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Showing posts from August, 2006

Again, On Tolerance

Since it is a good thing to be judged to be tolerant and since tolerance requires sympathy and indulgence and may be endorsement of something with which one differs; it seems to be wise to stay ignorant of the possibilities. One does not want to put a strain on one’s love and wisdom.

Tolerance

“Tolerance: sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.” This is a good definition for a good word.

However, like many words, definitions change with the usage in the culture.

Here is a sliding definition of tolerance: “an endorsement with enthusiasm for beliefs and practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.” Anything short of this endorsement faces the accusation of intolerance.

Prejudice

“Prejudice: an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.”

It looks as if “tolerance” is a good word and “prejudice” is a bad word.

Some of “tolerance” is an advance positive judgment without information whereas “prejudice” is an advance negative judgment without information.

The practice of both words may be based upon ignorance.

Let us be adequately informed so that our judgments, pro or con, are neither prejudicial to the good nor tolerant of evil.

Narnia

In the summer of 1958 I was, with Jerry Hawthorne, teaching for a week at Cedar Campus in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. One evening our little family was invited to Keith and Glady Hunt’s home where we heard Keith read aloud the first chapter of The Last Battle. Douglas had just turned five, Evan would be four, and Heather turned two at the camp. Well that turned me on to Narnia. That November we opened the OCF Bookstore in Annapolis, Maryland. We had immediate access to Narnia. This is a plug for the Chronicles of Narnia. They are children’s books. I am 78; I am not too old for Narnia.

This is also a plug for “What I learned in Narnia” by our oldest son, Douglas. This is a series of CD’s on the following subjects: Authority, Confessing Sin, Nobility, Spiritual Disciplines, Love of Story, Complete Grace, Love for Aslan, and Love for God.

This is great personal teaching about the above subjects and also great teaching about all kinds of people, their character, their reactions, and Go…

Advertising

All of us have basic needs; food, clothing, and drink.

We are not to be anxious about meeting these basic needs.

“So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34

There are two reasons given.

1. This is what unbelievers do. Do you want to be like the unbelievers?
2. God knows you have need of these things.

If we seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness, God will provide the basics.

This is not the subject. The subject is advertising. Advertisers do not advertise basics. They do not need to advertise basics. People will buy basics even if they are not advertised.

What is advertised? Luxuries! We…

Coveting Your Own Stuff

“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how …

Coveting Stuff Not Your Own

“You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

The success of free enterprise and capitalism is largely based upon coveting. Coveting is one of the things that precede purchasing, borrowing, stealing, and cheating. Coveting is not the only thing that precedes purchasing; it is just one of the things. God is not opposed to Free Enterprise or Capitalism, but He is opposed to coveting.

Although the quotation is the tenth commandment it is very close to the First and Second Commandments.

“You shall have no other gods before me. "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of …

Israel

Israel today is a far cry from the Israel of the Kings; David and Solomon or even Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, or Josiah. It is also a far cry from the Israel of the idolatrous kings.

Israel is a secular state made up of people from all over the world who are at least ¼ Jewish by birth. Some of the Israelites are religious, different kinds of Judaism. Some of the citizens are Christians with a Jewish ancestry. Much of Israel is atheist with a common bond of Zionism the Jewish state. To my knowledge no Muslims are citizens of Israel.

The greatest supporters of Israel among the Gentiles are Evangelical Christians because of their understanding of a future Israel from the Bible.

The other supporters of Israel are those who are opposed to Islamic terrorists.

Some of those who are anti-Israel are from a long history of anti-semetic culture. Although Israel plays up to their Evangelical supporters they in turn are not supporters of active believing Christians in Israel.

A far greater concern is that b…

Discovering Your Own Sin

Recently, I read of a new Christian who had decided to forgive a brother in the church who had offended him. This should have been refreshing news to me, when there are so many brothers in so many churches who do not forgive those from whom they have taken offense.

I do not know his situation but I do know of many similar situations.

Forgiveness has been decided on but in the heart forgiveness does not occur. The forgiver has difficulty forgiving even though he wanted to and chooses to. Why not?

Here is one of the reasons. When he was offended by the brother it was easy for him to see the brother’s sin. It never occurred to him that taking offense was as great a sin as giving offense. Maybe even a greater sin. Giving offense may have happened in ignorance with no malice at all. Taking offense is always sin and needs to be confessed and repented of to restore this person to the joy of the Lord. After his joy is restored he then can forgive his brother from the heart.

For more on this subj…

Mobs and Riots

Back in the early thirties, when I was a little boy, my father told me a story of a lynch mob in Omaha who stormed the Douglas County Jail. They intended to hang a black man who was incarcerated in the jail. The sheriff stood in the way and told the mob that they would have to hang him before they could hang the black man. The mob agreed and proceeded to hang the sheriff and the inmate. An open touring car came driving through the mob. The occupants cut the ropes of both men. They fell into the car. The car drove off.

My father had one moral to the story. It was, “Do not join a crowd. Most people in the crowd are there because they are spectators. They think that they are not part of the mob; they are only onlookers. However, they are the ones who give authority to the leaders of the mob.”

I have seen on TV and heard of many kinds of mobs. There is a hysteria that is created that affects everyone.

Here are a few:

1. Spectators in English soccer matches
2. Riots that burned down Newark, Wat…

God's Patience

“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time . . . Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.” Genesis 6:5, 11, 12 (NIV)

This was the state of man before the flood.

“Then he said, ‘May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?’ He answered, ‘For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.’” Genesis 18:32 (NIV)

Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared for ten righteous people.

“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city. Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ still they are swearing falsely.” Jeremiah 5:1-2 (NIV)

If there had been one righteous person, Jerusa…

John 14

“When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, ‘Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.’

Jesus replied: ‘A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

Then the master told his servant, …

Baptism

Here are the two key texts on baptism in the New Testament. Because they are primary texts I will refer to them several times throughout the study.

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Matthew 3:11

“For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:5

There are clearly, two distinctions between who is baptizing and in what element is the baptism.

They are John and Jesus or man and God and water and the Holy Spirit. For man to baptize with water there needed to be evidence that repentance had taken place.

John said it. “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:7, 8

Peter said it. “Then Peter said, "Can …