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An email on Packer's great article the Plan of God

That Packer essay that I linked (below) on the Plan of God is not run-of-the-mill. It bears repeated reading. Especially if you are having difficulty and doubting faith. It's a deep-themed biblical article. A true overview of the faith, yet surprising in what he focuses on. I have it in my read again and again folder. - C.

On May 25, 2016, at 2:31 AM, c. t. wrote:

I've sent this before, but Packer is unusually lucid when writing on such a topic. Worth having handy anyway:



Understanding the powerful level of experiential understanding of doctrine

Recovering Experimental Religion
Sherman Isbell

Experimental religion, which once was a vital part of the Reformed tradition of preaching and spirituality, has in a large measure been lost sight of in our day. Even use of the term experimental in connection with religion is no longer customary, it being more commonly associated with the natural sciences, where a method of probing and investigation leads to an understanding of reality. The older Reformed writers used the word to indicate that we not only read and confess what Scripture teaches, but also are enabled by the Holy Spirit in our own experience to prove and enter into those truths. The propositions of Scripture are true regardless of our experience of them. But in those who belong to Christ, there is a work of the Holy Spirit to persuade them of those truths, so that they taste and feel the power of them in their own souls. To tremble when we discern our guilt before God, and to be driven to seek covering in the blood of Christ, is to gain an experimental knowledge of realities revealed in Scripture. Such experiences are not like the groping of the heathen, who reflect on the mystery of their own hearts, trying to understand themselves, and pondering what God might be like and how he might relate to the world. Experimental religion in the Reformed tradition entails an experience which arises from being confronted with the testimony of Scripture, and in which the prime mover is God the Holy Spirit, driving home to heart and conscience the truths of the Word of God. John Elias, preaching in Wales in the early nineteenth century, describes such experiences of biblical truth: “To have an experimental knowledge of something means to try it, to possess it, and to enjoy it ourselves. You must not merely read or hear about it. . . . You may read many a sweet chapter about Christ, and no doubt you have heard many a faithful sermon about Him, and yet, you may be without a saving knowledge of Christ. But an experimental knowledge of Him is to prove, see, and feel what you have read and heard about Him.”

Anthony Burgess, a member of the Westminster Assembly, speaks of the knowledge that a man may acquire about foreign countries by looking at a map. But map knowledge cannot compare with actually going to the country, climbing its mountains, swimming in its rivers, and walking the streets of its towns. “Or as the Queen of Sheba, who had heard rumors of Solomon’s wisdom, when she came to have an experimental knowledge of it, then she was astonished, and said, All that she had heard was nothing to that which she saw. . . .But how is it to be feared, that many have seen godliness but in the map only, they never had experience of the thing itself. How many are there that talk of conversion or repentance, as men do of bringing forth a child, who never had the experience of the throbs and pains that then are endured. Paul, what a long time did he live in a road of religious duties, but when he came to have an experimental work upon him, he died, whereas he was alive before, that is, he became sensible of the
damnable and dangerous estate he was in, whereas he had great confidence of his good life and salvation before. And thus it is with every man that hath gotten experimental knowledge; alas (saith he) I was alive once, I thought myself somebody, when I could pray, write sermons, dispute so understandingly, but now I see I did not know what that faith was, or godliness was, that I did argue so much about, I never knew anything of God, or of his gracious works till now, will that soul say.”

There is a memorable passage in which J.C. Ryle presses on his readers the distance between belief that there is forgiveness and the believing reception of that forgiveness. “You believe perhaps, there is forgiveness of sins. You believe that Christ died for sinners, and that he offers a pardon to the most ungodly. But are you forgiven yourself? . . . What does it avail the sick man that the doctor offers him a medicine, if he only looks at it, and does not swallow it down? Except you lay hold for your own soul, you will be as surely lost as if there was no forgiveness at all. . . . There must be actual business between you and Christ.”

Therefore we preach not only what Christ once did in his death and resurrection to accomplish our redemption, namely what he did outside of us, but also how Christ now works within our hearts by his Holy Spirit to apply that redemption. The Spirit brings us to appreciate Christ as the pearl of great price. He puts down the opposition of our hearts and carries us forward in repentance. In the resulting conflict, struggle and upheaval in our experience, the Spirit progressively conforms us to Christ. All of this touches the realm of our conscience, our desires and choices, our affections, joys and sorrows, and things felt and experientially known.

Full article in PDF here.

Thomas Boston's Human Nature In its Fourfold State, for the record, is a classic work of experiential doctrine.


Clerics still bowing the knee to the devil

Again, it is striking - if not, unfortunately surprising - to see so many self-identified Reformed Christians reacting to Trump like neo-cons who took out a third mortgage the day before Trump announced his candidacy.

They obviously have no discernment for good and evil. They don't understand the world or how the devil operates in the world.

They're also obviously (and fecklessly) indoctrinated by the cultural Marxism of the day.

They seem to have no defense on the spiritual battlefield.

This is what thinking ritual water baptism regenerates and/or treating the Bible like a critical text theorist does to a person.

Both cut one off from the Spirit and truth of God's revelation.

List of 'great divides'

This is an email based on that last post. It's got a good list, so...



The article linked is short and well worth reading. It reminds that amidst the seemingly multi-various splash of parts there is a simple whole. The Great Divide mentioned in the article, which I excerpted, is a very good one to know. I made a list of these 'divides' long ago. I even called them divides. Such as the Creator/creation divide. OK, I'll look right now for it ---------

Here it is:

+ + + + + + +

The 4 Great Divides & Two Great Practices:

I. Worshiping the creation rather than the Creator

II. Seeing Jesus as merely a great teacher rather than Lord and Savior

III. Thinking one can be justified and made righteous by one's own works rather than by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ in His life and on the cross (self-righteousness and self-justification vs. the righteousness of Christ and justification by faith alone in Christ)

IV. A Personal vs. an Impersonal Universe

[and now add the linked article great divide above, though #3 above might get at that]

Two Great Practices:

Act now as if you're in the Kingdom of God now, with gratitude always for everything, and God can trust you.

Do the two conscious shocks [that is Work, or Fourth Way language, Ouspensky side of the school] as the means to being in covenant with God.

+ + + + + + +

See? I even called them 'Great Divides'... - C.

Simple, yet clarifying

To be specific, this determinative high ground is one’s theology of God, man, and salvation. This is the highest of all thought, and it divides all doctrine into two schools. Historically, these two ways of thinking about God and His saving grace have been called by various names. Some have identified them as Augustinianism and Pelagianism. Others have named them Calvinism and Arminianism. Still others have defined them as Reformed and Catholic, while others have used the terms predestination and free will. But by whatever name, these streams are determined by the Continental Divide of theology.

That's from this article.

I came to see doctrine as armor of God. Calvinism, the doctrines of grace, the five solas, is the real armor of God.

Seeing that in the perspective of the 'Great Divide' that article speaks of is clarifying. The Bible ultimately is simple like that. The Devil, for instance, goes by many names and guises, but it all is simply evil vs. God's good. Two kingdoms, Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Satan. And you're either God-centered or you're man-centered.


I know what this person is talking about

"I have experienced a "full" sleep paralysis episode (with entities) and its no "walk in the park"..."

That is part of a comment on the PuritanBoard on the subject of whether there is alien life on other planets. I think the best answer is there is a lot of demonic activity that can manifest to our senses in various ways, but it has to be pointed out (and nobody at the PuritanBoard pointed this out): since about 2010 there have been over a billion cell phones with easy to activate and use cameras everywhere in the world, and no one has captured images or video of UFOs or anything of a similar nature. In fact, in seems that such sightings, or claims of such sightings, have decreased with the ubiquitous presence of cell phone cameras (add dashboard cameras as well which constantly film a large swathe of sky).

As for full sleep paralysis (with entities)... I like that he said "with entities" because in my case I could only refer to them as that as well.

Full sleep paralysis can happen when you have been awake for an unusual number of hours (40 hours in my case), and then lie down flat on your back. What happens is your body goes into a normal sleep mode, yet your mind is still awake. It is a terrifying experience. You try to scream for help ("mom!!!" in my case, even though I was living in a distant city in my 20s), but your mouth doesn't move because your body is in full paralysis. What I saw when in that state was numerous 'beings' looming over me as if I was being operated on by several doctors. They were in white with faces that had no real characteristics to describe them other than they all seemed to look the same. I was struggling the whole time to come out of the paralysis, and finally did. I wasn't frightened after-the-fact, i.e. I didn't think there were 'beings' in the room or anything like that. Once I had physical control back it was all over.

This happened at a time when I was in an interval going from semi-aggressive non-Christian to reading the Bible and becoming a Christian. I was in conflict with the few people who knew me in that locale and who were angry I was drifting into the Christian realm. For instance, one person who had been in my apartment (actually a section of an old Victorian house) had snatched at a covered book and opened it to find a Bible like they'd caught me in a crime.

Over the years I concluded that what I saw were demons (define demons as you will...fallen angels, the souls of dead giants, whatever). I also experienced good angels in a car wreck that I was saved from. I didn't see any beings during that event, though it was no less real.

Christians need to check themselves when they feel a strong desire to debunk such testimonies because it usually is evidence of a lack of belief in the supernatural in general. Naturalism (materialism, ultimately atheism) can infect one without us realizing it since it is everywhere around us.


Why did God create evil?

I like hard doctrine. Biblically on-the-mark hard doctrine. It is the armor of God. This is hard doctrine. Scroll down to page 10. It is only two and a half pages long.


The soul of Europe

Just read an article in which Pope Francis was quoted as referring to Brussels as "the soul of Europe."

A comment under the article: "So Brussels is the 'soul of Europe'. Must be a coincidence that it is over 25% Muslim now."

J. I. Packer defines the Puritans

J. I. Packer, defining the Puritans (taken from Beeke's Meet the Puritans):

"By a definitive embodiment of New Testament Christianity I mean a body of beliefs and a style of life that combined on the grand scale the Trinitarian objectivism of the Fathers, the knowledge of self and sin set forth by Augustine, the knowledge of Christ, of the cross, and of justification by faith that the magisterial Reformers had and shared, and the universal Christian passion for the glory of God in the worshiping life of the Church, with the insight into regeneration, sanctification, and the inner life of the self that was the Puritans’ distinctive contribution. I mean a body of beliefs and a style of life that was intensely practical, experiential, conscientious, determined, vigorous, hopeful, hardworking, and visionary in its struggle to achieve and maintain sanctity in all circumstances, walks of life, personal states, relationships, and life activities, and to establish that sanctity everywhere..."


This is pointedly shallow

"Racism is nothing more than collective narcissism: I love my group above all others because I love myself." —Michael Horton


Open Letter to Anti-Trump Christian Conservatives

So you think of yourself as a Christian conservative, and you also really hate this whole Trump thing. You can't stand that so many stupid people could so stupidly vote for such a stupid person; and it all makes you want to punch a whole in the wall, but your mom would get angry if you did that, so you refrain and just sit in the middle of the floor fuming. Why just the other day you heard that Louis C. K. is against Trump, and he's a successful comedian and stuff, and those guys are like really smart and almost like wise men in our society and stuff; and yet Trump succeeds.

You're angry, we Trump supporters understand. Why can't we just see clearly like Jon Stewart and Bill Maher and stuff? I mean, the entire Democrat party is mocking Trump too, and stuff. We understand. The Pope, you scream. The Pope! Even he hates Trump! Yes, we understand you're confused. We understand.

It's like this, #antiTrump bumpkins. We are voting for a guy who will punch you in the face. Yes. You, even. People like you who run up multi-trillion dollar deficits. People like you who allow Muslim Brotherhood to sit in the Pentagon and draw up rules of engagement designed to get our troops killed and injured. People like you who fear the world and man to the degree that you'll allow the world to rape our nation with your support for Satanic open border ideology and your obsequiousness to political-correctness.

The list could go on, but what's the point. You have no discernment for good and evil.

Run along now, #antiTrump bumpkin. I hear your mom calling you. /ct

How to read treason

Al Mohler has now given himself away as a cuck engaged in treason against this nation. In an article where he pretends to merely set out what is going on he writes this: "Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against."

Mohler knows this is a lie. He knows the demonic establishment wants all its followers to repeat down-is-up lies like that over and over. This is what tyrannies do. They distort reality by repeating lies over and over.

My guess is Mohler's institution and its network of churches is making money hand over fist from the human trafficking being orchestrated out of Washington, D.C.


Definition of a Puritan

How to define the Puritans (historic and modern)?

1. Bible oriented. Bible-believing, Bible-focused, Word of God valuing Christians.

2. They understand the fact and reality of supernatural regeneration by the Word and the Spirit.

3. They understand the difference between fearing the world and fearing God alone. They feared God alone.

4. They took a spiritual warfare approach to the faith. They understood and experienced the spiritual battlefield. For them this made biblical doctrine actual armor of God. They wanted real armor, hence they had no problem with 'hard truth' biblical doctrine (Calvinism), because it re-oriented them inwardly to being God-centered rather than man-centered or, in other words, being conformed to Christ.

5. They were practical with the faith (or "reduced to practice" the Christian faith). A soldier on a battlefield is a practical individual. Life and death is on the line constantly. For Puritans the Word of God and biblical doctrine is not merely philosophical or theoretical, but as practical as a spade, a weapon, a fox hole, or a good pair of boots.

6. Puritans are anti-establishment; or just by their nature outside any and all establishments. They are separated out from the world. They tend to be political targets of religious establishments and objects of mockery to the establishment.

7. Without being academic in the usual shallow ways (while still being willing to exploit any and all influences and sources of on-the-mark teaching, and being grateful for the effort to produce it, while producing it themselves as well) Puritans sought a complete understanding of the faith. They sought parts-in-relation-to-the-whole understanding of the Bible and its doctrine. They knew a Christian is to be a prophet, priest, and king, and that the bar is raised high to be that, yet the Holy Spirit enables the Christian to meet and exceed that bar. For Puritans learning is active, and individual (we face death and our judgment, ultimately, standing solely on our own two feet).

8. They had a strong doctrine of sin and the very real wrath of God. They knew their own state. Tyndale's metaphor of the venomous snake described the Puritan understanding. We are snakes with poison in us, and we can't get the poison out of us. Only God can. And even if we don't strike with our fangs, it is nevertheless our nature to strike. So from birth, due to original and then active sin, we are by our very constitution unable to be in the Kingdom of God. It takes an act of God to change us, give us a new heart, and recognize the righteousness of Christ in us which we appropriate by faith in the life and death of Jesus Christ. In other words we can't improve ourselves enough to get into the Kingdom of God. The leopard can't change his spots. Only God can change us. And until He does, by an act of pure grace, we are children of wrath fit for the lake of fire. This stark realization Puritans came to know at an experiential level.

9. Which gets back starkly to the Bible. The word of God. Puritans knew regeneration was solely an act of God, we can't effect it. Yet the word of God, the living, quickening language of the Bible, is the wild card. God says in His Word, several times: move towards Me, and I'll move towards you. The Puritans knew we move towards God not by ritual or physical buildings, but by reading and getting understanding of the Word of God and by prayer.

+ + + + + + +

So, to put is starkly, or plainly: what distinguishes a Puritan from other types or schools of Christians is a hyper focus and leaning on the Bible; an experiential knowing of the wrath of God, sin, and of regeneration; a spiritual warfare approach to the faith, rather than an academic or any other accented approach to the faith; a true fear of God alone and not the world or man; a practical approach to the faith; an anti-establishment stance regarding the faith; and a desire to get complete parts-in-relation-to-the-whole understanding of the faith, and not disdaining terminal understanding of the basics once arrived there.

+ + + + + + +

An email on the subject:

There is some confusion among Reformed academics - theologians and church historians - as to how to define who was and who wasn't a Puritan and whether there was any such thing as Puritans at all to begin with (some actually wonder this).

I see it this way: my observation that there is an academic approach to the faith and a spiritual warfare approach plays into this problem they have. The academic types can't see the spiritual warfare types or their approach.

The Puritans are defined as Reformed (Calvinist) believers who took (take) a spiritual warfare approach to the faith. This is why they are seen as practical and "reducing to practice" the Christian faith; because when you take a spiritual warfare approach you are like a soldier on a battlefield (the spiritual battlefield), and there is no more practical individual or group of individuals than a soldier on a battlefield. They need real things, no arguments. And doctrine becomes the real armor of God. They don't care that real doctrine is "hard" or insults their fallen nature. They are on a battlefield facing real enemies. They don't care if some people's feelings are getting hurt by the existence of real unwatered-down doctrine, that is what they need to survive.

The Puritans (then and today) understood regeneration and how it puts one on a real spiritual battlefield; and how doctrine becomes real armor of God.

People who take an academic approach to the faith - God bless them, we all benefit from their work (some of their work anyway) - can't see the seriousness or even reality of the spiritual battlefield and what soldiers on that battlefield need, hence they have difficultly even seeing those soldier or sometimes even admitting they exist at all.

Another difference between Puritans and other Reformed types is Puritans tended to be outside the Establishment of their time. In fact they were often fleeing the law and even their home countries.

When John Owen met John Bunyan we saw the two types together; and notice who it was who admired the other with more respect and awe. If you don't know it was John Owen who expressed his respect for John Bunyan, and you can feel that in the anecdote as it's come down to us. Owen may actually have been more Puritan than his position allowed him to be. Gurnall would be another who felt the tension of being a Puritan by type yet who hadn't crossed the divide from Establishment to outsider during his life and career. - C.

An adult showed up at National Review Online

Sobranist • 2 days ago

If only he could, I bet W F Buckley would lament the illogical stubbornness of editors allowing such mindlessness to fester. "We detest Trump, because as a thick-fingered, vulgar, low class, buffoonish, low-brow, stupid, white trash detestable, name-caller - - he has no business running for President." Because Ladies and gents at NRO - That is EXACTLY what you say every stinkin' day!

Lorenzo • 2 days ago

Sobranist, once you begin thinking of National Review as a country club with a printing press, the Trump detestation you describe makes sense.

Sobranist • 2 days ago

I see it less as a Country Club and more like a frat house... Country Club types know more about the world than this crew of Buckley wanna-be poseurs, they have read all the right books and strike conservative poses - but have demonstrated a tone-deafness that must come from a shallow core. My dad did business with Trump and hated him. But I think he would love to see him as president. Why? Because he may be a jerk but has "gonads." America needs "gonads" after Obama (and, also, the Yale Cheerleader.)

Lorenzo • 2 days ago

"Frat house" might be a better analogy than "country club". The swells running the typical country club, being businessmen or professionals of some sort, at least have to deal with the real world that the frat boys are insulated from.


A note on meditating the Bible

[This is an email.]

On meditating the Bible this is basically what I'm doing...

I use the template of "people, places, things, events, ideas" to focus in on what I'm reading, and I basically pause to really visualize or ponder one or more of those things.

Like when Melchizedek gives bread and wine to Abraham, those are "things" and I pause and think about them. Not too crazily, but as symbols, maybe see connections with bread and wine in the New Testament, etc. Maybe just holding the imagery in my mind does a lot too. Higher visual language.

I can see that another aspect, perhaps bigger, of meditating the Bible is recalling to mind whole, contained passages and really trying to draw them to mind from memory and think about them.

But when I said it doesn't take a lot of meditating on the Bible to get something from it I mean this: I noticed quickly that a little pausing and pondering and visualizing really made me see what I was reading more clearly. Like for instance the travels of Abraham. I can trace it in my mind. If you just read over it quick things like that jumble together. But I have clear Haran to Canaan down to Egypt, back up, separation from Lot, etc. That's sort of "event" and also "places."

Really pausing to visualize people is a big thing too. Getting cues from the text to see their personality. Like when Cain says back to God, "Am I my brother's keeper?" I read in a commentary that that showed Cain's temper, and I'd never visualized it like that. It's like Cain snapped back at God when he said that. You can visualize it other ways too, but Cain is deep in lies at that point and being interrogated, so you know he's ticked off and perhaps ready to lose it if not losing it.

You can see how this will build if you do it all the way through the Bible. - C.

ps- You can get deep into it too. Like when I read of the 'mist' that rose from the Garden to water the ground (this was before rain) we tend to think morning due, but I was pondering it was natural technology that is no longer used by God but might be still there in some way, or might be an image for higher visual language that can be used in unknown ways...see? crazier thoughts, but those too as I meditate on the Bible...

A note: as I read through this post again it came to me that I've heard people, pastors, theologians, etc., characterize people in the Bible in ways that to my discernment were off-the-mark. Like what I wrote about Cain above. You can get shallow with it this way: by drawing down the entire phenomenon of "Cain" to your current level of understanding solely and cut off aspects of Cain, or just the deeper impressions of tragic evil that exist above, say, moralizing or common thoughts of such things. I.e. I want to meditate on the Bible where it exists, at the level it exists, not draw it down to solely my current level of understanding.


Email exchange on Michael Horton

From: W
Subject: Michael Horton

There is something I find offensive about this post by Michael Horton. He has a very narrow view of the topic and arrogantly/subtly suggests others are idiots if they believe otherwise. I'm not saying he is wrong about some of the way God speaks to us but it's what he infers by what he leaves out that shows his arrogance.



* * * * * * *
Response from Me:

Horton's style is to present cartoonish strawman examples and then slay them. It wouldn't have been beyond him in this post to have started it this way: "Some Christians think if they hang a crystal from their neck that it can become God and audibly talk to them."

Another major aspect of his approach is to make his own preferences the definition of orthodox. He's a buttoned down academic first, a Christian who believes in the supernatural second. He's more concerned with how his fellow academics see him than how true believing Christians see him. He fears the world more than he fears God, is another way of saying that.

He also has pioneered the, what I call, "It's not about you!" approach to the faith. To him the Christian faith is 100% objective, having nothing to do with us. God does everything. He carries this so far, and is so insistent with it, that it has become a real school of theology, or new approach; so even though he's otherwise Reformed and orthodox in a basic way he's also 'off' in this 'you do nothing, it's not about you' approach.

This all makes him very big on ritual and clerics as being the only true experience of the faith. "Lay" people are to sit in the pew and be passive. In this theology sheep don't become lions. - C.

A short remark from nothing me:

If Horton read this post he'd say, "Sheep becoming lions? Theology of glory!! You become a lion by being MORE of a sheep, if at all!! It's not about you!! You don't do anything!! Eat a cracker!! Drink some grape juice!! Listen to an ordained pastor read the Bible to you!! Who do you think you are?!? You are nothing!! It's not about you!!"

Who engages in wachfulness? Who loves his enemies? Who fights the world, the flesh, and the Devil? Who actively gets parts-in-relation-to-the-whole understanding of the Bible and biblical doctrine? I guess the pastor does all this for the sheep. Hence the pastor is God on earth. Hence we're into Romanism. Hence Horton's willingness to endorse books by Popes, but not books by non-Reformed Protestants. It all comes together.


Meditate the Bible

MEDITATE THE BIBLE. After reading it 7 times complete (dedicated cover-to-cover readings), time to meditate it. I'll figure out how that goes as I go along. I've done it with the Psalms some, on walks, reading verses on my phone. I actually think it will just be a matter of pausing and pondering verses, passages, whole chapters, books. Meditating upon Scripture at different scale. Envisioning people, pondering places, focusing on things, recreating events, contemplating ideas. There's definitely room also for deeper vision, which is hard for anyone to describe.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

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1 2 3 4

1 Samuel
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2 Samuel
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1 Kings
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2 Kings
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1 Chronicles
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2 Chronicles
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Song of Solomon
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Three mountains in the Bible

Mt. Sinai - the mountain of the curse of the law; king is old Adam, now residing in man's fallen nature; on it by physical birth; demographics: the majority of the world population, all works based religions and philosophical worldviews; destination of subjects: Lake of Fire

Mt. Zion - the mountain of free grace; King is Jesus Christ; on it by regeneration by the Word and the Spirit, faith and repentance; demographics: Bible-believing Christians who have faith in the saving work and death of Jesus Christ; destination of subjects: Heaven

Mt. Hermon - the mountain of idols and evil; king is Satan; on it by radicalization of fallen nature; demographics: in our day Marxists, Islamists, individual devil worshipers of all kinds; destination of subjects: Lake of Fire


A hidden big problem in the whole church thing

Look at this line from a Minister: "So likewise the angels of the churches— the ministers of the gospel— that are of an higher order and office than other saints..." This Minister thinks the angels of the churches are the actual ministers of those churches and are of a higher class or order than the Christians sitting in the pews. (Quote is from Jonathan Edwards, but that's neither here nor there.)

So, you know seminary graduates are taught this or some species or degree of it, yet they can't really talk about it because their conscience tells them it's asinine to think of themselves that way, yet they believe it still and have it in their self-image still.

Here is the problem: all Christians are to be prophets, priests, and kings. The bar is set high to be a Christian. You have to read the Bible and get parts-in-relation-to-the-whole understanding of it; then you have to learn on-the-mark biblical doctrine. Then you have to learn how to practice the faith. Be a Christian. These things become what we are as they are fused into our memory and will and understanding. It's a tall order, yet the Holy Spirit enables us to meet and exceed the high bar. For some it comes easier, quicker, for others it's a lifelong process, and progress is by degree and in stages, yet a simple, real faith is what saves, not complete knowledge. OK. Still, progress will be made by real Christians.

Now what does this say about our priesthood of seminary educated elitists? They become the enemy to the rank and file Christian. Why? Because to maintain a self-image of being special, and of a higher order (and appointed so by God Himself) you have to protect the knowledge. You have to keep it from the hands of the unwashed. The low brows who think they can understand what can only uniquely be understood by members of the guild. "Oh, look, that rube in row five is reading the Bible/Geerhardus Vos/systematic theology, how quaint. Actually, it's dangerous. Have one of the elders speak to him. Give him one of our David vs. Goliath video games."

Guilds, to exist, have to protect the knowledge of the guild, and who can have access to that knowledge and teach that knowledge. In this sense all clericalism, Protestant as much as the other branches, gravitates toward dumb Magisteriumism. Which itself becomes darkness.

Christians are prophets, priests, and kings. In a real sense when we're first reading the Bible and learning doctrine from on-the-mark, time-vetted sources (hopefully), we are sheep. In a real sense. Yet the metaphor is abused by guild interest. In Christianity sheep become lions. Kings. Prophets, priests, and kings.

This is seen as an assault to the guild-minded. So be it.

An aside: think of the thought process of the cleric as guild member with the guild interests. At one time he hadn't read the Bible (I assume seminary graduates eventually read the Bible complete?), and he certainly knew nothing of on-the-mark biblical doctrine, if he ever does. So what does he think about that? "Well, nobody could possibly learn what I've come to learn. It's just too difficult. Yes, I learned it, but I am special. I am of a higher order." Only the typically dumbest people in the room think like that.


From an email, angels and Greek gods

I've been searching for and downloading the best formatted epubs and pdfs of Bullinger's Decades. It's a major historical work of doctrine from the 16th century.

In the Fourth Decade, Sermon Nine, on angels and evil spirits I found the first reference I think I've seen in a major Calvinist, Reformed source, connecting biblical angels with the gods of pagan poets, obviously Homer is what he is referencing here. Heathenish poets and philosophers -- that is ancient Greece:

"Let us therefore believe that there are angels. For the authority of the Son of God, and the irrevocable truth of the holy scriptures, ought worthily to win more credit with us than the toys of all Sadducees and wicked men. What, have not the heathenish poets and philosophers confessed that there are angels, whom they call gods? For they, feigning that gods in the likeness of men were lodged and entertained of righteous men, seemed to all learned men to have meant nothing else than that which the holy scriptures make mention of, how Abraham and Lot received angels into their houses resembling strangers. But howsoever the case standeth, most certain it is, both by the holy scripture and by manifold experience, that there are blessed spirits of God, that is to say, good angels."

This is why I like reading the older works. A modern Reformed theologian wouldn't have read or appreciated the Homeric epics, and would consider such a notion, that angels and the depictions of gods and goddesses of the ancients, had any connection. Whacky, they'd say. - C.


Heard a big giveaway on a Reformed podcast

Listening to an old Reformed Forum podcast I heard a big giveaway. They were talking about the writings of the Church fathers and how one talked of demon activity, etc. A Reformed seminary graduate (Jeff Waddington) then gave away how they don't believe in the supernatural while still maintaining that the Bible presents supernatural phenomena. He said, in so many words, speaking in the first person plural, "Well, we of course are skeptical that such things as demon activity is real other than within the stories of the Bible."

Fact: establishment Christianity - churchianity - doesn't believe in the supernatural period. They don't believe in supernatural evil; they don't believe in supernatural preservation of the word of God; they don't believe in supernatural regeneration by the word and the Spirit; they ultimately don't believe in the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit Himself.

They're all about man and ritual, and their shallowness, dead churches, and their fear of man and the world above any fear of God give them away.

A side note: in the same podcast the author they were interviewing, Michael Haykin (his book Rediscovering the Church Fathers was the subject of the podcast) stated that he doesn't read Reformation era or post-Reformation era doctrinal works, citing specifically systematic theological works. He said, "I mean, I own Grudem, but I don't read it." This is a so-called evangelical scholar. They could probably be OK with his preferring the Church fathers over icky stuff about sin and wrath of God and stuff, but his sole citing of Grudem had to embarrass the others in the discussion.

True believers, recognize the apostasy exists, and is all around you, especially where it's most supposed not to be; and it can manifest as shallowness as much as anything else.


Good indexed overview interview of Michael Heiser on his book Unseen Realm

This interview is helpful to get an overview of Michael Heiser's Unseen Realm. Click 'show more' under the video to see a very helpful contents list by time mark.


Michael Heiser on current world events regarding spiritual geography

This is a good example of what can be found of value in Michael Heiser: https://youtu.be/o5eapEWFnBQ

It's ten mins. long talking about some of the spiritual geography aspects of what is going on in the world today.

The whole thing should be watched for context, but how he states the matter at the 5:20 mark is the sober take that I find valuable in Heiser and his book Unseen Realm.


General response to a comment regarding spiritual warfare

My history with spiritual warfare involves doing a teaching called the Fourth Way which puts a person whether they know it or not on the spiritual battlefield. It puts them in conflict with themselves (their fallen nature) and with the world around them (and, yes, with the Devil and his forces). Doing this made me realize I needed the armor of God.

Eph. 6:10-18 is the famous armor of God passage in the Bible.

The main insight is to realize that *doctrine itself* is armor of God. Pure, unwatered-down biblical doctrine is the true armor of God. And on a battlefield you want real armor.

A soldier on a real battlefield has no use for fake armor, i.e. doctrine that has been watered down or negotiated down to please fallen man's desires and demands. Only a Christian in the comforts of the world and going with the current of the world would settle for such a thing.

So, actual biblical doctrine insults our fallen nature and notions of what is right and wrong or good and bad or just and unjust. So when we are able to see and understand and *accept* true biblical doctrine (five solas, doctrines of grace, i.e. TULIP, classical - federal - covenant theology) it changes us inwardly. It re-orientates us inwardly from being man centered to being God centered, and from self-will to God's will.

All that *hard doctrine* that Arminians, for instance, refuse to give in to. It is actual armor of God.

Or like when people say, "It's not fair that I should have original sin just because of something Adam did in the Garden." But when you accept that Adam was our federal head (our King) and his act effected us (just as if the American President declares war citizens have to be at war whether we like it or not) it's an example of accepting hard truth biblical doctrine. Of course then you realize that Jesus becomes our new federal head (King) when we have faith in Him and His work, and we don't have a problem with *that.* We like receiving from Jesus what we couldn't do ourselves.

Another example is accepting that God is sovereign and is the first cause of everything that happens, yet we are also responsible for our own actions and thoughts and words. That is an example of accepting hard truth biblical doctrine. You can philosophically iron all that out, but ultimately it really is a matter of God says it, I believe and accept it. I'm a soldier on the spiritual battlefield. I don't have a problem with difficult to accept biblical doctrine because it is my armor, and I know it changes me internally to being, or conforming, to Christ, the ultimate soldier and King.

The spiritual landscape and battlefield

A big part of life for me as a Christian - that is not such a big thing seemingly for other Christians - is what I refer to as the spiritual battlefield.

When I say that other Christians will be stung and will say they too experience the, uh, spriteful battlefield, or, uh, what'd you say there wacko? spiritual - yes - spiritual battlefield! Been there, done, uh, that, got the tee-shirt.

Only the average Christian knows nothing of the spiritual battlefield because the average Christian, what I generally refer to as the church Christian, or churchian, is always pretty much going with the current of the world. And inside their church as much as anywhere else.

Being separated out from the world puts you in a world of friction and conflict with the current of the world and into a world of spiritual warfare.

In that world you begin to see and experience things like spiritual geography. Also how the invisible world acts on the visible. Also how what happens here 'under the sun' has an analogue in the spiritual realm.

It's in this context that I recommend Michael Heiser's book Unseen Realm. Though his doctrine overall is not up to the biblical and Holy Spirit discerned standards of Dutch Puritanism...nevertheless what he contributes with his parts in relation to the biblical whole insights on the subject of spiritual warfare is unique and special.


The Unseen Realm

[originally an email]

Michael Heiser's the Unseen Realm is a new book I've mentioned before. I feel I made a mistake in highlighting too strongly his liberal(ish) theology, because what he offers is so unique and valuable you can look beyond the weak doctrine.

His chapter 32 is epic and causes many dots to be connected regarding spiritual warfare realities, individual, political, world level, etc.

A big theme in his book is how the Bible describes spiritual or cosmic geography and how that explains so many events. The general scene-setting is God gave up the nations to individual gods, or angels, and kept Israel as His portion. Part of what Jesus was doing was taking back all the geography from the gods of the darkness. Which is a spiritual battle.

You can see this play out in history. Jews *reclaimed* the land of Israel in 1948. Islam, whose dark god is Allah, had taken possession of that land and had it for centuries. Its meaning now is more symbolic, but it IS the original land of God's portion. The hatred towards Jews and Israel is based on this. Spiritual battle and dominion over geography. 

The dark gods' - ultimately Satan's - hatred of Western Europe and the United States is different. These lands have been strongholds for followers of Jesus. God's people. We see now these evil hordes flowing into these heretofore off-limits lands.

I also had the thought reading the book that classical music in a real way does battle with dark forces within us. Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, for instance, is a warlike rush of force that goes through us and reclaims parts of our soul perhaps being occupied by dark spirits. This is why we can actually feel healthier and more clear and awake when we are making the effort to hear such higher music rather than the easier to hear lower forms of music that trigger lower thoughts and fantasy and lower emotions and so on. 

Of recent books this one by Heiser - Unseen Realm - is standing out as unique and special. He has a presence on the internet with material that adds to the book as well. His Divine Council material at the early parts of the book can be overstated and even make it seem like he is bringing God down to the level of the creation, in various ways, but getting through that and then seeing the overall themes he is uniquely bringing to light make it all more than worth the time and effort. Talk about the mysteries playing out within us and around us, it is obviously worth the time and effort. - C.


The color of cucks

Cucks aren't white, they aren't black. Cucks are the color of other people's money. Cucks commit treason for their thirty pieces of silver.

How do you identify cucks? Cucks want status quo. Cucks attack anything that threatens status quo. They claim a motive of principled conservatism, but conservatism has only ever been cover for the cuck. They no more want the principles of conservatism than they want the status quo upset. Their history is: conservative, except when it matters.


Love seeing the shake-out

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and Discernment, and I'm not seeing it in these church Christians re this current political season. Here you have a church Christian comically explaining the Trump phenomenon as "folk Marxism."

First of all the notion of folk Marxism, coming from an obvious establishment dhimmi, is mere name calling. The church Christian establishment dhimmis fancy themselves conservatives but couldn't even define that at this point. They know Marxism is bad though. So, despite last week they were calling us fascists and calling Trump Hitler, now we're motivated by Marxism.

Second, this religious cuck wouldn't know Marxism if it had him by his throat (which it does in the form of cultural Marxism). And I forget, he also says we are white supremacists because only white supremacists invoke the term 'cultural Marxism.' This, too, is the establishment dhimmi cuck spinning his airy head trying desperately to maintain his self-image as a conservative, which he can't even define.

Third, read the comments to the post. Immediately upon posting his nonsense several people calmly, slowly, hilariously set the idiot straight. Though it's most likely gone over his head.

I hate churchians and establishment cucks like I hate Satan. Think of it this way: we know our enemies and we can deal with our enemies; but it's the traitors who do the serious damage. Church Christians are not just shallow and unconsciously in the thrall of cultural Marxism, indoctrinated like feckless souls in their universities and seminaries, but they are wicked souls. That they side with a political establishment that is coordinating and carrying through the biblical fate of the Devil and his Army (angelic and human dhimmi) thus showing what side of the divide they reside on (clue: not the Jesus side) makes them more than just naive or ignorant dupes: it makes them wicked as hell.


Angry hornets

The powers that be - Satan and his deputy types - are obviously not happy with this Trump turn of events.


Jesus, all we can say is...come quickly

Nothing has exposed the astonishing number of devils in church christianity than this current political season. We're not just seeing naivete towards the Devil's plans as they play out, but we are seeing active, fervent working against anything that would expose or confront the Devil. Open borders is Satanic. Globalism is Satanic. As biblically evil as anything God tells us will happen. And, needless to say, church christians, we are not supposed to enable the Satanic program. We are supposed to confront the Devil. Something you've never been taught in your culturally Marxist seminaries or your churches run by feckless graduates of those worthless institutions.

Satan's army is on the march, with little resistance from anyone. Least of which the useless, Satanic church christians.

When I first encountered Christians after being regenerated by the word and the Spirit it was like having walked onto an island of zombies. The leaders and educators being the most dead. I put it down to mere shallowness, but now see it is the spirit of evil that is being indulged willfully, as much as one can use the word will to describe such mechanical evil.


More naivete from the Christian version of neocon cuckism

David ****** 3/07/2016 2:21 AM☍

Jason, there is an argument that I haven't seen being made, that ought to be relevant to professing evangelical supporters of Trump. I have seen Trump describe himself emphatically as a Christian multiple times now during this election cycle. His policies aside, this ought to be deeply offensive to any follower of Christ. There is no evidence whatsoever that he is a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word, indeed there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary. I need not rehearse that evidence. Labeling Trump a Christian is a preposterous, laughable proposition to anyone with a speck of discernment. So he is dragging the fair name of our Savior through the mud in his quest to become President. He has merited the just contempt of true Christians, not their votes or support, regardless of the merits or demerits of his policies.

One could object that most recent presidential candidates have identified themselves as Christian. Romney, Obama, O'Malley, Rubio, Christie, and others. For the Democrats on the list, I would just add their false (or at least dubious) confessions to a long list of reason not to vote for them. Regarding those who identify with sects (Romanists) or cults (Mornonism), I would regard those self-identifications as unfortunate and detrimental to Christ's name, but at least as honest identifications considered on their own terms. Romney does not have the true Christ, and Rubio doesn't have the true Gospel, but they are moral and devout by the terms of their respective religions. Unlike Trump, they actually attend their churches. More importantly, they are decent and honorable men, though we may differ on policy. Trump has no semblance of Christian morality. He uses the name of Christ for self-gain, pure and simple. His profession of faith is far less credible than even Obama's.

The Holy Spirit slams people who talk like this.


Email exchange on cucks, treason, long memory, pay back, send them down to hell in glory, skinned and on fire

This guy is interesting because he's raw and unselfconsciouly honest. I probably used to be where he was ten years or so ago. I would not have been "on to" the deception of the cuck class, for instance. I bought the argument that if you make one country in the middle east free all of them would want the same, blah, blah. No, Islam was, is the problem. I was truly naive like many. Now you can see that in many ways these overseas engagements are mere money laundering operations. Recently 5 billion was sent to Iraq to train up an Iraqi army. We find now that FIVE soldiers were actually trained. That money was laundered through Iraq, most likely back into the pockets of Washington insiders and globalists around the world. These money laundering schemes are myriad. Pouring scores of millions into failed businesses. They return the money as campaign contributions. Looting tax dollars. Also, stealing in the form of debt, which loots future generations.

The fierce, Beast-like response to Trump by the establishment is more than a small part motivated by the cucks not wanting to be prosecuted. They're doing evil in the dark, and so they rage against the light. - C.



The spiritual battlefield in this Presidential campaign

[part of an email exchange]

I wrote:

My take on this is when a candidate draws comments from a Pope it's further sign that that candidate is taking on large spiritual forces and fate, if you will. This will sound stupid, but a portion of the lyric of that song I sent goes something like there's good and evil in the air, and we don't see it, or mortals can't see it. 

When that writer said Trump looked like a Soviet wrestler parrying attacks on the debate stage that is the thought I had as well. He is disrupting an established machinery and a lot of self-interest involved in that machinery, but especially with the immigration/invasion issue he is disrupting the principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world...spiritual wickedness in high places.

Think of this: the victims of Isis are Muslims and Christians, but it's the Christians who are being eradicated by rape and wholesale slaughter. Yet the powers that be here won't allow Christians to migrate here, only Muslims. If you need proof it's a Satanic invasion there it is. - C.

Simon of Australia responded:

Yeah im REALLY starting to see all this now with my eyes, like they have been opened. The side that is againat Trump is always doing a form of 'smart lying' in the media, i can actually see them be ding the truth.

Youre dead right thpugh - drawing fire from a pope is a sure sign of treading on toes on the spiritual battlefield. 

I mean to actually say hes not a Christian really was an example of the pope coming put of his hole like a big old spider...

i think the establishment is really worried that Trump stands a fair chance of getting in. As Fox news said "Trump is mesmerizing" - he really is. He takes all this abuse really well and it looks like it just deflects off him. 

He rants back but theres no sense that it actually hurt him or deflected him. 

Trump is conservative, but still: why calling him leftist doesn't work

[from an email]

Big picture it looks like things can be put as globalism vs. nationalism. Spiritually, God wanted everyone in nations with borders. Read Genesis after the Tower of Babel scattering. Satan, though, has interest in there being no borders and lowest common denominator cultures of a sort of chaotic, violent, poor nature. This enables tyranny, and now world tyranny. - C.


Churchians, once again, worthless in Christ's army

Two questions come to mind when reading posts like this one in the Christian blogosphere (without even mentioning the dishonesty of implying Trump wasn't being humorously self-critical):


1. Who taught these Christians that central to the definition of Christian is perfection by the standard of a pajama boy seminary graduate, or anybody else's notion of perfection?

2. Do male churchians wear bonnets?


This guy gets Trump

Here is analysis showing the second level thinking that has the usual commentariat flailing in angry idiocy:



Good Charles Murray article on the Trump phenomenon

[an email]

So many good comments under this article:


Like this one:
"A largely unmentioned advantage of Trump being nominated is that if he loses, it will send a clear signal to the type of Americans that America MUST have that elections are no longer the way to take their country back.  Tens of millions of Americans have already effectuated a "secession of the heart" from what passes for America today.  History proves that Socialists ALWAYS run out of OPM, just as it proves that were our founders alive, they'd already be shooting.  If America falls (and it IS falling), there will be NO place to go - and tens of millions of U.S. citizens won't let that happen.  Trump may well be America's last chance to get things right, via an election.  That's because one way or another, the USA will be righted.  JFK said, "those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."  Which way do the Liberals want it?"

- C


If I was a Bible teacher

[an email]

If I was a Bible teacher and a caller in to my show started accusing or complaining or going off on tangents...I'd say: "Hey, come back to reality."

"What is reality?" they would say.

"Evil, alienation, and death. This is reality here and now after the fall. All three are abnormal. We escape their grasp only one way..."

- C.

The walking of the soul

[an email]

I've sent this before, but it's so valuable to see the connection between the Work teaching [i.e. Fourth Way, Ouspensky] and the Calvinist, Puritan, Reformed school of doctrine. This is a passage from Thomas Boston's Human Nature In its Fourfold State. See, at the end, where he basically describes the state of identification, and ties it to being a feature of our fallen nature:

(6.) Is not everyone by nature discontented with his present lot in the world, or with some one thing or other in it? This also was Adam's case, Gen. 3:5, 6. Some one thing is always lacking; so that man is a creature given to changes. If any doubt this, let them look over all their enjoyment; and, after a review of them, listen to their own hearts, and they will hear a secret murmuring for lack of something—though perhaps, if they considered the matter aright, they would see that it is better for them to lack, than to have that something. Since the hearts of our first parents flew out at their eyes, on the forbidden fruit, and a night of darkness was thereby brought on the world, their posterity have a natural disease which Solomon calls, "The wandering of the desire," or, as the word is, "The walking of your soul," Eccl. 6:9. This is a sort of diabolical trance, wherein the soul traverses the world; feeds itself with a thousand airy nothings; snatches at this and the other created excellency, in imagination and desire; goes here, and there, and everywhere, except where it should go. And the soul is never cured of this disease, until conquering grace brings it back to take up its everlasting rest in God through Christ—but until this be, if man were set again in paradise, the garden of the Lord, all the pleasures there would not keep him from looking, yes, and leaping over the hedge a second time.
The entire book is Shakespearian due both to Boston's writing skill and the fact that his material is the most foundational truths. You see this in the first main section describing the fall of Adam. And you see echoes of Work teaching throughout. You also see how entire novels have been written on individual ideas presented in such biblical doctrine. I.e. that is the foundational power of what is presented. - C.


School vs. school

Listening to this Reformed Forum podcast (http://reformedforum.org/ctc422/), or as much of it as I did listen to before realizing how dead it is, I came to thinking about why Christians such as the ones on this podcast are so shallow and perhaps spiritually catatonic, if not dead.

The contrast that came to me was of school. Not school as most know of school but school as a higher reality. It's not a foreign notion to Christianity, even church level Christianity (the Reformation had the school of Geneva), but it's definitely a rare notion.

One element that separates school as a higher reality than anything church level Christians know of is the manner of teaching in the former. It's very different. There's no privileged position. You either have understanding or you don't, and you either are able to transfer it or you're not. Teachers rarely call themselves teachers. It's kind of a pure market environment. People just start talking, and someone gets singled out as just seeming to know more. But it's a testing both ways, with self-interest both ways, as-well-as mutual need. The teacher consolidates understanding in the act, or necessity of having to articulate it to others.

And people talk to whoever has interest. That's a very big difference I experienced when I crossed the threshold from occult realm school activity to the Christian realm. And I should say not just Christian realm but mainstream Christian realm, where you find the on-the-mark doctrine, i.e. five solas, doctrines of grace, covenant (federal) theology. In the occult realm people talked. In the mainstream Christian realm there don't seem to be individuals but establishment, guilds, groups, who when they see an outsider say, "Who are you? Go away!" (I remember the very first comment I wrote on a Christian blog. I was enthusiastic, and it was a longish comment. You know the response I got? "Why don't you get your own blog." And that was it. Interestingly - always I find it interesting - with nobody else there saying, "That's not a very nice greeting.")

In the dead-zone realm where seminaries and their products (pastors, scholars, whatever) exist there's no sense of mutual need or self-interest in the imparting of knowledge and understanding, nor is there a natural, pure market sifting of the wheat from the chaff. Guild mentalities develop, and there is no more ignorant ass than a person belonging to a privileged guild appropriating knowledge to themselves and making that knowledge what Latin phrases and contractese is to lawyers, something to be protected and used for worldly ends, with all the inane vanity attending such a use of what they never developed or discovered themselves.