The Whole Counsel of God

The Whole Counsel of God

Debates are raging.  Frustration is abounding.  Accusations are being hurled. Wise counsel is being rejected. There will always be new strains of illnesses upon the earth.  There will also be different theories as to what the best approach to them should be.  Most people want everyone to stay healthy and live well regardless of their age or social status.  So if most people want others to be safe and healthy, even though they hold different views regarding the treatment to achieving this result, why is such viral anger flourishing at this time?  The issue has to do with truth.

counsel ears

Are you covering your ears to information not presented by the loudest voice in the room?

The apostle Paul declared in Acts 20:27for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”  Paul had the obligation to share all the revealed truth of God (Acts 9:15-16).  He didn’t share only the parts he wanted to share.  The Judaizers were happy to share only part of the truth and mix it with their own beliefs as well.  Many religions today are glad to share only a part of the truth declaring one is saved by “Faith only” (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, I Peter 3:21).  Portions of the scriptures have long been taken alone or out of context.  Satan did this himself in Matthew 4.  Jesus presented a fuller view of the truth.  Apollos was a mighty minister of the Old Testament scriptures, yet he needed exposure to all of the truth to be pleasing to God (Acts 18:26).  Context and the full truth are necessary to make proper decisions.

The current situation, specific to America in this examination, is enflamed due to the suppression of truth in the media at large and its manipulation by those in political power.  This was true long before the current spread of a new strain of an illness.  It is very easy to be suppressed into a life of fearful delusion or even be enraged when you are not receiving the full truth.  It is also easy to get exasperated when others won’t accept additional facts into their viewpoint, but blindly move forward with a limited amount of information to guide their life.  They will not just fail to listen, but actively try to suppress any other consideration offered to themselves or others.  Ever have a religious conversation like that? In America, this is resulting not only in further harm to the country, but loss of freedom which will last well into the future.

The bottom line to all of this is summed up in John 8:31-32So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”  There are great number of people in the Bible who closed their ears to the truth and hardened their hearts.  They would not hear or accept the truth.  They did not want the truth shared and wanted to stop anyone who tried to share it.  Ultimately, this led to their destruction.  Therefore, let us take time to consider all the facts.  There are concerned voices of opposition to the bottlenecked flow of information.  Stop!  Take a moment to legitimately consider not just what the loudest voice in the room is saying, but what other informed and wise individuals are saying.  The suppression of secular and spiritual truth will only result in pain and the loss of freedom.

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Harding University and the Role of Women

Harding University and the Role of Women

As I understand it, Harding University is scheduled to hold a board meeting in either late spring or early summer of this year, to discuss “leading our young people into women taking a greater role in leadership in the public assembly,” and that “they will most likely be making some kind of decision,” regarding how to proceed forward therewith.

harding university

Do you walk the same narrow path as the scriptures?

Part of the problem which, no doubt, helped bring them to the brink of this dark precipice, was when the 1,942-member Downtown ‘Church of Christ’ in Searcy – where many Harding students and doubtless many Harding faculty members attend worship as well –recently decided to join Highland church in Abilene, Texas, and several others of their big-city sister congregations in open defiance of God’s commandments, in order to try to seek to please, appease, and unify those who have allowed Satan to deceive them into somehow thinking that keeping God’s commandments is no longer important or essential to their eternal salvation. Such appeasement of the people, at the total expense of obedience to God and His commandments, has never, ever, even once ended well for those who have tried it. It didn’t for Aaron and the people of Exodus 32; the ten spies and those who followed their lead instead of listening to God in Numbers 13 and 14; King Saul in 1 Samuel 15; the first-century Scribes and Pharisees and those whom they deceived into following their man-made, preferred, and imposed worship practices according to Matthew 15:1-14 and Mark  7:5-13; or, the first-century congregations of the Lord’s church in the Galatian region, according to Galatians 1-6.

FACT: The context of I Corinthians, chapters 11-15, is the Sunday/first day of the week worship assembly. It is not in reference to just an assembly, some assembly, or any old assembly, but is in the very specific context of and reference to, THE worship assembly (en ekklesia – 11:18; 12:28; 14:19, 28, 34 + 35); THE Sunday worship assembly wherein the Lord’s church comes together to do the things addressed therein: to take communion, celebrating the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and what it means to/for us (11:17-34; 15:1-58); to listen to instruction from God’s word (14:1-32); to sing and pray together (14:14-15), and to give of our means (16:1-2). A very simple reading of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16:2 will easily confirm these eternal truths. It is within the context of that Sunday worship assembly that we find the commandments contained in 1 Corinthians 14:33-37.

FACT: First Corinthians 14:33-37 contains instructions for “all the churches of the saints” (vs. 33). “All the churches of the saints” obviously means exactly what it says. These instructions are for “all the churches of the saints” – for all of the Sunday worship assemblies of the saints, in all times, places, cultures, and locations, from then on and forevermore.

Secondly, we see that in those very same and specific Sunday worship assemblies, the women are to keep “silent” (vs. 34). The Greek word translated “silent” therein is “sigao,” meaning “without sound.” If they have any questions, they are to ask their “husbands” (or more literally, their males or men-folk; Gk. “aner”) at home, because it is (currently – meaning it is,was, and always will be), “shameful for a woman to speak in church” (en ekklesia – verses 34 and 35; in THE worship assembly). The Greek word translated “shameful” here is an adjective, derived from a noun meaning: shame, disgrace, vile passions (Ro. 1:26), and/or dishonor (1 Cor. 11:14).

Thirdly, the Apostle Paul then goes on – almost as if in His divine providence and omnipresence, God knew exactly the kind of pride and ego-driven assault that some of His people would seek to make upon His divine directive – to assure us without question, that this divinely-dictated and demanded silence of women during the worship assembly is not merely some ‘take it or leave it’ suggestion, but a straightforward ‘trust and obey it’ if you love God commandment, for every saint who ever wants/wanted Him to be with them (Vs. 37; see also John 14:15, 21-24).

FACT: There is another passage with a much broader scope and application than just simply the Sunday worship assembly when it comes to faithful and God-fearing Christian women’s roles. That passage is found in 1 Timothy 2:8-15. The fact that the instructions in this particular passage are for anywhere and everywhere else – as well as, and in addition to the worship assembly – can be easily discerned from verses 8-10. Not only does the Apostle Paul, by divine inspiration, come right out and use the word “everywhere” in verse 8, but consider the following… Should Christian men be “lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (vs. 8) only in the assembly, or all the time, “everywhere?” Obviously everywhere. Should Christian women “adorn themselves in modest apparel” (vs. 9) only in the assembly, or all the time, “everywhere?”Again, obviously everywhere. Are Christian women called to “continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control” (vs. 15) only in the assembly, or all the time, “everywhere?” Once again, the obvious answer is quite obviously “everywhere.”

It is also sandwiched into the very heart and soul framework of that “everywhere” context, wherein we find the God-breathed instructions and commandments (2 Tim. 3:14-4:4) that a woman is to “learn in silence with all submission,” and not to “teach or to have authority over (that is, to lead over) a man, but to be in silence” (vss. 11-12). The Greek word rendered “silence” in this passage is not the same one as used in 1 Corinthians 14.It is not the “sigao,” “without sound,” “silence” commanded for women in the worship assembly, but is, instead, the Greek word “hesuchia,” meaning a gentle, quiet, peaceable, undisturbed, ‘keeping one’s seat’ kind of spirit; a “tranquility arising from within” type of attitude (See 1st Peter 3:3-4 for another and further example of its usage).

Going far beyond the Sunday worship assembly alone, this Second Timothy passage applies to anywhere and “everywhere” wherein Christian men (“the men… lifting holy hands…”) and Christian women (“women who profess godliness… and who would therefore continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control”) are together. This includes all such events as: youth rallies, teen devotionals, summer Bible camps, in-home Bible studies, lectureships, church-building Bible classes, small group meetings, and on and on and on… again, anywhere and everywhere that Christian men and Christian women are together. In all such circumstances, God has clearly commanded that the faithful Christian woman is not to “teach…over a man,” or, to “have authority (lead)…over a man” (such as leading singing, prayers, classes, and etc.).

Now of course that does not mean that she cannot ask a question, add to the discussion, and/or supply additional information or illustrations in those cases and classes as appropriate! Because although a Bible class is an assembly of sorts, it’s not the assembly – the first day of the week assembly – wherein the entire church comes together for communion, singing, learning from God’s word, praying, and giving of their means such as we see in 1 Corinthians 11-16. If it were, then God would have used the same word for “silence” as He did in addressing the assembly issue in 1 Corinthians 14. But He didn’t. Instead, when speaking of events everywhere else (other than in the worship assembly), He used a word which meant gentle, peaceable, or submissive – but NOT complete silence! God made a definite distinction between these two situations just as we must therefore do as well; or else we’ll come to a totally erroneous and disobedient conclusion.

Please notice that this passage concludes with God letting us know exactly why this is the case in verses 13-15. In verse 13 we see that this divine directive has absolutely nothing to do with one gender being superior to the other and/or etc. It is simply because of #1). God’s divine order of creation; and #2). Because of the order in which they fell into transgression.

Additionally, by taking us all the way back to the beginning, God also makes it incredibly clear that this instruction is to forever supersede all times, ages, generations, cultures, and/or personal or societal pressures and preferences. God’s instructions as seen here in Second Timothy Two, are completely in keeping with His divinely-established order as evidenced in other Biblical passages as well(See: 1st Cor. 11:3, 9; Eph. 5:22-33; & etc.).

In the conclusion of this text, we see clearly that if “she” (woman; the female gender in general) is to be saved (vs. 15), it will necessitate her humbly and faithfully continuing forward in fulfillment of the same role, place, position and provision for which the Lord her God originally designed and created her… (This truth is also consistent in keeping with God’s instructions in other places, regarding other beings who also defiantly rejected and abandoned their Creator’s divine plan, place, and purpose for them – See Jude 6-8).

We live in a very confused world; a world which has largely, somehow become so dumbed down that it can no longer tell the difference between a boy and a girl. This, even though in the beginning God made it very simple; He simply created them male and female – no third option, no queer combination, no crossover or corruption, and nothing else or other (Gen. 1:27). The only way anyone could ever miss that very simple, very singular, and very straightforward fact, is by being foolish enough to deny the absolute truth – and to therefore incur the absolute wrath – of almighty God (Rom. 1:18-32).

But while almost any Christian who knows anything about their Bible at all will therefore at least pay some sort of lip-service to the fact that homosexuality, physically speaking, is, was, and always will be a soul-condemning sin (1 Cor. 6:9-10), apparently some Christians seem to have no problem whatsoever with blurring the lines between the genders when it comes to their spiritual roles and responsibilities. In other words, some of these same Christians seem to be okay with creating gender-confusion and a satanic sort of spiritual transgenderism in the Lord’s church. God forbid (Rom. 6:2KJV)!

The fact is, you can’t have it both ways. In the beginning, God either designed and created them male and female just as He said – designed and created them differently; designed and created them for different roles and different purposes in both their physical as well as their spiritual roles while here on earth – or He didn’t. His word says He did, just as we covered previously in this article. His word also says that His dictates are “forever firmly fixed in the heavens” (Ps. 119:89 ESV); meaning that passages such as 1 Corinthians 14:33-37, 1 Timothy 2:8-15, and every other word of Scripture is far above and beyond any preachers, teachers, elderships or college board’s ability to change and/or tamper with (2 Cor. 4:2 ESV), no matter how many years of ‘careful prayer and study’ they may have sought to devote to doing so. His faithful, who want to remain in and maintain His favor, both believe in and obey His word no matter what the people want (1 Sam. 15:1-23).

Therefore, I would like to lovingly urge Harding University not to continue down the same path of peril as some of those who are clearly “mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt 22:29) have previously done. I would like to strongly plead with Harding’s board not to treacherously commit the same spiritual adultery and defiant disobedience as some of your sister colleges and congregations have done (See:  Jer. 3:7-10). Please, I beseech you; do not surrender up your allegiance and obedience to God, simply because of what a few uninformed, misinformed, untaught and/or unfaithful to the word of God others might seem to want.

“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). Our prayers are with you.


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Pay Attention to What is Written

Pay Attention to What is Written

If America would understand the importance of studying the Old Testament, our world would drastically change and head in a new direction. Why do we have that old covenant when we live under the new one? Listen to what God says. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).  We are a sick nation because we have not paid attention to those things written before.

Have you learned from what was written?

There is evil in our land as there was evil in the land of Noah. When godly people became intertwined with the ungodly, our holy God responded. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” (Gen. 6:5-6). At one time, we at least said that we wanted to be “one nation under God,” but now we have become a nation which longs to be “one nation out from under God.” How much longer will it be before God is sorry that He ever made America?

What things were written before? Read those verses from Genesis again and understand they were for our learning!

How do these words from Micah describe our land? “Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it” (Micah 2:1). They cunningly devise their plans and then carry them out as soon as the morning light comes. How good are they at it? “They do evil … successfully with both hands” (Micah 7:3). We are truly a land filled with ambidextrous people!

Once a nation starts down the road of evil it becomes more and more corrupt. Paul described it this way, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). Jeremiah’s words are so graphic: “And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me” (Jer. 9:3).

We hear that the economy is booming, and while that may be true, there is something far more important. Our land has become a place where “evil is booming.” Will we never learn? Is there no hope? The hope for us is found in the opening words of this article. Those things written before were written for our learning!

How do we respond to all of this evil? What values must we place in our homes? It’s very simple. We must not follow the multitude to do evil (Ex. 23:2). We must not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).

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Expectations of the Honored Seat

Expectations of the Honored Seat

In Luke 14:8-11, Jesus talks about the perils of sitting in the most honored seat. Doing so may result in being asked to move to a less honored seat and cause shame. Jesus then says, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11). The Holy Spirit calls this a parable, and there is a spiritual application.

expectations self others

Do your expectations lead to trouble?

What is the mindset behind seeking the more honored seat? It is thinking too highly of ourselves as Paul warns us against in Romans 12:3. What does this look like in our daily lives? Sometimes thinking more highly of ourselves presents in what we expect of others. Do we expect others to treat us in a certain way? How do we expect them to treat us? Should we expect this of them? Are we wanting them to think of us more highly than we ought to think? Do we want to be respected? Do we want to be loved? Do we want to be admired? Do we want to be served? Do we want to be treated fairly? Do we want to be seen as something?

Have you noticed that all of these questions lead back to our own desires? What we desire of others reveals our expectations of them and our high opinion of ourselves. Perhaps instead of seeking the “honorable seat” in the minds of others we should seat ourselves in the lower place by lowering or even eliminating our expectations and focus on our own behavior. Doing so will actually enable us to do what God wants us to do: love our neighbor as ourselves.

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By the Numbers

By the Numbers

In Numbers 13, God told Moses to select one leader from each of the twelve tribes to send into Canaan. Their mission would be to spy out the land God had promised them and then report back to the people. Upon their return, ten out of the twelve of those ancient Israelite field “reporters” gave their audience a very slanted, subjective, and flat-out “bad report of the land which they had spied out” (vs. 32; see vss. 26-33). However, the other two “reporters,” Joshua and Caleb, sought to be the far more faithful, positive, objective and common-sense voice reason (vs. 30, 14:6-9). But because the people chose to only hone in on and heed the slant of the “bad news” reporters instead, they soon found themselves weeping, complaining, and consumed by fear and frustration (Numbers 14:1-4) – and that was just the beginning (vss. 11-45)! Because it is extremely obvious that such a constant and overwhelming diet of nothing but subjectively-slanted “bad news” reports can make people unnecessarily afraid and fearful, may I offer the following Joshua and Caleb style common-sense perspective?

numbers fear

Are the numbers scaring you?

Yes; the Coronavirus can be a very deadly and devastating disease in some cases. However, here are a few things to keep in mind as you watch the news and their constantly changing numbers on this thing.

#1.  As of April 1st, there were a reported 206,207 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S., resulting in 4,512 deaths. While any, one, singular death is one far, far too many, do you know what those numbers actually indicate? They mean that nearly 98% of those who have been confirmed to have had it, have not died from it. 98%! Don’t you think that some of our health care professionals who deal with other life and death afflictions such as cancer for example, would just love to see a 98% survival rate in their field?

#2.  Just because we keep hearing that the number of confirmed cases is still expected to rise, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there are that many more new cases. Remember: Test kits are becoming far more plentiful. Test results are now being processed much more quickly. This means that far more people will now be able to be tested, and so of course the number of confirmed cases is going to go up. But that doesn’t mean that all of those are necessarily new cases, but just simply newly-confirmed cases. There’s a huge difference.

#3.  And finally, I have a question that I’m not completely clear on. When they report the total number of confirmed COVID19 cases on the bottom of your screen, doesn’t that number reflect the total amount of confirmed cases SINCE THIS THING FIRST BEGAN? If so, then that would mean it is by no means an accurate indicator of how many people currently have the virus. If the many thousands of people who have recovered from or have unfortunately perished from it have not been subtracted from those numbers, then those numbers need to be understood in that context. Put another way, our county had a confirmed number of three cases for quite a while. Then one day recently it went up to four, and it now sits at five. But that may not necessarily mean that the virus has or is spreading. There may currently be only a couple or so cases in the county, because some of those who were confirmed to have had it in the beginning no longer do. However, if those who no longer have it are still counted in the total amount of confirmed cases to date, then that number can be  as misleading as seeking to report to others the world’s total population simply by adding up the annual birth rate, while never subtracting the millions of people who comprise the annual death-rate.

The bottom line is simply this: Do not allow the reporting majority’s particular slant to mislead you into unnecessary fear, frustration, and anxiety, in the same way as it did to God’s people in Numbers 13-14. Instead, determine to take a more faithful and reasonable, objective and common-sense, Joshua and Caleb type approach to the problem. Yes, it is big – there’s no doubt about it. But it is not as big as some of the daily statistics that we are continually being bombarded with might seem to indicate – and it is certainly nowhere near as big as our God!

Therefore my beloved brethren: “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love. …The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen” (1 Cor 16:13-14, 23-24).

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