But the Parents for the Children

2 Corinthians 12:14  Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

As with any verse in Scripture, this one teaches many things. There is the direct application of what Paul was telling the Corinthians concerning his ministry to them, but what is striking me right now is one of the secondary truths Paul states here: that of laying up for the children.

While many Christians are busy claiming Matthew 6 and “taking no thought” of life, food, drink, and clothing, what are they doing to “lay up” for their children?  And what of providing for their own house?

1 Timothy 5:8  But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

As believers in this Church Age, we are to consider Paul first (2Ti 2:7), so let us focus on what Paul tells us to do for a moment.

There is an effort right now that is indicative of the general spirit of the times in the United States. We are poised to elect the most Marxist candidate ever to the presidency, in so doing transferring more responsibility off of the individual to the State. The nation is on the verge of demanding the nationalization of the health care services industry. These are certainly not “providing for his own.” We demand from our government new handouts in the forms of economic stimulus checks and home finance bailouts, and our politicians happily oblige us by borrowing more money from our children and grandchildren — the children laying up for the parents.

While we (and I speak to those of us who are Bible believers) may not have a strong influence on our government, we can certainly do more in our own lives to take ownership of our God-given responsibilities. Paul’s writings in Scripture are not suggestions, so let us take consideration of what we are doing and be sure to line up ourselves with Scripture:

  • Do you look to the government or other people for your basic provision, or do you do everything in your power to “provide for your own?”
  • Do you put your hopes in a ponsi scheme for retirement (Social Security) that requires your children and your children’s children to “lay up” for you, or do you make provision for your own welfare in the future?
  • Do you hope for the government to care for your health, or do you care for your own health?
  • If you have children, have you planned for their care in the event of your death? (Lay up for the children!)
  • Do you “lay up” for your children by ensuring they are learning strong character, independence, and honesty, or do you leave their training up to other people who are not even allowed to teach such matters?

We do not live in a world where doing everything above is easy or necessarily possible all of the time. However, the Bible does not leave us room for apathy on these things. In fact, Paul’s comments here would be regarded as heartless by today’s humanistic standards:

2 Thessalonians 3:10  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

When you go before Christ to give an accounting for your life as a child of God, are you going to have to answer for not abiding by the precepts?

Don’t misunderstand me — we have a responsibility to care for those among us who can not care for themselves. That’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about our Biblical duty to care for our selves and not force our children to lay up for us.

Living by the Truth is hard. These precepts are hard and go against the grain of so much modern teaching on the subject that even bringing these truths up can get you shunned by other Christians. But they are there nonetheless.

Are you doing everything you can to live by them?

SwordSearcher Modules

Ever since SwordSearcher 4.0, there have been users sharing modules (Commentaries, Books, etc) that they have built for the software. There are quite a few of them floating around the net, so it’s high time I did something to help SwordSearcher Bible Software users find them in case there are items of interest in their study.

SSModules: Free Module Downloads for SwordSearcher Bible Software is currently in “beta.” It’s beta because there isn’t much listed there yet, but I’m working on it.  My goal is two-fold:

  1. Index many of the modules available from third parties.
  2. Upload my own “extra” modules that I have built but not added to SwordSearcher’s Deluxe study library for one reason or another.

Work will be ongoing. I don’t know how long it will be “in beta” (certainly not perpetual beta like a Google internet service), but it’s usable now, so have a visit if you’re a SwordSearcher user.  You may find something you like.

Reformation Reversed: Emergent Church and the Undoing of Faith

“Christians are now the foreigners in a post-Christian culture… we need to view ourselves the way others on the outside see us.” –Dan Kimbal, They Like Jesus but not the Church.

“I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” –Jesus Christ (John 17:14)

I have heard many times that if Christianity is to survive, it must adapt to the changing world around it; Christians must “evolve” if they are to be accepted by those around them.  Usually this means things like rejecting the Biblical record of creation, Biblical precepts on gender and sexual behavior, etc. It also means that the underlying message of the Gospel — that Christ is the one and only Redeemer and that all men must believe on him for salvation — must be modified or adapted, or at least not held to as a fundamental tenet, to make it more palatable.

There is a movement — a strong movement — to “undo” the Reformation of 500 years ago and return Christians to a religion of mystical ecumenism, away from the doctrine of Sola Scriptura that so many believers lost their lives over those many years ago.  Certainly there is no overt movement to bring back the Spanish Inquisition (not that anyone would expect it), but the desire to eliminate God’s word as the sole authority by which a Christian lives and believes is as strong as it ever was under the guidance of Ignatius Loyola.

This new Un-reformation, led by charismatic leaders like Dan Kimball and Rick Warren, with nice titles like “vintage worship,” the “emergent church,” the “purpose driven church,” etc, seeks to do what all grand “doers” of religion in the past have endeavoured to do: build God’s Kingdom on Earth. They’ll have this kingdom now, not after Christ’s return, thank you very much. To that end, Christianity must be tempered with the wisdom of the world, with the Bible playing just a small part here and there for those folks who still hold to it, at least until they “die off” as Rick Warren once put it.

Roger Oakland has written a fascinating and sobering book: Faith Undone, exposing the “Emerging Church” for the return to mystical, man-based movement that it is. Oakland contends, and I agree, that this “new reformation” is simply another deception along the way to the end of this time and the return of Christ.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” –1st Timothy 4:1

In order to bring about this man-built Kingdom of God, Emerging Church proponents see the Bible as a text that needs to be re-examined, and the foundational tenets of Christian theology as beliefs that need to be re-interpreted and modified in our “post-modern” world. The 21st Century Church, to them, is one that can not be contentious for anything, and must accept and adapt to all.

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” –Jude 1:3 

In his book, Oakland describes the methods of this Kingdom building, and that they are, in fact, nothing new. Chief among the methods of the Emerging Church is to “translate” the Gospel with mysticism — centering prayer, contemplative prayer, ritualism, etc.

Oakland writes:

“I believe history is repeating itself. As the Word of God becomes less and less important, the rise in mystical experiences escalates, and these experiences are presented to convince the unsuspecting that Christianity is about feeling, touching, smelling, and seeing God. The postmodern mindset is the perfect environment for fostering spiritual formation. This term suggests there are various ways and means to get closer to God and to emulate him.” 

There can be no doubt that Warren and other Emergents regard the Gospel as an afterthought in their work.  In countless interviews, Warren touts his work as a good works movement to build build bridges between faiths (explicitly stating religion is irrelevant) and “healing” hearts. Their goal is unity at all costs — and all costs includes Scripture. That’s a far cry from the Jesus Christ of the Bible, who said:

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” –Matthew 10:34 

The Emerging Church has no room in it for the divisive words of Christ, since they only get in the way of the unity required to build a Kingdom in his name.  Because of this, the place of Scripture, and of the Gospel, is completely lost. One Emergent Church leader said:

“Evangelism or mission for me is no longer persuading people to believe what I believe… It’s more about shared experiences and encounters. It is about walking the journey of life and faith together, each distinct to his or her own tradition and culture but with the possibility of encountering God and truth from one another.” –Pip Piper

As Oakland points out, this is a far cry from how the New Testament describes evangelism:

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” –1st Peter 3:15

By now just about everyone in the United States who calls themselves Christian has heard of Rick Warren, and by extension, the Emerging Church movement. But few really know what’s actually going on and why it has so much momentum. I highly recommend reading Faith Undone to learn the history behind this modern un-reformation.

History, especially Church history, has shown that so many of the world’s worst crimes have been done in the name of building God’s Kingdom.  This time is no different — though no inquisitors are killing those who won’t convert, the minimization and perversion of the Gospel is just the same, for the message of Christ the ONLY Redeemer is not being preached by these Kingdom Builders.

Rick Warren wrote in his book, The Purpose Driven Life:

“When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism… He said in essence, ‘The details of my return are none of your business.'”

Warren is simply wrong, because Jesus said much about his return and how to be prepared for it (Luke 12).  Warren also said in a speech:

“…God is going to use you to change the world. …I’m looking at a stadium full of people who are telling God they will do whatever it takes to establish God’s Kingdom ‘on earth as it is in heaven.'”

Anyone claiming that we can build God’s Kingdom on earth and ignore prophecy should read this warning:

“And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” –Revelation 22:10-11

Bible study spotlight: The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK in SwordSearcher) is probably one of the most important Bible study aids ever published. Many Bibles have cross-references in their margins, but these are typically anemic.  The TSK is like a Bible margin as wide as the Bible text column itself. I love this resource because it is all about interpreting Scripture with Scripture.  It does contain some commentary text, but that is limited, as the focus is on showing how words and phrases from each verse are used elsewhere in the Bible.

It’s part of SwordSearcher (shameless plug), but if you want a printed version, be sure to get the old (not newly revised) version. You might be able to find it at a bookstore, and it’s available used on Amazon for a few bucks. My Revell printing of the original TSK has ISBN number 0-8007-0324-3.

The Bible in Klingon?

Shakespeare is best in the original Klingon, as every Star Trek fan knows.  The Bible… not so much.

Joel Anderson has used a lexicon to “translate” the Bible into Klingon and compiled a SwordSearcher “Klingon Language Version.” Tranlsate is in quotes because as Joel says on his website, “It is useful for for entertainment value, not linguistic purity.”

Here’s John 3:16 in the KJV:

John 3:16 vaD  joH’a’  vaj loved the  qo’,  vetlh  ghaH  nobta’  Daj  wa’  je  neH  puqloD,  vetlh  ‘Iv  HartaH  Daq  ghaH should  ghobe’  chIlqu’,  ‘ach  ghaj eternal yIn.

Here you can see the difficulties of using a lexicon-based translation system (heh — lots of people try to do that with a Strong’s dictionary on a routine basis!). Should and eternal don’t seem to have corresponding entries in the English-Klingon lexicon.