An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand
Last time, we examined Biblical Worship. I fear that Biblically, what is called "worship" today is no more than entertainment designed to appeal to lower nature, in order to attract a crowd. This purpose is obvious as churches design two services, one "contemporary" to attract one class of people (unsaved?), and the "traditional" to keep the older people, who pay the bills, coming.
Attending some "Worship Services", one gets a strong impression that may times one of the reasons for a "Worship Team" is so a woman can be in front of the congregation, and maybe do a little preaching-teaching. We were in one such service where the "worship team" was led by a woman. The "team" would lead in a song, and then she would pray a long and loud prayer after each songsaying how much they were worshiping the Lord. Well, worshiping the Lord includes obedience to His word, including 1 Corinthians 14:34, "Let your women keep silence in the churches". Of course, the church's Christian school came along after Paul, and he knew nothing about that, so that part of the church is not includedthere the woman can teach and exercise unbiblical authority!
This time, let us examine Biblical (gospel) music as used in the "worship service", and we make a distinction between gospel music used in the "worship service", and gospel music used in the entertainment industry. I must admit, I do not have a musical bone in my body; the only thing I can play is the radio, especially when I am driving. However, I can reasonably understand what the Bible says about music. Must one be a musician to understand Scripture?
I enjoy gospel music, particularly Charles Stanley, Bill Monroe and Flat & Scruggs type of Bluegrass gospel with a lot of strings and no drums, yet 1 Chronicles 25:1 requires a closer look at gospel music as we know it today.
I normally like to answer the questions I raise, but the following raises more questions than answers. As in every instance, all we can do is look at Scripture, and offer only what is clearly given. I also realize that dealing with many of these things, such as worship and music, most who read it may agree with what is said from God's word, but they are not about to change anything. To change would risk losing people and money, for the crowd and money to pay the bills were drawn with the entertainment. Many today say with those of Isaiah's day, "Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:" And the preachers, pastors, or elders, have learned to give the people what they want and what issues to avoid in order to keep the pews full (Jer. 5:31).
Regardless, the following deals with music as it was used in the Old Testament temple worship services. Because it is the Old Testament, many will dismiss the ideas and their implications established there, and use the new freedom under Christ to develop and use things designed to appeal to the carnal, fallen nature of their congregations. I was "raised" with the idea that the end justifies the meansthat is, use whatever is necessary to get people in to hear the "gospel", so they can chose Christ over the enemy. We did an Examiner article on this point many years ago, "Free Beer and Pizza".
Matthew Poole introduces 1 Chronicles 25:
The number and offices of the singers out of the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, #1Ch 25:1-7. Their division by lot into twenty-four orders, #1Ch 25:8-31
Ver. 1. The captains of the host; both of the civil and sacred host, to wit, all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites, whom David gathered together, #1Ch 23:2, for this very end, that in their presence, and with their approbation and consent, all these things might be established; who are here fitly called the captains of the host; for the princes were, under David, the chief captains or commanders of the militia or trained bands of the kingdom: and as the Levites are called a host, and the Lord's host, Nu 4:3, and elsewhere, because of their number and order in holy ministrations; so these priests and Levites were the captains and governors of the rest. Separated, i.e. distributed them into their several ranks and orders; which, though chiefly done by David as a prophet, and by Divine direction, as hath been oft observed, yet is here imputed in part to the captains of the host, because it was done with their concurrence and approbation. To the service of the sons of Asaph, &c, i.e. to the service of God under the conduct and command of these persons. Who should prophesy, i.e. praise God by singing the Psalms of David, (of which See Poole 1Ch 16:7,) and other sacred songs made by themselves, who were prophets in some sort, or by other prophets or holy men of God. Or this action of theirs is called prophesying, because it had been formerly performed by the prophets; and the sons of the prophets; of which see 1Sa 10:5 19:20 2Ki 3:15 1Ch 15:19. The number of the workmen; of the persons employed in this sacred work. (Poole, Online Bible [OLB].)
V. 1, prophesy and workmen are identified together. Though the commentators say prophesy simply means praising God, the OLB Hebrew Lexicon says it is to speak under the influence of supernatural spirits, divine or otherwise, e.g., Deuteronomy 13, 1 Kings 22.
nabiy', from naaba' "to bubble forth as a fountain," as <194501> Psalm 45:1, "my heart is bubbling up a good matter," namely, inspired by the Holy Spirit; (Fausset's Bible Dictionary, AGES. See Spurgeon on Psalms 45, OLB)
The Kethibh hnby'ym is an orthographical error for hanib|'iym <heb> (Keri), partic. Niph., corresponding to the singular hanibaa' <heb>, vv. 2 and 3. nibaa' <heb>, prophetare, is here used in its wider signification of the singing and playing to the praise of God performed in the power of the Divine Spirit. (Keil-Delitzsch [KD], AGES)
Who should prophesy.] Sing holy songs with a holy zeal, fervour, and motions of the body, like to those of the prophets. (John Trapp, 1865-1866, OLB.)
Thought: The ones who were to prophesy were not self-appointed. Divine Providence had to place them in the right family, and then Providence had to allow the lot to fall on them. Prophesy here means singing and playing to the praise of God; the music was "to bubble forth as a fountain". Thus, the "spirit" was not something worked up, as is so common today, but rather it was something given by God, so the men could fulfill their calling in the temple service.
V. 1, prophesy is called a service, and those involved in this service are called workmen. Stirring up our fallen, corrupt nature to honestly praise God requires bringing our hearts under control, which will not be done without labour and struggle.
We must take pains with our hearts to bring them, and keep them, to this work, and to engage all that is within us. (Matthew Henry [MH])
Joseph Parker gives an excellent understanding of the musical prophets of v. 1, also called workmen:
"Moreover David and the captains of the host [rather, "the princes" the same persons who are mentioned in xxxiii. 2, and xxiv. 6] separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy [rather, "divided for the service the sons of Asaph, etc., who prophesied." By prophesying is probably meant public recitation of the sacred services (see v. 3)] with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals" (xxv. 1).
Let us analyse these indications. We want warriors ; there is not one in this list : we need builders; there is not a man in the catalogue that ever built anything that could be seen or valued arithmetically : we want legislators, men who can make duty mysterious, and dissolve responsibility in polysyllables; there is no such erratic genius in this guild. Whom have we ? Prophets; for the word is "prophesy," and to prophesy means in this connection to teach, to reveal doctrines, to indicate duty, to exhort to service, to reveal the will and purpose of heaven. With what apparatus are these men furnished ? Harps, psalteries, cymbals. They were known amongst their fellows as a guild of sacred minstrels. When a man prophesies he utters under a spiritual influence. (Emp. added. Joseph Parker, The People's Bible, pp. 132, 133. Reprint, Baker Book House, 1960.)
The music, therefore, that praised God as required in His service in His house, and which was produced by the workmen taught sound doctrine and duty to God and man. It exhorted the hearer to Godly service, and it revealed the will and purpose of heaven. Here in the Old Testament order of things, women had no part in this worship service. The purpose of the temple music, prophesy, was to give thanks and to praise the Lord, v. 3. (How much "worship music" of our day ignores sound doctrine in order to make the words fit the music or rhyme?)
Through His prophet, Amos, God condemns those who invent music for their own benefitthat is, worship or gospel music designed to please their own ears and the ears of their hearers. Thus, music designed to appeal and draw people to the "worship" service, and goes under the name of "gospel" is not Godly music, no matter how much the performers profess their love for God, and profess a desire to sing "praises" to Him:
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21. See also, John 14:15, 15:10. Note that the commandments are God's commandments as given by God to Moses, 1 John 5:2. Those who find God's commandments grievous have not the love of God, 1 John 5:3, 2 John 1:6.)
The Lord, through Amos, pronounces Woe to them that are at ease in Zion... (Amos 6:1.) He then defines their evil ways, and in v. 7, tells them that He will deliver them to their enemies. One of their evils bringing judgment upon themselves was their use of music:
Amos 6:5 That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;
3. They indulged themselves in all manner of sensual pleasures and delights, #Am 6:4-6. These Israelites were perfect epicures and slaves to their appetites. Their dignities (in consideration of which they ought to have been examples of self-denial and mortification), they thought, would justify them in their sensuality; the gains of their oppression and violence, they thought, would bear the charge of it; and they put the evil day at a distance, that they might give them no disturbance in it. That which they are here charged with is not in itself sinful (these things might be soberly and moderately used), but they placed their happiness in the gratification of their carnal appetites; and though they were men in office, that had business to mind, they gave themselves up to their pleasures, spent their time in them, and threw away their thoughts, and cares, and estates upon them. They were in these enjoyments as in their element. Their hearts were upon them; they exceeded all bounds in them, and this at a time when God in his providence was calling them to weeping and mourning, #Isa 22:12-13. When they were under guilt and wrath, and the judgments of God were ready to break in upon them, they called for wine and strong drink, presuming that to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant (#Isa 56:12), thus walking contrary to God and setting his justice at defiance. (MH)
The evils they are charged with here were not sins in themselves it is not a sin to eat, rest, nor to be interested in music. The problem was that they were slaves to their appetites; their god was their belly. (1 Cor 6:13, Phil. 3:19). They were not grieved about their own sins and the sins around them, v. 6. When they should have been weeping and mourning (Isa. 22:12-13) over sin, they were finding happiness in gratifying their carnal appetites through these things listed by Amos. Instead of meditating on the glory and holiness of God and on their sins that were bringing judgment upon themselves, they were escaping reality by pursuing the pleasures of the flesh through things such as music. Rather than self-denial and mortification because of the quickly approaching judgment of God, they presumed that tomorrow would be as today, only much more abundant (Isa. 56:12). (See MH)
Today we may hear, "We may not be here tomorrow, so there is little or no reason to prepare nor be concerned", or "Time is short, so we must do whatever we must in order to attract people to the gospel', so they can make a decision for Christ". As D.L. Moody said: "We must make the gospel appealing (to the natural man, we must add)."
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2.)
Those who make the "gospel appealing" are not presenting the Biblical gospel, for it does not appeal to the natural man. However, we must remember that we cannot place God in our box, for He even uses wicked men and their evil ways to please Him. (Ps. 76:10.)
Like David, the men Amos spoke about developed songs and instruments of music, but unlike David, who developed those things to glorify God, the men Amos spoke about developed them to glorify man themselves and others (See Rom. 1:21.)
V. 5. As David invented stringed instruments in honour of his God in heaven, so do these princes invent playing and singing for their god, the belly. (KD)
V. 7, Because these revellers do not trouble themselves about the ruin of Israel, they will now be obliged to wander into captivity at the head of the people (cf. 1 Kings 21:9), when the approaching shebher occurs. (KD)
Though I love "Bluegrass" and "Southern Gospel", I believe Scripture does not generally support those kinds of concerts under the name of praising God. (Promoting concerts simply as entertainment is a horse of a different color.) Music that praises God must fit into Parker's description:
Prophets; for the word is "prophesy," and to prophesy means in this connection to teach, to reveal doctrines, to indicate duty, to exhort to service, to reveal the will and purpose of heaven.
Music that appeals to the baser nature of man must not be passed off as "Gospel music" that praises God.
Did the workmen in 1 Chronicles 25:1, rent a meeting hall, and then use their God-given abilities for His praise to entertain all who would come hear them work? The work of praise was for God's benefit, not man's. V. 1, reads as though the music workmen worked without an audience, in the presence of the Lord only. How many "Worship Teams" do we know who gather, with no audience, just sing their best for the Lord's hearing only? Yes, they gather for practice, but is the practice to please their human audience, or to please their unseen divine audience.
However, Scripture implies that there can be godly entertainment, but that entertainment's place is not in the "Worship Service".
Where does this prophesy or workmen fit into the Gospel Church age? There are two schools of thought concerning the prophet of Romans 12:6 (Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; See also, 1 Cor. 12:10, Eph. 4:11):
(6.) The office or the endowment was temporary, designed for the settlement and establishment of the church; and then, like the apostolic office, having accomplished its purpose, to be disused, and to cease, from these remarks, also, will be seen the propriety of regulating this office by apostolic authority; or stating, as the apostle does here, the manner or rule by which this gift was to be exercised. (Barnes' Notes, OLB.)
(1.) Prophecy. Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith. It is not meant of the extraordinary gifts of foretelling things to come, but the ordinary office of preaching the word: so prophesying is taken, #1Co 14:1-3, &c.; #1Co 11:4; #1Th 5:20. The work of the Old Testament prophets was not only to foretell future things, but to warn the people concerning sin and duty, and to be their remembrancers concerning that which they knew before. And thus gospel preachers are prophets, and do indeed, as far as the revelation of the word goes, foretell things to come. Preaching refers to the eternal condition of the children of men, points directly at a future state. Now those that preach the word must do it according to the proportion of faithkata thn analogian thv pistewv, ... (MH. See also John Gill.)
The two schools are: (1) the office was temporary for the purpose of establishing and settling the new church, and the office passed away, as did the office of the apostle. (2) the office continues, consisting of preaching the entire word of God, which is called the more sure word of prophecy, 2 Peter 1:19. (See also Rev. 19:10.)
Using Joseph Parker's definition of prophets in 1 Chronicles 25:1, and Matthew Henry's definition of prophet in Romans 12:6, the Biblical praise music makers, workmen, of our day seems to fit best under the Romans 12:6 definition of prophet, for that music must:
1) exalt our God's holiness, majesty, might and providence (and more characteristics than we can mention);
2) teach sound doctrine and duty to God and man;
3) warn concerning sin and duty;
4) exhort the hearer to Godly service;
5) and it must reveal the will and purpose of heaven.
These things listed above make up the music that praises God. Godly Gospel Praise Music will follow the pattern of what is found in the Psalms; there are far more themes presented there than just the characteristics of God. Psalms 51 is addressed "to the chief Musician", as is Psalms 52 & 53. (From the songs I have heard, my opinion is that Michael Card offers Godly Gospel music, as he sings about sin, repentance, justice, judgment, godliness, the glories of God, &c.)
Let us ask, Where does the worship music of our day fit? People gladly pay to hear music (and I use music very loosely) that promises escape and glorifies man. Can that be music that glorifies God? How many will pay to hear music workmen sing about the sins of society, the sins of their their hearers and sing of their duties to repent of their sins of adultery, fornication, &c., as well as their duty to subdue all things for the glory of God (songs patterned along the line of Psalms 51-53) in other words, a good "hell-fire" message set to godly music? Few people will tolerate such messages from the pulpit of sound, Bible believing churches, let alone pay $5-$25 a pop to have the same message sung to them.
And invent to themselves instruments of music. Using the same "pains" as did David in developing instruments and music that honoured God, the people of Amos' day, while claiming to be God's people, developed meaningless instruments and music that appealed to the baser nature of the listeners. They suited instruments and music that were meant to glorify God for the service of luxury (make money) and sensuality, and used David to justify their actions: "Much as people have justified our degraded, sensualizing, immodest dancing, by the religious dancing of Holy Scripture!" Their instruments and songs were not for the purpose of glorifying God, but were meant to appeal to the fallen nature in both the saved and unsaved, attract a crowd, and to gain "wealth". (Pusey)
David developed his musical skill for the praise of God. These whom Amos rebuked develop musical skill for their own self-gratification or for the gratification of others. (JFB) Rather than glorifying God, music was used to escape the reality of what was taking place around them. Today we have music about a "rapture", and thus an escape from the reality of what is taking place around us. (Pusey)
E. B. Pusey (1800-1882), as found in Barnes' Notes:
Amos 6:5. That chant to the voice of the lyre Accompanying "the voice of the lyre" with the human voice; giving vocal expression and utterance to what the instrumental music spoke without words. The word, which Amos alone uses in this one place, describes probably a hurried flow of unmeaning, unconsidered words, in which the rhythm of words and music was everything, the sense, nothing; much like most glees. The English margin "quaver" has also some foundation in the root, but does not suit the idiom so well, which expresses that the act was something done "to the voice of the lyre," accompanying the music, not altering the music itself. In fact, they would go together. An artificial, effeminate music which should relax the soul, frittering the melody, and displacing the power and majesty of divine harmony by tricks of art, and giddy, thoughtless, heartless, soulless versifying would be meet company. Debased music is a mark of a nation's decay, and promotes it. The Hebrew music seems to have been very simple; and singing appears to have been reserved almost exclusively for solemn occasions, the temple-service, or the greeting of victory (1 Samuel 18:7). "Singing men and singing women" were part of the state of David and Solomon (2 Samuel 19:35; Ecclesiastes 2:8). Else the music at the feasts of the rich appears rather to be mentioned with blame (Isaiah 5:12; 24:9). Songs they had (Proverbs 25:20); but the songs, for which the Hebrew exiles were celebrated, and which their Babylonian masters required them to sing, "the songs of Zion" (Psalm 137:3,4), were the hymns of the temple, "the Lord's song." (Emp. added. Pusey, Barnes' Notes.)
It sounds like Pusey is describing modern "Gospel Musing" in which the rhythm is everything, and the sensedoctrinenothing. It is debased music, and is a mark of not only the nation's decay, but it marks the church's decay, and promotes the decay of both.
[Amos 6] Vv. 8-11, In order to show the secure debauchees the terrible severity of the judgments of God, the Lord announces to His people with a solemn oath the rejection of the nation which is so confident in its own power (cf. v. 13). (KD)
What is, generally speaking, the purpose of "Gospel music" concerts? More often than not, the purpose of those concerts, though the performers proclaim they are there to "glorify God", is to entertain people, and make money. Look at the charge to get into most of them. Do the workmen gather to just sing praises to God when there is no audience? What kind of personal lives do the workmen live? (Adultery seems to be all too common among "Gospel music" singers also.) What motivates writing Gospel musicthe appeal to the people or love for Biblical, sound doctrine and many times harsh truth?
The temple workmen were supported by the giving of God's people as required by God. I believe we are dealing with two different issues here: 1) music as entertainment, to attract people, and thus a charge, and 2) music in the "Worship Service", for which the workmen volunteer their services. At times, no doubt, these workmen are paid by the church. Our point here is the motive is it for God's glory or to draw a crowd?
In days past, many times it was the church supported workmen who turned out some of the best music in history that glorified God. They worked for the glory of God.
The godly purpose of music is to glorify God. When it is used in the "Worship Service" to attract a crowd, its purpose is corrupted, and has God's hand against it.
[and] invent to themselves instruments of music, like David: not content with old ones, such as were used in former times, they invented new instruments and new tunes, and new songs to sing to them; as David made songs and invented several instruments of music to sing them upon and to, in religious worship, and for the praise and glory of God; so these men invented new ones to indulge their carnal mirth and jollity, in which they thought themselves to be justified by the example of David. (Gill)
invent...instruments...like DavidThey fancy they equal David in musical skill (#1Ch 23:5 Ne 12:36). They defend their luxurious passion for music by his example: forgetting that he pursued this study when at peace and free from danger, and that for the praise of God; but they pursue for their own self-gratification, and that when God is angry and ruin is imminent. (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown [JFB]).
Ver. 5. Woe to them that, in a time of deepest morning, do entertain themselves with songs, and with greatest skill sing to their musical instruments, as if they had no greater thing to mind! ...
Invent to themselves instruments of music; not content with known, old-fashioned music, they find out new instruments, new songs and tunes.
Like David; in imitation of David, as they profanely pretend, or else emulating his skill, and preferring their own feast songs and music before his temple music and songs. We may imagine what songs such ungodly, cruel, voluptuous men would sing, and what tunes they would set too, on such occasions, viz. loose, profane, and impure enough. (Matthew Pool)
(e) As he caused different types of instruments to be made to serve God's glory, so these did strive to invent as many to serve their unrestrained affections and lusts. (Geneva)
That drink wine in bowls (Literally, as the English margin, "drink in bowls," literally, "sprinkling vessels, of wine"). ... 152). They had shown zeal for God in offering the massive bowls for the service of the tabernacle: the like zeal had these princes for the service of their own "god (Philippians 3:19), their belly." (Pusey)
But (And) they are not grieved (Literally, "grieve not themselves,") admit no grief, shut out all grief, "for the affliction" (literally, "breach") of "Joseph." ... "Cast off thought," "cast off care," is the motto of sensualists and of the worldly; "seize joyous the present hour, and leave the future," said the pagan (Hor.). This was the effect of their luxury and life of sense. The prophet recounts, they stretched themselves listlessly, ate choice food, sang glees, drank deep, anointed themselves with the very best ointment, "and grieved" not themselves for any sufferings of their own flesh and blood. It followed, of necessity, from the rest. Luxury shuts out suffering, because any vivid knowledge of or dwelling upon sufferings must needs disturb its ease. Selfish wealth persuades itself that there is no suffering, lest it should be forced to think of it; it "will" think distress either too little, so that it can relieve itself, or so great that it cannot be relieved; or it will philosophise upon distress and misery, as though it were best relieved by its own luxuries. Any how it will not know or hear of its details, it will not admit grief. ... (Pusey, Barnes' Notes.)
(I will mention that Adam Clarke says of v. 5 that God is rebuking any use of musical instruments in worship of God.)
By Thomas Williamson
Over the years, I have seen the use of contemporary forms of music in Christian worship (including rock music) defended on the basis that "music is neutral," and that any style of music is amoral and can be used for good as well as for evil.
Recently, I read an article in which the writer stated his belief that, as far as Christian music is concerned, "lyrical content is what is important in a song. not style."
Being the thoroughly modern, open-minded fellow that I am, I have been giving this concept some serious thought and reflection.
First of all, it seems to me that if the important message that is communicated in any musical composition is in the lyrics (words), not in the musical notes and styles, then we should eliminate all instrumental music in our worship.
If the music itself is neutral and amoral, and the only worthwhile message is that which conveyed by the lyrics, then it is a waste of everyone's time to present mere instrumental music that conveys little or no message.
If it is really true that it is the lyrical content that is important, not the musical style, then how do we explain all the popular musical hits over the years that contain no words?
From 1960's hits such as "Wipeout," and "Telstar" by the Tornadoes, to Mason Williams' "Classical Gas," "Fire on High" by ELO. and "Rock and Roll Part Two" by Gary Glitter, there have dozens of instrumental songs that have hit the Top 40. Why do people purchase such recordings that are neutral and convey no particular message. since they contain no lyrics?
How do we explain the popularity of classical music, most of which has no lyrics? Why have concert-goers over the centuries flocked to hear neutral, amoral music that has no lyrical content and therefore no importance?
In reality, classical music, even without lyrics, does convey an important and powerful message. Take, for instance, 2 compositions about life in France.
The "Idylle" from the "Suite Pastorale" by Emmanuel Chabrier portrays in a vivid, peaceful, graphic manner the life of rural France. Meanwhile, "An American in Paris" by George Gershwin depicts in an equally vivid and unmistakable manner, the hustle and bustle of life in the big city, complete with the blaring of car horns.
If I made a travelogue movie about France, and switched these pieces, using the "Idylle" to depict life in Paris and "An American in Paris" to portray rural life, would this work? Or would it cause confusion in the mind of the listener?
Can all classical music be adapted to purposes of religious worship? Many non-religious classical compositions have been successfully adapted for church use the "Finlandia" of Sibelius, and the "Largo" from Dvorak's "New World Symphony," for instance.
But any classical music lover can probably think of many works that might not be suitable in the church sanctuary. How about Ravel's "Bolero." Saint-Saens' "Bacchanale" from "Samson and Delilah," or Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana," especially the drinking song and the songs celebrating the joys of free love?
Let us return to a consideration of modern popular music can all of it, being neutral and amoral, be adapted for use in Christian worship?
How about the instrumental piece known as "The Stripper?" Since it is the lyrics that are important, not the musical style, we should be able to attach some Christian lyrics to it and play it in church. Right?
How about "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" - you know, the one where Bob Dylan guffaws his way through the song, with the refrain "Everybody Must Get Stoned!" We can change the words to "Everybody Must Get Saved" and that should work just fine in the Sunday morning church service, since music is amoral and neutral, and it is the lyrics that matter, not the style.
How about "I Want Your Sex" by George Michael. I am afraid we will have to do a complete rewrite of the lyrics, but the soundtrack should be okay, since music is neutral and amoral, right?
Meanwhile, I recall hearing a Christian rock musician describe how he dealt with a ruckus or disturbance in the audience at one of his concerts. He said he attempted to placate the unruly fans by performing his "rockiest" selections, but the commotion only got worse.
If the real message is in the Christian lyrics, and not in the worldly musical styles, should not the savage beasts have been soothed by hearing those good Christian lyrics?
I have to admit that, as a result of these reflections, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps music is not totally neutral and amoral, and that the style of the music is important, maybe even as important as the lyrical content.
It is not necessary to agree that any musical styles are inherently "evil" or "demonic," to recognize that some styles are not appropriate in certain situations. We would not play circus music at a funeral, nor a porno movie soundtrack at the birthday party of a 10-year-old girl.
Nor would we set tender love lyrics to the beat of military band music, or use the theme from the "Rocky" boxing movies as a wedding processional.
Would it perhaps be inappropriate to play certain worldly musical styles, that celebrate sex, drugs and rebellion, in a Christian church service, thus creating confusion in the minds of the hearers as to just what we are trying to convert them to?
In Ephesians 5:19, the Apostle Paul recommended to Christian believers that they use psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. One wonders why Paul left out Roman gladiator marches, military campfire drinking songs, and raucous choruses to the Greek god of wine. Why should the Devil get all the good music, right?
Nothing in this article is intended to find fault with anyone who exercises his liberty to perform, or listen to, the musical styles of his or her choice. Nor is there any intent here to forbid voting people from listening to whatever music they like.
The purpose of this article is not to get us to judge each other, but rather to get us to examine the music we use for worship and evangelistic purposes, and to recognize that all music should be evaluated on the basis of both lyrics and musical style.
We need to exercise discernment in our selection of music for the Lord's work, which is the most important work we can do.
Thomas Williamson, 3131 S. Archer Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60608
Marketing the Church
God on the Big Screen
More Churches Are Calling Cinema Home
The marquee outside the Regal Countryside Cinemas in Sterling reads "X2: X-Men United." But inside, rock music blares and the big screen in Theater 14 is displaying not action-figure heroes but lyrics about Jesus. For an hour or so each Sunday morning, the sound of worship displaces the soundtracks of Hollywood in this unlikely setting. ...
Many theater churches have been successful in drawing young adults by emphasizing a spiritual experience over religious rituals. To that end, traditional hymns have been replaced by Christian rock, and sermons also dip into pop culture, for example by exploring biblical themes in hit movies or television shows.
"We try to bridge a cultural gap that a lot of people have with the church today," said David Drake, an associate pastor of New Life, a nondenominational church. Holding services in a traditional church setting "doesn't fit a casual-dress, rock-and-roll church," he said. "We don't want people to have preconceived notions . . . that church is stuffy." ...
The Rev. Mark Batterson, who leads the 600-member National Community Church at the theaters in Union Station and is about to launch a second cinema church in the Georgetown or Ballston area, says the multiplex is the right place to be. The theater is a popular gathering spot for young people, and many of the films they see there shape how they think, he said.
Churches, too, "want to be in that marketplace of ideas," he said. "A generation ago, it was a given that churches would rent facilities until they could buy or build a permanent building. The reverse is happening in our generation. Churches are moving back into the marketplace." (David Cho, Washington Post Staff Writer, Sunday, May 25, 2003; Page C01)
Pastor H. Rondel Rumburg
What do many modern churches compare in appearance? Sadly, it is not an entrance before the awesome God in three persons, but the comparison would be more like entering a theatre, a cafeteria, or a Wal-mart, where people can be entertained, feel good about themselves, make their own choices and do their own thing without anyone reminding them of their responsibilities to a holy demanding God before whom they must give an account.
Postmodernism is the vogue. Perhaps the most common caricature of postmodernism is that it is a complete denial of truth, thus making everything relative. There are said to be five key features to the era of postmodernism:  a breakdown of the distinctions between culture and society;  an emphasis on style at the expense of substance and content (here is the niche of the modern church growth movement);  no distinction between high culture and art;  confusion over time and space-i.e. The internet and TV; and  a decline of meta-narratives. What are meta-narrative? "Meta" means alongside in Greek, thus in this context it means an overarching purpose that gives meaning to everything in the universe. Postmodernists deny that there can be a meta-narrative, but believes each person constructs his own reality or narrative. Therefore in postmodernism all boundaries and distinctions rapidly fall.
Are the modern avant-garde churches pleasing God or are they apostate? What happens when "the day of Christ is at hand" (2 Thess. 2:2)? There is a danger. "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (v. 3). False doctrine, if not corrected, will lead to deception as Jesus had predicted would happen, and as Paul had reemphasized when he said, "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth" (2 Thess. 2:11,12). Why? "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.... Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (vv. 7, 10). A lack of "the love of the truth" is the cause of the Lord sending strong delusion. Truth is what is being jettisoned in the church growth movement.
This "me generation" is crazy with lust, greed, pride, and bitterness. Television, which glorifies everything that Christ repudiated, depicts as entertainment the very things that led to the destruction of ancient civilizations. The media has for all practical purposes taken over the minds of the depraved civilization.
Madison Avenue is now at the wheel driving the "so-called modern churches." Now we have what has been called the science of marketing. Advertising to foster coveting is the heartbeat of the modern man. This is where man goes to find out what to eat and drink, how to dress and what to drive, and then it asks him what he wants to eat and drink, how he wants to dress, and what he wants to drive. One has said, "It fills his plate with the delicacies of the devil and then asks him what he would like for dessert." Now it suggests to him what kind of church he needs to satisfy his fleshly religious desires.
Instead of the earthly church being the salt to preserve it has appealed to the spoiled world. The head of these churches is not Christ Jesus but the CEO's of the world of marketing. They now call the shots and church leaders hang on their every word! Here is where they go for their expertise. A few years ago the evangelical world produced its own George Gallup of Gallup Poll fame; the name of the new guru is George Barna. He has convinced churches that if they are to survive the onslaught of modernity they must market themselves just as television markets products. He has written many books, among which are Marketing the Church, and Guide to Church Marketing.
Mr. Barna identifies marketing as all the activities that lead up to an exchange of equally valued goods between consenting parties. In other words, activities such as: advertising, public relations, strategic planning, audience research, product distribution, fund-raising and product pricing, and then the developing of a vision statement and customer service. Now there is the specter of confusion. Example: George Barna found that 62 % of all Americans believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings, but 70% believe that there are no absolutes! This dismal lack of foundation among Americans is reflected in the fact that Barna's 1993 book of statistics was entitled Absolute Confusion: How our moral and Spiritual Foundations are eroding in this age of Change. A new worldview has appeared-Postmodernism, which calls into question the traditional notions of truth, structure, and reality.
Local churches and denominations have become aficionados of demographic studies. Now these groups are concerned with their image and strategic planning and spend vast amounts of time developing mission and vision statements rather than searching the Word of God for their answers.
Perhaps many have forgotten or do not care that the Holy Spirit was not poured out on the day of Pentecost on a committee gathered to discuss how to market the gospel of the recently resurrected Lord Christ. Jesus had told them to "wait for the promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4), and then in the Lord's time they would "be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (v. 5). "When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.... And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (2:1). The power came after the Holy Spirit came, without Him nothing can be done of eternal value.
After the Lord Christ returned to heaven what did they do? Did they address the problem of how they were going to organize seeker-sensitive services? Did they discuss a new paradigm or the challenge of forming user-friendly churches as many do today?
The primary goal of the early church was not to plant churches or to fill the pews of existing churches. Their aim was to glorify God and do His revealed will. By the way, studies that have been done concerning church attendance during the last two hundred years in this country reveal that overall attendance has varied little. The overwhelming majority of the churches are less than a hundred members.
There is now the concept urged by many that all churches should aim to be mega-churches. A mega- church is one whose membership is in excess of fifteen hundred members. How to organize mega churches has become the golden rule of success.
One writer said, "A closer examination will reveal that generally mega-churches are what you get when you cannibalize small churches." What is the rule by which we are to be tested? Is it "how big is your church?" Or should the test be "how faithful are we in preaching the gospel as revealed in the inspired Word of God?"
Most often today the message generally is not what is the center of our attention. Attention now is glued on the methods that will be used to attract customers to the religious product being offered. The result of this market-driven emphasis is beginning to have a profound effect on the message.
The purpose of the founders of New Testament Christianity was not organization, but to carry out their callings to preach the gospel. The result was that "the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). They were trying to "be witnesses unto Me (the Lord) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (1:8).
What is the primary goal of the local church? Why was the local church established? "Thou art worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Rev. 4:11).
The greatest danger is turning our attention away from our purpose under God and the message with which He has entrusted us, to that of seeking cultural relevance. Are we Sociologists or proclaimers of the Good News to lost sinners?
We are being told that in order to do the work we need to do we should have plenty of parking, we should have exciting things for the children, and we must meet the felt needs of those who come. There was a study made of 1,000 churches. The findings were that growing successful churches have: empowering leadership, gift-oriented ministries, passionate spirituality, functional structures, inspiring worship, holistic small groups, needs-oriented evangelism, and loving relationships. The emphasis now is that where these principles are employed they will work anywhere, in any church, and they will work every time. Here we sense the ghost of Finney. However, where is the Will of God, the Word of God, the gospel of grace, etc. in all these new findings?
Please consider that a description of a "successful church" these days has nothing to do with being true to the sacred Scripture. What we call "doctrine" now plays a miniscule role, if any, in the church growth movement. Worse still, it is being discovered that the people are attracted to churches that are non-denominational or do not advertise their denomination, but especially it is a place where doctrine is downplayed.
Consider what God's Word has to say about doctrine. Gospel preachers are commanded to "speak ... the things which become sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1). However, the new experts tell us that people don't like doctrine because it is too "dogmatic." A "thus saith the Lord" is just that-a thus saith the Lord. A person in this generation resents doctrine because he prefers something that he can control or that which "is contrary to sound doctrine" (1 Tim. 1:10). These days people think that just because the Lord said it, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is good enough for them. In fact, even though the Lord said it, He wasn't saying it to me for the simple reason that times are different now and the Bible was written without all the knowledge we have now.
The Word of God says the natural man discerns not the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:14). "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). Men do not want to be reproved or corrected.
You see, the Scripture is at odds with the mindset of this age, which says that the consumer is always right. These days a product that has a future must be satisfaction guaranteed, so that if you have any problems with it you can return it for a full refund, or at least there is an 800 number to call for customer service.
Doctrine is also about responsibility to God and commitment to His teaching. The last thing that people of this age are willing to do is to make a commitment. Another thing about doctrine is that it pretty well tells you what you can do and what you can't do. This is a no-no in this generation that says, "No one is going to tell me what to do," and that means even God. What is right to me may not be right for you and, if you think otherwise, you are being either a hypocrite or judgmental, and you know what Jesus said about being a hypocrite.
Thus in the market-driven, new paradigm thinking, more attention is paid to market strategy, business techniques and demographics than to New Testament instruction. This methodology stresses experience rather than doctrine. We are told, "It's only true if it works for you." The point stressed is, "is it practical and personal?" There is more about stress reduction than salvation, more about being therapeutic than theological, and feeling rather than commandments. It is about feeling good, not being good or doing good. The generation of the new paradigm churches thinks of churches as supermarkets or cafeterias. They want options, choices and convenience. They consider themselves religious as long as you let them define their own religion, thus God is not allowed to give definition.
This generation demands that church be fun and fulfilling. This is the reason why so much attention is now being given to the worship service. It is believed that if the worship service is inspiring the members will consider it fun to attend. This should come as no surprise because growing churches are creating an atmosphere of fun. Fun has replaced holiness as the church's goal. Having a good time has become the criterion of an excellent, growing church since fun and entertainment is what the consumer wants. The unpardonable sin is to be boring and not entertaining. Worship services should never worship God, but perhaps the worship of man would be more acceptable.
Someone said, "You may think I don't believe in having fun. I do believe in having fun, but I don't believe that the church is where we go to have fun."
Presently churches are said to be failing. Why? Because they are failing to present the gospel, for that would not be appealing to sinners, for it would injure their self-esteem. If such is true how do we explain the text in 1 Corinthians 1:18-23? "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness." Oh, Paul was so negative!
The question is, "How do you market a foolish, repulsive product?" You must change the label. Sadly it does not stop there, because the desire to increase the market share means more than changing the label. The tendency is to change the product so it will not be offensive.
Modern churchmen are convinced that if they make listeners feel good about themselves then they will come to Christ. How did the early church market the gospel? Just how user-friendly were they. Consider Peter's preaching on the day of Pentecost. The sermon is recorded in Acts 2. First, the sermon was not about the people, it was about Jesus. Second, Peter accused them of being responsible for the death of Jesus. Third, at the end of the sermon he commanded them to repent of sin. Peter did not deal with their felt-needs at all.
Stephen, in the light of the modern approach, really blew the opportunity to win the whole Sanhedrin over to the new faith (Acts 7:51 ff.). He was too negative! He must not have studied human relations, and he did not take their felt-needs into account. Toward the end of his discourse he said, "Ye stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers" (Acts 7:51,52).
The people who God used in the midst of that pagan culture were full of the Holy Spirit and spoke as He gave them utterance. These men were not schooled in public relations, market strategy, psychobabble, etc.
Scripture is taken out of context in order to push for drama, gospel rock music, religious dance, and meaningful dialogue, etc. in the worship services. Frankly, there is nothing either in tone or substance of this explanation of Christ's meeting the needs of the people that could be construed as giving the green light to so-called Christian rock and rap, dance, theater, clowns, or puppets. The ruse is perpetuated by a few passages that have been twisted to give an appearance of being Biblical (2 Pet. 3:16).
For example: the jargon used must be changed. One said, "We look at the way we say things. We don't use religious terminology because (people) go on auto pilot or tune out. We use fresh new ways that are understandable." The mention of "the need for revival" is objectionable in the new methods because it assumes that there is something wrong with us. We must be positive! However, there is a great deal that is wrong that needs to be addressed, but we must not be negative. Remember Jesus' words, "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (Revelation 3:14-19).
Such words as those directed toward the Laodicean church are not welcome in the new paradigm churches. Jesus and Paul's preaching is not acceptable in these modern churches flirting with the ways of the world. The Lynchburg News & Advance (Feb. 23, 2003) in an article ("Church takes on a big role") has the following quote; "We use dramas, things like that that are slice of life. Things that people would say, 'Wow, that's the way I feel and that works for me,'" (Woody) Torrence, speaking in a user friendly way, noted, "We use contemporary music because you don't hear many hymns on the Top 40." So much for the directive of the Word of God, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Eph. 5:19).
The market-fresh churches are cutting the pattern for the new local churches out of the pattern provided by the world so as to fit the model of the sinner, when they should be presenting the gospel of saving grace to needy sinners, and reminding them of their need of repentance. Now these churches are doctrinally generic and don't touch on anything considered uncomfortable to rebellious and God-hating sinners. The Willow Creek and Saddleback models are extolled, and the apostolic models are expunged, but in a user friendly way.
In these last days, when the need for the preached truth is the greatest, these so-called churches are patterning themselves after the very world they should be trying to reach. Will God bless those who let the listeners of preaching determine the content of the preaching? In other words: "Do the goats now orchestrate what is truth?" How can we expect the latter day glory when the ministry is more concerned with this world's acceptance, the latest techniques, and pacifying those in sin rather than seeking the glory of God?
Remember how Paul dealt with the pagans on Mars Hill? Now is not the time to appeal to market techniques in order to find out how to reach the world or to discover what we should be preaching. The Word of God must direct us as we go to our knees before the throne of grace to seek its understanding. We need to be ready, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh go ye out to meet him!"
Gary Gilley reminds us, "The fact that the churches which have mastered the art of entertainment are growing by leaps and bounds should elicit extreme caution, not imitation, from those who understand the Scriptures." Jesus told us to "take up the cross and follow Him" rather than survey the felt-needs of men and follow them.
A warning: "The new paradigm church of today is following the same pattern. Flushed with success she is rushing headlong down the slope of secularism. It will only be a matter of time before it is realized that this modern church having lost its message, having compromised the faith, having mistaken numerical success for the blessing of God, will implode, for there will be nothing left to sustain it. The fallout will undoubtedly harm many but hopefully God will raise up a stronger church: a church serious about truth; a church that is more concerned about feeding the sheep than entertaining goats; a church that knows the difference between worship and amusement; a church willing to be despised by the world for the sake of the cross; and a church not ashamed of the true gospel, for it will know that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes."
1 Postmodernism, Graeme Codrington, p. 1.
2 Ibid. p. 4.
3 Contemporary scholars seek to dismantle the paradigms of the past and "to bring the marginal into the center" (rewriting history in favor of those who have been excluded from power-women, homosexuals, blacks, Native Americans, and other victims of oppression. Scholars attack received ideas with withering skepticism, while constructing new models as alternatives. Those who celebrate the achievements of Western civilization are accused of narrow-minded "Euro-centrism;" this view is challenged by "Afro-centrism," which exalts Africa as the pinnacle of civilization. Male-dominant thought is replaced by feminist models. "Patriarchal religions" such as Judaism and Christianity are challenged and replaced with matriarchal religions; the influence of the Bible is countered by the influence of "goddess-worship." Homosexuality is no longer considered a psychological problem; rather, homophobia is. Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, Gene Edward Veith, p. 57.
4 Article quoting Woody Torrence by A. Dionne Waugh in The News & Advance, Lynchburg, VA, Sunday Feb. 23, 2003.
5 This Little Church Went to Market, p. 132.
6 Gary E. Gilley, This Little Church Went to Market, p. 138.
[This article owes special thanks to Gary E. Gilley and his book This Little Church Went to Market: The Church in the Age of Entertainment, Xulon Press, 2002. This excellent book is recommended.]
2 Chronicles 1
V. 1, Solomon was probably about sixteen or eighteen years old when he was established as king. V. 1 tells us that he was strengthened in his kingdom... Solomon's brother, Adonijah, had attempted to usurp the kingdom before Solomon was installed. When David heard of Adonijah's effort, he immediately installed Solomon as king. Solomon actually had two installations: his father's and then a public one. After his installation, Solomon was strengthened, or established in the office.
V. 2, in the second year of his reign, making Solomon eighteen or twenty years old, Solomon gathered all the leading men of the nation together for a solemn sacrifice to the Lord.
Vv. 3-6, Solomon started by recognizing only one High Place. Though the ark had been brought to Jerusalem by David, all of the rest of Moses' tabernacle was still at Gibeon. In order to serve the Lord properly and make the proper offerings and sacrifices, one still had to go to that tabernacle. Solomon's fall starts when he starts building and recognizes other high places in order to please his wives.
1. All his great men must thus far be good men that they must join with him in worshipping God. He spoke to the captains and judges, the governors and chief of the fathers, to go with him to Gibeon, #2Ch 1:2,3. Authority and interest are well bestowed on those that will thus use them for the glory of God, and the promoting of religion. It is our duty to engage all with whom we have influence in the solemnities of religion, and it is very desirable to have many join with us in those solemnitiesthe more the better; it is the more like heaven. Solomon began his reign with this public pious visit to God's altar, and it was a very good omen. Magistrates are then likely to do well for themselves and their people when they thus take God along with them at their setting out. (Matthew Henry)
Great men, particularly the magistrates, would do well not only to privately and publicly practice the Christian religion, but promote it among the people. If for no other reason but a selfish motive to have social tranquility under their period of authority.
We are seeing today that the more the civil government works at removing the Christian religion, the more social turmoil is coming about. However, one wonders if the social turmoil is planned in order to justify a stronger central government to control that turmoil.
Vv. 7-12, Solomon's prayer
V. 7, in the night after the sacrifice, God appeared unto Solomon, and asked him, "Ask of me what you will."
At this point in his life, Solomon was probably at the most only about 20 years old. What would the average 20 year old ask for? We should note that this takes place in a dream, which gave Solomon no time to think over his answer. He thus answers out of the abundance of his heart, and his answer shows that he was overwhelmed with the responsibility he now faces as ruler of God's people and over a kingdom that grew greatly under David, his father.
David's instruction to his son Solomon is found:
11 Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as he hath said of thee. 12 Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God. (1 Chronicles 22.)
Note here that it is the Lord who 1) gives prosperity, 2) gives wisdom and understanding and 3) gives the desire and power to keep the law of the Lord God. Question: Why did He not give the desire and power to Solomon to keep the law? 1 Chronicles 29:18, 19: The question arises why does God allow things to degenerate if it all depends upon His grace? All we can say is, everything is working according to his good pleasure.
Solomon's request shows that he knew the word of God, he knew the dealings of God with his father, and he had meditated on both the word of God and the promises of God that were made to his father. His prayer was simply a basic request that God would perform the promises He had made to David concerning himself:
1) v. 8, he knew about and reminded God of His mercy to David his father.
2) v. 8, he knew that God is the one who established him on his father's throne.
3) v. 9, he knew about and reminded God of His promise to his father.
4) v. 9, he asked God to fulfill the promise He had made to his father.
5) v. 9, he again recognizes that God was the one who established him.
6) v. 9, he refers back to the promise made to Abraham, like the dust of the earth in multitude, Genesis 13:16. However, we know that Solomon and national Israel was not the end of Abraham's promise from God. The end of that promise was and now is the Gospel Church.
7) v. 10, I believe holds the key of this chapter, and really of Solomon's life. Note Solomon's request to God, which was made while he was sleeping (showing that he spoke out of the abundance of his heart):
Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?
Solomon basically asked God to fulfill His promises to David concerning himself. In other words, Solomon's request was according to the already revealed will of God for him, and God answered that request.
Our prayers are hindered, if not outright rejected by God, because rather than praying according to the revealed will of God from His word, we ask for things according to our own will to consume upon our own lusts:
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4.)
James uses Elias as an example of power in prayer. (James 5:17, 18.) When we look at the circumstances of Elias (Elijah) we find that he simply prayed according to the already revealed will of God. (1 Kings 17:1.) Israel had seriously violated God's law, and the promise for that violation was drought. (Deuteronomy 28:24, &c.) After three years, the Lord told Elijah to pray, and the Lord would send the rain. (1 Kings 18.)
All of that to say this: Young Solomon had just been to the tabernacle at Gibeon where he made tremendous sacrifices and offerings. After that big day at the tabernacle and according to his 3 verse request made in his sleep, we can safely assume that Solomon went to bed meditating on his youth, meditating on the vastness of the kingdom that had been given to him (over the objections of his brother) by God, the promises of God made to Abraham, to which he is now heir, the promises of God made to his father concerning David's son, himself, and his need for the Lord's provision. (He was not ignorant of what his father had written in places like Psalms 5:1, 19:14, 49:3, 104:34, &c.)
1 ¶ <<To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.>> Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. 2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. 3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. 4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. (Psalms 4.)
1 ¶ <<A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.>> O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 ¶ Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. (Psalms 63.)
Solomon whet to bed with these things heavy on his heart and meditating on the Lord and His promises. So when he was asked by the Lord what he desired, he simply asked God to fulfill His promises upon which he had been meditating. His requests were not drawn out of "thin air", but had meditation on the word of God behind them.
Asking according to the revealed will of God, God fulfilled Solomon's request abundantly, even above all he could ask or think, (Ephesians 3:20) as we see from the opening of the Book of Proverbs:
1 ¶ The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. (Proverbs 1.)
Vv. 11, 12, God's answer.
1) God acknowledges that in Solomon's sleep, he spoke from his heart. His heart, at this point, was pursuing godliness above all else.
2) Solomon's heart here was not set on riches, wealth, honour, power over his enemies, nor on long life.
3) at this young age, 20 or younger, his heart was set on judging righteous judgment over those whom God had put under him.
4) God not only granted him his heart's desire, but all of the other things that the world holds important, so that there never was a king like him either before or after. Thus there has never been any ruler with more riches, wealth or honour than what was given to Solomon by God. (Evidently, as he grew older, his awe over God's sovereignty and goodness was overcome by his own lusts.)
Yet Christ said that He was the greater than Solomon. Christ's statement must be true, for all of creation belongs to Him, and renders all glory and honour to Him.
We are given the same choice as was Solomon. In fact, we are told to get wisdom:
Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
And our wisdom is defined:
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. (Deuteronomy 4:6)
We can have the wisdom of Solomon, if we will ask (seek it) and do what is commanded by God's word:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)
May we honestly seek God's wisdom, and do as His wisdom instructs us to do.
Solomon prayed according to the revealed will of God. Do we? We can expect God's marvelous answer if we will follow Solomon's, Elijah's and multitudes of other saints' example. We must meditate on God's word so that the thoughts of our head upon our bed are grounded in His word, and then pray according to the revealed will of God.
If God would appear to us in a "dream", what would we be meditating on that would control our request? Would those meditations result in requests made according to the revealed will of God?
[Introduction: It does not take much observation on anyone's part to see that the "Christian Right's" Messiah is a very dangerous wolf in sheep's clothing. He is closer to the Antichrist than he is to the Messiah. 9-11 may well have been a surprise attack (as was the attack on Pearl Harbor! It is now a well known fact that Peal Harbor was not a surprise), but the "powers that be" are playing it for all it is worth, moving very quickly to remove the few remaining freedoms we have here in the USA. See Personal in this issue. The following is from the Net, but there is no reason to doubt its truth.]
"BUSH WILL HAVE MORE CONTROL THAN STALIN"
Paraphrased from this paragraph:
"It's like he said and he was pretty knowledgeable. When the NICA (National Identity Card Act) gets passed, the Posse Comitatus Act gets overturned, [AND] a few other pieces of legislation yet to be proffered get passed, "the White House will have more control over the American people than the Kremlin had over the Russian people when Stalin was alive."
He said that and then he LAUGHED!
--On General Yevgeni Primakov, THE FORMER HEAD OF THE KGB WHO HAS BEEN HIRED AS A "CONSULTANT" TO THE NEW "HOMELAND SECURITY" DEPARTMENT.
BEHIND THE SCENES IN THE BELTWAY
by Al Martin
Get Ready for the USSA (The United Soviet States of America) (March 17) You will be happy to learn that the former head of the KGB (the secret police of the former Soviet Union), General Yevgeni Primakov, has been hired as a consultant by the US Department of Homeland Security. Do you think he will share his expertise in "security" to prepare US citizens for domestic internal passports under the pretense of fighting the never-ending "War on Terrorism"?
CAPPS II is the name of the new program which is technically under the auspices of the US Department of Transportation, but that's only technical and the only reason they did that was to use the Transportation Department's budget to buy the computer hardware and software they need.
The way it works is you give them your credit card and they slide it through like you would in a store and then they hit a button and the monitor reads: CAPPS II, SS CTF.
The SS CTF evidently stands for "State Security CITIZEN THREAT File." But it has nothing to do with the Department of Transportation. It goes directly to a division, which has been established between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA and several other federal agencies. This is a new division, referred to as the Office of Internal Security, which is coordinating the effort to establish "CITIZEN THREAT files" on every US citizen. It will be a huge database including credit files, medical files, political and RELIGIOUS affiliation, military history, attendance at anti-government rallies, etc.
The newsclip didn't point out what information is being accessed. The only thing they'll tell you is they're going to access your credit history, but like the guy giving the interview said they will be accessing a whole lot more. They just don t tell you what it is. When the Department of Homeland Security was asked about it, they wouldn't say, but replied that: "it would defeat the purpose if we told you what it was we were looking for."
No announcement will be made to the public about what information exactly is being accessed or exactly how much information or what type of information is going to be included in "EACH CITIZEN's THREAT FILE."
What I liked about this segment is that they interviewed General Yevgeni Primakov, who is now a consultant to the Department of Homeland Security along with General Alexander Karpov.
Primakov was laughing about it because he's getting paid a big fee to do it. He doesn't care, of course. Primakov speaks beautiful English, as you would expect a former head of the KGB to do. When he was asked what is this CAPPS II program really about, because obviously even "terrorists" could have credit ratings.
Primakov said that this is one of the steps now being employed along with NICA and "NEW IDENTITY UPGRADE features" which are coming to your "DRIVER'S LICENSE". It is being used to get the people used to new types of documentation and carrying new types of identity cards pursuant to the United States instituting a formal policy of "INTERNAL PASSPORTS". And he actually used the words "internal passports."
It's like he said and he was pretty knowledgeable. When the NICA (National Identity Card Act) gets passed, the "Posse Comitatus Act gets overturned," [AND] a few other pieces of legislation yet to be proffered get passed, "the White House will have more control over the American people than the Kremlin had over the Russian people when Stalin was alive." He said that and then he LAUGHED!
What Primakov finds funny are what he calls: "these 'right wing flag wavers' that were so anti-communist and now they're supporting a state policy of internal passports. The irony is deafening."
Old right wing farts -- turn up your hearing aids for the irony is DEAFENING!
Primakov continued by saying that he had been hired as a consultant and he was consulting on other "security" matters, an ongoing policy in various agencies of government (some of these offices haven't even been created yet) to consistently "NARROW the RIGHTS" of the American people and to expand the power of government. He professed not to know why, the reason for all this was, other than he admitted that,
"IT DOES NOT HAVE MUCH TO DO WITH FIGHTING TERRORISM."
In other words, it's funny that we need a COMMIE to come over here and tell people the truth. And remember its not just any commie, it's the former head of the KGB, who is being PAID for with taxpayers money from all the naive flag wavers out there.
If you think about it ---how ironic this whole thing is. And it's not only Primakov, who was, by the way the last general of the KGB, before the KGB was changed to RFSS. Look who else was hired. There's General Primakov. Then there's General Karpov, former KGB station chief of their Washington station at their embassy and the first director of the Russian Federal Security Service.
You could call this the "Sovietization of America."
Primakov said he can't wait to get on the payroll (he called it the "pay corps," referring to the "HERITAGE FOUNDATION," the PNAC and all the other right wing foundations in the United States). He can't get over how many ex-KGB generals and colonels still want to come over to the United States and become consultants to get on the "pay corps."
It has been reported that "Nikita KRUSHCHEV, Jr." works for the Heritage Foundation. Another right wing foundation has "Elena STALIN."
The Old Soviet Brand names are all coming to Washington to get on the gravy train and teach the Bush administration how to further restrict the rights of the American people.
And Primakov is waiting for the USSA, "The United SOVIET States of America." It'll probably make him feel right at home. [END]
AL MARTIN is America's foremost expert on corporate and government fraud. A relentless whistleblower, he has written a book called, "The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran Contra Insider," which chronicles his adventures with the Bush Cabal (National Liberty Press, Order Line: 866-317-1390). This detailed account of government criminal operations, namely State-sanctioned fraud, drug trafficking and illicit weapons sales, is unprecedented in publishing history. Al Martin is also well known for his great charm and profound insights into world events, and he is frequently interviewed on many talk radio shows across the nation. His weekly column "Behind the Scenes in the Beltway" is published regularly online at Al Martin Raw, BEHIND THE SCENES IN THE BELTWAY
"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." [Ayn Rand, The Nature of Government]
A NOTE ON TRANSPARENCY: This list is broadcast to people who include the Governor of South Carolina and other elected officials in the state of South Carolina. In the age of total information awareness [TIA] it is really a good idea to let the 'lawmakers' in on what you know. Better to have it come to them in an unadulterated form than to have some vicious liar distort your words later. Construct your own list. Go on record with your official politicians; that way they cannot claim ignorance later.
How far will this "president" have to go before the preachers of America will repent of their having voted for him, repent of their promotion of him, and how far must he go for them to begin to lift their voices and cry out against him, his sin, and his blaspheme?
April 9, 2003 (New York Times)
Republicans Want Terror Law Made Permanent
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
ASHINGTON, April 8 Working with the Bush administration, Congressional Republicans are maneuvering to make permanent the sweeping antiterrorism powers granted to federal law enforcement agents after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said today. ...
New anti-terrorism laws being used in cases unrelated to war on terror...
May 30, 2003
By ERIC LICHTBLAU (NY Times)
WASHINGTON, May 29 The Justice Department has begun using its expanded counterterrorism powers to seize millions of dollars from foreign banks that do business in the United States, creating tensions with the State Department and some allies.
Law enforcement officials say the tool has proven invaluable in seizing ill-gotten money that criminals hide overseas and that was once out of the government's reach. Under the counterterrorism measures approved by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks, prosecutors are not even required to trace the money back to the target of an investigation. [Not required to trace implies that any money they consider ill-gotten can be confiscated. Will this include any under the table money that is not reported to the IRS? Ed.]
Officials at the State Department, however, have raised concerns over the practice in part because most of the seizures have involved fraud and money-laundering investigations that are unrelated to terrorism.
State Department officials worry "that this might be seen by other countries as arbitrary or trying to extra-territorially impose our laws" under the guise of fighting terrorism, said a Bush administration official who demanded anonymity. Diplomats from several nations, including Switzerland, have voiced private objections, officials said. [Empire building. Ed.]
The Justice Department has seized at least 15 foreign-based bank accounts in the United States in recent months, confiscating what prosecutors say they believe to be tainted money belonging to overseas banks in Israel, Oman, Taiwan, India, Belize and elsewhere, according to law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. Other seizures are also being considered, officials said. [What if they believe you have tainted money, yet have no proof? Ed.] ...
[Conflict between the Justice and the State Departments is reported, but it not concern over the abuse of the law; rather, it is "turf warfare": the Justice Department kept the State Department "out of the loop in some cases". Ed.]
[A] little-noticed provision in the sweeping antiterrorism legislation passed in October 2001, gave federal authorities in such cases [suspected "money laundering", i.e., not reported to the IRS, & drug monies, ed.] the power to seize money that passes through banks in the United States without notifying the foreign government. Most overseas banks maintain what are called "correspondent accounts" in American banks, allowing them to exchange American currency and handle other financial transactions in this country. Section 319 of the Patriot Act, as the legislation that grew out of the Sept. 11 attacks is known, allows federal authorities to seize money from the foreign bank's correspondent account if they can convince a judge that the money deposited overseas at the bank was obtained illicitly.
Information about the seizures has been tightly guarded, and federal judges have sealed the records on most of them. The Justice Department acknowledged two cases in which authorities have seized a total of more than $2 million from foreign banks, but declined to give the total number of seizures.
Law enforcement officials said the Justice Department had employed the new tool in about a half-dozen investigations, seizing money from at least 15 bank accounts. Most of those came in recent months and involved fraud and laundering cases, officials said. ...
The seizure power has opened up doors once closed in financial crime investigations, the investigator said. "Now we can get ahold of money where we couldn't before," he said. "But we proceed very cautiously. It's such a powerful tool, you could knock the economy of a country on its head if it were a big enough case." ...
Charles A. Intriago, a specialist in money laundering law in Miami who publishes Money Laundering Alert, said he considered the Justice Department's new power to seize foreign bank accounts "maybe the most startling provision of the Patriot Act." ...
Conclusion: operate with cash only, and avoid bank accounts. Horror stories abound from even before the counterterrorism measures of the Feds confiscating wealth from the innocent, and the innocent unable to get it back. What will it be like now? Money laundering is a very vague term, and can mean anything the powers that be want it to mean.
There is hope.
Alaska Passes Anti-Patriot Act Resolution; Second State to Oppose Feds
By Dean Schabner
May 23- Alaska has joined a growing national rebellion against the USA Patriot Act, voting to oppose the massive federal anti-terrorism law passed by Congress soon after Sept. 11, 2001.
The state Legislature used some of the strongest language yet in passing a resolution condemning USA Patriot, following the lead of Hawaii and 112 cities, towns and counties around the country that have passed similar resolutions against the law.
But Alaska's measure goes further than most, advising police and other state agencies not to "initiate, participate in, or assist or cooperate with an inquiry, investigation, surveillance or detention" if there is not "reasonable suspicion of criminal activity under Alaska State law."
"We have a concern that [the Patriot Act] could be abused. The potential for abuse is too great," said Rep. David Guttenberg, a Democrat who co-sponsored the resolution. "America is an open state. There's a cost to that. Where are we willing to sacrifice for that? Guys are dying on the battlefield to protect our freedoms. It's up to us to protect those freedoms here at home."
"We hope that a resolution like this, with the bipartisan support that it has, will urge Congress to re-examine the provisions of the USA Patriot Act that challenge the individual freedoms that make this country great," said Rep. John Coghill, a Republican from North Pole who co-sponsored the resolution. "If we sacrifice our freedom, we let terrorism win." ...
Most local governments that have passed the resolutions have been smaller towns, many of them college communities, but major cities such as Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Oakland, Calif., San Francisco and Seattle have all passed measures.
Hawaii, the only other state that has passed a resolution, approved a statement in April that says in part "to the extent legally possible, no state resources - including law enforcement funds and educational administrative resources - may be used for unconstitutional activities."
Hawaii's Legislature is controlled by Democrats, but the resolution passed 35-12 in the House and 21-3 in the Senate. ...
"I think the Patriot Act was not really thought out," Young [Alaska's only representative] said. "I'm very concerned that, in our desire for security and our enthusiasm for pursuing supposedly terrorists, that sometimes we might be on the verge of giving up the freedoms which we're trying to protect." ...
(How right he was. The "power grabbers" saw the opportunity, and they took it for all it was worth. Ed.)
City criminalizes USA Patriot Act
Establishes fine for cooperating with feds
Posted: May 19, 2003
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
A city in Northern California has passed an ordinance that criminalizes cooperation with the USA Patriot Act.
Arcata, Calif., outlaws Patriot Act
Arcata is one of more than 100 cities to condemn the federal anti-terrorism legislation, but its city council is the first to make it a crime for a city department head to voluntarily cooperate with "unconstitutional" arrests or probes under the act, the Associated Press reported.
The crime carries a fine of $57.
Aracta's ordinance, passed 4-1, effectively is symbolic and would become moot if a court rules the act is constitutional. Nevertheless, the bill's sponsor said it has drawn considerable attention. ...
Opponents of the USA Patriot Act, including some conservatives and libertarians, contend it tramples civil liberties and eliminates checks and balances that prevent abuse. Robert Levy of the CATO Institute said, for example, "In effect, our government has exploited the events of Sept. 11 to impose national police powers that skirt time-honored constraints on the state." ...
Under the act formally known as the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act the federal government has new powers and authority to observe and search suspects through wiretaps and electronic and computer surveillance.
Local government opposition to the Patriot Act is building momentum, according to Nancy Talanian of the Northampton, Mass.-based Bill of Rights Defense Committee, who notes 52 resolutions passed in two months. ...
Oregon Law Would Jail War Protesters as Terrorists
Reuters, Wednesday, April 2, 2003; 9:02 PM
By Lee Douglas
PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - An Oregon anti-terrorism bill would jail street-blocking protesters for at least 25 years in a thinly veiled effort to discourage anti-war demonstrations, critics say. ...
Dubbed Senate Bill 742, it identifies a terrorist as a person who "plans or participates in an act that is intended, by at least one of its participants, to disrupt" business, transportation, schools, government, or free assembly. ...
The bill contains automatic sentences of 25 years to life for the crime of terrorism.
Critics of the bill say its language is so vague it erodes basic freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism under an extremely broad definition. ...
The following is from the official White House Website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/12/20021205-5.html
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, sir. It's good to be with you again. And it is my honor to visit the Islamic Center of Washington once again.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
For half a century, this beautiful mosque has served as a place of worship for Muslims and has helped to advance understanding between people of different faiths. Millions of our fellow Americans practice the Muslim faith. They lead lives of honesty and justice and compassion.
I am pleased to join you today in the celebration of Eid, the culmination of the Holy Month of Ramadan. I appreciate so very much Dr. Khouj, and I want to thank the other distinguished imam from the Washington, D.C. area. Thank you all for being here. And I enjoyed our visit. I also appreciate the Muslim schoolchildren who are here, telling me stories and reading poems and showing their art work. Please tell them thanks again for their hospitality.
Islam traces its origins back to God's call on Abraham. And Ramadan commemorates the revelation of God's word in the Holy Koran to the prophet Mohammad -- a word that is read and recited with special attention and reverence by Muslims during this season.
Bush & Co has a reputation of being "Christian", and the American "Religious Right" blindly follows him, evidently over the cliff to their own destruction. It appears that judgment is here on a "Christian" nation that refuses to act like Christians and judge righteous judgment. Judgment is closing in fast in the form of Bush & Co. God's judicial judgment is here as His people, generally, are blinded to the reality of the evil that is about to overcome them, brought about by their own government. We are acting more like the Divinely blinded religious leaders of Jerusalem who proclaimed that the Messiah would return and save them at the very time Rome was encompassing the city and burning the gates. They were blinded because of their sins against Christ:
It was their false hope of deliverance from Rome by the promised Messiah that caused the Jews of 70 AD to fight against Rome:
But now, what did the most to elevate them in undertaking this war [against Rome, which led to their total destruction, ed.], was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, "about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now, this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea.
However, it is not possible for men to avoid fate, although they see it beforehand. But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure; and some of them they utterly despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of their city and their own destruction. [FN 65]
The hope of a Messiah to exalt a restored Jewish nation over the world still lived as the rebellious Jews perished in the flames that engulfed the Temple and then Jerusalem. Lacunza revived that hope. Throughout Wars, Josephus says that Rome moved against Jerusalem because of the Jews' rebellion against God.
[FN 65] Josephus, Wars, Bk VI, Chap. V.4. See Hengstenberg's Christology of the Old Testament, 1201, for further study on the restored "Jewish Hope," Zionism. The early church fathers contended Christians the true Jews, e.g., Justin, Ante- Nicene Fathers, I .207ff., e .g. , "CHAP CXI I I . RIDICULOUS INTERPRETATIONS OF THE JEWS. CHRISTIANS ARE THE TRUE ISRAEL," 261. Hastings also points out that Israel's dream was that Jahweh would reign in Zion over his people: "It is not something quite new, but a glorification of the old." Ethics, s.v. "Kingdom of God." That hope kept the insurrection alive despite Rome's armies surrounding the Temple. That ancient hope is alive today in dispensationalism, i.e., "Protestant Zionism." (Death of the Church Victorious, p. 73.)
THERE WILL BE NO RAPTURE to rescue carnal Christians from the results of their sins, as promised by Darby as early as 1845, and as promised by popular electronic evangelists who are, in Spurgeon's words, prophets for profit. Christians live as though life is not sacred (abortions) and that passages like Titus 2:5 (as they blaspheme Christ; see also, Titus 2:10, Rom. 2:24, &c.) have been edited from the Word of God (maybe those passage have been edited in the new versions; when compared with the KJV, the new versions are obviously corrupt, as they change the doctrine of numerous passages). We then stand in awe and wonder what is going on as judgment comes.
I have used this illustration before, but I will again.
Some years ago, I performed a wedding for a church member who had lost his wife to cancer. At the reception in the bride's home, a man approached me and expressed his joy over the downward direction society was going, and how fast it was going down. He said that that degradation meant that the Lord would soon be back, and he was rejoicing in the prevalence of evil. That willful blindness to the surrounding social destruction which was also leading to the destruction of the freedom he enjoyed was, evidently, a Divine blindness, brought about by judgment upon sin.
The false "dispensational" hope that permeates Christianity says that Christians will be gone before the Antichrist and the New World Order arrives. This false hope has led to Christians withdrawing their influence from society. That Christian influence should keep men like Bush from instituting the foundation for his dad's New World Order. But the modern Christianity that has neutered the Bible to fit their carnal desires has been blinded by God, and we will all pay the priceit not only rains on the just and the unjust, but national judgment must fall on the just and the unjust. (Matt. 5:45.)
If Christians do not discard the corrupt and rotting robes of waiting for the Lord to rescue us from the results of our sins, and of editing out passages of Scripture they do not agree with, then only the Lord knows what evils await us. We deserve Bush's USSA that he is working so hard to institute.
In my "never so humble opinion", harsh judgment is quickly approaching, brought about by Christians who have withdrawn from society to wait for supernatural intervention, thus leaving a terrible mess for their children, and who blatantly edit God's word to fit their life-style. (My dad, though a lay Baptist pastor, was a committed follower of J.Vernon M'Gee. My dad almost held the opinion that it was wrong to even vote, and he was very much against any of my attempts to influence society for justice, good and godliness.)
Sunday, June 1, 2003
Everyone checked for guns except known terrorists!
Database used on law-abiding Americans while al-Qaida, other enemies get free ride
Posted: June 1, 2003
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
Despite recent efforts to beef up security in the United States, those most likely to use weapons against Americans are not even on background checklists at local gun dealers.
While nine out of 10 gun purchases are now subject to instant FBI criminal checks to filter out convicted felons, fugitives and a handful of others, the State Department's list of known foreign terrorists used by airport security personnel and border patrols is not included in the database used by dealers to check a buyer's eligibility, reports CBS News.
Even the names of suspected al-Qaida cell members in the U.S. would not show up in a background check by a gun store.
''Why on earth would we want to shield the terrorists from being identified?'' asks Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. during an interview with CBS.
We attended the Southern Heritage Conference in Monroe LA, May, 2003, where there were some very interesting speakers. One of the speakers brought out the fact that America's empire building, which we are witnessing today, started with Abraham Lincoln. The speaker cited the Gettysburg Address, and gave two examples of what Lincoln said. Lincoln has been exalted by the "Lincoln Cult" to the level of the founding fathers, as we had to memorize his Address in school. But these many years latter, I challenge you to read the Declaration of Independence, as I did, along with,
THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
The speaker motivated me to honestly look at the Address. It is so full of holes when compared with the Declaration of Independence that I do not see how anyone can miss what Lincoln did. A close examination shows us that the Address is the foundation, the new constitution, of the nation in which we now live. It did away with the Declaration of Independence and the original Constitution, and it formed a new nation, a nation dedicated to empire building enforcing its will on all others. (An example of Lincoln's new nation's goal of subduing all to its will is the Ten Commandment issue in Alabama, as well as the Florida election. Both cases establish Federal control over the local states. Lincoln's Federal nation believes it has the right to enforce its will upon the states, and, if necessary, it will use its military might to enforce its will.) Here are a few of the obvious statements showing Lincoln's overthrow of the nation founded by the Declaration of Independence, a nation no longer in existence. It was destroyed by Lincoln, just as sure as Bush (2) destroyed Iraq.
First, our fathers did not bring forth on this continent a new nation. Lincoln brought forth that new nation. Our fathers brought forth thirteen new nations. The union of those thirteen individual and independent nations was known as these united States, not this United States. America was conceived as thirteen individual nations, united together for their common good. But Lincoln's War forced the individual nations into one nation, quite contrary to what our fathers fought and died to bring forth.
Second, that nation was not dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal; that is, founded so all people would have equal rights. The common unity of the original thirteen individual and independent nations was over the problem of oppressive government intervention. Read "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America as presented in Congress, July 4, 1776." (Note the name tells us that the Declaration was by thirteen united States located in America.) The complaints of the thirteen independent nation-states against the oppressions of the King of Great Britain sound very much like the complaints of the fifty states against the Federal Government established by Lincoln.
Lincoln's war was to forcibly subdue the individual nations to the centralized power of the Federal Government, and make them bow to the will of Washington. On the other hand, the War for Independence was to free the individual nations from the centralized power of Great Britain, so they would not have to bow to the will of the King. Lincoln replaced Britain's King with Washington's King. Lincoln's War changed America from these united States (plural) with self-rule, to the United States (singular) with centralized Federal rule.
Third, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. As the victor in the war to remove the independence of the nation-states, he had the last word, and he used it to rewrite history. Reading the Declaration of Independence one cannot find that the nation destroyed by Lincoln was conceived and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Though the fathers did hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..., one will not find in their Facts submitted to the candid world to justify their war for independence anything about a desire to have equal rights. (It is called The Declaration of Independence, not The Declaration of Equal Rights for All.)
Fourth, gave their lives that that nation might live. The South, not the North, gave their lives that the original union made up of individual nation-states might live. That nation Lincoln refers to was not the nation formed out of the war against the King of Great Britain. That war was for independence from the King's centralized control. Lincoln's war was to enslave the individual nation-states to the new King's centralized control, the Federal Government.
Fifth, never forget what they did here... As we see the South's battle flag held up by people around the world as they struggle to be free from the centralized powers that hold them in bondage, they certainly remember what was done at Gettysburg, but not in the way Lincoln presented the action. They remember that it was a lost battle for the cause of independence and liberty and against empire building.
Sixth, dedicated here to the unfinished work... Yes, Lincoln had to leave the work of the centralization of all power to the Federal Government unfinished, but there have been many presidents since who have continued the unending work. Resistance to that grab for centralized power results in the same thing that the South's resistance resulted in. Just look at Iraq.
Seventh, this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom... The hypocrisy is astounding. The War was to stamp out freedom, not promote it. The War was to hold the nation-states in subjection, not to protect their individual liberties to establish their own laws within their borders. The War for Independence upon which the nation destroyed by Lincoln's war was founded was for freedom from tyranny. It was a war against centralized power, so the nation-states could have self-rule.
Why did God motivate Lincoln to destroy the nation that was founded in His name? Only He knows the answer to that question.
The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29.)
The secret things belong to the Lord, and only He knows the answers. Our responsibility is to do all the words of His law, and leave the rest up to Him. He will work history according to His good pleasure
And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:35.)
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (Ephesians 1.)
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13.)
Our allegiance must be to the kingdom of God and not to the kingdom of men.
"If we in the United States are to furnish Phantom jets, bombs, napalm, firebombs, and money to fuel the planes when they do the bombing and the killing in southern Lebanon, then we must be held accountable for the deaths that will result from what I consider to be official Israeli government terrorist activities-no less terrorist in the nature than an act of three or four individual Arabs who kill civilians in Israel" (Congressional Record, June 21,1974).
"Perhaps the most fundamental lie told by Israeli propagandists is the claim that the establishment of Israel was justified because it was the original homeland of the Jews. Even if one totally accepted this statement, it is the most doubtful interpretation of the laws of property I have ever heard. In addition, evidence recently documented by Arthur Koestler in his book The Thirteenth Tribe strongly suggests that European Jews, who dominate Israel and its government, are descendants of the Khazar Tribe-a tribe of Turkic origin whose only connection to Palestine was their adoption of Judaism as a religion. It would seem that the 2000 year old claim to Palestine of those demanding the right to return is apparently without basis" (from a paper, "American Impressions of the Arab World," written by Mr. Abourezk but undated).
"The only real pressure on politicians concerning the Middle Eastern question comes from the Israeli lobby. Always capable of raising money for political campaigns, the lobby enlists the active aid of American Jews in every state of the Union. It takes its orders from Israel and then lays down the party line to the American Jewish community.... The Israeli lobby has neither qualms nor scruples when the objective is to silence an effective critic. It has used direct threats of political reprisal on recalcitrants. It has contacted Jewish contributors, warning them that the politician in question does not deserve the support of American Jews. It generates hate mail to target politicians, and even bomb threats have been used to prevent speeches critical of Israel from being given" (from "The Relentless Israeli Propaganda Machine," published in Penthouse magazine, February 1978). (Quoted in World magazine, 10/12/02)
I wrote much of this while sitting in the dentist's office in Anapolis Brazil (April 8, 2003), as my wife had her teeth worked on, and Christina sat in the lady's office doing her school work. Bettie has needed her teeth worked on for many years, but the lack of funds prevented getting the work accomplished.
Those facing serious medical or dental work should consider Brazil. Though it is known as a third world country, and the prices here reflect that, the private medical and dental care is second to none. All the drugs, supplies, medical equipment and "replacement parts" are from Germany or the US, wherever they can get the best supplies.
Growing up in Brazil as one of six children of a Presbyterian missionary, there was little calcium in Bettie's diet. All of her siblings have required serious dental work as a result. The dentist we go to in Front Royal wanted $15,000 to fix her teeth. However, for a total of around $5,500 the three of us could fly to Brazil, defray the expenses as we stayed the three weeks with Bettie's sister, and have Bettie's dental work done. Also included in that was a new lower partial and some repair work for me, as well as trying to repair some lousy dental work for Christina. (The exchange rate is about 3 to 1, so it figures closelywhat would cost $1 there would cost about $3 here.)
Christina had a tooth coming in through the roof of her mouth, so we got braces when she was younger. The orthodontist in Lafayette Indiana, ground some of her teeth away so the braces would fit. In Brazil, it is an eight year jail term to grind a tooth away without the informed consent of the patient. We have now had three dentists tell us what a terrible job the orthodontist did in the states. He also pulled 4 teeth, which did not need to be pulled. Evidently, his goal was to make a lot of money the quickest way possible, at the expense of doing the job right. The orthodontist who took care of Christina's teeth while she stayed in Brazil last year was quite upset at the very poor work done in the US. The orthodontist in Front Royal who took care of her after we moved was also quite upset over what the one in Lafayette did to her, particularly pulling the teeth that did not need to be pulled. The dentist in Brazil patched the areas the orthodontist ground away, among other things. All of that to say thisalways get a second or even a third opinion before having work done. We did not, because Jessica, my oldest daughter, went to him for her TMJ. Of course, after the teeth were pulled, Jessica told us that he had also wanted to pull some of her teeth, but she would not let him. Now Christina must pay the price with her missing teeth. We will get letters from the two Brazil dentists, the one US dentist and a couple more dentist, and go back to the first orthodontist, requesting that he pay for the repair of the damage he caused. The dentist here suggested we go to a dental school, and ask them what to do to repair the damage to Christina's teeth and bite.
I realize that if I had to take three weeks off without pay and had to pay for a hotel here, that would have made a big difference, but even then, it would have been far less than what our dentist wanted in Front Royal. The work involved eleven crowns, reconstruction on front teeth, three root canals removed and a partial made. Many of the new crowns were replacements caps for older crowns made in the US.
The dentist is a very nice Christian lady, but very much caught up in the feminist culturethat is, building her life around and finding her fulfillment in her work, though she has a 5 year old son and husband.
Bettie's dentist told us that Brazil was #4 in the world for dental work, though the US is #1 in quality materials. Brazil purchases their dental material from the US and Germany, or wherever they can find the best material. Richard, my brother who lived in Brazil for about 25 years as a missionary, said the dental work here is far superior than in the US, and he has had work done in both places. Also, this dentist is very much against mercury, having personally experienced the disastrous effects of mercury in the fillings.
For those who do not have dental insurance and who want first class dental care, they should seriously consider Anapolis.
(April 26, 2003)
Some years ago, my wife, Bettie, slipped on a wet floor in a supermarket and injured her right knee while pregnant with her youngest child, who is now married with for children of her own. A few years ago, a doctor in the States urged her to go on cholesterol lowering medication. After she started taking the medication, a very bad case of arthritis set in. After the arthritis set in and she was in so much pain she could hardly move, she read the warning sheet sent with the medication, and it warned of arthritis. She quit taking the medication, and almost all of the arthritis cleared up.
However, the damage was done. The arthritis destroyed the cartilage in the injured knee. About 18 months ago, we had to have orthroscopic surgery on the knee, and for the $7,000, all the doctor did was take out the remaining pieces of the destroyed cartilage, and tell us that she would soon need the knee replaced. Now she has bone on bone, and must have the knee replaced within the next few years or so. The doctors have told us to put off the replacement as long as possible because the life of an artificial knee is only about 15 years, and the limit is two replacements.
So, while here, we have been enquiring about knee replacement in Brazil. I must admit, we have an advantage, for Fay's father (the Brazilian exchange student who was with Bettie when we married) is the lawyer for a large medical insurance company at a private hospital (started many years ago by Presbyterian missionaries). He has very good connections with those in the medical profession, as well as many relatives who are doctors, specialists of various kinds. One cousin owns 3 new private hospitals in Brasilia, but he specializes in back surgery.
One of the best orthopedic surgeons in the world lives here in Anapolis and practices in Goiania, about 30 minutes from Anapolis. (Not only does that hospital specialize in orthopedic surgery, but it specializes in cornea surgery.) A complete knee replacement, including all "parts", medicines, hospital stay (private hospital), doctors' and hospital's fees included is only $R15,000, or at the present exchange rate of 3 to 1, $5,000 US. As I am sure you know, such a surgery in the US would be well in excess of $15,000. Followup on the replacement knee can be done in the US.
Insurance companies will pay for foreign treatments. In other words, for major surgery, one could come down here and have a very pleasant vacation (depending upon airfare, one could have a very pleasant stay: including airfare, a translator, various lovely places to visit, e.g., rain forests, &c., and lodging for around $1,000 US, depending upon exchange rate), while saving the insurance companies multiplied thousands of dollars, and still get the best care available.
If one must bear all the medical or dental bills, and those bills are over $5,000 US, it would save them a vast amount of money to come here.
(Contact us if you might be interested in such a savings. We have good contacts there, and live here only abut an hour from Dulles Airport.)
A Praise (April 16, 2003)
Though we are not rich in worldly wealth, we are certainly rich in the Lord's care for us.
As some of you remember, I had to have laser surgery on my left eye about 10 years ago, where a capillary was seeping behind the retina. An excellent doctor, Dr. Poer in Indianapolis, did the procedure. The Lord allowed me to catch the problem as it was happening, and Dr. Poer got me in right away to stop the seepage by using a laser to seal off the seeping area. The result was a distortion almost in the center of my eye. As Dr. Poer kept a close eye on the results, he found that my sight was slightly improving. He told me that only about 1 in 10 improve their sight after such an experience, and I was one of the 10%. I have tried to keep close watch on that eye ever since.
While in Brazil and because of both the quality of medical, dental and eye care there and the cost savings, I had my eyes examined, good new frames and two sets of lenses, all for $80 US. The eye doctor (trained in the US, and having the latest and best equipment) said, after he examined my left eye, that he would not have even known I had the laser treatment if I had not told him. The distortion is almost all gone that was there 10 years ago, and evidently the scar on the retina is almost gone. I can still notice a slight distortion in that eye. (They do laser surgery here also.)
Both Bettie and I have noticed something here, and that is the time it takes for the doctors to do their work.
The dentist. Like dentists everywhere, she used novocaine to deaden the teeth for work. What caught our attention was the speed at which it took effect. She gave the shot, rubbed the spot where the shot went in for a few seconds, and the area was just as numb as it would be in the States. However, in the States, the dentist will give the shots, then go work on another patient for maybe 15-20 minutes while you sit in the chair dreading what he is going to do to you. He will come back a few times and poke you with something sharp to see if the area is numb, and go back and work on another patient (or go do something else), and then he will come back to work on you. After he is done, it takes a day for the novocaine to wear away.
However, here the novocaine takes effect almost immediately while the dentist is sitting beside you, and it wears off within a few hours.
It appears to me, and maybe I am naturally suspicions, that the novocaine in the States is intentionally slow acting, so the dentist can work on two or more patients at a time while making each feel he is getting the dentist's full attention.
In addition, the dentist office had only two people in it, the dentist and the assistant. Thus, the dentist was able to give the patient complete attention until the job was over, without having to rush to the other room to check another patient. Staff expense is low, so the costs can be kept down. The dental lab is next door, which is operated by a man and his wife. They do first class work, and the owner comes over and look at the dental work to see how it fits. If it does not fit properly, he or the dentist's assistant takes take it back and fixes it right then. We had better than a year's worth of work done in less than three weeks.
Can we help
If anyone is interested in a trip to Brazil for medical or dental work, we can arrange for excellent medical and dental care in Brazil. That care will be as good as any place in the world. We can also arrange for translators, lodging and transportation (we urge any going there to get international driver's licence, which we will do if we come down again).
Fall is here in Brazil, with winter on its way. The rainy season is about over, and the temperature is quite mild, with beautiful blue skies. I am assured it gets cold here during the winter, probably about 50. It is nice here now, but wet, 65-80. (April 26, 2003, a few days later.) The rainy season is now over, leaving the skies very beautiful and the nights extremely lovely. The Southern Cross is very visible during this time of the year. Summer in this area, however, is also very mild because of the high elevation. Anapolis is only about 90 minutes from Brasilia, which has about the same climate.
We checked in DC about 6:45 Wednesday evening, April 3. The flight left at 9:30. We arrived in Sao Paulo 6:30 AM our time, losing 2 hours, making it 8:30 AM their time. Our flight to Goiania was to leave at 6 PM (9.5 hour layover in a boring airport). Our flight had mechanical difficulties, so we had another 1.5 hour delay. Once we got off the ground, we made it to Goiania in about 80 minutes, getting here about 9 PM their time, 7 PM our time24 hours to get here from the time we checked in DC. The flight to Sao Palo had about 20 seats empty out of 140.
It was the end of the rainy season when we arrived in Brazil, and it was raining like crazy as Bettie's brother in law drove us from the airport in Goiania to Anapolis where Bettie's sister lives. We were also met at the Goiania airport by Fay, the exchange student who was living with Bettie when we married, and her mother. It was some trip.
There has been a tremendous amount of words spoken and ink spilt talking about "homeland security", and "Airport Security". Those words have probably made folks as cautious as we were about flying. Let me tell of our experience.
They have the new "homeland security" guards everywhere, dressed in matching white shirts. However, for the life of me, I do not know what in the world they do, for we saw no activity out of them. All they did was ask to see our passports as we boarded, which we had already shown 4 or 5 times to, it seemed like, everyone, and even another time to an airline employee as we boarded.
We had to show the passports at the end of the roped area leading to the ticket counter; we had to show them when we checked in; we had to show them when we went through the security check as we went to the gate; we had to show them at the check-in counter at the gate; we had to show them to the "homeland security" guards, and, finally, we had to show them to the lady who took our tickets. I have no problem showing passports, but the "homeland security" guards were being paid, I am sure, good money to do nothing but duplicate what had already been done 4 times by the airline.
We waited at the boarding gate for probably 90 minutes. While there, at least four "homeland security" guards sat around talking, seeming oblivious to all around them. From what we saw, they worked for about 20 minutes while the plane boarded. I know of no one who felt more secure by having those white shirts sitting around talking among themselves.
First, is Bush & Co. getting everyone used to seeing the Federal Police on every corner, and used to showing travel documents upon request to those federal police who are now called "homeland security guards"?
Second, the expense of the new "homeland security" measures is driving the airlines out of business. Is the federal government intent on nationalizing the airlines?
Third, obviously, I do not know what is going on behind the scenes in the power broker meetings. However, it appears that Bush & Co. is throwing bones to the "Religious Right", to keep them appeased as he moves with great speed to bring about the USSA (see Act III in this issue), or the New World Order promoted by his father when he was in office. Bush 2 is finishing the job Bush 1 left undone in the Middle-East. It appears that he is trying to finish the job his father left undone with the New World Order.
April 13, 2003
I guess I am a frustrated Baptist Preacher, but anyone who believes the Bible should be frustrated.
I just returned from a "Church" service here in Brazil, where a woman did everything except the actual preaching. Maybe a justification for women violating the word of God is "She is the worship leader", or she desires to see people come to Christ. But does the end justify the violation of Scripture?
However, the situation in the States is just as bad, if not worseI know of churches that take an adamant stand against women speaking in the "worship service" (1 Cor. 14:34), yet the same churches will refuse to teach that women are to stay at home according to Titus 2:5.
Then we have men trying to lead in Christian ministries who almost totally ignore their family responsibilities. While researching for our book on second marriages, I encountered this statement: " My ministry to my wife qualifies me for other ministry. God is rational. I am committed to her and our relationship". (Stuart Scott, The Exemplary Husband, p. 114. Focus Publishing, Inc, Bemidji, MN.) Clearly, increasing a husband's love for his wife must be a major goal after his relationship to God. In other words, it is a man's family life that qualifies him for the Christian ministry. If his family life is a failure, he is disqualified from the Lord's ministry. (1 Tim. 3, Titus 1.)
Here are some pictures of a typical street scene. The streets are shared with men pulling carts, horse drawn carts, bicycles, motor cycles of all sizes, shapes and descriptions, small cars, and trucks of all sizes. Diesel pickups and trucks of all sizes are far more common here than in the States. Diesel fuel is much cheaper than either gasoline or alcohol, so anyone who can afford a diesel, new or used, has one.
As we were walking down the street, a car passed us, and a passenger yelled out the window: "You are welcome here", evidently in response to the "You are not welcome here" taking place in Europe. Also while in a small shopping mall, a vender said, "Welcome".
The streets, (April 18, 2003)
"Good Friday" here is celebrated more than any other "holiday". Everything is closed except a few gas stations, drug stores and grocery stores. The city is locked up, and the streets deserted. I understand that on Easter Sunday, business will be back to pretty much normal. (It was not back to normal, but a lot more normal than was "Good Friday". To me, I am seeing the effects of Romanism, the official religion of this nation. They celebrate the death of Christ, and try to leave Him dead on the cross, which, in my opinion, leaves the "vicar" of Christ, the pope, with great power. If Christ is dead, then His representative on earth must make the decisions. (I must compliment Rome for trying to stand against the modern divorce trend. The Protestants sure are not trying to counter it. In fact, it seems that Christ's and Paul's teaching on divorce seems to be removed from most of the modern perversions of the Scripture.
I believe that any sane person who will read the KJV along beside a modern version cannot fail but see how the new versions have changed doctrine by simply changing a few words, which may be why the modern versions are so popular they offer a more non-offensive "faith".
Back Home Again
We were privileged to be on a couple of talk shows before we left, and one video taping. Mr. Canfield, who is on Christian Literature World's (Sovereign Grace and CLW are the same; www.clw.com) mailing list, saw my new book in the CLW catalogue. He ordered one. After having read it, he put John Anderson (whose talk show he had been on several times) on to it. John Anderson then had me on for two one hour segments. John Anderson and Tom Valentine "work together", and Tom Valentine had me on for one two hour segment and then after we returned from Brazil, another one hour segment.
The video is "1948, Countdown to Nowhere", a video produced by Lighthouse Productions <http://www.lighthouseproductionsllc.com>, with the book, Countdown to Nowhere by Don Preston. The cost of both is $24.95 plus shipping. Visa/Master accepted. (1 866 669 9600) You would certainly find it interesting.
The 3 radio interviews are archived, and can be listened to over the computer. Check through the Lighthouse web site.
The Lord has opened some doors for good contacts in the DC area (even some Muslim citizens of Saudi Arabia) who are very familiar with the situation in the Middle Eastthat is, Israel's efforts, with US and Christian financing, to expunge all Christians from the nation Israel, as well as Israel's war against all non-Israelis, e.g., there were 48,000 Christian families in Israel in 1948; through harassment by the Israeli government, there are now only about 8,000 families, and any "preaching of the gospel" is as illegal there as it is in Muslim countries. We have certainly had some interesting conversations. Bettie's son, David, told us that he heard a "Christian" radio program raising money to finance Jewish families' immigration to Israel. If you will notice, there is no mention of raising money to preach the gospel of Christ there. (When on the road, I listen to the "G. Gorden Liddy Show" in the mornings, primarily for his analysis of the news. [Being close to DC, we get all of those talk shows aimed for the DC people.] I heard him clearly tell a caller that a Jew is one who is born to a Jewish mother or who has converted to that religion, which is what the Israeli Public Relations department says. Thus, Jew has nothing to do with the Word of God, other than the nameit is no more than a strong anti-Biblical religion. Yet Christians are supporting and financing that anti-Christ religion.)
We are working toward and looking forward to the "Marriage is for Families" conference with Pastor John Lewis in southern Indiana. We sure would like to see you there.
By His Sovereign Grace Alone,
By Samuel L. Blumenfeld
During the past few years much has been written aoubt the breakdown of the American family. Unwed motherhood, single-parent families on welfare, rampant divorce, child abuse, and spouse abuse have just about put the American family on the endangered species list. Even the word family itself is undergoing redefinition. But in the midst of all of this gloom about the increase in dysfunctional families, a brand new model of a happy family is emerging in America. In fact, one of the most positive developments of the home school movement is the emergence of a new family lifestyle centered on child-rearing and education.
In the home schooling family, education becomes the cement of family togetherness, a dynamic kind of togetherness that adds a new intellectual, spiritual, and cultural dimension to family life. Because the emphasis is on knowledge and the development of creative and productive skills, the family becomes a rich source of intellectual discussion and experience.
In home schooling, the family becomes a place where everyone learns. The younger children learn by hearing and seeing the older children being taught. And parents learn by teaching their own children subject matter that they may have forgotten or may never have learned. In a way, home schooling parents learn more than the children because they are in a position to expand their knowledge from a broader base that includes life's experiences.
The new family lifestyle is shaped by the fact that parents and children get to know one another very well. They spend more time together; they do more things together; and they become aware of each family member's idiosyncrasies, talents, and difficulties. The children, because of all the direct attention they get from their parents, develop a greater sense of emotional security and a knowledge that they are especially loved and appreciated because Mom and Dad are willing to devote so much time to them. Thus, family bonding is stronger and deeper than in the non-home schooling family.
Maintaining Family Ties
When the children grow up and leave home, family ties remain as strong as ever, because they are based on the special bonding that produces rich, lifelong friendships among siblings. And when home schooled children get married, they have a model of family life that permits them to duplicate what they enjoyed as children and to pass it on to their own children.
The importance of family ties cannot be overestimated. We all know of adopted children who spend years trying to find their biological parents. And we've seen on television some of these emotional reunions in which mother and child who haven't known or seen each other in twenty or thirty years embrace each other in a way that seems uncanny. The yearning to be connected with one's blood relatives is the same yearning that connects us to the human race. Some children, abandoned at birth on a church doorstep or in a garbage can, will in adult life go to great lengths to find some knowledge of the mother who abandoned them. What a scar such abandonment leaves on the psyche of the child who becomes, as an adult, so obsessed with his origin!
That is why the home school family lifestyle represents such a powerful force, for it is a family lifestyle that is child-centered and child loving. Bringing up kids becomes the focal point of family life, and that is why the children are so well adjusted and emotionally secure. Home schoolers tend to enjoy kids and want to have many of them, because each act of creation produces a new human being who adds joy to the family. When a new son or daughter or sister or brother enters the family, that gives each family member an additional blood relative with whom to bond and share life's experiences.
What Home Schooling Usually Prevents
Home schooling families seldom experience the traumas of teenage rebellion which occur when children develop values that conflict with the values of their parents. In home schooling, parents transfer their values to their children. In public schools, the values of that institution tend to replace the values taught at home, and today's public schools place great emphasis on changing children's values to conform to the values of the school. Social scientist Professor Benjamin Bloom of the University of Chicago made that objective very clear in his book, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives first published in 1958. He wrote:
By educational objectives, we mean explicit formulations of the ways in which students are expected to be changed by the educative process. That is, the ways in which they will change in their thinking, their feelings, and their actions....
The evidence points out convincingly to the fact that age is a factor operating against attempts to effect a complete or thorough-going reorganization of of attitudes and values....
The evidence collected thus far suggests that a single hour of classroom activity under certain conditions may bring about a major reorganization of cognitive as well as affective behaviors. We are of the opinion that this will prove to be a most fruitful area of research in connection with the affective domain.
In other words, the educators have made it very clear that their goal is to "effect a complete and thoroughgoing reorganization of attitudes and values" that the kids bring from home. Apparently, the educators disapprove of the attitudes and values that children acquire from their parents. And so, what the educators do is sow the seeds of rebellion and familial conflict.
Fortunately, the home schooling family need not worry about conflicting values which lead to teenage rebellion. The new family lifestyle is one of harmony and basic agreement between parents and children when it comes to values. This is particularly true among religious families where daily devotions and Bible readings create a strong spiritual unity among parents and children alike. In such families, where according to the orthodox tradition, the father is the spiritual leader of the family, his authority is respected because it relies on God for its source.
Obviously, therefore, the kind of lifestyle a home schooling family will have will depend greatly on its philosophical foundations. But all home schooling families have several things in common. The most important thing of all is that the home schooling family is master of its own time. The children of the family are no longer captives of the state, confined in the school during the best hours of the day, requiring the family to plan its activities in accordance with the school's schedule. And much of that time in school is spent being dumbed down, not educated.
Freedom and Independence
Being free to determine how one is going to spend the day gives home schoolers an exhilarating sense of freedom and independence. The family, not the state, decides how to spend its time. It can actually be spent learning and developing one's intellect. Thus, the emotional and psychological benefits of declaring one's own independence from the state school gives the family an understanding of what freedom is all about. Freedom means being free of government coercion. That is the freedom that the Founding Fathers fought to obtain for all Americans. To them, the purpose of government was
to secure the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans.
Freedom also provides economic benefits for the family. For example, home schoolers can take advantage of the off-hours at skating rinks, or will get a better rate from a music teacher who might otherwise not have students until they get home from school. In addition, the home schooled children have more energy for these activities. They are not exhausted and listless because of a day of confinement in the suffocating atmosphere of the public school. On the other hand, public schoolers, if they are involved in extracurricular activities, must do the work in the late afternoon when their energies and enthusiasm are not at their highest. The best hours of the day are spent in the drudgery of the classroom, and the worst hours of the day are given over to what children really like doing. All of that is changed in home schooling. The academic work is usually completed by noon and the rest of the day can be spent in whatever activities the family wants to engage. Sometimes, if a morning field trip has been planned, the academics can be done at some other time. Also, the family can take advantage of off-season vacations or travel, thus avoiding crowds and saving money. The family goes on vacation or takes trips when Dad is free, not when school is closed. The calendar revolves around the family's needs, not the school's schedule.
Another important aspect of the home schooling family's lifestyle is its social life. In the family committed to public schooling, parents tend to develop their own social lives, and the kids through school friendships and activities tend to develop social lives of their own. This divides the family in a way that can cause serious problems. Kids can get into a great deal of trouble because of peer pressure in the school, and parents are often kept in the dark about what their children are really up to with their friends. Many children begin to develop intense friendships, some creating their own secret language in order to hide from their parents what they are doing with their friends, particularly of the opposite sex. Dating can lead to premarital sex, which may lead to unwanted pregnancies, diseases, abortions, unwed teenage motherhood, emotional traumas, jealousies, and physical abuse. The parents are usually the last to know that their son or daughter is in deep trouble. Children may get involved with drugs or gangs, which is the kind of desperate social life that has claimed the lives and souls of many youngsters.
In contrast, the social life of the home schooling family is positive and delightful. It is not a divided social life, but one built around a united family. Home schooling parents join support groups or develop friendships with other home schooling parents, and the kids are always there unless they are engaged in some activity with other home schoolers. The kids have no secrets to hide from their parents, and the parents" lives are pretty open to the kids. Family members are not outside the family, each going in his own direction. Dating is discouraged as an open invitation to dangerous temptation; courtship is encouraged and parents try to match up their kids with other home schooled kids. Innocence is often maintained for as long as the children are under their parents' care and protection. The public schooler, on the other hand, is introduced to sex education in the preteen years. And when one examines the dysfunctional family, it becomes obvious that premarital sex is one of the premier causes of social trauma.
This doesn't mean that home schooled children never get into trouble. What it does mean is that home schoolers get into much less trouble than their public school counterparts because of the strong moral teaching at home. Home schoolers tend to be busy, creative, productive, independent self-starters with little interest in the kind of temptations that public schoolers are confronted with every day in school or on the bus. Public schoolers, being among a couple of hundred kids daily, away from parental supervision, and without much moral guidance from the educators, can easily fall prey to the seductive pressures of their friends.
Thus, the lifestyle of the home school family gives a sense of security and togetherness that keeps the corruption, temptations, and evils of the greater culture at bay. Parents decide what the children will watch on television, and usually the less TV the better. There are plenty of good videos that parents can get for their kids. This produces a healthy moral environment in which parents enjoy their responsibilities as parents, and children enjoy the safety and warmth of a truly rich and fulfilling family life.
Homeschooling also encourages the development of family enterprises in which all members can take part. Many home schooling families have built home businesses that have helped make their families economically selfsufficient. This is important during a time of dynamic economic change in America. Home schoolers are in a good position to take advantage of all the new opportunities that are being created by the new technology. They can use their time to develop whatever interests them. Many pioneering home school families have become successful booksellers, magazine publishers, home school program developers, clothing designers, software developers, etc.
All in all, the new family lifestyle that home schooling has created is the most positive social development in America today. The rest of America can learn much from this healthy phenomenon, which a family can enjoy only when it rejects government schooling and discovers the greater moral, spiritual, and psychological benefits of home schooling.
Samuel L. Blumenfeld is the leader in U S. homeschooling and phonics, and he has lectured on these subjects from coast to coast and abroad. State school authorities once called him statist educations "public enemy number 1."
© Samuel L. Blumenfeld, 1997 From the Book Homeschooling: A parents' Guide to Teaching Children. © Chalcedon Report, March 1998. (P.O. Box 158, Vallecito, CA 95251) Used by permission. (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.chalcedon.edu
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