Tag Archives: Bible

What Do You Surrender?

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all, I surrender all
All to thee my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Whatever type of Christian you are, or even it you are not a Christian, you are probably familiar with or have at least heard this hymn. This is the dedication Christ demands. But what are you surrendering and who are you surrendering to?

And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Luke 9:58

We are like Pope Innocent IV when he invited Thomas Aquinas into his chamber to count a large sum of money and said. “You see that the Church is no longer in an age in which she can say, Silver and gold have I none?” “It is true, Holy Father,” replied Thomas Aquinas, “nor can she now say to the lame man, Rise up and walk!”

America is filled with churches which love the world system rather than loving the Father. They have organizations which require money to pay staff, repair buildings, advertise, broadcast and many other things which are not evil in and of themselves. They establish budgets which are reasonable when set up, but require other sources of revenue when the expenses continue or rise but income falls.

This is a great test of faith. We do not need to be a pastor of a mega church or run a large university to face this test. A single mother with children to feed can face the same test. This is when we must surrender something to continue.

The woman who turns to prostitution to feed her children is condemned as a great sinner, turning from the Faith. But the university president, evangelist or pastor who fails to proclaim the whole council of God and ignores certain sins because preaching against those sins will offend certain wealthy supporter is committing spiritual adultery.

But perhaps the greatest sin today is ignoring the Word of God and it’s teachings to satisfy our own lusts. Those lusts might be cooking or hobbies or just talking with friends. We do not want to know what God’s righteous requirements are because we are too busy “doing our own things.”

“Do not love the world nor the things of the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. I John 2:15.

What are you surrendering and who are you surrendering to?

1 Comment

Filed under Bible Teaching, Current Issues, Politics, History

Why Him? Why Now? A Review of Messages by John Michael Hileman

Messages is described as a “fictional allegory,” similar to a parable. A parable uses physical elements to teach a spiritual lesson. David Chance develops a sudden “talent.” Words stand out in posters, newspapers, even movie titles, and give him “messages.” Some might object to these extrabiblical revelations. The story has plenty of Scripture and biblical teaching and the “messages” don’t teach doctrine. They really just push the adventure and mystery along.

Just one example, the $400 incident, is a brilliant detail. Don’t forget the $400. The full “Why Him? Why now?” mystery isn’t explained until almost the end of the book. He is an ordinary man but providentially placed for the “Why Now?” of terrorists, hidden bombs and presidential assassination. Revealing these story elements isn’t giving away the real surprises in the story. There are many, and they really keep the reader adrenalin-buzzed and zig-zagging right along with poor David.

“Why him?” It’s a case of “be careful what you wish for.” Or what you beg for, and pray for. When the response to his plea to understand God comes David learns how far from ready he is. Fortunately godly counsel is only a phone call away, even in the most extreme circumstances. The fact that part of David’s extraordinary quest involves keeping his godly counselor alive is another brilliant detail.

This story examines a favorite theme of mine, how a person can believe he’s “good enough,” or other people are, until reality jars that nonsense out of his head. Who can you trust? Who are the good guys and the bad guys? In the end, David realizes that goodness, and trustworthiness, and faith, are not things for which man alone has the answers.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

What is Salvation?

“The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

“There is none righteous, no not one.” (Romans 3:10)

Since we are all sinners, we need to have our sins atoned for. Jesus Christ, the sinless Lamb of God “gave his life a ransom for many.”

First we must recognize that we are sinners in need of salvation. Then we must understand that as a sinner there is nothing we can do to atone for our own sin or bring about our own salvation. But salvation is like a marriage, it is not a 50%/50% relationship, it is a 100%/100% relationship.

Though salvation is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5) we still have total responsibility to serve God. “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18)

Our works are technically called Sanctification, since only God can work the work of Salvation.

God also commands us to be fruit inspectors. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20) But we must be very careful to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit. The parable of the wheat and the tares illustrates our difficulty. Tares are a variety of weed which look very much like wheat until the time comes to produce seeds. The Bible teaches us that seemingly wicked men, such as Abraham’s nephew Lot are actually righteous. Others that appear to be righteous, even talking with God, such as Balaam, are actually evil. In the matter of salvation, we must be very careful to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

The fruit (works) we are to look for is a love for the Lord, a desire to fulfill the great commission and the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith).

Our beliefs on the doctrine of salvation are written down in detail in our books, Findley Family Video Biblical Studies and Antidisestablishmentarianism. The Biblical Studies books are written for homeschool so there is a student and a teacher’s edition. The only difference is that the teacher’s edition contains the answers. They include our commentary on Great Doctrines of the Bible by Evans. All of these are available in ebook format and all four books (Our three and Evans, which can be obtained free online) can be purchased for less then $10 total.

2 Comments

Filed under Bible Teaching, Excerpts from our Nonfiction Books

What Is a Pig Translation?


 

Every missionary to the many tribes in Papua New Guinea has to face the translation issue. There are numerous tribes and each tribe has its own language, usually with no understanding of any outside language. There are very few missionaries for the total number of tribes. When the missionary lives in a tribe and learns the language well enough, he begins translating the Word of God into that language.

“Behold the lamb of God.” But these people have no idea what a lamb is. Some missionaries choose to stay long enough to educate these tribesmen, even paying out of their own pockets to bring a lamb in. The years or decades this takes means that other tribes will never even hear of the Word of God. There are only two alternatives. Use a word these tribesmen will probably never understand or use the closest word these tribesmen already understand. However, the only creature that these tribesmen have ever seen which is anything like a lamb is a pig. If you were the translator and were unable to stay long enough to educate this tribe would you translate John 1:36 “Behold the pig of God?”

No translation is inspired, including the King James. It was an excellent translation for its day and is still one of the best, but the meaning of many words has changed. “Suffer” no longer means “permit,” “quick” does not mean “alive,” and “conversation” does not mean “manner of life.” No modern Standard English speaker uses these words in that way. These are not errors, just obstacles to understanding. At some point, these obstacles will make understanding impossible.

The KJV is not the only translation to face this problem of changing language. All of the many translations which brought people to Christ faced this problem. The Latin Vulgate, which probably holds the “top spot” for bringing people to Christ, now requires a special course in ecclesiastical Latin to be able to read and understand. Another translation greatly blessed by God is Luther’s German (of which there are many, since he revised annually). The Reina-Valera Spanish translation has also had wide influence and been greatly used by the Holy Spirit. We can be thankful that English has no corner on the market of salvation through the Scriptures. It is sad that some people hold to the idea that more people will be in heaven because of the KJV than any other translation. This is simply not true.

The original printing of the 1611 KJV was almost immediately replaced by the 1613 because of the number of spelling mistakes and typographical errors. Most libraries and archivists have the 1613, not the 1611. Both contained the Apocrypha, notes, and significant spelling differences. Because King James never authorized the translation which bears his name, there were thousands upon thousands of changes throughout the years. One of the most famous was the 1629 edition which incorporated the newly acquired Alexandranus text.

Current KJV versions sold throughout the English speaking world come from 1769 revisions. There are actually two 1769 editions, the Cambridge and Oxford editions. They have minor but definite differences. 1. Jeremiah 34:16, the present Oxford KJV has “whom he,” while the present Cambridge KJV has “whom ye.” 2. 2 Chronicles 33:19, the present Oxford KJV has “sins,” while the present Cambridge KJV has “sin.” 3. Nahum 3:16. At this verse, the present Oxford KJV has “fleeth” while the present Cambridge KJV has “flieth.”

There are mistakes, though they are small and relatively insignificant, in the KJV. Just one example is that candlestick should be translated lampstand. Candles did not come into use until Roman times, and so could not have been used in the Tabernacle or Temple. Besides, related passages specify the use of “oil for the light,” which indicates a lamp.

The Greek New Testament produced by Erasmus formed the basis of the KJV translation. Erasmus had only one Greek manuscript for Revelation, which did not have the last six verses. He used the Latin Vulgate for these verses. Revelation 22:19 in the KJV reads: “the book of life;” while every known Greek manuscript read “the tree of life.”

In spite of the facts, many people have made a belief in the word-for-word inspiration of the KJV a test of fellowship. They reject anyone who will not agree that the KJV is the only inspired English translation. This is a heresy.

http://jcsm.org/StudyCenter/john_macarthur/KJV.htm references a pamphlet produced by John MacArthur which provides a fairly thorough treatment of his dealings with one KJV only preacher and his perspective on the subject. It is much more detailed than this brief piece and covers the subject well.

8 Comments

Filed under Bible Teaching, Current Issues, Politics

Random Thoughts on the Subject of Christmas

I read an article about a YMCA that replaced its Santa with Frosty the Snowman. This was a decision by the local management, not some upper-level YMCA ruling. They said it was because they wanted to make their annual seasonal celebration more inclusive for everyone. I heard earlier from a friend that a YMCA in Pennsylvania was going to let them hold church services in their building, but then decided they shouldn’t. After all, that C in the name shouldn’t be misconstrued as implying that they support Christianity.

But back to the Santa thing. Please tell me when we got to the point that Santa Claus was a Christian symbol in America? I know there are historical roots in Roman Catholicism or Orthodox belief with Saint Nicholas and Father Christmas, but I always thought that Santa Claus as an American institution was pretty much non-religious. Frequently he has quasi-religious characteristics, such as keeping a watch and a list to see about that whole naughty and nice thing, rewarding the good (candy and toys) and punishing the bad (coal and switches), and the ability to travel the world and make his deliveries in a single night.

Some Christians hasten to point out that Jesus Christ most likely wasn’t born in December, that this time-of-year celebration has many pagan roots and elements and is hardly Christian anyway. Even those conservative Christians who are glad to celebrate Christmas have frequently spoken out against Santa as usurping the place of God. They object to Santa taking on some of God’s attributes and crowding out the birth of Christ entirely. Sometimes Christ is allowed to co-exist, but it has always seemed weird to see the nativity set alongside the sleigh and reindeer on so many lawns. The church I grew up in had Santa Claus visit the Sunday School children. That was weird, too.

The true meaning and purpose of Christmas has been leaking out of the American brain for years. I’m going to continue this ramble in a later note, but let me leave you with this thought. Are you just as guilty as secularists and the rest of the confused country of making this holiday, this “Holy Day,” incomprehensible to the world?

Every year there are politically correct government or management decisions to cut out nativity scenes, to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” to stick to non-religious Christmas music, to avoid any reference to the true reason we have this holiday at this time.

More and more, however, Christmas trees are no longer welcome, decorations on desks at work are banned, and anything that reminds us that Christmas is anything but a winter holiday with possible time off from work is taboo. It’s okay to display lots of commercialism starting sometime in October, to go nuts with the lights and lawn displays, to max out the credit cards buying stuff. It’s also okay to make fun of Christmas, to emphasize that it’s totally mythological. Santa and Jesus are equally fairy tales.

The TV show “Bones,” about a forensic anthropologist and an FBI agent who solve crimes, apparently loves to do Christmas shows. One had a murdered temp agency Santa who seemed to be the “real” Santa. He refused to work on Christmas Eve, designed toys, and wore real ermine on his suit.

Another one had Dr. Brennan (Bones) expounding on how she takes a trip out of the country at Christmas to avoid the whole ridiculous celebration. She is reluctant to even enable her incarcerated father and brother to celebrate Christmas together.  Brennan objects to lying to her brother’s adopted children and pretending he is not in prison, just visiting his father. Booth (the FBI agent who is a practicing Roman Catholic and very badly represents the faithful) states that to make all this happen they are going to have to practice deceptions, and that you have to tell lies at Christmas. It’s part of the deal, apparently.

Secular Humanism has been taking aim at Christmas for years. They’d like to wipe it out of existence. Kwanzaa seems to have been invented to further that purpose. Every year you see t-shirts and bumper stickers proclaiming “Festivus for the rest of us.” (If I understand it right, Festivus is some sort of celebration invented on the TV show “Seinfeld” and adopted by secularists as if it were real). Winter Solstice is another great one to bring up. Pagans can celebrate their holiday, but not Christians.

Hannukah seems to have been squeezed almost into non-existence as well. When we delivered to Michaels craft stores in Jewish areas they complained that management never sent them any Hannukah supplies. Nothing even remotely connected with Christmas or the true God in the minds of Secularists can be permitted. Every year they push the envelope further. Sometimes people push back. Even Jews want the trees, they want Santa, but do they want the true God or Christ?

The movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” deals with a congressman who, in one scene, speaks to a constituent who wants to keep a creche (nativity scene) at a firehouse. There is opposition and the man wants Wilson to make the opposition stop. Wilson says to him, with the wisdom of Solomon, knowing his people and his towns so well, that he should move the creche to a nearby church lawn, and adds, “everybody lives.” Wilson is depicted in the movie as a hard-living, hard-drinking, womanizing reprobate, but a man who still takes his political and social responsibilities seriously. And he wants to keep Christ out of secular life, over on the church lawn where He belongs.

So, see, in a way, this incident with the YMCA kicking out Santa means secularists are trying to attack Christianity when they attack Santa, and trees, and Christmas carols. I guess our culture is so warped now that we may have to consider Santa an ally, though I’m not necessarily ready to fight to keep him in Christmas celebrations.  I am ready to point out that this is another attack by Secular Humanism, and we should take it seriously.

I’d lots rather fight to keep the creches at the firehouses (the town I grew up in had one for many years), the wise men and the star up on the hill near Arizona State University in Arizona. I’d like to see stars or angels on treetops and along city streets (though the depiction of angels is a whole other subject). Now and then someone speculates that maybe the reason we give presents is because the wise men gave gifts to Jesus. I’d fight to keep that in too.

We read the Christmas story with whatever family we can gather at Christmas. The whole thing, from Zacharias to the return from Egypt, out of the Bible, not a Bible Story Book. I would definitely fight to keep that. That’s the most important thing to keep, honoring and recognizing the importance and authority of the Word of God. We should do it all year long, but maybe if you haven’t really studied the Word of God and accepted its authority in the past, this is a good time to start. To keep Christ in Christmas and in America we have to keep the Word on our lips, in our minds and in our Hearts.

1 Comment

Filed under Bible Teaching, Current Issues, Politics, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

Principles of Science Teaching


There are only two ways to teach Science: to teach it as a unified subject or divide it into categories. Unified sounds good but can be overwhelming to students. Subatomic particles like electrons don’t divide themselves into disciplines according to how they behave. In Physics we study electrons in different ways from observing how they behave in Organic Chemistry as electrons generating electrical impulses. By the time they have traveled down nerves and crossed synapses and caused our muscles to move they have gone over into the study of Biology. In fact, a degree in electrical engineering is known as an EEE (electrical and electronics engineer) because electricity and electronics operate so differently on a large and a small scale.

To keep from overwhelming students on high school level and below the sciences are generally divided into different subject areas. In Jr High or Middle School they are simply taught as Physical Sciences and Life Sciences. In High School the subjects are usually broken down into Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Interrelationships are rarely explored in detail because there is no time.

The question often asked about science is, how do you make these subjects Christian? In Life Science, you can emphasize the fact that God created all life, and it did not develop by evolution. We can also study God’s requirements for treating all life, animal, plant, and human. In the hard sciences (those that are testable in a laboratory setting), the Bible speaks just as clearly.  “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Heb 11:3 NASB).

The spiritual created the material. The supernatural can intervene in and change the material world. Job got boils from head to foot from no physical cause. Jesus walked on water and healed people born blind and lame. Elijah was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot.

The material universe is finite, not infinite. Though God is in control, we are responsible as mangers. God will hold us accountable for the way we manage the material world. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26)

The world is relatively young, less than 10,000 years old. It is going to be destroyed by act of God’s judgment because of man’s rebellion. Man cannot destroy the earth.The Bible demands that we have wisdom and skill in handling material possessions but we should not spend all our time efforts and energy developing these things. They are secondary to worshiping God. The material world is not to become our god. We should not become obsessed with seeking material possessions or how to manipulate the material world. How we handle science will determine the quality of our life here on earth. We are limited in what it can do to the material world and it is finite and temporary.

Science is constantly changing, more than any other field. Whatever curriculum a homeschooling family chooses it must be a modern, comprehensive textbook acknowledging the principles God has set forth.

1 Comment

Filed under Education, Scientific

Philosophy of Bible Teaching


We take the historical-grammatical interpretation. “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studies in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise. God in revealing His Word neither intends nor permits the reader to be confused. He wants His children to understand.” Dr. D. A. Waite, in Ephesians.

We have examined the evidence and conclude that the facts teach that the Bible should be treated like any other literature in its proper historical and grammatical context. When it claims to be the Word of God it cannot be interpreted to mean something else and must be accepted or rejected. There are literally thousands of available Bible curricula. The question is, how thoroughly do you want to treat the subject? Also, different curricula emphasize different aspects of Bible study. Some focus on devotional aspects. These tend to include a great deal of commentary and less real study of the Scriptures themselves. Many focus on application, trying to make the Scriptures “relevant” to modern life or “age-appropriate.” These also neglect areas of historical, doctrinal or the strict interpretation of a passage. We teach a unity of Science, History, Literature and the Scriptures. Divorcing the Bible from other subjects allows secularists to put it in a separate category from the “Academic” studies.

The Bible is Scientifically and Historically accurate. It also uses literary devices. Other ancient literature contains similar poetic devices and figures of speech which can aid in understanding the Scriptures. The Bible can be studied doctrinally, chronologically, historically, biographically, by doing word studies, or topically. Many good books on all these approaches are available. If your emphasis is on doctrinal study, Evans Great Doctrines is an excellent resource. We follow Baptist belief that the church is not a continuation of Israel. While the true church is made up only of believers, the visible church may have unbelievers in it because it is not possible for us to know men’s hearts with certainty. While it would be difficult for a student to memorize the entire Bible, Elementary instruction should begin with a strong emphasis on Scripture memorization, with a focus on teaching doctrine. Some good Bible memory programs include Bible Memory Association (BMA only works through a church), Awana and Navigators.

16 Comments

Filed under Bible Teaching, Education