Monday, December 24, 2007

How are you seen?

So I was at the mall today, for the first time in a while, and I noticed something that is quite interesting and I was interested to see if anyone else saw or perceived issue. The issue is this, Women in general are displayed as sexy, attractive, sensual, and desirable. Women who are mothers are displayed as caring, fashionable, intelligent. The two are not mixed and are not seemingly compatible. This seems to be the modern American sales model. Frankly, I am confused by this. Do women lose their sex appeal when they become pregnant and suddenly become smarter? No doubt their are intelligent women who are not mothers. So why is this the image that we are shown and in a sense taught to believe? I mean lets get real for a second, a women doesn't become pregnant by not having sex, is she expected to not have sex again after conception? Why is it that this is the model that advertisers want us to buy into, in the most literal cents.

I guess this then raises the larger question of how are we seen? As Christians, as men, as women, as fathers, as mothers, as Americans, as human. How are you see, and who sees you that way? Who sees only what you want them to see? Do we create a false image of ourselves for others? Isn't this one of the problems in our churches today, People put on the face of christian two hours a week, and yet keep the title all week; to be seen and judged by non-believers all week.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Paul Washer Comments

This is a place for the readers/watchers to comment about what Paul Washer says in " All Men Are Evil"


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What have we become? A Christian Bookstore

Today my wife and I traveled to a Christian bookstore. I love going to Christian bookstores for several reason, not the least of these is to look at the reference section. Lexicons, commentaries... you get the point. But on to the important issue. Walking down row of shelves, the only row of shelves, I saw one labeled Christian living, then one labeled encouragement. At the top in the middle of this second shelf was Joel Ostseen's book "Your Best Life Now" *Sigh* I thought well, despite my feelings of Joel's message I can understand why a retail store would sell him, because people will buy it. And resolving to move on, frustrated I began to walk away, until I saw something that made me explode inside. On the bottom shelf, were two books, by John Piper : "The passion of Jesus Christ" and "Don't Waste Your Life." These books were place on the bottom, at the place where we might as well be stepping on them! Do you understand the Picture here. We have the Teacher of aberrant Theology about you living YOUR best Life right where we can see it close to our faces, and Good theology is at our feet, ready to be walked on. Do you understand that?

We live in a day where people would rather buy
Joel FREAKING Olsteen telling you how to Live Well
John Piper Telling you how to Best Live for Christ
Or Tell you about How Christ Lived

And We Wonder Why People in

Mock Christians


I would wager that few if any Non-Christians would bye John Piper's Writings
Yet, Many Would Buy Joel's Book

So What You Ask?

We Live In A "christian" culture where heresy abounds and sound doctrine fades.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
(2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

10 Ways to Blaspheme the Name of God

Oh my G-D!

Does it bother you when you hear that? It really bothers me, to the point
where I have told complete strangers to not say it
I hate Blaspheme, there is almost
then taking the name of the God who gave you
and using it to express just how disgusted with something you are.
You have never used your mother's name
in that manor
yet you use
in that way.
So I figure that you my readers should care about his subject as much as i do, so here is an essay
that might just change how you view the concept of how often and how easily we blaspheme God
This is puritan theology those of you who are afraid, just read on and I pray you will be changed.

Taking the Name of God in Vain
By. Dr. C. Matthew McMahon

The third commandment is often the most memorable because we often hear people using the name of God in vain. We are reminded of the third commandment especially if we work in a secular environment, or we have relatives who show forth their rebellious nature without qualms in the language they use. But in looking closely at the third commandment we will find more than we bargained for. We as Christians break the third commandment more often than any pagan who may be screaming "God D_____t" or "Jesus Christ!"

What does the third commandment say? "Thou shalt not use the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who uses His name in vain." What does this commandment principally teach? The third commandment forbids all profaning and abusing of anything whereby God makes Himself known. (Malachi 1:6-8; Lev. 20:3; 19:12; Matthew 5:34-37; Isa. 52:5.) It is not simply a matter of cursing or using the name God or Jesus vainly in that way. It is true that God's name is not to be used in that manner. We are not to say "God bless you" frivolously when someone sneezes, or say "Oh my God" when we are excited or ecstatic. Truly, we use His name in vain when we say those kinds of things. But the use of God's name is hardly restricted just to language. The commandment shows us how to worship God aright, as God designs the first four commandments in this way. The third commandment is rightly divided into two parts. The first part is the explicit command that we should not take His name in vain. That is obvious. The second part of the command is not so obvious. It is the practical implications of the right use of His name, namely, that we should honor and revere His name every time we use it.

What is this commandment primarily directed against? The commandment is primarily directed against the heart and the tongue. The heart is where a man's actions come forth from. If our heart is irreverent towards God, then we will use His name in vain, or in an ignoble fashion. Remember, the heart controls the tongue. This commandment is a bridle for our tongues. It is the bit where God turns us onto His right path. The commandment is setting up a right attitude for the heart, and then consequently a right use for the tongue. So be warned, we are forbidden to use God's name in any other way but in the right way.

What does it mean to use God's name in vain? Simply, this means to misuse God's name in any fashion. It is not just directed against cursing, though that is one way in which His name is dishonored by people and is used in vain. What are some ways people take God's name in vain? There are many, but let us look at just a few.

The first way is when we profess God's name but do not live answerably to it. It means we live hypocritically. Thomas Watson said, "pretended holiness is merely double wickedness." Whenever we do not live up to the call of the Christian life, we take God's name in vain. We are mirrors that should reflect the perfection of God. If the mirror claims to be Christ's and reflects tendencies of hell, then we use the name of Christ in vain, and people see that.

Secondly, when we use God's name in idle discourse we are vainly using His name; like telling a joke with God or Jesus in it. God is to be revered by us, not spoken of in a light and jesting manner. When we speak lightly of God we use His name in vain because God is not to be taken lightly by anyone.

Thirdly, when we worship with our lips and not our hearts we take His name in vain. We say we follow Him, and then worship Him in the secret place of our heart as the hypocrite. How many Sunday mornings have you come to church, worshipped, and then left the same as you entered? In doing this you take His name lightly, and use it in vain. God is a God of promises. When you are not changed by the hearing of the Word, or the worship given with the saints, you mock God and all His promises to the church. You take His name in vain.

Fourthly, when we pray to Him but do not believe Him we use His name in vain. How many prayers have you prayed in doubt? God promises to make good on all those prayers prayed in His will. Do you doubt His will? Do you doubt His promises? Do you doubt when you pray? If you do, you use His name in vain. This is not positive confession or the power of positive thinking. Rather, when you pray and doubt, God says you are like a double-minded man unstable in all his ways. You are like one who forgets his face after looking in a mirror just a second before. What God is saying is that when you pray and doubt, you are forgetting the God you are praying to, and thus, you take His name in vain.

Fifthly, when we, in any way, profane or abuse His Word, we are using God's name in vain. Every theological error, misquoted Scripture, every jot and tittle not remembered in the right way is using God's name in vain. God's name is tightly bound to His Word. When we have bad theology we use His name in vain. When we misquote the Bible when a friend asks us to cite a verse or two, we use His name in vain. Imagine how many times we are theologically incorrect! Imagine how many times we have misquoted His perfect and precious Word! Imagine how many times, in this way alone, we have used His name in vain!

Sixthly, when we swear by God's name falsely, we use it in vain. Whenever we make a promise and do not keep it, we are lying as a Christian and making a mockery of God's name. When we make an oath to God and do not keep it we use His name in vain. When we make an oath to covenant with the body of believers, and then leave the church over some non-essential doctrine or ill-feeling, we are taking the Lord's name in vain. Jesus even warned us in Matthew 5:33ff not to make false oaths in God's name. The Pharisees tried to swear by other names-heaven, the earth, the city of Jerusalem, or by their own heads- so they would not directly swear by God's name. They thought that by substituting one of these other "important" phrases that it would allow them to make oaths, and have a way of escape just in case they did not keep the oath because they did not formally swear by God's name. Jesus sets them straight; heaven is God's throne, the earth is God's footstool, the city of Jerusalem is the city of the great King, and your own head is God's. So there is no substitution. It all belongs to God and subsequently should not be used in a false oath. Making a promise and not keeping it can bring dire consequences when dealing with God. He commands that we do everything that comes out of our mouths when we make an oath. So when we make an oath to each other or to God and do not live up to it, we are using God's name in vain because we are Christians who are to be honest always.

Seventhly, when we set God's name next to any wicked action we use His name in vain. An example of this would be when we baptize a wicked person, or baptize someone in the wrong way. The wicked and heathen have no right to be baptized, only the saved are to be. And Matthew 28:19ff tells us we are to baptize people in the name of the "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." We use their names in vain when we baptize those who ought not to be sealed with their name.

Eighthly, when we use our tongues in a way that dishonors God’s name we use His name in vain. This is when we curse and swear. It is when we say "O my God" or any such time when the Lord's name is used in an irreverent way. Even when we are in prayer or praise to God and we continually repeat the name "Jesus" or "Father" irreverently through vain repetition, we use God's name in vain. It is a sacred name and should be held in high esteem no matter when we invoke it. For invoking the name of God is a weighty matter and should not be taken lightly.

Ninthly, when we make rash vows we use God's name in vain; like Jephthah's vow in Judges 11:31. Jephthah rashly vowed to the Lord that if he came back victorious from the battle, he would sacrifice the first thing which came running out of his house; pig, cow, horse, whatever. When he returned from the battle victorious, his daughter ran out of the house to greet him, and he had to sacrifice her to keep his vow and so he did. Such a terrible evil twice over! Let us not make rash vows to God.

Tenthly, when we speak evil of God in a circumstance He is bringing us through we use His name in vain. How often do you grumble and complain against God? Do you find His ways hard? Is the path that He is leading you down weary to your feet? Do you want to hop over the fence into the plush meadow to comfort your aching bones? Do you gripe at the perfect, concise, eternal, unchangeable plan of God? If you do or if you have, then you have used God's name in vain. God has the perfect plan laid out for you. When adverse circumstances come by you should praise Him as Job did, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21b) Do not grumble or gripe like Job's wife who said "Curse God and die," but be humble before Him knowing that everything He does for you is for your good. When we grumble against God in hard circumstances we give a bad witness and consequently use His name in vain.

Lastly, when we falsify a promise as if we were to do a thing if God does something for us, then we use His name in vain. When we barter with God to get something we act irreverently before Him and use His name in a way that does not glorify him. We say, "Oh God, if you would just take this or that away then I will never do such and such again." But this is using His name in vain. We are not to barter with Him but accept His will as it stands.

This is a very short list of ways which we may use His name in vain. We are to be lights in the world bringing forth His name in purity and truth. We must not grumble, but be content. We must not vow rashly, but let our "yes be yes and our no be no." We must reverently invoke God's name in worship and prayer with an attitude of fear and trembling for it is a privilege to even have His name marked upon us. We are to take heed in our beliefs, so that we do not misrepresent Him and His name in our theology. There is much involved in keeping the third commandment and in keeping His name holy. For God says "I will not hold him guiltless who takes My name in vain." How guilty are we?

Think about how many times in the past week you broke the third commandment? Christians do not go a day without breaking it in some fashion. This causes us to mourn our sinful condition. All our sin is not yet mortified. This causes us sorrow and rushes us to the the cross since we sin this way against our Lord and Christ. But we thank God for Christ. Thanks be to Christ who lived a perfect life! Thanks be to Christ who fulfilled the Law perfectly for His people and imputed to His people His righteous deeds which they did not deserve. Without His sacrifice we would be doomed to hell for just the sin of breaking the third commandment over and over.

Ponder upon the holiness and purity of Christ. He kept ALL the commandments perfectly. Every time He worshipped, He did it with His heart. Every promise He made He kept. Every time He invoked God's name He used it with reverence and dignity. Never once did he break the third commandment. So let our eyes be open to see what the third commandment requires of us, and pray that the Lord would aid us to keep His name holy every day, and never use it in vain again.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What Makes Christians Unique?

Have you ever considered the question, what makes Christians different or unique from non-Christians? I heard it posed today and in my desire to respond I figured that it would be prudent to write it here. When considering the question there is one thing that jumps out at me before anything else, and that is rebirth. Human nature is abundantly sinful, we are enemies of the things of God and our hearts are desperately wicked (Isa 64:6 and Romans 5:10). This is not true of Christians. We have been reborn, remade, reformed into something that doesn't look anything like what one used to be. However that does not become immediately obvious.

Another thing that is not always apparent but I think is a clear mark of Christians is that God dwells in them. This is often difficult to measure, as we must look for the fruit of the spirit in someone's life. However, when doing this one must also distinguish Godly fruit from righteous ( in human terms) actions. This is the difference between a Christian serving the needy and a Buddhist serving the needy. They are equal in human terms but far different in heavenly terms.
Christians also have a far different perspective, then non-Christians. Most Christians ( true Christians, not cultural or pretend christians) perspective is that all there actions are purposed for the glory of God. That is there end and all that they do is working towards that end. Non-Christians have a far different end, self. Their end is self-serving. They are enemies of God and lovers of self.

Here is another one for you, and a will warn you that there is theological content in this paragraph, so if you can't handle that... (ok, I was trying to be funny and witty here, but i think i sounded like more of a jerk.) Christians are unique because in there life they are not trying to be "good people" [ whatever that is as no one is good as we are guilty of breaking the commandments of God] but they are trying to follow the Four Commands of Christ. Quick can you name them? Well, i will supply them for you, because i am just that nice.
  1. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37
  2. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39
  3. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. - John 15:12
  4. "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
So How did you do? Christians strive to follow these commands, it shows that they are really Christians and that they really love Christ ( The person who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I, too, will love him and reveal myself to him. - John 14:21). This is something that is unique to Christians, keep in mind that non-Christians, are enemies of God.

I think that something else that Christians can do that other people can't do is logically defend there belief system and holy text. Honestly, I would challenge someone, anyone to find a factual error that can not be attributed you scribal error ( there are about 50 known scribal errors in our modern bible, which for an ancient document is amazing). This is far from true for a group like Muslims and the Qur' an. This is even true for such recent books like the Mormon scriptures, (aka book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham) which have far more errors and outright changes in them compared to there originals which are less then two hundred years old, in comparison to the Law of Moses which is about 3,000 years old.

Anyways, I have been writing this entry for quite a while, three weeks or so, quite contemplatively and wish to continue as it strikes me, but want to at least put this out there for consideration.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Where did the Bible come from?

Where did the bible come from?

When looking at the basics of Christianity, I think that something we must be able to articulate is how we got the bible. All or most of us hold the bible to be scripture, the inspired word of God, but what do we really know about how this collection of books came to us. How do we know that this book is really the Word of God? So today we will address the issue of where the bible came from.

What were the writing tools that were used for transmission of both the Old and New Testament? The first form and most common substance that the Old Testament was written on, was papyrus. The oldest bible document that found on papyrus is dated to about 2,400 BC. Other substances that were used are parchment (dried and shaved animal skin) and vellum (which is dried calf skin) the oldest writings that were found on vellum were dated to about 1,500 BC. All three of these were written on by pen and ink. These pens and the type of ink changed with the area that they were written in. Ostraca is an unglazed pottery that is then written on with a metal stylus. Stone was also used and it was written on with a chisel. Clay tablets and wax tablets were also used and were written on with metal stylus.

How were ancient books and scrolls put together? Rolls/scrolls were glued sheets of papyrus that were wound around a stick. Normally the writings were on one side of the scroll. An opisthograph (Rev. 5:1) is a two sided scroll. These were very uncommon as they were more difficult to read from. The average scroll length was 20 to 35 ft. This is not the only form storing information. Codex form books were used for several reasons. They were easier to transport. One could have more information in a smaller area, a large scroll was difficult to handle, but because books were in leaf form they were far easier to have more information. The leafs were double sided and were made out papyrus.

In what ways did the Greek and Hebrew writers write? There were two types of writing, uncial and minusale. Uncial was deliberate and carefully executed letters, much like capital letters in English. Minusale were small letters written in ‘running hand’ and were used primarily for codex books. When looking at the spaces and vowels in the Greek and Hebrew, the term to remember is scriptio continua, which is continuous writing, no spaces were included. In Hebrew vowels were also excluded. This was not a problem for people of the day because reading was normally done aloud, even when alone. Vowels were added to the Hebrew sometime between the 5th and 10th century AD.

Where did the chapters and verses come from? There have been several different divisions of the Old and New Testament. The first divisions in the Old Testament were made prior to the Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. The Pentateuch was divided into 154 groups called sedarim, that provided a three year reading and study cycle. Between 586 and 536 B.C. the Pentateuch was divided into 54 sections called parashiyyoth, which were later divided into 669 subsections. The prophetic books of scripture were divided into sections and subsections around 165 B.C. Standardized verse markings were made in about 900 A.D. these were done by putting spaces between words. The New Testament was divided into sections before the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., perhaps as early as 250 A.D. The earliest divisions were found in the manuscript named codex Vaticanus, these chapter divisions were far smaller than modern chapters, as the Gospel of Matthew was divided into 170 sections. Modern divisions were made by Stephen Langton, in 1551 and he divided the bible into 1227 chapters. These divisions were in the Greek New Testament; our modern markings are the same as the 1555 version of the Latin Vulgate.

Where did the cannon come from? The early church father Origen used,” Cannon to denote what we call the ‘rule of faith’ the standard by which we are to measure and evaluate.” When looking at scripture the word cannon applies to a list of books that are officially accepted by the Church. This is why Protestants and Catholic churches have different cannons, we accept different books. There are correct and incorrect ways to look at the cannon and the churches relationship to it.



The Church is determiner of the Cannon

The Church is discoverer of the Cannon

The Church is mother of the Cannon

The Church is child of the Cannon

The Church is magistrate of the Cannon

The Church is minister of the Cannon

The Church is regulator of the Cannon

The Church is recognizer of the Cannon

The Church is judge of the Cannon

The Church is witness of the Cannon

The Church is master of the Cannon

The Church is servant of the Cannon

There are five tests to see if a book belongs in the cannon. First, was the book written by a prophet? In other words, was the author a person who had the ability to speak for God? Second, was the writer confirmed by the Acts of God? Examples of this come from Exodus 4:1-9, 1 Kings 18, Acts 2:22. Third, did the message tell the truth about God? Keeping in mind 2 Corinthians 1:17-18 and Hebrews 6:18. Forth, did the book come with the power of God? The Word of God is transforming and anything that claims to be the word of God must therefore also be transforming. Consider Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:17 and 1 Peter 1:23. Lastly, was the book accepted by the people of God? Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul knew that the acceptance of the message was as important as the message itself.

What early Christians recognized the cannon of the New Testament? (Why only deal with the New Testament? Simple, in the New Testament, Christ defines the Old Testament, so if you accept one, you must accept both; References to follow.) Athanasius of Alexandria, author of the creed with his namesake, gave the earliest recorded list of the New Testament books, which is exactly the same as our modern New Testament; this was done in 367 A.D. Shortly after this was done both Jerome and Augustine did the same and included the same books. Polycarp (115 A.D.) the disciple of John, Clement of Alexandria ( about 200 A.D.) and the disciple of Polycarp, Irenaeus ( 180 A.D.) all accepted the 27 books of the New Testament. For references look in “Against Heresies, III, ii, 8” and Athanasius Letter 39. The New Testament has been divided in the following way, by both the ancient church fathers and modern scholars. Although there is some debate about who authored the book of Hebrews.

The Gospels

The History

The Pauline Epistles

The General Epistles

The Prophecy

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John


Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 &2 Thessalonians,

1&2 Timothy, Hebrews, Titus, Philemon

James, 1&2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude.


Christ himself was a witness to the accuracy of the Old Testament. Consider Luke 24:44, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you-that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.” Also Consider Luke 11:49-51, “from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah” This was a reference to the Old Testament Cannon, when looking at Gen 4:8 and 2 Chronicles 24:21 in light of the construction of the Old Testament in Christ’s time.

The Law (Torah)

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

The Prophets (Nebhim)

Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings ( Former Prophets)

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, The Twelve ( Later Prophets)

The Writings (Kethubhim)

Psalms, Proverbs, Job ( Poetic Books)

Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Ecclesiastes ( Five Rolls)

Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles ( Historical Books)

These are only the beginnings of understanding how we got the bible and how we can know that it is indeed the word of God. When looking over this information I hope that you have learned something new about where the bible came from, and about its accuracy. I have heard it said that when looking at all the scripture quoted by the early church fathers that all but five verses of the New Testament could be compiled. The Early Church loved scripture, because they knew it was the word of God. I hope that when examining this brief look at the bible, it would inspire you to learn more. The information for this lesson came from the book The New Evidence that demands a verdict, by Josh McDowell.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Poetry in the Nursing Home

So I had the pleasure of seeing a wonderful poem on a door in a residents room. So I figured I would share it with you and see if you enjoy it as much as I do.

Who is he in yonder stall, at whose feet the shepherd's fall?
Who is he in deep distress, fasting in the wilderness?
Who is he on yonder tree dies in grief and agony?
Who is he that from his throne rules through all the world alone?
"Tis the Lord!" O wondrous story! "Tis the Lord!" The King of glory!
At his feet we humbly fall, crown him, crown him Lord of all!

Benjamin Hanby