Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Push!

"The 5 Reasons Marriage Scares Men"
  —From an anonymous secular male blog:

#1. Loss of Power
#2. Divorce is Terrifying
#3. We Compare Our New Relationships to Old Ones
#4. Ridiculously Expensive, Lavish Weddings
#5. We're Flooded with Anti-Marriage Messages



The New World of Massachusetts in the early 1600s was a desolate and daunting place. Its rocky landscape and its cold, harshly uninviting environment made it one of the last places on earth anyone would want to colonize. If there was a Paradise, Massachusetts was Hell. This is the way it was viewed—a no man's land. Yet Massachusetts was colonized by an elite few that pressed through a perception filter by faith, and as a result they were tremendously blessed by God. Kingdom-minded men face a similar perception filter today, only this New World is marriage.

Family desolation.  We are told "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it" and yet we've passed through a housing boom whose builder and maker was not God. It has turned out to be a housing bubble gone bust, and the devastation is widespread and grim. The carnage is real and gets personal. It was a housing boom built on sand. To look around is scary.  We need to look up.

The first blessing given to man by The Lord God was given to the man and woman as one. It was given to a married elite. It is a blessing He's still desirously handing out today to an elite who walk by faith and not by sight.  Will we trust the Lord?  The Lord is ever desiring to bless and populate His world. His blessing of marriage is like a baby waiting to be born.  He's just waiting on us to push!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It Takes Two Ta Tango


Marriage is popularly despised or minimized.  Nevertheless, the God of love generally multiplies through romance.  This is the way He builds civilization on planet earth.  The world began with a marriage, and a marriage will initiate the beginning of the age to come at Christ's return.  And every significant move of God in between will be a mirror image of them both—Christ is the Lord of this dance.


It was the Father and Son jointly who said “Let Us make man in Our image”, and that “image” was the man joined to his wife —the Father and Son move by replicating unity.  Not to deny individuals are also made in the image of God, but couples have the ability to reflect the Divine Image more fully, and multiplying the image of God on earth is what our Creator is all about.

The Lord has a special affinity for twos.  This is primarily how Christ sends His disciples on mission.  The animals before the flood were brought into the ark two-by-two, and it was the same for Noah and his three sons —four couples ruled the Ark and established the New World.  In 1608 Captain John Smith found out it took marriage—not men—to tame a wilderness called Virginia.  John Winthrop discovered the same in Massachusetts Bay.  America was founded by moms and dads and started with a boom —we’re talkin’ a baby boom!

Great moves of God generally start in the bedroom, not the board room or voting booth.  And, they don’t depend on prime financial times —it takes faith, hope and love to build a marriage, not money.  The Lord of the dance has the world as His dance floor, and He's looking for faithful men and women to light it up.  Those who could care less, please step to the side.  Christ’s Kingdom will be built by doing the Tango not a line dance, and for the Tango...baby, it takes two!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Positively Poor



The mid-70s marked a paradigm shift in America as changes in federal credit law and changing attitudes toward marriage and the family converged to form a new economy.  Dual-income families became the norm and inflated the prices of everything in sight.  The single-income family came under financial siege.  Homeschoolers would feel the brunt.

Homeschoolers—present and potential—face a financial predicament, a predicament to which most of the popular homeschooling advocates are blind.  The popular advocates, unlike a majority of their homeschooling listeners, are swimming in a pool of huge financial support, and it is easy for one's condition to be superimposed on everyone else—one popular homeschooling advocate suggested daughters be taught how to manage a six-figure income.

When the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt they were poor, dependent on the Providence of God.  This was the Lord's doing.  Similarly, our nation was established by men and women of faith, not means.  Likewise, the Lord is in the process of forming a new nation even as I write, even as the corpse that envelopes the new nation rots.  The new nation will be established by a faithful elite.  The new nation will be established by the positively poor.



"Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?"

-James 2:5 (NASB)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Elections Reveal

An election reveals much about a people.  Take a look at Israel past:

It was election time in Israel, only instead of voting at the booth, the people made their intentions known to their electors, a single elector in this particular case – the prophet Samuel:

"And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel."
-1 Samuel 8:1 (NASB)

"His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice."
-1 Samuel 8:3 (NASB)

The people were not happy with Samuel's choice.  Nothing wrong with this, his sons were obvious scoundrels.  But is this what concerned the people?

"and they said to him, 'Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations. ' "
-1 Samuel 8:5 (NASB)

The Lord was not happy with the people's choice.  Why?

If we break it down, we will see that what the people were looking for was not a righteous replacement for the flagrant unrighteous sons of Samuel, but a government like the unrighteous nations that surrounded them.  The people were rejecting the Lord and His righteousness:

"The Lord said to Samuel, 'Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.' "
-1 Samuel 8:7 (NASB)

Election time in Israel had revealed the people's heart – it was a heart that could care less about righteousness!  Israel was definitely NOT seeking first the kingdom of God and what He said was right.

Israel would get the government monster they deserved.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Phood For Thought

Some things are right because God commands them, other things God commands because they are right.  The first category is provisional and changeable, the second--definitively fixed.  The fixed category is what we would call moral or natural law; people will instinctively know it's right. Thankfully, food is not moral law.

Long before the giving of the law to Israel, God laid down specific dietary instructions to Noah, and through him, all the future inhabitants of the world; it was to be a global menu.  Likewise, the dietary instructions were very broad: “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.  Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." -Genesis 9:3-4 (NASB)

Many generations after Noah, God singled out a people and gave them new dietary instructions, specifically to distinguish them from all the other peoples of the world.  These new regulations would also provide a daily test of obedience to God.  The new Jew menu was very restrictive and race-specific; thus the often repeated phrase in the dietary instructions of Leviticus chapter 11, "it is unclean to you".

A moral implication of the dietary laws was that since God specifically commanded them to Israel, it would be wrong for them to disobey; the dietary laws were right only because God commanded them.  But then again, God could change the rules anytime He saw fit, and this He did, as Peter found out in his famous vision recounted in Acts 10.

With the coming of Christ, the Lord reverted back to the broad dietary instructions of Noah, because the gospel of Christ, like the Ark, was going global.  The dietary law's differentiating purpose would no longer be in play, since Christ--the new Differentiator--took their place.  "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer." -1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NASB)  Think of this the next time you bite into a pork chop.

God is great.  God is good.  Let us thank Him for our phood.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Consistency



In July 1792, James Hoban was named winner of the design competition for the White House.  The structure was later fleshed out according to Hoban's architectural blueprint.  The actual White House which we see at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is the fulfillment of Hoban's plan.  The actual White House and Hoban's plan are separate and distinct, even so there's consistency between the two.

We can learn much from the relationship between Hoban's blueprint and the actual White House, and we can apply this analogy to the relationship between Christ and His Law, since Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.
Using Hoban's plan, it's possible to determine much about the actual structure of the White House, specifically dimensions and things hidden beneath the paint.  The structure will not conflict with the design, there will be consistency between the two.  Likewise we can determine much specifically about Christ by studying His Law.  There is no conflict between Christ and His Law, there is only consistency.  The ever-consistent moral character of God is exhibited consistently throughout both.

Inscribed in the written Law of God we find the true character of God spec'd out.  Christ said about the Law:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." - Matthew 22:37-40 (NASB).

In the Law of God we see spec'd out what love to God and love to our neighbor really looks like.  For example, in Leviticus we find:

"Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness during her menstrual impurity.  You shall not have intercourse with your neighbors wife, to be defiled with her.  You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.  You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.  Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion." - Leviticus 18:19-23 (NASB) 

We can look at these commandments and see real love spelled out, not the counterfeit love that many often fabricate apart from God's Law.  Anybody can say their house is the White House; Hoban's blueprint will discover your lie.  Anybody can say they love God and their neighbor; God's Law will put you to the test.  Those who envision an inconsistency between Christ and His Law will be found to be envisioning a counterfeit God.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Christ Died To Honor The Law


So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

-Romans 7:12 (NASB)


In an effort to explain his support for same sex-marriage, President Obama alluded to Christ's dying on the cross as a show of love, and from this position, the President deduced God's assistance in perverting His own moral order.  Our President would never have openly made such an announcement had he not known from polling that a majority of Americans stood on his side.  Sadly, President Obama's logic is also in sync with much of the evangelical church of today, a church that despises God's Law, despite the fact that the Law is what Christ died to honor on the cross.


Not too long ago, the outgoing governor of Mississippi exercised his ability to pardon.  Of the more than 200 pardons which he granted, many were convicted murderers.  This pardoning was viewed as outrageously wicked by the public at large, and the relatives of the victims were particularly outraged and upset.  For many, the internal injustice meter was kicked into overdrive, and rightly so.  These men had been convicted of breaking a good law, and for a good law men deserved to be punished, not set free.  For good laws, law breakers are expected to pay.  It is for bad laws that transgressors are freed.  Likewise, it would have been a great evil for Christ to die on our behalf for a bad law.  If the Law was really bad, the Lord would have been obliged to waive our blatant transgressions and falling short.  Forgiveness would certainly not have been a display of love.   To hold us guilty for a bad law would make the Judge of all the earth unjust.  In fact, forgiveness of our sins would be expected - if the Law were really bad. But God taught something different via the example of First Testament Israel.


Blood was a common sight in First Testament Israel, and this by God's purposeful design.  The blood from the daily sacrificing of bulls and goats was a witness to the daily breaking of God's Law by all the people at large, and it powerfully taught the people two things: one, the righteousness and goodness of God's Law - the Creator would not destroy all these animals for nothing - and two, the absolute necessity of payback for sin - every transgression demanded a payment in blood, it could not simply be overlooked by a righteous God. Likewise, to effect our salvation Christ did not overlook sin.  God overlooking sin is not what getting right with Him is all about.  God overlooking sin is not the gospel.  God hates and punishes sin - all sin - and He will not let the least thing slide.   His death on a cross was a public display of the righteousness and goodness of His Law.  Our turning to Christ is to be a corresponding public acknowledgment - Christ got what we rightly deserve. We are told by the apostle,  "...God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." -Romans 5:8 (NASB)  The punishment and death of sinners in Christ is what the Gospel is all about.  This is the good news for all that believe.  Christ died to honor His holy, righteous, and good Law.  We should live and do the same.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Where in the World Is the World Headed?

Recent elections in both France and Greece have set the minds of many into a spin.  At stake is the stability and predictability of global finance, with some seeing the disintegration of the present world order as imminent.  Events have taken many by surprise.  Where will it all end?  We are told by the prophet: “Is it not indeed from the Lord of hosts that peoples toil for fire, and nations grow weary for nothing?  For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." -Habakkuk 2:13-14 (NASB)  And again: "And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains.  It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it.  Many nations will come and say, 'Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.' -Micah 4:1-4 (NASB)

"Experience is the teacher of fools" as the saying goes.  Only fools cannot learn from the mistakes of others, but instead have to mimic the same destructive path.  In this sense our world is filled with fools, of which I must confess to be one at times.  Rest assured, God will ultimately break through:  "For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations.  Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.  Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken." -Micah 4:1-4 (NASB)

Earth - not space - is the real final frontier and at present, these are the voyages of the earth-ship Suicide.  History marks year after year of our rebellion against God, and it is not a rosey scene.  But the future is not extrapolated from a trend.  Thank God it will one day be gloriously different.  The law of God will one day go viral and men will be miraculously changed - the nations will be changed.  Both Church and State will recognize the righteousness and wisdom of God's law.  It will be the work of Almighty God.  It is a sure thing and we should take heart, "...for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ecclesiastical Racism



For when one says, “I am of Paul, ” and another, “I am of Apollos, ” are you not mere men?
-1 Corinthians 3:4 (NASB)




Racism  (according to my iPad dictionary) is defined as the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.  Genocidal Nazi Germany is commonly used as a popular example, but one could cite many others less well known.  Closer to home one usually thinks of black verses white.  Regardless of its form, racism as we know it is an affront to our Creator.  Racism represents a failure to acknowledge God-designed diversity among all peoples.  Racism also represents a superiority complex.  Above all, racism is an expression of hate.  There is a similar racism-like cancer within the church, only it involves differences inside the head rather than differences on the skin.

It is of great significance that Christ sent out many Apostles.  After all, He could have just sent one super-apostle to spread His word, yet we know this was not the case.  The apostle Paul sheds some light on the subject: "
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.  Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor." -1 Corinthians 3:5-8 (NASB)


The point Paul was trying make to the Corinthians was that the Kingdom of Christ consisted of a team.  And like any team, diversity is key; each player plays his part.  The Kingdom would not and could not be advanced by one player alone.  There is no superman or spiderman in God's scheme.  There is no super denomination, super movement, or superblog.org.  Everything at best is just a part, one little piece of the mega-jigsaw puzzle called The Kingdom of Christ.  Nevertheless, ecclesiastical racism was a prominent reality in the early church, just like it is a prominent reality in the church of our day.  "I'm Reformed," "I'm Non-denominational," "I'm Organic," "I'm The True Catholic Church".  Only the names have changed.  Each player sees his ministry or organization as superior to the rest.  May God help us to realize that nobody understands it all.  Nobody has it all figured out.  Nobody is superior to anyone else.  Nobody and no organization.  Take it from an apostle: "For we know in part and we prophesy in part..." -1 Corinthians 13:9 (NASB)

May the Lord help us to see the complexity of His Body, the Church, and learn to value and respect the part that everyone plays.  May the Lord deliver us from ecclesiastical racism.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Impossibility of You Getting Out of Debt





Do not be among those who give pledges, Among those who become guarantors for debts.


Proverbs 22:26




You've got your favorite financial guru.  You've bought his or her latest book.  Brother/Sister, I know this will be hard to swallow, but the reality is you cannot get out of debt, no matter how hard you try.  You are part of a system, and the system has got you under control. Nevertheless, hear me out because there is hope.

For most people, their concept of financial reality is built around a concept of individualism--their individual financial reality is the result of their individual actions alone.  Therefore, their individual debt is the result of their individual behavior alone.  This concept is easy to buy into because it is based on a fundamental truth, the truth that we are all individually accountable to our Creator.  This is the fundamental basis of responsibility and it is definitely real, but when it comes to financial debt, our situation is different.  It is different because our representative government has temporarily changed the rules of the game.  With the creation of the Federal Reserve Banking System and associated laws, our representatives have morphed us into a corporate body.  Now, like it or not, everyone's debt is your debt.  I give you the example of a house:

A house price is determined primarily by two things:  one, the demand for the house, and two, how much money the potential buyer is willing and able to spend.  How much money the potential buyer is willing and able to spend is generally determined by how much credit he or she can command and this is where the system comes into play: the term of the loan, the interest rate, the lending rules, and the ultimate backing of the loan--these are all being driven in unrighteous ways by government, with the risks being spread among all.  In a big way the cost of a house has been socialized--you will pay for your neighbor's default.  Therefore, the price you must pay for a house is the socialized price, and this makes all the difference in the world.  It is the difference between what the price of the house is with a 30-year, near-zero interest, government-backed loan and what the price would be if everyone had to either pay cash or get credit with bank lending based on individual character and individual risk and with lending discrimination uncoerced by federal law.  The same holds for every product you buy.  Even if you can manage to pay cash, you are still  paying the inflated socialized credit price.

The credit system of the U.S. is at the same time both mystifying and complex.  It is also perpetuated by a self-interested propaganda campaign--the system players who profit at your expense want to keep profiting at your expense.  They do not care about concepts such as justice and liberty, but God does.  Eventually the system will collapse.  There will be a day of reckoning. Just as our Creator's physical laws determine that what goes up must come down, His moral laws determine the same--what goes up against the Word of God, must come down.  Our system will eventually collapse because it is contrary to God's moral law, but there is hope on the other side.  God has a better plan, but we must acknowledge that our present system is a product of our popular support.  We have a system of our own design.  We must desire something better.  You cannot get out of debt no matter how hard you try because to do so would require drastic systemic change, something impossible for you. Nevertheless, "what is impossible with men is possible with God."  We have good reason to hope if we are willing to change.  To start, I encourage you to read the free e-book, Honest Money by Gary North.  It is only a click away.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New Thang

My son just blessed me with a new iPad.  Not an iPad1 or iPad2, but the NEW iPad.  I'm told that's how Apple's marketing their latest addition to the world of tablet gadgets and I guess it should be obvious that Apple knows a little bit about successful marketing.  No doubt, their latest apple is sweet.  God made us to like new things - new car, new house, new furniture, new technology, new food.  I failed to mention new life.  Are you 93 and reading this blog?  I'm sure you'd appreciate new life, much more I'm sure than the twenty-something still a stranger to arthritic knees.  But then again, maybe you're a twenty-something that just discovered you have a terminal disease.  Or, maybe you're a forty-something that went in for a simple surgical procedure only to become the victim of a surgeon's bad day.  You can never get back what was lost - or so you think.

God making all things new is the very heart of what Christ came to do and is a central message of the Gospel or Good NEWs.  In the final book of our Bibles we are told that "He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' "  Making all things new is on the top of God's list of things to do, and His plans simply don't get interrupted.  In fact, His plans are already a reality.  In this sense we are the consumers and God the Divine Manufacturing Co.  Before any company releases a product, that product has already been produced.  Before you ever get your "New iPad", those iPads have been actively in the hands of design engineers, and many more sitting on warehouse shelves somewhere in Asia.  I've worked in enough engineering departments to know this is true.  New products to a consumer are practically old products to the ones cranking them out.

The New You - it's already a reality in God's heavenly bank, and you don't have to get to heaven to cash out.  That said, the Lord would have us to hope.  Speaking of our natural bodies as a "house", the apostle Paul tells us, "... in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven..."  "From heaven" refers to the big show that will be taking place on earth - that is, the earth of the new heaven and new earth.  Likewise, John in his heavenly vision saw the new city "...coming down out of heaven from God..."  It is a future transaction but a sure thang.  A new heaven, a new earth, a new body - it's coming to a planet near you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jesus Cursed Israel

Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.  Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.  He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.  
The Prophet Malachi 

The Scriptures close on a serious and conditional note.  The case for either optimism or pessimism hangs in the balance for future Israel, and from our perspective looking back, we can can see how things turned out.  Christ leaves us with no doubts as to which course the religious leaders of Israel chose.  Matthew's gospel gives us plenty of illustrations and in it he tells us on one occasion, "... some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 'Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders?  For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.' "  Christ's response was telling: "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 'This people honors me with their lips but their heart is far away from Me.  But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' "

It is obvious the religious leaders of Christ's day had not taken to heart the prophet Malachi's message from God about remembering the law of Moses.  Their concern was more about the propagation of a self-fabricated system, less about loving and honoring the Lord through His Law.  Later in Matthew's gospel we see Christ's lament over Israel's capitol city: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!' "  Jesus effectively cursed Israel and it remains to be seen if the curse will ever be removed.


Nationally and personally, there is a lesson we can take away from this : "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!"  The Name of the Lord has to do with God's character, His morality.  Just as the laws of any nation reveal the character and morality of that people, the character of God is manifested through His statutes and judgments revealed by Him through the law of Moses.  We as a people would do well to take note.  Lip service is cheap, and our political leaders know it well.  Just like the religious leaders of Christ's day, our presidents and congressmen – Republican and Democrat alike - 
while promoting practices, policies and laws that practically slap God in His face, commonly end their speeches with the invocation "God Bless America".  We should not be proud, but fear.  Israel possessed favored nation status by God, and yet received a curse as the course of their actions.  As a nation, we should not expect anything less.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Don't Think It!

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
Jesus Christ

Many approach the New Testament from the perspective that Christ was a revolution – something totally new, totally different.  This was simply not the case.  Unique, Jesus definitely was, but Christ faced a major misconception in His day;  we face the same misconception in ours.  Christ did not represent something new.  Christ was an expansion of the previous revelation of God, not a replacement.  In the person of Himself, He brought a clearer, bigger expression of what God had been saying all along in the Law and the Prophets;  a better picture – an exact picture – of what God was really like.  After all, the capacity of the Scriptures was limited; limited that is, in describing the complex nature of God.  This limitation was overcome when “...the word became flesh and dwelt among us...”  The Scriptures, however, were not limited in teaching God's abiding standard of right and wrong.



John tells us, “...the Law was given through Moses;  grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”  John was not telling us that Christ was something new, but that Christ was the ultimate expression of God.  Christ was and is God to the max.  “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature…” the writer of Hebrews tells us.  All this could easily lead us to think that with the coming of Christ, the Old Testament had been rendered obsolete, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  Christ chided the Pharisees of His day for neglecting , “…the weightier provisions of the law:  justice and mercy and faithfulness...”  And Paul told us the Law was “...holy and righteous and good.”  The Law reveals God’s justice, God’s mercy, and God’s faithfulness.  Christ too reveals this and more, but not in the same way.


Christ came to establish and flesh-out what God had been saying all along through the Law and the Prophets.  He came to “put it into force” as one writer has said.  The Old Testament reveals significant moral aspects of God, aspects we cannot afford to neglect if we expect our light to shine before men in such a way that they see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.  After all, it was the Old Testament Law and Prophets that the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to use for “...teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness...”  No doubt grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ, but just as true is that the Law was given through Moses.  Grace, Truth, and Law: these three aspects make a whole, and apart from God’s Law, there are aspects of God that we simply cannot know;  there is a morality we simply will not express.  Grace and truth is not all there is to God.  “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law and the Prophets” is what Christ said.  We would do well to listen.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The New Testament is Not "Scripture"

Contrary to what many think, the New Testament is not Scripture; that honor belongs to the Old Testament alone.  In Romans 3:2, speaking of Israel, the Apostle Paul said, “...they were entrusted with the oracles of God.”  Needless to say, this unScriptural view of Scripture has made its way into most denominational confessions and statements of faith.  This error is the root cause of much division in the church due to the regular practice of exceeding what is written in Scripture - making mountains out of things in the New that are unverifiable by the Old (1 Cor. 4:6).

To say "the New Testament is not Scripture" is not to say the New Testament is not vital to our understanding of the Gospel; it is, but only in a clarifying way.  The New Testament is a compilation of letters and testimonies explaining Christ from the Scriptures.  Christ Himself said about the Scriptures, "...it is these that testify about Me..." (John 5:39).  Nevertheless, these letters and testimonies only become authoritative in the sense that their statements can be validated by the Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament.  Just because someone may be an Apostle, this doesn't qualify his words as Holy Writ.  What you, me, or an Apostle says must be verifiable by the Scriptures to be valid as from God, and even then it still does not become Scripture.  I can write a manual explaining everything in detail about my car.  The manual may help me gain a better understanding of my car, yet my manual can never become my car. 

This view of Scripture was the view of the early church.  In Acts 17:11, the Bereans were characterized as more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica because they would not unequivocally receive the words of the apostles without first verifying what they said by the Scriptures.  This was also the position of early Reformers like John Calvin who commenting on the Bereans said, "For since the Spirit of God commends the Thessalonians, in their example He lays down a rule for us.  But an inquiry from the Scriptures would be useless, if they did not have sufficient light to teach us.  Therefore let this firm axiom stand, that no doctrine is worth believing except as we perceive to be based on the Scriptures."  You and I should be holding the writings of the Apostles to the same standard.

The Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy in his second letter said, "All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."  The Apostle was referring Timothy to the only Scripture in town - the Old Testament.  Interestingly, this Old Testament instruction was the highly-commended youth ministry that Timothy had undergone.  Calvin commenting on this passage said, "In speaking of the Scripture Paul means what we call the Old Testament; how can he say that it can make a man perfect?  If that is so, what was added later through the apostles would seem to be superfluous.  My answer is that as far as the substance of the Scripture is concerned, nothing has been added.  The writings of the apostles contain nothing but a simple and natural explanation of the Law and the Prophets along with a clear description of the things expressed in them.  Paul was therefore right to celebrate the praises of the Scripture in this way, and since today its teaching is fuller and clearer by the addition of the Gospel, we must confidently hope that the usefulness of which Paul speaks will become much more evident to us, if we are willing to make the trial and receive it."


“Scripture” properly defined, is exclusively what we would call the Old Testament.  The New Testament can be considered the Gospel, or the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Both the Old and New Testaments are rightly considered the word of God, but the Scriptures have been designated by God to be the authoritative Standard by which all things are to be judged, including the Gospel.  The New Testament writings are not "Scripture",  nevertheless, they are invaluable to us if we would make use of them in a God-ordained way.  "Trust but verify" is a maxim that aptly applies.  A much more unified and Christ-honoring Bride would be the result.