Monday, July 16, 2018

10 Things I Would Do, 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.

Panting after the smiles of God

So long as the world smiles, and they have all that heart can wish, so long as they are buoyed up by the hypocrite’s hope, and lulled asleep by the soft breezes of flattery, they are well satisfied to sail down the stream of a dead profession. But it is not so with the living soul; he is at times panting after the smiles of God; he is thirsting after his manifested presence; he feels dissatisfied with the world, and all that it presents, if he cannot find the Lord, and does not enjoy the light of his countenance. Where this is experienced, it stamps a man as having the grace of God in his heart.
J. C. Philpot (1802–1869)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Strait is the way

Hymn 161 in Book 2 of Hymns and Spiritual Songs by Isaac Watts

1. Strait is the way, the door is strait 

that leads to joys on high;
’Tis but a few that find the gate, 
while crowds mistake and die.

2. Beloved self must be denied, 

the mind and will renewed;
Passion suppressed, and patience tried, 
and vain desires subdued.

3. Flesh is a dangerous foe to grace; 

where it prevails and rules;
Flesh must be humbled, pride abased, 
lest they destroy our souls.

4. The love of gold be banished hence,

that vile idolatry,
And every member, every sense,
in sweet subjection lie.

5. The tongue, that most unruly power,

requires a strong restraint;
We must be watchful every hour,
and pray, but never faint.

6. Lord! can a feeble, helpless worm 

fulfill a task so hard?
Thy grace must all my work perform, 
and give the free reward.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Hazelelponi is remembered

The unusual and intriguing name Hazelelponi occurs just one time in the Bible, in 1 Chronicles 4:3: And these were of the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi.

We barely know who she was. We know she was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, of the tribe of Judah, the daughter of Etam, sister of Jezreel, Ishma, and Idbash. That’s all.

We are not sure what her name means. Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon says it means “give shade, thou that turnest to me.” Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has “the shadow looking at me.” Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary has “sorrow of countenance.” All the Women of the Bible says it means either “Deliver me, O God who regardest me,” or “the deliverance of the God who regardeth me.” The “authorities” do not agree.

We are sure that God remembers her. We are sure because his word mentions her. We are sure because of the nature of God. The Lord knows all things. The Lord knoweth them that are his, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered. It is encouraging to find these little reminders of God knowing the otherwise unknown, and God remembering the otherwise unremembered.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Random KJV Quotes

“When you quote the KJV, you don’t have to tell people you’re quoting the Bible. They just know.” – Mark L. Ward

“A native speaker of English who has never read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian.” – Richard Dawkins

“[The King James Bible]’s  subject is majesty, not tyranny, and it’s political purpose was unifying and enfolding, to elide the kingliness of God with the godliness of kings, to make royal power and divine glory into one invisible garment which could be wrapped around the nation as a whole. Its grandeur of phrasing and the deep slow music of its rhythms – far more evident here than in any Bible the sixteenth century had produced – were conscious embodiments
of regal glory.” – Adam Nicolson in God’s Secretaries

“They took from Tyndale because Tyndale had done well, not perfectly and not always with an ear for the richness of the language, but with a passion for clarity which the Jacobean scholars shared. What virtue was there in newness when the old was so good?” – Adam Nicolson

“Much of English-speaking Christianity has sent the King James Version to that part of the forest where trees fall with no one to hear them.” – Mark L. Ward

“It is far easier to learn a few obscure words than to scrap the standard and allow unbelievers and heretics to manipulate newer versions as have happened.” – Russell Kelly

“I have quite a few different Bibles. Having rejected my parents’ religion, I still think the King James Bible is the most important work of literature in English. None of us can help being influenced by it.” – Ken Follett

“The scholars who produced this masterpiece...forged an enduring link, literary and religious, between the English-speaking people of the world.” – Winston Churchill

“The translation was extraordinarily well done because to the translators what they were translating was not merely a curious collection of ancient books written by different authors in different stages of culture, but the word of God divinely revealed through His chosen and expressly inspired scribes.” – George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Seven Points of Vaughanism

The history of Christianity and its simple gospel message seems to have long been cursed with a soteriological debate regarding Divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Many historians would trace its origins to Augustine and Pelagius over 1600 years ago. I say “cursed” not because the relationship of Divine sovereignty and human responsibility is unimportant. No, “cursed” because the debate has descended into theological bloviating on theological minutiae that the theological bloviaters do not understand – and do not understand that they do not understand! Trying to screw down their theology as tight as possible, they miss the command to simply preach the gospel and leave the salvation to God. No! We must know and understand the ordo salutis [i] and other depths that only God understands – and we must make sure everyone else understands what we don’t understand just the way we (don’t) understand it! Never mind that “the essence of Christian maturity” might be “to have a high tolerance for ambiguity.”[ii]

So into the fray steps this bloviater to bloviate about the subject. Like everyone else, I don’t much know what I’m talking about either, but I am satisfied with some of the ambiguities. That satisfaction does not mean that I can’t or don’t enjoy the discussion and debate. For many years I have been intrigued by it and its intricacies. I have posted on the soteriological positions of Calvinism, Arminianism, Traditionalism (or Extensivism), Unlimited Atonement, and other points in between. I have posted about tulips, roses, poinsettias, lillies, even daisies – so much so that some might say I am obsessed with “Five Points”.

Calvinism’s and Arminianism’s acrostics normally focus on five points – either the TULIP, its “synonyms” or its “antonyms.” I cannot be satisfied with the sufficiency of “five points,” so I have developed the “Seven Points of Vaughanism.”[iii] (While preparing for this post, I discovered that two years ago, in an attempt to make a brief soteriological statement, I had posted another seven points about which I had forgotten. I’ll compare these two later and see about a possible merger. J )

* The Seven Points of Vaughanism *
  1. Hereditary depravity and hereditary death: Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
  2. Human inability: John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
  3. Human ability, God given and Christ received: John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
  4. Sufficient and efficient atonement: 1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
  5. Gracious faith, a gift: Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
  6. Inner witness: Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
  7. Divine preservation: John 10:28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
A “non-standard” soteriological view is often caricatured as Calvinism by non-Calvinists, and as Arminianism by Calvinists. So be it. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with that ambiguity and think it may even be an indicator of being on the right track! I hold the following soteriological truths to be biblically-evident. God undertook from eternity to deliver man from sin. In time Jesus died as a sacrifice to save all who believe. The Spirit draws men to Christ. Under and only under that conviction they can become both willing and able to believe in Christ. All those who believe are born again, are justified through faith, and are kept by the power of God unto salvation.

[i] The ordo salutis is Latin for “order of salvation.”
[ii] Don’t know the origin, but I have often heard this stated by radio preacher Steve Brown. Of the primitivistic (not just Primitive) Baptists in the Appalachias, Deborah McCauley writes, “they accept ambiguity – running deep and broad – as an indisputable fact of life. They do not feel driven to resolve it in their preaching with semantically fancy footwork that artificially overcomes ambiguity by forcing all the pieces to fit together neatly...” (Appalachian Mountain Religion: A History, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1995, p. 95). Roughly, “primitivism” believes that the New Testament provides a pattern for the church that can be reproduced by faithful adherence to the New Testament.
[iii] I used another spelling of our family name – Vaughan – simply because it yields itself to a three-syllable pronunciation of a theological system, Vaugh-an-ism, as does Calvinism. (“I’ll bet you think this song is about you, don’t you.” Carly Simon) The “seven points” are subject to revision as the Bible requires.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New Fanny Crosby Hymns

Fanny Crosby: Newly Discovered Hymns and Songs -- "Several of her unpublished writings were discovered in recent years. Through a collaboration of today's finest songwriters, 21 songs were completed and are a part of this project. The Erwins were chosen to sing a new song called "Calmly Resting in the Lord," that is featured on this cd, along with songs from other groups like Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Legacy Five, Triumphant Quartet, The Booth Brothers, The Collingsworth Family, and many others. The cd was officially released on March 23, 2018."

Well, not quite today new. I read the above last night, and this was the first I remember hearing about these undiscovered hymns of Fanny Crosby. Nevertheless Baptist Press reported on them over two years ago, in January 2016.

Fanny Crosby's lost lyrics now expanding her legacy -- "Fanny Crosby's hymns have impacted lives for Christ worldwide for generations, but until recently 2,700 of them were overlooked in an archive, unsung and unpublished. Now on the album "Blessed Assurance: The New Hymns of Fanny Crosby," some of those forgotten lyrics have come to life..."

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Another Level of Meaning, and other music links

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

News today

All 12 boys and soccer coach rescued from Thai cave
After more than two weeks trapped inside a cave complex in northern Thailand, all 12 boys and their soccer coach have finally been rescued.
The last four members of the youth soccer team and their coach were pulled out of the cave on Tuesday afternoon, the third day of a huge international operation to save them.
President Trump Nominates Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court
Age was an important factor in making Trump’s Supreme Court list; Kavanaugh is 53 years old, which would guarantee a measure of longevity on the court, if he is approved by Congress.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Identifying and Exposing False Teachers and False Teaching

“Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1) is a favorite text of those who judge others for judging! [i] In the extreme, it is used to shut down all forms of discernment and division. Yet the very context of Jesus’s statement requires that one be able to discern what is holy (v. 6), who is a false prophet, a wolf in sheep’s clothing (v. 15), and the difference between good trees bearing good fruit and corrupt trees bearing evil fruit (vs. 16-20). Often it is the false prophets bearing evil fruit who want no one judging – that they might not be exposed for what they are. Nevertheless, the Bible bears evidence throughout that false teachers and false teachings should be identified and exposed as such. Those who teach false doctrine publicly are candidates for public rebuke. The teaching and examples of the New Testament demonstrate that faithful stewardship includes exposing error.

Jesus exposed the errors of the religious teachers and leaders of his day. The Gospel of Matthew records both John the Baptist and Jesus calling the Pharisees a “generation of vipers” and denouncing their errors (Matthew 3:7Matthew 12:34). Jesus identified the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees as a leaven that spreads and corrupts (Matthew 16:12), as well as how many of the overtly religious made “the word of God of none effect” through their traditions (Mark 7:13). He excoriated those who do their works to be seen of men (Matthew 6:1-5; Matthew 23:4-7).

Paul denounced false faith and faulty practice, even naming names. He labeled Hymenaeus and Philetus as erring from the truth and falsely teaching about the resurrection (2 Timothy 2:17-18). He called out Demas for loving the world and deserting the faith (2 Timothy 4:10). Alexander the coppersmith withstood the truth. Paul named him and warned Timothy about him (2 Timothy 4:14-15). John pointed out Diotrephes as one who loved preeminence and withstood him (3 John 1:9).

The Lord, through John’s writing, commended the church at Ephesus for judging certain false apostles and determining they were liars (Revelation 2:2). Paul advised the Thessalonians to withdraw from those walking disorderly rather than walking after the tradition they had been taught (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Unrepentant unreformed heretics are rejected (Titus 3:10). When a teacher falsifies the gospel, Paul goes so far to say of such an one, “let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).

The censure of false preachers and teachers should not be taken lightly. Too often one proceeds without the facts, or in the spirit of censoriousness Jesus denounced. [ii] The proper response is not to say or do nothing. We should be slow to speak (James 1:19-20), have the facts first (Ephesians 4:29), and then and only then proceed with wisdom and fortitude – as did the early disciples of our Lord. Let us “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) and then say so.

[i] Jesus here speaks of the critic, “one given to harsh or captious judgment” (Merriam-Webster). The censorious spirit finds fault in others and not in self.
[ii] And often the censure derives from personal pet pursuits with little or no support from scripture.


Alan Jacobs, as quoted by Mark Ward.
Typically when we use the word [“tribalism”], we use it to refer to a malformation of group identity, a group identity in which loyalty…to the people that you perceive as your in-group overrides everything else…And so I think, if, for instance, you’re the sort of person who can be appropriately critical of your own in-group, and you can, at times, call people to account for higher and better standards of behavior, then that’s an indication of a group identity that is not tribalist, but if you defend what your people do no matter what…that’s…tribalism.