Dance of the ......
This is some of the evil angels as they danced above the old Soviet Union amidst the smoke of the offerings of human suffering and death coming up from below:
THE FAITH PURE, BOLD, PRACTICAL
Fear God, it is the beginning of wisdom.
When you fear only God you don't fear man
(and man's opinion of you),
which enables you to pursue wisdom.
What are the conditions of admission into Christ's Kingdom? Simply practical recognition of the authority of the sovereign.
- A. A. Hodge
This is some of the evil angels as they danced above the old Soviet Union amidst the smoke of the offerings of human suffering and death coming up from below:
Clue to the Puritanboard, the brickwall named 'Logan' is being fed notes from Alpha and Omega Ministries. If you debate 'Logan' you are debating them, and you see how sold out to the Devil the Critical Text side is. When people refuse to concede a single point in a debate on such a diverse topic they are defending the indefensible.
Here are six ways liberal theologians interpret the Bible in an unorthodox way:
1. They deny the supernatural.
2. They maximize emphasis on the human authors of Scripture while playing down or denying an overall divine Author.
3. They read Scripture solely as a natural man would encounter it and deny any role of the Holy Spirit or regeneration (having eyes to see, ears to hear) playing a necessary part in it.
4. They atomize (fragment) the various books and parts of the Bible and deny any unified nature of the entirety of Scripture.
5. They treat the Bible as any other human document, looking down on it rather than looking up to it (with the corollary of demanding it have only the authority of man - scholars - in it rather than the authority of God).
6. They deny the Bible can be understood in any propositional way and instead propose that it's really about how the reader responds in the reader's unique way to what he encounters in Scripture (this is all fuzzy and has different theories attached to it).
[Some of these taken from Nathan Pitchford's The Reformers' Hermeneutic: Grammatical, Historical, and Christ-Centered; which can be found in this collection.]
When you're talking to a real Christian you are talking to a Christian who wants the real armor of God. So whatever you say means nothing if it doesn't come up to that standard. That angers the church level. It angers the seminary graduates. It angers the false teachers, whether they be ignorant or consciously malevolent.
Biblical doctrine is armor of God. It effects you internally. When you are able to see it (hard core, unwatered down, unnegotiated down to the demands of our fallen nature biblical doctrine) again, when you are able to see it, and accept it, and value it, it effects you internally.
I've been naked on the spiritual battlefield. I know what that is like. I've also been in the full armor of God on the spiritual battlefield. I know what that is like. Once aware of the difference I accept nothing less than the full, real armor of God.
Nothing you can say from the church or seminary or false teaching level will have any effect on me. There's no shaming, or mocking, or fooling that will have effect. If you say to a soldier, here, take this cardboard rifle. Go ahead. It's less of a burden to carry. What do you think the soldier will say to you? He'll say, on the battlefield I need a real rifle, not a fake one. No, I don't want your fake rifle. I don't care if it is less of a burden to me. It is useless to me, and more than that it can get me killed.
A real Christian has the same response. It's simply a practical response to the real situation we are in. We are regenerate. We have the Holy Spirit in us. The Devil, the world, our own inner fallen nature, recognize this and notice us. They confront us. Do battle with us. We need and demand the real armor of God. And our merciful God in His grace makes it available to us.
I don't question anybody's salvation, but I do question your worth in Christ's army.
Update: I need to question my own worth in Christ's army and not worry about anybody else's worth. (Important to catch yourself when you're being inane.)
Update 2: Due to a moralizing troll showing up in the comments I withdraw this concession of shortcoming. I just left out of the first paragraph above the subject of the post. When I remember the subject I was dead on accurate in what I said. Carry on.
S. of Australia said: "I feel the same, sort of since 9/11 actually. That kind of lowered the tone of the whole world. You can expect things to get darker and harder though as we go towards end times."
I know you've said that before, and we've agreed before, but it's worth reiterating that that is a true observation. Obviously we can see it more as time moves on.
One insight I should share with all (unrelated to this topic really). In my life I've really learned that of the Godhead, the Trinity, there is one Person of the Trinity you really don't want to mess with: the Holy Spirit.
Jesus even said in so many words, cuss at me, hurt me, kill me, but don't mess with the one I will send after me, the Holy Spirit. Because after the Holy Spirit you have nothing.
One thing people were doing against me was saying I wasn't a real Christian and I didn't understand Christianity and really harping on that line of attack. That is a type of questioning - or denying - the work of the Holy Spirit. It's a dangerous thing to do. I've noticed in the older, mature theologians that even in the midst of them lambasting false teachers and wrong doctrine they seem to always say that salvation though is between them and God, and they come short of questioning a false teacher's salvation (anyway, let me just say, I saw this recently reading something by Machen). I think it is probably a common experience in a Christian's life where we all see incidences of people getting payback from above for making such accusations, and we all learn from that. I know that witnessing people getting slammed by God makes me very circumspect in never questioning a person's self-identifying of themselves as a Christian, or questioning their salvation. That is between them and God. We all hang by a similar thread (though I believe we can know if we have real faith). So we can critique false doctrine and other people's behavior or what have you, but we shouldn't cross the line and question their salvation, even if we suspect one way or another, because that is between them and God, and if we are wrong we don't want to question or deny the work of the Holy Spirit in another person. - C.
I was on one of those comment threads under a news article, and atheists were doing their usual shallow thing saying what the Bible was, so I was moved to write:
The Bible is about creation - the fall - redemption, and glory.
And left it at that.
These four themes are deep themes in the soul of the world. In all cultures and civilizations. In Human nature. In literature and art and music and nature.
To not see them requires a very deep shallowness.
I've been reading about an Indian, an American Indian, native American Indian, who lived in the 1700s, who converted to Christianity and was a Calvinist. His name was Samson Occum. He traveled to England and was very fluent in English. He was a Mohegan.
Well, one thing caught my attention. He wrote a sermon on the theme of being asleep and being awake. And what caught my attention was his identifying in a stark and obvious way sleep with sin, and being awake with grace.
I had just never connected those things like that. But you can see it. When asleep (and the biblical sense and the Work [Fourth Way] sense are the same) you are under the power of illusion and all the carnival of sin of the Devil's Kingdom and your own fallen inner nature. Once awake, though, that power is lessened if not defeated. And that is like a state of grace compared to the darkened state of bondage to sleep and sin. Once you come to be able to say, "I am here" (a phrase seen over and over in the Old Testament in various configurations) and you have that internal point of self-awareness that is called in the Work Observing I that is a new state. And by grace you are given it. - C.
ps- The book I've been reading is John Calvin's American Legacy, and one of the chapters is a long essay on Samson Occum.
One thing about death, or the thought of death, that has made me wary in the past is the part about seeing beings we can't see now. Or not the seeing of them but the fact of them. Like that is unbelievable. Like that is 'fiction realm.'
Then I thought this: it's strange seeing beings here and now. I live in a place where new people are coming and going, and they are like total strangers who appear in your personal space. Kind of strange. Yet they are beings and they exist.
I mean living beings. Some of them are out there now. Outside my room. The new ones are tall, and somewhat shallow. "I walked out of my room and saw tall, shallow beings..."
When we appeared in this world in the tabernacle we are in now, our flesh bodies, we appeared in a room with beings in it. A doctor, nurses, our mother...
The beings we'll see at death may be of a different nature than us. Angels. And then perhaps other humans in spiritual bodies. God created you, and He won't abandon you. - C.
Followers of the Critical Text modern versions of the Bible always seem to have a "Yea, hath God said..." vibe about them when they are arguing for their Egyptian and Roman Catholic bibles.
They also are always grinning and mocking when presenting their case.
They also are always demanding concessions from the Bible believing Christian who is holding the Authorized - King James - Version in their hand. "Yea, Christian, concede that that Bible you hold contains error. Concede!"
Then they mock the notion of supernatural preservation, in an atheist style of mocking. Also they mock the notion of an inspired translation, but this usually is a product of their common shallowness regarding works of literature in general.
Even without their mutilated and poisonous manuscripts their modern versions of the Bible in English would be babel if they didn't have the Authorized - King James - Version (the crown of the English Bible) to not only steal from but to guide them every step of the way. It can be said, though, that even the Devil needs a standard so that he has something to deviate from...
An interesting thread at the Puritanboard (here, mostly on page 4, assuming they don't delete comments after I've written this) evolved into some real conflict between moderators. One of the King James Version advocates, Rev. Winzer, was accused of being a default King James Onlyist and then others piled on Winzer, including another moderator (or administrator, one of the two).
Basically, the people who have championed the garbage manuscripts (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) and the modern versions based on them are conscience-struck whenever they are in the presence of someone like Winzer because they know they are rejecting the pure and whole word of God for versions they can look down on rather than have to look up to. So ultimately they have to take a position of eliminating the KJV and its advocates from their environment. Ultimately.
And this necessity has erupted in one of the threads over there in recent days. Like atheists, like anybody in the Devil's camp, they ultimately can't accept co-existence with the pure and whole word of God and all who hold to it. They have to eliminate the pure and whole word of God and any who hold to it. It is part and parcel of the Devil and his children asserting dominion over the entire planet just before the day of the Lord consummation.
So their first move is like any atheist move which is to demand a 'concession' from the evil child of God.
Well, Winzer refused to make any such concession and demanded a retraction of what his accuser said of him. This was not forthcoming as I write this.
To the champions of the garbage manuscripts and the perversions based on them, here is a clue: if you are the stung party, it's pretty good evidence you are on the wrong side of the divide.
Calvinists believe God is the First Cause, yet He also works through secondary causes which can be either determined, contingent, or free. Since we can't know which secondary cause is determined or contingent or free our effort is meaningful and our responsibility is established.
The Catholic Church is a communion in the spiritual realm that gives no defense against the Devil.
Classical Reformation era Protestantism, as a whole, is a sound fortress in the spiritual realm. It exists as this as something that is not necessarily attached to local communions. Classical Reformation era Protestantism as a whole.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity is pious in some good ways but vulnerable on the spiritual battlefield due to doctrinal ignorance and an acceptance of doctrinal ignorance.
Biblical doctrine is armor of God. This is how it is practical. It is actual armor on the spiritual battlefield. Hard saying, unwatered down, unnegotiated down to the demands of our fallen nature biblical doctrine when seen and accepted and valued changes you internally. It reorientates you. For instance it makes you God centered rather than man centered. Without real biblical doctrine you are naked on the spiritual battlefield. If you don't know what real biblical doctrine is yet then move towards what your fallen nature hates the most. (Yes, real biblical doctrine is five solas, doctrines of grace Calvinism...classical Covenant - Federal - Theology.) Use the same method to find the pure and whole word of God (it is the received Hebrew and Greek text underlying the Authorized - King James - Version, in any sound translation, but notice there's only one available widely today, which is telling).
The use of the Law for a regenerated Christian is for necessary friction for inner spiritual development (progressive sanctification). The friction comes not just from the Law in it's pure form (there is less friction there for a regenerated Christian because a regenerated Christian can follow the law and wants to follow the law), but also from the Law in its twisted, distorted form. The Devil, the world (including other human beings), and our inner fallen nature twist the Law of God and distort it to make it a mass of accusation and shaming and policing in the service of maintaining the elements of Devil's Kingdom here in this world. After the Fall, the pure Law of God came into the hands of the Devil, the world, and our inner fallen nature...mass fallen humanity, and has been twisted and distorted and turned into a works righteousness as defined by the Devil...with the Devil's goals in mind. This twisted, distorted aspect of God's Law is like a massive black monstrous presence in this world working to keep individuals in their place (in the Devil's Kingdom) and working to feed the Devil's Kingdom with suffering and death. To see it in full manifestation study the hell of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. Remember, the mass effecting of this twisted, distorted form of God's Law is acted out by fallen human beings who act with a piousness and Pharisee-like self-rightiousness and sense of being holy that are also distorted aspects of real biblical faith. Of course the Beast and the False Prophet, in their different manifestations, are the objects (idols) of their worship in all this, whether as a totalitarian state, the planet, multi-culturalism, media, entertainment, education, etc.. Seeing all this as God's Law (twisted and distorted) brings you to the practical level of seeing something as big in the faith as the Law in a clear way.
The Gospel is regeneration, justification, repentance, faith, definitive sanctification, adoption, glorification. All that is connection. It's not 'being good.' It is connection. Effected by God. To use a biblical metaphor you *were* a fish, living in a wholly different cosmos (the ocean, or "sea" as the language of biblical prophecy prefers sometimes, and see how 'sea' is not a good thing?). Then you were 'hooked' and drawn up out of that cosmos into a wholly different cosmos, where you exist now (I speak to regenerated believers). So, practically speaking, the 'connection' you have in the Gospel is with a wholly different cosmos you are now living in (your very life force comes from another source, the living water Jesus speaks of). Notice you're a bit out-of-step with your environment? Other people? Alienated? At odds? Even beyond the usual degree of alienation caused by the Fall to begin with? It's because you are not even in the same cosmos they are living in. You are even in another realm of time.
Spiritual warfare is the center of the Christian faith and doctrine and practice. Spiritual warfare brings it all together to a practical core.
Doctrine is armor of God, for instance. What you can see in doctrine, and accept, effects you internally.
We are surrounded by violence and the spirit of evil. We'd be overwhelmed by it without some common grace protecting us to a degree.
Good times, safe environments, are real, to an extent, but they are also an illusion. From the resurrection of Christ to the Second Coming is the end days. In the end days the Devil is bound only in being able to deceive the nations and unite them to assert dominion over the entire planet (which has arguably been occurring in the last hundred years and continuing now). He and his spirit and demons are not bound in all other ways. That is all around us.
In the spiritual realms, where we exist now just as we exist here under the sun, we need to realize we are on a spiritual battlefield and that we need the armor of God. The school of doctrine we hold too, as well, as stated above, determines levels of protection. For instance, a visible church gathering here under the sun with watery, worldly doctrine (or a leader/laymen ongoing nursery atmosphere) will not have protection in that spiritual realm. A lone warrior with the true armor of God (true, on-the-mark biblical doctrine) will have more protection though alone.
Because more thoughtful individuals tend to get kicked off Christian forums and so forth I can't post this to a forum where the subject has come up, but here goes anyway... The subject is a pastor from Missouri who after WWII became the pastor to 15 of the Protestant Nazi war criminals condemned to death at Nuremberg. The pastor stated that some of them repented and had faith in Jesus Christ prior to their execution by hanging.
My thought to ponder is this (and it has real meaning beyond the shocking surface of it): the unbelieving Jews who suffered and died in so many horrific ways in the Nazi death camps went to hell; while their guards and the higher up Nazis who created the death camps, if they were subsequently regenerated by the word and the Spirit and had repentance and faith, went to heaven to be with God at their death.
The suffering Jews = to hell
The Nazis responsible = to heaven
What this very real scenario teaches is this: Salvation is above anything that is happening here in this fallen world. Other than the unforgivable sin, no sin can keep God's elect out of heaven; and no amount of suffering can keep an unbeliever out of hell.
So, what this scenario is teaching is all the outrage and moralizing about the hell of this fallen world and the acts of fallen men and women in this fallen world are a sound and fury that is not connected with God's plan of redemption which goes about it's way quietly above it all.
And if that outrages you think about this: you never cared about the millions of victims of Communism around the world that were suffering and dying at the very same time that the Jews were suffering and dying in the Nazi death camps. That shows what fallen man's outrage and moralizing is worth. Hence the disconnect between it and the plan and working out of salvation that is effected above it all...
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The reason the scenario is striking (I just want to emphasize) is because it so starkly shows up fallen man's state vis-a-vis God. When we look at that scenario we say, that is such a blatant example of evil against victims. But that is *our* man-centered sense of justice and our moralizing in action. From God's point-of-view it's just one group of children of wrath over-lording it on another group of children of wrath.
In hell there are torturers and tortured too. There is suffering in hell too.
The scenario really is powerful because it forces us to see how whatever happens to us it doesn't matter regarding our salvation. We can't whine about anything because it's empty (vain) regarding our salvation.
We have to see in ourselves what we dislike in others. And we have to see that we attract our lives and are responsible for everything that happens to us.
And this statement too: Christianity is not about being good, it's about making contact.
How does James White's 'ministry' take in $188,000 a year? And if it really does, why is he always begging his internet audience to buy him books, gadgets, and plane tickets? Is that why they list expenses at $203,000, so he can keep begging? If not, how on earth does that little operation spend $203,000 a year?
One source of his money might very well be the modern industrial Bible translation complex. They need money-lusting agents like James White to keep people from seeing the evil they are proffering.
A second possible source would be the Roman Catholic Church. Imagine, James, if they didn't have to pay off all those child molestation lawsuits, you might be a millionaire by now!
The Manchurian Jesuits outdid themselves on this show:
Richard Dawkins has now stated that he was a victim of a pedophile as a child, then he went on to say that "mild pedophilia" doesn't harm anyone. Best response on Twitter:
"This just in: Man who spent entire adult life in Freudian quest for vengeance on "God"-cum-Father-Betrayer says mild pedophilia does no harm." - @AceofSpadesHQ
I did a search for the first occurrence of the word 'iniquity' in the Bible, using that method Riplinger writes of, and I thought it was a dud. But it was staring me in the face. The first occurrence mentioned 'the iniquity of the Amorites.' So obviously to know what iniquity meant I had to do a full Bible study on the Amorites. (I actually at first thought I was suppose to do a first mention of 'Amorite' which *did* lead to nothing, but that is not the process. The process at that point was to know who the Amorites were and how they did iniquity.)
So the first mention thing worked.
After going through references of the Amorites in Scripture (and Amorite is also sort of synonymous with Canaanite in Scripture) the deeper theme that emerged was that the Amorites were a long-running bad influence on the Israelites, always attacking them or tempting them to idol worship and other bad behavior, and trying to destroy them through subversion, if you will, from inside. This is the mystery of iniquity, how the Devil and his spirit are always at work turning anything good into evil, subverting, upturning, redefining, bringing wolf wickedness in sheep's clothing.
In any current day politics the discernment necessary to see this is demanding because of all of our early life allegiances to various things and our early-formed beliefs about everything. So when I go off on the leftist evil vs. liberty [this post was originally an email] and all that and some of you get weary of it or angry you question my discernment and trust your own, but we all have to see for ourselves these aspects of tyranny vs. liberty and how they play out. Or before that just what *is* true tyranny and what is true liberty. The Nazis called a death camp a placed where 'work makes free.' Potemkin Villages all over the Stalinist Soviet Union, etc. Deception is myriad in this world where the Kingdom of Satan has power. On these political subjects I often write as if the various nuances are a given, which causes confusion. Anyway...
So, interestingly, I just now did a first occurrence search on 'godliness' [1 Tim. 2:2] (remember the two biblical phrases that only occur once are 'the mystery of iniquity' and 'the mystery of godliness') and again I thought it was a dud, but lo and behold with a little effort to actually 'see' it was surrounded by the concept of chain of command authority which is the deep definition of faith. I.e. recognizing chain of command and honoring it (the centurion). Jesus being at the top of that chain. Knowing your place in the chain (the woman who said she would take the crumbs that fell off the table). So godliness has to do with faith and recognition of Jesus as King and Lord and the whole life that follows from such recognition. And it is that which the forces of iniquity dog and attack and attempt to subvert and all the rest...
Just finished The Pope is the Antichrist by Ian Paisley.
Denying the Received Text and denying that the Pope is the antichrist yet saying you hold to the Westminster (and related) Standards is like saying you believe in freedom yet voting for socialists. You're a fake.
If James White is not a Jesuit he's at least the most useful of useful idiots Rome has ever had. He is currently in full meltdown after having just discovered the history of his 'sacred' manuscript Sinaiticus, or satanicus, and how it is most likely a rather obvious forgery (and anyone who knows the comical history of the 'finding' of that obviously 'problematic' (to say the least) manuscript and knows the history of Rome's forgeries over the centuries should not be surprised such a job could be pulled off especially over the dumbest Christians since Pentecost, 19th century rapture dopes and modern day academic Reformed types and their shallow followers). The fact that James White is behind on knowing about this makes his current efforts rather comical. He is desperately trying to get one of his fans to buy him a 1982 book on the subject at Amazon selling used for over $70. Once he gets this book and reads it no doubt he will become an instant expert on the subject and pretend that he's known all about the subject since forever. Meanwhile he is doing his best to smear documentary maker Chris Pinto, who's documentary Tares Among the Wheat (which can be seen in full on YouTube) is what started the Keystone cop meltdown routine at White's 'ministry.' His co-blogger Alan K. has made the first attempts to discredit Pinto (he called him "kooky" for starters). Pinto responded by pointing out Alan K. studied at Harvard Divinity School which, Chris Pinto also pointed out, was like being ordained by Nancy Pelosi, or learning about the Book of Leviticus from Barack Obama.
This all dovetails providentially with my own reading of J. A. Wylie's works on the Papacy (and Ian Paisely's summary of that work called Antichrist, available at Paisley's site here).
We have to remember that some things can be in such blatant plain sight they become easy to miss. Or forget about. Rome's attack on the word of God has been its main effort from the beginning. Dupes like White and Alan K. and the army of liberal critical text scholars who couldn't discern Satan in full goat regalia from Jesus Himself are the useful idiot equivalent of Obama voters, or the first round of executed useful idiots during any communist revolution of the past 100 years. Christians with the Holy Spirit in them, and hence with the discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit should not marvel at the work of Satan regarding his attack on the word of God, the Old and New Testaments. And we should never cease to thank God for preserving the pure and whole word of God in sound translation from the traditional Hebrew text and Received Text, handed down by our brothers and sisters in Christ, fought for, defended with their very blood. Hold an Authorized - King James - Version in hand and express the gratitude its existence calls for to God.
Karl Barth - thththththththththththththth - was the theological equivalent of a piece of human shit. He defended Satan in communist genocide, and wrote theology like a Marxist theorist wrote about economics, drowning his audience in an ocean of shit only appealing to fellow leftists and useful idiots of Satan himself. No, there ain't nothing there. It you have discernment for truth, and if you value truth, there ain't nothing there. Yeah, I know, you get a thrill that he had girl friends and stuff, and he was a theologian and stuff with girl friends, 'cuz that's not the usual thing and stuff. Yeah, I get it. I know. You have an infatuation with the piece of shit. Let me throw something at you: Thomas Mann was a fake too. His thing was to fool middlebrow book readers (most of whom graduated from Ivy League schools) who took him as a great, above the world (Switzerland and stuff) intellectual (the great novelist and intellectual of our time, Steve Martin, the arrow-through-the-head guy, is actively modelling himself on Thomas Mann, but he may change tack and become our modern day Robert Musil as time goes on, maybe you can write books and articles about that too). No, you didn't understand anything of what I just wrote, and you will think it's crazy and stupid because you don't get the references or the joke. That's OK. I don't want to explode heads here I just want to send a note to the Reformed seminary boys: Karl Barth - thththththththththth - was a fake and was pretty much human shit in every way possible. If you had actual discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit you wouldn't need to be told this, but...that's a deeper problem.
"Then how do you explain the prosperous (and more moral than Christians) atheistic societies we see today?"
Like the former Soviet Union?
There really are no "atheist societies" today in the western world. There are countries that are living off the borrowed capital of their Christian past and elements of Christian culture and civilization in their present.
"Would you rape a child if your god convinced you of an "as-yet unknown morally sufficient reason" for doing so? I wouldn't."
Muslims certainly would. Many atheists would and have. All fallen humanity would do and have done pretty much anything given the opportunity and the means. My standard is the word of God, the Old and New Testaments. The ceremonial and civil laws of the Israelite theocracy are defunct upon the birth and death of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, but the moral laws which are for all generations, the ten commandments, are straight forward. The 7th commandment is about adultery and sexual misbehavior. The commandment against covetousness is arguably in play as well regarding the innocence of a child. The main point is that is an absolute standard given by our Creator Himself. It is not the whim or demand or choice of a created being, and fallen created being at that.
"Adultery pertains solely to unfaithfulness within a marriage. It has nothing to do with child rape or the consent of one's partner."
God also commands against fornication and concupiscence. In the 10th commandment to covet also means to lust in general. Thou shalt not covet what is thy neighbor's. A child would fall under that.
God generally, as well, doesn't expect his regenerated and sanctified children to game the system like a defense lawyer. Atheists do that.
Churchian academics (seemingly especially of the Reformed variety) like to spray the phrase 'post-Christian America' around. Or 'post-Christian Europe.'
This exposes the shallowness of these academic Christian (excuse me, churchian) educators and leaders.
Not only are they ignorant of history in general (their general shallowness really knows no bounds), but they are ignorant of how their own religion operates in the world and in human beings.
In Calvin's day Christians were little islands surrounded by a vast sea of decadence. The Puritans were little islands amidst a vast sea of decadence. Do we call Calvin's Geneva 'post-Christian Geneva'? How about New England in the 1600s? 'Post-Christian New England'?
Let's go back further. I know, let's just save time and call anything after Pentecost 'post-Christian world.'
Christianity is leaven. It is mustard seed, and leaven. Its effect is greater than its number. Just as a school's effect is greater than the number of students in the school. Speaking of real school that is.
And it's not surprising that Christian - churchian - academics would be naive regarding history in general. "It's all different today! Today we are seeing really different things!" It's because they've never read any real history. It's not part of their course structure in 'seminary.' And they are too shallow to be motivated to do it on their own.
Heard someone saying, "Whatever, nothing's interesting. Everything is stupid." Etc. He wasn't articulating his thoughts very deeply, but what he was expressing is alienation. Alienation is a feature of our fallen condition as human beings. We are not only alienated from God but from other people and from nature. Not only alienated, but everything's at odds with everything else.
The only solution to this alienation is reconciliation with our Creator in a redeemed world. The extra benefit when in that new world will be that we become, or are, the world around us, the world we inhabit.
I was looking at some books, Puritan era books, on the subject of dying, then I remembered that I should always search my Kindle to see if I've already acquired something on a subject I'm interested in (I now have 400 books and documents on it), and so I did and it came up: R. L. Dabney's Our Comfort In Dying.
I've recommended it before [this post was originally an email]. If you got it back then look for it. It's a sermon, so very short. 35 pages in large font. But it's remarkable and just what I am looking for. He discourses on just what we are thinking of regarding death. Other theologians wouldn't talk of soaring through spiritual realms and meeting angels and other worlds and so on, but Dabney does this, and it is a sermon *on the battlefield of the American Civil War* which gives it some immediacy other writings on the subject wouldn't have.
Here is a sample:
"Third We learn from the text to what guidance the Christian may commit his soul during its unknown journey into the world of spirits. Let us endeavor, my brethren, to obtain a practical and palpable conception of that world. I believe that heaven is as truly a place as was that paradise of the primeval world where the holy Adam dwelt. When we first arrive there we shall be disembodied spirits. But finite spirits have their locality. The clearer evidence, however, that heaven is a literal place is, that it now contains the glorified, material bodies of Enoch, of Elijah, of Christ, and probably of the saints who rose with their Redeemer. But where is this place? In what charter of this vast universe? In what sphere do the Man Jesus and his ransomed ones now dwell? When death batters down the walls of the earthly tabernacle, whither shall the dispossessed soul set out? To what direction shall it turn in beginning its mysterious journey? It knows not; it needs a skillful, powerful and friendly guide. But more; it is a journey into a spiritual world, and this thought makes it awful to the apprehensions of man. The presence of one disembodied spirit in the solitude of night would shake us with a thrill of dread. How, then, could we endure to be launched out, into this untried ocean of space, peopled by, we know not what, mysterious beings? How would we shrink with fear at the meeting of some heavenly or infernal principality, rushing with lightning speed through the void, upon some mighty errand of mercy or malice, clothed with unimagined splendors of angelic attributes, and attended by the hosts of his spiritual comrades? How could we be assured that we should not fall a prey to the superior power of some of these evil angels? How be certain that we might not lose our way in the pathless vacancy, and wander up and down forever, a bewildered, solitary rover, amidst the wilderness of worlds? This journey into the unknown world must, else, issue in our introduction to a scene whose awful novelties will overpower our faculties; for even the very thought of them, when they are permitted to dwell upon our hearts, fills us with a sense of dreadful suspense. Truly will the trembling soul need some one on whom to lean, some mighty, experienced and tender guardian, who will point the way to the prepared mansions, and cheer and sustain its fainting courage. That guide is Christ: therefore let us say, in dying: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." It is a, delightful belief, to which the gospel seems to give most solid support, that our Redeemer is accustomed to employ in this mission his holy angels. What Christian has failed to derive sublime satisfaction as he has read the allegorical description in the Pilgrim's Progress of Christian and Hopeful crossing the river of death, and ascending with a rejoicing company of angels to the gate of the celestial city. It is, indeed, but an allegory, which likens death to a river. But it is no allegory -- it is a literal and blessed truth -- that angels receive and assist the departing souls which Christ redeems."
Just now as I was looking in at a discussion of theology that to outsiders would look like hair-splitting nonsense I was reminded how we are all in groups and schools in the spiritual realm, and it matters what we think on these theological matters (doctrine is armor of God and protection is involved). Of course these groups and schools, or gatherings in the spiritual realm can be stronger or weaker, and we want discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit to be able to be in the strongest circles.
God knows where we are, and where we are manifests in the spiritual realm. It's not unserious.
A pastor on Reformedforum made the statement that he wouldn't want to be a mystic because that is an unmediated way to connect with God. He, though, gave himself away. Why would he think a mystic wouldn't have Jesus as His Mediator between him and God? The answer is because the Reformed pastor considers himself to be the mediator between individuals and God. Like the Pope he by default was saying he, an ordained pastor, is God's vicar of Christ on earth.
Take it further to see how this presupposition among such pastors of the Reformed (or any other) tradition plays out. The word of God. When I read the word of God myself this pastor would consider this an unwise effort on my part to have an 'unmediated' connection with God Himself. I mean, think about it: the direct, raw, naked word of God. Who am I, an un-ordained, un-seminary-educated (I've never sat under Peter Enns, this pastor's institution) 'lay' person (more Romanist language) to think I could have an 'unmediated' experience with the very living word of God, the Old and the New Testament, itself? This is where such a presupposition lying in the darkness of these pastor's inner being leads them, if unconsciously. It still manifests in their thoughts and words and actions.
This is part and parcel of the absolute objectifying of the faith these seminary-stunted churchians are engaging in. It is another gospel.
Two black people, a man and a woman, beat to death a five year old boy for wetting his pants. The news story was accompanied by a photo of the two. The look of the two black people is the type of look that makes white people shudder. One wonders what society is supposed to do with such people.
My further thought, though, which can be called racist or insensitive by the moralists out there all you want, was the way we see those two might just be the way God sees all of us. On a forum I speculated that perhaps God made some people black so that we would have to see ourselves in their image: black-faced sinners, if you will.
This further led me to the thought that God only accepts us *in* Jesus Christ. We black-faced sinners, repugnant to God otherwise, are only made acceptable because God the Father sees us in Jesus Christ. Our righteousness is the righteousness of Christ. All basic theological fact, but to really see it via the image of those two child killers brings it home.
We have to remember that real Christianity is as strange, or occult, to the general run of the world as any cult or Hermetic writings or anything else similar. It really is that way. "Mystical oogie boogie," the common sense businessman would say. Rationalist academics the same. The man of the earth just knows there's something higher, but might be impatient with the details. But just look at the basics of Christianity. Union with God who came down to earth. The anthropology is pretty easy to accept, once you know the world and yourself somewhat. The sin nature, the existence of evil. The supernaturalism is a stumblingblock for most, even self-identified Christians. But it's all in the realm of occult type activity and thought to most people. Hooked by the Spirit and separated out and up or you're just a dog who still wants to be a dog.
"As Dean Burgon (1883) pointed out, the history of the New Testament text is the history of a conflict between God and Satan. Soon after the New Testament books were written Satan corrupted their texts by means of heretics and misguided critics whom he had raised up. These assaults, however, on the integrity of the Word were repulsed by the providence of God, who guided true believers to reject these false readings and to preserve the True Text in the majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts. And at the end of the middle ages this True Text was placed in print and became the Textus Receptus, the foundation of the glorious Protestant Reformation.
"But Satan was not defeated. Instead he staged a clever come-back by means of naturalistic New Testament textual criticism. Old corrupt manuscripts, which had been discarded by the God-guided usage of the believing Church, were brought out of their hiding places and re-instated. Through naturalistic textual criticism also the fatal logic of unbelief was set in motion. Not only the text but every aspect of the Bible and of Christianity came to be regarded as a purely natural phenomenon. And today thousands of Bible-believing Christians are falling into this devil's trap through their use of modern-speech versions which are based on naturalistic textual criticism and so introduce the reader to the naturalistic point of view. By means of these modern-speech versions Satan deprives his victims of both the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit and leaves them unarmed and helpless before the terrors and temptations of this modern, apostate world. What a clever come-back! How Satan must be hugging himself with glee over the seeming success of his devilish strategy." - Edward F. Hills, The King James Version Defended
The denial of the supernatural really is a blatant main, no longer denied or attempted to be hidden, part of the approach of most Christian leaders and educators and academics in general. I mean, it's right there in the open with everything they say and write.
Also, in the above quote, these same types will say, "So...how does that follow?!?" when Hills writes: "And today thousands of Bible-believing Christians are falling into this devil's trap through their use of modern-speech versions which are based on naturalistic textual criticism and so introduce the reader to the naturalistic point of view." It happens this way: when your general approach is to look down on the word of God as if it were a mere document, no different than any other document from the past; when you decide that the word of God needs you (to determine what it is, to construct it) more than you need it; when you are no longer looking up to it as something higher than you, then you slowly (or quickly) slip into the naturalistic point of view that Hills mentions.
Think of it this way: there is one set of manuscripts, one English Bible version that your fallen nature hates the most. It is the one that forces you to look up to it, to receive it, to value it as something higher than you. That is the one that is the pure and whole word of God. Go against your fallen nature and value that Bible. It's been preserved - supernaturally - for you. Don't reject it.
One last point: these people will say, "The Received text needs to be edited too!" Answer them: there is a difference between editing a received stream of manuscripts that are from the same source vs. constructing a 'bible' from manuscripts that are from diverse streams and sources.
The deadness and heresy and shallowness in the visible churches today derive from a hatred of the Holy Spirit and the word of God. To paraphrase Goethe, modern day Christian leaders and educators wouldn't know the devil if he had them by the throat. (Which he does, and by other places as well.) The ones who adopt the name Calvinist, and Reformed, for instance, think they are being orthodox and on-the-mark, yet their hatred of God's sovereignty in regeneration ("God," they say, "we'll give you sovereignty in creation and providence...but sovereignty in grace is going too far. We'll let our ordained clerics and ritual see to that. Sorry, God.") and their hatred of the biblical doctrine of regeneration (being born again) itself, which goes along with their hatred of the pure and whole - received - word of God is what makes them dead souls leading dead churches.
Certainly when we take the world as a whole, we are obliged to see that the foundations of liberty and honesty are being destroyed, and the slow achievements of centuries are being thrown recklessly away.
In such a time of kaleidoscopic changes, is there anything that remains unchanged? When so many things have proved to be untrustworthy, is there anything that we can trust?
One point, at least, is clear – we cannot trust the church. The visible church, the church as it now actually exists upon this earth, has fallen too often into error and sin.
No, we cannot appeal from the world to the church.
Well, then, is there anything at all to which we can appeal? Is there anything at all that remains constant when so many things change?
I have a very definite answer to give to that question. It is contained in a verse taken from the prophecy of Isaiah [40:8]: “The grass withers, the flower fades: but the Word of our God shall stand forever.” There are many things that change, but there is one thing that does not change. It is the Word of the living and true God. The world is in decadence, the visible church is to a considerable extent apostate; but when God speaks we can trust Him, and His Word stands forever sure. - Gresham Machen, The Christian View of Man (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust,  1984), 13-14.
This quote from Machen reminds me how asinine Christians are who say you have to belong to a local church. As if they are standing on some higher moral ground. Their churches stink. Uniformly. But they say: "Oh, but not all of us visible churches stink! Some of us are confessional and operate in a robust orthodox manner!" Yes, usually with the only two little debits that you hate the biblical doctrine of God's sovereignty in regeneration (and regeneration itself) and you hate a God-preserved, received Bible. Basically, you hate the Holy Spirit and the word of God. Those two little tiny things.
And you're all scared to death of the world and the world's opinion. Especially those of you who think and profess that you don't.
Meanwhile Christ's soldiers are on the street. Solo on the battlefield like Grail knights. Getting mocked from every direction including your direction, the direction of the visible church.
"Well, why don't you, if you are so on-the-mark and courageous, come and join us and make us stronger?"
You don't want real Christians in your communion. You demand to pull everything down to your level, and you police your environment. You want obsequious churchians willing to be led by seminary-stunted 'scholars' who have been taught that they are 'mediators' of 'means of grace'; both lies from the Devil himself. Attaching the phrase 'means of grace' to ritual 'sacraments' is as unbiblical as blood drinking. It's the old Romanist priest craft come back alive.
Christians are prophets, priests, and kings. Where do you see kings gathered together? On the battlefield. That's the only place.
What makes Christians? The word of God. Nothing else. Not your academic constructed 'bibles', the real thing. The thing you hate the most. The Traditional, *received* text. The text you have to *look up to.* The text you have to humble yourself to. The text that doesn't need you more than you need it.
That real word of God is where regeneration happens when it happens. Regeneration, the main thing. With it, you're in a new world. Without it, you're in the same old world, no better than dumb atheists.
I've been reading The King in His Beauty by Thomas R. Schreiner, and it is scattershot, but it keeps pulling me back in. Here is a quote from the chapter on Psalms that I found very interesting:
* * * * * * *
As Gerald Wilson points out, even in the shape of the Psalter there is a movement from lament to praise, so that laments are more common in the first part of the Psalter, and praise concludes it. “Praise,” Wilson says, “constitutes another reality in which the presence of God has become so real that anger has no point, pain has no hold, and death lacks all power to sting.”
Schreiner, Thomas R. (2013-07-15). King in His Beauty, The: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (p. 250). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
* * * * * * *
I think that language is unusual. "Praise constitutes another reality." Then this: "...in which the presence of God has become so real that *anger has no point*..."
That's what I was getting at with resentment. I was saying it this way: "What is the goal of our resentment? To what end?" Concluding that the only end is the ludicrous end of burning down the world, which is hell itself.
Where anger has no point. That's a state of being. A level of being to be reached.
Books are an interesting thing after you have developed past a certain stage. Before that certain stage you never question the value of reading a book. Any book. After that certain stage, you question everything about reading any book, except maybe the Bible.
That's all I have to say.
Alright... You think of time (as if you don't waste most of your time anyway). You think of different levels of influence, is a book a mere surfacy knowledge book, a secondary work, or does it contain deep language and influence and understanding that you will take with you in your essential being beyond the veil, and that will be beneficial to you there?
People in the past also just read books to be entertained, but we have numerous more ways to divert our attention and be entertained without having to read a book. Television, internet, music, podcasts, movies, games, etc... So we're a little different from people in the past there.
That's all I have to say.
Alright... There are a handful of books worth reading if your criteria is the most severe. You need to be aware of them, list them, and recognize that your days are numbered, so read them.
If you are a child of God and in the world - truly a child of God - here are two things the world will do to you.
One is what I call the bum's rush. This occurs because mirroring our reality here in the flesh is a spiritual reality where you are in the midst of spiritual children of the Devil, and they know you have crossed the divide and become a child of God. So, naive to this, and generally good-natured still to your old contacts and family and acquaintances and general mix of people you would normally be around you start getting the bum's rush from them. They have no time for you. They are involved in 'real things', you are not. That type of thing. This happens by degree and differs in different context, but it just highlights the fact that you are no longer one of them. They are acting unconsciously from the Devil's spirit in them. Your naivete regarding why such treatment is happening is understandable, but it needs to be transcended eventually. You need to start seeing the battlefield and where you stand.
The other thing is a type of gaslighting where people will act like you're weird or being bizarre *no matter what you do or say.* Even if you are totally silent and minding your own business. And they'll *set you up.* Like, they'll start a conversation with you, and the moment you respond, they will act like they have no time for you. That type of setting up of you. Or for instance they'll ask you to do a favor for them, then when you've done it and you casually mention to them it's done (or whatever) they look at you like why are you bothering them. This can be very disconcerting when you don't know what is going on. When you don't see the spiritual battlefield you are on. Examples and variations of this type of gaslighting are very numerous. It can get very involved and difficult to deal with.
You have to see that this behavior is mechanical and unconscious by people in the world. Yet people who operate from the spirit of the Devil - even unconsciously and mechanically - can seem very smart and clever and *get the better of you* easily and often. (An example along those lines is if you've ever known a drug addict they are commonly the most ignorant and, really, dumb human beings on the planet, yet when it comes to getting what they want, using tactics and strategies, and long-term strategies even, they can be diabolically genius-level.)
As real Christians at first we are naked on the spiritual battlefield. We are pretty naive. And we may not even have the real or full armor of God yet. But we have to wake up and take up our weapons and know where we are and what we're up against.
A memory just now of a blind child in a classical music room of a record store, a child full of joy, running and touching things, just giving off a playful joy, and remembering how the child broke my heart at the time, seeing him, that memory just now convicted me in what I called in prayer to God just now my accumulated self-centeredness and miasma of self-obsessed internal whining and complaining, and some of it not so internal, and realizing how much I have and have been given by God, and how valuable life itself is, and having this universe, the natural world, everything, and I repented of it and asked forgiveness. This is not vain, dramatic self-accusing, it is a real acknowledgement of self-centeredness and complaining that I (or anyone) can get into to where it becomes miasma-like and deeply unself-aware and not God-glorifying.
If we're to love our enemies now, but to hate our enemies at the consummation, then the love we have for them now is obviously pure self-interest on our part.
Which is what the New Testament teaches. If we hate our enemies (now, in this era before the consummation) they win, the devil wins, the world wins. We become a part of them. If we love our enemies we build our being and become conformed to the image of the Son.
But it's a tactical love done in self-interest because at the consummation we would be in rebellion to God Himself if we loved His and our enemies.
If someone wants to posit that the love can be more than self-interest due to the fact that we can't know who in the end will no longer be in rebellion to God then fine; but even if we can't know, the act of loving our enemies is still an act of self-interest in the context of it happening in real time. Because in real time they are real enemies. If down the line they are quickened by the Spirit then so be it.
Indoctrination is not education.
You can't indoctrinate children into becoming Christians, for instance. (Not even getting into the necessary role of the Holy Spirit.)
And here's the big advantage for the world and the devil (they seem to have all the advantages in this era): The only indoctrination that ever seems to stick with young people is indoctrination into lies, decadence, tyranny, and the general program of the devil in this world.
Any other indoctrination young people will rebel against.
Here is an interesting quote from somebody named James T. O'Brien, who is known for his reading wide and deep in the Puritans and his enthusiasm for them and for teaching about them:
Panelist: "Hey, Jim, since we're on this track, talk to us about the affections..."
James T. O'Brien: "The great thing that the Puritans bring to us, and we desperately need in contemporary Reformed theology in my opinion, is a sound psychology. I don't mean by that something like, uh, you know our modern psychologists, but the old meaning of psychology which is an analysis of how the soul functions, how the mind functions."
He said this on a 2009 podcast of the ReformedForum. It's about two-thirds of the way into the program.
It caught my attention because my experience with Christians and Christianity once I became regenerate from hearing the Bible from a television preacher in Arkansas (with unique doctrine, but he knew how to hook fish, so to speak), and then reading the Bible complete several times on my own, then finally coming around to desiring to know orthodox, on-the-mark biblical doctrine is Christian leaders and educators are really almost hallucinogenically shallow and also often asinine. That includes the academically oriented ones, it should go without saying, and not just the academically oriented liberal ones.
If you come to the faith with a complete development with higher influences, a rare development, including dark areas, occult and so on, things that make the shallow Christian leaders grin and think they know what you're talking about when they don't know their ass from their elbow on such subject matter, let alone great literature or ancient history or issues of liberty and tyranny or really anything else that doesn't involve an abiding fear of the world and the world's opinion, along with a glass-eyed lack of self-awareness of their own nature, and usually a secret mocking of the supernatural including any notion of a 'devil'...etc...I'll stop there... I.e. if you come to the faith not as the usual Christian type you instantly see the shallowness of the entire enterprise, and one of the elements of that shallowness is a total lack of understanding and awareness of their own nature, human nature, their fallen nature. There is also a lack of being broken by the world. Maybe the drunks and addicts have had that, but they generally are not students in their drunken and addicted years, it goes without saying; and they probably aren't even broken as well. Being a truly beaten down by the world individual who has a full development with higher influences and a balanced development of being in general is rare. So why am I even writing on a public blog...
Anyway, from my perspective I could see instantly that it was Calvinism and Reformed Theology that got at the truth of the Bible, and that the Puritans got the closest to the practical level of the faith. Not all the way there, but closest by far.
What they didn't reach is what James T. O'Brien is referencing in the quote above: a sound psychology. The old meaning of psychology. The only place that is currently available is in a source the average Christian couldn't handle let alone value. And me even mentioning the source will make the monkeys erupt in chorus in the trees (there's a reason you're not supposed to talk out of school, or, em, throw pearls before swine)...
You'll find that sound psychology, and old meaning of psychology in a book titled The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution and a bigger volume titled The Fourth Way. Both with Ouspensky's name on them, but they aren't his ideas, he's just teaching them. You'll of course find a host of lesser sources using the same language and ideas but this is where discernment comes into play. If you have it use it.
Be careful though: sound psychology...psychology that is the old meaning of psychology is not for everybody. It's available to anybody, but not for everybody. What usually happens is people read something like this and go to the source and mock it like atheists mock the Bible after reading it. It's not for everybody. But if you sense you need to have understanding of sound psychology (which is more than intellectual) then it's there.
I end with what I tell everybody lately: you don't want to be the most awake person in hell. Without the righteousness of Christ as the ground of your justification and sanctification you have nothing. Yet let's not let that fact scare people away from getting real understanding of themselves and the world around them. The shallowness in Christian environments from the podium to the back of the room stinks. It's pathetic. No soldier in the army of Christ can function at any effective level under the weight of such shallowness.