Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Blessed Assurance

Every week the ESV website puts out a memory verse through one of their RSS feeds. (See yesterday's post) This week is on Assurance and the verse is John 10:27-28 in which Jesus promises:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

What confidence we can have in the hands of the Savior!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Geek info

I have stumbled upon something I am sure many of you already know feed readers. These are programs that pull all the blogs, news sites, etc., that you normally have to go from page to page on your browser into one place (soooo tedious...). The program lets you know when the site is updated and you can check it out right then rather than wait for email notification.

Here's the link. It's free. It downloaded pretty fast and with little effort on my part. To add this blog, just copy the web address and paste it into the window after you click "New". Hit OK and it should find the site feed address on its own. You can pick the "RSS" or "Atom" feed, it really doesn't matter.

Just another tip from your friendly neighborhood tech geek. God bless and hopefully see you Wednesday. The Men's Ministry lesson this week is on "Broken Relationships" and is being taught by Scott Ritchison. After reading the chapter in the book, we should have a good discussion on priorities.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Some thoughts from last week's lesson...

Although there were several good points from the lesson last week on Job's Testimony, one point Scott made has stuck with me the most. I have written in my notes, "1) Temptation to give up on God."

Tonight, I was updating the prayer list and saw so many circumstances that just break my heart. I think of the situation with Mimi (not Youngblood) and the loss of that baby after carrying her nine weeks. I think of Troy's family and the loss of a father and a husband and the sense of abandonment with which they must be wrestling. I think of little Noah facing heart surgery at seven years old. I am reminded of the ongoing struggle with the health of Jill's dad. Then also, my heart goes out to Robyn and Christi and the inner struggles they must be going through having mothers with cancer. I am sure there are many others unspoken or outside of our class for which we have no clue.

What is the temptation for each of these? The temptation is to assault God with the accusation of being unfair and unjust. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Do we trust the testimony of Scripture that God is absolutely sovereign and absolutely good when our hearts are pulling apart, when we are fatigued of facing the pain and the problem day after day?

"Why did You let this happen?"

"How could a loving God allow such things to go on?"

"Don't You care?"

"Am I on my own with this?"

"What's the use of being a Christian if You won't or can't protect me from this pain and suffering?"

And the questions go on and on...As Scott said, Scripture shows us that our Father welcomes honest questions. We should take our concerns to God directly. Through Christ, Hebrews tells us that we can boldly (ESV says "confidently") come to the throne of grace. I heard an old pastor say once that we enter boldly, but not brazenly. There is a difference in an honest question and a disrespectful accusation.

I must confess up front that my own times of testing have shown me that I have so much to learn about relying on the Lord and being confident in His goodness and power to work all things together for the good. I am praying for those who are in these circumstances to be much wiser about recognizing their need for Him to sustain them than I was.

Nevertheless, I throw this out for your comment. What have you learned from Job to help deal with these types of situations? What have you learned about God so that you are equipped to overcome the temptation that is so prominent in a crisis? If you are in a crisis circumstance, where is Christ in the middle of it?

This blog is meant to be an interractive tool for us to discuss what we are studying throughout the week. Use the comment button at the bottom of this post to respond. With so many Job-like situations present just in our class, how does the study of God's sovereignty in the suffering of the righteous effect your hearts in these trials? Does the study of Job cause you to handle these things differently than you would have otherwise?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Does God Want Us to Be Rich? TIME Looks at Prosperity Theology

Time Magazine, of all things, has taken on the prosperity theology so prevalent in the Western Church today. This article is timely with our study of Job. Take a look at Al Mohler's comment on Time's coverage of "preachers" like Osteen, Jakes, etc.

There is the issue of priorities. For what do we as a church strive? Do we strive for the theater seats for the main service to comfortably watch the show? Or would we be content with those hard fold-out metal chairs as long as the Lord's Table is spread before us and we can feast on the pure Word of God? Do we seek numbers? Or do we seek fellowship with and the making of true brothers and sisters in Christ who are growing in grace and who bear the marks of true faith: Love for Christ and a love for all the saints? Do we seek position: to be known by others as the "best church in Tyler"? Or do we seek the servants' faithfulness to His Word that oftentimes goes unnoticed by the masses?

When I read about these kinds of situations in the Church, it is tempting for me to feel that my church is much more holy and more Christian than the mega-churches. But, if we really examine our own hearts, even though we may profess to not believe in the doctrines of personal prosperity and pragmatic church growth, I wonder if our actions sometimes betray differently. Do we truly trust Christ alone for the health and growth of this body we call Calvary? Or do we sometimes try to take that growth into our own hands forgetting that it is Christ Who will build His church?

He builds His church when He grants us faithful hearts to His Word. He builds it when He grants us sincere love for one another. He builds it when He grants us those precious opportunities to share the gospel of His grace with the lost. He builds it in a thousand thousands of other ways that we do not even see. He builds it when He grants us the wisdom to use our finances in ways that exhibit our Christ-centeredness rather than to build for ourselves a name. Some gifts are shortly realized. Others have been in the works for years. His gifts to us, for His glory and our good.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Help needed for Mother of three

I got a call from Fred earlier today. There is a young mother of three in our church who has had her transmission go out on her car. It has been a tough time for her and she needs some help. Fred asked if I knew of anyone with an extra car she could borrow while her transmission was getting fixed. If you have an extra car to loan that would accommodate three children, please contact Fred or Mary at 903-939-3200.

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What on earth is a Daysman?

In class Sunday, we were studying Job's recognition of his need for an "umpire" between him and God. In looking at the KJV of the passage, the word "daysman" is used instead of mediator, or arbiter, or someother similar phrase. Scott asked me if I knew what a "daysman" was, and, although I was confident it was another word for mediator, I had to admit I was unfamiliar with the origin of the word. As you can imagine, it was a difficult time for me. I have yet to recover from my shame. Nevertheless, I looked into it when I got home that afternoon. Here is what I found.

Consider the different translations of Job 9:33, part of our text in Sunday school last week.

Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both. (KJV)
If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, (NIV)
There is no umpire between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both. (NASB)
There is no (or would that there were an) arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both. (ESV)
There is no one to judge between us, to lay his hand on both of us. (HCSB)
Daysman is an old English word formed from the Latin diem dicere, i.e., to fix a day for hearing a cause. Diem means "day" (we talk of per diem reimbursements). Dicere means "to judge". A Daysman is empowered by mutual consent to decide the cause, and to "lay his hand", i.e., to impose his authority, on both parties, and enforce his sentence. We use the term arbiter today.

It is important to understand that in the Greek of the New Testament there two major terms for "time." One, chronos, emphasizes the passage of time without any stress on the significance of events in the period; the other, kairos, stresses the special or revelatory significance of time. All life happens between chronos and kairos, so to speak. Or, to put it differently, chronos is one thing after another; kairos is one significant event.

Our word "day" is a word that captures in its various definitions both of the biblical meanings of time. On the one hand is the "chronological" meaning of "day"-- "the time of sunlight," as it is defined in the dictionary. On the other hand we know that "day" can signify a "great day" or an important day. The theological concept of the Judgment Day or "the Day of the Lord", stresses this meaning.

Pushing the research further, "Day" had a rich significance in law that has been lost to our day, and this usage relates to day as a verb. "To day" means "To appoint a day to anyone" or "to cite or summon for an appointed day," such as in the 15th century sentence, "he should be sente fore and dayed ernestly agayn, for to abyde such jugement."

But the second usage of "day" as a verb is "to submit (a matter) to, or decide by, arbitration." We know that the use of "day" in this manner was already obsolete in the 18th century, but an Oxford English Dictionary example from the 16th century is "They have him enforced when all their money was...spent, to have their matter dayed, and ended by arbitrement."

This use of "day" seems to have spawned two nouns, "dayment" and "daysman." "Dayment" is simply defined as "arbitration," such as in the sentence "to spende all..that money and put it to dayment at last." A "daysman" is an "umpire or arbitrator; a mediator" in its archaic usage, according to the OED. From a 16th century legal source we have, "If neighbors were at variance, they ran not straight to law: Daysmen took up the matter, and cost them not a straw." Or, in another case, "They had some common arbitrators, or dayesmen, in every towne, that made a friendly composition between man and man."

The sense from the quotation just given is that arbitration, or dayment, was not only a cheaper procedure than a court trial, but was the principal method to reconcile parties and deliver quicker justice than might be attainable through the King's Bench or Common Pleas or Exchequer. In his magisterial history of English law in the 16th century, Baker points to the popularity of arbitration at any stage of the legal proceedings in this period, even though the surviving records of arbitrations are much more scanty than purely judicial proceedings (Oxford History of the Laws of England, 333-34). Thus daysmen were important in that period, even though the word has long disappeared from our vocabulary.

Yet even though the word is no longer used, its 16th-17th century usage is preserved in a most unlikely place: the Book of Job in the King James translation of the Bible (1611). When Job is expressing his frustration with not being able to know how to approach God in his distress, he expresses a contrary to fact wish (Job 9:33) which the KJV translated as follows: "Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both." It is interesting that the KJV translators were following the 1535 English translation of the Bible by Miles Coverdale, who rendered 9:33 as follows: "Nether is there eny dayes man to reprove both the partes, or to laye his honde betwixte us."

A leading commentator on the Book of Job, David Clines, comments on this passage that the author isn't specific as to whether what is in view is a person who has the power to make decisions or just to try to reconcile the parties (Job 1-20, p. 243). He actually translates the Hebrew word (Mochia) as "mediator," which seems to be precisely wrong. What is in view in Job 9:33-34 is an umpire-like figure who can "lay his hand upon us both."

The phrase "lay his hand" only appears in the Hebrew Bible in one other place, Ps. 139 (verse 5). In that context the words "lay his hand upon" suggests the authority of God to make something happen in the Psalmist's life. In law the person who can make decisions by "laying his hand" on both parties is the arbitrator, not the mediator.

A mediator in American law is a person who can get parties together and make suggestions (and even some warnings/threats), but s/he has no authority to force a decision on the parties. Thus, I think the KJV has it right after all--what Job is longing for is not simply a mediator, but an arbitrator, a daysman with all his power. Further, Job might consider a human judge as capable of acting as an umpire upon his own claims, but no man was worthy to question the purposes of Yahweh, or metaphorically, to "lay his hands upon" Him. To that end, I think the English Standard Version is the most correct in that it uses the term "arbiter", which is consistent with the context, rather than "mediator."

Commentator Arthur Walwyn Evans, notes that in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 4:3, anthropine, hemera) "man's judgment" is literally, "man's day," in the sense of a day fixed for the trial of a case. Both Tyndale and Coverdale so translate. See also 1 Timothy 2:5, where the Saviour is termed the "one mediator .... between God and men." Here the word connotes a pleader, an advocate or lawyer before an umpire, rather than the adjudicator himself (see Job 19:25-27).

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Nathaniel update...

Yes, we are home...Thank, God. Thanks for all your prayers, visits and calls. Tammy is doing well, but still recovering. Nathaniel is also doing well, but learning the fine art of sleeping...I am committed to his advanced studies on that topic.

We've got pictures, if you're interested. Here and here.

Remember, tonight is the "Reconnect" social over at the Rose's. More details in the sidebar and Scott's letter here. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thirst is a Liar

Did you know that thirst is a liar? You can't always trust your sense of thirst to keep your water intake above the minimum required for good health. An hour of hard work or athletic competition that involves heavy sweating, for example, can dehydrate the body far beyond what a person would ordinarily feel like drinking. Similarly, people who are sick or elderly often have a dulled sense of thirst. In instances like these, it's better to trust objective guidelines than your own feeling of satiety.

In the same way, we don't drink long enough or deep enough from the Word of God on a regular basis. If we trust our "felt need" for Scripture, we would be spiritually dehydrated, indeed. Many times when we are spiritually "sick" through unrepentant sin, for example, or some lengthy trial, we don't even realize our desparate need for the Word of God to nourish our souls. I have found that an objective reading schedule is very helpful. There is no right schedule. Just pick something that is consistent and gets you deeper into study than the casual reading of the newspaper.

Here's one I like for a good overview:

Old Testament

  1. Genesis (History of Creation, Fall, and Covenant in Patriarchal History)

  2. Exodus (History of Israel’s liberation and formation as people of God)

  3. Joshua (History of military conquest of promised land)

  4. Judges (History of transition from tribal federation to monarch)

  5. 1 & 2 Samuel (History of emerging monarchy with Samuel, Saul, and David; the golden age of Israel)

  6. 1 & 2 Kings (History of Solomon and the division of the kingdom; the fall of Israel and the beginning of the age of the prophets)

  7. Ezra/Nehemiah (History of return from exile; restoration of Jerusalem)

  8. Amos and Hosea (Examples of Minor Prophets)

  9. Jeremiah (Example of Major Prophets)

  10. Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon (Examples of Wisdom Literature)

  11. Psalms and Proverbs (Examples of Hebrew poetry)

This gives an Old Testament overview to which you can fill in the gaps later on.

New Testament

  1. Luke (Life and teaching of Jesus)

  2. Acts (History of early church)

  3. Ephesians (Introduction to teaching of Paul)

  4. 1 Corinthians (Teaching in the life of the Church)

  5. 1 Peter (Introduction to Peter)

  6. 1 Timothy (Introduction to Pastoral Epistles)

  7. Hebrews (Theology of Christ)

  8. Romans (Paul’s theology)

After this is finished, go back and fill in the gaps. This gives an overview of the component parts of the New Testament.

I read an article once where a teacher suggested starting in three different places: Genesis, Job, and Matthew. Apparently, that's almost the Bible in thirds. The idea is that it breaks up the reading so that you get several types at once. I’ve also heard that 3 chapters on the weekdays and 5 chapters each on Saturday and Sunday will get you through the Bible in a year. That would certainly get us through the New Testament several times a year. However, that pace is not the best for "study". But after reading the Bible through a few times, you'd be amazed at how you remember other passages and statements that shed light on what you are currently reading. I guess the point is: start somewhere and read it systematically.

I've also included 10 Rules for interpreting Scripture, just in case you find that helpful.

    Rule 1: Read it like any other book. In other words, read poetry like poetry, narratives like narratives, and doctrinal treatises (i.e., Romans) like, well, doctrinal treatises.

    Rule 2: Get under the skin of the characters. Get into the context of why the book was written and under what circumstances.

    Rule 3: Historical narratives are to be interpreted by passages that teach or explain. Don't look to the life of David as a complete pattern for living. Look to the books that teach those principles. It may be that a story of David's life was included to show what not to do, for example.

    Rule 4: What is implied should be interpreted by what is expressly stated.

    Rule 5: Determine carefully the meaning of words

    Rule 6: Note the Presence of Parallelisms in the Bible

    Rule 7: Don’t make a Proverb into a Law…and vice versa

    Rule 8: Note the difference between the Spirit and the Letter of the Law

    Rule 9: Be Careful with Parables

    Rule 10: Be Careful with Prophecy
Please note that we shouldn't ignore parables or prophecy and just accept what those with credentials would tell us. Study parables and prophecy, but study them carefully in light of the rest of Scripture. Scripture interprets Scripture.

Job - With Friends Like These...

Two Sundays ago, Scott taught on what we learn NOT to do from Job's three friends.

Job's three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar teach us:


1. Don't make FALSE assumptions about why (they're hurting)
2. Don't make FAULTY conclusions about God's will


1. BE THERE for them
2. CRY with them
3. LISTEN more TALK less
4. ATTEND to their physical needs
5. PRAY with them


1. Don't DENY your disappointment
2. Don't let them make you BITTER – Job 12: 2-3
3. PRAY for them – Job 42:10

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

When the Church Gives Birth to Ichabod

A few weeks ago, Scott preached a sermon on Sunday night called, "When the Church Gives Birth to Ichabod." The text was 1 Samuel 4. I do not have the transcript, but wanted to post the outline. It was a good sermon and, I thought, very applicable to the Western church. Here is the outline.

Ichabod is born in the church when:


The Ark of the Covenant contained three items that represent the things people in the church play games with (Hebrews 9:4):

1. TABLETS of God (1 Kings 8:21)

It is not the word of God that is your protection; it is the God of the word who is your protection

[The Word of God is not any less glorious than God Himself. It is "God-breathed". Nevertheless, God's Word is not a book of magic spells. It is revealed truth that is God-centered, not man-centered, and should be treated as such]

2. BOWL of Manna (Exodus 16:33-34)

God is faithful to provide

3. Aaron’s ROD that Budded (Numbers 17:8-10)

Stop murmuring and grumbling


1. Faith is in the SYSTEM and not the SAVIOR



1. Hophni and Phinehas

Superstition = FAITHLESSNESS

2. Eli

Permissiveness = LAZINESS

What should we do?

To the hurting – Get your HEAD up!
The King of Glory will come in! (Psalm 24:7)

…and then you’ll run and not grow weary,
You’ll walk and not grow faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Baby Nathaniel

Just wanted to update everyone on the baby status. Nathaniel Judson Rhyne was born at 7:43 a.m. this morning, weighing in at 7lbs 13oz. and 19 1/2 inches long. For those of you who are baby stat die hards, his head and chest are 13 3/4 in. each. Those are the only stats I know. He's got a lot of hair...I'm not bitter. I've already taught him how to burp.

Tammy is doing well and seems to be handling things very well. We anticipate getting her up to walk later this afternoon. Please keep her in your prayers. The girls cannot wait to meet their new baby brother!

Thank you all for your prayers, calls, visits, meal planning, etc. It is a blessing to our family to have such wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Baptist Faith and Message Comparison Chart

To complete the tour of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, I thought it would be good to compare the latest version with the previous versions of this particular confession. It is important to note that Baptist confessionalism did not begin with the 1925 confession. Baptists have always been confessional as opposed to creedal.

Probably the best known early Baptist confession is the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession. It was essentially a copy of the great 1647 Westminster Confession of faith from the English Reformation era. In colonial America, the 1689 London Baptist Confession was adopted wholesale by the Philadelphia Association as the "Philadelphia Confession" in 1742. In 1833, Baptists in the United States agreed upon a confession of faith, the so called "New Hampshire Confession", around which they could organize a missionary society under the Triennial Convention. Those proposing the New Hampshire Confession claimed that it held to the former confessions, but stated them in "milder" form. The Triennial Convention was the forerunner of the Southern Baptist Convention. The committee for the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message used the New Hampshire Confession as its model.

Confessions are, of course, not infallible. However, they are an excellent litmus test on the doctrinal purity of a body of believers.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Baptist Faith and Message (18)

The eighteenth section concerns marriage, the family, the compatability of roles between men and women, the gift of children and the sanctity of human life. This section is relatively new and was added in 1998. This is the last section of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

XVIII. The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.

Baptist Faith and Message (17)

Section seventeen concerns the fallacy of legalism and how God alone is the Lord of the conscience, not the dictates of mere men. That being the case, we should be avid students of the Word of God so that we may bind our consciences and save ourselves from corrupt imaginations that results from the weakness of our flesh.

XVII. Religious Liberty

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.

Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.

Abstract of Principles

Liberty of Conscience

God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil magistrates being ordained of God, subjection in all lawful things commanded by them ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

Baptist Faith and Message (16)

Section sixteen concerns the Christian's attitude toward war. Scripture does not instruct us to convert others by the sword. Therefore, the concept of a Christian terrorist is an oxymoron, whereas such practices would be consistent with false worldviews such as Islam.

XVI. Peace and War

It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.

The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.

Baptist Faith and Message (15)

Section fifteen concerns the relationship of the Christian to the culture in which he or she resides.

XV. The Christian and the Social Order

All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.

Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.

Baptist Faith and Message (14)

Section fourteen concerns the cooperation with other churches and Christians from other denominations for the furtherance of Christ's Kingdom.

XIV. Cooperation

Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom.

Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.

Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.

Baptist Faith and Message (13)

Section thirteen concerns the proper understanding of our duty to God with the resources with which He has blessed us. They are not ours. They are His. As such, we should seek to honor Him with good and proper stewardship out of thankfulness for the incomprehensible worth of the blood of Christ applied to us as a payment for our infinite debt of sin owed to God.

XIII. Stewardship

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

Baptist Faith and Message (12)

Section twelve concerns education from a Christian perspective and the duty of every believer to worship God with our minds. It further highlights the necessity of doctrinal education for the maturity of every believer in addition to the general studies that attempt to discover the way creation operates.

Christianity is a reasonable faith. The new birth in Christ creates a hunger to learn more about God and His mighty works. "Wisdom is first pure." (James 3:17) To the extent that we have an impure understanding of God and His work, we delve into foolish speculations and emotional falsehood. As believers, we should be passionate about "rightly handling the Word of Truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) "Reformed, yet always reforming," as Luther and the other Reformers put it.

XII. Education

Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ's people.

In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.

Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.

Baptist Faith and Message (11)

The eleventh section concerns Evangelism and Missions. There is no corresponding section of the Abstract of Principles.

XI. Evangelism and Missions

It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.

Baptist Faith and Message (10)

The tenth section concerns "Last Things", namely the return of Christ, resurrection of the dead and judgment of all men before the throne of Christ. The corresponding sections of the Abstract of Principles follow.

X. Last Things

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.

Abstract of Principles

The Resurrection

The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God-the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked, to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.

The Judgment

God hath appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall receive according to his deeds; the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life.

Baptist Faith and Message (9)

The ninth section concerns the Kingdom of God, both generally in the universe and particularly over the saints. There is no corresponding section in the Abstract of Principles.

IX. The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.

Baptist Faith and Message (8)

The eighth section concerns the institution of "the Lord's Day". The relevant section of the Abstract of Principles follows.

VIII. The Lord's Day

The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.

Abstract of Principles

The Lord's Day

The Lord's Day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, resting from worldly employments and amusements, works of necessity and mercy only excepted.

Baptist Faith and Message (7)

Section 7 concerns the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. The relevant sections of the Abstract of Principles follow.

VII. Baptism and the Lord's Supper

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.

The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.

Abstract of Principles


Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord's Supper.

The Lord's Supper

The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, and to be observed by His churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him, and of their church fellowship.

Job - Dialogue with Three Friends (3)

III. Second and Third Verse: Same as the First

The first cycle of speeches has ended. There are really no new arguments in the next two cycles. Job's friends spiral downward into more harshness and less credibility in the light of Job's integrity and realism.

The friends continue to insist that suffering follows wickedness. In fact, Eliphaz gets really brutal in his last speech. "Is not your evil abundant?" he asks critically, "There is no end to your iniquities." (22:5). These are not facts, but just Eliphaz' delusions, forced upon him by his inadequate theology to deal with the reality of Job's situation.

It gets really ridiculous when Bildad makes his last speech in Chapter 25 and can only manage 6 little verses about the general sinfulness of man. The important thing to note is that the friends are not entirely false in their statements to Job. They are just incomplete. God is righteous and holy. Man is sinful and evil to his core. But that is not the whole story, especially as it relates to Job.

Zophar finally just remains silent. The symmetry is broken because the theology of Job's friends cannot sustain itself in the end. The simple principle of justice cannot stand. Job is a good man. But he suffers far worse than many wicked people. The cause and effect of wickedness and suffering in this world simply does not hold in every case.

IV. Job's Progression from Despair to Future Hope

Job's cry in Chapter 3 against the wisdom of God at Job’s birth almost defeats the initial stand of faith he took in 1:21 and 2:10. But little by little we watch his faith regaining its strength as he fights against the superficial theology of his friends.

He is finally firmly established in his trust of future hope in God by chapter 19 (19:25-27) Job is confident that beyond the grave he will meet God as a Redeemer and not an angry Judge. He will be redeemed from the misery of the world. This does not answer all of Job's questions or solve his theological problems. He is still utterly confused as to why he should have to suffer in the first place. His suffering continues and God seems arbitrary in the way He parcels out suffering and comfort in this life. But, this confidence in future grace enables him to hold on to his three convictions: the sovereign power of God, the goodness and justice of God, and the faithfulness of his own heart.

He holds out against the simplistic doctrine of justice as argued by his friends and eventually puts them to silence. And so, we are left with Job magnifying the mysterious power of God (26:14); the unsearchable wisdom of God (28:12-13, 23); and relentlessly holding on to his own integrity (27:6)

V. The Point?

First, notice that Job and his friends are agreed on the sovereign power of God. They simply do not question that everything that has happend to Job is sovereignly decreed by a good and just God.

Today we try to limit God to our own imaginations and not as He is shown to be in Scripture. We arrogantly claim to know the unsearchable wisdom of God and claim that He would not will an illness, or an explosion, or a hurricane, so He must not be in control. He is a limited God.

Job and his friends have this great common ground: God reigns. As John Piper has stated, no solution to the problem of suffering that questions God's sovereignty will ever satisfy the heart of a saint. God reigns.

Second, What passes for acceptable doctrine and tactics of "spiritual warfare" today (think TBN) really boils down to methods to seek to avoid suffering.

John McArthur reminds us that

Job's story demolishes the notion that we can avoid Satan's attacks if we're sufficiently strong, or skilled enough, or trained in how to wage warfare against Satan. No one was more spiritually fit than Job. Yet God allowed Satan to ravage him anyway – and there was nothing Job could do about it. Job finally prevailed in the face of Satan's merciless assault, not because he found some secret way to beat the devil, not because he rebuked him or ordered him to desist, but because God was in control all along. He knew how much Job could bear. And He would not permit Satan to cross that boundary. When Satan reached that limit, God stopped him and his attacks ended.
Scripture in fact warns us to be prepared for struggles in the Christian life.
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Co 10:12-13)
What does going through this section of Job teach us about comforting those who are suffering? What does it teach us about what our focus should be when we suffer? Freedom comes through abiding not avoiding. Jesus never promised health, wealth and prosperity in this life. Though He assures us the ultimate victory, He never guarantees that Satan will not attack. In fact, He promises that Satan will. Although we oftentimes don't know why God permits Satan to test or persecute us, we are assured that "for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Ro 8:28) Satan never acts without God's permission. When God gives permission, He uses Satan's work for His own purposes: often to exalt His power and prove our faithfulness and devotion. Our peace should be grounded in Christ and His cross on our behalf, not our circumstances.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Job - Dialogue with Three Friends (2)

II. Speeches Start with Job's Outburst

Weeks of relentless pain take their toll on Job. After seven days of silence with his friends (3:1-3), Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.

And Job said, "Let the day perish wherein I was born…"
Job's serenity is gone. He questions God (v. 11; v. 20). He can not see any reason for why he had even been given life or why it should be preserved if there is such misery. His protest against his birth is, of course, a protest against God. It is "the Lord give and the Lord takes away." (1:21) This irks his three friends and they cannot be silent any longer. After seven days, they begin to voice their opinions on Job's suffering.

A. Eliphaz Takes the First Shot (4-5)

Eliphaz sets the course for Bildad and Zophar. He spells out a principle that runs through all the speeches of the three friends. (4:7-8) In the theology of the ancient world, trouble comes to those who sin, but the innocent do not perish. Suffering is the result of sin, and prosperity is the result of righteousness. But, Eliphaz notes that all men are sinners (4:17). He also admits that some suffering is the loving chastening of God (5:17)

But his application to Job exposes his theology as superficial and insensitive. He rebukes Job in 4:5-6 for being impatient and dismayed. It was an unnecessary rebuke to a righteous man in agony. This is the insensitive part of Eliphaz' application. Next, insinuates that Job has not sought God like he should (5:8). Also, he implies that Job would be delivered if he would just commit his way to God (5:18-19). There is the superficial part of Eliphaz' theology – just commit your way to God and your fortunes will be restored. In other words, "Job, your faith just isn't strong enough. If you had more faith, you wouldn't suffer like this."

B. Job's Response – It's Too Simplistic

Eliphaz' theology is too simple because it fails to answer the hard questions. Some suffer in an extraordinary way even though they have not sinned in an extraordinary way, but in fact may even be godly and upright. Some prosper abundantly, even when they have sinned abundantly. Recognizing this in his own situation, Job protests that he is innocent (6:10) "I have not denied the words of the Holy One." So Job rebukes Eliphaz (6:24). He cannot see how Eliphaz' simple principle of justice answers his own case.

C. Bildad – Less Gentle

Bildad continues vigorously on the "justice" principle. He even has an answer for the deaths of Job's children (8:3-4) Bildad claims that Job's children were probably guilty of some unknown sin, that's why they were crushed in their house. Bildad then applies the justice principle even more harshly to Job (8:11-13). Bildad is convinced that the problem must be that Job is not pure and has not called on God as he should. Job is accordingly admonished by Bildad. (8:6-7)

D. Job's Response to Bildad – That's not Reality

Job states that the "justice" principle is not in sync with reality. (9:22-24) Job never surrenders his belief in the sovereignty of God, but he knows that it is too simple to say that things go better on this earth for all of the righteous. He insists that he is not guilty as charged by his friends. He prays in 10:6-7 that God would seek out his sin even though God has declared that Job is righteous.

E. Zophar – The Party Line Even More Harshly

Zophar takes it up a notch in chapter 11. He rebukes Job for claiming that he's innocent (vv.4-6) and tells him to put away his sin so that God might restore him. (11:14-15) According to Zophar, Job is suffering because he refuses to put sin far from him.

F. Job Cracks

At this point, serene Job completely disappears, and Job gets very sarcastic. Chapters 12-14 show Job being caustic to the advise of these three friends.

Everybody knows these things, he says. I am not inferior to you! (12:3) Your maxims are proverbs of ashes (13:12) Worthless physicians are you all (13:4) He wants to argue his case to God because he knows God is just and Job is convinced he is innocent. (13:3) This is just round one of the discussion and Job has found himself on defense against the accusations of these "comforters." For the next two cycles of dialogue, the attempt to comfort becomes more of a cross-examination at a trial.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Baptist Faith and Message (6)

The sixth section concerns the nature of the Church: it's mission, governance and scope. The corresponding paragraph of the Abstract of Principles follows.

Baptist Faith and Message 2000

VI. The Church

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.

Abstract of Principles

The Church

The Lord Jesus is the head of the Church, which is composed of all His true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. According to His commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into particular societies or churches; and to each of these churches He hath given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which He hath appointed. The regular officers of a Church are Bishops or Elders, and Deacons.