Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Course of Performance

The Course of Performance is defined as the following in Websters New World Law Dictionary:
“The pattern of completing a recurring obligation under a contract when all parties are aware of the nature of the obligation and have had the opportunity in the past to object to how it is done. If a dispute later arises regarding the performance of that obligation and there was no previous objection, the courts will look to the course of performance to determine how the parties intended the obligation to be completed.”
Basically what they are saying is when there is a dispute over an issue and there are no “original” witnesses to refer to, then the court looks to the closest sources available to determine the performance of the contract and see how it was carried out. This same method should be used or at least considered when referring to Scripture and its teaching. Now we have Old Testament sources that are further explained and carried out in the New Testament. Sometimes the issue is plain and simple. But what about those issues that are not as clear? Where could you gain insight? Well, the Course of Performance would lead you to the Early Church Fathers at least the Ante-Nicene Fathers who lived before the Council of Nicea established in 325 AD. Sometimes when one reads a modern source, there is a lot of debate over what a certain New Testament text means. One group says it means “A,” when the other group says it means “B.” So where do you go? I mean, one group is convinced it is one way, and the other is convinced of the other way. The problem is they both claim to be led by the Holy Spirit. So where would one go? Well, they should consider the “Course of Performance.” What did the early Church think about the issue? How did they carry it out? Was it important? These questions and more should be considered. It isn’t that later Churches were wrong on the issues, but separated by time and more variation, the later Fathers and other church leaders are less reliable “usually.” Next time you are looking into something unsure about the Bible, you might ask yourself: “What did Polycarp, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement, etc… think about it?” You may have a better understanding. Polycarp was a disciple of John the Apostle!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Revisiting 1 John 5:7

1 John 5:7 - "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one."

(My first edition of this post was incomplete and I had some misinformation to correct concerning my own lack of clarity. Unfortunately this is why we need to be careful what we write on the internet. I believe I have cleared it up now.)

If you have read this blog in the past, you know that I am a big supporter of the Traditional Greek Text of the New Testament. I am not a KJV onlyist though I sometimes get balled in with them. I support the Traditional compilation of Greek witnesses for the New Testament, which the KJV (King James Version) was translated from. I have various reasons, but probably the main one is that I haven't seen any evidence contrary to the Traditional readings that present them as invalid. I have been studying this for several years from more of a historical angle since I am not proficient in Koine Greek. However, I have read some good defences of the Traditional Text by those who are adept in Koine Greek. I recommend Pastor Jeff Riddle's reading list for some of these. If you aren't familiar with the terms, Traditional Text refers to the Greek Manuscript witnesses that the Geneva, Tyndale, KJV, NKJV, and a few other translations are derived from. This line of transmission was supported by Erasmus, Theodore Beza, Tyndale and several others. The Critical Text is a reference to the compilation of Greek Witnesses that make up the NIV, ESV, NASB, and many other modern translations. This line of transmission was invented by B.F. Wescott and J.A. Hort and then tweaked by men like F. Dewey Lockman, Bruce Metzger and many others. More recently men like David Parker and Bart Ehrman are taking this Science of Textual Criticism to its logical conclusion. They have dismissed any set text and believe the originals are mainly inaccessible or hidden. They also do not make any discretions between Orthodox or Gnostic writings.

The truth is 1 John 5:7 is probably the most difficult text in the Traditional text to defend. Many post-modern scholars and defenders of the Critical Greek Text dismiss anyone who supports this text with seriousness. One reason is because we do not have many Greek witnesses for this text (We do have a plethora of Old Latin, though!), and the ones we do have are late. However, I have heard and read some good and interesting articles in defence of this text.

Someone might ask: "Why aren't there many Greek Witnesses for 1 John 5:7?" That is a good question; but, the fact there are few and the ones we have are late does not really "prove" anything for or against authenticity. It just presupposes two possibilities. #1 - It wasn't authentic and was added by zealous scribes for clarity. Or: #2 - It was authentic and was a threat to certain sects like the early Gnostics (who had their own editions of the New Testament including extra books), Arians, Sabellians, and many other sects who controlled the Eastern and Western Churches for a time. A few facts I discovered previously as possibilities to why we do not have many early Greek sources to this Trinitarian text are as follows:

  1. Diocletian the Roman Emperor destroyed every New Testament Manuscript he could get a hold of from 303 to 312 AD. There were also other persecutions similar to this. The Latin Church fled to the mountains where they were protected and hidden. That is one reason there are so many Old Latin Witnesses available that contain 1 John 5:7 and not many Greek. 
  2. Muslims destroyed many of the old Greek Byzantine Manuscript witnesses from the Greek Church that would have contained 1 John 5:7 when they destroyed the old Byzantine Empire in 1453 AD. Only a few scribes escaped with the most recent copies of the New Testament Witnesses at that time. That could be why we at least have a few Greek witnesses for this text.  
  3. Arianism was a large sect in the Church during the time of Nicea. The doctrine of the Trinity was offensive to them as it is offensive to many others today. The Vandals were Arians and took over the Western Roman Empire from around 439-534 AD. The Western Church was severely affected by their influence. Arianism wasn't isolated to the Vandals. Arianism fluctuated in many areas. In fact they controlled many of the Churches. Even after Nicea, they controlled the Eastern Greek Churches from around 330 AD to 379 AD until Gregory of Nazianzus came along.  
  4. The Western Church eventually phased out the Greek witnesses and mainly relied on the Latin Witnesses early in its history. It wasn't until the Reformation that the Western Church re-kindled an interest in Greek New Testament sources. Most of the influences in North America are from the Western Churches of the Former Roman Empire, though, that is beginning to change. 
  5. Gnostics who were mentioned in the New Testament were more likely the first culprits who started editing this text out of the New Testament. However, they were mainly non-existent by the time Arianism and Sabellianism became strong. It is possible though that Arians and Sabellians used some Gnostic editions of the New Testament books to support their ideas. Though, that is just my speculation.
  6. There were other heresies as well. Sabellianism was also a large sect that arose. Sabellians were heavy in the Eastern Church and the Western Church. The Western Church called it Patripassianism. Today we know it as Modalism. The Sabellians believed that God was a modal monarch in that he wasn't Trinitarian but rather One being who occupies three different modes at three different times. An example would be that they believed God would sometimes put his Father hat on and do the work of a Father, then sometimes he would put on his Son of God hat, and then sometimes the Holy Spirit hat. This was their way of trying to explain the mystery of the Bible's definition of the Trinity. The problem is verses like Matthew 3:16-17 and 1 John 5:7. 
One argument against 1 John 5:7 is that it wasn't quoted by any of the Church Fathers during the Arian heresy. One proponent puts it this way:

Now here is how we can be certain that 1 John 5:7 never existed in the early church. Because of the Arian controversy in the fourth century, we know for certain the church was especially guarded concerning teachings and any Scriptural evidence they thought they had concerning the Trinity. After the end of the fourth century, these manuscripts were the canonized writings of the status quo church who fought for Trinitarian teaching and it is an unthinkable proposition to suggest the eastern Greek speaking church would have let such a passage inadvertently escape from all their Greek manuscripts spread throughout the eastern half of the Roman empire. If 1 John 5:7 had been authentic, the first omission of this verse would have created an immediate outcry and church leaders would have been looking for the culprit. Indeed, blood was spilled over far less in the fourth century. It is an absolutely ludicrous fantasy to suppose the entire eastern Greek speaking Trinitarian church could have allowed 1 John 5:7 to somehow escape from all their Bibles completely unnoticed for over a thousand years.

The truth is that this kind of argumentation is riddled with assumptions and lack of evidence. Don't get me wrong, I can get rather passionate about a subject, and there is no doubt that this writer is convinced of his position. However, there is a fallacy in his assumption. The person who wrote the quote above is parroting what he has heard from proponents of the Critical Text, who are in the majority.

I came across the real issue concerning the Arian heresy by reading Paul Pavao's book "Decoding Nicea." I haven't finished it, and he isn't a Traditional Text guy, but I will give him one thing, he hungers for truth and accurate information. I admire him for that! That is what we are after isn't it? Truth and accuracy of facts? Don't get me wrong, there are people who have used just as much poor argumentation to defend the Traditional Text. That is one reason I tend to stay away from KJV onlyists. It isn't that they aren't sometimes accurate in their presentation of evidence, but they usually have just as much if not more inaccurate information. Seek for sources. Do your research. 

So what did I find? Arius from Alexandria was the man who is credited with these views concerning Arianism. What is interesting though is that they originated from Lucian of Antioch. Arius just made the teaching famous. So what is Arianism? Well, the writer of the quote above assumes that Arianism is simply the denial of the Trinity, and it is in a way, but not like most think it is. I always thought that the Arians denied and despised Trinitarian scriptures. However, I didn't really understand the depth of the problem. Arianism is built off of a misunderstanding of the Greek Septuagint verse coming from Proverbs 8:22. You see, the early church mainly used the Greek Septuagint for their Old Testament. It wasn't until Jerome that the Western Church got away from the Greek Septuagint and transferred over to the Hebrew Masoretic text of the Old Testament which is actually more recent than the Septuagint translation. The Greek Church still uses the Septuagint. Here is the difference:

Proverbs 8:22 Translation from the Hebrew
"The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old."

Proverbs 8:22 Translation from the Greek Septuagint
"The Lord made me the beginning of his ways for his works."

Now we know that this is a reference to Christ. Therefore, as you can see, Arius was taught by Lucian that Christ was "made from nothing." Now the early church had no trouble with this verse because they believed that Christ was "made of the substance of the Father," but Arius concluded that Christ was made "from nothing" like the rest of the Created order. That is why the Nicene Creed from the year 325 AD reads as follows: 

"We believe in one God, the Father all governing, creator of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father as only-begotten, that is, from the essence of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not created, of the same essence as the Father, through whom all things came into being, both in heaven and in earth; Who for us men and our salvation came down and was incarnate, becoming human. He suffered and the third day he rose, and ascended into the heavens. And he will come to judge both the living and the dead. And (we believe) in the Holy Spirit. But, those who say, Once he was not, or he was not before his generation, or he came to be out of nothing, or who assert that he, the Son of God, is of a different hypostasis of ousia, or that he is a creature, or changeable, or mutable, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them."

 This was the issue. It wasn't simply that the Church was proclaiming the doctrine of the Trinity and that Arius was going around denying that the Trinity existed. He believed the Trinity existed in a sense, but that the person of Christ was created like all of the creatures of the earth. The issue was the nature of the Trinity and the Deity of Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:7 just states that the Father, Word, and Holy Spirit are witnesses for the work and life of Jesus Christ. I am not saying that Arius or his followers would have liked 1 John 5:7, but it didn't pose a large threat to his doctrine and wouldn't have been a clear defence for the Deity of Christ as John Chapter 1 wouldn't have been. Verses like John 8:24, 8:58, 17:5, 20:28, Colossians 2:8-9 were more of a threat because they testify directly of the Deity of Jesus and His existence before creation. If you were to quote 1 John 5:7 to Arius he probably would have said "Amen! I too believe that the Father, Word, and Holy Spirit testify from heaven!" 1 John 5:7 doesn't address the nature of Jesus Christ's being. Arius would interpret 1 John 5:7 as saying that "the Word" was created from nothing, and the orthodox believers would have said that he was made from the essence of the Father.

None of this necessarily proves that 1 John 5:7 is authentic. However, it shows that sometimes people will use whatever whim they have to support their point and that some arguments are a waste of time. The truth is that it all comes down to a decision. What do you believe? There are good reasons that God chose to preserve His written word for the church through copying throughout the centuries. Yes, there are some variants but when we look at them they are miniscule compared to the vast majority of the witnesses of the Greek, Latin, and other manuscripts available. Most of the variants are insignificant and pose no threat to any doctrine of Christian teaching. However, when the Greek witnesses stand alone, the main sources for the Critical Text seem to have a heavy Gnostic influence, which died out before the Council of Nicea. It is actually making a comeback these days, which is strange. My guess is that 1 John 5:7 was original, but was offensive to the Gnostics. They loved to mutilate the New Testament writings along with making some of their own. Over time, their texts were used by other rogue sects of the Christian faith, and they even controlled the majority of churches. It is similar today. Very few churches hold to orthodox Christian teaching.

My advice is to seek out original sources if you can get them. It may take a lot of time, patience, and prayer; but, in the long run, you will be better equipped. There are many false stories and theories running around concerning the Text of the New Testament. What is worse is that many of the inventors of these stories are so-called scholars. Remember that scholars are men too, and are easily corrupted just like we are. The whole reason that men like Tyndale laid down his life is so that commoners like you and me would have access to the holy Scriptures is so that there would be accountability. Scholarhood doesn't mean that one is immune to constructive criticism and accountability.  Do not allow men and women with high exalted titles take that from you. A formal education is good, but corruptible men and women still receive them. Educate yourself, and use original sources. Beware of the commentator unless he or she was actually there.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Have you ever wondered why some people like to flaunt their education? Well, I am not sure why, but I see a lot of it these days. I am sure you have run into those folks who love to use great swelling words to impress you with. You know the kind of words that you never hear or understand after they are spoken. The kind that you have to look up in the dictionary. I suppose the good thing is that now with smartphones you can look it up on the spot where once upon a time you had to wait until you got home to look it up, that is of course if you know how to spell it!. Now, I am a church going southerner and I love the Lord and the study of the Bible; However, I am a little puzzled by the incessant use of Latin and Greek transliterations and great swelling Theological terminology. Well, you know a transliteration is taking a word from another language and using it in your own language, and those fellas that went to Seminary or Bible College love to use transliterations. There are more transliterations in the Bible than you probably realize. They also love to use big words like hermeneutics and exegesis. Sounds interesting. You know, you sit there and say: “Wow” what a big swelling word! What does it mean?”
Well, to help out I am going to add a couple of transliterations. One is the word “Christ.” Christ, when translated, means “Anointed King.” So when you hear someone say, Jesus Christ, what they are saying is Jesus the anointed king. And he is! Another one is Baptist. Baptist means “immerser.” So when you say John the Baptist you are saying John the Immerser.
Now lately I have been reading a lot about “hermeneutics.” A friend of mine told a joke in Sunday school a few weeks back using the word hermeneutics. I wasn’t there, but he told me that the joke fell flat when he told it because he assumed everyone in there knew what hermeneutics was. Sounds like a setting on a high-dollar keyboard or something like that. Nevertheless, next time you go to church and your pastor or Sunday school teacher pulls out the word “hermeneutics.” then you will know that it means: “The art of finding the meaning of an author’s words and phrases, and explaining it to others.” That is pretty much it. Really he could just say: ” Alright everyone, it is important to find the correct understanding of the words and phrases in the Bible!” You see, there is a big discussion these days in Christian circles about this because there are so many different interpretations of the Bible. I would say that the plainest and simple understanding is the best one. Too many people are trying to be clever these days and come up with some special revelation outside of what is written. I would say that you should take up the challenge and read your Bible. When you do, realize that most things are easy to understand. However, some things take a little more research, and some things are meant to be shrouded in mystery.
The next big word is “exegesis.” The first time I heard this word, I thought the guy was saying “Exi-Jesus!” In fact for a few months I thought that is what he was saying. What is worse, I couldn’t find it in any reference material I had. Google wasn’t very sophisticated at that time. So I finally asked the dude to explain to me what Exi-Jesus meant. He told me that it means explanation or interpretation. Then I said: “why don’t you just say interpretation or explanation?” He didn’t respond, but I figure that he didn’t like my idea.
My advice to you is to always ask questions and don’t be afraid to tell someone you don’t know something. Keep your smartphone handy or if you are old-school like me you can carry your old dictionary. But if you are one of those guys that like to use great swelling words to sound cool, please stop. Just speak plainly. However, if you just can’t help yourself, be sure to at least define the great swelling word for us common folk.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Illusion of Hypocrisy - Lack of Discernment

It seems that most like to sniff out a hypocrite. The national news media whether on TV, the internet or some other written form, has been a gossip column for many years and prides itself in destroying those whom it disagrees. What is sad about the whole thing is that they generally are successful. What is worse is that they are usually the bigger hypocrites because of the duplicity of their speech. They claim objectivity, but their reporting and commentary display something totally different. This tells me that people have lost their ability of discernment. These people are allowed to continue because the general population allows it. Somehow they take what is said on Fox News, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC as the gospel. However, it is anything but gospel. On a smaller scale, we do this as well. That is why the news is so popular. People love gossip and love to hate the hypocrite (or perceived hypocrite). So what is a hypocrite? Webster defined it as the following:

Hypocrite - One who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion.

"A hypocrite is one who feigns (or acts) to be what he is not." This statement refers to the present. If a former hypocrite repents (turns) from his old ways and then begins a new path of restoration where he desires to share and encourage everyone to do the same, is he still a hypocrite? The obvious answer is "no." This kind of behavior should be applauded and encouraged. When someone in our country or community repents of a former way of life and decides to encourage others to do the same, someone automatically points the finger at them and says: "Look at what he used to do?" "What a scoundrel and a hypocrite!" Then everyone gets out their pitchforks, torches, and hanging rope to end the ministry of this man. What is strange is that nobody stops to say: "Wait a minute, this was a part  of this man's former way of life, he preaches against it now because he knows firsthand the damage it can do!" All Christians are made up of former hypocrites, it's just that some sins are more socially acceptable than others. If a Christian slides back into some form of hypocrisy, then he or she has an advocate to forgive (1 John 2:1). I mean, look at the Old and New Testament saints. King David, Paul the Apostle, Peter, and the list goes on. Most churches today wouldn't hire any of these guys into their pulpit because of their past. Nevertheless, God used them mightily. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7?

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you judge, you will be judged: and with what measure you use, it will be measured to you again."

If you are a journalist, a politician, or just an ordinary man or woman, remember two things. #1 - God has his eye on you, and #2 - you will be judged the same way that you judge others. Stop and think. Would you want to sit under your own judgment?

"One who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion." The true penitent man or woman is far from being destitute of true religion. In fact, he or she is the essence of it. This is true regardless of their past. Take king David for example. He generally was a good guy but was terribly fickle. He was a murdering, selfish, adulterer. Vileness crept out from within. Nevertheless, when confronted with his sin, he repented (turned) back to God's way and was restored. However, there were earthly consequences to his actions, and sometimes we have to realize that even though God forgives, man is not as forgiving, and there are always earthly consequences to our actions. Remember, Jesus taught that "You reap what you sow" (John 4:35-38). Paul taught that if you sow corruption, you will see the fruit of it, and if you sow goodness, you will see the fruit of it (Galatians 6:7). Does that justify false accusation? No. If you accuse a penitent man or woman of hypocrisy, even though they were wicked in their former days, beware. You may not like the end result. So who is destitute of true religion? Only the one who "currently" does not practice what they preach. If they have repented of their former ways, we should rejoice and encourage them to continue in righteousness.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Qualifications of Deacons - A Re-Examination of Deaconesses

After posting the link to John MacArthur's article on deacons, I began to dig. A friend of mine told me that he believes we should have deaconesses in church office due to the nature of the office, and also because a deaconess is mentioned in the New Testament (Romans 16:1). I personally never thought much about it until now. The Lutheran Church I was raised in had very stringent requirements for the office of deacon and had to be approved by the Synod. Therefore, the church I was raised in didn't have many deacons. Most Baptist Churches I have been a part of have treated the office of deacon as sort of a "power-broker role," which I think is an incorrect use of the office. So what is the office for? What are the Biblical parameters?

In John MacArthurs article, he mentioned that the Greek word translated as "wives" was a mistranslation by the KJV translators. My good friend who holds this position made the same reference. Well, if you have read this blog in the past, you know how I feel about the KJV and the Traditional Greek Text of the New Testament. Therefore, I did some digging. MacArthur states that the word "gyne" actually means woman. Okay, after looking at Strongs Concordance, that seems to be correct. However, after further study, I found that the translation, "wives" is actually accurate. Based on the context of the Greek and the nature of the word, "gyne," the KJV translation (and ESV) is the most accurate. In Greek, words can have a double meaning. Determining which meaning is somewhat difficult, but can be done by examining the context. In this case, the translation, "wives" is a better fit. Also, the KJV translators did have a better handle on the Biblical languages than most scholars today. That being said, even if my friend and John MacArthur were correct, verse 12 makes the office of deacon difficult for women unless you believe the words "husband" and "wife" are ambiguous. If they are, then we need to re-examine the qualification for Elders as well. But, due to Paul's exhortation in 1 Timothy 2:12:

"But I do not permit a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over the man, but to be in silence."

it would be hard to make that ambiguity work. Therefore, to be consistent with the exhortations of Paul and the others in the New Testament who address this, we must stick to the traditional rendering of the verses. It isn't that women aren't capable of doing the office. I would argue that most women are probably better equipped than men in this area. Nevertheless, due to God's divine decree and design, He desires the men to be in authority in His church, even in benevolent ministries. It doesn't mean that the ordained deacons are not allowed to delegate tasks or even authority over certain areas to women, but the office of Deacon is to only be given to qualified men, just like the office of Elder. I was greatly helped by three articles from an Orthodox Presbyterian Minister in Colorado. His position checks out and seems to be more consistent with Scripture. I have posted the links below. Part 3 addresses the issue of the Greek concerning the translation of the word "gyne" into "wives" or "women" I like much of John MacArthur's writings and work. However, I think he is a little off base here and also with his dispensationalism. Other than that, he is solid on everything else.

Biblical Qualifications for Deacons

Monday, May 18, 2015

Answering the Key Questions About Deacons - MacArthur

I didn't make the business meeting last night at our church building, but there was to be a vote concerning the installment of new deacons. Interested in how it went, I asked my friend the names. Thankfully, he was one of the ones chosen. I haven't studied the subject of the office of deacon for quite some time and thought that I should given that the subject has arisen. Therefore, I dug into the word and sought out some answers. I also ran across a very informative article on the subject by John MacArthur's ministry. Out of all the information I studied, it was probably the most informative. I can't say that I disagree with him on a single point. He even argues for women to be added among those in the office, for which I agree. I hope it will be helpful.

Answering the Key Questions About Deacons

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Two More Good Reasons and a Third To Go To Wyatt Baptist Church in El Dorado, Arkansas

While working yesterday, I thought of two more excellent reasons to attend Wyatt Baptist Church in El Dorado, Arkansas.

#1 - Membership Matters Class - I grew up Lutheran, so if you know anything about the Lutheran Church, you have to go through two years of "Confirmation" before you are allowed to partake of the Lord's Table (Lord's Supper). We were taught by the Pastors about the basic doctrines of the Lutheran Church, and much of this was based on 1 Corinthians 11:23-33:

"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had finished eating, saying, this cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till he comes. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so that he may eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that you do not come together in judgment. And the rest will be set in order when I come."

The idea was that one needs to know the Scriptures before he or she is able to take part in the Lord's Supper. For one to properly examine his or herself, they must be full of God's wisdom from Scripture. I think the two-year confirmation class was very helpful and necessary. How is one to know if they are in wrong standing with the Lord? We must be able to properly judge ourselves. In very much the same way, Wyatt has instituted the "Membership Matters Class." It is a class required before one can join the local church. I think it is a great idea! Personally, I would prefer it to cover a few more things in the span of a few more Sundays. But, for now, it is a three-hour course one Sunday to lay out for the seeker the doctrines and expectations of church membership at Wyatt. I think this is excellent and very discerning. The presence of the class itself will deter the "less serious" seeker and attract those who desire a fellowship of wise and discerning believers. It is a good caution because there are too many goats among the sheep in the American Churches. God wants those who are committed and serious about their commitment to him to be a part of the local church. They need to know what they are getting into. My wife and I were fortunate to take the three-hour class one Sunday and it was very helpful and instructive. I don't regret or despise having to take it at all. It also was a great opportunity to ask the Pastors and other members questions concerning the churches doctrines and anything else one can think of.

#2 - Expository Preaching - What is expository preaching? Expository means: "Serving to explain, tending to illustrate." Expository preaching is explaining and illustrating the Scriptures verse by verse. You see, too many preachers end up picking one verse and then orchestrating a political speech to form the Scriptures to their image. You see, Topical Preaching isn't all bad, but the dangers in topical preaching are too plentiful and dangerous. It is far better to exposit the Scriptures and let the inspired Word of God form the discussion. Not that addressing topics is all bad. In fact once in a while our pastors address topics concerning the assembly, but a steady diet of that will leave a congregation anemic. The Scriptures are God's inspired revelation of himself. To understand the Scriptures is to know better the mind of God. We are able to better understand God, his standing, his personality, his expectations, and so much more if we know the Scriptures. Paul said,

"How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message. So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:14-17).

One does not truly come to faith unless he has heard the word of God and been quickened by the Holy Spirit. The Word and the Spirit are a necessary combination for salvation and spiritual growth. At Wyatt, our pastors understand this and are faithful expositors of God's Word.

#3 - Our Pastors Aren't Afraid To Tackle Difficult Texts - Have you ever heard a sermon on Genesis 38 concerning the story of Judah and Tamar? I never had until I attended Wyatt Baptist Church. I had sat in pews in the past where the hard and less-popular texts were either dodged or marked as insignificant. Not at Wyatt. I appreciate our Pastor's bravery in their willingness to preach the hard texts. I have been in congregations where pastors would avoid these texts for political expedience. They feared the mob. Not at Wyatt! Our pastors are fearless of man and fear God with passion!

Yes I can say that we are blessed beyond what we deserve. Wyatt is a great church. I hope that if you are in the El Dorado, Arkansas area on any given Sunday, come in and visit Wyatt Baptist. If you live in Magnolia and are desiring to hear some expository preaching and want to know about those "difficult texts" in the Bible. It is worth the drive!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why I Attend Wyatt Baptist Church in El Dorado, Arkansas

One of the downfalls of the human dispositions is our inability to be honest about what we know, and what we believe. We also have difficulty sharing space with those whom we disagree. Within my church, I would say we all agree on the major doctrines, but there are many views concerning more obscure teachings in the Bible where we tend to differ without breaking fellowship. This is one reason why I attend Wyatt Baptist Church in El Dorado, Arkansas. We all agree on the main things, but can have an open and honest disagreement about less clear issues and still be friends. My brothers and sisters at Wyatt are all confident in God and His Word, but are humble enough to admit they don't know it all. I like that! Many don't understand why I don't go to Church in the same town I live in.  I have many good reasons for that, and would like to share some of those with you here.

I am a member of Wyatt Baptist Church, and it is a great place to worship. I have to say that I don't get to attend as often as I would like because my employer requires Sunday work sometimes, but when I am able, I attend Wyatt. Now Wyatt is on the west side of El Dorado, AR about 45 minutes from my house. I live just west of the Magnolia, Arkansas area. Sometimes I run across folks in the Magnolia area that will poke fun at my Sunday journey to El Dorado. Most folks will make a "drive by" comment like: "That sure is a long way to go to church!" or "You drive all the way over there?!!" I understand what they are thinking: "Why go to church in El Dorado when there are plenty of Baptist Churches in Magnolia?" Well, I'll tell you.

#1 - Doctrine: The number one reason anyone should join a church should be the teachings that they hold to. Any other reason should be secondary. I once visited a church where I knew a lot of the people and were friends with them. However, the church doctrine was horrible! As a result, my wife and I didn't join. The first reason anyone should join a church is their doctrinal stance. Now I will say that I wish our assembly held to the 1689 Baptist Confession, and if a church in Magnolia ever rises up that does, I will most likely be there. However, Wyatt is the closest to that in our area. You can access our doctrinal statement here.

#2 - Tolerance Concerning Secondary and Tertiary Doctrines: I mentioned this in the opening lines of this post. One example I can think of is the doctrines of eschatology (final things). I hold to the Amillennial position, but there are many who hold to the premillennialist, post-millennialists, and everything positions in between. As long as one holds to the "main things" concerning this doctrine, there is always room for discussion and disagreement. I recommend accessing our doctrinal statement.

#3 - Church Government: Our church is the only Baptist Church I know of in the area that seeks to hold to the historical church polity. In the early church, they had a plurality of elders (pastors, bishops) and deacons. Elders were primarily charged with the teaching and care of the souls of the congregation. We have three elders, and I am hopeful for more in the future. They do a great job! Then the deacons were charged with benevolent ministries. Serving the "physical" needs of the church. Our deacons do it better than anyone I have seen. They are vigilant servants of our brothers and sisters in Christ. I had the privilege of being off of work Easter Sunday to worship. It was raining cats and dogs! Around here they would call it a "frog strangler!" Two of the deacons came out with an umbrella and walked me, my wife, and my kids to the dry. My wife later said: "What church does that?!" Our leaders are good models of New Testament church government.

#4 - Mission Driven: Our men and women love missions! They give and are involved in helping others around the world learn about the Good News of Jesus Christ. I have been told that our little fellowship gives more money than some congregations twice our size. I pray that this continues. Also, our people are actively involved in personally assisting and encouraging our supported missionaries.

#5 - Tolerance Concerning Issues of Christian Liberty: A little while back, the leaders at Wyatt realized that Scripture teaches that "drunkenness" is a sin and "moderation" is not. You see, at one time, someone who bought, sold, or took a drink of an alcoholic beverage was not allowed to serve or even join Wyatt! However, the men in our church read the Scriptures (Psalm 104:15) and realized that they would have to throw Jesus out if they continued to hold to that "prohibition era" doctrine. Therefore, I was welcome to join with no problem. I come from a line of moderate drinkers. I like to have a Shiner Bock every once and a while. Being from Texas, it is almost a requirement! lol!! I think abstinence is a wonderful thing if one's conscience leads him to it. However, Paul instructed the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 that they are free, but that they should be careful how they use it. Mainly, "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (vs 31)." He teaches in there that "all things are lawful," but that we should exercise our freedom in love. Therefore, we are free, but we should exercise self-control. I am thankful for that.

There is probably more that I could say, but these are the top 5 that I can think of. Wyatt is worth the drive for us. They are a loving body of believers who would do anything to help if you needed it. They "really" love Jesus. I have never seen a group as committed to the Gospel as these folks are. I hope that if you are in the El Dorado, Arkansas area sometime, you will come and visit Wyatt Baptist Church. If you live in Magnolia, I recommend driving to El Dorado to church! It is worth the distance.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Non-Canonical References

Below is a link to Wikipedia that will take you to a list of books that are referred to in the Canon of Scripture, but are not scripture. Not all of the books referred to are available, but the ones that are, will capture your interest. I have recently been reading the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jasher. They are interesting reads. There are reasons that these aren't added to the Canonical record that I won't get into for the moment, but I think one should definitely take time and read these works. I think it will expand your perspective and help you in your walk.

Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Life, Liberty, and Property

John Locke was an English philosopher mainly in the 1600's. His writings were heavily influential to those who began the American Revolution. He believed mainly in basic rights for all individuals under natural law. Locke had seen the tyranny of religious and political persecution under the monarchy, and found that every time it was useless and needless. He believed that all men had certain rights given to them by God. Locke was influenced heavily by Baptist and Presbyterian ministers who had seen most of the persecution. Locke's sources therefore influenced much of his conclusions. His two main sources of reference were from nature and The Scriptures. These rights were that all men (mankind) have the right to life, liberty, and property (Constitutional Republic).

Our government system was based on the basic philosophy of nature and the basic Theology of God. Now we have a large group of people in our land who hold to a different belief. One where we look to the governing authorities for answers and privileges (Democracy/ Totalitarian). People ask me every now and then about my politics and they are very simple. Every law that should be passed and enforced should have these three principles in mind. As a result, that means the Government would play a very small role in the lives of the citizens. Laws that protect life should be in place. Murder and other life taking or hindering offenses should be in place. Liberty to live in peace is essential. Basically, everyone should "live and let live." Disagree with your neighbor? Tough stuff, they have a right to think how they wish, as long as they don't violate your right to life, liberty, and they respect your property. Property. Not everyone has a lot of property. Some have a lot! Everyone should respect his neighbor's stuff. Laws should protect property. Truly it doesn't matter if the item is land or a toothpick, property should be respected and protected. That is it. The Federal, and even many State and Local governments have gone far beyond these principles when making laws. They no longer protect your life; rather, they encroach on it and dictate many areas in how it should be lived. Liberty? Well, it is shrinking. We have some liberty, but it diminishes from year to year. Property? Ha! we have to pay rent to the local and state governments to keep our property. From land to cars, we are truly paying them rent to keep it. Men and women no longer honor the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which embody these principles. Rather, they have been distorted to say something they don't say. So for the most part, I guess you can say that I lean toward being a Libertarian. I don't know how far liberty will have to be taken away before people have had enough, but I don't think you can say we are a Constitutional Republic anymore. We have drifted over into a Democracy, which almost always slides into tyranny. 

  • LifeThe present state of existence; the time from birth to death.

  • Liberty 1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.
2. Natural liberty consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.3. Civil liberty is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil libertyThe liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty4. Political liberty is sometimes used as synonymous with civil liberty But it more properly designates the liberty of a nation, the freedom of a nation or state from all unjust abridgment of its rights and independence by another nation. Hence we often speak of the political liberties of Europe, or the nations of Europe.5. Religious liberty is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.6. liberty in metaphysics, as opposed to necessity, is the power of an agent to do or forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the mind, by which either is preferred to the other.Freedom of the will; exemption from compulsion or restraint in willing or volition.7. Privilege; exemption; immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant; with a plural. Thus we speak of the liberties of the commercial cities of Europe.8. Leave; permission granted. The witness obtained liberty to leave the court.9. A space in which one is permitted to pass without restraint, and beyond which he may not lawfully pass; with a plural; as the liberties of a prison.10. Freedom of action or speech beyond the ordinary bounds of civility or decorum. Females should repel all improper liberties.To take the liberty to do or say any thing, to use freedom not specially granted.To set at liberty to deliver from confinement; to release from restraint.To be at liberty to be free from restraint.Liberty of the press, is freedom from any restriction on the power to publish books; the free power of publishing what one pleases, subject only to punishment for abusing the privilege, or publishing what is mischievous to the public or injurious to individuals.

  • Property1. A peculiar quality of any thing; that which is inherent in a subject, or naturally essential to it; called by logicians an essential mode. Thus color is aproperty of light; extension and figure are properties of bodies.
2. An acquired or artificial quality; that which is given by art or bestowed by man. The poem has the properties which constitute excellence.3. Quality; disposition.It is the property of an old sinner to find delight in reviewing his own villainies in others.4. The exclusive right of possessing, enjoying and disposing of a thing; ownership. In the beginning of the world, the Creator gave to man dominion over the earth, over the fish of the sea and the fowls of the air, and over every living thing. This is the foundation of man's property in the earth and in all its productions. Prior occupancy of land and of wild animals gives to the possessor the property of them. The labor of inventing, making or producing any thing constitutes one of the highest and most indefeasible titles toproperty property is also acquired by inheritance, by gift or by purchase.property is sometimes held in common, yet each man's right to his share in common land or stock is exclusively his own. One man may have theproperty of the soil, and another the right of use, by prescription or by purchase.5. Possession held on one's own right.6. The thing owned; that to which a person has the legal title, whether in his possession or not. It is one of the greatest blessings of civil society that theproperty of citizens is well secured.7. An estate, whether in lands, goods or money; as a man of large propertyor small property8. An estate; a farm; a plantation. In this sense, which is common in the United States and in the West Indies, the word has a plural.The still-houses on the sugar plantations, vary in size, according to the fancy of the proprietor or the magnitude of the propertyI shall confine myself to such properties as fall within the reach of daily observation.9. Nearness or right.Here I disclaim all my paternal care,Propinquity and property of blood.10. Something useful; an appendage; a theatrical term.I will draw a bill of properties.High pomp and state are useful properties.11. Propriety. [Not in use.]Literary property the exclusive right of printing, publishing and making profit by one's own writings. No right or title to a thing can be so perfect as that which is created by a man's own labor and invention. The exclusive right of a man to his literary productions, and to the use of them for his own profit, is entire and perfect, as the faculties employed and labor bestowed are entirely and perfectly his own. On what principle then can a legislature or a court determine that an author can enjoy only a temporary property in his own productions? If a man's right to his own productions in writing is as perfect as to the productions of his farm or his shop, how can the former by abridged or limited, while the latter is held without limitation? Why do the productions of manual labor rank higher in the scale of rights or propertythan the productions of the intellect?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Love Your Enemies

Matthew 5:44

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

1 Corinthians 13:7 - Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Premillennialsim: A Deeper Study

Those of you interested in the end times as it is presented in Scripture know that there are many views out there. Now I know quite a few Premillennialists, and believe that they are sincere and many are believers. However, I think they have a fundamental misunderstanding about what the Bible teaches when it comes to this subject of the End Times (eschatology). When one uses the basic rules of interpretation (hermeneutics), he or she will find that the Bible paints a different picture concerning the end of the world and the world to come as presented by most popular Bible teachers. Though I don't agree 100% with this group on every subject, I think the video below paints an accurate picture concerning the fallacies of Premillennialism and especially Dispensational Premillennialism, which is the most popular (and entertaining) view. I hope this is helpful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How Honest is Your Argument?

Proverbs 12:22 - Lying lips [are] abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly [are] his delight.

Proverbs 19:1 - Better [is] the poor that walketh in his integrity, than [he that is] perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

2 Corinthians 8:21 - Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Evidence is difficult to come by these days. I read so many articles and listen to so many people who argue "for" or "against" something based on the evidence. The funny thing is that most of the time, both sides have the same evidence if they are honest. However, there are more dishonest apologists these days who will try and pull a "used car salesman" trick. You know how it can be. Many times when you go to the used car lot, a salesman comes out who is friendly and affable. He tells you all of the good things about the car that you are looking at, but many times conceals the negative evidence. You see, this happens many times in debates and discussions I have seen between people of opposing views. whether the debate is political, religious, or just colloquial, there are just too many dishonest representatives. I have positions that I hold in politics and religion that have very strong evidence, but some not so strong. I hate to admit it but sometimes the evidence is scarce or just not there. I had a boss once that had a saying: "What are you willing to accept?" Now if you think about it, that is really what it comes down to. I think my positions are strong, but I also know the weaknesses of them. Most positions have strengths and weaknesses if one is truly honest. You see, a person can argue "for" or "against" anything. The question is: "Is the evidence convincing?" I like a person who is willing to admit the weaknesses of his or her position as well as the strengths. It shows character and integrity, which are rare these days. We just have too many "used car salesmen" running around trying to convince that their product is the best. I am ashamed of those who share my own convictions who do this. Anyway, be careful how you characterize something. Be sure to find as many original sources as you can, and if you can't find any, then you will have to lean on your view as opinion; and be sure to state it as such. Either way, it is important to be intellectually honest in all of your dealings.

Friday, April 17, 2015

I Think We Lost Something

Can anyone find an honest politician these days?  I submit that it is a difficult search. There was a time in my life when I believed the claims of politicians running for office, but my experience has shown me different. The truth of the matter is, people running for political office promise more than they deliver, and what they do deliver is usually not helpful. Proverbs 14:34 says:

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin [is] a reproach to any people.

Could it be that sin has enveloped our nation? Now I don't doubt that all men and women are sinners, but it doesn't seem that a great majority of people are concerned with righteousness. John Adams once wrote:

[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.

Our founders understood that a free and civil society must also be a society of self-government and virtue. Now what is virtue?

VIRTUEnoun vur'tu. [Latin virtus, from vireo, or its root. See Worth.] The radical sense is strength, from straining, stretching, extending. This is the primary sense of Latin vir, a man.]1. Strength; that substance or quality of physical bodies, by which they act and produce effects on other bodies. In this literal and proper sense, we speak of the virtue or virtues of plants in medicine, and the virtues of drugs. In decoctions, the virtues of plants are extracted. By long standing in the open air, the virtues are lost.2. Bravery valor. This was the predominant signification of virtus among the Romans.Trust to thy single virtue[This sense is nearly or quite obsolete.]3. Moral goodness; the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice, or a conformity of life and conversation to the moral law. In this sense, virtue may be, and in many instances must be, distinguished from religion. The practice of moral duties merely from motives of convenience, or from compulsion, or from regard to reputation, is virtue as distinct from religion. The practice of moral duties from sincere love to God and his laws, is virtue and religion. In this sense it is true,That virtue only makes our bliss below.VIRTUE is nothing but voluntary obedience to truth.4. A particular moral excellence; as the virtue of temperance, of chastity, of charity.Remember all his virtues.5. Acting power; something efficacious.Jesus, knowing that virtue had gone out of him, turned - Mark 3:1.6. Secret agency; efficacy without visible or material action.She moves the body which she doth possess,Yet no part toucheth, but by virtue's touch.7. Excellence; or that which constitutes value and merit.- Terence, who thought the sole grace and virtue of their fable, the sticking in of sentences.8. One of the orders of the celestial hierarchy.Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers.9. Efficacy; power.He used to travel through Greece by virtue of this fable, which procured him reception in all the towns.10. Legal efficacy or power; authority. A man administers the laws by virtueof a commission.In virtue in consequence; by the efficacy or authority.This they shall attain, partly in virtue of the promise of God, and partly in virtue of piety.
Moral Goodness. Well what is "moral" or "morality?"

 MOR'AL, adjective [Latin moralis, from mos, moris, manner.]1. Relating to the practice, manners or conduct of men as social beings in relation to each other, and with reference to right and wrong. The word moral is applicable to actions that are good or evil, virtuous or vicious, and has reference to the law of God as the standard by which their character is to be determined. The word however may be applied to actions which affect only, or primarily and principally, a person's own happiness.Keep at the least within the compass of moral actions, which have in them vice or virtue.Mankind is broken loose from moral bands.2. Subject to the moral law and capable of moral actions; bound to perform social duties; as a moral agent or being.3. Supported by the evidence of reason or probability; founded on experience of the ordinary course of things; as moral certainty, distinguished from physical or mathematical certainty or demonstration.Physical and mathematical certainty may be stiled infallible, and moral certainty may be properly stiled indubitable.Things of a moral nature may be proved by moral arguments.4. Conformed to rules of right, or to the divine law respecting social duties; virtuous; just; as when we say, a particular action is not moral5. Conformed to law and right in exterior deportment; as, he leads a good moral life.6. Reasoning or instructing with regard to vice and virtue.While thou, a moral fool, sitt'st still and cri'st.7. In general, moral denotes something which respects the conduct of men and their relations as social beings whose actions have a bearing on each others's rights and happiness, and are therefore right or wrong, virtuous or vicious; as moral character; moral views; moral knowledge; moral sentiments; moral maxims; moral approbation; moral doubts; moral justice;moral virtue; moral obligations, etc. Or moral denotes something which respects the intellectual powers of man, as distinct form his physical powers. Thus we speak of moral evidence, moral arguments, moral persuasion,moral certainty, moral force; which operate on the mind.Moral law, the law of God which prescribes the moral or social duties, and prohibits the transgression of them.Moral sense, an innate or natural sense of right and wrong; an instinctive perception of what is right or wrong in moral conduct, which approves some actions and disapproves others, independent of education or the knowledge of any positive rule or law. But the existence of any such moral sense is very much doubted.Moral philosophy, the science of manners and duty; the science which treats of the nature and condition of man as a social being, of the duties which result form his social relations, and the reasons on which they are founded.MOR'ALnoun Morality; the doctrine or practice of the duties of life. [Not much used.]1. The doctrine inculcated by a fiction; the accommodation of a fable to form the morals.
 So virtue and morality are truly loaded words. In the time of the founders, Protestant Christianity was the predominant religion and ethic of men and women in this country. Not just the politicians either. Everyone was influenced and driven by Biblical ethics and morality. They weren't perfect, but if they did sin, they usually confessed and repented. But not any more. People don't think of lying, cheating, or stealing to achieve their own ends. The pendulum has swung. Moral Relativism has bred a group of men and women who are like chameleons and snakes. They change their story, ethic, and personality to fit the situation (like a chameleon). And when they want something, they are cunning, crafty, and deadly (like a snake). I once had a boss who tried to get me to lie on a report we were going to give to the USDA. I refused his counsel. He got angry with me and said: "Phil, sometimes you have to bend the rules a little to achieve success." I said: "No you don't! And if that is how you measure success, then I don't want it!" Even the definition of success has changed. It is a kind of "win at all costs" mentality. Sort of a natural selection mentality. "Might makes right," some say. That is why so many are drawn to the offices of the government. They want the power to exact their own ends. But, the office of the Federal Government was never designed to have the power it has today. Ambitious men have twisted that design to fit a different ethic, a different virtue. Now it isn't all bad, but the way in which the arm of the government is being used isn't according to plan. You can read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers to see that. So what is the answer? Well, I think it begins at our own doorstep. Society at large has lost their way and their vision. I wouldn't place a whole lot of stock in the promises of a politician, even if you agree with him or her. Next time a politician promises you the world, beware. He or she isn't able to carry out most likely what they promise. The government was designed to protect life, liberty, and property. Anything promised beyond that, you shouldn't really want. But if we truly want peace, righteousness, virtue, and morality are essential to a free society.

Kind of a parable.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Self Defense? What Does The Bible Say?

It is a hard line to draw in the sand when it comes to deciding when to use force. I have some friends and acquaintances on one side who are pacifists, and then there are those on the other end of the spectrum who are just looking for a fight. However, as a Christian we must try and understand this thing as best as we can because we do live in a hostile world. Paul told the Romans:

"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." (12:18)

It seems like every night on TV, and everyday on talk radio, someone is discussing war. They debate about the merits of whether or not our country should fight in some battle, and due to the lack of integrity of many these days, it is difficult to know who we should believe. I am still a student for sure on this subject, but have gleaned a lot of wisdom from Scripture here. I have also learned from some solid and honest Bible teachers. I will share here two videos that I think will be helpful. The first one is done by Todd Friel. Although I am not in agreement with him on the subject of Textual Criticism, he is a godly man and a good Bible teacher. He has an entertaining personality as well! Kinda makes it fun when listening to him. In addition to him is a video done by the World Video Bible School. Now I have to admit that I don't know a whole lot about these guys. They seem pretty solid on a few things. I agree with their views concerning Premillennialism and here on Self-Defense. However, I disagree with them on their stance when it comes to Christian Freedom concerning food and drink. They seem to take a hard abstinence view on alcohol consumption, which I respect as long as one keeps it as a preference, but they seem to think it is the only way. He equates consumption of any amount as equal to drunkenness, which is a hard sell. Nevertheless, the video that I am going to share here is pretty solid for the most part. He does make a few assumptions that are hard to prove, but they are some thought provoking ideas nonetheless. I hope these will help.