Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, April 30, 2018

God Is Not Like “Whatever, Dude”

This is probably one of the best things I've ever read concerning the sin of Reckless Worship. If you don't know what reckless worship is, then you haven't been paying attention. God is not our buddy The Great Dudemeister, Jesus is not a romantic interest in a song that with a few words changed can be published in the secular world as a "date song", and the Holy Spirit is not an out of focus Asian woman who is a spiritual Magic 8 Ball. 

I know some wonderful people in the church who need to read and heed, not because I fear for their Salvation (that's not my job) but because they don't fear for theirs. And if you don't want to read this because it's a woman teaching, you can suck it up and give it a go, or you can consider it's my instructions if that will help. It's that good, and it's that important, and it needs to be shared.

By Michelle Lesley

Social media is a strange universe to live in. There’s a lot of stupidity, but there’s also a lot that can be learned from various trending issues.

Such was the case recently when Christian social media was up in arms (and rightly so) about Cory Asbury’s worship song Reckless Love, and whether or not churches should use it in their worship services. Discussion centered around the use of the word “reckless” to describe God’s love for us and whether or not that was a semantically and theologically appropriate adjective. “Relentless” was suggested as an alternative lyric. “Reckless” was defended as an appropriate lyric. And then Cory Asbury’s explanation of the song came to light and did further injury to his doctrinal cause.

It was all a very interesting and helpful discussion, but, to some degree, it was a rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic.

‘Cause we’ve hit the ice berg, folks. And the ship is taking on water.

Focusing on the word “reckless” missed the point – at least the big picture point. You see, Reckless Love was produced by Bethel Music. And Cory Asbury is a “worship leader, songwriter and pastor” with the Bethel Music Collective. Prior to joining Bethel, he spent eight years as a worship leader with the International House of Prayer (IHOP).

Why is this important? Because Bethel “Church” in Redding, California, and IHOP are, functionally, ground zero for the New Apostolic Reformation heresy. Heresy. Not, “They just have a more expressive, contemporary style of worship,”. Not, “It’s a secondary theological issue we can agree to disagree on.” Heresy. Denial of the deity of Christ. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Demonstrably false prophecy that the head of IHOP, Mike Bickle, has publicly rejoiced in (He estimates that 80% of IHOP’s “prophecies” are false.) And that’s just the tip of our metaphorical ice berg when it comes to the NAR.

IHOP and Bethel are, by biblical definition, not Christian organizations and certainly not Christian churches. They are pagan centers of idol worship just as much as the Old Testament temples of Baal were. The only difference is that, instead of being creative and coming up with their own name for their god, they’ve stolen the name Jesus and blasphemously baptized their idol with that moniker.

The point in this whole debate is not the word “reckless”. The point is that Christian churches should not have anything whatsoever to do with idol worshiping pagans as they approach God in worship. Yet Sunday after Sunday churches use Bethel music, Jesus Culture music, Hillsong music, and the like, in their worship of God.

And it’s not just that churches are using music from the temples of Baal in their worship services. We have women who usurp the teaching and leadership roles in the church that God has reserved for men – many even going so far as to preach to men and/or hold the position of “pastor”. We have men setting themselves up as pastors who do not meet the Bible’s qualifications. We have churches that let anyone – Believer or not – participate in the Lord’s Supper. We have pastors who welcome false teachers and their materials into their churches with open arms and castigate anyone who dares point out the false doctrine being taught. We have preachers who have forsaken God’s mandate to preach the Word and use the sermon time to talk about themselves, deliver self-help tips, or perform a stand up comedy routine.

And everybody seems to think God’s up there in Heaven going, “Cool! Whatever y’all want to do in the name of worship is just fine and dandy with Me. You do you.”

Well, He’s not.

God demands – and has every right to do so – that He be approached properly. In reverence. In awe. In holy fear. With clean hands and a pure heart.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Psalm 24:3-6
Let’s take a stroll through Scripture and be taught by those who learned that lesson the hard way…

Most of the time, when we read the story of Cain and Abel, we focus on the fact that Cain killed his righteous brother. But we tend to gloss over the event that precipitated the murder. Cain and Abel both brought offerings to the Lord. God accepted Abel’s offering but rejected Cain’s.

Scripture doesn’t tell us why God found Cain’s offering unacceptable. The Levitical laws delineating offerings and sacrifices hadn’t yet been given, and even if they had, grain offerings and other offerings of vegetation were perfectly appropriate if offered at the right time and for the right reason. Was it because Cain had a wrong attitude or motive when he gave his offering? Or maybe because he offered God leftover produce instead of his firstfruits? We don’t know. What we do know is that God had a standard of how He was to be worshiped, Cain violated it, and God expressed His displeasure.

It’s shortly after the Exodus. The Israelites have seen God perform ten – count them – ten plagues on Pharaoh for his idolatry and failure to bow the knee to God’s command to let Israel go. They saw God destroy the entire Egyptian army in the Red Sea. And now, their fearless leader, Moses, has trekked up Mount Sinai and is late getting back. The people are worried and restless.

Does Aaron lead them to pray? Trust God? Be patient? Nope. He fashions an idol for them – a golden calf. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he wasn’t even creative enough to come up with his own name for this idol. He stole God’s character and work and blasphemously baptized the idol with that moniker. He led the people to worship the false god as though it were the true God. (Does that ring any bells?)

“These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings.

Surely God gave them a pass, right? I mean, Moses broke the tablets of the Ten Commandments when he came down from the mountain before they even had a chance to read the first and second Commandments that prohibited what they were doing.

Uh uh. God told Moses to get out of the way so He could fire bomb Israel off the face of the Earth and start over with him. It was only after Moses pleaded with God to stay His hand that God relented and allowed for the lesser punishment of having the Levites kill 3,000 of them with the sword and sent a plague on the rest of them.

Doesn’t exactly sound like an “anything goes in worship” kind of God, does He?

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace.

Are you seeing a pattern here? God is so not OK with people approaching Him irreverently, via idol worship, or in any other way He deems inappropriate that He’s willing to kill them.

God sends Saul and his army on a mission to defeat the Amalekites. His instructions are simple: completely destroy everything. “Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”

But Saul’s a smart guy, see? He knows better. He goes in and destroys all the worthless stuff, but saves the good stuff for himself. It’ll be OK with God, he reasons, because he’s going to take some of the really nice sheep and make a big, showy sacrifice. Like a rich man pitching pennies to an urchin shoeshine boy.

And when Samuel confronts Saul about his rebellion, “Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?”, Saul has the temerity to say, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord.” Because he was going to perform an act of worship. And the fact that he was doing it his way instead of God’s way didn’t matter. In Saul’s mind, it was the outward act that counted and God should have accepted it.

God didn’t see it that way:
And Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.”

(1 Samuel 15:22-23)
God is not pleased with worship offered by hands dirtied with sin and rebellion. Saul paid the price: his throne and God’s favor.

Uzziah started off well as king of Judah. He listened to the counsel of Zechariah, obeyed God, and prospered. But after a while, prosperity can make you proud, and that’s just what happened to Uzziah.

He became so proud, in fact, that he took it upon himself to enter the sanctuary of the temple and offer incense to God on the altar. That was a position of leadership restricted to the priests. Uzziah had never been installed as a priest because he wasn’t biblically qualified to hold the office of priest, much like many who take on the role of pastor today.

Bravely, Azariah and eighty of his fellow priests stood up to the presumptuous king – at the risk of their lives, but in defense of proper worship as commanded in God’s Word – rebuked Uzziah, and kicked him out of the temple. “You have done wrong,” they said, “and it will bring you no honor from the Lord God.”

Well! Uzziah was hot with anger. How dare these mere priests stop him – the king whom God had blessed and prospered – from worshiping God any way he wanted to!

Guess who God sided with? The priests who were upholding His Word and His standard of worship. God struck Uzziah with leprosy for the remainder of his life, which exiled him from the palace and a royal burial, and effectively ended his reign.

Hypocrites! Blind guides! Fools! Blind men! Greedy! Self-indulgent! Whitewashed tombs! Lawless! Serpents! Brood of vipers! Murderers!

How would you like to be dressed down like that by Jesus? You’re teaching the Scriptures. You’re tithing to the nth degree. You’re traveling over land and sea to proselytize. You’re behaving with outward righteousness. You’re memorializing the prophets. As far as you can tell, you’re doing pretty well with this holiness thing.

And here comes the Messiah – the One you’re (supposedly) doing all of this for – and He shames you. Publicly. He exposes your blackness of heart to the commoners you want looking up to you. All because God’s way is for you to worship Him in spirit and in truth, but you insist on doing it your way- for all your deeds to be seen by others, and because you love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.

You’re approaching God in arrogance and selfishness, and He will have none of it. You won’t die to self, so He – if only temporarily – kills your pride.

You’ve probably never seen a Lord’s Supper as messed up as the way the Corinthian church was doing it. Some people were going without while others were getting drunk. The “important” people got to go first while the poor and lower class went to the back of the line. People were using the Lord’s Table as an opportunity for selfishness rather than putting self aside and focusing on the fact that the purpose of this meal was to proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

That wasn’t acceptable to God. He didn’t want the church observing the Lord’s Supper just any old way. It was dishonoring to Christ and shameful to His church.

So God declared that “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord…For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”

“But all of that was back in Bible times!” you might protest. “God isn’t killing anybody these days for worshiping Him improperly. In fact, some of the worst violators of God’s Word are rich ‘Christian’ celebrities!”

That’s right, they are. Exactly like God said they would be: “teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” And woe betide them when they stand before Christ in judgment. Because judgment is coming for them:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
God is high and He is holy, and so are His standards for those who approach Him. He expects His people to obey His Word about how He is to be worshiped.

“I, the Lord, do not change,” God says in the Old Testament. The New Testament tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” God hasn’t mellowed out or calmed down or gotten more tolerant. The God who poured out His wrath on those who blasphemed Him with unbiblical worship in the Old Testament is the same God we worship this side of the cross. Nothing escapes His notice. He doesn’t let sin slide. Whether in this life, or the next, or both, there will be a reckoning for unbiblical worship.

When it comes to worship, God is not a “whatever” kind of God.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Random Bits

What has happened to Christian blogging? I know my content has slowed down as my health has diminished and my workload has increased here in the Salt Mine, and life has been crazy around the house with our grandchildren getting faster and more energetic while their grandparents get slower and more enamored with naps. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping sees underground churches as a “severe national security threat,”

Author of The Shack Paul Young has stated forthrightly not only his universalism, but also many other unbiblical doctrines

Church of Christ Pastor's grandson charged with stealing ten$ of thousand$ from the offering plate. Where are the Elders and Deacons?

The Bill Hybels 30 years of "improprieties" is not going to go away any time soon, or in any way quietly. (Extra credit - look at the list of Willow Creek elders and tell me what you see)

Another Megachurch pastor has sex abuse charges leveled against him

A new Ten Commandments memorial was installed at the Arkansas capitol building to replace the display destroyed by a mentally ill man last year
- and of course -
The Satanic Temple plans to sue the state of Arkansas because of that monument

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Spurgeon Thursday - Infant Salvation

England used to be the centerpiece of civilization, yeah it had its problems, but compared to the rest of the world they rocked. And once upon a time "Old Blighty" was the epicenter of evangelism. Those days are over, and the way to tell is how well their socialist system cares for those that need care the most, like Alfie Evans.
'Is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well' (2 Kings 4.26). 
The Shunammite woman was first asked by Gehazi, whether it was well with herself. She was mourning over a lost child, and yet she said, 'It is well.' She felt that the trial would surely be blessed.
Then Gehazi asked, 'Is it well with thy husband?' He was old and stricken in years, and was ripening for death, yet she said, 'Yes, it is well.' Then came the question about her child, which was dead at home, 'Is it well with the child?' Surely this enquiry would renew her grief. Yet she said, 'It is well,' perhaps so answering because she had faith that soon her child would be restored to her, or rather because she was persuaded that whatever might have become of its spirit, it was safe in the keeping of God, happy beneath the shadow of his wings. Therefore, not fearing that it was lost, and having no suspicion whatever that it was cast away from the place of bliss, she said, 'Yes, the child is dead, but it is well.'

Let every mother and father know assuredly that it is well with the child, if God has taken it away from you in its infant days. You never heard its declaration of faith; it was not capable of such a thing. It was not baptised into the Lord Jesus Christ. It was not capable of giving that ‘answer of a good conscience towards God'; nevertheless, you may rest assured that it is well with the child, well in a higher and a better sense than it is well with yourselves. The child is ‘well’ without limitation, without exception, infinitely and eternally.

From The Sword & Trowel 2007, issue 2 by C. H. Spurgeon

Friday, April 20, 2018

Random Bits

'I started to pray for the lost souls there who are dying without knowing Jesus Christ. I prayed to the Lord saying: "I want to be a salt and light in this place for these poor souls".' - A North Korean prisoner's prayer as she faced a life of torture and death in a North Korean concentration camp. No place on earth abuses their people like this,  the UN released a 372 page report on the horrific crimes against humanity that is North Korea. 

While it's neighbor to the south truly is The Land Of The Morning Calm (mornings in South Korea are beautiful), the land to the north is unspeakable in it's evil. Pray for those trapped in Kim Jung Un's personal playground of death and torture, and pray for those that are reaching out and bringing the word of love and salvation to East Asia 

Ministers! You need to read this - atheists want to do away with the housing allowances for pastors

North Korea's neighbor to the north, China is also oppressive to Christians

Hindus in India are stepping up their attacks on Christians

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wretched Wednesday - Arguing With The Unsaved

It was one week ago today that I posted a Wretched Radio video discussing the biblical role of women in the church, in particular the female elders. Just the concept of a female elder is unbiblical, because it's clearly stated in Titus 1:6 that the first (of several) qualifications of Eldership is - 
namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.
That's it. No argument. An Elder is a man and a husband that is raising (or has raised) children. Single men and women need not apply, but thank you, there's literally hundreds of other ways you can glorify God in this church, have you thought of chairing the Food Bank committee? Working with us at the homeless shelter? Help out at the nursing home? Why do we do this?? 

Reason #1 - This Is What The Bible Says.
Reason #2 - When in doubt, refer to Reason #1

That's the price of being a Christian - we do what our Lord and Master tell us to do. Last weeks post got in the of some folks. I really doubt they were followers of this blog, I am assuming that they heard of my post through the grapevine or from a Google search (seriously? Google linked to a Christian blog? *gasp!* Hey, miracles happen).

Monday, April 16, 2018

Women in Leadership = Slavery???

A very brand new reader of this blog recently asked: 
Women in leadership and slavery are very similar subjects. If we can on the basis of two scriptures forbid women from assuming leadership roles, can we on the basis of Paul REGULATE slavery?
The statement that "women in leadership and slavery are similar subjects" is not only false but it is quite misleading. There is absolutely no sane similarity between a slave living his/her life away in drudgery, and a woman fulfilling the duties of mayor of a city, a position that she was elected to do. The entire thing is illogical.

Is this writer is trying to compare carrots and cows because both are found in a field? His comparison of them tells me that since they were both found in the bible and they are both in epistles from Paul they must be inexorably tied to each other. I write a lot about things I find in the bible, but in other venues I write about railroad history, does that rock solid connection mean that railroad history can be found in the bible?

Paul's letters to Timothy spoke of not putting women in a position of teaching men are just one part of his instructions on how a congregation is to conduct itself. Not how society is governed but how the body of Christ worships their savior. There is nothing that says or implies "This is how the secular world must operate in their mundane affairs." It is clear this person was reading 1 Timothy 2:12, taken out of context, because that's the only way one can come up with a meaning that they chose to assign to it. 

Clearly some people don't like Paul's admonishment that women are not to teach men when in worship. The word Paul used that we translate to "man" is "anēr" (ἀνήρ) which can mean man, men, husband, male fiance, group of men, or even a group of people which includes men and women.  (Kind of like the word "man" is used to day. Stunning.) Since Paul is speaking of group worship I'm going to assume that he means all of these definitions of ἀνήρ, and because I am not God's editor (I'm his worshiper) I will use all those definitions too because this entire chapter is instructions for a congregation to conduct themselves. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Random Bits

I remember many people asking that if it were ok for students to walk out of school to protest gun violence would it be ok for students to walk out of school to protest abortion? Students at Rocklin High School in Northern California asked their administration just that, and guess what the administration said. Go on, guess!

I never saw this one coming

New California bill threatens those who believe homosexuality is a sin with legal repercussions (if you didn't see this coming you haven't been paying attention)

THE WORLD IS GOING TO END! I am going to have to add this to the list.

Is this the end of Heavenly Tourism? gosh I hope so

False teacher extraordinaire Bill Hybel's has stepped down from his Pulpit Of Heresy for reasons which are not revealed

Is God going to kill me for my remarks about Bill Hybel being a false teacher? Francis Chan says yes.

What part of the word "Chaplin" don't you understand?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wretched Wednesday - Female Elders

Where did this movement of having women in the role of church elders come from? I can't understand the desire of large, established churches to theologically slit their wrists and place women in positions that the scripture forbids. 

I've actually heard the excuse that Paul isn't Jesus so we shouldn't pay as much attention to him. If that's the case, then I can say that neither Matthew, Mark, Luke or John were God, so are you going to ignore what they wrote also? Then there's (my favorite) 1 Timothy 2:12 was written for an earlier time, we're a more open, enlightened society now, etc, etc, etc. If that is true would it also be permissible to say that we are a much more populated world now so Exodus 20:13 is passe also? Oh wait, Planned Parenthood already has that one covered.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My New Coin

The La Fayette Escadrille was a French fighter squadron defending that besieged country in 1916. It was an experimental unit, made up of French commanders, French airplanes, French ground support, and American pilots. A wealthy American lieutenant had coins made for his fellow pilots, each coin contained the squadron's symbol. One pilot was shot down on the east side of the western front and was captured and relieved of all identification by the Germans except for that one coin. He escaped in the night and made it back to the Allied side of No Man's Land and was captured by the French as a spy, until they saw his coin and realized he was un pilote Américain.

This started an Air Force tradition of carrying a "challenge coin" where if you arrive at a (generally unofficial) Air Force function someone could challenge you for your coin. If you couldn't produce your coin the drink is on you, but if you could provide your coin, the drink is on them. Needless to say, carrying your "Challenge Coin" is an Air Force tradition, and it has spread to all other branches of the armed forces, and other groups where people gather to do things as a group such as police forces, fire departments, and biker gangs. And churches mentored by retired military folks too.

I have coins from different units and different functions. My collection contains a USAF coin, a 5th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) coin, an 80th Fighter Squadron (Juvats!!!) coin, several 429th Electronic Combat Squadron coins, one for Operation Southern Watch and one for Operation Provide Comfort. I would like one for the 81st TFS Wild Weasels (I was a weasel feeder before weasels were cool (again)) and a Buff Stuffer coin to add to my collection, but looking through the coin rack at Buckley AFB I found this one. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Random Bits

Wow - the towers of the Tech mighty are sure shaking. Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook) is being called to testify before congress because he handles your private private information the same way Bill Clinton handles women, the president of the United States is calling out Jeff Brazos (Amazon) for ripping off the Post Office, and Elon Musk (Space X and Tesla) is in danger of ending up in the poor house as his financial empire based solely on $5 billion of government subsidies begins to crumble due to his failure to deliver.

As you may know Blogger, the site I use to publish this blog, is owned by Google (which may explain why Blogger hasn't upgraded their interface in years). Yes, Google is one of those companies that hands out your personal information faster than a used car dealership hands out your phone number to every fly by night telemarketer (and if you didn't know that car dealers do that, then shame on you). But so what? I've been saying this since 1995: Don't put anything on the internet that you don't want everyone on internet to use. There are no secrets on the web, so why is everyone shocked that Google and Facebook are suddenly doing everything that I've been saying that they could be doing? Am I going to pull my blog off of Blogger because it's owned by Google? Of course not, in fact I'm going to leave it on Blogger in the hope Google reads my blog and learns something. And I hope they also learn this: Because of Google's insane left wing bias, when I use a search engine, I use DuckDuckGo

Despite the bad press, Facebook is a handy tool. I use it to find old military buddies. Andrea Eels used it to find his husband's other wife

Bibles are disappearing from online bookstores in China, meanwhile Chinese guards in riot gear storm Christian schools

George Washington University is holding a workshop about the most persecuted religion on earth: they are combating "Christian Privilege"

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman just signed his own death warrant

Despite the Vatican's furious backtracking, Mr. Pope still hasn't stepped back his claim that there is no hell, there is no eternal damnation. Cardinal Raymond Burke called Mr. Pope's heretical utterance as a 'Profound Scandal'

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

WWUTT Wednesday: Jesus Christ Superstar

I remember when Jesus Christ Superstar first came out, I remember it like it was merely 48 years ago. I personally believe that this musical was the beginning of what is best described as the Contemporary Christian Music Industrial Complex. The ONLY good thing about that entire musical was that the song "I Don't Know How To Love Him" can be used as a litmus test to separate those that can sing from those that can howl.

To me the whole thing just seemed wrong but at the time in my very early teens, I just couldn't enunciate my reasons why I knew it was wrong. Was my revulsion over this production the Holy Spirit guiding me away from a blasphemous heap of noise? In retrospect I'm going to have to say yes. I didn't watch the live airing of it on Easter Sunday, but if you did, did you play Spot The Heresy?