Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. - Irenaeus

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Satire and Hyperbole?

Satire is often a comical and sarcastic means to poke fun at the insanity of the human condition.  It can be linked to hyperbole or exaggeration to get the point across.  It is seen in the Bible in various forms.
In the story of Elijah confronting the false prophets of Baal he makes fun of their religious exercise in which they are cutting themselves and crying out to their god.  "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside [on the toilet], or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened." (1 Kgs 18:27)

In 2 Kings chapter one we see one of the first references to Baal-zebub the god of Ekron.  This term came to be used as a derogatory term for the Lord of the demons or even Lord of flies later in history.  In the gospel Jesus was accused of being possessed by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons. (Mark 3:22-30).  He understood directly that they were saying he was empowered by the Devil.

Apostle Paul was quick witted against his accusers in Acts 23:2-3 when he called some religious fellows that struck him a "whitewashed wall".  They would have immediately understood his illustration from the prophet Ezekiel in which the false teachers hundreds of years earlier has tried to cover their wall of deception with whitewash (Eze. 13:10-14) and God had brought a rain of judgment upon them.

Paul at times expressed his frustration used hyperbolic language to describe the general nature of certain groups of people, which in our day would be considered hate speech or racist.  In his letter to Titus he refers to a prophet of the Cretans who says they are "always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."  "This testimony is true.  For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith" (Titus 12-13).

Biblical writers did not tiptoe around issues.  They got directly to the point.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mercenary for Jesus?

Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense?
Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 9:7)

Over the years we have often had people come to us wanting us to fight some spiritual battle for them.  At times we have felt it was the right thing to do.  Other times it was clear that they simply did not want to get their hands or reputation tainted, therefore we would simply walk away.  There are times when we need to stand in the gap for those not equipped to do the job but it is quit frustrating when someone wants you to do all the hard lifting at your own expense while everyone else stands on the sidelines or in secret cheering you on.  At times we have received financial support totally without solicitation from those who understand the hardship or stress we have put ourselves in for the common good of man and the gospel.  Those behind the scene are much appreciated.  With or without the support of man or church organizations evangelists often dive into situations simply because they know God is telling them to do it.  They may react simply because they read it in the scripture or they may get some divine direction.  Once they have become used to following God's directing it often becomes part of their nature and a gift that becomes polished, and no person on earth is going to change their mind.  Thank God for all of his power, revelation and giftings that make it possible to do our job.

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life,
so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
Apostle Paul (2 Tim. 2:4)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sanitizing the Gospel

Over the years I have watched a pattern among Christians in which they try to sweeten up the gospel in order to get them into their church.  Some will remove crosses and any other symbols that might strike someone with bloody images of death.  They will remove hymns that speak of blood, conflict or warfare.  No more Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Then they will require that special clothes are worn in order to present a respectable image, a bit like the Mormon missionaries in their white shirt and ties.  No one will be allowed in the worship team if they have writing on their clothes (even though it might speak of the gospel or some biblical truth).  No John the Baptist eating bugs or wearing camel skin coats allowed.  He must stay out of view for fear of offending new comers.
This message is not welcome inside the church.
Nor would this truck be allowed to park in the church parking lot.  It sends the wrong message.  Some would go so far as to place a gay affirming sign out front in order to sweeten the invitation.

In some parts of the world Christians are being martyred for their uncompromising faith but in America if a church gets merely a nasty phone call about the gospel the church will immediately begin to backpedal to appease the Devil's little messengers.  Sometimes the Pastor is accommodating his board of elders who are weak-willed and have control over the purse strings and able to squeeze him financially.  In some parts of the world Christians have stood firm in their faith as their children were slain before their very eyes.  But in America if the children receive a little peer-pressure at school the Pastor is likely to lose members if he speaks too boldly in public. 
Apostle Paul wrote to a young Pastor named Timothy telling him that God did not give us a spirit of fear and encouraged him to do the work of an evangelist.  Evangelists are not welcome in many churches today because they ruffle feathers and make people uncomfortable.

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to the own desires; and will turn aside to myths." (2 Tim. 4:3)

Few churches teach anything on apologetics in order to equip their people to defend their faith therefore when some false gospel shows up like "The Shack" they have no idea what to say or do. Even the more obvious cults are a mystery to many church folks and as long as the cultist says something positive about Jesus they simply smile and remain silent.
Evangelism for many churches is watered down to giving out bottles of water with something written on it about God's love.  Please don't mention that the wages of sin is death, that is way too negative.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Are Dale and Peggy Brown Racists?

They have been on numerous missions at their own expense in remote areas of Alaska, Haiti, the UK and around the United States, yet they are still being called racists.  The Bible tells us that the Devil is the accuser, so I guess we can consider the source as a compliment.
Peggy in Haiti 1989
Dale praying for Haitian woman 1989
Peggy leading dental clinic in Haiti
 Browns third boat working with Jewish outreach in Puget Sound
Painting of Brown's boat the Apologetica moored at Klemtu, BC where they stopped on a trip to Alaska.  They distributed bibles and prayed with a number of the local natives.

Fish and Bread Christians

It has been said that it is difficult to speak to people who have an empty stomach.  Therefore often food, medical care, or some other good works program is used as a means to gain an audience.  There is certainly nothing wrong with helping people who are in need but we must understand that many will learn that Christians are generous and will take advantage of our graciousness.  We therefore must learn how to guard and be good stewards of our resources.  Jesus spoke of the danger of casting our pearls to the swine.  The Devil will often send people to us who know how to talk the talk but are not willing to walk the walk.  They are here for no other reason but to test us.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Vetting and Borders

There is two sides to every border wall
by Dale Brown.

Those who strive to justify illegal entry into the United States go to great lengths in debate.  They are likely to quote the following verses from the Bible.

 "When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19:33-34)

The scripture certainly addresses an important issue in regards to fairness to all of mankind however one cannot paint a complete picture of reason based on one or two Bible verses.  Later on in Jewish history aliens from other countries and tribes often became a threat to not only the Jewish religion but also national security.  At one point in Judges 12:1-6 the Israelis used a code password, a shibboleth, to sort out some unwanted guests.  How it worked was this, it was known that this group could not pronounce the word shibboleth correctly so when they failed the test they were immediately apprehended.

Then, during the restoration of Israel during the days of Nehemiah and Ezra there were many foreigners that posed a threat to the restoration project in Jerusalem.  Some came as friends hoping to be accepted but Nehemiah saw through their deceit and run them off.  Their enemies used many means by which to harass the builders, to such an extend that those building the wall had to carry weapons for their own protection.

When we get to the New Testament we see apostle Paul using his Roman citizenship to his advantage by pointing out his rights to the Roman guards who were mistreating him.  They were quick to acknowledge that he had privileges that others did not have. (Acts 22:28-29)
There are many illustrations of vetting in God's kingdom.  Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say unto you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber". (John 10:1) He went on to say, "I am the door of the sheep".  In John 14:6 he reinforced the illustration by saying, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the father but through me."

His vetting process is quite thorough.  In the gospel of Matthew there is a chapter which starts with the famous words, "judge not lest ye be judged". Usually that is as far as the liberal critics read.  But it goes on to warn about false prophets and leaves us with a strict warning, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?  And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness." (Matthew 7:1,15,21-23)

Notice how he points out the lawlessness nature of these people.  It is for this reason we have to lock our cars and secure our homes.  Some people have no manners or respect for the law.  When there is no self discipline there must be imposed discipline.  Anarchy has no place in a civil society nor the kingdom of God.  God is a God of order and discipline. The very word disciple is related to the word discipline which implies rules and order. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Mormon Sticks

Two Sticks
Or Four?
Our Mormon friends tell us that God took two books (the Bible and the Book of Mormon) to fulfill a prophecy in Ezekiel chapter 37:15-19 which they claim points to their so-called restored church.  The two sticks Ezekiel refers to is the stick of Judah and the stick of Ephraim which were the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel at the time.  There are many problems with the Mormon analogy but for those not familiar with Mormonism one might think that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the only books of the Mormon religion.  However as this photo shows there are actually three additional books aside from the Bible that Mormons consider divine revelation, Scripture or "sticks". They are the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.  So why does Ezekiel not mention these others?

Ezekiel actually explains what these two sticks really mean.  “And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’— say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.” ’And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.“Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God." (Ezekiel 37:18-23) 

So there you have it.  It has nothing to do with the Mormon church.  But it has all to do with the nation of Israel in a historical context.