Criticism not allowed?

I posted the following comment at https://cog7.org/online-store/sex-created-fallen-and-redeemed-sexo-creado-caido-y-redimido a week ago but it has yet to appear:

“How many families must be destroyed by lying vindictive wives choosing the welfare state via corrupt family law, how many children torn from their fathers, how many fathers taking their own lives due to the persecution, how many babies murdered in the womb, how many children raised by government indoctrination centers while mothers take half a living wage, how many must suffer before we abandon feminist ideologies like this that blaspheme/speak evil of the Word of God?

Until Christ returns we still live in a world full of thorns and thistles, increased pain in childbirth, authority structures, difficult work, and death.  It is quite the leap to claim that Christ redeemed only one small part of the curse and not the rest.  It can be argued that all of these things God gave us for our own good, even death, since preventing someone living forever in the miserable, rebellious, unredeemed state of man is a mercy.  Scripture is clear the authority structure in marriage was set up because the woman was deceived, and that all authority structures are for our own good. “For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”  It is ridiculous to claim there is no authority structure in the family when wives are command to be under obedience, subject in everything, be in subjection, be obedient, etc, and is by far the most frequent direction to wives stated in many various ways and clearly associated with and even embedded in the middle of lists of authorities in at least four different passages (Ephesians, Colossians, Titus, and Peter).  Two members vying for one position in the body only brings schism and suffering.  We can use logic and twist or deny scripture but it won’t be better than what God plainly commanded.

What’s next?  Is cog7 going to teach children should not obey their parents, servants should not obey their masters, younger should not obey the elders, and citizens should not obey their governments because that also came as a result of the curse and all authority is bad and a mere claim or examples of subjugation/victimhood is all that is required to condemn the structures themselves?  Will the chaos, confusion, and anarchy in the family wake up the church to preclude these other institutions from such cultural rationalizations?  We can be thankful Christ was obedient to death.  Will the church ever return to a time where “Love, Honor, and Obey” is good and right and culturally accepted?  God have mercy on us and our children and call our culture to repentance.”

On a related note, neither has there been any response to the Mutual Submission letter sent in May.  Perhaps neither intellectual discussion nor passionate pleas will get through, only time will tell.

Posted in Uncategorized

Mutual Submission

Letter I dropped in the mail…

 

5/18/2019

Bible Advocate Press
P.O. Box 3367
Denver, CO 80233

Dear Bible Advocate,

I am writing regarding your April 2019 publication titled “All Authority”, specifically the article titled “The Humble Leadership of Christ” and its claim that Ephesians 5 teaches “mutual submission”.

It is disappointing you are now advocating man’s new opinions instead of the Bible. It is clearly a new opinion since “Love, Honor, and Obey” has only recently been removed from wedding vows. This new opinion borders on “speaking evil of what God has said” or as Titus 2:5 labels it: blaspheming the word of God. What God has said from the beginning is that husbands will rule over their wives.

Mutual submission at face value sounds like a very Christian thing to do. Combine it with phrases like yielding to others, loving and serving them, preferring them above yourself and it helps the concept seem very Christlike, and indeed those phrases are. Unfortunately those phrases are not the definition of the underlying Greek word Hupotasso. God’s words have meaning, and mutual submission is a distortion of the meaning the Word has clearly and repeatedly communicated.

Even in modern dictionaries submission is defined as “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person”. Webster’s 1828 adds “Obedience; compliance with the commands or laws of a superior.” A lexicon for the underlying Greek word Hupotasso says it is “to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection; to subject one’s self, obey; to submit to one’s control; to yield to one’s admonition or advice; to obey, be subject.” Bible translators used phrases such as “be subject, be in subjection, submit, obey, be obedient, be in obedience”, and “put under”.

Despite all their sincerity and enthusiasm theology students still end up denying what the whole of Scripture plainly teaches when they emphasize how verses 21 and 22 in Ephesians 5 share the verb Hupotasso in the original text and try to find obscure meaning in that fact. Unfortunately they miss the obvious point that sharing a verb does not change the meaning at all. “People, obey the government, and servants your masters” means just the same thing as if there were two verbs.

Other valid translation choices for submission such as “mutual obedience” or “mutual subjection” make it obvious that such a concept is illogical and impossible. Can a citizen obey the police and the police obey the citizen? Can a king be subject to his subjects? Obfuscating the meaning of submission warps the text so it seems to say something different than what the Writer intended.

If mutual obedience were meant to be taken as doctrine then Paul surely would not minimize it with only five words, even sharing the main verb with the following verse. Surely he would expound on it and include it in one of the various examples he gave. Perhaps it is a difficult phrase to translate. 1 Peter 5:5 has the same phrase “all of you be subject one to another” tagged onto the directive to obey elders, but that phrase only appears in the KJV and derivatives; no other translation has it. And it is the very same Greek word “Allelon” in both verses that apparently gives the translators trouble, “Allelon” being most often translated “one another” but sometimes “themselves” or “yourselves”. Perhaps the verse should have simply read something like “Y’all wives…”

Or perhaps Paul intended “Submitting yourselves one to another” to be a preface to the three examples of authorities established by God that he was going to write about next. He first says for wives to obey, then gives some instructions for husbands. He next says for children to obey, then gives instructions to fathers. Lastly he says for servants to obey, then gives instructions for masters. Absent the preface in Colossians 3-4 he follows the same exact pattern with wives obey, husbands love, children obey, fathers provoke not, servants obey, and masters be just. In his epistle to Titus he lists wives being obedient to their own husbands, servants to masters, and citizens to governments. Peter in his first epistle lists citizens obeying governments, servants obeying masters, wives obeying husbands, and the younger obeying the elders.

In all these lists of various authorities, masters are never told to obey their servants, parents are never told to obey their children, government is never told to obey its citizens, husbands are never told to obey their wives, and elders are never told to obey their flocks. If mutual obedience was meant to be taken as doctrine we should find examples of the above.

Besides the lists of authorities, Paul says that wives are “commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law” in 1 Corinthians 14:34 and in a similar set of instructions in 1 Timothy 2:11 he says “with all subjection”. Other teachings supporting this authority structure are wives reverencing their husbands (1 Peter 3:2, Ephesians 5:33), headship (1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:23), wives having a meek, quiet, and un-contentious spirit (1 Peter 3:4, Proverbs 19:13, 21:9, 21:19, 27:15), the lawful ability to override a wife’s commitments (Numbers 30:8, 12-13), and of course God declaring that wives would be ruled by their husbands in Genesis 3:16.

Where else in the bible can you find this new concept of mutual obedience? Letting the Bible interpret itself is a basic fundament to proper hermeneutics, otherwise we end up with eisegesis instead of exegesis. I believe the best understanding of “Submitting yourselves one to another” is found most clearly in Hebrews 12:17 which reads “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Everyone has someone else in authority over them in the various jurisdictions that have been ordained by God.

Those that deny what God has plainly said will cite many examples of evil authorities, but examples of sinful humans should never be a reason to discard what God has given us for our good. “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1 NIV) Of course there are the standard exception clauses that apply to any authority stepping outside of their jurisdiction and into the jurisdiction of another authority, for example disobeying a command of God (Acts 5:29).

“Mutual submission” is a man made doctrine aligned with the feminist agenda that undermines what God has said. It has encouraged strife, division, and anarchy which has resulted in countless heartaches, broken families, divorces, and fatherless homes. Rebellion is a foundational problem in marriages, churches, culture, and the whole human race.

Sincerely,

Nelson Minica

Posted in Bible

Bible Verses for Husbands and Wives

Just a bit of a topical Bible study I hope others will find useful.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace… 1 Cor 14:33

Verses for husbands:

Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Matthew 19:5a And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife…
Mark 10:7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
Genesis 3:17a And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it…

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Exodus 21:10-11 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

Leviticus 18:18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.

Deuteronomy 24:5 When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.

Proverbs 5:15-19 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 – Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that [is] thy portion in [this] life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

Malachi 2:15-16 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
Matthew 5:31-32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
Mark 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
1 Corinthians 7:11b …and let not the husband put away his wife.
1 Corinthians 11:4,7a,14 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
Ephesians 5:25-28,31,33a Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself…

Verses for wives:

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said…thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
Ephesians 5:22-24,33b Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Nevertheless let …the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
1 Timothy 2:11-15 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
Titus 2:4,5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Numbers 30:8,12-13 But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it ; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her… But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the Lord shall forgive her. Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.

Proverbs 19:13b …the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.
Proverbs 21:9,19 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
Proverbs 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

Proverbs 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

1 Corinthians 7:10-11a And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband. But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband…
1 Corinthians 11:5-10,13,15 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. …but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

1 Timothy 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

Verses for both husbands and wives:

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Genesis 9:1,7 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
Matthew 19:6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.

Mark 10:9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.

1 Corinthians 7:2-5 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Summary of verses for husbands:

1. 1 – Don’t listen to wife when she is immoral (Gen 3:17).
2. 1 – Stay with wife first year of marriage and be free to spend time with her (Deut 24:5)
3. 1 – Don’t take wife’s sister as a second wife (Lev 18:18).
4. 1 – Give honor to wife and dwell with her with moral wisdom according to Christian principles (1 Pet 3:7).
5. 1 – Don’t be bitter with your wife (Col 3:19).
6. 1 – Sanctify and cleanse your wife with the Word (Eph 5:26).
7. 2 – Rejoice and live joyfully with your wife (Eccl 9:9), being satisfied with her and be ravished / intoxicated / captivated / infatuated / enraptured with her love (Prov 5:19).
8. 2 – Be the head of your wife (1 Cor 11:3, Eph 5:23) by not abdicating your authority and by respecting her position as useful and necessary (1 Cor 12:17-22) and worthy of honor (1 Cor 12:23-24,26) that there should be no schism or suffering in the body (1 Cor 12:25-26).
9. 3 – Be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28, 9:1,7).
10. 3 – Leave parents and cleave to wife (Gen 2:24, Matt 19:5, Mark 10:7).
11. 3 – Work for bread (Gen 3:19), provide for family (1 Tim 5:8). Give all wives basic food/clothing/sexual needs without discrimination (Ex 21:10).
12. 3 – Keep hair short and do not cover head while praying or prophesying (1 Cor 11:4,7a,14).
13. 4 – Give marital rights / duty of marriage (Ex 21:10), due benevolence / conjugal rights / satisfy sexual needs / affection owed (1 Cor 7:3), give authority /power over your body (1 Cor 7:4), do not defraud /rob except with consent (1 Cor 7:5).
14. 5 – Love your wife (Col 3:19, Eph 5:25,33) as your own body (Eph 5:28), nourish and cherish her as your own flesh (Eph 5:29).
15. 8 – Do not divorce your wife (Mal 2:16, 1 Cor 7:11, Matt 5:32, 19:6,9, Mark 10:9,11, Luke 16:18 ) except for physical abuse (Ex 21:27), abandonment (1 Cor 7:15) or uncleanness (Deut 24:1) aka fornication (Matt 5:32, 19:9) which includes adultery (Lev 20:10, Deut 22:22) and sexual defrauding (Ex 21:10, 1 Cor 7:3-5).

Summary of verses for wives:

1. 1 – Be husband’s adequate helper curing his not-good-aloneness (Gen 2:18).
2. 1 – Win without words using your conduct and character (1 Pet 3:1).
3. 1 – Love your husband (Titus 2:4).
4. 2 – Fear / reverence (1 Pet 3:2) venerate / treat with deference or reverential obedience (Eph 5:33) your husband.
5. 2 – Let your husband be your head (1 Cor 11:3, Eph 5:23) by deferring to his authority and by respecting his position as useful and necessary (1 Cor 12:17-22) and worthy of honor (1 Cor 12:23-24,26) that there should be no schism or suffering in the body (1 Cor 12:25-26).
6. 3 – Do not separate from your husband (1 Cor 7:10, Matt 19:6, Mark 10:9) except for physical abuse (Ex 21:27), neglect of basic food/clothing/sexual needs (Ex 21:10), or abandonment (1 Cor 7:15).
7. 3 – Let your husband override your vows (Num 30:8, 12-13).
8. 3 – Guide the house (1 Tim 5:14), be keepers at home (Tirus 2:5), feed your household (Prov 31:15).
9. 3 – Trust in God (1 Pet 3:5), don’t be afraid (1 Pet 3:6), have faith (1 Tim 2:15).
10. 3 – Give due benevolence / conjugal rights / satisfy sexual needs / affection owed (1 Cor 7:3), give authority / power over your body (1 Cor 7:4), do not defraud /rob except with consent (1 Cor 7:5).
11. 4 – Learn in silence in church (1 Cor 14:34-35) and do not teach men or usurp authority over them (1 Tim 2:11-12) and let your husband speak for the family.
12. 4 – Be sober (Titus 2:4), be discreet, be chaste (Titus 2:5) don’t be flashy/showy (1 Tim 2:9, 1 Pet 3:3).
13. 5 – Bear children (1 Tim 5:14, Gen 1:28, 9:1,7). Love your children (Titus 2:4).
14. 5 – Don’t be contentious (Prov 19:13, 21:9, 27:15) or angry (Prov 21:19) with your husband. Have a meek and quiet spirit (1 Pet 3:4).
15. 5 – Wear long hair or a head covering when praying or prophesying as a symbol of the authority / power you are under (1 Cor 11:5-6,10,13,15).
16. 10 – Be obedient (Titus 2:5, 1 Cor 14:34, 1 Pet 3:6), be subject to in everything (Eph 5:24), with all subjection (1 Tim 2:11) be in subjection to (1 Pet 3:1,5), submit to (Eph 5:22, Col 3:18) your husband, and be ruled over by/under dominion of (Gen 3:16) your husband except if he asks you to disobey a command of God (Acts 5:29) or a jurisdiction outside his authority (Romans 13:1, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13).

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Note: the number is the count of related verses.  The font size is the number times ten.

May God bless and strengthen our families and fill them with His love and His Spirit.

Posted in Bible

The Question of War

War is a terrible thing. It separates families, and causes much death, pain, and sorrow. It is cruel; to the “victors”, the “losers”, soldiers, and soldiers’ families…war is cruel to everyone. It hardens men to bloodshed, greed, and hate. It ruins God-given economical resources. War violates many Biblical principles, such as…
“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” – Proverbs 13:10
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – Matthew 5:38-39
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:18-21
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
“Thou shalt not kill.” – Exodus 20:13
Obviously, war is not a good thing overall, but should a Christian ever participate in war? It is plain to see in Scripture that war is not always wrong.
“The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” – Exodus 15:3
“Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:” – Psalm 144:1
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,” – Revelation 12:7
“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” – Revelation 17:14
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” – Ephesians 6:10-11
In this question of whether or not a Christian should participate in war, many people would refer to Exodus 20:13, which says, “Thou shalt not kill”. However, our English word “kill” is a mistranslation of what should be rendered, “murder”. Killing is not always wrong. God sometimes delegates vengeance in the form of capital punishment to civil authorities, such as the priests and judges in the Bible. If killing were always wrong, this would be a contradiction. Murder is always wrong, but are casualties of war murder?
Jesus said to turn the other cheek, but does turning the other cheek apply to individuals only? Well, families are made up of individuals. Communities are made up of families. Nations are made up of communities. Governing bodies are made up of individuals. If turning the other cheek applies to individuals, certainly it applies to groups of individuals as well. So as a nation, we should turn the other cheek when we are insulted. Wars for the sake of national pride are not right. But oftentimes, wrongdoing is the cause of war. Isn’t it likely that someone who has done wrong will continue to do so? I would say yes.
Going back to Romans 12:18, we are to live peaceably with all men, “if it be possible”. If it were always possible, surely this caveat would not be included. Yet three verses later, Paul says to overcome evil with good. Aren’t wars, even so-called “just wars”, overcoming evil with evil?
Is there even such a thing as a just war? Well, let’s take a look at Romans 13:3-4: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” This passage basically says that one of the purposes rulers exist is to execute wrath on evildoers, and also implies that using the sword to do so is right and just. So rulers can execute wrath on evildoers by the use of the sword, but in that case they need an army. They can’t just expect to win on their own against aggressors like Hitler.
So they need an army; they need private soldiers and officers. But wait a minute: private soldiers are individuals who have NOT received the authority to execute judgment. The rulers are left in a dilemma here… Let’s go back to Romans 13. Verses 1-2 say: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Is it possible that rulers who have received authority from God to wreak vengeance have also received power to delegate that authority?
This seems to me like it might be the answer. After all, it is impossible for the rulers of this world to personally oversee and accomplish all acts of vengeance and punishment. So when governing leaders of today declare war, it must be right for them to be able to call men of their country to arms and command war efforts.
But rulers are human too. Many of them don’t follow the one true God. There have been many cases, and surely will be many more, where wars fought were unjust. For instance, the Mexican War was fought over land rights, and the U.S. even started it! Those facts certainly do raise questions in my mind as to whether the Mexican War was just.
What about World War II? Hitler and the Axis were doing a lot of wrong things. Yet, those nations were not under the jurisdiction of the United States. Was it right for U.S. forces to step in and fight, when they didn’t directly have that authority? I don’t know the answer to that question for sure, but I do know this: “For he [the LORD] shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.” – Psalm 72:12. Was God working through the U.S.? Probably, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that what they did, stepping in, was right.
You could make the case that the Civil War came about because of wrongdoing – slavery might not always be wrong, but the way they did it was wrong. At the same time, is keeping a country together a good enough reason to fight a war? Sometimes you just have to leave wrongs alone, and God will take care of them in His own good timing. Then again, God does use rulers to accomplish His purposes, and the Civil War did end slavery in the U.S.
Many, many God-fearing people in history, whom I respect very much, have made the choice to fight in wars. Many God-fearing people today fight in wars. Who am I to pronounce whether they do right? “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” – Romans 14:10. They alone are responsible for their actions, and I alone am responsible for mine.
This has been a difficult subject to write about. I’m still not sure if wars that are fought nowadays are ever right. At least, they aren’t usually right. I suppose we must just take war on a case-by-case basis, and beg God for the discernment to make the right decision when the time comes. May He give us His wisdom and grace!

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Posted in Bible, History, Wisdom

A Greater Reward

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.”1

When Mary Slessor made the decision to take up her cross in Calabar, some people tried to frighten her. “Didn’t she know that the natives around Calabar were cannibals? insisted her antagonists. Didn’t she know the heathen of Africa worshipped the devil? And what of the ferocious leopards that lurked behind every tree?”2 In the midst of the opposition, she simply said, “Well, if it’s the post of danger, then it is surely also the post of honor.”3

When she submitted her application to the Foreign Mission Board, she trusted God and said that she would go wherever she was needed. God affirmed His calling on her life when they sent her to Calabar, in West Africa.

When her fear of leopards, snakes, jungle fever, pagan natives, and horrific heathen rituals threatened to overcome her, she had a Hiding Place from which no one could pluck her.4

When the Egbo runners bullied slaves in their cruel way, Mary confronted them and faced them down. When a leopard stood in her path in the jungle, she sang to it until it left. When innocent people suspected of witchcraft were being held captive, she blocked the way of the murderers and wouldn’t let them administer the poison bean test. In this way she saved many lives.

At age forty-three, Mary received a marriage proposal from a twenty-five year old missionary, who wanted to work with her in the Okoyong. She eventually agreed to leave the decision up to the Foreign Mission Board. When the Board decided that the young man needed to stay in Duke Town ministering to the Efik people, Mary trusted God that she should stay with her work among the Okoyong. Thus she gave up her own dream of marriage to fulfill the will of God.

During her years in Calabar, she was horrified with the practice of twin killing. The natives believed that no man could father two children, and thus a devil must have fathered the other. Since they didn’t know which was which, they would kill both children and leave them out in the jungle. The mother would also be cast out, left to starve or be killed by beasts, for her supposed sin. Mary threw herself wholeheartedly against this practice, and took in many twins who were found alive in the jungle.

Mary was made a legal judge over the natives in more than one area. They respected “White Ma” very much, and would abide by her decisions. When she was able, though God’s help, to avert bloodshed, she held it as a great triumph indeed. When she was faced with a difficult decision, her light and guide was Scripture and prayer.

She wasn’t perfect. One time she forgot what day of the week it was, whitewashed the walls on Sunday, and was going to conduct a church service on Monday. She was gently reminded what day it was, but decided to have the service anyway “for the natives’ peace of mind”.5 Her goal was to “feed the sheep” in the best way she could.6

After 37 years of service in Africa, Mary was given the Maltese Cross for her great work for the faith. She received it saying, “If this is my crown to take to gloryland, I will lay it at the Master’s feet.”7 Her view of that medal from then on was as a token of appreciation to all the missionaries in Nigeria.8

One of Mary’s biggest legacies is the many native children she raised; babies found abandoned in the jungle, and those who were esteemed cursed. Her compassion for these children echoed the loving words of her Master: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”9

Some may have thought her crazy, but surely not the natives she loved and aided. Jesus gave this promise to servants like Mary; “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”10

Mary Slessor could have spent her life for herself. But instead, she followed the example of her hero David Livingstone and also of Moses of the Bible, who “thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.”11

 

Footnotes:

1Mark 8:34b-35, NIV  2Mary Slessor: Light for the Dark Continent  3Ibid  4Psalm 32:7; John 10:28  5Mary Slessor: Light for the Dark Continent  6John 21:15-17  7Mary Slessor: Light for the Dark Continent  8Ibid  9Mark 10:14, NKJV  10Matthew 10:42, NIV  11Hebrews 11:26, NLT, adapted

General information about Mary Slessor taken from Mary Slessor: Light for the Dark Continent, by Sam Wellman (Copyright 1998)

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Posted in History

A Sovereign God

In the mid-1500s, scientists such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton challenged commonly accepted scientific beliefs with their discoveries. Their conclusions gave rise to a new outlook on the universe, and changed the widespread emphasis from God to man. This period in history is known as the Enlightenment. How could such a drastic transformation in popular thinking be made by just some new ideas? Here are two principles that were widely accepted in these theorists’ time. #1. There is an omnipotent God Who rules the universe. #2. That He is a personal God and answers the prayers of mankind. These beliefs were held by a majority of people in the 15th and 16th centuries. However, when Newton’s book Mathematical Principles was published, for example, it was shown that the universe operates on the basis of regular, predictable natural laws1. Thus a third theory was eventually added to the list of generally accepted beliefs. Then the conflict began. People believed in God, that He is all-powerful and personal, but they couldn’t reconcile these beliefs with the undeniable principle of natural law. In time, religious belief faded into the background and was replaced by reliance on scientific researchers for the knowledge of truth. In today’s world, belief in God as herein described is the exception. Is there a way to resolve the apparent conflict between these three principles? In this essay we will explore the answer.

Mark 10:27 says this: “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’” Jeremiah 32:17 declares, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.” So we see that our first principle is certainly true. Psalm 66:19-20 affirms, “But God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me!” Psalm 120:1 states, “I call on the LORD in my distress, and He answers me.” Now we see that the second principle is also correct. The third principle, the principle of natural laws – laws of gravity, physics, thermodynamics, and many other areas – is so well contended for in so many places that we won’t go into that here and now.

To gain a clearer understanding of the facts surrounding our dilemma, let’s look at some of the characteristics of God’s nature. God is not limited by space like we are as humans. God created space, but He is not limited by it. God also created time, and time and space are inseparably joined. God is infinite, omnipresent, and eternal – He has always existed, will always exist, and exists everywhere at once. He was, is, and always will be. Try to grasp this concept. “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8). As finite, mortal beings, this is hard for us to comprehend, yet it is true.

Now, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created them under the power of natural laws, but those same natural, scientific laws are under God’s sovereign authority. Without God, the universe would not exist. God created the world with a plan for His honor and glory. Part of the way He glorifies Himself is by answering the prayers of the people He created. One of the most amazing things in history is God’s undying love for us. Jesus humbled Himself by coming to this world in the form of a man – He laid aside His position as God’s Son and died to pay for our sins.

And so we discover that our three points all agree with each other: God is omnipotent and sovereign over the entire world; He made laws, like any good sovereign does, to rule over His universe; and He is a loving God Who cares for us. All are true and cannot be done away with, yet because of their seeming contradiction of each other, many people have turned to their own reason to tell them what is true. Let us remember that God alone is the source of ultimate truth.

 

Footnotes:

1 Exploring America; by Ray Notgrass (Copyright 2007)

Posted in Wisdom

Happy 2nd Birthday to Taylor!

Taylor is 2 years old! Thank you for enjoying this overview of his 2nd year, and a few messages from our family and from Taylor.

Taylor age 13 months

Age 13 months – Taylor enjoyed our beach trip and wanted to eat the sand, just like any 1-year old.

“Many might like to label me as a ‘Down’s child.’ In actuality, I am simply a boy who happens to have Trisomy 21 (the correct medical term). Mr. Down may have discovered Down syndrome, but he is not my father. Maybe we should call it ‘Up syndrome’ instead! In many ways I am a typical boy, just like my 3 big brothers, and love to play with blocks, cars, and wagons. One of my favorite things to do is to knock down a tower of blocks with a big BANG!”

Age 14 months - having a new baby sister is pretty neat.

Age 14 months – having a new baby sister is pretty neat.

 “I am not ‘retarded.’ I am developmentally delayed. I think it would be nice if people would not use the word ‘retarded’ anymore, since the meaning of it has changed to an insult in recent years.”

Age 15 months

Age 15 months – Swimming and splashing are so much fun!

 “I am more alike than different. I may be a bit slower and look a little different, but I am growing up with the same hopes, dreams, joys, and sorrows as anyone else.”

Age 16 months

Age 16 months – Taylor is wearing SMO’s on his feet to help with proper standing and walking, and to prevent future problems.

 “If someone says that I can’t do something, my response will be, ‘Watch me!’ My Mommy doesn’t let any of my older siblings say “I can’t do it,” and she does not treat me any differently.”

Age 17 months

Taylor, age 17 months

Zachary age 18 months

Zachary, age 18 months

 “See how much I look like my big brother Zachary? Yes, I have an extra chromosome, but I still look a lot like many of my own family.”

Taylor age 18 months

Age 18 months – all dressed up and ready for church

 “I am not always happy. I am happy a lot of the time, but my emotions are variable just like anyone else. I can throw a tantrum with the best of them! And I sometimes forget to be nice and hit my sister…”

Age 19 months

Age 19 months – camping in a tent was fun, and I got to take a bath in the dishtub.

“Thank you for understanding my challenges, but please don’t treat me differently and thereby communicate lowered expectations for my potential. I love the song my family sings for me: ‘I am a promise! I am a possibility!'”

Age 20 months

Age 20 months – On a fun road trip to Georgia, hanging out with one of Taylor’s favorite people.

“Please don’t limit me! I can do anything with God’s help. I can’t wait until Matthew teaches me to play the piano like he does!”

Age 21 months

Age 21 months – Taylor has been crawling for many months and is still working on strengthening his core so that he can walk.

“I am very playful and love to have fun playing peek-a-boo, chase and tickle, and pass back-and-forth. I know and love every member of my big family, and feel shy around other people. Remember, I am more alike than different!”

Age 22 months

Age 22 months – Our “twins!”

“Jubilee is trying to catch up with me, and she thinks she’s going to win the race we’re in to see who walks first. She may be fast, but I’m not giving up. She’s going to motivate me to keep going.”

Age 23 months

Age 23 months – Taylor enjoys his GAPS Diet soup, made specially for him and pureed to honey-thick consistency.

“Thanks Mommy, for all the work you do for me every day. I know Down syndrome is not a disease, but it sure is hard sometimes, when my extra chromosome gives me extra problems. The daily supplements you give me are helping my body fight the oxidative stress I’m under, and I thank you for it!”

Age 24 months

Happy 2nd Birthday Taylor!

 “I may not be able to speak words to you yet, but I can understand just about everything you say. I know at least 15 signs, and am learning more all the time.”
Posted in Down Syndrome