"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Genius of Sarcasm


Sarcasm is lost on many people, in some cases more than others, because they may be missing part of a complex set of cognitive skills based in specific parts of the brain.

A new study by Israeli psychologists, using patients with damage to different parts of their brains, details an "anatomy of sarcasm" to explain how the mind puts sharp-edged words into context.

The psychologists write in the May issue of the journal Neuropsychology that for sarcasm to register, the listener must grasp the speaker's intentions in the context of the situation. This calls for both sophisticated social thinking and appreciating a "theory of mind," that different people think different thoughts.

"To detect sarcasm, irony and jokes, and to better understand what people mean when they talk, we must have empathy," said researcher Simone Shamay-Tsoory of the University of Haifa and lead author of the study.

The right hemisphere of the brain generally handles emotional processing, and the prefrontal cortex -- the part of the brain just behind the eyes and forehead -- deals with personality and social cues.

So the researchers expected that people with damage to the right frontal lobe of the brain would have the most difficulty comprehending sarcasm.

To test this, they did experiments with 25 patients with damage to the prefrontal cortex, 16 patients with damage to the posterior lobe of the brain and 17 healthy controls.

All were read brief scripts presented in both a sarcastic and literal vein.

For instance, in the sarcastic situation, a man arrives at work and instead of starting his job, sits down to rest. His boss notices his behavior and says: "Joe, don't work too hard!" -- meaning, of course, just the opposite.

Then, in a neutral counterpart, Joe arrives at work and immediately goes full speed ahead, and his boss cautions him: "Joe, don't work too hard!"

Following each presentation, the researchers asked a factual question to check if the subject understood the story, and an "attitude" question to check if he or she appreciated the boss' true meaning. If they got the facts of the story right, but the attitude wrong, they got an "error" score for identifying sarcasm.

To measure the ability to have empathy and infer another person's thoughts, the researchers read another set of anecdotes like this: Two boys in a school bathroom talk meanly about another boy, who suddenly emerges from a stall, where, unknown to the first two boys, he was listening.

The researchers then asked the participants questions such as whether the boys said something they shouldn't have and why they said it.

The patients with prefrontal lobe damage had difficulty comprehending the sarcasm as well as feeling empathy, while the other two test groups had no such problems. And those who had damage in the right rear part of the prefrontal cortex had the most faulty "sarcasm meters." The worse the damage was, the greater the impairment.

Shamay-Tsoory said that damage in each region of the network "can impair (understanding of) sarcasm, because if someone has a problem understanding a social situation, he or she may fail to understand the literal language. Thus, this study contributes to our understanding of the relationship between language and social cognition."


A group of Israeli psychologists mapped out this pathway through the brain to appreciating sarcasm:

  • First, the left hemisphere of the brain that processes language kicks in to establish the literal meaning of what's said;

  • Second, the frontal lobes and right hemisphere process the intentional, social and emotional context of what's been said, identifying the contradiction between what's going on and what was said;

  • Finally, the right rear part of the prefrontal cortex integrates the literal meaning with the social and emotional knowledge of the current and previous situations to help the listener appreciate the true meaning.

  • Friday, October 29, 2010

    Poem By Judge Roy Moore

    America the beautiful,
    or so you used to be.
    Land of the Pilgrims' pride;
    I'm glad they'll never see.

    Babies piled in dumpsters,
    Abortion on demand,
    Oh, sweet land of liberty;
    your house is on the sand.

    Our children wander aimlessly
    poisoned by cocaine
    choosing to indulge their lusts,
    when God has said abstain

    From sea to shining sea,
    our Nation turns away
    From the teaching of God's love
    and a need to always pray

    We've kept God in our
    temples, how callous we have grown.
    When earth is but His footstool,
    and Heaven is His throne.

    We've voted in a government
    that's rotting at the core,
    Appointing Godless Judges;
    who throw reason out the door,

    Too soft to place a killer
    in a well deserved tomb,
    But brave enough to kill a baby
    before he leaves the womb

    You think that God's not
    angry, that our land's a moral slum?
    How much longer will He wait
    before His judgment comes?

    How are we to face our God,
    from Whom we cannot hide?
    What then is left for us to do,
    but stem this evil tide?

    If we who are His children,
    will humbly turn and pray;
    Seek His holy face
    and mend our evil way:

    Then God will hear from Heaven;
    and forgive us of our sins,
    He'll heal our sickly land
    and those who live within.

    But, America the Beautiful,
    If you don't - then you will see,
    A sad but Holy God
    withdraw His hand from Thee..

    ~~Judge Roy Moore~~

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Practical Oneness: How The Oneness of God Applies to Everyday Life-2 The Work Place

    The Oneness of God and the Work Place
    "one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:6 ESV
    "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him." Ephesians 6:5-9 ESV
    This is my second post on the topic of Practical Oneness; I wanted to come back and visit this issue again. I feel that it is important to examine the practical implications of the Oneness of God and not just the theological implications of the Oneness of God. For too long the Oneness of God has been mere theology that we debate over, but not a principle to live by.

    Our text here in Ephesians 6 shows us how the Oneness of God applies to our secular work place. Paul is writing in chapter 6 still in the spirit of what he says in chapter 4: "one God and father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." In other words, the Oneness of God not only applies to worship, but to work. In reality our secular work is worship; therefore we should serve on our job "as you would Christ," or as the KJV says, "as unto Christ."

    To many times we as Christians separate our lives in to a spiritual-secular dichotomy and things like the Oneness of God is relegated to worship/spiritual and therefore has no bearing on work/secular. As a result Christians sometimes make lousy employees. Paul makes the argument that on your secular job that you are really a "servant of Christ (vs. 6)," and you are "doing the will of God (vs. 6)." We must understand that on the job, and not just at church, you are a Oneness Pentecostal. This is going to affect every aspect of your employment.


    By attendance I mean both showing up, and showing up on time. There are a lot of people who would not think about laying out of church, or being late for church; however they are always calling off from work or showing up late for work on the slightest whim. They feel justified in doing this because after all church is worship, and the job, well that is just work. But you have to remember that there is only one God that you serve (Matthew 4:10), whether serving the Lord's Supper at the Lord's table, or serving a Grand Slam at Denny's table. Be faithful and prompt!


    When you realize that you are serving God on the job, and not just your boss or a Corporation, it will affect your ethics. When the manager puts pressure on you to fudge the numbers, or lie to a client, you understand that you are the "servant of Christ (vs. 6)," and as such you seek to please Him and Him alone.


    There are times when a Christians has to work where there is an oppressive boss in the work place. What is he/she to do in a situation like that? What is the answer? The Oneness of God is the answer according to Paul: "Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him (vs. 9)."

    There is One God that is both your master, and the master of the oppressive boss. And there is no partiality with God. God does not play favorites! He does not let a manager who is harsh get away with his harshness just because he is in a position of authority. Just realize that your manager is also employed by your Master and your Master is fair. There is a complaint department that you can go to called prayer that is more effective any Human Resources department in any Corporation in the world.


    There are many more applications that could be made here, but I will not bore you with them all. I hope that I have made my point with clarity and that you realize that there is more to the Oneness of God than theology, but that the Oneness of God has very practical implications as well; it must affect how you live.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Stop Whining

    "Whine is a mocker and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Proverbs 20:1 KJV
    Whining is stupid!

    "He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth whine shall not be rich." Proverbs 21:17 KJV
    Whining will cost you!

    "They that tarry long at the whine; they that go to seek mixed whine." Proverbs 23:30 KJV
    Whining takes time especially when you mix it with other activities!

    The moral of the story is, "Stop Whining!" I know it is cheesy, but sometimes you need a little cheese to go with your whine. I know, I know, its bad. I have been in a really light-hearted mood the last couple days; my last two post have reflected that. I am having fun if no one else is.

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    A Song Book for the Tribulation Church

    (Please forgive me if you believe in a Pre-Tribulation rapture. I am writing this in fun. I have many friends who believe in a Pre-Tribulation rapture.)

    Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins writes in their novelized depiction of the Second Coming of Christ, in the Left Behind series, that after the Church is raptured there will be a tribulation force that will be gathering people together that realized they were wrong for not believing in Christ and start believing in Him.

    They start meeting in abandoned churches and having meetings preaching from the book of Revelation how that what just happened was proof that the Bible was right. So, all of these people start believing in Jesus and getting saved after the rapture. They have a second chance at salvation because after a 7 year tribulation period the Second Coming is going to occur and they will then go to heaven.

    This theology is not foreign to the Apostolic movement. Many Apostolics believe in this same eschatological paradigm. I have heard Apostolics preach sermons like, "Instructions In Case You Miss the Rapture." So, I got to thinking, "what kind of songs would they be singing in these Post-Rapture Tribulation church services?" Here is a possibility!

    When the roll WAS called up yonder,
    When the roll WAS called up yonder,
    When the roll WAS called up yonder,
    When the roll WAS called up yonder, we stayed here!


    They flew away, Oh Glory!

    "I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!" 2 Corinthians 11:1 ESV

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Grace Matter: Excerpt from, "Life Abhors A Vacuum"

    "Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him (1 John 3:6)." A person doesn’t sin because sin is too powerful. One doesn’t sin because the world is too strong. One doesn’t even sin because they are too weak. If 1 John 3:6 means anything, it means that we sin because we are living in a vacuum. There is something missing. There is something that we have not seen about our Lord, or there is something that we do not know about the Lord. What we don’t know is corrupting us. So now, when I sin, I repent first of all but then I sincerely ask the Lord, “What am I not seeing; what is lacking in my knowledge of You that allowed this corruption in?” This simple concept has helped me tremendously. I do not need more knowledge of sin or of the enemy of my soul to overcome; I need a complete knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    Read Grace Matter (Here)

    Practical Oneness: How The Oneness of God Applies to Everyday Life-1

    "As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 KJV

    NOTE: All the scripture references are found in 1 Corinthians 8.

    The Oneness of God has been a passion of mine since well before I started preaching. I can remember as a small child staying awake till the wee hours of the morning listening to every debate I could get my hands on. Everywhere my father went to preach I always had my ear open for a hint that a pastor would have a set of debates that I did not have so that I could get copies.

    I soaked up every word and every argument and the appropriate rebuttal. I knew it inside and out. I had all of the scriptures memorized. Anyone who would talk to me about the topic I would bug them until they were probably completely annoyed by me. I would play devils advocate for the Trinitarian view just so that I could talk about it.

    In a revival at Bro. Swindle's church years ago Jeff Lewis, Chris Jewel and I would stay at the church all afternoon and debate. I do mean debate. We had timed speeches and moderators; we would go at it for hours. When we went out to eat after church we argued about the Godhead. We would start discussions in restaurants with denominational folds at other tables about baptism in Jesus name and the Oneness of God.

    I converted my first Trinitarian as a teenager with Tim Stamper in Weedpatch, CA. Tim Stamper was another friend who was obsessed with the Oneness of God. I would like to think that I had some influence on his life. During that revival at the Dawson's church we were teaching Bible studies in the mall and anywhere else we could find someone to listen. That was also the first time that I had ever baptized someone; it was a Trinitarian that Tim and I had taught a Bible study to and he saw the truth.

    Around the age of 23 I had my first debate. My opponent was Thomas N. Thrasher. Mr. Thrasher had been debating for decades and at that time had already participated in at least 75 debates. So, as you can see, the Oneness of God is not just something that was taught at the church I attended, or just the way I was raised; I had made it mine.

    It was not until recent years that I really began to realize that the Oneness of God was more than mere theology that must be believed in order to be saved. The text at the beginning of this post, as well as other factors, opened my to the realization that the Oneness of God should have some very practical impact on my day-to-day walk with God. I am going to deal with only one of the practical applications of the Oneness of God.


    In our text the Apostle Paul uses the Oneness of God in a very practical manner to solve a real-world problem within the Christian experience. There was the issue of former pagans in the Corinthian church that had newly converted to Christianity, and they still had a conscience toward recently forsaken idols and were offended at other believers who were eating in the temples of idols things sacrificed in worship to the very idols they had just forsaken.

    So, Paul is attempting to address this issue among the Corinthian church. His solution, at least in part, is the Oneness of God. I see Paul as primarily addressing the stronger brother who was exercising a liberty that the weak brother, the newly converted pagan, could not exercise. It seems a little strange to me that Paul calls the brother that can not eat things sacrificed to idols the "weak brother" (vs. 11). We automatically think of the person with the most restrictions as the "strong brother," not the "weak brother."

    Paul's first argument is in defense of the strong brother's liberty to eat in the temple of an idol things sacrificed to idols knowing all the while that it was offered in worship to an idol (vs. 4 & 9). Paul clearly argues, "an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one (vs. 4)." This is a powerful statement! The idea that there is none other God but one invalidates the existence of the idol. Faith in the Oneness of God makes it as if the idol does not even exist, therefore the believer is at liberty to eat anything he wants anywhere he wants.

    The only problem is that you have weak brothers who had just last week worshiped at this very alter that he sees the strong brother eating at. The idol is still very alive in his conscience, therefore he cannot eat this food dedicated to the idol without feeling like he is worshiping another God. His faith has not been elevated to the point that the Oneness of God has affected the way that he lives.

    Since the idol is nothing, the only power that it has is what his weak conscience gives it; however, in reality it has no power at all. What this weak brother needs is two-fold: The first thing that he needs is a revelation of the Oneness of God that will free his conscience from slavery to this non-existent idol. Secondly, until his faith is elevated to that place he needs the strong brother to walk in charity with him.

    Paul never absolutely removes the liberty of the strong brother, he only cautions him to take heed lest his liberty becomes a stumbling block to his weak brother. The wrong response is to enact as law what should only be an act of charity. If Paul makes a law prohibiting the eating of things sacrificed to idols then he has brought the whole Corinthian church down to the level of the weak brother who has conscience toward an idol.

    On the other hand, by exhorting charity he preserves both the liberty of the strong brother, and the conscience of the weak brother. By doing this, the weak brother's conscience will be brought UP to the level of the strong brother's conscience by having his current faith in the Oneness of God completely replace his previous faith he had in idols. The goal should be to bring the weak brother UP, not the bring the strong brother DOWN.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    A Man's Gift Will Make Room For Him

    "A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before the great." Proverbs 18:16 ESV

    I have heard this verse used for years in the context of God opening up doors for a person's ministry. The application was, if God has really called you to preach then you will not have to ask for a place to preach; your gift will make room for you. However, on a minister's forum that I belong to this subject arose and this scripture was quoted in the traditional way, and one of the posters pointed out that this was speaking of bribery. So, I decided to check this out and see for myself what I could find. Here is what the commentaries say:

    "The “gift” (or, bribe), by a bold personification, appears as the powerful “friend at court,” who introduces another, and makes him welcome in high places." -Albert Barnes

    "It is, and ever has been, a base and degrading practice in Asiatic countries, to bring a gift or present to the great man into whose presence you come. Without this there is no audience, no favor, no justice. This arose from the circumstance that men must not approach the altar of God without an offering." -Adam Clarke

    "Or "enlarges him" (y); brings him out of prison, or, or out of straits and difficulties with which he, has, been pressed; or it makes way for him to a judge, and for a favourable hearing of his cause; or it enlarges his acquaintance, and gains him respect among men;" -John Gill

    "Of what great force gifts (that is, bribes) are he had intimated before, Pro_17:8, Pro_17:23. Here he shows the power of gifts, that is, presents made even by inferiors to those that are above them and have much more than they have. A good present will go far, 1. Towards a man's liberty: A man's gift, if he be in prison, may procure his enlargement; there are courtiers, who, if they use their interest even for oppressed innocency, expect to receive a gratuity for it. Or, if a mean man know not how to get access to a great man, he may do it by a fee to his servants or a present to himself; those will make room for him. 2. Towards his preferment. It will bring him to sit among great men, in honour and power. See how corrupt the world is when men's gifts will not do, though ever so great; nay, will gain that for them which they are unworthy of and unfit for; and no wonder that those take bribes in their offices who gave bribes for them. Vendere jura potest, emerat ille prius - He that bought law can sell it." -Matthew Henry

    I had never thought to challenge the traditional view of this text. I have changed my mind, but I would change it back for a $1,000.00.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Drunken: What Does It Mean in 1 Corinthians 11:21

    1 Corinthians 11:21 KJV
    21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

    Let me make it clear that I am not attempting to argue for unfermented juice for communion by this post. Whatever "drunken" implies in this text it would not be conclusive proof for what is in the communion cup. It is obvious that there was an abuse of what God had intended (1 Corinthians 11:20). One should not attempt to prove his position from such a text.

    Fermented wine MAY be what is taught by scripture for communion, but this would not be a text to prove it. Let me also say that even if "drunken" does not imply "intoxication" in this text, this does not prove that unfermented juice should be used in communion. What is in the cup is not what this text has in mind.

    The reason that I am addressing this text is because it is often used by fermented juice advocates as a proof text for fermented juice in communion. I think that it is clear that the use of "drunken" in this context is referring to "full," and not to "intoxication." Let me first point out that "drunkenness" in scripture can be a result of eating.

    Ecclesiastes 10:17 KJV
    17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

    If "drunken" or "drunkenness" exclusively implies intoxication then one must ask, "How can intoxication result from EATING?" The only way that I can see this text making sense is that drunkenness must imply fullness, and not intoxication. Contextually that same principle applies to 1 Corinthians 11:21. Paul sets "drunken" in contrast to "hungry."

    "One would be hungry, and another drunken. This last clause means that he had eaten and was satisfied." -The Peoples New Testament

    This reflects the spirit of the context; one has plenty and the other has none. I don't think that point is: one does not have anything to eat, and the other is intoxicated. That would be comparing apples and oranges. To me the clear contrast is between emptiness and fullness.

    As always, please feel free to comment.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Trip To Jamaica: Final Update

    Jamaica was a wonderful experience. I was incredibly moved by the worship and services. Some of the most powerful and sincere worship I have experienced. There was one particular lady who sang, "Alabaster Box," and it was fantastic. I was moved to tears!

    The people of Jamaica are very kind and hospitable people. They lavished us with gifts and kindness. I want to say that I count it an honor to call these people friends. I love Pastor Stewart. They were very complimentary of the preaching, as well as very attentive.

    The country of Jamaica is beautiful. We drove a route from Kingston to Ochos Rios that was incredible. It was incredible in more than one way: The scenery was beautiful. The roads were narrow, and the driving was scary.

    I plan to go again next year. I really enjoyed it. Also had a great time with my friends who went with me. Over all it was a great experience, including eating goat.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Trip To Jamaica: Update 5

    These are some pictures that I took on the road trip from Kingston to Ochos Rios. This is real Jamaica. Most of Jamaica is not like Ochos Rios and Montego Bay. It reminded me a lot of South America.

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Trip To Jamaica: Update 4

    The theme for the week has been, "Beyond the Walls: Earnestly Contending for the Faith." A lot of focus on the importance of doctrine as well as preaching on the Godhead. There is a new lady getting baptized in Jesus name tomorrow night. She has a Trinitarian background. She was in the service tonight and I preached on the Godhead. God did it!

    Trip To Jamaica: Update 3

    Pictures from lunch today. It was beautiful! This was in Ochos Rios, Jamaica.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Trip To Jamaica: Update 2

    This is a short clip from service last night (October 11, 2010). I will be posting more, but I wanted to share a little something. We are having a great time.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Trip To Jamaica: Update 1

    I am really excited about leaving in the morning on my trip to Jamaica. I am making a 3 day stop in Ohio to preach for a friend there who will also be accompanying me, as well as two other ministers from his church, on my Jamaican journey. I will be preaching 11 times in about 8-9 days, so it is going to be a busy week and a half.

    I hope to get in a little sight seeing while I am there. Not sure how that I going to work out as I will be in church at least once a day. Either way it is going to be a blast. I am believing God for great things.

    The negative side is that I am going to be missing my family really bad. I am going to miss "The Great One," our 2 week old foster son, as well as Lil Red. Most of all I am going to miss my wonderful wife. Oh yeah, my in-laws are going to be in town. They are probably glad that I am going to be gone, but I will miss seeing them as well.

    I will be taking a camera and snapping lots of pictures which I will be posting here. I will be posting pictures of the services as well as the scenery. Maybe even a few video clips of the music. I love the Jamaican way of Praising God. They are great people!

    Not to mention I am flying my air line of choice, AA. So, I will be getting frequent flyer miles! All things considered this is about to be a fantastic week!!!!!!!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Is all Sin Equal: The Greater Sin

    We often hear people say things like, "there are no big sins and little sins," or "one sin is not bigger than the other; all sin is the same." While that has a nice, warm and fuzzy feeling to it, it is not true. This type of rhetoric is frequently used by people attempting to justify themselves or someone they know. It has been used repeatedly in defense of Bishop Eddie Long. I don't know if he is guilty or not, but if he is, what he has done is especially egregious.

    How many times have I read bloggers saying that what Bishop Eddie Long has allegedly done is no different than lying? Again, make no mistake about it, I am NOT saying that Bishop Long is guilty; I pray for he and his family everyday. I pray that if he is innocent that God vindicates him, and if he is not innocent that God judges him as He sees fit, not according to the secular, anti-Christian and gay activists that are bent on his demise.

    I want to dispel this idea for the honest mind. The scripture is clear, not all sin is viewed the same by God. Not only is all sin not equally offensive to God, but not all sin is equally judged by God. This assertion is empty without proof, so I will begin with a plain text and go from there.

    "Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin." John 19:10-11 KJV

    Very clearly Jesus said that Pilate committed a lesser sin than the ones who had brought Jesus to him; they committed the greater sin. The inequality of sin could not be more succinctly affirmed than this. I cannot imagine how this language could possibly be explained away.

    "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men." Matthew 12:31 KJV

    The fact that a specific sin will not be forgiven, while all others will be forgiven, demonstrates the inequality of sin. If all sin were equal, then all sin would be forgivable. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a greater sin than all other forms of blasphemy.

    Abominations were and are especially grievous to God. "Six things doth the LORD hate; yea, seven are an abomination to him (Proverbs 6:16)." This text is not saying that these seven sins are the only ones God hates, but that God has a special hatred for these 7 sins.

    "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death." 1 John 5:16-17 KJV

    The Apostle John says that there are some sins that are not unto death, and other sins that are unto death; there are sins that should be prayed for and sins that should not be prayed for. Where is the equality in that?

    Not only does God view some sins with more disgust than others, He also judges some sins more harshly than He does others. This is readily manifest by the fact that not all sins in the Old Testament were punishable by death. Obviously the sins punishable by death were considered greater sins than the ones not punishable by death. Not only is this an Old Testament law concept, it is also a New Testament concept taught by Jesus.

    "And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:47-48 KJV

    There are cases where many stripes are deserved and cases where few stripes are deserved. Obviously not an equality of judgment.

    "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee." Matthew 11:21-24 KJV

    It will me "more tolerable" in the day of judgement for Tyre, Sidon and Sodom than for Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. Whatever the day of judgement refers to is immaterial; the point made is that God will judge certain cities more severely than others.

    I cannot conclude this blog without also saying that however great the sin is, God has a greater grace!

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Is Transubstantiation Cannibalism? Part 2 Answering Jason Evert

    "It would have been cannibalism is if a disciple two thousand years ago had tried literally to eat Jesus by sinking his teeth into his arm. Now that our Lord is in heaven with a glorified body and made present under the appearance of bread in the Eucharist, cannibalism is not possible."1

    This is a quote from Jason Evert, a young Catholic apologist who is a degreed theologian and spokesperson for Catholic interests. I want to respond to his explanation of why transubstantiation is not cannibalism. The doctrine of Transubstantiation teaches that the substance of the Eucharistic bread and wine are changed into the literal substance of the literal flesh and blood of Jesus. The doctrine of Transubstantiation denies any symbolic or metaphorical interpretation of, "eat my flesh and drink my blood."

    Jason argues that the reason why eating the literal flesh and drinking the literal blood of Christ is not cannibalism, is because Christ is not present so that one may eat Jesus by "sinking his teeth into his arm." So, it is only cannibalism if you eat it off the bone while he is present? So, are we to assume that if tribal cannibals would start filleting their victims that they would no longer be cannibals because the are not eating it off the bone? What if they were to store the human meat for 200 years and their children's children were to eat it, would they not be cannibals? You see a person does not have to be physically present or alive for eating their flesh to be cannibalism.

    It does not matter how you slice it (pun intended), or by what means it was provided, if one eats literal human flesh it is cannibalism!

    Not Under Bondage: The Pauline Privilege?

    "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. 12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace." 1 Corinthians 7:10-15 KJV

    There are two marital demographics that Paul addresses in this text, “the married” and “the rest.” I am going to demonstrate that “the married” refers to marriages where both spouses are believers, and “the rest” refers to marriages where one is a believer and the other is a unbeliever. Paul never explicitly addresses marriages where both are unbelievers, although I believe that he implicitly refers to them in 1Corinthians 7:14.

    Unto The Married

    An important point to be made at the outset is the audience that Paul is addressing is the Church. The instructions in this text are given to Christians, unless otherwise stated; therefore, are to be understood as regulating marriage within the Church. Let us demonstrate that when Paul says, “unto the married (verse 10),” he is speaking to Christian marriages, and not to marriages of unbelievers or to mixed[1] marriages.

    He is writing to those who had written to him (1 Corinthians 7:1). He is writing to people who pray and fast (1 Corinthians 7:5). He is writing what he ordained in all the churches (1 Corinthians 7:17). He is writing to the called in the Lord (1Corinthians 7:22-24). He is writing to the brethren (1Corinthians 7:29). He is writing to those who care for the things of the Lord how they may please and serve him without distraction (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).

    These are the people that Paul is writing to in verse 10, namely believers. “The married” cannot be speaking of marriages where one is believer and the other is not. Paul addresses the religiously mixed marriages in verse 12 and calls them “the rest,” and “such case.” I think it is obvious from the context that “the married” are both believers. I am not alone in this understanding as the majority of scholarship also agrees.

    “the married,” 1Co_7:10, where both husband and wife are believers[2]

    in which he has respect to such as were upon equal foot in matters of religion, who were both of them believers in Christ[3]

    to married parties, both of whom were Christians (1Co_7:10).”[4]

    The text as well as these scholars agrees that “the married” refers to marriages where both spouses are believers. The rules that Paul gives concerning equally yoked marriages is: The first rule says, “Let not the wife depart from her husband (1 Corinthians 7:10b)…and let not the husband put away his wife(1 Corinthians 7:11b).” The second rule says, “let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.” This going to be set in contrast to the rules that Paul gives about marriages where one is a believer and the other is an unbeliever.

    But to the Rest

    What does Paul mean by the phrase, “but to the rest,” and what are the implications? “But to the rest” must refer to the marriages of a believer to an unbeliever. Paul says, “If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him (1 Corinthians 7:12-13).

    Notice Paul modifies his language for the unequally yoked marriages. To “the married” he says, “let not the wife depart from her husband (1 Corinthians 7:10);”however, “to the rest (unequally yoked marriages of a believer to an unbeliever),” he modifies his command to, “if he be pleased dwell let her not leave him (1 Corinthians 7:13).” Paul does not place this qualifier on “the married;” their command is unequivocal, do not depart.

    Paul gives a different rule to the equally yoked marriages than he does to the unequally yoked marriages. Evidently Paul and God viewed the two classes of marriages differently and placed different rules on them. It could not be clearer to the open mind that two different rules about departing exist in contrasting these two groups.

    Not only did the departing rule differ, but the response rule for if they do depart differed also. For “the married (equally yoked) the rule is “let them remain unmarried or be reconciled;” however, the rule for “the rest (unequally yoked)” is quite different. Instead of remaining unmarried or be reconciled like “the married,” Paul says the believer is, “not under bondage in such cases.”

    The question is, what bondage are the believers, in such case that the unbeliever leaves, not under that the other cases are? The bondage that these deserted believers are not under are exclusive to their case alone. No one else has this particular liberty.

    Those that hold to a no exception, or to a fornication only exception view of divorce and remarriage, argue that “not under bondage” does not refer to the marriage bond. They argue that what Paul is saying is that they are not obligated to follow them or make them stay, and that they can let the unbeliever go, but they can’t remarry.

    Remember now, whatever “not under bondage” refers to is exclusive to “such cases;” no one else would have this liberty. If I can show that no one is under the bondage of merely cohabitating if they are deserted, then I can prove that “not under bondage” do not mean mere cohabitation.

    “The married” of verse 10-11 are also “not under bondage” to cohabitate in any way, because they can also depart or be departed from and “remain unmarried.” So what is the bondage that “the rest…in such cases” are not under that “the married” are under? The only possible answer is “the married” are under bondage to “remain unmarried,” if they divorce; however, “the rest…in such cases” are not under that bondage. That can be the only liberty that this particular circumstance has that is unique to “such cases.”

    [1] Religiously mixed, not racially mixed.

    [2] Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 10.01.10, commentary on verse 12.

    [3] John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 10.01.10, commentary on verse 12.

    [4] Vincent’s Word Studies, E-Sword Version 9.5.1, Retrieved 10.01.10, commentary on verse 12.