Is it based on the pre-Mosaic method? I see Abraham tithe once, of the spoils of war, and then give the other 90% back to the king of Sodom. Where did Jacob give his tithes? How do we relate that to the church?
Tithing does precede the Mosaic Law. Starting with the first book of the Bible—Genesis--we can see an indication of what God has in mind for His people about tithing long before the giving of the Law upon Mt. Sinai.
Similarly to the actions of Cain and Abel the tithe of Jacob would have been offered up as some sort of sacrifice. There is no place in Scripture where we can point to explicit commands of tithing pre-Law. That said, as we read Genesis we cannot account for what is there, unless, we are willing to presuppose a previous revelation by God.
This relates to the church rather easily. It is being willing and able to not only be obedient to God but to be faithful as well. Teaching or affirming spontaneous giving has never been God’s primary means of giving, at least in any offering given to Him. In fact, Cain is an excellent example of God’s dealing with man in a way involving some sacrifice.
The tithe law that we first see in Leviticus is difficult for me too. Resources I've looked at show that they actually tithed up to 23% between three different tithes. That tithe seemed to go to the Levites, who then gave a tithe to the priests (so priest received 1% of the total tithe).
Much of the system that exhausted the other tithes related to a system of sacrifices and something prescriptively given in the Mosaic Law. The tithe in any either case is a tenth. Its distribution remains myriad to this day, at least in some part. How many pastors use tithing money to pay for some need or want in the church itself? Some pastor’s use their own tithes to finance other staff in the church.
Are Pastor's the New Testament equivalent to the Old Testament priests? In the Old Testament only the Priest could do the ministry - how does that come into play with the New Testament concept of the priesthood of all believers? Can a Pastor claim 10% or 1% of tithes as his?
No. Symbolism does not equate to sameness. I would say 10% is the only proportioned giving in the text of Scripture.
Is it Biblical for Pastor's to be the wealthiest member in the church - receiving tithes? Is it Biblical for ministry to tell parishioners that it's God's money, and they have no say once they pay it - even when ministry spends much on overhead, and little on the poor which was so important to God in both Testaments? I am a Pastor by the way - just asking some tough questions : )
I do not think the Scriptures actually discussed the issue that specifically. I do think humans can abuse any system or structure. The children of Israel demonstrated this and yet God loved them. Thankfully He still loves us. I do think that certain levels or degrees of accountability are always applicable. Some churches give financial reports monthly. There are also certain advisory boards or collection of elders we can use to help guide most expenses of the church.
Jesus mentions that the tithe shouldn't have gone undone in the New Testament verses, but who were they tithing to? It was still Old Testament tithes to the temple.
I don’t think New Testament believers are accountable to the rigid nature of the Law, but are accountable to a greater Law, indeed written on the tables of our heart.
I definitely see where the New Testament makes provision for preachers to receive compensation (though Paul didn't seem to take more than his basic needs on occasion and still worked), but still looking for more information I guess.
1 Corinthians 9:13-14: Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple eat food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar receive a part of the offerings? (14) In the same way the Lord commanded those who proclaim the gospel to receive their living by the gospel. NET
I think this is where Paul clarifies some system of giving for New Testament believers. The beginning of vs. 14 starts with a form of καί that lets us know that the prior principle—those who serve at the altar receive a part of the offerings—is still applicable in some sense. Since the Mosaic Law was fulfilled the reference here could be to the transcovenantal principle of giving a tenth, the first of our fruits—regardless if it be money or commodity—to their local pastor.
The New Testament doesn’t explicitly say so. But many things lead us to believe that He did. He was born and reared in a pious Jewish home and the pious (orthodox) Jew did tithe. His Bible was our Old Testament and the Old Testament is very clear concerning tithes.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “I came not to destroy the law or the prophets.” Both the law and the prophets are clear on tithing. Jesus received criticism because he did not observe their traditional laws concerning the Sabbath, their elaborate methods of washing of hands, and vessels, etc.
As a carpenter, Jesus would have paid tithes of His material supply as well as His monetary compensation. Jesus even sat with the Pharisees at their feasts, but no pious Pharisee would sit with Him if He had not. The Pharisees were forbidden to extend hospitality to, or receive hospitality from those who were not faithful in their tithing. They KNEW he tithed. As we pointed out earlier in Matthew 23:23, Jesus approved of tithing.
Answering Some Objections:
In reality tithing is PRE-LAW. It is a universal principle that was practiced by Egyptians, Mesopotamians, O.T. believers, etc. The Mosaic Law only re-instated and expressed the how, why, when, and where. It does not hinge or depend upon the Mosaic Law; therefore we cannot find scripture where tithing is done away with seeing that it is not under the Law. The percentage used by Abraham and Jacob is harmonious and not coincidental. In textual criticism harmonization is a major factor in solidifying a texts authenticity. I believe it is NOT coincidence that these two men as well as other major historical religious societies participated in the tenth. Accordingly, this universal religious principle is only affirmed—never denied in scripture.
“Having land, sold it , and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.” (Acts 4:37 KJV)
Those who reject the tithing principle should of course ONLY follow the above (Acts 4:37) if they choose to give in a supposed New Testament sense. If we were to abide by that tradition, we would have to sell all that we had and bring it into the church, to the apostles' feet. A.W. Pink has noted in his book on Tithing:
“Tithing is even more obligatory on the saints of the New Testament than it was upon God’s people in Old Testament days—not equally binding, but more binding, and that for two reasons: first, on the principle of “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48). The obligations of God’s saints today are much greater than the obligations of the saints in Old Testament times, because our privileges and our blessings are greater. As grace is more potent than law, as love is more constraining than fear, as the Holy Spirit is more powerful than the flesh, so our obligations to tithe are greater, for we have a deeper incentive to do that which is pleasing to God.”
The church is a hospital and place for safety. The church should be the first to give and support the widow and fatherless etc. For example, an elderly widow woman experienced her roof being torn off by a storm, consequently the church she attended gave her the portion needed to meet her deductible for Insurance. This is a great example of Christian charity.
We do not assert "lording over God's inheritance" or hoarding the tithing. However, I have seen many, many, churches who follow non-tithing teachings and they struggle spiritually very much. Their teachings and services are weak and anemic spiritually. The "elder" or "teacher" gets home from working around 6 p.m. takes a shower and steps in the pulpit at 7 p.m. to deliver a half-hearted, non-prepared, rambling, dissertation on chicken and eggs.
The problem with those who teach non-tithing, because it is used in the O.T. is that it does not hinge upon a Law, Covenants, or even dispensations. Should we feel that God would destroy the earth by flood? Do you feel that the command to NOT kill is still a biblical precept? Tithing was not founded in the context of the Law; therefore, the one who denies the tithe bears the burden of proof of finding where in the Holy texts it is found being done away with.
In addition, in the Apocryphal writings of Wisdom of the Son of Sirach 35:9-11, we see a very close parallel to something Paul said almost verbatim years later in 2 Corinthians 9:7:
"In all thy gifts show a cheerful countenance, and dedicate thy tithes with gladness. Give unto the Most High according as he hath enriched thee: and as thou hast gotten give with a cheerful eye. For the Lord recompenseth, and will give thee seven times as much" Wisdom of the Son of Sirach 35:9-11.
Notice what Paul said, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 KJV)
In Acts 20 we witness the departure of Paul. Paul is giving his final dissertation to the Elders of Ephesus and is encouraging them to be wholly committed to the Gospel. Paul's usage of "more blessed to give than to receive" was not solely recited of Christ to represent financial giving. It is possible that it is primary, yet not solely as many imply.
Giving is not only represented by monetary donations. It can be done through ones tireless efforts of self, strength, wisdom, or abilities. Many assume the entire context is a financial seminar.
Tithing: An Ancient Tradition
It is my position that since tithing was not post-law, but pre-law meaning "the baby doesn't go out with the dishwater." Tithing was a heavy principle inlaid in religious culture well before the Mosaic Law. This financial custom did not originate within the Law and neither was it peculiar to the Hebrews or even the Bible. Tithing was very common throughout the ancient Near East, especially Mesopotamia where Neo-Babylonian texts from the 6th century B.C. discuss the collection of tithes as a means of supporting a sanctuary (See Harpers Bible Dictionary) 14 Century B.C. Tablets from Ugarit portray the tithe as a royal-tax the king collected and distributed to his officials. The Seleucid king’s of Syria likewise viewed the tithe as a source for royal income (1 Macc. 10:31, 11:35). However, the Jews at that time viewed tithes as a sacral tax (1 Macc. 3:49).
The passion of some who tithed in the Bible was noticed by Jesus, who criticized such people for neglecting more important religious and ethical demands (Matthew 23:23); however, note that He did not condemn such tithing practices. Which would seem natural to Jesus who withstood the Pharisees on many occasions—why not here?
In my view and the view of many denominations and Christians groups, tithing does not hinge upon the Law or Covenant and therefore knows no extinction. In light of Paul's discourse upon giving and other texts we have mentioned, I feel that he would encourage the N.T. Church to give without compulsion in their offerings, but expected as did others—a tithe.
Some may ask, "where, pre-law, are we commanded to tithe?" Does any or all need to have an explicit command or can it be implicit? I feel that by recognizing the actions of Abraham, Jacob, and the fact that God would require us to support the ministry it is a principle we should receive and adhere. Abraham and Jacob (pre-law) both felt an obligation to give God a tenth, (Grk. Deka), in awe respect of God. We should do the same to support God's gifts to the church.
Paying tithes should not be a dreaded task, but one of worship. “God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7). Abraham, Jacob, and the Israelites paid tithes and gave offerings as an act of worship (Deuteronomy 26:1-11).
Deuteronomy 26:1-11 is one of the most beautiful portions of Scripture on bringing our tithes to the house of God. Since tithing is an act of worship, it necessarily involves spiritual people. Spiritual people tithe regularly, just as they sing, pray, and testify. When you give let it be from the heart and let it be with a cheerful heart.
Tithing is an attribute of a Christian that is a good steward of his/her money. He or she will recognize the blessings of God in their lives and give to God accordingly. The Bible, in both the Hebrew and Greek has varying words that can mean a tenth. Moreover, it is not a foreign or obsolete topic in scripture.
Some teachers and saints are hesitant and leery of this discussion. Why? Because money is a sensitive issue, a volatile issue in some homes. Often times, those that I have debated this topic with admit that they have some issue or resentment from a situation in the past involving money. I am certain however one does not disagree with me simply based upon a negative experience of the past.
The Bible says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21 KJV) If we were to examine the checkbooks and bank accounts of any Christian where would you say their “heart” really is?
Whose Money Is It Anyway?
Whose money is it anyways? The money you have comes from your employer, he received it from the consumer, and the consumer received it elsewhere as well. If you trace it back, it came from the government mint. Essentially, our bills and notes are "supposed" to be backed by gold and silver. The gold, silver, and commodities come from the earth that the Creator has given us. So whose money is it anyway—Gods.
Throughout the Old Testament and New Testament and Christian History there is a general agreement that giving to God should be in proportion to one’s increase or net income. The Bible’s ONLY proportion commanded is the tithe or tenth percent. Some feel that tithing is bondage under the Old Testament Mosaic Law. This excuse is not well thought out or well studied because the origination of tithing is very uncertain.
We do know that it DID NOT start in recent years or with Moses. Some scholars feel that Abel is the first biblical record of tithing when it is recorded in Genesis 4:4, “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:” (KJV) Whether Abel actually tithed or not is not certain; however, we do know that tithing is an ancient custom observed in many places before the Bible was even written.
In the book, The Tithe in Scripture Dr. Henry Lansdell, wrote, “The picture writings of Egypt, the cuneiform tablets of Babylonia, and early writers of Greece and Rome inform us that before the Bible was written, and apart therefrom, it was an almost universal practice among civilized nations for people to pay tithes to their gods…”
In Genesis 14:18-20 we find Abram returning victorious from battle and paying a tithe to Melchizedek the priest of the most High God. The Bible says he gave him tithes of all. Why would Abram do this? Just come up with the “tenth” instantaneously…it had to be an established custom.
In Genesis 28:22 Jacob vowed (pre-law), “Of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” Obviously, a tenth of increase was already an established custom. Later we see in Genesis 31:13, that God even reminds Jacob of this vow. Tithing is not a new concept nor is it a concept abandoned by Christ. Some attest that the 10 percent that Abraham and Jacob used was coincidental. This is of course ludicrous and laughable. It is not coincidental that Abraham and Jacob paid a tenth and then God just so happens to choose it as well in His prescription of the Mosaic Law.
Some critics hold that the two tithing accounts of Abraham and Jacob are late texts and only reflect the later practice of the nation; but the custom of tithes is so ancient and deeply embedded in the history of the human race (monotheistic or polytheistic) that it seems more likely and more natural to believe that among the Jews the practice was in existence long before the time of Moses. As we move along, we will offer more evidence of this ancient practice.
Tithing Restated in the Mosaic Law:
Tithing was finally observed or re-stated through the Mosaic Law in Leviticus 27:30-34 but, bear in mind its origination is not found in the law. There are 3 different types of tithing as well in the Mosaic Law, which involved flocks, harvests, cattle, etc. It was custom to give a 10th part of the products of the land and of the spoils (rewards or increase) of war to priests and kings (1 Macc 10:31; 11:35; 1Sa 8:15,17). There are so man layers in the legislation of tithing under the Law that it would be counterproductive to list them here.
Nevertheless, tithing is also found in the Prophets.
Consider the prophet Malachi, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:8-11 KJV)
The Law of Moses stipulated the what, when, where, and how of tithing. In the tithe of crops from the land, if a part was redeemed by paying cash, one-fifth of the value was added. It was not the inception of tithing. When counting cattle, oxen, or sheep, the tenth animal to pass under the rod was given to the Levites or the priests (Leviticus 27:30-34).
The Talmud (a corpus of the Jewish civil and canonical law not comprised in the Pentateuch), extends the law of tithing beyond the Mosaic Law, with arduous detail, even to the least products of the soil. In certain cases not only the seeds, but, in certain cases, even the leaves and stalks had to be tithed (Ma`aseroth 4 5), (Dema'i 11 1; compare with Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42). The common law was that "everything that is eaten, that is watched over, and that grows out of the earth" must be tithed (Ma`aseroth 1 1).
Should Christians Pay tithes?
Yes. Scholars such as Augustine, Aquinas, and A.W. Pink would agree. In his Summa Theologica Aquinas notes:
“But the fixing of the proportion to be offered to the ministers of divine worship does not belong to the natural law, but was determined by divine institution, in accordance with the condition of that people to whom the law was being given. For they were divided into twelve tribes, and the twelfth tribe, namely that of Levi, was engaged exclusively in the divine ministry and had no possessions whence to derive a livelihood: and so it was becomingly ordained that the remaining eleven tribes should give one-tenth part of their revenues to the Levites [*Num. 18:21]”
It is significant that Abraham gave his tithe to Melchizedek—a priest. Under the law, the tithe was also given to the priesthood. The indication is that tithes were given as worship to God and to finance the work of God. Augustine of Hippo has noted that “It is a duty to pay tithes, and whoever refuses to pay them takes what belongs to another.”
In the New Testament Paul says, “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the alter are partakers with the alter? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:13-14) KJV
The only suggestion that can be found from this passage is, not that the Christian ministry is purely or solely sacrificial, but simply, that as the latter (The Priests) was supported by the people’s contributions, so should the former. Paul was likely referring to the dictates of Jesus in Matthew 10:10, “Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.” KJV
The contemporary New Living Translation renders 1 Corinthians 9:14, “In the same way, the Lord gave orders that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.”
Certain critics have used Hebrews 7, where tithes are mentioned often to describe the priesthood of Melchesedik. They assert that the "disannulling of an unprofitable commandment" is a reference to tithing. However, the view of the Thompson Chain Bible (KJV) which notes that this is a disannulling of the Ceremonial Law not tithing, is not a minority.
Paul also admonishes the Christians of Corinth to "lay aside" (1 Corinthians 16:2) their portion for the ministry at the beginning of each week. This could be an implication of the traditional concept of tithing—the Bible’s ONLY recorded proportion—the tithe or tenth percent.
[Pentecostalism] is widely believed to have more than 500 million adherents, mostly in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Its potential to transform Protestantism is undeniable. ~Alister McGrath, Christianity's Dangerous Idea
Everyone meant well but they certainly did not mean the same thing. ~Hugh Latimer
Everything science has taught me---and continues to teach me---strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death. Nothing disappears without a trace. ~Wernher Von Braun
When blessed with wealth, let them withdraw from the competition of vanity and be modest, retiring from ostentation, and not be the slaves of fashion. ~William Wilberforce
He that lives in hope dances without music. ~George Herbert
The best men know that they are very far from what they ought to be; and the very worst think that, if they were a very little better, they should be as good as they need be. ~James Anthony Froude
Generalization is the death of art. It's in the details where God resides. ~Arthur Miller, quoted in Frances M. Young, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture
It's not better teachers, texts, or curricula that our children need most; it's better childhoods, and we will never see lasting school reform until we see parent reform. —Samuel Sava, in Leadership
He drew a circle that shut me out—Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.But love and I had the wit to win;We drew a circle that took him in. ~Edwin Markham
It is one of the maladies of our age to profess a frenzied allegiance to truth in unimportant matters, to refuse consistently to face her where graver issues are at stake. ~Janos Arany (1817-82), Hungarian poet
“A section of an ancient city wall of Jerusalem from the tenth century B.C.E. -- possibly built by King Solomon -- has been revealed in archaeological excavations directed by Dr. Eilat Mazar and conducted under the auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.”
"A comparison of this latest finding with city walls and gates from the period of the First Temple, as well as pottery found at the site, enable us to postulate with a great degree of assurance that the wall that has been revealed is that which was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem in the latter part of the tenth century B.C.E.," said Mazar
Click here to read full article
Here is a list of some of the papers:
Dr. David K. Bernard: The Bible’s Teaching About Hair Length: Culture or Command
Dr. Daniel Segraves: Letting Our Hair Down: Another Look at 1 Corinthians 11:2-16
Don Modarelli: A Comparison and Contrast Between the Letter of Aristeas and Joseph Aseneth
Roy Fisher: Response to Modarelli
Matthew Johnson: Paul’s Anthropology
Tim Henson: The Epic Reversal: A Relational Approach to Anthropology
You can view them all and download them here.
“Was it possible for Jesus to sin? Some might contend that such a question is pointless to ask in light of the historical fact that Jesus did not sin (John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Admittedly, this is not the most pressing of questions we need to consider, but nevertheless, it has value for our understanding of the person of Christ--specifically to what extent He identified with us in our humanity, and the identity of His person.
Seeing that Scripture only affirms the historical fact of Christ's sinlessness, determining whether it was theoretically possible for Him to have sinned cannot be settled by an appeal to Scripture. It must be settled via larger theological categories, considerations, and concerns.”
Jason Dulle, MA Exegetical Theology. Blog: Theosophical Ruminations
“Welcome to the IBS (Institute for Biblical Studies) Virtual Classroom! The primary goal of this ministry is to provide affordable or even free Bible courses for those who would like to attend Bible college, but who are, for whatever reason, unable. This could also be used as a review for those who have been to Bible college. What we are offering at present is a New Testament Survey course in RealAudio® and mp3 format, along with quizzes, links to related articles for further reading, a course syllabus, and instructions for taking the course online. What we do not offer is college credit or any type of certificate for completing the courses; they are provided for your enrichment only.
We have tried to make taking these courses as simple as possible. All you have to do is buy the book(s) and listen to the classes online. Most of the books are available from Amazon or CBD. Or you may simply listen to any of the sessions which interest you. Either way there is no charge whatsoever for the online courses. You will need to download RealPlayer (version 8 or above) to play the RealAudio® files. The mp3 format should play in just about any media player. I hope that these classes are a blessing to you!”
William Arnold III
The Dawkins Evolution
David B. Hart
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
by Richard Dawkins
Free Press, 480 pages, $30
The first lesson to be learned from Richard Dawkins’ new book is a purely practical maxim: One should always do what one does best, while scrupulously avoiding those tasks for which neither nature nor tuition has equipped one. This is not, obviously, what one could call a moral counsel; it is merely a counsel of prudence. Another way of saying it would be, try not to make a fool of yourself. Of course, folly is something of a relative judgment. It is often the case, especially in the world of publishing, that the most lucrative course is to do things very, very badly. The richest novelists tend to be those who cannot write; and the more poorly they write, the richer they are likely to become. The most successful purveyors of popular history, popular political polemic, popular religion, popular philosophy, popular atheism—and so on—are those who know only as much about their subjects as is necessary to make a stir and absolutely nothing more. And one has to concede that no other book by Richard Dawkins has sold nearly as well as The God Delusion, his majestically maladroit adventure in the realm of abstract ideas. So, weighing things solely in the balances of financial gain, one should perhaps not be too captious regarding his recent publications on the God question.
Isaiah 6:1-8 “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
Isaiah found himself in a place that he experienced an incredible depth of woe. Yet there was no way, at this point anyway, for him to realize the incredible woe yet to come upon him.
There are many things that go into building a successful ministry. Indeed a successful ministry has a great cost attached to it. There are many aspects to the cost you will have to pay along the way. There is the preparation of a dedicated life before you was ever called. There was something in you that God saw that He desired to use. Then there was the day, or days, of calling themselves. Following that were the days of careful, laborious preparation that encompassed:
Prayer – “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Fasting – “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Study – “Study to show thyself approved unto God. A workman that needeth not be shamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”
All of these are necessary if you are going to accomplish anything significant in the kingdom of God. But there is one aspect that must reside in you if you are going to endure the years of ministry ahead of you. There is one aspect that will carry you when you cannot find the words to pray. There is an aspect that will drive you when there is no desire to push away from the table for an extended season of time. It is there when you are weary in mind and it seems that much learning is actually making you insane.
Somewhere along the way there must be the birth of God given passion into your spirit. Without a birth of passion all of the other components of ministry will someday fail you. Passion is not learned in some classroom; you do not read enough about it in a textbook; it is not some mantle that a mentor lays on your shoulders and automatically becomes a part of your life.
Rather, it shows up in moments that are God ordained. There will be those moments of clarifying passion. For Moses it was a burning bush in the wilderness; And a Red Sea crossing when all seemed hopeless and futile. For Elijah it was a still, small voice in a solitary mountainside cave; For Elisha it was a mantle that falls in a dusty field on a hot summer day. For Isaiah it was a vision of the heavenlies when sorrow and despair sets in. For Simon Peter it was a moment beside a fire of forgiveness. For me it was an altar service where I begged God for a double portion of anointing.
Passion is oh so necessary, because it ignites in you an eternal flame that will propel you into the realm of ministry that God has always intended for you to be a part of.
Without passion the trials and tests and woes that come into your life will turn you aside and defeat and destroy you.
The Woes Of Ministry:
I well realize that there are great dreams of ministry that dance in your head and live in your imagination. Those ought to be there because I believe with everything inside of me that you have the potential to do phenomenal things in and for the kingdom of God.
But I have got to be honest with you and tell you that alongside those dreams and visions there are also some great woes ahead for most of you. It just goes with the territory, I suppose. I am not trying to paint a picture of doom and gloom, but I am wanting to be gut level honest.
There are going to be days that the woes are going to be great in your life. And some of you are going to want to quit. Indeed, some of you will quit. The fact is some of you may need to go ahead and quit now.
Why? Because as of yet, you have not found that moment of clarifying, defining passion. You have not been seized by a passion that burns so violently within you that it ravishes the heart of God towards you. Without God given passion you are not going to survive the days of trial.
We are never really told what Demas loved so much about the world that caused him to turn aside. It could have been any number of things that began to call to him. But I am convinced that it is not what Demas saw, but what he lacked that caused him to forsake Paul. Demas never had that moment of clarifying passion. That moment that would define everything about his future. And we all know that without such moments it is so easy to forsake and turn aside.
He should have learned the valuable lesson of passion from Paul. He knew that trials would come. Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Hang in there, there is a great reward coming!
And indeed the man had his share of woes in life: II Corinthians 11:23-30 “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant…”
Paul, why don’t you just quit with the woe of hard work upon you?
Why, Paul? Why?
“In stripes above measure…” What man in his right mind would endure such woe?
“In prisons more frequent…” The woe of captivity. Paul is it really worth it?
“In deaths oft.” There is no woe like the woe of death. Surely this calling is not worth enduring death for?
“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one…” What an incredible woe to be beaten with a whip.
“Thrice was I beaten with rods…” Even more woe as the rod pounds across your body.
Why, Paul? Why?
“Once was I stoned,…” The painful woe of hurled stones. Paul, when is enough really enough?
“Thrice I suffered shipwreck…” The woe of not knowing if you will ever be rescued. Tell me again how much God cares when you are left hopeless and alone.
“A night and a day I have been in the deep;” There is the woe of desolation and despair.
“In journeyings often…” The incredible woe of being road weary. Go ahead and hang up the sandal Paul. Take a break…
“In perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;” As if woes alone are not enough they now give way to perils that surround him. Paul, why even bother? Can’t you see that wherever you go people despise you?
“In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” The woes that sacrificial ministry can bring to the physical body. Paul, I just don’t get it. Is it worth losing your health over?
Why, Paul? Why?
“Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” The pressure that comes with compassion and concern for the body of Christ can be filled with woe.
“Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” And weakness and offense bring woes that nothing else can compare to.
Why, Paul? Why?
“If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.” Wait a second! How can you make such a statement in the face of the overwhelming woes you have endured?
What makes an Apostle Paul keep on getting up in the morning and entering into the fray after living a life of such woes? What is it that passionately drives him beyond the miserable woes of beatings, shipwrecks, deaths, trials, perils and physical punishment?
It was because there was an even greater woe that was pushing him. There was a woe born out of passion placed deep within his spirit somewhere between the Damascus Road and 3 years in the desert. It was a woe that made all of the others pale in comparison. It was a woe that drove him beyond endurance and pushed him when he felt like quitting.
I Corinthians 9:16 “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”
Paul learned that there is no glory in really ministering the Gospel, but there is incredible woe in the spirit if it is not done.
Successful ministry will be filled with woes. There will be:
Heartache; but woe is me…
Pressures, but woe is me…
Trials and tests, but woe is me…
People will forsake you, but woe is me…
Why, preacher? Why? Why, singer and musician? Why? Why, teacher?
Because “Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel of Christ!"
Ron Wofford is the Dean of Theology for Texas Bible College
from Gary Thompson with American Thinker
A key component of the scientific argument for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) has been disproven. The results are hiding in plain sight in peer-reviewed journals.
Politicians and scientists still cling to the same hypothesis: Increased emission of CO2 into the atmosphere (by humans) is causing the Earth to warm at such a rate that it threatens our survival. The reality of our global temperatures, the failure of these catastrophic predictions to materialize, and the IPCC scandals all continue to cast serious doubt on that hypothesis.
from David Barton at WallBuilders
Did the Founding Fathers – the Framers of our government – give states the constitutional power to nullify federal laws?As will be seen in the historical evidence presented below, the answer is an unequivocal “No!”; they did not give that power to states. In fact, every major Founder condemned this type of state nullification – including Thomas Jefferson, who is wrongly invoked above as approving it.
Notwithstanding this fact, there is little doubt that they took definite steps to ensure that the federal government would not intrude into state issues through the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution:
Surprisingly, whether a person is pro-life or pro-choice made only minimal difference in their reactions to the commercial. The only striking differential between the two groups was that 82% of those in the pro-life group felt it was appropriate for the Super Bowl, compared with just 66% among those who believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Despite this gap, among those who favor pro-choice policies the commercial was received favorably: three-quarters said it presented a positive message to viewers (78%), two-thirds felt it was appropriate (66%), and just one-tenth felt it was offensive (10%). While most pro-choice adults claimed to understand that it was intended to influence their views on abortion (57%), just 4% of this segment said it caused them to reconsider their opinions about abortion.
Running With Plan B.
A special report on This American Life follows the lives of
several people currently living what they unequivocally call "Plan B." Host Ira
Glass expounds his thoughts on an informal poll and a seemingly universal human
reality: He asked a room of hundred people to think back to the beginning of
adulthood when they were first formulating a plan for their lives. He called it
Plan A, "the fate you were sure fate had in store." He then asked those who were
still following this plan to raise their hands. Only one person confessed she
was still living Plan A; she was 23 years old.
MSS = Manuscripts (plural)
MS = Manuscript (singular)
TR = Textus Receptus
Comma = Refers to Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7-8)
1 John 5:7-8 For there are three that bear record [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth,] the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. KJV
1 John 5:7-8, Trinitarianism and its Authenticity:
I do not hold to KJV Onlyism in any sense yet I do not condemn anyone who uses the KJV exclusively or another version. Personally, I use various versions (NKJV, NRSV, NLT, NIV, ESV, NET, etc.) for study and reference but also see the logic in using a single translation for pulpit and congregational use in order to avoid confusion. That said, I do not believe we can rightly suggest any version to be inspired. Only the original autographs were inspired in the Hebrew, some Aramaic and Greek languages. A version is exactly that—a version.
In this case, our English translations are versions of texts not in our native language. Attributing inspiration to the English texts is paramount to attributing inspiration, also, to those translating the text themselves. This fact should be clearly taught to and understood by all lay persons as to avoid confusion as well. Often times lay persons feel a particular English translation, most often the KJV, is the inerrant and infallible Word of God. This false notion gives rise to confusion especially over this very issue.
There have been many questions concerning this portion of text from Johns First Epistle. As Daniel Aikin points out, “This is not a question of the inspiration of the text but of the transmission of the text. John’s letter, whatever the original, is inerrant. What must be established is what the autographs actually said.” This is important to bear in mind as one seeks the truth in this matter.
Although supporters of the Trinitarian view utilize various texts, the Comma is a popular Trinitarian proof text. In fact, Bruce Metzger notes this of the Comma, “The passage is quoted by none of the Greek Fathers, who, had they known it, would most certainly have employed it in the Trinitarian controversies (Sabellian and Arian).” The first (15176) and second edition (1519) of Erasmus’ Greek text did not contain the Comma.
Thomas Holland suggests that the Comma “is a wonderful testimony to the Heavenly Trinity and should be maintained in our English versions.” William Burkitt, around 1703, suggested the Comma was omitted purposely by Arians in attempt to dilute Trinitarianism . Edward Hill, on the other hand, suggests the Comma could have been interpreted to be Sabellian and therefore considered an heretical addition. Hill suggests, “It is possible, therefore, that the Sabellian heresy brought the Johannine comma into disfavor with orthodox Christians.”
Metzger goes on to call this text a “totally spurious passage.” Aikin also notes, “Not one Greek or Latin Church Father ever quotes this passage in the first four and a half centuries. This is especially revealing in light of the many controversies revolving around the Trinity (especially Sabellianism and Arianism). If the Johannine Comma was a part of the original text, then what would be a better passage to quote in order to prove the Trinity? Nicea (A.D. 325) and Chalcedon (A.D. 451) almost certainly would have taken advantage of it. The absence of such usage causes one to doubt seriously the authenticity of this passage.”
Evidence for Comma Johanneum:
Portions of 1 John 5:7-8 are commonly referred to as the Comma Johanneum and I will reference it as the “Comma” hereon. While being found in several Latin mss (abbrev. for manuscripts) the Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7, 8) is only found in eight Greek mss and these give evidences of being translations from the Latin Vulgate into Greek. The Codex Montfortianus is the oldest Greek mss containing the Comma and dates from the early sixteenth century. Four of the eight mss contain the Comma as merely a variant reading and are found in the margins which evidence it as a later addition.
All ancient versions such as the Syriac or Coptic, except Latin, lack the Comma as well. It should also be noted that the Comma is absent from the early forms of Old Latin and the Vulgate issued by Jerome. Concerning the Latin inclusion of the Comma the comments of Metzger are extremely noteworthy:
“The earliest instance of the passage being quoted as a part of the actual text of the Epistle is in a fourth century Latin treatise entitled Liber Apologeticus (chap. 4), attributed either to the Spanish heretic Priscillian (died about 385) or to his follower Bishop Instantius. Apparently the gloss arose when the original passage was understood to symbolize the Trinity (through the mention of three witnesses: the Spirit, the water, and the blood), an interpretation that may have been written first as a marginal note that afterwards found its way into the text. In the fifth century the gloss was quoted by Latin Fathers in North Africa and Italy as part of the text of the Epistle, and from the sixth century onwards it is found more and more frequently in manuscripts of the Old Latin and of the Vulgate. In these various witnesses the wording of the passage differs in several particulars.”
Desiderius Erasmus was the Greek scholar that rejected the inclusion of the Comma in his first and second editions of his Greek New Testament. This collection of Greek mss would eventually be called the Textus Receptus. This collection would also become the text base for translation of Martin Luther’s German Bible, William Tyndale’s New Testament, and the King James Version. Of course, Erasmus was not without his critics and was accused of negligence. To answer these replies Erasmus asserted that there was no Greek mss with the inclusion of the Comma and if there was it would have been included.
Aikin comments, “Shortly thereafter, a Greek manuscript containing the Johannine Comma was shown to Erasmus. It is almost certain that this manuscript was produced simply to induce Erasmus to include the Johannine Comma in his Greek New Testament. Even though Erasmus suspected this Greek manuscript to have been based on the Latin, there is doubt as to whether Erasmus knew that the manuscript had been created for the purpose of encouraging him to include the Johannine Comma. In the third edition of his Greek New Testament, Erasmus included the extra text (although he omitted the passage from later editions).”
In any event, the manuscript which forced Erasmus to reverse his stand is believed to be miniscule (referring to the script size) 61, or Codex Montfortianus, kept at Trinity College, Dublin. Critics believe that this manuscript was written for the special purpose of refuting Erasmus. In this regards Metzger notes, “the Greek manuscript had probably been written in Oxford in 1520 by a Franciscan friar named Froy who took the disputed words from the Latin Vulgate.”
The Comma then has become a minority reading in the Greek mss by most, if not all, scholars. Most contemporary versions, excluding the New King James Version, see it as an interpolation and exclude it from the main text and place it as a marginal note. Here are some six contemporary examples:
7 There are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree. NRSV
7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood —and these three are in agreement. HCSB
7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. NIV
7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. ESV
7 For there are three that testify, 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three are in agreement. NET
A Dangerous Dilemma or a Positive Opportunity?
Often when dialoguing this very issue pastors and teachers often suggest, sometimes with great angst, that discussing the issue of the Comma Johanneum is potentially confusing and devastating to a lay person’s faith in the Holy Scriptures. I believe the hesitancy to be wise but the fault is our own. Have we exalted an English translation of the Scriptures to the point that our hearers see it as inspired and infallible? Have we taught our hearers properly regarding the inspiration and transmission of the texts of Scripture? Have we taught about the various translations of Scripture and their functions or purpose?
No matter what we decide on the matter the Comma will not disappear nor will other considerations, such as the long or shorter ending of Mark 16. In our increasingly secular society atheists, agnostics and skeptics alike are recognizing and raising these very issues to whether we like it or not. At this point, the atheist, agnostic and skeptic are doing the teaching and not the minister. This has potentially worse affects upon a person’s faith especially if they have a too highly exalted view of an English translation.
Even other believers, from a church who uses another translation or those of other faiths discuss and are aware of this issue. It is only a matter of time before a lay person that is not in the know hears of such issues and wonders if they can truly have faith in the Word of God. The danger here is that the believer may be afraid to approach their pastor or teacher for fear of being rebellious or raising an issue their leaders are not familiar with. If they do not voice their concerns and instead keep the issue hidden within greater damage to their faith can also be done.
In either situation we are faced with a dilemma. The dilemma can be dangerous or it can be viewed as an opportunity to further engage believers in their study of the Scriptures. Paul, writing to Timothy at Ephesus, compels us:
2 Timothy 2:15, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. NKJV
Although this letter is written to Timothy, a leader in the Church, the Word of God has been preserved for leaders and anyone who reads from its pages. Paul charges Timothy to be diligent or eagerly do ones best to present ourselves before God, with no fear of shame because they have “rightly” or accurately handled the truth. This should give all of us encouragement to study and push ourselves further in the study of God’s Word.
Too often we study or read the Scriptures to merely mine for “gold nuggets” that make for catchy phrases or interesting quips. Although there may be benefit in this it is merely a superficial method of discerning the Scriptures which themselves beckon us to look into them deeper.
Using Modern Translations:
At some point a pastor or teacher may consider using a modern translation. Previously I listed several translations of 1 John 5:7. J.R. Ensey, former president of Texas Bible College, recommends the ESV from his online bookstore and also uses the NIV to cite Scriptures from his blog . I would recommend either version for study but would encourage a literal translation, such as the ESV or NKJV, for use in congregational readings. Versions such as the NIV or New Living Translation are not literal translations. A literal translation seeks to offer the words of the original language word or word in the English language.
David Norris, professor at Urshan Graduate School of Theology, concerning using various translations, has rightly noted “Change is inevitable; nonetheless, change is almost always painful. For many, any move away from the KJV strikes at the very core of their religious identity.” Norris has also noted “If and when individual congregations decide to “officially” utilize other versions along with the KJV” there are at least three things to keep in mind.
1. “Bible studies on how the Bible came to us should first be offered.” He also suggests that “In such a study, saints need to hear humility in the voice of the teacher, not pride.”
2. “The teacher needs to leave room for people in the congregation to disagree with the perspective being taught.”
3. “Along with this, another thing that can go a long way in a congregation being open to change is when the preacher offers occasional statements as to why a particular passage from another version is a good reading.”
He also suggests that new churches have the opportunity to select a modern version with less problems. Older churches however will have to be handled differently with wisdom and care since some “have a lifetime of hearing and reading the KJV”. I believe the KJV is a good translation. In it we can find Gospel truth as in most other translations.
We should remember that none of the variants and errors that we see heralded or alluded to take away from any doctrine that we hold. No essential doctrine is affected by the absence or inclusion of the Comma Johanneum either.
1. Daniel L. Akin, 1, 2, 3 John, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001). 198; 199.
2. Bruce Manning Metzger and United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994). 648.
3. Holland, Thomas. Crowned With Glory: The Bible from Ancient Text to Authorized Version Copyright 2000 by Dr. Thomas Holland. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
4. Burkitt, William. Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament (Gospels published 1700, Acts to Revelation published 1703). 1 John 5:8
5. Hill, Edwards F. The King James Version Defended Copyright 1956, 1973 by Edward Freer Hills. Copyright 1984 by Marjorie J. Hills.
6. Bruce Manning Metzger, The Bible in Translation : Ancient and English Versions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001). 80.
7. Metzger, Bruce M. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. 3 d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
10. Norris, David K. “First of All—Do No Harm”. Symposium paper response presented at 2009 UGST Symposium.
Indulgences and Luther's Ninety-Five Theses:
In the year 1517 Pope Leo X made Dominican prior John (Joann) Tetzel inquisitor and commissioner of indulgences. Tetzel was a virtual "salesman" as noted by Alister McGrath in his Christianity's Dangerous Idea. He created a crude theology and materialism to preach the people into obtaining indulgences. This was seemingly the last straw, or the trigger, for Luther because shortly thereafter he rapidly drew up ninety-five theses (topics for debate), in Latin not German, which he nailed on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517.
Historically, the door of the church served as a bulletin board for the university. McGrath has noted that "It was only when Luther circulated his demands more widely that controversy began to develop." It was not long before printed copies of the theses were disseminated around Europe. The power of the pamphlet almost wrecked the effectiveness of the indulgences.
The Catholic Church taught that mortal sins may require punishment while on earth or later in purgatory. This means that Baptism and Penance was not enough for some people’s sins but an “indulgence offers the penitent sinner the means of discharging this debt during his life on earth.” Interestingly, the money acquired from indulgences have gone to finance the Crusades and likely, as in the time of Luther, to build certain edifices. McGrath notes that such indulgences were raised "partly in order to raise capital for the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica." In fact, Church historian Howard Vos suggests that the income generated from the sale of indulgences around the area of Luther was “split equally between the archbishop and the pope.”
Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses are particular writing that symbolizes the change taking place in human thought during the Middle Ages. In content the theses defied the dogma and authority of the Roman Catholic tradition. For several years the Roman Catholic tradition had monopolized Christian thought and limited the study of it primarily to its clergy who spoke and studied in Latin while the vast majority of the general populous did not even know Latin. Besides the persecution of Luther himself as a result of these writings, the horrible deaths of men like John Wycliffe and William Tyndale demonstrate the Catholic Church’s desire to keep the text of Scripture and its interpretation firmly in their grasp.
It also demonstrated the growing trend toward the Christian humanistic tradition. Justo Gonzalez notes that “In this context, the term ‘humanist’ does not refer primarily to those who value human nature above all else, but rather to those who devote themselves to the ‘humanities’.” Christianity began to stress the need for human dignity, freedom, and autonomy. The Reformation adopted some of the motifs of humanism but “could not easily be reconciled with Martin Luther’s (1483–1546) central concern for the soul’s salvation and the relation to God.” As Kenneth Latourette has noted, “Luther did not long carry all those with him who wished change.”
Until the time of Martin Luther and others like him men and women simply took the word of the clergy without question. This was due in large part because of the high illiteracy rates of those times. Luther, however, created an impetus for future investigation into the Christian tradition and its sacred literature.
Protestantism and Lutheranism subsequently spread into the rest of the world. Most of the world only knew of Catholicism and Popery and subsequently its religious ideology. The text of Scripture and the Gospel it contains should not be absorbed by only an elite class. If the death of Christ upon Calvary meant anything it meant that its atoning efficacy was for all who would believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and His work on Calvary paid the penalty for our sin debt. Since the time of Luther’s theses this Gospel is now known almost globally and even the simple can read the words of Christ for themselves from various translations.
Woodcutting and The Four-Horseman of The Apocalypse:
During this time woodcutting as art was discovered and became popular. It firstly used a style of art that was not known prior and allowed for mass proliferation of book illustrations and painting (as well as engraving). Woodcuts were a relatively new printmaking process at the time.
Prior to this time images, relics, statuary and icons of Catholicism had been abandoned, and in some places destroyed. Once again, however, the Reformers brought something new to the table of this era of human thought and development. Catholicism had incorporated worshipping statues and icons (painted images of sacred personages that were worshipped) into their praxis and this was routinely rejected by Protestant thinkers.
The art of woodcutting artistically depicted Biblical themes and subjects without crossing into idolatry. Albrecht Durer designed a popular woodcutting, during this time, which was called The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. This artwork was unique since it depicted the horse of death, famine, war and pestilence—all drawn from Revelations 6:1-8.
In the woodcut bishops and clergy of the Catholic Church are depicted being trodden under foot by these horsemen. Ironically, this is partly the impact of the Reformation era and times shortly following Luther’s offering of the ninety-five theses. Strangely this woodcut prophesies of the death, war, famine and pestilence that would come from subsequent religious wars.
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God and Communal Worship:
During this time Luther’s song “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” (authorship can be debated) was chosen to express the change taking place during this era. First, by use of this song and others that were similar a communal expression of theological doctrine was allowed. This hymn has been called the “Battle Hymn of the Reformation” for its effect in increasing the strength and ideology of the Reformation cause.
Communal or corporate expression of worship was a dramatic change in their services or meetings of assembly. The Roman Catholic tradition primarily included a Mass which was symbolic of the sacrifice at Calvary without actual blood. This inclusion of a musical expression offered a sense of thanksgiving rather than sacrifice.
Such songs were also sung together and at the same time by all present. This new tradition reflected the Protestant, rather Biblical view, that everyone had equal access to God at the same time. Unlike the priestly intercessions of the Catholic Church Protestantism demonstrated that man can worship God and give Him thanksgiving without any further mediation.
1. McGrath, E. Alister. Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution--A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First. Copyright 2007 by Alister E. McGrath. Harper One publishers. pg. 44;46
2. Kent, William. "Indulgences." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 11 Feb. 2010
3. Howard Frederic Vos and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Exploring Church History, Nelson's Christian cornerstone series (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996).
4. Gonzalez, L. Justo. The Story of Christianity Copyright 1984, 1985 by Justo L. Gonzalez. Prince Press
5. Latourette, S. Kenneth. A History of Christianity Volume 2: Reformation to The Present Copyright 1975 by Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Prince Press
6. Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley, The Encyclopedia of Christianity(Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill, 1999-<2003). 2:606. "The Encyclopedia of Christianity is the first of a five-volume English translation of the third revised edition of Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon.
We are having a revival of feelings but not of the knowledge of God. The church today is more guided by feelings than by convictions. We value enthusiasm more than informed committment. ~1980 Gallup Poll on Religion
To find a fault is easy; to do better may be difficult. ~Plutarch
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. ~Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), British statesman
The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues. ~Rene Descartes, "Discourse on Method"
What begins as something you do ends up as something you are. Habit becomes second nature. ~Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
It takes no brains to be an atheist. Any stupid person can deny the existence of a supernatural power because man’s physical senses cannot detect it. But there cannot be ignored the influence of conscience, the respect we feel for the Moral Law, the mystery of first life...or the marvelous order in which the universe moves about us on this earth. All these evidence the handiwork of the beneficent Deity...That Deity is the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ, His Son. ~Dwight Eisenhower
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
When people lack ownership of an idea, they usually resist it, even when it is in their best interest! ~John Maxwell
I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions. ~Lillian Hellman
Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer, except that which lies outside the will of God. ~Rev. Harry T. Smith
The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of. ~Blaise Pascal
Dr. Robert A. Herrmann, author of ONENESS, THE TRINITY AND LOGIC, is also the one who has constructed what is known as General Intelligent Design (GID). Recently Dr. Herrmann has written Science Declares Our Universe Is Intelligently Designed. You can purchase the book here or at Amazon.com.
Dr. Herrmann also believes in the Oneness of God and believes he has come to this conclusion in his personal journey of research and logical thinking. He is also a retired Professor of Mathematics (U. S. Naval Academy). He has a Ph. D. and an M.A. in Mathematics from American University. He also has a .B. A. in Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Herrmann has individually published 73 articles in 30 different journals from 14 countries. He has written over 250 published reviews as well as 7 books, 5 of which are available, free of change, from his Internet site or the arXiv.org archives. He has personally presented 31 papers at scientific conferences and over 1,200 scientific disclosures.
Here is a great link from CreationWiki on GID and Dr. Herrmann. He is also listed as a Scientist of the Christian Faith by the apologetics website Tektonics.org.
It has been my privilege to dialoge with Dr. Herrmann, in a private email interview, about 12 concerns and questions about human and supernatural reality. The questions were posted awhile back along with various other comments here.
(1) God as described within the Bible has rational attributes.
The rationality of God's attributes is of the utmost significance. For hundreds of years, atheistic philosophers and scientists have claimed that such beliefs are irrational. The term irrational implies that those that accept Biblical principles are mentally defective. Some individuals even go so far as to state that those who accept a supernatural God are "insane."
This atheistic assertion has no bases in fact. It will continue to be made until a countering argument is presented. A strong opposing argument now exists. Mathematical reasoning, which is a portion of classical logic - the everyday logical patterns known since Aristotle - refutes this atheistic pronouncement. To do this, one needs to apply special techniques. The only mathematical object with the power to compare God's attributes with those of His created is called a nonstandard model, where the term nonstandard is a technical term. Such models are constructed using standard set theory. Modern set theory is also used to investigate the contents of these models. I have at my web site how these special techniques are used to counter the claim that God is an irrational concept. An article that presents many of the countering arguments is "God, as He is Biblically described, is a scientifically rational concept" found in the Special Articles section of
(2) It is rational to assume that He exists.
First, there are the results in (1). Then there is the General Grand Unification model (GGU-model), which is a cosmogony that generates universes. This model is interpreted in three ways or combinations of these ways. These are the secular, intelligent design or theological interpretations. What is present next is mostly the intelligent design and theological interpretations that correspond to God's creationary processes. These processes are analogue modeled by mathematical operators.
Every GGU-model operator employed to generate a universe is intelligently design by a describable higher-intelligence. A "signature" is a set of properties that characterizes a specific attribute or object. When applied, each operator has a signature that characterizes the application as being made by a higher-intelligence. All known secular and theological cosmologies can be generated by these operators. Even if a strict Bible-centered cosmology is not accepted, in general, any known cosmology can be produced and intelligently designed by a higher-intelligence. This is a significant fact.
I discovered the best possible unification U for the set of all physical laws and physical theories. Using the GID (i.e. General Intelligent Design) interpretation, this unification is contained in another unification *U, where U is *U restricted to our physical world. The operator *U has a higher-intelligence signature. From this, one concludes that the physical entities that exist as well as all physical patterns that correspond to physical laws or accepted theories are designed, indeed, pre-designed by a higher-intelligence.
Operator *U models (satisfies) part of John 1:30, and Col. 1:17.
The general processes that model universe generation are also used to establish (1) and a GGU-model prediction corresponds exactly to a very strict and literal Genesis 1 description for creation. This prediction corresponds not only to verses such as the remaining part of John 1:3, but to Col. 1:16 and Rev. 4:11. Further, the creationary processes have characteristics as stated in Ps. 148:1-5, and Heb. 1:3. Indeed, every statement where God "commands", "speaks" or even "thinks" the universe into existence is modeled.
The GGU-model predicts specifically that a universe external to our local environment can present cosmology-associated evidence that satisfies the view that a vast period of Earth-time is necessary for its development. Biblically, this universe can display great age and, yet, from within the local environment where actual Earth-time is measured, it was realized only 6 to 8-thousand Earth-time years ago. Hence, for all known cosmologies, our universe is the product of intelligent agency. This higher-intelligence can also create entities exactly as outlined in Genesis 1. Thus, the Biblically described Creator aspects of God are also classically rational.
My entire (personal) Bible-centered GGU-model mode for universe creation that establishes this strict Geneses 1 scenario is describe on my web site beginning with the article "DVD Illustration" in the Special Articles section of
The method used in particle-physics and cosmology to claim that certain entities as well as their behavior exist is the method of "indirect" evidence. This evidence comes from observable entities that are predicted to behave in specific ways assuming that the unobserved entities exist and behave in postulated ways.
On my web site, I have an article that gives a vast amount of indirect evidence for the existence of such a higher-intelligence. This article "GID - Evidence" is also in the Special Articles section at
In general, everything that exists is indirect evidence for God's existence and His mode of creation. Further, this indirect evidence corresponds to how, according to Paul in Rom. 1:20, God's invisible attributes are determined.
(3) Miracles are rational events.
There is a special process modeled by a special operator that is produced by a "mixed logic-system." A special property of this operator is that, for this purpose, it can be applied only by a higher-intelligence. The same higher-intelligence has intelligently designed it. The results of all applications of such a modeled process are intelligent designed by the higher-intelligence and the process being mathematically modeled is, hence, rational relative to classical logic. How this operator produces a miracle event is explained on my web site at
(4) The Holy Ghost is a rational concept.
As discussed by Paul, the Holy Ghost (Spirit), at the least, denotes the attributes of God that interact with our minds (brain). The same type of operator used in (3) can be used to influence our thinking in various ways. This operator also has "strength levels." I point out that this operator can also model how the Adversary can influence our thinking. Since God wants us to choice between our sinful nature and behavior He desires, the Adversary, the Prince of this world, is apparently allowed to use such an operator. This is indicated in Job 1:10, where the Adversary states, "Have you not put a hedge around him . . . . You have blessed everything he has . . ." (NIV) Then God removes the "hedge." Hence, by implication Job is a special case and the "hedge" does not generally exist. This also can be attested to by Eve's actions. Such rational behavior is further discussed on my web site in the article "Thought Control" in the Special Articles section of
If there are any other Holy Ghost attributes, then they are rationally modeled by the previously discussed methods.
(5) Everything that exists within the universe is evidence that God exists.
This is discussed above, if one uses the highly significant notion of indirect evidence.
(6) The rationally described Holy Ghost can influence our thoughts in a rational manner.
(7) The rationally described Adversary can influence our thoughts in a rational manner.
Statements (6) and (7) are discussed in (4).
(8) Our universe as a whole is designed and produced by actions taken by a higher-intelligence, where the higher-intelligence has the same attributes as those displayed by the Biblical God.
In the above, this is discussed at length.
(9) Every defined elementary object, if such exists (a neutrino and the like), is designed and produced by the same higher-intelligence.
Depending upon which of two general collections of processes one choices, there are five or four operators (distinct processes) that, taken together, produce any physical universe. All of these operators have higher-intelligence signatures. The GGU-model predicts, via rational methods and the meanings accorded some higher-intelligence symbolized statements, that entities called subparticles exist. One of these operators yields combinations of subparticles that, when the operator "st" is applied, yield elementary entities whatever they may be. The combining process is designed and applied by a higher-intelligence. Such specific universe-generating processes are discussed in
(10) Every combination of elementary objects, if any exist, and used to form any other physical object is designed and produced by the same higher-intelligence.
The operator that combines subparticles to yield other entities, as discussed in the web site article mentioned in (9), and the st operator accomplish this.
(11) The physical laws and theories are purposely designed by a higher-intelligence. These allow intelligent beings to construct additional physical-systems and subdue the Earth. Based upon physical laws or theories, every physical change in the behavior of every system composed of physical objects is controlled by the same higher-intelligence. (Controlled does not mean personal choice is removed.
The special *U-method used to form an event sequence, as discussed in my web site article at the URL in (9), shows that there are special and related purposes for these laws. They are not merely randomly obtained. These purposes are explicitly stated in the Bible at Genesis 1:26 and 1:28. "have dominion . . . over all the earth" "and subdue it [the earth]."
The absolute control comes from the application of the st operator and how the event sequences are pre-designed by *U. For example, in the theological interpretation, God must continually apply the st operator at each moment of primitive time or our universe would cease to exist as a real object. (This models the "sustains" of Heb. 1:3.) Then it is the method used to design event sequences that allows God to have knowledge of the past, present and future. Hence, He has original control over every aspect of a physical universe. In my book, "Science Declares that Our Universe IS Intelligently Designed" I give a specific method that can be used to satisfy participator alterations in physical-system behavior. This method allows us to make choices in every thing we do and the universe continues to develop using altered event sequences that do not contradict any aspect of the GGU-model or the other two interpretations. (By the way, although the above-mentioned book is necessary to more fully understand the GGU-model and GID, on my web site I have presented many new research findings.)
(12) This higher-intelligence can design and produce our universe in a
manner that follows a very strict (literal) interpretation of the creation
statements make in Genesis 1. He can do this in such a manner that the
results of His endeavors produce everything that we observe today including
apparent age. Some will observe remnants of God's original creations while
others are presented with a strong delusion. (This correspond to 2 Thes
2:11). Recall that this higher-intelligence can also design our universe so as to correspond to any proposed cosmology.
This is discussed above and in the articles mentioned in (2). In the first set of articles, I use the rapid formation model to generate a universe external to our originally created local environment, where any cosmology as depicted today can be used. Further, it is shown that there can be direct evidence today of both an ancient earth as well as evidence for a young earth without there being any contradictions. Evidence for strict Biblical creation is more likely to be observed through guidance from the Holy Ghost. Hence, since all evidence also points to creation by the Biblical God, then, as Paul indicates in Rom. 1:20, no one can rationally escape the choice that the Biblical God is the Creator of all there was, all there is and all there ever will be.
Robert A. Herrmann, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics (Ret.)
U.S. Naval Academy
Author of Science Declares Our Universe Is Intelligently Designed
There are no "good people," and the best of us say so the most clearly. Saints agree they are sinners; only sinners think they are saints. Only fools demand justice, for where would we be if we got it? No, mercy is our only hope from God, and our neighbors' only hope from us as well. ~Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue
The office of government is not to confer happiness, but to give men the opportunity to work out happiness for themselves. ~William Ellery Channing
The Puritans were highly educated people who founded colleges, taught their children to read and write before the age of six, and studied art, science, philosophy, and other fields as a way of loving God with the mind...The minister was an intellectual, as well as spiritual authority in the community. As Puritan Cotton Mather proclaimed, "Ignorance is the Mother not of Devotion but of HERESY." Excerpted from Love Your God With All Your Mind by J.P. Moreland
Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be. ~Thomas à Kempis. Imitation of Christ
Whenever God erects a house of prayer
The devil always builds a chapel there;
And ’twill be found, upon examination,
The latter has the largest congregation.