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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Long Hair: Cut or Uncut? Part 1

"but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering."
1 Corinthians 11:15 ESV

The issue of the Christian woman and her hair has been a fundamental tenant of separation among Apostolics for many years. While there are many facets of this issue that could be discussed, I have chose to focus on one. What does "long hair" mean? I have chosen to define it in two ways: 1. The Definition of the word itself. 2. Its usage else were in scripture.

LONG HAIR

Firstly, the Greek word for "long hair" is komaƍ. It means, "to let the hair grow." If one cuts their hair they are not letting it grow. This is evidenced by the fact that if a man has "long hair" it is a shame to him (1 Corinthians 11:14); that is if a man has uncut hair. Long hair on a man is uncut hair; therefore long hair on a woman would also be uncut hair. Uncut hair is a shame to a man and a glory to a woman. As John Gill said, "But if a woman have long hair,.... And wears it, without cutting it, as men do"

Secondly, the way long hair is used elsewhere in scripture would seem to demand the idea of uncut, or not trimmed.
"They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall surely trim the hair of their heads." Ezekiel 44:20
In this verse it is clear that trimming the hair would prevent it from being long. Long hair is untrimmed hair. This is not the only verse that indicates this.
"All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long." Numbers 6:5 ESV
The command to the one under the Nazirite Vow is: "He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long." This is set in contrast to, "no razor shall touch his head." Clearly the Nazirite vow prohibited any cutting of the hair. John Gill says, "he might not shave his beard, nor cut off his locks, and shave his head, nor cut short his locks with a pair of scissors, nor any with anything by which the hair may be removed, as Ben Gersom; nor pluck off his hair with his hands, as Maimonides says (x); but let it grow as long as it would during the time of his separation"

The traditional Apostolic view on uncut hair on women is correct and should be taught as doctrine. I am thankful for the Godly ladies in our churches, especially my wife, who honors God and their husbands by not cutting their hair. To all the Godly ladies of Pentecost I say, thank you.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Is That True or Truth?


"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Philippians 4:8 KJV

I want to write something that is close to me through personal experience, as well as observation of personal friends, as well as personal failure on my part in not living up to what I am about to write about. I have had to repent for this failure more than once. It is easy to fall short in this area as evidenced by the frequency that it happens. If we will be honest with ourselves we would all have to admit that we have been guilty of this at some point.

What I am about to write addresses the issue of truth: How do we determine it? How do we perceive it? More importantly, how do we speak it and why? This is the heart of the issue. I intend to suggest that merely settling for the content of our speech being true without the intent of our speech being truth is not sufficient.

This is many times the justification for malicious gossip and character assassination; but what I said is true. True alone is not sufficient; truth is the objective. The question is, how do you make what is true, truth. Is there a difference?

Our text says: "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just" This verse indicates at least subtle distinctions between what is true and honest, and what is true and just.

TRUE VS. HONEST

Firstly, the distinction between what is true and honest. Just because something it true does not mean it is honest. The wilderness temptation of Matthew 4 is the perfect illustration. When Satan quotes scripture he is saying what is true, but no one can say that he was honest. While the Devil can speak things that are true, there is "no truth in him (John 8:44)."

The Devil was manipulating what was true for his dishonest agenda. What he said was true, but it was not honest. What is true, but not honest is not truth.

TRUE VS. JUST

The ways of the Lord God are "just and true (Revelation 15:3 ESV);" not only true, but also just. It is true that Jesus was crucified, but it was not just. Obviously what is true and what is just is not the same.

CONCLUSION

The only way for what is true to be truth, is when what is true is also honest and just. Let this serve as a model to us in what we say about others. I know that what you said may have been true, but was it honest and just. What was your motive for saying it? Did the true thing that you said have honest intent? Was the desired end result of the true thing that you said just? If not, then don't call it the truth.

Only when what is true is spoken honestly with the desire for a just outcome is what is said "truth." Let's endeavor to not only say what is true, but tell the truth!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Stupidest Question You Can Ask About the Holy Ghost

The stupidest question about the Holy Ghost is not asked by the person who has never heard about it. The stupidest question is not, "Is it real?" The stupidest question is not, "Can I have it?" The stupidest question is not, "How do you get it?"

The stupidest question that I have ever heard about the Holy Ghost is from the person who knows from scripture that it is real and available, yet with hard and stubborn heart ask, "Do I have to have it to be saved?" "Will I be lost if I don't get it?" "Do you mean to tell me that I will go to hell if I don't get it?"

With something as great as the Holy Ghost, why does the question have to be, "Will I go to hell without it?" Whether or not a person has to have it to be saved should have no bearing on them wanting it. If it is a gift from God, why would you not want it? This question is like offering someone a rib eye that is grilled to perfection and them asking, "Will I starve to death if I don't eat it?"


"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" Psalms 34:8 ESV

Friday, December 3, 2010

In Memory of Jack Carter

I want to first speak to the family: Aunt Edith, Nick, Angie and Nieci. My love and prayers are with you in this time of pain and loss. Not only have I prayed with you, but I have also cried and hurt with you. As much as possible, having never experienced that loss, I empathize.

Thinking about what to say I was reminded of a text of scripture:

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1 ESV

What determines a good name is not its spelling or verbal pronunciation, rather the acts associated with the person who bears the name. It is neither the spelling nor pronunciation of the name that makes Delilah, Jezebel, Satan, Lucifer or Judas bad names. It is the acts associated with these names that make them bad. No one names their daughter Jezebel, or their son Lucifer.

On the other hand it is neither the spelling nor pronunciation that makes the names Abraham, Paul, Peter, Elijah or Jesus good names. Again, the acts associated with a name are what makes it great. That is why the name Jesus is “the name above every name.

The same applies to Uncle Jack. I can’t help but remember the continued and faithful support that Uncle Jack has shown my family over the years. He has always demonstrated great respect for my father as a man of God. He was never anything but respectful.

I also remember a visit my family made to Uncle Jack and Aunt Edith’s home, and Uncle Jack hired me to clean up some junk from the yard. As a kid who traveled with his father on the evangelistic field, any extra monies that I personally received were greatly appreciated. To me, the name “Jack” will always be a good name.

To his family he was a great provider, hard worker, and a husband and father who cared deeply for his family. Over the years he demonstrated that love by just being there. In a world where dead-beat dads and missing mothers are becoming the norm, he was committed. In situations where leaving would have been easier, he stayed. To the Carter family: Edith, Nick, Angie and Nieci, and all the grandchildren, “Jack” should always be a good name.

The Value of Friendship


Run your car off the side of the road
Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere
Or get yourself in a bind lose the shirt off your back
Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare

This is where the rubber meets the road
This is where the cream is gonna rise
This is what you really didn't know
This is where the truth don't lie

{Chorus}
You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas, get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me?' or 'it's way too far'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who your friends are

Everybody wants to slap your back
wants to shake your hand
when you're up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way then you slide back down look up
and see who's around then

This ain't where the road comes to an end
This ain't where the bandwagon stops
This is just one of those times when
A lot of folks jump off

{Chorus}

When the water's high
When the weather's not so fair
When the well runs dry
Who's gonna be there?

{Chorus}

You find out who your friends are
(yeah, yeah)
You find out who your friends are

Run your car off the side of the road
Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere
(Well man, I've been there)
Or get yourself in a bind lose the shirt off your back
Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare
(Man, I've been there)

Pardon the reference to a secular song, but the message is incredible. The value of a friend is priceless. A friend who is truly loyal. A friend that will face you when you are wrong, but will not forsake you when you are wrong. All of us want a friend like that. The best way to gain that kind of friend is to give that kind of friendship. I will write on this again so this will suffice for now.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Excerpt From "Born Crucified" By L.E. Maxwell

"DURING THE CIVIL WAR, George Wyatt was drawn by lot to go to the the front. He had a wife and six children. A young man named Richard Pratt offered to go in his stead. He was accepted and joined the ranks, bearing the name and number of George Wyatt. Before long Pratt was killed in action.

The authorities later sought again to draft George Wyatt into service. He protested, entering the plea that he had died in the person of Pratt. He insisted that the authorities consult their own records as to the fact of his having died in identification with Pratt, his substitute. Wyatt was thereby exempted as beyond the claims of law and further service. He had died in the person of his representative."

What a beautiful picture of the cross!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Matthew 19:9: Espoused or Married Wife Part 2

In recent discussions with various friends on the subject of divorce and remarriage the issue of Matthew 19:9 came up. As I am aware there are only two ways to view this verse: 1. The wife of Matthew 19:9 is the espoused wife (Deuteronomy 22:23, Matthew 1:18-20). 2. The wife of Matthew 19:9 is not an espoused/betrothed wife, rather she is a married wife (Deuteronomy 24)1. Let me state here, in case you have not read my other blogs on this issue, I hold to the second view.

Two things should be noted about the first view: Why they conclude that Matthew 19:9 is the espoused/betrothed wife and not the married wife. The way they arrive at that conclusion. The why and the way are important to understand. The way they arrive at their conclusion is baseless. The why is equally unwarranted.

Firstly the why. The reason why they conclude that the wife of Matthew 19:9 is the espoused wife, and not the married wife, is to avoid the obvious implication that infidelity on part of a married person is grounds for the innocent party to divorce and remarry. However, this is the necessary implication of this text if a married wife is under consideration as I contend.

Secondly the way. The way they attempt to prove that the wife of Matthew 19:9 is the espoused wife, and therefore hold to a no divorce and remarriage for any reason view, is by appealing to Matthew's use of the word fornication. Among those who reject that the exception clause of Matthew 19:9 applies to married persons there are two arguments made about the word fornication: 1. Married people cannot commit fornication; therefore the term fornication demands that the Matthew 19:9 wife is an espoused wife. 2. The word fornication, if used alone, can include adultery; however, when both fornication and adultery are used in the same context they are being contrasted and cannot refer to the same thing. I have responded both of these arguments in other blogs. 2, 3

When you look at the context of Matthew 19 you readily understand that the married wife is the kind of wife that is under consideration:
  1. With the wife under consideration they had been "joined together" by God, and they had become "one flesh," an obvious euphemism describing sexual union (1 Corinthians 6:16).
  2. The wife they were discussing had to be given a bill of divorcement as prescribed by Moses. The only possible law they could be appealing to is Deuteronomy 24:1. The wife of Deuteronomy 24:1 was the married wife; when she was given the bill of divorcement by her husband he "sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house." Surely no one would suggest that this describes the espousal period, as cohabitation would not have been permitted by the law.
These facts demand that the married wife be under consideration in Matthew 19. To consider otherwise is, in my opinion, not being honest with the context.

This finally brings me to the purpose that I am writing this particular blog. In response to my argument, based on Deuteronomy 24, that the wife of Matthew 19 is the married wife and not the espoused wife, a friend of mine argued that "uncleanness" in Deuteronomy 24 cannot be sexual in nature. I want to try to honestly set forth his argument and then give a response.

My friend's argument is: uncleanness in Deuteronomy 24:1 cannot be sexual because the punishment for uncleanness is she is put out of her husband's house; however, the punishment for sexual sin demanded she be put to death (Deuteronomy 22). If the sin of uncleanness was sexual, she would be put to death, not merely put out of her husband's house. His argument is that death was mandatory for sexual sins, therefore "uncleanness" could not be sexual.

If I can demonstrate a single case which shows this premise to be false, then his argument fails. One of the cases that carried the death penalty was the unfaithfulness of a betrothed woman.
Deuteronomy 22:23-24 ESV
23 "If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her,
24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
This describes a situation where a betrothed virgin willingly lies with a man other than her intended, and her penalty was that she was to be put to death. Is death the only option for the betrayed husband? No. If the betrayed husband finds out about the unfaithfulness of his betrothed must he have her put to death? No. Is there ever case where the betrothed betrays and is spared death? Yes.
Matthew 1:18-20 ESV
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
It must be pointed out that when Joseph realized that his betrothed was with child, the only logical answer in his mind was betrayal. He was unaware that a miracle had taken place. It was only later that he was visited by the angel and became aware of this fact. He decided, while fully convinced that she had been unfaithful, to "divorce her quietly." You mean there was an option other than death that was available to him? Yes.

So, it is entirely possible, as we have an example, that a wife could commit an act punishable by death and merely be "put away (KJV)," and not "put to death." Therefore, uncleanness could include something of a sexual nature. The same would also have to be true of the other cases in Deuteronomy 22. I will examine this in more depth in a later post.

Secondly, it would not matter if uncleanness did not include a sexual sin. Let's say that it does not. Jesus contrasted what He taught with what Moses taught and narrowed the parameters. The original question in Matthew 19 was, "can a man put away his wife for ever cause?" Jesus said they could not, "except for fornication." Therefore, even if uncleanness was term used to apply to nonsexual things, Jesus restricts the bill of divorcement to fornication alone and not other causes.

What this does serve to prove, and that the no divorce and remarriage view cannot handle, is that the discussion in Matthew 19 was concerning the married wife of Deuteronomy 24, and consequently proves the wife of Matthew 19:9 is the married wife. This without question allows for divorce and remarriage for fornication.

I just finished this at 1:11am. It probably makes no sense. Please feel free to ask questions for clarification.