Saturday, January 20, 2018

Menlo Church Challenge

Menlo Mega Church of San Francisco has instituted a biblical farce of brasen manipulation -- their weird and wacky Tithe Challenge. Sign an agreement to tithe for 3 months -- complete satisfaction or your money back!

God help us survive the fraudulent Christianity permeating our society!

See also MegaChurch Offers Legally-Binding Money Back Tithe Guarantee.

We have an advocate

We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. — 1 John 2:1 

"Advocacy may fail for two reasons: 1. the incompetency of the advocate; or 2. the badness of the cause. But there are no such hindrances to the success of the advocacy of Christ." -- J. C. Philpot

Friday, January 19, 2018

Americans’ Perception of Pastors, 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.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Work Earn Spend Save Give

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Earn diligently

  • Colossians 3:23 and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
  • Proverbs 18:9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
  • Proverbs 14:23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
  • Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Spend wisely

  • Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
  • Proverbs 21:20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
  • Proverbs 24:27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
  • Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Save routinely

  • Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.
  • Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

Give weekly

  • 1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
  • Proverbs 3:9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
  • Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
  • Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Lazarus the author?

Some posts (below) deal with a topic I had never heard before -- that Lazarus might the author of the fourth gospel! Who knew?

The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved -- "In this case, since the fourth gospel’s author identified himself in terms of Jesus’ love for him, it makes sense to see who scripture says had this relationship with Jesus."
Was Lazarus the Beloved Disciple? -- "Thus I submit that the theory that Lazarus was the Beloved Disciple and the author of most of the traditions in this Gospel is a theory which best clears up the conundrum of the end of the Appendix written after his death."

Background to the Study of John -- "From the list in 21:2 of those present, this disciple must have been one of the sons of Zebedee, or one of the two other unnamed disciples present."
Authorship of Fourth Gospel -- "It is not surprising that the external evidence for Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel is casually dismissed by critical scholars."
Authorship of John contd -- "A reader pointed me to Ben Witherington’s well-argued defense of the theory that John was written by Lazarus."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Biblical Theology, 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.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Religious Freedom Day

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims January 16, 2018, as Religious Freedom Day -- "Our forefathers, seeking refuge from religious persecution, believed in the eternal truth that freedom is not a gift from the government, but a sacred right from Almighty God."

Religious Freedom Day -- "Each year, the President declares January 16th to be Religious Freedom Day, and calls upon Americans to 'observe this day through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools, and places of worship.' The day is the anniversary of the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom."

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom -- " compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical..."


In a forum frequented by some of my more liberal Baptist brethren, I’ve encountered some discussion of the possible discrepancies between the early birth and life of Jesus narratives in Matthew 2 and Luke 2. This included some mention of the “harmony of the gospels” and even brought up the early Christian teacher named Tatian and his “Harmony of Four (Gospels)”. Because of that, I decided to include the following information here on my blog.

The Diatessaron[i] is an early (probably first) harmony of the four Christian gospels, compiled by Tatian,[ii] a disciple of Justin Martyr. Tatian combined the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John into a single narrative. The work was compiled circa AD 150 – 175. The Greek title means “Through Four” (i.e., Composed of Four, Harmony of Four).[iii] I do not know the intended purpose of Tatian’s Diatessaron, but its existence suggests that he accepted the historicity of these accounts.[iv]

The Roberson-Donaldson introduction tells us that “In its present form the Harmony draws from all the four canonical gospels, and from very little else.” According to the New World Encyclopedia, “Only fifty-six verses in the canonical Gospels do not have a counterpart in the Diatessaron, mostly the genealogies and the pericope adulterae” [i.e., John 7:53 - 8:11, rlv]. It is an early witness of the longer ending of the gospel of Mark.

Tatian produced the several works, two of which survive. The other is Tatian’s Address to the Greeks.

[i] The Roberts-Donaldson English Translation
[ii] Greek, Tatianos.
[iii] Dia – through, for the sake of, because of; Tessaron, tessares– four.
[iv] Those who deny its historicity have no reason to concern themselves with “harmonizing” the Gospels. On the other hand, skeptics often propose supposed contradictions to disprove (to their satisfaction) that the Gospels are historically accurate.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Diligence in prayer, 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.)

"Diligence in prayer is the better half of study." -- Martin Luther

"[The theologian] who prays diligently has completed half of his studies." -- attributed to Johann Gerhard

"Pious prayer offered in faith is familiar conversation with God." --  Johann Gerhard

"No one worth calling a man allows his moods to change his convictions; but it is by moods that we understand other men's convictions. The bigot is not he who knows he is right; every sane man knows he is right. The bigot is he whose emotions and imagination are too cold and weak to feel how it is that other men go wrong." -- G. K. Chesterton

"O how hard it is to be shallow enough for a polite audience!" -- John Wesley, from his Journal 1771 [The quote followed these words: "Many of them were gay, genteel people: so I spake on the first elements of the Gospel. But it was still out of their depth."]

"God uses flawed people to accomplish his sovereign purposes." -- Copied

"Do we see the oak starting up in all its gigantic proportions in one day? Is not a tiny acorn committed to the ground; and is not the giant oak, whose huge limbs we admire, the growth of a century? Men and women are years growing up to their full stature." -- J. C. Philpot

"The wallet is a great window to the soul." -- Chris Brown

"Don’t condemn what God condones or condone what God condemns." -- Wesley Briggman

"Love is not always nice, kindness is not always indulgent, and tolerance is not always a virtue. “No” is often the most loving thing a parent or pastor or church can say." -- Bobby Jamieson

Selective outrage?

It is interesting how folks pick and choose their moral outrage. If it is Bill Clinton having sex in the White House with an intern, Republicans are outraged and Democrats give him a pass. If it is Donald Trump groping Cassandra Searles at the Miss USA pageant, Democrats are outraged and Republican give him a pass. If it is Martin Luther King, Jr., almost everyone gives him a pass.

In Why You Shouldn’t Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr this MLK Day J. D. Hall writes, “If you can’t celebrate Judge Roy Moore, you can’t celebrate Martin Luther King.” This piece asks points out that the long-known indiscretions of Martin Luther King, Jr. are now exposed with the release of the “JFK Files”  last year and “King’s gross sexual sins entered into official government documentation.” The file on King that was completely withheld from the public by the Assassination Records Review Board in 1994. “According to the Act, all records previously withheld either in part or in full should be released on October 26, 2017, unless authorized for further withholding by the President of the United States.” The President did not authorize further withholding, so now these documents, including the file of Martin Luther King, became public last year.

The file may be viewed HERE. “Claims that this document is an attempt by J. Edgar Hoover to slander King are entirely foolish, considering that this was an internal report that was sealed from the public.”

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Prone to Wander

1. Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, O fix me on it!
Mount of God’s redeeming love.

2. Here I’ll raise mine Ebenezer;
Hither by thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed his precious blood.

3. Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy grace, Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for thy courts above.

4. O that Day when freed from sinning,
I shall see thy lovely Face;
Cloth-ed then in blood-washed linen
How I’ll sing thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransom’d soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

This hymn was written in 1757 and first published in 1759. It is presented here as I know it. I did not find the original printing.

Robert Robinson, the author of “Come, Thou fount of every blessing,” and “Mighty God, while angels bless Thee,” was born at Swaffham, in Norfolk, on Sept. 27, 1735. He died June 9, 1790 and was buried at the Dissenters’ Burial Ground at Birmingham, West Midlands, England. On the radio I heard the following (similar) story about Robinson and his hymn “Come, Thou fount of every blessing.” I have been unable to verify whether the story is true or apocryphal. Here it is:
In a back-slidden condition, Robinson was traveling in a stage coach one day through the English countryside. His companion in the coach was a young woman. They did not know one another. In the providence of God, and not realizing who it was she spoke with, the woman quoted from his hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” – saying what a blessing it had been to her. Though he tried, Robinson could not get her to change the subject. Finally, he said, with tears in his eyes, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn, many years ago. And I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I then had!” The young lady replied, “Sir, the ‘streams of mercy’ are still flowing.” He was deeply touched by that. The very words he had penned had been returned to him, by the grace and providence of God, to first wound and then heal his heart.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Another Confirmation, 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.