strength of His commitment to me. And so the Scripture says,
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. –1 Peter 1:2-5
Ø “Give me a break.” In modern jargon that means, “overlook my boorishness, my carelessness, my indifference. Do not hold me accountable for precision in my work or my life. Don’t hold me to a high standard. I want a pass for my stupidity, sinfulness, and irresponsibility.” It is pretty much the mantra of the New Age.
Ø Similarly, “I want to get on with my life.” I know I killed my girlfriend, or raped a friend, or beat up my neighbor. But I want to get this behind me, so I can continue to make millions “rappin’” or bouncing balls on the hardwood, or catching passes. I want to get all my bad behavior behind me, where I won’t have to think about what a despicable person I am. I have never been held responsible for my actions because I am a star. I have put it behind me; why can’t you? I want to move on, man.
Ø Don’t allow people to have any power in the church that you do not want the official in the state to have. Both are ministers of God, you know. Why can you expect to put checks and balances on the one, if you allow the other unchecked power. Why can we expect the state to respect the freedom of the body if we allow ecclesiastics to tyrannize our souls?
Ø We are slow learners, if we ever learn at all. The Waldensians many years ago said that celibacy in the ministry would encourage “boy love.”
“The monastic life is the sink of the church, and a hellish institution; its vows are vain, and subservant only to the filthy love of boys….” The above quote is from Guy De Perpignan, bishop of Elna, in Roussillon, who exercised the office of inquisitor against the Waldenses. This was one of the charges that the bishop made against the Waldenses to justify their persecution and death. This quotation is found in the Catholic historian Thuanus, quoted by William Jones, The History of the Christian Church. Vol. II, p76. 1826.
Ø Man looks on the outward appearance only. This is the reason why church membership must be based upon covenant and not regeneration. It is impossible for the church to know the condition of grace in the heart of a person, but it is possible to examine whether or not the covenant of the church is being observed. Otherwise we become unrighteous judges, contrary to the commandment of Christ. There is also a hidden elitism in insisting on regeneration, for what is really required is a certain level of sanctification, and not regeneration at all.
Ø The foundation of the church has already been laid in Jesus Christ. Ministers are supposed to build on the foundation. We build in gold, silver, precious stones; wood, hay, stubble. If the doctrines are derived and grow out of the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, then they are gold, silver, and precious stones; otherwise they are wood, hay, and stubble. [1 Cor. 3:11-13] What then is that which is built for ambition, wealth, self-aggrandizement, or vainglory?
Ø Jesus claimed to the “the way, the truth, and the life.” [John 14:6] This is the essence of Christianity. It includes both the concrete and the ideal. He said He would build the church on the truth that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. [Matt. 16:18 and 1 Peter 2:4-7]. The church does not rest upon ideas alone, for that would make in merely another philosophical system. But neither does it rest on a person alone, for that would make it just another historical movement. The church rests upon the truth about a Person, that Jesus of Nazarus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus called men to Himself—the express image of God [Heb. 1:3]. He is the Truth, not merely true; He is the Way, not a way-shower; He is the Life, not merely alive. When men find the Lord Jesus, they have found God Himself in His Fullness. [Col. 2:9] They find Him, not in mystical experience, but in confession and acknowledgement of the truth.
Ø Men cannot live without sin. It is enough that we do not commit crimes. Those who pretend to live without sin have not found perfection; they have lost forgiveness.
Ø God cannot deny Himself and therefore the world He made must reflect truth, making science possible. Man has been given a mind to understand. If this were not so, truth would be impossible to determine, for we would have nothing to measure by. Because God is God and always will be, dogs are dogs and cats are cats. If this were not true, science would be impossible for how could we know anything. God cannot deny Himself, but if you deny Him, you can’t know anything.
Ø Rape shield laws are intended to help the weakest and most vulnerable of society. They are intended to protect those who have been victims of rape from the intimidation and scrutiny that always accompany rape accusations. The rich and the powerful do not need such protection, and very often it is the rich and the powerful who commit such crimes. The shield laws in Colorado are now under attack by a rich and powerful and famous basketball player [translation: spoiled gifted baby who has never had to be accountable for anything] who thought he could come into our hick state and do as he pleased. It is rather ironic, don’t you think, that he is now pleading racial discrimination—pitting one protected minority against another protected minority? How do you decide which protected minority is going to get favored treatment under the law? Who is the weak and defenseless one: the young, famous, and powerful millionaire basketball player with his team of famous lawyers or the hotel attendant? Seems like a slam dunk to me. This isn’t Mississippi in 1920, and this isn’t a sharecropper on trial. But this is a good lesson for the young girls: don’t sleep with the famous basketball player, unless you are married to him.
Ø God gave us sixty-six books, most of them very short, over the space of a bit over two thousand years [Moses to Christ], and nothing after Christ. He hasn’t been talking much. Of course, being God, His word is certain and He doesn’t have to say it over and over again. After Christ, He has nothing further to say, for Christ is the last word for the last days [Heb. 1:1ff]. The best thing to do in God’s temple is to listen to the voice of God [Habakkuk 2:20]. But with the drums and the noise and the dances and the carrying on, who can hear the voice of God? Where can you find silence today? Sure can’t find it in most churches. Perhaps people don’t want quiet: it might be scary for them. People even jog through the quietness of the forest listening to rock and roll on their headsets. Go figure.
Ø The best quotation read lately was in the November issue of National Review, which I have just got around to reading. In an article by John W. Symington, “Someone once defined insanity as the constant repetition of the same act in expectation of a different result.”