First to the Jew

A number of denominations and religions that rose out of the Restorationist movement have taken a stance on Judaism that is both heterodox and Anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism is a dangerous position for anyone who claims to be a Christian, not only because Jesus was a Jew, but because 2/3rds of the Christian Canon is composed of the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible. Some go so far as to say that Christians, or at least their own sect, have become the new Israel and have replaced the hereditary Jews as the recipients of promises and blessings given to Abraham and the prophets. Paul tells us a very different story in Romans, and there are references that prove that authentic Biblical Judaism, which takes an honest look at the apocalypses of Daniel and Zechariah, and which looks forward to the coming of messiah, was essentially a saving faith in Christ (ROM 11:17-36).

That may sound odd, except that we have this passage in Galatians (Gal 3:6-9) where it is made clear that God revealed to Abraham that a messiah would come from his descendents who would save even the Gentiles. Abraham’s faith in the coming of that messiah and his faith in the Character of God to keep his promises saved Abraham as surely as any penitent kneeling at the prayer bench, confessing and asking to be made a Christian. What’s more Paul shows us that it is belief and not rigid observance that links the descendents of Abraham. This doesn’t precipitate a replacement of the Jewish people but rather an enormous expansion of their ranks.

I’m reminded of a conversation I had in a chicken take away restaurant, recently. This store uses a technique of dry roasting which heats the chicken with hot air. The extreme temperature causes the juices and fat to boil and drip away, leaving behind a heart healthy variation on Southern Fried Chicken. Another patron was complaining about the long wait for service. I made a lame attempt at dry humor, which seemed fitting given the food in question, ‘this way you don’t have to eat the smutz.’

My companion took this as some sort of religious or racial comment and responded, ‘so … you are Jewish.’ He paused for overly melodramatic emphasis then said ‘too?’ It was an odd manner of speech and took me aback for a moment. Many Yiddish words have entered into the common vernacular of America pop-culture. This is only a natural consequence of the ethnic development of America. More than one fifth of the population has a Jewish heritage. The use of the word smutz (aka smaltz), which refers to congealed chicken fat, was no particular reference to the Jewishness of my companion or of myself.

In that vein I spoke cautiously as I answered, ‘I have the heritage but not the religion.’

Since that conversation with Bob, I have had time to mull over my response, even rehearse some alternative and more provocative answers. The fact is, a Jew from a traditional synagogue — whether Sephardic, Hassidic or Reform — would not recognize me as a Jew. With my Teutonic good looks (see the ironic grin when I say that) I’ve been treated like a jack-booted Nazi by my fellow children of Israel. But as a youth in High-School I have faced the swastika toting neo-Nazi skinheads who called me Jew-Boy and worse. I’ve been assaulted for my genetic heritage which for some ‘anti-Semites’ seems to be written across my features as clearly as the tattoo on the arm of those inmates who survived Auswiczm, Berkenau, Dachau even Belsen.

So, while my answer was honest, the true answer is much more complicated. Am I a Jew? In addition to the political and cultural issues, there is this Jesus, who Paul persecuted and whom I serve. His own testimony was that he did not come to destroy the law but fulfill it. Many readers have chosen to remap the term fulfill into a special term that means, ‘complete and therefore conclude.’ This is not honest scholarship. When those same parties are confronted by the phrase, ‘to fulfill one’s potential’ or ‘fulfill your expectations’ or even ‘fulfill the high calling’ they suddenly see the same construction as meaning complete or exceed and therefore validate. The fulfillment validates the structure or rule that is referred to.

In fulfilling the law, Jesus validated every precept, doctrine and commandment contained therein. He did not do away with the law. In fact, we never see him arguing that a Pharisee or Sadducee should reject the law in order to follow him. Instead, he encourages his critics and followers to set aside the Talmud and the proverbial ‘fence’ around the law because the roles have become unreasonably harsh, and even contradictory to the written Law and Prophets. He encouraged them to embrace the unfiltered Torah with the unfettered mind of a child and internalize or hide it in their hearts. This doesn’t sound like a messiah who has come to lead Israel away from Judaism, but to fulfill it.

Jesus taught a brand or sect of Judaism that was more observant and more mystic, but centered squarely on the Tanakh or Old Covenant. This new Judaism rejected the traditions of men and the musings of philosophers, the magick of the five rabbis (qabbala), and the nihilism of the Sadducees. At the same time, it embraced the critical methods and the relationship with God described in the Midrash.

So how does a Christian reconcile this with Peter’s agreement with Paul that new converts of gentile heritage not be required to keep kosher or even be circumcised? How can these men be teaching the same faith Jesus taught, yet reject the most essential tenets of the religion Jesus practiced? Paul even goes so far as to castigate Jewish believers who have left behind the kosher rule as a part of Christian faith, but then returned to the traditional teachings and practices of the Sephardim. Why would returning to a practice of our Lord and savior be so bad? Wouldn’t it honor him to walk like him? The answer is fairly simple. Yes, it would and does honor Jesus to walk like him and to live the faith and practice that he demonstrated in his short life. And no, it would not honor him to do so by using a rule book constructed from the Torah and the prophets! What honors Jesus is to have sufficient faith in him and his teachings that these rules become a part of our being, through the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus taught that the spirit of the Law, the underlying rationale and purpose, must become so much a part of the Christian that the technical wording and possible loop-holes are irrelevant. He taught that by possessing the Spirit of God (ruach elohim) bodily, one would necessarily and habitually live and walk the way he did and perform miracles and signs, where such are needed and will not glorify the individual rather than God. Jesus informed us that these future generations would even exceed his own miraculous ministry. It is unlikely that he meant we would be wizards of God-like power as certain televangelists claim or try to demonstrate.

But through humility and faithful servitude to the God of the Bible, we can all perform the miracle of obedience to the tenets and precepts of the Law and the prophets. And in addition come to understand His character and plan of God for humanity.

The greatest miracle of all is to sing:

Jesus is my savior, I shall not be moved.

In his love and favour, I shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,

Lord, I shall not be moved.

but for that song to be true and factual by virtue of one’s grace, peace, charismata, will and fortitude. Not to be implacable or stoic, but rather to be soft hearted, emotional and immutably trenchant. This is the miracle of God’s grace that one can be stubbornly committed and unshakably intransigent on matters of authentic Biblical faith and practice. Even, as in Rome authentic Believers are thrown to the lions for their belief.

But the question was ‘Am I a Jew’? I believe that the Torah and the prophets and even the writings are the word of God (Dabar Adonai) and that they are the infallible rule of faith and practice. That my early ancestor Abraham was an anointed prophet founding a race of prophets and priests through which God works immanently in human history. I believe that in some miraculous way Jesus is the child of the god Abraham served and that Abraham looked forward to the coming of a child from his own offspring who would bring a means of reconciliation between God and man. I believe that the Apostles, including Paul, were prophets of a new Covenant sealed by the blood of Jesus and allowing all people Hebrew and Gentile to become one people natural and adopted; children of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.

I am a Jew and a follower of the way that was taught by Christ Jesus. I am therefore a Christian, a messianic Jew, because if not a Child of Abraham by faith (GAL 3:7) one cannot be a Christian.

A Bitter Cup


Jesus asked the Father, ‘If it be your will, let this cup pass from me.’ Flowery language from a loving disciple. In modern vernacular we would likely report his prayer as, ‘Oh God! I don’t want to die like this. If there is anyway way else to do it or someone to take my place, please let it be that way. But if it HAS to go down like this, then I’ll do it, because you want me to.’ People have a way of over poeticizing the humanity of Christ, or any historic figure for that matter. It’s natural to do so, but it causes us to lose sight of the real pain and suffering that happen in the life of God’s people.

In today’s climate of enforced ecumenicism, which flies in the face of God’s word and spits on Christ’s wounds, there is a move toward the stoicism, and nihilism of eastern religion. Nothing is more antithetical to Biblical Christianity, or to faith in God. The patriarchs were men of passion and desire. Jesus was a man who we know could lose his temper and even become violent. Throughout the Bible, prophecy is often couched in graphic language and bitter insults. The sanitized, magical rites and formulae, of eastern mysticism and western ‘High Church’ liturgy are at odds with Biblical imperative and example.

Far from Stoic, the prophets of both Covenants are men who confessed their pains and suffering and asked others to bear with them, just as they bore the pains of others. This is in fact the foundational concept of Godly faith. Bear one another’s burdens. Confess your shortcomings. Ask for help.

Recently I was discussing a practical application of this principle with a cousin of mine. She is married to a former youth pastor, and has been active in the church for most of her life. I told her about a man whose wife had committed adultery with a minister who then advised her as a counselor to leave her husband. I pointed out that The biblical principals in Ephesians and Corinthians clearly indicate that it is the responsibility of the church to censure that woman until she returns to and makes amends with her husband. I pointed out that Jesus said that it was the life spent in a second or third marriage that was the adultery not the wedding ceremony, and that to end her sin she must reconcile with her husband or remain celibate at her first husband’s discretion.

It infuriated my cousin that I would make these statements. When I suggested that repentance is not saying you are sorry, but changing your life course permanently and spending your remaining life making amends for your wrongdoing, she called me bitter. What is really sad is that she went so far as to say I had a ‘spirit of bitterness’.

Now I assure you, I have been slandered quite a bit, since I entered the ministry. But it always troubles me when someone begins criticizing my spirit. I am filled with the spirit of prophecy, the ruach elohim (??? ?????) that we Christians call the Holy Spirit. I am led by him and he has called me to ministry, including compassion ministries. But at minimum I am a Christian, which even my detractors would be forced to acknowledge. To claim that the spirit in me, the Holy Spirit, is a ‘spirit of bitterness’ is to at least approach the act of slandering the Holy Spirit.

I will not deny that the Holy Spirit at times is infused with anger or revulsion, at what he, as Paraclete, is forced to encounter. But to call him a Spirit of Bitterness is walking close to the line of calling him a demonic spirit. For this there is of course no redemption. As Jesus said, if you slander the human it can be forgiven, but because ‘you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven’ It is impossible that a believer can be possessed of an unclean spirit. ‘No well can give forth both salt water and sweet.’ This is Jesus’ expert opinion on the subject. To disagree is to call to question the deity of Christ. To deny the deity, and for that matter, the infallibility of Christ is to be denied BY Christ. ‘If you deny me before men, I shall deny you before the Father.’

Now the tide of that conversation ended up drifting to the issue of redemption and what saves. Essentially, the only thing that saves is of course the forgiveness of our sins, by the Father in heaven. Where people, Jewish, Christian, Muslim or other Bible based pagan, differ is in how one achieves or receives forgiveness.

For the Christian or Messianic Jew the answer is the perfect sacrifice embodied in the person of Jesus. But there are arguments as to the manner in which one takes a vicarious part in Jesus’ sacrifice.

As in all things, most tend to proof text, fastening onto one or two passages or verses taken out of context in order to prove a position formed before they began to study the scripture. This sort of Eisegesis has lead to the formation of most of the Christian denominations. However taken in toto the bible paints a picture that denies most every formula or paradigm.

Jesus and the Apostles he taught can be resolved into the following paradigm if ALL the New Testament is taken in and digested before an opinion is formed:


1) Show remorse for your past life. Recognize the depraved state of your soul as an illness that needs a cure.

2) Accept on faith that Jesus is the son of God and that his words, works and teachings are infallible. Accept his teaching that his death is a propitiation for your past life of sin and will empower you to live a Godly life.

3) Change the course of your life permanently so that those things which were disobedient to Biblical Morality are no longer a part of your life. Dedicate your life to correcting the wrong you have done (i.e. thieves become philanthropists, killers become defenders of life, home wreckers and adulterers become those who mend marriages starting with their own, etc).

4) Seek an ever more profound relationship with God that grows deeper passing through stages until it surpasses the recorded instructions of the Apostles and develops a momentum that carries you through your entire life.

Most Church in the evangelical community focus on steps 1 and 2 completely ignoring 3 and 4. Most in the Catholic community seek to achieve Steps 3 and 4 without performing the prerequisite steps. The result in either case is disastrous. The latter leads to seed that is sown on stony ground, the former leads to seed sown on thorny (fallow) soil.

I’ve heard the term cheap grace bandied about, the idea is to illustrate that grace needs to be respected and not taken for granted. Most often it is the Catholic community criticizing the process of handing out Church membership to anyone who recites a prayer of salvation, followed by nothing more than the warning that if you disobey you can always ask daddy Jesus to forgive you and the worst that can happen is that you will have some hardship to try and correct your behavior if you are unrepentant.

The term thrown about by the Evangelical community is Works Righteousness. They equate repentance with trying to earn salvation. They point out polemically that you can’t earn your salvation so any works are meaningless. James of course dealt decisively with that fallacy.

Where the Romans pass out freedom from responsibility as long as you perform a penance assigned by the priest, the Evangelical passes out freedom from responsibility without any requirement, except that you quash the niggling doubt produced by your conscience trying to tell you that you have sinned. In either case no real change in course is made and people go on quenching the Holy Spirit and offending the son of God, calling him to public shame.

Of course there is forgiveness of sin after we have become Christians, but it is not achieved by merely reciting a canned prayer of remorse, nor by performing a feat in honor of God.

It is achieved by honestly approaching the Father and confessing our faults, by faith using the power granted to us by the Holy Spirit to not sin and thereby not continuing to perform the sinful acts of which the Holy Spirit has thus far convicted us. And by making amends to those we have wronged.

Someone said once that that statement should be amended to say, ‘if you can’. The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit has been granted to you as a believer to act in prophetic ways, to resist sin and to repent. If you believe that Faith can bring healing and faith can bring prosperity, but you don’t believe Faith can empower you to make amends to those you have harmed by your sin, you are a Pagan. You do not define faith as trusting in the power and character of God to make possible what he has required of you.

A License to Preach

In my last installment I referred to relationship between the constitution and the government of the United States as that between a Bible and the faithful of a religious order. Part of that was intended to illustrate the parallels between the Will of the People and the Will of the Lord. Like the constitution the Bible is the written or codified Will of God. People have for a great while been questioning how to know the will of God on various important issues, but seem to be adrift in a sea of confusion regarding how to find out that will. But that is the very reason we were given the Bible. The bible is a living dynamic code for living and for developing doctrines whereby one can be assured of Godliness. If you follow not merely the specific rules and regulations contained in the Bible but internalize the principals and intentions of those laws, you will naturally be in the will of God. Finding God’s will on most subjects is merely a matter of honestly reading the word, and not rebelling against the parts that you find too hard to accept. When you recognize God’s authority by becoming compliant, and obedient to the authority of God, instead of using the Bible to find loopholes to make your sins or adulteries acceptable, you will find you know the heart and mind of God not just his will.

Does this mean you can always find God’s will in the Bible? No, there are some extreme circumstances where you cannot, simply because they are extreme. For those situations, you must have been filled with the spirit in the Pentecostal Fire Baptism, because it is the process whereby the heart and mind of the Pentecostal is directly informed by the Spirit of God by which you find those answers. Someone who is not initiate might say, ‘Well God may tell that one thing and this other one something else. After all it’s all subjective.’ No it isn’t subjective at all. When the will of God and his prophetic utterances are being made, it is purely and objective experience. The speaker is lead to speak, but in a Pentecostal Congregation there will be others who are spirit filled. When God speaks they all know, and they all are witness to the truth or falsity of the prophecy. In addition, a true prophecy is never in contradiction to the body of the cannon. It may provide answers to a specific circumstance that was not codified in the cannon, by God is self consistent and prophetic utterance will agree with the principals of the cannon.

Secondly, when an individual is seeking God’s will for that individual’s role in a difficult circumstance, that individual is the one God is most like to inform. What God conveys to that individual will be different than what he conveys to another, because they are not the same person and they have different lives to lead. However, when it is truly God speaking, it will be consistent with Biblical principle, and Spirit Filled believers will usually recognize the character of the communication.

Now in the last musing I pointed out that the only license and mandate that the US government has to exist or operate is the codified will of the people in the written Constitution. This is paralleled in the church by the fact that the only license or mandate that a religious institution can rely on, or ultimately needs to have, is the written Will of God in the Bible. When a Church or other Christian Religious organization argues against Biblical imperative, or Biblical Authority, such and organization has rejected the only license that they have. In the software world there is a large body of software called ‘Open Source Software’ or ‘Free Software’. The core of all this freedom is the Gnu Public License (GPL) which protects the authorship of the software while making the source freely available to the public. It doesn’t necessarily mean free of charge. I bring this up because a key passage in that document states, ‘You are not required to accept the terms of this license, but apart from it you have no other right to use or possess the software.’ That applies here because similarly if you reject the constitution, you have no other right to govern; make laws or enforce them, and if you reject the Bible, you have no other authority to govern the church; make doctrines and bylaws within it; or enforce inclusion or exclusion of members or other clergy. One immutable tenet of the Bible is that there is no other name under heaven [than Jesus], where by men might be saved. Reject that, state that all roads lead to God, preach universal salvation and ecumenicism that bridges the boundaries between biblical faith and world religions, and you have rejected the only mandate that might lend authority to you and to your organization. Make no mistake; God will deal with those who mock his word or his Spirit.

The Constitution Of Marriage

Lately the various governments of the United States have been quarreling with the people over the issues of the right to marry. On the one hand we have several states pressing the people to accept that a legal union between consenting adults of legal age and the same sex must defined as a marriage and that persons with this status must be accepted by those who find this immoral and distasteful. Others have been pressing to establish state constitutional amendments to define marriage as one man one woman legally contracted to share property and liability but free to abandon the relationship and divide the assets, burden the man with the majority of liabilities and assign custody of all dependents on the woman (any variations on this sort of division are difficult if not impossible to achieve and are viewed as abnormal). A business partnership between vending machine attendants is more binding and given more respect and credibility by the state.

What this demonstrates most clearly is 1) the disastrous effects of the states usurping the authority of God and the Bible and 2) the sly two pronged attack mode that the devil prefers.

The first issue arises from the fact that the state, in order to stamp out the Mormon heresy in the 19’Th century, began instituting laws against marriage of one man with more than one woman. Many would now try to revise this history to say it was an aspect of the equal rights movement, called the woman’s suffrage movement that was in full motion at the time. That is of course an eisegetical approach, attempting to impose 21’st century ideals and motives on 19’Th century law makers.

The ‘Church of Christ’ movement, localized primarily in the Midwest, of the early 19’th century spawned many tiny sects and sub movements all of whom were focused on the goal of revising Christianity as a whole to more accurately reflect the beliefs and practices of the 1’st century Christians. Some of these groups grew tired of the hard work of reconstruction and clustered around a particular cult leader and spun off to practice the limited degree of restored gospel that they had so far recovered. In the vacuum of a more complete, ‘full gospel’ paradigm, the personal superstitions and unscholarly interpretations of the Bible by members and cult leaders were substituted for those aspects that were missing.

Often, this lead to the adoption of completely heterodox teachings that were as divergent from the Apostolic succession as the traditional dogmas that abounded in the established churches that these people had come from. In many cases such as Joseph Smith this entailed a blending of Judaism and the mangled Qabbalah held by the Freemasons, with a limited portion of the full gospel. The result of this amalgam is so heterodox that there is limited potential for scholarly discussion of Biblical principals. This group has so badly reframed the Bible that every third word seems to be a weighty metaphor to them. Sadly this lead to outrage and even violence in Ohio and Illinois which galvanized the cult and lead many to make the perilous journey to the Utah region of Norte California, which at the time was a Mexican state that had just won its independence as a sovereign nation.

One of the peculiarities of the Mormon cult was that they believed that a man should emulate the Old Testament patriarchs in establishing large tribes by marring multiple wives and having many sons. This was done to increase their numbers, as well as reinforcing their heterodox belief that they had replaced the biological Jews and that the promises of the Old Covenant accrue only to the members of the Latter Day Saints organizations.

The United States saw the Mormon sub movement as a very different entity from the Church of Christ movement that had spawned them. The State and even federal government viewed the Mormons as a potential source of danger to the Union and even a source of terrorism. Whether this was a reasonable interpretation of events at the time is debatable with strong arguments on both sides, but at any rate, the government began to seek ways to legally censure them while not infringing on the rights of the restorations movement as a whole. One of the most notable was to attack the polygyny of the group. First, Polygyny, marriage of one man to multiple wives, was reinvented as polygamy. Polygamy is a term taken from the words of Christ to describe those who divorce a spouse for frivolous reasons and remarry to replace his or her spouse with someone more attractive physically, socially, financially, etc. Interestingly the term polygamy is genderless but it is emotionally charged and inflammatory. The clear intent was to turn an aspect of poor judgment and poor Biblical scholarship, into a crime that must be punished. So the states began to enact laws governing marriage and establishing rules for who could marry. This had little or no effect on the majority of Mormons who, living in Utah, were beyond the reach of the states although the federal government eventually did have authority over them.

The problem is that marriage is both a foundational human behavior and the purview of religious and philosophical thinkers. It is not the place of the state to establish religion, and in so much as the various states, and even the federal government interfere in marriage practices by establishing rules for excluding certain unions from consideration as a valid marriage, they are establishing rules for what is an invalid religion. The natural corollary is that by invalidating a religion you are implicitly ‘establishing’ the multitude of other religions. While this is not establishing a national Church, it is in fact establishing a religious ecumenicism and is a clear violation of the constitutional bar against blending religion and state.

It was the blending of religion and state that allowed the Christians in Rome to be fed to the lions, it was this evil that lead to the killing of Jew and Christians under the Spanish inquisition, and it was just this thinking that lead the Presbyterians to America to escape the COE and lead these Presbyterians to burn talented bakers and craftsmen at the stake in America.

The government must never be allowed to establish rules for what constitutes a valid religion because this always leads to persecution of the innocent and to tyranny. This is the fundamental doctrine of the separation of church and state. Not to protect the state from religion, but the protect religion from legislators and enforcement officers. The first prong of Satan’s typical attack is to distort pervert legitimate authority to act illegitimately. The second prong is inevitably to incite an immoral minority to rebel and destabilize social norms so that a society becomes unstable and more vulnerable to the primary attack. Hitler did this my increasing the tension in the Balkan and Bohemian states, through propaganda intended to emphasize the distinction between subcultures in those states. He preached a “cultural mosaic” where all subcultures must fight for separate and “equal” distinction. At the same time he preached a fictional homogeneity of the Germanic tribes in Western Europe and Poland.

So then we visit an aspect of the second prong of Satan’s attack on America, homosexual marriage. Very little could be more oxymoronic. The homosexual male American is a member of the most promiscuous group in the United States. Until the threat of HIV was demonstrated to be most concentrated among this population it was considered normative for a male homosexual in this country to have over 1000 separate sexual partners during his active sexual lifetime. (Marriage and Family Relations, classroom lectures, by Dr. Jiwan Mackey, Nov. 1989) This came from censes and from sociological studies conducted in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The concept of homosexual unions that are committed, exclusive and survive one or more of the partners is a contradiction in terms.

One argument that comes in opposition of this assertion is that heterosexual couples do not practice exclusivity, the relationship doesn’t outlive one of the spouses and the commitment of these couples is debatable as a result. And it has been argued that the homosexual relationship might well outlive the spouses because of the risk of AIDS due to HIV. My own opinion is that such an argument is cynical and cheapens the very real suffering of the AIDS patient who has been lead into a risky and sinful lifestyle, only to suffer an excruciating death. For the so-called proponents of the rights of this fatally ill person, to use his illness as a hammer to win an argument, with cynical disregard to the feelings and suffering he is experiencing is indicative of the quality of the argument itself. Truth and rightness seldom produce such callousness and callow inhumanity in their proponents.

Further cracks in the argument appear when it is confronted by scripture. God’s opinion is on record. Homosexuality is an abomination before God. The term abomination is an interesting euphemism that has been lost on its readers for far too long. Simply put it means something that is so foul-smelling and putrid, and so unseemly to look at, that it causes nauseousness and vomiting.

When the scriptures state that homosexuality is an abomination to God, they are stating that this sin not only upsets God but revolts him as well. Since marriage is the God ordained union of souls often blessed by the witness of a religious figure, such as a rabbi or priest, it is being called particularly to God’s attention and figuratively thrust into his face. Is it really wise to thrust something he finds disgusting into God’s face?

Under the rule of the Old Covenant, when a particular family who were not a properly consecrated priests burned the sacred incense it so incensed God that he caused the earth to swallow them in a fissure. That was merely a case of the wrong person doing the right thing in a religious context. Homosexual marriage is merely another example of the wrong people engaging in the right thing. The two prongs of Satan’s attack make opportunity for one another. They work in tandem, nudging the pendulum of popular opinion as it swings.

This issue would not even have arisen if it were not for the Government assuming illegitimate authority in determining what in fact constitutes a marriage. By assuming the authority to grant or prevent divorce, by assuming the authority to establish or disestablish marriages and by assuming the authority to determine that the partners in a marriage are less liable to one another than the partners in a business, the government has assumed the authority to establish or disestablish those things that are facets and tenets of religious dogma. Simply put the government has established defacto religion.

What is God’s word on Marriage? Does the religious institution then, have the right to determine who may marry? Can one only be married if they have been certified by a church or synagogue? Again the Biblical testimony on the subject is very different from American public policy as well as western religious tradition.

To quote The New Jewish Wedding, by Anita Diamant (‘ 1985 by the author) she states on page 71:

‘To the Midrashic imagination the whole Torah is a Ketubbah [(covenant)] ‘ a marriage contract — between God and the people of Israel.’

This picture of the relationship between God and man was only exceeded by the picture of parenthood in the ministry of Jesus. Jesus’ use of the Midrash and the Midrashic view of Godly relationship makes the role of marriage a central factor not only of authentic Judaism but of authentic Christianity. To cheapen or degrade the marriage of two people to nothing more than a legal formula practiced for tradition or pragmatism is to likewise cheapen the Role of God’s work in the lives of his chosen people and the lives of those who serve him. By rejecting the solemnity and sacrosanct nature of marriage one rejects the grace of God by proxy.

So then, one might assume that an authentic marriage must be established by an authentic religious institution. The religious history (heilsgeschichte) of the Bible says no. When Abraham and Sarai his wife left Iraq and traveled to Palestine in search of religious freedom from the oppressive weight of Zoroastrian idolatry, they had no established religious authority to rely on for sealing a marriage. Abraham was himself a prophet and this made him a religious authority, but the Jewish traditions indicate that it was not seemly that an immediate family member be the only witness to the union.

To quote Diamant on page 107, ‘A marriage can be valid without a rabbi [and by extension without a priest] but not without witnesses’a witness gives permanence to human activities that are transitory.’ What these witnesses testify to is the contract or ketubbah that defines the quid pro quo, or exchange of value for value that occurs in a marriage. And the witnesses make denying the contract or fudging the terms later on more difficult. This makes a marriage a community transaction in that it involves the credibility and lives of more than just the couple. The couple owes it to the witnesses to meet the terms of the contract, verbal or written that stands between the couple. Failure to remain committed to the marriage is a failure to remain faithful to the people who witnessed the marriage. Where God has been called to witness, this is a most disturbing failure.

As a result of this principal Isaac was married to an Iraqi woman whom he had never met, and Jacob was married to two Iraqi women whom he purchased from their father with 14 years of labor. In every generation the record shows the patriarchs and prophets marrying without benefit of any religious authority, but divorce was strictly governed and managed by religious authority. The authority of the Bible not of the religious figure was the ruling authority in the dissolution of a marriage. The Get or writ of Divorce was the prerogative of a husband, but the legal circumstances where a Get can be drafted are strictly governed by the Mosaic Law.

Moses the law-giver gave us laws governing sexuality and divorce, monetary matters and personal behavior. There are laws governing whom a priest may marry and when, But there is a glaring omission. There is no law governing how a marriage ceremony shall be conducted. There is no law governing the age of the couple and there is no law governing the proof of marriage, except that the woman must use her huppah to document her virginity and place that proof in the care of her parents against the eventuality that her husband might claim she had not been a virgin before the marriage, therefore invalidating the marriage.

What does this tell us? Marriage is a reflection of our theology. If we are frivolous enough to believe that divorce is an option, then we are also frivolous enough to reject God’s grace on a whim. We must approach marriage with the long view toward living in an exclusive partnership for the remainder of our lives, without securing a ‘way out if it doesn’t work out.’ Our view of marriage is a reflection of our view toward relationship with God so if we are harboring an escape clause we are not fully committed to God and he says that an incomplete commitment to him is more abominable than rejecting him. Commitment to God and to marriage must be similarly fanatical to the degree of lifelong permanence. Lesser commitment is inadequate, unhealthy and lacks authenticity.

Marriage is like our relationship with God – it is easy to enter, difficult to get out of, and it is impossible to regain if we ever completely end it. Marriage is the purview of the family and the community, but consists of an exclusive contract anatomically gifting one’s whole being for the duration that both partners shall live. A marriage amendment can only worsen the situation in America. Unless it is carefully worded so it will only serve to further undermine the social infrastructure and further the end of anti-American systems at work in this country:

Every natural person shall have the right to marry any other person of the opposite sex, so long as 1) both parties have reached the age of majority, 2) neither party is under the age of majority or if under the age of majority has entered puberty and has received permission to marry from the parents or guardians of record, and 3) the female party to that marriage is not currently married and 4) neither party is transgendered through surgery or any other means.

Marriage shall be narrowly defined as the exclusive, contractual; sexual, social and emotional partnership of a man with a woman that once embarked upon cannot be disbanded without the issuance of a divorce by the offended party in the case where the offending party has engaged in illicit sexual activity with a person or multiple persons to whom that offending party is not married. No party to a marriage taking place within the territorial United States, its possessions or protectorates, may marry any other person if they have a surviving spouse from an existing marriage or from a marriage that has been disbanded for any reason other than infidelity by that other spouse.

No person who has been divorced for reason of his or her own sexual infidelity shall be eligible to remarry. No person who has divorced another person or been divorced for any cause other than sexual infidelity shall be eligible for remarriage after divorce so long as the other party in the divorce shall remain alive.

No license or other legal documentation, other than a written contract signed by both parties to the marriage and witnessed by two or more natural persons who are not members of the immediate family of either party to the marriage shall be required to establish a marriage. No church or religious institution that objects to the validity of the marriage on purely religious grounds shall be forced to recognize the marriage.

Any other amendment would end up violating the religious tenets of the Church and, more importantly, the Bible. It would clearly interfere with the free unimpeded practice of religion. And it would violate the First Amendment protection for the free and unimpeded practice of religion.

It Might Seem Odd


Recently the flurry in the public sector and the media has become a real snow job. As a result many of the traditional roles of clergy and church organizations have become obfuscated. It might seem odd for a Messianic Jewish or Christian institution such as WEAP to make statements about Civil or criminal law in the United States. It might seem odd to quote from legal documents such as the United States Constitution. But it shouldn’t. The United States was formed by Religious individuals who sought a place to build a better life than was possible under the remnants of European Colonialism and Feudal, totalitarian traditions. Many of the residents of the early colonies were there, initially, to escape persecution under State established Roman Catholic, or Anglican, or Protestant Churches that violated their deeply held beliefs. Whenever this nation has since engaged in a shameful behavior it has been built on the foundation of religious dogma or anti religious (religious free zone) propaganda. Whatever we have done that is noble, good and resides in history as a ‘shinning moment’ has always been precipitated by the grass-roots move of Christian people.

When Pennsylvania allowed Roman Catholics to escape execution by the Presbyterian Pilgrims in New England, it was the Quaker beliefs of the Pennsylvania Colonists that motivated the compassionate movement. When the Methodist movement built the underground railway and brought the Abolitionist movement to a crisis point it was their deeply held Christian Faith that sustained them and empowered them. And when the United States finally Entered World Wars I and II it was largely in response to the religious conviction that Totalitarian regimes that attempt to Conquer Europe and persecute, or prosecute the Jews, remain our responsibility to eliminate. It was Christian Faith and the recognition of the spirit of Anti-Christ in the person of Hitler that prompted this intervention.

Why then are we afraid to speak out and to affect change now? It is the Biblical imperative that we be compelling in proselytizing the world, That we ‘be bold’ and ‘strong’ for the Lord our God is with us, and to ‘go out into the [public and dangerous places] and compel’ those we find there to come to our way of faith. Further it is our heritage and legacy to take countries that oppose our beliefs and convert them so that they cease to be antagonistic. How is it that in the United States we have allowed a Satanically inspired doctrine of false egalitarianism to persuade us to stand idly by and take away our God given and Constitutionally guaranteed Right to be and to persuade others to follow?

The first question is do we in fact have those rights under the constitution? The following are Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America:


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article I makes the doctrine of a Religious Free Zone a ludicrous farce. Since religious opinion is an essential part of the make-up of the psyche of every human, it is ludicrous on the basis of practicality. But, beyond that, The Constitution forbids the establishment of Laws governing religion. Some so called scholars have argued that it is forbidding the establishment of a particular national religion. That is not so. The article doesn’t say congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of a national religion. It says, ‘Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion.’ A modern 21st century writer would have said the same sentence as follows:

Congress shall make no law regarding religious establishments.

If you doubt my reading of the passage, simply take it in its natural context and look at the second clause in the sentence. ‘or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ powerful words. If you use Standard English construction to make this clause more readable it says, Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religious establishments. In other words the Constitution — which is the Bible of the US legislature, Courts and Executive Branch ‘ says it is illegal for the legislature to make any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Taken in conjunction with the first clause (as it was written), it make laws regarding what are acceptable religions and therefore free to exercise, illegal abuses of power. Further, gag laws designed to make it illegal for a Church or other religious institution to maintain its tax-free status, while engaging in social and political activism are equally illegal. To further enforce the illegality of such laws it says that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. What that means is simple. No one has the legal authority, even if they have the power, to tell you that you can’t publicly announce your feelings on any subject or regarding any person on the basis that your words are ‘hate, sedition, destructive, delusional, or otherwise socially, personally or politically objectionable.’

What’s more, one of the primary motivators in the Revolution against British tyranny over the United States, was the premise that those in power and governance were above the law and that any speech designed to incite people to act to remove the authority or the power of that person was a violation of the law and punishable by imprisonment or worse. The sedition acts passed in parliament were a sort of straw that broke the camel’s back. Many, who would otherwise have been complacent under British rule and taxation without redress of grievances against the monarchy that imposed those taxes, saw that this measure was intolerable to a free people. The central theme in the creation of the United States was that of the freedom to be, and say what you like, without threat from the Judiciary, tax collectors or enforcement officers.

The following three amendments further guarantee the protection of the people from the establishment of norms or prejudice whereby a group or individual can be kept from expressing his or they’re personal or religious beliefs even if those beliefs are rightly opposed and reviled by the general population of the community; a community that has the equally guaranteed opportunity to speak out in opposition.


The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


SECTION 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

This clearly makes religion the power and purview of the private citizens of the United States rather than legislators, Jurists or enforcement officers. The history of the Christian church establishes an immutable precedent for involvement in political issues being a basic tenet of the Faith. More importantly we have examples of the Apostle Paul appealing to his civil rights under Roman Law in order to escape unfair prosecution. Still more significant is Jesus command that we be ‘Salt and Light’ to kill the ‘germs and mildew’ that build up society. The natural corruption that rises as a result of man’s sinful nature affects every aspect of human existence and this includes political, legislative, executive and legal institutions.

But what we have here is a recognition and codification of Machiavelli’s precept that, ‘those who are governed are governed by the will of the governed.’

Every government ultimately derives it authority from the consent of the people, whether that authority is elicited by fear of retribution or by an enlightened active system of franchise and representation. The Constitution of the United States, takes the latter approach reserving what authority is not vested in the Federal government by that document, or in the States by that document or the constitutions of those states and commonwealths, for the people. The Constitution expressly states that the people retain all authority that they have not specifically delegated. The legislature are not the people, they are a branch of the government. The courts are not the people; they are branches of their respective governments.

The people of the United States are Sovereign. Our government serves us in the way that theoretically the government of Great Britain serves the Monarchy. The difference is that we are a vital and active ruler. The government has power of its own because it has grown so massive and because we have allowed it to do so. But the authority to wield that power is delegated by the people, from the people. The government does not have the legal and legitimate authority to govern or to pass laws that contravene the will of the people. Nor does the Judiciary have the right to set precedents and contravene the constitution or the will of the people. They do have the power because they have linked with the law enforcement agencies, crossing the boundary between branches and eliminating some of the checks and balances that we the people in OUR wisdom chose to establish in order to prevent the abuse of power that we have witnessed in every nation across the globe.

Our Judiciary has obfuscated the law behind legal jargon and polemic until the common citizen has no idea what is being said. They have established precedents and use these as if they themselves are a separate body of law. And, on the basis of these precedents, they contravene the will of the people by ‘interpreting’ the constitution. The constitution is a simply worded and direct document lacking obscurity or shading. It was written to be accessible to the common man because it is the written will of those common men. It is not a contract; it is a license to exist and to practice, issued to the congress, the president and the Supreme Court by the people of the United States. Aside from the provisions in it there exists no authority to govern, only the power to impose the will of a minority or an individual.

What’s more they have endorsed wholesale, a doctrine that religious expression is not inviolate but must be judged, by them, against the precepts of human psychology. Recently a minister from a full gospel church was illegally arrested and tried, for praying for a child to be released from demons. Now the doctrines relating to unclean spiritual beings, fallen from God’s grace are never dwelt on in great detail because ideally a man filled with the spirit of God and placed in a position to pray for a demoniac is typically going to have a high success rate. However, during the course of the service the child became violent and died.

Now the death was clearly due to the use of traditional Roman Catholic Exorcism and not Pentecostal Power, but the precedent for exorcism goes back at least to the first century, and was practiced by Jesus and by his disciples. It falls under the ‘these works and even greater” directive given by our Lord. But court TV had the audacity to call an ‘expert’ commentator to evaluate the trial. We’ll give this commentator the pseudonym, Peter Byblow. Byblow had no expertise in the subject whatsoever. He is a JD and therefore a qualified lawyer, and he is a psychiatrist and therefore a medical doctor and a psychologist. what he is not is 1) a Christian, 2) a person inhabited bodily by the spirit with the exhibition of miraculous gifts and fruit, or 3) a person gifted with discerning of Spirits and healing. He had no basis on which to form an informed opinion on the ethics, practice or qualifications of the minister in question. In addition, his choice to equate the influence of the Holy Spirit ( ???????? ), to a drug or other mind altering ailment that interferes with competency, is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. he committed the same sin that certain of the Sephardim committed when they accused Jesus himself of being Demon Possessed. They committed the unpardonable sin from which you can never be saved or forgiven. Byblow repeatedly stated that the Minister should plead insanity because ‘he was under the influence of God and as a result didn’t know right from wrong.’ Last time I checked God was the author of the final authority on what is right and what is wrong. If that minister was operating ‘under the influence of God’ then everything he did was right by definition; end of case lets move on to the next item on the docket.

No, the issue of the ethics and the application of that minister is a purely religious matter and not for the court to hold any authority over. The issues that were ignored in that case were the lethal drugs prescribed by the psychiatrist who was seeing the boy and the truly violent histrionics that the boy was prone to experience. When the mother was asked, how did the boy typically let people know he did not want or like something, the answer was ‘by hitting, biting and scratching.’ So the courts theory was that the preacher had offended the demon and that because it caused the boy to hit bite and scratch him that he was responsible for the death of that boy and a murderer. I’m sickened by this sort of depraved cynicism, when the victim of violence is held responsible when the attacker dies; but more importantly when a minister is accused of murder because he is praying. This cannot be tolerated.

But a psychiatrist said that religion is being crazy. Doesn’t that mean that we don’t have the right to practice our religion? Of course not. Psychology is an opposing religion. Psychology dates back to before Jesus time. It was begun in the western world by philosophers who argued as to the nature of the human soul and how that soul creates mental ability in the human. The early arguments all attribute the soul to one form or another of Ancient Greek God. To be blunt they thought the mind was a figment of the mind of Zeus or Apollo or Diana. ‘The biblical word soul or Psyche is the basis of the word Psychology. Psychology is the study of the soul. It is no more science than Dianetics or pyramid power.

Psychiatry takes the issue into a whole new arena. We are forbidden in the Bible from practicing sorcery. Everyone says, ‘oh yeah got it,’ and moves on because we all know that sorcerers are Mickey Mouse wearing a long pointed hat and robe covered in stars and moons, right? Wrong. The biblical word for sorcery is pharmachia, from which we get our modern words Pharmacy, Pharmacist, and pharmaceuticals. Sorcery is the attempt to use herbs or synthetic drugs to alter the mind of man, or soul, and thereby heal or alter reality. A psychiatrist, by using psychoactive (Psyche-Activ ‘ Soul moving) drugs such as depressants, stimulants, antidepressants and hormones to alter the mental state of patients, even if done for the patient’s own good is a religious activity. Further it is one forbidden to Christians and is itself potentially lethal.

‘We the People, of the United States of America, in order to ” This is the only mandate by which any agency has authority within the territorial United States. When that is forgotten, we are no better than the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Roman Catholic Spain or any other totalitarian, partisan government. Our history bears this out, in the forced march of my ancestors from Georgia to Oklahoma, in the rape of the Black Hills and in the squalor present on most reservations alleviated only by the creation of tourist traps and casinos.

So how does this affect you? It affects you when they tell you that your children must have a scientific education that is free of religious creation myths, or that they the school have the authority to present a myth that they have approved as an alternative. It affects you when the Schools teach your kids how to have sex, ‘safely’. To an immature mind ‘safe’ means acceptable and encouraged. They take it as a license and the natural barriers to premature sexual activity by underdeveloped juveniles rises dramatically. It affects you when you have to raise your grand children so that your child can finish her education. It affects you when your child is taught that the faith that you and your family have held for generations isn’t wrong, or mistaken, but a sign of mental illness. It affects you when your taxes are raised by initiatives that you not only are given no vote on, but aren’t even informed of, because it’s a ‘national security’ issue. It affects you when private data protected by the constitution is made available without a warrant to a shadowy government agency that answers to no one except the executive branch of the United States government, in order to protect you from weapons of mass destruction that never existed. It affects you when the charities and religious institutions that you give donations to are required by the IRS to report the size and purpose of your donation in order to keep their doors open, becoming agents of the government reporting your assets to that government. It affects you when policies that the vast majority of you oppose, such as same sex marriage, abortion of a viable human baby by pulling the baby out of the uterus feet first then decapitating that baby, or gag orders making it illegal for your clergy to evaluate the issues you face in daily life and the political arena from a religious perspective in order to help you make an informed choice, are slipped in as “departmental policies” of the IRS or the Department of Homeland Security.

This is the Orwellian Brave New World Order decreed by George Herbert Walker Bush and this is the kinder, gentler America that this family has perpetrated. Does that mean I am endorsing his opponents? Not in the slightest. I’m simply pointing out that it takes more than just showing up to vote in order to be a responsible citizen. You need to be a careful elector, informed by your religious faith and guided by your instinctive desire to live in freedom not bound by tyranny, however expedient. And I am pointing out that the corollary to Machiavelli is that you don’t deserve any better government than you tolerate through complacency and a feeling of false security. Paul pointed out repeatedly that compromise is a synonym for corruption and that the Christian must recognize that he stands apart from the world and has a moral obligation to work in the world to effect change. This is a part of your obligation, as a Jew or a Christian.

Eisegesis and Allegory

Many times I have been confronted by those who choose to take an alternative approach to Bible study. There are those who reject the Bible’s own clear imperatives, in favor of a critical method that tries to reinvent the scripture as a mythopoeic body of wisdom which lacks divine infallibility. There are those who approach it with the absurd intent of reading a gender specific defense into Bible. There are those who selectively literalize obscure passages while seeing clear imperatives as nothing more than a metaphor. However, the most destructive of all are those who see the whole scripture as a system of arcane allegories. These are the most dangerous because they rape the precious word of God of some of its most sacred and intensely beautiful language, in order to defend dogmas, behaviors and practices that are in direct rebellion against the very scripture they presume to represent.

These are they who are constantly rambling about this interpretation or that interpretation of a passage. When confronted by a clear imperative such as thou shalt not Steal, such a scholar will tend to respond, ‘that’s your interpretation, I have a different interpretation.’ Common sense would clearly dictate that such a passage is not allegorical, but these false teachers have long since left sense behind.

We see in Jesus the perfect exegesis (Critical explanation or analysis of a text) because the New Testament proclaims him as the representative, literal embodiment of the Holy Spirit (רוח אלהים). For this reason when we see him apply Midrash to old testament passages such as the Isaiah Immanuel texts, we see more than one thing. Yes we see King Y’Shuah, the cabinetmaker’s son, naming himself anointed rescuer of Israel. We see Jesus born to the Diaspora living in Syria naming himself King and Lord of his fellow Jews. And we see his friends and neighbors attempting to execute him as a blasphemer for what they perceive as hubris from the rich man’s bastard son. But we see more if we are a careful and honest student.

We also can see Jesus himself using and thereby validating, or as we say in Pentecostal circles consecrating, the use of a Midrashic exegetical method. While he does validate the body of work called the Midrash, he does make it a valid place to look for advice in Christian exegesis. Secondly we see him applying a particular form of Midrash that was peculiar to the Essenes and their sympathizers among the Sephardim or Pharisees. We see Jesus sitting in the presence of the congregation and stating that he is the fulfillment of the Son of God prophecies held so precious by the Essenes. In fact the book of John begins with a tract against kabala and proceeds to prove Jesus as the Anointed One of God, the Son of God and the Son of Man. For those who have some background in Mystery Religion, These terms can take on special significance and John repeatedly hits those buttons and demonstrates that the correct meaning and application is Jesus, rather that the allegorical applications that such men and women are prone to affect.

What we see in Jesus is a literal application of even the most obscure, predictive or apocalyptic foretelling in the Bible. We see a very literal application of imperative passages wherein God speaks to man through a prophet ordering behavior and practice. And lastly we see Jesus accepting idiomatic passages in the existing text as idiom rather than over literalizing these and, thereby losing the meaning and intent of the author.

In other words, Jesus clearly viewed the prophets and writers of the first covenant as being sane, rational men who had a rational body of information and knowledge to communicate, who spoke in an old-fashioned dialect, but who spoke the simple literal truth of their teachings. It boggles the mind that any honest student of Christ could decide to place his own understanding and enlightenment above that of our Lord and Savior.

Nothing I have referred to here has ruled out the legitimate use of allegory by writers of the first or second covenants. Jesus clearly used allegory when he spoke the parables; a parable is by definition allegorical. And similarly there are allegories in the old testament. But it is foolish to take major portions, for instance whole chapters of Genesis and attempt to claim the author was telling an allegory. Such thinking is in fact hubris. But most especially, it is ethnocentric discrimination.

To assume that only a post modern, University educated, exegetically liberal mind, engaging in eisegesis (forcing ones own image into the text) can possibly have real and authoritative knowledge of processes and systems that have never been witnessed by mortal man, is the same sin that Lucifer committed. This is to claim that you are more competent than the God you profess. Now I’ll grant you that there are those who are atheist and who never the less claim to be Biblical scholars, such people are saddest of all. As the Bible repeatedly points out in both covenants, one cannot begin to understand the import, intent or exegesis of the Bible until one is initiated into the service of God. That is to say, you can’t begin to understand the Bible until you have become a Jew according to the Biblical pattern, or have become a Christian according to the Biblical pattern.

In Zechariah (avahodesh or zecharijahu) chapter 4, the prophet refers to two trees giving forth sacred oil to fuel the menorot (candlesticks) that stand in the presence of almighty God the King of all creation. In revelation we again see there are two trees that stand for the two covenants between God and man. There is only one way to serve God and that is through honest childlike trust in his revealed word and acceptance of his love and most importantly his sovereignty. God has made two covenants with man, and as the Apostle Paul wrote, the gifts and callings of the Lord are never rescinded. Return to the simple Gospel; reject the overpowering and foolish philosophies and traditions of Men. God himself has plainly explained himself. Read his word. Trust his character. Only in God is there any hope for peace, joy, or understanding. Bless the Holy name of the Lord and bless his faithful believers.

Prophecy and Privacy

October/November 2003

David was a man after God’s own heart. That simple old English construction has been misconstrued to fit so many different doctrines regarding personal holiness it boggles the mind. Any student of poetry would be glad to reassure you that this particular phrase clearly means one who has the affectionate approval of God. It isn’t a particularly hard construction to read. The problem arises because people are uncomfortable with the clear sins and hard punishments that are an integral part of the biography of David ben-Jesse the second king of Historical Israel.

These punishments and the sins that precipitated them make it difficult for people to accept that David was a man after God’s own heart, because he fails to exhibit the antiseptic, inhuman character of a Greek hero or a Roman Catholic “saint”. His humanness offends the delicate sensibilities of many readers and they find themselves revising the text to produce a man after their own hearts.

In making this simple error, they set their own standards above those of God. They exhibit the sort of hubris that places one’s own values and judgment ahead of that of the creator. God loved David because he was obedient and compassionate, and mostly because he had the sort of clear vision of God’s Character that is later called faith unto salvation. He trusted God and took God’s word to be so absolute that it stood as a law of nature. He saw the will of God as clearly and as inevitably as gravity or inertia.

That being the case, how could he have been subjected to such painful punishments? The wrath of God was poured out on him through the loss of protection for his family and kingdom. One of his children raped another; a third killed the former to avenge the later and all except Solomon were either killed or lost to depravity. God made David choose the method by which a huge segment of the population of Israel would be killed. David had to weigh life against life and decide between disaster and plague as the means of death.

Clearly some principal must be at work that doesn’t meet human expectations. If David was a godly man, how could God be so drastic toward David? The punishment involving the death of Israelis bears some close examination. What precipitated the pronouncement of death and how was it a punishment for David?

The Bible tells us that David was pleased with his prowess in battle. He had begun to buy into his own press. People had compared him to Saul saying, “Saul has killed his thousands, David his tens of thousands.” This accolade from the people began to go to his head and David felt the need to perform so that the people would not loose interest and quit praising him. Clearly, he was suffering from the same fears and frustration that an aging athlete faces when his body begins to loose the ability to perform on the field or track. David wanted greater touchdowns and homeruns in order to keep the fans happy.

In order to achieve this, he had begun to make plans for a census. What he wanted to do was create a selective service program so that men could be summoned and pressed into service whether they wanted military service or not. More than that it aided in taxation so that he could levy large sums and insure that every person be forced to pay. The census would give him the ability to identify philistine terrorists and insurgents, and it would allow him to begin conquering neighbors such as Edom and Amelek. With a census and conscription, David could create widows, paupers and an Empire. With a census, David could elevate himself to the halls of great emperors like Nebuchadnezzar.

Sounds fine for David. And by extension, the establishment of Levitical Faith in God through the conquered lands would spread the good news of the law and the prophets. Seems like everyone would win except Israel’s enemies, and the people of God would be protected. Their homeland would be secure. Does that not make sense? In point of fact David was building the foundation for a tyranny. God stopped him. The census was allowed to be taken because God will not impede free will, but the census was taken in opposition of many of the fundamental principles of the Law and the prophets. In essence, it was taken in opposition to God’s will.

In the law, there was provision for what is called a city of refuge. This has confused enough people that these cities are often overlooked and don’t enter into the curriculum of most Bible teachers. The purpose of the City of Refuge was to provide a place for the convicted to escape punishment. Now that sounds very alien to the modern Mind Especially the mind of the average American. The idea of an institution created by the Federal or Royal government, whose sole purpose is to thwart the execution of lawful punishments against enemies of the State or the Crown, seems ludicrous. Nevertheless, we have clear instructions to create them in the Received Text of the Canon. This is confusing, until we examine the premises that they are built on.

Fundamentally, Temporal (human) Authority is fallible. Governments and religious organizations make mistakes. They assume that their own suspicion of a subject is sufficient proof of guilt. This makes it incumbent on those authorities to demonstrate their lack of bias and just or fair application of rules and regulations under their purview.

In direct opposition to this principal, years of TV fantasies document the very real trend in Western culture from the presumption of innocence to the presumption of guilt. Any credible course on critical reasoning and logic, will point out the fact that you cannot prove a negative. When the accuser is given the presumption of authority, the accused is forced to prove a contra positive in order to vindicate him or her self.

In a world where the person on trial is guilty until they prove themselves innocent, there is no option but to shift the blame to someone else; Truth is overlooked and devalued; and the guilty go free while an innocent, who is unwilling and/or financially unable to find a victim to blame, is imprisoned or worse.

God is the very essence of Truth and of Justice. Real Godly Justice sets truth above the needs and beliefs of any interested party. Justice tempered with mercy seeks to punish and redeem the guilty, while rewarding and prospering the innocent. Veritasse et mercedes super omniea. Additionally Godly justice insures the anonymity and privacy of the subject who has not committed a crime. So how does this tie in with the Cities of Refuge where the guilty go free?

The truth is, the guilty don’t go free. A genuine believer has confidence on the competence of God to manage and influence his creation. If you have trust in the Character of God you have to concede that he is omnicompetent and that he breathes justice from every pore of his being. Knowing that, you have to accept that he would not allow the guilty to take advantage of an institution he established to thwart justice.You must accept there is a long term outcome that benefits the kingdom and all interested parties who are called of God and obedient to his will.

The city of Refuge allows God to protect the innocent who are falsely convicted. You may ask, “Since God is omnicompetent, shouldn’t he be able to just stop the conviction or hide the accused so that they can’t be punished?” But why stop there? Why wouldn’t God just stop the crime from happening in the first place? Why wouldn’t he just make the guilty confess? The why’s go on ad inifinitum.

The answer is fairly simple. The act of directly altering the course of every individual life so that bad things never happen would not only eliminate freewill, it would result in individuals who are too immature to be considered integrated, mature personalities.

God isn’t looking for small babies to spend eternity with. He wants companions and friends. He wants people who have worked out their own salvation with fear and trembling weighing the costs and choosing to pursue Godly living in spite of the costs. He wants love and obedience freely given not coerced, or offered out of fear of the alternative.

To directly interfere in a visible way with every bad decision made by the wheels of “justice” would obviate freewill but it also would prevent the operation of faith. Who would need to exercise any effort to believe in the character of God, if a voice from on high was directly influencing the outcome of every court case; if the falsely convicted simply disappeared on a regular basis; the courts would simply convict everyone without deliberation and leave it for God to sort out.

So, we revisit the census that David produced. How was it ungodly? It was motivated from pride and it was a means of increasing human control over the course of events. It would have made it nearly impossible for God to influence the wheels of Justice without demonstrated miracles. It would have made it necessary to cause people to disappear or alter their very person in order to protect the falsely accused from the execution of sentence. This census would have made it possible for David to begin consolidating the middle east under one authority in a way that would have prevented God from meting justice against Israel when she was in rebellion.

God’s answer was to apply a higher justice. He permanently altered the demographics of Israel by killing a significant segment of the population. In addition, He punished David by making David an active participant in the destruction of his new toy, this census. David had to agonize over the lives to be lost. He had to accept in a very personal way that those lives were lost through his own pride and he had to watch his dream of a grand empire collapse.

God insured his prerogative to determine justice and to thwart it at the expense of David’s pride. Yet, David was so in tune with the Holy Spirit, that he foresaw God’s next major move, namely the creation of a permanent temple to replace the tabernacle. This demonstrates that even those who are committed to and in tune with God’s will can fall prey to pride and other distractions that cause them to make decisions and judgments in opposition to God’s will. God deliver us from well-meaning, prideful fools.

In Service to our Lord,


To the Church in Corinth

© 2003 Wesleyan Episcopal Assemblies Pentecostal

Recently a synod of a mainline denomination in the United States confirmed an openly confessed and practicing homosexual as a Bishop of the Church. A divinely called and scripturally ordained priesthood is called by God to give leadership to the church as it fulfills its purpose in performance of the sacerdotal functions. The Bible clearly advises the

ordination of Overseers or Bishops as needed to administrate distinct geographic regions. A Bishop must be a devout and respectable believer of mature experience, sound Christian character, and ability, who has been married and only once and who has established his (or her) good reputation in the community prior to the nomination (Philippians 1:1; I Timothy 3:8; Ephesians 4:11).

God’s call to this ministry is entirely at his discretion without regard to gender, race, physical disability or national origin. A Bishop is one who has shown good judgment and Biblical guidance in management and administration. However being well liked and respected as a person, doesn’t qualify a candidate for such an important office without the additional requirement that they also be men or women of good moral character.

Scripture teaches us that in the last days many will fall from the faith (Matthew 24:8-10; 2Thessalonians 2:2,3) and seek teachers who promote unrepentant sinful life as a parody of Christian Liberty (2 Peter 2:1-3; James 3:1). This apostasy will twist the minds of many causing them to instead falsely condemn those who remain faithful to the biblical imperative to live a holy life (Matthew 24:11, 12). In these days of growing apostasy, state and federal laws are continually being rewritten to encourage the free practice of rebellious and licensuous lifestyles, including Homosexuality.

Homosexuality and lesbianism can more properly be known corporately as Homosexuality, since this term has no gender value and refers to sexual activity between members of the same sex. It is the repeated witness of scripture that persons who engage in homosexuality are suffering from a state of delusion and a sinfully depraved mind (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17; Judges 19:22,23; Romans 1:26-28; 1 Corinthians 6:9). God provides healing and restoration for persons who engage in all sorts of sinful behavior and freedom from the desire to commit those sins. Homosexual sin is not deemed to be more severe than any sexual sin, or other conceit (Romans 3:22-25; 6:20-23). However, since the principles of natural procreation and male-female union are violated by homosexual relationships (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9), they can never be deemed to be marriages and cannot be blessed or sealed by God.

Scripture clearly calls for the encouragement and protection of marriage and the family. As with any sinful sexual behavior, homosexual persons are entitled to healing and restoration to the faith, once they have turned away from (repented) their chosen sinful lifestyle. The Church must not exclude from fellowship, those homosexual persons who are committed to seeking such healing. However any homosexual or in fact any person engaged in any rebellious and licentious lifestyle may not legitimately claim to be called of God or Ordained by God for leadership and service in the Church. The role of a leader is to model the behavior and the relationship with God which are espoused by Scripture. For instance, Paul said be disciples of me even as I am discipled by Christ.

The Holy Spirit operates in the life of an authentic believer. This activity of the spirit produces fruit, which Paul refers to corporately as Sanctification (John 10:27-29; Romans 8:35-39). Sanctification is a work in the life of the believer, which produces a separation from evil, (Genesis 17:1; Romans 12:1,2; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 7:1) and dedication to God (John 14:23; Colossians 3:17; 1 John 2:6). Many would try to argue that love means unconditional acceptance. This is certainly not the witness of the Bible or of common sense. When a parent loves his or her child, that parent places many restrictions on the behavior of the child. Such restrictions are a necessary part of healthy emotional and social development. Behavior that leads to danger or that will cause emotional harm is censured by punishment. Genuine love demands punishment, which is proportional to the misbehavior.

A loving child will grow to appreciate the correction and guidance provided by such a parent, so long as this punishment is tempered by good judgment. This appreciation is a result of emotional maturity and is often precipitated by the birth of a grandchild. This model is extended into the spiritual arena. God takes the role of a parent providing guidance and correction. As we mature, we respond to this loving and kind use of a Rod and Staff by showing appreciation and returning love. The spiritual grandchildren that often precipitate this maturity are those new believers that we lead to Christ or are privileged to teach. The outward evidence of mature love for Christ is a life of righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24; Titus 2:11-14), which is focused on pleasing God rather than satisfying the carnal nature (2 Corinthians 5:9-13) and by faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that life, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Ghost (Romans 6:1-11, 13; 8:1,2, 13; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:12,13; 1 Peter 1:5).

This new life in Christ causes a person to have a new nature, predicated on the foundation of the spiritual disciplines, for the perfection of the saint (1 Peter 1:15, 16). For this reason, no person currently engaged in a lifestyle proscribed by the Bible may be given full fellowship, or be allowed to hold any office in the Church. No ordinance or sacerdotal function may be extended to a person who is habitually engaged in a sinful behavior (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). Further, no person who has failed to mature to a point of such appreciation for this loving kindness can be trusted with a position of authority and leadership.

Good leadership in the Church demands Spiritual maturity. No practicing Homosexual is a spiritually mature Christian believer. Maturation in Christ would of necessity, precipitate the healing and repentance of a behavior that Christ himself condemned as sinful. God loves the Homosexual but he demands that they mature and grow in holiness, leaving behind the things of the flesh. Join me in praying for the cleansing and restoration of our brothers and sisters who have taken the decision to allow such a rebellious lifestyle to stand in their assembly. Let’s remember that such apostasy is a clear defiance of God, and that the precious people who have been deceived into supporting this decision will surely encounter censure by the Holy Spirit. God help them to repent quickly.

In Service to our Lord,


Counterfeit Revival

© 2003 Wesleyan Episcopal Assemblies Pentecostal

I grew up in the Assemblies of God. Over the years, so called ‘reconciliation’ ministries have begun to work a revision on the history of the origins of the various Pentecostal denominations. In this revisionist history, Pentecostals are just very special Baptists who accept the Evangelical doctrines, but have an added ‘light’ concerning the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. My own first hand experience belies that specious claim.

The Pentecostal movement in America had antecedents which were scattered across the Midwest and East Coast. But the real outpouring that lead to the eventual organization of discreet associations and denominations was clearly localized in Los Angeles, California. It would be a very bold revisionist indeed who would brazen his way through an account that failed to give principal responsibility for the authoritative Role Played by Bishop Seymour and the Azusa revival.

In every real sense Seymour played the role of Apostle, or Missionary of the full gospel. He published a journal which lead to the spread of the truth of Sanctification, Healing and Fire Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This journal influenced a generation of pastors and teachers who were so inspired by the simple truths and first hand accounts that they themselves were transformed and in turn began works. Seymour sent missions workers to foreign lands and to the ripe fields of 20’th century America. These men and women were in every sense disciples of Seymour, just as Timothy had been discipled by Paul. Paul’s admonition was to be a disciple of him, in the same way that he was in turn discipled by Christ.

Seymour lead many to a deeper understanding of the relationship of the church with Christ through the acceptance of those portions of the Gospel which had been neglected in the theological dark ages between the 11’th and 19’th centuries. In a very real sense the ‘enlightenment’ had been a period of endarkenment theologically. People had neglected substance in favor of formula and had espoused doctrines which were politically and financially expedient rather than Biblically and Spiritually sound.

The Pentecostal or Full-Gospel revival restored much of what had been lost to power brokers and charlatans over the previous period. But it did so at the expense of good relations with various ‘Restorationist’ movements which had gone only so far in their efforts and failed to the take the next crucial step when God offered it. The false starts had gone far in changing the course of the church and bringing God’s people into repentance, but not far enough.

These days a number of ‘counterfeit’ revivals have sprung up to confuse the issue. They claim to have picked up the mantle of the Pentecostal pioneers and continued the work in the same fashion that Elishah continued the work of Elijah. This claim is easily denied. Three critical factors have been the hallmark of every revival decreed by God going back to the calling of Abraham. These are: 1) a call to repentance and personal holiness, 2) a call to greater submission to the sovereignty of God, and 3) a deeper more perceptual relationship with the Spirit of God.

The 21’st century has so far shown signs of swallowing the success of the Pentecostal movement in a swamp of ecumenicism and compromise. These counterfeit revivals place great emphasis on emotionalism and on purported guarantees of wealth contained in heterodox interpretations of scripture devoid of the meaning intended by the context. They fail to bear the brand of repentance and submissive relationship and instead claim boastfully to have authority to command God. Lack of good scholarship or in some cases clearly fraudulent intent has lead many to tickle the ears with promises of wealth and justification, without purity or submission. They claim grace offers the promise not of sonship, but of the demanding, controlling relationship of a spoiled brat. Where Jesus advises that we be like the beggar disturbing our lord in the wee hours (Luke 11:5-9), they claim we should name what we want and yell ‘mine, mine, mine!’ like a two year old dragging bedraggled parents through the aisles of a toy store.

This new endarkenment has been accompanied by many signs of the End Times Prophecies. And one of those is a thorough lack of internal holiness. Even those organizations and movements that stress holiness are stressing an outward form that has no basis in real ‘circumcision of the heart’.

In Romans Paul points out that the act of engaging in an outward formula to achieve holiness, such as the practice of circumcision, holds no value if it is not echoed by a heart change that guides behavior dynamically. Real Holiness comes as Paul points out from becoming a new type of person who is sanctified and therefore recognizes subtle corruption and avoids it without need for a rule-book. Yet these ‘holiness’ believers will practice all sorts of envies and slanders, and even condone things which Jesus himself declared to be sinful. One example would be the stance on divorce.

Divorce is a difficult topic. Human wisdom (Proverbs 14:12) would lead one to believe that divorce is often a compassionate solution to messy human relationships. Jesus words contradict that notion. In Matthew 19:3-12 and in Mark 10:2-12 Jesus words on this subject are recorded. The context is critical here. One must bear in mind that the Old Covenant demanded that the believer execute those persons caught in adultery. The penalty under the law is not divorce but physical death! At the time Jesus spoke, those present were keenly aware that adultery was a capital crime according to Jewish law. So, what was the question that was being raised?

Divorce in the Old Testament was only offered as an option to men. Its purpose was to allow a man who was offended by the moral or social characteristics of his wife to force her out of the home and away from his children. She could be ‘put away’ because she was offensive to her husband’s sensibilities, and he could replace her with someone he was more attracted to. Look out when a man hits mid-life.

Jesus comment was that this was a sign of a lack of compassion, a hard heart. Throughout Jesus ministry wherever he talks about a hard heart, he is indicating someone who is not submitted to the will of God, and is rebelling against God’s guidance. This is the case here as Well. Jesus is saying Moses allowed you to divorce because you were rebellious and (by extension) because he knew you would sin if he didn’t give you some room to be rebellious (Matthew 19:7-8).

Jesus then goes on to say, ‘I bring you a better way’ (Matthew 5:31, 32). Jesus whole ministry was the presentation of a ‘better way’ the Way that is called Christianity. He is presenting a method, wherein one is sanctified by the Holy Spirit and lead to the ‘power to become a son of God’. This power is the power that Peter spoke of on Pentecost and the power that Paul called the freedom from slavery to sin (Romans 6:6-8). Simply put it is supernatural ability to obey God, and to express Godly compassion.

So then, this better way concerning divorce is clearly a single facet of the larger way that leads one to live in Jesus. What is the better way that Jesus espouses here? Simply put it is, ‘Don’t Divorce’. He doesn’t merely restrict people from divorcing because they are ‘incompatible’ or have irreconcilable differences. He repeals the Old Testament sentence for those guilty of adultery. He tells us now, not only can you not divorce for reason of being offended; you can’t execute the adulterous mate. What’s more, you really ought to forgive and stay with that mate. And if you do divorce your mate without the cause of adultery on their part, you are responsible for your ex spouse’s sexual frustration and eventual sin (Matthew 5:32).

That’s a strong statement. But it is born out by other passages. Jesus told us that one person can in fact be responsible for the sin of another. He warns us that someone might be capable of causing a child of God to stumble. He is so adamant about this that he offers a threat and a curse against those who cause this. He says it would be better to have a huge grindstone tied round your neck and be drowned in the ocean with it (Luke 17:1-3). This is pretty strong language. Al Capone, with his cement overshoes, couldn’t have been more threatening.

But clearly in Matthew 5, Jesus asserts that he, who leaves a spouse for illegitimate reasons, causes the former spouse to stumble into adultery. Mark 10 demonstrates that Jesus intent was that the principles he taught concerning divorce were not gender based and apply equally to men and women.

The critical factor is that issue of inadequate compassion. Moses allowed not condoned, divorce because the people lacked compassion. When we look at 1 Corinthians 13, we find that compassion is the core of Christian Life. Without internal, heartfelt Compassion we are irrelevant and meaningless, and no amount of compassionate behavior or ministry can make us relevant.

This goes back to the issue of a circumcised heart. Paul shows us that without circumcision of the heart we are irrelevant. Jesus shows us that condoning or practicing divorce proves a lack of inner circumcision. Essentially, if you cut your hair a certain way, blow shofar at worship, rebuke generational curses, deliver others from addiction and pornography, cast out demons, sing beautiful songs that stir hearts from Wacko to Topeka, but condone divorce you are carnal and meaningless.

We live under grace not the Law, but as Paul pointed out grace operates according to principles or a ‘Law of Grace’ (Romans 6:20-22). Jesus said, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments.’ Grace is freely given, but there is a maintenance fee. That fee is obedience, and the Red Letters clearly mark out the path of that obedience. Join me in prayer for the reconciliation of Divorcees, and the restoration of the American home. Let’s drive carnality and hard-heartedness out of our churches, so genuine revival will come (1 Corinthians 5:5,9-13).

In the service of our Lord,


Are You Tongue Tied

© 2003 by Wesleyan Episcopal Assemblies Pentecostal a California non-profit association. All rights reserved.

Once upon a time two apologists were arguing over the validity of miraculous tongues. One, an evangelical preacher and critic, was aggressively pounding out his understanding that tongues should cease. In mid sentence, as he utters the words of 1 Corinthians 13:8, “Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease'”

His opponent, a Pentecostal preacher, interrupts to say, “Do you like ice cream cones?”

Startled from his tirade, the critic responds, “Yeah they’re pretty good. Why?”

The preacher continues, “So, do you eat one with your teeth?”

The critic looks puzzled as he says, “I do some, but mostly I lick the ice-cream till it’s gone.”

“Really?” The preacher responds, “Then what do you lick it with? Do you use your nose or your teeth?”

The critic answers suspiciously, “No, I generally use my tongue.”

The preacher responds smugly, “Really, you eat ice-cream by speaking English at it?”

The critic snarls disgustedly as he responds, “No! That’s not what tongue means in this context!”

This story is, of course pure fiction, but it illustrates an important point about context. Obviously, the word glossa, which is the Greek name of the oral appendage called the tongue must be understood in light of the surrounding text. Its use by a Greek speaker to refer to a spoken language was idiomatic in the first century just as it is today.

In 1 Corinthians 13:8 the surrounding context refers to knowledge and prophecy as things that would be made obsolete by the arrival of “that which is perfect.” A common interpretation of the perfect referred to here, by critics of supernatural tongues is the arrival of the written cannon. The mistake in this line of thinking is two-fold.

Firstly, the Canon itself reaffirms the need for scholarship. “Study to show thyself approved, a workman that need not be ashamed.” This is a clear imperative for the believer to gain in knowledge during the Christian Era. So long as there is a Canon there is a source for knowledge. This clearly demonstrates that the perfect, which causes the absolution of knowledge, has not yet come.

Secondly, the canon cannot precipitate the cessation of prophecy. The scripture of the old Covenant is a collection of three bodies of literature. The Mosaic law (Torah), the writings of the major and minor prophets (Nevyim), and the Poetic writings (Ketuvyim). Prophecy is best defined as God’s contemporary instructions and predictions concerning the outcome of obedience or disobedience of those instructions. Jesus himself informed us that all scripture is beneficial for teaching Godly faith and practice, therefore it qualifies as prophecy which is the revelation to man of God’s will. Another way that prophecy enters the arena of Christian and of Jewish experience is in the body of sermons, inspired by the spirit of God. Preaching is a synonym for prophesying, and is used quite frequently in the Old Covenant writings to refer to activity of God’s prophets. Jesus himself, informed us that not one small letter [from any word] of the prophecies of Old Testament Canon shall pass away until they are fulfilled in their entirety.

The Bible contains many apocalyptic, or end of time predictions. According to Jesus, the canon and its body of prophecy cannot pass away until the apocalypses contained within it have been fulfilled. To put it simply, Prophecy cannot cease till the End of Time. Therefore, that which is perfect cannot arrive; by Jesus’ own testimony, until Time has concluded. Prophecy, tongues, and knowledge shall persist, until Time has been concluded.

Now what does tongues really mean in this context? Opponents of tongues have committed a serious faux pas by linking the tongues in this passage to the gift of tongues. This passage, when viewed in light of the testimony of Jesus Christ, would say that tongues shall cease, when time has concluded. For all practical purposes, they have proven the case that tongues is intended by God to be normative within the church. However to be fair I must point out that it is quite reasonable to believe that the tongues referred to in this passage must be the oral member. Read in this way, this passage would read, “Love never fails, even if prophecy withers, tongues pause, and knowledge fades.”

Clearly, this is a hyperbole intended to illustrate the durability and power of Godly Love (Agape). Any intellectually honest interpretation of this passage will conclude that it is in no way a reference to a historical period where the scripture is present but God’s miraculous power has ceased to work in the lives of his faithful.

Join with me in seeking whatever God has to offer. Anything God offers can only be a benefit in the life of a believer. The measure of a believer’s devotion, is his ability leave behind the norms and presuppositions of the World becoming gradually more conformed to the pattern of biblical life. Let’s not allow fear and prejudice prevent us from taking hold of the gifts. Let us all get our eyes off the form and formula and focus on the giver of these gifts. When we are thoroughly committed to allowing God to work in our lives in any fashion he sees as appropriate and focus all our attention on mimicking Christ and improving our relationship with his sweet Spirit, we can forgive him for choosing a mode of expression that we might find embarrassing. Real faith is trusting God even when he doesn’t meet our human sense of propriety.

God bless you and keep you in his holiness.