The Apostle Paul’s Simple Response to Brannon Howse

There is a lot of fearmongering going on over at Brannon Howse’s “Worldview Weekend” ministry in recent times.

Mr. Howse has been consumed by an unchristian fear, including his guilty-by-association conspiracy mind-set. The Gospel has been neglected and tarnished by Howse’s misguided, personal attack against James White and Alpha & Omega ministries. His thin-skinned, protracted assaults are only hurting Howse and his ministry—and of course the Gospel. Sadly, he does not see this. It is unbecoming of a Christian ministry.

As Christians we should not be so consumed by the intentions of the unregenerate (e.g. “Does this Muslim really intend to hurt me?”). Instead, our duty is to faithfully proclaim the Gospel of Christ. We proclaim and pray that God’s glory will be revealed.

Fear will paralyze us, but faith will express the sorts of things that Paul did not fear:

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:35–39)

Christian, there is a day coming in this country when we will have no legal recourse.

As a Christian do you really want to go out of this world fearfully exclaiming, “My rights have been violated!”?

Or do you want to confidently in faith take that one, and last, opportunity to stand firm and give God glory in your persecution or even martyrdom?

“If anyone is meant for captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed by the sword, then by the sword he must be killed. This requires steadfast endurance and faith from the saints.” (Rev 13:10)


Cultures That Abandon God’s Light Lose that Light, Then Hebrews 1:3 Textual Critical Discussion

Mainly discussed the move toward embracing transgenderism as a proper Christian viewpoint by the Church of England in the first half hour, and then moved to a discussion of a textual variant in Hebrews 1:3 as an illustration of a number of things in the second half hour.  Both live from Evergreen, Colorado via Skype.  Hope it is helpful!

Here is the YouTube link:

Skype Dividing Line from Evergreen, Colorado

I guess the single theme of today’s Dividing Line was: let’s interact with the world with gentleness and reverence since, well…the Bible commands us to do so.  Thoughts on the development of the “fundamentalist mindset,” a little look at the attitude expressed by “Truth Defenders,” and more.  Enjoy!

Here is the YouTube link:

Is Justification Forensic?

Some opponents of reformation theology attempt to deny that the term justification can be used in the context of declaration of righteousness, as opposed to infusion of righteousness. For those folks, the passages that contrast justification with condemnation should help. Surely none of these people will think that condemnation is the infusion of unrighteousness. Rather, they will recognize that condemnation is a judicial declaration of unrighteousness. By contrast, therefore, it can be seen that justification is a declaration of righteousness. We see this several times in Scripture, both in the English of the KJV, as well as in the Clementine Latin Vulgate, so our Roman Catholic opponents have no room to complain:

1 Kings 8:32
(KJV) Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
(CLV) tu exaudies in cælo : et facies, et judicabis servos tuos, condemnans impium, et reddens viam suam super caput ejus, justificansque justum, et retribuens ei secundum justitiam suam.
(LXX) καὶ σὺ εἰσακούσει ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ποιήσεις καὶ κρινεῖς τὸν λαόν σου Ισραηλ ἀνομηθῆναι ἄνομον δοῦναι τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ εἰς κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ καὶ τοῦ δικαιῶσαι δίκαιον δοῦναι αὐτῷ κατὰ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ.

Job 9:20
(KJV) If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
(CLV) Si justificare me voluero, os meum condemnabit me ; si innocentem ostendero, pravum me comprobabit.
(LXX) ἐὰν γὰρ ὦ δίκαιος, τὸ στόμα μου ἀσεβήσει· ἐάν τε ὦ ἄμεμπτος, σκολιὸς ἀποβήσομαι.

Proverbs 17:15
(KJV) He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.
(CLV) Qui justificat impium, et qui condemnat justum, abominabilis est uterque apud Deum.
(LXX) ὃς δίκαιον κρίνει τὸν ἄδικον, ἄδικον δὲ τὸν δίκαιον, ἀκάθαρτος καὶ βδελυκτὸς παρὰ θεῷ.

Matthew 12:37
(KJV) For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
(CLV) Ex verbis enim tuis justificaberis et ex verbis tuis condemnaberis.
(NA28) ἐκ γὰρ τῶν λόγων σου δικαιωθήσῃ, καὶ ἐκ τῶν λόγων σου καταδικασθήσῃ.

Romans 5:16
(KJV) And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
(CLV) Et non sicut per unum peccatum, ita et donum. Nam judicium quidem ex uno in condemnationem : gratia autem ex multis delictis in justificationem.
(NA28) καὶ οὐχ ὡς δι’ ἑνὸς ἁμαρτήσαντος τὸ δώρημα· τὸ μὲν γὰρ κρίμα ἐξ ἑνὸς εἰς κατάκριμα, τὸ δὲ χάρισμα ἐκ πολλῶν παραπτωμάτων εἰς δικαίωμα.

Romans 5:18
(KJV) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
(CLV) Igitur sicut per unius delictum in omnes homines in condemnationem : sic et per unius justitiam in omnes homines in justificationem vitæ.
(NA28) Ἄρα οὖν ὡς δι’ ἑνὸς παραπτώματος εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἰς κατάκριμα, οὕτως καὶ δι’ ἑνὸς δικαιώματος εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἰς δικαίωσιν ζωῆς·

2 John 9-11 Examined

Let’s talk a bit about 2 John 9, as it has been thrown about a lot lately.

First, you always look at a text in its context, and in this case, that is determinative. Look at what John is talking about (translations mine):

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, the ones not confessing Jesus Christ having come in the flesh. This one is the deceiver and the anti-Christ. Watch yourselves, so that you do not lose what we have accomplished but instead receive a full reward.”

Clearly John is continuing the theme that appears throughout his first epistle with reference to the “deceivers” (πλάνοι) who have gone out into the world (compare 1 John 2:23, 4:2-3, 15). They are described as those “not confessing Jesus Christ having come in the flesh,” that is, there seems to have been some form of what we might call proto-gnosticism in the church in John’s day, a form of docetism that denied the reality of Jesus’ physical body. It is important to note the phrase ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸν κόσμον, “went out into the world.” They went out of the church, specifically (compare 1 John 2:19 for “went out”). These are the deceivers, the anti-Christs, the false teachers. They have left the church for the world. John warns believers to “look to themselves,” be watchful, for apostates can be some of the most beguiling of false teachers. They know our language, our modes of speech, and hence can disarm us and sneak up on us. We are to be watchful.

Importantly, this is the context that immediately precedes our text, that of apostates who were once a part of the church but do not teach that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, i.e., the early docetics. So now to the main passage:

Every one going too far and not abiding in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. The one abiding in the doctrine, this one has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bear this doctrine, do not receive him into your home and do not pronounce greetings, for the one pronouncing a greeting participates in his evil works.

The first substantive participle, “the one going too far,” seems to indicate the idea of going outside the bounds, in this case, outside the teaching, the truth that has been given to the church concerning Jesus and His incarnation. He does not abide, remain in, the teaching, the doctrine. Given that this is a definitional doctrine, de fide one might say, the one who violates this truth has neither the Father nor the Son. These are strong words which, we must confess, few today ponder deeply.

The first “you” in verse 10 is plural, comes to anyone in the church. Now let’s remember, there were no church buildings at this point in church history. The church met in homes or, I suppose in rural settings (as noted by history), out in the countryside. But in these days showing hospitality was vital. You took people into your homes, provided food for them and shelter. There wasn’t a Motel6 on every corner. Especially in the Christian context, traveling preachers and teachers would come into an area and seek a place from which to do their teaching in someone’s home. So here we have a test provided by the Apostle: if someone comes and does not “bear” or carry with them this doctrine, that is, the doctrine that Jesus has come in the flesh, then they are not to be received “into your home.” Clearly, the Apostle is addressing people who claim to be Christians here, as the context of verse 7 shows. One would not expect a pagan to come “bearing” the proper doctrine of Christ’s incarnation. This is specifically about false teachers in the church (compare Gal. 2:4-5). This is further indicated by the giving of the greeting. In our culture saying “hi” means very little, but in the ancient culture, and amongst Christians, greetings were far more important. The “holy kiss” and the “maranatha” were part of the greeting and parting. To give the intimate sign of Christian fellowship to such a person would signal your acceptance of their teaching, and hence would signal to others the orthodoxy of the person to whom you are giving the greeting, making you complicit in their activities.

So with these things in mind we see that this passage teaches us to examine the doctrine of Christian teachers and to not give a basis for operation in our communities for those who are not orthodox in their teaching. Likewise, we can see the text has nothing at all to do with doing debates, outreaches, or even dialogues with those of other religious faiths. Even if we greet them, we are not doing so in the context of 2 John, for the greeting there had a particular content and meaning generally absent from our greetings today (surely I do my best to avoid a holy kiss, or in my case, even the holy side hug!). Surely we are not taking them into our homes in the sense of giving them a platform from which they can teach Christian heresies, or anything of the like. Attempting to apply this text to non-compromising outreaches, interactions, debates, etc., is clearly a misuse of the passage in its original context.