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

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beware of Dogs?

When apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians "Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision"(Phil. 3:2) he was referring first to the Jews who were persecuting Christians attempting to persuade them that they needed to be circumcised. This was a clear reference to Psalm 22:16-20 which is a prophetic picture of the crucifixion of Christ where they cast lots for his garment. Paul was also alluding, in a broader sense, to any persecuters of the gospel. The song Mahound Dog from the CD "Beware of Dogs" plays on this theme in reference to Islam. Download at Rhapsody, Spotify, iTunes, iMusica, Napster. The music video with Mahound Dog as soundtract was removed from Youtube because it stirred up the dogs. It can now be viewed at

Monday, March 15, 2010

Eggs, Fish and Bunnies

by Dale Brown

The evolution of language and how it effects our present understanding of literature throughout history is enormous.

All alphabets derived from the original Semitic alphabet. It was adapted in one form or another by other cultures. Aleph, beth became the Greek alpha, beta and eventually became "alphabet." Much of the history of the Semitic people (Hebrews, Arabs, Assyrians, Phoenicians, etc.) is recorded in the Bible.
This evolution and the various cultures involved has effected our religious convictions and customs. Our understanding of the most important rituals of the Christian faith are influenced by words that may or may not have any real root in Christianity, and are often defined in pagan terms. This is not to say that our religion has been perverted, for a rose by any other name will smell as sweet.

To some this mere thought may come across as blasphemous, yet the evidence of one language bleeding over into another has been the case since the beginning of time.

Hermeneutics, the science of studying Biblical languages has an interesting origin. Hermes was the Greek mythological god who was typified as a great communicator or interpreter of the gods. Going back in history in Egypt the word "Hermes" means "son of Her or Ham," the "burnt one" in ancient Chaldean. To him came Cush, the father of Nimrod who built Babylon where the languages were scattered as a result of a great apostasy. Strangely enough the Egyptian kings, Ramesses and Thothmes meant "the son of Ra," (Sun) and son of Thoth. From this linguistic derivative comes the name of the Egyptian born Jew, Moses, to draw forth "child or son of." Some of these characters from Babylon came to be deified in the form of Greek Olympian gods. Hermes the interpreter became Mercury, (the slippery silvery metal) the Greek god with a silver tongue. Cush became Bel, the confounder (Chaldean) also known in Greek as Chaos the "god of confusion." Cush was the father of those who caused the confusion of the world’s languages.


There is good reason why the modern Jew and Jehovahs Witnesses question the connection of the Passover feast with the Christian Easter celebration. The word Easter, which we commonly identify with the Passover feast of Israel in reality has nothing to do with the traditional Jewish Passover nor is it of Christian origin. The Greek word for Passover pasch has been mistranslated in the King James version of the Bible (Acts 12:4). Easter in fact comes from the Canaanite and Chaldean fertility goddess Astarte (or Ishtar, depending on your linguistic origin) the queen of heaven. It was these cults that God warned his people about in the Old Testament (Jere. 44:15-19, 2 Kgs. 23;13).

Because the springtime of the year brings forth new growth the fertility cults had their spring rituals, which at times were mistakenly identified with the spring Passover celebration of the Jewish religion. Rabbits, eggs and fish (who have thousands of eggs) have therefore been used as symbols of fertility throughout the ages. Modern Pagans and Wiccans make quite an issue of some of this history.

One Roman sexual goddess was called Venus, from her name derived the word "venereal" (as in venereal disease). The Romans held Friday (die veneris, or "day of Venus") sacred. Our English word Friday comes from the old German word Fria (goddess) and Old English daeg (day). Oddly enough the fish was regarded sacred to her. All mixed up in this strange history some Christian traditions have made it a practice of eating fish on Friday. The fish also became a symbol of Christianity because of various events in the gospels having to do with fish, thus we see them (even some with legs) glued to the bumpers of automobiles. Often inside the fish symbol is seen the Greek word for fish ichthys, which has become an acronym for Iesous Christos Theo Hyios Soter, ‘Jesus Christ, of God the Son, Savior.’

Though some of this tradition is innocent enough it makes one wonder about the tradition of kissing the Pope’s fish-ring. (Oh, but Peter was a fisherman). The Pope’s suspicious wearing of a mitre cap is of the same style worn by the priest of the fish-god Dagon in ancient Mesopotamia, which represents the open mouth of a fish. The Bible is clear on how God felt about Dagon (1 Sam. 5). The Holy Spirit literally tore down the statue of Dagon.

The resurrection of Christ was accomplished by the power of God. Power in Greek dunamis is where we get the word dynamite, which, shines new light on Paul’s words, "For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." "And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18, 2:4&5).

Why BUDDHISTS need Jesus

Buddha the Hindu
by Dale Brown
The life of Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 B.C.), who came to be known as the Buddha "the Enlightened One" is know only through the traditions of his followers. These traditions were handed down orally until several centuries after his death when they were committed to writing. By this time they had become more legend than fact.

The Buddha was born in what is now southern Nepal into a wealthy ruling Hindu family. According to tradition, at his birth it was predicted that he would become a great Universal Emperor or Teacher and that four signs would be shown him the course he should follow. His youth was spent in luxury, protected from much of the world’s misery by his father Suddhodhana.

At age twenty-nine, to his father’s dismay, he was exposed to the four signs that were to set the course of his future. For the first time in his life he saw old age (a decrepit old man), sickness (a man ravaged by disease), death (a corpse), and true serenity (a wandering religious mendicant). In reality, it is told, the men that Siddhartha saw were gods who had taken disguises in order that Siddhartha might become Buddha. The first three signs were recognized as the presence of suffering in the world. Because of the accepted Hindu idea of reincarnation, suffering was not finite but for eternity. In the fourth sign, the peaceful euphoria of the religious wanderer, became Siddhartha’s goal; to solve the riddle of suffering, how it came into being, and how to dispel it.

He then went through a soul-searching period during which he did away with his wealth and took upon himself the life style of a monk. "The Noble Quest" as Buddhist tradition calls this time helped him develop techniques of meditation and self-discipline.

When Siddhartha was thirty-five years old, while he was still struggling with the problem of suffering, he was surrounded by various gods and along came Mara, the Buddhist devil. While he went through this time of temptation he achieved "nirvana", the ultimate detachment from the world that brings an end to suffering, thus he became fully enlightened, the "Buddha".

Buddhism, like Jainism, became somewhat of a mystical protest against the Hindu Vedic ritualistic formalism and its caste system. Buddha said, "Not by birth does one become an outcast, not by birth does one become a Brahmin, (priest)". In Buddhism one deals with problems within through right thinking, conduct and spiritual discipline rather than through the rites of sacrifice to nature deities.
One’s goal is to attain Nirvana by which through right thoughts and deeds one may break the fatalistic Hindu idea of reincarnation and enter a state of calm insight, passionlessness, and wisdom, no longer subject to rebirth into the sorrows of existence.

It has been said that Buddhism, like Hinduism, is a family of religions rather than a single religion. As time passed and Buddhism was pressured out of India by the traditional Hindu priests and made its way into China and Japan. It went through many changes. At times it conflicted with the local religious beliefs but often it has homogenized with some of the ideas of the native religions. During the Sung Dynasty (920-1279) in China the Taoist and Confucian rivals found themselves borrowing from each other. In the late sixth century in Japan the Shinto ("Way of the Gods") religion became tolerant to Buddhism. As a result there are many different schools of thought and practice in Buddhism today. In Theravada doctrine Buddha is not a god but a teacher. Then, in Mahayana Buddhism there are countless Buddhas or Bodhisattvas. Innumerable manifestations in celestial and terrestrial realms give rise to a whole pantheon of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. These become in effect deities and helpers whose aid may be sought through offerings and invocations.

With the aid of the Tibetan Book of the Dead the Lama priests or monks of Tibetan Buddhism practice various degrees of Tantric magic, exorcism, divination and celibacy. In 1587 the Grand Lama came to be called the Dalai (Ocean Wide) Lama and eventually gained both temporal and spiritual power over all Tibet. The Dalai Lamas were regarded as the patron deity of Tibet. In 1951 the Dalai Lama was driven from Tibet by Chinese Communist soldiers. Since then he has traveled abroad influencing the western world through his many lectures and public appearances.

Zen Buddhism is a form of Buddhism which became popular in Japan. It stresses meditation, which is used to free one from reliance upon ordinary objective logic. As a result the Zen Buddhist creates his own standard of reason and often appears as though he is on some kind of cosmic picnic removed from all logic and reality.
Many Buddhists are looking forward to a coming Buddha or Maitreya who they claim parallels the Christian teaching of an expected return of Christ. The problem with this parallel is that the Buddhist definition of Christ is quite different from the one given to us through the historic record of scripture.

The historical documents of Biblical Scripture tell us that Jesus, unlike Buddha, was born of a virgin. He died on the cross and shed his blood for our sins. He proved that he was more than an ordinary man by rising from the dead. This Buddha could not do.

Jesus warned us that there would be those who would come and claim they too are Christ. "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect." (Matt. 24:23&24)
Don’t settle for a counterfeit Christ when you can know the true and living Christ. He is ever present, to fill every void and to be your closest friend. And, in Him dwells the fullness of Deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9). He knows yoru every secret. Nothing is hidden from his eyes.

Jesus said the Holy Spirit of God would be left in His place as a comforter and teacher forever (John 14:26,16). God gives those who believe in Jesus Christ power by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, 2:1-21). God worked miracles through His early followers by the power of the Holy Spirit (Mark 16:17&18) and because He is the same yesterday, today and forever, He still confirms His word through His servants today.

You too can be cleansed from your sins and filled with the Holy Spirit. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believed in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved (Rom. 10:9). "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."

If you are in need of a miracle in your life, Jesus is waiting to answer your prayer. He said, "whatever you ask in My name that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (Jn. 14:13)
Jesus said, "Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 10:32&33). Therefore repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ that you may be save. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him (Acts 2:38, John 3:36).
Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." (John 14:6) Notice he did not say he was one of many ways or many paths. Either He was a liar, a lunatic or truly Lord.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tithes, Offerings & Tent Making

"Pass the Loot"
By Dale Brown

A good friend once told me of an experience of being in a large health and wealth type church where a high-powered speaker was brought in to give a message about church finances. The message was laced with Bible verses about faith in God’s provision and of course the one about God loving cheerful givers. Presented like a fast talking car salesman eager to close the deal, the speaker zeroed in on his mark. My friend who was caught up in the fervor and hype soon found himself dropping his wedding ring into the offering container. Just as he heard the sound of it "thunk" on the bottom of the cardboard bucket his heart sank and he realized he had made a mistake. This was not a "free-will" offering, but an offering of compulsion made through manipulation.
Now, clearly churches have light bills and salaries to pay in order to continue doing what they do, but where does one draw the line? The Old Testament is clear about funds collected to support the work of the temple. The word tithe simply means ten percent. The most often quoted verse is in Malachi 4:8-10. "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say ‘How have we robbed thee?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." It is usually pointed out that this is the only place in the Bible where God says we can test Him.

This is often preached by pastors as though they are supporting a temple with its ritual sacrifice and a hosts of priests. The problem however is that we are not living in a theocratic society, nor are we under the law of Moses. We are living under a new covenant of grace, in which God places His law on our heart by being born again. Now certainly most pastors mean well and use the offering in a just manner. However, pastors are only one member of the body of Christ and they do not represent the full expression of what God is doing on this planet. Sometimes the kingdom that is being built is not God’s but the preacher’s. This is where we as givers need to put on some critical thinking, do a bit of praying, and find out where God wants your money invested.

Those who do not like the idea of tithing are quick to point to the fact that apostle Paul made tents at times to support his ministry. Paul did this at times in order that he would not cause people to stumble over the money issue. At other times, however, Paul voiced his frustration because some were being supported while he was stressing out under the load of his ministry. "Do we not have a right to eat and drink?" "Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense?"(1 Cor. 9:4,7) It is most discouraging for an evangelist who is living by faith and working a job in order to reach the lost, when the local pastor is receiving a comfortable salary with medical insurance while looking for everyone else to do volunteer work to support his own private agenda. Parachurch organizations are often born out of such situations. When the traditional church does not recognize what God is doing through what they might consider unorthodox means, God is likely to remove these gifts from the local church so they can fulfill His divine purpose else where.