Unapologetic Argument

Recently a man I deeply respect and have come to love from afar off said the following:

Apologetics is the seasoning, the Gospel is the main course. You do not want too much of the seasoning or it will make the main course insipid.
Apologetics does not dominate our message; it under-girds our message. Argument doesn’t save people, but it certainly clears the obstacles so they can take a direct look at the Cross.
Support the argument justifiably, but recognize it is Jesus Christ who you need to lift up, and it is the Holy Spirit who brings about change within the human heart. An argument may remove doubt, but only the Holy Spirit can convict of truth.

I can certainly see his point but contrast this with the statements by a nationally syndicated television interviewer speaking to a popular professional basketball coach:

I grew up in a Pentecostal [experience] and . . . they can be rather dogmatic.

You started [there] but have found your own . . . path of faith.

Sunday last, in the throes of a digression on the false juxtaposition of love vs. punishment and wrath, a local minister wrestled with the nature of truth and justice. He seemed to view love as incapable Continue reading “Unapologetic Argument”

Pumps and Smiles

Recovered from backup
Original Post May 2019

Very recently I attended a Bible study at a very Middle American church. The subject was the Yehashua Apocalypse regarding false prophets, found in Matthew (7:15-23;24:11-14;24:23-28). Yeshua says that in the time following his ascension it would be inevitable that there would be false prophets. This teacher took a relatively unusual path through this material however. In the process he brought out a couple of points that are often overlooked. Continue reading “Pumps and Smiles”

Uncivil Obedience

There is a passage in the New Testament that says “obey the laws of the land.” Recently this has been pressed by a movement that advocates mindless obedience, at the cost of authenticity, from the pulpit and the bimah. This atavistic view is reminiscent of the Divine Right of Rule espoused by contemporaries of the Henry VIII of England. Such uncritical devotion to authority is contrary to sound faith and practice. Not only is the Judeo Christian tradition one of thought and study, the Laws of God must always be held as a higher authority than those of any earthly entity or regime. Authenticity is often the narrow, winding path that leads around loopholes in common law and executive order. At others it requires direct confrontation and disobedience of that which is unjust or evil, even when that evil is subtle or invisible to the democratic majority.

At one time the law of the land and public opinion held that everyone must bow Continue reading “Uncivil Obedience”

Oblivious to Pronouns

In the western world we talk a great deal of Rights. Individual Human Rights are foundational to the US Constitution which calls on God as underwriter for them. In all the talk of rights, liberty, license, and freedom the meaning gets lost and we start to lose the forest for the trees. Ironically, inherent in the the term liberty is the state of liberation and you can’t be liberated without having once been bound. In each of these terms there is a similar link to a binary state, a juxtaposition of polar opposites.

The state of holding or exercising a right is righteousness, and that is a term that many in the secular world shy away from. It’s natural they should given the alternate is unrighteousness and there is a specific moral, ethical, and religious component to these concepts. What is a right? Continue reading “Oblivious to Pronouns”

Cantonese Saturday Night? Just Stop!

כור את־יום השבת לקדשו׃ Or as it is said in the King James version, “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” This phrase has shaped and lead to many of the deepest divisions and conflicts within the umbrella of Judaeo-Christian or as the Muslims say Bookish people. Even the Muslims themselves, as well as the Druze and Samaritans are affected. Remember the Sabbath. Keep it holy. These simple words weigh on people more than the injunctions against blasphemy or murder. But have any of the parties to this debate actually parsed the words well enough to form such divisive and rigid doctrines?

This is a command in two parts. The first seems plain enough. Remember the Sabbath, Shabbat, Shabbas to the Ashkenazi (Kenites?) among us, seems to be a reminder to honor and practice the Sabbath. That’s Saturday on the English calendar, right? Simple enough. But how do we practice it?

But wait. Most Christians tell us that the Sabbath is Sunday. Sunday? Saturday? Which is it? Continue reading “Cantonese Saturday Night? Just Stop!”

Blessed Bloody Barbecue

I always find it ironic when one of the Ashkenazi repeat the mantra of doubt, “The Christian Bible isn’t my Bible.” There is a lot of of finagling on the part of Jewish teachers to arrive at that conclusion, which is then taken to heart by the uninformed congregant and repeated with the eye-watering fervor of a child wishing for a precious toy. I can certainly empathize with this position. Having argued with certain individuals who use fallacy and polemic to twist scripture so that it says whatever currently suits them, I know what it feels like to argue a known obvious truth with someone who simply changes the meaning to suit their conclusions. It’s like wrestling atop a pile of sand draining through a hopper. The domain of the topic can completely shift from one clause to the next, in a single statement by a deceitful polemicist. Continue reading “Blessed Bloody Barbecue”

Christians are Weirdos in Relationship to God

Christian living is a complicated subject largely because it is a matter of interpolation. Jesus and to a degree the apostle Paul–a.k.a. Saul l’Tarsi–are role models, mentors to be imitated. We have their sermons and narratives to draw on to see how they lived and what doctrines and principals are to be applied. However, we are forced to then interpolate those principals and doctrines to our present day circumstances and then using sound interpretation apply the commands and instructions of scripture to our lives. It’s pretty complicated if you break it down and focus on every little step. If you are trying to accomplish it on your own it just doesn’t work. Likewise if you are completely uninvolved, believing that Grace is a big magic wand that frees you from responsibility to exert any effort in achieving the goal of be shaped in the form of Christ, you’ve failed before you begin.

To complicate things further, there are several distinct heresies, Continue reading “Christians are Weirdos in Relationship to God”

Forget to Forgive

A sermon today included the following points:

  1. Woe to him that is offended for God shall not heal his life nor grant him a miracle.
  2. If you are offended you must forgive. In fact, you cannot be blessed by God unless you forgive everyone everything.
  3. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, failing to hold a person accountable or free from punishment.
  4. [The pastor] believes in doing to them what they do to you. But that means forgive everyone cause Jesus forgives everyone.
  5. Forgiveness doesn’t mean [the pastor and his church] won’t track you down and beat you if you are doing something violent, never-the-less you can’t hold grudges.

This lead me to revisit the passages cited which were MAT 18:7 (kjv) and COL 3:13-14 (kjv). Continue reading “Forget to Forgive”

Dead Camels Fill the Heavens with Midges

A young woman named V recently argued that old dead heresy of Calvin in the context of whether the Holy Spirit still baptised and conferred gifts. The greater questions have been dealt with previously, but she raised the following questions:

1) I suppose what i dont understand, then, is why does the bible say once we are saved, we are sealed? What can break the seal?
2) How do you believe one becomes saved?
3) Why do you believe that once salvation was offered to the gentiles, paul only preached salvation by grace through faith?

What follows was my response with expanded exposition on the scriptures:

First things first. Continue reading “Dead Camels Fill the Heavens with Midges”

Wickly Burning?

There is a traditional Jewish teaching involving a candle. If you take a candle from a cupboard and examine it, it gives no light, it has potential but no life. One could easily say that it is no more than a lump of wax with a string though it. But when you touch a flame to it light shines and the candle expresses it purpose for being. The question is when do wax and string become a candle? The answer: When fire is applied. When does a beast become a man? When the fire or light of Torah is applied.

In the first century, Jesus–Yehoshua HaNazari¹–taught Continue reading “Wickly Burning?”