Cheer the Death of a Newborn Infant?

Cheer the Death of a Newborn Infant?

Not too long ago, the State of New York’s legislature passed legislation that permitted a woman to abort a child up to the time of birth. The governor signed the bill into law, and the legislature cheered. Not too long after this happened, Virginia’s recently elected governor proposed something along the same line. Such news saddens me because it tells me that our society is drifting further from God each day. Who, in their right mind, would cheer the death of a newborn infant? Yet, some would cheer the death of infants seconds from being born.

cheer infant

The newborn life of an infant is something to embrace.

The so-called pro-choice movement is not really for choice at all. They don’t want women to be presented with the facts of abortion. They don’t want women to be educated as to what happens when a baby is literally ripped from the womb. When women are given the opportunity to make a real choice, they will choose life. Many women are deliberately refused access to alternate information so that the abortion will not be refused. These political panderers don’t want women to have a choice. They would lose their money. It would also take away their political power.Their power and their money depend upon their being able to legally murder babies. Shameful.

Can those who get abortions be forgiven? Yes. God will forgive. It is heartening that many women who were formerly pro-choice are now pro-life. They will, however, live with the consequences of their choices and the memories of their actions. That is a high price to pay for “sexual freedom.” God, however, can change even the leopard’s spots, and can bring someone through such difficult struggles to where real joy may once again be found. We should pray for the women of our country, our local, state, and federal governments, and for those who have had abortions that we all may be healed.

 

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Jesus’ Prayer and the Vaccinated Debate

Jesus’ Prayer and the Vaccinated Debate

I do not pray for these alone, but for those who are vaccinated, don’t take up hospital beds, and love others enough to get the booster; that they may point out how the unvaccinated are unloving and stand strong, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be divided over fleshly things in Us, that the world may know what side they are on. And the glory which You gave will be spotlighted on me when I belittle those who disagree with me and win this argument! (1 Opinions 17:20-22)

Jesus vaccine

Are you worthless in Gods eyes if you don’t get the jab?

The night Jesus went into Garden of Gethsemane to pray and was arrested, He first prayed for unity. Hopefully the “passage” above seems ludicrous and ridiculous—but consider many of the posts shared on social media compared to Jesus’ prayer:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one” (John 17:20-22).

He prayed that we would be united—ultimately united in Christ. He wanted His followers to be one. In John 13:35 Jesus observed, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Church, it’s past time we stop living in the flesh and focus our hearts and minds on spiritual things. Two hundred years from now this virus, the vaccine, masks, and opinionated posts won’t matter. They really won’t.

I encourage Christians to abandon earthly arguments, become united, and demonstrate a love that sets us apart from the world. Spend some time meditating on Romans 8:5-9:

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

The toughest night of His life Jesus prayed we would be united. It’s time we seek that unity together!

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UNA DEFENSA A LA PALABRA “LIDERAZGO”

UNA DEFENSA A LA PALABRA “LIDERAZGO”

Estoy seguro de que muchos ni siquiera leerán el artículo a causa del desacuerdo. Está bien, no siempre tenemos que estar en acuerdo con todo, pero el propósito conciso es presentar una defensa para el uso de la palabra liderazgo aún cuando usted no esté en acuerdo conmigo.

Recientemente un hermano hizo rigurosamente énfasis en esta palabra y dijo “no estoy de acuerdo en usarla” así que tuve que cambiar la palabra y la conversación continuó. En el momento obviamente uno no desea ser contencioso y tener una discusión de una hora sobra una sola y llana palabra. Eso si considero que el tema amerita clarificación pues la actitud del hermano fue cortante en el usar de palabra “liderazgo”,  la reacción fue como si el peor pecado que jamás los hombres hayan cometido haya sido invocado en ese santo recinto. No es la primera vez ni el primer hermano que lo hace, no lo sé pero se siente como si yo me “estuviera perdiendo de algo” o estos hermanos saben algo que yo no. Así que sin más preámbulo le ofrezco 3 sencillos aspectos lógicos en la defensa del uso de esta palabra.

 

1.     CLARIFICACIÓN

Es verdad que las denominaciones no han ayudado mucho. Es también verdad que ellos usan la palabra “liderazgo” en un sentido no bíblico. La Biblia enseña con claridad como es que Dios ha organizado su Iglesia y el gobierno con el cual ella funciona.  Los apóstoles estaban de primeros en esta lista, pero muerto el último de ellos el gobierno inicia con los ancianos, diáconos, evangelistas, maestros, y en ausencia de ancianos y diáconos varones fieles.  Por ninguna parte leemos sobre un solo pastor a cargo, o una junta directiva que dirija la congregación ni mucho menos de un cuerpo gobernante llamado “liderazgo”. Cuando las denominaciones hablan de liderazgo se están refiriendo a su forma anti-bíblica de organización.  Sin embargo cuando seguimos los pasos de organización que prescribe la Biblia aquello puede ser llamado perfectamente de forma general el “liderazgo” de la congregación, aún cuando estemos haciendo referencia directamente a los ancianos pues precisamente el trabajo de ellos es liderar a la congregación hacia el cielo.  La palabra no debería de entenderse como un título sino como la descripción de un trabajo. Creo que la falta de madurez y visión bíblica podría llevar a alguien a “satanizar” la palabra en cualquier forma y cualquier contexto.

 

2.     CONCEPTO

Con todo alguien podría preguntar con firmeza ¿Dónde está el versículo que diga liderazgo? La respuesta deberá ser muy concreta. Simplemente no existe tal palabra en las escrituras pues es una forma reciente de expresión de nuestro castellano. La Rae (real academia española) define la palabra liderazgo en su segundo punto, como el ejercicio de las actividades de un líder.

Existen otras palabras que no se encuentran como tal en el sagrado libro pero su concepto si aparece, tenemos por ejemplo la palabra “autonomía” que significa gobierno local y todo lo que ello implica.  ¿Alguna vez has escuchado a alguien oponerse al concepto de esta palabra simplemente porque la palabra no aparece en la santa inspiración? Ciertamente una de las cosas más difíciles que uno se puede encontrar en el ministerio es la de ser consistente.  En lógica hablamos de la ley de la identidad; sencillamente presupone que si algo posee ciertas características bien definidas entonces ese algo simplemente es.[1] .  Un ejemplo sencillo de la ley de la identidad es: si camina como pato, tiene pico, plumas, come como pato y grazna como pato sencillamente es un pato. Si  el ancianado, lidera la congregación en la enseñanza, en el ejemplo, en organización, en amor y lidera la congregación hacia el cielo, sencillamente ellos son el liderazgo.

Entonces en un sentido estrictamente bíblico la palabra pude ser utilizada correctamente sin violar ningún principio establecido. El cuidado de no ir más allá de lo que la escritura dice debe siempre estar presente y es loable  pero sin cruzar la línea de hacer leyes e imponerlas cuando Dios no lo ha hecho. Claramente podemos usar palabras no bíblicas que tienen un concepto escritural y sean agradables al Señor.

 

3.     USO BÍBLICO

Por supuesto que existe un uso bíblico del concepto.  En Deut.1:13 el vocablo רֹאשׁ (ra) puede ser traducido como; jefe, cabeza,  príncipe, caudillo y líder.  Barry Magnun  hace notar correctamente lo siguiente: “Este pasaje es un resumen de Ex. 18:13–26 y  Núm. 11:14–17 de cómo Moisés asigna los roles de liderazgo  a otros en la comunidad de los hijos de Israel para poder descargar algunas de sus obligaciones administrativas.  Algunas de las leyes relacionadas con este servicio son repetidas aquí (compare Deut. 1:17; Ex. 23:2–3; Lev. 19:18)”.[2] Alguien podría argumentar que ahora estamos viviendo en el nuevo pacto por que debemos  volver nuestra mirada al nuevo testamento y tal reclamo es válido.

Pablo escribe en 1 Tesa.5:12: “ Os rogamos, hermanos, que conozcáis a los que trabajan entre vosotros, y os presiden en el Señor, y os amonestan”. Note con atención el uso de “presiden”. Si eso no es el concepto de liderazgo entonces me declaro ignorante del asunto.

En otros pasajes como Hechos 20:17 Pablo hizo llamar a los ancianos de la Iglesia. Pero claro que él conocía muy bien la palabra “ancianos” y de haber querido usarla, perfectamente lo hubiera hecho. En 1Tes.5:12, sin embargo usó “presiden”. Estoy convencido que en la Iglesia en Tesalónica no existía una forma distinta  a lo que Pablo había estado haciendo en otras Iglesias cuando constituía ancianos  (Hechos 14:23). Para nada se estaba refiriendo a una especie de “cuerpo gobernante” cuando dijo “os presiden”. El punto de este argumento es que aún Pablo usó en ocasiones (como en esta en especifico)  una palabra  distinta para referirse a los ancianos o hombres de fe que estaban trabajando en la obra del Señor en Tesalónica. El vocablo  griego προΐστημι (proistemi) puede ser definido como gobernar, presidir, luchar por, ocuparse en. No solo los ancianos estaban exhortando, no, ni tampoco solo ellos estaban trabajando y Pablo dice “los que trabajan”. En 1 Cor.16:16 había pedido a los hermanos a estar sujetos a hermanos que ayudan y trabajan. Claro está que en la primera línea están los ancianos pero el texto dice a “…todos los que ayudan y trabajan” (énfasis HLM añadido).  Por lo tanto es propio concluir que “presidir” o liderar está en línea con 1 Cor.16:16 para ser aplicado no solamente a los ancianos de una congregación local, sino a varones fieles esforzados que aman al Señor y su obra.

El asunto del uso de las palabras podría ser complejo en muchas ocasiones. Un hermano  solía repetir “las palabras tienen significado” y es verdad pero yo añadiría “también tienen contexto”. Si yo digo “liderazgo” en el contexto de la  correcta organización bíblica  no hay problema alguno. Sin embargo si uso “liderazgo” como título para  referirse a un cuerpo extraño ajeno al patrón de las escrituras entonces está mal y para nada defenderé esa posición. Pido prestada las palabras de Pablo en 1 Corintios 11:16 “Con todo eso, si alguno quiere ser contencioso, nosotros no tenemos tal costumbre, ni las iglesias de Dios”.

Referencias


[1] Warren, T. B. (1982). Logic and the Bible (p. 20). Ramer, TN: National Christian Press.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Dt 1:9–18). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.


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You Will Die, But You Can Live!

You Will Die, But You Can Live!

It is mid-September a I sit down to compose this article. COVID continues to ravage and wreak havoc amongst our families, churches, schools, communities, state, and nation. There is probably no one at this point who has not felt it’s deadly reach and results at least somewhere within their circle of family, friends, and/or acquaintances. And yet, as we all know, COVID is not the only thing that is continuing to take people’s lives. Average everyday people still continue to die daily from everything from cancer, to car crashes, to a thousand other causes.

live life

Do you want to live?

Although it may be hard for some to accept (even though they know that it is true), the fact of the matter is, that everyone is eventually going to die from something. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15:50). Even those who are alive when the Lord returns will still have to have their souls separated from their physical bodies in order for them to enter the spiritual realm (1 Cor.15:42-55). But either way, everyone is going to have to experience this separation of their souls from their earthly bodies, or, “die” (Eccl. 12:7).

The realization of this truth is one reason why we, as members of the Lord’s church, study, worship, and do the things we do, the very specific Biblical way in which we do them. Understanding that every single human being on the planet will one day have to leave this earth and appear before the judgment seat of God (2 Cor. 5:1-10), we spend what precious little Bible study and worship time we do have together, seeking to draw ever closer to, and developing an ever more intimate spiritual relationship with almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:8-21).

We do not believe that we should be wasting either our own or anyone else’s precious time with any other, more frivolous, and/or more worldly pursuits, when there is so much spiritually at stake – namely our eternal soul’s destination. Therefore, we do not seek to spend our time trying to draw a crowd or entertain through mirth, songs, skits, or drama; but instead, fully devote ourselves and what little precious Bible study and worship time we do have, to exploring, examining, explaining and obeying, only what Their word, the Bible, actually teaches – the Bible alone, which the Lord Himself said would be that which would judge us all on the last day (Jn. 12:48).

We make it our priority to follow the Apostle Peter’s divinely-inspired instructions (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Ptr. 1:20-21), as seen in 2nd Peter. “…As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue… giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (1:3-11, 3:18).

To spend one’s brief earthly life consumed with either ignoring, seeking to avoid, or failing to fully prepare for that which is ultimately inevitable anyway, seems a rather sad and futile pursuit, when that event can instead be faced with the full peace, comfort, confidence, and assurance, that can only come through an in-depth knowledge of God, through an in-depth study of His holy word, does it not?

We all have an appointment with death. We all have an appointment with God. We will all have to face Him in judgement. Seeking to ignore, avoid, or evade it, will certainly not in any way change it – except to leave us totally unprepared for it.

If you are at all concerned about where you will spend eternity, and would like to begin to prepare for when your time does come to leave this world to go and face God, then please consider coming to get better prepared along with us here at the Lord’s church. Let’s study and get ready together, shall we (1 Thess. 5:1-11; 2 Ptr. 3:10-12)

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The Danger of Shallow Biblical Knowledge

The Danger of Shallow Biblical Knowledge

When I was a student at Freed-Hardeman University, the Mooresville congregation near Lewisburg, Tennessee wanted to send me to help spread the gospel in Georgia. Through one of teachers at the college, I made contact with the church in Savannah, and I preached in my first gospel meeting in an attempt to plant the church Statesboro, Georgia.

Stop talking

People of all ages would do well to talk less and listen more.

I was there for two weeks knocking on doors and inviting the people to the upcoming meeting. On the Sunday before the meeting began, I worshiped with the Bull Street congregation where W.F. Buffington was preaching. I will never forget what he said in that Sunday morning Bible class.

He was discussing a topic dealing with the application of Biblical truths to a moral situation. There was a new convert in the class who felt like he was a Bible scholar and continued to interrupt the older preacher. Brother Buffington was kind, but the young man persisted in his effort to interrupt the teacher. Finally brother Buffington had had enough so he said, “________, you are still too worldly to discuss this and you are not as smart as you think you are. The best way you can help this class is to be quiet and listen to what God says.”

I have thought of this often over the years and have found myself in a similar situation. People who have just a shallow knowledge of the Bible fail to remember what Paul says, “Knowledge puffs up…and if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he know nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Cor. 9:1-2). The actions of that new convert are such a vivid illustration of that old adage, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

The wisdom of Solomon on this topic is seen in Ecclesiastes chapter five. “Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.” To hastily speak in the house of God is to act as a fool. When it comes to Bible study, I think often about that new convert. Brother Buffington’s advice, “Let your words be few.”

So many times, we speak too rashly about spiritual matters, especially when our knowledge is shallow. As you study your Bible, listen to what God has said. It is foolish for anyone to add his own opinions about spiritual matters. Study the Bible. Study it often. Study it deeply. Then, humbly tell others about what you have learned.

I will never forget that young convert’s actions.

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