Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Polygamy Series - Biblical Case for Monogamy

I often try to stay away from confrontations with other religions on this blog, as there are far more suitable places on the internet to express such views. That being said polygamy came up in a conversation last night with a good friend who lives across the hall from me. Not simply polygamy but also the differences between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (LDS), often called Mormons and Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (FLDS), often called Fundamentalist Mormons, Churches. As this topic raises a lot of confusion among both Christians and Mormons I have decided to write a short series of three possibly four part on the subject of polygamy, Christianity, the LDS, and FLDS. Today I will start with the biblical case for monogamy.

The Biblical case for Polygamy begins in of all places the book of beginnings, that is Genesis. We see in the Second Chapter that "a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."1 Jesus cites this verse and Genesis 1:27 in Matthew 19:3-6. Note the wording, and the two shall become one flesh. Jesus is exhorting monogamy, yet some objectors will say, well yes they will become one flesh but that does not condemn polygamy.

Paul writes to us in Ephesians that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.2 This model for biblical marriage falls apart if men are to have more than one wife.

Furthermore Paul wrote "each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband...For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does."3 Here Paul uses singular nouns for wife and husband, then proceeds to explain the marital duties of men and women including giving your bodies wholly to each other. Also, it should be noted that polygamy is forbidden to elders of the church.4 Good examples of godly marriage include Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebekah, Joseph and Asenath, Moses and Zipporah, as well as all eight the survivors of the Flood.

Now we must note that while polygamy is mentioned in the bible not everything mentioned in the bible is condoned by the bible. The stoning of Stephen5 and Murder of James6 are mentioned in the bible, however they are not condoned by it. Therefore we must look at it's origins to learn how it was introduced.

In Genesis Four we find polygamy being started from the line of Cain. Lamech, a murdering son of Cain is the first polygamist mentioned in the bible.7 The next mention of this is Esau whos pagan polygamy caused great grief in the hearts of his parents.8 Some will argue that Abraham was a polygamist I will get to him in a few lines.

God did forbid kings from practicing polygamy in His Holy Law.9When David disobeyed this it lead to fighting among his sons from different wives for the kingdom,10 and Solomon was lead into idolatry due to his.11 Hannah, Samuel’s mother, was humiliated by her husband Elkanah’s other wife Peninnah.12

Now it is true that some men who were considered Godly were "polygamous." First I Abraham. Yes Abraham was a polygamist, more specifically a bigamist. However we must note that the root cause was sin, or lack in faith in God.13 Thus Abraham's bigamy was not ordained by God but the result of sin against Him. Jacob the other bigamist patriarch of Judaism was actually conned into marrying Leah, though he had wanted Rachel,14 not that it was an excuse but also Jacob was not the most spiritual of people at that time either. Likewise David was no epitome of holiness when he took Abigail and Ahinoam of Jezreel to be his wives,15 and Lord knows he took Bathsheba in sin.16

God often allows the sinful practices and choices of men, and often uses them for His good and His glory.17 He also tolerates the sinfulness of men and their hardness of their hearts. This is seen when Jesus explains divorce, though God hates it,18 He has permitted it, though that was not the way it was intended in the beginning.19 Ironically this teaching on divorce by Jesus condemns polygamy, because if polygamy is legal then this argument fails. Jesus' entire argument is that if one divorces one's spouse without valid grounds, the marriage is not truly dissolved and subsequent marriage is adulterous.20 While God tolerates polygamy and has made provision for it,21 it was never encouraged. God put numerous stipulations on polygamy to discourage it and after the Babylonian exile it was virtually unheard of in Jewish culture, and monogamy was the rule.

Please note while I do believe polygamy is a sin I also believe that the blood of Christ cleanses all the sins of a believer. I also am not simply trying to slam Mormon's who often take offense to such posts, and will openly admit that there are as many, if not more people claiming to be Christians today living in polygamy than there are Mormons practicing it. This is of course one of the sad states of men who do not understand the Gospel in America. To see the utter depravity of men who no longer wish to keep with the sound doctrine of our Lord and would rather give way to their youthful passions click here. Please note sites promoting "Christian Polygamy" are not Christian but are heretical, or at best heterodox.

1) Genesis 2:24 - Return to text
2) Ephesians 5:22-33 - Return to text
3) 1 Corinthians 7:2;4 - Return to text
4) 1 Timothy 3:2 - Return to text
5) Acts 7:54-60 - Return to text
6) Acts 12:1-2 - Return to text
7) Genesis 4:23 - Return to text
8) Genesis 26:34 - Return to text
9) Deuteronomy 17:17 - Return to text
10) See the Books of 1 and 2 Kings - Return to text
11) 1 Kings 11:1-3 - Return to text
12) 1 Samuel 1:1-7 - Return to text
13) Genesis 16:1-3 - Return to text
14) Genesis 29:20-25 - Return to text
15) 1 Samuel 25:42-43 - Return to text
16) 2 Samuel 11 - Return to text
17) Genesis 50:20 - Return to text
18) Malachi 2:13-16 - Return to text
19) Matthew 19:8-9 - Return to text
20) Mark 10:11-12 - Return to text
21) Exodus 20:10 - Return to text

Monday, April 21, 2008

So let's talk about God, ok? - Intro

So it seems today far to many people do not feel that it is necessary to engage is Theology Proper. That is the doctrine of God, however this is the doctrine from which all theology flows. Atheists have a doctrine of God in such a way that there is no God. This theology will shape the way that the person lives. Theists all agree that there is a God or gods. Christianity falls into this category thus our doctrine of God should shape how we speak, write, study, breath in short live.

Unfortunately in America while many people claim to be Christians, even Christians of Orthodoxy, many bow the knee to Baal and far to often we create for themselves a graven image. This comes from a few misconceptions about God, which result from both a lack of teaching, improper teaching, and good teaching that lacks earnestness. Therefore I have decided to start a new series that I will update every so often about God and God alone. God's attributes, God's decrees, God's nature and how that ought to affect how we are to live. This is simply an introduction, I hope you enjoy the future posts.

Grace and Peace.

Beer Review Monday - Saranac Imperial Stout

Today I feel like giving you a treat. A nice dark New York Beer. This beer pours very dark with a nice lacy head. This is a wonderful chocolate coffee aroma. The taste is a wonderful blend of chocolate, malt, and hops. It finishes with a bittersweet after taste. Not the greatest stout out there but definitely a worth while stout, and I'd suggest it anyone dropping by New York. Pick it up it is worth a try.

The Christian Pint Rating: 4 out of 5

Commercial Description:
Mt. Marcy, Skylight, Algonquin...Majestic Adirondack High Peaks - They are the inspiration for our "High Peaks" series, a line of beers that are bigger, more complex and flavorful; beers that are meant to be sipped and savored. The second in our series, Saranac Imperial Stout, is brewed with eleven malts to balance a delicious chocolate and coffee roasted flavor with the spicy herbal character of the generous kettle and dry hops. At 50 IBU's this beer captures the essence of the Adirondacks. Enjoy!

As always remember do not become drunk on wine (beer) but be filled with the Holy Spirit, and do not cause your brother to stumble. (Ephesians 5, Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Philosophy of Evangalism

Philosophy of Evangelism - Paris Reidhead
If you cannot see the video click here

Thursday, April 17, 2008

ESV Study Bible!!!!

ESV STUDY BIBLE!Well the ESV Study Bible is coming out in October and one of my professors is the key contributer on the Pastoral Epistles, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus for those that don't know. That's right Dr. Ray Van Neste wrote the reference notes for this "filthy" and "sick" study Bible, which was apparently well received by the new converts it was shown to at Mars Hill Church Seattle.* So props to Dr. Van Neste for being "filthy sick" and contributing to this new Study Bible. Maybe he can get me a copy before October. I'll have to ask him in class today. For more on the ESV Study Bible Click Here. For Dr. Ray Van Neste's blog on pastoral ministry Click Here. Further endorsements are as follows:
“The ESV is a dream come true for me. The rightful heir to a great line of historic translations, it provides the continuity and modern accuracy I longed for. Now the scope and theological faithfulness of the ESV Study Bible study notes is breathtaking. Oh how precious is the written Word of God.”
John Piper, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church

“The ESV Study Bible is the most important resource that has been given to the emerging generation of Bible students and teachers. The ESV Study Bible is the best. Period.”
Mark Driscoll, Preaching Pastor, Mars Hill Church; President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network

“The ESV Study Bible is the finest study tool I have seen in fifty years of Bible teaching. The notes, articles, maps, and illustrations are all of the highest quality. It is a great achievement!”
Jerry Bridges, speaker, bestselling author of The Pursuit of Holiness

“Outstanding! The ESV Study Bible is a treasure—a beautiful volume, filled with a wealth of resources. It will be just as useful for the seminarian and long-time pastor as it will be accessible to the brand-new Christian.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“I can’t imagine a greater gift to the body of Christ than the ESV Study Bible. It is a potent combination indeed: the reliability and readability of the ESV translation, supplemented by the best of modern and faithful scholarship, packaged in an accessible and attractive format. A Christian could make no wiser investment for himself, a pastor could recommend no better resource for his congregation.”
C. J. Mahaney, President, Sovereign Grace Ministries

*Note: For those of you who wear khaki pleated pants and tuck in your shirt, this is a really good endorsement. This is according to Mark Driscoll's blog on the Vox Pop Network.

Paul Washer - Shocking Message + Works Salvation

Paul Washer Evidence of Salvation Video (offsite)

Paul Washer on works based salvation.
For those who cannot see the video Click here (0ffsite)

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Gospel in Sixty Seconds or Less (with scripture proofs)

God, He created the world and everything in it, including humans to serve and glorify Himself for His own good pleasure. (Genesis 1:1ff; 1:27; Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 11:3)

Our first parents being very silly thought that they could find more fulfillment if they ruled themselves rather than being ruled by their creator. (Genesis 3:1ff; Romans 5:12)

Thus because of our rebellion God has vowed to righteously yet lovingly judge us on an account of what we do, to which we all fail His holy standards and earn eternal death.(Psalm 7:11; Psalm 9:8; Acts 17:31; Romans 3:23; 6:23)

But God being rich in mercy and love toward us, for His own good pleasure sent His Eternal Son, who emptied Himself and was made into the likeness of man that He might fulfill the perfect requirements of God’s standard.(Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-3;14; Philippians 2:5-11)

Furthermore the Son, Jesus Christ, bore the eternal judgment of God against sinners on the Cross of Calvary; thus satisfying the eternal anger of God at sinners. God treated the perfect one Jesus Christ as a sinner that He might be just in declaring sinners perfect. (Isaiah 53:10ff; John 19:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

This wonderful exchange of our sin and His righteousness takes place when a sinner places their faith, fully trusts, the Lord Jesus as their substitute. Then God sees the sinner as an adopted son covered in the righteousness of His perfect Son, not a rebellious sinner. (Psalm 32:1-2; Mark 1:15; John 3:16-17; Ephesians 1:5)

God showed that the sacrifice was acceptable by raising His Son Jesus from the dead. (Luke 24:5; Romans 4:24)

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on Him alone to be their righteousness and for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God. Thus it is either all on Christ or all upon us. (Romans 4:1-8;16; Ephesians 1:3-2:10; Titus 3:3-7; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:27)

Therefore repent and believe. (Mark 1:15; John 6:35; Acts 16:31; Romans 1:16; 3:22)
Supposedly if you cannot convey the Gospel in sixty seconds or less you probably do not know it well enough or at all. Oh the simplicity a child can understand, oh the complexity even the greatest mind could drown in. Now I have not timed myself on this but those of us from New York speak rather quickly.

Beer Review Monday - Pilsner Urquell

This fine Monday we have a delectable treat for you, the very reason that the Pilsner, drinking glass, was invented. I give you the Pilsner Urquell. This is a Czech beer which resembles a lager and in fact most lagers in the world are based upon this beer. This unfortunately includes most major American beers though they serverely lack the quality of Pilsner Urquell. It pours a pale golden color with a thin but fluffy white head. It is consistently carbonated with a smooth, dry, malty taste. It is mild in the hops category, with only a slight bitterness in the end. A mild aroma with little skunk completes this beer. If at all possible acquire this brew on tap or in the can as it otherwise comes in green bottles which can destroy the flavor.

The Christian Pint Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Commercial Description:
It is called the "model of meter" among beers. All other pilsners are a better or worse attempt to copy the original - the first ever Pilsner Urquell. Its unparalleled exceptionally is guaranteed by the same recipe dating from 1842.

As always remember do not become drunk on wine (beer) but be filled with the Holy Spirit, and do not cause your brother to stumble. (Ephesians 5, Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Why do I so often fail.

Often I wonder what if. What if I had been better, what if I had "prayed harder," what if I had presented the Gospel in a way that they were more ready to receive it? The clear answer is that which John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Oh how the good book helps us and leads us to peace.
It is "neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." - 1 Corinthians 3:7
To do all that I can I must have faith that God may call those whom I love that are lost to repentance all the while if that is not His purpose saying, thy will be done. While I might intercede and plea to God for them without the Father drawing power by the Holy Spirit to Christ they will never come. Therefore even though I as Paul and Moses before him might seek to be accursed and set apart from Christ for the sake of my beloved friends I must learn to trust their salvation to Christ alone, that they might see the err of their ways and the foolishness of their wisdom. God please grant me the courage to change that which I can, the serenity to accept that which I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference. This is how I must live, doing everything I can and trusting God to do what I cannot, sleeping in the sovereign grace to know that He works all things for the good of those who love Him.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Are the reformed against evangelism or do they actually do it?

For those of you who cannot see the videos here are links to them.
Part One
Part Two

Monday, April 7, 2008

Beer Review Monday - Rogue Dead Guy Ale

For those of you new to the micro-brewery circuit this is a wonderful example of what can be made through great time and effort. It pours a nice murky copper and though light does pass through it it is in no way transparent like most American beers, hence the beauty of good micro-brewery. There is a lacy medium head and a sweet hoppy aroma. The flavor is somewhat sweet and fruity with a hint of caramel and a slightly bitter finish. Theses flavors wont overpower though as they seem fairly well balanced. Though labeled a Bock this beer lies more in the range of a pale ale, yet regardless of the miss labeling this is a good beer.

The Christian Pint Rating: 4 out of 5

Commercial Description:
Dead Guy is a German-style Maibock made with Rogue's proprietary "PacMan" ale yeast. It is deep honey in color with a malty aroma, rich hearty flavor and a well balanced finish. Dead Guy is created from Northwest Harrington, Klages, Maier Munich and Carastan malts, along with Perle and Saaz Hops.
In the early 1990s Dead Guy Ale was created as a private tap sticker to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead (November 1st, All Souls Day) for Casa U Betcha in Portland, Oregon. The Dead Guy design proved popular and was incorporated into a bottled product a few years later with MaierBock as the elixir.

As always remember do not become drunk on wine (beer) but be filled with the Holy Spirit, and do not cause your brother to stumble. (Ephesians 5, Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Who Truly Limits The Atonement?

A good presentation of the reformed doctrine of the Limited Atonement.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Calvinism Debate

Dr. James R. White is in the middle of a radio debate with Christian radio host Steve Gregg on the topic of Calvinism. Days 1 and 2 are finished if you need to catch up click the links below.
Day 1
Day 2

There are 3 more sessions in this series, listen at 4pm-5pm CST, April 7th, 8th and 9th at:

Dr. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries will likely post each debate session available for download on his blog. if you miss the live show. I would also suggest listening to Dr. White's biweekly internet radio program The Dividing Line. It usually airs Tuesdays at Noon CST and Thursdays at 5PM CST. However if you miss the live show he usually posts a free download version and a high quality version in his blog. It is a wonderful resource and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Born Again?

This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." - John 3:2-8
All Christians say we must be born again in order to be in Christ yet what does that actually mean? It seems to me that many among the Christian world think or feel that to be born again is the same thing as being saved, that is justified. However if we note the words of the Apostle I must submit that this is not the case. I do agree that they are intimately linked, one to another however as the Truth in person says, "unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." If justification comes by faith, which the Book clearly states, and prior to our rebirth we cannot even see the kingdom how can we put our trust in its King?
John states that it is not according to human qualms or faith knowing where it comes from rather it is as the wind blows. To more fully understand rebirth we must see it in light of the other similar analogies which Christ's apostles wrote about, being quickened from death unto life (Ephesians 2:5), and being made into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The similarities between all three is that they all happen outside of the will of the individual to which they are happening. No one chooses to be born, no one chooses to be created, and while many can wish to be resurrected, the choice to do so lies outside themselves, hence why the centenary business is never out of commission.

The Truth Himself states "You must be born again" note that He does not say "Born yourself again." Again we look to the birth of the flesh to which we must ask at the risk of repetition, what roll did you play in your own birth? Were you a causality of your own existence, even in part? Did you cause yourself to be conceived in your mothers womb or like all others ever born on this earth are you the product of that which you had no control over? I submit that you are like the latter.

Thus we must not construe this to mean that the Truth Incarnate is saying we must choose to be born again, or that if a person believes in Him, he [the person] will be born again. The teaching is very clear in the first chapter of the Gospel according to John, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13) Here we see that it is because they are born of God that they did receive Him and were given the right to become children of God.
Thus if we are to be fair to language and logic we must assert that the rebirth comes prior to our faith and that this rebirth is not caused by man but by God as the Apostle Peter wrote:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5
Now you will ask, "Brother Matt, I don't know if I have this, what should I do?" In one sense, nothing; however in another you can humble yourself before the Lord and stop trying to make yourself a new creature. Acknowledge that you need to be made new, remade into a person without the bloody stain of sin upon your spirit. Remember and admit that God and only God, by sending His Holy Spirit to you from heaven can make you new.

It is after this rebirth that faith and repentance come, as a newborn cries out moving from the darkness of the womb to the light of the world so too does the newly reborn and they move from the darkness of the world into the Holy Light of Christ and thus cry out for salvation. This is because in the light of Christ the newly reborn sees the utter sinfulness of them self and their total dependence upon God's forgiveness and grace. Thus when hearing the message of Jesus Christ they thrust themselves totally upon Him trusting wholly in the redemption of the Son. From this point forward the newborn lives a different and new life, not a perfect life (1 John 1:8), but a new life in Christ never the less.

Have you have truly confessed your iniquity, your sin before God, knowing that you are deserving of His Holy Wrath? Have you truly trusted entirely upon Jesus the Christ who died for sinners to justify you before God? Can you truly see the kingdom of God? Then you have been born again, you are not born again because you have done these things.

Grace and Peace

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Beer Review Monday - HeBrew Jewbelation Eleven

Last week we were off, I was back home in the State of New York, so I have decided to give you all a treat. HeBrew Jewbelation Eleven is a wonderful beer with eleven, yes eleven different hops and eleven different malts. It is dark brown in color and has a full off-white head. The aroma is a very chocolate malty and hoppy. It drinks with a chocolate and toffee flavor with a hint of bitterness. This is a wonderful desert beer that would go great for cooler evenings after sunset, and it is by far the best beer I have ever tasted that is brewed in the United States of America. This beer very well could be the wine Jesus made at Cana, and is most assuredly the strong drink Moses referred to when He penned Deuteronomy 14:24-26. A word of caution to those who the Lord has not granted the tolerance of an Irishman, this beer contains eleven percent alcohol, thus if you become drunk easily remember to cut your portion respectively.

The Christian Pint's Rating: 5 out of 5

Commercial Description:
Hitting stores in early October, the limited release of Jewbelation Eleven continues in its fourth year of production. Given a “5 Star” rating by Celebrator Beer News, brewed with 11 malts, 11 hops, and soaring to 11% alcohol, Jewbelation Eleven is the most extreme Chanukah beer ever created.

As always remember do not become drunk on wine (beer) but be filled with the Holy Spirit, and do not cause your brother to stumble. (Ephesians 5, Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8)

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. - The Apostle Paul