Twisted Tuesday – To Fear of Not to Fear?

Hello, beloved brethren, and welcome back to yet another Twisted Tuesday. The verse I’d like to address today is 1 John 4:18. I grew up being told that we don’t have to be afraid of God, He’s our buddy, He loves us, nothing to fear there. This verse in 1 John is often quoted as the Biblical backup for this position. This is what I believed for over a decade, while still in my sin. However, when I became a believer July 4th, 2015, and began to read His Word, I saw something completely different commanded of us. Rather than being told, Biblically, that we should see God as a cool Dad, I saw it repeated that fearing God was wise, even the beginning of wisdom. Christ Himself said that we ought not to fear the one who can kill the body, but the one that can kill the body and cast the soul into Hell. So there are two options here, one is that the Bible contradicts itself, the second is that we’re twisting it. Remember, friends, when we see supposed contradictions in Gods Word the fault lies in us, as is often seen by sifting through the entirety of the full counsel of Gods Word.

Scripture Verse from 1 John 4
1-John-4

Another thing I’ve been told is that our fear of God is actually just respect. So we fear God like we fear our Earthly fathers. I didn’t have a dad growing up, so I can’t really be 100% sure about this statement. However, while it’s clear we ought to love, adore, worship, and respect God, it seems the fear of the Lord is another thing altogether. God is Christ’s Father, and it is true that as born again believers we’re adopted into the family, the question is, is this the fear we ought to feel? Is that a Biblical understanding? My Earthly father might have been able to kill my body, but only God can cast the soul into Hell. This means the fear Scripture refers to is a fear He alone can and should hold. That being said, I see this as a disagreement rather than a twist in scripture. I mention it as an aside, to seek correction from wiser more mature brothers and sisters. It’s very possible that I’m misunderstanding the relationship between a child and a father.

Charles Spurgeon Quote
Charles-Spurgeon-Quote

That point aside, let’s focus on the push to ignore Scripture and claim fear of God is out of place in our day. The Bible clearly tells us otherwise, namely that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. What then? Have I lost my assurance in place of fear? No, I’ve been saved through faith alone, in Christ alone, by the grace of and for the glory of God alone. What it does mean is that when I see the lost shaking their fist at God, the Father, I tremble. When I consider all my friends and family aimlessly wondering from sin to sin, seeking the pleasures it brings for a season, I tremble. When I consider what would have been the just punishment for my own sins had I died July 3rd, 2015, I tremble. The fear of the Lord justly, rightly, judging the lost, moves me to prayer, and it moves me to share the Gospel. The Lord gets no pleasure from the death of the wicked, however He is a just God, and like any judge He must hold law breakers accountable.

The real issue is telling a room full of idolatrous tares amongst the wheat that they need not fear God. Clearly seen in context, our fear of God is not in regards to assurance of salvation, but in His righteousness. Like Luther, who grew to hate God’s righteousness before being saved, we should be in a state of fear that God is good, and we are wicked. If we are unsaved that knowledge should, as in the case of men like Luther, Bunyan, and Brainard, send us weak knee’d before God in humble repentance. If we are born again, that fear ought to send us out to the highways and byways, to call men to repent and flee the wrath to come. I hope this post is helpful, and appreciate your opinions on the Earthly father and Heavenly Father comparisons. As always, my dear beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

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Twisted Tuesday – Liberty or Sin? Smoking Cigars

It’s liberty, beloved. Shortest post ever. Be good Berean’s and…

Ok, I’m kidding. Not about the liberty part, about being done with the post. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing Scripturally prohibitive against having a cigar from time to time. That’s hard for me to say, I’m married to a Respiratory Therapist who sees first hand how bad these things are for you. I really want to do a quick mom rant here for all my Neo-Reformed friends, but we all know how bad smoking is. I’m not sure how anyone could to it to the glory of God, however that’s why we have liberty. I’m always reminded of the card Leonard Ravenhill sent to Paul Washer with a hand written note that read “Others can, you can not.”

Why are there some believers who smoke cigars and post about it on social media? Most of them point to Spurgeon, whose doctor actually encouraged him to smoke them for his health, as a ‘relaxant’. My what we’ve learned since then! Eventually he realized they weren’t helping his health, and towards the end of his life he gave them up. If I had as many health issues as he did I’d probably give it a try as well. Either way, we have liberty in this area, but should never follow someone else’s behavior. If it’s popular, if it’s not, these things do not matter so much as being able to do all things in faith.

From the beginning of this series I wanted to point to the attitude behind flaunting our liberty on social media. Rather than look at the act, drinking, cursing, and smoking, I wanted to look at the reason behind flaunting those acts. One of our sisters in Christ pointed out that it could just be immaturity rather than boastfulness, and I think she’s right. It reminded me to check my own heart when posting on social media. Am I acting out of love for my brethren? Am I pointing to God, so He gains the glory? Am I being an immature believer? Or am I being boastful? Our hearts are deceitfully wicked, beloved, we must be constantly vigilant, asking God to show us where we need to mature, and to discipline us when we’re boastful or unloving. Love for one another is how the world will know with whom we have to do. If you drink occasionally or smoke a cigar now and then, would you be willing to stop should it cause offense? That’s an important question to ask yourself, my friends, if these posts include behavior you’re prone to posting about online.

What do you think, beloved brethren? Is there a Verse I missed? Am I misunderstanding the reasons behind posting yourself surrounded in cigar smoke? I so value you’re opinions and advice, brothers and sisters, more than I can express in this post. I pray this series has been edifying, as always dear ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Liberty or Sin? Christians Drinking

My friends, I hope this post has found you all doing well. My prayer, before writing this, was that it edifies and encourages rather than tears down unity. I do covet your prayers, brethren, as I deal with difficult subjects, that I not over step any bounds. Today we’re going to discuss the popularity of Christians, mostly, I surmise, in the neo-reformed camps, taking to social media and posting pictures of themselves drinking. This trend took me off guard, as these photos were being posted by those whose accounts seemed not even to be personal, but for the purpose of ministry. Often times, between posts with Scriptures or quotes from Reformed men, there are memes with fowl language, pictures of them and company smoking, or drinking. We’ll talk about smoking next week, this week I just want to deal with the alcohol.

To be frank with you all, I have a level sensitivity towards drunkenness. With both parents having trouble with addiction, my childhood was rocked by outbursts of violence and frequent poverty due to drugs and alcohol. The sight, or smell, of strong drink tends to bring back memories I’d rather forget. So it will come as no surprise to you all that my husband and I do not drink. It didn’t come up all that often, as we were mostly in Pentecostal churches which pattern themselves after the Weslian Holiness movement, not even allowing dancing, much less drinking. That being said, while the Bible clearly calls drunkenness a sin in multiple verses, drinking in general is not. Do you have liberty to drink, so long as you don’t get drunk? I suppose so, until that liberty offends a brother or sister. Remember, dear ones, that our liberty in Christ begins and ends with love for the brethren. That we would do anything to cause another to stumble is unimaginable, it should be the furthest from or mind. That’s what I actually want to discuss, not having the drink, but the mindset about boasting in it.

Now all the cards are on the table, I have personal reasons why I don’t drink. Drunkenness is clearly a sin, and we also have to mind the image we put out to the world, that we in no ways offend one another or cause Gods name to be blasphemed. Unlike last week, where it was obviously a sin to use course language, drinking a glass of wine with dinner is not. We also need to take into account that we all have different maturity levels, so as to be careful not to cause one another to stumble. I could never drink in faith, or hold up a glass of alcohol and thank God for it, therefor to me it is a sin to drink. All that aside, why are there so many posting photos of themselves drinking? In what way does that glorify God, or edify and encourage the brethren? Sola Dio Gloria? All for the glory of God! We have liberty in Christ, should we not rather be boasting in our weakness and His strength, rather than in our ability to drink?

As far as I can see, these posts are for the pure purpose of boasting in liberty. That, dear ones, is not Biblical behavior, we do not flaunt our freedom in Christ before our weaker brethren. I’m not sure if this is being driven by immaturity, or pragmatism, but I am sure that it is in no way being driven by love. There are many ways where social media can be a wonderful place to minister, uplift, encourage, and even share the Gospel with the lost. On the other hand, there seems to be a unique opportunity to build the flesh with boastful and egotistical posts. We need to mortify that flesh! Am I missing something here, friends? I’d love to hear from you all on this, as many of you are far more mature, wise, and discerning than I am. Next Tuesday we’ll talk about the cigar photos, so stay tuned. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

*Update* For further insight into this area, our brother in Christ, Tom, over at ExCatholicforChrist has written an opinion here. I highly recommend it!

Hymns from the Past – Do We not Know that Solemn Word

This short hymn, friends, was such a blessing to me. I love how the hymns from the past were deep, God centered, and Scriptural. Since reading and listening to these hymnals I can barely stand today’s breathy, sappy, man-centered music. Without further adieu, Isaac Watts ladies and gentlemen!

Do we not know that solemn word,

That we are buried with the Lord,

Baptized into his death, and then

Put off the body of our sin?

Our souls receive diviner breath,

Raised from corruption, guilt, and death;

So from the grave did Christ arise,

And lives to God above the skies.

No more let sin or Satan reign

Over our mortal flesh again;

The various lusts we served before

Shall have dominion now no more.

Twisted Tuesday – Liberty or Sin? Christians Cursing

A couple months ago, dear friends, I began noticing a few different things that were bothersome to me. I saw professing believers posting foul language, alcohol, and photos of themselves smoking cigars. If that’s you, before you scream legalist, or tell me all about how you have liberty in Christ, please read the entirety of my posts. Maybe we can help one another understand the other side a little better. First, I have to tell you that when this issue became too frequently placed before me I did what the Bible tells wives to do, I asked my husband. If you have a believing spouse I would encourage you to go to them in these matters, and search the Scriptures together. It’s such a blessing to have a spouse who can help in these areas! He showed me there’s really two categories here, Sin and Christian Liberty.

If you’ve followed me long enough you know already, I love a good series of posts! So I’m going to dig into each category, focusing on the three issues listed above. Today I’d like to tackle the language I’ve heard and seen posted on social media. I have heard, or read foul language from pastors, “worship bands”, Christian sites, and professing Christians on social media. How can this be when the Bible clearly tells us not to let any unwholesome words come out of our mouth? The only argument I’ve heard for this type of behavior is Christian liberty. We need to be clear, brethren, our liberty does not cover sin. Furthermore, this type of language spoken publicly, on social media, causes men to blaspheme the name of God. I have family members who will not hear the Gospel because their hearts have been hardened by Christians acting like pagans. At the least we ought to love the lost enough to show self control.

I’m not referring to the off chance you stub your toe and let out a bad word by mistake, beloved. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m speaking directly to the preplanned action of writing out, and posting or speaking publicly, this type of language. Does that fall under Christian liberty, friends? Even if Paul was referencing swear words in Romans, which he clearly was not because that would be contradicting other verses, you’re Christian liberty begins and ends in love for the brethren. If you boasting, or proudly posting on social media, about your liberty offends a brother is sister, then you’ve officially crossed beyond your freedom in Christ. Even to that point, why would we ever feel it scriptural to boast of our freedom in Christ?

I found this article by CARM very helpful in understanding whether or not cursing is sinful. As we go out into the world and share the Gospel we’re often met by foul mouthed pagans, and most times their language, though not surprising, is difficult to listen to. We ought to be about the business of edifying and encouraging one another, but hearing so many using the same language as the lost was anything but. If you’ve read this and recognized you’re guilty as charged I ask that you would search the Scriptures. Don’t take my word for it, take His Word, and when you see these verses have been used in proper context, repent. God is gracious and forgiving, He will not allow His children to remain in sin. Stay tuned for next Tuesday, we’ll address Christians drinking. Spoiler alert, my concern is the boasting, bragging, picture taking attitude behind the glass. As always, dear ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved. (This was a serious topic, so here’s a little something to make you smile)

Twisted Tuesday – Have Faith in…Faith?

Do we wield faith as a force to get what we want from God, or have faith in God for salvation? Let’s discuss the Scripture twisted to give man more authority than he actually has.

Hello dear friends, I hope this post has found you all doing well. Today I want to talk about a verse misuses in such a way that it binds heavy burdens on many. I’ve seen first hand the hurt this twist in Scripture causes those who genuinely desire to be obedient, yet have been led astray by false teachers. The verse, or I suppose I should say verses, are those in reference to Jesus Christ healing someone and saying their faith had made them well. While there are several verses with similar phrasing I had to pick just one, so let’s go with Matthew 9:22.

In the original Greek text the word faith here is not a verb, it’s a noun. Unfortunately those in the WoF movement have turned it into a verb, suggesting that we need enough of it to become healed. This is another case where the full counsel of Gods Word clears the misunderstanding up. It’s also a point where Church History can be helpful, as faith was never considered a force to be wielded at God before the 20th century. When the Scriptures are taken as a whole we see that there are times when Christ healed those who had no faith in Him, or had no clue who He was. He did this out of mercy, and in the end we see clearly in the Bible that Christ healed everyone He intended on healing.

Suggesting that faith is something we most have, and use, to convince God to do what we want Him to do is a challenge to His sovereignty. It also teaches those who are zealous without knowledge that it’s their fault their children are sick, or that they can’t get well themselves. In this way these false teachers bind heavy burdens upon people, while attempting to placing man in a seat of authority over God’s will. Does God always will for everyone to be healed? If that we’re the case Jesus was disobedient in His earthly ministry. At the pool of Bethesda He only healed one person, though we’re told in the Text that there were many there. Let God be counted true and every man a liar, Christ lived a sinless life in full obedience to the will of the Father. Still to this day God heals those He decides to heal in His sovereignty.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t pray for healing, or for others who are ill. It does mean that we are in no way, shape, or form, responsible for the sickness not being removed. Those who were written about in the Bible having faith had faith in Christ Jesus, not their own ability to believe. In ourselves there is nothing we can boast of, no power, no ability, no magical healing faith. Salvation, sanctification, justification, and yes even the miraculous, are all of Gods grace. This is why I constantly exhort you, beloved brethren, to take the full counsel of Gods Word. Read in context, and recall that chapter and verse breaks are not sovereign, you may have to go back a chapter or two to get the full picture. As always, dear ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Series on Feminism in the Church – Part IV Final Post

It’s Friday once again, dear ones, which means we will once again be addressing my least favorite subject. I thought the reading for last weeks post was the most grievous, until I began to research for today. I’m going to discuss the connections between feminism and Wicca/new ageism, so once again I must apologize for the quotes, they’ll be difficult to read. As I’ve mentioned previously, I grew up in a feministic household. I had never made a connection, however, to my mothers feministic beliefs and her turn towards witchcraft. I can see now how easy it is to move toward so called ‘spirituality’ and goddess worship when so much of the literature bends in that direction.

This is a serious indictment against allowing feminism in the church. I’m in no way suggesting that every feminist is a practicing Wiccan, however most of the leading feminists view their movement in a spiritual way. Like anything that steps away from a Biblical structure, it leads down the path towards witchcraft in steps. The end result seems to be atheism, though many stay within a new age mysticism that borrows Christian language. Others continue on to Wicca, or goddess worship. Again, it’s important to note that none of these underlining goals have anything to do with equality. Witchcraft and goddess worship does nothing to help women earn the same pay as men, yet it is pushed in the feminist groups and is direct opposition to Christianity. The Biblical view, on the other hand, of man and woman is equality. As Paul states, we are equal, whether we are male or female, with differing roles in the body of Christ.

My deep concern is that many women within the church that embrace feminism are unaware of these connections. Our leaders, elders, and pastors are vilified if they dare to urge discernment in this area. I pray that this series will help break down some of the walls that have been built between women and men in the name of equality. Let me just remind you, beloved, that in these posts I’ve pointed out feminism’s attack against Christianity, men, and marriage alone with showing its roots and spirituality which oppose Christ in every way. Once again, we have to ask ourselves, in light on the SBC’s wavering and women like Beth Moore’s recent hurtful rhetoric, should feminism be in the church? My stand is clear, friends, you’ll have to decide this for yourself. As always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

If you’ve missed the previous posts here are links to Part I, Part II, and Part III.