Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Relevant Church - No Stinkin' Gimmicks

Do you want your church to be more relevant? 

A friend of mine often describes his church with this little phrase, "No stinkin' gimmicks."  I like that!

If the Word of God is boldly proclaimed from your pulpit; if your pastor's primary focus is on preaching the whole counsel of God; if he feeds you a steady diet of expository preaching; if he unabashedly tells the truth about sin and constantly warns you of it's consequences; if he is obsessed with the glory of God; you have a relevant church.  You don't need no stinkin' gimmicks. 

This is what church looks like when God's Word is ignored and men have other ideas about what is relevant.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Don't Get Caught In An Internet Money Laundering Scam

I Sold an old stove on Craigslist, sight unseen, for $450.  I knew this was a money-laundering, internet scam almost instantly but I played along anyway.
The buyer sent me a check for $2,000.  Following is the string of email communication between her and me (My responses are in red type. Hers are printed, uncorrected as they were).  Be sure to read this all the way to the end.  This was SOOOO MUCH FUN.

May 24  Craigslist internet reply:

I'll be free today until about 5:00 and would be happy to come see it , I'll be in tomorrow but possibly busy between about 4:00 to 6:00.Email me ASAP and we can arrange a time that works. Email me @ chloe0pa5@gmail.com


Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S(tm) III, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

Ralph M. Petersen 
May 24

to chloe0pa5

I will be available tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon or early evening.  You can call me at (555-5555) to arrange an appointment to see the stove.

Yuette Upson
May 25

to me

Thanks for the prompt response to my mail. I will be buying from you so please kindly withdraw the advert from C.LIST. Please be informed that I will be paying with a certified check from my Bank it will be delivered to you via Service FedEx. How much is total price for the item and I'll need you to provide me with the following information to facilitate the mailing of the check to You Asap

Name to be on the payment...........
Home address...........
Zip Code..............
Cell phone #................

I will make arrangements for the pick up as soon as you have your money I am completely satisfied with the advert and the payment will be delivered within Next day Service.** I use a hearing impaired phone # and will receive your calls via email **

Ralph M. Petersen  
May 26

to Yuette

I appreciate that you intend to purchase the stove from me but I am somewhat puzzled that you have not actually seen it yet.  The stove is located in our store at  (address).  Business hours are …

The price on the stove is $450 and the total (incl. sales tax) is $486.00.  A check from your bank should be made payable to Ralph Petersen.  If you are going to mail the check, please send it to (my address).  You may take possession of the stove as soon as the check clears.

Unfortunately, until the stove is actually purchased, I cannot withdraw the ad from Craigslist. 

Thank you. 

Yuette Upson
May 29

to me

Good day and I do contact my secretary now to issue the payment to you and you will receive the payment on next week Tuesday because I will not be arrive at the moment. You will receive the payment via FedEx Courier services with the shipping funds to cover the shipment of the item I bought from you. Once you receive the check, have it cashed and deduct your money for the item also deduct $50 for your running around that I have caused you during the transaction period and send the remaining funds to the mover, and the mover is also picking some other valuable goods (like household, furniture's and electronics set.) at the same city of your location to my new apartment. That is why you need to help me and transfer the amount to the moving company..Please let me know if i can trust you? so that i can move forward from here i will get back to you with tracking number immediately the secretary email me the tracking number. Best Regard

Ralph M. Petersen 
May 29

to Yuette

I will do exactly as you have instructed.  $450. for the stove, $36. for sales tax, and $50. for handling.  I will cash your check when it arrives and I will retain $536. and forward the balance to the moving co. of your choice per your instructions.

Yuette Upson
May 31

to me

Thanks for your trustworthiness in this transaction , I just get information now that you will received the payment by FEDEX Service Today for confirmation  WWW.FedEx.com/us..770149858393, So as soon as you get the payment  you will need to go and  have the payment deposited in your Bank. Then  deduct  your money for the item as soon as you have the fund from the bank and also remove the extra $50 for the trouble I have caused you during the transaction period and have the rest fund  wire to my mover via Money Gram money transfer so that He can be  able to come for the pick up of the item any time from now or weekend. Here is my mover info to wire the remaining money to....

Name: Desmond Gellings
Address: 2087 Federal Way
City: Idaho falls
State: Idaho
post code: 83402
As soon as you wire the money to my mover i will like you to get back to me with Money Gram details such as:

1:Sender's name and address used in sending the money
2:The Reference number.
3:Actual amount sent after the money gram charges.

And mail me your best time for my shipper to come for the pick up of the items  also your map quest for easy way to my mover to come to your location.

Please note****All money gram charges should be deduct out of the fund wiring to the shipper..Thanks

Ralph M. Petersen 
May 31

to Yuette

Okay, I received your check (in the amount of $2,000.) today via FedEx.  Unfortunately, my bank is closed now and I will not be able to deposit it until Monday.  I will deposit it then and it will probably have a five day hold until the funds will be available to me.  As soon as I get confirmation from my bank that the check has cleared, I will continue the transaction according to your direction.

Yuette Upson
May 31

to me

OK  thanks and I await to hear back from you soon

Yuette Upson
Jun 2

to me

Hello Ralph, could you please let me know how soon will you get the transfer done and also best time for pick up!

Yuette Upson
Jun 4

to me

Ralph, I want you to let me know how soon will you get the money gram done and also best time for pick up cos the funds have clear in your bank now????

Yuette Upson
Jun 5

to me

Ralph, I am going to involve the police now if you didn't return my email and get the money gram done and set up time for pick up

Ralph M. Petersen 
Jun 5

to Yuette


I told you, the day I received the check, that I would deposit it and there would necessarily be an approx. 5 day hold.  I deposited the check in my account on Tuesday.  Today is only Thursday and my bank has told me that I probably need at least seven to ten days to ensure that the check will clear.  Your insistence on hurrying this, along with the fact that this transaction is highly unusual (as I indicated before), makes me cautious. 

As for pickup, you have the physical address where the stove is located and I am available almost any time to meet your shippers.

The better way for you to conduct this transaction (and the more expedient) would have been to simply pay me the amount of the stove plus sales tax, and you pay your shipper. 

I'm sorry for your frustration but I have a friend who has been scammed in a similar arrangement and his account was debited for the amount of the uncleared check.  I cannot afford that.  I don't mean to be accusatory, but I don't know you and I need to be careful.

If that is not agreeable, you might consider putting a stop payment on your check or maybe you should go ahead and contact the police. 

Otherwise, I intend to comply with your directions AFTER my bank convinces me that the funds have been successfully transferred to my account.

Ralph M. Petersen  

to Yuette

Yuette,  I thought I should inform you that I will not be sending the money gram to your shipper; the check is no good because the account is closed.  But you already knew that, didn't you? . 

First see this.

Then look at this.

Looks like you have done this to lots of other people.  I was born at night but it wasn't last night.  I am only out $10. for the return check charge at my bank but that's okay; It was the most fun I have ever had for only ten bucks; I really enjoyed playing you on this and I know it cost someone a few bucks to send the check via FedEx overnight service.  

I was going to report this to the police but I won't.  That's right, I won't call the cops.  Your money-laundering scam involves a Liberian Corp. in Virginia that generated the bogus check, a flooring company in Texas that mailed the check, and a freight handler in Idaho waiting to receive my funds, and you, a fake purchaser, supposedly located, who knows where?  That's quite an impressive network of pathetic scumbags and I can see how you can intimidate and pressure people into purchasing and mailing large sums of money BEFORE they find out that your payment is bogus. 
Like I said, I will not report this to the police; whenever criminals (that's you) operate across state lines, it is a federal crime and so I will be sending copies of all these email messages to the FBI and the IRS.  Furthermore, I will post them on my Facebook network just for kicks.  Also, I will add my report to the several others that have been submitted to Craigslist.
By the way, if you still want the stove, I would be delighted to sell it to you for the original amount of only $450 plus sales tax PLUS the ten dollars your bogus check cost me.  Please note, I accept CASH ONLY!   I look forward to doing business with you.  Have a nice day!


Ralph M. Petersen

PS  Your grammar and your spelling stink.

Monday, May 26, 2014

There Is No God; The Bible Says So.

There are at least 12 places in the Bible that CLEARLY state, "there is no God." 

(I'll bet I have your attention now, Huh?)

All scripture must be understood in its context and I think most Bible students understand that.  But I don't know how many times I have been criticized, by people who abuse scripture, for insisting on reading the words in their contexts.  They often defend their abuse with cute little phrases like, "Well this is what it means to me."  Or worse yet, "This is what the Lord is impressing on my heart." or "This is what the Holy Spirit is teaching me."

It doesn't matter what it means to you.  That's irrelevant.  The real question is, what did it mean when God gave it?  Or what does it mean if you had never been born?

It's God's Word.  He is the author and He meant exactly what He meant; nothing more and nothing less.  We do not have the right or the liberty to make it say what we like it to say.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Facebook Rewrites Genesis 1:27

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male, female, agender, androgyne, androgynous, bigender, cis, cis female, cis male, cis man, cis woman, cisgender, cisgender female, cisgender male, cisgender man, cisgender woman, female to male, FTM, gender fluid, gender nonconforming, gender questioning, gender variant, genderqueer, intersex, male to female, MTF, neither, neutrois, non-binary, other, pangender, trans, trans female, trans male, trans man, trans person, trans woman, trans*, trans* female, trans* male, trans* man, trans* person, trans* woman, transfeminine, transgender, transgender female, transgender male, transgender man, transgender person, transgender woman, transmasculine, transsexual, transsexual female, transsexual male, transsexual man, transsexual person, transsexual woman, and two-spirit created he them."

At this point, I think they would do well to remove the entire text between verse 27 through Geneses 6:5 and continue it here: 

"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."
That about sums it up.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

How To Speak In Tongues

Wow! Don't bother watching the attached video. It is approximately 60 wasted minutes of inane, heretical drivel and unbiblical happycrap just to lead up to the actual how-to instructions which took about 30 seconds. Simply take a deep breath and then force out a string of mindless, disconnected, incoherant syllables.

I didn't find these "lessons" very helpful so I appealed to a different source. I found help when I became "filled" with corn chips from the Frito-Lay company. Near the bottom of the bag, when I was well-filled, I found an unusual chip with a dark spot that resembled a motorcycle. That was a sign; that was my miracle. That's when the great potato spirit brought to my mind, Japanese motor cycles.

The potato spirit gave me utterance as I recalled all the different brands; Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki. That's when I knew I was on to something. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, emptied my mind, and opened my mouth, all while thinking about Frito-Lay's chips. Then it happened; the utterances just flowed naturally. "Hondalay, hondalay suzukilay fritolay, kawasakilay hondalay yamahamalay."
There, I've got it. I feel so much better, now, knowing that I will spend eternity in motorcycle heaven feasting on potato chips.

Next week I am going to try to learn how to regrow missing limbs while smacking amputees upside the head.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Crotchety Old Cranks, Crabs and Sour Pusses

I have worked with old people (or to be more politically correct; "people of age") for about 20 years and now I am one.  I first wrote this post in Nov of 2007 but it is still relevant because there is always a new group of codgers coming up to replace the old dead codgers.  

Have you heard the one about the old guy who entered the diner and asked, “Do you serve crabs here?”
The waitress responded, “Sure, have a seat sir; we’ll serve anyone.”

I stopped at a fast food restaurant one day last year just before Christmas. After the friendly clerk politely received my order, I moved aside and an old woman stepped to the counter. The same clerk took her order. “There you go!” she said pleasantly as she handed the woman a cup for the self-serve beverage bar.

The woman grumbled something unintelligible; I didn’t quite catch it; neither did the server.  “Pardon me?” she replied.

“There you go! THERE YOU GO!” snapped the customer. By now she was loud and obnoxious and had everyone’s attention. “Doesn’t anybody know how to say ‘thank you’ anymore?”

“Thank you,” the server responded curtly.

At the beverage bar, the customer became even more incensed as she found the coffee dispenser empty. I could tell this was going to get worse.

“Hey Miss ‘There You Go,’ the coffee pot is empty, ” she mockingly yelled at the counter clerk.

“Thank you” the server sharply replied as she moved quickly to refill the pot and then sarcastically snapped back, “There you go.” By now I was really amused by this incident and I found myself chuckling at the subtle, retaliatory justice the server was enjoying.

The amazing thing about the whole exchange is that the old woman was not a bit embarrassed by her own bad manners nor was she appreciative of the immediate, attentive service she received in spite of her rudeness. Instead, she continued to rant about how nobody is respectful or well-mannered anymore.

We often excuse that kind of bad behavior in older people, but there is no excuse for it; crankiness and rudeness are not normal results of the ageing process regardless of circumstances. In fact, as we grow older, we tend to become more of what we already are. Polite people become more pleasant in their old age. Rude and cranky people become more crass and obnoxious with the passing of time.

“Let your speech be always full of grace.” Col. 4:6

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Well How Did All That Hopey-Changey Stuff Work Out For You?

YOU voted for Him so quit your bellyaching.  Please forgive me for making this personal by using the pronoun, YOU.  Maybe you didn't vote for Him but the fact is, Obama won His elections by getting a little over 50% of the votes.  That means that, out of every two people in the room, one voted for Him and I know IT WASN’T ME (or I) SO, STATISTICALLY SPEAKING, IT HAD TO BE YOU.

Okay, I get it.  You voted for a guy without credentials, qualifications, experience, and credibility just because you wanted to feel good about being a part of an historic event that seated America’s first black president.  I know, you thought it was going to be the beginning of world peace, the end of racism in America and all that other irrelevant happycrap.  Well how did all that hopey-changey stuff work out for you?  Not so well, huh?  And why you voted for Him again a second time, I have no idea.  Nevertheless, now, thanks to you, we are all stuck with this lying, dithering, vacationing, inept, law-breaking tyrant for three more years until we get a chance to possibly redeem our Constitutional Republic from the grips of His Marxist regime (if it’s not too late).

But I am fearfully skeptical.  The reality is that lots of people are just slow learners and are willing to do the same stupid thing all over again hoping for different results.  You will run gleefully to the polls, ignoring facts and shunning reason, and you will proudly cast an irresponsible vote for a disastrous candidate just so that, next time, you can feel all warm and fuzzy about electing America’s first female president.  By the way, Hillary tried to pass her version of Obamacare, and failed, long before Obama even thought about it.  

I can’t talk you out of acting stupidly.  All I can do is pass on information so that you might be  equipped with sufficient knowledge to make a wise decision. You may recall, before you elected Him, He told us exactly what He intended to do.  You just didn’t listen and now He’s doing it.

If only one out of every 100 fools changes his ways in the next election, we may get another chance so this time LISTEN.  Just like Obama, Hillary has said plenty to give us a glimpse of what she believes and how she will preside. You might guess that the following quotes could have been uttered by the likes of Karl Marx, Adolph Hitler,  Joseph Stalin, Lenin, Mussolini, Idi Amin, Nikita Khrushev, Josef Goebbels, Mao Tse Tung, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il, or even Barack Obama.  But you would be wrong.  These words flowed freely from the heart and over the lips of Hillary Clinton.  So read them carefully and then next time, go vote Right.  If you continue to deliberately remain uninformed, fail to exercise discernment, thumb your nose at wise counsel, and continue to vote stupidly, we will get the government YOU deserve.

H/T to THE MASTER’S SLAVE  for compiling the following Hillary Clinton quotes:

1.      “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”

2.      “It’s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few…And to replace it with shared responsibility, for share prosperity.”

3.      “(We)…can’t just let business as usual go on, and that means something has to be taken away from some people.”

4.      “We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own…in order to create this common ground.”

5.      “I certainly think the free-market (system) has failed.”

6.      “I think it’s time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in (the) entire economy, that they are being watched.”

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spiritual Fast Food

     Pastor, is your church bibliocentric?  How much gospel preaching and expositional bible teaching do you accomplish in your church in one year?   Let’s run the numbers and see just how much the average church-goer hears if he attends one service each week for one year.
     The average length of a morning worship (and I use that term loosely) service is 90 minutes.  That adds up to 78 hours per year.
     After greetings and hugging, announcements, singing, special performances, and offerings, there are approximately 40 minutes left for a sermon (some churches go longer but they run the risk of losing those who are in a hurry to get to the restaurant in front of the crowds).  That leaves you just about 34.5 hours.
     Thirty four and a half hours of bible teaching per year.  That’s not bad except for all those other things.  If yours is a large church with a sizeable music department, there will be approximately three (maybe four) Sundays each year when your preaching will be suspended for a major musical/drama production.  That reduces your preaching time down to about 30 hours per year.  But wait.  What about the children?  Sunday School promotion Sunday with a special children’s program cuts your time down to about 29 hours.
     Are you going to take some vacation time?  If you are ultra conservative and only take two weeks off, there’s another two Sundays gone.  And if you attend any conferences or if you are called away as a guest speaker in another church, you could easily miss an additional two weeks each year.  By the way, a significant portion of your congregation will use your absence as an excuse to skip church (I’m just sayin’).  The faithful ones will be subjected to a missionary report or a topical treatise by a Jr. guest pulpit filler.  That’s six fewer hours each year.  But that’s okay.  You still have 23 hours for good, solid bible teaching.
     What do you do with Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Grand parent's Day, Children's Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Veterans’ Day, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, Patriot’s Day, the local high school graduation and the Fourth of July?  If you forfeit even half of your allotted time to do any kinds of special tributes or self-help how-to Christian psych sessions, you could easily lose another ten hours.  That leaves you about thirteen hours to really impact your flock with good, solid, in-depth bible exposition if you don’t get sick.
     Thirteen hours a year.  That’s a little over one hour a month or fifteen minutes per week.  But don’t worry.  If they leave spiritually malnourished, they can always supplement their fast food diet with a happy meal from Joel Osteen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Bucket List

Saturday (March 1) was my birthday so first I want to say Thank You to all who wished me a happy day.
But this particular day was different from all the others.  When my pastor emailed a happy birthday greeting to me, I thanked him and then reminded him that “today begins my exit year.”  To which he inquired, “OK, what’s on your bucket list?
This birthday was #66; a unique day that I have been anticipating for about ten years.  This birthday marks the year that I have been predicting my death since 2004.  I am not going to elaborate on why or how in this column.  It is a whole column on its own and you can read all about it here.
Of course I say all this with tongue in cheek.  I don’t pretend to have any special gift of prophecy nor am I planning suicide.
 However, I do know that as good, and strong, and healthy, and capable as I felt ten years ago, at age 66, I see the evidence of rapid deterioration and I sense the imminent approach of death.  And I am not going bore you all with whiney complaints about my ailments, pains, disabilities, or weaknesses; there are plenty of other people around us all who love to do that.  So instead, I’ll just refer to this old song, written by Stuart Hamblin, that I heard often when I was a child.  I appreciate it much better now; all the things he mentioned in the song, I understand now by experience.

“This Old House” is a metaphor for the run-down body of an old man.  He was once a strong protector who now, can’t even get up to go hunting with his dog.  He’s weak and worn out.  His joints creak and ache and things just don’t work right anymore.  His senses are dim and his memory is fading.  But he is looking forward to the day he is translated into glory and God will provide him with a brand new, incorruptible “house.”

(Disclaimer - I'm not going to edit any part of these song lyrics.  If you think anything in this song is racist, please spare me from your inane comments.  Get a dictionary, get educated, and then get a life.)

This old house once knew my children
     This old house once knew my wife
This old house was home and shelter as we fought the storms of life
     This old house once rang with laughter
This old house heard many shouts
     Now she trembles in the darkness when the lightnin' walks about

This old house is getting shaky
     This old house is getting old
This old house lets in the rain and this old house lets in the cold
     On my knees I'm getting chilly
But I feel no fear or pain
     'Cause I see an angel peeking through a broken window pane

Now my old hound dog lies asleeping
     He don't know I'm gonna leave
Else he'd wake up by the fireplace and he'd sit there, howl and grieve
     But my hunting days are over
I aint gonna hunt the 'coon no more
     Gabriel done brought in chariot when the wind blew down the door

Ain't gonna need this house no longer
     Ain't gonna need this house no more
Ain't got time to fix the shingles
     Ain't got time to fix the floor
Ain't got time to oil the hinges
      Nor to mend the window pane
Ain't gonna need this house no longer
     I'm getting ready to meet the saints

I guess I kinda identify with this prayer of Moses, "... I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.   If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!”  Numbers 11:14-15

BUCKET LIST?  Are you kidding?  I don’t have no stinkin’ bucket list.  I have never thought about a making a bucket list.  But, since he brought it up, I have been thinking about some things I would like to do before I leave.

  • I think I would like to have a classic Harley Davidson motorcycle.
  • I would like to take an extended road trip across the country with no itinerary, no calendar, no clock, and no destination.
  • I’d like to leave The People’s Republik of Kalifornia and move to an independent, free country like Texas.

But then I realized that I will not be doing any of these things as long as my wife is alive.  And since she is “much” younger, stronger, healthier , and better looking than I, she will probably outlast me.  So I will just be content to kick an empty bucket.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

No More On Moore

In nearly ten years of blogging, I just did something I have never done before.  I deleted the content of a string of comments on one of my blog posts.

It has been my practice to post ALL comments, whether agreeable or not, in the interest of fairness.  Believe me, I am not bothered by negative comments.   BUT, in this case, there was entirely too much angry criticism (all from people who would not reveal their real identities) about one little crack made by a reader in a comment that had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE POINT OF MY POST.  In fact, several of the anonymous comments may have been from the same person.  Never-the-less they became unneccessary distractions from the content.

It has been five years since I posted the article about Beth Moore.  And, out of 750 posts, it has been the most read, outranking number two by nearly three times.  Obviously, Beth Moore is an extremely controversial subject.

My reason for the original post was made clear in the opening paragraph.  I was warned by my church leadership to keep quiet about any negative criticism regarding the errant teachings of Beth Moore.  So, since I don't respond well to threats, I posted the tongue-in-cheek, Defense Of Beth Moore in a manner that utilized absurdity to illustrate the absurd.  That was my one and only post about Mrs. Moore and I have remained silent for five years.

But she has not.  Recently I noticed another, sudden increase in interest in my blog post.  And no wonder - she's at it again.  In a recent conference she, once again, has announced new revelation that she has received straight from the mouth of God.  And this time, amid clever scripture twisting, she assures thousands of her followers that she is the real prophet and warns them that scoffers will arise to criticize her and God's new "outpouring."

For anyone finding their way onto my blog in search of information about Beth Moore's extra-biblical revelation and false prophecies, I would suggest the following links:


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Heretical Analogies Lead To Heretical Beliefs.

Years ago, a woman I knew thought she could successfully convince me regarding her perverted brand of  Christianity.  One day during a debate on the subject of spiritual gifts, I stated that it is the Holy Spirit who gifts each believer individually, severally, and uniquely for service, to which she responded with this analogy:  “The Holy Spirit is like a chocolate chip cookie.  When you bake cookies, you mix the flour, sugar, chocolate chips, eggs, salt, and etc. all together.  So when you eat your fill of the cookies, you have all the ingredients.  And when a believer is filled with the spirit, he has all of the ingredients (meaning spiritual gifts)”

Well, guess what? I have been filled many times, with chocolate chip cookies and I have never spoken in tongues. Why? Because, (pay close attention now) the Holy Spirit IS NOT A CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. 

The belief in heretical doctrines might result from the use of stupid analogies.

I don’t understand the doctrine of the Trinity,  I cannot comprehend a triune God nor can I explain Him.  But I do know that the use of stupid analogies always fails and are heretical.  God is NOT like an egg, water, a man, pie, a triangle, a three-leafed clover or Pla-doh.  Furthermore, there are lots of nominal Christians who reject the doctrine of the Trinity simply because the analogies don't make sense.  There are no analogies that can explain the Trinity and we have no right to try to invent such nonsense.  Just because we don’t understand the Trinity is no reason to disbelieve it. 

Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” 
This is one of those secret things.  The tri-unity of God is a doctrine of special (biblical) revelation but He has NOT revealed how that can be.  Ours is just to take Him at His Word and believe it.  No analogy can explain the Trinity because there is nothing in all of creation like God.  He is holy; there is none like Him. 

“God Said It, I Believe It and That Settles It For Me,” was a song that was popularized in the 1970s.  At first glance, it sounds good but the obvious error in the song is the phrase, “I believe it.”  That seems to indicate that the veracity of the declared Word of God is dependent on my belief.  The better title would be, “God Said It and That Settles It Whether I Believe It Or Not.”   

So, regarding the doctrine of the Trinity (and all other doctrines of God as revealed in scripture), our belief is irrelevant. God’s Word is true even if no one believes it.  We are not privileged to complete understanding.  All we can know about Him is what He has revealed to us in His Word.  That’s it!  That settles it! That’s all! 

I believe in the doctrine of the Trinity because the Word of God clearly and undeniably declares that He is one God in three distinct, coexistent persons.  “He is that He is” regardless of our beliefs or finite understanding.  When our analogies are heretical, our beliefs are heretical and that will ultimately lead to unbiblical practices.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Why Did I Pick That Old Hymn?

Has God ever spoken to you?  Has He ever revealed any new truth to you? 

Last week the subject matter of my pastor’s sermon was the reformation principle of “Sola Scriptura” which has to do with the sufficiency of Scripture as our only and supreme authority in all spiritual matters. 

So one of the Hymns I selected for our congregational singing was “God Has Spoken By His Prophets.”  I love this great, old hymn because it is rich in biblical doctrine. 
Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds."

That passage forms the outline and sets the theme for this hymn; “God has Spoken.”

Verse one starts with the declaration that God spoke His “unchanging Word,” in times past, through His prophets. 

Then, in verse two, the author takes us to “These last days.”  God’s revelation today is “By His Son,” who is far superior to and more excellent than all the ancient patriarchs and prophets.  He is the Living Word of God.

In verse three the writer tells us that God is still speaking today BUT then he quickly points us to the vehicle the Spirit of God uses, and that is “the ageless Word” of God.

Notice the recurring emphasis on the unchanging or ageless Word of God  in all three verses.  Everything God wants to reveal to us, in this world, about Him and our faith and practice in our relationship to Him has been revealed in His complete, unchanging Word.  It’s not that God can’t speak directly or reveal something different to us; it’s just that He doesn’t   In that divinely inspired Hebrews passage we are told that God has spoken. Furthermore, in Revelation, we are warned that we are not to add anything to or take anything from God’s Word because He is unchanging and His Word is established forever.  There is no new revelation.  And that provides us certainty and security.  We need not wonder about those who claim to have new revelation from God - they don't.  Nor do we need to wonder about any new message we may think we got from God - we didn't.  If our new revelation disagrees with scripture, we don't need it.  And if it does agree with scripture, we still don't need it.
Do you want something new from God?  Ask Him for it and then open His Book and listen to His "unchanging" written Word.  

 God Has Spoken By His Prophets
1.      God has spoken by His prophets,
Spoken His unchanging Word.
            Each from age to age proclaiming
     God, the One, the righteous Lord.
            In the world’s despair and turmoil
     One firm anchor hold us fast.
            God is King, His throne eternal,
     God the First and God the Last.

2.      God has spoken by Christ Jesus. 
Christ the everlasting Son.
      Brightness of the Father’s glory,
With the Father ever one.
            Spoken by the Word incarnate,
     God of God ere time was born.
             Light of Light, to earth descending,
     Christ as God in human form.

3.      God is speaking by His Spirit,
 Speaking to our hearts again;
      In the ageless Word expounding
God’s own message, now as then.
            Through the rise and fall of nations
     One sure faith yet standing fast;
            God abides, His Word unchanging,
     God the First and God the Last.