Friday, December 23, 2016

Good News!

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a proclamation. It is not a sales pitch.

Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Even if no one believes it, it is still true. There is no need to convince people of the gospel. Jesus said,
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. John 10:27-28
We don't preach the gospel in order to convert people, we do it so that the sheep can hear the voice of their Shepherd and follow Him.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Marriage God's Way - A Book Review, part two

This is part two in my series reviewing the book Marriage God's Way by Scott LaPierre. Part one can be read here.

Right at the beginning of the book, Pastor LaPierre attempts to establish a foundation for the rest of the book. On pages 4 and 5 we can find what I believe to be the most important things said in the entire book. In fact, the principle related there, if followed, is the key to a wife finding fulfillment and success in her role as a wife. (I won't spend as much time discussing what husbands can learn from the book because I dislike very much the notion of a woman immersing herself too deeply in a husband's duties before God. I may comment where I think the author has totally missed the mark or stated something that is outright unbiblical in this area). Here are some examples:
A wife cannot submit to Christ without submitting to her husband.
Likewise, a wife submits to her husband not because he is a wonderful spiritual leader, or because he loves her the way she wants to be loved. A wife submits to her husband because she wants to submit to Christ.
Pastor LaPierre is hitting the target right in the bullseye with these statements and it isn't hard to find Scripture passages that teach this exact thing. (1 Cor. 11, Eph 5:24, 1 Peter 3:1-6, and others)

The first chapter left me hopeful because the foundational principles were so clearly stated and it seemed safe to assume that the rest of the book would be affirming of this. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. There are many places in the book where it reappears, but there are other places where it is outright contradicted. I believe the book could also benefit from real life examples of wives submitting that don't involve the author's own marriage. He and his wife are too young and lack the depth of understanding that comes from decades of practicing submission.

The undermining of the principle that a wife submits to her husband in obedience to God begins in a footnote right on page 4 that says
1  Chapter thirteen addresses the "what ifs" of submission: "What about an abusive husband? When does a wife not need to submit?"
I think I may have groaned out loud when I read that. Conspicuously absent is a chapter devoted to the "what ifs" of love. "What about an abusive wife? When does a husband not need to love?" No one EVER writes a book on marriage and includes instructions on when a husband is relieved of his duty to love his wife like Christ loves the church. And yet so many authors feel somehow compelled to let wives know that they don't always have to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ.

To be clear, the commands to both husbands and wives in the Bible are unqualified. And just in case there was some question about whether the wives are really supposed to submit to their husbands in EVERY THING, Paul says this in Ephesians 5:24
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
There is no exception clause. No exceptions are given anywhere. And, just in case there is still some question, Peter goes on to explain in chapter 3 of his first epistle that when a husband is being disobedient to the word of God (abuse perhaps?) the wife is to be subject to him. He even gives the example of Sara obeying Abraham at a time when he was not obeying the word. Now, I am assuming that Peter didn't have some supernatural knowledge of the life of Sara, but was basing his argument on what he knew about Sara from the Scriptures and on what his audience would have known about Sara. When did Sara obey Abraham? When did Abraham disobey the word? It was when Abraham told Sara to say that she was Abraham's sister (not wife) so that she could be taken to wife (adulterously) by two different kings. (Gen 12:13 and Gen 20:5) You can read what I wrote about that passage here.

On page 122 of the book, Pastor LaPierre entitles a subsection Submission Does Not Mean That Wives Submit to Sin.  I disagree, based upon what Peter said about Sara making herself subject to Abraham. IF Sara had been taken as a wife by Pharaoh or Abimelech it would have been sinful. But the sin would have been Abraham's, not Sara's. God caused both Pharaoh and Abimelech to rebuke Abraham for his lie. No such rebuke was aimed at Sara, on the contrary, God preserved her obedience as a memorial to her in 1 Peter 3.

By telling wives that they don't have to submit to sin, they are set up to be continually in a position of judging their husbands, deciding whether what the husband wants to do is sin or not. The wife is granted a veto power over her husband with her trump card of "I believe it would be sinful." When the wife has the final say, it is SHE that is the head and ruler, not the husband. It turns the whole meaning of submission on its head. God is not the author of confusion, and this is a doctrine of confusion. Instead of telling wives, as the Bible does, that they are free to offer their unconditional submission to a husband and to trust God for the results (Committing themselves to him that judgeth righteously, 1 Peter 2:23) this author would have a wife judge every command of her husband, putting a burden on her shoulders that God did not intend for her to carry.

Sometimes submission will lead to suffering. That is the entire context of 1 Peter, which is particularly applicable to the present discussion in chapters 2 -4. Peter admonishes different people to submit to those in authority, even if it involves suffering. Then Peter offers the example of Christ's suffering and death on the cross and says to the wives "LIKEWISE..." like what? Like Christ suffered, so should a wife, if that is what her situation requires. Keep reading chapter 3, all the way to verses 17 and 18 which say:
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.
In part one of my review I stated that one of my criticisms of the book is that when Pastor LaPierre uses Scripture, he doesn't look at it within its entire context and this is a perfect example. He deals with each of the first 6 verses of 1 Peter 3 as if they were standing alone, rather than being sandwiched right in the middle of chapters 2 through 4. 1 Peter 3:1-6 is not a recipe for a happy, peaceful, easy life, free of suffering. It is a description of one of the ways the people of God are called to follow Christ in His sufferings, which will sometimes occur within marriage.

It is unfortunate that in attempting to find a biblical example of a wife submitting to sin, Pastor LaPierre uses Ananias and Sapphira, whose story is told in Acts 5. There is no mention in this story that Ananias told Sapphira what to do or that she was submitting to him by lying to the apostles about the money. It says that Ananias kept back part of the price and Sapphira was privy to it. There is no mention that she was against it, or considered it sinful. So it really does fail as an example of why a wife shouldn't submit to sin. Again, the proper example, the one used by God, is the example of Sara, who was praised for her submission.

On pages 162 and 163, we read a pretty good description of Sara obeying Abraham in the matter of saying she was his sister rather than wife. But he is, again, separating verses 3-6, which are talking about Sara, from verses 1-2. In discussing verses 1 and 2, Pastor LaPierre attempts to make the case that Peter is talking about a husband who is an unbeliever. (pages 142-144) IF Peter was talking about an unbelieving husband, it would have been completely nonsensical to use Sara and Abraham as an illustration of the principle.

Also on page 122, Pastor LaPierre says that wife should not submit to her husband if he is breaking man's laws, which he equates to blatant sin. He mentions "cheating" on income tax and drug dealing. This is bordering on idolatry to claim that violating some arbitrary statute of men is a "blatant sin." What if the law of men prohibits home schooling or mandates sending children to state homes or boarding schools? This is just turning into dangerous territory for a wife who is now going to wrest the reins of family leadership from her husband by standing as judge over his every decision, ruling whether it is or is not sin.

On page 121 there is a subsection entitled Submission Does Not Mean That Wives Submit to Abuse. Again, why doesn't it mean that? Is abuse part of the "every thing" to which a wife is commanded to be in subjection to? If not, why not? Why does 1 Peter 2 describe the suffering of Christ as our example and then Peter says, "Likewise ye wives..."?  Pastor LaPierre gives permission to a wife who is being abused to separate from her husband. He asserts that God permits this based upon 1 Cor 7:11 which says:
But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
But this is ignoring the context, even the command in the verse immediately preceding which states:
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband.
Pastor LaPierre gives permission for something God forbids, by direct command? Further, 1 Peter 3 clearly states that when a husband is not obeying the word, a wife is to submit -- not leave.  We also see on page 121 that he gives a wife permission to call the police on her husband. And yet, in 1 Cor 6 Paul instructs the church that it is better to suffer and take wrong than to go to law before unbelievers.

The overarching problem that I am seeing is that while Pastor LaPierre correctly states the principle that a wife should submit to her husband as an act of obedience to Christ, he then goes completely outside of the Bible to find exceptions to the rule. The Bible does not give an exception clause. If a wife decides to forego submission for any reason, she can't use the Bible to justify it, and no one should tell her otherwise.  If you want to label something as being "God's Way" then you must stick directly to what God has said.

Go to part three of my review here

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Origins of Courtship Plus Chivalry

I wrote here about my objections to the idea that Christians should court as a pathway to marriage. One of the most obvious problems lies in the fact that courtship behavior, historically, involved extramarital affairs. It would have been better if I had done more research and given some sources, as I was primarily relying on my memory and I don't necessarily know from whence the information came.

Here Dalrock gives more shocking insight into courting, including the concept of chivalry. As I stated in my blog post, courtship was an adulterous undertaking. The principles underlying chivalry weren't even related to the behavior of a man within marriage.

Courtship is not a valid model for marriage and Christians should eschew it in favor of pathways that don't involve romantic entanglements outside of marriage.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Questions to Ask About Vaccines

One of the most disturbing things I learned from this article is that people will accept government stats about decreased rates of polio, even if it means ignoring an INCREASE in paralysis and death. I've been saying for years that we have the same rates of paralysis in this country that we've always had, but we just don't call it "polio" so that vaccine companies can make false claims about efficacy and safety.

I hate that we put the agenda of vaccine companies and government fat cats above health and safety. It is evil.

Read this and share it with your friends and family who want to know more.

4 Questions that May Change Your Mind About Vaccines

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Contemporary Worship

I have started a couple of posts about the problem modern churches have with the songs they sing and the way they use singing in the service of worship. I can't seem to finish those posts, but I'm sure I will some day.

In the meantime I came across this post which I think is very good. I don't agree that a liturgical form of worship must follow the so-called church calendar, and I do not like the word "Eucharist" used in reference to communion or the Lord's supper. It is mostly associated (at least in the U.S.) with transubstantiation, where the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. This isn't technically the meaning of the word, but the associations are tainted with Roman Catholicism, so perhaps it is best avoided in an article written for a mass (pardon the pun) audience.

Anyway, here is the article. Feel free to comment, even though I didn't write it.

7 Ways Contemporary Worship is Starving the Church

Friday, December 2, 2016

Marriage God's Way - A Book Review, part one

I'm going to be reviewing Marriage God's Way: A Biblical Recipe for Healthy, Joyful, Christ-Centered Relationships by Scott LaPierre.  I won't be doing it in one long post, because I have a lot of comments to make and I don't want it to get tedious. For this first part I will start with just giving my overall opinions and save the specifics for later.

What I Like About This Book

  • The author is pro-marriage. He makes it abundantly clear that God instituted marriage for our good and that as a person and a pastor, he is in favor of marriage. He doesn't lament that marriage is some sort of necessary evil, but rather promotes it as a part of a joyful life. He intends for his book to be a help for all of those who want to enjoy marriage.
  • The book acknowledges that God is the creator of marriage. When marriage is not good, in nearly all (if not all) cases it is because one or both parties to the marriage are not following what the Bible teaches about marriage and they need to go to the Scriptures for the solutions, or they may just need to repent and change course. This point is a strong recommendation for the book.
  • I know some people who attend the church pastored by Scott LaPierre, and from what I know of this congregation, it is a place where happy marriages and long-term marriages abound. Pastor LaPierre himself seems pretty happily married and he testifies that his parents are as well, which means this stuff isn't just theoretical to him. I once had the unhappy experience of having a pastor who spoke disparagingly of marriage nearly every week, even going so far as referring to his wife (from the pulpit!) as being "that neighbor I can never get away from." This man does know marriage, and his experience with it is good. 
  • There is no shying away from the fact that God designed men and women differently. Their roles and responsibilities in marriage are different. The passages of Scripture dealing with husbands and wives are boldly proclaimed without apology. There is no attempt to ignore aspects that might be considered less than politically correct. Bravo!
What I Don't Like About This Book

  • The book is written to both husbands and wives. Unfortunately, one of the greatest and most destructive temptations for wives is to judge their husbands. Instead of reading the Bible as a mirror and seeking to recognize their own sin, it is too common for wives to read the Bible as a means of identifying their husbands' short-comings. A book like this provides the same temptation. While it is appropriate for husbands to instruct their wives, washing them with the water by the word, the reverse is not true. No husband wants to listen to his wife saying, "The Bible says you should...." and it isn't any better to hear them say, "Pastor LaPierre says you should..."  Any wives reading this book should restrain themselves from using the book as a club on their husbands. This is why some of my all time favorite books on marriage are written by women, for women, sparing me from having to read about my husband's duties.
  • In trying to analyze verses and passages, the author frequently focuses so tightly, sometimes on a single word, that he misses the meaning that is given by the context of the surrounding words and verses. Examples of this are 1 Peter 3:1, Titus 2:1-5 and Ephesians 5:22-33.
  • While seeming to be comfortable with a wife's responsibility to submit to and respect her husband, he doesn't mention obedience to husbands at all. If one is attempting to expound on "God's way", one should be careful to include the whole counsel of God. 
  • I'm not in agreement with Pastor LaPierre's assessment of the book of Judges. No book on marriage that is directed at wives would be complete without a discussion of Deborah, I guess. But that doesn't warrant a mischaracterization of what it was that judges did (they were not primarily rulers) or how that entire period should be interpreted (as the worst days of Israel's history). In my opinion, the advent of kings to the throne of Israel was the commencement of one terrible time in Israel after another. Things were better under the judges, where they sometimes experienced peace for as long as 80 years at a time. Few countries in the world can rival that record. 
  • In several places, the author asserts that God speaks to us through other people, such as people in our small group Bible studies, our pastors and to husbands through their wives. I know of no biblical support for this principle. In fact,  I can think of several places in the Bible where we are warned against this and where we are informed that the only authority through which God speaks is His Word. 
  • Over and over in this book it is stated that men have the propensity, if not the outright inclination, to be harsh, cruel and unkind. On the contrary, women are presented as meek, gentle, compassionate, etc. There is no evidence in history or in the Bible that harshness and cruelty are the in the exclusive purview of men. Women are every bit as capable and culpable when it comes to meanness. This lie is pervasive in the Church and it is time to put it to bed. The notion of women as sweet and men as tyrants needs to die a quick death. 
  • This author says that men and women are equal. Since equal means "the same as" I am at a loss as to how men and women are equal. That is like saying that apples and oranges are equal. They are not. Wives are subordinate to husbands in authority, and therefore unequal. Men and women are equal in their inability to save themselves and in their need for the Savior. Beyond that, they are not equal. 
This is not the worst book on marriage that I've ever read. There are some gems to be gleaned from within the pages. However, like the Bereans of old, one should compare every word and concept presented here against the Word of God to avoid the errors contained within.  Stay tuned for more specifics as I go through my 12 pages of handwritten notes and share the ones that I can make coherent for you.

Go on to part two of my review here
Part three can be found here

Teach the Young Women To Love Their Husbands

This is going to be a follow up to my previous post on whether husbands and wives should be best friends. In the comments on that post, the topic of how a woman should love her husband was raised and I am going to share here the results of my research on the meaning of Titus 2:4.

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a Greek scholar and I don't even play one on TV. For the most part, I believe that a good English translation of the Bible is sufficient for English speaking people to understand how to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, which is man's primary purpose according to the Westminster Confession of Faith with the accompanying proof texts. However, because of our culture and because of our pathetic use of the English language, Americans have lost the meaning of many important words, replacing their meanings with mere shadows of their former selves.

For that reason, sometimes it helps a person, like a homemaker, to consult the Greek text in order to fully understand and exercise her duties to God. Over the years there have been several important New Testament passages which have guided me in my relationship with my husband, with 1 Peter 3:1-6 and Titus 2:3-5 topping the list. I have already covered 1 Peter 3:1-6 here.

On to the text!
Titus 2:1-5King James Version (KJV)But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;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.
There is so much here that could be addressed, but this is a blog post, not a book, so I am going to attempt to limit my discussion to only verse 4 and the words “to love their husbands.” Right here I'm just going to add that this is a grave issue. It is highly important, because when the older women don't do their duty to teach these skills to the younger women, it results in the word of God being blasphemed, which sounds pretty awful and I don't want that to happen.

The word translated “love” here is the Greek word philandros. This is a combination of two words, the word philos which has the basic meaning of dear, fond or affection. As a noun, by itself, it can mean associate, neighbor or friend. The second part of the word is aner which means a man (an individual male), fellow, husband or sir. Putting these two words together into philandros, combined with the context (an act or skill that is to be taught to young wives) I believe the most useful working definition of it would be “to love their husbands in an affectionate way, the way a wife loves a husband.” In other words, teach them to be their husbands' lovers. George Ricker Berry's Interlinear Greek-English New Testament says it this way:
...that they may school the young [women] lovers of [their] husbands to be

Let's ignore that it sounds like the Yoda translation, shall we?

I feel very confident in saying that Paul believed the young wives need to be taught how to be affectionate towards a husband, particularly in a physical way. This word is used in no other place in the New Testament, Paul chose this very specific and detailed word to describe the acts of a woman toward a man to whom she is married and toward no other person in the world. It refers to acts unique within the marriage relationship. It would include, but not be limited to, how to make love.

This verse demonstrates graphically that Greek is superior to English in expressing specific types of love. In this very same verse we see another related word, philoteknos, which is translated “to love their children” which conveys a very different type of affection from that shown to a husband. Also, the word is not only specific to being an affection for children, it is also specific in being a maternal love, that is, the type of affection that comes only from a mother. Even though fathers should love their children, this Greek word would not be accurate in describing that action.

It is not possible to use Titus 2:4 to state that wives should be “friends” with their husbands or even that they should love them with “brotherly love.” The Greek language, in which this passage was originally recorded, offers better and more specific descriptions of the nature of a wife's love toward her husband. This love is not a feeling or an emotion. This love expresses itself in acts of affection and physical relations.

There may be some confusion as to whether wives are commanded by God to love their husbands. I would say they are not, or at least not in Titus 2. The context here is one of the apostle Paul instructing Titus in how to shepherd the flock, the church, at Crete. Titus was there to set it in order. By application, these instructions should apply to all pastors. Pastors should direct the older women in the church, if they aren't doing it already, to school the younger women in proper behavior within their homes, towards their husbands and children, as well as in the greater congregation and world-at-large. The difference between commands and instructions is that a violation of a command of God is sin, even if the transgressor is not aware of the command. Instructions are there for the improvement of a person. We all need skills to make our lives enjoyable, to enable us to survive, and to improve our relations with our fellows. Just as children are to be trained up in the way they should go, young wives need guidance to acquire proficiency in areas that are less than intuitive.

As children are not punished for not knowing how to do a task, wives are not punished for not knowing how to love (philandros) their husbands. A failure in this area is not a sin but simply evidence of the need for better training. A church full of young wives who do not love their husbands is not necessarily the evidence of rebellious women, but is more likely the evidence of older women not passing on their knowledge of how to do this. The danger of this is that the young women will either wing it or acquire wrong instruction from the popular culture. I can see why Paul thought it important enough to admonish Titus to pay attention to this.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It Is All About Justice

Dr. Joel McDurmon is one of my favorite writers on the subject of  theonomy. He is currently publishing, in installments, his book The Bounds of Love: An Introduction to God's Law of Liberty. It is a much easier read than Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law and he tries to avoid a lot of jargon, instead focusing on what theonomy isn't and how it could be practically applied in a modern setting.

His recent post The Abiding Moral Principle for Penal Sanctions does not disappoint. Here is my favorite quote from this chapter:
Anyone who wishes to deny these facts will find himself in the unenviable position of arguing that at least some, if not all, of God’s laws and prescribed sanctions are unjust and that man’s laws are more just than God’s. If this were not absurd enough on the face of it, such a proponent would then have to list for us which of God’s punishments are unjust and why.
My only issue with Dr. McDurmon is his use of the word "state" when he talks about who should execute justice and punishment under the Law of God. The Law itself does not delegate this responsibility to a state at all. In fact, reading the Law itself we see God directing his commands at "You." That is, all of God's people are responsible for keeping and obeying and enforcing the Law. It doesn't require a state at all. When the people need a judge, they can select one, as they did over and over in the time of the Judges -- a time which was marked by a lack of an earthly state and  by direct rule by God the King. What brought the time of the Judges to an end was the demand of the people to have a King like the heathen and their rejection of God as King.

The Bible does not mention that the cause of the people during the time of the Judges turning to sin was because they didn't have an earthly government. Many modern Christians, however, seem to think that obeisance to a state is the very definition of God's will. I would encourage everyone to read the book of Judges with a fresh eye and without the presupposition that it epitomizes all that is bad about anarchy. After all, if there is no king in the land and everyone does that which is right in his own eyes, but what is right in his own eyes lines up perfectly with the Law of God, it would be a great place. The problem is not the lack of a king, the problem is the lack of obedience to God's Law Word.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BFF... or Not

I was recently reading Marriage God's Way. My husband asked me to read it so that we could discuss it before he would be giving some feedback to a friend who wanted his opinion on the book. I don't intend for this post to be a review of the book, although I am writing one. Here, I just want to address something that the author, Scott LaPierre, says on page 61,
...we forget that marriage should actually be the union of two best friends... Your spouse should be your best friend.
This sort of statement has always rubbed me the wrong way and I have never taken the time to really put my finger on why this bothers me. Sometimes I see a meme or something that says, "Share if your husband is your best friend" and I just cringe. What is with this modern obsession with friends and best friends?

The basis for my disgust with this notion is that a friendship is fundamentally a non-sexual relationship. Having sex with a friend transforms the relationship to something else entirely. We try to be clever and use terms like "friends with benefits," but the truth is that we don't have sex with friends. Having sex with a person means the person is a lover (in the case of fornicators) or a spouse, in the case of married people.

Different types of relationships have different titles, naturally. The woman who gave birth to me is my mother. The way we are related tends to set the parameters of the relationship. While not every parent/child relationship is identical (since no two people are exactly alike), every parent/child relationship has similar elements. For starters, I don't have sex with my mother or my father, pretty much by definition. Just as I don't have sex with my friends. Mothers and fathers are entitled to honor and there is an exalted status that goes with the parenthood relationship which is not enhanced by referring to them as my friends. But for some reason, in America, the culture gives exalted status to friendship over every other relationship, so that it isn't respectable to be a sister, brother or uncle unless that is qualified with ,"but I consider him a friend."

Not only do we want to have lots of friends and we want to lump every person related to us in any capacity into the group titled "friends." We also like to rate our friends. We have good friends, close friends, old friends and la creme' de la creme', the "best friend." This friend is sometimes referred to as the BFF (best friend forever). But there can only be one BEST friend, right? Otherwise it isn't the best. This is problematic.

Why is it problematic? you may ask. Because we are asking our friends to compete for the title. This is my friend, Jenny, and this is my friend, Mary, and THIS is my best friend, Rita! Now Rita gets to bask in her elevated title and the other gals get to feel inferior and plot how they can knock Rita from the pedestal to which she was exalted. Imagine if Jenny considered me to be her best friend, and I just stated that my best friend is Rita. This is not only confusion, it is cruel and pretty stupid.

Now, let us factor males and females into this mix. Let's say an unmarried woman by the name of Jane has male and female friends. Todd is one of her friends. Todd would like to be more than a friend to Jane, but so far, Jane doesn't seem to share this interest. Jane has declared that Maria is her BFF. According to Scott LaPierre, "marriage should actually be the union of two best friends" so does Jane marry her friend Maria? Of course not. Can Jane marry Todd? I mean, he isn't her best friend.

If Jane decides that Todd would be a good marriage partner, does she have to wait to marry him until Todd achieves BFF status with Jane? What if Todd and Jane become best friends and they don't want to marry? Are they forever forbidden from marrying other people unless they break up as BFFs?

I submit that "husband" is a superior relationship status to "best friend." It is superior in quality and fundamentally different in expression. The husband/wife relationship is, at its base, a sexual relationship. A one-flesh relationship. If I were to refer to my husband as my best friend, it would be a downgrade from the exalted status he holds in my life.

In our relationships with people, we should use care not to become conformed to this world, or to a particular culture. There is a biblical culture that transcends time and location. When God created marriage, He did not look around at the various existing relationships and say "A spouse is like a friend, but of the very best sort."  Instead, he created marriage to illustrate to us the relationship between Christ and the Church. It is valid in every corner of the globe and in every culture. While it might be comfortable for an American to say that his wife is his best friend, in other cultures that idea might be totally preposterous. It just doesn't compute. "A friend? Are you kidding? She's my WIFE!" Because the answers to "what is a friend?" and "who can be my friend" are not universal, we should not be proclaiming that in "marriage God's way" a spouse is a best friend. God did not say such a thing and the Bible doesn't endorse this idea.

Outside of marriage, Americans are equally careless in identifying, quantifying and rating friendships. We would do better to limit the use of friend and to use other more specific terms to define what other people are to us. For example, a person I have just met is more properly described as an acquaintance. In the same way, the men that I know are my husband's friends or the husbands of my friends. I try to never call men my friends. It is not appropriate for men and women to be in friendships as that relationship is thought of in America.

Between the same sex, as in friendships between women, it is wise to identify no particular woman as a best friend. I forbid my children from using this terminology. Among girls, it is almost dangerous because of the multiple ways they will hurt each other by classifying each other. It is ok to say that someone is a close friend, because I may have several women who fit that description. I can say from experience that these sorts of friendships are transitory because life is not static. A close friend to an unmarried woman may move from the inner circle when the woman marries, or when she has children. People change churches and move to other towns and their circles of friends are ever shifting. There is nothing wrong with this and no one should feel burdened to maintain a close friendship whose season in life has passed.

So there. I've said it. My husband is NOT my best friend. He is dearer to me than any other. We share a oneness that no other type of relationship can approach. He is not threatened by my relationships with my close friends, because the nature of my relationship with him and my relationships with my women friends are so completely different in quality. If I were to expect from him the things I look for from my friends, it would be wearisome to him. Likewise, he doesn't look to me for friendship. It doesn't mean we don't have fun together, or that we don't share common interests. We do. But those things do not define our relationship as husband and wife.

I think the author has a presupposition that everyone should have a best friend, and so it is understandable that such a thing might be seen to compete with or endanger the relationship between a husband and wife. Therefore, it would naturally follow (from the presupposition) that husbands and wives should be best friends. However, the Bible doesn't prescribe having a best friend, and it is a good practice for Christians to avoid such decisive relationships. Instead, just call a friend a friend and call a spouse a spouse.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Feminist Misery - Self Inflicted?

I think Dalrock nailed it here. Feminists are drowning in a misery of their own making.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Identity, Politics, and Culture

Society is one thing and civilization is another. Ants have societies. Bees have societies. They can't build civilizations.

Western civilization was built by white men of European decent. The United States of America was founded and built by white men of European decent. In the United States today, white men of European decent have completely different ideas about how what is left of our civilization should be run compared to the ideas held by nearly every other demographic. (White women, by a slim majority, still side with white men.)

What makes non-whites think that they are entitled to take over what is left of western civilization? Why should white men give up everything they have built and fought to keep just because non-whites and feminists are screeching at them? The principles and ideals of white men gave us what we have. What makes us think we can keep what we have or make progress toward a better future if the reins of power are turned over to people who have NOT built western civilization and who don't even espouse or understand the concepts of private property, liberty, Christianity, and self-government?

Keep shrieking about misogyny and racism. Keep trying to convince sane people that gender is fluid and more than binary. You will forever relegate yourself to the camp of the discivic. Those ideas don't build, they only destroy.

I'm not a Trump supporter. This election was just a snapshot of the state of identity politics in the Untied States right now. God is sovereign. He may choose to use the non-white demographic's political ideals (or lack thereof) to destroy and judge the USA. But if He does, that doesn't mean that God is on that side. He used Babylon to judge Israel; that wasn't God's endorsement of Babylon.

We can't expect to allow the demographics of the USA to continue to change while simultaneously expecting the USA to remain free. The non-white people want something else. They will turn the USA into the image of whatever they came here from. Even if they've been here for 2 or 3 generations.

Vox Day has more to say on his blog.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Busy Bodies

Here is another excellent post by Purva Brown the Classical Unschooler.  She is addressing so-called "free range children" and the busy bodies who seek to destroy their families using the state. Mrs. Brown shared a quote from C.S. Lewis in her article and I'm going to share it here because it is just so good:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Arranged Marriage - The Daughter's Perspective

I've given my view of the arranged marriage of my daughter in two parts found here and here.

My husband has also written about the process here.

Today it gives me great pleasure to share my daughter's testimony of the matter. Her story is not a typical romance story or a courtship story, because she did not get to know her husband in that way until after they were married. Instead you are about to read about a many-year journey of the heart. I hope you will be amazed and encouraged, as I was, to read of the sovereignty and goodness of God in the life of a young woman.
A few months before I turned 11, my mother made an announcement to me and my three siblings. She was going to remarry. She would be marrying a man she met in law school and the wedding would take place in a month or two.

My mother and biological father had been divorced since I was 2 and I was very excited by the news of her remarrying, as I knew she could not have any more children until she was married and I very much wanted more younger siblings.

A year and a half later we moved from my childhood home-state to the state where my step father was from originally. This was also exciting for me. The new home was in the country, with a river on our land and many places for adventurous children to play.  I looked forward to a new home and being next door to his parents, whom I quickly came to regard as my own grandparents, and the affection was returned with greater vigor.

Through the years I began to become unhappy with the changes in my life that, at the time, had created such excitement in me. I began to resent the man who took charge of our family and made changes to us that were, to me, hard. This resentment only got worse as I grew older. I did not trust that he was doing what was best for me and the relationship with my parents grew strained.

By 17 I had decided I no longer wanted to live with my mother and stepfather and had made arrangements to leave home forever and live with my biological dad. I was in a state of mourning with this decision. I greatly loved my younger siblings whom God had given to our family, and I knew from what my parents had said that if I left home I would not be allowed to see or talk with them.  During this time I did not read my bible, or pray in any way. I tried to succeed where all others had failed at ignoring God, and hoping to slip by unnoticed by Him. Perhaps He would forget me.  It is with great joy now I can say that He did not. When it came time, instead of leaving as I had planned, I came home. I do not know, even now, why I returned home from the trip I was on instead of going through with my plan, except to say God’s plan was unavoidable.

Once I was home I spoke with my stepfather and set before him how I was, and was still,  feeling, and the need I felt to do something drastic. I do not know how he truly felt about this, but after two or three months of prolonged conversations, I made a choice. I would stay at home. I would trust in God to provide for my happiness, and I would change my attitude to that of one of contentment.

This was a changing point in my life. I used to always plan for two futures, one at home and one away. I was prepared at any time to catch a ride to the airport and forever leave my family. Now I depended on God. I truly believed He placed me in this family for my own good, that He was sovereign and I could not escape His plan by running away, but I could certainly make that plan much harder on myself.

I am not proud of how I behaved, or my confusion as a teenager. I do not tell these things to bolster a view of me or show false pride in my actions. Rather I relate them so it can be known that I did not always trust  my parents. We have not always had the relationship we do now, and it was a struggle to get there. But even in the midst of my own fears and doubts, not the least of which was trusting my parents to search out and find the spouse I would live the rest of my life with, I make the conscious decision to trust not only them, but God.

After making my decision to stay home, my parents started to actively train me in wifely ways. They had tried before of course but, due to my attitude, while I could clean and cook not unwell, many of the spiritual lessons were lost on me. The ability to have a peaceful mind, a forgiving heart, and an understanding spirit had until this time been impossible to attain. We now talked of marriage often, and it was my earnest desire to be married. (I had wanted to be a wife and mother from a young age, but how to go about that had always eluded me.)

My parents explained to me how they were going to go about finding a husband for me, and the specific Scriptures that had lead them to this way of thinking. I was reassured to not feel pressured into doing this by myself. I was instructed to not show favoritism, to not seek out the favor of young men and to let my works be my apparel.  My parents urged me to protect my heart, and not let it float around, ready to be damaged.  Through some experiment I conducted on my own I came to the realization that “Attitude is Everything”. I could fully control my own attachments. By the end of a year I was firmly convinced I could love anyone.

I reached this conclusion by age 20 but I did not marry until just after my 22nd birthday. It was a long two years (was that all!) but I found contentment at home. I knew my parents (and especially my step-father)  were doing all in their power to go new places, usually 3-4 hours away, to meet new families and talk to fathers, but it all seemed to me to be taking too long. What was God, (and all these eligible sons) waiting for? ( I now know my sweet, wonderful and perfect husband was at that time fighting for his life in a hospital and was not available for marriage.)

Finally a good tip came in from a friend. Their church (about 4 hours away) had many young men who were looking for a spouse. Off we went to visit and sure enough there were more than one, or two, that I had no objection to at all. We met one family in particular and over the course of three months we saw them 3 times. For my family that was a lot of traveling and meeting them so often was encouraging, though I never suspected anything more.

(The following is my favorite part of the story so forgive me if I add too much detail.) Imagine my surprise when one day in May 2015 while at our favorite grocery store, my step-father took me in alone, and whilst buying me chocolate, let me know there was a young man who had answered the questionnaire my father and I had put together years ago, and that soon I might be asked to answer one as well. I tried not to show my excitement, but I am sure my father figured it out by the way I kept pestering him to see the suitors answers. Father did not want me to see the suitor’s answers until I had answered my own questions to prevent me from tailoring my answers. I suspected at this time the suitor was from this particular family we had been meeting with, but as they had a few sons I was not sure which son it was.

About a week later I answered the questions put to me. (The questions were sent to my father’s email, and he emailed them to me to prevent my knowing from which son the questions were coming. So crafty, as I was hoping for a clue from the email address.) I was then allowed to see the suitors answers and all but three were satisfactory. Those three we continued to discuss for the next month, and I was told who was seeking me: Brad. We saw each other once while these discussions were going on. It was a slightly nerve racking time for me because I was expecting at any time to be rejected, but even expecting that, I could not help but see the many good things in this man Brad, and to see he would be a good husband indeed. However, my answers could never have been as satisfactory as his, so I assumed he would soon come to his senses and tell me this was done. His family came to visit mine, and a week later we were engaged. (At a dance, it was all very romantic and beautiful.)

Two months after that we were married, and despite being told often and by many people what to expect, we have found it to be complete bliss. We have yet to encounter many of the hiccups we hear other couples talk about or even have a major disagreement.

I was asked to write this up to show my perspective of what my parents did. Truthfully, the only fault I have is, after Brad and I were engaged we were not allowed to hold hands. That is it. (I found out later it was not just my parents, my husband also did not think it was a good idea.)

I truly appreciate my parents keeping Brad’s identity from me, and that he was even interested, until he had already been approved. I am glad they did not tell me about the talks going on between his father and mine before Brad was told I would be a good match for him. I like to think I am usually level heading and wouldn’t have gotten stresses or worried about it. But after I was engaged and my emotions got rolling, I had a hard time controlling them and that was after I knew we were getting married. If I had known before, and there was a chance of it being called off, I don’t know what I would have done with myself.

I have been married over a year now, and I could not be happier. I see no signs whatever of my marriage not lasting forever, and everyday I thank God for my husband. I do not believe Brad or I have in anyway been damaged by our parents being involved in the process, quite the opposite in fact. We are both very happy that we got all the important questions out of the way and settled quickly so we could move on with getting married, being confident that our parents would let us know if we were rushing through disagreements merely because our emotions were aroused. We had no romantic relationship until married and I believe that was excellent. We of course got to know each other after marriage (Favorite colors, foods, movies, books, etc.) but with the benefit of no bedtimes, other people listening in, or physical boundaries, I firmly believe this was the best way for us, and I would not change anything. 
I don't have anything to add to that. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

New Favorite Blogger

Purva Brown at The Classical Unschooler is officially my favorite blogger. I enjoy reading many things written by men, but I don't get the connection with them that I can with a woman/fellow mom like Brown. Since the birth of my first child (over 27 years ago) I have been very deliberate about training them and educating them. I have a purpose behind my choices, I have put hundreds of hours of thought and research into how to go about guiding them through childhood. When I read her words, I feel a kinship that I don't get with most women.

The way she uses words, the way she explains her point, the just-plain-sensibleness of what she says all appeal to me.

And then there is this:
If wishes were curses, about 80% of the internet would be writhing in pain and flames on my living room floor. Sigh. One can hope.
What is there not to like in that?!?!

I wish her much success in her blogging endeavors and I hope that many, many, many moms are inspired, encouraged and enlightened by her posts.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I Like Being With My Children

Even in the days before the internet and social media it was not uncommon for me to hear moms complaining about their children and wishing they could get a break from them. As a home educating mom, other moms felt compelled to tell me that they could never homeschool because they couldn't stand being with their children all day. In other cases women would talk about how they longed for time away from their families and for special "me time." I see these sorts of comments on the internet every day.

I have a confession to make. I never feel that way. As far as I can remember, I have never wanted to be away from my children. Sometimes I wish they would alter their behavior, but I don't want them to go away. Even my adult children. I miss them if I go to the store without them. I really enjoy going out with my husband, and I don't regret spending time with just him, but I never find myself saying, "I'm so glad the kids aren't here." I enjoy their company. Although I am an introvert and sometimes I prefer silence, I don't want to be separated from my family. I take comfort and solace in their presence. The very idea that I participated in making these humans and that I have a relationship with them is pleasant.

Now, I don't want to give the impression that there is some moral superiority in the way I feel about my children. It is neither here nor there morally whether a person likes or doesn't like spending lots of time with people. The only reason I mention it is because I cannot relate in any way to the feeling of wanting to get away from my children. I think other moms assume that I share this with them, but I don't. I also can't relate to people who like cats, or to people who think it is fun to jump from high places. When I see a meme of a mom getting drunk and talking about how her kids drive her to drink, or how she can't wait until they move out, I couldn't be more nonplussed. "Why," I say to myself, "would anyone not want to be with their own children?"

Maybe my kids are just better. Probably not. Anyway, if it were up to me, all of my children, including the adults and the married ones (with their spouses and my grandchildren) would all live under one roof so I could enjoy them every day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Hideous History of Hospitals

Western medicine, also called allopathic medicine, has a dark history. Actually, I think it still remains in darkness in a lot of areas including so-called mental health, maternity care, vaccines, preventive medicine, minor illness treatment and others. Western medicine really shines in trauma care and some serious illness (not including cancer, heart disease or diabetes). I hope that someday we will look back on it as the religion that it really is and stop associating it with science.

Here is an interesting article on the history of mental hospitals and maternity hospitals. Read it and weep.

The Maternity Hospital and the Mental Hospital by Thomas S. Szasz

I've Never Considered Any Other Way of Educating My Children

Sometimes I come across a blog post or magazine article that really moves me. One that seems to have reached into the recesses of my brain and extracted my very thoughts. This is one of those blog posts. I offer no disclaimers such as, "I don't agree with everything she says, but..." I agree with all of it. This is fabulous stuff, in my opinion. Enjoy.

What I've always Wanted to Say About Homeschooling (But Was Afraid To) by The Classical Unschooler

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

R.C. Sproul Jr. on the Evangelical Mind

My favorite quote from this article by R.C. Sproul, Jr. is this:
Their holy creed, their most sacred truth is that there is no truth. They may reign, but they are naked. And we are fools if we think we will gain a hearing by taking off our own clothes.
I also really like this one:
The danger, however, is that there is the thinnest and faintest of lines between wanting to do great things for the kingdom and wanting to be great in the kingdom. In like manner there is a rather thin line between wanting to think great thoughts and being thought great.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dalrock on Boisterous Women

I'm just going to leave this right here.

Dalrock on Boisterous Women

Dalrock has rules for commenting that I don't have, so feel free to comment here, especially if you are a woman.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

All About Feelings for $500, Alex

Christians can have many opinions about the proper way to go about finding a spouse, about the proper "path to marriage," if you will. However, when a Christian begins to make claims about what the Bible says it is imperative such claims are backed with citations to Scripture. I recently read an internet posting in which a woman claimed that a certain practice needs to be repented of, and I managed to take offense at such a statement because I have engaged in that practice. Since she publicly made her objection, I shall publicly make my rebuttal. I shall respond to her objectionable statements one by one.

The Bible has a lot to say on this topic!
It teaches there is great wisdom in having *purpose* and being ready to marry before a single person begins to actively pursue a romantic relationship with another person.
She says the Bible has a lot to say on the subject of what she calls "pre-marriage relationships." As per the purpose of my blog post here I must ask, "Oh really? Where? What does the Bible have to say about pre-marriage relationships?" Is she talking about boyfriend/girlfriend relationships? Because the Bible doesn't mention them. If she is talking about those who are betrothed, the Bible likewise does not mention how such couples would interact, if at all.  Romantic relationships in Scripture are specifically restricted to those who are married. Romantic relationships outside of marriage are not mentioned at all, except within the context of extra-marital sexual contact, which is sin. The only possible exception is the Song of Solomon and the couple there are, at the very least, betrothed when speaking to each other in a romantic manner. I would refer my readers to my posts To Court or Not to Court, and Does Physical Contact Lead To Sex?  for my explanation on why romantic relationships outside of marriage are sinful.

My second objection is to her claim that the Bible talks about a single person having "*purpose* (sic) and being ready to marry" before pursuing a romantic relationship. She is clearly making a distinction between romantic relationships and marriage. Since I already covered that, I'll just deal with her claim that single people should have purpose and "be ready" to marry. What does that even mean? What makes a person ready to marry? What makes a person unready? The Bible gives no answers that I can find and if she wants to say the Bible DOES define these things, the burden is on her to show it. She doesn't even try. The entire quote above is just a lie. The Bible does not say what she claims it says, and no one is even questioning her on it! She just boldly makes the statements and gets a bunch of comments agreeing with her. It is just frightening what Christians will say and believe.

The Bible supports having the *parents* and families & more mature believers as involved as possible.
 Let's forget for a moment her use of the * in every paragraph, annoying as it is and address the content of her claim. The Bible does not support having a bunch of people involved in deciding whether a particular man and woman should marry. If it did, she could easily post her references. Instead, what do we see in the Bible? We see fathers deciding whether their son or daughter should marry and to whom they will be joined. In the case of Rebekah and Isaac, Rebekah's brother, Laban is also involved. Even in the New Testament we see Paul saying that the father of a virgin has the right to either give her in marriage or not. (1 Corinthians 7:36-38)  Here is the rub for her, SHE wants to be involved in the match-making of people who are not her own children. And in order to justify her meddling, she tells us that the Bible supports her meddlesome ways. She operates a facebook page where she acts like the matchmaker, Yenta, from Fiddler on the Roof, but she works directly with young men and women, rather than with their fathers. The Bible does not "support" this practice.

God's Word commands singles to *protect physical purity*. I think it wise to have boundaries and daily accountability to a parent or more mature Christian friend.
 Again with the *s. Anyway.....  God's Word says to all people, single and married, to "flee fornication." (1 Corinthians 6:18)  Daily accountability is not the same thing as simply fleeing or avoiding situations in which fornication could occur. As Douglas Wilson says in his book Her Hand In Marriage, "Don't heat up the oven if you aren't going to bake the bread." There is no way a person can be fleeing fornication while becoming physically affectionate with a person to whom he is not married. It is inappropriate outside of marriage. It isn't an issue of setting boundaries, unless those boundaries are the same as those that would apply between a single person and married person. For example, a single man should have no more physical contact with a single woman than he should with a married woman. Any woman who is not his wife is off limits to him. The Bible no more approves of unmarried people holding hands, kissing and hugging or petting than it does of oral sex. All sexual contact, from the least to the most intimate is approved for the married, but the Bible cannot be used to justify any contact that doesn't reach sexual intercourse for the unmarried. It just isn't in there.

To go against the God designed process of *REALLY* getting to know someone before marrying them.
 This is not a complete sentence, so it is difficult to understand her point here, but I object, quite adamantly, that God has designed a process for a man and woman to really get to know each other before marriage. God has NOT designed such a process, unless he revealed it to her personally. I will refer to one example in the Bible where God has shown us just the opposite, the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. They got married before they knew each other AT ALL. They had never spoken to each other, and Isaac didn't even know who she was until she showed up at his tent. She is perfectly entitled to have the opinion that a man and woman should get to know one another before marriage, but she is NOT entitled to state that God prefers such a thing, requires such a thing or that He designed a process for such a thing. She is wrong. And it is a pretty frightening thing to be stating wrong things about God. Or it should be. 

It has also caused families to *hide* the fact that their single child is "getting to know someone" until it's certain that person is the one, for fear of shame. In addition to not being honest and open so others can learn how it *really* works, at the same time these hidden relationships perpetuate the false idea that people actually ARE marrying the first person they talk to.
 This is the part where I begin to take offense. As you may already know from reading about my daughter's arranged marriage here and here, we did not make it public that we were arranging a marriage until they were engaged. The woman who wrote the quote above is known to me, and I suspect that our daughter's arranged marriage is the only one she knows of where the matter was kept private until it was settled. She is making straw man arguments and is misrepresenting what we did and our motives for what we did (unless she knows of other people who would actually fit her description - which I highly doubt but remain open to being enlightened). What we did was to keep it private, we were not hiding anything. We had no fear of shame and I don't even understand what she could mean by that. Shame for what?  I guess she's upset that we didn't seek her input?  We were dishonest? We weren't open? What business was it of hers or anyone else? This woman takes "busy body" to new levels of height. As for letting others know how it *really* works, both my husband and I blogged about it and have made ourselves available to anyone who wants to discuss it. We have written extensively, although not exhaustively, about the dangers of public courtships and the potential for damaged reputations and the loss of perceived value in the eyes of potential suitors, but we never considered a failed marriage arrangement to be shameful. She has no basis for stating such a thing except for her own imaginations. I doubt if she has read what we have written and she has not personally asked us about our process or our reasons for how we conducted the arrangement. She did, however, provide a forum for people to bash us on her private match-making facebook page where we were unable to defend ourselves or respond to comments made about us. So much for her being honest and open.

She is also misrepresenting our process. Our daughter was not "talking to" her suitor. The fathers were talking to each other. We weren't "perpetuating" any false ideas about anything. Women who dream up ideas and then assign the origins of those ideas to others are fantasizing. We have never assigned any moral value to whether a father is able to secure a husband for his daughter on the first try, and I'm not sure why she is making an issue of it. I do believe that multiple courtships, where people are entering into romantic relationships and then ending them, is wrong. Since I believe that romantic relationships outside of marriage are little more than fornication light, obviously having multiple such relationships is repugnant to me. The authoress of the above quote may not think so, but she is not able to dictate how that sort of thing rates with potential suitors. She may believe that her daughters having been through multiple boyfriends doesn't diminish their value, but she really has no control whether men use that issue to cross those daughters off of their list. Likewise, I believe her son-in-law would not be happy to see the names of her daughter's former boyfriends/suitors being proclaimed publicly. Why would he want the whole world to know that he wasn't her first choice? How does the cause of being open and honest trump his dignity?   I believe it would be fabulous if every Christian reserved romantic relationships for within the bonds of matrimony, and therefore every Christian had only one romantic relationship. There is nothing wrong with promoting that standard within my family and within greater Christendom.

This is FALSE & a twisting of the Scriptures. Let us repent of black and white, of extra-biblical labels and ideas, of systems, rules and shame. Let's NOT confuse commands with opinions. Instead, let us stand confidently on God's Word & the certain and sure guidelines He's given for pre-marriage relationships.
 Calling others to repent is to accuse them of sin. This is probably best done in private, but she appears to have no idea what that word means. The one presenting extra-biblical ideas (such as romantic relationships outside of marriage) is this authoress. She is the one stating the "Bible says..." without citations. To close with a reference to the "sure guidelines He's given for pre-marriage relationships" is pretty ironic, when she didn't reference a single verse or passage from Scripture in her entire rant. By all means, steer us all to these "sure guidelines" as you call others to repent for violating them.

I hope she will follow this post with her biblical analysis, with citations, for the role that mothers and match-makers should play in bringing men and women together in marriage. The burden of proof is on her to justify her methods, I've already used the Scriptures to justify mine.

Finding a Spouse - WWJD?

Wouldn't it be great if we knew how God would find a bride for his Son?

Then, just to make sure we are understanding the picture correctly, and to give a hint of how we could do it, maybe God should give an example in the Bible of a godly man (maybe Abraham?) getting a bride for his son?

Naw. We should just invent stuff for ourselves. After all, if God wanted us to understand marriage better, He would have given us some direction.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Infant Baptism

Today I'm going to offer a conversational and brief explanation on why our family practices infant baptism. My husband and I both come from a background of credo or believer's baptism so infant baptism is something new for us.

It starts with the presupposition that God deals with his people by way of covenants. He is a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. Most Christians will agree that God made a covenant with Adam, a covenant with Noah and a covenant with Abraham.  Sometimes when God makes a covenant, He also makes a sign to signify the event. The rainbow serves as a sign of God's covenant with Noah and circumcision was a sign of God's covenant with Abraham. God frequently states that his covenant promises are "to you, and to your children" or "to you and to your generations." When God makes a covenant with a single person, it doesn't mean that only the one person is under the covenant. In the case of God's covenant with Abraham, God specified that all of the males born into Abraham's family were to receive the sign of the covenant in their flesh.

I don't know of any Christians who believe that everyone who received the sign of circumcision was necessarily a believer, elect, or saved. The sign isn't a proof of God's love, but it does signify who is to treated as part of the visible covenant community. God said that those men who did not have the sign of the covenant were to be cut off from their people.

Baptism is the sign of the New Covenant. In Colossians 2:11-12a we read
In whom also you were circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism...

The sign is given to all those who profess Christ and to all in the household of a believing man, including children, servants, relatives, etc. just as circumcision was done to all males of the house under the Old Covenant.

To recap: God deals with His people through covenants. God commands us to remember these covenants by way of signs. God made a New Covenant in the blood of Christ and the sign of that covenant is baptism. The sign of the covenant is given to all professing believers and to those under their household authority.

Our duty to our children is found in the great commission. Preach the gospel, baptize them and make disciples, teaching them to obey all that Christ commands. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Power to Quicken The Dead - Who Has It?

Aging should bring more than grey hair. Hopefully, wisdom increases with age if I apply my heart to it. I don't know if I'm necessarily wiser, but I have realized two important facts lately. The first is that there is so much that I don't know. I mean so, SO, SO, much that I don't know! I am finally starting to see that I am barely touching the tip of the iceberg in terms of knowledge. Why are young people convinced they are on the cusp of discovering all things and old people are humbly ashamed at what they don't yet know?  I guess it's because the young don't know what they don't know, and the old are starting to get an inkling of what they don't know. I don't know.

The second important thing I'm learning is the utter and complete powerlessness of the dead. I guess I've always known the dead are weak, but the blinders have really been thrown off lately and I can almost sense with my being how impossible it is for the dead to do anything. My understanding of this has been evolving and growing, and honestly, if I have to go much further into this, my brain may collapse from awe. The good thing is, when I read the Scripture now and see the word "dead", the meaning of the passage is practically exploding in my face. I can't miss it. When God says someone is dead, He doesn't mean that he is weak, or only capable of a little work. Dead means dead. Not alive. Not even a little bit.

By now, you are probably wondering where I'm going with this. Well, on Sunday, while the pastor was butchering Ephesians 4, I decided to read Ephesians from the beginning to try to understand the overall point of the book. Naturally, I started in Chapter 1. Paul starts out by telling us that God planned and predestined those who would be in Christ. God also caused them to believe and gave them the Holy Spirit as an earnest of their inheritance in Him. All of this happened by a work of God and God alone. Those whom He chose didn't have to do a thing. which is good, because until He gave them life, they were dead and incapable of believing or doing any other thing. If they had to DO something in order for God to save them, they would never be saved because of their deadness and inability to act.

After God does all that, He opens the eyes of their understanding so that they can know what He did. (verses 17 and 18) And even that is done for His glory. But then we see in verse 19 a new revelation about how God accomplished this feat. This was the stunning moment for me. God used the same power to save us that He used to raise Christ from the dead! Look at this:

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead...   (vs. 19 and 20a)

When I think of the power required to raise someone from the dead, I think it must be large in both quantity and quality. It was one of God's greatest works, right? To raise Christ from the dead? And yet, it took this EXACT SAME power that God had to exercise to save me. Paul calls it "his mighty power." In the past, I have thought it a small thing for God to save me. But now I see that it was a huge thing. And not just me, but the entire Church, which Paul says "is his body." 

And all of this brings me back to Arminians. How could anyone think that he possesses ANY of the mighty power necessary to make himself believe? It is impossible for someone who is dead in his trespasses and sin to exercise faith. He doesn't even HAVE faith until God has already done a saving work in his life and given that man the gift of faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)  After God opens your eyes to your sinfulness and his forgiveness, don't make the mistake of thinking that YOU realized it and chose to repent and believe. That is the very opposite of how God describes it in Ephesians 1. God chose you. God saved you. God quickened you and opened the eyes of your understanding.

Praise Him.

Dead Men Do Not Act

How dead is dead? Can the spiritually dead commit spiritual acts that result in them being quickened?

Calvinism answers that with a resounding, "No!"

R.C. Sproul, Jr. on Arminianism

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Help Meet For Him

This is a very good and simple to understand analysis of the words translated as "help meet" in the KJV.  Your elementary school grammar will be useful here.

Help Meet -- Let Them Marry

Monday, April 25, 2016

Conformity To The Rules

For all of my life I have been concerned about the rules. Attempting to analyze my child self I see a girl who believed obeying the rules was a sign of moral superiority and deserving of praise and promotion. I wanted to be the teacher's pet. I was a tattle-tale. I found security in the rules and my experience in the government schools reinforced that security.

By the rules I mean not only the laws of the state and ordinances of the town, but also the organizational guidelines put in place to make places like schools operate efficiently. For example, standing in line when told, raising a hand and waiting to be called on before speaking, putting my head down on the desk when the teacher was losing control of the classroom, and other rules like that. I could not imagine why anyone would NOT want to obey the rules. I was disgusted by other children who continually flaunted the rules.

I don't have any memories of my parents reinforcing my obsession with rules. I don't remember that they found me irritating, either. My father was a referee for high school sports competitions, and I was always very proud to have a father who was an enforcer. If he had been a cop I would have been over the moon, I suppose.

When I played house and had my imaginary children, they were always perfectly obedient. Why wouldn't they be? Don't all normal, smart children want to obey? I had many experiences baby sitting and I hated it. The children I cared for were persistently disobedient. After I actually had children of my own I always like my own children but never really liked other people's children. It wasn't really that I didn't like them, so much as I was annoyed by them. Other parents didn't make their children obey the rules. Did they want their children to grow up to be criminals?

Secretly, I believed that God was impressed with those who obey all the rules. I have always been careful to stop for a full 3 seconds at stop signs, to stay below posted speed limits and to drive the correct direction in parking lots (as determined by the arrows painted on the pavement). Then I got married to my husband. He doesn't care one wit about rules. He thinks that people who drive should be smart enough not to collide with other drivers, even in the absence of arrows painted on the pavement. He actually believes that driving safely and accident free is more important than following rules. This has caused me physical stress. In some cases, I thought I might even have a heart attack as he drove the WRONG WAY in the  parking lot at the grocery store! What would the neighbors think? How can society exist in such anarchy? "We MUST obey the arrows," shouted every cell in my body.

He laughed. He occasionally poked fun at me, but for the most part, he just ignored me. I am finally starting to really see the difference between self-government and obsessive rule-keeping. And this has changed me. I can finally appreciate people who are different. People who cannot or will not conform their behavior to the acceptable societal norms. These people weren't in need of me or my acceptance of them. I was the one who was impoverished by keeping them at a distance because of my annoyance.

This brings me back to other people's children. I have noticed a near explosion in the number of children I see who are on the autism spectrum or have special personalities that are quirky. In the past, I would have been very uncomfortable around these children. I probably would have been pretty judgmental of their parents for not making them behave appropriately. (Mind you, I still get miffed with parents who don't bother to train their children how to act in public, but I'm talking about children whose issues have nothing to do with training and everything to do with how they just ARE.) But when I stop worrying about the rules, I can allow myself to get to know these children. They aren't dangerous because they speak out of turn. My day is not ruined by their intense interest in spiders and their insatiable desire to tell me about it. So what if they sit upside down on the chair? What is that to me?

What is good? And what does the Lord require from us? Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. (see Micah 6:8)

There is nothing in there about obeying all the rules. Certainly nothing about proudly obeying. It isn't a great accomplishment at all.  I was trained to obey by my schooling. That was reinforced by my military training. My husband helped me to get unindoctrinated. I am trying to humbly make a new start. I don't want to be conformed to this world (and its rules), but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.  It's a life-long journey, I'm afraid. But as the old saying goes, "I'm not what I oughta be, but thank God I'm not what I used to be."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Straw Man is Strong With This One

I'm back to write more about the horror I'm reading on Visionary Womanhood. Natalie Klejwa has done a complete 180 on everything she believed about womanhood and being a wife. This is sad for her, of course, but what is disturbing is that she is now convinced that she has discovered the truth and is encouraging other Christian women to follow her path. She thought she knew the truth for 40 some odd years, in one or two days she finds out she had it all wrong, and NOW women should trust that she knows about that of which she speaks? She doesn't doubt herself even the tiniest bit after following the wrong path for 4 decades? Scary. How about some humility and spending some decades testing your new theories before you call other women to join?

But today I'm here to expose one of her straw men. It is a common tactic on her blog whereat she states some false teaching and then  proclaims it is false. She's not very thorough at knocking down her own straw men, but then, most of them are so ridiculous that she's counting on you to dismiss them for being outrageous based on basic common sense and the most rudimentary understanding of the gospel. The problem is, the false teachings that she is protesting don't actually exist within mainstream or orthodox Christendom. Since I have written somewhat extensively about 1 Peter 3, I'll just talk about her suffering-wife-straw-man. Here is a quote from her blog post The One Sure Sign You are in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship:
There are some people who think a wife needs to suffer for Christ even if it means physical beatings. Christ’s suffering wasn’t enough for her. She’s got to complete it for Him. Total rubbish, of course.
I find it interesting that she provides no link, no citation, to ANYONE who says that a Christian man or woman needs to complete Christ's suffering for Him. Jesus was pretty clear when He said "It is finished" that nothing more needed to be done. His work was complete. For her to suggest any Christian leader teaches that is just, oh, I don't know -- stupid? But wow, she really knocked that one out of the park by proclaiming it to be "total rubbish." Duh.  While setting up this straw man though, she is also treading dangerously close to saying that women are entitled to a marriage free of suffering, or that it is outside of God's will for Christians to suffer, and suffer deeply. Even within marriage. If she is going to talk about Christ's suffering, and about women suffering in marriage, I would think it would be the perfect place for her to direct her readers to the book of 1 Peter, when the apostle actually addresses the very issue. But, no.  So, I'm going to go there.

Let's look at what Peter had to say about suffering wrongfully:
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
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;...
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: ...
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
This selection starts in 1 Peter 2:19 and goes through to 1 Peter 4:2. I specifically selected the verses that are most applicable to the topic at hand, whether it is within the will of God for Christians to suffer and why. It starts out stating that it is "thankworthy" to suffer and grieve. This means a person who is in the midst of suffering should be thanking God. If a person is to thank God, that means  God is sovereign over our suffering. No need to question what kind of God would permit such a thing (Romans 9), just thank Him.

Then Peter goes on to say that this thing, this suffering, this grief is something to which God has specifically called us. Did you hear that? God called us to suffer. But before he called us to suffer, He did another thing. He caused His own Son to suffer so he (Christ) could serve as an example to us for how to do it. Is there any disagreement about what is being said there? It isn't ambiguous, right? He starts out addressing servants and their mistreatment by masters. He is describing this mistreatment, not as inconvenient, but as suffering and grieving. It's bad.

Peter tells the servants how to suffer. Without reviling. Without threatening. Without sin and without guile. The servants don't need to fear because God is seeing all of that and is judging with righteous judgement. They don't even need to attempt to make their own case.

Here comes the amazing part to me, as a woman. Chapter 3 starts out with the words "likewise ye wives..." We know Peter didn't write this as a separate or stand alone chapter. He wrote it as one long narrative and verse 1 of Chapter 3 follows up the advice to servants to suffer righteously by addressing wives and telling them to also suffer in the same manner as the servants, and to follow Christ's example. We don't "complete Christ's suffering" as was comically asserted as a common teaching by Natalie Klejwa at Visionary Womanhood, instead we suffer in His footsteps, following the example He set. Peter said that some wives will SUFFER at the hands of their husbands who do not obey the word. And was his advice to those wives that they should take a test to see if their husband is an emotional abuser? Nope. Peter's advice, it might even be considered a command, is for the wife to make herself subject to her husband. Not because he is loving her like Christ loved the Church, but precisely because he IS NOT.

And did you see verse 14? Again, I am amazed. God's ways are not my ways. He says that if I, as a wife, suffer at the hands (or mouth) of my husband I should be happy, I should not be in terror or be troubled. Why? Because of the hope that lies within me. The hope of the gospel. The sure knowledge of God's love and His righteousness. Then we see in verse 17 that my suffering, if I suffer for good, IS the will of God! God wills that I suffer! Can this be true? I assure you, it is. And Peter urges us to have the mind of Christ in this matter (in the same way Paul urges us to have the mind of Christ in Philippians 2), to not live in the flesh, and to live "to the will of God." Amen.

Natalie Klejwa would have you believe that if your husband does not obey the word, you are in a "destructive relationship." But the Word of God tells you to believe that God's will, which sometimes includes suffering in marriage, cannot destroy you.  So, who is telling the truth in this matter?