Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bathsheba's Legacy - the Woman Behind Proverbs 31


 
When we think of David’s sin with Bathsheba we  usually consider the events surrounding the incident  (2 Samuel 11:1-26), the horrible consequences (2 Sam. 12:10-15),   David’s agonizing repentance (Psalm 51),  and  maybe the subject of  babies going to Heaven (2 Sam. 12:23).     But we seldom ponder the valuable lessons to be gleaned from the life of Bathsheba herself.
 
I'm at Out of the Ordinary today connecting the dots between Bathsheba and the Proverbs 31 woman.
 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Good in Good Friday



Oh, to see my name written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death; Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross. 1
  
"When Jesus had received the sour wine,
he said, “It is finished,”
and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
John 19:30   
 
 " “It is finished."  What was finished?  The work of atonement.
The sins of the believer - all of them - were transferred to the Saviour.  As saith the scripture, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6).  If then God laid my iniquities on Christ, they are no longer on me.   Sin there is in me, for the old Adamic nature remains in the believer till death or till Christ’s return,  should he come before I die,   but there is no sin on me.  In like manner, everyone out of Christ has the sentence of God’s condemnation resting upon him.   
But when a sinner believes in the Lord Jesus, receives him as his Lord and Master, he is no longer "under condemnation" - sin is no longer on him, that is, the guilt, the condemnation, the penalty of sin, is no longer upon him.   And why?  Because Christ bore our sins in his own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).   The guilt, condemnation and penalty of our sins, was transferred to our substitute. Hence, because my sins were transferred to Christ, they are no more upon me.  
"It is finished."  Reader, do you believe it? or, are you trying to add something of your own to the finished work of Christ to secure the favour of God? … Rest not on your feelings and experiences but on the written word.   There is only one way of finding peace, and that is through faith in the shed blood of God’s Lamb. 
"It is finished." Do you really believe it?"  ~ A.W. Pink  
 

Why it is essential to believe in justification by faith alone
 apart from good works  in order to be saved.
  
   
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scripture.”  I Corinthians 15:1-3

 



1. The Power of the Cross - lyrics by Keith Getty and Stewart Townend: 2005 Listen HERE
2. The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross; by Arthur Pink;  1947


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mrs. Vera Pink- the Editor's Wife

“I like those words,  ‘Our life is like the weaver’s web’ for it is so true to life.    We only see the wrong side of the fabric now,  for the Weaver has not finished his work.   But in the Day to come, where we shall see it from his side, then we shall behold the beauty of his work and not the knots and ends which our sins and failures have caused.”   -Vera E. Pink in a letter to a friend  1
 
Many of us are familiar with the writings of Arthur W. Pink.   I'm at  at Out of the Ordinary talking  about the woman who helped make this unusual man's ministry possible.   Please click on over and join us.




 
1) The Life of Arthur W. Pink by Iain H.  Murray Revised and Enlarged Edition;  Banner of Truth Trust;  2004; pg. 237

Monday, February 22, 2016

Is Bibliolatry a Valid Charge?


 
Is it possible for Christians to become overcommitted to the Scriptures to the point of worshipping the Bible instead of God?   Please join me today  at Out of the Ordinary  for a discussion about the subject of Bibliolatry.  

 
 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Never Despair

 
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of   righteousness arise with healing in his wings” Malachi 4:2 


 
Fulfilled once in the first advent of our glorious Lord, and yet to have a fuller accomplishment in His second advent, this gracious word is also for daily use. Is it dark with the reader?   Does the night deepen into a denser  blackness? Still let us not despair: the sun will yet rise. When the night is darkest, dawn is nearest.
 
The sun which will arise is of no common sort. It is THE sun — the Sun of Righteousness, whose every ray is holiness. He who comes to cheer us, comes in the way of justice as well as of mercy, comes to violate no law
even to save us. Jesus as much displays the holiness of God as His love.  Our deliverance, when it comes, will be safe because righteous.
Our one point of inquiry should be — “Do we fear the name of the Lord?  Do we reverence the living God, and walk in His ways?”  Then for us the  night must be short; and when the morning cometh, all the sickness and  sorrow of our soul will be over for ever.  Light, warmth, joy, and clearness
of vision will come, and healing of every disease and distress will follow after.
 
Has Jesus risen upon us? Let us sit in the sun. Has He hidden His face?  Let us wait for His rising. He will shine forth as surely as the sun.

Faith's Check Book by CH Spurgeon - February 1 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sexual Predators in the Church

“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions”  2 Tim. 3:6

We have in our file cabinet  a manila folder containing testimonies written nearly forty years ago by several very courageous  women.    They chronical  detailed accounts of seduction by the senior pastor  of the church where my husband was the associate pastor.    Some spoke of how the  Bible was twisted to convince them that they were doing God’s will.   All of these women willingly submitted to and passed polygraph tests  because only a few people  believed their stories.   They had all come from difficult  backgrounds  that would render  their testimonies  questionable.   

My husband was  only thirty-years old,  fresh out of  Bible College,  and was left to deal with  serious issues in an era when the idea of church discipline was considered harsh and unloving by most Evangelicals.    Consequently,  he had little support from other leaders in the community.   As a young pastor’s wife I witnessed the devastating impact one man’s sin had on everyone  around him,  but I lacked the spiritual maturity to be of much help.   Oh, how I wish I could go back and try to be of better service to those dear people in our first ministry!    
I do not want to convey the idea that in situations where  two fully  consenting  adults are involved that the woman should take no responsibility  for her actions.   These women understood this completely.    However, when a man who has been appointed to shepherd the flock  takes advantage of  weak  parishioners by means of deception  to fulfill his own sexual lust,  the sin he commits  is exceedingly reprehensible.
I wish I could say this was an isolated incident but as the years  passed we encountered similar situations   in other Evangelical churches.    The types of sexual abuse committed  by  church leaders  which  we have personally  dealt with in one way or the other  have ranged from serial adultery to pedophilia.    
I want to make a clear distinction between  the true Christian who,  in a backslidden state,  temporarily succumbs  to temptation and  then genuinely repents.    Rather, I am speaking of a very different sort of person.    These are the false professors who  fit the descriptions  spoken of in Jude,  Matt. 7:15-23;   2 Tim. 3:5-9;  and 2 Peter 2:1-3. 
“For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.  They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.  Jude 1:4
We tend to think of false prophets in terms of those who are primarily teaching false doctrine,   but the men  described in the above passages  also have insatiable appetites for  sex and/or money.    When Jude says that they “deny Jesus Christ”   he is not  referring to a mere profession of words but rather that these are men who  inwardly  deny  Christ and His Lordship.    If they were not holding to some outward form of godliness,  how would they get their foot in the door?

We may not be able to stop these kinds of people from entering the church,   but with teaching and awareness  we can at least bring the problem out of the closet and put into place some safety measures. While we don’t want to lose the joy of fellowship with our church family  by becoming suspicious,  the Lord did give us these Scriptures to warn us.   What then are some practical ways we can protect  others and ourselves from sexual exploitation and temptation?  

PROTECTING WOMEN 
We need to destigmatize sexually abused women.  Women who have suffered sexual abuse need to  feel accepted and free to talk about it so they can  receive the council and encouragement they need.   Sexual crimes can happen to anyone, and when a woman is violated against her will  it is NOT, repeat, NOT  her fault!  Not only does her abuser make her feel that it is,  but sometimes Christians can even send that erroneous message.    One of the most outrageous things I've ever read about women who have been raped came from the heretical teachings of Bill Gothard,
 God has established some very strict guidelines of responsibility for a woman who is attacked. She is to cry out for help.  The victim who fails to do this is equally guilty with the attacker.”   Wisdom Booklet 36 - page 1839
                 And we wonder why some women are too  afraid to speak up!  
We need to disciple  new believers.    Taking new believers under our wing making sure they are getting sound doctrine  is probably the single most important thing we can do  to  help protect women from predators in the church who would try to lure them into relationships through deception.    

We need to avoid situations  that could pave the way for infidelity or even assault.   Developing too close of a  personal  relationship  with another man when either person  is married,   is where trouble can begin between consenting adults—and predators depend on this strategy.    Spending regular time alone with another man when either party is married is generally unwise.   In the workplace it's not always possible,  but in the church  discretion ought to be exercised.   And in counseling situations, there's always a way to work around being alone together  if a woman needs  counseling from a pastor or church leader. 

PROTECTING CHILDREN
The same principles of avoiding spending time  alone   should also apply  to children 's and youth ministries.     Even though our church is small,  we require  two adults to be present in the classroom.   This protects the teachers from false accusations as well.    What is the church’s policy regarding small children using the rest room?   What kinds of precautions are in place for things like youth retreats?   

More churches are performing criminal background checks for children and youth workers which is a good step in the right direction.   Unfortunately,  in our experience every pedophile we have known had no  prior criminal history when they were found out,  and were exemplary citizens. 

If you are made aware  that a child has been  sexually abused  report it to the police!   Sexual crimes against children are felony offenses and need to be handled as such.   Seek support  from the church,  but these are legal matters and are  NOT something to be swept under the carpet and  handled “quietly” by the church elders.     FAQ’s regarding sex crimes against children and also false accusations made against innocent parties  can  be read  HERE (These are Texas laws). 

To the best of our ability we need to teach children about safety,  boundaries,  and the importance of communication when something is not right with them or their friends.   
There  will always will be false professors who are also sexual predators  but we don't  need to  live in fear of them.   We  should exercise wisdom and be as vigilant to practice safeguards in the church as we are in the world.  

__________________ 

 As  I was finishing this post I came across an excellent article by  Catherine Parks - Sex Abuse in the Church and Our Place in the Village.  
 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Precarious World of Women's Bible Studies

 
 
This week Kim Shay has written a couple of really good blogposts on the importance of  learning how to interpret Scripture correctly and you can find them here:  We have to do the work,  Jesus is not my husband.    We at Out of the Ordinary are committed to encouraging women to  be diligent in studying  the Scriptures  and to  exercise discernment regarding what we read.    Since we're on the subject,  this is from the  archives here .
_________________________________________ 

The first  Bible study I taught  in 1978   had a handful of ladies.   We studied the book of Ruth and I did my own preparation using the basic principles of hermeneutics  from  Bernard Ramm’s  “Protestant Biblical Interpretation”  we were taught in Bible college.      I had several commentaries,  a concordance,  a word study, and a Bible atlas.    Nearly 40 years later my study methods haven’t  changed much, except that the computer and Internet have made  it easier.   
But things have changed dramatically in the world of Bible interpretation  and study guides reflecting  this  problem have become  popular.  There are many issues with this new “hermeneutic”—one for example has to do with  application.
Brian A. Shealy explains:
  “Bernard Ramm foresaw the hermeneutical problem among evangelicals that would arise through the advent of the new hermeneutic.   Hermeneutical  theorists have departed from grammatical-historical- principles and embraced the subjectivism of the new hermeneutic.   They are recommending a system that incorporates the step of application into the hermeneutical process, thereby confusing definitions of hermeneutics, exegesis, meaning and interpretation.   Dangers that the confusion brings include those of encouraging a human-centered interpretation,  allowing cultural application to change meaning, and advocating  a reader-response type of interpretation as well as others.  To overcome those dangers, interpreters must be sure of their goal, determine what is normative, develop doctrine, and put into practice the lessons dictated by the meaning of a passage.   The only way to achieve this is to redraw the line between hermeneutics and application.”  2 
  I’ve never been much of a  fan of  women's  Bible study guides per se.   For sure,  I've read some good ones,  but too often  they  can be off base to varying degrees.   One example was given last week in  Rachel Miller's critique of a popular women's study.  
But many  women want to hear from other women,  as staggering book sales and  packed out conferences  have proven.   We could stand to hear from more theologically robust women  who exercise sound hermeneutical principles.    Without  this  even those  who advocate  "inductive" study methods can  mislead  people when they convey doctrinal prejudices.  
 “Inductive Bible study leaders may give the impression that they are setting aside their prejudices and simply reading Scripture, but this is not really the case.  …we never see Scripture through completely fresh, unprejudiced eyes.
... We are not free to impose a system on Scripture (which would be a purely deductive approach), but we are at no greater liberty to assume, rather arrogantly, that we are the first to read the Bible just as it is at face value (which would be a purely inductive approach).  Imposing a system on Scripture makes the Bible a slave of tradition, while assuming that we are the first to read it just as it is at face value renders Scripture a slave to unacknowledged personal prejudices.” 1. Michael Horton
I'm no scholar by any means,  but I  do know the average woman  is perfectly capable of understanding  how serious this problem is. 
For a really good  talk about the problem going on in our seminaries  with Scripture interpretation you can listen to Dr. David Farnell’s message at the National Apologetics Conference. 

 
 2. Evangelical Hermeneutics,  The New Versus the Old;  by Robert L. Thomas;  Chapter Seven: Redrawing the Line Between Hermeneutics and Application by Brian A. Shealy;  pgs165.  Kregal Academics; 2002
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Lost Art of the Handwritten Letter



"Then letters came in but three times a week: indeed, in some places in Scotland where I have stayed when I was a girl, the post came in but once a month;—but letters were letters then; and we made great prizes of them, and read them and studied them like books. Now the post comes rattling in twice a day, bringing short jerky notes, some without beginning or end, but just a little sharp sentence, which well-bred folks would think too abrupt to be spoken.”  ~ Elizabeth Gaskell - Lady Ludlow
I'm at  Out of the Ordinary discussing
 
 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Why Women Should Study Church History

How shall we labor with any effect to build up the church, if we have no thorough knowledge of her history,  or fail to apprehend it from the proper point of observation?   History is, and must ever continue to be, next to God’s Word, the richest foundation of wisdom, and the surest guide to all successful practical activity.” —Philip Schaff
 
I’m at Out of the Ordinary today discussing 
Please come by and join us!