The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand

Vol. XIII, Num. 11. Summer, 1999

Rightly (Wrongly) Dividing the Word of Truth

The New Covenant (Greater than Solomon)

Coverture Marriage Vows

Book Review: Larry Crabb's Gospel

Restitution (Mat. 5:38-42)

Christian Feminism

Generally, feminism means the advocacy of women's rights to full citizenship--that is, political, economic, and social equality with men. Feminism encompasses some widely differing views, however, including those which advocate female separatism...

Despite differences, most feminists seek equal economic rights; support reproductive rights, including the right to abortion; criticize traditional definitions of gender roles; and favor raising children of both genders for similar public achievements and domestic responsibilities. Many wish to reform language so that it does not equate man with humanity. Many also campaign vigorously against violence against women (wife battering, rape) and against the denigration of women in the media. (Multimedia encyclopedia, 1992 edition.)

"Christian Feminism" is revealed with the question, "Who will control the church and family? Will they be controlled by husbands and fathers or by wives and mothers?"


Obviously, husbands and fathers must take into serious consideration what is best for their families in all decisions, not just in the area of worship. The question is, who makes the final decision, and why is it made?

Let me open with an overview of the importance of godly women and mothers in Scripture:

First, one cannot overlook Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel. Moses' sister, Meriam, not only rescued him from death, but lead the song of deliverance. (She also acquired leprosy when she undermined Moses' authority.) Deborah worked deliverance in Israel. The prayers of Samuel's mother resulted in the birth of Samuel. Sisera, an enemy of God's people, was delivered into the hands of Jael. (Judges 4.)

The very terms by which woman is named in the Old Testament are significant. If the man is Ish, his wife is Ishah, simply his equal; if the husband is Gever, the ruler, the woman is, in her own domain, Gevirah and Gevereth, the mistress (as frequently in the history of Sarah and in other passages), or else the dweller at home (Nevath bayith, Psalm 68:12).1 (1 Similar expressions are Sarah and Shiddah, both from roots meaning to rule... (Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Life, p 141.)

Second, the Proverbs 31 woman commanded respect while exercising great authority, industry and wise speech. No doubt from all outward appearances, she seemed to be very strong and independent, yet she was under her husband's authority.

Third, Romans 16:1, 27, Phoebe was, evidently, a deaconess--that is, a servant of the church--and was quite active in the local church. She seems to have been a rich and generous woman, and served the church by relieving the poor from her own personal funds; visiting the poor, sick and afflicted; willingly entertaining strangers in her home and opening her home to the saints. She "was exceeding serviceable to that church." (RWP, PNT, Gill, Family, Online Bible.) Notice that she was important enough in her Christian activity that Paul told them to assist her in whatever business she hath need of you.

Fourth, Romans 16:3, Perscilla and Aquila--this man and his wife helped Paul in spreading the gospel, and evidently she was instrumental in the conversion of many souls. Moreover, this man and his wife not only privately instructed new converts in the faith, they also instructed Paul in the faith. (Acts 18:24-26, 1 Cor. 16:19.)

Fifth, Romans 16:6, Marry worked hard, and was a great help to Paul in furthering the gospel.

Sixth, Lydia was a good business woman, and led her family in "Christian conversion." She also opened her house to the church. (Acts 16:14, 40--she, not her husband, is mentioned as opening her home.)

Seventh, Dorcas was a woman full of good works for the kingdom of God. (Acts 9:36ff.)

Eight, Philip, the evangelist, had for daughters which did prophesy. (Acts 21:8, 9.) According to Robertson:

{Virgins which did prophesy} (paryenoi profhteusai). Not necessarily an "order" of virgins, but Philip had the honour of having in his home four virgin daughters with the gift of prophecy which was not necessarily predicting events, though that was done as by Agabus here. It was more than ordinary preaching (cf. #19:6) and was put by Paul above the other gifts like tongues (#1Co 14:1-33). The prophecy of Joel (#Joel 2:28) about their sons and daughters prophesying is quoted by Peter and applied to the events on the day of Pentecost (#Ac 2:17). Paul in #1Co 11:5 gives directions about praying and prophesying by the women (apparently in public worship) with the head uncovered and sharply requires the head covering, though not forbidding the praying and prophesying. With this must be compared his demand for silence by the women in #1Co 14:34-40; 1Ti 2:8-15 which it is not easy to reconcile. One wonders if there was not something known to Paul about special conditions in Corinth and Ephesus that he has not told. There was also Anna the prophetess in the temple (#Lu 2:36) besides the inspired hymns of Elizabeth (#Lu 1:42-45) and of Mary (#Lu 1:46-55). At any rate there was no order of women prophets or official ministers. There were Old Testament prophetesses like Miriam, Deborah, Huldah. Today in our Sunday schools the women do most of the actual teaching. The whole problem is difficult and calls for restraint and reverence. One thing is certain and that is that Luke appreciated the services of women for Christ as is shown often in his writings (#Lu 8:1-3, for instance) before this incident. (Robertson's Word Pictures, RWP, Online Bible.)

Had four daughters...which did prophesy. Compare #Ac 2:17. The prophetic spirit in either the Old or New Testament is not confined to a single sex. Deborah [#Jud 4:4], and Huldah [#2Ki 22:14 2Ch 34:22] are Old Testament examples, and in the New Testament, Elizabeth [#Lu 1:41,42], Mary [#Lu 1:46-55], Anna [#Lu 2:36], and the daughters of Philip are instances. (PNT, Online Bible.)

which did prophesy; not explain and interpret Scripture, or preach in public assemblies; for these were not allowed women, neither in the Jewish synagogues, nor in Christian assemblies; but they were endowed with a gift of foretelling future events, as was promised such should have in Gospel times, #Joe 2:28. (Gill, Online Bible. See Geneva also.)

Prophecy [4394; Acts 21:9, prophecy is 4395. Both are from a common root, 4396] is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8 as failing. Prophecy, i.e., foretelling future events by divine inspiration, along with tongues and knowledge gained by prophesying concerning future events, all passed away with the completion of God's word (which is not the subject of this present study).

Prophesy could also be understood in the sense of Revelation 19:10, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Every Christian is required to have this spirit of prophecy.

Prophecy thus includes preaching/teaching God's word, presenting the saving gospel of Christ and predicting future events under divine inspiration (this obviously has passed away, e.g., "88 reasons why Jesus will come in 1988"; see Deut. 13 & 18:20ff.).

The context of Philip's daughters implies that they, as prophets, divinely foretold future events because the record goes on to tell of Agabus who foretold the events that would befall Paul, 21:10ff. In other words, divinely foretelling future events was Scripturally done by both men and women. However, such divine inspiration has passed away, except for the testimony of Jesus--repent and believe the gospel of Christ, and thou shalt be saved. (Mk. 1:15, Rom. 10:13, 14, &c.)

We do know, however, theat Philip's daughters did not preach/teach Scripture in the Christian assembly. They did not take the authority in their home nor in their Christian assembly.

We must conclude our lengthy opening remarks by saying that throughout Scripture, godly women, both single and married, have played important roles in the kingdom of God and its work on this earth, including spreading the gospel. (Also, please review TBE, 9/97, "A Woman's Value." In her God-ordained role, she is beyond any human value. The mailing is posted on our web site. I have hard copies available.)

So, please understand that the following is not meant to downplay the importance of women in God's Kingdom Work. However, it is meant to call attention to the fact that the Feminist movement has made inroads into the Christian family and the church, quite contrary to the word of God. So some, both women and men, may find the following comments quite disconcerting -- they may not be any better received today than they were when Archibald Thomas Robertson made comment, quoted below, in 1931.

However, these Examiner articles have never been to make folks, including myself, feel good about self nor about where we are in our Christian lives. More often than not, these articles point out how far society, even Christian society, has moved from the word of God. The move has not only taken place in practice, but has taken place in our emotions to where we emotionally resist God's instructions, e.g., "I am confident in my heart that what Paul said somehow does not wholly apply now."


"Feminism" would be defined as a woman's movement that seeks "equal rights" with men in every area, particularly in the home and church and including the work place. However, someone must have the final authority. Will it be the man or woman? Paul spoke to this situation several times, e.g.:

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. (1 Cor. 14:34.)

{Keep silence in the churches} (en taiv ekklhsiaiv sigatwsan). The same verb used about the disorders caused by speakers in tongues (verse #28) and prophets (#30). For some reason some of the women were creating disturbance in the public worship by their dress (#11:2-16) and now by their speech. There is no doubt at all as to Paul's meaning here. In church the women are not allowed to speak (lalein) nor even to ask questions. They are to do that {at home} (en oikw). He calls it a shame (aiscron) as in #11:6 (cf. #Eph 5:12; Tit 1:11). Certainly women are still in subjection (upotassesywsan) to their husbands (or ought to be). But somehow modern Christians have concluded that Paul's commands on this subject, even #1Ti 2:12, were meant for specific conditions that do not apply wholly now. Women do most of the teaching in our Sunday schools today. It is not easy to draw the line. The daughters of Philip were prophetesses. It seems clear that we need to be patient with each other as we try to understand Paul's real meaning here. (Emp. added. RWP, Online Bible.)

Robertson points out that in his day 70 years ago, Paul's words were being dismissed. So the challenge by Christian Feminists against things that might hinder their usurping authority (1 Tim. 2:12) has been around for years. I must also agree with Robertson that we do not understand all that was involved in Paul's words (cf., 2 Pet. 3:16), so what follows probably overlooks some things. At the risk of being accused of "bashing" women, I will proceed with the word of God.

We will point out where we are today compared to the word of God; we will consider comments by godly men of the past; then we will point out how we got here, and what might be done about it.

Where are we?

Speaking with a pastor some time ago, he pointed out that he was facing a problem. While men liked his preaching/teaching and had even invited him to hold a Bible study during their break time at work in a local factory, the wives did not. So the wives were pressing their husbands to go elsewhere where they could be "fed" and "comfortable." He told me of some plans he had to deal with the foreseen problem.

No doubt that pastor is not unique in the problem. Pastors of sound, Bible preaching churches are facing a distressing challenge: The wives in Christian families are making the decisions as to where the family will go to "worship" and "serve" the Lord. Wives are taking over the religious authority in Christian families. (Having worked in bus ministries for many years, I have heard more than a few unsaved husbands say that they leave "religion" up to their wives. That now seems to be a prevalent attitude among Christian families.)

There are pastors who realize the social climate among Christian families. The result is that churches catering to that "needs" of the wives to "feel fed" and emotionally involved are gaining in numbers. And then onlookers say, "My! that church sure has God's blessing upon it, for it is gaining large numbers of people."


First, not long ago at a parents' meeting where our daughter attends a Christian school, another parent told me of a good friend of his who attends a church in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Though that church has been without a pastor for well over a year, it is experiencing great numerical growth. They have an hour or so of music interspersed with personal testimonies. The increased attendance has caused them to build. The pastor of the school commented to me that we both can remember when churches were built upon sound and serious expositions of God's word.

Second, I attended a funeral of a pastor's wife's mother at a church that had formally been a small very rural Baptist Church. The small church changed its name and changed its emphases from preaching God's word to music, and has had to build three times in the last few years to accommodate the increased attendance. They now have 45-60 minutes of uplifting music, and a short sermonett of 15 or so minutes. (I personally know of other formerly sound Baptist churches that have done the same thing in order to hold and increase their attendance. Though in the past they preached against such things, they now promote "Contemporary Christian" music, whatever that might be. And the attendance increases.)

Third, a local United Methodist Church is packing out its new building with a 45 minute music service and a 15 minute devotional message. They are already considering expanding their new building (less than two years old) to accommodate the increased attendance of young couples.

Those who remember through WWII will admit that the women going into the factories and becoming self-sufficient was a devastating blow against the Christian family. The result was an overwhelming independent spirit among women, including Christian women. That spirit is readily apparent in the modern "Feminist" movement. We are, accordingly, in the final death throws of a once Christian society, for the Christian foundation that was built upon sound instruction in the word of God is gone. Scripturally, the foundation of a Godly, free society is in the godly family where husbands rule well their own homes. (1 Tim. 3, Titus 1:6-16. See Edersheim's Sketches of Jewish Life below.)

Ruleth well his own house (1 Tim. 3:4) includes the husband providing for his own house (1 Tim. 4:8), loving his wife evan as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it (Eph. 5:25), loving his wife as his own body (v. 28) and establishing the "religion" of his family based upon the word of God (1 Tim. 2:12-14). It includes seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, (Mat. 6:33).

Though "somehow modern Christians have concluded that Paul's commands on this subject, even 1Ti 2:12, were meant for specific conditions that do not apply wholly now", God's word is specific:

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (Eph. 5.)

Note that Christ's headship over the church is connected to the husband's headship in his home. When one is compromised, so is the other. Also note that Ephesians 5:24 is given before v. 25, Husbands, love your wives...

18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. (Col. 3. See also Titus 2:5.)

The command to the wife is given before the command to the husband; Moreover, the husband is forbidden to be bitter against his wife if she fails to submit to him. (See also v. 22.)

1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1 Pet 3.)

Note: 1) the wife is told to be in subjection to her own husband, saved or unsaved, for it says, if any husband obey not the word. 2) The hope is that the husband will be won over to obey the word through the wife's chase conversation, i.e., godly life and attitude of the meek and quiet spirit. 3) the subjection and the meek and quiet spirit is a sign of the wife's trust in God to do what she cannot do, i.e., win her husband to obedience to the word, v. 5. (Obviously, subjection is within the bounds of God's word: "Woman does not lose her rational power of thought and responsibility by abiding in the place assigned her by the gospel; and she also has a right to prove all things--only in a manner suited to her position--in order that she may hold fast that which is good, and reject what is otherwise." Pastoral Epistles, by Patrick Fairbairn, 127. T & T Clark. 1874. Reprint by Klock & Klock. 1980.) 4) Meekness is required of all people, particularly of those in authority, if we expect to see God work his repentance in the hearts of others. (2 Tim. 2:25.)

Various comments on 1 Corinthians 14:34:

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. (Saith the law --- see Gen. 3:16, Num. 30 [the husband had the final say up to a certain point], Es. 1:20.)

The rule is positive, explicit, and universal. There is no ambiguity in the expressions; and there can be no difference of opinion, one would suppose, in regard to their meaning. ... There is, therefore, no inconsistency between the argument in chap. xi. and the statement here; and the force of the whole is, that on every consideration it was improper, and to be expressly prohibited, for women to conduct the devotions of the church. It does not refer to those only who claimed to be inspired, but to all; it does not refer merely to acts of public preaching, but to all acts of speaking, or even asking questions, when the church is assembled for public worship. No rule in the New Testament is more positive than this; and however plausible may be the reasons which may be urged for disregarding it, and for suffering women to take part in conducting public worship, yet the authority of the apostle Paul is positive, and his meaning cannot be mistaken; comp. 1 Tim. ii. 11, 12. (Barnes' Notes, 1 Cor. p. 274, 275. 1868. Reprint by Baker Book House.)

... If connected with v. 34, this passage is parallel to 11, 16, where the custom of the churches in reference to the deportment of women in public is appealed to as authoritative. The sense is thus pertinent and good. 'As is the case in all other Christian churches, let your women keep silence in the public assemblies.' The fact that in no Christian church was public speaking permitted to women was itself a strong proof that it was unchristian, i.e. contrary to the spirit of Christianity. Paul, however, adds to the prohibition the weight of apostolic authority, and not of that only but also the authority of reason and of Scripture. It is not permitted to them to speak. The speaking intended is public speaking, and especially in the church. In the Old Testament it had been predicted that "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy;" a prediction which the apostle Peter quotes as verified on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, 17; and in Acts 21, 9 mention is made of four daughters of Philip who prophesied. The apostle himself seems to take for granted, in 11, 5, that women might received and exercise the gift of prophecy. It is therefore only the public exercise of the gift that is prohibited. The rational ground for this prohibition is that it is contrary to the relation of subordination in which the woman stands to the man that she appear as a public teacher. Both the Jews and Greeks adopted the same rule; and therefore the custom, which the Corinthians seemed disposed to introduce, was contrary to established usage. The scriptural ground is expressed in the worlds as also saith the law, i.e. the will of God as made known in the New Testament, the doctrine that women should be in subjection is clearly revealed. (An Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Charles Hodge [1797-1878], 304, 305. Eerdmens.)

[A word about custom.] Of all qualities those most desired in woman were meekness, modesty, and shamefacedness. Indeed, brawling, gossip in the streets, and immodest behavior in public were sufficient grounds for divorce. Of course, Jewish women would never have attempted "teaching" in the synagogue, where they occupied a place separate from the men -- for Rabbinical study, however valued for the male sex, was disapproved of in the case of women. Yet this direction of St. Paul (1 Timothy 2:12): I suffer not a woman to usurp authority over the man" findeth some kind of parallel in the Rabbinical saying: "Whoever allows himself to be ruled by his wife, shall call out, and no one will make answer to him." (Sketches of Jewish Life, Alfred Edersheim [1825-1899], 146.)

34. (#1Ti 2:11,12). For women to speak in public would be an act of independence, as if they were not subject to their husbands (compare #1Co 11:3 Eph 5:22 Tit 2:5 1Pe 3:1). For "under obedience, " translate, "in subjection " or "submission, " as the Greek is translated (#Eph 5:21,22,24).

the law--a term applied to the whole Old Testament; here, #Ge 3:16. (JFB, Online Bible.)

But they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. In #Ge 3:16, "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee". By this the apostle would signify, that the reason why women are not to speak in the church, or to preach and teach publicly, or be concerned in the ministerial function, is, because this is an act of power, and authority; of rule and government, and so contrary to that subjection which God in his law requires of women unto men. The extraordinary instances of Deborah, Huldah, and Anna, must not be drawn into a rule or example in such cases. (John Gill [1696-1771], Online Bible.)

And what more indecent than for a woman to quit her rank, renounce the subordination of her sex, or do what in common account had such aspect and appearance? Note, Our spirit and conduct should be suitable to our rank. The natural distinctions God has made, we should observe. Those he has placed in subjection to others should not set themselves on a level, nor affect or assume superiority. The woman was made subject to the man, and she should keep her station and be content with it. For this reason women must be silent in the churches, not set up for teachers; for this is setting up for superiority over the man. (Matthew Henry [1662-1714], Online Bible.)

... In the Old Testament it had been predicted that "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy;" a prediction which the apostle Peter quotes as verified on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, 17; and in Acts 21, 9 mention is made of four daughters of Philip who prophesied. The apostle himself seems to take for granted, in 11, 5, that women might received and exercise the gift of prophecy. It is therefore only the public exercise of the gift that is prohibited. The rational ground for this prohibition is that it is contrary to the relation of subordination in which the woman stands to the man that she appear as a public teacher. Both the Jews and Greeks adopted the same rule; and therefore the custom, which the Corinthians seemed disposed to introduce, was contrary to established usage. The scriptural ground is expressed in the worlds as also saith the law, i.e. the will of God as made known in the New Testament, the doctrine that women should be in subjection is clearly revealed. (1 Cor. 14:An Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Charles Hodge [1797-1878], 304, 305. Eerdmens.)

Yes, the above are quotes from the past, made by men totally out of touch with modern times and the modern social temper, but let me ask: Has society improved in godliness in the last 100-200 years? I realize that Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14, is talking about the confusion caused by Christian women speaking in "tongues" in the Christian assembly, but note what he said--the wife is, by law, commanded to learn basically from her husband.

Thus when the Christian wife forces her will in any area (we expect pagan wives to do that, because the carnal mind is enmity against God, Rom. 8:7), it is "is an act of power, and authority; of rule and government, and so contrary to that subjection which God in his law requires of women unto men." It moves her outside of her God-ordained place, and usurps her husband's government from over his family. (Several years ago I was told by another pastor, who had first hand knowledge, of a pastor's wife who taught the ladies of her husband's church how to get what they wanted from their husbands. Obviously, all wives know this, but the point is that the women of the church were being "taught" how to do that.)

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. (1 Tim. 2:12.)

Nor to usurp authority; as she would should she undertake publicly to teach. It is the revealed will of God that public religious teachers should be men, not women. He has allotted to them different spheres of action, and the perfection of each consists not in aspiring or submitting to occupy the place of the other, but in performing their own appropriate duties. (Family Commentary, Online Bible.)

Note Thayer's definition of usurp authority:

1) one who with his own hands kills another or himself 2) one who acts on his own authority, autocratic 3) an absolute master 4) to govern, exercise dominion over one (usurp authority is only used one time in Scripture, and Thayer lists it under 4).

This passage, accordingly, forbids women from usurping men's place in the church, home and in society. Implied is that when a woman usurps authority, she strikes a death blow against that area with her own hands. (Look around: The results speak for themselves.)

By teaching in a public assembly, the congregation of the Lord, the woman usurps authority over the man, which is strictly forbidden her by God himself. (Family Commentary, Online Bible. Exception, Titus 2:4.) While women are commended for teaching their own children in the home, e.g., Timothy's mother and grandmother taught him, teaching the Bible in the church is an act of power and authority over men, a place forbidden to her, for it supposes the teacher to be superior in office and abilities. (Gill) "And yet all modern Christians allow women to teach Sunday school classes. One feels somehow that something is not expressed here to make it all clear." (RWP)

How did it happen?

When did the husband start to lose the governance of his family to his wife? What brought it about? We should ask, "What was the start of the Feminization of Christian America?" (The French Revolution gave Feminism a great boost in Europe.) Apparently, it started with the women's commendable efforts against drunkenness, which developed into women's suffrage and modern feminism . The cause against drunkenness in society was just, but the means used in that cause against drunkenness led to what we have today in feminism.

The unsettled nature of the frontier accounts in some part for this unique campaign against liquor. In developed sections of the world, society was better organized, and effective law enforcement protected the church and its ministers against disturbances. But in the wilderness, where society had not taken root, and was still fluid and unrestrained by agencies of law, the church was faced with the basic task of protecting itself for survival and self-respect. It set out to do for itself what others would not or could not do for it. Moreover, on this money-scarce frontier liquor was draining off much of the money not used for the necessities of life. This slowed development, including that of the church.

Following the clergy, the first among the laity to take up the banner of abstinence were the women, individually and then in organized crusades. Few took the arduous action of Carry Nation (1846-1911, ed.) and resorted to the hatchet, but many who had had difficulty keeping the pot boiling because the saloonkeeper beat the groceryman to the family wages became wandering, dedicated missionaries pleading for sobriety.

In time, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was organized. (The WCTU of the United States, was founded in 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio. It is an organization of women seeking to improve public morals, especially through abstinence from alcoholic beverages and narcotics. Ed.) The dry movement then took on numerous ramifications, particularly in politics. The movement was associated with, in order, the woman's rights movement resulting in woman suffrage, national prohibition, and the rise of gangsterism. Political parties were formed based on the issue, and in many sections, to this day, the lines are more closely drawn between Wets and Drys than between the Republicans and the Democrats.

At first the church congregations were inclined to bear with members whose thirst had been too much for them. It was the practice in many churches to administer correction which consisted in an acknowledgement of intemperance by the accused, whereupon the congregation would vote that the accused was censorable. Many churches would bear with members if it appeared they "were deceived or taken in," or if they promised "with the help of God to abstain for the future." There is record of one brother's bringing a complaint against himself. He expressed sorrow for his sin and stated that the Lord had pardoned him. The church followed the stated example of the Lord and permitted him to remain in fellowship.

As time went on, churches took an increasingly firm stand on drinking. Church minutes reveal expulsions for "drinking to excess," "for having been repeatedly Intoxicated with spiritous liquors," "for parting with his wife, getting drunk and dancing," "for drinking to excess and offering to fight.''14 (14 See Sweet, The Baptists, for reproduced church minutes showing numerous such examples.) Whiskey was responsible for the short duration of some memberships. For example, the minutes of one church reveal that "Elder R. G. Green joined by letter December 1838, and was excluded for drunkenness in February 1840.''15 (15 J. M. Carroll, History of the Texas Baptist [Dallas: Baptist Standard Publishing Company, 1923], p. 125.)

The Wets did not cork their bottles just because of the blast from the pulpit or the march of the "petticoat brigades," though none could ignore the concerted attempt to "dry up the country." About as much as they could do was to serve as examples for their cause, vote for it, and make jokes about the opposition.

For example, it was said of one candidate for political office that he would "belly up to the church and back up to the bar."

The drinking fraternity also enjoyed telling a story about a pious sister of the Anti-Saloon League who accosted a wobbly cowboy on the street, well along in his cups: "What are you going to do when you approach the Lord with whiskey on your breath?" she demanded, pointing a long finger under his nose.

The cowboy steadied himself for a moment, then said: "Lady, when I approach the Lord, I'm going to leave my breath here.''16 (16 Shine Philips, Big Spring [New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1945], p. 79.)

The imbibers had their laughs, but it became increasingly evident that the church's crusade against liquor was no joke.

(Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand. The Story of Frontier Religion, Ross Phares. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. First Bison Book printing, 97-101. 1971.)

In the United States, woman suffrage (the right to vote, ed.) began with a declaration of women's rights issued on July 19, 1848, by Mott, Stanton, and other feminists. The movement gained momentum with the formation in 1869 of the National Woman Suffrage Association, which sought woman suffrage through a constitutional amendment. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), worked closely with Susan B. Anthony for women's suffrage. Stanton and Mott dominated the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in July 1848. (Zane Reference Library, CD.)

The temperance movement was also closely tied with the labor movement:

Knights of Labor (1869) This organization was founded by Uriah S. Stephens. By the 1800s its membership was about 700,000, with Terence Powderly as its president. Men, women, blacks, whites, aliens, the well-educated, the illiterate, the skilled, agrarian workers, industrial workers, and clerks formed its 6000 local unions. Political goals, such as the graduated income tax, temperance, abolition of child labor, cooperatives, supplemented the usual economic demands for more pay, fewer hours, and other improvements in working conditions... (Ibid. It disintegrated in the violent public reaction against all organized labor caused by the Haymarket Riot of 1886.)

Prohibition, i.e., temperance required by law (18 Amendment, 1919), was "the product of a century-long reform movement. ... Prohibitionists ... argued that it was the government's responsibility to free citizens from the temptation of drink by barring its sale." (Multimedia Encyclopedia, v. 1. CD. Comment: Accordingly, should not the "gun control" crowd also be calling for "prohibition?" If it is the State's responsibility to control guns, is it not the State's responsibility to control liquor?) This idea says that it is the State's responsibility to see that women are equal with men in all areas of life.

Temperance certainly is a commendable goal. The problem, however, was that temperance was seen as a virtue apart from any Biblical foundation. (Acts 24:25, &c.) "Plato argues in the Republic that when reason rules the soul, as is its function, the soul is virtuous; as such, it possesses wisdom, bravery, temperance, and justice." (Zane) Thus the Christian readily sees the problem -- "when reason rules the soul," these commendable things take place. On the other hand, Christians must say that the "soul" is inherently and wickedly corrupt, so that only when the Spirit of God rules the "soul" through Christian conversion these commendable things take place. Plato's assumption rules today.


I heard an interview on Public Radio International some time ago. The woman being interviewed believed that as the "poor" and "downtrodden" studied the "classics," they would be raised out of their lowly conditions by their own "bootstraps." The first "classic" she had them study was Plato's Republic. Observe:

(23) I know now what I say seems intolerable to some, but I must act according to the reason of things, not to the whims of wishes. Let anyone who is angry at me tell me: Has not Socrates always been considered the wisest of all men and that even by the testimony of the Delphic demon who was, as it were, the prince of philosophers as well as the prince of demons? Let us see what laws Socrates appointed about chastity and what laws the Vandals, about whom I am speaking, decreed. Socrates said : 53 'Let no man have his own wife, for marriages should be common to all; for thus there will be greater harmony among the cities if all the men cohabit, without discrimination, with all the women: and all the women submit themselves to all the men, without discrimination: if all the men become the husbands of all the women, all the women will become the wives of all the men.'

Have we ever known any madman or one possessed of the devil, or one made raving mad by the various blemishes of, insanities who spoke anything like this? You say, O greatest of philosophers, that by this ordinance all the men are the husbands of all the women, and all the women are the wives of all the men, and the children are the children of all. But I say that, by this ordinance, no man is the husband of any woman nor is any woman the wife of any man, nor is any offspring the child of any parent, for, where all is promiscuity and confusion, there is nobody who can claim anything as his own.

As some say, it was not sufficient for the wisest of philosophers to teach this unless he practiced it, that is, he gave his wife to another man, just as Cato the Roman who is the other Socrates of Italy. 54 Behold what things are the examples of Roman and Attic wisdom! They made all husbands, inasmuch as was in their power to do so, their wives' pimps. Socrates, however, surpassed the others. He composed books on this subject and bequeathed to posterity these shameful thoughts. 55 He had more whereby he could glorify himself by his teachings. Insofar as it pertains to his teaching, he made a brothel of the world.

53 Plato, Republic 5, 437. 54 Cato gave his wife, Marcia, to a friend to breed children. 55 Probable reference to Plato's Socratic Dialogues. (The Writings of Salvian, the Presbyter, (c. 400 AD) [The Governance of God] Translated by Jeremiah F. O'Sullivan, Ph.D. New York, CIMA Publishing Co., Inc. 1947. Fathers of the Church, III.220, 221.)

Here we see this female trying to get the "poor" and "downtrodden" to lift themselves by their own "bootstraps" with Plato's Republic. Intentionally or unintentionally, she is returning "womanhood" to paganism, where women are treated as not much more than a piece of property. It was the God of the Bible, including the Apostle Paul's writings, that brought women out of Plato's pagan bondage. PRI then interviewed one student who talked about how great Plato's ideas about democracy are.

Drunkenness and Feminism

This pastor is not overlooking nor downplaying the clear and present danger of drunkenness -- God's word is so clear about the matter that it would be redundant to deal with drunkenness here. However, we can draw some conclusions from the above:

First, the public was persuaded that it was the State's responsibility to prevent drunkenness, an idea that now controls every area, e.g., "It is the State's responsibility to control murder, so we must have gun control." "It is the State's responsibility" mentality led to political movements in the United States to deal with spiritual problems (this was after the French Revolution, which gave birth to a new religion, "Patriotism." See TBE, 2/95):

In time, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was organized. The dry movement then took on numerous ramifications, particularly in politics. The movement was associated with, in order, the woman's rights movement resulting in woman suffrage, national prohibition, and the rise of gangsterism. Political parties were formed based on the issue, and in many sections, to this day, the lines are more closely drawn between Wets and Drys than between the Republicans and the Democrats. (Bible in Pocket)

The American Temperance Society, founded in 1826, began gathering pledges of abstinence. In the 1840s the Washington Temperance Societies conducted revival-style meetings to encourage similar pledges. Reformer Neal Dow persuaded Maine to approve (1846) the first statewide prohibition law and then led attempts to secure such laws elsewhere; the Civil War interrupted this effort. The Prohibition party, formed in 1869, ran presidential candidates, including Dow. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (see WCTU), in 1874, and the politically potent Anti-Saloon League, established on a national scale in 1895, also favored banning the liquor traffic. (Multimedia Encyclopedia)

The National Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of the United States, founded in 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio, is an organization of women who seek to improve public morals, especially through abstinence from alcoholic beverages and narcotics. Frances WILLARD was an early president (1879-98) of the WCTU and organized (1883) the world WCTU, which now has branches in more than 70 countries. In 1979, with headquarters in Evanston, Ill., it had 250,000 members and a staff of 34. (Ibid.)

Civil law quietly replaced Christian and church law; hope in organizations and government--i.e., an all powerful state that could control the basic desires of fallen man--quietly replaced hope in Christian conversion. Whereas the church had previously dealt with intemperance, women organized civil "revival-style" crusades to require total abstinence. A result of the political movement against drunkenness was the women's rights movement--modern Feminism.

We, as Christians, realize that it is an individual responsibility to prevent drunkenness, which, in the end, can only be accomplished through Christian conversion and self-control.

Second, generally, the woman's rights, feminist, movement was interested "in building a new kind of family life." (Multimedia.) And social pressure, feminine "wiles" and politics were seen as the means to build that "life," as redefined by the Feminists. That "new kind of family life" was in contrast to God's requirement for family life. In saying this, I am not even suggesting that everything in "family life" at that time, or any time for that matter, was according to God's requirements. I am, however, making the point that the goal of the early 1800s Feminist Movement was not to conform their families to God's requirements for the women, men and children of the family. Therefore, though some of the Feminist's goals were no doubt commendable, the "new kind of family life" they sought was in rebellion to the word of God. Their goal was for "Every woman to be able to do what was right in her own eyes," and they gathered others with the same "vision" to pass civil laws. (Notice that "everyone being able to do what is right in his or her own eyes" must violate the rights and responsibilities of others.)

Though their desire for a "new kind of life" was no doubt commendable, they did not set about obtaining that "life" in a godly manner, 1 Peter 3:1-7, q.v. Over one hundred and fifty years latter, the wife now "wares the pants" in the family, and the husband is left with yielding his headship to his wife, or losing his family.

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. (Deut. 22:5.)

Keli geber, the instruments or arms of a man. As the word geber is here used, which properly signifies a strong man or man of war, it is very probable that armour is here intended; especially as we know that in the worship of Venus, to which that of Astarte or Ashtaroth among the Canaanites bore a striking resemblance, the women were accustomed to appear in armour before her. It certainly cannot mean a simple change in dress, whereby the men might pass for women, and vice versa. This would have been impossible in those countries where the dress of the sexes had but little to distinguish it, and where very man wore a long beard. It is, however, a very good general precept understood laterally, and applies particularly to those countries where the dress alone distinguishes between the male and female. The close-shaved gentleman may at any time appear like a woman in the female dress, and the woman appear as a man in the male's attire. Were this to be tolerated in a society, it would produce greatest confusion. Clodius, who dressed himself like a woman that he might mingle with the Roman ladies in the feast of the Bona Dea, was universally execrated (abhorred, ed.). (Clarke's Commentary [Adam Clarke, 1762-1832], I.794, 795.)

Some New Testament parallel passages are,

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 1 Corinthians 14:34, Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. (1 Tim. 2.)

Paul is obviously referring to women preachers, e.g., Kathryn Kuhlman, &c.

The results of the early 1800s feminist movement are all around us. However, the uneducated frontier (the frontier is where the American Feminist Movement started) clergy cannot be overlooked; it emphasized emotion, and failed to teach the frontier men the importance of Biblical manhood:

The Typical frontier preacher, regardless of denomination, had practiced some vocation, and had been called to the ministry from among the folks he served. He was unlearned, but this was not considered a handicap. Congregations encouraged it and bragged about the humbleness and ignorance of their ministers. They pointed to such early examples of church leaders as Peter and John, "unlearned and ignorant men" 1 (1 The Acts 4:13.) who came from the underprivileged classes like themselves, but who confounded the high priests and the rich sinners. The frontier people did not demand that their preachers lead them to knowledge and worldly position but rather to the treasures of the eternal world to come. ...

Some preachers undertook a few courses of reading under an older preacher, but it was generally considered that if God called a man to preach, that meant he was ready. A Baptist group in Mississippi went on record with the rather prevalent position: if God "wants a learned Moses or Saul of Tarsus He will have them qualified before He calls them into his work." This group challenged the world to show any divine authority for sending a man to school after God called him into the ministry.4 (4 Walter Brownlow Posey, The Baptist church in the Lower Mississippi Valley, 1776-1845 [Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1957], p. 21.) A Tennessee association as late as 1835 opposed education of the ministry on the grounds that it implied inadequacy of God and His power to call and equip ministers. The people, as a whole, regarded preaching ability as the "gifts of heart" rather than "gifts of mind," and held that religion was caught, not taught. Preparation of sermons was usually left to inspiration of the Holy Spirit at the time of delivery. Failure to speak extemporaneously indicated to some that the speaker had not experienced rebirth.

No Holy Ghost in "book larnin' "

Much of the frontier was hostile to "book larnin' " on the ground that "there ain't no Holy Ghost in it." In 1836 a Nashville observer stated: "Our preachers are mostly educated between the handles of a plow, there they have their study, and hence they know themselves to be much below par." An authority estimated that in Kentucky in 1828 three fourths of the preachers could not distinguish between a noun and a verb. Some could not read at all. Another reporter said that whenever the preachers arose to preach they "usually threw the reins upon the neck of feeling, and let her run full speed."5 (5 Ibid., pp. 22-27.)

A preacher interpreting Luke's description of John as "an austere man" explained that John was an oysterman who spent his time fishing. Another said that Christ was crucified between two "Male-factors." A Boone County, Missouri, preacher used for a text, "Peter's wife's mother lay sick of a fever." Three years later in the same church he used the same text. But when he started a man in the congregation spoke out: "Why, Lord God, ain't she dead yet?"6 (6 Ibid.) One sputtering Kentucky preacher addressing an illiterate congregation allowed that heaven could only be described as a "Kaintuck of a place."7 (7 Timothy Flint, Recollection of the Last Ten Years ... [Boston: Commings, Hillard and Company, 1826], p. 32.)

Ernest Sutherland Bates, in American Faith, sums up the situation thus: "The requirements for the clergy were steadily lowered until they could be met by any one with a native talent for exhortation . . . The last vestige of the European intellectual tradition vanished in the American forest. And in its place developed steadily the great tradition of the common man."9 (9 New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1940, p. 329.) (Bible in Pocket, 10-14.)

Note: Bible in Pocket records many good things from Frontier Religion, e.g., it was the "noisy" Protestant preachers who brought religious freedom to Spanish Texas where the State church was the Church of Rome.

Some answer to "Christian Feminism":

First, husbands must be taught to love their wives. They must be taught their Biblical responsibilities in the families, churches and in society. (Question: Do pastors have the courage to go against the feminist mood in their churches, and emphasize Biblical content over emotion? [See "Paganized Christianity," TBE, Jan. 98.] Only by God's Sovereign Grace can courage and wisdom be gained from God by men of God. I must say that my experience in larger churches has been that the women secretaries basically control the church.)

Second, the office of godly aged women must be restored in the church, for they are to teach the women of the church how to fulfill their proper responsibilities in their families. A pastor is limited as to what he can teach women concerning their proper place in families and society, or Paul would not have given the instructions in Titus 2:3-5.

Third, we must stop seeing the root of our problems as outside of ourselves, outside of sin and outside the reach of the grace of God. (Devoice is a result of sin; we are not here dealing with "single parent" families.)

Four, sadly, we must admit that no doubt many good Christian wives are where they are in determining what is best for their families because their husbands have little or no godly spirit and/or have acted more like worldly "lords" than like the Lord Jesus, e.g., Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (1 Pet. 5:5. See also Rom. 12:10, Eph. 5:21, Col. 3:12.)

Fifth, there are more things that a woman can do in her family and in the Kingdom Work than she will ever be able to accomplish, so why does she want to take the man's place also?

But somehow modern Christians have concluded that Paul's commands on this subject, even #1Ti 2:12, were meant for specific conditions that do not apply wholly now. Women do most of the teaching in our Sunday schools today. It is not easy to draw the line. The daughters of Philip were prophetesses. It seems clear that we need to be patient with each other as we try to understand Paul's real meaning here. (RWP)

Society, even within "Evangelical" churches, is so far from what is required by the God of the Bible that a Biblical, Christian family would be an abomination to the vast majority of both women and men. To try to reintroduce a Biblical Church, family and society would, no doubt, bring open rebellion in the vast majority of Christian homes and churches.

Society, feminism especially, cannot be reclaimed without a deep and wide, genuine Christian revival. The revival must affect, convert, the very soul of men and women, giving them the new desire and power to be what is required of them by the Lord God in his word. Until Christian families are reclaimed for God and godliness and the husbands and wives take their God-ordained places and responsibilities, there is no hope for society -- Feminism will only gain in strength. There is no hope outside of the guidelines established by God for each individual.

Dividing the word

Rightly or Wrongly

 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

This verse has been one of the more abused verses of the past 150 years, particularly rightly dividing the word of truth. It is used, many times, to justify dividing up God's one word into many small parts, which are then shuffled around to support whatever idea is popular at the time. Let us consider it for a time.

The Word of Truth, then, has right divisions, and it must be evident that, as one cannot be "a workman that needeth not be ashamed" without observing them, so any study of that Word which ignores those divisions must be in large measure profitless and confusing. Many Christians freely confess that they find the study of the Bible weary work. More find it so, who are ashamed to make the confession. (Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, 2 Timothy 2:15, C. I. Scofield, 3. Emp. his. Loizeux Brothers, 1896.)


Note that v. 15 fits between v. 14 and v. 16, and Paul's warning against useless arguing. V. 15, the man of God is to study the word of God not so he can win arguments or know the future, but so he can properly instruct others in its application. The contrast is between vv. 14, 16, and v. 15 -- don't argue over words, but study God's word. Any other reason for study will subvert the hearer and will increase unto more ungodliness.

Though this letter is one of the "Pastoral Epistles" -- that is, instructions to pastors -- Paul's advice to Timothy is good advice to all Christians. Though the instructions of Ephesians 4 concern the proper instruction of the saints by those with the proper gifts, a very good application is that without serious study and proper understanding of the word of God, the believer can easily be carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive ( v. 14. See Pro. 1 & 2, Acts 17:10ff.).

2 Timothy 2:16, will increase unto more ungodliness! For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness... (Rom. 1:18.) Strongly implied is that studying the word of God for reasons other than proper instructions in its proper application will increase unto more ungodliness. That increase will result in God's wrath from heaven against individuals and against their society.

Note that just because something sounds good and Biblical, does not mean it is. Though it might seem right, it could easily be the way of death. (Pro. 14:12, 16:25.) Though it is quite distressing as a pastor to see folks carried away by teachings that do not conform to the total of God's word, it is hard to sympathize with the victims; they failed to search it out for themselves and yield to the truth, and, accordingly, bring the destruction upon themselves. (Hosea 13:9.)

V. 15, Study... labour, exert, hasten, give diligence. God's truth, knowledge and wisdom come only to those who seek after him as one would search for silver or hid treasure. (Pro. 2:4, &c.) There are good tools that make study easier (e.g., computer Bible programs), but the learner still must put serious effort into it. (Where are your priorities? Do you make time to study?)

It should go without saying that Paul is urging Timothy to study the word of God, which was the Old Testament of the day. He is not urging him to study the writings of others. (Implied, however, is that Timothy is to study Paul's writings, vv. 2, 7.)

To shew thyself approved unto God... Approval comes from God, not from man. The one we must please is God, who sees both our actions and our motives. (2 Cor. 5:9, 10, 10:17, 18.) In fact, Paul says that when we work to please men, we are not the servants of Christ. (Gal. 1:10. See also 2 Cor. 6:3ff.) How many sermons are preached and books written so they will appeal to men and be profitable to the speaker or writer?

A workman... Paul has pointed out that "ministering" requires work; it is not for the weak and faint hearted.

Paul rebuked the Corinthians for their strife over things that did not amount to anything. (1 Cor. 3:1-4.) Then he pointed out that Christians are labourers together with God. No matter how much effort one puts into the ministry, God must give the increase. (1 Cor. 3:5-10.)

Workman not only refers to working for the kingdom of God midst the wicked generation in which we live, but it could also refer to work in mining out the truth and wisdom of God's word.

That needeth not be ashamed, or embarrassed.

Ashamed of what?

2 Timothy 1:8, be not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord nor of Paul, his prisoner.

1:12, Paul was not ashamed of Christ, nor of the gospel.

2:15, ashamed of one's knowledge of God's word when required to answer for their hope, applied particularly to pastors. (Col. 4:6, 1 Pet. 3:15.)

Note how not to be ashamed -- study God's word.

Needeth not, or has no reason to be ashamed. But the wording says that it is still possible to be ashamed.

Rightly dividing the word of truth.

Sad to say, for the last 150 or so years, there have been, and are now, those who divide the word of God from the truth.

Rightly dividing the word of truth. -- not rending it apart, nor distorting it, but giving true sense of Scripture, so it will be profitable to both the immature and mature hearers. (Geneva, Gill, Online Bible) "Rightly handling" ; "rightly administering" ; literally, cutting "straight" or "right"... (JFB, Online Bible) Handling aright... making straight paths, ploughing a straight furrow, or cutting straight the rough camel-hair cloth. "Certainly plenty of exegesis is crooked enough (crazy-quilt patterns) to call for careful cutting to set it straight." (RWP, Online Bible) The " minister of the gospel is to make a proper distribution of that word, adapting his instructions to the circumstances and wants of his hearers, and giving to each that which will be fitted to nourish the soul for heaven." (Barnes') Simply "a fair and conscientious or straightforward handling of the word itself... like a sincere and honest workman, he must go right on in his use of the word, maintaining it in its integrity, and applying it to the great spiritual ends for which it has been given." (Fairbairn.)

Contrary to popular opinion, rightly dividing does not mean "a careful separation of passages" to fit a convenient and/or appealing doctrine -- that is, "The task of the expositor of the Bible" is not to divide up the Scripture into small parts. Rightly dividing the word of truth "became the hallmark of dispensationalism" in the early 1800s:

In opposition to the worldliness of the church, Darby advocated a church so spiritual that it existed outside of history. The church in this new dispensation of grace was so much a mystery that it had been hidden even from the prophets of the Old Testament, Israel had been a worldly kingdom with material promises and blessings. The Messiah had come to fulfill that worldly kingdom but had been rejected by his people. When that happened, God had broken the continuity of history, stopped the prophetic clock, and instituted the church. When the church is raptured out of the world, this clock will start again and God will return to the task of dealing with the earthly problems of Israel. Only then will the final events predicted in Daniel --- the events of the seventieth week --- occur. Since for Darby the ministry of Jesus was divided into two parts (his early appeal to the Jews as earthly Messiah and his later role as founder of the church), the exegesis of the Gospel required a careful separation of passages referring to Jewish or to churchly promises and admonitions. The task of the expositor of the Bible was, in a phrase that became the hallmark of dispensationalism, "rightly dividing the word of truth." (The Roots of Fundamentalism, Ernest R. Sandeen, 47. University of Chicago, 1970. Reprint by Baker Book House, 1978. Emp. added. Darby reached this conclusion while recuperating from his riding accident in 1827.)

Under the good term Rightly dividing the word of truth, Scofieldism requires careful division of passages from their contextual meanings. Those who fail to understand Scripture as required by the dispensational faith are many times accused of being unable to "rightly divide the word of truth."

Spurgeon dealt with newly rising problem of dividing the word of truth into many portions. Speaking on 1 Corinthians 11:25, 26, he said:

"Till he come." I must not say anything about that, except that he will come, and I think that ought to be enough for Christians. To my great sorrow, I had sent to me, this last week, two or three copies of a tract purporting, according to the title-page, to have been written by myself, prophesying the coming of the Lord in the year 1866. Now, you may expect to hear of me being in Bedlam, whenever, by my tongue or my pen, I give countenance to such rubbish. The Lord may come in 1866, and I shall be glad to see him; but I do not believe he will; and one reason why I don't believe he will, I have told to you before: it is because all these false twopenny-halfpenny prophets say that he will. If they said he would not, I should begin to think he would; but inasmuch as they are all crying as one man that he will come in 1866, or 1867, I am inclined to think he will not come at any such time. It seems to me that there are a very great many prophecies which must be fulled before the coming of Christ, which will not be fulfilled in the next twelve months; and I prefer, beloved, to stand in the position of a man who knows neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of man cometh; always looking for his appearing, but never interfering with those dates and figures, which seem to me to be proper amusement for young ladies who have nothing to do, and who take to them instead of reading novels, and for certain divines who have exhausted their stock of knowledge about sound doctrine, and therefore make up, and gain a little ephemeral (passing, short-lived, ed.) popularity by shuffling texts of Scripture as the Norwood gipsies shuffled cards in days gone by. Leave the prophets to divide the profits which they get from simpletons; and as for you, watch for Christ's coming, whether it shall be to-day, or to-morrow, and set no  limits, and no dates, and no times. Only work while it is called to-day; work so that, when he  cometh, he may find you, as faithful servants, ready to come in to the wedding with him. "Till he come," then, the Lord's supper is to be a showing forth of this death. (Sermon, The Lord's Supper, Simple but Sublime. Lord's day evening, 1866. Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publishers, V. 55, p 318. Emp. his.)

(E mail from TndrMtnWmn: "EARTH-SHAKING NEWS." "... Over the July 4th Holiday weekend Bible Codes researchers discovered specific codes that tell not only who the Antichrist is...," but implies that the Y2K problem is mentioned. All this means that "September 10 thru September 12, 1999" is when "MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WORLD-WIDE COULD DISAPPEAR INSTANTANEOUSLY!!" Not long ago, one of the news programs, e.g., Date Line, had an spot about the multiplied thousands of Christians who have purchased one-way tickets to Israel to wait on the "rapture." An Israeli official said that if the rapture does not take place, the nation will be overwhelmed with these people who have no where to go. One-way tickets tells us that they sold everything to wait for the rapture.)

Five points from Spurgeon's comments above:

First, the purpose of studying Scripture is to equip God's people to be "faithful servants... 'Till he come.'" It is not to "know the future," impress the hearers, nor to attract money or people.

Second, prophetic speculation is "proper amusement for young ladies who have nothing to do, and who take to them instead of reading novels, and for certain divines who have exhausted their stock of knowledge about sound doctrine." They have no practical application of God's word, so they preach prophecy.

Third, much prophetic speculation is done by "prophets [wishing] to divide the profits," for prophecy conferences, messages and speakers attract both crowds and money.

Fourth, there is good profit in prophecy to be reaped from "simpletons" -- "n. A silly person; a person of weak intellect; a trifler; a foolish person." (Webster, 1828.) Or more commonly, "A person lacking intelligence or common sense." (It seems to me that a great amount of modern prophecy flies in the face of common sense.)

Spurgeon pointed out that men like to speak on "prophecy" because of its profits. Few seem to care whether or not the words are according to sound, orthodox doctrine, for the message brings in money and people:

These views (the "prophetic theories that have gained a large acceptance among Evangelical Anglicans, Fundamentalists in all Protestant Churches, Plymouth Brethren, Keswick and similar movements, free-lance Bible-teachers and evangelists," ed.), which began to be propagated a little over a hundred years ago in the separatist movements of Edward Irving and J. N. Darby, have spread to the remotest corners of the earth, and enlisted supporters in most of the Reformed Churches in Christendom, including the Mission field. They are held and spread with conviction and tenacity, and occasionally with overbearing confidence. They have had the advantage of being outstanding tenets in all sections of a denomination, which has had the satisfaction of seeing the peaceful penetration of other communions by their theories of the End. So much so that an increasing number of pastors feel called upon to leave the ordered work of the pastorate, to stir up interest in what is called the "imminent" or impending Coming of Christ. Some of these at a few hours' notice can fill the largest Churches with audiences anxious to hear of the latest signs of the times, though it is a fundamental presupposition of the school that the Imminent Advent awaits the fulfillment of no signs whatever. Some of this interest is wholesome; more of it would be if all of what is taught were true. (The Approaching Advent of Christ, Alexander Reese, xi, xii. First printing, 1937. Reprint by Grand Rapids International Publications Edition, 1975.)

Mr. Reese makes a good point: "...fill the largest Churches..." The millennial message has the ability to raise tremendous amounts of money. Fortunes were and are made with "Dispensationalism." (The Rapture Plot, Dave MacPherson, 208, 223. Millennium III Publishers, 1995.)

Spurgeon's fifth point: Dispensationalism (particularly date setting) depends upon "shuffling text of Scripture as the Norwood gipsies shuffled cards in days gone by." Many have developed great skill and ability to divide scripture in such a way as to keep the "shuffling" from the observers; rightly dividing justifies "shuffling text of Scripture."

The word of God was not given so man might see into the future events on this earth. It was given to equipt man to be a faithful workman in the present, "till he come."

Rightly dividing is used by Scofield to divide Scripture and history into Seven Dispensations. Rightly dividing according to Scofield has some serious implications:

It may safely be said that the Judaizing of the Church has done more to hinder her progress, pervert her mission, and destroy her spiritually, than all other causes combined. Instead of pursuing her appointed path of separation from the world and following the Lord in her heavenly calling, she has used Jewish Scriptures to justify herself in lowering her purpose to the civilization of the world, the acquisition of wealth, the use of an imposing ritual, the erection of magnificent churches, the invocation of God's blessing upon the conflicts of armies, and the division of an equal brotherhood into "clergy" and "laity.'' (Dividing, 12.)

Rightly dividing:

First, prohibits an unequal brotherhood, "clergy" and "laity." This was a key issue in the new millennial movement, which was an overaction against the Established Church (c. 1830s) forbidding lay preachers. (The Origins of the Brethren, 1825-1850, Harold H. Rowdon, 97-99. Pickering & Inglis Ltd., 1967.) Though their complaint against the Established Church was legitimate, their overreaction led to the modern breakdown of pastoral authority, which, admittedly, is many times abused.

Second, requires pagan gods made in man's own image -- gods that changes according to fallen man's imagination:

These periods ("THE SEVEN DISPENSATIONS", ed.) are marked off in Scripture by some change in God's method of dealing with mankind, or a portion of mankind, in respect of the two questions; of sin, and of man's responsibility. Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment-marking his utter failure in every dispensation. (Dividing, 12.)

The Christian God changes not from generation to generation. From the Garden to the end, the Christian God has dealt with fallen man in justice, judgment, mercy and grace, or man, including his people, would have been consumed as so justly deserved. (Mal. 3:6, Ps. 103, &c.)

Third, requires the failure of the Gospel of God's Grace (the Gospel Church):

6. Man Under Grace.-The sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ introduced the dispensation of pure grace--which means undeserved favor, or God GIVING righteousness, instead of God REQUIRING righteousness as under Law.

...The predicated result of his testing of man under grace is judgment upon an unbelieving world and an apostate Church. (Ibid., 14, 15.)

Man, accordingly, fails the test of God's Grace, so God must organize another dispensation.

Fourth, divides Law and Grace:

The most obvious and striking division of the Word of Truth is that between Law and Grace. (Ibid., 34.)

Scofield's predicted failure is the logical conclusion of his definition of grace -- "undeserved favor," which does not require righteous living according to the Law (commandments).

Fifth, leaves the Believer with no firm, written standard for action and thought:

It was reserved to modern nomolators (nomothetical, "Legislative; enacting laws," ed.) to wrench these holy and just but dreadful tables from underneath the mercy-seat and the atoning blood, and erect them in Christian churches as the rule of Christian life. (Ibid., 42. Note the apparent hatred for the tables of God's commandments.)

Though Scofieldism does call for holy living, it basically defines holy as walking "even as he walked (1 John 2:6)." (Ibid., 40.) This is a true statement, but we must remember that Christ's standard was the Law. However, Scofieldism dogmatically says that the "dreadful tables" of the Law must not be used to define holiness, for the Believer is delivered from the Law ("The Believer Is Not Under Law." Ibid., 39). (Comment: schoolmaster, Gal. 3:25 - the Law shows man he cannot save himself. However, upon salvation, the Law shows man how to please his Heavenly Father.)

Sixth, redefines Divine Grace:

3. GALATIANISM, or the mingling of law and grace--the teaching that justification is partly by grace, partly by law (which is Biblical, ed.); or, that grace is given to enable an otherwise helpless sinner to keep the law.

Against this error, the most wide-spread of all, the solemn warnings, the unanswerable logic, the emphatic declarations of the Epistle to the Galatians are God's conclusive answer. (Ibid., 36.)

He obviously confuses "righteousness" for salvation with "righteousness" in the sense of right living life after salvation. Rightly dividing in Scofieldism means that the saved individual, with grace defined as "undeserved favor," enjoys God's favor regardless of his actions--his "undeserved favor" is opposed to God working in fallen man to enable an otherwise helpless sinner to keep the law (excluding the ordinances and ceremonies pointing to the Cross, Col. 2:14), to do of his good pleasure, and thus reap the blessings of doing what Christ says:

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Ph. 2:13.)

Biblically, grace, as "the desire and power of God to obey him," means that the saved individual enjoys God's favor as he "keeps his commandments," which is the overwhelming teaching of Scripture (e.g., Jn. 9:31, 1 Jn. 3:22).

Thus, Scofieldism, dividing fallen man from God's Divine power, leaves fallen man to fend for himself. Its "undeserved favor" meas that man not only has no firm standard established by God to live by, but even if he did have such a standard, he would have no Divine power to abide by that standard. Scofieldism's sixth dispensation, "Man Under Grace," depends upon fallen man's ability to follow the example of Christ, yet fallen man has no Divine power to do so. To expect any Divine strength is "Galatianism."

On the other hand, if Grace is defined as God working in fallen man both to will and to do of his good pleasure, then the "success" of the "Gospel Church Age," or the "Age of Grace" depends upon God's Divine Grace working in and through fallen man, not on fallen man's efforts with no Divine help. Biblically, grace is God's Divine work in calling an individual to himself, and then empowering that individual to do God's will:

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; (Acts 26:16. See also Lk. 1:75, Christ empowers holy and righteous living.)

Numerous times, Paul points out that it was God's Divine power, his Spirit of Grace, that worked "to enable an otherwise helpless sinner to keep the law" -- that is, enabled an otherwise helpless sinner, himself, to do all those things that pleased the Lord, even keeping the Law. (See Eph. 2:10, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which must be defined as righteous and holy actions. We are not created anew in Christ Jesus by good works, but unto good works.)

Seventh, leaves no definition for sin. Though Scofield quotes many verses against "sin," he never defines "sin." However, sin is defined for the Child of God by the Law; therefore, a work of God's Spirit of Grace is to keep his people from "sin" -- that is, in conformity to the Ten Commandments. (1 Jn. 3:4.)

Eighth, forbids any effort toward "the civilization of the world," viz, converting the world to Christ. ("Civilization" is a result of Biblical Christianity, a fact we will not go into at this time.)

Accordingly, Scofieldism's rightly dividing must result in de civilizing society -- taking it back into the pagan practices from where it was lifted by Christianity (true "deconstruction"). Rightly dividing reverts civilization back into heathenism--not only does it teach that it is sin to seek to convert the world to Christ, but it teaches that fallen man has no Divine power, Grace, to do that task.

Scofieldism's dispensationalism is a self-fulling prophecy: As the world sinks back into pre-Christian paganism, it says, "I told you so."

Greater than Solomon

The New Covenant

A common opinion today among Christians is that Solomon established the peak of blessings and prosperity for God's people, and God's people cannot obtain any higher than what was established in Solomon's day.

But will this opinion hold up under careful examination of the word of God? Though the above opinion is held by some very good and godly men, there are some serious flaws in it when Scripture is compared with Scripture. (Being so obvious that we will not develop the idea: The spiritual blessings under Christ are very much better in every way than they were before him -- Hebrews.)

Bonar (1810-1892) makes the division of Leviticus 26 as vv. 1, 2, then vv. 3-6, then vv. 7-10, and then vv. 11-13. However, it appears a better division is vv. 1, 2, then vv. 3-5a, b (material blessedness), then 5c-9 (military blessedness--peace in the land through victory over physical enemies: as long as fallen men are around, there will be wars and fightings; v. 9 opens with For, linking it to v. 8), then vv. 10-13 (material and spiritual blessedness). We will follow what appears to be the best natural division of the chapter.

Ver. 3. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them. Both moral, ceremonial, and judicial, which had been delivered unto them, and now completely recorded in this and the preceding book; for what follow in the two next are chiefly repetitions of what are contained in these. (Gill, Online Bible.)

What Adam lost by failing to keep his commandments in the Garden of Eden can be restored by doing what Adam failed to do.

The Lord made Israel "Jeshurun," i.e., The Prosperous One, blessing him with all temporal things whenever Israel sought the spiritual. It was a scene like the unfallen age.

Israel was offered the privilege of being, even in respect of temporal blessings, a type of Eden restored. As their ceremonies and institutions were to the world a type of all the spiritual blessings which Jesus brings, so the very aspect of their land might have been the type of the external blessings which Jesus brings at His second coming to the earth.

In Solomon's days, these blessings were probably realized more fully than at any period of Israel's history. His were the times of peace, so peculiarly typical of Messiah's reign in the latter day...

Surely Israel's land in such days as Solomon's, was intended to be typical of the earth's millennial rest! (Bonar, Leviticus, 473-475.)

Thus is placed God's promised blessings for obedience to his commandments, v. 3, etc., off into a future, literal reign by the Messiah. However, a major fallacy with such thinking is that it says Christ's work and the resulting Spirit of Grace from God indwelling his people cannot give them any more victory over sin in this life than what the Old Testament people had through the law. God's Spirit of Grace and Christ's work, according to Bonar, cannot do better than the old spirit of the law did under Solomon.

Bonar expressed a common modern idea: Solomon's day was the peak of the physical blessings and prosperity of God's people, and the only way that Solomon's abundance can be surpassed is under a physical reign of King Jesus with His rod of iron, forcing all of mankind to submit to His rule and authority with the threat of the sword, death. The whole world will keep His commandments only because of the Messiah's bloody threat of the sword.


There are several major problems with the idea that the physical blessings under Christ cannot exceed Solomon's. (It is commonly held that the spiritual blessings are greater under Christ.) The problems are divided up into two sets.

The first set of problems:

The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (Mat. 12:42, Lk. 11:31. See also, 1 Kings 10 & 2 Chr. 9.)

First, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. Christ was/is greater than Solomon.

Second, greater than Solomon... If Solomon ruled in peace, would not Christ rule in peace if His rule is greater? Can we consider a strict military rule over civilians better than a peaceful rule among civilians? The modern idea of Christ's millennial reign is like a world-wide UN's "peacekeeping" force, or rather NATO, who enforced its will with bombs.

Third, is here... The Lord did not say will come; he said, is here. The better blessings of the new covenant started with his work here on this earth.

Fourth, the new covenant. If the physical prosperity under Solomon was accomplished through the old covenant, which was written in stone and sealed with the blood of bulls and goats, how much more prosperity is promised under the new covenant, which is written in the fleshly tables of the heart and sealed with the blood of Christ (Jer. 31:33, 2 Cor. 3:1-3, Heb. 9:14, 8:10 & 10:16). Can the prosperity under the new covenant, King Jesus, be restricted to purely spiritual?

The idea that Christ cannot obtain a higher standard of physical blessings for obedience to his commands (Jn. 14:15 & 15:10, and thus his blessings are less than Solomon's) than could his Old Testament people totally dismisses the power and effect of the Spirit of God acting under the new covenant. The greatness of the new covenant over the old is clearly stated --- Jeremiah 31:31-34, 2 Corinthians 3:3, Hebrews 8:6-13, 9:13, 14, 10:7-18.

The promised blessings of the new covenant to be fulfilled under the Greater than Solomon are in every way much better than what were promised under the old covenant and fulfilled under Solomon. Therefore, how can we entertain the idea that Christ cannot obtain a higher standard of physical blessings for obedience to his commands than was obtained under Solomon?

Reality Check

This pastor is not blind to the reality of the present situation. It is certainly tempting for this pastor to change his faith, for there has been and is good money in millennialism. (Our family's newer car has 100,000 miles on it, and the older one 240,000 miles. However, though maintenance is high, it is not as high as car payments for the two we need. In addition, the two bedroom house where we live in the country is extremely small even for three people.) Moreover, most works I know of that take a firm godly stand are on the financial border line of not being able to carry on the work.

Yet despite what appears from the circumstances among world-wide, Biblical Christianity, we are forbidden to interpret Scriptures according to appearances. (Jn. 7:14.) We must always take God's word for what it says, not for what circumstances might dictate. Strange understandings of Scriptures have developed over the years as Biblical interpretations have been subjected to circumstances rather than circumstances subjected to the word of God, e.g., "Prophecy is being fulfilled right before our eyes; time is short, so don't leave your money for the Antichrist to spend."

One's view of the future cannot be developed from what is happening in the present--it must be developed from God's word. Those observing the French Revolution were totally confident that it fulfilled the "end-time" prophecies, and that the end of all things was very near.

A passage this pastor finds encouraging is Psalms 45, and Spurgeon's comments on it are anything but hopeless and depressing. (Spurgeon, Treasury of David, Online Bible, ver 7.0. Treasury, hard copy by MacDonald, I.317, 318. Is it any wonder that some modern, well-known, fundamental, dispensational publications reportedly edit Spurgeon's sermons to make him support their system of doctrine? Folks will claim "heirship" to Spurgeon and preach his sermons as their own, yet totally and vehemently deny what Spurgeon stood for, e.g., Calvinism.)

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. (Ps. 45:3-6.)

Ver. 3. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh. Loving spirits jealous of the Redeemer's glory long to see him putting forth his power to vindicate his own most holy cause. Why should the sword of the Spirit lie still, like a weapon hung up in an armoury; it is sharp and strong, both for cutting and piercing: O that the divine power of Jesus were put forth to use against error. The words before us represent our great King as urged to arm himself for battle, by placing his sword where it is ready for use. Christ is the true champion of the church, others are but underlings who must borrow strength from him; the single arm of Immanuel is the sole hope of the faithful. Our prayer should be that of this verse. There is at this moment an apparent suspension of our Lord's former power, we must by importunate prayer call him to the conflict, for like the Greeks without Achilles we are soon overcome by our enemies, and we are but dead men if Jesus be not in our midst. O most mighty. A title well deserved, and not given from empty courtesy like the serenities, excellencies and highnesses of our fellow mortals -- titles, which are but sops for vain glory. Jesus is the truest of heroes. Hero worship in his case alone is commendable. He is mighty to save, mighty in love. With thy glory and thy majesty. Let thy sword both win thee renown and dominion, or as it may mean, gird on with thy sword thy robes which indicate thy royal splendour. Love delights to see the Beloved arrayed as beseemeth his excellency; she weeps as she sees him in the garments of humiliation, she rejoices to behold him in the vestments of his exaltation. Our precious Christ can never be made too much of. Heaven itself is but just good enough for him. All the pomp that angels and archangels, and thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers can pour at his feet is too little for him. Only his own essential glory is such as fully answers to the desire of his people, who can never enough extol him.

The sharp swords and arrows by which the Father conquers the enemies of his Son, the Redeemer, are not literal swords and arrows (that is, literal weapons of warfare by which the enemies' blood is shed, e.g., NATO) as used by David to obtain peace for his son, Solomon. The Heavenly Father uses the Sword of the Spirit, the word of God to obtain peace for his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 Chr. 22:6-10.)

God promised David a son who would build an house for the LORD God of Israel, and that house would be build under that son's peaceful reign. Obviously, the son is Christ, for only that Son's throne was established for ever. We are told in the New Testament that the promised house is the Gospel Church made up of those redeemed by God's High Priest. (Heb. 3 & 10:21.)

The enemies of the King of kings and His kingdom are not conquered by shedding their blood, as king David had to do, but by the shed blood of the Redeemer. By what stretch of one's imagination can this King and His kingdom be reduced to less than Solomon and his kingdom?

Ver. 4. And in thy majesty ride prosperously. The hero monarch armed and apparelled is now entreated to ascend his triumphal car. Would to God that our Immanuel would come forth in the chariot of love to conquer our spiritual foes and seize by power the souls whom he has bought with blood. Because of truth and meekness and righteousness. These words may be rendered, ride forth upon truth and meekness and righteousness. -- Three noble chargers to draw the war chariot of the gospel. In the sense of our translation it is a most potent argument to urge with our Lord that the cause of the true, the humble, and the good, calls for his advocacy. Truth will be ridiculed, meekness will be oppressed, and righteousness slain, unless the God, the Man in whom these precious things are incarnated, shall arise for their vindication. Our earnest petition ought ever to be that Jesus would lay his almighty arm to the work of grace lest the good cause languish and wickedness prevail. And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Foreseeing the result of divine working, the psalmist prophesies that the uplifted arm of Messiah will reveal to the King's own eyes the terrible overthrow of his foes. Jesus needs no guide but his own right hand, no teacher but his own might; may he instruct us all in what he can perform, by achieving it speedily before our gladdened eyes.

Ver. 5. Thine arrows. Our King is master of all weapons: he can strike those who are near and those afar off with equal force. Are sharp. Nothing that Jesus does is ill done, he uses no blunted shafts, no pointless darts. In the heart of the King's enemies. Our Captain aims at men's hearts rather than their heads, and he hits them too; point blank are his shots, and they enter deep into the vital part of man's nature. Whether for love or vengeance, Christ never misses aim, and when his arrows stick, they cause a smart not soon forgotten, a wound which only he can heal. Jesus' arrows of conviction are sharp in the quiver of his word, and sharp when on the bow of his ministers, but they are most known to be so when they find a way into careless hearts. They are his arrows, he made them, he shoots them. He makes them sharp, and he makes them enter the heart. May none of us ever fall under the darts of his judgment, for none kill so surely as they. Whereby the people fall under thee. On either side the slain of the Lord are many when Jesus leads on the war. Nations tremble and turn to him when he shoots abroad his truth. Under his power and presence, men are stricken down as though pricked in the heart. There is no standing against the Son of God when his bow of might is in his hands. Terrible will be that hour when his bow shall be made quite naked, and bolts of devouring fire shall be hurled upon his adversaries: then shall princes fall and nations perish. (Ibid.)

The arrows of conviction are shot forth, and they strike the very heart of the enemy, not his head. Who can stand against His arrows?

Ver. 5. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies. In a still bolder metaphor the arrows which are discharged from the bow of Christ are the preachers of the gospel, especially the apostles and evangelists. "His sagittis," says S. Jerome, "totus orbis vulneratus et captus est." Paul, the apostle, was an arrow of the Lord, discharged from his bow from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and from Illyricum to Spain, flying from east to west, and subduing Christ's enemies beneath his feet. -- Christopher Wordsworth. (Quoted by Spurgeon.)

Ver. 5. While beseeching the Redeemer to ride forth prosperously, and predicting his success, he seems suddenly to have seen his prayers answered and his predictions fulfilled. He saw his all conquering Prince gird on his resistless sword, array himself in glory and majesty, ascend the chariot of his gospel, display the banner of his cross, and ride forth, as on the wings of the wind, while the tremendous voice of a herald proclaimed before him: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," exalt the valleys, and level the hills; make the crooked ways straight, and the rough places plain; for, behold, the Lord God comes; he comes with a strong hand, his reward is with him, and his work before him. From the bright and fiery cloud which enveloped his chariot, and concealed it from mortal eyes, he saw sharp arrows of conviction shot forth on every side, deeply wounding the obdurate hearts of sinners, and prostrating them in crowds around his path, while his right hand extended raised them again, and healed the wounds which his arrows had made; and his omnipotent voice spoke peace to their despairing souls, and bade them follow in his train, and witness and share in his triumph. From the same bright cloud he saw the vengeful lightnings flashing thick and dreadful, to blast and consume everything that opposed his progress; he saw sin, and death, and hell, with all its legions, baffled, defeated, and flying in trembling consternation before him; he saw them overtaken, bound, and chained to his triumphant chariot wheels; while enraptured voices were heard from heaven exclaiming, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of his Christ." Such was the scene which seems to have burst upon the ravished sight of the entranced prophet. Transported with the view, he exclaims, Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. -- Edward Payson.(Ibid. Compare Rev. 12:7-11 with Lk. 10:17-20--Satan's defeat is not somewhere off in the future. It has already taken place in Christ.)

Ver. 6. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever. To whom can this be spoken but our Lord? The psalmist cannot restrain his adoration. His enlightened eye sees in the royal Husband of the church, God, God to be adored, God reigning, God reigning everlastingly. Blessed sight! Blind are the eyes that cannot see God in Christ Jesus! We never appreciate the tender condescension of our King in becoming one flesh with his church, and placing her at his right hand, until we have fully rejoiced in his essential glory and deity. What a mercy for us that our Saviour is God, for who but a God could execute the work of salvation? What a glad thing it is that he reigns on a throne which will never pass away, for we need both sovereign grace and eternal love to secure our happiness. Could Jesus cease to reign we should cease to be blessed, and were he not God, and therefore eternal, this must be the case. No throne can endure for ever, but that on which God himself sitteth. The sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. He is the lawful monarch of all things that be. His rule is founded in right, its law is right, its result is right. Our King is no usurper and no oppressor. Even when he shall break his enemies with a rod of iron, he will do no man wrong; his vengeance and his grace are both in conformity with justice. Hence we trust him without suspicion; he cannot err; no affliction is too severe, for he sends it; no judgment too harsh, for he ordains it. O blessed hands of Jesus! the reigning power is safe with you. All the just rejoice in the government of the King who reigns in righteousness.

Ver. 6. Thy throne, O God. The original word is, probably vocative, both in the Greek and in the Hebrew; and is so taken by modern Unitarians, who seek their refuge by explaining away yeos. Henry Alford, D.D., on Heb 1:8. (Quoted by CHS, Ibid.)

Our God now--in the present and in the form of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer--"reigns on a throne which will never pass away." (Jn. 10:30, 33.) His throne was and is established forever by his own blood, not by the blood of his enemies, as was David's and Solomon's. (Ps. 145:13/1 Cor. 15:21-28; Is. 9:6, 7; Heb. chaps. 1 and 9, &c.) When Solomon's reign ended, so did the blessings God's people had under him (Jeroboam and Rehoboam, 1 Kin. 12); however, our King's reign shall never end. Nevertheless, there are always those around, e.g., "Unitarians," who explain away passages such as Hebrews 1:8:

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

The subduing of the nations to the blessings of the rule of the Greater than Solomon is not with the literal sword, but with the sword of the Spirit of God's grace. Unlike David who had to subdue his enemies with the bloody sword, the King of kings goes forth with truth, meekness and righteousness, conquering the nations for the Kingdom of God from the heart--they willingly submit to his righteous government.

The choice comes down to two basic ideas: Either the blessedness of Christ's kingdom is established by the literal shed blood of his enemies, or it is established by his own shed blood--that is to say, it is established through God's Spirit of grace and peace, or it is established through God's spirit of helplessness in the face of man's rebellion, and he must use literal force. A.H. Strong develops the idea thusly:

(d ) That the literal interpretation is generally and naturally connected with the expectation of a gradual and necessary decline of Christ's kingdom upon earth, until Christ comes to bind Satan and to introduce the millennium. This view not only contradicts such passages as Dan. 2:34, 35, and Mat. 13:31, 32, but it begets a passive and hopeless endurance of evil whereas the Scriptures enjoin a constant and aggressive warfare against it upon the very ground that God's power shall assure to the church a gradual but constant progress in the face of it, even to the time of the end.

Dan. 2 34; 35--" Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon its feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them in pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away so that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth " ; Mat. 13:31, 32--"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is less than all seeds, but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the heaven come and lodge in the branches thereof.'' In both these figures there is no sign of cessation or of backward movement, but rather every indication of continuous advance to complete victory and dominion . The premillennial theory supposes that for the principle of development under the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, God will substitute a reign of mere power and violence. J. B. Thomas: " The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, not like a can of nitro-glycerine." Leighton Williams: "The kingdom of God is to be realized on earth, not by a cataclysm, apart from effort and will, but through the universal dissemination of the gospel all but lost to the world." E. G. Robinson: "Second Adventism stultifies the system and scheme of Christianity." Dr. A. J. Gordon could not deny that the early disciples were mistake in expecting the end of the world in their day. So we may be. Scripture does not declare that the end should come in the lifetime of the apostles, and no definite date is set. "After a long time" (Mat. 25:19) and "the falling away come first" (2 Thess. 2:3) are expressions which postpone indefinitely. Yet a just view of Christ's coming as ever possible in the immediate future may make us as faithful as were the original disciples.

The theory also divests Christ of all kingly power until the millennium, or, rather, maintains that the kingdom has not yet been given to him; see Elliott, Horæ Apocalypticæ, 1:94--where Luke 19:12--"A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return"--is interpreted as follows: "Subordinate kings went to Rome to receive the investiture to their kingdoms from the Roman Emperor, and then returned to occupy them and reign. So Christ received from his Father, after his ascension , the investiture to his kingdom; but with the intention not to occupy it, till his return at his second coming. In token of this investiture he takes his seat as the Lamb on the divine throne " (Rev. 5: 6-8). But this interpretation contradicts Mat 28:18, 20--"All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth, .... lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." See Presb. Rev., 1882:228. On the effects of the premillennial view in weakening Christian endeavor, see J. H. Seelye, Christian Missions, 94-127; per contra, see A. J. Gordon, in Independent, Feb. 1886. (A.H. Strong, Systematic Theology, 1012, 1013.)

"Second Adventism" explains away Daniel 2:34, 35, by saying the stone has not yet struck the image. And thus a whole system of Bible exegesis is turned on its ear.

"[I]t begets a passive and hopeless endurance of evil..." Some years ago, this pastor preformed a wedding for a man whose wife had passed away with cancer. At the reception, a guest told me that he was praising the Lord that things were getting worse in society, for the increase of wickedness on all levels meant that the "rapture" was soon to take place. Obviously, it would have been useless to speak to him about trying to influence society for righteousness. He was rejoicing in evil. (1 Cor. 13:6 -- iniquity is lawlessness, not simply sin.)

A major problem Israel of old had was fullness of bread: Israel's prosperity led to pride and haughty abomination--i.e., despising the oath shown in breaking the covenant--against Jehovah God. (Lev. 26:5.) The result was God's move against Israel and its dispossession from the blessings of God, Ezekiel 16:49ff. (1 Chr. 9:1.) However, Ezekiel promised an everlasting covenant much better than the old, vv. 60ff. We have already established that everlasting covenant as being the Spirit of Grace working in the hearts of those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

Bloodless or Bloody Victory

The conditions of God's blessings upon his people are listed in Leviticus 26:1-3, v. 3, If ye will... The positive results are listed in vv. 4-13. The first series of material results are listed as the blessings restored that Adam lost, tasted under Solomon and fulfilled under the Mediator of the new covenant, the Greater than Solomon, Christ. The second series of material results are listed as blessings concerning the enemies of God's kingdom on earth being subdued before the King's people--safety and peace in their land, and decisive victory over those who would seek their harm. Again, this was all obtained for a short period under both David and Solomon. V. 9, says, For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. (For links vv. 8 & 9.)

Leviticus 26:9, I will... The promise blessings contained in this section, vv. 3-13, are results of God's Spirit of free grace at work, a point not overlooked by Bonar. Yet he still places the promised blessings in this "military" area off into a literal, future, millennial reign by King Jesus, Whose reign, it is believed, must be established upon the blood of his enemies. However, those who do so must continue to overlook several important points.

The second set of problems:

First, those looking for a literal millennial reign do so based upon the old national covenant made with Israel, for they expect a bloody reign comparable to David's bloody reign that established his son as king. However, the new covenant is unlike the old national covenant; it works from the inside out, not from the outside in. (Heb. 8:6-11.)

Second, and make you fruitful... The Lord here obviously refers to the covenant made with Abraham. (Gen. 17:6-9.)

Paul makes it clear that the seed referred to in the promise to Abraham was and is Christ; the seed was not nor is it the literal descendants of Abraham, i.e., national Israel. (Gal. 3:16, 29.) Thus the promised blessings of fruitfullness, though fulfilled after a fashion under David and Solomon, looked forward to Christ.

Third, establish my covenant with you. (Is. 42:5-7, 49:7-12.)

The covenant is unlike the old national covenant made with Israel. The covenant is Christ, and it is made with all the redeemed. (Those in Christ are God's covenant people, for Christ is the covenant, Is. 42:6, 49:8.) Leviticus 26:9, accordingly, tells us that the blessedness promised in vv. 3-13, are the blessings of the new covenant under Christ. This is confirmed in v. 11, which is God's promise to tabernacle amongst his people. (Jn. 1:14, 2 Cor. 6:16, Col. 1:9, Heb. 8:2.)

[A]nd five... hundred of you... As His people act in one accord, the Lord provides victory. (Mt. 18:19. See also, Acts 1:14, 4:24, 12:5, Eph. 6:18, etc.)

Safety and peace comes from military superiority. However, the Lord provides superiority as his people follow Leviticus 26:1, 2. Vv. 6-9, the Lord places fear in the hearts of the enemies as his people follow his revealed word. Notice the opening and closing statements of Proverbs 21:

The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will (v. 1). There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD (vv. 30, 31).

Proverbs 21:30 & 31 are identified within the same paragraph marker in the Online Bible, telling us that we cannot understand the ways of the Lord. Proverbs 21 is a very good example of the ways of the Lord being contrary to the ways of man--the ways man feels is right. (Pr. 16:25.) The Lord God controls the heart of those who are against God, against God's kingdom on earth and who are against God's people. Thus when God's people loose their fear of God, God removes his fear from the enemies, and they loose their fear of God. Loosing their fear of God, they no longer have any fear of God's people though his people might rant and rave against the evils of the ungodly around them. (Notice how little effect the modern threats of God's people have against the ungodly, e.g., Disney. I do notice, however, that the same efforts against Disney for its promotion of the sodomite agenda are not attempted against Microsoft, maker of Windows, though Microsoft has publicly declared the same sodomite agenda as has Disney. What is wrong with this picture?)

Solomon makes a very significant statement about fearing God:

Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name. (1 Kin. 8:43.)

[A]s do thy people... Solomon (after God gave Solomon exceeding much wisdom and understanding, 1 Kin. 4:29) tells us that the pagans will have the same basic attitude toward the Lord God as do his people. When God's people highly regard and fear the Lord, so do the pagans; when God's people place God on the shelf for emergency use only, then so will the pagans. Generally, God's people today are not united in their fear of the Lord, for fear of the Lord is to depart from evil.

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Pr. 3:7. See also, Job 28:28, Ps. 111:10, Ec. 12:13, 2 Tim. 2:19, Jas. 3:13ff., etc.)


One of our men coached a little league soft ball team this last summer. Another coach talked loudly of his dedication to the Lord and his desire not to play games on Sunday mornings. However, that other coach was "shacked up" with his girlfriend. Clearly, the god he claimed to follow and worship was not the Christian God of Scripture.

I obtained a book through interlibrary loan, and am putting together some articles based upon it. Meanwhile, here are some applications by Salvian, the author, who witnessed and wrote about the fall of Rome (c. 450). He clearly proved that the cause of Rome's fall was Christians failing to live like Christians:

(9) In all these commandments of which I have spoken our Lord has ordered our obedience. Where are they who obey all God's commandments or even a very few of them? Where are they who love their enemies or do good to those who persecute them, or overcome evil by good? Where are they who turn their cheek to those who strike them, who yield their property without litigation to those who despoil them? Where is he who is completely free from detracting? Where is he who injures nobody by his reproaches? Where is he who imposes silence on his lips lest they burst forth into acrimonious curses. Who is it who keeps these little commandments, and I will not mention the greater ones of which I spoke a little while ago?

Since this is so, and since we fulfill none of God's commands, why do we complain about God who has more reason to complain about all of us? What is our reason for saying in sorrow that God does not heed us, when we ourselves do not heed Him? What is our reason for muttering that God does not look down towards earth, when we ourselves do not look up towards Heaven? What is the reason for being annoyed that our prayers are disdained by God, when we ourselves disdain His commandments? (Pp. 82-83.)

(8) What room is there for further argument? No matter how bitter and calamitous our suffering, we suffer less than we deserve. Why do we complain that God deals harshly with us? We treat God much more harshly. We provoke him by our impurities, and force Him against His will to punish us. Though the mind and majesty of God are of that nature that He is moved by no passion of anger, yet so great is the irritation of our sins that, because of us, He is forced to anger. As I might say, we do violence to his kindness and, in a way, lay our hands on His mercy. In His gentleness He wishes constantly to spare us, but He is forced by our wickedness to punish the crimes we commit. ... When we do those things forbidden us by God, we trample on the commands of Him who forbids. Thereby, we wickedly blame the severity of God for our calamities, when we should blame ourselves. When we commit the sins for which we are punished, we ourselves are the authors of our torments. Why, then, do we complain about the harshness of our punishment? Each one of us punishes himself. Thus was it spoken to us by the prophet:26...

26 Isa. 50.11. (The Governance of God, by Salvian, the Presbyter, 102-103. Salvian, of Marseilles, ca. 400-ca. 480, was probably a Roman Catholic priest who witnessed and wrote about (c. 450) the fall of Rome. It is v. 3 of "Fathers of the church," i.e., the Church of Rome. "The Writings of Salvian, the Presbyter [The Governance of God] Translated by Jeremiah F. O'Sullivan, Ph.D. New York, CIMA Publishing Co., Inc. 1947." Fathers of the Church, III.)

Though claiming the Christian faith, the rich and powerful cities in the time of the Roman Empire, as well as Rome itself, fell because of their fullness of bread:

What resulted from all this? Through all that I have said they were fallen so low that in them was fulfilled the saying of the Sacred Word: 41 'wine and women make men fall away from God.' For, while they drink, gamble, commit adultery, and are mad, they begin to deny Christ. And we wonder after all these things that they have suffered the ruin of their own property, they who long before have gone to pieces mentally! Therefore, let nobody think that city perished only at the time of its own ruin. Where such things are done, the inhabitants had already [morally] perished long before they [physically] perished.

(14) I have spoken about the most famous cities. What about other cities in other parts of Gaul? Have they not fallen because of similar vices of their inhabitants? Their crimes possessed them in such a way that they did not fear danger. Their captivity was foretold them and they were not afraid. Indeed, fear was taken away from the sinners to obviate the possibility of caution. Thus, when the barbarians were located almost in plain sight of all, there was neither fear of men nor protection of cities. So great was the blindness of soul, or rather so great was the blindness of sins, that, without doubt, nobody wished to perish, yet nobody did anything to prevent his perishing.

Everything was carelessness and inactivity, negligence and gluttony. Drunkenness and sleep took hold of all, according to that which has been written about such men, 'because the sleep of the Lord had fallen on them.42 Indeed, a sleep flowed in upon them that ruin might follow. For when, as it is written, his measure of iniquities being full and the sinner deserves to perish, foreknowledge is taken away from him, lest he escape perishing. 43 I have said enough about these things. I think I have proved clearly enough what I proposed. This was that the vices of the citizens never ceased, even to the critical moment of destruction of their cities.

(15) Perhaps you are saying that these things happened in the past, or no longer exist, or will forever cease. If today any city or province is struck down by heavenly blows, or is overrun, humbled, converted, and corrected by a hostile population, if practically all peoples who bear the Roman name prefer to perish rather than be corrected, it is easy to see they prefer to die rather than live without their vices.

41 Eccli. 19.2. 42 1 Kings 26.12. 43 Gen. 15.16. (Ibid., 176, 177.)

Almost point for point, Salvian describes modern Western Christianity. My point in quoting Salvian is this: Looking around, we see the wicked prosper while Christens are "oppressed." However, the honest individual must admit that Christianity today is very far from what is required of it by God. It is evident that the vast majority of God's people today see the Lord as not much more than an escape from life's difficulties; he seems to be, more often than not, someone to serve if and when they have time. How can we, therefore, condemn the pagans for working to remove God from public life (e.g., the Commandments removed from the classroom [education] and the courtroom [judicial system]) when, generally, the church has removed the Lord God from religious life? Those who profess to be God's people refuse to fear the Lord, yet the same ones will complain against the ungodly because they do not fear the Lord.

The idea that Christ, through his shed blood, cannot obtain a higher standard of physical blessings for obedience to his commands--John 14:15 & 15:10 and thus to no higher blessings than Solomon's--than could his Old Testament people through the law and through the blood of bulls and goats, totally dismisses the power and effect of the Spirit of God acting under the new covenant.


"Forms" for Coverture Marriage available from us, Biblical Examiner. Send me an e-mail. Bro. Need.

(Having gathered several 'vows' over the years from others, here are the vows I used with our oldest daughter. A pastor present at the ceremony who is on our mailing list, ask me to reproduce the following in case other pastors might find them useful. These vows go with the "coverture" marriage for which we have the documents.)

Pastor > Beloved in the Lord, we are assembled here in the presence of God for the purpose of joining in marriage [HIM] and [HER]. We would like to call to your attention to the holy institution, purpose, and obligations in terms of God's word concerning marriage.

Let us pray...

The holy bond of marriage was instituted by the Creator of heaven and earth at the very dawn of history. God created man to have dominion over the earth. God commanded man to take dominion according to His every law-word. But when the Lord God looked at His perfect creation and saw that man was alone, He said: It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

We see, then, that the uniting of a man and of a woman was instituted before sin entered into the world. Thus, a man can have everything this world might have to offer, even unfallen paradise itself, and it still is not good that he should be alone.

[HIM] today is saying that it is not good for him to be alone and that [HER] is the one the Lord has brought to him to be his help meet. She is to help him as he works to fulfill God's command to subdue the earth and take dominion over that for which the Lord has given him responsibility.

Furthermore, [HER] is saying that she is willing to be that help meet as [HE] serves the Lord in his calling before God.

Christ Himself confirmed what took place with Adam and Eve in the garden when He restated His words to Adam and Eve. He added, What therefore God hath joined, let not man put asunder. We read Ephesians chapter 5:

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that no matter how imperfect an individual might be, the uniting together of a man and of a woman into the marriage relationship is a picture of the redemptive work of Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ, before the foundations of the world, entered into a covenant or an agreement with God the Father. The agreement said that Christ would pay the price for the sins of those who would place their faith and trust in Christ. The Father said that if the Son would pay the price for their sins, the Father would receive them unto Himself. And they would be just as if they had never sinned.

Through the finished work of Christ upon the cross, Christ sets apart a people, called the Church, unto Himself. It is a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish.

There is room in the agreement between the Father and the Son for whosoever will come. There is room for every person who realizes that he or she is a sinner. The sinner must realize and admit that the penalty of his or her sin is death. The sinner must understand that Christ paid the price for his or her sins their place. Then the sinner must be willing to and then place his or her complete trust in Christ to pay their sin debt. The sinner must place his or her faith in Christ's payment as their substitute.

If you this afternoon as a lost sinner will place your trust in Christ's payment for your sins, there is room for you! I am sure that [HIM] and [HER] would urge you to join them in this covenant in Christ.

The Lord ordained that in marriage the husband should be the head of his wife, even as Christ is head of His church. The Lord ordained that in marriage the husband protect his wife and provide for her in love, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it. God also ordained that the wife should be subject to her own husband in all things according to the word of God. She is to show him the same respect that the church is to show to her head, the Lord Jesus Christ. The homes begun in the name of the Lord and regulated by His word become the very foundation of a Christian society. This home centered in Christ is meant to be a garden of Eden on earth; it is to be a foretaste of the eternal home.

Marriage then is a divine ordinance intended to be a source of happiness and strength to His obedient people as they look to Him for the grace to fulfill their responsibilities. He alone provides all that is needed to answer our most difficult problems.

[HIM] and [HER], now that you have heard God's word concerning marriage, do you agree with it and do you desire to enter into this holy estate as ordained by God?

> I Do!

[HIM], do you enter into covenant with God before these witnesses today, that with God's gracious help you will be a godly head and husband for [HER]? that you will love, honor, and care for her in sickness and in health, in prosperity and in adversity and that you will live with her in the holy and honorable bonds of marriage according to God's every word. Do you promise to forsake all others and cleave only unto her so long as you both shall live?

Do you so covenant with the God of heaven and earth?

> I Do.

[HER], do you enter into covenant with the same God of heaven and earth and before these witnesses today, that with God's gracious help you will be a godly wife and help meet for [HIM]? that you will love, reverence, and obey him in all things lawful, care for him in sickness and in health and in prosperity and in adversity, forsaking all others and cleave to him as long as you both shall live.

Do you so covenant with the God of heaven and earth?

> I Do.

We here today are here both to encourage and to witness

We encourage them to be true to their covenant-promise which they make to God today.

We also witnesses against them if either one fails to uphold their covenant-promise before God.


[HIM], do you give this ring as a symbol of your constant faithfulness and abiding love?

>I do.

These rings symbolizes in the circle of its structure an unending and abiding affection and love, in its brightness the glory of this sacred relationship, in the purity of its material the purity of this most intimate of all earthly unions in the sight of our Holy God.

[HIM], you may now place the ring upon [HER] proper finger and repeat after me...

I, [HIS FULL NAME] / take thee, [HER FULL NAME] / to be my Scripturally wedded wife / for better, for worse / for richer, for poorer / in sickness and in health / to love and to cherish / to protect and provide for / till death us do part / I covenant this to God in the presence of these witnesses.

[HER], do you give this ring as a symbol of your constant faithfulness and abiding love?

> I Do.

[HER], you may now place the ring upon [HIS] proper finger and repeat after me...

I, [HER FULL NAME] / take thee, [HIS FULL NAME] / to be my Scripturally wedded husband / for better, for worse / for richer, for poorer / in sickness and in health / to love, cherish, honor / and obey in the Lord / till death us do part. I covenant this to God in the presence of these witnesses.


For as much as you, [HIS FULL NAME], and you, [HER FULL NAME], have thus promised and engaged, and together have pledged your troth, I do according to the ordinance of God and upon that authority vested in me by God as a minister of the Gospel of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who ordained the institution of marriage in the dawn of the centuries before any other earthly entity, pronounce you husband and wife in interest and destiny, as in affection, one.

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

[HIM], you may now kiss your bride.

Henceforth you go down life's pathway together, and may the Father of all mercies, who of His Sovereign grace hath called you to this marriage, bind you together in godly love and faithfulness to Himself, and grant you His blessings.


[HIM] & [HER] turn to the congregation

May I introduce to you for the first time as man and wife, Mr. & Mrs....

Book Review


Martin & Deidre Bobgan

Dr. Larry Crabb is well-known for his books on counseling and Christian growth. While he refers to his counseling model and methods as "biblical," his psychological theories affect his teachings about the human condition, how people change and grow, and how they can find God.

Crabb interprets the message of the cross according to his psychological ideas about the nature of man and how he changes. The gospel becomes the good news that Jesus meets the needs/longings/passions which motivate all behavior from the unconscious. Sin becomes wrong strategies for meeting the needs/longings/passions. Confession is telling our stories and gaining insight into those wrong strategies. Full repentance comes through getting in touch with the pain of the past. Hence, the gospel message itself is directly tied to a psychological construct.

Through the years people have argued, "But Larry Crabb has changed." Has he? This book examines his writings from 1975 through 1997 to answer that question and determine the status of his approach to counseling and ministering the gospel of salvation and sanctification.

PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries Special Price: $11.00 (retail $12.00)

Softbound, 210 pages, ISBN 0-941717-14-3

PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries 4137 Primavera Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93110 1-800 21 4696 or 1-80 683-0864


Matthew 5:38-42.

Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

An eye for an eye speaks of just restitution; its enforcement solves the vast majority of the crime problem. On the other hand, its removal from civil law permits lawlessness to prevail. The command for restitution, one of the most basic of God's laws of personal protection and liberty, was given specifically to civil authority three times by Moses. (Exo. 21, Lev. 24 & Deut. 19:19.)

Also, God's law of restitution is the basis of the gospel of Christ -- he made restitution for our sins. Without God's requirement for restitution there would be no need for Christ's payment for the sins of his people. (Isa. 53.)

Restitution will: First, protect the weak from the strong; second; 2) prevent the judge from inflicting too harsh of punishment against the evil doer; 3) prevent carelessness; and 4) put away evil from a society. In fact, without restitution, evil will proliferate in any social order. (DateLine, 7/13/99, was dedicated to a trial of an anesthesiologist who had a child die under his care. The question was, should he be charged with criminal manslaughter. Biblically, yes he should be, and it would be his life for the life his negligence lost. However, to find him guilty, would also require finding drunk drivers, and others, who kill people guilty of criminal manslaughter, and his life for the life of his victim.)

The Lord did not repeal the law of Moses which called for an eye for an eye. Rather, he dealt with a false teaching of the Pharisees that permitted personal vengeance against someone who had damaged their pride.

The Lord gives three illustrations of how we are to respond to evil men. (Vv. 39-42.)

The first illustration: resist not evil; rather, turn to him the other cheek. Looking at the Lord's three illustrations (cheek, coat and compelling), we see this first illustration deals with wounded pride rather than serious injury to person or property. He is not dealing with self-protection, restitution, nor someone gouging out an eye or cutting off a limb. He is simply dealing with a slap or strong words, situations where someone is trying to stir up a personal fight.

We have all been in this kind of situation, as described by the Wise Man--A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Pro. 15:1). When we retaliate with grievous words to those provoking us, more strife develops.

Resist not evil. The Lord is not forbidding lawful defense against the evil, nor is he telling his people to ignore or overlook evil; he is, however, forbidding even the attitude of private revenge or striking back in any way. A duty of the magistrates is to see that the evil person makes just restitution for his evil deed. (Rom. 13:1-6.) We are responsible under the Lord to call the evil person into account for his evil actions:

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:17.)

If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: 22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee. (Pro. 25:21.)

The Lord tells us that when someone is provoking us, we are to show kindness to them instead of retaliating with anger and malice to protect our pride.

Resist not evil, but we live in an evil world. We can fully expect the evil person to move against the godly. So how are we to respond? We must respond against evil in a godly manner; we are never allowed to respond to evil in a fit of anger or vengeance. We must suffer the injury and refer our cause to the Righteous Judge of all the earth. We must not even entertain the hope of an opportunity to get even: Deuteronomy 32:35, Psalms 27:14 37:34, Proverbs 20:22, 17:13, 24:29, Isaiah 40:31, Lamentations 3:25, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, 1 Peter 2:23, 3:9, 4:19.

We are warned that if we do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will the Father forgive ours. (Mat. 6:15.)

Though we are told to resist not evil, evil cannot be ignored.

1) the law permits self-defence. (Ex. 22:2.)

2) the Lord told his disciples to buy a sword. (Lk. 22:36.)

3) the Lord told us to confront the evil doer with is evil deed. And if he will not hear, then church discipline is to be taken against him. (Mat. 18:17-17.)

4) Christ himself resisted evil by attacking the evil doer. He scattered the moneychangers who were desecrating the temple, overthrowing their tables. (Jn. 2:13-17.)

5) Christ refused to let any man carry a vessel through the temple, resisting evil attitudes toward the house of God. (Mk 11:15-17.)

God ordained the civil magistrate to punish evil. If a well-ordered church requires me to take an evil Christian brother before the church, then it is obvious that a well-ordered society requires me to take an evil doer before the civil magistrate.

Though the Scripture requires that we defend what is ours, that defense cannot be done out of a spirit of revenge. When the injury is personal and private, it is the Christian's duty to bear it in the spirit of meekness as long as bearing the evil does not encourage the evil-doer.


If someone is harming a member of my family, I must take action. Some time ago, a man from where we used to live called me. He did not give his name, and all he said was, "There is a little girl down the street who is beating up on my daughter every time she gets the chance. My daughter stays in my yard and the girl will even come into our yard and harass and pick on her. If I go the father, the father only ignores me, and threatens to go to the police if I do anything to his daughter. I have checked with the police and they said that they would not get involved at this point. I have taught and am teaching my daughter to turn the other cheek, but the situation only gets worse. Now what?"

The man would not give me his name, but his voice was sure familiar. I told him to tell his daughter to hit back the girl who was giving her problems. Turning the other cheek was only encouraging the situation and making it worse.

Remember Abraham, the friend of God. He armed the servants of his house and perused those who took his nephew prisoner.

Every truth of God's word is a balanced truth, and none will stand alone.

The false teachers teach one doctrine at the expense of another, and the doctrine of turn the other cheek can be one one of those "expensive" doctrines.

Notice Romans 5:21--grace does not reign apart from, or in place of, the righteousness of the law (eye for eye in this case), but it reigns through righteousness. Grace is the wisdom and power to live a righteous life according to the law. It is not the power to roll over and play dead before the wicked's abuse of power.

Yes, Paul did complain to the Corinthians because they were taking what should have been church matters to the civil courts, but Paul did not abrogate the duty of the Christian to society in general.

If a drunk runs me down, it is my duty to take his license plate number, and turn him in. If I catch a thief stealing, I have a responsibility to my neighbour to turn him in rather than turn the other cheek and release him.

But I cannot go to the civil authorities with a spirit of vengeance nor can I harbor a spirit of vengeance over my hurt pride, or I will be numbered among the evil doers.

Resist not evil calls the followers of Christ to a life of meekness, peace, compassion and endurance of wrong. Following Christ forbids seeking personal vengeance, but it does not leave the child of God helpless before the evil world. Our responsibility is not to see that the sinner gets what is coming to him; our responsibility is to see that the sinner gets the gospel of peace.

There are only two classes of people in this world, the evil doer and the doer of good. Vengeance and malice belongs to the evil doer:

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matthew 5: 39, whosoever shall smite thee. This is one of the more misused passages: is Christ speaking of literally turning the other cheek? Note the context of the verse. If we turn the other cheek, would we invite the smiter to do more wrong? What did Christ do? Though He did not answer the force used against him with force, he did not turn the other cheek. Rather, he soundly rebuked, challenged and exposed the evil doers. (Jn. 18:22, 23.)

So what is meant here? As we saw from Romans 12:19, this passage is clearly speaking about an evil person provoking us to retaliate against him. Christ is speaking against fighting and quarreling. No matter how sorely provoked by another we might be, we must not fight back. The situation between children, co-workers, family members, friends, and between husbands and wives is a good example of what our Lord is speaking against. He says that it is better to allow our pride to be injured than to allow our pride to control us and get us in trouble with the Lord.

Yet there are times when it is our duty to call for help from the civil authority, and there are times to defend rather than be robbed or killed.

The second illustration, if any man will sue thee, v. 40. This illustration concerns the actions of evil men. Slapping our cheek has to do with our person--coat has to do with our possessions.

Not only is anger, argument and physical violence a mark of evil persons, so also is theft. But here the evil person is trying to use the law to steal a trifling thing, our coat. He is not trying to seize our house nor property, but he is trying to take something that does not amount to much, a garment. The Lord says it is better to suffer the loss of our coat than to go to court over it--it would probably cost more in court fees than the coat is worth. In other words, when people go to court over such trifling matters as a coat, they are probably going because they are mad, or because their pride has been injured, or because they want to get even. They are not looking for justice (eye for an eye); rather, they are looking for revenge.

The Lord says here that the command of our spirit is far more important than the clothes we ware. The Lord forbids a child of God from using the courts for private vengeance. He is not condemning using the courts for the protection called for under the law, eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

The third illustration, compel thee to go, v. 41. This is another command that must be understood in the context of the time. The nation of Israel was captive to Rome. Roman troops had the power to require able-bodied men to act as porters or guides for a mile at a time. Of course, this service would not be popular, and would be entered into with great reluctance, complaining and murmuring. The result would be a bitter spirit which would only go the mile, and no more.

The context is primarily speaking of forced service to the state, but it includes any unpleasant task. If we are compelled to do something that is our duty to do, we are to do it without our spirit murmuring and complaining. In fact, we are to go beyond our responsibility in that unpleasant task with a cheerful spirit.

No matter how light the task, it is heavy to him who performs it unwillingly. No matter how heavy, it seems light to him who executes it willingly. (Salvian, The Governance of God, P. 31.)

If slaves obey their masters according to their own judgment, they are not obedient even when they obey. When a slave performs only those of his master's commands which he likes to perform, he is not following his master's will, but his own. ... In like manner we, who are the slaves of the Lord, must realize that it is absolutely improper either to do what pleases us according to our whims, or in an abusive indulgence of pride to trample under foot what displeases us. (Ibid, pp. 78, 79.)

Our Lord is warning against serving under abusive, even unlawful, authority with an angry, bitter spirit against that authority. He is warning against seeking personal vengeance against that authority. Peter gives the same warning. In due time, the Judge of the Universe will do right and hold the evil men accountable. We must leave vengeance in God's hands, for it is his duty and responsibility. The Spirit of Christ does not demand that our every personal right be honored and our pride protected.

V. 42, the Lord departs from negative illustrations as he mentions a positive aspect of Christianity--generosity. But the giving called for here is not indiscriminate charity. The word of God clearly establishes the guidelines for giving. We already mentioned that our actions must not encourage evil men in their ways, so too our giving. Our Christian charity cannot support those unwilling to work, e.g., For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat (2 Thes. 3:10).

This section shows us that Christians are forbidden to defend their pride on a personal level, nor can they defend their property and liberty with a vengeful, bitter spirit of anger.