Is the Reformation Still Needed?

October 31, 1517

© The Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, ThD

When Martin Luther began his ministry of the priesthood and teaching (PhD) in the early 1500s, there were only two branches of Christianity: The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy. When Luther died, there were three branches, the third one being Protestant. When Luther nailed the 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, it was an invitation to other scholars to debate indulgences. The church door was like a bulletin board for announcements, and Luther wrote the Theses in the scholarly language of the day: Latin. He was as surprised as anyone when they were taken down, translated into German, and spread throughout Germany. Now Luther was forced to defend his teaching.

What Was the Reformation?

It was the greatest revival in the history of the Church (and still ongoing). I don’t mean to be unkind, but the Roman Catholic Church had fallen into really bad teachings and practices. They were basically selling forgiveness of sins. Several weeks ago I saw on TV a documentary of Martin Luther where a current Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church admitted that the Church in Luther’s day had indeed fallen into decadence and bad doctrines. Now in our day, the Protestant Church has fallen into various heresies, as has the Roman Catholic Church and just about every other Christian church or organization. Here are some of our protestant problems:

  • We present a positive message without judgment.
  • We’ve turned the Bible into a popular psychological manual for self-improvement.
  • With the right words spoken audibly, we can manufacture our own providence. In fact, the word-faith movement thoroughly disdains the word “providence.”
  • Catholics pray to Mary, and Protestants pray to themselves.
  • Every passage in the Bible has become a “secret” to have victory, if we only . . .

I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the word-faith movement, The compromised protestant megachurches proclaim a form of indulgences, which is positive confession. If you say words into the air with faith, you’ll bring riches into your life; but of course you must send the word-faith preacher his share. Robert Tilton used to require a thousand dollar vow, and if you made that vow and sent him money, he would send you a cloth to put in your billfold that would bring you money. You could reap a 100 fold harvest. Their followers are being fleeced as much as those poor peasants in Luther’s day. (If you want a copy of my book on the word-faith movement, please CLICK HERE. You can see the thorough Table of Contents when you click the link.)

 

Need for the Reformation

The Reformation was a return to the Bible and to the old gospel the fathers of the church had preached the first thousand years (or more) in the Church’s history. The Roman Catholic Church had degenerated into various false teachings and practices, not the least of which was the selling of forgiveness of sins in the form of Indulgences.

In the 1300s there was a man called Jon Wycliffe. He was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, and seminary professor at Oxford. He was an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century. He had followers that went around preaching the pure Gospel who were called the Lollards. Wycliffe also translated the Bible into English from the Latin. He was the evangelical of his day, and died in 1384. About a hundred years after he died, he was declared a heretic, and his bones were dug up and ground.

After Wycliffe came Jon Hus. The Roman Catholic Church martyred him in 1415 after giving their word they would not do it if he would just appear before them to defend his views. He was a Czech priest, philosopher, Master, dean and rector at Charles University in Prague, church reformer, inspirator of Hussitism, a seminal figure in the Bohemian Reformation and a key predecessor to Protestantism. Luther claimed, 100 years later, to be a Hussite.

Enter Martin Luther and Tetzel, the latter who was selling indulgences on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church that granted a release of some temporal punishment due to sin. Martin Luther vehemently challenged indulgencies. The money collected was for the Pope to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Here is what Tetzel would proclaim:

As soon as the gold in the casket rings,

The rescued soul to heaven springs.

Here is another version:

As soon as the coin in the coffer rings,

the soul from purgatory springs.

 

What is an indulgence? It gets complicated, but suffice it to say that it is something you do (works) that will lessen your time in purgatory, which is not heaven or hell, and not a desirable place to go. But Tetzel was selling indulgences to the poor to use for their deceased loved ones to get out of purgatory early. It was salvation by proxy after death by money. For example, in one Roman Catholic catechism one can get a full indulgence by saying the Rosary before Holy Communion, or a partial indulgence for reading the New Testament 15 minutes a day. It is a mechanical works system where one can get his ticker card punched.

You might find it interesting that just several weeks ago there was a documentary of Martin Luther and the beginning of the Reformation. It was very positive, and there was a Roman Catholic Cardinal on the program who stated that the church at that time had become corrupt and was in need of reforming. I would add that it still needs reforming, along with worldwide Anglicanism and Protestantism, and Orthodoxy. Worldwide Christianity is in pitiful ruins in its beliefs and practices.

In the early 1500s there was a priest with a troubled conscience. Tomorrow, October 31st, 1517, 500 years ago, Martin Luther, who had an earned Ph.D. in biblical studies, at the age of 34, nailed up the Ninety-Five Theses on a church door in Wittenberg. He wanted to debate other church scholars regarding certain teachings and practices, especially Indulgences. Thus began the greatest revival in the history of the Church, which has lasted now for about 500 years. Other revivals have been sparked, such the ones of the Wesleys, Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, here in this country in the 1700s, and many others in the last 100 years throughout the world. And let us not forget the godly women the Lord had raised up, such as Luther’s wife, Katherine, Edwards wife, and so on.

Do We Still Need the Reformation?

The first Reformation changed the Western world—Germany, continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, and so on. The world will never be the same now that God raised up Luther to preach the free gospel with such power and fearlessness. Likewise, with many other great men, Luther’s right-hand man, Melanthon (Germany), Calvin and Beza (France), Zwingli and Bullinger (Switzerland), John Knox (Scotland, Presbyterian), and certainly not least, those in England: Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Bucer, etc. Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer–all clergy in the Church of England–the Roman Catholic Church martyred.

The reformers faced not only theological heresy, but also they were persecuted by the civil authorities, the same as we are today. Our whole Western culture hates (and I mean hates with a devilish fiendness) anything Christian. There is a huge spiritual warfare going on in the West in general and also in our culture in particular. The gospel is being called hate speech, sexual perversion is freedom of expression, murdering babies is a woman’s choice, and so on. Moreover, ministerial success is measured in how big your parking lot is, though there is nothing wrong with having a large church in itself, but the tendency is to compromise the gospel so you won’t lose members.

We need a whole generation of D. James Kennedys to arise and march on our modern Jerichos. Many preachers today wimp out by saying that we must not be involved in political matters! Right, so we let the culture perish.

There are two ways to destroy the gospel: by addition and by subtraction. Most of the Christian cults subtract things, like the deity of Christ, the Holy Trinity, His bodily resurrection, and so on. But during the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church added many things, thus it was necessary to correct the errors by pointing out that each of the solas were not just necessary, but enough.

What were some of the big issues in the Reformation that are still needed today? I’ve written some articles in this blog about the “ONLYs”, the solas. The ONLYs emphasize the sufficiency of what they present, not just the necessity.

  • The Bible is not only necessary, but it is also enough (only).
  • The grace of God is necessary for us to come to Christ, but it also enough (only).
  • We are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, so that faith is not only necessary for our salvation, it is also enough (only).
  • Christ is not only necessary for our salvation, but He is enough. Only He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We don’t add Mary to Him.
  • God’s glory alone must receive the emphasis, not us also.

The Bible is all the revelation we need, not the additions of the Roman Catholic Church in their traditions. The Bible is enough. The grace of God is all we need to gain salvation, not the merits of Mary and others. His grace is sufficient. We are saved through faith and not by our merits, which in turn means faith is enough. The person of Christ is the only mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), the only way to the Father (John 14:6). This further means that His once for all death was and is enough. We don’t need the sacrifices of Mary or others. Finally, our salvation is to God’s glory alone because only He has saved us, lest anyone should boast in his own merits.

But there has been tremendous progress made in the last few decades, or at least in my lifetime. (I’m now 72.) Roman Catholics and Protestants do not want to kill one another. Within my lifetime, even in the past several decades, evangelicals and Catholics have come together to a great extent. In Amarillo, the local Roman Catholic bishop and I marched together at the front of the line each year for pro-life. Other ministers were there incognito, out of uniform, so the media did not know who they were. I’ve worked with Roman Catholics in various pro-life endeavors, side by side, praying wonderful prayers while for our sake leaving out the Hail Mary.

I read Pope Benedict’s XVI excellent work titled Jesus.

I sure I’m not a prophet, but I’ve been saying for several decades that Christians all over the world must come together if we’re to survive the onslaught of Islam, Atheism, Liberalism, hostile politicians, etc. Satan is making an all-out push against us. But does that mean I’m going to Rome any time soon? There ain’t no way, for there are still substantive areas of disagreement: transubstantiation, purgatory, prayers to humans, works to gain heaven, papal infallibility, Mary as co-redeemer and co-mediator, Son of God as only one mediator out of many. Yet they hold the same three creeds we do, Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian. My plea is not for conversion to that system, but for tolerance on both sides, but without compromising the solas.

So, is the Reformation still needed? I would say Yes, but it is not just around the solas. Without giving up the progress we’ve made in 500 years as of today, we must change the culture by preaching the gospel, changing our culture as Luther and others did by engaging the culture. We must proclaim the crown rights of King Jesus, because

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
                                       baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
                                           20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt. 28:18-20 NKJ)

AMEN.

 

Last Time Polyamory, This Time Sologamy

(c) The Very Rev.Dr.  Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP. Polyamory is two or more in a “committed” relationship. I thought polyamory was far out enough, but I did predict it in my book on the Ten Commandments (NOT Ten Suggestions) as basically group sex. I recently saw on Forensic TV a real case where three young men in their 20s gave rings to one another and vowed to remain true for life to one another. But disobedience to God’s law brings self-destruction. It was not long that one of the male lovers murdered one of the three, and the two who remained broke up. That was not a shock.

As for sologamy, instead of “marrying” two or more, you marry yourself. I’m not joking. It is a movement in Russia, Europe, Japan, and other nut case countries, like the good ole USA. Here is a link to it:

If you follow the link, you’ll find a woman marrying herself, with 500 people attending. So what will she call herself, “Mrs. Me”? What were the vows like, “I promise to love me in life and in death, in sickness and in health, until I nullify this marriage from me?” Was the “marriage” sealed with “I promise to love the Lord myself with all the narcissism I can muster?” Now this is one marriage I did not anticipate in my book!

Here is a quote from the article in the link above:

At its core, self-marriage is a classic rite of passage with three obligatory stages: separation, liminality and incorporation. The first stage – symbolic death – serves to break all ties that no longer serve you. The second stage is all about ‘discovering’ your new love for yourself, through techniques such as self-addressed love letters and poems. And, finally, the third stage, the big shebang: the wedding ceremony, meant to seal the bond between You and You, through your choice of self-declared vows.

This is the height of narcissism, or the depth. How can there be any legal status to such a “marriage”? “Love” has been completely eviscerated of any meaning, for by definition love is directed to another person. I found this bit of news on the Internet:

  • State and Government Recognition. Self-marriages do not require a marriage certificate. This is because self-marriages are not recognized by any states in the United States. . . .  That means that if you are already married to another person, you can still self-marry without implicating anti-bigamy or polygamy laws. Jan 28, 2015

But it gets worse.

Now, some people are marrying their pets! Again, I’m not making this stuff up. As far as I know, you cannot marry your dog or cat in the USA, but you can in Bali. I predicted marriage to pets, group marriage, and even euthanasia for those who for whatever reason cannot cope with life.

In France, one woman was allowed to marry her dead fiance, and they can still do so if it can be proved that they had formally planned for their wedding. There seems to be no end to degeneration. Here is what one wise man said:

John Dryden, the seventeenth century English poet, said:

“For those whom God to ruin has design’d,
He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind.”

Today we might say it this way:

“Those whom God would destroy, He first makes mad.”

AMEN.

 

 

 

 

 

Polyamory or Group Sex

(c) (Curtis Crenshaw, ThD, 2017)

A good friend sent me a link to another notch down into family self-destruction. If you can stomach it, CLICK HERE. The essence of the article is that now a Southern Baptist preacher is recommending polyamory, which “means the practice or condition of participating simultaneously in more than one serious romantic or sexual relationship with the knowledge and consent of all partners.” In other words, group sex, which means more “family” destruction.

This blog is from my book titled NOT Ten Suggestion that came out in 2010. Here is what I said.

Then there are consequences of same sex unions on the family. One is that such unions cannot reproduce, which means that they will pressure others to have children for them or seek to dominate the adoption agencies once these unions are legal. Will affirmative action apply here? Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Iowa have given gays the right to “marry” so far in early 2009. Will these unions be recognized in the other states?

During the early history of this country, many settlers took their families west to settle. They were often given land by the government. With their families, they reproduced and grew to large numbers; but if they had been same sex “unions,” they would have become extinct.

With heterosexual couples, a new person can be created in the image of both parents. This is one of the most profound acts of love God has given us. With homosexual couples, we only have reciprocal masturbation with no possibility of reproducing. Thus from nature itself we learn that same sex unions are not right since the species cannot be propagated. If all were gay, the human race would become extinct.

Then will male gay couples pay others to have someone’s seed implanted into some woman to have a child for them? Will female gay couples have someone’s seed implanted into them, perhaps simultaneously, to have children, and who will decide what donor’s seed? In either case, if they “divorce,” whose children are they?

Lutzer reports:

Because gay couples cannot produce children on their own, James Skillen of the Center for Public Justice predicts that hopeful parents may seek to rent wombs and deny children to know their biological parents. “It is going to be increasingly possible to produce, buy, and sell children, because in addition to adoption, that is the only way homosexual couples can ‘have’ children.” Whether raised by lesbians or two homosexual men, these children will be denied either a mother or a father.[1]

And if children are adopted, which person will be the mother and which the father? What kind of confusion will that produce when they are shopping at Kroger, and the child in the same sex union sees another child call his female parent “Mom” and his male parent “Dad”? Will he ask his “parents” why he has two men as parents or two moms? Will there be laws made to change the speech to accommodate the gays? George Orwell’s 1984 is here with newspeak. Same sex unions generally seek to erase the distinction between male and female, and that just can’t be done. It is interesting that one of the partners often takes a female or male role, for we cannot live life without assuming God’s categories. Besides the emotional differences, the “plumbing” is different. One cannot permanently alter the definition of marriage as one male and one female, for it not only violates God’s command, but it also violates the way we were created. Once marriage is redefined, other groups will want even looser definitions of marriage, such as group marriages. It is not really new definitions of marriage that is wanted, but the destruction of marriage.

Another argument from nature is that it should be obvious, without getting too graphic, that women are made to receive the male organ whereas men are not. The female vagina receives the male penis, sperm is deposited, egg is fertilized, and in nine months a human baby is born. That is natural and how everyone comes into the world. The anatomical difference and complementary nature of male and female is too obvious to need detailed explanation.

Moreover, we must not think that giving in to homosexuals to marry will appease them. They and others will only demand more liberties. Sin is never satisfied, and the sinner, given what he demands, will only demand more to try to reach the same thrills. (Chamberlain thought he could appease Hitler but only discovered that he demanded even more.) The punishment for deviant behavior is for God to give them over to even more bazaar behavior (Romans 1:24-28). The only way to stop this freefall is to confront them with righteousness, and to press the claims of Christ, His love, and forgiveness on them, for only He can stop the dominoes from falling.

Moreover, these unions do not usually remain monogamous, which can mean the spread of AIDS, and if there are children, they will adopt the same lifestyles. Tammy Bruce, a former gay insider, reports that male homosexuals “have hundreds of sex partners a year while spreading an incurable disease or two.”[2] (Blood banks will not allow male homosexuals to give blood even if they have had only one encounter because of the high risk of diseases.) This adds to the instability of home life for those involved and especially for the innocent children. From rectal and oral sex, there is infectious hepatitis, which increases the risk of liver cancer, fatal rectal cancer, not to mention HIV and AIDS, and a 30 year decrease in life expectancy.[3] “The American Psychiatric Association Press reports that ‘30% of all 20-year old gay men will be HIV positive or dead of AIDS by the time they are age 30.’ ”[4] Add to this the demand that the government pays for all these diseases, and we have an economic meltdown, not only from the medical bills but also from the decreased productivity in the market of those who cannot work, and those who must take care of them.

Moreover, whom will the children “marry”? Where will they find “spouses” since their “parents” cannot reproduce, and others they associate with cannot reproduce? “Love” does not justify these relationships, for love is not subjectively defined, as we saw in Chapter 2, VI, but is defined by God’s law. Will these children adopted by gays want to find out who their natural parents are? Will that be deemed unconstitutional? It irks them that every child that comes into the world is the product of one man and one woman, which is a constant reminder that they are wrong. Will there be a push to have human cloning so gays can have children?

But only one male and one female can reproduce both their images in the new offspring. Cloning one parent will not do so. Adopting will not do so. Planting male sperm into a female egg of a lesbian partner will not do so, for the other “parent” contributed nothing. Only the one impregnated will have a relationship with the “father,” the child being in the image of the donor father and receptor mother, but not the other female partner. The female partner will have no biological relationship at all with the child. Two (or more) males won’t be able to receive any implanting. They will be left to cloning or adopting.

This will be devastating to the children and family as they fight over who has the right to rear the child, to make rules, and when “divorces” inevitably occur, who will have the right to the children? As it stands now, when a man and woman marry, and if one had children before the marriage and the other one did not adopt them, if they divorce, the childless parent does not have the right to visit the child. How will this work out in people of the same sex when males “marry” and one has a child or when lesbians “marry,” and only one gives birth, or “marries” with a child? In all cases, the children will be the victims.

Then there will be a move to legitimize unions between three or more of both sexes, group marriages. Do not think that the radical sexual movement will stop with gay unions of two partners; they want complete sexual anarchy—pan sexuality. Have you heard of LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender? The dominoes are falling, and one sin inevitably leads to another; the only way to stop these dominoes is to come to Christ and to His law-word. “Triad” marriages are already being put forward, according to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. There is no one who has a stop-gap morality by the grace of God and the Gospel to stop the disintegration except Christians.

On a Phil Donahue talk show some years ago, I saw three who were living together, two men, and a woman. The men were homosexuals and the woman a lesbian who had her various partners visit her. But once in a while one of the men would go to the other part of the house to have sex with the woman so they could have a child, which they did, a little girl. They did not care which man was the father. All of them claimed to be her parents. When the audience asked the three what sexual orientation they wanted for their daughter, they all said together, “happy.” That meant she was being taught complete license in her sex life; all options were on the table.

Then it becomes more bizarre with four or five having legal status as a “union.” What happens when one wants to “divorce” the others? Who will pay what, and who will get what children? Then we will have a completely permissive society with God knows how many children who don’t have a clue who their real parents are, and who will be taught that it does not matter. They will truly be the victims. We will be a jungle, mating like animals with no accountability. How can children honor father and mother if they don’t know who they are? With no real commitment to anyone but ourselves, we’ll sink into total narcissism (and are sinking now) and sexual “freedom” (read: “enslavement”) with the motto that “anything goes.” Pedophilia will seem mild.

Such legal group “marriages” will essentially be farms to raise children on, with multiple partners, like farm animals that breed with one another, producing many offspring, but with no direction, no morality. Because we have lost the vertical standard with God, we have lost the ability to define right and wrong between ourselves. As soon as the Triune God is removed as the standard for morality, there is no objective way to define human relationships. There will be no families, just individuals seeking their own interests, not the well being of others in a family. And who in the world will be the in-laws to all these people? Who will be the grandparents? Millions of motherless and fatherless kids will be produced.

Within “families” there will be horrendous confrontation built in between parents, between children, and between parents and children. To make matters worse, a straight couple marry and have their own children. Then one of them leaves the marriage for a person of the same sex, and gets divorced from the original marriage to “marry” the same sex partner. Now who gets the children? Judges’ hands will be tied, for the children, even of an innocent Christian parent, will have to live in a gay situation, or at the least to have visitation rights. The souls of the children will be in jeopardy, for God says that those who practice sinful sex will perish unless they repent (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Then the public schools will be full of gay people, and students are already being primed to accept that orientation and to castigate any who disagree, especially Christians. What will this do to those children who come from godly homes, or just from homes who do not want their children exposed to sexual promiscuity? Since God’s Ten Commandments have to be rejected to promote this errant lifestyle, what will this do to the children’s morals in general? As an increasing number of Christians take their children out of such schools to put them in private schools, those who promote such a lifestyle will seek to pass laws to prevent such, or to make it financially difficult, if not impossible. Don’t forget that those who promote such lifestyles are not neutral—they hate those who oppose them, as evidenced by the recent gay riots in California when the gay marriage law did not pass. The anger on their faces said it all.

I just heard on the national news (Fox News April 2009) that some gays are claiming discrimination against Knoxville and Nashville public schools that block students from gay sites on school computers.

The ACLU, in a tersely worded letter, told the schools Wednesday it would sue them if the sites don’t come back online. The blocked sites include the Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality USA, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, the Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Dignity USA.[5]

Of course, the opponents say they are not in favor of the gay porn sites (for now), just the “regular” gay sites. Is it possible to have a gay site that is not porn? That means that all the kids will have access to such sites, which in turn means more children convinced that God’s morality is obsolete. Indeed, this means gays are targeting our children, right now, using the ACLU to place children into their hands. They must convert others to their cause since they cannot reproduce, and they will go after the most vulnerable of society. Perhaps some of them have no interest in children. Perhaps some of them are very sincere about their relationship with another of the same sex, but as we’ve explained many times in this book, sincerity is not the issue; truth is the issue. Some will resent it, but how is this new pursuit of gay web sites in public schools not some form of pedophilia? Should I not warn regarding the moral safety of our children, as God requires (Ezekiel 33)? Moreover, I’m not aware of any instance of a country giving itself over to a homosexual lifestyle that did not also embrace pedophilia. In other words, they demand complete sexual freedom of every kind, and will stop at nothing to get it. Accepting sinful behavior breaks down barriers, leading them further from the truth, their consciences having become seared (1 Timothy 4:2).

But whose morality is defining porn, and how long will it be before any site will be legally open to public school children because it can’t be defined, or because of alleged free speech? Once the vertical goes, anything goes. Recall what I said in Part 1: once God is removed, morality will be reduced to its lowest common denominator with the government moderating. The dominoes are falling, now. Christians must get their children out of the public schools, and put them in Christian schools, and then monitor them closely, or home school them. Remember that sin does not stand still, but like water it seeks it lowest level.

Then there is GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) that has a workshop for those ages 14-21 in some public schools to teach children how lesbians have sex, and other practices too awful even to describe in this book.[6] Then President Obama appointed Kevin Jenkins as the Safe School Czar who is the founder of GLSEN. Notice the word “safe,” which is another euphemism.

It gets worse, if possible. Peter Singer has been teaching relativism at Princeton University. He has been hailed as a brilliant scholar. He has written on the positive aspects of bestiality, describing a dog and a human, to which Bruce said “he has made Princeton unsafe both for your child and your beagle.”[7]

How would you like your children taught by people who had been trained by Judith Levine, highly respected in academia, who wrote Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex?[8] Levine has the audacity to state that Christians who protect their children from sex until they are married “are more harmful to minors than sex itself.”[9] Our families are being targeted for destruction, and the public schools are the means to bring this about.

Lutzer reports in his book:

The San Francisco Unified School District has a lesson plan for teaching kindergarteners and first graders about homosexuality. It defines a family as a “unit of two or more persons, related either by birth or by choice, who may or may not live together. . . .”[10]

But with one man and one woman committed to one another for life, they can have their own children; and no one loves children like the original parents, for they are created in the image of both parents, even looking like them. This godly relationship produces stability, security, knowing who they are, who their parents are, and what morality is.

Lord have mercy.

Christ have merch.

Lord have mercy.

AMEN.

 

[1] Erwin W. Lutzer, The Truth about Same-Sex Marriage (Chicago: Moody Press, 2004), p. 62. Emphasis his.

[2] Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003), p. 25. (See my comments on this book in the Bibliography at the end of the book.)

[3] John Stott, Same-Sex Partnerships? (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1998), p. 53.

[4] Stott, Same-Sex Partnerships, p. 63.

[5] From http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/04/pro-gay-sites-f.html. Accessed April, 2009.

[6] Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003), p. 104ff.

[7] Bruce, ibid., p. 191.

[8] Bruce, ibid., p. 194.

[9] Bruce, ibid., p. 200-201.

[10] Lutzer, The Truth about Same-Sex Marriage, p. 26.

Interesting Bible Facts

BIBLE                                                  THEME                       ISAIAH   (divided into)

39 Books in the Old Testament           JUDGMENT              chs 1-39     (First 39 chapters on judgment)

27 Books in the New Testament          GRACE                         chs 40-66   (Last 27 chapters on grace)

 

  1. Shortest chapter in the Bible: Psalm 117 (2 vs)
  2. Longest chapter in the Bible: Psalm 119 (176 vss, 8 vss for each Hebrew letter)
  3. Middle chapter in the Bible: Psalm 118

 

  1. 594 chs before Psalm 118
  2. 594 chs after Psalm 118
  3. Total = 1188 chs, not counting Psalm 118
  4. Middle verse = Psalm 118:8

 

  1. Ten Commandments

10 x 2 = 20, and the “2” is the second book of the Bible, Exodus, and chapter 20 where

Ten Commandments occur

10 ˜ 2 ÷ 5, fifth book of the Bible, Deuteronomy chapter 5, where the Ten Commandments

occur again.

AMEN.

 

Self-Deception and Apathy

(© Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D. September 2017)

From my book titled NOT Ten Suggestions, Chapter One:

“John Dryden, the seventeenth century English poet, said:

For those whom God to ruin has design’d,

He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind.

 

Today we might say it this way: “Those whom God would destroy, He first makes mad.”

 

SELF-DECEPTION

Many liberals today promote their kingdom through deception, by making a career of bearing false witness. They lie like rugs. They think that they can build a kingdom that will last 1,000 years by basing it on deception. Logic: Lying produces a thriving nation while telling the truth is destructive.

They think they can build a strong society by the destruction of its most innocent citizens, babies, murdered in their “safe” wombs of their “caring” mothers. Logic: Killing babies will give us more and better citizens than loving them and caring for them.

They think they can have a thriving economy by stealing from the productive to give to the unproductive. Logic: Stealing is productive while producing is stealing. Of course, we all want to help the poor; that is not the issue. Rather, the issue is what is the best way to help them? Is it by decapitalizing the productive? Is it by destroying those nasty rich people who dare to supply jobs to those who need them?

Many liberals engage in self-deception by thinking that more and more free money will help everyone. Logic: printing unbacked “money” will make us all rich. Answer: You can’t lift yourself up by your bootstraps, your back will break.

Self-destruction is what these people produce. They are blinded to their sins and “open minded” to destruction. Consider these two passages about self-deception:

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10 NKJ)

Notice the progression down: We lie to others (v. 6); we lie to ourselves (v. 8); we lie to God (v. 10). Those who hate God self-destruct. The way out of the spiral down is given in the odd number verses: we look to the blood of Jesus Christ, and we confess our sins to God Almighty, claiming the blood. That is the ONLY way to avoid self-destruction.

Second passage:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18 ESV).

The context of Romans 1:18 is that those who give themselves over to same gender relationships think it is ok and that nothing will go wrong in their lives. Self-deception may be noted when someone refuses to consider opposing arguments. Self-deception may be noted when someone thinks he can oppose God’s morality with impunity. Self-deception may be noted when someone reacts violently to truth without thinking. They believe the lie to Eve that she could violate God’s word without consequences; indeed, she would be better off.

 

APATHY

Christians must minister to those who are caught in the bans of sin, whether sexual sin, illegal drugs, arguing against God and His written word, being mean spirited to others, worshipping their own self-made gods, squandering their time, disobedience to parents, murdering, stealing, bearing false witness, coveting, etc. We too are sinful, and we struggle with various sins, including the ones just mentioned. One difference is that we seek repentance by His grace.

We Christians are told that we need more money. We should not pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, give us this day our daily bread,” but “Our faith who art in control, give us this year, our yearly bread.” With that prayer, we only have to worry about money once a year. We must think bigger than one day. How much faith do you have, anyway?

 

[Parody]

If we Christians would only pray with faith, we could prey on those who take our money from us. Pray then prey is our motto.

When some ignorant people quote St. Paul as saying, “The love of money is the root of all evil,” they did not look at the original gibberish, for it really says “The lack of money is the root of all evil.” Therefore, we must confess verbally, audibly, the true understanding of St. Paul. Moreover, our attitude is seen in the Boomer Bible. Consider this Psong:

Psong 23: Money Matters

  1. Money is my thing:

It’s all I want.

  1. It makes the grass look greener;

it stills the deepest waters.

  1. It restores my self-esteem;

It takes me wherever I want to go,

For my own sake.

  1. And even though I have a life-threatening disease,

I won’t be afraid, because I’ll have Money with me;

and the doctor and his staff will do everything possible to comfort me, [for Money, of course].

  1. Money keeps bread on the table,

Even though I have enemies;

Money makes me look good, too;

My jar is just overflowing with Money.

 

  1. And surely now I’ve figured it out:

Money will follow me all the days of my life;

And no matter what happens,

I’ll be in the Money forever. [So there.]

 

Some silly Christians quote St. James as reportedly saying that “faith without works is dead,” but if they would only consult the Swahili-Antepenult behind the original gibberish, they would see that what James really said was “faith without cash is dead.”

 

[On the serious side]

Now Money is what Christians seek for their security. We do not take seriously Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33 NKJ)

We want security through money rather than through the Lord. We think we can advance God’s kingdom by hordes of money rather than by holiness. We attend worship when there is nothing else to do. We watch sports rather than read our Bibles. When we occasionally go to church, we want to feel good, not be challenged to fight the world, our flesh, and the devil. The Bible has become a popular self-improvement manual to help us feel good.

We are pathetic because we are apathetic.

One wonders who will be destroyed first, the God-haters or Christians by their “successful” worship, positive books, and creation of their own providence by speaking into the air?

And make no mistake that God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is not one to challenge or to ignore. Those self-deceived challenge Him while we Christians ignore Him. Pick your poison. AMEN. Ω

 

Rescuing Verses in the Bible: Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8)

© Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw (24 August 2017)

After 36 years of ministry in various churches, I have often heard that Jesus changed the law regarding the penalty for adultery. Here is the passage:

3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:3-11 ESV)

Notice these points:

  1. The passage is not in the earliest manuscripts, but that is beyond our purview in this short article. There are over 5,700 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, though most of them are short and do not include the whole New Testament, and 900 of those manuscripts include these verses.
  2. If the woman was caught in the act, so was the man. How could the woman be judged and not the man also? Of course, that did not mean the woman was innocent. We hear constantly on the news that Hazel Woman or Jack Man was caught doing something but only one was charged. The conclusion often is that if both are not changed then both go free. But that is illogical to the core. If three men murder someone, but only two have sufficient evidence to be charged, does that mean the two should go free also? Should we let the two go free because we cannot find enough evidence to convict the third one? If we cannot convict all, does that mean we must not convict any? That is ridiculous on the face of it.
  3. Others say that Jesus relaxed His Old Testament law. The Old Testament required execution for adultery: “The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 20:10 NKJ).
  4. Moreover, the Old Testament law is a revelation of the character of God and cannot change: “You shall be holy; for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:16; NKJ). It is clear, therefore, that if God is unchangeable, and the law is a revelation of His holy character, then His law cannot change.
  5. Notice that Jesus did not challenge Moses’ law, its holiness, or the penalty for adultery; rather, He supported it. He instituted formal procedure against her when He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Here is one passage He had in mind: “The hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall put away the evil from among you” (Deut. 17:7 NKJ; see also Lev. 24:24; Deut. 19:18-19; 22:22). We see that Jesus, in keeping with the law given above, required the witnesses to cast the first stone. This would make them back up their testimonies to death. Being a witness was a very serious matter.
  6. Again, the witnesses were required to be innocent of the sin they were accusing someone else of committing. It was not any sin that someone must be guilty of but the sin in question, in this case, adultery. If being sinful of any sin whatsoever disqualified anyone from being a witness, no one would ever be such, for all humans are sinful.
  7. When Jesus carefully applied the law, He saw that all the accusers had gone. Since there were no witnesses innocent of the same crime, the formal procedure had to stop. Jesus said,

 

9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:9-11 ESV)

There could be no formal accusation and no conviction if the witnesses were gone! The sin she was not to commit anymore was adultery.

Conclusion

Assuming John 7:53-8:11 is genuine (and I do), we see that Jesus followed the law. He could not compromise His own holy character by saying, in effect, stoning for adultery was too harsh in My law; therefore, I’ll lower the standard. There shall be no stoning for adultery. He required the witnesses to be innocent of the same crime, and to demonstrate their innocence by throwing the first stones. Let us NEVER put a division between the Old Testament and the New Testament as if there were two gods: an Old Testament one who was harsh and a New Testament one who was loving and kind. That would be idolatry. AMEN.

Whose Word Is Law?

(The Rev. Dr. Curtis Crenshaw, Th.D.)

In this day when some churches are turning away from the Bible, it is refreshing to know that many are not. Those who reject the Bible as God’s revelation of Himself to us must have a new concept of God. And where do they get this standard? They must invent it. Often I hear these people say God is like . . ., and they rattle off something. But how do they know God is like whatever they say? And how can we know the details of what God is like unless He tells us? Indeed, how can we know anyone unless that person reveals himself or herself to us?

Many years ago I worked at an investment and insurance firm while I was helping to start a church. The man who hired me claimed to be a Christian, knew the language of Christians, and could pray quite well. (He prayed in order to prey on Christians.) After a short period, I discovered that he was a con man, selling faulty investments to those he could deceive. I and others thought we knew him, but he had not revealed his true self. Likewise, we cannot dream up concepts of God, and say what He is like, for that would be creating a god after our own image. The only way we can know Him is if He reveals Himself to us, and the Bible makes that claim hundreds of times. Of course, in theory the Bible could be wrong in its claim—but that is way beyond this article—but at least we must see that the Church has also presented the Bible as God’s revelation for 2,000 years, and it has challenged anyone to show its errors.

Then there are those who say the Bible is only infallible in theological matters but not in history, science, and so forth. But like those who invent a concept of god, these people transfer infallibility to themselves, for they assume that they can infallibly discern which portions of the Bible are infallible and which are not. In other words, infallibility does not go away; it only gets moved around.

And what does the Bible say about itself? There are two passages in particular that are key in the Bible’s presentation of inspiration. First, is 2 Peter 1:20-21:

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

There are several points here. Peter is emphatic that God is the source of Scripture even while men wrote them. Moreover, God used their human personalities to accomplish an infallible result. In other words, the Bible is both human and divine. Like the Son of God who was both God and man in one person, so the scriptures are both human and divine, yet one, and infallible. Furthermore, Peter says that the scriptures were not “private interpretation,” which means not initiated by men for their own personal doctrines. No, they received them from God Himself. Peter is not saying they were passive pens so that God dictated every word, but that the source was from God. This indicates that the human authors did not originate the message, but rather they were carried along by the Holy Spirit when writing Scripture, receiving the message from Him. They were passive in the message, but active in the writing, using their own vocabulary and personalities.

The second key passage of the Bible regarding its own inspiration is: 2 Timothy 3:16:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”

The word “inspired” means “God-breathed” in the sense that God is the source. It does not carry an active idea so that Scripture is inspiring (though surely it is!) but the passive sense means “inspired,” a body of truth that is fossilized. Nor does it mean “every Scripture inspired by God is . . .” so that there may be some Scripture not inspired by God, as the RSV so wrongly translated some years back. The idea is that every part of the Bible is equally inspired, breathed out from God Almighty, and therefore infallible.

Moreover, Christ agreed that the Bible was infallible when He spoke about the Old Testament.

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18).

The word “jot” most likely means “yod,” the smallest Hebrew letter, and “tittle” means part of a Hebrew letter, perhaps the difference between similar letters, like the cross on a vertical line in English that distinguishes the letter “l” from the letter “t”. But the Lord’s view was that Old Testament’s infallibility was clearly down to the very words and letters. Also, in John 10:35, He stated:

The Scripture cannot be broken.

He often rested His final argument on the infallible authority of the Old Testament (see John 5:39; Luke 24:44-45; Matt. 22:29; John 7:19; Matt. 4:1-11).

Let us confess with our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the Church of all ages, that the Bible is God’s gift to us, that we know God because in its pages is revealed this one, Triune God. Let us not seek to invent a god who is more palatable to modern people.

So what are some implications of the Bible being objective and infallible? We must honor it as we honor Him. We must seek its truth with our whole hearts, and delight in obeying His commands. We Christians do not have to wonder what is right and wrong because it is clearly spelled out in Holy Scripture. At one time, our whole culture believed that.

As a man who has been involved with selling and promoting good Christian books virtually all my life, both inside and outside the church, I can tell you what sells. It is not books on God’s commands, such as my 400+ page work on the Ten Commandments. People want health and wealth, not holiness. If you can make people—not God—the center of attention, you will build a large church. I did my ThD thesis on the word-faith movement, and one of the main leaders wrote a little book that sold by the untold thousands, perhaps millions. The title tells it all: How to Write Your Own Ticker with God. He said that Jesus knocked on his door at home, and this “prophet” of God invited Him in. Jesus then allegedly told him four things (or was it five) that anyone can do to get what he wants from God the Father. Where is the Bible in this? Why can’t we just obey God and not worry about how much money we can con out of Him? Why can’t we be content with what He gives us and not complain for more?

Moreover, just as we cannot create physical law into existence, so we cannot create moral law into existence, and to think that we can only reveals that we believe the lie of the devil to Eve:

You shall be as God, knowing [or determining] good and evil (Genesis 3:5).

Since the fall of man into sin in the garden in Eden, man has deceived himself into thinking that he can make up his own ethics without incurring consequences, but the past few thousand years demonstrate otherwise. Nevertheless, he continues his restless pursuit of private morality independent from God, so that he does not have to give account. This is why we find people engaging in rationalizing and self-justification when they are caught doing something wrong; they think they are above judgment, living under the system of morality they allegedly created. Their judgment will be severe. AMEN.