Sluice Box Adventures
Believing Bible Study in the 21st century
Books for the Believer in Jesus Christ
John 11:26 "And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"
1 Thessalonians 2:13 "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."
Soldiers In Training
by Daryl Coats
Soldiers In Training
"For the grace of God that brINgeth saLvAtioN hath appeareD to all men,"(Titus 2:11)
"Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
(2 Timothy 2:3)
SPRING 2006 ISSUE
Address: 1187 Highway 529, Taylorsville, MS 39168. Email: willyouranchorhold @ hotmail.com. If you would like to reprint this newsletter in whole or in part, you have my permission, provided you do so to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, preach the gospel, and honor the true words of God. –Bro. Daryl Coats
UPDATES AND EXPLANATIONS
Before heading out west on an extended deputation trip last summer, I had left behind copies of the last issue to be mailed out while my family and I were "on the road." Partly because of the confusion and unexpected work that followed Hurricane Katrina, those unmailed issues were misplaced and not sent out until early January 2006. Please forgive our unintended tardiness on this.
My family and I have completed 18 months of deputation and continue to be amazed at God’s faithfulness. THANK YOU for your prayers on our behalf. Please continue to pray that God will open the doors to get us into Finland.
Among other things, I’ve discovered that "life on the road" doesn’t allow much time for writing (especially when I have to wait until return trips to home to have access to a computer), printing, and stuffing and labeling envelopes. (This edition of the newsletter has been completed since early February, but it is only now starting to go out.) So for the near future, I intend to try one or two mailings a year instead of three or four, usually for a book, booklet, tract, or pamphlet.
Further, I intend to experiment with sending the newsletter electronically. This first "email edition" has a few items that, because of time and space limitations, are not included in the print version. Because this first "email edition" of the newsletter is very lengthy, I may need to experiment with breaking it down into smaller (and more frequent) electronic installments. Prayers for wisdom here are also greatly appreciated.
"LEST SATAN SHOULD GET AN ADVANTAGE OF US: FOR WE ARE NOT IGNORANT OF HIS DEVICES" (2 CORINTHIANS 2:11).
In its unceasing war against the Lord and His anointed, the media are unceasing in their efforts to undermine and cast doubts upon the words of God. Like the latter day kings and rulers of Psalm 2:2-3, the world’s scientists, entertainment industry, and news mafia have set themselves against the Godhead, foolishly saying, "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."
For example, even though the "Living Bible" had a footnote to that effect more than 35 years ago, recent newscasts would make you think that the fact that some Alexandrian manuscripts of the Bible says "616" instead of "Six hundred threescore and six" in Revelation 13:18 is a "new discovery" that somehow suddenly "disproves" the accuracy of the Bible. A Florida college professor’s infidel claims about the Lord Jesus Christ’s walking on water—National Geographic’s outlandish claims about a supposed "Gospel of Judas"—The Da Vinci Code’s claims concerning the Lord and His lineage—none of these are new claims, yet in the past three months the nation’s media have promoted each one as though it were some startling new discovery that refutes the Bible and can’t be answered by Christians. Baloney!
Of course, Satan is "more subtil" than most people (including most believers) realize (Genesis 3:1). The current national obsession with the novel The Da Vinci Code serves the devil’s purposes in at least two ways.
On the one hand, it obviously gives unbelievers and infidels an excuse to dismiss the Bible and promotes the lies of the various false religions.
On the other hand, it also serves to drive believers back to Rome. Recently someone emailed me list of websites that "exposed" the "truth" about The Da Vinci Code. Each one of those websites was a Roman Catholic website, and each one implied that the "only way" to refute the novel/movie is to defend the Roman church. Whether the novel/movie is promoted or refuted, endorsed or attacked, the Devil wants to win.
(The plot premise of The Da Vinci Code is that for more than 1500 years, the Roman Catholic church has conspired to prevent people from knowing the truth about Jesus Christ. This premise is TRUE. The problem with the book/movie is that it too promotes a lie about the Lord instead of the truth; instead of exposing lies, it offers other lies to take their place.)
Since "Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth" (1 Corinthians 13:6), Bible believers really can’t ignore the claims of The Da Vinci Code (even though it will probably disappear as quickly and as thoroughly as did the "Promise Keepers"). But in dealing with is, they need to offer biblical response that lifts up the Lord and not the Roman whore.
SUPPORT SATANISM AND ISLAMIC TERRORISM: BUY AN NIV OR A NARNIA BOOK.
According to page A4 of the 20 December 2005 issue of the Laurel [Mississippi] Leader-Call, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talel (recent donor of $40 million to Harvard and Georgetown universities for the establishment of "Islamic studies" programs—and would-be donor to the rebuilding of the twin towers until Rudy Giuliani rejected his gift) owns "a sizeable stake in Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation." How big is a "sizeable stake"? Consider for yourself:
The News Corporation subsidiary HarperCollins has published the prince’s "authorized biography." The book includes a dvd that, among other things, features Murdoch’s endorsement of the prince (and his slighting of Rudy Giuliani). The Leader-Call also reports that "‘During last month’s street protests in France,’ he bragged to an audience at a Dubai media conference, according to Middle East Online, ‘Fox [News] ran a banner saying: "Muslim riots." I picked up the phone and called Murdoch to tell him these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty. Within 30 minutes,’ the prince recalled, ‘the title was changed from "Muslim riots" to "civil riots."’"
Not only does the News Corporation own the "fair and accurate" Fox News and HarperCollins, but it also owns the HarperCollins subsidiary Zondervan. Since Zondervan owns U.S. publication rights to the New International Version of the Bible and the Narnia novels of C. S. Lewis, anytime people purchase a copy of the NIV or a Narnia novel, they are helping to increase the wealth of a multi-billionaire Muslim prince who claims that America "had it [September 11] coming" because of her support of Israel, and who also sponsored a 2005 telethon to raise money for terrorist activities against Israel. They also help to support "parent company" HarperCollins, which is also the U.S. publisher of Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3).
"I HAVE MORE UNDERSTANDING THAN ALL MY TEACHERS: FOR THY TESTIMONIES ARE MY MEDITATION" (PSALM 119:99).
The 8 August 2004 issue of the Singapore Straits Times featured an interesting opinion piece by a self-professed "bumptious atheist." When he was an university professor of literature in the United States, Janadas Devan discovered that his favorite students were "practicing, even fundamentalist, Christians." According to Devan,
"... unlike most students, the Christian student would have read at least one great book through and through—the Bible. Often, by dint of having read it repeatedly, he would have memorised [sic] whole chunks of it."
And what did this atheist university professor discover about the effects of reading and memorizing the King James Bible?
"Rather, what impressed me was the extent to which their minds had been formed by the sounds and rhythms, the melodies and harmonies, the images, metaphors and stories of the Bible. Just one book, but it was a tremendous book—and in the case of the King James Bible, the greatest work of English prose ever composed—and they knew it thoroughly."
"There is, it seems to me, much to be said for not reading too much, but rather, reading the little that is valuable very often. Everything is worth reading, of course, even advertisements and bumper stickers. But there are very few things that one can read life with—and those one should re-read repeatedly and perhaps memorise [sic]." [Emphasis added.]
The world may lambast the King James Bible and deny its truth, but the world also recognizes the effect that it produces in the hearts and minds of believers. Have you allowed God today to renew your mind through time spent reading and memorizing His words (Romans 12:2)?
"THEN COMETH THE DEVIL, AND TAKETH AWAY THE WORD OUT OF THEIR HEARTS, LEST THEY SHOULD BELIEVE AND BE SAVED" (LUKE 8:12).
Back in the mid-1990s I noted that pornographic British novelist D. H. Lawrence attempted to emulate the style and language of the King James Bible in The Rainbow and other novels. Lawrence was hardly the only unbeliever whose style was influenced and affected by the language of the Bible. Consider the following passage from the 2002 book Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee:
"I discovered Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Edmond Rostand, Omar Khayyám, Émile Zola, and, of course, Shakespeare. While I’m sure most of the Bard’s work was over my then juvenile head, I was fascinated by the rhythm, by the flowery language ... The same is true of the Bible. While I am not particularly religious, I love that style of writing, the almost poetical phrasing and the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ and ‘begats,’ which can make the simplest thought seem fraught with drama. I suspect that both Shakespeare and the Bible had a considerable effect on my writing in later years ..."
"Not particularly religious" is an understatement. When an undergraduate in college, I read an interview in which Lee stated that he had no more interest in reading about Jesus than about an African idol. How tragic that someone who read the Bible enough to be influenced by its style would so decisively reject the message of that style, turning from God so that he could enjoy the accolades and success of this world! "Love not the world, neither the things that are of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15).
"GOD CREATED GREAT WHALES" (GENESIS 1:21).
On 14 April 2005 National Geographic News reported the discovery of a fossil "whale" in Egypt’s Wadi Hitan dessert, asserting that "Egypt may not be the first place you’d look for whales, but once upon a time the Wadi Hitan desert was underwater and teeming with the sea giants."
Even though National Geographic obviously regards this assertion as newsworthy, it’s hardly "news." Thousands of years before this "news report," the Bible said that Egypt’s deserts (along with the rest of the earth’s surface) were completely (thought temporarily) underwater as a result of a flood in the days of Noah (see Genesis 7:18-20). But because the National Geographic Society rejected the words of God in favor of the fairy tale of evolution, its directors, members, and publications are always "behind the times" as far as truth is concerned. Even the meaning of the desert’s name ("Valley of the Whales," according to another news agency) indicates just how far behind the times the National Geographic Society is.
If you harbor any doubts that evolution is a fairy tale, notice that the National Geographic News’s assertion begins with the words "once upon a time." Even the word "whale" is part of the fairy tale: according to the news item, this "ancient behemoth" (men can’t get away from the truth of the Bible even as they seek to disprove it) had a "serpentine shape ... had no blowhole ... had ... feet." (According to a different agency’s report, "... it doesn’t look anything like a whale; instead, it resembles a giant sea snake"!) Only a diseased imagination would classify a legged serpent with no blowhole as a "whale"—and then cite it as "proof" that whales evolved from "land-dwelling ancestors"!
"LET THE WICKED BE ASHAMED" (PSALM 31:17).
In November 2005 Oklahoma mother Tasha Henderson came up with a novel punishment for her 14-year-old daughter Corentha: "embarrass her in public." Since the teenager was constantly tardy to her classes, frequently "talked back" to her teachers, and earned grades of only C and D in her classes, Mrs. Henderson "forced" the girl to stand beside her mother at "a busy Oklahoma City intersection on a Friday afternoon" and hold a sign that said "I don’t do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food."
The punishment apparently worked. Corentha has quit missing class and "talking back" to her teachers. Unfortunately, her mother will probably face some kind of punishment herself. One "do-gooder" motorist called the police and reported a case of "psychological abuse," so the police "asked the two to leave" and filed a report with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Other "champions of the oppressed" have attacked Mrs. Henderson in newspapers and on radio. A letter published in The Oklahoman authoritatively claimed, "The parents of that girl need more education than she does if they can’t see that the worst scenario in this case is to kill their daughter psychologically." (The fact that a "worst case scenario" to not helping her is that their daughter might die physically through involvement with gangs or drugs—or that a "worst case scenario" is not the only possible outcome—was never considered.)
America’s "come a long way" since the publication of its first school textbook (which called a bad student a "lazy fool") and the use of dunce caps in its school rooms.
"HOLD FAST THE FORM OF SOUND WORDS" (2 TIMOTHY 1:13).
In March 2005 BBC News reported the results of an online survey conducted by Bedfordshire, England, to determine "the greatest words ever written" so that those words could be inscribed on the walls of the town’s Luton Airport. Those who responded to the survey got to choose among 20 phrases ranging from "I’m sorry" (!) to "When you go home tell them of us and say for all of your tomorrows we gave our today" (!). Of the 20 phrases, five were partial quotations (or paraphrases) of the words of God: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"; "Man does not live by bread alone"; "Love your neighbor as yourself"; "Well done"; and "I am the light."
Not surprisingly for the Laodicean period of church history, not one of these options placed in the "top 3 choices" for "the greatest words ever written." No, according to the results of this survey, "the greatest words ever written" are the lyrics of the John Lennon song "All You Need Is Love," followed by the self-esteem classic "To thine own self be true." That’s right: at the dawn of the 21st century, Europeans regard the words of a perverted, drug-addicted infidel more highly than they regard the words of God that build their culture.
And why not? According to managing airport director Paul Kehoe, "The winning quotation is a great choice as the words will send out an immediate, positive, and life affirming message to all visitors arriving in the U.K. at Luton Airport." Yep, Lennon’s words are so "life-affirming" that his number one fan murdered him in December 1980. (After all, back when he was still with the Beatles, Lennon had also written the "life-affirming" lyrics "Happiness is a warm gun, bang bang, shoot shoot.")
"BEAR SONS AND DAUGHTERS; THAT YE MAY BE INCREASED THERE, AND NOT DECREASED" (JEREMIAH 29:6).
Although not often mentioned, the rising number of Muslims in Europe results from more than just immigration and conversions. Yes, Middle Easterners are immigrating there and taking their religion with them—and yes, there are some Europeans who embrace Mohammed’s false religion. But Europe’s low birth rates also contribute to the growth of Islam there.
As pointed out by various "experts" and officials—and as elaborated on in Philip Longman’s book The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity (And What to Do About It)—the birthrate in Europe is so low that its population is declining. While the number of Europeans declines, the number of immigrants increases to take jobs for which there are no other workers. The degree of socialization in Europe requires many taxes, and taxes come from people—and more and more of those people are coming from Muslim countries.
The birthrates of the United States and most other nations are also in decline and are the main reason for the U.S.’s pending "social security crunch." (People think that they no longer need children to assist them in their old age—apparently forgetting that somebody else’s children will have to pay the taxes necessary for government "assistance." Fewer children overall means fewer tax revenues overall, which mean less government "aid" overall.)
Longman claims that the worldwide decline in population to a worldwide "environment that is negative for childbirth"—an environment perpetuated (at least in part) by "rapid urbanization, education for women and visions of urban affluence." But (in Marxist fashion) Longman wrongly attributes the creation of this environment to economic factors. No, the world’s anti-childbirth environment is but one more result of its rejection of the words of God and doubtless will contribute to the needs that will cause the world to turn to the antichrist instead of to the Lord Jesus Christ.
"KEEPERS AT HOME" (TITUS 2:5).
In June 2005 Reuters reported the results of Britain’s Institute for Social and Economic Research’s 13-year study of 3500 men who "held all types of jobs from unskilled laborers to professional and executive positions." The study concluded that married men earn more than bachelors—but only if "their wives stay home and do the housework"! According to economist Mark Taylor of the University of Essex (one of the researchers who conducted the study), "It has been fairly well documented that married men earn more than single men. However, our research established the wage premium is related to the wife doing the [household] chores." Although he offered two possible explanations for this economic truth, Taylor failed to consider the possibility that God might bless a household that seeks to operate according to the guidelines that He established in His word (Proverbs 31; Titus 2).
The same month that Reuters reported the results of the British institute’s study, the online WMConnect News reported the results of another European study, this one conducted by Euro RSCG Worldwide: "One-third of American men think a woman’s place is in the office even though a staggering 86 percent of women would rather be stay-at-home moms" (emphasis added). Although much has been correctly said about "latch-key kids" and other detrimental effects of mothers in the workforce instead of in the home, the blame for such effects cannot be laid solely on women. According to this second study, "... only 66 percent of dads and 60 percent of men who aren’t fathers agree with the wife-as-homemaker idea." America is currently paying the price for fathers who refused their God-ordained role as rulers of (and providers for) their homes, surrendering it to (or, more often, forcing it upon) their wives. As more than one preacher has observed, when a man refuses to rule his home, he’ll ruin it.
"WHO SHALL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN? (THAT IS, TO BRING CHRIST DOWN FROM ABOVE;)" (ROMANS 10:6).
Although NASA and its apologists are reluctant to explain the supposed "necessity" of space travel and space exploration, others are not. Consider the following passage from science fiction writer Ray Bradbury’s story "The Man" (reprinted in the collection The Illustrated Man):
Captain Hart gave him back the binoculars wearily. "Why do we do it, Martin? This space travel, I mean. Always on the go. Always searching. Our insides always tight, never any rest."
"Maybe we’re looking for peace and quiet. Certainly there’s none on Earth," said Martin.
"No, there’s not, is there?" Captain Hart was thoughtful, the fire damped down. "Not since Darwin, eh? Not since everything went by the board, everything we used to believe in, eh? Divine power and all that. And so you think maybe that’s why we’re going out to the stars, eh, Martin? Looking for our lost souls, is that it? Trying to get away from our evil planet to a good one?"
"Perhaps, sir. Certainly we’re looking for something."
Nearly 1900 years before Bradbury wrote this story, God had already revealed in Romans 10:6 that the motive behind contemporary "space exploration" is the same as Satan’s motive in Isaiah 14: ignore the word of God in an attempt to dethrone Christ and remove Him from heaven.
"BECAUSE GOD HAD TRANSLATED HIM" (HEBREWS 11:5).
Here’s an interesting scholarly assessment found on p. 16 of Craig R. Thompson’s The Bible in English, 1525-1611, published by the Folger Shakespeare Library in 1958 as the first volume in its series Folger Booklets on Tudor and Stuart Civilization:
"The men who made [the King James Bible] did not set out to manufacture a classic—classics are seldom made to order. Yet they did produce one: perhaps the only classic ever turned in by a committee, and one of the few books even better in translation (at least in the New Testament) than in the original" (emphasis added).
(This statement reminds me of one of my "gopher" assignments as an undergraduate work-study student in the late 1970s. The professor of Greek, Latin, and classics at the University of Southern Mississippi had asked me to photocopy passages from "the Greek text" of John so that she could pass them out to the students in her Greek class. As I finished the assignment and handed her the copies, she remarked, "I was so disappointed when I read this [John’s gospel]. In English it’s such a marvelous work, but in Greek it’s simple and bald"!)
The assessment of the Folger Shakespeare Library in 1958 was matched nearly 30 years later by Harvard University Press when it published The Literary Guide to the Bible in 1987. As explained early on (p. 7), this reference work uses the King James Bible text because (among other reasons) "it is still arguably the version that best preserves the literary effects of the original languages." Over and over, this work defends the text of the King James Bible:
"As a rule, whenever we encounter a syntactic oddness or aberration in the Authorized Version—the kind of thing the word ‘archaic’ is used unthinkingly to describe [!]—we ought to assume that it reflects an attempt to reproduce the original’s word or phrase order" (p. 648).
"The Authorized Version translators have taken care to reproduce the syntactic details of the original" (p. 656).
"Its overall effect is still more Hebraic than English" (p. 660).
"The Greek, as we would expect, is a fairly exact model of the [King James Bilbe] rendering" (p. 658).
"Through its transparency the reader of the Authorized Version not only sees the original but learns how to read it [!]. Patterns of repetition, the way one clause is linked to another, the effect of unexpected inversions of word order, the readiness of biblical writers to vary tone and register from the highly formal to the scatological, and the different kinds and uses of imagery are all, like so much else, ... best open to [any reader] in the Authorized Version" (p. 664-665).
Contemporary versions of the "bible," however, don’t fare so well in this work:
"... [in] the New International Version ... we can see the diminishments consequent upon tinkering with the original syntax.. ... Robert Alter, in showing how vital a part of biblical narrative technique is the repetition of key words, has warned that ‘most modern English translation go to the opposite extreme, constantly translating the same word with different English equivalents .... [T]he repetition of key-words is so prominent in many biblical narratives that one can still follow it fairly well, especially in the King James Version’" (p. 652, emphasis added).
Would that all of God’s English-speaking people regarded the King James Bible at least as highly as does this secular "literary guide" and conclude (as it concludes) that the "Authorized Version emerges from comparison with twentieth-century versions as more attractive and more accurate" (p. 664, emphasis added).
"THEY THINK IT STRANGE THAT YE RUN NOT WITH THEM TO THE SAME EXCESS" (1 PETER 4:4).
In October 2004 the University of Kansas hosted a three-day academic conference that examined Japanese movie monster Godzilla. Far from merely a local campus event, the conference drew historians, anthropologists, and other professors from such universities as Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Duke. The Associated Press story"Scholars Grapple with Godzilla" quotes history professor Bill Tsutsui as saying, "I would like people to take Godzilla more seriously." When the Bible is rejected as truth, foolish professors (Romans 1:22) turn from God to Godzilla (Romans 1:23).
"IF THE FOUNDATIONS BE DESTROYED, WHAT CAN THE RIGHTEOUS DO?" (PSALM 11:3).
Recently I was given a copy Gary DeMar’s The Christian Foundation of America, a booklet published by DeMar’s amillennial organization American Vision. According to the back page of the booklet, American Vision’s mission is "Equipping and Empowering Christians to Restore America’s Biblical Foundation (Psalm 11:3)." Contrast that mission, however, with the following statement found on the booklet’s copyright page: "Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, © 1977, by the Lockman Foundation and are used by permission."
Can you imagine any of America’s "founding fathers" seeking permission to quote a copyrighted Bible? Can you imagine any of those "founding fathers" exhibiting the pride evident in American Vision’s description of itself as "one of the most comprehensive, accurate, and culturally relevant ministries today"? America will never return to its "Christian foundation" unless its professing believers return to the Bible that created that foundation. When Christians reject the Bible of their "founding fathers," they shouldn’t be surprised when the rest of the country rejects the beliefs and principles of those founding fathers.
"HIS HAND WILL BE AGAINST EVERY MAN" (GENESIS 16:12).
One of the victims killed in the November 2005 bombing of a Jordanian hotel was 75-year-old film producer Moustapha Akkad, whose work included all eight of the Halloween movies. When reporting his death, the Associated Press noted that even though he preferred producing "more serious movies with Muslim themes," Akkad "turned to horror films because he found it hard to raise money for religious-themed movies."
Isn’t that something? Muslim billionaires think nothing of donating millions of dollars to American universities. Why didn’t Akkad try raising money from them instead of from "infidel Americans"? Yes, those Muslims believe so strongly in their religion that they won’t even finance efforts to promote it.
Interestingly, Akkad received a surprise in 1976 when he produced a film about Mohammed. Though produced by a Muslim, "respectful" of Islam, and well received in the Middle East, the film was declared "sacrilege" by American Muslims who "took hostages at three locations when the film opened in Washington, demanding that it not be shown in the United States."
Since Akkad couldn’t send American teenagers to hell by way of Islam, he resorted instead to doing so by way of horror movies. Different approach, same results.
"BY THIS CRAFT WE HAVE OUR WEALTH" (ACTS 19:25).
On 29 October 2005 the Associated Press reported that the city of Jamestown, North Dakota, cancelled a scheduled performance by "Australia’s ‘Thunder from Down Under’ male revue." Acknowledging that it featured male strippers, Jamestown Civic Center manager Lori Anderson nevertheless expressed surprise that people in Jamestown would cancel the show. At the same time, Penny Levin (a "spokeswoman for the show") blamed the cancellation on a petition presented to the city council by the Jamestown Ministerial Association and called it "a shocking form of censorship."
So, according to the world at large, men taking off their clothes before an audience is "normal," but cancelling a paid performance is "shocking." The censorship claim, of course, is a typical worldly canard. Outlawing or banning or prohibiting something might qualify as censorship, but refusal to sponsor it or pay for it isn’t. "Spokeswoman" Levin couldn’t care less about censorship; she’s concerned about her income (see Acts 19:23-28).
Of course, money also played a part in the city decision to cancel the strip show. Prior to the Ministerial Association’s presenting its petition, one of the financial sponsors of the city’s civic center had already complained about having its logo associated with what it called "pornography." Since the city can’t afford to operate its civic center without financial support from others, I’m sure that the possibility of an offended sponsor cancelling its support weighed heavily in the city council’s decision to cancel the show. (The fact that 2006 is an election year probably didn’t hurt either!)
Levin also whined, "With all due respect [yeah, right] to the Ministerial Association, no one is being forced to buy a ticket or see the show. But now people are being forced to not see the show." Again, not so. If the revue had a contract with the city, then every taxpayer in Jamestown was being forced to support the revue financially. As in 1775, taxpayers petitioned government officials regarding how their taxes were being spent. And if anybody in Jamestown truly desired to see the show, he or she could travel somewhere else and see it. Unless the revue flew all the way from Australia to perform in one city in North Dakota, then there were other shows that could be attended. I’m sure that Jamestown residents wanting to attend a Rolling Stones concert didn’t mind traveling to the site of one.
Finally, Levin defended the cancelled show by claiming, "We’re not a bunch of heathens roaming through." They’re not? Then what do you call a group of men who show up in a city, take off their clothes, and then leave? Oh, I forgot. The modern name for such hoodlums is "artists."
"NO NEW THING UNDER THE SUN" (ECCLESIASTES 1:9).
On 11 November 2005 the Associated Press reported the discovery in Gath (Tel es-Safi) of "the oldest Philistine inscription ever found": a nearly 3000-year-old shard of Philistine pottery that bears the name Goliath. Long before any American ever manufactured a coffee cup or some other piece of "memorabilia" bearing the name of Dale Earnhart (or of Mickey Mantle or Tiger Woods), somebody in Gath was already producing tributes to that city’s original "champion" (1 Samuel 17:4). If the date assigned the pottery shard is accurate, Goliath (like Dale Earnhart and Elvis Presley) was bigger after death than he was while alive.
"WE KNOW THAT THIS MAN IS A SINNER" (JOHN 9:24).
Thanks to the Washington Post, we now know what sin is. In November 2005 an obviously jealous columnist for the "respectable" newspaper claimed that its famed reporter Bob Woodward committed "a deeply grievous sin"—the sin of not telling his editor that in 2003 "a top Bush administration official had told him the name of" CIA agent Valerie Plame. Apparently Woodward was sinless prior to 2003—at least according to the liberal standards of the Washington Post. God’s standards, however, are another matter entirely (Isaiah 55:9), and like all the descendants of Adam, Woodward fell short of those standards (Romans 3:23) long before he kept a secret from his editor.
"COME NOW, AND LET US REASON TOGETHER, SAITH THE LORD" (ISAIAH 1:18).
In early November 2005 the Vatican issued an official pronouncement on the subject of evolutionism versus intelligent design, warning of "the dangers of a religion that severs its links with reason and becomes prey to fundamentalism."
Maybe the "faithful members" of "Holy Mother Church" will heed this warning and flee from any religion that "severs its links with reason." After all, an unreasonable religion would, no doubt, foolishly believe that a human priest can magically turn a cookie and a chalice of wine into the body, blood, and essence of Jesus Christ—that a married woman who bore at least seven children remained a perpetual virgin after the virgin birth of her firstborn, then ascended bodily into heaven, where she intercedes with her son as a mediatrix—that people should pray to dead saints—that idols are "aids to worship"—that the body parts of dead people ("relics") have magical properties—and that men evolved from apes in a process of blind, natural forces that began when nothingness somehow exploded and produced "something-ness."
A religion of unreason would doubtless have a history that illustrates the foolish consequences of its unreason: children’s crusades, wars, illiteracy, poverty, immorality, assassinations, and many forms of immorality. It would also go out of its way to accommodate any other form of unreason that would increase its reputation with the world. (The Vatican claimed in November 2005 that evolution "is more than a hypothesis because there is proof." And why not? There’s just as much "proof" for evolution as there is for transubstantiation, the assumption of Mary, purgatory, and prayers to dead saints.) "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22).
"I ALSO WILL LAUGH AT YOUR CALAMITY" (PROVERBS 1:26).
"The [Kansas University] faculty has had enough," claimed Paul Mirecki, chairman of Kansas University’s department of religious studies, apparently thinking that he is authorized to speak for all of the university’s instructors. That’s why the religious studies department offered a spring 2006 class entitled Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism, and Other Religious Mythologies. After all, claims Mirecki, "Creationism is mythology." Kansas attorney John Calvert, on the other hand, predicts that Mirecki "will go down in history as a laughing stock." More specifically, the Creator of all things will hold Mirecki and his ilk in derision, laughing at their calamity when they discover the horrible fate that awaits the enemies of God Almighty when He has had enough (Proverbs 1:24-33).
"THE FOOL HATH SAID IN HIS HEART, THERE IS NO GOD" (PSALM 14:1).
On 11 August 1999 the Kansas State Board of Education raised the ire of evolutionists when it adopted "the most anti-evolution science education standards in the nation." According to a report in the 16-22 August 1999 "national weekly edition" of the Washington Times, the chancellors and presidents of Kansas’ universities produced a joint letter in response to the board’s decision. In that letter, they claimed that "people can believe both in God and evolution" and denied that "teaching evolution will destroy a student’s faith." Yet as the Washington Times noted, according to a survey published in the journal Nature, 95% of biologists and 60% of the natural scientists of the National Academy of Science were atheists.
"THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME" (EXODUS 20:3).
Page 11 of the 9 August 2004 Newsweek contained an interesting explanation for why ancient Greeks "traveled the 210 miles from Athens to Olympia" to watch the original Olympic games: "The Greeks thought it was a small price to pay [to be] as close to the gods as they could." Question: Why do Americans pay billions of dollars and travel great distances to watch local, college, and professional sporting events? The world is no more a friend of grace today than it was in the days of the apostles. "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen" (1 John 5:21).
"FOR I AM THE LORD, I CHANGE NOT" (MALACHI 3:6).
Whereas the Bible says that people go to either heaven or hell when they die, the Church of Rome offers two other possibilities: purgatory and limbo. A 30 November 2005 Reuters news report speculated that the Roman Catholic doctrine of limbo "may have its days numbered." Don’t bet on it. True, "word on the street" is that "an international theological commission will advise Pope Benedict to eliminate the teaching about limbo from the Catholic catechism." But eliminating a teaching from a catechism is not the same thing as dropping a doctrine.
Many of Rome’s more embarrassing doctrines have been played down since Vatican II in the 1960s, but they have not been abandoned. Because it primarily concerns babies who die without being baptized, limbo has become increasingly problematic to the Vatican. For that reason, as the Reuters report readily admits, John Paul II before his death appointed the commission not to determine whether the doctrine of limbo was actually scriptural, but rather to develop "a more coherent and enlightened way" of expressing it. The language used to describe it may change, but the actual doctrine of limbo will remain. After all, it would be easier for the Vatican to reword a doctrine than to explain why for centuries it taught what it now says is a falsehood.
"MODEST APPAREL" (1 TIMOTHY 2:9).
In 1907 actress Annette Kellerman was arrested on Boston’s Revere Beach and charged with indecent exposure for wearing in public her "usual vaudeville costume": a tight-clinging "boy’s black woolen racing suit" that bared her legs, arms, and neck. Do you or your church have lower standards in 2006 than the city of Boston had in 1907?
While cleaning out my files I came across the following passage which I had clipped from an academic journal:
Inadequate as it may seem now [!], a revolution in women’s dress and behavior occurred after World War I. Women bobbed their hair [contrary to 1 Corinthians 11:15, in context], elevated skirt lengths from the ankle to the knee or above [Isaiah 47:2-3] ... The use of cosmetics [2 Kings 9:30 and Ezekiel 23:40], which before the war was mainly restricted to aristocrats, actresses, and prostitutes, became universal. (Emphasis added.)
Long before girls in the 1980s started dressing like Madonna, their grandmothers and great-grandmothers were dressing like the actresses and whores of the 1920s and 1930s. The actual decline of American culture began 40 years before (and planted the seeds that brought forth fruit in) the various "movements" and "revolutions" of the 1960s.
"IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW" (2 CORINTHIANS 5:17).
The Welsh revival of 1904-1905 was noteworthy enough to receive coverage in the London Times. Here are some revival results reported by the Times in 1905:
â [the testimony of an inn host, whose livelihood involved the sale of liquor] I b’ain’t [sic] against religion, but this goes too far. It’s all out of reason. Me and my missus were only saying last night as how our takings [income] have fallen by the half this last fortnight. What’s to become of the people if this goes on? The men must have a drop of drink if they are to do their work proper. Why, only last night I see’d a score of our best customers pass our door ... [3 January 1905 issue]
ã The result of the work upon the morals of the district have been specially manifest; for last week, for the first time, there was not a single case of drunkenness at the Swansea County Petty Sessions. [10 January 1905 issue]
ä [the testimony of a politician, explaining why he cancelled a political meeting] I am very anxious that nothing should interfere in the slightest degree to break the full force of Revival. [17 January issue]
å The chairman of the Cardiff licensing magistrates last week bore testimony to the extraordinary decrease in drunkenness during the past year, apprehensions having decreased from 446 in 1903, to 217 last year. [13 February 1905 issue]
æ His Honour Judge Gwilym Williams called attention ... to the statistics in the Chief Constable’s quarterly report. These figures, he said, showed that during the last quarter there was a decrease in the number of persons proceeded against ... the decrease in drunkenness has undoubtedly been most marked where the revivalists have had the largest following. ... the County considered that they were indebted, in great measure, for the improved state of affairs, to the efforts of Mr Evan Roberts and his co-revivalists. ... It is estimated that the number of converts up to the end of February is 76,000 in South Wales, and 7000 in North Wales, which would give of total of 13,000 for the month of February alone. [7 March 1905 issue]
You never read anything like that in U.S.A. Today, or heard about it on NBC Nightly News, did you?
"THE SONS OF JAPHETH" (GENESIS 10:2).
In 2000 professor Bryan Sykes of the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University claimed that "all Europeans descend from just seven women" who lived between 12,000 and 45,000 years ago. (Because he is an evolutionist, the press gave Sykes an opportunity to spread his lies; had he been a Bible believer who claimed that according to Genesis 10:2, all Europeans descended from just seven men, he would have been mocked, ridiculed, and ignored.) Not realizing how close to the truth it was, the November 2000 issue of Fortean Times said that Sykes’s claim "does make for a vibrant new mythology to replace the gods of Mount Olympus." Most of the myths of ancient Greece were merely perversions of truths found in the Bible—just as Sykes has perverted the truth about seven men who lived less than 5000 years ago into a fairy tale about seven women who lived millennia earlier than that.
"DECEIVING, AND BEING DECEIVED" (2 TIMOTHY 3:13).
In an article entitled "The Art of Honest [!] Deception" (available online at www.strangemag.com), Vincent H. Gaddis makes some observations about legerdemain ("stage magic") that unintentionally explain why so many university-educated adults have been suckered into believing in evolution.
"The more intelligent you are, the easier it is to deceive you; it is more difficult to mystify children than adults," Gaddis notes, not realizing that he is endorsing the Lord Jesus Christ’s claim that salvation requires a child-like faith: "... Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein" (Mark 10:15).
Of course, Gaddis attributes this truth to children’s ignorance (!) and offers this comfort to those who are deceived: "It is difficult to mystify children and mental defectives because their general knowledge is limited, and their attention cannot be distracted or misdirected by suggestions of factors they do not understand. Never be ashamed if you are fooled; only your intelligence is proved"!
Gaddis continues: "Intelligent persons try to explain what they see in terms of their extensive knowledge of causes"—thus scientists who know about evolution use evolution to explain everything that they see—"and the remarks of the performer [professor] assist in confusing them." In other words, deceived people do not see what is there; they "see" what somebody else says is there. "On the other hand, children, lacking adult knowledge [Genesis 2:17], rely on direct observation"—that is, children make better scientists than adults. "The more intelligent a person is, the more he uses his mind instead of his eyes. Thus he fools himself." Amen!
"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise" (1 Corinthians 3:18; compare 1 John 1:8). "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).
QUESTIONS FROM READERS
* * *
Q: In John 8:32, why does the Bible say "make you free" instead of "set you free"?
A: Because that’s what God wanted it to say. ( Seriously, John 8:32 is popularly misquoted. "Set" means "to put into a specified state"; "make," however, means "to cause to be or become." A man who is "set free" (put into the state of freedom) only exists in a state of freedom and could, theoretically, later become a captive again; a man who is "made free," however, has become (and is) free—regardless of what state he might be in (Philippians 4:11).
* * *
Q: Why do some people say that Luke was the only Gentile writer of scriptures?
A: I’m not sure where or when this claim started, but I can remember reading it in the early 1970s in a Southern Baptist "January Bible Study" guide to Acts, and can remember repeating it. There are no scriptures to back up this claim—just "church traditions" (the same traditions that say that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome). In Romans 8:1-2 the Bible says, "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." When God chose to commit his words into written form, He chose Jews to do the writing.
(The word "oracles" comes from the same Latin root as the word "oral" and is defined by the Second College Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary as "commands or revelations from God." This "oral aspect" explains why the phrase "Thus saith the LORD" occurs so many times in the Old Testament —and why 2 Peter 3 mentions that "holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." In 1 Peter 4:11 the Bibles says that "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." Our speech, preaching, and teaching should be marked by the use of and reference to the written words of God.)
In Acts 7:38 Philip told the Jews that at Mount Sinai Moses "received the lively oracles given to us." The oracles of God—the spoken words that were written down—were given to the Jews, not to the Gentiles. Paul wrote to the Hebrews that "ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God" (Hebrews 5:12). (The singular form "oracle" occurs 17 times in the Old Testament and often refers to the ark of the covenant, from which God sometimes spoke. The plural "oracles" occurs only in the New Testament and refers to the written words that God spoke.)
"For the grace of God that brINgeth saLvAtioN hath appeareD to all men," (Titus 2:11).
The LORD'S Messenger
A Message To The People
“Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.” Haggai 1:13