Thursday, June 22, 2017

Spurgeon on Inspiration

C. H. Spurgeon, said:

“Believe in the inspiration of Scripture, and believe it in the most intense sense. You will not believe in a truer and fuller inspiration than really exists. No one is likely to err in that direction, even if error be possible. If you adopt theories which pare off a portion here, and deny authority to a passage there, you will at last have no inspiration left, worthy of the name.

“If this book be not infallible, where shall we find infallibility? We have given up the Pope, for he has blundered often and terribly; but we shall not set up instead of him a horde of little popelings fresh from college. Are these correctors of Scripture infallible? Is it certain that our Bibles are not right, but that the critics must be so? The old silver is to be depreciated; but the German silver, which is put in its place, is to be taken at the value of gold. Striplings fresh from reading the last new novel correct the notions of their fathers, who were men of weight and character.

“Doctrines which produced the godliest generation that ever lived on the face of the earth are scouted as sheer folly. Nothing is so obnoxious to these creatures as that which has the smell of Puritanism upon it. Every little man’s nose goes up celestially at the very sound of the word ‘Puritan;’ though if the Puritans were here again, they would not dare to treat them thus cavalierly; for if Puritans did fight, they were soon known as Ironsides, and their leader could hardly be called a fool, even by those who stigmatized him as a ‘tyrant.’ Cromwell, and they that were with him, were not all weak-minded persons—surely?

“Strange that these are lauded to the skies by the very men who deride their true successors, believers in the same faith. But where shall infallibility be found? ‘The depth saith, it is not in me;’ yet those who have no depth at all would have us imagine that it is in them; or else by perpetual change they hope to hit upon it. Are we now to believe that infallibility is with learned men? Now, Farmer Smith, when you have read your Bible, and have enjoyed its precious promises, you will have, to-morrow morning, to go down the street to ask the scholarly man at the parsonage whether this portion of the Scripture belongs to the inspired part of the Word, or whether it is of dubious authority. It will be well for you to know whether it was written by the Isaiah, or whether it was by the second of the ‘two Obadiahs.’ All possibility of certainty is transferred from the spiritual man to a class of persons whose scholarship is pretentious, but who do not even pretend to spirituality.

“We shall gradually be so bedoubted and becriticized, that only a few of the most profound will know what is Bible, and what is not, and they will dictate to all the rest of us. I have no more faith in their mercy than in their accuracy: they will rob us of all that we hold most dear, and glory in the cruel deed. This same reign of terror we shall not endure, for we still believe that God revealeth himself rather to babes than to the wise and prudent, and we are fully assured that our own old English version of the Scriptures is sufficient for plain men for all purposes of life, salvation, and godliness. We do not despise learning, but we will never say of culture or criticism. ‘These be thy gods, O Israel!’”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon in The Greatest Fight in the World, taken from the Spurgeon Archive online at

Doctors got it wrong...

...aren't God; shouldn't try to play God.

Amish girl who fled United States to escape forced chemotherapy is now cancer-free -- "Some might call it a “miracle,” but alternative and holistic medicine healers aren’t really surprised to learn that a 12-year old Amish girl is now cancer-free — after her doctors testified in court just six months ago that she would be dead by now if her family were permitted to refuse her chemotherapy."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Is the book of Job historical?

Question: Is the book of Job a true story or an allegory?

The protagonist of the story is identified by name (Job) and gender (man), and located by place (land of Uz). The story of Job is presented to the reader as history. The story tells about a man, gives his name, mentions where he lived, and provides details about his life, his family, his friends and his calamity. Cf. e.g. Job 1:1-5; Job 2:9-13; Job 42:10-16.

Two biblical writers – one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament – refer to Job as an historical person. Ezekiel lists Job along with two known historical persons, Noah and Daniel (Ezekiel 14:14-20). James cites “the prophets” generally (the prophets were real historical people) as examples of suffering and patience – and then names Job as a credible historical figure of whom they had heard, whose example might comfort the suffering by demonstrating the mercy and compassion of God (James 5:10-11).

The concluding material about Job – especially about his daughters – has the earmarks of an historical record rather than a fictional account. The names of his three daughters, their extraordinary beauty and their receiving equal inheritance with their brothers does not seem particularly pertinent to concluding an allegory on suffering. On the other hand, it adds a fine touch to concluding the historical record of a man who suffered greatly (Job 42:14-15).

This Day in Baptist History Past

June 21 – This Day in Baptist History Past -- "China missionary George Pleasant Bostick"

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

When did Job live?

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Question: When did Job live? Where does Job fit into the timeline of biblical history?

Either I don’t have enough information, or I don’t understand how to put all the information together, in order to know when Job lived. It is very interesting, nevertheless. There is no reason to doubt the historicity of Job and his calamity. Both Ezekiel and James take his existence for granted (Cf. Ezekiel 14:14 and James 5:11).[i] On the other hand, it is not necessary to know exactly where Job fits in the biblical timeline in order understand the truths of the book. What follows are some things I have found in reading about Job, coupled with some things others say (that are pretty much conjecture).

Biblical points to consider
  • In his third speech or response to Job, Eliphaz the Temanite refers to the flood in the past (Job 22:15-16).
  • The Hebrew word for the piece of money in Job 42:11 is kesitah. This word is only used 3 times in the Old Testament, here and in Genesis 33:19 and Joshua 24:32. In those places it refers to the money Jacob used to purchase a parcel of land from the sons of Hamor. The use of the same word in Job might suggest patriarchal times somewhat contemporary with Jacob.
  • Based on some of his statements, Job was not young when his calamity struck (Cf. Job 12:12-13; Job 30:1). Job lived another 140 years after his affliction, birth of his second ten children and division of inheritance (Job 42:16) – making it likely that he lived well over 200 years. This is longer than Abraham lived and compares to some patriarchs prior to Abraham.[ii] Yet, Job 42:17 might suggest his length of days was longer than his contemporaries.
  • Job’s daughters received an equal inheritance with his sons. This does not follow the law of Moses (Cf. Numbers 27:8 and Job 42:15).
  • Job lived in the land of Uz (Job 1:1), which has never been connected to the land of Canaan (as far as I know).
  • Job was called a man of the east in Job 1:3 (which often means somewhere east of Canaan).
  • Job seems to be a man of high position (Cf. Job 29:7-25), which seems inconsistent with nomads in the land of Canaan (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob).
  • God’s testimony is that Job was an unique God-fearing man for his time (Cf. Job 1:8; Job 2:3; Ezekiel 14:14, 20), which suggests he wasn’t contemporary with Abraham or Isaac (earlier) or Moses (later).
  • The raiding party that took away the oxen and asses were Sabeans (Job 1:15). The Sabeans were from the wilderness, and considered far off from Judah (Ezekiel 23:42; Joel 3:8). (Some identify the Sabeans with Sheba in southern Arabia.)
  • The raiding party that took away the camels were Chaldeans (Job 1:17). The Chaldeans were from southern Mesopotamia.
  • Job sacrifices to God as patriarch of his family (Job 1:5), which practice preceded the law of Moses.
Possible connections to Esau and Edom
  • Lamentations 4:21 identifies Edom in the land of Uz. A man named Uz is a grandson of Seir the Horite. See Genesis 36:20-28. Verse 8 of this chapter says Esau dwelt in Mount Seir. (The land of Uz is also mentioned in Jeremiah 25:20).
  • Esau had a son named Eliphaz, and Eliphaz had a son named Teman (Genesis 36:10-11; 1 Chronicles 1:35-36; Cf. Job 2:11).
  • Some people identify Job with Jobab great-grandson of Esau, the second king of Edom (Cf. Genesis 36:32-34 and 1 Chronicles 1:43-45).[iii]
Other miscellaneous conjecture
  • Some people believe Bildad the Shuhite was a descendant of Shuah, Abraham’s son by Keturah (Genesis 25:1-3; 1 Chronicles 1:31-33).
  • Some people believe that the Buzites (Job 32:2) were descendants of Buz, son of Nahor Abraham’s brother (Genesis 22:20-22).
  • Some people point out that Job’s wealth was determined by flocks rather than money (Job 1:3; Job 42:12). That method of calculating wealth is consistent with patriarchal times. 
  • Some people believe Job must be placed between Joseph and Moses, that he lived when no other notably righteous patriarchs were alive (Job 1:8).
  • Some people connect Job to the Job who was the son of Issachar (Genesis 46:13).

[i] In 1 Corinthians 3:19, Paul refers to Job 5:13.
[ii] For example Serug, Abraham’s great-grandfather, lived 230 years (Genesis 11:22-23).
[iii] There is commentary at the end of Job in the Septuagint that also connects Job to Esau. I don’t accept that as inspired Scripture (even the Septuagint seems to approach it as a footnote: “This man is described in the Syriac boo…”" It is interesting, though, that someone in that time period connected Job to Esau.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Zealous declaimers against popery, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

"Some of our most zealous declaimers against popery do not see how inconsistently they act in condemning Rome when dressed out in her rags." -- J. C. Philpot

"People who cannot suffer can never grow up." -- James Baldwin

"God save me from politicians, Christians, or pagans who think they are my mother!" -- Steve Brown

"One cannot make up with confidence what he thoroughly lacks in competence." -- copied

"Presuming that human beings get to edit ‘the sin list’ is pretty much the top item on the sin list." -- Bart Barber

"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time." -- Abraham Lincoln

"The opportunity to do good imposes the obligation to do it." -- Cotton Mather

"Surrendering to God includes accepting the gender he assigned you." -- Linda Seiler (on Focus on the Family, 6/12/17)

"I spent a long time trying to come to grips with my doubts, when suddenly I realized I had better come to grips with what I believe. I have since moved from the agony of questions that I cannot answer, to the reality of answers that I cannot escape." -- Tom Skinner (As quoted by Dennis Rainey)

"The Bible is the church's prize possession. In it we find the good news of salvation. In it we learn about God and his dealings with people down through the centuries. In it we find instruction and encouragement for our lives." -- James W. Scott

"Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter." -- Francis Chan

"Obsession with the geographical nation into which you were born = Dissatisfaction with the eternal nation in which we can find our home." -- Bart Barber

"Godliness is profitable unto all things." -- Paul (1 Timothy 4:8)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

God’s Man

I strive to be God's Man... -- A Poem by John R. Himes as found at Pulpit Poetry blogspot.

God’s Man
By John R. Himes
(Grandson of John R. Rice)
God’s man is who I long to be,
A preacher of the Gospel free!
God’s place is all I long to have,
And there a road to heaven pave!
God’s work is quite the best there is,
Transcending all that is not His!
God’s Word I’ll hide within my heart,
Consumed by fire to do my part!

Tamar and Onan, reprise

Genesis 38:6-10 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.

The act of one Onan, son of Judah, son of Jacob, has given us the English word “Onanism” – Onan + “ism,” a suffix used in the formation of nouns denoting action or practice, therefore related to act of Onan.[i] It is most often used to refer to masturbation (and Genesis 38:6-10 is therefore used as a proof text against such an act), but sometimes used to refer to coitus interruptus. What actually occurred in this recorded case?

The key is found in the euphemism “he went in unto.” This phrase is used in Genesis and elsewhere in the Old Testament to refer to sexual intercourse. Note these examples:
  • Genesis 16:4 - And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
  • Genesis 29:23 - And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
  • Genesis 30:4 - And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.
  • Genesis 38:2 - And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
  • Judges 16:1 - Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.
  • Ruth 4:13 - So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.
  • II Samuel 12:24 - And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.
  • II Samuel 16:22 - So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
  • Ezekiel 23:44 - Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the harlot: so went they in unto Aholah and unto Aholibah, the lewd women.
We see in these examples that “went in unto” clearly refers to the sex act. Onan’s sin was not masturbation in front of his brother’s wife. Onan rejected the established levirate marriage custom,[ii] while abusing the system and using it as an occasion to enjoy sexual pleasure with his deceased brother’s wife – while he disdained his obligation to raise up an heir in his brother’s name.

[i] Onan is also mentioned by name in Genesis 46:12, Numbers 26:19 and I Chronicles 2:3.
[ii] Levirate marriage is marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother’s widow, when the deceased brother has no children. Cf. Deuteronomy 25:5-10.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Can a Person Choose, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Biblical worship

Question: How does the Bible define worship?

Our English word “worship” comes from the Old English worthscipeworth + suffix –ship – acknowledging one in the condition worthy of reverence and honor. The Bible does not give an explicit or formal definition of worship. The biblical view of worship must be discerned from the teachings on the subject throughout the Bible.

Some positive aspects (True Worship)
  • True worship must be directed to the right person (Exodus 34:14; Luke 4:8).
  • True worship is always “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
  • True worship gives unto the Lord the glory due unto his name (Psalm 29:2).
  • True worship dwells in the beauty of holiness, with reverential fear (Psalm 96:9).
Some negative aspects (False Worship)
  • Idol worship; Isaiah 2:8 - their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: (Cf. Psalm 96:5-6)
  • Ignorant worship; John 4:22 - Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. (Cf. Romans 10:3)
  • Vain worship; Matthew 15:9 - But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Cf. Isaiah 29:13)
  • Will worship; Colossians 2:23 - which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.[i] (Cf. John 1:13)
  • Disorderly worship; 1 Corinthians 14:40 - Let all things be done decently and in order. (Cf. v. 33, et al.)
  • Disobedient worship; Leviticus 10:1-2 - And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. (Cf. Ephesians 5:6)
We cannot worship God any way that we please.  False worship displeases God. True worship is what pleases God. What pleases God is that which is revealed in Scripture and comes from the heart/spirit.

[i] “Will-worship” is from the Greek word ethelothreskia (ἐθελοθρησκίᾳ). It is a compound word of two roots – ethelo (to will; used numerous times in the NT) and threskia (religious worship, especially external; used in Col. 2:18; James 1:26-27; Acts 26:5). Will worship is “worship which one prescribes and devises for himself” – originating in or chosen according to men’s own depraved wills, as opposed to the will of God – self-contrived, not bidden by God. All false worship is in a sense “will worship,” but this one perhaps exalts the will itself into the place of an idol.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bernie Sanders errs on religion

Bernie Sanders: Muslims Should Have Religious Freedom, But Christians Shouldn’t -- "Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders believes Muslims should be judged by their “views and abilities,” not by their religion. When it comes to Christians? Not so much."
SBC leader says senator’s religious questioning out of bounds -- "No religious test shall ever be required of those seeking public office."
Sanders’ Religious Test -- "The idea that Christians with mainstream Christian beliefs have no place in government might be the most extreme thing that this extreme politician has ever said."

Tithing anecdote

I heard the following story about an old Baptist preacher named C. D. Arnold. (It happened long before my time, probably in the late 1930s or early 1940s.)

In the churches in the area where Brother Arnold lived, some new preachers introduced tithing – that church members must give 10% of their income to the church. This had never been taught in the churches before. It caused quite a stir of controversy. Brother Arnold was in the forefront opposing the innovation. He gave out that he would be preaching on tithing at a certain place and time. This announcement drew a large crowd, so large that all who came could not fit in the church house! When the preaching hour came Brother Arnold ascended the pulpit. After brief comments, he asked, “Are there any Levites here?” None responded. He proceeded, “I intended to teach on tithing tonight. Since there are no Levites present there is no point. I guess I’ll preach on something else.” Then he launched into a sermon that was enjoyed by most of the crowd. (Brother Arnold might have been a little “eccentric,” but he made his point.)

[Disclaimer: Though I put Elder Arnold’s words in quotes, this is simply his words as best I remember how the story was told, and should not be viewed as exact quotes. The story was told to me by either G. V. Hamilton or James Broome.]