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The 7,000

© 2015 by Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

Do you recall the great victory Elijah had against the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel? His sacrifice was supernaturally burned up while the false prophets were not successful at all with their god Baal to call down fire from heaven. Elijah then killed the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Once Jezebel, King Ahab’s wife, heard about it, she said she would kill Elijah the next day. Elijah killed 450 heretics and ran into the desert from one woman, Jezebel! Then when in the desert hiding, the Angel of the LORD (pre-incarnate Christ) approached Elijah, who lamented:

And he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” (1 Kings 19:14)

In other words, he sang the song of Hee-Haw:

“Gloom, despair and agony on me-e!

Deep dark depression, excessive misery-y!

If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all!

Gloom, despair and agony on me-e-e!”

That was Elijah!

I have said so many times in the past that it is almost embarrassing to repeat, but heads we win, tails they lose. While I cannot read the Triune God’s mind, we see in Scripture how He works. Read Judges and the cycles the Israelites went through so many times:

  • They sin grievously
  • The Lord God sends them enemies who judge them
  • God’s people cry out in repentance
  • The Lord sends them a deliverer

The cycle begins again

We may have to go through the four cycles of Judges just mentioned. We Christians in the USA are no better than other Christians throughout the East who are suffering martyrdom right now; in fact, we are probably cowardly.

Last week, the tyrannical Supreme Court, dripping with Sulphur from the presence of the devil, for the first time in human history (might be wrong here), officially redefined marriage as between any two consenting people, male or female.

Confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (1991)

If you recall the confirmation hearing of now Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas when Anita Hill lied against him, saying that he had had sexual advances toward her, I knew immediately she was lying through her teeth. For one thing, most people do not know what the wicked are capable of, but as a Christian theologian who has studied Holy Scriptures most of my life, I know what God says about the human heart. Moreover, at that time I had a very strong Christian friend who took degrees from Harvard and Yale; and when Anita Hill began her lies, he said something like this to me: “Curtis, when I took my degrees at those Ivy League schools, several of the political atheists took me aside and said, ‘If you as a Christian ever try to go into politics, we’ll swear that we’ve had homosexual acts with you. That will ruin you’re Christian reputation.’” He also said that he had classes with Anita Hill, and that she was a liberal darling air head who could not think her way across the room, who would never have gotten any position without some insider appointing her. He said that her position as a professor was her payoff for bearing false witness against Judge Thomas. He was confirmed anyway with a vote of 52 to 48.

The liberal elite did the same thing against Robert H. Bork when he was being confirmed to the High Court. This time it was Ted Kennedy, in my humble one of the worst politicians in American history with his constant lying, fornicating (remember Mary Jo Kopechne and her untimely death, July 18, 1969 at Chappaquiddick), who led the charge against Bork. They succeeded this time in keeping him off the court. By the way, Bork was reared a Presbyterian on the Shorter Catechism but became Roman Catholic in later life. He was—and still is in heaven—a lovely Christian man.

My point in bringing up these two men is that the Lord God still has His 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal. I now give a few quotes from Thomas’s excellent book, My Grandfather’s Son (2007):

It had long since become clear to me that this battle was at bottom spiritual, not political, and so my attention shifted from politics to the inward reality of my spiritual life. . . .  I remembered how Jesus had told the rich man to give away his fortune and ‘come and follow me.’ Perhaps I would have to renounce my pride to endure this trial, even as Cardinal Merry del Val had prayed for deliverance in his Litany of Humility: Deliver me, O Jesus, from the fear of being humiliated . . . from the fear of being despised . . . from the fear of suffering rebukes . . . from the fear of being calumniated. (p. 254)

In addition to suspecting that I had committed the sin of pride, I saw that I was resisting what God had put before me. ‘Father, let this cup pass away from me,’ Jesus had prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. ‘But thy will, not mine be done.’

Later in his autobiography, Thomas states:

We had all come to see the campaign against my confirmation as evil. There seemed no other way to explain it. My opponents could have fought my confirmation on legitimate grounds, yet they chose to tell scurrilous lies in an attempt to destroy me personally. No reason other than hatred could account for so unprecedentedly vicious an attack.

Then Thomas quotes Joseph in the Old Testament when his brothers had sold him into slavery:

[Joseph said to his brothers:] You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. Perhaps the fires through which I had passed would have a purifying effect on me, just as the blast furnace burns the impurities out of steel. I already knew they had brought me closer to God.

He learned to love even more dearly the Christian hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”

Attempted Confirmation of Robert H. Bork (1987)

Ted the habitual liar Kennedy managed to keep Bork from being confirmed to the Supreme Court, who was considered one of the best Constitutional scholars of his day. Later in his twilight years, Bork wrote a number of books, and one of my favorites is Slouching towards Gomorrah (1996). This is an exceedingly insightful book on American politics I’ve ever read. He says that two things would pull down our country very quickly: radical egalitarianism and radical individualism (pp. 3-5). Here are some insightful statements Bork made from Slouching:

What liberalism has constantly moved away from are the constraints on personal liberty imposed by religion, morality, law, family, and community (Slouching, p. 61).

[Radical individualism has caused many fractions in our society:] “radical feminists, black extremists, animal rights groups (PETA) radical environmentalists (EPA), activists homosexuals organizations, multiculturalists, , People for the American Way, ACLU, National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), NOW, Planned Parenthood, etc., (p. 53) [I add Al-Qaida, ISIS, and too many to count.]

What then can be the moral basis for objecting to economic inequality and asserting that condemnation of great wealth, backed up with political action, is essential to any defense of the free market? The obvious candidate is envy. It is impossible to see any objective harm done to the less wealthy by another’s greater wealth. It is not the case that the richer man’s income is extracted from the poorer man. . . . I do not lack a yacht because another man has one. (p. 68)

I once wrote of the U. S. Supreme Court that a judge who looks outside the actual Constitution looks inside himself, and nowhere else. (Coercing Virtue, p. 131)

So what is the point to this article? Just as the Lord God had left Himself 7,000 in Elijah’s day to fight against Baal, and God said such to Elijah, so He has His people now:

“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18)

We are not alone. Our sovereign God is getting us ready for intense battle. Cowards give up (read Rev. 21:8); recall what happened to the ten spies who gave up and refused to conquer the land. The Lord disciplined them severely for 40 years, and then they had to conquer it anyway. We can do it the hard way or the easy way. The choice is ours (and HIS!). AMEN. Ὡ

(© 26 June 2015, Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

We in the USA have been involved in social experiments for a long time, almost 200 years. If we count the Puritans, it would be 300 years. Christians have been the holdup for negative social change, but that problem is solved: We are now completely irrelevant to the culture. The Supreme Court, yesterday and today, ruled against Christianity. Yesterday, the continued theft of taking from those who have to give to those who have not, was upheld in Obama Care. It did not matter that it passed under fraud: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” “If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it.” It did not matter that Jonathan Gruber apparently lied about how to promote it and said that the American People were stupid. It did not matter that Nancy Pelosi said to the House that they must pass the bill to see what was in it. Lying is the norm now. It did not matter that when Harry Reid, former Senate majority leader, was asked about his blatant lie to the Senate that Mitt Romney had not paid income tax for the past 12 years, and he responded, “Well, he didn’t win, did he?” Reid did not want Romney to win the 2012 Presidential election. In other words, lying is fine if you can get what you want.

Now, add in Roe v. Wade that was passed by an activist Supreme Court in 1973 (55 million babies slaughtered and counting, making Hitler look like a dress rehearsal), Obama Care also passed by an activist Supreme Court, and today, 26 June 2015, a hyper-activist Court passed the redefinition of marriage as any two people, and we have a country raising its fist with middle finger extended to Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It will be the miracle since creation if we can dig ourselves out of this moral hole with repentance, the likes of which has never been seen, and by “WE” I mean we Christians, the Church. We control the rheostat that controls the light. Once we turn the light on, the darkness vanishes; but we’ve been turning the light off for over 100 years, or more. We’ve been having too much fun breaking marriage vows, having sex outside marriage, teaching our kids about sports but not about the Triune God and His law, giving them cars, smart phones, and other toys and expecting them not to sin with those things, which are not wrong in themselves, buying all kinds of toys and that on credit. I’m about ready to join the Amish.

When I say “WE can dig,” I mean the Church, not the culture. The culture is doing what it does—sinning. The Church has not been the watchman on the wall (Ez. 33:1-11) to warn its people of God’s judgment. WE—pastors—have not given the warning to our people to repent of our worldliness, but we’ve wanted to entertain our parishioners about the rapture rupture. We scream about the antichrist, who he is, and when he is coming,  but give precious little about Christ. We have not cared much for young women exploited by abortion. We have not ministered to LGBT but just condemned them instead, though at times that is necessary in love. We have not visited those in prison. We have not helped the poor very much. Now, the Triune God is cramming our sins down our throats, and some have the audacity to think that the great Head of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ, will rapture us out of this mess. That makes my blood boil. However He judges us, we deserve it.

The USA has been involved in social experiments for about 200 years. Robert Owen (1771-1858),[1] in the early 1800s bought property in Indiana and set up a colony (New Harmony) whereby he would create a perfect environment. Owen thought that if he eliminated three evils: traditional religion (attack against the Church), conventional marriage (attack against the family), and private property (attack against free citizenship)—especially private property—that man’s so-called sinful problems would disappear. (The Eighth Commandment gives us the right to own private property, the Seventh Commandment to have one wife, the First Commandment to worship the Triune God.) But as soon as the colony was established and a constitution was written, it fell apart. Owen thought that since man was allegedly born good, controlling the circumstances and educating him would lead to utopia. But he could not get the people to attend his schools without compulsion, which violated his view of the autonomous, good individual who would do right once he knew it. The colony self-destructed in no time, and he returned to his native Britain, having used up his considerable fortune trying to establish other colonies elsewhere with the same results, and died disillusioned and penniless. He discovered that man cannot be his own savior, a lesson that the president, Congress, and the Supreme Court need to learn, but one we Christians should know.

From the assumption that man is born good, modern day liberals, following Owen, believe that the problem is external, in the environment. Change that and man will be changed, saved from his own problems. Thus, the means to such change is education, for if man is good, he only needs to know the good to do, and he will choose it. Authority is basically not needed in education; each student, being good, is his own authority. The modern educational system, therefore, seeks to save us by getting rid of traditional religion with its parental authority, redefining marriage and sexuality, and promoting the idea that the government owns all things, which means no private property. Government and man are the only saviors, with the government claiming to be god. It is telling that virtually every man-made alternative to God’s salvation includes some form of sexual deviance from His norm as given in the Seventh Commandment: one man and one woman in marriage for life. Today the High Court has redefined of marriage. We will have the same result as Robert Owen, only it will take longer since we are not dealing with a small colony but a large nation. It was George Santayana (1863-1952) who said “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Here we go again.

Today the USA has joined Sodom and Gomorrah, officially. Here is the way godly authority should work. If a murderer is punished by the government, judgment stops with the murderer; but if government does not punish murderers, or just spanks them on the hand, that is an official challenge to God’s authority. The government, and the whole nation by extension, is challenging God’s authority. If the government punishes LGBT persons, those persons bear their own punishment; but if the government sides with wickedness, then the whole nation is guilty. This is precisely what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah.

These two systems (godless government and the Church) are mutually exclusive and are at war spiritually, and only one can be the final winner. We know that Christ is that winner, for Jesus is Lord of all!

(Go here for some booklets on these matters.)

(I can’t read the mind of God, and I can’t extend this blog much more, but I would strongly urge people to read my book, NOT Ten Suggestions, especially Part 3, where I discuss in some detail that God’s judgment on American is now, and increasing daily. I spell out some of the judgments. Chapter 20, God’s judgment on our families, is especially pertinent regarding today’s Supreme Court ruling. One I missed—and hope never comes—is one I’ve seen several high ranking military officers warn about on the news in the past few months, which is EMP, electro-magnetic pulse. A lone missile or plane could send a silent blast into our power grids, and we would virtually be history: people killing each other for food, water, medicine, etc. Too detailed to explain, but if you’re interested, send me an email (cicrenshaw@gmail.com), and I’ll send you some details. May take a few days to get it to you, and then only sent by email.)

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law (Prov. 29:18 ESV).

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Pro 14:34 NKJ).

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chron. 7:14 NKJ).

Lord in wrath, remember mercy (Hab. 3:2).

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. (Psalm 2:1-4 ESV, study the rest of this Psalm.)

AMEN.

[1] Alan Jacobs, Original Sin, pp. 173ff.

(© 25 June 2015, Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

The Bible never ceases to amaze me regarding its simplicity. When I listen to the news, I often hear from the host when someone murders numerous people, like the recent murder of nine people by a lone gunman, why did they do it? Anchors like Bill O’Reilly state over and over that the gunman is insane. “Who in his right mind would do such a thing?” he asks. Whether Bill literally means he is insane and thus in a state of moral incompetence and is not blameworthy, or is so evil that the only way to deal with him is quick justice, is difficult to tell.

Repeatedly we hear people comment that “things like this do not happen in our little town.” They talk about other people in other places being evil, but not in their city or place they live. They really do not believe in evil where they are but where others are; they are, of course, ok. But when they are confronted with wickedness, they are shocked. We see our weak humanity in killers so we try to make excuses for them. They try to explain it as a fluke, as something that is completely abnormal. So they use words like “insane,” or “abnormal,” thinking that people are really basically good, not evil.

But the Bible is realistic, clear, and to the point:

17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:17-21 NKJ)

Notice what the Apostle John stated 1900 years ago. Everyone is condemned if he does not believe in the Son of God whom the Father sent to save us from our sins. Notice also what attends rejection of the Son of God: “Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” People—all people who do not believe in Jesus—love their sin and hate the Triune God: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The verb is present tense: they hate the light NOW, and continue to hate Him. Indeed, unbelief is the mother of all sins, and love for darkness is concealed behind a false love for the light. The person who is transparent is the one who loves the light and wants his deeds to be seen as done in God, as glorifying Him, but the one who is always hiding something hates the Triune God.

Moreover, all evil is personal, people hating the Triune God and hating one another. The devil energizes God-haters to murder each other and to murder those who love Jesus; the devil taking people captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26). Evil does not exist in the abstract. Evil is people hating people and hating God and doing Christians harm.

But everyone always wants to know why a person murdered such innocent people, such as the man who murdered nine people worshipping at church last week, or the man who killed a dozen or more at the movie theatre, or ISIS who has murdered and beheaded so many, or the man who murdered about 20 innocent small school children. We might understand killing other killers, but why murder innocent babies, rape women, behead Christians, and prepare to destroy whole nations. What is the point? Here is one clear reason that Jesus gave us:

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 ESV)

People hate the innocent with an unholy passion because they are innocent, like killing Jesus who was innocent of any sin ever. So why do politicians lie, steal, cheat, murder, murder one another in principle by murdering their reputations? It is because they are of their father the devil. They do what their father does, for he is behind their actions. I recall an interview with Ted Bundy, the serial murderer who killed so many women before he was caught and executed in FL. When asked why he did it, he said something like, “I like it. If I would get out of jail, I would do it again. There is a sense of power.” He loved darkness rather than light, but he concealed himself by being a nice guy. Why does anyone sin? We like it, or better, we absolutely love it. It is as simple as that.

Don’t these murderers know they are doing wrong? Most do, which is why they try to hide their dark deeds. Others are self-deceived almost beyond imagination, trying to justify their deeds. Self-deception follows Eve who was convinced by the devil that she could partake of the tree in the garden and that it would make her happy and fulfilled. From that day to now, we sinners think we can sin with impunity and that such will lead to fulfilled lives. Yet we really know that is not true: “Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” If he is hiding from the light, he knows his rebellious deeds are wrong, like Adam and Eve hiding from God in the Garden.

How evil is our culture? Do we tend to whitewash those in white coats who murder hundreds of babies everyday? Recall the abortionist Kermit Gosnell who murdered thousands of babies, many after birth, cutting the spinal cords of new born babies made in the image of God, and he could not understand why people where so angry with him. He was either self-deceived or just a liar and murderer; either way he was guilty. But he enjoyed what he did, even when many women were injured or perhaps killed in his clinic.

Another characteristic of really wicked people is that they scapegoat, always blaming others for their “mistakes” (read: sins). Sounds like some politicians, especially in high places. They hate others who would hold them accountable, and “hate” is the operative word, for evil people HATE the light, as St. John stated. These scapegoaters love to appear to be good, but they have no motivation for such. It is all outward show. As one man has well said: “Those who are evil are masters of disguise; they are not apt to wittingly disclose their true colors—either to others or to themselves. It is not without reason that the serpent is renowned for his subtly.” (M. Scott Peck, M.D., People of the Lie, p. 104, very insightful book though mixed in its Christian views).

Moreover, those who hate others are often angry because they cannot control them. They are narcissistic, meaning so self-centered that they must control others to do their will or they will hate them. It they are not in control, they sometimes hate with enough passion to murder them, just like the devil did Jesus. This further means they live in fear of discovery for who they really are. They will stop at nothing to prevent discovery, so they hate and kill. It is difficult to expose evil people because they avoid the light at all costs, cover up their sins, and scapegoat every time they are confronted. Their whole lives are motivated by narcissism and hate and the desire to control.

Next time someone says they do not understand why so and so murdered innocent people, tell them they enjoyed it, they hated the other person, and they loved darkness.

But who are the wicked? Is it the person next door, the abortionist, the rapist, the liar? As Pogo in the comic strip used to say, “I have met the enemy, and he is us.” Our only hope is to bow before the Savior, confessing our sins, trusting in His death on the cross for our sins, and in His bodily resurrection. AMEN.

(© 19 June 2015, Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

People are groping for answers to the senseless murders in South Carolina this past Wednesday night. A lone white man with apparent premeditation murdered nine black people as they were worshipping and studying the Bible. The Christian lady leading the Bible study was the wife of one of our REC pastors, Myra Thompson, wife of The Rev. Anthony Thompson. Please pray for the family and for the families of the other eight who were murdered.

It appears to be race motivated murders, just plain senseless. It reminds me of an original Star Trek TV show where two men were locked in mortal combat, hating one another for irrational reasons. Each man was black and white; one had black on the left side with white on the right, and the other man was just the reverse of that. It was so shallow to hate one another over such a trivial matter; especially since neither one had a choice over his colors. It was obviously a satire on the Civil Rights movement.

Now here we are again. One lone man who hates those of a different color has wreaked havoc for what is senseless murder simply because he hates. Should we despair? I’ll not give pious platitudes about “being strong,” which usually means not grieving. The death of loved ones hurts so we grieve, but not as those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13). Grief is part of the healing process. Even the Lord grieved at the grave of Lazarus (John 11:35).

Fox News was doing interviews of pastors around the country to make sense of what appears to be nonsense. I shall make several observations. First, to us it does not make sense; but to Him who somehow makes all things work together for good, we rest in His wisdom (Romans 8:28).

Second, the loved one is home with the Lord: “absent from the body, present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Third, and most important, when Paul says “we do not grieve as those who have no hope,” the context is the bodily resurrection of Christians. The world, of course, really has no hope. Once a loved one dies, that is the end, or so they think. They grieve that they will never see the person again, and in their case, it may be true. They have no hope beyond the grave. Have you noticed in today’s movies that when someone dies that is the presumed end. There is no hope of reunion. Death has won.

But with the Christian, St. Paul proclaims that that is not the case:

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thess. 4:13-18

Even in death, Christians win! AMEN.

Prov. 22:6 translation and meaning

(© 10 June May 2015, Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

The translation of this verse is difficult. There are three possibilities.

(1) Kidner’s work on Proverbs states: “The training prescribed is literally ‘according to his (the child’s) way,’ implying, it seems, respect for his individuality and vocation, though not for his self-will (see v. 5, or 14:12). But the stress is on parental opportunity and duty.”[1]

(2) Others say the verse is a warning: If you train up a child according to his own way, he will be set in his damnation–he will not depart from it. In other words, “Be sure your sins will find you out” (Numbers 32:23), sooner or later. Or, you can get away with sin, but not forever. You can also blindfold yourself and walk across the interstate safely a time or two.

(3) The KJV set the traditional understanding when it understood this as a covenant promise: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Likewise the NIV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, NMB, Young’s Literal, NJB). There is an unusual combination of words in the verse that centers around the Hebrew words ‘al pi’, which often together mean “according to the commandment, order of any one.” Now combine that with the following word, which literally means “his way” and you have “train a child according to his way,” which probably means “according to the truth of his way.” Does that mean the child’s truth or the trainer’s truth? Or Gesenius Hebrew lexicon renders the two words above in Proverbs 22:6 simply as “according to,” giving a full translation as “train up a child according to his way,”[2] which seems to be a warning not to let a child have his way. But Gesenius adds that one is to train him “as to his manners and habits.” This would seem to mean that the trainer is the one in charge, not the child.

In the Basics of Biblical Hebrew, Gordon P. Hugenberger argues for what seems to me to be the best way to understand the verse:

The most serious difficulty with the traditional understanding of Prov. 22:6, however, is the startling fact that in the Hebrew text there is virtually no basis to justify the all-important qualifier “should” in the phrase, “the way he should go.” The Hebrew merely has . . . “according to his way, as is correctly indicated in the margin of the New American Standard Bible. Although in theory, [his way] could be an elliptical means for expressing “the way he should go,” there are, in fact, no biblical examples which support this interpretative expansion. Forms of [derek, way] with a pronominal suffix, such as (his way), are well-attested in the Bible; there are 25 examples in the book of Proverbs alone. None of these requires a rendering similar to “the way he should go.” Instead, in each case, “his way” (8:22; 11:5; 14:8; 16:9, 17; 19:3; 20:24; 21:29), “his ways” (3:31; 10:9; 14:2, 14; 19:16), “her ways” (3:17; 6:6; 7:25), “their way” (1:31), etc, refer to the way these persons actually go. The evidence is similar for analogous expressions, such as “the way of wicked men” (2:12), “a man’s ways” (5:21), “the way of a fool” (12:15), etc.

Accordingly, Prov. 22:6 is not so much a promise, as it is a solemn warning. Parents, if you train up your child “according to his way”—in other words, if you quit the hard work of loving discipline and just give in and let your child have his own way—you will reinforce his sinful proclivities to such a degree that, apart from supernatural intervention, “even when he is old he will not depart from it.” The book of Proverbs elsewhere places similar urgency on the discipline of children and the danger of being left to follow one’s own way: “Discipline you son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death” (19:18). “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him” (22:15). “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, a child left to himself disgraces his mother” (29:15).[3]

Rightly understood, this verse is not a promise, though the Bible does promise that if we rear children rightly, we have the general covenant promise that he/she will embrace God’s promises, but this verse is a warning. The warning is amply illustrated in our culture where children rule over parents, get their own way.

Thus, in the Bible we have a two edged sword regarding the rearing of children. If we teach them God’s word, they will embrace God’s promises:

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)

Recall what happened to Adonijah when King David had never disciplined him:

And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, “Why have you done so?” He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom (1 Kings 1:6).

Moreover, let us not forget these verses:

For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights (Proverbs 3:12).

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives (Hebrews 12:6, ESV).

And sometimes this means corporeal punishment:

He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly (Proverbs 13:24).

13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. 14 If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol [future punishment]. (Proverbs 23:13-14) ESV)

Our culture has taken the Lord God head on, thinking in their rebellion that we must never strike our children, rebuke them, or disappoint them. Of course, we must always do so out of love and to teach them respect for authority. Evangelism begins at home with the rod. A child who does not respect godly human authority (horizontal authority) will reject the Gospel, for he/she believes his opinion is greater than anyone else’s opinion (vertical authority). Show me a child who hates his parents, hates to take orders, and I’ll show you a child who will grow up to murder others. Or, turn this around, show me a murderer, and most likely he/she was not taught to respect authority, and considers himself wiser than “seven men who can answer sensibly” (Proverbs 26:16). In the days of Cotton Mather (1663-1728), some Quaker women entered “their assemblies” (probably churches) “stark naked as ever they were born,” and they were “adjudged unto the whipping post for that piece of devilism” (Cotton Mather, The Great Works of Christ in America, 2:527). I bet they didn’t do that again!

AMEN.

[1] Kidner, p. 147.

[2] Gesenius, Hebrew Lexicon, p. 292.

[3] Gary D. Pratico, Miles V. Van Pelt, Basic of Biblical Hebrew, 2001, pp. 284-5.

(© 6 June May 2015, Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

I’m not very crazy about most modern translations of the Bible. Having taught Hebrew and Greek in seminary for 20 years, I have evidence to base my thoughts, not just hot opinion. (We cannot develop my thoughts on this in a quick blog.) The King James Version of 1611 has been the greatest English version in the last 400 years by any measure: accuracy, beauty, symmetry, grandeur, longevity, and so on. Instead of bringing the Bible down to the ignorant level of the people, as the modern versions tend to do, the KJV lifted a whole culture to its level. Yet even as great as it has been, there are some occasional mistakes in it. One such mistake is this one:

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he (Prov. 29:18).

There are two errors in translation. I’ve heard many people quote part of the verse: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Someone will then say that we must have a goal in mind or plans will not work out. That may be true, but it has nothing to do with this verse. It is not that the translation is so wrong but that the word “vision” is grossly misunderstood by modern readers. The word for “vision” in Hebrew means a prophetic “vision” or revelation from God. Every English translation I’ve checked (not a few!) render its this way:

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law (Proverbs 29:18).

One purpose of God’s commandments is to restrain evil. When I was growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s, we had the Ten Commandments on the wall in home room in public high school. Each day a student read from the Bible, prayed, and then we all said the Pledge of Allegiance. The constant reminder of God’s law molded our consciences as we grew up. (Not to mention that saying the Pledge of Allegiance bonded us to our beloved country, something also sorely lacking today.) Movies were not rated, for there was no need. There was no profanity on TV or radio, no Playboy, and rape was rare.

In other words, when God’s commandments (revelation) are kept before the people, it produces moral restraint, protection from one another, a Christian cultural conscience; but without it, the people pursue sin with reckless abandonment. As all Christian symbols are being removed from our culture, all restraint to avoid sin is being removed. When I graduated in 1963, if two students got into an argument over some moral problem, the end of the argument would be when one of the students pointed to one of the commandments on the wall—end of argument.

My mother would not let me see Gone with the Wind when I was a small boy because of the one line by Clark Gable: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” People laugh at that today. Would to God that only such language was the norm today instead of the gutter four letter words that lace almost every scene. Profanity is now as normal as breathing, and one reason, I’m convinced, is that there is no public moral conscience.

Groucho Marx once said:

“These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”

The philosopher and logician Lewis Carroll gives us a good view of relativism in Alice in Wonderland when Alice meets the Cheshire Cat:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” Alice asked the Cat.

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

We could imagine this continued set of dialogues:

“But I’m somewhere now,” Alice objected.

“Yes, and any road will lead you to somewhere else.”

“Well, then,” asked Alice, “which way do I go if I want to get to a certain place.”

“What place is that?” the Cat responded.

Alice slowly said, “I don’t know the name of it.”

“In that case, no road will help you get there.”

In other words, if there is no word from God, there is no revelation; and where these is no revelation, the people “cast off restraint”—or, as the last verse of Judges says: “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

AMEN.

(© 21 May 2015, Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

We have enough people predicting the end of the world, the rapture, Second Coming, and doom so I’m not going to say much about that at this time. Last time I had much encouragement for us as we engage the world. Maybe later I’ll discuss the end of the world concepts. (You can see my book on dispensationalism later, when I finish my latest update of it, perhaps before the Last Day judgment.)

But my purpose in a few words is more modest—to give some signs of the death of a culture, hastening to add that no one knows when the corpse will be put into its coffin. I did not conjure up these insights, for I am not a prophet, but I’m indebted to insightful men who’ve gone before me. I’ll list a few with some comments, adding that the Triune God moves slow, usually, but when judgment begins to fall, it accelerates. Judgment has begun in the West.

  • A culture changes gods. One modern day church historian has stated that 100 years ago, 80% of Christianity was in the West, such as Europe, UK, and the USA. Now 80% (or better) is in the East, Africa, below the USA border, and even in China, and especially S. Korea. Pentecostals dominate much of these areas, but Anglicanism is very strong in Africa and Presbyterianism in S. Korea.
  • The new god is invariably the state or government, as it extends its tentacles over every area of life, such as:

(1) Attacking Christianity and criminalizing it

(2) Taking over public education, making it mandatory, so they can brainwash the students to believe what they give them without question

(3) Destroy the family and the definition of marriage, such as with LGBT, making those who oppose such immorality discriminators instead of discerners of morality

(4) Control the media; otherwise, many of the people will know the “rest of the story,” the real story

(5) Abolition of private property

(6) Taking over labor and parceling out jobs

(7) Debasing the money supply, such as printing more money, which devalues the purchasing power of our paper money, bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc

(8) Taking away the citizens ability to protect themselves (in our case, desire to destroy the Second Amendment)

(9) Taxing everything under the sun, for the ability to tax is the ability to destroy. Taxing assumes ownership. I don’t know of anything we own free and clear, including our houses, for they are taxed for their property value to force us to pay for the education of others, and that in schools that promote atheism.

They do these things by creating crises that the government will solve.

Most cultures go to sleep with pleasure and leisure time, so they have an investment in continuing the status quo. They will support whoever gives them what they want. If government is the solution for all things, cradle (abortion?, infanticide?) to grave (euthanasia) and money in between birth and death, it is the god that governs all of life. The Lord God will not allow that to go unchecked forever. He is in process of prosecuting us now, but many Christians are waking up. We have hope.

What happens is that the government guides all things above to their lowest common denominator until the nation crumbles within. As always, the tyrants in control think they can take over, that morality, or its absence, is whatever they decide, that they can control it and its consequences. They, like Adam and Eve, think they can eat the forbidden fruit with impunity, without consequences, that no One is really in control but them. Then they crumble.

Problem is that such cultures want to be deceived so they can continue their debauchery. The root problems is love for sin, not intellectual problems (MUST Read Romans 1:18-28). As people are born and grow up in a culture, they think that the way things are is the way they should be. By an illogical inference, arguing unconsciously from “is” to “ought,” they suppress the truth about their sins, their culture, and the Creator. People love darkness because they love their sins (John 3:19-21). [David Hume is the one who demonstrated that we cannot derive “ought” from “is.” His argument has been so well accepted in the philosophical community that it now has a name: Hume’s Guillotine.]

Our responsibility is to present the love of Jesus Christ to a dying culture, not just condemn them. We must make friends with such of the world, love them enough to be able to present both God’s law and His grace.

The ONLY hope is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God, who rose from the dead. We must fall on our knees, confess our sins to Him for forgiveness, and then repent in every area we can think of. We Christians have the obligation to take the Gospel to them. The Holy Trinity and the Incarnation are our only hope!  AMEN.

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